Dear Jo… January 12, 2015 – Posted in: Advice – Tags: advice, dear jo, fear, growth, Life Coach, Life Coaching, love, Personal Development, relationships
I wanted to ask you about a relationship dilemma I have. I have been ‘dating’ someone on and off for over a year. We split up after 6 months because he was going through a difficult time with his son and emotionally withdrew or disappeared. I took this as a sign that he wasn’t interested in a relationship and got on with meeting other people.
He is not emotionally very expressive. The most I’ve ever got out of him was ‘you know how I feel about you’ or ‘you know I care’ never ever the ‘L’ word.
We split up and then a couple of months ago he got back in touch and we met up. Things progressed and we were dating again. He hasn’t changed and still cannot express how he feels.
We see each other about once every couple of weeks and he usually texts me every day or every other day. He shows affection in small ways but whenever I ask him about ‘us’ he just changes the subject or won’t answer.
Now my thoughts are that after over a year of knowing me, he would know how he feels about me and whether he wants a relationship but I can’t seem to get him to talk about it. I’ve asked him ‘so are we back together?’ … nothing.
When we first were together I did fall in love with him but now I’m not so sure. Much has happened in my life and I feel I want a relationship that I really feel safe in. He does treat me well, all except for communicating.
Am I expecting too much? Or should I let him go?
Thank you so much,
Oh my goodness, I feel your pain! I’m not sure there are many people out there who haven’t been in your situation and it’s mighty painful but – and here’s the best bit – pain can be your greatest teacher and your greatest liberation if you allow it to be. What do I mean by this? I mean that if you allow your frustrations and fears with this relationship to help you identify what it is you really want in life then you will no longer need to question whether you are ‘expecting too much’ or feel tempted to settle for something that clearly isn’t giving you what you need.
Let me state, right at the beginning, that it is never asking too much to want to feel loved and secure within your relationships. If this man, for whatever reason, is unable to give you what you need and you’ve clearly given him many opportunities to do so, then it’s time to move on. Because by staying you are accepting something you don’t want, which is inauthentic and doesn’t allow space for life to bring you what you really want and need.
This guy sounds like a bit of a slippery fish emotionally. This may be because he’s afraid to allow himself to fully open up or, more likely, it’s because he is less invested in the relationship than you are. That’s OK. It’s by being in relationships that don’t truly work that we identify what it is we really do want. And you don’t want to be with someone who withdraws emotionally or disappears and who doesn’t have the balls or the sentiment to express his love for you. You want someone who will fight for his place in your life as hard as you would fight for your place in his!
It’s very tempting with love to have a scarcity complex, by which I mean to hold onto the limiting belief that the thing we have might be all there is so we’d better put up and shut up because there will never be anyone else for us. It’s also tempting to believe that it’s better to be in any relationship than alone. This is utter rot! I’ve been in your situation myself; deeply in love with someone who was unable and unwilling to commit to me emotionally. I convinced myself that because we were amazing together and ‘in love’ that it would all work out, that it ‘had to work out’ but I was kidding myself. My deepest fear was that I would never love anyone the way I loved him so I stayed and made myself ill trying to make it work. It didn’t and it couldn’t and when I threw in the towel I started to recover. The most amazing part of my story is that I no longer have that scarcity complex. Love will come along when the time is right and, in the meantime, I’m very, very happy going solo. My heart is my own again, whole and intact, and it’s a beautiful thing. Believe me, I NEVER thought I’d be able to say that!
So, D, I want to encourage you to be brave and to promise you that you WILL be OK. You might be sad for a while and you might miss the times you had with this guy. Be thankful for those times because no one can take them away from you. BUT, your heart and your guts want more than he can give and it’s your heart and your guts you need to listen to in this situation. Take time to heal. Don’t rush into something new with someone else (unless he’s Daniel Craig in which case you MUST!!). This decision, if you make it, will be the beginning of you being true to yourself. listening to yourself and loving yourself. Which is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and the world.
Be strong, I know you can.
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