But process too follows patterns. You and your partner each have your own ways of dealing with tension and conflict. Your overall way of handling stress and emotions – withdrawal, anger, passive accommodation – invariably and consistently triggers the M.O. of the other person, which in turn fuels yours. Quickly you both get into a negative loop that becomes your combined standard way of dealing with conflict and tension: anger/withdraw, withdraw/withdraw, anger/anger, etc. Your goal again is to break the pattern.
4. Think of problems as bad solutions. Whatever you see as a problem – the socks on the floor, the lack of sex, your partner’s anger – ask yourself how it may be a bad solution to some other problem. You want to be curious about the driving impulse. You don’t have to have the answer but you need to raise the question: "Help me understand why you leave your socks on the floor." "We haven’t made love in a long time – how come?" And because anger is often driven by worry and fear, ask “What are you worried about?” rather than “Why are you so pissed off?” What is important that you sound calm when you ask the questions – like Mr. Rogers. If you sound angry or irritated, expect shutdown or anger in return.
It takes enormous energy to give to a woman as a man – and that doesn’t mean that yours and my needs as a woman are wrong, not at all. It means that it helps us to simply understand that what we are asking for is not a walk in the park. In fact, it even helps to just meet a man on his level and say: “Hey, I know that I can seem like a lot of effort and maintenance at times. I’m sorry…I just really miss you. I just really enjoy my time with you.”
Make sure to abide by the ever-important No Contact Rule. In this case, ignore your instincts (because they usually act like impulses and read as impulsive behavior). Make sure you take time needed for yourself to feel strong and confident on your own while you give him space. Make sure you do not, I repeat do not show any signs of codependency or clinginess when he does reach back out to you.
I lost the love of my life over something stupid that I did. Long story short, I lied about my age. Although she didn’t care about my real age, it was the lie I carried on for a year that was part of the reason we broke up. She came from an emotionally abusive marriage and had baggage from that. And two kids who I came to love dearly – and who got along very well with mine. I know that she had issues stemming from childhood, specifically trust. But she’s an awesome girl – the love of my life, my parallel. But I messed up – I lied. Honestly, the lie started because I was afraid that she would be turned off when we first met (she’s 28 and I’m 48)…so I told her I was 44. Every time she brought up age stuff, I steered the conversation away. I wanted to tell her so many times but I knew that if I did that would end things. So I let it go and my heart is breaking because of it. It was her abusive ex-husband who cued her in and she defended me to him until I admitted it. Now, she won’t have anything to do with me. The breakup ended VERY BADLY. Probably the worst I’ve ever experience. Yelling/screaming/crying/etc. She said she can’t believe a word I said and felt like I used her for sex. She said that if I ever contacted her again that I’d be sorry. So I haven’t. At first after the breakup I did what everyone does – texted/called/emailed. I didn’t know of these steps. At any rate, she won’t talk and the last time we did I was met with extreme hostility. I know this one is done. Had I followed this advice there might have been a chance. But I doubt even that. Lessons learned the hardest of all ways. I wanted to marry her. It would have been my second and her third. I love her with all my heart and soul – she his my parallel. The yin to my yang.
My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years. Months after we got together I moved in with him and ever since things a very slowly been going down hill. Our sex life is horrible we barely even do it and here lately I’ve been thinking about calling it quits. He has many issues that he never deals with and when it comes to our problems he never wants to talk about anything. I have been trying so hard to make things work and I just don’t have it in me anymore I’m putting 100% into this relationship and it feels like hes only giving 50.
So what exactly should you do when he is off enjoying his freedom? Do the same thing! You need to have a life of your own too, so hang out with your friends, catch up on some reading, and just enjoy being you. You are a fabulous woman with a complete and fulfilling life all on your own. You do not need a man to complete you, so just roll with the punches and do not take it personally when your man needs a little space.
Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant 90-FE-0123. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Servies, Administration for Children and Families.
Engage in an activity together: Rather than allowing the distance to continue, work to find something to do that gives you a chance to be together. It may be a board game, shooting baskets, taking a walk or even playing a video game. Sometimes, it’s best to just be together in silence, rather than forcing your child to talk. If your child is resistant, keep the door open and continue to look for opportunities to spend time together.
I love this article, I am definitely going to follow your advice. My only concern is that my ex might’ve done the 4wk no contact along with every thing else to me already. He now texts me everyday and he recently told me that he loves me and he misses me but hasn’t said he wants to get back together and he is talking to another girl. Should I still do this?
We as women want to take a man’s resources – time, attention, money, commitment. That naturally requires that he trust us in order to give those precious resources. Do you understand that, as a woman, it feels very intuitive to you to want to take time, resources, love, affection and attention from a man – but that it also feels intuitive to a man to feel that these very things that you want, is a huge, huge job for him?
