woman writing in diary

Over the years I’ve watched a few friends, family and readers go through that incredibly awkward relationship experience of trying to upgrade the ‘commitment’ in the relationship – think spending more time together, moving in, marriage, and trying to upgrade casual relationships.

These situations were fraught with ongoing discussions, arguing, tears, ultimatums, broken promises, breakups, hints, other people, awkward occasions like birthdays and Christmas when they were expecting a ring and got earrings or a DVD, and a general air of negativity surrounding the progression of the relationship.

When you reach a point where the commitment you want outpaces that of your partner’s, there is the potential, if it’s not handled carefully, for your relationship to be taken into shaky territory. Of course if you’re in casual relationship, pushing for commitment is basically flying past your roost.

The best type of commitment at any stage of the relationship is the type that originates organically and with both of you co-piloting it.

Relationships are best when there’s a joint agenda has two people who are sharing in the process of mapping out the journey/route together instead of one pushing theirs.You’re both headed in the same direction and going to the same place. You openly discuss the places that need to be stopped at en route and if there are any differences in opinion, you find a solution you both can live with – compromise.

People who are ‘drivers’ have their own agenda but have a tendency to assume that what they determine the agenda to be is a ‘joint agenda’ – i.e what they need, the other needs.

Once there is one person asserting their agenda (the driver), the other person becomes a ‘passenger’, someone who is either passively being swept along on the ride and then possibly wakes up to what’s going on and belatedly tries to assert themselves or, they know which journey they’re on and have decided it suits them for now but hope to ‘change’ the driver’s mind and direction at another point.

I see too many people with a very firm idea of exactly what they want out of a relationship and then they make it their vocation to get the relationship to fit around their agenda. This is a prescribed relationship.

An example of where this masterplan is fatally flawed, is when you have an agenda but you still opt into and stay in a casual relationship.

Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with knowing what you expect out of relationships, however, there is too much prescription going on and not enough attention being given to either ensuring that you have an appropriate partner or to actually live in the relationship instead of in your vision. This means you won’t take your cues from the relationship and the person – you’ll take it from your ‘clock’, ‘prescription’ and ‘schedule’.

So take my friend. In her mind, she wanted to meet someone, be exclusive asap, engaged by 12-18 months, moved in/buying a place around the same time, married 2-2.5 years in, baby soon after.


Here’s the thing – If these things are on the clock and you have it in mind pre relationship, the schedule is your schedule not the relationship’s and it’s like you have your picture of what your relationship looks like and just need someone to insert their face into the picture.

That means you want it because you want it, not because it’s where your relationship is at or even reflective of who the person is.

Ten years and her schedule never happened. That’s not because the ‘schedule’ is wrong per se but it literally became like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

She was concerned with her ‘investment’ and what the relationship should be, based on how she saw things and what she felt the relationship meant as a result and trying to make it live up to her expectations and needs. His expectations and needs were clearly different irrespective of any chirping he did about being on board.

There’s no point in ‘prescribing’ your relationship if you don’t take the hint that something is seriously wrong when the person is reluctant to commit – it’s either too soon, you’re barking up the wrong tree, or there are communication issues between you both.

We can become very focused on pursuing commitment just ‘because’ – we chase up acts of commitment from partners to get validation.

We also pursue commitment because sometimes it is our way of trying to get them to make us the exception to their rule of not committing – remember wanting to commit to someone who doesn’t want to commit isn’t actually a genuine desire to commit and reflects your own commitment issues. Also trying to get love against the odds is very unhealthy.

Unfortunately you may look for or even demand displays of commitment that are not reflective of the length and breadth of your relationship.

You will apply pressure and create expectations that may stifle things before it has a chance to prosper. Particularly if you’re pushing for stuff to get the other person to ‘prove’ how much they love you, to do things because it’s what ‘people in love/in relationships do’ or any other reason that screams ‘I am not personally secure’ you will communicate all of the wrong things about yourself and quickly suck the life out what is potentially a great relationship.

People who have to push, cajole, wheedle, badger, argue, demand, whatever, for the commitment, once the initial glow has warn off, never feel entirely sure that this person wants it as much as they do.

Conversations surrounding commitment should be open, honest, and shouldn’t solely originate from negative situations – in fact, if you’re going to talk about commitment in your relationship make it a positive conversation.

A good, healthy relationship with both of you with your feet in has conversations about the future and plans, which you can feel confident in discussing and participating in because you already have evidence to show that neither of you just talk the talk – your relationship has been progressing and experiencing the landmarks of a healthy relationship anyway.

If you’re going to try to move your relationship up a commitment notch, ensure that it’s because it’s what is good for the relationship and you both and it is increasing a commitment that already exists.

Don’t push for commitment to fix a problem – fix it, don’t band aid a big crack. Having a baby or getting married for example will not make an uncommitted relationship more committed. It’ll make it more complicated.

Don’t push for commitment just because you’re insecure – doing things to massage your insecurity means that you’ll always be ‘hungry’ and looking for something else. You may be trying to fix your insecurity with the wrong solution also.

This is why Fast Forwarding and Future Faking are code red behaviours because when they tend to happen, you don’t know enough about this person or even some basic relationship history to draw upon – commit to small and medium sized stuff before going for the big guns.

Be careful – if your relationship is relatively new, you are fast forwarding your partner which may set off alarm bells. You’ll know that you’re in co-pilot territory if you are OK with talking to them even at the risk of uncomfortable conversations. You’ll know you’re in passenger/driver territory if there is a reluctance of one or both parties to have an honest conversation or one of you is simmering about their agenda not being met.

Look out for more posts on how to gauge whether what you’re pushing for is ‘unrealistic’ and how to sanity check your expectations and some tips for broaching the subject.

Your thoughts?

couple image

woman image Jan Willem Gertsma

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

76 Responses to When You Experience Problems Upgrading Your Commitment

  1. Sho says:

    I’m so glad you posted this because it really has to do with what I’m going through. My boyfriend (we are on a break) is not an ass-clown, but he certainly isn’t mature. We’ve been dating for almost a year and I know it has been tough on us – I have graduate school, a hard job (I make more money than him too) and much more responsibility.

    He’s sort of more careless and carefree, playing sports, hanging with his buddies ..but he always had a genuine interest in me and we’ve spent time together, grown, met parents, etc. Things were happening pretty naturally up until about a month ago, when I quit my other job and it started approaching our one year anniversary.

    He started drinking/partying more, hanging out with just his friends more often, less “lets get dinner together” and more “come meet me and Oscar here.” At first I tried to give it space but we would argue over spending less time together until he finally admitted he was “scared” of the one year mark approaching, unsure of marriage and moving in together (ideas I never even talked about) and that he was going through a phase of independence that he needed to have and sorry if it hurt me. He’s 25 and quite a few of his friends are engaged or married.

    I appreciate the fact he was upfront, but about 2 weeks later (yesterday) I got too uncomfortable not really knowing where he was going, we got into a fight and now we are on a real break (not quite ‘no contact’ but not hanging out – he has all the space he wants for the next few weeks to make plans and go out on his own w/o worrying about me). I’m not really quite sure what to make of all this because I wasn’t asking for marriage or moving in but those ideas seemed to scare him.

    We do well together, have the same core values (he eventually wants marriage/kids) and it was really a month ago this sort of happened (although looking back on it it probably slowly started to happen sometime in January).

    So what is when your not pushing for more commitment but they feel that push anyway?

    • Lily says:

      Well, I’m glad your bf was honest about being scared. Even though you never brought up moving in and marriage, he’s obviously still feeling the pressure, and he’s succumbing to the “prescribing” that society inflicts on us. E.g. in a relationship for one year, that must mean it’s time to move in, and therefore marriage is not far off… And his friends are going through these steps so he may feel “Ok, it’s my turn now.” My guess is that he DOES want these things, but maybe he doesn’t feel ready for them, and doesn’t feel ok about not being ready. Both of you are still young. What’s his relationship history like? I’m wondering if this relationship is the longest one he’s been in? Anyway, I think having a break is a good idea. I would say give the break about a month, live your life in the meantime, reconvene and see how you feel. And what do YOU want? I know you want marriage and kids someday, but do you want that with him? Maybe at the end of the break he’ll want to continue this independence phase (does he have a history of being really sheltered or something?) and not want to be with you anymore. That hurts, I know, but you have to be prepared for that possibility. Whatever happens, make sure you know what you want, and that you understand and listen to what he wants. In order for this relationship to continue, you have to be on the same page. If not, it’s time to move on, but it’s not the end of the world. You’ll have other relationships in due time.

    • grace says:

      It’s a bit brutal but while he may want marriage and kids he doesn’t necessarily want them with you. Or maybe it really is just too early for him. These days 25 is young to get married, especially for men I think. Some of them have it in their heads that they won’t get married until they are 30 or 35. Or older. And they don’t have a lot of flexibility about that. Others absolutely must have made strides in their careers first so they can “provide”.
      After a year I think it’s normal to wonder what the next step is. A person would have to be pretty clueless not to at least have it on their radar.
      I was that clueless person who would have relationships that dragged on for 5 years plus with no commitment. I don’t recommend it.

    • NML says:

      Sho, as others have suggested, it’s a bit of a tricky one. I do think that some of the anxiety he is experiencing is unsurprising. He isn’t distinguishing between is his internal fear and external fear – this is about his feelings about commitment and what he thinks is expected of him. If you were turning the screws then his fear would have a stronger basis. That said, other people getting engaged and married can have you question your own desire for commitment. I think that when things calm down, that you need to have an open, honest discussion, not just about your values, but your values in the context of *your* relationship. I would restrain yourself from checking up on him because it will feel like you’re trying to control his agenda, which will only push him further away.

      He is not listening to you – he’s listening to himself and external noise. He’s also somewhat orchestrated the fallout by being difficult over the last few months which has ended up lessening the existing commitment to you.

      Get on with your own life, don’t chase him around and in the meantime evaluate what it is that *you* want out of life and what your real expectations are for this relationship. When you do reconvene, go somewhere neutral and both of you need to get your cards out on the table.

  2. Lee says:

    This is just perfect for me to remember at this time! Awesome blog, you have helped me so much Natalie! I was in a “casual relationship” (without realising it) with someone who would not commit after 4 years. I am angry for not having boundaries and not ditching his sorry a** long ago!! He also continues to contact me to remind me that he does not want a relationship (we broke up 4 months ago); but to “see if I am ok”. Err, I will be fine once you stay the hell away from me!! This blog has been a saviour :)

    • Melanie says:

      I would be half-tempted to write him back and say you are doing great, you don’t want a romantic or any other type of relationship with him. And then tell him, will he please leave you alone already, and stop contacting you, as you have reached a point where you’ve decided that having him in your life in any capacity is not something you have any interest in investing time into.

    • NML says:

      Lee, FLUSH! This guy is behaving like a twit! It’s now that *you* don’t want a relationship with *him*.

    • Allison says:


      Block him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Kim says:

    Hi Nat

    I’m finding it very helpful that your posts give ideas and examples as to what is ‘normal’ in a relationship eg the co-piloting of the direction, the open discussions, the stops along the way and the compromising. Reading it makes me realise I hang onto these comments of yours as my relationships have been so flawed and so far away from what’s normal; I have forgotten what normal interactions are within intimate relationships.

    Anyway, I’m happy and single and so be it.

    Kim X

    • NML says:

      Good to hear from you Kim and glad to hear you’re keeping well – there’s definitely better out there for you xx

  4. Suzie Q says:

    Wow. If this isn’t my ex, I don’t know what is. I mean, WOW. And I’d spent so long stressing over it, I’d given myself stomach issues. It really seemed like he had the whole thing “Prescribed,” as you say. He wanted to be married by ___, he wanted to live in ___ town, he wanted to work ___, and I really felt the whole passenger thing, especially when I brought up the topic of our future goals and got shouted down when I said I didn’t want to raise our kids and grow old two doors down from our parents in our hometown. Yikes.

    Anyhow, this is directly on point. And the funny part is, I’ve been on both sides of this coin. In the previous relationship to that one, I was the one doing the “prescribing” and the pushing, and couldn’t wrap my head around why the guy didn’t want to get married! I can now say that I totally understand, and this article just solidifies everything. Thanks Natalie, once again, you’re right on the money!

    • NML says:

      Hi Suzie Q – A friend of mine is with a guy who is EXACTLY like him. He then breaks up with her every few months because they’re not meeting the ‘schedule’ even though he is obstructing the schedule AND sucking the life out of the relationship. Sounds like you’ve had a lucky escape!

      • Suzie Q says:

        Tell me about it! It wasn’t so extreme that he’d break up with me every few months (he was also a bit of a fast-forwarder and a future-faker, so when I finally agreed, he totally backed out and said a ring would be a waste of $$). But I could tell by the way he spoke about things, like…for example, it was my idea to discuss our individual goals for the future. I wanted to see where we saw ourselves in 5 years, and if/how we could blend those things together. We got through his life goals and what he saw for himself in his future. But when it came to my goals and how I saw things, I couldn’t even get past not wanting to stay in our home town before he gets defensive–“well, that’s how I feel. I like my family. I don’t see why you can’t just live here. Well, you’re not married yet, so you have time.”

