Help -- Dealing w/ Changes in Relationship

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2011 1:46 PM GMT
    Hi all,

    I've been dating this great guy for almost a year now. For the most part, things have been great. We've had our ups and downs, mostly due to some baggage he has from his previous relationship that ended badly and some commitment issues and some major differences in circumstances that he has concerns about (certain health issues, money, etc.)

    Nonetheless, we've gotten very close, emotionally. We haven't had sex (see the aforementioned "certain health issues"), but we have made progress in demonstrating physical affection.

    Unfortunately, it looks like I'll be moving away for an unknown, but hopefully short, period of time. We took some time apart while he was on a business trip to think about what to do, and he came back saying that it's too much uncertainty, and that he wants to maintain our friendship but end the demonstrations of physical affection.

    This worries me, because I think now that we've opened the "physical intimacy" can of worms, suddenly scaling it back is going to cause some serious feelings of apprehension, isolation, and distance.

    I do think it would be good to re-establish some independence from one another, because things had begun to get a little strained recently, anyway, and it seems like a good skill for dealing with an impending separation. I also agree that because we don't know what will happen, we should limit making any additional requests from each other (in terms of developing our relationship further). But my intuition says that "going backwards" is a bad idea, and that in a situation like this more than ever, it would be important to preserve the level of closeness we'd achieved so we don't forget it while we're apart (and so there's no flare up of anxieties over the dramatic changes right before I go away).

    I'd be very interested to know how you guys might suggest approaching this. One problem we have is that he sometimes has trouble accepting responsibility for the fact that his actions impact other people's feelings and is not always immediately willing to make compromises. I do respect his desire to stand his ground, but my gut says there needs to be a certain willingness to compromise for the sake of the relationship, and I'm not sure how to communicate this point to him so he can be open to finding a positive strategy.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2011 2:16 PM GMT
    I'd approach it this way.

    He said, "We took some time apart while he was on a business trip to think about what to do, and he came back saying that it's too much uncertainty, and that he wants to maintain our friendship but end the demonstrations of physical affection." which would hurt my feelings a great deal, but there would be nothing at all I could do about it.

    It is, after all what he wants and if my wants are divergent all I can do is express them and then let him do as he sees fit. However, I would also state that I was releasing him from his commitment to me if he wished to go ahead with his want. Friendship it would be and there would be no going back. Yo-yos are fun toys but they are only that; toys.

    -Doug