“Say What You Feel.” Why it works. When to use it.

Communication problems in relationship.What do you do when a man acts in ways that hurt your feelings?

What do you do if his actions leave you feeling neglected or lonely, even when you are in a relationship? How do you communicate angry feelings constructively?

Many of the questions I receive from women around the world have a common theme. A man is not giving as much as he could in the relationship and they ask me what to do.

Here’s my advice in a nutshell.

You should tell him what you feel. But there is a specific way to do this correctly.

Done correctly, an open verbal expression of your feelings (without blame) can simultaneously spur him to action, raise your own self-esteem, and increase his feelings of attraction toward you.

Let’s discuss how it’s done.

There are two critical factors you must keep in mind. The two factors are his emotional reactions and your emotional reactions. These are the only real barriers to complete honesty.

Honesty is what we need, but we all know someone who is a little too honest, lacking emotional sensitivity in the way they express their thoughts and feelings. You don’t want to be that person.

So how do you find the balance between honesty and sensitivity?

No two situations are exactly alike, but I recommend you stick to this basic formula. Focus on describing your sad or hurt feelings while minimizing or completely leaving out the various ways he caused you to feel that way. Be completely honest about the emotions you are experiencing.

Here’s what will happen.

He will either guess why you feel hurt, sad, or angry, or he will ask you why you feel hurt, angry, or sad. Either way, try to keep the focus of discussion on your feelings, as if you are leaving it up to him to figure out what he needs to do about it. It’s okay to say a sentence or two about the disappointed hopes or unmet expectations behind your feelings, but do not get into accusations or even a discussion of what he did wrong.

You are not responsible for correcting his course of action. That’s his job. If he values his relationship with you, he will work hard to figure out how he blew it with you. There is a certain level of self-esteem and self-respect that comes from owning our own feelings but not begging or pleading for someone else to change the way they are impacting our feelings. He will realize you are independent and in control of yourself. He will realize he needs to change his own behavior quick if he wants to keep you.

This works so much better than focusing on what he did wrong. The knee-jerk human reaction to accusations and blame is defensiveness. When someone doesn’t seem to be on the attack, defensiveness goes down. What’s more, it puts him in a position where he is actually seeking information about how he can improve. Instead of you shoving the information down his throat in a way that makes him feel angry or defensive, you simply state your feelings as feedback he needs to be aware of regarding the outcomes of his actions (or inactions).

I know this can be difficult. Our emotions make it easy to slip over that edge and really let him have it once we breach a topic that has been bothering us. I only ask you to strive for implementing this formula. Don’t try to be perfect.

So the next time you find yourself wondering what you should do when he lets you down, think about the underlying emotion you are experiencing. Take the focus off of his actions. Instead, focus on gently but honestly and openly expressing how you feel.

Don’t play games or act mysterious. That will drive a man crazy. You are going to avoid direct questions if he asks you why you feel sad. You will answer his question with a factual statement about how you felt when he did such and such an action. I’ll give you an example in a minute.

Your response to a direct question must be spoken softly, with appropriate eye contact and absolutely no vengeful or bitter anger. Remember, you want to attract him with your strong self-esteem. People with good self-esteem do not express themselves with hate or vengeful anger. When he feels attracted to you, he will want to do what he can to win your love and keep you.

Here’s an example scenario to show you what I mean when I say you should respond to direct questions with a factual statement about how you felt:

David: “But, why are you feeling disappointed and angry?”

Teresa: “I told all my friends you would meet us there at 2 o’clock. I had pictured it a certain way in my mind. When you still weren’t there at 3 o’clock, I started to feel nervous about the impression it would make on my friends. Then I started to feel rejected or unimportant.”

Notice that in this example, Teresa told the honest truth while focusing on her own thoughts, expectations, and resulting feelings. She did not say things about how rude and insensitive he was. She did not say something like, “I mean, come on! An hour late? That’s ridiculous!” That kind of response would just bring up his defensiveness and lead to arguments that make you both feel worse.

When you openly express your own emotions, and leave out the accusatory remarks, you are inviting him to make amends. You are simultaneously acting in a way that will cause him to respect you more and feel more attracted to you. Essentially, this formula is designed to bring out the best in the man you are with.

This formula will be somewhat helpful no matter what, but to supercharge the effect; you need to use it in combination with the respect principle. If you have not already implemented that set of irresistible male attraction triggers, learn more about it here.


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69 thoughts on ““Say What You Feel.” Why it works. When to use it.

  1. This advice couldnt of came at a better time for me as i have something pressing to talk to my partner about that has been bothering me for a long time.
    After blowing up at him in the past and regretting it sorely, this issue has been left unresolved as i didnt know how to approach him in a positive way where i wouldnt create conflict or offend him but still feel like i have made myself heard and respected.

    Thank you kindly for your guidance, James!!

  2. Unicorn Goddess said:

    Wish I’d read this last night!!!

  3. Unicorn Goddess said:

    Just to clarify – I’m in the UK and its 9.53am here now πŸ˜‰ xxx

  4. Hawa said:

    You are a genius I see and feel the difference before I use this tactic thanks

  5. june said:

    Hi James,
    June here again. After the lunch for my sons graduation, i havent gone on a date since with my man which was on the 13/7/2013. Now an issue of my car battery came up which he was supposed to purchase n bring to my house last week saturday. This couldnt come on bcos he sent his driver on an errand who came back late and so promised to come on sunday. He failed to come and did not even informed me of his reasons. So around 8.00pm i sent him a text to let him know that am hurt n disappointed. His reply was if the tables had turned he would have asked why? And that he is much worried in my kids disaapointment than me.