I’ve been “hanging out” with this guy off and on for two years. Before meeting him I read books on this exact subject. I’ve been married and divorced twice so I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing if I got involved with a man again. I’m very opened about my feels I always have been. I like that about myself but in the past I’ve also been pushy wanting things to happen right away. Now with this guy I’m “hanging out” with has pulled away a lot in the 2 yrs I’ve been seeing him, but he had always come back. I think it’s because I always gave him his space. Since being married and divorced twice taking things slow was fine with me. Just recently though, I couldn’t help myself and I told him that I loved him. I thought for sure he was going to pull away, but he didn’t not right away anyways. In fact, we talked about making it exclusive. I was so happy because it’s what I had been waiting patiently for two years for. Recently, we had a two year anniversary of when we met so being the person I am I gave him a card. I said a paragraph of very heartfelt things. I knew this would definitely make him pull away from me and I was right. Even though I know when it’s going to happen it still doesn’t make it easy to deal with. I love him and I want him to know this. I want him to know that I accept him for who he is. I feel the only way I’m going to get him to trust me is by letting him have his time away from me. When he comes back he’s different, for instance, he more loving sweeter. I believe him when he says he’s happy with me. He too has been in difficult relationships in the past that broke his heart. Love isn’t meant to go fast. Love takes time. I’m glad it’s going this way even though it’s hard because I came from abusive background and it’s why my marriages ended. This guy inspires me to grow and find myself. I’ve started back to school at 43 yrs old because of his encouragement. I don’t feel I have to be someone I’m not when I’m with him. I feel safe when I’m with him. I want him to feel the same when he’s with me. I feel that’s what true love is all about. I may love him but he’s not my whole world, he’s only part of it.
But when do men ever take responsibility for their actions? At some point you guys need to realize that you play an equal role in the deterioration of relationships. I always take responsibility for my actions so when do men admit, “Hey, I’m also to blame as well.” Society has taught me that their behavior is excusable. The focus is always on women learning to adjust and change her behavior and blaming women for men pulling away but its never the other way around. It’s sad that men are taught that a woman being concerned about a man disappearing means… Read more »
This article is completely speaking to my current situation. It definitely seems like my guy is pulling away a little bit, still answering texts and things but very barely, not making plans to see me this weekend, etc., but all of the signs up until this point were that he was very into me. I tried reaching out to him a little more than I usually have been in response, but I’m going to pull back a little bit and give him the space he needs and let him come to me as this article says.
Would if children were involved??????÷!!! EVEN AS CLOSE FRIENDS FOR A COUPLE Of YEARS!!! Four children involved…..one mine, three his. My daughter and his daughter in same school and class. Last time I heard from him waS a text messge New Years Eve….told me he was still working. The guy is 47…..it sucks for me….but my child wants to know what happened to him….and wants to play with his daughter. Not only that…his daughter and my daughter taLk in class and tell each other they want to play.
The biggest rule of all when it comes to texting your ex, or getting back together with an ex, is to first have a period of no contact, usually a minimum of four weeks. This means you don’t text or call or G-chat or communicate in any way, shape, or form. It doesn’t matter if it’s his birthday or he just got a promotion at work and you “innocently” want to congratulate him. No contact means no contact. You can read more about it and why it works here and here.
I called after a week of no contact & we pretty much were on the verge of breaking up but he confined it. It’s that he owed me money so I left a message and plus he told an ex I was doing drugs and doingbsexual acts for them. So I was pist off after she sent the message about what he told her. So now what do i do i know i should habe never contacted him but I was angry
i successfully completed my no contact rule.after that i sent my first text.he was so excited to respond and he was responding like crazy.i tried to end up the conversation many times bt he was keeping on texting.atlast i managed to say goodnight by saying i was sleepy.as chris told i decided to put a gap for 3 days after first text.bt the very next day of first text itself he texted me asking something.should i reply or do i have to wait for the completion of third day?
A lot of people say trying to make your ex jealous is an effective strategy. To be honest, this is an extremely tricky, dangerous one. But I am going to mention it because it is something a lot of people discuss. In certain situations, it can be extremely effective. In other situations, though, it can be a total trainwreck and lead to a complete disaster.
Hi Sierra. I get the feeling that you didn’t feel secure in this situation in the first place, that maybe there was no real commitment from him in the first place, and because you didn’t feel secure, you weren’t able to be as attuned to him as you could have been. Which is a dangerous situation to be in. The overall feeling I’m getting from your description (which of course is only a snippet of what went on), and from the fact that he felt like you were talking in circles, then he was probably feeling a sense of pushiness… Read more »