Relationship Decisions that Bind You

how to move forward
Part of you want is to lay on the beach, get a tan, or just relax and do nothing.

But another part of you wants to work hard, live out your life goals, and make a difference in the world.

Part of you wants to get lean, but another part of you would rather eat brownies and ice cream.

Part of you wants adventure, but another part wants security and routine.

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins calls this “an internal civil war.” It’s a war that can trap you in limbo, getting none of the things you really want.

These internal conflicts sap your energy. We end up stagnant, never really committing to either side. When that happens, you miss out on living up to your potential. And you miss out on some of the best things in life.

This dynamic can really cripple a relationship.

There are so many uncertainties when it comes to romance. If you focus on those uncertainties, something terrible happens. You forget to go after anything specific. It’s easy to let your passion wither away and die.

That’s no way to live. Personally, I want to embrace passion. I’d rather be wrong sometimes, but live all out.

So here’s what I do. When I’m not 100% sure that I’m making the right call, I give myself permission to be wrong. Instead of waffling in limbo, I make a decision and get behind it. I don’t want to waste my energy. I want to live.

The fact is, you’ll never have all the information you need to make the perfect decision. As Samuel Butler said, “Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.”

That’s one of life’s hard lessons, and sometimes it’s scary. But not making a decision takes away your power. It stops you from taking action. It robs you of motivation and sucks the passion from your life.

That’s not what I want for you.

I want you to seize life. I want you to have adventure, passion, fun, fulfillment, and peace. I want you to live all out.

how to move forwardWhen you begin to feel the tension of the internal civil war, remember that the best you can do is draw from past experiences, gauge the current situation as well as you can, and go for it.

Don’t sit around worrying that you might have to change direction at some point in the future. That’s inevitable. Change happens. You’ll learn from your mistakes and press forward.

But that’s the key. You’ll be pressing forward. You’ll be learning and growing and living.

Don’t let life pass you by while you’re trying to decide which path to take. Call an internal cease-fire. Make a decision, and run with it. Live all out.

James Bauer

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56 thoughts on “Relationship Decisions that Bind You

  1. carolyn said:

    Love it! Just the perfect article for me to have read today!

  2. K-Mnyn said:

    Hey! James,
    That “hit the spot”…WAS just
    the info I so needed lately!!
    Your so wise, “spot-on” in fact!!
    … & believe me… there is such
    a significant difference between
    wisdom & “smarts”/intellect.
    =LOL!… of course, that’s
    WHY & HOW
    you “do” what YOU do
    … right?!
    Keep up the
    splendiforous work!

    ~Smiles to ya always!!

  3. Carolyne said:

    I do wish you luck!! The power of positivity!! I’m sorry you had a bad experience with Al-anon…i had a great group and I was do fortunate to find them! I tried AA and co dependency groups to try and understand and no….not for me!! I have to agree with you on the negativity and they all seemed to be waiting for that one person to encourage them!!
    I’m guessing you look in the UK?
    I do g the term flat etc… I live in Oregon and haven’t seen sunshine in months!! Perhaps thst is not helpful either ti my mood! Lol!
    Into your response about the children’s father I completely understand alcoholism is a disease and I make sure that my children always know their father did love them he just was incapable of being there for them he did not feel worthy of them because he knew that he could not fight his addiction to be a better dad he lived on the streets it was pretty sad but they are better children because of it because I am a wonderful mother LOL and I have been so supportive and loving of them I’ve been the mother and the father in one way I have to say it was almost a relief when he finally did pass because I did not have to try to make any more excuses and the kids were able to see he truly could not fight the battle and it really did take a hold of him and they now know that he just was too sick to be able to be there for them!
    Have a great day thank you I enjoy our conversations

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Carolyne, Your response made me cry!! I feel so much for your pain and that of your children and your husband. As you say, his passing is a relief to you all, because now he is at peace in a better place, and you can move on and live your life for you and your family. I hope you do not feel any residual guilt. You sound like a wonderful, strong, caring, loving person. You did what you had to do. Alcoholism is such a terrible affliction – I do not believe it is a “disease”, as such, which is the usual explanation – especially in the US. It is an addiction – the alcohol affects the nervous system and the brain, causing depression, therefore it becomes an ongoing “illness”, in the same way as diabetes, etc. BUT, I have come to understand that the alcohol abuse is actually the solution, for many people, to an underlying, ongoing, untreated mental health problem, for which they can get no other relief – usually stemming from childhood abuse, or post traumatic stress disoder brought on by many, many different life situations, not only exclusive to ex-servicemen. For many people it is the only way they can cope with the demons living inside their heads – and then it takes over. And, unfortunately, the medical profession does not seem to take this on board. Here in England, the NHS does not have the resources to give free, in depth, ongoing medical (psychiatric) help to people who suffer in this way. And, of course, these people would rarely have the money to go privately. So many of them end up living on the streets – unseen and forgotten. I just wish that I had become more involved with this problem when I was younger. (I’m now 68 – 69 in June (eeek!). If I had studied it then, I maybe could have made more of a difference. But, I AM hoping to slowly but surely make it become more talked about and understood. And I think it is becoming more understood with the medical profession now. As I said before, the Government is at fault for not banning advertising, and in that way encouraging people to see alcohol as acceptable and glamorous. When a Committee targetted the Governent to do this, they concluded there was no necessity. However, several members of the large manufacturing companies were on the ruling panel !! The Government does no want to forego the revenues generated. I wonder if they have weighed them up against the cost to the Health Service for trying to “mend” alcoholics – and their broken families? An update on my situation – my man has agreed that I can go for the week-end to attend his concert with his choir – on the understanding that I do not discuss the booze, and do not stay too long!! Of course, this is because discussing the booze makes him anxious and angry, and staying too long means he cannot have a drink!! (I am not stupid!). My response was that, OK, I agree this time, but we DO have to discuss it at some point, soon, and he has to agree to do something about it, or else there is no room in his life for the booze as well as myself. It is his choice. I “took the bull by the horns” and said it how it is – not caring whether I live or die – all according to James’ recommendations. Goodness knows what the future holds, but I am resigned now to take one small step at a time, and live with the consequences, if it means I have to walk away. You must know how painful that is. I know that he daily lives with guilt and shame. As you say, he feels dreadfully that he has let his beautiful wife and gorgeous children down. They are young – now 22 and 24 and doing very well in their careers – thanks to his wife, her mother and his mother. They are really lovely, lovely people. His wife has re-married and looks very happy on Facebook, but that makes him sad, too. And he still feels a heavy burden of guilt. He became bankrupt and lost his business and home, and he can’t forgive himself. I just wish he could give it up for the sake of his children. They do not know what is going on – or his mother, who is 87. They would be horrified, and heart-broken. I am the only one who knows – and the two “black widow spider” neighbours who encourage him. I think I may have to move to be nearer to him – the distance is a real problem. A three and a half hour drive. I’ve asked him to come and be with me, to dry out, but he is afraid to do that. I hope things work out well with your new man. Courage!! Keep on reading James’ very helpful advice. Love and hugs. Lorna x

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Carolyne, P.S. – Maybe you will show my comments to your children. I wish them the very best, too. Lorna