    My reply was “i see. well am not comfortable with that answer cos this was not the first time” he replied by saying am i going to keep his mistakes and if so then he is n for trouble moreover he has his flaws as a human and he doesnt deliberately disappoint.

    I replied by saying that i know he has flaws just like i have. And as humans as we are we can make mistakes and that is why i love him, but wants him to know how i feel at that point in time. James as many times that he has disppointed me i have never complained and i felt it was becoming too much n if not might take me for granted.

    That day we communicated he tried calling but mine line was engaged. I did a call back which he did not pick. I changed my job last week and so had to change my number which i sent him a message to that effect and he has not acknowledged it. I have not called nor texted him afterwards and neither has he. He has just gone MIA again.

    Why? is this an issue to go cold on?

    Pls help me cos am worried.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey June. Because the details of your situation are starting to reveal increasingly private issues, please ask these questions through our private coaching portal. You can find it here.

  6. Colleen said:

    Hi James
    Oh my word. I’m in a place where I’m either chuckling or have a quiet snit at myself.
    I told my guy on the weekend what I want from him. He promptly told me that he does not need anyone, and we really are just friends. So I waited, a few moments, and said “Cool” and left him. It did hurt, I must admit, in fact, my heart is sore, although I am aware that when boundaries are beginning to be put into place, men do revolt. πŸ™‚
    So I have just left it. Yesterday I got several messages, well question marks really, and today 3 missed calls. I sent him a quick message saying I was tied up till mid afternoon. I got a “Whatever.” We are in a LDR and he is going back to work, end of the week for 6 weeks.
    I really would like to use your “think of love, when speaking to him…” We seem to get so emotional about things though, and usually I am the one that backs away, because the last time we did this… some very harsh things were said and we split up. And we may have to do this telephonically. Any suggestions?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Colleen. It seems like a situation where one of you needs to cut through the escalating expressions of hurt feelings and just say, “Hey, this is what I want, and I want you to be happy in this too. How can we work together to make that happen?” This kind of straight talk can end a lot of the positioning and biting forms of rejection (which are mostly about feeling hurt and unloved).

      • Colleen said:

        Thank you James. Your advice is really good, I just need to ensure to print it on a post it note whipping it out when I need it. Unfortunately, right now, he has something to deal with from his past, and has shut me out, to a point. He kept telling me that he couldn’t offer me what I wanted, although I was not able to actually say anything. So eventually I ended it by saying this was all pointless as he had made his decision. Which then really frustrated him. I got a text immediately after apologising that he was a disappointment to me and that if I knew what really was going on I would understand… I gently said that I would need his help to understand, I cared about how he feels and I would leave it until he was ready….

  7. Anonymous in Htown said:

    Hi James…. quick scenario. He and I had broken up for the 3rd time in 3 years. It’s always over the same scenario…and overbearing jealous ex wife that’s always trying to run me off..(he only has boundaries sometimes because she wears him down daily) He raises the kids and she follows no schedule of seeing them. Often sees them when there are football games are when she can be around my guy. She does things that you only see in movies and pretending to be an angel in front of him. I’ve waited the month with no contact…. we are finally talking again and it’s become purely sexual. He is totally obsessed with me sexually. We’ve met one night for an amazing sexual encounter. No words of problems were spoken. The raw sex turned into passionate love making toward the end of the evening. He wanted to meet again the next night and I gently convinced him to meet tonight instead. He sends me sexual videos and pics…all day he is sexting…. NOW…he is saying things are great the way they are. This has always been the magic in our relationship and now we can have this without all of the other issues….also has said if I date other people that he will have to be ok with that. How do I turn his passion and obsession for me into happily ever after???

    • James Bauer said:

      Wow. That’s a big question. While it’s probably more appropriate for our email-coaching because of the complexity of the process involved, I will mention a couple things here.

      You have nothing to lose. What you want is a relationship, and he has not been standing up to his ex or working on the relationship with you. Therefore, you do not have what you want. He, apparently, is willing to settle for the way things are. So he does have something he wants. Because of this, you have leveraging power. However, you cannot bribe a man into having a great relationship with you. He has to want it. Your job is to use the leverage you have, not to force him to try harder on the relationship side of things, but to WANT to try harder.

      He may back down to his ex-wife as a way of protecting his finances from more attorney fees if she comes up with a reason to sue him again for custody issues regarding his kids. Nonetheless, I think you should start by building some baby steps. Start with defining a new relationship that allows the two of you to interact outside of any context where his ex-wife would know about it. Gradually talk with him more and more about POSSIBILITIES, but with no pressure or promises. Kindle the flames of his passion for the idea of a genuine relationship with you. Eventually you will ask him how far he is willing to go to protect his relationship with you. I know this is vague, but it’s going to be a gradual process that I could not explain all at once. If you want to fast-forward your progress, look into my training course on how to develop your own internal dating coach through intuition. You can find it here.

      Good luck!

