Matt and Anna discuss frustrations when getting back into dating, and knowing when to take the next steps from dating to commitment.
Matt and Anna talk about how to open up communication regarding likes and dislikes, as well as ways to start spicing up your sex life.
Fantasy Box is an amazing way to really spice up your love life and help you and your partner discover new things about yourselves and each other. Each box contains a different theme which will guide you on how to indulge into new worlds and experiences. The product quality is great as well and they have different pricing tiers set up for different budgets. We can not recommend this service enough and it has done wonders for us. Give it a shot and let us know what you think.
This is a great site for figuring out what things you and your partner are mutually inerested in doing. It will only show questions which you both match on and not disclose anything where either partner said they would not be interested in trying, so you don’t have to be shy about being completely honest. This is a great starting point to figure out what activities you and your partner want to dive in to together.
Matt and Anna end the self-love series by talking about the importance of coming face-to-face with the dark side of your personality and how getting to know it is actually a form of self-love.
Know Thyself: In achieving the best version of yourself it is important to also understand where you may have weaknesses or tendencies to do things that are hurtful either to yourself or others. Getting to know these aspects and understanding them on a deep level allows you to dive into what triggers them and possible where they originated from. This also allows you to empathize with others on a deeper level.
Many people tend to want to hide their darker side and cover it up. They wil often do this either in the form of outright denial or in downplaying the behaviors. While in the podcast we touched on some really deep subjects, they may not be as outwardly noticeable. For example, you may have a damaging behaviors when it comes to finance, laziness, or even thoughts when it comes to other people.
Getting to understand these aspects of yourself touches on one of the first and most important steps in getting control of a problem in your life, and that is acknowledging it is there. One way to do this is to look at a behavior you have done in the past and admit it to yourself without adding a “but I do it becuase” or “Yah but the only reason I do that”. While this may be true, it is not taking ownership of something you can take full control of. For example, if you sometimes say unnecessarily cruel things to your significant other, ad it it to yourself as just that. “Sometimes I hurt my significant other with my words”.
This is called inviting the shadow to the table. Your get to know it by acknowledging it first and foremost, and then approach it with curiosity. Wonder where it came from, and what triggers it. Tell yourself how you are going to handle it from a place of love going forward when trigger situations come up. Depending on the severity of it, you may want to consider a coach or therapist to help you work through this dark aspect of yourself. For the more severe issues, we would recommend a trained therapist as a coach may not be sufficient in tackling this problem and the root may need to be explored on a deeper level.
Most importantly, as you decide to do this work in discovering the hidden part of you, remember to do it from a place of love. Seeking to be better and change is, in itself, a quality that confirms you are deserving of the love you seek. Remember that even though the actions may have been hurtful to others, it was an act of self-love gone wrong in the past as you were doing the best you knew how for yourself. Understand this and forgive yourself but understand now that it is your responsibility to make the changes and actions necessary to change. Once again, remember there is no shame in seeking help and seeking help is also an act of self-love and dignity.
A final note I want to touch upon. Understand that often, your dark side and capability is a power and tool when used with control and self awareness. Please see the below talk by Jordan Peterson about this:
If you have the time, this is also a great lecture on knowing the dark side of yourself
Below are some articles we suggest you read for more information about this subject.
Matt and Anna discuss the ways to effectively approach disagreements and conflicts in relationships. As well as the do’s and don’ts of how to respond.
- Think about what you want to say ahead of addressing the issue and decide what the goal of the discussion is. You are far more likely to have a successful resolution of the issue if you determine what needs have to be met ahead of time. Keep in mind, however, that you may not see the full picture until after you have begun discussing so this does not mean you can’t compromise depending on the issue.
- Focus on the issue at hand. It is not a great strategy to dump out multiple issues at once. It detracts from the focus and reduces the chance of a resolution of any issues as well as increases the likelihood the other person will feel attacked and criticized for who they are as opposed to something they have done.
- Listen when the other person is speaking. Try to hear them fully out without interjecting
- Try to always see from your partner’s perspective. Even if you don’t understand their point fully, you can probably understand their base feelings.
- Do not think of this as a win or lose scenario. If you both can come to an understanding and a resolution you both agree with, then it is a win.
