How to Handle “I’m Not Ready to Settle Down Yet”

Individual Power
By Barbara Rose, PhD

How can one person’s needs be met if the other is not ready to give what is required to allow a romantic relationship to
evolve into a meaningful lifelong union?

If one person is ready to move forward, ready to create a more intimate connection, and the other is not, what then?

Many people could have reached the level of intimacy and commitment they desired if they had only received the patience,
compassion, and understanding of the other. Yet many people are childish when it comes to matters of the heart.
Many do not have the patience to work on a relationship if it does not fulfill all of their expectations as quickly as they would like. As a result, you have breakups, people longing for each other, people with pain in their hearts, when simple compassion and understanding could have brought them all they desired over time.

Many people end relationships because they do not understand that friendship is the key – that they need to build trust and enjoy the company of the other without all the formal dating or courtship behaviors.

Yes, courtship, dating, sex, romance are all vital to a romantic relationship, but there are many people who have issues
of intimacy to work through first. Many people need to go slowly and build trust, reaching a certain comfort level
with someone before they can commit themselves. So in this case, if one is ready for a committed, exclusive relationship
and the other is not, instead of hastily and prematurely ending the relationship, turn it into a friendship.

Stop the pressures of dating and courtship.

Allow yourselves to bond in a deep, respectful, and trusting union as
friends, as best friends.

If the attraction is there, if the chemistry is right, if the two of you have much in common and share meaningful
goals, why should that beautiful experience be ended completely?

Instead, you can continue the growth and development of your friendship, which, after all, is the true
foundation of any real marriage. So if you are ready for commitment and your partner is not, release the pressure and just be friends. Best friends. No sex, no dates, no candlelight intimacy. You will find that as the bond of friendship grows, as the trust deepens, the one who was not previously ready suddenly is ready. And you have been there all along. You reached from your heart to

give understanding instead of demanding a commitment of emotions and actions the other was just not ready to give.

Time heals fear.

Time builds trust, and love grows over time.

You may find, however, that the physical chemistry is still strong. If you genuinely want to share love-making or passion with each other, do not deny this or suppress it, because to do so causes tension. Go with the flow of your genuine feelings. If you feel attracted to each other, show it. If you want to sleep together and hold each other, do so!

There is no wrong in showing love.

The wrong is to deny your love, your chemistry, and your feelings only to conform
to a rigid belief or “should” with regard to society’s dating or courtship expectations. There is no “should,”
there is only truth. If you feel love and attraction, don’t withhold it; show it.

If one of you desires a monogamous relationship and the other is simply not ready for that, then you must decide what is most important to you: genuinely sharing the time you do have together or settling for not having each other in
your lives at all.

When you allow the word “should” to control your life, you find that you are no longer in control of achieving all you
want. This is not the same as “settling.” Settling is when you deny what is genuinely in your heart because your head tells you it is wrong and that you “should” do or not do something.

Is it truly wrong to sleep with someone you adore and are physically attracted to just because you are not ready to make
a formal monogamous commitment?

No.

Is it genuinely wrong to sleep with someone you care for deeply and are attracted to because it is not an exclusive,
monogamous relationship?

No

The only “should” that can appropriately govern your life is that you should do what is genuinely in your heart. No matter what society tells you, no matter what anybody tells you, if it is true and right in your heart, then it is true and right for you. That is being your own best friend as well as a best friend with the one you love but are not formally committed to.

Commit to the genuine truth in your heart. Express that, and you will feel validated, whole, and complete within.
One reason relationships fail is that one person seeks validation by the other. But when you validate your own worth,
when you receive respect and admiration from yourself and do not need it to come from the other, then you will possess a
quality that is the foundation of pure love: the ability to give.

  • To give understanding in place of expectation.
  • To give patience in place of haste.
  • To give compassion in place of ego fulfillment.
  • To give friendship instead of demanding a commitment the other may not be ready to make.

For as you sow, so shall you reap. As you give, so will you be given to in return. As you reach out of your comfort zone
to be there for the other, you will find that in time, they will reach out of their comfort zone to return your goodness to you.

They will give, they will commit to you, for you will have shown them that you are worthy of their commitment, and
they shall ask you to share your life with them.

For

it is the one who endures both the good times and the difficult times who ultimately wins the love, respect, admiration, and commitment from the other.

