Invisible Progress in Relationships

progress in relationships

You would be surprised how often I have to encourage my clients to put relationships first in their lives.  You would think a person willing to spend money on a relationship consultant would already be maximizing their own personal effort in that area of their lives.  Surprisingly, that’s not always the case.

Some of the people, who hire me, have more money than time.  They are busy in professional jobs that yield tangible results at the end of a workday.  They need to ship an item, or complete a report, or call on a business partner to make a proposal.  Any of these things can be completed in twenty minutes and crossed off their list, yielding that pleasurable sense of accomplishment that drove them to become a successful business person in the first place.

There’s a tendency among successful and driven women to shift their energy and attention gradually away from relationships, because the outcomes achieved from effort in that area of their life is not always tangible.  It’s hard to measure.  It doesn’t yield that positive sense of accomplishment.

When your time is limited, you will automatically gravitate toward the activities that yield a sense of accomplishment.  Busy women in the workplace are often stretched between work demands, family demands, sometimes the needs of children, and a host of other things that compete with their energy for developing and pursuing good dating prospects.

When you’re stretched this far, the intangible benefits of consistently taking action to find and attract a great partner ends up falling by the wayside.  I’ve even seen this pattern in college students who are of a driven sort of personality with multiple time demands.

I remember one college student, in particular, who was the focus of much positive attention from her male counterparts.  Her name was Kelsey, and I have to say, she was hot!  However, she never developed any kind of serious dating relationship during her four years of college because she never seemed to have the time.

Kelsey made time for being class president.  She made time for academic study in preparation for law school.  But when it came to dating, it was always a thought and a strategy, but never a series of sustained actions to bring about a real-life result.

She kept thinking she would get around to it.  Unfortunately, the urgent demands on her time usurped the things she claimed were most important to her.  If this pattern persists in her life, you can bet she will have a successful career, but a series of deflating and unsuccessful relationships.

I call this the “tyranny of the urgent.”  In other words, your life is being controlled by a tyrant named “Urgent!”  The urgent things in life always have deadlines.  However, some of the most important things in life have no deadlines.  As a result, we neglect some of the most important things in our life.

Don’t let this happen to you!  And before you decide it won’t because you don’t have such a driven personality, let me point out something that could sneak up on you if you’re not careful.  It’s quitting too soon when your progress is invisible.  I’ll explain.

progress in relationshipsIn relationships, you often make tremendous leaps forward without even realizing it.  Very often, the moments when a person really starts to fall for you, happens outside of your awareness.  They don’t do or say anything that gives away the sudden change in their affections, but the changes are real, even if they are invisible to you.

More common than busy executives giving up on taking consistent action, are “normal” women giving up on great relationships because they don’t realize they are making progress.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a man explain in exasperated tones that he was just beginning to enjoy the relationship when she called it quits because she didn’t think he was invested.

Men often move more slowly in expression of their heart’s desire.  They are also slower to recognize the feelings that are building within their hearts.  Men are just less tuned in to our own emotional connections with people.  We sometimes don’t feel the pain of regret until someone is gone!

Here’s the take-home message.  Progress in relationships with men often occurs invisibly.  It’s happening, but you just don’t see it (at least not right away).  If you consistently take the actions, I recommend in my training courses, you can be assured that you are making progress and doing the right things that will yield the blissful relationship outcomes we both want for you.

P.S. if you have not already invested in your understanding of men and effective dating methods that work in the current era, you really owe it to yourself to see what you’ve been missing!  Take a look at the single most important factor that influences the way men experience love by clicking here to watch a free presentation on what men secretly want.


What Men Secretly Want

After consuming this short-guide, you will possess a secret that men cannot express well because it is so foundational to their view of the world that they don't even realize it is there.

Learn More

48 thoughts on “Invisible Progress in Relationships

  1. Caroline Romero said:

    This article is so true. I am recently widowed and I did not like or want to be alone. I was very lucky as I found a man who, on the face of it, is not a good catch. But looks can be deceiving and he has the most amazing ability to listen and understand. I decided, before he did, that he was the one and I have invested a good deal of time into the relationship – even though I have some serious demands on my time. I now have the most fulfilling relationship- very much on my terms and I know that he is loving every minute of it. And all because I was determined to invest the time in the relationship.

  2. M said:

    “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a man explain in exasperated tones that he was just beginning to enjoy the relationship when she called it quits because she didn’t think he was invested.”

