Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Q & A: "How come I can't meet a woman I want to marry?"

Q: My relationship after six months is spiraling downward fast. When we first met he cherished me, always tried to impress me, and seemed to be everything I was looking for. One morning there was a parking ticket on my car. He grabbed it and said, "I'll take care of it honey, don' t ruin your day." Although the relationship moved at lightening speed including sex, we spent lots of time being together, talking everyday, and, what I thought, building a foundation. He was Mr. Wonderful.

Then after four months he changed. He stopped cherishing me, became really selfish, and cared only about pleasing himself and getting his needs met. He didn't care about my needs at all. My girlfriends say the red flag of the "it's all about me attitude" was there right from the beginning but that I chose to ignore it because many others things were so good about the relationship.

He told me from the beginning that he wanted a real partnership, which is what I said I wanted from a relationship. He said that both his former girlfriend and ex-wife had centered their worlds around him, and he didn't want that in our relationship, that he didn't want to always be in control. Four months later he became controlling. What happened to the man that I met, who swept me off my feet? What should I do, I really love him?
--Miserable in Malibu

Dear Miserable,
Stand up for yourself girlfriend and take some responsibility for what is going on in this relationship. You jumped into this relationship way too fast. And your chastity belt probably never had a key.

You didn't spend the time to get to know each other. Intimacy and emotional honesty weren't created at the beginning. Intimacy and honesty must be established for a healthy relationship to grow. As the woman, it was and is your job to create the space for this intimacy to occur. But because this guy is so controlling, he won't allow himself to be intimate, no matter what you do.

Because there was instant chemistry between you two and you were seduced by his "chasing and courting" you jumped right in. You were both on your best behavior in the beginning because of the passion and newness. But since you didn't develop any real emotional intimacy, there's no commitment to each other or to seeing the relationship through.

The short answer is this relationship is probably doomed. Because you didn't spend the time to build a connection, to really learn about each other and come to genuinely like each other, now that the honeymoon phase is over, both of you care more about having your individual needs met rather than caring about your partner's needs. You stopped admiring and respecting him, so he stopped cherishing you. That's how that happened. However, he lied to you when he said he didn't want to always be controlling. He does, based on the past women he's been with and his behavior in this relationship.

Do you want to be in a relationship with someone who is controlling and probably very conditional with his love? The surest way to wave goodbye to your self-esteem is to be with a man like that is. Your partner will only treat you the way you let him treat you. Do you want to be with a man who does not value you? My cardinal rule: Love only the men who love you. You decide!

Q: I'm 47 years old and have never been married. I really do want to get married and have children. I have been in several long term relationships and, recently ended a five year relationship because she wanted a commitment that I wasn't prepared to make. How come I can't meet a woman I want to marry?
-- Marriageless in LA

Dear Marriageless,
Ask yourself, based on what you say you want and where your life is at, at age 47 are you sure you do want to get married? In your mind you may want to, but when the time comes to translate the wedding bells idea into action, the big "C" (as in courage) rears it's ugly head. It takes courage to act, to live your life full out and get close to someone. It seems that you are afraid of emotional intimacy and commitment.

You can't meet a woman you want to marry because your fears of closeness and commitment are greater than your desire for an intimate relationship. To create a good relationship you have to be willing to open yourself up to be loved and love the other person. Up to now you haven't been willing. You have been self-involved and emotionally distant in your relationships. Here's a clue. It's not about finding a woman. You want to get married, get some cohones.

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