HomeMain PageRelationshipsMap of RelationshipsGetting an Answer: When He/She Won’t Make a Decision


Getting an Answer: When He/She Won’t Make a Decision — 21 Comments

  1. Hi Al,
    Ive just discovered your site through a random choosing of a podcast that you were on. Ive only just begun to explore your website, so not as familiar with all your terms. Light bulb moments. so here I am.
    My back story. im 49, he’s 50. Both on our Second marriage and just hitting 10 years. We have no kids together, but I have two teen boys and he has 2 kids to previous marriage, that he doesn’t see due to his ex wife sadly manipulating the kids.
    Cut to today, This guy is my soul mate, we have had such a happy connected relationship, then past few months his life balance got out a little, stress with him not seeing kids, turning 50…im not sure.

    On the weekend just past, after arguing (i think I’ve become the clinger, he the avoider, although he is clingy and an avoider), the extreme avoidance.
    he made a statement that he wasn’t sure he wanted to be with me. He’s had to go away for work, but in that time he’s completely shutdown. limited and basic communication and this has completely thrown me. In his first marriage, he just stormed out, his dad did the same thing when he was 4. I realise I’ve got to try and give him some space to think and sort stuff in his head, but he’s stonewalled me completely, so this is way more difficult that I thought.

    Everything I might suggest is me trying to control him. He mentioned that he wants to be free and happy. But then won’t explain what that is to me. He’s holding onto a lot of anguish from his childhood I think, and then life relating itself. I don’t want us to be the next to fall.

    My boys are starting to see how upset I am, and I want to avoid the disruption in their lives. But I get that I need to work on myself, which Ive taken steps already. Focus on the things I can change and also still keep my life afloat.
    Ive written out some areas that I need to learn skills for, and some ways I need to change for our relationship to get back on track.
    The tone of my voice used in an argument. Not pushing for love, I loved your lizard analysis.
    So he’s back after 4 days away tomorrow night, and has said he won’t sit down with me to chat until a few more days after that, but he wouldn’t even commit to that. I think he’s not feeling safe. How do I even make him feel safe, if everything I do is controlling?

    I loved what you said above about having the conversation, about how to tell your partner. That if he’s willing to participate in the conversation and then do the work. Hopefully he will give “us” the chance. But that I can’t wait forever if he isn’t willing to also do some work.
    I’m panicked and on the edge of fear of living without him, but also understand that I do need to move on.
    What if he says “no” I won’t talk?

    • Hello Di, Glad to have you here. Thanks for sharing so much. It certainly lets me in on what’s probably going on, and leaves me lots and lots of ideas about what to do. As I had to answer these questions for myself and others, I’m pretty sure you’ll find good ideas throughout my website. Oh, and I even posted a glossary of the darn words I use too make it easier for people seeking the stuff I’ve learned.

      I also thought about you with teenage boys. Holy mackerel! Living with them people that age can be enough work all by itself. AND I found in my practice that their age was one predictor of relationship trouble. “When the youngest reaches early teenage, when the couple see their kids to be leaving home, then they adults often have to rewrite their plans for the future. It’s just one of those clocks in life, kinda like midlife crises.”

      And I’m really happy you liked that Lizard paper. It’s a great starting place.

      Of course he want’s to feel free and happy and you want him to feel that too. Tis called love. “If you love something set it free.”

      I saw a couple of great words, “Controlling” and “Arguing.” (I’m assuming he’s said he thinks you are controlling. Well, I think controllers marry controllers.)

      Oh there’s probably so much to learn and you’ve started. And one of your has arrive at the point of saying, “No more.” Tis the first step.

      Remember “In a couple, the one who can leave has all the power.” My guess is he’s felt powerless for quite a while (probably hasn’t told you in a way you could hear) and doesn’t want to go back there. (even though he may have little idea what to do with the power he has now.)

      So work on making yourself into a source of safety to him.

      Overall I suggest you read the Map of Relationships to get more clarity of where you are and build some hope.

      • Hi Al, thank you so much for your reply. Yes in the past few months he’s repeated that I am controlling.
        And yes I agree he is as controlling, but he can’t see his behaviour. How does one even begin to point that out? Especially when he’s in this heightened state.
        I would definitely think he has always had the power, but can’t see that he’s the one that’s always been in charge. I am a decisive person and he’s not a decider. He always says, you choose, I’m happy with whatever.

        He doesn’t like the detail, and his role in his job is the important one. At home I run the finance and cook and organise holidays etc as he doesn’t want to do that detail stuff. But this to him at this point may feel I’m holding the power.
        Hey he can have those duties in a heartbeat!
        One of his limiting beliefs is he felt unlovable as his mum hasn’t given him the love he needs.
        In the 5 languages of love he’s a touch and feel guy and I’m always careful to fill his cup up. But thats possibly been enough.
        Yes I do see the markings of mid life crisis, although I always thought it was a saying not an actual thing!
        I would’ve said last week we were “vintage love”. We honestly have had one of the best relationships, I never had this with my first marriage which was with 15 years. If there were tea leaves to read, its the fact his daughter turned 21, and son 20 and they don’t make any contact with him (again the unlovable)
        ‘Im hopeful he is willing to open up with me.
        I will read all your extra bits today. I’m suffering as its our 10 yr anniversary today.
        I literally don’t want to live without his beautiful man in my life. But I understand I can’t make him love me. He’s arriving home late tonight and I’m not even sure how that will play out. My boys are 18 and 15 1/2 and an amazing boys, both such great kids, but he sees if our relationship doesn’t work he has nothing, which I don’t see but thats another story. He’s being triggered over lots of things.
        Here was I thinking the free meant , playing golf and surfing…Starts to make more sense. I have a lot to learn.
        Lets hope over the next few days we get some communication in. Im going in with the listener attitude. No responding, mirror face.
        If he is willing to do some sessions with you, I’d love to enquire. Im in Australia, So I might instigate that and then see if he’s up for it.
        We have too much good stuff going on to throw it away, and I know what its like to be single. He ran from his first wife straight to me, so he doesn’t know how miserable and lonely it is.

        Thanks again xd

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