  4. Carolyne said:

    P.s. sorry about typos….
    My son is now 31 daughter 29 and their father passed away 4 years ago. I also took care of my brother who died in my home 2 years ago from alcoholism too. I have lived with it and seen it 1st hand and know how heartbreaking it is.
    My hope for you is that you can separate from yourself from trying to control a situation which is clearly not what he is,ready for. Truly even though they both knew they would die if they didn’t stop they both chose to spend the rest if their short lives doing it their way. It’s not to say they did not have regrets in the end but truly it is their choice and if they don’t want to make a change there’s not much you can do about it. Seems like he has the 2 neighbors for solace and they are more than willing to be of service.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Carolyne, Thank you, once again, for your wise words. I do know what you mean. Truly, I do not look through rose-coloured spectacles. I am so sorry for your loss, and that of your children. Unfortunately, that will stay with you all forever. I hope that you can all understand that his decision to choose the alcohol over you all was not “personal” against you – that alcohol had a stronger hold over him than his love for you, but that that love for you was not, therefore, diminished – and that he was unable to find the strength to fight against the alcohol. Alcohol is such a cruel thing, and takes a huge toll – all around. It is insidious. Creeping up – unseen. Until too late. Society revers it as being glamorous, fun and clever – therefore it is able to get “under the radar” and do it’s worst – destroying lives and love. Until we, as people, can come to realize how destructive it is, it will always have that power. I went to ONE meeting of Al-Anon and found it absolutely DIRE. The negative energy was palpable. And I understand that AA is no better. Some people attend weekly sessions for 20-30 or more years and still consider themselves to be alcoholics. How can they be, if they have not drunk alcohol for all of that time? They are constantly reinforcing the negative – not the positive. I have read recently (in “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk) that as humans, it does us NO good to reach out to others who are in the same situation as us, in order to find solace and support – be it in a religious cult, veteran’s group, alcohol recovery group, extreme political parties or gangs. That way, we are inculcated, isolated, insular and we have no alternative way of looking at the situation – from the outside in, as we should do. We are all steeped in the same paradyms – a narrow view-point. There is a “membership requirement”. (Qoute) “Members can belong only if they belong to the common code”. What humans need is “reciprosity” (I have seen James use that word, too!!) – (Qoute) “being truly heard and seen by the people around us – feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love”. I think that says it all. Unfortunately, left to the mercies of the two “black widow spiders” who live next door and around the corner, my man has absolutely NO HOPE. He has said he would love to give up the booze and live a normal life – I have to hang onto that and help him achieve it – even if our relationship does not go the distance, for whatever reason. Wish me luck!!! Lorna

  5. Lorna (LaLa) said:

    Carolyne, It really helped me to offer you my thoughts on your situation. (See my comment to James’ reply here). I suddenly felt empowered, saw things more clearly, and had the strength to ring him and put my case. I was worried that he had found someone else, but we established that that is not the case, so that is a relief, and gave me back my power. My situation is very different to yours, of course, because of his drink problem, and his lack of money. But I do feel he is able to control the drink – he did not drink after his operation on the 7th, then over Easter and a couple of days when his Mum stayed after Easter. So I am hopeful that there is a chance that we can get him off it. The money will improve, once he stops spending most of it on booze and cigarettes. What a mess!!! I hope our dialogue has helped you to feel stronger and more empowered, too. I find it certainly helps knowing that other pepole are in the same situation. Having this forum is a God-send. Keep strong and keep going. As they say nowadays “Keep Calm and Carry On”. You seem to be in a strong position now, too, as he has said he wants you in his life and would not want you having someone else. Try to work something out together. Life is too short now, at our age, to waste precious time that you could have together. You can do it!! Good luck!! Lorna

    • Carolyne said:

      Yes Lorna I agree! Life is short at this age but I still would not sell myself short. I feel for you as your situation seems like a daily battle. I can’t help but feel that you make excuses for him and I’m truly saying that from experience. I believe you are a good person with a big heart and perhaps you need to spend some time just being you. Take a cruise or go visit friends and try to not dwell on his problems and the anxiety it seems to cause you.
      I went to Al-Anon many years ago when I was with my 1st husband. It helped me tremendously realize my full potential and I was able to categorize my thoughts and realize that I only had the power over myself and was not responsible for anyone else’s decisions I just had to decide if I could live and co exist with them. He has passed since from his choices and it was hard as he was the father of my children but the worst part was trying to make sure they knew he loved them but he just wasn’t capable of being in their lives. I remixed that was the same conclusion I had to come to. The irony of it all is he couldn’t exist with us but we were the only ones who were there when he was in hospice. He had been estranged since my son was 5 and daughter 3 and all they ever wanted was for him to be a dad. I never really felt the same live for anyone but now that he’s gone I feel I can truly move on.
      Best wishes for you.

  6. Lorna (LaLa) said:

    Yes, thank you James for your input. I wonder what you think of the following, I would really appreciate your input, as my situation IS different. After commenting to Carolyne, I decided to take my own advice and rang my man yesterday, to try to clarify things and move on. (He had said the day before that we should sort something out about seeing each other. I also asked if he would re-write my Will and he said to bring it next time I come up). He has a concert at a National Trust property on Monday 1st May with his choir, so I just said (brightly!), “I would really like to come to the concert on Monday, is that a possibility”? He hesitated and said, “Well, maybe, it may be possible”. So, of course, I was on high alert! I stayed calm and said, “Why only possibly”, and he replied that I wasn’t giving him much notice. I said, it’s a week. Then he said that we argue. He’ll have to think about it. I said the arguing is always due to the effects of his excessive drinking. (Bad move, I know! – but we need to be honest here). I then said has he got someone else, is he taking someone else, and he was adament he has not. I said, so – if we never see each other, we may as well call it a day. He said he was busy working on his computer and did not want to discuss it then – sounded rather agitated and depressed. He would think about it and get back to me. Well, after sleeping on it – now this morning, I am thinking it is probably all about his money situation. He’d be on the computer doing his banking. He is stoney broke – actually in debt – and I really think he is just too embarrassed to have me in his life. Feels he has nothing to offer me. I am comfortable financially, and own my house which is worth a lot of money, whereas he rents. I treated myself to a beautiful little sports car after my divorce, so look good in that (if I say so myself)!!. He drinks to excess to try to feel better, but of course, that just makes it worse. He says he feels “comfortable” with the two drunken sisters next door he spends time with drinking and getting drunk with (his only “friends”) – whereas he gets anxious around me. It all makes sense, the more I think about it – the respect principle – he doesn’t have to prove himself to them, whereas he thinks I am high-status and he needs to impress me – but is there a solution? I’m beginning to think there is not. It’s such a big, black hole – I can’t see a way out – unless he swallows his pride and allows me to help. Based on what you suggest, James, I wonder if I should approach it from a different angle, and ask if HE would do something for ME: i.e. – allow me to help him, as it would mean such a lot to me and make ME feel better. I do not want to give up on us, as we do have a good connection. He is from a really good back-ground – went to boarding school and trained as a lawyer – he is intelligent (apart from the drinking!!) – we are both musical – we sing together – we both enjoy history – just really enjoy being together, doing nothing at all. And there is sexual chemistry – but that makes him anxious, as well, as he can’t perform. We had such a beautiful relationship in the beginning – magical, he was so romantic – before I knew the truth about his situation. He has just completely lost his way now. He does try to struggle to get his head above water, but keeps on sinking back. Do I just leave him to drown? My instinct says “No”. We need to be there for each other in a crisis. The problem is, his ego. He is SO proud, and I know he would find it really hard to ask me for help and support. It seems such a shame that social restraints get in the way of relationships. Why can’t we be more like animals and just live our lives, without all the hang-ups we create for ourselves and each other? I think I might just go to the concert, anyway, and book into the little hotel next door to him – I usually stay in his flat. Try to talk to him. I have nothing to lose, if I am thinking of jacking it all in, anyway. Life is not easy!!! I wish I had a magic wand. Lorna

  7. Colleen said:

    Hi James, your blogs are helpful and informative as always..

    Would you not agree fear is part of this too? We so fear the unknown, we tend to let fear from past experiences and letting go of instilled beliefs rule our need for making tough decisions. Or rather, what we think are tough decisions.