    I guess I’m failing to see how, if a man is the one who’s not willing to show that he’s invested in the relationship, that ends up being the woman’s fault.

    And it doesn’t seem to matter in this line of thinking that we women have more responsibilities — not to speak of the time, energy, effort and money required to “look hot” so that men will even notice us — and less time to invest in any given one of them. It’s just simple math. And men as business executives are exhorted to value and properly apportion their time. Yet we women are blamed here for doing the same.

    It really seems like that’s what you’re insinuating here.
    If it’s not what you meant, is there a possibility you could clarify?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi M. I’m not sure I quite follow your thought process here, but if I did understand it seems you are concerned that I thought women needed to be blamed for something. Sorry if I made it sound that way. I didn’t mean to. I was just making the point that sometimes you are making progress even when it seems like you are not. The quote you included is a reference to the way men fail to reveal how much they are falling for a woman.

      James

      • Hello,
        I have to say something….earlier on in my relationship with my boyfriend he was the one to say that I was running ahead in the relationship and he was on a different level than mine…so I slowed down…always showing my feelings…always caring…but slower…he started catching up little by little…till he just burst with a “I love you” all on his own…now he constantly tells me that he loves me…he started to taking me around his family and wanted to know my children…I am still taking it a day at the time.

        • DC said:

          Thank you for sharing this because I tend to be impatient.

      • M said:

        “The quote you included is a reference to the way men fail to reveal how much they are falling for a woman. “

        I know that.

        The context you put it in, however, was “Well, it’s the woman’s fault for not sticking around longer! She should have been more patient! She should have waited!”

        Well, as you all are quite willing to tell us – and tell us – and tell us – she has biological clock concerns that he does not. Therefore, she has to manage her time more carefully and cut her losses when she doesn’t see visible progress.

        Instead, what’s happening here is that she’s being blamed for cutting those losses if she doesn’t stick around — even though it was the man’s failure to reveal how he felt, coupled with her timing concerns, that’s the reason she doesn’t stick around.

        HE fails to reveal how he feels. SHE gets blamed by you for leaving before he does it.

        Yet – had she stayed around and he not felt the way she thought, you and the rest of society would blame her for “wasting her time when she should have known”.

        So either way, we get blamed and can’t win.

        • James Bauer said:

          Hello M. It seems you are confusing “encouragement” and “blaming.” I am encouraging you to look at something that happens in relationships with men, and to be aware of it so you can make the best decision that works in your particular situation. I certainly am not blaming you or anyone else for anything. It seems you feel particularly sensitive about being blamed for things. You must have experienced some pretty lousy relationship outcomes, and I am sorry for that. I think your thought process reveals a desire to see a man step up for once and take responsibility for making something beautiful happen in a relationship with you. I certainly agree that would be the best (and what you deserve), but lets not blame him, or you, or me, or society. Let’s just look for what we can learn, make the best of it, and work hard to build good relationships.

          • Lifera said:

            Hi James,

            As usual, your comments are full of wisdom. But I have a question: Is it right to expect the same thing from all men, that they will all react in the same way if you use the right techniques on them? I read somewhere that by nature some men desire commitment and stability in their lives, and would therefore work hard to keep their partner happy so that the relationship endures. Whereas some men naturally crave excitement and adventure and would do anything to secure their freedom, even at the risk of loosing their partner. If this is true, shouldn’t we concentrate our efforts on the first type of men and run away from the other? Cos really, we are who we are.

          • James Bauer said:

            Yeah, I would agree with that, Lifera. Though it is one of those “twin truths” Pascal talks about. Neither half of the truth offers true wisdom without its opposing, opposite truth. As you say, people tend to be who they are, so we need to learn from their behavior and not expect too much change. On the other hand, people often have dormant qualities that arise as they mature, learn, or grow as human beings. Holding these twin truths in mind allows a person to approach each person (or situation) with a slightly enhanced understanding of the possibilities that may unfold.

          • Lifera said:

            Thanks for that insight James. So I guess you mean we shouldn’t condemn a person based on his present behavior, but hope that there is some goodness in him that may come to dominate with time as maturity sets in. It’s true that some players change and become loving faithful husbands when they mature and the part of them that wants to be responsible takes over, look at Michael Douglas for example. But that’s not to say that a woman should wait by for a man to change, when he does decide to grow up, it’ll be some young lady who will enjoy his tame days.

