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September 25, 2017 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Love

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Need Commitment

Question:

I'm single, still live with my parents, and hold a steady job. About 2 years ago my ex ended our relationship of 3 years because I cheated on him with one of my teachers. I was honest with him about it and we tried to work it out for a couple of months, but he said he could not take it, so we stopped seeing each other. About 3 months ago he started calling me again and we've been dating ever since. I love him with all my heart and I will never hurt him again like I did before. The thing is he doesn't want a commitment right now; he says he's not ready for it and wants to see if we can be together and be happy again. I am confused. I don't want to spend all my time with him and then be crushed if he tells me it won't work out.

Do you have any advice for me?

Allison (21 year-old woman)

Answer:

Dear Allison,

You don't give me much to go on. It would help if I knew what precipitated the "cheating". I also would like to know exactly what you mean when you say that you "love him with all your heart" and whether you made any contact with him during your two years apart. However, without knowing these things, here's my best shot at advice.

The very first thing for you to do is to decide what you want from this relationship! You talk about commitment, so I'm guessing you want some type of long term, exclusive relationship, but what purpose will it serve you? Once you're clear where you would like the relationship to head, talk to your boyfriend and try to determine if his long-term vision of the relationship matches yours. He has some idea about this or he wouldn't have called you to restart the relationship. Keep the focus of these conversations on the long term and with the thought "if everything goes as I would like it to go" in the back of your minds.

Now, for my most important piece of advice: Don't be in a hurry! You have severely damaged this man's ability to trust you. Just telling him that you'll never hurt him again will do very little good. He's got to have time (and lots of experiences with you) before he will be able to let go of his distrust. Commitment, for either one of you, cannot happen before trust has been re-established, because until that happens, you cannot know each other well enough to know exactly whom it is that you are committing to.

You must both have some pretty strong reasons to want the relationship, or things would not have followed the course they have. Take the time that you have now to get to know each other on a very deep level. As you get to know each other's "secret" selves, you will be better able to judge whether or not the relationship is going to work. Use this time also to get to know yourself better. Going more deeply into a relationship is a great opportunity to find out things about yourself. Every relationship calls out different aspects of the self and by observing how you are in the relationship, you will increase your self-understanding.

Finally, think about what you mean when you say you love him. We've over-worked that word in our society and it's often used as a substitute for a whole lot of other things e.g., caring about, desiring, wanting to spend time with, etc. Be sure that what you're feeling is something that will take you through the good and the bad times that will be part of any long-term committed relationship. You sound as though you may be reluctant to waste time on a relationship that may not go anywhere. That makes me wonder if it's really love that you're feeling.

Good luck!

Jerry Button

This question was answered by Jerry Button. Jerry is a psychotherapist, personal development trainer, workshop presenter and relationship coach practicing in Delray Beach, Florida. He believes that the key to quality of life lies in relationships. His approach to interpersonal and emotional problems is relational and psychodynamic. Jerry is experienced working with individuals, children and families and welcomes challenging opportunities.

For more information visit the site or contact information page on QueenDom.

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