    We fear being alone, what others may think, and as you so rightly suggest that “inner” civil war. I have made a commitment in the last few years to open myself to being consciously aware of the now, and to receive with open appreciation and gratitude. Not as easy and as simple as it sounds. I came to realise how the anxiety we unintentionally feel in relationships is instead of living in the moment, enjoying the present, we tend to allow our minds to jump ahead to how this current date, or relationship is serving us.

    Since making this firm decision within my own relationship, I’ve come to experience an easier flow of interaction, because I’m listening, I hear about his desires, wants and needs. I am now more keenly in tune if the nuance of his tone changes. Meaning, when I do feel a little unsure of him, I actually get the answers without having to ask or make a big deal of it.
    I make a concerted effort to not think beyond the here and now with him.
    It really does take away a lot of stress and tension.

    It helps too when we have to overcome the difficult topics. We tend to do it conversationally, allowing each other to express individual view points. It’s not always easy, granted. But even when either of us are resistant to a new direction in our relationship, it doesn’t mean we are parting ways. It just means we must respect and allow some down time for thinking, no matter how tough it is, fighting the urge to intervene to further convince that our point of view is the correct one.

    Once again thank you

    • James Bauer said:

      Yes, that’s a very good point, Colleen. Thank you for bringing that up.

      Fear is often a factor that affects our decision-making and our communication. And ironically, the more we care, the more we tend to fear the ramifications of our decisions.


      • Colleen said:

        It’s all you James, 🙂
        Being part of your community has been instrumental in me refining my thoughts and attitude towards love and relationships.

        Happy Easter to those that celebrate!

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Colleen, yes you are right. Fear IS at the back of it all – on both sides. Don’t forget that HE is terrified, too, sometimes. Men are just little boys inside, in the same way as we are still little girls inside – our inner child will always be there, deep inside of us – and sometimes needs to be comforted and, yes, loved. Sometimes we have to put our big-girl panties on (my friend and I remind each other of this often!!). And, yes, practising “Mindfulness” really does help. I have been trying to do this recently – just living in the moment – not stressing about “What if”. Being grateful for what I have. Keeping a “Gratitude” Journal to remind me of it. But I find it hard. I am SUCH a stress-head. I think in my case because we are long-distance and he has a lot of mental-health problems (as well as drinking to excess to cover them up) – it causes a lot of anxiety on both sides. I wonder what he is up to. I know I should give him up, as he makes me feel so ill at times – but living “in the moment” does help. And reading James’ articles, which make such a lot of sense. I know he needs me. He has no other “real” friends – just the two alcoholic neighbours who take advantage of him and drink with him. (He gave one of them his bank card the other week, to buy some food, and she went out and bought booze with it). What do you do – I constantly ask myself? Live for now is the answer, I reckon. We all have problems of one sort or another – and we all need each other. Thanks for your wise words, Colleen (such a pretty name!). Lorna

      • Carolyne said:

        Lorna you ate a very brave person and I have been in your position. Don’t forget your happiness is very important as well! I had to make the choice to move on because he didn’t want to change for the right reasons of his health and happiness and even in the moment I found myself more of a caretaker not a lover or best friend….
        I made the choice to remain friends but not the enabler. I was married to 2 alcoholics and I realize I needed to Value myself more and appreciate my quality as a loving friend but realize I deserve to be happy.
        You are obviously a very loving and caring person and I wish you the best!

    • Carolyne said:

      Omgosh! I really needed this! THANKYOU!

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Carolyne – thank you so much for your response. Yes, believe me, I have spent lots and lots of time (over 4 years) soul-searching and wondering whether to move on from him or not. I have read countless books, taken lots of advice and had counselling, and have come to the conclusion that as long as he is still being open about his problems (which he is – he does know he needs to give up the booze), and he still wants me around, which at the moment he says he does, then I will be there for him and do my best to point him in the right direction and be supportive. I have made the decision that I cannot just “be a friend”. I could not sit back and watch him destroy himself, and have intimate relationships with other women – that would kill me more than what I am going through now – I love him too much. I would have to make a complete break and let him go on his way. Everyone tells me to let him go, so I have very little support from others here – I have had to go it alone. However, people DO manage to come off the booze, with support, and live a better life (I hesitate to say “normal” – what is normal?). So I know it is possible. But they need a lot of loving support. I am also doing this for me, in a way, because I know I would feel terrible if I gave up on him before I had done everything within my power, and he ended up killing himself. I am not a Christian or religious, and hate all that empty rhetoric about God (we don’t do that so much here in England), but I was brought up in the wilds on a farm, live close to the earth and nature now, am vegetarian, hardly ever drink alcohol, and am very emotional, and you might say spiritual. I believe that we all need each other, and for me, if I cannot reach out a helping hand when needed, then I would have no self-respect. I would hope someone would do the same for me, if necessary. The Good Samaritan springs to mind. We simply cannot survive without each other to lean on and be there in a crisis, otherwise we go under – end of story!!! It is as simple as that. People in isolated captivity go mad. “No man is an island entire of itself”. And thank you, once again, for your concern – it is appreciated, and I’ll bear it in mind. I would end by saying that I am actually happier knowing that I may be able to be of help to him, than I would be by walking away. I do live a very full and satisfying life, apart from him – and feel miserable when I am not in contact with him. What does that say? And I HATE that expression co-dependent. We are all co-dependent on each other, surely? I cannot get my head around that concept. Strangely enough, all my life I have come into contact with people with an alcohol dependency problem – so in a way I feel that is my mission now, as I move towards the end of my life. Maybe I can make a difference. I am planning to do some training to become a counsellor, maybe start a self-help group which is not God-based, as the best-known one is (I believe we have to dig deep and find our strength within ourselves), and am thinking of how I can target the Government to stop advertising alcohol as a glamorous commodity. It is POISON, as you and I know so well. I would be interested to know your story in more detail. Keep strong. Kind regards. Lorna

      • Carolyne said:

        You are a very heartfelt and wise woman! I do not listen to others opinions much in my own circle because I feel theyour don’t understand me…..I also am a caregiver and nurturer and II’ve to see people succeed! I’m very spiritual but not God fearing……although I truly believe in a higher power and the power of support and unconditional love!
        If you feel that strongly in your heart than you are the only one who knows and has the right to judge! I admire your strength!

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Carolyne, thank you again for your response. It means a lot to get feed-back. I certainly know what you mean about not feeling “connected” to the people around you. I, too, am very spiritual and intuitive. All my life I have felt “different” to my family. And that is quite normal, I think – and should be embraced. We are not all clones, and within a family, there will be many, many genes floating around in our make-up. I think the only ones I could probably relate to were my father (who was too busy to give me much input) and his sister, who we rarely saw. My mother was rather closed-off and unemotional, and also very busy, and my brother and sister not that close. I was the middle child and felt rather alone – I used to walk for hours with the dogs in the country, collecting flowers and listening to the birds – bringing home sick animals to care for (sadly they rarely survived – but I tried) !!! All I ever wanted to be was a vet, caring for animals, but that was not to be. My husband (who has Aspergers) did not understand where I was coming from and two of my daughers take after his side of the family – I believe now they have a mild form, which happens with women – his Mother, too, was a difficult woman. My third daughter is much more like me, so we can relate to each other. I daily thank whoever sent her to me – otherwise I would have been lost going through my very traumatic divorce, with no-one loving me!! Strangely, she was a “happy accident” – a surprse, and I believe she was meant to be born – she is a beautiful person – an Earth Angel! She is a teacher and reaches out to everyone with love. Like you, I absolutely believe that some of us are programmed differently and are meant to be care-givers and nurturers. Otherwise, where would we all be without all the doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police, social workers, counsellors, (vets!), etc. Thank goodness that some people have that quality in their genes. And whoever came up with the expression “co-dependent” deserves to be punished. It must make many, many people doubt their innate goodness. Lastly, I have read that it is not always good to seek advice. Well – I guess we can seek it, but should not take it as gospel. Take the time to sift through what people say, sleep on it, but then go with your own gut instinct as to what is right for you. Love and hugs. Lorna x

    • Lena said:


      Thank you for your thoughts here.
      I like your “I make a concerted effort to not think beyond the here and now with him.”
      What do you think about the situation, when it Is time to decide the future plans?
      I am in this type of situation right now. My man is moving several states away from the town, where we were dating each other for a year.
      I asked him to talk with me about his adjusting location and how we can handle the long distance. He agreed with that. But can I be really “not thinking beyond the here and now with him”? How to get into this state of mind or state of heart not to think or not to feel beyond?
      Any advise from you?

