In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a woman who has been single for the past year and a half, after a four and a half year committed relationship. Back in February, her ex got back in touch with her and said he wanted to talk. She went to his place, and he apologized for what happened and said he should have gotten back in contact with her sooner. Things progressed fast, and they started talking about buying a house together and even having kids in a year or so.
He recently has backed away, saying he needs to save money and did not want anything committed. She loves him with all her heart and wants their relationship to work, but does not know what to do to turn things around. She asks my opinion. My comments are in (bold parenthesis like this below) in the body of her email.
Hey Corey,I have been single for almost a year and a half after being in a committed relationship for 4 1/2 years. This February, my ex contacted me out of the blue, saying he wanted to talk. I went over, we had a few drinks, he apologized for how things happen between and wished he had contacted me sooner.
After a few days, I started staying the night at his parent’s house again. We started talking about buying a house and having children as soon as next year. (If you think about the old movies 50 years ago, the women were always trying to get the man to marry them, and the guys went kicking and screaming to the altar. But in the end, because he loved the girl, he always did it. However, in movies that you see today, the roles are completely reversed. You’ve got the men acting like women and the women acting like men. If you see that several thousand times, from the time you’re a kid until you grow up, you think that’s normal. But if you behave the way you see on TV and movies, you’ll get a restraining order put against you for chasing.)
We talked for a few months, and I thought we were on the same page. The last few weeks, I noticed him being moody about his space, (If you’re a woman, it’s a great thing to say to your man, “Do you need some time alone in your man-cave?” and tell him to get in touch with you when he’s ready to hang out. If you’re a guy, say “You know, sometimes us guys need a little time alone in our man-cave or our tool shed, and it’d be really great if you’d give me the opportunity to do that. You have to ask for what you want, and you have to explain. If you’re a woman, just say, “You know, I really need someone to listen and be supportive. I don’t want your advice. I just want you to listen and be supportive. That’d be great.” Us guys are driven to be successful. We want to succeed and we want to make you happy, and if you’re not happy, we take the blame. But if you are happy, we take credit for it. A lot of women tend to make the guys feel like shit, because they’re unable to communicate to the man what they need, but sometimes they do need advice. If you’re a woman, tell your man you’ve got a problem or situation you want to tell him all about, and tell him you’d like his advice), so I thought it would help if I went home, but after a few days, he told me that he really loves me and values what we have, but he wants to focus on saving his money to buy a house next year. (It doesn’t sound like you gave him space. Instead of constantly needing reassurances, he just needed some time to go do his own thing. Remember, scarcity creates value, so if he’s had an abundance of you after not talking for a year and a half, and all of a sudden you’re talking about babies and houses and all that stuff, the guy’s going to feel like he needs to get out. So let him go. Just tell him to get in touch with you when he figures it out. You’ve got to give him the space to do that, and when he starts missing you, he’ll reach out.) He doesn’t want to be anything committed.Since that conversation, he calls and texts less, but he tells me he loves me every day. (In this case, I would back off a little bit, because you’re obviously smothering this dude.) I am always the one calling and texting first, and I am tired of feeling this way, but at the same time, I want to work through this. I love this man with all my heart. (Most women will do all of the calling, texting and pursuing, so there’s really a fine line and a fine balance. Some women that don’t know any better, when they can feel the guy backing away, they start to pursue, chase and try to force themselves and get clarity. Sometimes guys need the time alone in their man-cave.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you’re reaching out and the other person is valuing it, then it’s fine. But if you see they seem to care less, kind of taking you for granted, then do less. Give them that space, because as Thich Nhat Hanh said, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” And in this case, he’s not feeling free. He said he didn’t want anything committed, he said he wanted some time alone, but it doesn’t sound like you gave him that time alone. He asked for something, you said ‘okay,’ but your actions weren’t congruent with that. You were losing your shit by not being in touch with him.
You’ve got to recognize, when you’re pushing the other person away, you’ve got to let them go. You could be the best boyfriend or girlfriend in the world, and it might not be enough for the other person. You could be the most awesome lover and person to be with, and if you’re with a cheater and a liar, they’re still going to cheat. You’ve got to give them the space to do it, and see how their actions are.The whole idea is, you come together to share their completeness, not to complete each other. It looks like you’re looking at him to complete you and be the total source for your happiness. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, at some point, they’re going to start to feel like they’re being smothered and you’re forcing yourself on them. So give him the space, let him reach out, and don’t worry about the commitment thing so much at this point.
Things were going well and hot and heavy for awhile, so more than likely, if you guys broke up a couple of years ago, it might be for the same types of reasons. He came back, because he probably didn’t find anybody better. He started missing you and he reached out, and that chemistry was right there.
The one flaw that is showing up is you’re coming off as being needy and insecure, and you’re smothering your dude, and he just wants to get the fuck away. So slow down with the house and moving in together, and don’t worry about it. He’ll contact you when he starts to miss you again. But if you keep obsessing over it and keep trying to lock him down and force him to want to be with you, he eventually is going to bounce for good, because he’s already saying he doesn’t want anything committed. So leave the dude alone. Give him the space. Give him some time.)
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From my heart to yours,
Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
“Men tend to solve their problems by spending time alone in their man-cave to think and contemplate alone. Women tend to solve their problems by talking about them with someone who listens and is supportive. Men often mistakenly assume their women want advice, when they simply want their men to listen and be supportive. Women often mistakenly assume men want to talk about their problems and try to force conversation, when they simply need time alone in their man-cave. Men would be better off asking women when they are unsure what they need, by simply asking if they want their opinion or simply want them to listen. Women would be better off if they simply asked men if they need time alone in their man-cave, and then give them the space and time to do that.” ~ Coach Corey Wayne
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