Something I have been talking about a lot with readers in private sessions is about how continuing to hold fast to the same position does not change anything and is a bit like digging your heels in and hoping that the other person will move.
Maintaining your position in the relationship is about adopting a particular stance on how you see things (often as an illusion) and deciding that you will not adjust your vision of things or your expectations, or even your desire to be in the relationship to the reality of the situation, even though the other person isn’t moving from their position either.
Often you will disregard their actions and focus on previous words, not even necessarily current words, plus project your feelings, focus on your betting on potential, or become obsessed about getting him to change and recognise that his current character is not suitable so that you can get the man and the relationship you want, even if he’s not actually the man you want and neither is the relationship…
Classic example: Your relationship started out pretty hot and even though there may have been some boundary crossing, or out and out red flags, you went with your feelings and also listened to his words. Maybe he was saying he’d never felt like this before or that he could see you both married or something. However now things have changed and he’s been blowing lukewarm or supercold on the relationship thermostat and has made it clear either through actions or words that what he originally professed to want is no longer on offer and that he doesn’t want to be in anything serious or committed.
He (or she) is actually being more like their true self, potentially because once they realised that you may actually want, need, or expect from them based on what they professed was on offer, they had to shift their behaviour so that they can manage down your expectations.
He has adapted his position and is now maintaining it.
You’re going to be feeling more than a tad blindsided. You want to believe that what you experienced was real and that it can continue. Because they’ve previously exhibited the behaviour you want (in the hot phase), you decide that it’s just a matter of getting them to revert back to their behaviour.
You (rightly) determine that you are not going to be downgraded to a casual relationship, but you don’t end the relationship either.
This is you maintaining your position.
You hope that he’ll change. You hope that he’ll get over his problems. You hope that if you show how much you love him and your loyalty that it’ll be recognised (eventually) and rewarded, in turn validating you. You believe that it’s all just a matter of his current set of problems finally being sorted out which will leave him free to be committed.
One of the big ones is that you’ll recognise that he’s emotionally unavailable and/or an assclown and decide that if you can see that there is a problem, then surely he will see that there is an issue and want to be better than he is.
You decide that your version of things is the ‘right’ version of things and there is partly an assumption that in knowing that someone’s behaviour is ‘wrong’ they must surely want to get it ‘right’, often with the help and love of a good woman.
Maintaining the position is about standing your ground and refusing to accept or take what is on offer and opting instead to continue to pursue your own agenda.
Remember: It’s not that you have to take what’s on offer or that you should take it, but there comes a point when you have to recognise that denying the reality and trying to force your own agenda, is not working.
But maintaining the position extends beyond these types of situations. You don’t need to even be in a relationship to maintain your position.
A longtime reader explained the other day that she’d had to decide if she wanted to continue being stuck.
I also explained to another reader that the notable shift in her life came when she stopped holding onto the pain and the past and focused on letting go, moving on, and establishing a healthier present and future with boundaries and good people and environment around her.
Maintaining your position outside of relationships is really about adopting a set of beliefs and actions and holding fast to them even if they actually only serve to fulfil a self-fulfilling prophecy that props up negative beliefs, which also leads to you repeating negative patterns and behaviours.
Both of these people maintained their positions for many a year. It’s not that they weren’t right to feel aggrieved, that their pain wasn’t valid, or that the people in their lives shouldn’t recognise the damage and implication of their actions; it’s just that in holding fast to this and not only achieving no positive results, but ending up being ‘stuck’ and in pain, maintaining their positions didn’t work for them because there comes a point when you have to accept the reality that is – whilst everyone is capable of change, some people don’t want to and you could be a long time waiting.
At some point, we have to stop focusing on them and bring the focus right back to us and deal with the person that can change – US.
At some point you either have to adapt your position, or…adopt a new one.
Back in part two