      • Colleen said:

        Hi Lena
        Do you know one of the most common mistakes we as women make? And, it’s due to past instilled lessons and beliefs…
        We tend to leave the “leading” to our men.
        We make the mistake of placing “leading” and “chasing” (hunter) in the same basket, defining it as the same thing.

        We fear “suggesting” something or rather stating what we want, as being forceful or taking on the hunter role that as young girls we were told we were to leave to men, as it’s their role. Which places us women in this place of limbo, when they’re not “suggesting” or making clear definite decisions about where the relationship is heading or where it should be. We’re left feeling they don’t care enough for us, because they did not state clearly enough what the relationship is, or rather what it means to them.

        The thing is Lena, if you love your man, if you’re wanting a committed relationship from him, even if he is moving out of state, have you clearly stated this to him?
        If your relationship for the last year, has been a good one, with a solid foundation of mutual respect, honesty and loyalty, to state what you’re feeling, what you want and certain aspirations you have for seeing your relationship to a fruitful, fulfilling partnership should be of no issue.

        In fact, you will more than likely find your man is expecting this from you. Men need to know we love them too, not just words of love, but with actions and shows of your own value and worth. When a man is shown how you value yourself, his true colors come to light very quickly. Just because he is a man, it doesn’t mean he has all the answers or even knows the right direction. He needs to feel he is in a relationship too.
        The way to show him this, is to share your own feelings, fears and wants. If you’re expecting him to share with you, you have to do the same. Not just blindly follow and hope for the best.

        If you’re planning on continuing a long distant relationship for a time, ensure you both agree it’s what you both want. Place some boundaries, for example, you will set a time aside each evening to chat. Then there will be real time visits, how often will they happen? What are the cost implications?

        If you leave him to make all these decisions, you will become disappointed. He will make them based on how it suits him. Whereas if you make certain suggestions, make mutual decisions, and truthfully acknowledge that it will be trying at times, even unfulfilling, commit to being honest with each other – you will have a place of measure, rather than being left confused and trying to analyze his actions or lack thereof.

        Hope this helps you

      • Carolyne said:

        Colleen I love what you said!
        I am in a relationship that we have seen each other off and on for approximately two years and then we just decided two see where it goes I really like this guy he’s nice he’s kind and I’m a big family person and so is he. My fear is that I’m afraid to tell him what I want although I have had the talk with him about not having a back-up plan because I I had the distinct feeling that he had been seeing somebody else before we had this talk and she actually showed up at his house while I was gone for a couple of days we do live long distance and I do drive up there on the weekends and whenever I can because he works 6 days a week I own my own business I work a lot too so I completely understand and it’s easier for me and when he can come to see me he does. That being said I finally learned how to talk to him which is a whole new concept for me and I let him know that I was not happy about him seeing somebody else and that if he wanted to continue that then I feel like I have the right to know so that I can make the decision on what is right for me and it was really empowering and strange because he didn’t get upset which is what I thought would happen he actually agreed especially when I said how would you feel if the roles were reversed and his slow but thoughtful reply was ” I wouldn’t like that at all” I feel like I actually broke through some boundaries there!! Before I would have been afraid to say anything and I would have followed blindly waiting to see what will happen next and now I’m learning I need to be a little more assertive in what I expect and when I would like to see him. But still I just got back from his house today after spending the weekend with him and I want to go back next weekend I’m afraid is it not expected of me to continually show up on the weekends should I be afraid to say hey I’m going to be there Saturday night I would like to do something on Sunday it’s supposed to be nice the first day with no rain in months so tell me should I be okay and just saying hey it’s going to be nice out on Sunday let’s do something fun let’s get out of the house?? I’m starting to understand that they kind of actually like it when we take a little bit of control and lead them to where we would like to be but I’m not aggressive or rude in any way I’m always nice and kind and smiley and when I need to be I’m a little bit sarcastic but just enough to keep him on his toes LOL!! So what I am trying to accomplish is breaking through my fear to get the results that I want and yes he has mentioned a couple of times that he would like to see a day when we move in together but then again he’s also said it scares the living hell out of him because we’ve both had bad relationships and we’ve both been single for a very long time we met as a blind date between mutual friends I did not care for him then he knows that he jokes about it a lot but I’ve come to really care about him and like him and I feel like we are a good match and we get along to refer Glee any help any advice you greatly appreciated! Thank you ahead of time. Carolyne

      • Carolyne said:

        Colleen I love what you said!
        I am in a relationship that we have seen each other off and on for approximately two years and then we just decided two see where it goes I really like this guy he’s nice he’s kind and I’m a big family person and so is he. My fear is that I’m afraid to tell him what I want although I have had the talk with him about not having a back-up plan because I I had the distinct feeling that he had been seeing somebody else before we had this talk and she actually showed up at his house while I was gone for a couple of days we do live long distance and I do drive up there on the weekends and whenever I can because he works 6 days a week I own my own business I work a lot too so I completely understand and it’s easier for me and when he can come to see me he does. That being said I finally learned how to talk to him which is a whole new concept for me and I let him know that I was not happy about him seeing somebody else and that if he wanted to continue that then I feel like I have the right to know so that I can make the decision on what is right for me and it was really empowering and strange because he didn’t get upset which is what I thought would happen he actually agreed especially when I said how would you feel if the roles were reversed and his slow but thoughtful reply was ” I wouldn’t like that at all” I feel like I actually broke through some boundaries there!! Before I would have been afraid to say anything and I would have followed blindly waiting to see what will happen next and now I’m learning I need to be a little more assertive in what I expect and when I would like to see him. But still I just got back from his house today after spending the weekend with him and I want to go back next weekend I’m afraid is it not expected of me to continually show up on the weekends should I be afraid to say hey I’m going to be there Saturday night I would like to do something on Sunday it’s supposed to be nice the first day with no rain in months so tell me should I be okay and just saying hey it’s going to be nice out on Sunday let’s do something fun let’s get out of the house?? I’m starting to understand that they kind of actually like it when we take a little bit of control and lead them to where we would like to be but I’m not aggressive or rude in any way I’m always nice and kind and smiley and when I need to be I’m a little bit sarcastic but just enough to keep him on his toes LOL!! So what I am trying to accomplish is breaking through my fear to get the results that I want and yes he has mentioned a couple of times that he would like to see a day when we move in together but then again he’s also said it scares the living hell out of him because we’ve both had bad relationships and we’ve both been single for a very long time we met as a blind date between mutual friends I did not care for him then he knows that he jokes about it a lot but I’ve come to really care about him and like him and I feel like we are a good match and we get along great! any help any advice or encpuragement you may have is greatly appreciated! Thank you ahead of time. Carolyne