        I asked what he meant by that, because it seemed like after we got married, I wouldn’t be able to do anything in the way of travel, and it led into a tirade about how I’m putting words in his mouth, and I’m not doing anything with my life, and I lack focus and I don’t need to go abroad to school, I can learn whatever right around here, and blah blah blah. It got ugly. It was at that point that I came to the realization that he has his own vision of where he wants to be in the next few years, and when he wants to have kids and when he wants to be married and all that, and he’s ok with my goals, but only insofar as they don’t interfere with any of his stuff (which seems eerily close to his dad’s life, living in __, buying a house in ___, married by __/__/____, becoming a ___, with a wife who does ___).

        I mean, the ex-boyfriend before this one was a Class A EUM and an AC. But it’s interesting that I’m seeing this issue of commitment from the other side now. It doesn’t make that guy LESS of an AC; I could write a book about some of the stuff that happened there. But I know now that I’m not winning any prizes trying to drag someone down the aisle either. It goes both ways. I’m still learning a lot, but thank God I’m not where I was a few years ago, and thank God for this blog lol. :)

  5. charla says:

    Funny how that stuff works. The xEUM was the one who asked me to go long-term, only to dump me not 4 months later. I let things continue as they were, but then when I wanted to discuss how we could move things along and set a few objectives, he made me do it! Like it was all my idea. He was a major future-faker, needless to say.

    • NML says:

      Yeah Charla, that sounds like a weird situation. The term ‘objectives’ worries me! What we also have to realise though is that things and feelings change. If someone says they want long-term and changes their mind a few months later, while it’s a pain in the bum, it’s their prerogative. It’s what they’ve been *doing* with that period of time such as overegging it with Future Faking that takes them into shady territory.

  6. Sam says:

    “You’ll know you’re in passenger/driver territory if there is a reluctance of one or both parties to have an honest conversation.”

    Boy is hindsight is 20/20. In my last relationship I was constantly in a state of unease and always asking myself “Do I deserve to ask for A. B & C?” I was with a guy that was able to manipulate wonderfully and always said existential BS things like ‘None of us deserve anything’ or use ‘You’re responsible for how you feel and if you’re upset you need to look inside of you to realize why.” Which is an excellent and true statement but he used it in order to get off the hook for every single one of his dirty or shady deeds and in turn just make me question what it was that I really wanted. I wanted a true committed relationship that progressed but he started to make me feel like that was a weakness on my part – as if I were a co-dependent. “Nobody really needs anybody Sam – we’re ultimately alone.” I’m cringing as I recall some of our conversations and the fact I didn’t blow the whistle on his philosophical gum flapping right then and there.

    Back to the point and what I quoted from Nat- I would get so nervous when I was about to bring something up to him in regards to our relationship. I always felt like I was wrong to ever want to talk about it or I would be rocking the boat. At times I was afraid to bring it up because I didn’t want to stress him out or remind him that he was in a relationship (NUTS!!!) and I didn’t even pay attention to how messed up and what a huge red flag that was. After the breakup things were clearer but I put myself through a long and tough road in not realizing that instead of just begging for a certain relationship I didn’t have to work out- I just needed to be out of it and find one that did work.

    • Melanie says:

      lol, wow he sounds like a ball of joy…. glad you got out of that situation!

    • NML says:

      Sam, this guy was very shady and seriously lacking in emotion and empathy. He was actually telling you that you were alone. Always know your boundaries and code amber and red behaviour as a starting point because they give you a baseline of knowing what you *do* deserve.

  7. Trinity says:

    Relationships are best when there’s a joint agenda has two people who are sharing in the process of mapping out the journey/route together instead of one pushing theirs.You’re both headed in the same direction and going to the same place. You openly discuss the places that need to be stopped at en route and if there are any differences in opinion, you find a solution you both can live with – compromise.

    The above is what i had in my last relationship and it all came from him. I was plesantly suprised by the fact that he was the one wanting to plan, move forwards and even put together a 5 year plan. He discussed moving out, he got me to have a savings account with him, we purchased items for our home each month, i was introduced and accepted into the whole family, he went down to even discussing the dog he wanted us to have.
    HOWEVER my heart was completly crushed when slowly but surely as each event came up he changed his mind, put it off or closed up for days to weeks. No matter which way i played it i could not win, if i said “lets not talk about moving out because you seem to be worried about it, lets just enjoy each other” he would get upset then not speak to me for weeks!!!!! If i did discuss moving out with him as in the exact same amount he was mentioning it, he would again freak out. He had continous, which progressively got worse fits or being totally HOT and talking about how im the one and he cant wait for us to move out to being completely cold, taking everything off thet able and not talking to me. I was on eggshells constantly. I finally could not cope and mentioned a break from each othere to sort things out. In that time of our break he dumped me instead. When he left me he didnt really acknowledge any wrong doing, he left everything squarely on my shoulders, he never really ever explained either except to say “i just counldnt do it and i never meant do, ” i was torn between wanting to stay and wanting to leave””, he expected to be friends and not just friends but best friends doing all the same things which i tried for awhile. until i realised that i was being mis treated only this time as friends, it was the same crap. I went NC and when i went NC he harrassed me at work, yes we…

    • NML says:

      That wasn’t a joint agenda then. He was a driver and you were a passenger. These were not plans you came up with together – you said it all came from him. That’s no co-pilot! That’s a *driver*. Look at the language – “He discussed…he got me…” This driver set the route, picked out the stops and then changed them on the way. When you questioned this, he had a strop. Personally I find his planning creepy.

      • Trinity says:

        And in hindsight i totally agree with you :)
        I was so starved of any partner actually thinking aboout the future that to have this guys plan it right down to the sort of plate settings we would get, felt great.
        Boy was i wrong!!

  8. RCGlasses Off says:

    I’m not sure of what I was doing but I never “pushed” for a commitment. I felt if the guy was ever forced or tricked into it (as I’d seen some girls do) they would eventually be unhappy, cheat and/or leave. So I wasn’t going that route. Instead I secretly hoped that being “good” to them and giving them their space would show them I wasn’t a needy, controlling, agenda driven b*tch and I would get the relationship I wanted. Don’t know how that was going to work. Joke is some of them actually ended up with that agenda driven, controlling, bossy chick who said “I want the ring or I’m outta here”. So what’s up with that? Anyway, as a STUDENT of this blog and from other things that happened with them, I know they were the wrong guys for me in the long run. I’m looking forward to exercising my boundaries, recognizing those red flags and a daily check on those landmarks of a healthy relationship for when I start dating again! BR is my relationship medicine LOL. Cheers, Natalie!