It is very rare to have someone in your life who will be there for you as a true friend; this is a gift.

Relationships are testing grounds; they test the bond, the endurance, the respect for oneself and for the other.
How can you expect someone to make a lifelong commitment to you if they do not first see that you are capable of meeting the challenges that arise during the early stages of a relationship?

You see, life brings challenge. Life brings circumstances that you must overcome. If you love a boyfriend or girlfriend,
and they cannot be there for you through the early challenges of the relationship, how can you possibly expect
them to commit to you for life?

Couples who have successfully worked through the challenges of their relationship will tell you that it requires work
on self

and beyond the needs of self to truly be there for the other; it takes work to build a relationship that can endure the tests of life and the test of time.

When you’re not ready, but you can’t let go:

Life will keep giving you the same challenge in all of your personal relationships until you face it head on and work it through.

For example, if you have a problem with commitment or intimacy, you will find that same challenge in each relationship,
until one day you meet that one person who causes you to look within – to search your heart to find the answer. For
when you find true love, another soul with whom you feel an indescribable bond, that person will cause you to seek within
to heal the problem that blocks the flow of happiness you deserve in your life.

And when you do seek within for a solution, you will have all you truly desire. If you do not, then you shall live with regret.

To seek or not to seek is always your choice.

You can choose to run from one empty relationship to another, year after year, or you can choose to realize that fulfillment comes when the bonds of love and friendship are combined, and that those bonds are far too valuable and precious to discard once you have found the one person who causes you to turn yourself around. When you have healed
through that relationship, you will be ready to commit yourself to that person with true love.

© Copyright 2001, 2003, 2011 by Barbara Rose, All Rights Reserved. Excerpt from Individual Power: Reclaiming Your Core, Your Truth and Your Life. Published by The Rose Group (2003) ISBN: 097414570X.

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74 thoughts on “How to Handle “I’m Not Ready to Settle Down Yet”

  1. I came across your website because I just caught myself in a situation and I don’t know what to do. I am 31 years old and 2 months ago met someone that is wonderful in every way shape and form. We talk about and say how scary it is that we are so much alike. We share the same values, dreams, ambitions our passions etc. We see each other once a week and the dates are just amazing. He is kind, attentive and we talk about our fears and future dreams in life. Sunday he called me to tell me that he has something to tell me and hes not sure if its too soon but he feels I should know. He got divorced 4 months ago from someone who he met in high school.. they were on and off but together for 7 years, married for 5 years. 9 months ago she had a death in a family and went on a bender of sex, drugs, alcohol. Got pregnant with someone else and filed for divorce.

    Obviously this is a huge life event. He told me he really likes me and does want to get married again in the future and have a family but right now he is still healing and doesn’t want to jump into anything serious. I told him I am ok with keeping things the way they are but there might come a time in the future where feelings develop stronger and I don’t want to be caught in a complicated situation . He wanted clarification if I WANTED feelings to develop and I said yes. He replied with perfect and that its definitely a possibility and reminded me that he really liked me and named off all the qualities that he liked.

    My question to you is this salvageable. I really want to take it slowly and see where this goes? Or would I be wasting my time?

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    • Dear Leyla,

      My sincerest guidance for you is to view him as a FRIEND and NOT a romantic partner. Everything he was slammed with is HUGE and it will require a several years for him to be ready. If you think about it, isn’t the best relationship one where you are best friends? If you can handle really being only a friend without getting caught up in a commitment from him then you will be fine. If it’s too hard for you then you will feel miserable. Get super absorbed in our own life purpose. If you start to feel like you are being a “String Along” then move forward and open your heart for someone else to enter. The truth is that BOTH partners need to be ready to take a relationship to the exclusive commitment level. So keep your eyes and heart open in the event that you meet another man and simply be his friend without the need for any strings attached.

      I truly hope this helped you!

      Sending you love,
      Barbara Sherry Rose-Vain, PhD

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  2. I love what you have written here about friendship being the basis of a life long relationship. I met a wonderful man over 12 months ago. There was immediate chemistry and spark and so a lovely relationship began. My guy was a British paratrooper, a month after we met he went away to Kenya for 6 weeks, while away he rang me every day. Things were good. He was based 6 hours away from me but his home town is an hour away. Once he returned from Kenya finding he time to see each other was difficult. He only came back home every so often and then he wanted to see his children. I also have children so it was a juggling act. But we did manage at that time. We fell madly in love with each other. We talked about a future together, marriage, where we would live and the rest. Now he retired from the army in August this year, he began the transition into civilian life in January, this was very very intense for him. He had lots of courses to attend, medicals, things to organise as well as doing his job in the army. He was finding it stressful and as a result didn’t give me the time he was giving me so I began to feel neglected. He knew this was the case and we spoke about it and I agreed to be patient and supportive and he promised me things would get better. As time went on he became more and more distant. I hung on, supporting, not putting pressure on, giving him space. He acknowledged that too. The time came for him leaving the army and I wasn’t hearing from him much unless I initiated the contact and then it was limited. He still told me he loved me. The last time I saw him was an arranged date that he backed out of at the last minute saying he had his children unexpectedly but I still went over to his as that was not the first time he had done that. He met me around the corner from his house and we spent a couple of hours together, which was very emotional. He hugged me so tightly saying I do love you, you know that. He wouldnt let go of me. He told me he was really struggling, he didn’t want to be like he was. What I was seeing wasn’t him. There was lots of things going on for him at the time he was 3 weeks from leaving the army and had no job to go to, had a huge falling out with his dad and brother, his ex wife was hassling him. I asked him what he wanted to do with us, he said he wanted me and again he said that he knew things would get easier over time and it was just a blip. So off we went. Things didn’t get better, I still contacted him, sending the love. It was his big 40th birthday which coincided with him leaving the army after 22 years service, we made arrangements to meet up to celebrate. He pulled out again at the last minute. He called me to say he couldnt make it,I was upset with him, he asked me to be a little more patient. I was. But eventually it got to the point he wasn’t answering my calls or texts and I was getting very short straight to the point replies. I called it a day. I have been having some ongoing problems with my ex and I reached out to my guy because he knows the history of it and he has been supportive. He told me he realised after we broke up that he went ready for a relationship when he looked at how he had been with me. We still text. I love this man and I know he loves me. I am struggling so much to just walk away because although I respect what he’s saying to me, I also still feel the connection between us. So I was inspired by what I read because take all the romance away, I still feel as strong for him. I could be his friend because he is my friend and confidant. How do I make him believe that’s all I want from him unless he’s ready for more?

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    • Dear Wendy,

      When two people really want to be together they make that happen. There’s no wondering, hoping, longing – that is the misery you have been experiencing and I wish I could tell you what you want to hear, (to hang in there) but that would be a lie and I cannot lie to comfort anyone. Th REAL TRUTH is that it’s time you move on from him with pure loving compassion towards him. No more trying to make him come around, no more giving far more than you are receiving – THAT HURTS!! PICTURE IN YOUR MIND YOUR IDEAL RELATIONSHIP – the standards you need to have, take at least SIX MONTHS OFF of romantic relationships so you can heal and feel more empowered. Get super focused on your life purpose, feeling whole and complete without a partner. Then, one will simply pop into your life (or one close to that ideal) and you go SLOWLY, being best friends before you allow any romance. You need to find your own center, exactly like I had to. I believe you will, and you will slowly start to feel a whole lot better.

      I send you prayers for strength, healing, and most of all self love!

      Sincerely,
      Barbara

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  3. Me and my boyfriend unexpectedly got together…. embarrassing enough we had sex really quickly, I lived in north Carolina he lived in new York.. after I left there on vacation because I met him through a mutual friend, we started talking everyday all day. at first I guess he thought I was just another female that he just had sex with and then go to the next girl but he got stuck. he wasn’t ready for a relationship, so I waited for him to be ready eventually we got together, and we fell in love. hes 22 I’m 24. i met his whole family and he met my family. before him i was married for 3 years and has 1 child and lost 2 with my ex husband….. my bf has met and fell in love with my daughter, his family as well. he has plans to do music and i believe in him that he’ll make it. we’ve been together almost 2 years now, on my birthday, but there is this one problem… i want a family especially. my husband left me a week after i lost his son half way through my pregnancy , and we had a ugly divorce and custody battle which they granted him custody i really don’t know why….hes a horrible parent and tortures me with me child…i just feel like hes taken my whole heart sometimes…so my bf has to deal with this. encouraging me, motivating everything he does it. and I’m his longest relationship because usually he just screws girls and that’s it.. i can go live with him anytime and we would both have good jobs but he just feel like hes not ready for what I’m ready for…mainly his issue is the sexual things like hes told me every dude desires a threesome or just sex with all different kinds of girls and he said he wants to get that out of his system before settling down with me. kinda makes me feel like…did i waste these two years? depressed because i respect him but it’ll literally feel like everything has been taken from me its just a lot. we’ve had the conversation multiple times and i understand him being young.but then i think about myself where i am in life. i don’t wanna start over again, its hard for me to let go especially when I’m with someone for awhile i just don’t know what to do please help me i know i was everywhere with explaining it but its just that much …

