One of the scariest things in a relationship is “the talk” about where things are going.
It’s my opinion that the best time to have this kind of discussion is before a serious relationship develops.
Here’s how you do it.
- Find excuses to bring up a conversation about things you hope to experience in your life.
- Encourage him to talk about fun and enjoyable things he wants to experience in his future. Get him talking about his dreams (both work and play).
- Ask him one or two simple questions about the kind of relationship circumstances that would be ideal for him to be able to live life to the fullest.
- Keeping the same “wouldn’t it be cool if…” tone of conversation, bring up a few of the standards for any relationship that would make you happy. Phrase it that way to avoid introducing negativity into the conversation.
- End this conversation by turning to him and saying, “you’re interesting to talk to. I want to keep this open kind of dialogue between the two of us. Whatever happens between the two of us, I want to be supportive of you. Let’s openly discuss what we hope for and what we need.”
After you say this, he will realize he’s just had a miniature version of “the talk” with you. He’ll be amazed at how relaxed he felt, which is an uncommon experience for most men when discussing relationship issues.
This positive experience will cause him to be more open to future discussions… and less likely to bolt or shut down when you bring up more specific relationship needs and desires as things unfold.
The primary reason men bolt or shut down during “the talk” is because of a particular kind of fear. It’s the fear of being asked to commit to things he is not ready for.
Men value their freedom, and they often have a misconception of relationships. They often think a commitment means less freedom instead of more happiness.
By framing early discussions of the relationship in a positive way, he realizes you want him to express his desires for the relationship. This makes him less nervous and more open to frequent discussions.
As a result, you both feel happier with where things are going. Note that one of the keys to making this work is getting him to talk about things he wants. That’s what makes him receptive to hearing what you need and desire.
When you affirm his desires and encourage him to dream big, he realizes you could be a team player in his life, someone who enhances his dreams rather than shutting them down.
It’s what you already want, but this is just a method of helping him to realize it. Assuming you find a man who has the same desire (to encourage you in the pursuit of your dreams) open, positive communication will speed you toward a beautiful future.
How do you sever ties when you love someone but he’s not the right person but he keeps coming back wanting to be friends every few months getting your hopes up that things have changed. Do you just shut the door saying something to guarantee its stays closed or do you just let it go, because maybe the universe know more than you do and keeps pushing this person your way.
Hey, Angie. I created a mini-course (a short report) on this very topic. It’s titled, “Help! I Love a Man Who Isn’t Right for Me.” Click here to see that report.
He’ll keep coming back as long as you allow it. Ask yourself what you need from a real loving relationship in your life, and whether you’re prepared to really receive that (because some people aren’t even though they think they are),, then watch how you react the next time he attempts to return. Betting you’ll feel a whole lot differently.
Thank you. This is very helpful.
Thank you so much I really need to hear this… Thanks again…
I am so excited to be delving into this blog now that I’ve completed reviewing all of the program materials. It is amazing how much of the Respect Principle theory feels ‘dead on’ when I relate it back to the man in my life and his personality! I just want to thank you for making this program available!
Please forgive the length of this post, but I’d like a little bit of feedback about my particular situation and I don’t know how to give you the opportunity to respond without giving you the background.
I am thoroughly pleased with the direction I believe my current relationship is taking but the situation probably could not be categorized as ‘typical’. For starters, my guy is in the Army and has been deployed to Afghanistan. I met him several years ago and was instantly attracted to him but we lived in different states and I was no where near ‘relationship ready’ at the time. However, when (by chance) I learned that he was being deployed this past summer, I boldly and with the help of a friend, decided to send him a care package. His receipt of the care package presented the opportunity for him to contact me and he took it. We have been involved for around 7 months now and we’ve developed an amazing connection.
His words and deeds seem to confirm that the feelings we have for one another are mutual. For instance, a couple months ago, he began indicating that his feelings have moved beyond friendship…he wrote me a letter in which he stated that his feelings for me had intensified significantly over the weeks prior; and he sent me a new iPhone for Valentine’s day because the phone I had kept interfering with our conversations by causing our calls to drop.
When we met 3 years ago it was very brief and I was immediately drawn in by his ‘HOTNESS’, (he is FINE, FINE, FINE), lol! It was actually my physical attraction to him that made him ‘unforgettable’ enough for me to be compelled to send him that first care package but unfortunately, he barely remembered what I looked like and prior to Valentine’s Day, all of our conversations had been limited to emails, letters, texts and calls. Now…overall, I consider myself to be an attractive woman…I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds, but I’m not hard on the eyes. That being said, even though there was no question about our emotional connection, I needed a little convincing that he’d be physically attracted to me as well so I sent him a video for Valentine’s Day. After he watched it, he told me that our emotional connection is what he’d already become attached to but that seeing me just added ‘icing to the cake’. That was a relief, and we’ve since incorporated ‘video chatting’ into our modes of communication but it’s basically shoulders up so I’m still going to work to shed those pounds between now and the time he gets home, lol.
