If you have to tell a man he’s “hurting” you by backing away and appearing to “lose interest” in you – what can you really get from a “discussion” about it?:
I’m feeling big-picture confused about how to handle my relationship situation and would really appreciate your take on it.
On the one hand, it’s taken me almost 3 years of being single to meet someone I like as much as this guy, and feel so compatible with on so many levels. And for the first 5 months of our relationship he was doing and saying all the right things in terms of helping me feel happy and confident in our present and future. I don’t want to blow what seems like a very unusual connection and chance of future happiness.
On the other hand, I do still feel like he’s being a bit cool and distancing himself and I’m feeling really hurt and let-down and neglected. He didn’t contact me on Saturday and there has been a very definite temperature dropping change in how he is towards me.
So I feel like I really need to have a direct conversation with him, understand how he’s feeling and what he’s wanting or not wanting, and communicate that I’m feeling hurt and let-down and neglected. I feel that without talking to him directly, I’m really condoning his behavior and not letting him know that I need him to be different with me if it’s going to work out. I don’t want to keep feeling so sad and confused and neglected.
Practically, I feel like I should request a plan of when we’re going to see each other after next weekend in the next few months, as without a practical plan, with our busy schedules and living apart in different cities, it may continue like this and that means it wouldn’t work out. In June for example we planned to see each other every weekend and that was wonderful and we got closer.
However, I think that according to your system and framework (and I’m watching your Commitment program), you don’t suggest having a direct conversation about where the relationship is going and what I want that I’m not going. But can the situation really change and improve if I don’t communicate how I’m feeling authentically?
And you say it’s good to express feelings. But not sad or neglected or hurt feelings?
I would really appreciate your advice as I’m feeling confused and stuck.
Nancy – Here’s the thing: Build Attraction first – then talk.
In other words, if he’s pulling away because he feels pressed and smothered, and because he can’t get to the inner Nancy in “general” because you’ve covered her up in everyday life, and his attraction to you has faded a bit – the time to “open up” is NOT in talking about the relationship!
It’ll just reinforce WHY he’s pulling away – AND, by the way – he likely doesn’t even KNOW why – he’s just not feeling it when he feels pressure to commit.
“Condoning” behavior doesn’t apply to “interest.” You can’t make a man more interested in you by not approving of, or not condoning his lack of interest.
He’s either interested or he isn’t.
You can’t make him love you by “telling” him to.
There are no ultimatums for or insisting on “love” that are possible in this world.
Commitment, however, is another matter (depending on his consistent level of interest).
AND you can’t make a disinterested man commit.
You have to interest him first, and then request commitment later.
However – if what you want is a man who is unwavering and committed, then approach him and discuss the relationship before you rebuild attraction – and your chances of pushing him further away rise to about 80%, but at least you’ll know and be able to move on.
I personally think six months is WAY too soon to do that.
You know me – I’m all about Circular Dating until the ring (if that’s what you want).
If you’re going to ask a man “yes or no” – the only answer a man who “isn’t sure” can give is “no.”
It’s like insisting a cat stay on your lap because you want it to. It doesn’t work.
Yeah, you’re right, it’s your cat. You feed and shelter and love it.
By all rights and reason, it “should” – it’s “supposed to” – sit on your lap.
And – though that might work with some dogs (he may eventually learn to sit on your lap out of fear, even if he doesn’t “want” to), it sure won’t work with a cat.
Training is training. You either hit the person, cat or dog – or you entice it with food, safety, fun and affection.
(And if you smear yourself with catnip – you’re way more likely to have that cat on your lap.
In my world, the ONLY option that’s discussable in this situation is to simply NOT be exclusive!
If you approach him with:
“Exclusivity means this to me (fill in the blank here)….and if this isn’t where we are right now, then it would feel better to keep my options open until you know what you’d like to have with me. Otherwise, I’m likely to lose my cool…I’m already starting to feel (fill in the blank here)…and I don’t like feeling that way….what do you think?”
…That would be a fair and good conversation – and I’d be 100% supportive of this “No Girlfriend Speech.”
And yet – you have to be ready for it!
That’s why I want you to start Circular Dating BEFORE you discuss this with him, so you’re not thrown a curve ball.
That said – I don’t believe you can make a mistake!
So – Love to you, and please do what feels best for you. I know you’ll do fine, and no matter what – there’ll be learning happening.