Tuesday, January 5, 2010
She keeps pulling away ...
Last night's chat with Expert Emily Shupert at Cache' Connections was packed with great advice for a member who is receiving mixed messages from the lady he is seeing. Here are some excerpts:
Him: I've got a relationship where there seems to be a little Lucy and Charlie Brown and the football going on... every time we get too close...or pass a milestone like the first kiss, the first visit to one's apt., the first "all day" date...she pulls back and suggests a time out. Just when I get confident she gets scared. As Charlie says when the football gets pulled back at the last minute...auuuugggghhh!
Secondly she seems to have trouble expressing affection or appreciation in verbal words...only in written emails or touching...can this relationship be saved? Lol.
Emily: Great questions! It sounds like you are trying to affirm her and your relationship while she is more hesitant and reluctant to move forward. Does that sound correct?
Him: Yep. She sends a lot of mixed messages..and or positive and affirming followed by hesitant and indefinate. And after two months everything is still like a second date...hesitant at first and distant..then warm and kissy at the end. I feel the next date should start the way the last ended. I sense commitment fears.
Emily: I would suggest that you bring it up by saying, "help me understand where you are coming from so that I am able to honor your desires in this relationship. I really like you but it is hard to know how to respond in a way that you will appreciate. It feels like I am hearing two different messages from you and it is hard to know how to respond accordingly.
Him: She won't let down her guard...and it seems obvious since she expresses just fine when a boss calls from work, or she is engaging in "top this" competitive banter... therapist's (and boyfriend to be) nightmare...can't get her to open up.
Emily: Ok, it sounds like she has a lot going on in her world where she is trying to figure out if she is able to connect with you on a deeper level. You don't have control over her opening up or not....let's look at what you have control over.
You can only decide what you bring to the relationship. As long as you "over function" in the relationship, there will be no room for her to come up to bat. She is "under functioning" and is very comfortable in this role. She doesn't have to change... As long as you make things comfortable for her and let her have all the power in the relationship, she will have no need to change.
Him: very easy for me to fill in the gaps...as you can tell from my gabbiness here...i can over-communicate for sure!
Emily: Yes, which is why you need to allow her the opportunity to come to the relationship line and show up for herself....you cannot talk for her, function for her, and commit for her. She has to decide if she is going to make this step.
Him: What, if anything, can I do?
Emily: I suggest that you show up to the dates and offer yourself as you are, no more, no less. Talk with her, take her out, etc. but don't put all your eggs in this basket or you might be very upset down the road if she pulls out of the relationship.
Him: No more, no less? I don't understand.
Emily: I suggest you to share only to the level that she is allowing you to share. Do not put yourself out there 100% because you are not at that place in your relationship. Pace yourself and take your time. While she needs to be sure to communicate more it sounds like you need to also pace yourself.
... which is why we say: " Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23
Great job Emily!