A fan wrote me a heartfelt email: Hi Katarina, me and my bf of almost 2 years broke up about 3 and a half months ago. It was not a bad break up, but he felt like he could not handle the pressure of a full-blown relationship. In the time that we have been apart I have learned a lot and recently we have started talking again. I know that he still cares about me but he still feels like he cannot commit to a full blown relationship (he is trying to get licensed for his career and just came home from living in another country for 5 years) We were doing the whole long distance thing, but i think it was a lot for him to come home to.
Anyways, he suggested that we be sort of "friends with benefits". I am just not sure if this is a good idea. I really care about him and I know he still cares about me, and I hope this can be a way for us to just tone down the intensity of the relationship and take off some of the pressure.
He would say things like he felt like we were married, and that he wished we hadn't gotten our families so involved (I was close with his family and would go over a lot, at his request). He would say things like "I just can't give you what you need." And "If we were together at different times in our life, then our personalities worked so well together."
I am just confused by him because even the other night he said how sometimes he felt like he knew I was the one and he wanted to be with me forever, and other times (near the end presumably) he felt like he needed to get away. I feel like in his mind he is not ready for a relationship, he is focusing on other things. He wants to do the "friends with benefits", which I would be okay with if that was just a phase until he can feel good about making a commitment. I just really don't want to walk away completely and realize later that If I had been patient, things could have worked out. I just wonder if it could work?
Since the publication of my well-received ebook (that is now bundled into a program of self-transformation), I have had many women write to me with almost the exact sentiment. The theme of pining for unrequited love is repeated over and over.
The above scenario is a case of a "downgrade," in which one party isn't ready for the kind of relationship the other person wants or they are not on the same page regarding speed.
The "slower" partner naturally feels pressured whether or not the other is doing the things that are pressuring him/her under normal circumstances. Their perception of being pressured into something they are not ready for is their reality. And the thoughts of having to spend the rest of their life with one woman can be very disconcerting even to the most committed of men. (Itch to know what makes a man commit?)
So understand this and accept that. Your acceptance is actually what's going to make him reconsider his stance if he has any amount of inclination whatsoever.
And next time you'll know better but not to arrive first before your guy. Let him lead and define the comfortable pace of the relationship. A woman rarely wins when she's ahead of him.
First, he needs his space so whatever you choose to do if you are faced by this situation, you need to pull away first and let the dust settle. You can't focus on him or trying to get him back because the more you do it the more needy vibe you radiate.
I know the one way that works so well dealing with men and people in general is not to create resistance in them. Convincing, getting upset, etc will only build more walls around him. But if you just calmly agree with him saying, "I know what you mean. I think we need a break too to see how we fare without each other. I have my own doubts too about us. I need to do my own thinking on this."
Usually, he'll be thrown off by this because he won't expect it. He expects you will go ballistic on him. You can usually see instantly in his facial expression.
And you are also telling him the truth because you don't want to be with a man who doesn't think the world of you period. If he's in doubt, you should be too! You only want a man who wants to be with you and you alone with no ifs and buts (Click here to learn a secret on how to enchant a man you adore)
At the same time, you are showing maturity by understanding his fear and let him process it in his own time.
Read it again, the key word is "in his own time." It means don't wait around for him. It's unattractive. And it makes you crave and pine for him.
Hence focus on yourself and meeting new guys. When he feels that you are so willingly drifting away from him, he will have to reach out to you and revisit whatever mental block that he has being in a relationship with you. This simple reverse psychology increases your value in his eyes.
The craving for an unavailable man comes from the inability to focus your attention somewhere else. And if there is nothing else interesting in your life, your psychic energy isn't being spread enough. That's the short history of why people pine. It's lack of options.
See how this works and usually what happens is you two are going to talk and renegotiate your "terms." Whether or not you will entertain just relating with him without a label and expectation of a relationship at this point, it very much depends on your emotional state at any given moment and the quality of your relating as well as how deep your connection is. It may feel right to you, it may not, there is no right or wrong about it. You can only know it when you explore those options with an open mind and a willingness to learn about your boundaries.
Click here for a definite answer of whether or not a FWB can turn into a serious relationship.
Please also like my fan page and join the discussion and my daily posts on relationship and emotionally unavailable men there.
And here is the answer to your situation again when he says he's not ready:
This article is one of the breakup series I write. Please check my author page for more articles on the subejct or join me in my ex-back support group and relationship forum for more tips on how to deal with your breakup and how to get yourself on the path of getting your love and your life back. Please also follow me on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/katarina.phang for my daily nuggets of reflections/insights/advice and tips on attracting and maintaining a lasting relationship and fixing a broken one.
Katarina Phang is an author, love/life coach specializing on reuniting couples and curing troubled relationship. She founded a free ex-back support group and relationship forum http://gettheloveyoudeserve.info.