    • NML says:

      RCGlasses Off How others do things is how others do things. If you were comfortable laying down ultimatums, then you’d do it. It might not get you the result you want, but that’s the chance you take. Some of those bossy women end up unhappy and/or divorced. However, you *do* have a hidden agenda – a very typical Fallback Girl agenda of I’ll stick like glue, be nice, let them do as they want and in turn, they’ll show their appreciation and give me what I want. I used to have a similar one and it’s dangerous especially around people that don’t ‘appreciate’ the effort and instead abuse it.

      • grace says:

        If being bossy is your authentic self it may work – maybe the guy likes being bossed about. What tends not to work is the secret agenda, like you said. ” I won’t rock the boat, I’ll be nice, I’ll be undemanding, I’ll pretend I’m happy with everything and then he’ll come round.” It’s got to be the dumbest guy who doesn’t realise that you’re not being true to yourself. Maybe he’d rather marry the loudmouth and know what he’s dealing with than someone hiding in the shadows. That’s in defence of all the bossy girls out there, I couldn’t be one myself but at least they’re upfront.

        • RCGlasses Off says:

          @NML & Grace – I hear you about being authentic. The guys knew what was ultimately expected (committed partnership) so it wasn’t hidden, I just wasn’t pushy with a deadline. I have to admit I have “tried” over the years being different ways with guys to see what might work (but Fallback girl became my comfort zone). End of the day no commitment because I was either trying to figure out how to “make it work” or frustrated I’d decide it was better to be alone. I do feel like my kindness was taken for weakness & yes I put up with abuse in the name of “love”. Now I’m more concerned with whether I want to be with a certain guy & assessing those codes rather than if he will “choose me”. At least that’s what I’m working towards for when I’m ready to date again.

  9. debra says:

    “You’ll know you’re in passenger/driver territory if there is a reluctance of one or both parties to have an honest conversation or one of you is simmering about their agenda not being met.”

    Great post, great thoughts. There were so many red flags in the relationship with the AC but the one I truly needed to heed was his refusal to talk about the relationship. I let him drive on that, believing it would help overcome his “commitment issues”. It wasn’t a commitment issue, it was control. I will never again be in a relationship where we can’t talk about it. If its a healthy relationship, talking about it should be positive, as you say. If he absolutely won’t talk about it, there is no relationship (no matter what other noises he might be making) and it is time to leave.

    • NML says:

      Yep Debra – if he’s not prepared to discuss the relationship or pretends he is but creates negative consequences, it’s doomed.

  10. Cindy says:

    “Relationships are best when there’s a joint agenda”

    Exactly. Though, I never went into it with my ex-EUM in a ‘prescribed manner’, I just knew I wanted commitment from him with no time frame. The guy wouldn’t even go past ‘friends with benefits’. He almost made me believe his was ready by future faking but the last time he was over, he did something cruel by saying it was too much for him and leaving in the middle of the night when he was supposed to have a fun day with me the next day; our first real date as FRIENDS.

    It was that night I realized that even though I loved him and wanted to be with him, I was trying to get a man to commit who didn’t want to and because of that one fact, he was the wrong guy for me despite everything else.

    I’ve been in No Contact for two weeks (after many failed attempts) but this time is a lot easier than the last times because now I KNOW in my heart and soul that it just WON’T WORK because he is UNAVAILABLE and there is NOTHING I can do to change it. I am better off in No Contact, refocusing on myself than what I was when I was in contact with him and being driven crazy by his BS.

    • Cindy says:

      “It was that night I realized that even though I loved him and wanted to be with him, I was trying to get a man to commit who didn’t want to and because of that one fact, he was the wrong guy for me despite everything else. ”

      I meant despite everything else that was good, he was still the wrong guy for me simply because he did not want to go down the same road I did with our future together. We weren’t even on the same planet concerning our futures. Everything else was great. We had a lot in common, made each other laugh, lit each other up, but it wasn’t enough for him to be my boyfriend.

      For two years, it was always one excuse after another. When I saw the things he would use as an excuse become resolved, he would just use another excuse.

      Eventually, it became apparent that his issues were: a) nothing I could help him solve, b) things he would have to resolve on his own, c) what kept him from committing to me or ANY woman at that, d) I was allowing myself to be effected by HIS issues, e) being used as excuses to keep me at arms length, f) holding himself back

      You can’t MAKE someone face themselves, their issues and the things that make them emotionally unavailable for a real relationship. The only control you have is over your own self.

      You should never give someone who only needs you as an emotional crutch the power to use you simply because you love them. You are worth more than that.

    • Cindy says:

      “I just knew I wanted commitment from him with no time frame.”

      And apparently dating, as friends, was still too much for this guy. But had I shut my mouth, accepted friends with benefits, then I would still be seeing him on an irregular basis, accepting his “I don’t know what’s going on with my life boo-hoo” excuses, spreading my legs to him at his will and accepting all this downgraded treatment because it was all he could give at the time.

      NO THANK YOU! I may be scared about what is going to happen in my future and I don’t have any other romantic interests in my life currently but MY GOD, being alone in No Contact feels so much better than the above.

      • Melanie says:

        One of the other women on this blog posted a while back FWB is really ‘friends where someone benefits and it’s not the woman’. Funny but true.

        Also Natalie has posted about so-called ‘casual relationships’, and how being in a relationship with someone and the term casual are mutually exclusive.

        • oriana says:

          “One of the other women on this blog posted a while back FWB is really ‘friends where someone benefits and it’s not the woman’. Funny but true.”

          I want to interject here to say that I don’t believe FWB is ALWAYS a case of the woman getting the short end of the stick. I’ve had many FWBs, sometimes lasting a year, where I didn’t want anything else. It was what it was, it was mutual and I was fine with that. I know at this point in my life what I’m doing, and I take responsibility for it. The casual/booty or FWB situation is not always negative – in fact, since I’ve yet to find a good man and still have much work to do on myself, the casual situation in the meantime suits me fine.

          • NML says:

            I sort of agree with you Oriana. As in, it’s not always the woman that gets the short end of the stick. However generally speaking, someone wants more. There is invariably a passenger hoping to get more at a later stage. If it’s a ‘driver driver’ (copiloted) casual relationship, it’s because neither of you really care about one another, the arrangement is clear as day, and you’re both in it for the same reasons.

            And no it’s not always negative although you are exemplifying why there *are* so many casual relationships and so many emotionally unavailable people – because it ‘suits’ you and you still want the trappings of a relationship.
            There are marriages that last less than your so-called casual relationship. Check out my post on casual relationships http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/casual-relationships-all-the-fringe-benefits-of-a-relationship-without-the-actual-relationship/

            I suspect, particularly based on the last couple of lines on your comment, that you are not acknowledging your true reasons for participating in casual relationships.

