“You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you. True love is crystal clear.”
~ Mandy Hale
If you don’t know what your partner wants, and you are finding yourself often confused or feeling frustrated about how to address this, here are some steps you can take to move out of confusion into clarity.
1. Talk about what’s confusing you
It will require emotional vulnerability, which can be inherently difficult to lean into—but clarifying what’s been confusing you is crucial to your peace of mind and a healthy relationship.
If you don’t understand what he wants, tell him you’d like to have dinner sometime and talk about your relationship.
Though this can be difficult, it is also the only way to really welcome the change you need so that you can both feel on common ground.
2. Get Back To Basics
Talk to him about what your wants and needs are right now and invite him to do the same. Ask him about what he loves about you, and also, what bugs him.
Offer him space to tell you what is really on his mind too.
It can be so easy to lose sight of the importance of quality time and having heartfelt conversations. These talks aren’t just a chance for us to get our partner’s fuller perspective, but also, our own.
To cultivate the kind of love that inspires long-term fulfillment, we have to collaborate consistently and intentionally.
Having clarifying talks and getting back to the basics allow us to access the foundations of trust.
It’s definitely challenging and it’s also 100% part of the fun.
The more we lean into vulnerability, the deeper our capacity for connection becomes.
Delia Berinde, MS, LPCC – www.lookingforwardcounseling.com
First of all, it is okay for a man to not know what they want.
As a woman, you have to decide if you are open to giving him space and time to explore his wants, needs, desires and fantasies. A way to help you decide is by having open, honest, and authentic conversations.
Be clear and concise about what you want as well as your desire to understand what he wants.
Creating mutual understanding is very important. Becoming open to new information and experiences with each other will allow you to become closer and avoid assumptions.
Relational health is all about viewing your relationship as a lifelong journey.
One of the most powerful growth oriented relationship perspectives is to use positive reinforcement for yourself and your partner.
None of my clients have told me they want to be a terrible partner. Everyone wants to be valued! Criticism and unrealistic expectations can result in anyone shutting down. Start with what is going well and build on y’all’s strengths.
If you are not comfortable with waiting or want to speed up the process DO NOT make demands.
Instead, set healthy boundaries to ensure that your needs, wants, and desires are communicated and respected even if they are not fulfilled. Sometimes he will not give you clear and concise responses, when this happens make sure to pay attention to what he is and isn’t saying combined with actions.
- How long are you willing to wait for someone who does not know what they want to make a decision?
- Have there been other times in your life where you tolerated indecision?
- What was the outcome?
Christina Grudzinski, LMFT, MS – www.unitycounselingtexas.com
If you don’t know what he wants he probably doesn’t either or something is holding him back from going for what he wants. People’s insecurities wreak havoc on relationships. Our world of dating has become scared of “labeling it”.
The term “situationship” has recently come up in memes and slang to describe relationships without a label.
So why do people do this?
It usually stems from fear. People don’t want to commit to a relationship because they are scared of vulnerability, rejection, or vulnerability resulting in rejection.
Low self esteem can impact someone in their relationship as well. If your man doesn’t think he is lovable he may keep dating people he isn’t actually into. This also comes back to fear of rejection.
If he dates someone he doesn’t actually want a future with then rejection would be easier to handle if it happens.
He may know what he wants and not want it with you. If he is doing this it is not your fault! Other people’s insecurities can make us feel terrible but it’s about them and not you.
There are several other factors that may be playing into his uncertainty.
Maybe you’re in a steady relationship and he is uncertain about marriage. He could be scared of divorce(rejection). How do you line up with his family’s values?
Marrying outside of race or religion can still be a very strong held belief in some families. He could be scared of rejection from his family.
What can you do?
Make sure you know what you want. If you want a relationship or a ring after one year, whatever it may be, tell him. If he doesn’t want the same thing you do, you have to ask yourself some questions.
Can you be happy sacrificing what you want?
If you are trying to make him fit the mold of your ideal relationship that’s not fair to him or you. You will always be wanting and he will always be coming up short. If you stay firm in what you want his inability to know what he wants may become more tolerable for you and even force him to make a decision.