- Don’t accuse and use “I” messages. For example, when you use the phrase “I feel”, there can be no arguing that you are incorrect about your feelings. Talking about how something makes you feel also requires no assumptions since you are only speaking your truth. Even if you misunderstand a scenario that has led to these feelings as a reaction, you are not misunderstanding your feelings.
- Focus on finding a mutually agreeable solution. Focusing on getting someone to “cave in” to you can make them feel like they have no say and it is all about you and not them. Even if they agree, there is a high likelihood of resentment building underneath from it.
- If it is getting heated, take a pause and come back later. It may be good to address exactly how you are feeling in that moment and mention you want to take a break from the discussion. Then pick a time to come back to it in the near future.
- Pick and choose your battles. Remember everyone will have things about them that annoy or bother you. Try to think about what it is ahead of time and determine how important this issue truly is. Ask yourself why it is so important to you as well.
- Never underestimate the power of humor when addressing less serious issues. Sometimes addressing a problem in a lighthearted manner communicates that something is bothering you but will let the other know that it is coming from a place of less seriousness and will put them much less on the defensive.
When someone is bringing up an issue with you
- Listen and hear them out. Try to fully understand what it is they are trying to tell you before placing your own judgements and interpretations on it.
- Be patient as they try to work out everything they want to say. Try to empathize with them. Remember, even if you do not agree with some of the conclusions they are coming to, their feelings are real.
- Avoid getting defensive. Even if they are not handling the discussion on their end very well you can still control how you react. After a resolution has been reached you can then bring up to them your issues with the way they handled the conflict and explain what would be more effective for you going forward.
- Try to understand the why of how they feel the way they do. Sometimes your partner may be communicating a specific incident or action that has upset them, but the core of it is how it made them feel which if often tied to something deeper. For example, if they are upset that you don’t let them know when you get home at night, the underlying issue might be that they are worried and not being put at ease by knowing you’re okay or they may feel like they don’t hold much priority in your life.
- Remember to take ownership of where you may have gone wrong or been inconsiderate, even if it is in the way you handled the conflict. It shows that you are willing to understand and work with your partner and it is not a weakness to be able to admit your own shortcomings.
What not to do when addressing conflict (For both)
- Accuse or make assumptions directly to them. You can speak in feelings however and using the “I” language.
- Get defensive. Remember you are always 100% in control of how you handle yourself, no matter how the other one is handling it on their end.
- Let your anger take over. Not only does this keep you from thinking clearly and more likely to attack the other, but may lead you to escalate the argument to a dangerous level. This especially applies to physical violence and actions such as throwing things, yelling, and especially physically hurting the other.
- Generalize. Saying things like “You always… “ or “You never..” Not only is it probably incorrect but can increases the likelihood the other will resort to defensiveness, In fact, it helps if you can think of a time when they did the opposite to help you keep more on track as well as giving them an example of when they did something right and how it made you feel instead.
- Avoid conflict altogether. You can take a little time to compose yourself and decide how you want to address the issue and the goal of the discussion, but hoping issues will go away almost never works. It can also lead to a constant feeling of things not being resolved. The longer you sit on an issue and let it build up, the more likely you are to eventually blow up and let all the emotions come flooding out as well causing the other to feel attacked.
- Make someone feel guilty for their feelings. Remember, regardless of any misunderstandings that led to the issue, how they feel is very real to them. Keep that in mind as you work through the issue and don’t make them feel ashamed for their feelings. This will also lead to them being less likely to open up to you down the road until the inevitable blow up.
- Go to extremes to try and win. For example, taking actions that seem like conceding but are actually done to make them feel bad. As an example, if your partner brings up that you are spending too much time going out with friends and they feel neglected, don’t react by making a big show of telling her you won’t ever go out with your friends again and calling the friends to tell them in a way that makes your partner seem like the wrong one. It is actually a form of manipulation when you do this.
- Try to win. Remember that even if you “win” an argument, you lose. It is about creating a win-win situation where both are happy. Also keep in mind that in trying to win, you are far more likely to trigger a backfire effect with no compromise.
- Try to talk when the time is not conducive to a productive discussion. You can even schedule a time ahead of time. As your partner is rushing out the door to work, they will feel added pressure and tension if you decide to start discussing the issues then.