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Carolyne, Colleen, Lena, Oh dear, it seems that we are all in the same mess!! I can relate absolutely to all these stories. What do we do? – I keep wondering the same. James, HELP, what do you suggest regarding long distance relationships?
        Carolyne, I think you are absolutely right to set boundaries about him having “other women”. However, you need to be careful!! I have had the exact same problem. My guy loves the company of women, and given that we do not see that much of each other (and had times when we have rowed – due to the drink problem – and been emotionally apart awhile), it is natural that he will have women friends. He did carry on seeing the woman he was with before I came on the scene, but insisted there was “Nothing in it” – we are just friends – I’m not in love with her. It’s you I’m in love with”. Of course, I did not believe him, as I know SHE is in love with him – as I saw her reaction when I first came on the scene – and I went bolistic (wrong thing to do!!!). He did not seem to realize that she was waiting in the wings for him to change his mind over me. Making him nice meals and chocolate cake – love potions! (witch!!!) Men are clueless as to women’s wiles – they just do not seem to see that women can be so manipulative and sly and artful – as they are so open and uncomplicated themselves – naive really. Anyway – your man probably will have women friends. I have lots and lots of men friends (I sing at the folk club and pub open mike sessions and choir – sometimes go to gigs with one of them, and some come around to practise music), and I know that they are ONLY friends – I have NO romantic feelings for them at all. My heart is full of him! I think you are in a very good position if he has talked about a future with you. Yes, it is scary – we are probably ALL terrified. But we need to take James’ advice from his articles, and just GO FOR IT. Don’t hold back. If you want to suggest that you go for a particular week-end or event, suggest it to him. James would say that we have to live our dreams with courage, as though we do not care whether we live or die – or the relationship lives or dies. I think he is right. Pussy-footing around gets us nowhere. And as I said before, men are very much more direct than us. We have to spell it out for them. You have had a lot of success with this already, Carolyne. You have got him thinking. He does want you to himself, so that is a very good position to be in. One thing I wonder about, though – you say he is upset to think that you did not “like” him at first “he jokes about it a lot”. NO – he is NOT joking. That is a HUGE blow to his ego. He is really worried about that – or else he would not keep bringing it up. Worried that you still do not care for him now. TELL HIM. Try to soften the fact that you did not “fancy” him at first. Even if you have to lie!! And don’t say you didn’t “fancy” him, please. All men need to know they are God’s gift to women – even the ugly ones!! Find something to flatter about him – he will love it. And DO NOT use sarcasm as a way to communicate your feelings – they hate that – and often don’t understand anyway! Just say it like it is. Long distance relationships need to be worked on – much more than others. I asked you before if there is no way you can move to be nearer him – get a flat, room or small house? I have started thinking this way. You need to close the gap somehow so that you can get nearer emotionally. I do not really know the answer, as I am in the same situation – but I DO think it is really important to be open and honest and tell him how you feel. Yes, keep the fun going. Go next week-end if the weather is good. Ask HIM if it would be OK to just suggest a “spur of the moment” meet-up. Why not suggest a drive in the country, pic-nic, hike or whatever you both enjoy. Maybe stay overnight somewhere. Try to keep things fun, flirty and flippant – don’t get bogged down with anxiety. Let’s see if James has any suggestions. Lorna

      • James Bauer said:

        I agree with Lorna. Long-distance relationships require special treatment. In fact, it’s even more important in a long distance relationship to be clear about what you want. Because you are less likely to just gradually fall into a pattern of relating that is mutually satisfying.

        The key is that you want to invite a man into the kind of relationship with you where he feels successful. To do that, ask good questions.

        “If we built the most amazing relationship possible, what would things look like between us while we are living at a distance from each other? Will you help me brainstorm ideas for making our relationship exciting?”

        “Are you interested in knowing what I secretly want in this relationship?”

        “Will you fight for me and this beautiful relationship while we’re apart?”

        These kinds of questions prime his motivation. It reminds him of the potential the relationship provides for him to rise to the role of a hero in your life. Then he is more receptive to descriptions of your ideal relationship scenario, which may involve commitment or certain boundaries with friends of the opposite gender.


      • Carolyne said:

        Thankyou James! We all seem to have similar relationships yet very different! Your advice is very worthy of all!

      • Lena said:

        Hi Colleen,
        I really appreciate your input in my situation. I did the best I could in terms of having an open discussion with the man I was in love with. It turned out, he replied clearly, he is not ready for me to move with him to his new home, and this is because for him it would be like a life long relationship similar to marriage. He is not sure about me and spending the rest of the life together. Plus his son, who lives at home on school breaks, is not happy about the idea of his father brings at home a new woman. His mother, and the only wife on my man, died about 2 years ago, and there is still a lot of grieving process going on. In these circumstances my man decided not to invite me to his new location and be on his own instead of looking for a new possibilities. I also stated to my men, that living in two different states (8 hours by car) is not what I want for the relationship, and just do not see how it can work on the long run.
        The relationship is over for 2 weeks now, no real contacts so far. He sent me e-mail last night “Miss you and love you” and that is it. I relied “me too”. And I think it is time for me to move forward, find new friends new activities, keep myself occupied with other things to do, so the pain of breakup would not hunting me constantly. I am looking for peace right now.

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Lena, I am so sorry for your hurt and pain. I can relate absolutely to that, as I have been heart-broken, too, during the on-off difficult relationship with my man, over the last five years. I would just say to you, whatever you do, do not act rashly and in haste. This is a very difficult situation which needs to be handled with kid gloves. Two years is not long, after the death of his wife, for your man to be finished grieving for her. Indeed, he will probably grieve, in some form, for the rest of his life. You will have to come to terms with that if you want to be part of his life. Do not put added pressure on him at the moment. Life is difficult enough for him at present – he, too, needs peace right now, and it is YOUR job to provide that. Relationships are difficult at the best of times, and it seems that as we get older, and there is more baggage to handle, they just get harder and harder. Be comforted by the fact that he has messaged you to say he loves you and misses you. How can he say it more clearly? You need to be strong now. And you need to be patient. Keep in contact – he obviously loves you and needs you, otherwise he would not have been in touch. I suggest you re-read the articles here regarding long-distance relationships. It can work. Think of times of war when soldiers are away from home for long stretches of time, and relationships survive. And the many, many husbands who have to work abroad for long periods, leaving the family at home. As women I think it is our job to “keep the home fires” burning, while our men are away from home “bringing home the bacon”. We are the ones who have the inner strength, courage, patience and love to just quietly be there, waiting patiently and giving them support. You may find that after a little while of missing you, he will decide that he does want you nearer to him. This does not have to be a full-blown moving in together and living together scenario. You could get an apartment near him, and continue to see each other regularly. In the meantime, yes, you do need to get out with friends, and enjoy yourself. Start some new, exciting hobbies. Do not sit at home moping. But it does not mean you have to actively seek a new relationship at the moment. I can also tell you, from experience, that if you do do this, and your man finds out, while he is still being indecisive, it is possible that that will hurt him deeply, and cause even more of a rift between you. Just take things easy. Keep in touch. Don’t weep and wail to him on the phone. Be happy, upbeat and light-hearted when you do get in touch. Let him see what he is missing. You can Skype these days, which makes things a lot easier. Just hang around and wait to see how things develop. Lean back and relax. I wish you luck, and hope things work out well for you. Do, please, let us know how you get on!! With love, Lorna x

      • Svetlana. said:

        Thank you Lorna for your support and thoughts that you put here. It would be very useful for me, but the fact is the relationship is over with my man, He made his choice Not to bring me to his new home location, as I was hoping this relationship might be leading to. I spoke very clearly with him over the phone and let him know that living in 8 hours apart from each other is difficult to keep the relationship going, and I don’t see how it can be managed. I said also he made his decision to move there without discussion it with me, so to me it means he separated us, and I just can’t be in LDR after dating him exclusively and intensively for over a year. We said good buy to each other, and now there is no connection between us. There is nothing to work on or support his grieving process. I am a widow as well. Who is supporting my grieving process in this situation? It is Not Only My Job to be supportive. It is both people’s job, if they want to keep the relationship going. This man made his decision to be far away from me, and I even notice recently he is back to that web site, where we met originally. But now he is looking for someone in his new location. This is also his choice, and I just need to accept it and move on with my life, which I did.
        I wish no one would be going through the pain I am going right now. But as they said ” what does not break us, makes us stronger”. I will survive, and I will be looking for someone in the future too. But this time I will be more experienced and more careful about all choices that I am making. Life is going on.