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  4. Hi dr!
    My boyfriend of 1.5 years broke up with me a month ago. We’re both 19. The past year has been really hard for me personnally as I had to deal with (now knewly diagnosed) anxiety, an eating disorder (1 month into recovery now! woo!) and a lot of family issues. Things got better for me personally and him ending our relationship made me realize a lot of things about myself and how my negative views on life only brought me to put my energy into nourishing resentment.
    I was his first serious relationship (I, on the other hand, did have a serious relationship before him) and as he is going to Uni next year he felt as if he was trapped, I was a very demending gf and everything was never satisfying enough for me. He didn’t know much about being with someone and the responsabilities that came with it. Therefore our relationship had basically no balance between individuality and togetherness, and it ended up draining him emotionally.
    When he broke up he seemed very hearthbroken, he told me he still had feelings for me, and still cared about me and wanted me in his life, but that right now he was in this relationship for the wrong reasons, that he became unhappy and that he didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore, with anyone.
    As weird as it sounds it was a very loving breakup. We kept in touch, seeing eachother 1-2-3 times a week since then, mostly at the gym or randomly since we live very close from eachother. Interactions are always very brief, mostly to keep up with how the other is doing and what’s up with them. He told me he wanted to remain friends and keep this bond we have but that he also needs to get over our relationship to be able to do so.
    I still had a lot of hope after our break up, that since I realized all these things about myself and our relationship that were wrong, how it affected the both of us,and how I was trully changed he would want to get back with me.
    So I asked him after gym 2 weeks ago if he’d like and go grab a beer with me. He said he didn’t want to, because he couldn’t, that he wasn’t ready and that it wouldn’t be healthy for us to see eachother for more than brief interactions. I told him I personally needed to talk to him for closure, cause I had questions. He agreed and so a couple of days later we met and had a lovely evening (the beer helped a little…). We talked about how much respect we have for one another, our fears, etc. He said he needed time for himself getting into Uni, to meet new people and learn a bit more about himself, about what he wants and doesn’t. He did mention it had nothing to do with seeing other girls, and that it was a very personnal process, and that after a couple of years living his experiences as an individual, he’d be ready to see who at that point in his life he feels he could see himeslf with for the long run, who he could see himself marry. He also said he wished for us to be laid back, that he didn’t want for me to wait for him to text me, cause he would force himself not to wait for me either. Even though he’s an introvert and an extremely rational and avoidant person when it comes to things that worry him, I was surprised of how amazing the communication between us was, much better than it was towards the end of our relationship. He mentioned how in a perfect world, after we’d both be fully healed, he’d like for us to be able to do everything we once did, like going to concerts, restaurants, etc together. I did mention HE broke up with me and that as much as I wanted to keep seeing him too eventually, that I didn’t want to be his security blanket. He said he understood. As we were walking back home that same night, I asked him if I was someone from his past now, if for us it was done for good in his head. He answered no, but that he wouldn’t push for feelings to come back/make it happen, that he kept the door open but can’t know what the future holds for him, and that right now thinking 2-4 years ahead is too much, that for now it’s not an option. He did mention he didn’t want me to ‘wait’ for him, that I should too continue towards being happy with myself, and have the same mindset as him.
    I realized seeing him in the gym was hurting me in a way, as it wasn’t the kind of interaction I wanted to have with him, and that by with all the good intentions he has (he has the most kind heart I have ever known), this wasn’t right for me. That by seeing him, I never actually gave him the ‘chance’ to miss me, I decided to stop going to the gym at the same times as him for the next 2 weeks and see where it goes….
    Summer is coming and I’m worried he’ll be just fine without me (even though that could be a very normal possibility).
    We both have a tumblr (blog) and I know he’s been checking mine almost everyday, and I check his too, but other than that, he’s an extremely independant person, so he doesn’t seem to worry much about me, what’s truly going on in my head and life and what’s to come (like I do). He changed all of his passwords (which is a good thing), but I still wish I could have the insight I once had on his life… I know it’s pointless, but it makes me so anxious.
    Anyways, with all these details (sorry for the long text post!!!), I’m still confused. I want to move on, and I know I will eventually, I just don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get that little hope off my head. I too think I need time for myself and learn how to be happy being solitary. But I don’t know how to correctly decode everything he told me (ex. maybe he feels exactly the same way I do?)..
    What is your opinion, how should I handle the situation given the fact I do hope that we find eachother again as lovers when the timing is right?..
    Thank you!