After the conflict
- Think about the lessons and gains from the discussion. Both in the things you have learned about your partner as well as in how to communicate with them in general.
- Create an action plan based on the compromise so that you can ensure the resolution to this issue can be effectively put in place and not occur again.
- Move on from the conflict. If it has been resolved, let it stay resolved. Constantly bringing it back up will make the other feel like discussions are pointless and less likely to trust you on discussions going forward and more likely to immediately go on the defensive.
Summary: Matt & Anna discuss self-love and it’s importance to creating a better life and better relationships. They also discuss some example of what self-love is and what it is not.
Self-love is not:
Generated from external sources. Self-love is generated from within and projected outwards on to the world. Just as the way people treat you is usually a reflection of how they feel about themselves, the way you treat others can be a reflection of your internal self-worth. You also tend to see the world in a way that reflects the way you feel about yourself and will miss the cues that contradict that view while focusing on those that confirm it.
It is more than just what feels good. Many people will turn to unhealthy habits or behaviors to feel good, but feeling good is not necessarily self-love. Some extremes of this may be things like drugs or alcohol but can also be more subtle like unhealthy food choices on a frequent basis for the immediate satisfaction it brings. Self love is is about taking actions that are overall good for you, even f they don’t necessarily feel great in the moment.
It is not conditional. Self-love starts with loving you, in all your imperfectness, as you are right now. The catch-22 of saying you will be worthy of love after you achieve a certain goal means you are also confirming you don’t feel worthy right now and it becomes self-defeating. Try writing the mantra “I accept myself as I am,. Unconditionally. Right now”
It is not Egocentric: While putting yourself first is important, it does not mean disregarding the importance of others. It means you are the most important person in the world to yourself, not that the entire world should also see you as the most important person. It also does not mean taking care of yourself at the expense of others.
What is Self-Love:
- It is being kind and caring to yourself because you deserve it right now. It is not from the external. It is also learning how to deal with the negative voices in your head that try to tell you about your unworthines.
Exercise to overcome negative internal voices
- Recognize the negative voice. Acknowledge the tone and inflection in the voice. How similar is this voice to your own actual voice?
- Give the voice a name. Preferably a goofy name that does not carry much authority with you.
- Change the sound of the voice as it talks to you. Make it sound super whiny, goofy, or stupid. Make sure it is a voice you can smile at.
- Listen to the voice in this new tone and realize how ridiculous it now sounds as it talks down to you.
- Thank the voice but let it know you know you have it handled or that you don’t need its input anymore. Understand that the negativity it speaks is actually a form of love and trying to protect you from hurt. Give it gratitude for it’s concern but then reassure it that it doesn’t need to worry anymore.
- Self-love maintains healthy boundaries. While self-love is not self-absorbed, it does care about those around as well. However, you also need to know when to say no to things in life when the need to give to another costs value in your own life.
- It is a willingness to say what you are willing to continue to tolerate and what you are not willing to tolerate. State it clearly in the form of “I am no longer willing to tolerate…..”. “I am willing to tolerate……”. Please read the book Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop for some great info on this and much more.
- Self-love is understanding your needs and realizing you deserve to have them fulfilled. For example, if you need a break from an insanely busy schedule or maybe even the opposite and realizing you need more focus and productivity in your day to feel happy. Please see Atomic Habits for help with the latter.
- Self-love understands you are perfectly imperfect. It is acknowledging that you are a flawed human being and still worthy of love. It acknowledges the great qualities about yourself as well as the not so great ones but willing to turn and face them. This actually is also the first major step in learning to control or even overcome the aspects of yourself that you are not so proud of.
- Self-love celebrates the wins and acknowledges your victories. It compares your progress in improving to yourself alone and not to others. You can use others as a model for which you want to progress but that is not the same as comparing yourself to them.
- It is Being open to an ever growing you. Be open to new experiences and allow yourself to experience new things.
- Remember we are all human and make mistakes. The path of self love is acknowledge those mistakes and allowing yourself forgiveness by asking “What have I learned from this?” When you understand the mistakes made and what you have learned to make sure they don’t occur again, you can forgive yourself and forgiveness is an act of love.