          • Natasha says:

            Hi ladies! That line about the FWB’s came from me haha! When I wrote that, I meant it in the context of the typical Fallback Girl/Boomerang Assclown dynamic, in which case it is always (Natalie, please correct me if I am wrong) an epic disaster.

      • gala says:

        You know Cindy, this sort of reminds me of my previous guy. Is this sort of BS so common?
        You did good to go NC. I tried to reason with the guy, explained myself away like crazy, tried to come to a compromise, but I only got humiliated even more by him. He acquired a sort of one up attitude, treating me as an immature emotional child telling me “You’re a smart girl, you’ll get over it” . It was really bad for me.
        It really is so much better to be alone (even if scared about the future). I’m much happier since I decided to call it quits. And glad I managed to get away in time (but I still regret trying to sort things out with him at first – he surely didn’t deserve it)

      • Jo says:

        “And apparently dating, as friends, was still too much for this guy…”

        I understand the concept of ‘friends with benefits’ and it’s one thing if this type of arrangement is entered into by both people with eyes wide open, but when that type of arrangement is not agreed upon explicitly, I think the other person is just trying to manage down your expectations. When a man calls you a ‘friend’ and he’s sleeping with you (provided you haven’t agreed to the FWB arrangement) he is keeping you right at the level he wants you, and getting what he wants in the meantime.

        Thank goodness you came to your senses about this guy. Your post brings back memories of 2 ACs in my life who called me “friend” while getting what they wanted. And I waited, like you, for more. But the reality is, they weren’t a ‘friend’ to me in any other way. Rule of thumb for me now is, think about my best friendships and see what I get from them – people who care about me, genuinely like me, trust me, are emotionally available, respect me and want to spend time with me. Nope, these men were not my ‘friends’. My friends don’t treat me like shit. FLUSH!

        • Cindy says:

          “they weren’t a ‘friend’ to me in any other way”

          I saw that, too. He was honestly a rotten friend to me but I was ‘blinded’ by my love for him. I put up with things I wouldn’t put up in a friendship because I thought that meant that’s what you were supposed to do when you loved someone: telling my business to others, being cursed at a few times, disregarding my feelings, disregarding my time, displays of selfishness.

          It slowly dawned on me that I was putting up with behavior that I never did in any friend, not even with a boyfriend.

          Currently, I am proud of myself. I was tempted to break No Contact twice but I still haven’t. Instead, I know he did me a favor and that I made a great escape by him breaking it off. When I broke things off, he would call obsessively and try to contact me. Now, I don’t see his emails (blocked) and he’s only called once. Since it was “his doing” this time, maybe I can get through this and he’ll leave me alone.

        • Cindy says:

          Let me rephrase that. I WILL GET THROUGH THIS. I am determined to and it doesn’t matter what he says / does but he is making it easier by leaving me alone for the most part. For now anyway….

    • NML says:

      Hi Cindy – The problem here is looking from commitment from a noncommitment source. It is not something you look for from a casual ‘relationship’ and if you should ever find yourself partaking in FWB, you’d better make sure you have a timeframe for *getting out*. If you want commitment, start a *relationship*. Commitment and relationship do not mix with casual.

      • oriana says:

        For some reason I couldn’t reply directly under your response to my last comment – hmm off topic? Not sure. but I need to justify myself here… and some things I have to say do apply.

        I hear what you’re saying, but… the main issue is knowing exactly what one is getting into, not fooling oneself or secretly hoping for more. I know you’re quite aware of this but the conversations seem to always veer toward someone being a victim. I don’t accept casual when I even remotely suspect that I could want more. Sometimes I feel reading so many stories here (and elsewhere) that us women give away our personal power way too easily, and as soon as we share our bodily juices with a man the assumption is that we either “must” become attached or feel we’ve given away a precious part of ourselves at a cost that must be validated or repaid, that we’ve given away our power, our self-respect, and any control over the situation. And men know that – that’s a huge part of the problem. I personally do not want to give any man the power to hold that over me. I have sex when I want to, not because a guy is promising to marry me.

        As a side note: Everyone is different regarding sexual values, some people are very open, free and experimental, others very traditional. Too often less traditional approaches to sex are judged. Someone posted here that their man wanting a threesome was a red flag, whereas I see it as only a red flag if you’re not interested in that kind of thing and are being pushed, when your feelings are low priority. Some people are fine with it, some women even like it, doesn’t mean the guy is automatically a bad person just by being interested in it.

        At any rate, I’m just trying to show another perspective. I agree that being in “co-pilot” mode is essential. I also want to point out that most people are not emotionally mature, men and women, and that combined with baggage makes for some really messy miscommunication and behaviour. How many times have we encountered what we deem unacceptable behaviour from coworkers, employers, friends, family. For some people being honest and taking responsiblity in the realm of feelings can be terrifying, and lord knows that the majority of us are not taught…

        • NML says:

          Sometimes the nested comments feature acts weirdly Oriana so not sure what’s happening there. Anyway there is no need to justify yourself after all you know why you do what you do. I also don’t feel that people are victims of casual relationships – the great majority are active participants. They are either willing passengers or a reluctant passenger that hopes to change the others mind. I also think some people bite off more than they can chew. Your experience is your experience – not everyone can be as cut and dried as you. Some people go in well meaning and various emotions catch them out. I think straight up sex and not much else is very easy to be shut off from. It’s a whole other kettle of fish if there are elements that are normally part of a relationship.

          • RCGlasses Off says:

            I agree Natalie about casual/FWB and going in well intentioned. When I was much younger I ended my FWB with a guy when he started making me food & acting like we were dating. At the time that wasn’t what I was looking for, so guys can flip it around too.

      • Cindy says:

        Well, I did call off the FWB. I stopped seeing him for about 2 1/2 months. But he kept CHASING ME and doing that Future Faking that you talk so much about. He begged me to come over last time and I caved. He was complaining how I wasn’t giving him a chance. He did a great job convincing me he was ready to move forward.

        Then he comes over and ends up leaving in the middle of the night, saying he was stressed/overwhelmed. Calls me the next day and says I wasn’t “his type” and he doesn’t find me sexually attractive.

        I was blindsided by all this because this man gave me NO CLUE in the year we were seeing each other. His behavior was, he could never keep his hands off me!

        We had a decent conversation about it once after that. He says he tried to fall in love but couldn’t (that’s great, so next time don’t CHASE ME). I told him not to stop me from moving on this time (he always does!!) and then I went No Contact.

        So, I learned the hard way everything you teach to be true. He has issues in his life that wouldn’t make him a good fit for anyone at that and by the way he’s talked, he’s just not happy with his life.

        So, I am one of those people who had no choice but to do No Contact because he wouldn’t leave me alone. Even after stopping FWB and other things.