          • James Bauer said:

            I think it makes sense to opt out of a relationship with a player based on his present behavior (though I agree about not condemning the human being as a whole). However, this post is about realizing you are sometimes making progress with a man who is not great at showing his emotions. It’s not about giving a lot of second chances to men who do not take a relationship seriously or men who are “players” with no respect for the women they date.

        • Lifera said:

          I totally agree with your observations M. Relationship experts should stop telling women that all it takes is for them to do the right things and everything will work out, that a selfish man will suddenly become caring and loving..that’s total BS. It takes two to tango, and whatever techniques or advice they are offering will only work on the right man, a man willing to pull his weight in a relationship because he values the stability and assurance that comes with a committed relationship. Not all men want that, some just want to play and play and play, without being responsible to anyone. With such a man, trying hard will only expose your vulnerability and desperation, and untimately lead to failure. But to be fair to James, he did once write something about chosing the right guy, that we shouldn’t waste our time on a douchebag. What’s more this blog is meant for women, I’m sure James would advise his fellow men on what to do to make a relationship work any chance he gets, even if it be on an informal basis. But what James forgets to do is to keep reminding women that his advice will only work on a man willing to play his part in a relationship. Hell, if all men played their part in a relationship, you’d be out of a job James.

        • Joan said:

          A few thoughts here…..

          It may take a couple of generations to undo the mess that has damaged relationships between men and women in these free spirited days, by resetting standards.

          If and when, women COLLECTIVELY decide to stop making themselves so casually, sexually available, men will have less of a free ride to not commit to one woman.

          (As an example, the “3 dates first rule” men have exasperatingly come to expect regarding sex), or the really, STUPID hookups fashionable today, I’d venture to say that men would have less “prey” available while satisfying their “hunter” instincts, while the “gathering” women wait for their return….and don’t fool yourselves, guys, women, too, are always taking a sneak peak at the other hunky hunters out there).

          Men have been railroaded too, by the sexually hyped media, movies, raunchy television, pornography to expect that there is a whole world of sexually promiscuous,
          “desperate” women out there for them to enjoy. Ha! and find out later that their latest prey (much like their other ones before) rejects them because of their lack of commitment to the relationship.

          Women should never give away their most prized possession, our BODIES (and hearts), to satisfy any man unless she gets a “show cause” of his devotion, And with younger women who want to start families, a marriage certificate would help. However, many accomplished, smart women are rejecting the “marriage” part, and their man, as they have come to not expect much from the many BOYS out there.

          Wake up ladies, value yourselves and your inner compasses and maybe the real men will wake up and bring to the table the best versions of themselves, too.

          Yeah, I know, sex is fun! But it can wait until there are boundaries and expectations clearly set forth and understood by both. Thus, will better bring to light whether it is worth the effort (in a balanced pursuit) that leads to a lasting partnership, should that be the goal. Otherwise, it is pointless.

          • Lifera said:

            You hit the nail on the head Joan. It’s high time western women realize that what the feminist movement aimed to achieve was equal opportunities for women, and not the right to be promiscuous and do as they like with their bodies. To quote what a guy said in romantic comedy movie: “The war between the sexes is over. We won the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise”. Yes, the war is over and the men have won, period! Ever since women decided to exercise their rights to devalue themselves: e.g. move in with a guy, live with him for 9 years and have his kids, while he still exercises the right to decide whether to put a ring on your finger and make you an honorable woman, or date someone else. I can’t believe that a woman would be happy because a man she’s been dating decides to make their relationship ‘exclusive’, meaning he will only be sleeping with her now (yippie!). I guess these days ‘girlfriend’ is the new ‘fiancee’. And ‘open relationships’…common, how low can it get?
            Where I come from (and thank God it’s not the west) a girl has many suitors at the same time, exclusivity is given to the guy who proposes first. And only your husband gets to sample your ‘goodies’ (we can say he’s earned it). The competition is so strife that a woman never runs short of men who want to commit. For men, it’s all about the chase and winning. Thank God for good ol’ values.

          • MD said:

            Joan, wow… wish the culture in America was as such that women and men behaved in such a way. I really value the good ole days when men chased women to win their hand and women were honorable enough to wait to give up the goods until marriage.