- Always focus on the things you can control and understand what the things you can not control are. Putting energy towards things that are not within your control takes that energy away from the parts you can, like how you are going to respond to a given situation. You may not be able to control a freak accident where someone hit your car, but you can control how you handle the situation now that it happened. You can’t control the hurtful things a loved one has said, but you can control how you respond to them by asking yourself who you want to be in that moment and what is the most effective response.
Ways to cultivate self-love
Pursue your passions without self-sabotage. Do the things that interest you or spend time thinking about what it is that interests you if you are unsure.
Implement physical exercise into your routine. We don’t need to go into depth here about the mental and physical benefits of exercise since information on this is everywhere, but creating an environment that is conducive to this is an act of self-love and knowing your own worth.
Start a gratitude journal. Every day write 3 things you are grateful for as well as affirmations for the day.
Go through your circle of friends and ask which ones help lift you up vs keep you down or even try to drag you down. Realize that you are the average of the people you hang out with most and begin surrounding yourself with people who are inline with your goals and vision of a better you.
Read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. This is one of the best books about self-acceptance and self-love out there and you will know why we recommended it once you read it.
Two final points to remember going forward:
You Are Enough.
Everything you need to achieve your goals you already have within you.
Start where you are.Use what you have.Do what you can.– Arthur Ashe
Recommended Reading and Links
Summary: Matt and Anna talk about a listener submitted question to explain signs of when a relationship may have started too soon or someone may not be ready. They also cover communication, healing in between relationships, and how to go about getting yourself ready to begin dating again.
Take your time to heal when ending a relationship: The end of a relationship can be compared to the mourning process in a lot of ways with different stages. It is important to go through these stages and allow yourself to fully process each one before getting back into a relationship. Not allowing yourself this time means you could end up in a new relationship carrying the unhealed wounds and damage of the previous relationship and those wounds will bleed onto the new relationship. Remember, each relationship ending is an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. It is a chance to evaluate what went right, what went wrong, what you had done well, and what you could have done better.
Many people coming out of a relationship jump to quickly into a new one to avoid the pain of this healing process and to try and fill in the holes in their life that were previously occupied by one person with a new person. In that rush to do so however, they don’t really take the time to determine if the new person is a good fit of if they are truly in a place to receive that person.
Before you can be complete in a relationship, you need to be complete on your own: A relationship does not complete a person. You should be a complete and whole person without the relationship. Remember an ideal partner is someone who adds to your life. Makes it fun and encourages you to be more of who you already are and supports you in changing the things you are already working to change (or at least helping you identify those things from a loving place).
Learn healthy communication: Communication is key in any successful relationship. If you are not having a need met, hoping the other person will just “figure it out” will only lead to frustration for both. Remember also that often men and women communicate and receive information very differently. When a need is not being met or you want to express that there is something you really enjoyed and want more of, express it clearly to your partner. Remember, even when asserting boundaries or telling someone they are not doing something correctly for you, asserting yourself and communicating this does not need to turn into a huge conflict. Express your needs from a place of love and non-judgement. Remember it is also about your needs, not about their lack of meeting them.
Avoiding ending a relationship for fear of hurting just causes more hurt: Staying with someone because you don’t want to hurt them will ultimately lead to more hurt in the long run. It will manifest in the way you interact with them while you are with them and when the inevitable break up does come, it will just have been dragged out that much longer.
Whatever you feel inside will express itself whether you are aware you are doing so or not. Not clearly communicating it, however, will confuse the partner and leave them feeling like they need to “read your mind”.
Summary: Anna and Matt discuss the uncertainty stages in relationships, What are the possible causes and the best ways to move out of uncertainty if you are the one who is facing this critical period in the relationship. Also how to cope with the uncertainty if you are the one facing a partner who seems to be pulling away. They also cover some dos and don’ts for how you should react in these scenarios to ensure your partner is not pushed into a decision that could ultimately hurt or end the relationship unnecessarily.
Causes of Uncertainty
Conflicts: Any type of conflict can cause uncertainty, especially if it is one where one side or the other needs to evaluate certain values or practices they previously were used to and/or liked. During these times, the one pulling away is typically evaluating their ability to adapt to the needs of the other and if it is something they truly want to do. There may be other causes for conflict although this is the most common. Requesting a change in an individual’s behavior or previous rituals will often lead them to needing an evaluation of whether they want to pursue the relationship while working to change or adapt to something they previously had in their life.
