05/26/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Ask Maddisen - How to Love Yourself by Leaving Him

Dear Maddisen:
I've been dating someone for about six months. I care deeply for him and feel a strong love between us. But I continue to experience a conflicting mix of hope and uneasiness. He clearly gives me mixed messages, fluctuating between expressions of intimate love & wanting to have a future together, and keeping a safe and almost cold distance. I don't want to let go, but he is not changing, and I'm more often feeling confused and sad more than secure and happy. Please help. Thanks, BW

Dear BW,

Thanks for your question. There's much here that we could explore, but to support your clarity, I will keep this discussion as simple and to the point as possible, offer a few tools, and suggest a book. I had a similar experience in the past, and truly understand your mixed emotions of hope and uneasiness, and how confusing and sad this can feel. The good news is that this experience is coming up for your learning, growth, and enlightenment. My intention is to show you how to hold yourself with great care, honor, and love in the process.

The feminine is love and thrives on love, and we will often hold on and stick it out in a relationship, even when it's hurting us or not good for us. If you determine it's no longer good for you, you may have to strongly consider ending it, and doing so before you create an even longer journey of suffering as your heart gets more and more attached to this man. Hoping and waiting for him to change is definitely not the answer.

Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide, so set an intention to take self-loving and self-honoring steps that support your joy and highest good; and trust that this will in turn support your partner's highest good. If you connect with a higher power, request help and clarification, and be aware of answers and support showing up in your life at this time. It's there. Also, this is the perfect time to turn to your circle of trusted friends and let them reflect what they feel is best for you.

It may be that you're confused not only by his mixed messages, but also by your fruitless attempts to analyze him and the reasons for his conflicting behaviors. Don't waste your time doing this or judging him or yourself. It's an endless conjecture loop that can lead to more confusion, and even a sense of mild insanity and desperation; so I suggest you stop trying to figure him out and direct your loving focus on Your Self - and what you are thinking, feeling, needing, and wanting.

With pen and paper or laptop, answer these questions by writing down the first answers that come to mind:
1) What do you observe as the state of your relationship?
2) How do you feel about this?
3) What do you need to feel happy?
4) What would you like to request of him to support this?

Talk with Him
With your four questions and answers in hand, sit down and have a caring conversation with him, sharing the questions and your answers. If he's open to it, ask him to answer the same questions. Listen and observe as objectively as you can.

If you are both in agreement that you want to move forward together and make it work, agree on a timeline. For example, give it three weeks and notice if things change. Agree to check-ins every few days to talk with each other about how you're feeling and how it's going. Keep your trusted friends in the loop and turn to them as needed for reality checks.

If the mixed messages cease, and he becomes fully engaged in your partnership, and your uneasiness turns into a feeling of safety, trust, and calm, and this lasts over time, then you may decide to stay and move forward together. Be supportive, honest, and communicative with each other through this important transition.

However, if his mixed messages and conflicting behaviors continue along with your sense of uneasiness, and the relationship is in stalemate, then it may be time for you to turn away from this partnership. As David Deida states in his book, It's a Guy Thing, "Suffering is part of any intimate relationship, but staying with an abusive man, or a weak and undirected man, is not."

If you decide to leave, know that you may still feel deep love for him and that your heart may hold on to the love you shared until you move into another equally or more intense loving relationship.

Releasing the Pain
If you find yourself dealing with an intense amount of emotions and thoughts, and even feeling overwhelmed or run by them, try a program of Free Form Writing for up to 30 days. Free form writing can greatly assist healing by releasing unwanted mental and emotional material. Here's how to do it:

Step 1
Organize a pad of paper and pen or pencil, and sit in a place where you will have privacy and no interruptions. Light a candle, and have a box of tissues handy.

Step 2
Close your eyes, center yourself, take three deep breaths, open your eyes, and begin to write in a stream of consciousness manner. This means, do not plan what you will write, just let your pen move on the page and write whatever comes forward.

Do not reread, edit, correct, or plan what you are writing, just let it go. Your writing does not need to make sense, be legible, neat, spaced correctly, etc. It may be all over the page, giant, unreadable, etc. Emotions may come up and that's natural. I often speak out loud while I free form write! This is why you want privacy for this exercise!

Do this for at least 30 minutes. If you're on a roll and want to go longer, go for 60 minutes.

Do this for up to 30 days.

Step 3
Once your free form writing session is complete, follow these guidelines:
1) Do not read what you wrote.
2) Shred/destroy all of the pages and discard them.

Caring for Your Heart
Dear BW, know that your heart is precious, so take loving care of it. I'm not suggesting you close your heart, but rather that you use discretion when entrusting your heart to others. You teach your mate how you wish to be loved and regarded by how you love and regard yourself. Just as you treat your partner as a priority and not an option, expect your partner to treat you as a priority, and not an option. Expect and accept nothing less.

For your homework, I'm highly recommending that you read David Deida's book, It's a Guy Thing, which is his owner's manual for women. It's groundbreaking, insightful, and extremely applicable in every day life. And big plus: you'll also receive valuable suggestions on how to choose the right man for you!

May you allow yourself to give and receive the fullest loving you were born to enjoy.

Your Coach, Maddisen

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Copyright 2010 Maddisen K. Krown