        • Nat said:

          I think this biological clock of ours gets to much of the blame for everything! It is not like men can be and more so enjoy being fathers over a certain age either. I am a 38 year old woman with no children – and I have yet to understand the huge importance of ‘my biological clock’ in rushing or forcing things. Men have the same pressure for having families and children, if they are not in a rush why should I?!

  3. R.Wilis said:

    Dear James,
    Now i understand the meaning of the invisible progress..and i can see, slowly and hopefully surely.
    Thank you.

  4. angela said:

    hi. i am practising this now. patience…x

  5. katia said:

    I am making constant efforts thanks to your tips and book. This completely changed my way to consider men and their behaviour. Love is something to live day by day, no matter how deep it shall go. Or better: the longer you have to wait, the deeper it is… am i wrong? 🙂

    • James Bauer said:

      I’m glad to hear you are using disciplined practice to make these concepts come to life for you, Katia!

  6. Lifera said:

    Sorry to sound cynical, but I believe my time is best invested in that which brings me joy, dignity, a sense of accomplishment and tangible results. Men don’t. My career is real, relationships are illusions. Only one in a thousand relationships is true and lasts for a life time. So why again are we wasting our time pursing relationships? It’s like searching for a needle in a hay sack!
    James, you’ve been really great and most of the advice I get from you is priceless, no doubt. But in reality a man hurts you, disappoints you, humiliates you, lies to you, takes you for granted, throws you into depression, causes you loss of money and property (when you include him in your life plans), and worst of all causes you shame and dishonour in the eyes of those who think you were a fool to be taken for a ride. You too have said it, there are a few good guys out there. So few, that it is foolish to spend your life searching for one, or base your happiness upon finding one. If a good guy comes around fine, you’re lucky. otherwise, my advice is to find something fulfilling, more certain and pleasurable to base your expectations and happiness in life, eg a successful business. As you rightly pointed out, with a job one gets as much as one puts in…is there anything better than getting what you deserve? Women should find something more rewarding and dignifying to invest their time and emotions pursuing other than men. (But if you can clone yourself for the ladies…then perhaps it won’t be such an unworthy pursuit)

  7. Kelsey said:

    This was amusing (and of course helpful) to read. The article initially got my attention because I felt I fit the personality type, then really grabbed me when you talked about the class president, Kelsey, who is someone I can relate to not only because…that’s my name, but because I was president of a 130+ person organization on campus and dedicated all of my time to that and my two majors. The same, potentially urgent! mentality has continued on with my entrepreneurial styled career, and is something I’m working to slow down. I was JUST thinking, last night actually, about how I had been better about being patient with what I now deem the invisible progress in my own relationships, and this only further solidified my thinking and interactions. Thank you!

    • James Bauer said:

      Well that’s interesting. Glad the article happened to be useful in your thinking process, Kelsey. Thanks for being a reader!

  8. Harriett said:

    James, I need some advice.
    I don’t get paid for another fortnight so I can’t purchase your guide until then.
    But I think my partner is going to leave me.
    For the past week he’s been quiet and disinterested. Now he thinks he likes his female friend. He still loves me but thinks he feels something for her. They’ve not seen each other for years and met up a short while ago.
    I’ve been stressed and moody a lot lately, and not myself. We work together and were looking for our own place. I feel like I’ve pushed him away, I don’t want to have pushed him into te arms of another woman… I need some advice before I lose him . Please help me before its too late.
    Harriett.

    • James Bauer said:

      Harriett,

      I have some strange advice for you. You may not understand it, and I would not be surprised if you ignored it completely. Nonetheless, here it is. Ask him if he would like some time and space to think about what he wants. Tell him you only want to be with him if he actually loves you. I know this is difficult advice to swallow, but it will create the psychological shift he needs to remember why he wanted you in his life.

      • Harriett said:

        I have taken your advice.
        And asked him if he wants space, I even encouraged it saying it would help give him time to sort his head out.

      • Harriett said:

        James,
        I took your advice and asked him if he wanted space.
        He said I can have space if I want it. He said he doesn’t know what he feels for his friend or what’s going to happen.
        He said he thinks its over for us… I need one more bit of advice. How do I stop this happening? We’ve been together a couple of years we make each other so happy (apart from lately) and we get on so well together. How can I stop all this being thrown away.
        Harriett.

        • Lifera said:

          How to stop this from happening? By maintaining your cool and not acting so desperate. James’ advice is the only way of possibly ever getting your boyfriend back.

