Worried your man is questioning your relationship?
What I humbly suggest you could do,
having been "that guy"
You are reading this because you value honesty and truth. And you can sense that your male partner is not fully there, with you. You know deep down that he is sitting on the fence -- whether he has told you so or not.
Please know, that I wrote this article to empower you. I don't in any way want to put the onus and blame on you.
You are in a painful and difficult spot. It is not your fault. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not only good enough, you deserve to be loved fully!
Below you will find some humble suggestions about what I believe you can do right away to step into your power and feeling worthy to be loved more fully. And, I also believe that it will help your man to get off his ass and make a decision -- to stay with you and commit more fully or to step out in a way that is honest, respectful and honouring to you.
But, if you follow this advice, it does not mean it is your job to make him stay nor to help him move on. That's on him.
Did you get that? Just to be sure, let me say it another way...
It is NOT your responsibility to save him, to wait for him, or to take care of him.
Relationships are a two way street. One-way-love is you doing your best to be a good loving person, but it can never be enough to make it be what it is not: a mutually healthy and satisfying relationship.
Wait! Who am I to be telling you all this...
My name is David Jurasek. I've spent my life helping people. But, my professional qualifications are less important at this moment.
I've been that guy, who -- over and over again, in so many relationships -- was not fully committed and so ended up hurting so many good women,
As a man who was questioning, I wish I had the guts to do my part sooner. To have either faced my own shit and committed fully to loving my partner or to have stepped back with honesty, love and respect, owning my part more fully and leaving in a way that honoured all the love she poured into our bond.
Since then, I've seen countless men in my life -- good guys who want to be more powerful and loving -- struggling as I did, with relationship indecision.
It's become my mission to help the men who are ready to look at themselves honestly, to be able heal and grow up emotionally. So that they can become leaders in LOVE, co-creating the relationship they have been longing for with their partners.
So, here’s it is, what I suggest you can do
about his being on the fence with you?
1. own your own ambivalence.
Ambivalence is a fancy word for having contradictory feelings/desires. It may seem a stretch, but when you aren’t holding down the fort, trying to be a good and faithful partner -- on some level -- you are also very likely questioning being with him.
Why wouldn't you!? That part of you which knows he's not fully with you, that same part which has been longing for more, is either stuck on hoping he will change or wishing for something better.
But what does it mean to "own" your ambivalence? Here are three ways to make this concrete:
One. Put more onus on him to convince you to stay. If you always say YES, this makes him want to say NO. Just how reverse psychology works. It pushes you to stand at polar ends. One chases the other one pulls away. Try reversing this dynamic -- even a tiny bit . Take more time for yourself. Show him how you also want to pull away. This makes it easier and more seductive for him to come after you and consider staying more profoundly. If this seems manipulative, please know I don't mean that you do this in a way that is dishonest or to try and control him. I want you to actually honour these foreign feeling desires you already have inside more.
Two. Let go (even a little) of judging him. Chances are, if he is conscientious enough (I would suggest you don’t stay with someone who is NOT) he already feels shame and guilt about being not fully in with you. Shame and guilt tend to keep men stuck and or reactive by making really bad decisions, which neither of you want.
Three. Normalize the feeling of uncertainty and being torn. Talk about how you at times feel that way. Show him it's okay to also feel that way too by validating him when he does. Real love is not a feeling. It is a choice and an act to fully accept and embrace another. Loving relationships only exist when there is the honesty and space for both partners to feel all of their emotions. How else can you have true intimacy, if you hide parts of yourself or judge and deny him to be himself? Honesty liberates you both and lays a foundation for true love to grow.
And yet, honesty alone is not quite enough to make some relationships last (in my humble experience). So, here is the next suggestion.
2. Make a mutual time bound commitment
Despite the ambivalence you both feel, you state your commitment to love him fully for an agreed upon time. And you ask him to do the same, to put aside questioning the relationship long term, etc and just be here fully with you.
Why make this so formal and explicit? You are giving him a test to see if he is willing and capable of doing this with you. Don't expect him to read your mind. Make this very concrete for him. Look at it this way, as well...
