“Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love… but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.”
~ Mandy Hale
Engagement, guarantee, pledge, vow, undertaking, promise. These are all words frequently used along with the expression “commitment”. It is not uncommon for one partner to feel a yearning for one of these actions. If unrequited, the relationship can begin to feel unharmonious. As a marriage and family therapist, I offer some thoughts on this:
1. Go Within.
In order to love freely, we must feel confident in our relationship. However, confidence is not the same as a guarantee. What is it inside that feels the need for a promise? I encourage that person to dig deep & spiral inwards to examine their own confidence in the partnership. Confidence is crucial to restoring harmony.
A strong relationship is a harmonious one, meaning that there is a balance within it. Instead of a push and pull, we want an ebb & flow. Fluid communication will allow for this.
If you are feeling unsettled or are not getting a need met, it is important to communicate this need in a way that is not accusatory. Equally important is to ask your partner questions about their own confidence in the relationship. Be sure to really listen…
After talking with your partner, you may have come to a surprised discovery that commitment is a possibility.
It may not be a wedding this year, but perhaps you can commit to something else? A special trip together? Getting a pet? Or introductions to other family members may be in the works? Sometimes it is “smaller commitments” that need to happen first. If you act like a team on this (not adversaries), your intimacy will grow.
Bottom line, if you practice these steps, your relationship will undoubtedly strengthen in a way that feels harmonious… likely paving the way for that commitment you are hoping for.
Devin Price, MA, LMFT – www.health4happyfamilies.com
Your boyfriend may not be ready or willing to commit, but he is being open and honest with you about it.
It does not sound like he is leading you on, or pretending to be committed when he is not. He gets points for that.
- Are you in love with your boyfriend…or with the idea of being in a committed relationship/marriage?
- Is he doing something, other than not making him ready or willing to commit, that makes you uncomfortable or question how he feels about you?
- Would you really want him to commit before he is ready and then resent you for it, and then act out accordingly?
So many other unanswered questions here.
- How long have you and your boyfriend been together?
- How do you know he loves you? Does he tell you? Show you?
- Do you feel his love? Is there trust and respect in the relationship?
- Do you love him?
- Has he ever been in a long term committed relationship?
- Do you believe that he is capable of one?
- How old is he?
- Are there intimacy, not just sex, but intimacy issues in the relationship?
- Does he feel like he still needs time to play the field before he settles down?
You did say boyfriend, so it sounds like you are more than casually dating.
When you say he is not willing to commit, what do you mean? Commit to a relationship? Monogamy? Living together? Marriage?
You need to ask yourself, “What is more important to me, being in a relationship with someone that (you say) loves you or being in a committed relationship?”
The more you “push” (nag) him into a committed relationship, the more you will push him away.
He likely will feel like you are trying to manipulate and control the relationship. In addition, he may believe that you feel who he is and what he brings to the relationship are not enough. If that is true, and it isn’t enough, then you need to move on.
If not, trust the love between you and the process.
Nothing good or healthy in a relationship comes from being coerced or controlled. Free will, trust and respect are all necessary components for a healthy, loving and long term committed relationship.
It’s important to ask, “How committed is your relationship with yourself?”
Do you feel good and whole on your own, or do you need a man/committed relationship to feel whole, worthy and/or truly loveable?
No judgement here, just food for thought….
Laura Streyffeler, PhD, LMHC, BCETS, CCDVC, CCFC – www.drlauracounseling.com
Your partner says he loves you, but is he interested in making a commitment to you? Is his love enough? Or do you want the assurance that he will be there in the long term?
These are questions you need to ask yourself and answer, because this is important for your well-being and peace of mind.
You are in a relationship with someone who admits his love, but may actually be emotionally unavailable. He wants you in his life but the attachment is stringing you along and may be hurtful. He will give you occasional consideration, which you interpret as attachment, but it is minimal and not totally honest.
As an independent, interesting, confident, secure, passionate and insightful woman, you know you want more.
But do you really know what you want?
Lack of clarity can lead you to a relationship that goes nowhere and that also ignores all the “red” flags.
When you are the one emotionally committed and even physically involved, it becomes harder to see your partner and the relationship objectively. Things get overlooked and you brush aside important values that ordinarily would have been deal breakers.
It is essential to fall in love with yourself first before accepting love from anyone else.
Your self-esteem is responsible for the quality of men you attract.
If you feel you don’t deserve to be in a healthy, committed relationship, you’ll wind up living in the “stagnation” you most fear.
Instead, look at your motives for remaining in this relationship and accept nothing less than a sincere, authentic, natural guy who wants you in his life long-term.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Have you been seeing someone, you are totally into him and you believe he loves you, yet when you talk about the future, he becomes evasive, shut down or changes the subject?
You may be involved with someone with a dismissive attachment style!
Wow! What does that mean?
Basically we all were raised by caretakers, usually parents or grandparents. The way caretakers behave towards us creates a learned way of relating to others.
There are four basic attachment styles one of which a child will experience. They are secure, avoidant, ambivalent and disorganized.
In a perfect world, we want children to get secure attachment from our caregivers. Secure attachment can be described as a caregiver being emotionally available, perceptive of the child’s needs and responsive to those needs.
Unfortunately, many men, and women, don’t experience secure attachment.
Mary Main is an attachment researcher who was able to connect the child attachment and adult attachment; how the adult will act in adult relationships and as a parent.
The categories for adult attachment are secure, dismissing, preoccupied or entangled, and unresolved trauma or loss/disorganized.
If your guy is skittish with getting closer to you, chances are he falls into the dismissing category.
Women often can fall into the trap of “if I just love him more, then he will come around.”
Please don’t think you can fix this or cure this no matter how clever or ambitious you are! Most likely you will have small gains, and he may eventually commit, and then pull back after the wedding or after the baby is born.
Daniel Siegel says that individuals with an avoidance and a dismissing stance actually really want to be connected and attached, even if their behavior communicates otherwise.
So what’s the answer?
One solution may be for you to explore your own attachment style and how this hooks in with his.
Then, very logically, because he’s pretty logical isn’t he, talk about your own experience. And, explaining that you know these relationship dynamics are no one’s fault.
People can’t choose their attachment style.
Please be aware that most adults that have avoidance and dismissive attachment style think that they had a great childhood, although many do not remember much from it.
Also, it may be helpful to say you would like to work on your relationship from an attachment perspective and seek out a therapist that specializes in attachment and family-of-origin issues.
Wendy Conquest, MA, LPC, CSAT-S, IBP – www.wendyconquest.com
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