        • James Bauer said:

          Give it some time, Harriett. Let him feel your absence for ten days. Then ask him to do something fun with you. Don’t bring up the “where is this going” question for a while. Focus on rebuilding his memory of why you two can enjoy life more together than apart.

  9. Colleen said:

    Hi James, as always, your articles, even if I have received them before, always seem to come through at the right time. I took your advice from a couple of weeks to get over my fears open up more and communicate. I tried to say a few things, and he would not let me even start, he kept repeating he couldn’t give me what I wanted. I ended the conversation and told him then it was pointless to keep the conversation going, considering he wouldn’t let me speak and didn’t know what I wanted.
    Anyway, I wrote him a letter (we are in a LDR) and specified what I wanted, including all the things that I loved about him, acknowledged the things he has done for me, expressing that we’d lost the fun aspect and all this intensity to want to “know stuff” and “label” what we had was causing us pain and frustration. I ended it saying I believed in him to do the right thing and that I loved him very much. Even if he stood by his decision not being able to give me what I want, I respected that, wished him happiness and that there would be no animosity from me. Well, there has been silence for 4 days, until this morning, I got an animated blushing face blowing me a heart kiss. For some that may not mean anything, but I know him, and it’s a start. Of course, there is several miles to go, but it genuinely made my day… So thank you James, for giving us that little push in the right direction.

    • James Bauer said:

      Way to persevere, Colleen. You give a good example here for others to follow. You kept your focus on what you wanted, not letting his stubbornness irritate you to a point that you did or said something that could not be easily repaired. I hope he realizes what a gem you are. Good luck!

      • Colleen said:

        No, thank you James.
        .. for all your hard work and genuine belief in helping us make our relationships want we all aspire them to be… With love

  10. Neli said:

    Hello,

    I am just lost in time and space. But i desperatly need advice. The man i am dating is busy and its long distance, he cannot call, text or e-mails for days. everything he has is company owned and thats is his excuse. He never talks about what he is doing or where he is going or anything. I made a mistake 10 months ago and he still holds in againts me, of course it was not cheating. What should i do, i am currently with lots of stress at job, my family ( mother and father), health wise and relationship. I am feeling like i am loosing it. Please help me, what to do i love him, but its just seems that i dont have place in his life what so ever. We are from different countries, race and everything.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Neli. Trust your own wisdom on this, but reading about your situation causes me to think this is a time for you to heal and build your own foundation rather than a time to invest in tenuous relationships.

  11. Wendy said:

    Hi James

    I have been following your advice on how not to chase a man when he pulls away and have my own life and interests. Recently an old flame came back into my life. He was one of the best relationships. I had been in. I had forgotten about our connection until I saw him again. In the beginning he was actively persuing me. I was over cautious. Once I let down my defenses he started to withdraw saying all he could handle right now was friends. I do want more and I eventually sent an email letting him know how I felt. We are still in contact but I am not pushing anything. He is going through some life changes and being supportive. Would you say that I am making invisible progress?

    • James Bauer said:

      It’s a good questions, but the nature of invisible progress is that it is…well, invisible. I think the way he responded to you suggests he is not closing is mind to the possibility of turning his energy toward a relationship with you in the future. He sounds like he is on a “mission” which distracts guys from being interested in relationships for periods of time. The fact that he is being honest with you about that fact is a good sign.

  12. April said:

    James, I have learned a lot through your discussion topics and for that I am very grateful. However, at this point in my relationship, I feel I am blinded by love and my desire to see things in a positive light. I have been in a LDR with a wonderful man since December. We haven’t had any problems. He has called me almost every day since the beginning and definitely made me feel special. Now that 7 months have passed, he is calling less. He still calls every day- usually we talk every morning and every afternoon after work. But the evening calls are more sporadic because he is busy with work, family, and hanging out with friends. He is also raising three children by himself- which is why I have been very understanding about his time constraints. I also feel it is normal that in the beginning he wanted to talk to me 24 hours a day, if he was awake, but as time has gone by, that has become what I would call a more normal phone call dialogue between two people who know each other pretty well. I just need to understand from an unbiased opinion, is this a relationship that is making invisible progress or is he slowly backing out of my life. I think its hard for me to wrap my head around it because it is an LDR. He told me he isn’t seeing anyone else, but we haven’t seen each other in two months. I asked him about it and he just said he has been really busy. If he lived five minutes away, I would know that this isn’t going well. However, because he is five hours away, there is a lot more wiggle room in that area.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi April. No one can sustain the level of constant contact you started with. You are now at a level of communication and contact that most women would be jealous of (given that it is a LDR with a man who has that much demand on his time for legitimate reasons). It seems your progress has been very good. To move forward you will need to start thinking about relocating (one or both of you). Otherwise the relationship seems to be healthy based on your description.