        • Cindy says:

          And I just want to say that I believe the overall problem with me, and maybe the overall problem for a lot of women is that we confuse OVERLY NEEDINESS as INTEREST, two totally different things. Men like this mainly only need *somebody*, not necessarily *us*.

          • ICanDoBetter says:

            I think you are absolutely right about them just needing SOMEONE. My ex-AC seemed to go from girlfriend to girlfriend, now that I look back at his history before and after me. When I was with him, I even sometimes got the sense that he wanted me there, more because he didn’t want to be alone, than because he actually wanted to be with ME.

  11. gala says:

    Relationships are so very difficult. I simply can’t understand how they go.
    So many variables and you never really can know whom you can or cannot trust. Or even, you never really know if what you’re doing is right. Most of the time it’s like nothing you do is right. For example, the previous guy – he seemed sincere, but was fast forwarding (wanted me to move in after a week and asked me to marry him ect). I have always told him how I felt and tried to communicate clearly, so I wouldn’t deceive him about my feelings(I believe in honesty in relationships). Then at a point when things progressed he was pushing me for sex and I told him I only do this with boyfriends and wanted to talk about where our “relationship” was progressing. It turned out he didn’t want me as a girlfriend, but wanted to sleep with me all the same. To him, this was completely normal, but I was totally shocked. He made it look like I was weird for thinking he wanted a relationship at all (before that he kept on bugging me about marrying him, but I kept on declining it). I had a hard time thinking that I was a bad girl and that I fast forwarded him by trying to talk about where we were headed (before I’d even consider sex with him). At that time it seemed like I ruined it all by that.
    It seems so hard for me to know what to do to make it right. It’s like as if you’re always walking a thin line not quite knowing what will shift the balance and you’ll fall off. But it shouldn’t be so difficult (or maybe I’m just stupid…). I simply don’t get it. But some people are quite successful and have synchronized schedules with their guy. I just don’t know what they’re doing so different.

    • Melanie says:

      So he wanted you to move in and marry him and have sex with him, but silly you, you thought he also wanted you to be his girlfriend? Sounds like he was hoping to manage down your expectations, I’m glad you didn’t bite, good for you!

      Oh I’ve had similar happen to me, guy I started dating, he acted so into me. He wanted to spend all our time either together, or on the phone. He’d phone me before and after and even during work, it seemed he couldn’t live with out me. He was talking about love and the future. I liked him but was a bit overwhelmed by the fast pace of it all, and so soon. I tried to hold the pace a bit slower as though I really liked him I felt smothered.

      One long weekend I wanted to go home for a while to do some chores then I would come back and see the next day. He begged me not to, offered to do my chores, etc. He couldn’t be left without me for just a day! So when I very politely said I really wanted to go home, he then tried turning the tables and declared that he didn’t have as strong feelings for me as I did for him, quite a departure from how he’d been acting all along.

      I responded by crying, dumping him and going home, as planned. So then he spent another month or so trying to beg me back, but always maintaining that he didn’t have as strong feelings for me as I did for him. That declaration wasn’t going to work for me obviously. Before he said that I never thought of it like a contest, of who likes whom more. But no need for him to tell me, ‘I want to see you, but I don’t like you as much as you like me’. Who wants to invest in that?

      Oh the drama, complete crazy making! Since then he got back with his previous girlfriend, married and divorced her, he’s now engaged and working towards his 3rd marriage… BTW, he’s a respected soldier and state trooper.

      When he was just a friend, before I started dating him, I thought, incorrectly, that he was so level-headed. That’s what attracted me to him. But I guess that’s what the dating phase is for, could be worse, couldv’e married the drama queen!! :-) I was sad at the time but now I look back and feel lucky and imagine I couldn’t breathe with him around needing all of my free time!!

    • NML says:

      Gala, this is an example of where as women, we don’t do ourselves *any* favours – you met a man, who asked you to move in and marry him after a week (er HELLO!), you then say you believe in honesty, you said how you felt, he told you what his agenda was, and now you’re wondering if you ruined something.

      Gala, how could you ‘ruin’ a relationship that wasn’t? How could you ruin something where the person has said to you in essence that he doesn’t want a girlfriend and just wants to get laid?

      For a start, by your own admission, this was not a relationship, i,e you were not boyfriend and girlfriend. Don’t you think that it’s just hmmmm somewhat odd that someone who you are not *actually* in a relationship with would ask you to marry him and move in after a week?

      Do you know what you could do differently? Stop making other people’s shitty behaviour about you and recognise code red behaviour. No relationship is going to be successful if you don’t think there is anything wrong with someone suggesting stuff in the space of a week that some people don’t suggest for a year. Instead of berating yourself about the fact that someone who has his own agenda, admitted he has his own agenda and that he would essentially lie through his teeth to get laid, take the knowledge of the code red behaviour and his admissions and be *thankful* that he has shown you his ass in what must only be a few weeks in.

      How you could expect to have synchronized schedules with someone you hardly know and who is talking moving in and marriage after a week is beyond me…

      You are not stupid at all but you are overintellectuallising what is in essence an open and shut case of assholery. It’s like you refuse to acknowledge that your own needs and boundaries are right and that someone who doesn’t want a relationship and only wants to shag you, is *hardly* going to marry you and move in. Hit the flush handle, move on, and stop turning this mans behaviour into a dramatisation. NEXT! is what you should be saying.

      Also I would ask yourself how much you believe in honesty because when you got it, not only didn’t you like it but you haven’t *done* anything with the information.

      • grace says:

        I’m guilty of that – I wanted honesty provided they were saying what I wanted to hear. Otherwise, I would just ignore it thank you very much.
        It’s silly to look at a flip flapping man caught like a fish on a line and complain that he’s not being honest. Look at him! Just throw him back in the water and do both of you a favour.

      • gala says:

        With honesty I meant that I wouldn’t tell lies about my intentions or feelings. I wouldn’t fool a guy that I care just to use him.
        Well, he came up with this “I don’t feel like going into a relationship”after knowing (and seeing) each other for 6 months. It was such a sudden change from everything he was saying before. He was treating me great in those 6 months and I felt really good around him. I really thought we were slowly getting closer and going into a relationship – silly me…
        After that I did tell him I won’t see him any more or be friends with him. He then said he needed to think about it and later said we should take it slow and maybe build a relationship (as he said he doesn’t want to lose me), he made lots of promises, but still pushed for sex -we didn’t do it, but I agreed to give it a try with being together. Later, he was full of excuses of why he can’t deliver what he promised. I confronted him again and opted out. He told me I misjudged him and that he planned to do all that (including introducing me to his family). He was so angry with me for opting out as if I did him a great injustice. I felt terrible, I was confused, thinking that maybe I did misjudge him. I haven’t had many relationships, you see, I was always more of a nerd and shy type and was never popular. And I am inclined to take the blame for everything (I suppose it’s the remnant of my childhood, when I was blamed for everything that was going wrong).
        But, now I know what I’ve done wrong and hopefully next time I won’t fall into the trap.

