Here's a scenario that was recently shared with me by an acquaintance seeking advice:
After leaving a serious, 10-plus year relationship last year, I find myself involved with a new person who has been very willing to keep the relationship light, which I have stated as my need and preference. I worry, however, that it is not a fair situation for her. She is ready for a serious relationship and is hopeful that our situation could evolve into something more long-term down the road. Even though she says she is okay with the current arrangement, I can tell that the attachment is growing. The relationship is intimate and for both of us -- "off the charts" in this respect. I know that I will want some time alone and will also want to explore other romantic situations before settling down again. And the truth is that this current person does not necessarily match up with the type of person I see myself with over the long-term. What is the right thing to do?
This is a great question, and one which contains the answer. You have described the relationship and the positions held by both parties, and it's clear you both have different goals in mind. The action that will best serve you and her is for you to express your truth with her, the truth which you have so clearly articulated above. The key is to do this in a caring and respectful manner.
I suggest that you request a heart-to-heart conversation, and arrange it so that you have privacy and plenty of time to talk with each other without rushing.
A few guidelines for you both: This is not a diatribe or an attack. Rather, it's a time to be especially respectful and caring, but most importantly, thoroughly honest. Do your best to stay centered, non-defensive, and open-minded. Before you begin, set an intention that you will come to mutual agreement about how to move forward and that the highest good is served in this situation.
Suggest that you each take a turn in talking, and that while one person shares, the other listens without interruption. You begin, and express all that you shared above. When done, ask for her response and that she speak her truth with you. Respond to her, and then open it up to more informal dialogue and sharing.
Aim for a mutual agreement about how to move forward -- whether to remain lovers or not. If not, do you wish to explore other options? For example, is friendship an option? If you both feel that you're not ready to separate as lovers, then you should agree to have another check-in talk in the near future, and mark a specific date on your calendars.
Bottom line, if you really don't have a future together, you will very likely reach a point of critical mass when you know you are done with this relationship, at least in this form. Meanwhile, because you feel less attached and invested, it's important for you to keep things honest, especially because it will be easier for you emotionally to let it go and walk away. She may not have the same strength or resolve in letting go, regardless of the obvious signs. Although, it's possible that she too may begin to see the incompatibility, and move toward a mutual completion. My suggestions may seem unrealistically formulaic, especially in an area that can be ripe with emotional drama; however, I have often seen this kind of communication work with positive results for both parties.
So, take the first step and initiate a heart-to-heart honest conversation. Honor yourself. Speak your truth. Ask the same of your lover. It's a potent way to show you care. May the truth lift you both into an even higher and more liberated experience of Loving, whatever the form.
Your Coach, Maddisen
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