      James

  13. Cassie said:

    the time thing is kind of a big deal, I work 3 jobs and am on a one track race to accomplish my dreams. sadly if I don’t make money you can’t have much of a life in society, and you can’t look good and attract a man….

    Still I was blissfully ignorant until now. I recently reconnected with an old friend and (he is now the most amazing man I have ever been with ) he has been able to “bridge the gap” for me. example; when I was working on a presentation till 10pm one night he texted Me, I said I was busy and he immediately sent a photo of himself with a excuse me expression :p hahahahaha so I decided to give him 5 minutes of my time best 5 minutes I ever spent 😀

    Still I can’t help but feel with the evolution of the modern woman and us taking on more male roles within society, that we are criticised heavily for it when in actual fact were just levelling the playing field… As such we are some what stepping up to the plate and I can’t help but feel (not massively here cause I work hard on myself to make time for my man) that men should step up and evolve aswell… Like maby bridging the gap…?

  14. Jengi said:

    James, wow. I really appreciate your insight!

    This past summer began a relationship with an incredible guy and we connected on day one. It progressed effortlessly and we were texting and calling every day as well as seeing each other several times through the week. Then when school started things shifted, he has a little boy and the demands on his time as a dad increased since he is the primary caretaker. This was followed by his contracting work increasing due to the holidays. On top of that, when his son’s mother realized how much he loved me – gosh! That began to create stress for him and his son. So needless to say, our relationship shifted even more – and we texted, called, and even saw each other less. But when I put myself in his shoes and felt the weight of his life, I didn’t want to put great demands on him. We had already invested so much and I knew being patient and waiting, staying cool was my job no matter how much I missed him and how much insecurity tried to hit up on me. Even my close friend told me not to wait – she said I should ask for more time and not be so passive. But I did not let even her sway what I knew I needed to do. Be patient, observe, wait, be cool. Give him time. And I will say – it’s been waaaay hard! Especially in the beginning.

    But it’s paid off, we’ve established a new norm based on the circumstances. We don’t always get to text or call for up to two or three days, and dates can’t always be planned ahead. But the invisible progress has been wonderful. When we are together the times are greater, even more meaningful, he’s so ready to talk and be attentive and everything and anything I could ask for. And he is grateful I’m so cool and patient. We are both really very content and still experience that deep love we’ve had all throughout this relationship. I’m so glad I didn’t knee jerk based on my own emotions and insecurity. You know, guys have lives too and not everything can evolve as perfectly as we want and it’s not always in what we see on the surface.

    Yes, you have to be aware of invisible growth. This is good.
    Thanks!

  15. Johanna said:

    True, so so true!
    Live your live, trust your gut feelings about the man you’re in love with and want to be or are with even though he’s got bonding-issues and pushes you and pulling you for years
    My boyfriend who was always struggling with his feelings about relationships in general, had a stroke 5 weeks ago en put down his layer of defenses and all the things unsaid or who where there under the radar all come out.
    Even though it’s harsh that the emotions come out after his stroke, I knew what our connnection was and is am glad I had patience !
    And I’m glad that I did my best see things and his life from his side.

  16. Valerie Ferrari said:

    My husband was a player. Elusive, non committal , and hung up on his ex wife. I came over once to visit, he asked me to leave, as he was in a funk over her. I told him I wasn’t done with him yet! I told him his choices were simple, he could cry over her, or be with me and have a new beginning. Later in the relationship, he tried to leave twice. He returned each time with no recriminations from me. I was patient and loving instead. We married, and were happier than almost any couple on the planet for 26 years until he died. He told me on his deathbed that he was grateful I didn’t give up on him. I know who my men are, and give them time to catch up.
    When you feel that spark, hang in there with CONFIDENCE!!!