        • gala says:

          He had this “sudden change ” after I declined sleeping with him. It’s really is such a clear cut case, it’s sort of funny I made such a big deal out of it. I was so terribly infatuated at the time, I just didn’t want to see it for what it was…

        • NML says:

          Gala, the recurrent issue here is sex and that is at the center of what is going on here and it’s like this man is trying to wrestle it from you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you not wanting to have sex until you are ready and comfortable and also in the relationship that you feel you should be in – and therein lies the problem.

          He has been pushing you for sex. I’m not even going to suggest that he should pretend that he’s a monk, but he doesn’t respect your sexual values and you are not acknowledging the difference in sexual values as a at minimum code amber.

          If sex is part of what only takes place for you within a ‘proper relationship’, it should not have taken 6 months for his information to surface to the table. It feels like there was an air of when you get the relationship that you think you should get that you would ‘put out’ which in turn suggests that however great things were in those 6 months, they weren’t that great.You may have felt comfortable but you weren’t *that* comfortable and the issue still remains that you two were both ‘seeing’ each other and not *actually* boyfriend and girlfriend and talking about stuff like marriage. That *is* a red flag because he thinks talking about those things should have made you comfortable enough to ‘put out’. That and if there *is* no relationship, he shouldn’t have been talking about those things.

          And the issue still remains with you’re engaging in selective honesty whereas however the truth comes about, it is best to hear it. If he wants to be angry, let him be angry. You must own your own judgement and you know why you opted out – you don’t need someone who lied to you in the first place to validate that decision.

          • gala says:

            You’re absolutely right, of course.
            But at the time I was writing that comment, I had a blindfold over my eyes (and not to mention brain). It felt like there was so much smoke around I couldn’t see anything.

      • Natasha says:

        Natalie – I burst out laughing at ” you are overintellectuallising what is in essence an open and shut case of assholery”. Sorry if this is a little off-topic, but I have been highly guilty of this one too! One of my friends said to me about the last AC, “Jesus woman, the man fronted like he wanted you to be his girlfriend at long last, because he knew it’s the only way he could get you to sleep with him. It’s vile, but it’s not complicated.”
        It’s interesting, because I’ve never stressed about commitment with a man, UNLESS I happened to be invovled with an AC. With a normal man, it seems like it either happens or it doesn’t, with minimal/nonexistant dramatics on either end. At least that’s been my experience!

    • grace says:

      It’s not about what they do that’s different. there isn’t a “trick” or a “rule” that will get these guys on board. It’s about how you see yourself. Men and women in healthy two-way relationships have good self-esteem. They fundamentally believe that they’re a valuable human being with a lot to offer. They don’t believe the other party is doing them a favour just by showing up. They trust their judgement. They accept love and give love. They communicate well. They don’t sulk, disappear or manipulate. They’re not afraid of their emotions. The believe they deserve to be treated well. They don’t blame themselves when they’re not. They know when something isn’t working for them and opt out. They are optimistic about the future. They have a plan – they don’t just coast along like bits of fluff on the tide. If that’s not you, all your relationships are doomed. Of course, no-one’s perfect and we all have shaky times but if you have one crap relationship after another you need to learn to value yourself, not these twits!
      If you loved yourself, being with someone who treats you like crap would feel very wrong. If you don’t love yourself, despite the pain, something about being with them feels very right.

      • ICanDoBetter says:


        “If you loved yourself, being with someone who treats you like crap would feel very wrong. If you don’t love yourself, despite the pain, something about being with them feels very right.”

        How true that is! When I first met the ex-AC, I thought being with him felt like home to me. That should have been a red flag, because home was a very dysfunctional place.

        • EllyB says:

          ICanDoBetter: Oh yes, I used to chase this “homely” feeling, both in romantic and non-romantic relationships. For years, I yearned for this as if it was a lifeboat. I thought if I could make a relationship with a person who resembled my parents “work”, I could somehow undo all my childhood horrors. I think I have yet to learn to face the truth and live without those false “comforts”.

      • Minky says:

        Brilliant Grace! I want to stick this comment on my fridge!

        From a former bit of fluff on the tide :)

    • Jo says:

      “Relationships are so very difficult. I simply can’t understand how they go. So many variables and you never really can know whom you can or cannot trust. ”


      Oh my goodness, these were my exact thoughts for a long time, really! You are so right, there are so many factors that need to fall into place for two people to make a life together in a healthy way that I really started to wonder how any couple manages to have a healthy relationship that endures.

      When I found this blog I realized that the first mistake I was making was ignoring red/amber flags and picking the wrong men. This blog has helped me so much and I have also read some great books and for the first time in my life I can confidently say that I WANT to choose right and be open and unavailable.

      But I think what I also realized, which was also hard, is that even if we do our best in relationships – go out, be open, available, pick good candidates, don’t prescribe, co-pilot, etc, there are still no guarantees. We can only work on ourselves, do our best, and be happy with ourselves. This way, no matter what you find/don’t find, you are still okay : )

      • Sam says:

        “We can only work on ourselves, do our best, and be happy with ourselves. This way, no matter what you find/don’t find, you are still okay .”

        Excellent words Jo. It is a bit unnerving to know that even if all the elements fall in place and you find a healthy relationship that there are no guarantees but it doesn’t mean that dating or relationships are hopeless. Things happen in life – the good and the bad and some things simply cannot be predicted. Of course what Natalie says gives all of us a huge advantage of cutting out all the fat that’s out there and will just end up harming us – but I realized I had to stop focusing on all the what-ifs. I’m in a healthy relationship, it’s fairly new – I’m learning from it and enjoying it and doing my best to keep anxiety at bay with asking questions that simply cannot be answered at this point “when is move-in date? when is marriage and baby time?”

        No more prescribing…Because I’m not the head doctor in this relationship and this isn’t a damn pharmacy.

  12. grace says:

    I’ve had a couple of friends try to nag their boyfriends into proposing. Finally, I said to them “Just don’t mention it to him for six months”. Hey presto, they then proposed.
    I’m not saying this will always work but it’s offputting being nagged and pushed, no-one likes it.

    • NML says:

      I agree Grace – I’ve seen it myself. It’s also positive silence not negative silence, ie sulking, hinting, simmering, and scowling. Of course the relationship has to be healthy with a foundation in the first place.

  13. Leigh says:

    Nat’s right to have a healthy relationship you both have to be on the same page with the same agenda so it’s a journey that’s taken together.

