You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'commitment'.

Pushed in Pontiac

  • Posted on October 2, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Dear Christine,

The woman that I just met 6 weeks ago is possibly the best thing that’s happened to me in a very long time. However, she seems way too concerned about the future. She constantly wants to discuss, Where will we live? When we should move in together?  Basically, she talks a lot about what our future will look like together.

I on the other hand am more concerned about really getting to know each other and protecting my heart. She’s ready this early to go all in and I am just a little scared and cautious.  Our histories are similar though. We’ve both been hurt and abandoned by those we were closest to in our lives.  I want to assure her that I’m excited about where this could go and I’ve tried but it’s never enough and it’s exhausting.  Reassuring her is getting in the way with the fun of dating and falling in love. I’m not going anywhere but how can I convince her without actually marrying her, which in no way would guarantee forever based on both of our pasts.

Thanks, Pushed in Pontiac

Dear Pushed,

It sounds like a lot is going very well for such a new relationship.  But, it’s also WAY too soon to be talking about marriage to reassure her of your commitment.  Neither of you is knows the other well enough to take that step yet!  That’s what dating is for!

A healthy relationship will allow each of you the space you need to explore the possibilities of what might become as you get to know each other.  Each of you needs to accept where the other one is without pressuring the other to be different.  If you think about some habit you’ve tried to change about yourself (flossing daily, losing weight, for example) you know how hard it is to change yourself when you are motivated and see the value of that change.  It’s almost impossible to change someone else, particularly if that person doesn’t see any need for change.

So, what that means is that you can’t change her neediness for you to make a life-long commitment after only 6 weeks together, and she can’t change your need to take your time and protect your heart until you are more certain that she is “the one.”  Talk to her to help her understand that her pushing you for a premature commitment or marriage could spell disaster for this fun relationship.  The best rule I’ve found is that of the lowest common denominator.  Whoever needs to move slowly, safely, must receive that space and time to feel safe in the relationship.  Just because one is ready to move in with the other doesn’t mean the other is ready to lose her own sacred space.

Keep talking to each other.  Help to her understand what you are feeling and where it is coming from.  If she just can’t hear you and insists on marriage now or never, then take care of yourself first.  You HAVE to live with yourself.  You choose to live with others.  If you aren’t comfortable with being pushed to make a choice you aren’t 100% sure about, then speak that truth.  If that ends the fun dating relationship, then so be it.

It’s ok to have boundaries.  Boundaries are what make it emotionally safe for emotional, social, sexual and physical vulnerability.  When you both have enough experience to validate trusting each other, then the love can blossom.  And you both will figure out what the next step is in this fun dating relationship.

Take care,
Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

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Sneaking Around in Southfield

  • Posted on December 6, 2015 at 5:00 am

Dear Christine, 

I am a 37 year old lesbian who has only been deeply in love one time when I was 23.  She loved me too and it was so intense.  She had a lot of pressure from her family and religion and eventually broke my heart and hers and she left me and married a man.   I have tried to move on and I just haven’t been able to feel that strongly about anyone else.  Recently I met someone who I could see myself growing old with.  There is love and comfort although not the same deep passion I once felt.  I am on the verge of having a good life with a good person and then,  “the one” finds me out of the blue.  She is married, has 3 kids, super active in her Baptist church, and apparently has never stopped thinking about me either.   She will not leave her husband, tell her family or let on to anyone at all that she still loves me but wants to see me “privately”  We did spend one amazing afternoon together and the passion is still there.  Unlike her, I can’t keep the wife and have a mistress. I know this sounds nuts and in my mind I know the right answer is to not be tempted by empty promises.  Do I choose a life sneaking around to have the love of my life in bits and pieces, or do I choose safe and comfort even if I may never feel the intense kind of love again.   I seriously think I may make the wrong choice.  Thanks for listening and if you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear from you. 

Signed, Sneaking Around in Southfield

 

Dear Sneaking Around,
Wow! Look what you have created!  Yes, you are in charge of your life and you can make your life work for you the way you want, or you can drift from one happening to another, being victim to other people’s actions.  You didn’t expect your ex to reappear, but here she is, creating earthquakes in your otherwise calm life.

How wonderful that you have had that incredible passionate love experience at least once in your life.  That’s an amazing feeling, but you know by this point in your life, it never lasts.  It is hormones, chemistry, timing and is fleeting.  It’s also a lot of projection:  putting your hopes and dreams of the perfect relationship on a human being you don’t know well who is frail, contradictory and has faults that you are not seeing or acknowledging yet.  The Japanese call it “love psychosis” and if it lasts 3 years, that’s unusual.  During that passion, you have an opportunity to form a deeper emotional connection with that person from shared values, trust, honesty, openness and vulnerability and mutual goals.  Or the passion fades and the relationship cannot be sustained.
So, your choices at this point are:  What sort of relationship do you want?  Passion that is hidden?  Being someone else’s mistress? Cheat on your partner you are growing old with?   Trust your ex who broke your heart  and promises nothing of substance now?  Honesty with friends and family who care about your happiness?  Or sneaking around, taking whatever crumbs of passion your ex has for you, all the while keeping a huge secret from your partner, and everyone else you interact with?  And if you choose your ex, what happens when her husband or your partner learns the truth?

It’s all in your hands.  Who you choose reflects your values and your character.  Be fully yourself and be confident in your choices.  Write me again and let me know what you decide.
Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

christineccantrellphd@gmail.com