How To Help The Love Of Your Life Grow Up And Commit To You And Your Relationship
By James R. Weiss
Copyright 2014 CBR Publications. All Rights Reserved
Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
For the first time in your life you have found true love. The new guy or girl has been pushing all of the right buttons. Phone calls just to say hello, love poems fired to your e-mail, and all those cute little gifts that are beginning to clutter up your apartment.
His devotion to you is beginning to border on fanatical. If dear old Uncle Mike had received this level of care during his illness he would still be alive today. As a matter of fact, Mr. Right has been hanging around your house so much that your neighbors want him arrested for loitering.
For the remainder of this article I will refer to your new lover as he, but please feel free to insert any name you like.
You wonder how you ever got along without him. There is always so much to talk about. You could easily fill a book the size of War and Peace (unabridged version) with all the things you love about this guy and his wonderful family.
The description of your first meeting is specific right down to the smallest detail. Every second of that special night has been seared into the right hemisphere of your brain. On impulse you think of asking your senator to sponsor a bill proclaiming the day you met a national holiday, but one of your more lucid moments you decide to let it pass.
Yes, falling in love is great. The very thought of him raises your heart rate to a level closely approaching cardiac overload. The vowels and consonants of his name echo in your head as you try to fall asleep. You are already thinking of him in terms of forever.
Somehow you manage to make it through the day without seeing him. As if by magic, your routine, and everything else your life has changed for the better. This relationship is quickly being elevated to a spiritual level. At any moment you expect Prince Charming to arrive in his white Bronco and carry you off to some mystical kingdom.
The Three Stages of Love
A very learned philosopher once remarked that the world runs on three’s. For example, you have never heard of the Two Stooges, of course not it was the three of them smacking each other around. It was the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to that newborn child, not Jack and Jill, and if you’re like the rest of us you still occasionally enjoying pigging out on a Three Musketeer candy bar.
What’s the point here? Relationships, as I have learned from my clients can also be broken into three distinct stages.
Stage One: Love is great. He is all we’ve already discussed, plus much more. Your new love life is like Romeo and Juliet with a touch of Titanic heartbreak. All of your emotions and feeling are rolled up into one larger than life relationship. Everything about this person is perfect. You half believe that your new soul mate can walk on water.
Stage Two: Within three to five months lover boy’s star begins to tarnish. Suddenly you’re beginning to see him in a slightly different light. For example, here are several comments my clients have made about Mr. Wonderful. “He wears the same old jacket all the time.” “Mike is such a workaholic. He never has enough time to see me anymore.” And there is the one major complaint every woman has had since the invention of indoor plumbing: “Joey always leaves the toilet seat up.”
The list goes well beyond the space allocated for this article. At this stage discovery is not really all that bad. In many cases it leads to a deeper understanding of your lover. At this point your logical and romantic brains get together and hold a conference. They decided that although lover boy is not perfect, he has lots of promise. “After all, he does care for me, and Joey is really trying to improve himself.” So you go for it, hoping that someday you can break him of his bad habits.
Stage Three: Another six or seven months go by and you and what’s his name are still together. You have locked into your own special routine; one that covers everything from lovemaking to ordering his favorite pizza with the extra cheese.
Mr. Right is predictable. He spends too much of his free time at the gym or with his friends. To make matters worse, he is still overly attached to his mother or some other female relative. Topping off this list of negatives is the fact that this guy has yet to fully open up his emotions to you. It would appear that lover boy has built his own version of the Berlin Wall.
You are beginning to have second thoughts about him. Is this the same person who was filling up your house with gifts? Where is he coming from? “Joey tells me how much he cares for me, but why is he so immature? I thought he was different. What about me? I need an adult relationship. Jim, am I wasting my time with him?”
What’s Wrong With This Guy?
Yes, you still have deep feeling for this person, but what’s keeping him from making that final commitment? What do you do now? Do you start looking for another Mr. Right or do you stay and help this one become the man you want and need?
You are tired of talking, crying, and bribing him with gifts or sex. In some dark corner of your mind you begin to hatch a plan to blow up his new Bronco, but you fear this would only worsen the situation. The little scenes are usually the same. Mr. Right politely waits until you have finished speaking. He smiles then make a suggestion or two of his own. “Hey, I’m hungry. Why don’t we order a pizza? We could make love until the food arrives.”
You look at this big lug and realize that he wasn’t listening to a word you were saying. Deep down you still believe that he still cares for you, so there must be something else that is standing in the way of your happiness.
Symptoms to watch for: Your guy jokes about important matters, including marriage, and he never discusses your future together. He may even go so far as to set deadlines, but they too come and go. Other excuses include using a family member’s illness as an excuse. “How can you talk about marriage when my Uncle Louie is close to death?” Talk about guilt trips?
Many of my clients are resentful because Mr. Right is hiding behind his career. “Wait until next year when my promotion comes through. Then we’ll think about getting engaged.” When all else fails he will hit you with the oldest line in the book; “Jen, I’m not ready yet. Give me more time.” Someone should remind him that you’re talking about marriage, not death row.
If things aren’t bad enough there is his family to contend with. This is a tough nut to crack. Chances are his crew of well meaning relatives have been running his life since birth. It is important to remember that the bigger the family, the bigger the problem. How is a lightweight like you going to compete against three thousand pounds of devoted family?
At the head of this dynasty, which probably predates Columbus’ voyage to New World, is momma or auntie or whichever female is currently in control. How do you recognize her? Simple, she is the only one who doesn’t smile when you walk into the room.