Won't it feel much better -- if he doesn't step up over time and you decide to end things -- that you were clear way ahead of time about what you wanted and what the relationship needed for you to have stayed?
Practically, you may or may not need to explain to your partner WHY you want him to do this with you. If you do, my favorite way of explaining it goes something like this…
“True and lasting love is a lot like a garden. If we don't invest the time to take care of it properly, the soil dries and the plants wither with neglect, right? And weeds -- like insecurity and wanting to be somewhere else -- start to take
over. I can't tend this garden alone. I will only keep tending this garden if you
join me in doing so.”
Now, if he is not willing to do that, it also exposes the truth, that he is more out than in. So, you can feel good about loving him and leaving the situation yourself to create an actual relationship with someone else. Someone who will dedicate themselves to tending this garden with you. That is the least of what you deserve.
If he is in, the chance of him committing more and surprising you both increases greatly.
How much time should you ask for? I recommend 3 months. Women I know often say that is too long, as some of them have been waiting forever. I get that. Really. It's painful to feel like you are waiting and with someone who is not giving you as much! So, ultimately, this time frame is something you need to decide on. My take is that it takes time to do this right and see what is truly possible with your guy.
3. PLAN together to do W.i.t. (whatever-it-takes)
This is where -- if he is committed to the previous invitation -- you get specific and ask him to clarify what-it-will-take for him to be fully in the relationship with you. You outline what it will take for you as well and you both make commitments to support each other’s plans.
This is where it gets most powerful and also where initially it could so easily get sticky.
What if your plans differ? For example, you want to engage in couples therapy and he wants to do some work with his life coach? Do you insist that he has to come to couples therapy? Do you collapse with disappointment? Or, do you negotiate and haggle and dig into the details? I suggest the later.
Why does he want to do it on his own and will that be successful? Can he include you in his process? Can you do something else besides couple therapy if that is something he is against, but which will meet the goals you wanted to pursue?
This is where the harder work begins. You discover your edges and differences and also your common hopes and longings.
Maybe, you end up staying together and maybe you don’t work it all out (even in this lifetime) but in the time bound frame you’ve agreed to, you work on it together and that is the key.
You are loving the other person and tending the Garden of Love together and that is what a real relationship is. It is not the fantasy of our wounded child within that wishes that our partner could read our minds and know exactly how to love us perfectly every minute of the day (and night). It is a maturing and real love instead.
"What do I do when the time runs out?"
At the end of the agreed upon timeframe, you decide to re-evaluate, being courageous and completely honest about this experiment.
And then you both decide whether to continue together or not.
If one of you is out, the relationship is over.
If you are both humbled and sobered by what you discovered and decide to keep going, you're establishing a much more solid foundation to build on. You know better who you both are and what it takes to love and stay with the other person over time. It will get better and easier over time, but you still likely have a lot of rough edges to work out. And doing that hard work was never meant to be done alone. It takes a village to raise a child and to help a relationship thrive!
To keep growing and not let your man slide back into passivity, the next decision has to be made -- another time bound commitment to tending the relationship.
Sure, maybe one day the ambivalence will fully vanish and you can both honestly see just being in it forever. Until then, you commit to being fully in it, with all that you have. One loving chapter of your lives at a time.
"Where can I send him for more help?"
I recommend you start by inviting your man to visit this page. The path there will lead him to sign up for this free video training. I made it to speak to him personally. It covers the struggles I had over whether to “Stay or Go?” and offers both heaping tablespoons of compassion and tough love for him to swallow.
We're also working on a follow up training (not ready yet) which helps men to get the clarity, certainty, and courage they need to be able to commit more fully to creating love in their lives. If he gets on the list for the free training, he'll hear from us about any offers or can just contact me personally.
NOTE: this training will only be open to men (once we unveil it -- likely in early 2019) after men take the free training.
Now, please head this old Polish proverb: "Do not push the river" (er, your man). Give him a nudge to check out this page and ask him to tell you if he can relate. Empower him not with judgment or shame, but by making powerful and loving choices yourself and encouraging him to decide what he will do to match your example (following steps above).
Being powerful and loving will increase the chances of him growing his balls and taking a potent step in the right direction. That is up to him, however. Not you or I.