Pressure to advance the relationship: In line with conflicts, a pressure to change the status of the relationship can cause uncertainty. While this is certainly more common with men as women seek to move the relationship status from one phase to the next, it is certainly not exclusive to them. While a change in relationship status brings many benefits, it also requires the partner to give up certain freedoms and they need to evaluate what is more important. It is important for those who chronically leave the relationship at this point to evaluate why they do so and determine what will happen if they continue this pattern. While there may be good reasons to have exited previous relationships at this point, one wants to make sure they are not doing it out of fear and really evaluate what would happen if this pattern continues going forward. A good starting point to determine the motivation at this point is to honestly evaluate if there is a truly good reason to end the relationship here or do they find themselves nitpicking rather trivial things or overreacting to minor flaws or quirks.
Lack of trust: When a partner does not feel they can trust the other, they will often pull away to seriously evaluate their feelings, why they feel the way they do (is it self-generated or is there a valid reason), and what they need in order to move beyond the lack of trust if that is an option.
Boredom: Lack of excitement and novelty. While a degree of familiarity is going to happen in any relationship over time, it is important for each partner to evaluate what they need to keep the relationship alive and exciting.
Feeling they can’t make the other person happy: If the other partner is not happy, they may feel a need to pull away and discover if they are in the right fit for a relationship. When coming out of this uncertainty point a communication of needs is critical here. If the other partner is happy they may need to figure out how to show it better with their partner. If they are not, they need to evaluate what the relationship needs and if it is something both can provide.
Different Values/Goals: This critical evaluation is often overlooked early on in dating but is absolutely critical to the success of a relationship. Having similar values is critical and making it clear that those values and expectations are reciprocated. This is a personal choice and each is allowed to have their own values but not to expect them of the other without communication. For example, if religion is important, it is critical that this be stated early on and to what degree (does he need to be already religious? Is him opening to the idea and embracing that aspect of your life enough? Does it really matter so long as he lets you practice your own beliefs?). Even some that you may feel are fairly obvious may not be, for example, what constitutes “cheating” in your mind. You may find people have very different ideas of where they feel the boundary is crossed. Some may even have different ideas of what “commitment” means. None of these are wrong, it is just wrong to not be honest with your partner.
While goals don’t always need to be perfectly aligned, some are just not compatible at all. For example, if your goal is to have a huge family with 5 kids and your partner wants to remain without kids and living in the big city, there are definitely misalignments that need to be dealt with. The problem with these goals is their importance may not come out until the relationship has been going on for quite a while. Sometimes these misalignments don’t even become clear until after marriage.
Different values and goals can often be compromised and this is a good and healthy practice, not addressing them and hoping it all just works out will only lead to problems down the road for most relationships.
Signs of Uncertainty in your partner
Pulling away: Creating a mental distancing from you and seeking less time with you.
Sudden Drama: As in drama that seems very out of the blue and factors are causing barriers in the relationship that had seemingly no effect previously. What these type of things do legitimately happen, what you want to pay attention to is their effort and willingness to find solutions to work around the issues. Are they giving you the details or just enough to get you to stop asking questions?
New Patterns with no communication: For example, do they randomly go from texting you constantly throughout the day to barely texting at all. Remember you are looking for pattern changes and not just single instances. For example, not texting one day may mean they were just busy or in a mental place where it was not a priority that day. If the pattern changes overall though in a direction that seems to be pulling away as opposed to bringing together with little communication as to the cause.
Vague Busyness: When your partner becomes too busy to talk or see you. As above with new patterns, busyness does happen but it is their willingness to communicate the reasons why and to work around the issues that may be a big indicator as to whether it is legitimate business or uncertainty.
Dos and Don’ts of How to React When Your Partner is Facing Uncertainty About the Relationship
DON’T Getting extra clingy/needy: A lot resort to this type of behavior in panic and out of fear of losing their partner during this phase. Unfortunately, it will often only drive the partner who is distancing him/herself further away.
