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Caring Days: The Skill — 6 Comments

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  3. Neither of my husband’s would have ever agreed to this level of effort. Do your couples (or probably more often one of them) ever balk at this intensity, especially after not getting along for a lengthy time?

    • Yeah, Curious, I’ve certainly met lots of people who are challenged by how much commitment they have toward making their relationship a good one. I often think of, and speak of, Vintage Love. (see my Map of Relationships) And while I believe it is a powerful drive in everyone, lots of people give up that falling in love journey. It’s sad, to me. My guess is that these guys somehow don’t realize your worth and do not realize they have to work to keep a relationship with you.

      Well, “the person who can leave has all the power”, so maybe you gotta look like “you can leave” in order to kick start ’em.

      • Any advice for this? Every one of my relationships has gone this way. I put lots of effort into listening, caring, gestures to make him happy. He reaps the benefits and is happy but he doesn’t put in any effort for me. I communicate my needs, communicate that I’m unhappy, then he makes a low to medium effort change for a short while and then falls back into almost no effort. After this repeats many times, I give up and end the relationship. He is distraught and tells me how happy he was with me.

        I see lots of people on the internet describe a similar position, but none of the advice seems very helpful. Common advice includes:
        * “Dump him and wait for someone who treats you better.” Okay, but what if this happens in all of my relationships?
        * “Be distant and withdrawn so he gets anxious .” No thanks for several reasons.
        * “Quit putting in any effort for him so he will ‘respect you’.” I highly doubt that works. Exactly the opposite of what Imago says to do.

        • Yeah, Unframed, A pretty common experience. I could say lots of guys are like this but in my experience there are a whole lot of women who do something similar. And we have nasty names for the guys (“assholes”) and women (“spoiled princesses”). Seems everyone has a lot to learn.

          When I used to teach couples I would always start with the idea that a relationship is a democracy. But most of us are not raised by parents who know how to operate in a democracy and thus don’t teach us the “wise ways” of making things fair for both. It’s only fair if both people think it is so at the same time.

          The reason those pieces of advice don’t usually work is cus they don’t address the underlying problems. And one of the most pernicious problems is not sharing, keeping secrets. If he’s reaping the benefits and you aren’t and you say nothing, then trouble ahead. If “it” is painful and repeats many time then you’re not using the right tools, skills, tactics and probably need to get help from the outside. Reading my stuff (Map of Relationships) is getting stuff from the outside. Seeing a good counselor is getting help from the outside.

          Go for it.

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