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Ask a Relationship Therapist : Do you have questions about your relationship or about relationships in general?
Ask a Relationship Therapist your questions about love, intimacy, couples, situationships, insecurities, and more. Leave a comment below (anonymously if you’d like) or email Alysha directly.
*Please note, by Alysha answering your questions, she is only offering suggestions or perspective based on her scope of expertise. Alysha is not liable for the outcome of your situation and the answers she provides is not counseling. Alysha also cannot answer all of your questions, but will try. Thank you for reading.
Ask a Relationship Therapist: Question #1
Hey Alysha! Thank you for writing such an informative blog. It’s been helpful to me since I found it over a year ago. I wanted to ask a question specific to my relationship. I have been dating my boyfriend for a little over 3 years and he doesn’t seem like he wants to get married or make a bigger commitment to me. It’s devastating and I am afraid I am wasting my time if he one day just says he doesn’t want to be together anymore. When I ask about marriage, he generally gets defensive or tells me that he wants us to be a stronger or better couple before settling down. What does this mean?? Am I wasting my time??
-Alex, 29, AZ
Hi Alex! Thank you for reaching out with such a complex question. Given that I do not know your partner’s perspective, I can only speculate based on what I have helped many other couples with in this position. Three years often feels like a really long time and on some levels it is. However, on other levels, you really are still learning about each other and this may be what he is alluding to when he says he wants to be “stronger or better” couple. I can image that language is triggering, because you may hear this as a criticism or rejection; but I’m curious if his overall intention is wanting to articulate his desire to feel more understood, more at ease or comfortable emotionally, more confident about your overall conflict resolution, more align with your sex life and needs, established in your roles, etc, etc. Often when one person is struggling with the idea of “moving to the next level” in their relationship, it is because there is either an unspoken energy that feels off that they cannot identify or articulate and they hope after time it will just click; or because they can identify what feels off but are too afraid to communicate it because it often sparks conflict, resentment or hurt feelings. Often times, when a couple struggles with finding mutual validation, they struggle with finding solutions to issues that seem constant and they naturally struggle with doubting their future in their relationship, i.e. “Can we really never see eye to eye for the rest of our lives?” I think both of you are valid in your desires. You want marriage because you probably value the tradition and believe it will support you in feeling more secure in your relationship; he may want the same thing but may desire better communication and understanding consistently. I’d say, work on your overall conflict resolution with each other first and know that the marriage topic in it of itself is not what you are probably in conflict about. Try counseling. It may really help you both break down this “issue” and help you both understand you may be talking about the same thing (wanting more security) but need it in different ways. There is a way to bridge that gap! Hope this helps!
Ask a Relationship Therapist: Question #2
Hi Alysha! Thanks for offering this as an option! I am so excited to ask a relationship therapist this question that I have been struggling with about my consistent dating patterns. I always seem to be really attracted to men who seem (on paper) to have it all. They have a successful career, has a house, is really good looking and in shape, and has a lot of friends. But the problem I am finding is after a few dates (and after we hook up), I am super excited about the potential of having a future relationship and want to hang out more and more, while he seems to get more and more distant or in some cases, really neglectful or rude. I feel so deceived! My mom says I need to “lower my standards” but that just makes me feel like I’m not worthy of this type of successful man. What am I doing wrong?
-M.T., 30, CA
I hear you. You’re feeling really conflicted with what you feel you “want” vs what you are getting. When it comes to relationships, it can be really discouraging when you find yourself in a pattern that only causes more and more isolation and insecurities. It sounds like what you think you “want” may need some restructuring. What I mean by this is re-evaluating your needs verses wants and being really truthful with yourself about why you want or need these things from a relationship/partner. It is common (and tricky) to be single in a culture where there is endless eye candy that seemingly have it all. You are most likely using apps that instantly link you to hundreds of these men every day and it can seem as though “lowering your standards” is not an option. I can’t speak for your mother, but I wonder if her intention of saying that was to help you better align with more fundamental values rather than getting caught up on the more superficial “wants” of a partner. She may be trying to tell you to stop barking up the wrong trees.
When you say that you are struggling with finding a man who stays interested in you, it may be because your intentions of dating are different from their’s. This may not have anything to do with how “successful” or attractive he is; but it may have everything to do with where he is in his life and at what capacity he is emotionally. Some people are on these apps to feed their egos, to fulfill temporary loneliness, to hook up, to find true love. There is a huge disparity in these intentions and it may be a safe assumption to say, the men you have been getting attached to are men that are not valuing the same things and have different intentions of starting a connection with you. Maybe, instead of habitually scrolling through profiles, take some time off. Create a list of qualities you want in a partnership (maybe a list of more superficial “wants” verses fundamental “needs,” i.e. “want a guy who works out often, verses I need a man who values commitment and loyalty.”) Then, maybe make 1-2 days a week that you intentionally look through profiles and try to find matches based on your needs verses your wants, i.e. “Does this person indicate that they are looking for a future relationship? Or are they more interested in hooking up?” If you desire a future relationship, also try to hold off on having sex too quickly in the relationship so you can determine if these person’s intentions are align with your’s. I hope this helps! M.T.!
Thank you for reading and submitting your questions. Ask a relationship therapist blog will be posted every month!
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Hope you find love soon.