  8. Lina said:

    This advice is golden. I wish I would have seen this weeks ago. My situation is slightly similar to anonymous in htown. I’m in a fairly new LDR with someone I dated for brief moment in college a few years ago until he moved away for his career. He’s going through a custody battle with his ex too and on top of trying to secure a new job contract, has a million other things going on to where he never seems to have time for me, yet when he does come to see me its as if we have no issues and it ends up being quite a passionate ordeal. Once he leaves, the weeks in between turn into an “out of sight, out of mind” thing that makes me feel more of a fling than a girlfriend who he sees a future with (he has said he wanted to marry me back then, and when we got back in touch he professed his feelings for me–they never went away even though we both moved on with our lives when he left.

    Every time I have felt sad or upset that he wasn’t putting any effort into the relationship (seeing each other for a day every 3-4 weeks and not talking in between (mostly texting) a relationship does not make in my eyes) I would express these feelings and he would apologize & ask that I bear with him during his rough patch. He thanked me for being so patient at one point b/c I gave up on him calling, etc. and only talked to him if he text 1st or I sent an encouraging message. But I can’t be in a relationship where I feel neglected and can’t lean on him when I’m having a rough time as well. It goes in a cycle of sorts: I make my feelings known, he calls and we talk about it, he asks me to bear with it for a bit longer, something good happens in his life and he’s happy & texts more, then the ex pisses him off or his job leads fall through or he’s busy overall and he’s distant again, I feel the distance and feel even more neglected and cycle repeats. I think since we’ve gotten back together our longest convos are arguments about what’s been happening. Other than that I can’t get him on the phone for anything b/c he’s always busy or doesn’t want to talk (which is 99.9% of the time and causes more problems) I’ve called him on different occasions and he doesn’t answer and never bothers to call me back anymore. He has even told me before that he has dodged my calls on purpose because he was doing something on his phone. And that’s the stuff that sparks my ill feelings that beget the deep phone calls. I stopped calling him after that and he had the nerve to ask me not too long after why I never call him. He felt guilty when I told him it was because it hurt when he ignored my calls and I was tired of setting myself up for disappointment thinking I could call and he’s answer.

    The most recent presentation of my feelings resulted in him getting angry and calling me selfish and inconsiderate (I think part of that was his ex upsetting him the days before, but still). He always seemed to be remorseful and wanting to do better when I said something before. He even said we should break up b/c of how I was acting (even though I tried a few times to do that b/c I felt used and neglected, etc & felt he didn’t have time for a relationship…and he wasn’t having it)

    I never know the extent of what he’s feeling about anything b/c he won’t talk to me. I’ve made it known that I’m here if he needs me but he’s only ever vented like once early on. I really want us to work out but I’m not seeing it. Any advice on how to communicate with him without doing any further damage? I love him and don’t want to give up on him, yet at the same time I feel I deserve a lot better than what I’ve been getting from him.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Lina. It sounds as if he may not be ready for a relationship. He has (in words and actions) requested that you just wait for him to one day be less busy and ready for a relationship. You are not okay with an indefinite “maybe one day,” so you need to get out of the relationship. There are two exceptions. First, you could tell him you are willing to wait, but you need a definite point in time to look forward to when things will change (and why he thinks things really will change at that point). The second possibility is that you give him your BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement) which is, “I love you and if you can find a way to change I want to keep you. If you cannot, I will seek companionship elsewhere. A BATNA does not always “work” so to speak, but you will be in a stronger position if you know in advance what your BATNA is. Be sure to use the respect principle when responding.

      James

      • Lina said:

        Hi James,

        Thanks for your response. I read it a while back but never responded because I wanted to feel things out a bit and try to use your method within time without messing it up some kind of way. I don’t think I am gonna give him a BATNA or even ask when he thinks he would be ready for a relationship b/c I feel, even going about it respectfully, he’s gonna get all hostile about it. He never has time for me and doesn’t seem to want to make a way for me to fit into his life, so I am letting him go.

        This guy (not even gonna refer to him as my boyfriend anymore because it doesn’t feel like we’re in a relationship) continues to contact me via text but whenever I ask to set up a skype date, he avoids it either by not responding to my text or by not following through on the plans. He never calls me back and the only way he managed to call recently was b/c it was my birthday. Even that took him all day to do (it was almost over by then).

        As much as I love him and care about him, I don’t see him changing and I feel like he doesn’t care how he’s hurting or treating me.

        Thanks for your advice

        • James Bauer said:

          I think you are wise to respect your intuition about this man’s potential for being a good partner, Lina. Someone who deserves a woman like you is out there…someone with passion for building something great with a partner who shares his desire to find more meaning through deep sharing and the choice to build a life together.

