Relationship Article Bank
Cindy Briolotta, President
Copyright 2006 by PartnersInLife.org
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This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Linda@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I’m in love with a man who says he is not ready for an exclusive relationship. He’s been totally honest with me about this from the beginning. We have been seeing each other for about 5 months.
He was previously in a relationship (4 years ago) with a woman who has Borderline Personality Disorder (he did not know this until recently). It is obvious that the relationship scarred him deeply. He is afraid of being with only one woman because of the potential for pain. He thinks being non-exclusive may be best for him right now.
I have considered this but soon realized that I would not be true to myself if I did that. He had been seeing another woman infrequently up until a few months ago when I became upset about it. When asked if he was sexual with her he said, "yes." I said that I would not have sex with him as long as he was being sexual with another person. I told him I thought it was best for me to be open to seeing others.
I now see one other man on occasion. He tells me that he is not seeing anyone else but is still not ready. We are doing the things that couples do, so what he says versus what he does seems incongruent. I have mixed feelings about what to do. I have told him that what we are doing is OK for the short term, but ultimately I want a deeper connection with someone - preferably him.
Monica from Boston
Marcia responds …
Enjoy the company of these men without letting your emotions grow beyond
what your suitors have to offer. Keep the playing field open to allow
someone new to enter your life who recognizes your worth and treasures
your value. Sometimes the way to get what you want, whether from the men
now in your life or with a new flame, is by rejecting what you don't want.
Have you sat down and created a list of your non-negotiable requirements for a relationship, what you absolutely must have for a relationship to work for you and what absolutely doesn’t work for you?
The sense I get from your letter is that you want a monogamous relationship, and your boyfriend does not. He says he’s just not ready at the moment, and maybe not ever. You both want different things. By sleeping with this other woman, he has made that clear.
He has also made it clear that he doesn’t know how to conduct polyamorous relationships. Polyamorous relationships are HONEST expressions of love and relating with more than one person. For a polyamorous relationship to have a chance of working, it requires a great deal of consciousness and maturity and is based on absolute honesty. Admitting to having sex with someone after the fact, is a clear breaking of the rules of polyamory. Check out www.polyamory.org
This is an extremely important issue and usually not one that lends itself to compromise. Consider working with an RCI relationship coach to get clear about your requirements, needs, and wants. Our goal is to help you get exactly what you want and not to settle for less. You will become more and more disenchanted if you try to fit into a situation that you just don’t want. Hoping that he will change can turn into a very long waiting game. How long are you willing to wait?
Frances Amaroux | www.turning-point.com.au
Being non-exclusive in the early stages of a relationship is a good idea.
This allows both of you to realistically assess each other and the relationship,
while also getting to know others. Being exclusive too early limits both
your experience and your options. (Five months can still considered being
in the "early stage.")
Tara responds …
Time is the currency of life. Be very careful as to how you spend it and with whom you spend it. Life is made of time and we all have a limited, yet unknown amount of it. How you spend it will be critical to your happiness.
First, I would spend some time thinking about what you really want from a relationship. I wouldn’t spend time with people who are not ready and available. Move on and find someone who is. There is nothing to be gained from “waiting” for someone to figure out their life or to get on the same wavelength as you. Life’s too short and too precious!
There are many available singles who are ready, willing and able to engage in a committed relationship, but you’ll never find any of them if you don’t stop spending time with people who obviously don’t make you happy and who don’t fit with the vision you have for a relationship.
If you need assistance with clarifying your thoughts around relationships and what you truly want for your life, enlist the help of a skilled relationship coach who can help you sort through the details. In any case, let go of relationships that don’t work for you. Don’t spend time trying to figure out people who don’t fit your vision for what you want. Value your time, value your life, and most importantly value yourself. Move on and find someone with whom you can truly be happy.
Tara Kachaturoff | www.relationshipplanning.com
By Linda A. Marshall
A red flag is an indicator that you are not having the
experience you envision for your life and relationship. Most likely, it
is also a sign that your requirements are not being met. It is important
to pay attention to any red flags you encounter.
When a relationship is "new,” this is the time that most folks
are most motivated to be together to experience and enhance the relationship.
During this stage, if a potential partner doesn't have much energy for
the relationship or if he or she adopts a "my way or no way"
attitude, this is a serious red flag. A lack of mutuality, flexibility,
or open-mindedness, or failing to make the partner or the relationship
a priority, are all examples of red flags.
Nothing ever happens just once. Discounting a partner's priority (monogamy),
being closed and rigid to proposals from your partner to enhance the relationship,
or any other relationship-defeating behavior is part of a pattern and
indicative of a red flag.
It is important to determine when to "work" on a relationship. For a committed relationship, it’s easy. You do what it takes. For a pre-committed relationship, working too hard to make a round peg fit into a square hole can be a sign that there might not be a good fit. One partner doing "the work" alone in a pre-committed relationship is a pattern that, most likely, would continue into marriage.
4. See things for what they are
The fear that you can’t find what you really want and the resulting belief that you must settle for less than you really want, is self-fulfilling. You’re setting yourself up for failure when you settle for less in your relationship choices by ignoring red flags or thinking the other person will change once you’re married.
Linda A. Marshall, RCI Director of Couple’s Programs
1. They can get sex without marriage more easily than in times past.
3. They want to avoid divorce and its financial risks.
4. They want to wait until they are older to have children.
6. They are waiting for the perfect soul mate, and she hasn't yet appeared.
7. They face few social pressures to marry.
8. They are reluctant to marry a woman who already has children.
9. They want to own a house before they get a wife.
10. They want to enjoy single life as long as they can.
Secrets and Strategies for Successful Relationships
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Relationship Article Bank
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Linda Marshall, M.Div. | Director of Couples Programs Linda@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, PartnersInLife.org Couples News Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
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