How to Strengthen Your Relationship/Uncertainty

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QUESTION: If been dating this guy for 2 1/2 years. Like every relationship it started out wonderful and he was loving, wanna know about your day boyfriend. But the last year it seems that he's pulling away, and Im not sure why. I thought maybe it was because he didn't have a job but now he does and it's still the same. He's recently told me he's uncertain about where this is going. Trying to get him to talk with me about anything serious is like pulling teeth out. I know he loves me but I think he's scared of commitment and I don't know how to not get him to be scared. And I don't believe in breaks in order to figure it out, but I'm starting to lean towards the idea.

ANSWER: Hi Chelsea,

The Honeymoon Stage of relationships generally fades after 6 1- 18 months. You said he started changing right around the 18 month mark. This is normal. The passion is dwindling and he's wondering if this is truly love or not. I don't know if it's love or not, if this is a long-term commitment or not.

But I do know that he's holding all the cards. He's telling you he doesn't know if this is what he wants, but he's not breaking away, yet he's also unwilling to open up. So, you have to beg, plead and pray for him to stick with you. You don't want to get into this kind of pattern with him.

I would love to help you if he were willing to figure things out, but since he's putting up a wall, questioning the relationship and still stringing you along, you need to get some control back. In doing so, there is definitely risk of losing him, but if you don't you could lose him just as well or you could end up chasing him around for the next five years hoping he'll throw you a bone. That's not fair to you.

Yes, I would recommend you initiate a break. It's IMPERATIVE, though, that you do it right, that you put a time frame on it, as well as guidelines that both parties understand. If you need more specifics regarding those guidelines, let me know. Good luck.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I do need some help with guidelines on what to give him. His walls are definietly up and I want to break them down. I'm really just scared in taking this break beaus rim scared he will realize that I'm not what he wants. But everyone tells me that he doesn't end up wanting me with this break then he didn't want me at all. I know I can't make him love me he has to want it on his own.

Answer
Hello again, Chelsea,

As far as guidelines, you two need to come up with a timeline. Maybe the break will last a month or three months. Decide how long and then agree to come together to assess what's next. Finally, what are the rules of the break? can you date others? Can you kiss another person? How intimate are you allowed to be? It's crucial that both parties know what the rules of the break are so no one mistakenly breaks them. Finally, what are the rules between the two of you? Do you have no contact? Can you call each other? Do you see one another? I would not suggest "dating" are being at all romantic. That just negates the idea of having a break.

During the break, you get to have time from the relationship to reflect on what you want and need. You get to see what life is like without him, and if you decide that you want to get back together, you'll know better on what terms.

I understand that you are scared that he might realize that he is okay without you. The thing is, you might end up in this situation, as well. If that is the case, although it will be hard, it's better to get it over and done sooner than later. If he is going to break up with you after a break,  he's going to break up with you later anyway, and the longer you wait in this relationship, the more painful the break will be.

Hopefully, though, this break will allow you both to realize that you want to be with one another and you will both be willing to work to make the changes needed to make the relationship work.

Hang in there.

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