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  5. Hi Barbara

    I’m Olinda . I have been in a relationship with this guy for almost a year and a half. And we 21 years old . He is loving, caring and seems to really care about me. However we live in different countries but he makes sure that we see eachother whenever we have a school holiday.
    The relationship is going well in my opinion sometimes he takes long in tell me when something bother him but in the end after asking he speaks .
    But there is this girl that always when I’m with him sends him messages but he says that they don’t have anything and that she doesn’t mean anything. ( but she has his picture in her profile but he did not comment on the picture ) but told that ask her to remove but she didn’t .
    He tells me that he really likes me and that for him is okay if we just friends or in a relationship as long that he can still have me . And when I asked him if I decided to move on with someone else and stop giving him the attention that I give me as my boyfriend he said that he would be really crossed and upset.
    And a few days ago he told me that he is not ready to settle down yet.
    But he was already making plans for us to meet in a few months.

    What should I do ? Should I wait a few more years as we young and the relationship is young too. Should I worry about the girl??

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  6. Dear Doc,
    I am a 23 year old woman, and my girlfriend of 10 months is 28 years old. I’m not sure if it is the age gap, or just her personal views on life and settling, but we keep running into this issue where she keeps bringing up the topic of “settling down”.

    Now by settling down, she means in the sense of living together, marriage, legal issues like having wills written so that our families can work out who gets what, in case we both, God forbid, pass away. She had also mentioned the tiniest detail of if I would keep her dog or if he would go to her mom.

    I understand that she is just thinking ahead and trying to figure out where I’m at with all of this, but honestly this is all just too overwhelming for me personally, and way too much to handle. I’ve expressed my perspective and personal opinions and views to her, and I also let her know that while I am serious about our relationship and am not against us settling down like that one day, it is not a priority to me right now, and it is the last thing on my mind. To that, she just responds that she was only asking a question, and that she isn’t rushing me.

    However, I feel immense pressure and as if she is rushing me, because she often talks about how she does not want to waste her time, because she knows what she wants and because she is ready for a life partner. I am too, but not right in this moment. That does not mean that I don’t want to spend my life with her, but that is just not something on my radar at this point. I feel too young and not mature enough to handle that kind of responsibility.

    Also, only about 4 or so months into our relationship, she mentioned half-jokingly, a domestic partnership, and that honestly scared me to death. While I get that she is the type of person to go after what she knows she wants, I wish she would be a little more understanding of my situation and my perspective.

    What should I do? Do you think I need to let each other go? I know she doesn’t want to, and I know I don’t want to, but I also don’t want to keep her from her life is that is one of her goals…finding a life partner soon. I can be that person for her, but I wish she wasn’t so rushed, because it makes me feel rushed, even though she says she isn’t rushing me. Fact of the matter is, if she is bringing the topic up like that, it’s like she is trying to discreetly drop hints, and I just feel uncomfortable…

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  7. Dear Barbara,

    Thank you for your article. I’m 31 and my ex boyfriend is 30. We have been in a relationship for over a year now until 2 days ago.
    When it started I fell for him very quickly while he was still not knowing where things will go. I did show him a lot of care and love but I haven’t said it until one day he did tell me he loved me. Since then it was all good. I had some trust issues on the beginning and I’ve learnt to overcome them. We felt closer and closer to each other and showed more care, love and support. Especially the last 3-4 months were amazing and I could feel deeper attachment from him. We live in a large city and we don’t leave together but we spend half of the nights at mine and half at his place which was fine at first but after a year we felt that we are loosing so much time traveling between two homes and sometimes it felt like a hustle. But we still did it. We are both very busy with our careers and try to do other projects after work but many times after dinner we just felt too lazy to do anything else and it was easier to just watch a movie and go I sleep. Which made us feel like we don’t do enough when we are together. The attachment got really strong and it became a habit that we stayed together all the time.
    Few times I started the talk about living together. First time it was (after 6 months being together) too early and he said we shouldn’t consider it yet which was fair enough. Then another time
    I brought it up was few months ago when contract for my flat was about to expire and I asked how he felt. He didn’t say yes I really want to move in with you. He said we already kind of live together which I took as a good sign as there was no other. He owns his house Together with his friend and the rent out spere bedrooms to few friends. I rent my flat with my friend and I’m happy to move out but I didn’t want to move in to his house because I don’t want to live with his other friends. I felt that it would be better if we were only 2 of us. He said it wasn’t fair on him that the only way to live together would be that he has to move out from his house. He still wants to do works on his house before one day selling it. As we haven’t found a solution we said we would wait with this decision another few months and see how we felt. Then last week I got my flat contract extended and I felt really happy (it’s a very nice flat, but with contract being extended every time for only another few months) and txt him about it and asked if he would move in with me then. He took it as a joke and didn’t say anything. Then we spoke on the phone and I asked about it and he said it was a silly idea and when I said “not for me” he didn’t know what else to say. I said it was ok and that I won’t ask again. Then the same evening he came to mine and said that we needed to talk. He was breaking up with me because he said he feels that we are not on the same page yet. That I’m ready to do the next step and he is not. I asked why do we need to break up instead of just slowing things down and that I can wait and won’t rush him, but he said he didn’t know if he wil be ready in a year or 5 or never. And that he didn’t want to waste my time. He said he loves me so much and it’s very difficult but this is the only way to make it easier. We were so good together and I wished everyone for what we had. He also said that he never had anything that strong before. But he needs to go and find himself and find a strength within him to do all this projects now and that he feels he wants to be alone.
    I understand his reasons but I’m devastated because it seemed to me we were perfect for each other. We had a real connection that we haven’t had with any other partner before. I told him I wished him luck and that I believe that he will find himself and do the things he wants to do and I will have time now to do all my projects.
    And that I hoped one day when we are formed and strong we would find way back to each other. He said maybe and that he would like that but we shouldn’t be holding up to that because we don’t know what the future brings.
    My heart is really broken and I’m trying to feel my days with lots of work and not to break in tears too often but I really suffer and I want him back. I know some of his friends that they broke up with they girlfriends for very similar reasons and then realised it was the biggest mistake and came back and now after few years they are getting married. I want to have a hope that next week or later he will change his mind but I don’t want to hold on to something that is only in my head. Apart from working a lot I don’t know what else to do to deal with it and don’t think too much and break in tears.

    Thank you,
    Ania

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  8. Dear doc
    I met this guy over a year ago now he’s a bit older than me we went on one official date. I even got to meet his family. I have spent a lot of time with him and I found myself falling for him he seems to show the same care for me but he keeps making excuses to why we can’t be together I know there is a lot of chemistry between us he doesn’t want to admit it he finally told me that I’m a girl he’d probably settle down with but he’s just not ready to settle down yet, I understand he went though a tough brake up with his ex and he know that I’m here for him I support his passions and ideas and I have a lot of respect for him but now I’m beginning to feel lonely an he’s all I can think about I need some advice I’m just not ready to give up he’ll always be my best friend but I feel like what we have is already boyfriend girlfriend type relationship what can I do ?

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    • Dear Rachel,

      I know how you feel, I was once there, too. The BEST thing you can do is move forward with your life, be his friend (JUST FRIENDS) and start to date another man that you have a great deal in common with. There is no commitment in this relationship, so honor what he says, while you love yourself and your life. Simply and kindly let him know that you need to cut the romantic ties as you understand he’s not ready to settle down, and that you understand, while at the same time you can’t put your life “on hold” for him.

      It takes guts to do this. The alternative is a String Along relationship, and I would NOT want to see you there. Love yourself for being so loving and open your heart and mind to allow a new man to enter. Perhaps a friend that you’d like to get to know better.