Elizabeth Rice, LPCC – www.merakicounselingdenver.com
When you are you with a man that is hot one minute and cold the next…
Or he says he wants one thing, but then does not seem satisfied…
It is likely one of two thing:
1. He isn’t truly committed to this relationship with you.
He enjoys spending time with you when convenient, but isn’t willing to make time or go out of his way. Or he wants to be more into you, which is why he’s making these requests that ultimately aren’t satisfying.
2. There is a big communication miss.
Meaning that you aren’t hearing the message he’s trying to send…or his message is unclear.
Either way it’s time to slow things way down.
Take a minute and talk to him. If you’re trying to guess what he wants, what he’s thinking, or read his mind, then you’re only going to further frustrate yourself… and him. It is not your job to be intuitive and “just know” want he wants; he has to tell you!
If you are nervous about having a conversation with him about your relationship and your confusion, then the relationship is doomed from the start. If he runs away at the first signs of open, honest communication is that the kind of relationship you want?
Relationships are all about communication.
As a couples therapist, and after seeing hundreds of clients at this point, I can tell you the #1 issue that I see are partners not communicating well.
Don’t hint at what you want, be calm and clear about your needs.
Tell him you’re confused and you’re worried that he isn’t happy. Make sure he understands how you feel and what you’re concerned about.
Show him curiosity and willingness to understand where he is right now and what he wants.
If you’re not on the same page, that’s important information. If you are, but you aren’t meeting his needs (for whatever reason), that is also incredibly important!
Don’t let a good relationship dissolve by not being willing to take a risk show your vulnerability.
And don’t stay in a relationship longer than you need to be if he’s not willing to be in it with you. Your time and emotional well-being are too important to waste.
Rachel Orleck, PsyD – www.relationshipswithgrit.com
Receiving mixed messages about how your significant other feels about you or the relationship?
If so, you’re likely confused, unsettled, and dedicating a maddening amount of time trying to make sense of his contradictory behavior.
A partner’s inconsistencies give us more to chew on than meets the appetite. To help you understand his behavior, four common scenarios along with an explanation for each are outlined below.
- One week he’s eager to see you and the next he’s inaccessible.
He replies to texts without delay and proactively makes plans. He’s attentive and talks enthusiastically about your next date. And then… You don’t hear from him for days.
When he resurfaces, he explains that he’s been buried in work and dealing with a family crisis. It all adds up, and you feel relieved – until his next disappearing act.
Typically, this pattern signifies unreliability and an aversion to commitment. He likes you, but he’d also like to keep his options open. Tell him you prefer the consistent, predictable type. If he doesn’t promptly change his ways, he probably never will.
- He doesn’t want to lose you but can’t commit.
You laugh at the same things, spend most of your time together, and discuss the future.
So, what does he mean that he’s “just not ready” to take your relationship to the next level?
Probably one of two things:
- his readiness to commit is contingent upon something specific, like a promotion, or
- he’s not ready because he’ll never be ready.
Ask him what would make him feel comfortable moving forward.
If he can’t identify what’s stalling him, he might have a case of wanting to have his cake and eat it, too.
This state is common to narcissists, who consider you lucky to have them even as they continue girlfriend shopping.
On the other hand, if he names something tangible, he might simply need time to establish his individual footing before more fully committing.
- He wavers between enthralled and distant.
At times, you have his total attention: eye contact, follow up questions, and feedback. At other times, he’s physically there, but his mind is elsewhere. Ask him in his aloof moments where he’s gone.
Most likely, he’s the preoccupied type, with a mind that’s prone to getting hijacked by life’s stressors. Bringing his attention to his tendency to drift off will help, but he’ll probably still need the occasional cue to “come back into the room.”
- He’s often upbeat, but sullen at times.
He’s the most fun and loving person you know – except when he’s not. You find it hurtful when he withdraws and your efforts to perk him up either annoy him or go unnoticed. Perhaps you worry that he’s losing interest in you.
More likely, your partner suffers from a mood disorder, such as depression. When in a low mood, he probably loses enthusiasm for most things, so don’t take it personally.