You will not be introduced to her as with the other relatives. In all likelihood her eldest daughter will present you to her shortly before Sunday dinner is served. Symptoms to watch for: “My mother called. She wants to know what you meant by that remark last Sunday?” You spend the rest of the day searching your mind, but all you remember saying is: “great sauce who made it?”
There is an urgent meeting to discuss Cousin Ritchie’s problem. Everyone is invited, except you. To make matters worse, his mother is upset with you again. It seems that you forgot grandma’s birthday. The fact that she died two years ago doesn’t matter. You are still called insensitive for not caring.
It is beginning to look as if your boy friend has not grown up yet. This might be difficult to pick up at first since he is well spoken and very bright. This man is always there for his parents and his two hundred friends. As a matter of fact, he’s there for anyone who needs him, including the poor unemployed laborers in Ecuador.
More symptoms to watch for: He refuses to get serious about his career. Sure he works, who doesn’t? Your guy even works forty or fifty hours a week. Unfortunately it’s a dead end job at Vito’s Deli. He talks about going back to school, but he never seems to have enough time or motivation.
Yes, many of these examples have been exaggerated, but you get the point. Mr. Right is a wonderful person. We could spend two hours extolling his virtues. The fact is that you really love this man in spite of his faults. Your entire relationship boils down to one major question. How can I help him to grow up and commit to a permanent relationship?
How To Help Him Become The Man You Can Love And Admire
The suggestions and insights listed in this section of the article are the outgrowth of my experience working with over 35,000 men and women from all walks of life. Although each relationship is unique many of the problems faced by my clients are similar to yours.
Set the tone by gently reminding him that pouting and acting childish are not acceptable. You should be warm, loving and friendly. Above all, let him know that you are not being critical of him. For best results pick a time when you are both relaxed.
Never force him to choose between you and his family. This is looking for big trouble, especially if momma is involved. One false move and you could be wind up eating at Dino’s Pizzeria by yourself. A better approach is to wait until he lets his guard down and begins talking about his family’s “dirty little secrets.” This is the perfect opportunity to voice you own opinions, and concern.
As your relationship develops he may go the other way and ask you to help him deal with his family. This deserves a word of caution. Never under any circumstances do you want to become a buffer zone between him and his tribe. A much more effective approach is to play the role of his best friend and confidant.
Never make empty threats. This is so obvious that I shouldn’t even mention it. One of my clients gave her boy friend a choice after I warned her not to do so. “I told Bob that if he went hunting this weekend we were through.” Case closed, Bob and his new girl friend have just purchased their own hunting lodge near Goshen N.Y.
Always keep the lines of communication open. Encourage him to talk about himself, his career and anything that will give you more insight into his personality.
Don’t permit him to brag about his conquests. This cheapens your relationship and leads you to believe that lover boy is really a lover boy who swings from women to women. Let him know that past relationships are best left in the past. Note: Even the most devoted guy in the world will brag about his past at least once. It’s his way of letting you know he’s a red-blooded heterosexual male.
Leave his past alone. Anyone who doesn’t carry a torch lives in the dark.
Become his friend, adviser, business associate or partner, but never his mother. He already has one and doesn’t need another. Save the mothering for the kids.
Share your emotions and feelings with him. Let him know about your hopes, fears, and especially your need for him. In all probability your honesty will lead the way for him to open up emotionally to you. Take your time, and remember: once he opens up he’ll continue talking to you about the important things in his life.
Never complain about him to his friends or relatives. This is like buying a one-way ticket to Iraq.
Volunteer, or participate in some team sport with him. Statistics prove that couples that play together stay together.
Stop apologizing for who you are. Mr. Right always has an excuse when you discuss your future plans. “Jim, John is such a wonderful man. He spends most of his spare time helping his brother remodel the house. Maybe I’m expecting too much from him?” Does this sound familiar? If so, this guy is making you feel guilty for expecting something he has (probably) already promised you.
He knows how to get to you. His words are like little knives carving up your heart. You are sensitive, bright, and most of all you believe that he is being honest with you. At this point you may still believe that he’s right and you are just being selfish again.
Never tolerate cheating or lying, especially if you and this guy have an understanding. If you look the other way for the sake of the relationship, you are setting the stage for some serious problems.
Instead of trying to change him try and help him become the loving, bright caring person you initially fell in love with. Stop and think about that for a moment.
Send Mr. Right a love letter or get creative and videotape you message. Be sure to wear something special, and you might want to have “your song” playing in the background. Be sure to let this gentleman know how much you really care for him. You may very well receive a video from him in return.
Begin cooling down your relationship with him. You’re tired of trying to get him to grow up and take responsibility for his actions. Suddenly you’re busy. When he calls or stops by your mother politely informs him that you are not available right now.
If you find the time to speak to this guy you are courteous, but distant. Sooner or later his anxiety will kick up. This is the perfect time to remind him how you feel about his lack of commitment, and his behavior toward you and your relationship.
What do you do when all is lost? If he refuses to try to be the person you really need and love it’s time to leave him. The guy is sending you a very clear message, but only you can decide when that time has arrived.
Once you let go of the relationship, don’t make the mistake of keeping him as your friend. Every week one of clients informs me that they have finally broken with their boy friend. She usually ends the conversation by saying “Jim, should I keep him as one of my friends?”
If you allow Mr. Wrong to remain in your life he’ll be there when you’re trying to meet Mr. Right. You must relegate him to your past. You don’t need another walking casualty in your life, not unless you’re planning to pick up where Mother Theresa left off.
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The author, publishers and advisers shall neither have liability nor responsibility to any person(s) or group for the use or misuses of this information. This includes damages caused or alleged to be directly or indirectly by the information, exercises or suggestions contained in this publication