  9. clarissa said:

    Hello James. I need some advice. I have been seeing a man and been going out for the past 7 months off and on…in the beginning of course things went good..we go out to places to keep dates interesting..he would make plans to go out and I make plans as well..I thought things were going great and to take each other time. Then we get really close like getting intimate like example: oral..but no intercourse whatsoever. That’s it. He starts to find me attractive and I find him attractive too. Then I noticing for the past couple of months since our last date…things are like starting to slow down a bit…the last time I seen him was like a month ago because of an event I went to in CT and I was letting him know I was in the area. So he said like cool…after the event was over he said just call me to pick you up…so I did and spent the night at his place and after that we started getting cozy talking about how much he missed my kisses and stuff. So after that he dropped me off to the train station..I said to him before I left “I know we have been going out for a while now and I just want you to be honest with me, can we continue seeing each other like date you?” And he agreed. So I left and returned home. Well its now september and I don’t want to plan any date because I made it clear to him of what I said a month ago. So one day I logged in on instagram I saw a pic of his hand holding a female hand….my gut churned..so I contacted him and asked him a question: Are you involved with someone? His response: why u ask that? I said because I need you to be honest. His response was : No I am not involved, but if I was I would tell you. So I responded I see well the reason I asked is because I saw a picture of your hand with a female.. a d immediately he took it down. He responded back by saying: oh I was just bored. I was hanging out with my friend and she took the picture and wanted to started trouble. So instead of going off crazy I responded by teling him what I felt..I said I fear you are losing interest in .e and felt bothered. He said: No not at all, meaning he is not losing interest. Please help me with this James. I feel he is drifting and pulling away. How can I connect witj him again like when we first went out?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Clarissa. It seems there is a need for improved communication about what you both want (right now and in the future). It seems the two of you may have moved too fast toward a level of intimacy that was not matched by your level of commitment and communication about what it all means. If you want an exclusive relationship with him, it should mean you both spend a lot of time deliberately pursuing each other. It also means you both discuss what “a lot of time” means. Invite him over to spend some time talking about what you want and what he wants for the relationship. Don’t accuse, just learn. Let him learn what you want. This may reveal ways you can work to make the relationship more satisfying.

      • clarissa said:

        Hello James. Im taking it into stride. But how will I do that and what are the exact words to say..I want to take things slow and not rush into a commitment right now. Can you give me some examples? And another question…how can I build an emotional connection to him?

  10. clarissa said:

    Hello james. Can I also connect with him emotionally? How will I do that?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Clarissa. Please look into the BeIrresistible.com personal coaching for questions that are not specifically about the blog articles. You can find it at our catalog of services here.

  11. Vicky said:

    What would be your advice for a guy who when I take this approach and tell him that I’m feeling hurt or upset and his reply is to shrug it off with a comment like ‘Oh, you’re being ridiculous.’ It’s like unless I spell it out for him, he has no idea that he’s done anything wrong.

    • James Bauer said:

      Your question made me laugh, Vicky, because there was a time in my life when I used to secretly wish my partner would “spell it out,” when she was mad and I couldn’t really see what I had done to deserve her anger. Later I learned how to ask (the right way) and genuinely listen for the emotion underneath angry accusations. But honestly, you could make things a lot easier for him if you did just spell it out. The key, though, is that you need to be compassionate and not vindictive when you talk with him, or else he will just get defensive and feel too hurt to respond in a way that brings resolution.

  12. Regan said:

    I totally blew it before seeing this advice I acted insecure and expecting. I’m trying to reset things to how they were I apologized for my behavior via text only communication we have at this point and he said it’s ok πŸ™ I said TY πŸ™‚ he said I’m sorry too. I said understandable. That was two days ago and I haven’t heard anything since. Maybe it’s too late for this relationship now that I acted insecure. He told a mutual friend I was insecure and my card was played before he met me.

    I’m not going to contact him again right if he still has interest he will? It was a new relationship so bi don’t have much footing in to a allow for mistakes like this. So course if action you would recommend and I’ve tried forgetting him but it hasn’t been easy.

  13. Esmeralda said:

    I did this last week and it worked. I felt safe to speak and without any anger or resentment. He listened to me and understood me, did change in a better way right away. He was receptive and I didn’t have to change my person. It was great. I didn’t even realize I did it. I’m not used to expressing y feelings so directly and to the point but I am glad I did it. It made me feel empowered to myself and independent taking ownership of my own feelings.

  14. Ninette said:

    Oh my goodness- THIS WORKS!!!! I have always struggled with being able to speak my mind when I have feelings for someone. I can do it when I am calm, but not when I am in the ‘feeling’ moment. So right after reading this last night, I had my an old fling that had stood me up and I never heard from again, text me. I was able to respond back not with venom, but with, this is how I felt when you did that. (not is a mushy way) and the responses were amazing. I got closure and I said my peace. Then I have another guy that I am dating that is VERY casual, almost too much who was pushing back getting together again. So, the first few times he did this, I either didn’t respond, or I was ‘light’ about it, not wanting to appear clingy. Tonight, I said how it made me feel and that his actions and words were not lining up and it was confusing me. And STOPPED THERE. That is the hard part. ACK! Got a date next week. ha!

    • James Bauer said:

      Excellent! Thanks for sharing your happy outcome! πŸ™‚

  15. sylvia said:

    Thank you James for the valuable education. I am single now but without doubt I will use all of yours knowledge in the future πŸ™‚

    Best Regards

    Sylvia

  16. Anita said:

    Hi James
    I have been forwarding some of these articles to a male friend, back in the dating world after a long marriage. He is truly a lovely and genuine person. Do you have a similar site for the men who must be interested in getting it right the second time around? And sadly there is not the physical chemistry or I would snap him myself. He is a good man, no, human being, describes him much better – the fact he is a man is simply a matter of gender.

    • James Bauer said:

      I don’t (yet), but several others have asked me about this, so I am considering it.

  17. Holly said:

    Hi James, whenever I go into your video, the program never comes up to buy. It will go through the whole video, yet no button comes up, the rest of the screen just remains blank.
    Thank you so much for this article, it is really helpful and I believe it will help me a lot as sometimes I feel I shouldn’t bring certain things up to my husband because of past experiences. This seems a better way to talk about things and you made it really clear.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hello, Holly. Please send an email to support@beirresistible.com and my assistant will send you a link where you can pick up a copy of the program without watching the video. I’m glad this article was helpful to you!

      James

  18. Kia said:

    I have a long distance connection with a man – we were good long distance friends for many years, and it recently turned into more when we met in person. He doesn’t want to call it a relationship “because of the distance” but says we would have potential if we lived close and admits that it already kind of feels like we’re dating. We talk every day and flirt a lot and plan to meet again, but I notice that while I am very invested and very into him, he is often distracted multitasking and busy when he talks to me, never really giving me his full attention. He makes me feel like other things like his hobbies are a higher priority than me. Yet he says he’d feel strange if we didn’t talk for a few days. He also doesn’t verbally express affection for me much – we have a lot of banter, teasing and flirting, but it is very rare for him to talk about emotions and closeness and express affection outright. I am becoming quite serious about him, to the point where I would probably move to be with him, but I don’t feel I’m getting the same level of interest back. However, when I suggest to him that I would like to be closer, he says that we are already close, that I “already know him pretty well” and that he doesn’t know what I mean. I don’t want to scare him by telling him I love him or would move for him. What can I do to connect to him in a more serious way?

    • Kia said:

      he also tells me that the emotional distance i perceive between us is “not a real thing” and that I’m essentially imagining it, that he doesn’t see it, that he “doesn’t know why I’m trying to complicate things”, that sometimes he’s slow to reply because he’s busy but that’s all. Yet I see a big difference in how much attention I give him and how much he gives me, and I feel that I’m very serious about him whereas he is quite casual about things. How am I supposed to create more affection in this situation…

    • James Bauer said:

      Kia, I honestly feel that this article is perfect for your situation. After all, what do you have to lose by telling him what you really feel? In the worst-case scenario, he runs screaming and you never talk to him again. If that’s how he feels about getting close with you (or you choosing to move closer so that the relationship can flourish) then you really have lost nothing. However, if he secretly wishes he could make you the most important person in his life, talking about the possibilities for making that a reality could change both of your lives forever.

      • Kia said:

        Yes but what do I do if he denies that he is being distant and denies that there is a problem, and seems confused when I say I feel distance from him and says I am imagining it… while I very clearly feel that he is distant compared to how I am towards him…

        • James Bauer said:

          See if you can write down three observable behaviors that create the feeling you are talking about. Then use those descriptions to translate what you feel into language he can understand.

  19. Susanna said:

    Hi James,
    I’m in a LDR situation almost a year, a day before before I met this guy his crush of 9years told him she love him but he still choose to date me because she’s a married woman.. While time goes by he told me he is ready to have relationship with me but till today I still feel like a third wheel also feel like not be taken serious.. I did told him what I feel but he always tell me you think too much or don’t let it go over your head… Here’s the problem they work together almost side by side and whatever she say or said to him always bothers him .. One time I was over at his place he was happy and acting silly till he got a phone call that she had an accident .. That completely changed him for the next few days before I came back home he sobbed and told me that he feel really sick to his stomach because he can’t prevent the accident. Till today he consistently to tell me he don’t care about her but that’s not what I feel.. Few weeks ago I mention break up 3 times, he rejected and told he wants me .., I’m so very confuse, depress and don’t know how to talk to him about my feeling in the way that will save our relationship ..

    Susanna

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Susanna. This is a perfect question for a private consultation with one of our professional relationship coaches. It’s better for these kinds of questions that are very personal and require a bit more background understanding of the situation.

      James

  20. Maria M said:

    Hi James,
    I am in a really lovely relationship with a man who writes me poetry and tells me how much he loves me often. I have really studied and prepared for this relationship. We have been together only 2 months, and know that what I have learned from you and others have brought me to this wonderful place with a man I very much love back. This said, sometimes I get scared when he also says things like “if we are still together then” or writes “if our love continues to stoke the fire”, etc. You get the picture. We try not to get overwhelmed thinking of the future, but do dream together. I know it’s the reality of only knowing each other a short time and that the truth is, none of us know the future and it’s important not to get ahead of ourselves and to keep true communication. But still, I get worried that he is putting a distancing thing in the mix… I feel these kinds of insecure feelings are from fears, not strengths, and maybe are something we need to deal with on our own rather than bringing them up. Any thoughts?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Maria. The examples you gave are well within the limits of normal speech patterns people use when talking about a relationship in the future (at least when you’ve only been dating for two months). The more you value something, the easier it is to let fear take over as you begin to fear losing the thing you value. Fear has a way of destroying good relationships. I think it would be best if you looked past the fear that his comments might be some kind of secret message intended to keep you distant. Instead, allow your irresistible qualities to shine by thinking more about what you do want in the relationship and less about the unknown.