Ok…so now that you have the backdrop…the main area of feedback that I’m requesting is with regard to how (or if) I should press for clarity about our not so distant future. He’s alluded to the fact that I’m the only one he wants, but he’s never come straight out and said that we’re exclusive and we have not attached any sort of label to our relationship. I don’t want to be presumptuous by loosely referring to him as my ‘boyfriend’ but there are times in casual conversations that I would like to. We have mutual friends and friends who run in some of the same circles and although I feel ready to start talking about him with people, I am generally a pretty private person so I find myself wanting to protect his privacy since we haven’t really discussed ‘labels’. At 38 years old, it feels almost juvenile to be so concerned with verbalizing that we’re ‘going steady’, and I have no idea how to broach that conversation without feeling like I’m being petty. In your opinion, is this important before he actually returns to the states?
Hi Ms. T. It’s too early to press for a definition or statement of intentions regarding the relationship. Because you already have an established relationship, that part will come quickly once you meet in person. For now, focus on the next step, which is commitment to meeting in person as soon as the opportunity arises.
As soon as his deployment is over! Thanks.
Don’t say anything, if he’s said you’re the only one he wants that should be enough for now.
When he gets back and you two hang out a few times or spend a few weeks together then ask but don’t pressure him now.
It’s the strangest thing, but you always present a useful, concise, and wise guide to whatever it is I need to consider at EXACTLY the time I need it and am ready to understand and implement this guidance. Your columns are a blessing, and as I turn out the lights tonight, I am very glad I noticed that my inbox said “James Bauer”. Thank you!
Thanks, Linda. Glad to hear the article was of use to you.
What to do if your fiance has proposed but wont set a wedding date after 10 months, says he is just wanting to make sure that we aren’t rushing things like we’ve done in our past relationships and that he wants to make sure that we build a strong enough relationship first to make our marriage last.
Hmmmm. I want to respect the significance of this situation by not offering a short quip here as if it is the entire answer to your question. But I will just offer one thought. He clearly has some idea in his mind regarding what needs to be in place before the two of you are ready to set a date. He owes it to you to clearly state what conditions would need to be met before he would feel comfortable moving forward. It is very possible he has only a vague notion of what he expects, and the conversation may reveal this, allowing him to see that there are some flaws in his reasoning.
Wow, thanks, James! This makes it so easy to just talk, comfortably, about some big issues, but in a really safe, unobtrusive way. I appreciate you just giving some specific ideas without going into a long explanation of how purchasing and reading your materials will make it all work out. My guy recently said, maybe we should have a “serious” talk sometime soon, and what you have said realy helps me to get this started without having to actually be so “serious”!
Wau! Excellent! Makes all the sense! Thank you, James. You are really good!!
Wooow James thts a excellent
This is an interesting topic in a relationship. I am pleased to share my experience about my 7-month connection to a man I do not know where our chatting would take us. And I started feeling uncomfortable because for me I felt that we are both investing our energy to make our connection worthwhile. But what I notice I am often the one who would initiate a conversation and he would quickly respond to it anyway without fail. We’re both widowed. He was married twice. He divorced his first wife after 14 years of battling her first wife unfaithfulness and cheating. He married again to his second wife and spent 21 blissful year’s together until his latter wife died of sickness 2 years ago.
I was married too to my only man in my life for 34 years had built a happy family, with 3 grown up children until his death separated us for a year now.
Here’s a piece of the story:
We meet online and haven’t had the chance to see each other in person because we live 1700+ miles away from one another. He lives in America while I live in New Zealand. I think we had no problem with the distance. We don’t put any label yet on our connections. But we enjoyed each other’s presence even by merely exchanging emails, video chat through messenger. Our values are inline with each other. He said, I am an attractive beautiful woman and he was attracted to me. I appreciate the affirmation and compliment from him always.
He shared about his ups and downs and how his life looks like when he was younger and how he was as a relationship. partner. I just felt I started sharing the vulnerable side of me and how my life looks like during my teenage and my marriage. He was always there to listen. There were time in our chat that I shared my dreams and plans for the future and he said he will support me with all of that plans.
He asked me if I am dating, I said no! but tells him that I have 3 other male friends who is chatting with me online. He responded to me that men are not willing to make friends with a woman whom they are not attracted to. They will soon ask you for a date. He was right in that statement because the two of them had asked me for a date. He also knows what happened to that dates.
In early part of our connection, he said he has been in a long distance relationship to a Mexican woman, whom he adores and giving much attention to her. He said, she visit him once a month or he visit her to her place if she could not do it because of their busy schedules. During this period of their relationship, he was complaining to me of being alone despite he had a girlfriend when we are chatting. He said that what he is looking for in a relationship was not being meet by his girlfriend. He invested a lot for her and he was thinking she was the woman he would like to be with in the future if he would be gifted for another 10 to 20 years of life.
He was devastated because the woman has fall out of love from him. His heart was broken, he tried to fix it but it didn’t worked.
It was in this period that he has been connecting to me. I encourage him to move on. He honestly said he still love her. But also telling me that he had no desire to be with her anymore. He said he started dating again and he always update me of what’s happening and what his feelings are in his dates. He once told me that one of his date had asked him to define their relationship for about 1 month of dating. And that’s where I was able to learn about his fear when being ask about his commitment to a relationship. He said he was not attracted to her physically.
During our three month chatting, he said how he wish to be with me and date me in person but he don’t have capability to come to my place and if could that work, that he needed to find out.
I don’t know how this will work. I just remain available for chat because I don’t was to stop our connection with each other.
Any thoughts about this would be appreciated. Thank you!