        Good luck to you all.

  8. Carolyne said:

    Hi James
    I have been in a long distance relationship for 2 years now. We met as a blind date and I was very reluctant to go and he is one of my best friends old roommate from their college days and we didn’t quite hit it off right at first but towards the end of the evening I finally decided to just let go and relax and I really ended up having a great time we continue to keep our relationship going and then I didn’t hear from him for a summer.
    We reconnected again after a period of time and have been staying in contact and seeing each other back and forth and he says that he really likes me loves spending time with me would love to have a future with me always talks about the future plans but when we start a good dialogue sometimes I do not hear from him for two or three days maybe a week which I know that he genuinely works a lot! I am self-employed so of course I work a lot too and I am able to adjust my schedule around his when we want to go do things I’ve given up on trying to get him to go with me on some of my family trips because of his work schedule which is fine I still live my life completely and fully like I always have but he indicated last time that he would like to come down and meet my parents I was so excited and when I asked him what he’s doing this weekend is it okay if I just come up what would he do if I was just to show up and visit because when we are together we are like one unit the whole time until I leave and then I always feel so good about it but then I start to get the feeling that was I mistaken was it really that great am I correct in assuming that we both have the same feelings which we do when we are together I know that for sure. Maybe it’s just me overthinking the situation but sometimes I feel like I should just say hey I can’t do this anymore I need more than this and I don’t want to do it through text message or over the phone I would prefer to do it in private when were together but then when we are together I don’t want to ruin the moment I seriously need some help here obviously lol! I’m not actively dating anybody else it’s not like it’s interfering in my everyday life but there is a part of me that would like a sense of belonging and some sort of a commitment monogamous commitment and I’m not sure how to say that to him and I want to know if I say that perhaps it will scare him off but maybe that’s the chance I have to take. On the other hand I tell myself I’m always working anyway or with my children and my grandchildren so it’s not like it’s a real big deal and I have nothing better to do what would be your advice on this?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Carolyn. We discuss personal questions like this all the time on the private, member’s only forum. Maybe you’d like to join us? Here’s the link if you want to join.

      My opinion? It sounds like you are enjoying the relationship, but not enough for this to continue indefinitely. You won’t be happy if the next step never happens in this relationship, right? If that’s true, then live your life on purpose. Be willing to take a risk to go after the life you REALLY want.


    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Hi again Carolyne, I’ve just re-read this comment from you. It sounds as though you are in exactly the same situation as me with my long-distance relationship (apart from the booze aspect – see below). It is not easy being apart and long-distance. You are constantly wondering what they are doing and how they feel about you – I know. And some of it stems from our own insecurity, from the hurt we have experienced in the past. And, of course, he will have baggage, too – which we tend to forget about sometimes. I think men are MUCH more sensitive than us. I read recently (not sure if it was on here or not) that you have to work EXTRA hard on a long-distance relationship to keep it going. I think this is true, or else it just withers and dies. Why don’t you try to find the strength and courage to talk to him openly about what you want? I know it is super-scary, as you don’t want to rock the boat and lose him (I have felt exactly the same way), but carrying on as you are is not really ideal, if it is making you anxious – it makes him anxious, too, and you want your time together to be fun and relaxed. Try to just lean back and be super “cool”. Otherwise, your only option is just to accept things as they are for the time being (no expectations) – maybe step up the connection if possible, and see what happens. I have read that men are much more direct than women in their communication and prefer an honest talk to beating around the bush with hints, which they are unable to take on board in the same way that we are, as women – we are much more intuitive and pick up on body language, looks, hints, feelings, etc., whereas it just goes straight over their heads. You have to spell it out for them in capital letters!! Have you thought of moving to be nearer to him? How would that go down? I wish you well. Lorna x

      • Carolyne said:

        Thankyou Lorna! I have actually been doing just that and it’s amazing how much more open our communication is!
        It does require extra work. Since I’ve politely calmly and firmly been able to just faceci things he has been more open and receptive and we are spending a lot more quality time together 😀
        I hope you are experiencing the same outcome!

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Carolyne, I am so glad that things are improving for you – it makes my heart glow to think that you have found strength and support from accessing this forum. Onwards and upwards!! Long may it last! These men are not easy, are they? I’m sure you will have, but did you read Colleen’s comments below – very wise!! Thank you for your concern regarding my situation. Sadly – things are still pretty much the same. I have spent some time today re-reading my diaries for the last four and a half years. I kept a record of every phone call and text and my thoughts – to try to make some sense from chaos. I think things HAVE improved considerably since first knowing him, he has opened up quite a bit, but the last few days he has gone “AWOL” again. He was very busy over Easter playing organ for all the Church services. Just before that he had a terrible operation on his eye (corneal transplant) and the last few days until yesterday had his Mother staying with him over Easter (she is 87, so very, very bossy and he finds her difficult) – so I imagine he just wants some time on his own to re-wind. He will be drinking, too, I know – although he did say he knows he must not drink to excess as he has to look after his new eye – he has to medicate with 4 different drops four times a day. I just hope he is being sensible and doing that. However, I have decided not to get anxious. I am “leaning back”, being “cool” – doing my own thing – giving him his space and waiting for him to contact me – when he is ready (well, that is the theory – but not easy – I imagine him in a drunken heap somewhere!!). Time will tell. I just hope I can gently lead him into a better way of life. I’ve tried the carrot and stick method – but that seems to make him anxious and angry, as he is very sensitive and feels rejected when I get angry, back off, and give boundaries and ultimatums. I believe he may have PTSD. Good job I have experience with wild, ferrel and farm animals – there is quite a lot of similarity!! Although I never encountered a wild bear, which might have helped. “Softly, softly catch ye monkey” is the theory. Love and every good wish to you for your future. Lorna x

  9. Simone said:

    OMG, I think I’ve lived in limbo for most of my adult life, I quite liked limbo and choice to stay there, till 12 weeks ago when my husband of almost 20 years and 28 year relationship, since we were teens, left me. I feel my life now is in turmoil. I’m struggling with the fact that he’s not coming back, wanting him to come back and nothing happening. At the moment I am in a state of fear and anxiety. I need to make a decision to move on, as he has given me no indication that he wants to come back, in truth the opposite. I want to seize my life, I want to live all out. How do I do this?

    • James Bauer said:


      You already have the motivation to seize life and move forward. Now you just need to make that your reality through daily actions.

      A good way to start is to consider the price you will have to pay in order to live your life full tilt ahead. Then resolve in your mind to pay that price. For example, that might mean you decide to let go of any remaining hope for this man to return into your life. Be willing to pay the price. That will dissolve any remaining internal ambivalence or resistance you feel about moving forward.


  10. Julia said:

    Hi again James! I’ve been reading your blog constantly, and appreciating your wisdom! Thank you for all the insight that you share!

    This particular post really hit a sore spot for me right now. I’m in a situation in which I’m battling indecision, and also struggling to understand what I really want. And while this article helps (in that it motivates me and reassures me it’s ok to just take a decision and stick with it), it still doesn’t quench my anxiety… In a way, it’s silly, because it’s not a dramatic situation, nothing bad happened so far… And still, I’ve been spinning in my head for days, trying to come up with a solution to avoid destroying a good thing by trying to ask for something greater…

    Here’s my story: last summer, while on holiday, I’ve shared a fantastic fling with an wonderful man. There was chemistry and connection, and I felt safe and taken care of; I also made a point of showing interest and respect and appreciation for all the attention and entertainment and pleasure he provided (yes–ever since I bought What Men Secretly Want more than two years ago, I’ve been successfully using the Respect Principle with anyone from my Dad to my co-workers to my dates, and it always helps). It was wonderful, and what started out as a casual sex-date turned into a 3-day romance with lots of beautiful memories to cherish. After we parted, we haven’t really kept in touch, but there were some small signs of continued interest (he found me and connected with me on various social media; I found him on a dating site where we have a freaky 99% compatibility score; and when I messaged him on his birthday, he said he “remembers our summer days quite often” and that I’m amazing and he would love to see me again). I’ve been thinking of him as well, and I firmly believe that we’d make a very good couple; but I haven’t really “waited” for him in any way (I had plenty of local dated in the meantime).

    Now, it gets tricky, because next month I will be in his country again, and I chose to spend some days in his city. I messaged him to ask for advice on transportation, and when he replied helpfully, I confessed that I would feel very happy to meet. He said it would be great, and invited me to stay at his place this time, which I accepted gratefully. Rationally, I know I should just go and be light-hearted and just enjoy the moment and make some more happy, relaxed, passionate memories. And the irrational part of me wants more; this part of me insists that this is a great man and that we could be happy together, and wants to just tell him that I would be very interested in more than a second fling, and that I’m open to getting to know him better in (for starters) some kind of non-exclusive long-distance arrangement. And I’m afraid, James. I’m afraid that this internal civil war will make me feel like a tense and anxious and tentative mess, instead of the luxuriously relaxed, zero-expectations, enjoying-the-moment vacationing goddess that I seemed last summer. I don’t want to freak him out, or change his opinion of me, or disrespect him in any way…. What can I do? Can I shut up the future-thinking part of me, and get to a point of just enjoying spending time with him again? Would it be worth it to confess my deeper interest?

    What do you think, James? Do you have any insight you can share here? Would you or my coaches be able to provide more advice if I asked this as a private question? I’ve also just re-read What Men Secretly Want, and I was thinking of trying a version of the technique in Module 6… and I’m not sure that would work, given that he’s not my boyfriend, he’s not invested in me, I’m just a girl he had an amazing time with last year… Any thoughts? Thank you!

    • James Bauer said:

      Wow, Julia. That’s quite a story!

      It sounds like much of the attraction is based on the successful application of being fully relaxed and present, which reveals your best qualities. I can see why this new turn of events makes it hard to stay in that state of mind.

      I recommend you let go of control. Instead of trying to make something happen, go there with the intent of learning (an open and inquisitive state of mind).

      Learn about his vision of the future and whether it includes a desire for a committed relationship. Learn more about what makes him happy and what he wants to focus his life on. Treat it like an opportunity to learn more about him and much of your anxiety will decrease. Naturally, you will be more relaxed with this mindset which increases the odds that he might be the one to bring up the possibility of going after something more.

      Here are two more sources for more ideas for insights:

      Sending your question to one of the relationship coaches who can spend more time brainstorming ideas for you, or

      Checking out some things I wrote on a very similar topic: destructive abundance


      • Julia said:

        Thank you so much, James! This is wonderfully helpful, I will keep it in mind. Yes, I think I was in a mindset of “destructive abundance”, and it feels useful to realize that. Saying “let go of control” sounds much more reasonable and doable when reframed in terms of learning. Learning, curiosity, being open and interested. Yes!!! I can do that. Thank you!!

  11. Charlene said:

    Im in a three month commited relationship after one month. He mentioned to me that i drew him close to me. I didn’t draw him close intentionally. I tried to let him know what i was looking for. After getting to know him a little better I liked him more and more. Know he wants to marry me. Im feeling insecure because i don’t know if i can believe him. Is he just saying this to keep me tagging on. How do i know he is telling the truth. There also have been times when i feel he is pulling back. Sometimes he is different around me from the way he was in the begining. He sometimes show negative body lauange. On the phone is still the same. He is always available. His home is always open to me. Am i putting to much into this relationship. Help!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Charlene. A relationship is based on both the present interactions and also the sense of continuity regarding commitments and expectations for what the relationship will be like in the future. It sounds like you feel good about the first part (the relationship experience right now) but uncertain how to respond to the changes he is suggesting about commitment for the future.

      Listen to your instincts. If he loves you he will be happy to continue a relationship with you rather than demanding you rush toward a commitment you don’t feel ready to make. Some of his body language confusion could be related to shifting mood states that make him prone to impulsivity or emotional sensitivity. I would recommend you let the relationship unfold slowly to watch how his way of relating to you changes (or remains stable) over time.

  12. Rozzy said:

    Hi James!

    I need your advice.
    I just want to share my situation right now. I’m gonna start by saying that I’m in a long distance relationship with a guy for more than a year now. When I say long distance, I meant oceans apart. I’m in the US and he lives in the Netherlands. Like most relationships it started with a lot of voice mails, facetime, Skype, Line you name it we’ve done it. We met in a group of musicians. He plays professional piano and sing and I play guitar, ukelele and sings as well. Long story short, I’ve found a guy who finally gets what I like and love doing and he loves it too. We fell both inlove with each others individuality and special traits. But in the past couple of months I noticed it would take him a day or two to reply to my messages the longest is three days. I didn’t bug him or nag at him for doing so. I didn’t say a thing. That’s after I found your lessons of what men really thinks. I slowly incorporated it in how I communicate with him.
    We met last November when the group that we are in had a “Meet-Up” in NY. We immediately connected like we’ve known each other for a long time.
    This coming June we’re supposed to go to Vegas. I’ve reminded him a couple of days ago that if we want to get a cheaper air fare, we better book now or else it’ll be costly.
    So, then yesterday he called. I wasn’t expecting the topic that was brought up.
    For the first time he opened up. But not the kind of talk I wanted to hear. He said he’s confused of what he wants. He’s really not sure what he wants right now. He said I’m the sweetest and the most wonderful he’s ever met and he doesn’t think he’d be able to find someone like me. By this time, my heart is just about ready to explode. I kept my calm and my voice. Emotions are strong and wasn’t able to hold it. I broke down into pool of tears still trying to come it back the whole time because I don’t want him to hear me. He heard the trembling and cracking while I speak. I asked him if he wants to break up with me and he immediately said no. He doesn’t want to break up with me but he can’t decide what he wants. He said doesn’t see himself moving right now.
    I’m also confused. He kept saying how much he loves me and he wants me to be happy and that he can’t imagine me out of the picture. Because he said everytime he thinks about it, everything turns black and sad and lonely.
    What can I possibly say or do to save our relationship?
    Please help us….
    I can’t imagine my world without him…he pulled me out of the darkness of everything I’ve been through. He’s the one that I’ve really fallen inlove for the first time. I’ve never felt so much love for a guy until I’ve met him.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Rozzy. If I understood your question correctly, it sounds like you’re saying you both love each other but he is not ready to leave his country and culture behind to move to the states. So to answer your question, it sounds like the thing you could do to save your relationship is to move to the Netherlands. Maybe you’re not ready for that either, but it sounds like the only way your relationship will work in the long-term is if you find a way to actually integrate your lives by closing the distance.

