How Long Should You Wait For Your Partner to Commit?

Commitment is a topic that brings a lot of couples into therapy. The word has a single definition, but it holds infinite meanings. For many people, commitment includes an emotional acknowledgment of a we, in that we are with each other and choose to be part of a couple. And on a practical level, it means the possibility of planning for a future—even if it’s just the weekend—and a sense of continuity.

For others, commitment is about living together or getting married and sharing a home life. And for still others, a child expresses the commitment desired. But wherever we fall on the spectrum, when our partner cannot provide the commitment we want and need, we are left to live in a difficult limbo: There’s something we want, that we want more of and more from, and yet we don’t know if we’ll ever get it.

How do we know when to stay or leave this type of relationship?

There are no hard fast rules, ever. Each time we make the choice to stay or go is unique, and sometimes we make it again and again within the same relationship.

At the most concrete level, we can always ask our partner if and when he or she will be willing to meet us at the level of commitment we desire. Sometimes the answer we get is comforting and gives us the sense that we are heading in the direction we want. But more often the answer is unsatisfying and leaves us not knowing if what we want in the relationship will ever happen, usually because our partner doesn’t know. Living with such uncertainty can cause pain and anxiety, and lead to insecurity and resentment.

What’s most important is that we own our truth, which is our desire for more commitment.

We must stop judging and blaming ourselves for needing what we desire. For years I have heard women condemn themselves for being too demanding or not being able to figure out how to be OK without what they fundamentally want. I have heard every possible rationalization for why it makes sense to do without something we fundamentally want. In the context of a relationship, there is nothing “Buddhist” about not being able to make plans for the future, or with someone who is not sure about us. Even if everything is impermanent in the absolute sense, we still need to create places of security in our lives, where the ground is solid—or at least, as solid as it can be.

We get certain things in relationships and give up others. When we’re not getting the commitment we want, we must ask ourselves if the balance is workable, that is: Am I receiving enough to give up what I’m giving up?

We can only answer this one moment at a time, and the answer changes over time. We know we must leave when we can no longer tolerate or bear the situation we are in, when the equation shifts and it’s too painful to do without what we really want. We leave when the unrealized desire for commitment becomes resentment, and we can no longer enjoy or appreciate what our partner offers.

Flickr Creative Commons
Source: Flickr Creative Commons

No one can answer the question of whether to stay or leave for us. But when we stop judging ourselves for wanting what we want, and dive deep into our own truth, we will find the answer we’re looking for.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wellness from Within

Delta Sky: How does our relationship with technology impact our health and well-being?  

Posted in Magazine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Ready to Stop Being a Victim?

A victim, according to Webster’s dictionary, is a person who has been attacked, injured, robbed, killed, cheated or fooled by someone else, or harmed by an unpleasant event. Everyone gets attacked, injured, cheated, fooled and harmed during their life, if not physically then emotionally. And everyone gets harmed by unpleasant events.  We’re all victims, in moments, to life’s challenges and difficulties—life’s lifeness.

Alex Iby/Unsplash
Source: Alex Iby/Unsplash

It’s psychologically healthy to acknowledge the suffering and feelings of powerlessness that accompany such experiences.

And yet, there are those people who feel like victims all the time, regardless of the circumstances. Those with victim mentality are always being victimized in their own mind.  They maintain a consistent victim identity and see life, perpetually, through victim-tinted glasses.

We all know people who seem to be constantly commenting on some injustice done to them, how others are denying them what they need, want, and deserve, controlling them against their will, making them do what they don’t want to do—how life is against them and the universe is designed to punish them, personally.  Or perhaps, you yourself are someone who experiences life this way?

To always feel like a victim of life, or, to love someone who’s always convinced they’re the victim of life—neither is easy and both are painful.

To illustrate some of the most common forms of victim mentality, here are three cases in point.  Read more…

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201801/are-you-ready-stop-being-victim

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You On Your Own Side? How to Take Good Care of Yourself From the Inside Out

Have you ever wondered why we’re so bad at self-care, why taking care of ourselves is so difficult for us human beings, and not simply inborn?  Every week, another book comes out on how to take better care of ourselves. So why are we not getting it?

For one thing, our self-care approach in this culture is made out of the wrong fabric, or if not the wrong fabric, one with the wrong texture.  We’re taught that self-care is an external process; it means getting a massage, making time to eat lunch sitting down, taking a walk, putting on our oxygen mask first.  All are valid self-caring actions which serve our wellbeing.  And yet, a far deeper and richer level of self-care exists, one which is not about externally doing for ourselves, but rather about being with ourselves, internally, in a particular kind of way…

Read more:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201712/are-you-your-own-side

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Friends With Yourself?

Self-Care is an Inside Job

Have you ever wondered why we’re so bad at self-care, why taking care of ourselves is so difficult for us human beings, and not simply inborn?  Every week, another book comes out on how to take better care of ourselves. So why are we not getting it?

For one thing, our self-care approach in this culture is made out of the wrong fabric, or if not the wrong fabric, one with the wrong texture.  We’re taught that self-care is an external process; it means getting a massage, making time to eat lunch sitting down, taking a walk, putting on our oxygen mask first.  All are valid self-caring actions which serve our wellbeing.  And yet, a far deeper and richer level of self-care exists, one which is not about externally doing for ourselves, but rather about being with ourselves, internally, in a particular kind of way.

The most effective self-care is not about what we do for ourselves but about how we are being with ourselves, the kind of company we keep inside, the flavor of the conversation we conduct with ourselves inside our own minds.  The self-care that profoundly changes our life for the better involves creating a relationship with ourselves that’s infused with kindness, support and curiosity. True self-care, as the word implies, is about genuinely caring about and for how we actually are.

This being variety of self-care, relating with ourselves in a friendly and supportive manner, is not only not encouraged in our culture, but often quite discouraged.  In fact, we are afraid of what would happen to us, who we would become, how we would be judged—if we were to value ourselves and suspend the judgment and impatience with which we relate to ourselves. So, what is it about developing a kind and compassionate relationship with ourselves that’s so threatening?

Am I Selfish?

While most of us would claim that we’re pretty good at caring for ourselves, when it comes to actually treating ourselves, internally, like someone we care about, now that feels selfish for sure. How selfish of me to spend time thinking about me, what I need or want, when so many people don’t have that luxury!  The fear of being judged (by oneself and others) as selfish is what keeps many people from treating themselves as they would a friend, or asking for kindness from others, even when they desperately need it. As one woman responded when I simply asked her how she was feeling that day, “It’s always about me me me!  Too many people have no one to ask them how they are!”

We’re afraid that if we care about ourselves, there won’t be any caring left for others, as if caring were a finite commodity. That is, if we take the time to pay attention to our own experience, we will become so self-involved that we will end up only interested in ourselves, so egotistical that we will stop wanting to ever be kind to anyone else.

In this belief system, our compassion for others is just a façade of sorts, something we do to seem like a good person.  We’re desperately afraid of who we would become, were we to relate to ourselves with friendliness, as if just a taste of our own sweetness would unleash the true narcissistic monster within.  The truth is that it is only when we feel well taken care of, when our feelings have been properly heard and cared for that we have adequate caring resources to offer others. When our well is full, we are our most self-less and can fully experience our goodness, our inherent desire to be of service.

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment