Your relationship…one foot in, one foot out

So you aren’t sure if you want this relationship. OK. Maybe it’s been really great for a while, and now you’re just not sure. You know you’re confused, that’s for sure. And you think you want to stay with this girl, but, damn, there comes the confusion again. OK. You’re sure that that you want it now – the times got good again! Oh, wait, uhh, maybe it’s going bad again…. you just have no idea, and you are driving both of you crazy.

Here’s what I think: something else is going on (you’re thinking, yes, Jason, of course it is). Here’s some (oversimplified) explanations that might point you in the right direction and help lower your immediate confusion. These tips/ideas are by no means a quick fix, and understanding where you are stuck will take some time and work to unravel (preferably in men’s counseling). But, it’s a beginning to bring your sanity back.

One: maybe you’re afraid to commit to her. The stereotype that men are afraid to commit in an intimate relationship has some truth, and, although I shy away from stereotypes (especially about me), this one may have some truth to it. Is this you? You may not know the answer to this, except to know that when you get closer in your relationships, you freak out and either directly (or more likely, indirectly) “plug out” or “check out” of your relationship.

Two: you do really know what you want, and it’s not with her. Except you’re too afraid to be alone, and the mere idea of being with the loneliness could keep you in your relationship, even though you don’t want to be in it at all. It’s “sustained comfort,” and you can have this is you want. But it’s fear that is motivating you, and you’re not taking responsibility for your own happiness, and not allowing your beloved the chance to get on with her life and meet someone else.

Three: You’re scared of not meeting someone again (or someone like her). It took you this long to meet her, and the idea that it will take you all that time again is really overwhelming to you.

Four: You have messages from the past about saving your relationship, or not being a kind of person that ends a relationship. The thought of it is incompatible with your idealized image of yourself. You don’t see yourself as someone to end this relationship, help it, or make it grow. You stay trapped in the relationship, and in indecision.

Taken further, some guys then stay stuck in the relationship, and then do stupid stuff and push their girl away, so that she is forced into ending it. And then you don’t look like the bad guy, because she ended it. If you’re doing this, get in here right now and see me. That’s just passive-aggressive behavior, and you need some help communicating yourself clearly and directly.

So, these are some ways that guys stay in relationships, and really don’t want to be there. Let’s talk if one of these things defines the way you do relationships.

– Jason

About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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