  13. DJ said:

    James, this came at the perfect time. I have been seeing the same guy for 4 years. We are exclusive, however he is ‘elusive’ about where this is going. I have made it clear I will not simply live together. He makes comments about the future and that has caused me to put my goals on hold, waiting for a decision. I want to buy a house, but have been waiting for him to make a move with us. I guess I should continue to plan my life as a single person until he decides he wants something else.

    • James Bauer said:

      I think that’s best, DJ. You’ll feel more relaxed and happy in the short run and though it’s counterintuitive, he is more likely to pursue you with a more serious commitment when you are not just waiting around for him.

      • Lena said:

        This is the answer I was looking for my own situation!
        I have to move on and live my life as a single girl now.
        Thank you DJ and James for saying it out loud here.

  14. Lorna (LaLa) said:

    Oh my goodness, once again you have hit the nail well and truly on the head, James. Your articles make so much sense. I am doing exactly that – procrastinating – worrying about getting it wrong – whether my health will be strong enough to do the things I still want to do before I am too old. At almost 67 years young, I have not got that much time left now to allow myself to procrastinate. My father used to say “You are a long time dead”. And doesn’t that say it ALL. In his memory, I will try to take the bull by the horns and get on with life. But it is not EASY when you are a natural worrier. However, your articles do help enormously. Thank you, once again, for your wonderful wisdom. It always seems to come at the right time for me. Lorna (LaLa)

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      PS – I have found that sometimes listening to other people and taking their advice can be the WRONG thing to do – they will usually try to tell you to hold back and not do the scarey things you want to do. They will even do this when you don’t ASK for their advice and even ask them specifically NOT to get involved. They just can’t help themselves. So that just makes the internal conflict even worse. I think we have to close our ears to external input, and listen to our heart and instinct. As you say, if you get it wrong, you always have the option to try again. Lorna

  15. Kath said:

    Hi there,

    This has come at a moment in my life where I’m feeling absolutely sickened with indecision. Have been living with a guy for 15 yrs and I’ve been yearning for my freedom for 14 of those years. However, now it’s come time to actually leave, I’m feeling paralysed with fear that I might be making a mistake.

    He is a lovely, gentle man however, his inability to stick up for me over the years has sucked the passion right out of me. He has the ability to stick up for others because he has stuck up for the people who have been unkind to me eg his mother who has notoriously been unkind to his girlfriends in the past has been really awful to me every time I see her. He chooses to do nothing about it, even sticking up for her when I get upset.

    Our neighbour has been really, really awful to him and he’s often saying awful things about her. However, if I say awful things about her he tells me off…in front of her. There are many other examples which I won’t bore you with.

    I am a very protective person and I need a man who will be equally protective of me. Otherwise, my guy is totally besotted with me.

    So, we now have a passionless existence, I hate it when he tries to kiss me. However, I feel strangely secure with him… I think maybe I feel strangely secure but at the same time, NOT ‘in love’ or ‘devoted’.

    Totally confused and fearful.

    Your article about being in ‘limbo’ has come at a majorly appropriate time for me.



    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Kath. It sounds like you are really good at loving those you draw into your inner circle. I’m sorry your man has not learned this important aspect of your love language (sticking up for you). Your question is one I hesitate to weigh in on without knowing a little more background so I’d encourage you to submit your question to our relationship coaches. The form for submitting your question will guide you through the process of providing some needed background info.


      • Danelle said:

        I would like to see your response and thoughts for Kath. I am in a separation from my husband and I am in this turmoil of not being able to make a decision and my thoughts and feelings seem very similar to hers. I think this is the also same feelings he has, but he will not admit to it. He is not a passionate person nor does he care to be. This is not his desire but it is mine. He has done some things during out separation that we did not agree to. I would really like to see your advice for her. Thank you.

      • James Bauer said:

        Hi Danelle. Our private responses are kept in strict confidence per our agreement with the person who submits the question. I’m sorry I cannot share that exchange with you.

        However, I think this article spoke to you for a reason. Some part of you likely recognizes something stirring inside of you, something that tells you a decision needs to be made so you do not spend your life living in an uncomfortable state of limbo.

        Wishing you the best,


    • Christine said:

      Omg Kath I’m somewhat going through what you’re going through. I’m 27 yrs into my marriage but haven’t been happy for the longest time. My husband doesn’t stick up for me either when his family puts me down. I’m so tired of him making me feel worthless, unappreciated and ugly. I’m scared to leave home though cuz his my first everything. Plus I have no support from my family. They’re against divorce. I need help.

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Christine, Firstly – do NOT do anything rash, in the heat of the moment or in haste (it does not seem as though you would, though, anyway) Secondly, get as much information together as you possibly can from websites, any free legal services, etc. regarding your rights and divorce – these will be different in every country. Knowledge is power. Thirdly, get all your ducks in a row – i.e. think out a plan and a strategy, based on what you learn about your rights and any support you can get from friends, family, state benefits, etc. regarding what your future will look like. Fourthly, learn to realize that people can only hurt you IF you allow them to!! Your husband’s remarks can only hurt you because you have no good opinion of yourself. It is your perception and reaction to his comments and actions that hurts you – not what he actually does or says. Everyone would react to them in a different way. Does that make any sense? DO NOT ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN. If his family puts you down – do not visit them. Steer clear. Why put yourself in the firing line? We have to learn to “love” ourselves, as they keep on saying these days – but for me it is more about self-respect. If you value yourself, and know that you are a good person then what others say will not bother you, remember the old saying “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but calling never hurt me”. Get some books, or go online, to learn about boosting your self-confidence – and learn to stand up to your husband. You do not have to scream and shout – just quietly pull yourself up to your full height, put your sholders back and hold your head up high. Then, either quietly state your case or just simply walk away. Or both. You do not have to argue to get your point across. He will get the message loud and clear. Once you start to have more confidence and self-assertion, you may start to see a big difference in him. Bullies can only be bullies if they have someone to bully. DO NOT LET HIM DO IT. If you are lucky, he may decide to leave, once he knows he can’t push you around, and you will get some peace!! No, joking apart, YOU do not leave the family home. You are in a much stronger position if you stay where you are, if you do decide to take legal action. Lastly – do try to work on your marriage. There is an awful lot of advice in James’ articles which we women should take on board and put into action. There are always two sides to a story – and just maybe you are actually making things worse. I do not say this spitefully, but I have just spent a week with two dear married friends who are at each others’ throats constantly, and I can see faults on both sides. Read as much as you can about relationships, put it into action, and keep your fingers crossed. If you can, get your husband on board, too, and maybe go for counselling. I can tell you, having been separated and divorced now for almost 9 years – that “alone” is a very lonely place. Even with lots of friends and hobbies, I still feel totally alone – so think long and hard before you go there. Do you have a life of your own, Christine? Do you get out with friends, do you have things to take you out of the house, do you have lots of hobbies? We cannot rely on someone else to make us happy – you have to do that for yourself. Don’t sit at home moaning about how bad your life is. Decide to make changes, and you may see a vast improvement to your situation. How about a different haircut, some nice new, modern, sexy clothes and a visit to the manicurist and beautician, if you say you feel “ugly”. If it doesn’t make him sit up and take notice, maybe you will attract some other man into your life. I hope things work out well for you, but it has to start with YOU – do not wait for other people to make a difference in your life. IT IS YOUR LIFE – LIVE IT. With love and hugs, and every good wish for a wonderful future. Lorna x

  16. Karen said:

    Live all out. I like that! It’s so much better than the annoyingly ubiquitous YOLO. Thank you for not saying that, hahaha.

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