Q. Can you share your thoughts on walking away from a man in order to get him to commit?
Some women get themselves into a situation where they are not quite sure if the man is going to commit and wonder if walking away from him will make him commit. But at the same time, they are also worried that they will lose him.
What is your advice for women in this situation?
A. An intimate relationship with anyone is supposed to be about care, support and trust. It is not about power struggles, walking on eggshells and manipulation.
All too often people try to force a relationship that just isn’t going to work while saying they are doing it in the name of love.
Love is not forceful and manipulative, it is gentle and giving.
Even if that means going through the heartache of giving someone their freedom.
From the beginning stages of a relationship the partners should be talking about the progression and what their desires are in the long term.
For example, there should be a discussion about when to become exclusive, and later when and if living together is appropriate.
Along the way, there should be talks about whether or not each person wants to get married and/or have children. These last two subjects frequently change as a relationship goes on.
Suppose a partner said “Nope, never getting married and NEVER having kids” says six months later says, “I can’t wait to get married and have 10 kids”.
Then the couple needs to re-evaluate the possibility of long term commitment. No one should ever compromise on getting married and/or having kids. These are huge life changing decisions that will create resentment over time if someone caves in.
The more a person pushes for what they want, saying it is about love, the less it is actually about love.
At that point, it is all about power and control.
If a partner is having a hard time committing there should be discussions about why?
Is it fear or do they not have a desire to ever evolve a relationship? If the two partners goals/desires don’t align it is time to end the relationship. Love is freeing not possessive. So yes, the relationship would end not as a tactic to get them to commit but as an act of love.
However, if the relationship ends as a manipulation to get the partner to “see” how wonderful the union is, then a huge heartache is sure to follow. Even if the tactic works in the short term, it likely won’t work in the long term because the toxic precedent has been set of power and control.
There is an old saying that has a lot of merit:
If you love someone set them free,
If they come back they are yours
If they don’t they never were.
So, when a relationship ends one must be ready for it to truly be over.
Should they return and all else in the partnership was good, then great! If they return and everything else was not great then it is time to evaluate if this is something that you really want. Maybe you have found life is better without them?
Take good care,
Cynthia Pickett, LCSW