      • Maria M said:

        Thanks James, I’ll do my best to remain shiny and irresistible! πŸ™‚

  21. My birthday was last Tuesday and the man I’ve been seeing every week for over 9 months now was also my angel in a square dance class that ended in our graduation on my birthday, so even though I normally just stay at his house on Saturday nights (driving the 22 miles home on Sunday), I made the trip Tuesday so we could have a birthday dinner before the dance. We had a nice cocktail when we returned home and made love as usual on Saturday. Wednesday morning he told me he has begun seeing another woman as well and when I asked him why, he said that he just likes variety. This caught me completely by surprise because I thought he understood that I could not share a man. I had plans with him to attend a workshop to improve my (very new) square dance skills tonight. After thinking it over yesterday (Wednesday) I drafted an email -follows:
    I told you from the start that I wanted an exclusive relationship. I didn’t even speak to my old boyfriend when I went to Chicago for ***’s birthday (did not even tell him what dates I’d be in the city). *** told me he was hinting that he’d like to attend the party when he dropped off my stuff that was at his house (I had only asked for the dresses).

    Since you told me you want variety, I’ve decided to leave the square dancing to your other lady friend; I was only trying to learn because it’s important to you. For the time being, I’ll just keep our regular Saturday-Sunday tryst. You can have the rest of the week for her (just change the sheets and have a good bath in-between- LOL).

    I’m putting a new profile up on C***.com to see if I can find myself a one-woman man there, but in the meantime, I DO ENJOY you. And I did love you.

    The thing that most impressed me the day we met was the fact that you care enough about your mother to put the time you spend with her first. I was also impressed by your many talents in having helped your parents build their house and the fact that you work in lapidary and silver, have kept bees and done brewing. Once I relocated, I had plans to try those two latter with your help. I also wanted to do more camping events, and had contacted *** regarding a camp toilet of wood to cover a 5-gallon bucket and was planning to buy the shower enclosure and solar bags.
    Now, I have no future plans until I have a boyfriend.

    I’ll be there Saturday.

    • samiam said:

      I think you would do best to cut it off all tgtr or accept things as they are. You half way stand up for yourself to say you don’t want an open relationship only to then say you are willing to still have “FUN” on weekends. Either leave or stay but don’t try to play tough girl hoping he will beg you to stay because even I a stranger can read that’s what you are doing. You don’t really mean your words that you are ready to walk. You are begging him to pick you. This will cause him to do opposite and pick her.

  22. Diane said:

    I think the first page may have gotten list
    We my man and I have been together for 8 years.. The good bad and ugly..

  23. Lindsey D. said:

    My man changed his settings on FB so now when I post a picture or status update tagging him, none of his friends can see it. THAT hurt my feelings and I feel he has something to hide. He denied changing his settings and accused me of over-thinking things. There is only one way to change settings and that is manually. How do I approach this with him?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Lindsey. I really think the approach outlined in my article fits in your situation. You told him what you think, but you really need to explain how you feel. Talking about feelings allows him to see why his actions matter.

      The primary feeling you have is fear. Say something like, “I know it probably sounds irrational to you, but it makes me afraid that you don’t want your friendship group to see me as your significant other.” While his initial response may still be defensive, he’ll probably come around to address your fear more directly. He will probably also understand your perspective better. Even if he doesn’t reverse the changes on Facebook, you will have succeeded at showing him a sensitivity that he should avoid trampling on in the future.

  24. MinooA said:

    We dated just for 3 times (before that he was showing obvious interest-we are colleagues), then he stopped contacting me. I was busy for several days and I was traveling for couple of weeks (he knew that) but he did not contacted me. Long story short, after we met again and talked he said he met another woman, and he is dating her. So that was the end. We did not contacted or met after (for about 3 months we did not met by accident even).

    After we saw each other at work again (I tried to keep it friendly, I dated other guys during the time, but honestly still I am interested) he start using any opportunity to help me with things. Always keep conversations with me… Recently whenever we are talking or something, he say something about when we were dating, he say it clearly (you remember we walked this way together… once we met there, so on). I really do not undrestand why he keep bringing these up? And how I should response? (He also asks me if I have bf, and if I am dating?)

    Meanwhile he broke with the girl he was dating, he dated another girl and broke up… I noticed he dates a lot. He divorced for about 3 years ago.
    I think he have several good qualities , and he is a very nice person. We are very good as friends, and I really enjoy talking to him always. How I can learn if there is any potential? and what is the right thing to do? I know he might be hurt from the past and he needs time, but I feel he likes to have a relationship from what he says, and all his friends are married.

    For several months I have been very confused with the situation, but I feel it has great benefits for me to learn a lot. You have been one of the best resources taught me many things, thank you!

    • James Bauer said:

      With the way your relationship has unfolded in the past, did he always take the lead? If not, consider that he may be in the same situation as you. He may wonder if there is any interest in starting things up between the two of you again.

      If so (and if it is appropriate in your culture) you could tell him you would consider it if he decided to ask you out again. This leaves room for him to still take action (taking the lead) while eliminating his hesitation if he does have an interest.