  17. Meriem said:

    Ummmm, feminism was never about gaining equality with men. It’s been about systematically turning the tables to favour women over men and has successfully managed to emasculate the man in relationships on every level. Then we wonder why all the men are turning gay and more women lesbians. Feminists have led the way to making men our girlfriends. Both parties are responsible for making the effort to develop and maintain the relationship. One partner usually trails behind the other in communication or in fulfilling their own or their partner’s expectations at some point. Maturity and the conscious decision to reflect on and adjust how one’s own attitude contributes to the final outcome make all the difference in my opinion. Just saying… Great post James.

  18. Kathie Baldwin said:

    I have to disagree with Meriem about feminism. It was never about emasculating men, although some men were. The sole mission behind the feminist movement was to give women the freedom to make choices that their own mothers didn’t have the voice to make. The women who worked in war plants making airplanes and ships during WW2 all lost their jobs when the men came home and whole generations of women were expected WITHOUT QUESTION to give up any ambition of working and go back to the kitchen and pop out those muffins and babies. I am almost 70, and when I see young women or men today CHOOSING to stay home with their kids, I smile inside. They can thank Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem for that. So can gay men and lesbians. Feminism was a major movement that forced a paradyme shift on what is “normal” in society, and we are much better off for it.

  19. Mel said:

    I am just starting to read articles and comments. I thought this was thought provoking for many reasons. I just wanted to see if there is more I can or should do….here’s my story. i have flirted with a friend’s friend on and off for years. He travels ALOT, so he is not in town for days or weeks at a time. In June he asked me out for drinks. We had a great time, but he left again. We kept in touch through all of his travels. He’ll bring me small trinkets or send me pictures from wherever he is. However, he is not the most communicative about his feelings. He was in a very bad relationship for 9 years and I think he is little gun shy. We spend time together frequently when he is in town going to movies, dinner, etc. my friends have said I should push for more that it’s too slow. But if you count real together time it’s only been about 1 – 2 months of being in the same city. I also don’t want to pressure him for more. I am active and have a good social life with lots of friends. He has joined on some occasions, but it’s more like good friends. So, I decided to keep things light but stay in touch over the holidays as I was going overseas and he was visiting family. Maybe he would keep in touch. He did. When we got back from holidays, we went out for drinks. Something was different…it felt good. One thing lead to another and we spent the weekend together. We really didn’t discuss feelings or where we stand. Unfortunately he had to leave for a month. It’s been 10 days and he has kept in touch with quick texts about his day. Our communication is not very flirty but not deep either. I was in a long relationship also in the past where I was not really allowed to discuss feelings (slightly emotionally abusive-so I got rid of him). However, it has made me a little scared to push for more. I want to make invisible progress as I think Patience has worked in the past, but I’d also like to be able to describe this in a more formalized way, e.g. Are we dating, are we in a relationship, what are we? Today I say very good friends….no label. I’m just a little confused as to how I can keep moving this forward without scaring him away. Any thought?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Mel. It sounds like you have a really good thing going with this guy, so first of all congratulations on that!

      In relationships where you are apart a lot, there is a need to be a little bit more intentional than you typically would be under other circumstances.

      You might use that as a platform to bring up a discussion. Ask him what he wants. Ask him if he is interested in building a commitment to each other so you both know what happens when you are countries apart. I suggest you start by just bringing up the topic by simply asking if he has thought about it instead of asking whether he has a decision about it. That takes off the pressure while making it clear to him that you are open to those kinds of discussions.

  20. Christine said:

    Dear James,
    I am in a relationship with a man who was hurt tremendously by his last relationship. We are also business partners/ roommates/ best friends… (at least he is mine). We are workaholics both of us. We constantly are busy from sunup till way past 10 almost every night. We are always together. At times, I feel like I am the “whipping post” in the relationship; both professionally and emotionally. Then a few weeks ago he buys us plane tickets out of the blue to fly to California to meet his family and see the sights as I have never been there. We are both ex-military and with that; have strong values as well as personalities. To get to my point, there are times he tells me he loves me (not often). What am I to make of all this I guess is what I’m asking. Thank you very much for your time

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Christine. Here is a simplified version of what you need to do (perhaps a bit oversimplified):

      1. Tell him you think it’s worth it to work on the relationship like this because you value what you share with him.
      2. Raise his awareness. Help him to see the ways he uses you as a whipping post.
      3. Ask for his help. Ask him if he can think of any solutions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *