Hi – Nancy wrote a great comment laying out her situation with a man who’s been “not ready” for marriage for over a year — and I wanted to make sure you got my answer, so I’m going to reprint the whole question here and answer it…
Help me tweak my power speech! My guy of a year and 3 months is stuck and I’m miserable. We have a good love relationship going and he’s the most amazing boyfriend in every respect, except that I want a shared life with a husband and he’s not moving us towards marriage and it’s driving me out of my mind.
So, even though I adore my time with him and he calls me multiple times each day, is affectionate, funny, fun, sexy, supportive, thoughtful and wonderful, I can’t really enjoy my time with him because I’m constantly aware that we’re not in an ultimately comitted relationship and so not really together. We’re great together and it’s beyond a doubt the best relationship I’ve ever had. I’m longing for us to be married so we can live together and really let the relationship take off.
About a month after we met he casually mentioned that we could start discussing marriage after about a year. I never liked that and felt it was too long for me to wait emotionally and now at 1 year 3 months, I can feel that he isn’t even thinking about bringing it up with me. Every so often I explode out of the top of my head and put a ton of pressure on him, to which he never responds well, of course. I’ve realized that I explode because I’m not circular dating and he has all the power. So a few days ago I resolved to go back to the Turnaround and then let him know, in 2 months or so that he can’t expect to keep me all to himself (thank you Rori!) while he’s making up his mind/dealing with his issues.
When I made this plan, I had a ton of pressure built up inside and felt that I also just had to know that I’m not in a dead-end relationship. So that very night I tried to have the talk without having the talk and asked him point blank if he sees us as a couple in a “pre-marriage state” or something (should have written that power speech!) to that effect and he said yes, but that he never wants another divorce, so wants someone really, really compatible and is still assessing. He also said that he sees us as being in a good dating, getting to know each other, committed relationship. He also said I’m pressuring him immensely, that these conversations make him feel like the relationship is going backwards. What really alarmed me is that he cited 3 or 4 reasons why he’s not ready and they are the exact same reasons he gave me 9 months ago:
1. he had a traumatic divorce a year and 8 months ago (married 3 years and she cheated on him. he divorced her immediately and moved out and bought his own home. He has no relationship with her other than some loose ends that he tied up neatly during the first few months of our relationship)
2. he has a “crappy” job with night time hours and his ex cited that as a problem. I myself don’t find it to be a problem and have told him as much several times. It’s also not a crappy job. It’s an exciting job for him in many ways – driving limos full of exciting rock stars and other VIPs. The pay is not huge, but I’ll take an affectionate, fun and loving man without money over many men I’ve met with money anyday.
3. we can’t sell our houses now because the economy is so bad that we’d lose money.
Obviously, there has been NO movement on his part over this last year!
I understand that a man’s career is super important to him. I understand that he had a hurtful experience and has needed time. I broke up with him in January fearing I was a rebound. After a month he told me he loved me and missed me and that I was never a rebound and he stopped talking about his ex. But my gut tells me that these are mostly excuses he uses to keep me from storming the door. And I don’t WANT to be storming the door. I want HIM to take the lead, pick up the ball and walk me up that bridge. I’d be so EXCITED and HAPPY to marry him.
After this way too long and excruciating talk the other night, I fled to my laundry room, leand up against my stackable washer/dryer and buried my eyes in the crook of my arm. I didn’t want to look at the results of how much I pushed him. I felt SO AFRAID. My dogs came in to see how I was and I knelt down to hug them. He got up and walked through the house, looked down at me and said “I think I’ll just go home.” I just looked up at him and said “Okay.” I sat where I was until he was gone. I feel like he took the power in the relationship and walk out with it!
That was four days ago and this is the first time this has happened, so it’s scary. I am not going to call him. I’ve prepared my speech and would love some help tweaking it and some reassurance that this is the right time to use it, when he calls. In the meantime I’m dating myself (out to dinner alone and pretty comfortable! out to a movie tonight! I’m amazing!) and working on myself and regaining my power. I’m working on ‘flirting with the world’ and making myself beautiful.
Here’s my speech:
You know, I get that you need time and I really don’t want to pressure you. But, I don’t want to be one of those women who is waiting around for her man to make up his mind. I can’t stand the feeling that I may be in a dead end relationship. I’m not looking for a really long courtship. I’m looking for the real deal and am feeling ready. I’m in a relationship because I’m looking for a shared life, together.
And I don’t want to rush you. You are absolutely entitled to take as much time as you need. But I don’t want a dead end relationship and I don’t want to wait through a really long courtship. I love myself and I have to pay attention to my own feelings and needs. I don’t want to wait. However, of course you can have all the time you want and need to assess us, to develop your career, to heal from your ex, whatever you need. I don’t want to rush or pressure you. But, you can’t have me all to yourself while you’re taking your time and making up your mind.
I love what we have together and I don’t want to break up. I’ll remain sexually exclusive with you while you’re making up your mind, but that’s all.
Please tell me what you think and give me your feedback about whether this is the right time to use it.
***Here’s my answer:
Nancy – brilliant comment – brilliant speech. Here are instructions:
1. Make it very short, with the main pooints you have here, so you can say it simply and calmly, and then smile and DROP it…
2. This is YOUR statement – you’re not looking for “permission” – or even “discussion.” Don’t even ask him what he “thinks” about this…just say it…It’s your Mission Statement for Nancy’s life…period – it is NOT ABOUT HIM!
This means you say it as “I feel…..I don’t want…what do you think…” but the “what do you think” doesn’t have to be there….up to YOU and what feels most powerful…
3. How to deal with your emotions around all this:
>>You FEEL all kinds of things: WRITE THEM DOWN. Examples: I feel angry, resentful, confused, weird, uncomfortable, stuck, trapped……
>>You DON’T WANT all kinds of things – Write Them Down, too…Examples: I don’t want to put pressure on the relationship. I don’t want to attack you…I don’t want to be angry (it doesn’t feel good to feel angry, and I don’t like feeling that way…)I don’t want to “talk” about this or “think” about it so much…I don’t want to try to convince you of anything, or rush you. I don’t want to chase you, or make you feel pushed or trapped.
>>You have ALL KINDS OF OPTIONS – Write them down. Examples: Circular Dating, Dating Yourself, taking classes, going to lectures, dressing differently, changing your hair, your colors, your makeup, whitening your teeth, taking a small trip out of town by yourself…
>>You want to work out all your feelings BEFOREHAND, so you can SPEAK them if the conversation gets longer than your one, simple statement
>>You want your PRIMARY emotion to be EXCITEMENT for your own life and your own dreams, and your own possibilities.
>>Workout your anger and write about it in words you can SPEAK, as much as you can beforehand, and then if it comes up, you can say, “I’m feeling resentful and angry and I don’t like feeling that way, because I don’t want to pressure you.”
>>Whether you’re feeling emotional, or you’re feeling almost numb so you’re being “reasonable” – say ONE SENTENCE AT A TIME.
4. Keep everything as short as possible, so you can track your emotions from moment to moment — and be prepared to speak your feelings as they come up, in words you’ve already written down for yourself. This helps TREMENDOUSLY.
5. Make sure you’ve planned something fun to do that you can turn and go do whenever you feel the urge to keep talking.
Okay – These are INSTRUCTIONS for speechmaking at this critical place of a stuck relationship.
I absolutely love Nancy’s statement of “I’ll remain sexually exclusive with you while you’re making up your mind, but that’s all…”
To just briefly touch on all his “excuses” – it doesn’t MATTER whether they are “valid” excuses or just excuses…there’s absolutely NO POINT in analyzing and judging his “whys.”
The ONLY important thing is what YOU want — and what you’re willing to negotiate for, what you’re willing to settle for, what you’re willing to tolerate…and what you’re willing to DO for yourself to GET what you want.
This thing about him being afraid because he’s been “cheated” on is a BIG thing men say and rely on. In other words — he’s THREATENING you, very subconsciously.
When a man has this in his past and tells you about it — he’s telling you that he expects you to be TRUE and LOYAL, and that if you veer from it — by having lunch with another man, he would cross you off his list. That you’d “violate” his needs.
And this is just, excuse me…okay, I’ll be less colorful here – horsecrap.
The TRUTH is – EVERY man knows that if he isn’t marrying you, he has NO VALID claim on you. He KNOWS he can’t expect LOYALTY (as in “exclusivity”) if he hasn’t committed to you. It’s plain, basic “man-speak” — whether he owns up to it or not.
And the more we buy into this, the less respect, on a deep, subconscious level, he has for you. I would be willing to guess that he didn’t divorce his ex just because she cheated on him. There was more and uglier stuff he can’t even get to inside his brain and heart. If someone cheats on us — every single one of us blames ourselves for it. We’re enraged at them, but we think it’s because we weren’t “enough” (plenty around this for another discussion).
NOW – and this is IMPORTANT — along with this speech and your Boundaries – you’re going to have to work extra hard with the Siren Tools of opening up your heart and being an INVITATION for him. the deeper you can go emotionally, the more you can welcome him into your heart when he shows up in a good way…the bigger your impact. (Again – for more another discussion around Modern Siren.)
So — stick to your plan, your instructions, and stick to YOURSELF. We’re all behind you.
Let us know how it goes for you, Nancy, and let me know how it works for all of you..Love, Rori