    When I first met my ex husband I told him I didn’t believe in sex before marriage. We were young. I wasn’t ready. I totally believed in what I was saying. Sure, we messed around but as I told him that’s fine because we were boyfriend and girlfriend, but I didn’t want that line crossed until it was official.

    He respected my wishes for three years. To some that may seem odd, but to me it was everything (I was 19 at the time). During those three three he did try to manipulate the situation. It got so bad that he started to threaten me and say he would find someone else. I never forget how that made me feel – as if he didn’t really love me.

    Then one evening he said “we will do it because if not it’s over.” I gave in (stupid me) and let me tell you it was terrible. Over within three minutes maybe less, then he switched on his TV and watched football while I cried. I look at him and said “I’ve just lost my virginity to you and you’re watching football, don’t you care?” He said “All girls cry when they lose it.”

    I should have dumped him there and then, but I was too shocked and too in denial.

    Years later, we had our first home together. Had our first baby. He left after our child was five months old for another woman. I went back to work and met someone who paid me attention and was kind. In my moment of being honest I told the exH that I was seeing someone else.

    He slapped my face called me a whore and told me that if I didn’t allow him to move back in that instant that he would take my child away from me.

    Terrified doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. He had his own agenda – to get his own way.

    He is still the same man. He used to come into my home (recent) with threats. My release was being able to call him an emotional abuser to his face and then refusing to have him in my home for one moment longer. This has been backed up by solicitors.

    If two people are not on the same page, it never works, and one always suffers more than the other. It just isn’t worth it – we’re only here on this planet for a…

    • Movedup says:

      @Leigh – that’s horrible. I am so sorry to hear you went through that. Hugs. Be strong and remember its a reflection on him not you. There is a special place in hell for those types – don’t you worry – a very special place.

  14. AliceB says:

    Let’s say the guy doesn’t believe in marriage and you’re not pushed one way or the other, how can you tell if there’s commitment?

    • Minky says:

      Hey Alice,

      I don’t believe in marriage either, but i am committed to my bloke. That means that i am totally for this relationship, not trying to sabbotage it, not looking out for something better, not biding my time. I am willing to comprimise and make necessary sacrifces (within my values and boundaries) for the relationship. I am not guaranteeing that we will last for ever, because no one can promise that (even if you do get married), but while we are together, i will be faithful, do everything i can for the good of the relationship. I will respect him and respect myself.

      I don’t need a ceremony or a piece of paper to do any of those things.

      Hope this helps! :)

    • Sam says:

      Alice, I guess you would have to understand why he didn’t believe in marriage – has he explained it to you and given you his reasons? And if you think his reasons are just and you agree with them then it shouldn’t be an issue. But really take the time out to think about if it is something you want. I know in my past I was dating someone who didn’t believe in it (he romanticized being a commitment-phobe) and I thought ‘well I don’t need to be married either’ in order to talk myself into being ok with his views. I’m not 100% sure yet but I’m pretty sure marriage is something I DO want. Make sure that you are the reason you decide if you want to get married or not- don’t let the guy be your swing vote.

  15. Sho says:

    Thanks for the advice. I am his longest relationship and his first real girlfriend besides one he had in college (who never met his parents or anything). Of course he dated before me but nothing really serious.

    I would probably call him sheltered as he comes from a wealthy upbringing and hasn’t really had any obstacles – like the ones I’ve faced over the past year (juggling a tough job, quitting/starting a new job, grad school, etc) which he also brought this up into the conversation (these stressful life changes weighing on him/affecting him even though I’ve been upbeat).

    I appreciate everyone’s advice and we have broken off contact – I told him to take his space and contact me when he’s ready. I do very much so see the possibility of this being the end of our relationship, but if it is true and being with me and taking the next step is “scary” to him, than it is best that I move on from that.

  16. debra says:

    I’ve noticed the word “agenda” gets used alot in the post and the comments. I never realized before the extent to which I had an agenda in my relationships, particularly the last one with the AC. If you asked me when I was unattached, I would tell you I was very happy, didn’t need to be in a relationship and was fine on my own and that was actually somewhat true. Then, the second the possibility of a relationship presented itself, I began to try and manipulate the situation, without being honest about what I wanted. If he wanted casual, I pretended I was fine with that. If he wanted control, I said no problem. In trying to seem to be ok with his agenda, I thought I would accomplish my own. Many of the things I accused the AC of, I am equally guilty of doing. I suspect that’s why my reaction to him was so strong. I saw far more of myself in him than I wanted to admit.

    If I am going into something with an agenda – hidden or otherwise – I am trying to control something I have no control over, namely someone else. It has come crashing down on me lately just how much I have allowed things outside myself to control me – reacting or overreacting to every little thing that happens. I made him responsible for my happiness. I get derailed at every little thing. All in an attempt to keep me from dealing with myself. All of it distraction from how much I was trying to control things outside myself.

    No more agendas. No more hidden or covert actions. If I cannot deal honestly with someone, I am not dealing with them. I am either trying to control them or am allowing myself to be controlled by them. Either way, nothing good comes of it.

  17. Movedup says:

    Whoo hoo Nat! Excellent and right on!
    “A good, healthy relationship with both of you with your feet in has conversations about the future and plans, which you can feel confident in discussing and participating in because you already have evidence to show that neither of you just talk the talk – your relationship has been progressing and experiencing the landmarks of a healthy relationship anyway.”

    Yes – could not explain it any better and its even better when you are living it!!!!!!! Come on ladies its sweeter on the other side.

  18. Allison says:

    Hi Nat,

    Would you consider doing an article on drama seekers and the relationship to emotional unavailability?

  19. FindingMyself says:

    This is a timely blog, for sure. I have been beating myself up, thinking until my head is about to explode, just driving myself crazy from morning til night over our relationship(not) moving forward.

    Basically, I have walked out of the relationship many times because of no forward movement. We are have been LDR for 5 years off and on. I have been given empty promises, false hope, lots of talk (that all sounds really good), just to end up back in the same freakin spot again. The typical reasons why we have not moved forward is usually financial. Not having a big enough place to fit both our families. Not having the money to do XYZ. Lots of obstacles, with ‘saying’ he wants to move forward. Honestly, I don’t think he really does or ever did want to for that matter. I believe if he truly wanted to, we could have found a way to make it work. Even if it meant not having the large house to spread out in. I feel, if you truly love someone and want to be with them. You will do what ever it takes and make sacrifices to be with them.

    I have allowed him to be the “only driver” all along. Although, he made it sound like we were planning our route, it was just a detour to shut me up and appease me for a bit more time. I am done going along for the ride that has no destination.

  20. ph2072 says:

    Good entry. Definitely worth re-reading.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.