  25. monique said:

    Because I’ve purchased and read “How to make him Desire you” I tried this angle. I tried to establish a safe atmosphere for me and my new partner to discuss an challenge we are both facing. I gave him his space and time. I finally called…I had to. No answer. I sent a text so that he knew I had a couple good things to share with him. He said let’s talk tomorrow, he was tired and had a headache. I sent an email sharing my thoughts and feelings and sharing my respect for him and our new beginnings acknowledging that we are two good people who do like each other who are going through a rough patch…hoping we could press the reset button, whatever that looks like. Note that the issue we are experiencing is predominantly his doing, however I’ve owned my part and instead of applying blame tried to work through this with him. Instead, he is behaving as if I’m the bad guy and witholding communication and distancing himself from the situation and the friendship. When “tomorrow” never came, ten minutes before this article came through I pressed the send button on a much different response to his absence and neglect. I blasted him! By this morning is when I received a response acknowledging that my feelings are hurt and that he will call me to discuss since that is “the appropriate thing to do”….It’s awful that I could only get his attention when I unraveled on him and to accept his call at this point would be nothing more than patronizing. All this to say, I tried it both ways and regrettably I’m dealing with a person with avoidance issues and either way I feel I’ve lost him. Overall though James…thanks! It is good advice IF we’re dealing with a mature person who can address grownup issues like grownups.

    • James Bauer said:

      Sorry you are going through all that, Monique. It sounds like you have done your part. You can’t create a good relationship without some help from the other person. Although you might get better results with the methods described in this article if you channel angry feelings in a way the other person is more likely to be able to hear without getting defensive.

  26. Shelly said:

    Hi! yes totally agree with this …My therapist taught me how to do this years ago BUT it doesn’t work with someone who is emotionally unavailable and unhealthy….I like to believe their is good in people but this last guy I dated …after a month of dating he forgot about one of our dates.(Which I let him know that was NOT ok with me)..Which I don’t understand how you just forget about something like that he was apologetic and said he wanted to make it up to me so he asked to take me to dinner my choice so i suggested the grove it’s a beautiful outdoor shopping center that has a farmers market and he said to me i can’t afford dinner there (NOT expensive at all by any means and this guy is 43) and then proceeded to say I HATE THE EFFIN GROVE that’s how he texted me…and told me I was cheap for not wanting to split it him…after that I was… I don’t deserve to be treated that way….and told him to forget it and blocked him….I was SO disappointed and why would someone be that horrid to another person…I just don’t get it….I was in SHOCK and this happened very early on…good riddance i know. THX for the good advice.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Hi Shelly, It sounds to me that this guy may have a serious drink problem, especially as he also forgot a date – what was that about? !! If he does not have enough money to take you out and pay occassonally, especially as it was his suggestion as a make-up gesture, it all looks a bit fishy. You are well rid of him – leave him for some other poor girl to sort out!! It’s all good experience. Best of luck. Lorna

  27. Colleen said:

    Hi James,
    I am so appreciative that you re-post these articles over periods of time. Thank you!

    I noted with surprise that I commented on here several years ago. Your advice, and article was sound, but without fully understanding what I had to do, the advice did not resonate as soundly as it does now.
    I’ve taken an amazing journey of self-growth and personal improvement since then.

    We actually split up not too long after my comment to your article.
    We’re now back in each other’s space. With much more wisdom, healthy interaction (to a point), and mutual respect.

    But for the last little while, I’ve been out of sorts for a number of reasons. Some his, some mine. I know I have to address them, but I’m still finding it a little tough to communicate my own feelings effectively, get out of the comfort zone of withdrawing until the feelings subsided. (Which was never effective medium to long term)

    I knew, as your article states, this is the way I need to get through to him, but needed some sort of kick in the right direction.
    Especially as women tend to spell out everything, making it very long winded, losing your man’s attention – until you can see his eyes are glazed as he’s trying to figure out why I’m so upset trying to express my feelings to him. (LOL!)

    Keep those articles coming… they’re much appreciated!

    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks, Colleen. I’m glad you found inspiration from this article (twice!). I hope things go well for you as you begin the process of sharing a vision for a better relationship with him.

      James

  28. Lena said:

    How can you tell him what you feel about something he did without placing yourself in “victim mode”?

    For instance if my boyfriend is reluctant to tell his family about me and it makes me feel that I am not “good enough”.

    Even if I know the real reason has nothing to do with how good I am. It is that he has always been judged and critized by his family and doesn’t want to upset them or become critized because he broke up with his long time girlfriend (that they are found of) and become together with me.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Lena. You might gain insight on this issue by asking yourself the right kinds of questions. For example, you might spend some time brainstorming answers to this question, “how can I frame this in a way that draws us closer together, like two teammates facing a hardship as one?” Or, “what is the benefit I get if he stands up to his family and invites me into their lives? How can I express that underlying desire without challenging his reluctance on this particular issue?”

      James

      • Lena said:

        Thank you very much, James, that makes sense!

        I read all your blogs and I reread your book from time to time, especially the chapter about the respect principle. Of the different relationship coaches I have read, you are my definite favourite πŸ™‚

    • Colleen said:

      Hi Lena, I know James responded to you with some sound advice.

      I’ve been in your position, I’m also much more assertive than my boyfriend, and it really got me upset when I felt he didn’t “stand up” for or “defend” my honor. Which meant when we in this sort of situation, I was stressed, which he felt. I shutdown when I’m like this, which makes me look stern and very unapproachable.
      This made him more wary and cautious, which then would set my teeth on edge! Leading to conflict that had nothing to do with what really was the issue.

