People frequently write to me expressing their doubts about whether their partners are capable of being truly committed. Perhaps you sense they are too open to making new connections. Or they seem to be hedging their bets. You’ve begun having doubts and want to feel secure again.
It’s disquieting to wonder if your partner might still be shopping. Besides feeling that you could be compared to a fresh new specimen, you may worry that they might get themselves on a slippery slope with another person and slide right out of the relationship. Despite everything you have done to make things work, to keep it healthy, you feel as if you could be reduced to a commodity that gets ultimately traded in for a better or newer model.
What might be behind your partner’s commitment-phobic behaviors? Perhaps they resist throwing their lots in with yours because they’re afraid that if they do it will make the walls close in on them and they’ll act out badly toward you. Or they’re skittish about losing all of their other options. Or their codependency is making them feel too emotionally responsible for you. Try as they might to settle down and commit, perhaps part of them wants to remain open just in case someone better comes along.
If you sense your partner is hedging, it doesn’t mean that things will fall apart. Going through an uncertainty period is normal to a developing relationship. Have your partners started to give you double messages, are they keeping you at arm’s length, or do they pull away when you try to move things forward? Well, rather than aim your emotional suction cups at them and risk scaring them further away, try using some finesse, you can weather the storm by deploying some emotional self reliance. By remaining stable and constant, you just might be able to get things to turn around.
You don’t want to come on like gang-busters, but how do you quell your intense emotions?
1) First use the turmoil as an opportunity for your own personal growth.
2) Work on your relationship with yourself before tackling this issue with your partner.
3) Use the tools of the abandonment recovery program to strengthen your internal bond — Big You to Little You – so you can complete your own emotional loop instead of depending on your partner.
4) Take responsibility for your own emotional needs to reduce your neediness quotient. Use the exercise to give security directly to yourself so you won’t lay your needs at your partner’s feet.
5) Practice the exercise until you can come from your most self assured and self loving self.
6) Vow to retain your power. Center yourself in a place that presupposes your desirability and strength.
7) Exude confidence and optimism.
8) Be bold and guide the relationship to some emotional truth. You might want to put the question out there: Are you struggling with the committed part of our relationship?
9) Even if your mate denies this, you’ve accomplished some constructive things: A) You’ve taken power and responsibility, named the elephant in the room, released some of the tension. B) You showed courage, emotional self reliance, and self respect. 3) You planted a seed that might grow in your partners’ mind where it can sprout some needed maturation.
10) Remember: Mature people don’t shop – but how do they gain maturity? By engaging in the active process of a relationship with another maturing person, namely YOU.
By Susan Anderson © 2014
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