I’m Independent; He’s Not

Question: Dear Luise: I recently reconnected with a guy I used to go with and it has fast become a meaningful relationship. We are both in our thirties and have had some tough times, individually, since we first knew each other. The problem is, he doesn’t give me any breathing room. I’m a very independent person and I feel smothered by him. We presently live in two different states but are thinking of remedying that by my moving to his state and then commuting. I’ve let him know how I feel and he’s made it clear that he knows he needs to work on his insecurity and is willing to do whatever it takes. What’s that? Kim

Answer: Dear Kim: Two good things are happening here…you both see the problem and you are talking about it. Often, but not always, clinging and being extremely independent are both evidence of insecurity. They’re just different ways of dealing with it…or more possibly, avoiding doing so.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes as well? You can’t fix this if only one person is ready to learn and grow and the other person feels OK, and sees no room for improvement. In some ways it seems like a “stacked deck” but most relationships are to some extent. You’re just seeing it clearly, sooner.

There are web sites that might help you across this minefield. I recently saw one where you email back and forth asking each other questions in a structured format. They are endless, like there are 1,000 or so. It gives you a lot of room to get to a deeper and deeper level of understanding. Married couples are doing it and finding it extremely valuable. The questions are set up so that you both answer the same ones at the same time and then exchange your answers. The URL is: www.theromantic.com/questions.htm

Beyond that, it feels to me like you would benefit from couples counseling. That is often done both separately and together so that healing and moving through your fears is a mutual experience. It’s never easy and would take a deep level of commitment. Not so much a “lets try and see how it goes” as a “we’re in this for the long haul no matter what” approach. If that’s where you are, go for it! Blessings, Luise

One Response to I’m Independent; He’s Not

  1. maryanne February 2, 2007 at 5:53 pm #

    hi, luise. i have been reading some of your advice to people and they seem to make sense. maybe you can help me with some solid advice after the conclusion of a nine year relationship (3 years married with one child) we are now divorced. long story short, things weren’t working out for a while and i made him leave the house to get some space so to speak and he had already been seeing somebody and immediately moved in with her and he lives 15 mins. away from me. he still sees my son pretty much on a reg. basis but we’ve been separated for a year and we ended pretty messy for the first six months or so and now things are a little calmer and suddenly i start hearing he’s not happy, so he says, with his “woman” and he is saying things to me about coming back which i would have loved to hear a year ago but he left me alone for a year to deal with the hurt and pain by myself and basically walked out on the family without saying a word. we’ve been talking about a lot of things and he even went so far as kissed me. i allowed it to see what i felt after all this time. i haven’t been really involved in any serious relationships, just a little dating, in this time. i guess i’m trying to figure out where my heart is; ie. with him and for future relationships in the event i try to start fresh dating. after i kissed him a couple times and talked and listened to him for a couple days in a way it felt good to talk to him and deal with the anger and hurt and possible he would still want me but at the same time hurt and anger for how he has treated me. so i don’t know if my heart is upset now from the hurt still or do i still love him? i did tell him that i feel different now, now that i’ve kissed him. and i don’t want to get involved in another affair with him while he’s with another woman and start all over again. i just spent nine years with him and got divorced. i always have to see him because of my son with him. there are things that i fell in love with him for but the hurt that he has caused just was so shocking and painful. i always always felt he was a selfish man. that was his problem. my life story has been very complicated and i’m really trying to make a new beginning. i have two kids and i long for the companionship still before i get too old to even have one. i’m 37 and have a career and everyone tells me i’m pretty and a nice person so i seem like i keep making bad choices, maybe? and why does my ex now keep coming back to me or calling me up and saying stuff? what could be in his mind? i don’t mean to ask shallow questions but it’s helpful for an outsider to maybe see it for what it is. confused heart, thank you

    and if i have told him that i feel different, will he leave me alone? and even if i did want him still, i don’t know things would ever be the right way so i push him away anyway.

    thanks a lot for your input

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