      By me perceiving that he was not acting for us, I felt unimportant, lower than an earthworm, unloved, churlish, hurt, angry and frustrated.

      I’ll share something that works for me. I turn the situation around.
      You’re wanting your boyfriend’s reassurance and acknowledgement of your place in his life – not his family. But still want them to like you.
      Just as he wants your approval and needs to know you’re happy with him.
      With love and positive intent (it can be difficult to feel this), wrap him in a hug – ” I would like your family’s like and approval, I am nervous that they won’t. I’m going to need your help to give me a glowing recommendation, so that I can gush about what a wonderful man they’ve gifted me with. What do you think? Too much? Yes, no?

      This helps you become a united force, you can laugh about it, it relaxes the situation. Like James says, when you focus on what you want to feel and express those positive feelings rather than what you don’t want to feel, your result is a lot more desirable.

      If you sense your boyfriend’s discomfort or nervousness, stand by his side, silently hold his hand. This type of action will speak volumes of your character and feelings for him. He will feel it, they will see it.

      You may not have any control over how other’s feel, but you do have a choice to bring out your sunny, positive side.

      • Lena said:

        Thank you very much, Colleen, you put James’ advice into practise. Very helpful and I can soo much relate to your emotions that shines through here!

        • Colleen said:

          You’re very welcome Lena! Good luck πŸ™‚

          • Lorna (LaLa) said:

            Lena, What a wonderful response to you, Lena, from Colleen. Such a perceptive insight and sound advice to this problem!! I have had the same problem with my “boyfriend” who is now 64 and I am 68 – believe it or not!! He does not want to tell his mother that we are an item, because he does not want her “knowing his business” for some reason. She has controlled him all his life, and he is fed up wth it. She is now 87, and very old-fashioned. He is also coy about the old ladies in his church, where he plays the organ, knowing that we sleep together. One of them actually rang him one morning when we were still in bed together, to ask where I was staying, as the hotel next door was closed for the season!! Can you believe it? He did tell her then, of course, I was with him, and now they all know. Of course, they are very “churchy” and old-fashioned, too, but I cannot understand how he just can’t ignore what they think. It is very strange, and I have been very hurt about it – feeling he is ashamed of me, but of course that is my lack of self-confidence coming out. I think a lot of it is that some men are very sensitive to what other people think – as they are probably not very confident, either – or have had their confidence knocked. And most men are little boys at heart, and are constantly influenced by their mothers. I think if you take Colleen’s advice, you will not go far wrong. What a sweet, gentle subtle way of handling the situaton. Well done Colleen! Lorna

  29. Julia said:

    Hey. Great timing as I’ve been wondering how I should bring something up. I’m still unsure as I’ve read so many times about not having “the talk” in fear of scaring him off, but how long do you leave it? I’m noit into casual sex and he knows this but his messages are a lot less consistant than they were. This uncertainty is making me anxious but I don’t want to lose him. How do I say I want to know where I stand without putting pressure on him? His secret obsession is the reason we’re back in touch so thankyou, it’s been extremely useful in my relationship. Thanks

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Julia. In my experience, the question “where do things stand?” needs to be based on what’s actually happening rather than what people say.

      Without asking him anything, and without having “the talk,” how would you answer this question: Based on the relationship we currently have (when considering actions rather than words) what kind of relationship can I conclude we have at this time?

      Predicting the future is difficult in any circumstance. It’s particularly difficult to predict what our hearts will feel in the future since we do not fully control our own feelings of love. Nonetheless, a choice to love someone is a powerful commitment that can become a foundation for two people’s lives. So I understand why you want that. But generally speaking, it’s better to take one step at a time. What is the next small step that would feel right in your relationship? Is there anything blocking that? If not, you probably have time on your side, and no rush to have “the talk.”

      James

  30. Brianna said:

    Hi, not sure if you will reply, but I would love it if you did. My bf was so sweet when we met and used to say the most romantic things. We’ve been LD for about 4 months, but he should be back next month. He doesn’t say anything anymore and when I got emotional before he left, he didn’t respond well, so now I just bring things up almost as a joke. He’s not changing and I’m feeling more anxiety and lonely. I try so hard to show and tell him how much he means to me. How do I get that across to him in language he can understand? That I need more romance and affection and consistent texting. Thanks.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Brianna. It sounds like you really like this guy! So I can understand why you want to give the relationship some time to grow despite the fact that he’s not really meeting your emotional needs. He’s essentially leaving you feeling lonely even though you’re in a relationship. That’s not good, so I applied you for doing something about it.

      How certain are you that he knows exactly what you need in order to feel happy during this long distance period of your relationship?

      I mean, you explained it very clearly here. I wonder if he was to somehow read this message from you whether a lightbulb would suddenly go on in his head. If not, there’s a deeper issue. But if it’s simply a matter of ignorance (meaning he really does want to love you and make you feel loved) then the topic of my blog post (and its conclusions) probably do apply fairly well in a situation like this.

      James

      • Brianna said:

        He’s not even aware. I brought it up a few times as a joke, like where’s the guy who made romantic comments, but that’s it. I just am confused why he was like that so much in the beginning and now, nothing. I definitely have to speak to him this weekend when he’s here just for a few hours. Thanks!!!

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