See if he believes this could be the case and let him know you’d like to help. Encourage him to exercise, socialize, and pursue enjoyable and meaningful activities. If that’s not enough, he might need professional support.
If his mood lifts, your relationship will benefit.
If he still has his lows, your ability to distinguish a bad mood from relationship discontent will spare you some unnecessary anguish.
Maggie Vaughan, MFT, PhD – www.everyoneneedstherapy.com
Sorry to say this, but if your man doesn’t know what he wants, then it must not be you.
Think about it. If he wanted to be in a relationship with you only and did not want to risk you being in a relationship with another man, he would know it. The excuse of saying he doesn’t know what he wants could really mean, he does know but is afraid to let you know.
Let’s turn the question to you.
What do you want?
A relationship is about two people’s needs, wants, desires, dreams, and goals.
Ask yourself if you want to be in a relationship with a man who does not know what he wants.
Do you want to be in a relationship where you feel confused, frustrated and helpless, or do you want to be in a relationship where you feel peace, contentment, and satisfaction?
Instead of staying with someone who cannot decide if he wants to spend his future with you, go find someone who does know.
You deserve this. You are not in a relationship to merely please your partner and your future is not at his whim. Go get the future you want!
There are plenty of good men who know what they want and know a good woman when they have one. They would not risk losing this woman to another man by not committing and cherishing her. This is the man you probably want.
Still, are you also confused about what you want?
Perhaps that is why you stay in a confusing and frustrating relationship.
More questions to ask yourself are:
- Do you believe you deserve a good man?
- Do you deserve to be loved?
- Do you deserve to have peace and contentment?
- Are you trying to finish unfinished business from a previous relationship or resolve issues from your family of origin?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, these are great areas to explore with a good licensed therapist!
Dr. Tracy S. Kelly, LMFT – www.DrTracyKelly.com
You have been seeing a guy who you think is great.
There are so many wonderful things about him and the time you spend together. But, he is also wishy washy. One day, he is all about you and your relationship, and the next he isn’t returning your call or inviting you as a date to the wedding that he’s attending.
This is a common story, and it is all too painful.
Maybe you have had times when you got to a point where you made a decision about your relationship and without any expectations gave him an ultimatum.
You were fine if he hit the road, because you were fed up with feeling left out.
It’s likely that this led to him recommitting and saying that he wanted you in his life. But then, he couldn’t keep it up. Over time, he started to fade into his old habits and quit including you or doing things that made you feel loved or special.
You may have asked yourself what you did to deserve this.
You may have felt unworthy of love or even trapped by his unpredictable behavior. If that’s the case, there are some things that you need to remember:
People can tell you all of the right things, but what you need to watch are their actions. If he tells you one thing, but does another, it’s a red flag.
His lack of commitment and elusive behavior is less about you than it is about him. Maybe he is scared of being alone or he has his own unresolved issues that he needs to work on.
You should take a long hard look at yourself and consider what you deserve.
Do you treat your partner well? If so, then you deserve someone who treats you as well as you treat them.
Finally, think of yourself five years in the future.
Would you still be okay with things if they were exactly as they are now? Be honest. You deserve it.
Emily Garcia, LCSW, CPT – www.tribemindbody.com
If you are in a relationship where you are cooperative, flexible, adaptable, understanding, fair and, of course, loving, then what’s wrong? Why do you still feel you don’t know what he wants, nor understand how he’s behaving?
Are you asking yourself, “What more can I do?”
The answer depends on how much more you want to do and if there is more you can do.
1. The confusion you are experiencing may be because he is not letting you “in” to know how he feels, what he wants and what’s going on in his head. In other words, you are not his main focus and not his main concern.
2. The questions you are asking may have to do with uncertainty about this relationship and what he is expecting, moving forward.
3. The behavior you are witnessing may be a sign of his lack of commitment to you because he is unsure of himself and his goals.
4. The effort you are making may be an indication that the relationship is one sided and may never change, no matter what you do.
It’s always good to be open with him, sharing your concerns, your hopes and your desires.
If he can’t share those back, if he can’t understand the problem, and if he can’t make things better, then you know that nothing will make a difference and that you should move on without him.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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