DO Give them time and space to figure things out: This does not mean you cannot have your boundaries or limits on how much you are willing to wait around. The important thing is to come from a higher place of wanting what is best, even if it means losing them. Give them the space they need but don’t neglect your own healthy boundaries as well. Understand, from a calm place, what you are ok with tolerating. Express these boundaries.
DON’T Get angry: Getting angry may either drive them away or bring them back into the relationship before they are ready. It is just kicking the can down the road and will only intensify the strong emotions.
DO Be realistic about what you can/can’t handle: If their reactions are making you feel like you are forced to endure something you can’t, you do not need to tolerate it. As stated above, giving understanding and allowing others to disrespect your boundaries are two different things. Instead you can take the approach of “I understand that right now you need <blank> and I want you to find your answers, but understand that I will not (stay committed with zero contact/stay in a relationship where you are seeing other people/meet up just for sex/etc…) and if that is what you need, I think it is better that we move on.”
DON’T Use “emotional blackmail” to get them to come back: Making them feel bad for the negative feelings you are having in response, excessive emotionality on display for them, constant reminding them how much they are hurting you by not breaking out of uncertainty, making the possible pain they are feeling all about how it is affecting you, are all examples of what I call emotional blackmail. They are using your extreme emotions to show that their emotions are not as important because if what you are going through. Some might just end the relationship in response to this but others may feel pressured to come back to you before they are ready, which can lead to an undertone of resentment and like what they are trying to deal with is not as important. The negative effects of this may not be apparent at first but will manifest themselves in much worse way later on in the relationship. At the very best, you are just kicking the can down the road until they need to pull away again to address the issues they didn’t have the chance to before.
DO Let them know that it is OK for them to do what they need to: So long as it doesn’t ignore your personal boundaries. This is not only good for your own emotional health, but shows you are someone who cares for them and has enough value and confidence to let them make a choice that they need to make instead of one that is only about you.
DON’T Immediately break up and seek someone new: Remember this is a common occurrence in relationships and not matter how wonderful you are, they may need to adapt and process the relationship at some point. Unless it is clearly a “break” don’t assume they are ok with you seeing other people. Furthermore, fear of losing you to another may be a form of emotional blackmail and force them to dive back in to the relationship before they fully processed everything. Finally, it looks as if you don’t care enough to give them a little time and they will remember you seeing other people which is planting the scenes of toxicity in the relationship moving forward.
DO Spend time with friends and doing what you love: Friends can give you a safe-haven to talk about your frustrations and worries or provide you with activities and company that helps get your mind off your worry. This will also remind you that you have a complete life and not having them does very little to define you or your life’s completeness when not in a relationship.
DON’T Obsess over what you did wrong or need to change: These type of evaluations may be good, especially if you find yourself in a pattern where partners are always pulling away at a certain point, but right in this moment is not the best time. Remember, often you did nothing wrong or it is just a core incompatibility that makes a partner ultimately decide to leave. It doesn’t mean you were wrong it just means they were not the right one for you.
DO Focus on the things you can control: Focus on the tings around the relationship and yourself that you do have control over. You cannot control how they are reacting but you can control how you react and handle things going forward.
DON’T Let the stress bring you to extreme reactions like over-pursuing or shutting down: Over pursuing is another form of neediness and you are trying to close the space they are creating which can make them feel suffocated. Shutting down may show them that you are not someone who can handle their tougher periods and may even push them into a confirmation that you are not good together. Remember to come from a place of calm and understanding with boundaries.
DO use any of the above methods: such as going out and focusing on what you can control instead of things that are out of your control. We also recommend joining out friend Stephen Endres’s group “The Destress Dojo” on Facebook for inspiring messages and methods for coping with stress and anxiety.
DO Take the “Uncertainty Escape Plan” at the bottom of this page
What to do when you are the one who is Uncertain
Be honest: Don’t leave your partner in the dark about what is going on. Even if you are not completely sure what it is that is causing your uncertainty, communicating as much to them will at least let them know that you are not needlessly shutting them out and will help alleviate some of their potential panic. Especially if he cause of your uncertainty is not necessarily related to the relationship, just having an effect on it.
Take time to think it through: Don’t hope the uncertain feeling will just go away. Even if it does it is bound to resurface again down the road if not properly addressed. This is time for self-reflection and to really evaluate how you feel about things.
Figure out what is right for you, not what other people tell you is right for you: While listening to advice of others is good to open your mind to new perspectives, no one knows what you really need better than you. People may also pressure you into decisions for their own personal reasons. They may push you into commitment because it is something they are struggling with themselves. While you may need to do some deep personal exploration, only you can find the real truth of what you need. Maybe consider getting a coach to help you find the path to the answer you need. Remember you can always reach out to us for a free coaching session as well at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask yourself if you are just afraid of failure and what you can do to overcome that fear: This issue is most common for those who have come out of a previous long-term relationship. Fearing that another long-term relationship will just result in another failure. First of all, you need to redefine “failure” in a relationship. We recommend listening to “Episode 4 – Intentional Dating and Creating Your Mold” for a bit more on this. But you also need to learn if this is an area that needs work so that you can confidently go forth and not self-sabotage potentially great relationships.
Think about your future and are you able to see it with that current partner: Getting clear on this will help you determine if that uncertainty is due to something deeper telling you this person is not right for you, or something else.
Take the Uncertainty Escape Plan: It is found at the bottom of this page.
Things that are not signs of pulling away
A one-time change in texting rituals: For example, he used to text you every morning and he all of a sudden stopped. For one, you should never react strongly over a standalone incident. Also understand that while this may have become ritual for you, your partner may not have even been aware it was. This would be a great time to mention how you really liked something and noticed it when it didn’t happen from a loving a non-emotionally reactive place. Also don’t underestimate the power of humor to show confidence and a non-attacking demeanor when conveying the message. Going with the example, imagine the guy was texting the girl every morning then one morning he missed it.
How not to do it:
Her: Apparently I was not important enough to text good morning.
Him: Relax, I was just in a rush this morning and it slipped my mind.
Her: I feel like I am not really that important to you. I understand you were busy but you could have texted even a little late.
Him: Wow. I am feeling a little suffocated here. This seriously has me worried that a simple text can trigger you so badly….
How you should do it:
Her: Already forgot about me huh? 😉 Honestly though, just want to make sure you are ok because I didn’t hear from you.
Him: I am fine. Sorry, I was just really rushing all morning and didn’t think to text.
Her: No problem babe. I am just glad you are OK. I really do look forward to your texts every morning though. It lets me know you are OK and it add gives me those good feelings too.
Him: OK, I didn’t even realize we did it every morning but will make sure to do so now.
Not texting back right away when they previously did: While this could also be an unawareness of texting rituals, they may also have multiple factors in their life. If everything else is the same but they just don’t respond as quickly don’t jump to conclusions and begin reacting. Sometimes, they even tend to be bad texters in general but were responding very quickly when the relationship was new. If there are other pulling away behaviors in combination with this though, then this is a sign of uncertainty. We just don’t want you to overreact over one change in behavior. You could always clarify with them from a healthy place.
Wanting Time Alone: People have different needs for alone time. Needing alone time is not a sign of uncertainty but just one of them needing time to be alone and handle things in their life without the pressures of the relationship. Even great relationships take work and a sacrifice of time from which we need a break once in a while. While most understand this, they may not understand the amount of time in solitude may vary from person to person. Especially one who is, at their core, an introvert. They may have a much higher need for alone time then that their partner.
The Uncertainty Escape Plan
Ask yourself the following questions. We recommend you write your answers out on paper and then reread it to yourself when complete.
Are their relationship goals in line with mine?
Do they have the same values as me?
Can I trust their integrity, will they be there when needed?
Are they emotionally available/ present?
Are exes still in the picture and in what capacity, is it something you can live with?
Do they respect the speed I am willing to go in the relationship?
Are we compatible?
Anna and Matt discuss the importance of Intentional Dating and using dating as a means to define the “mold” of your ideal partner as well as how expectations can lead to problems down the road when your mold was not clearly defined. They also touch upon how to deal with changing expectations in a relationship.
Episode 2 of the two part series, Matt and Anna talk about actually getting back into dating after a divorce or long-term relationship. They offer up advice on what you can do to improve your odds of success and talk about situations you may run into.