      Sending you all my best,
      Barbara

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  9. Hey, me and my boyfriend have been dating for almost a year and talking for about 5-6 months before that but he just broke up with me because he said he’s only 19 and wants to enjoy his young years while he can bc he wants to settle down when he’s about 25. But he wants to remain best friends which we already were. It’s hard for me bc I don’t know what to do. I’m 18 and he’s 19. Should I just remain friends and see what happens that way or just move on?

    Like

    • Dear Averie,

      You are both so young. I would guide you to be his friend while you both date other people. If you are meant to be together then the foundation of your best friendship will only grow stronger. HOWEVER, if you only want to be with HIM EXCLUSIVELY then you need to move on because he is not ready. You can keep in touch, be kind, but keep your heart open. Do NOT “wait” for him and put your life on hold – that is a String Along relationship.

      Become the best YOU that you can be and enjoy the process.

      Like

  10. Dear Doc,

    i’m 27 and my ex is 29.

    You seem to have such a refreshing opinion on these sort of relationships so I couldn’t resist commenting and perhaps hearing your opinion on mine.

    My ex and I dated for five months up until four weeks ago. I am the longest ‘relationship’ he has had since the heartbreak that caused his commitment issues.

    We have never had sex apart from once in the relationship when there were very little feelings, I see now these were due to his intimacy issues.

    His previous dating history has been no longer than a few months, he said he never let go with these women and always associated feelings with attachment and could not with them as he couldn’t trust them. The reason we both lasted this long is we have a very good friendship and a relationship built on trust and kindness, and even to this day he says he fears losing me as he knows he will not meet anyone like me again, but that he just can’t commit. However in what capacity he is afraid to lose me we are yet to see, as I have to remember he did break up with me, therefore risking losing me. He has begged for friendship, so me, heartbroken and semi-deluded agreed two weeks after the break up. Unlike the typical commitment-phobe litterature that is on the market, my ex does not have an issue with boundaries, he isn’t trying to cross the line, when he said friend he meant friend.

    The last few weeks or so were great, felt like I had my buddy back…all the good bits without the complication, well until we spent time out and about together (last Wednesday) since the break, he kept putting his arm around me and pulling me close, and I even caught him trying to hold my hand and then realising and pulling back, it was the most bittersweet evening, and I realised this isn’t enough for me. It confused me and I sent him a message saying ‘sometimes it hurts, I wish it didn’t have to be this way’ – he didn’t even acknowledge my message and spoke about something different. Since he has been watching how he messages me, I can tell, he is being distant, it wasn’t like last week at all. He is my dear friend, but I can’t stay like this. I toyed with the idea of staying ‘his best friend’ as he wants me to be, but I can’t hold on for my own health, I can’t watch him move on with his life, I know he will ‘see other girls’ – well of course he will, I’m his friend now.

    I need to be over him. I need to let this go, however I still wonder in the back of my mind…in your experience, is there any hope?

    Like

    • Dear Jay,

      I was once where you are now for man years – it’s called a String Along relationship!
      It hurts! MOVE FORWARD and allow your heart to open for a new man to enter your life. You need to COMPLETELY move on.

      You cannot “correct” his intimacy issues, and I would venture to say he will have them for the rest of his life.

      Go forward into the passion and joy of your life purpose. Meet new people and NEVER put yourself “on hold” for someone who won’t even acknowledge your question, only to avoid it and leave you wondering.

      I have faith in you that you WILL meet someone who is so GREAT for you. That is what you deserve. Leave him behind while you view him with loving compassion. Be strong, and just ask him to please stop calling. Change your phone number, really get him OUT of your life completely. If you do not, you may see a decade from now that he has NOT CHANGED. Stop hoping. Live your life free of him and then you will know inner peace.

      Sending you much love,
      Barbara

      Like

  11. Hi Barbara,

    As life would have it I came across your article, at a time where I needed perspective. I’m someone who’s been very selective with who I date. I’m a virgin and have never been one to date casually. I had previously been in an “unofficial” long distance relationship with a man who basically strung me along and played games for 2 years. He blamed me for having good faith in him. I was hurt and his actions have made me fearful of another similar situation. At 27, I met a man who until this point had done nothing but made me feel safe, respected and adored. He’s 4 years older than me. We’ve been dating for just over a year now, and the beginning months I worked through a lot of insecurities I had developed from my ex. This current man allowed me to just be, and be me. Never judgement, positive encouragement, a complete and better soul then the one I had left. He included me in the work that he does and made time for me as best he could while being a rapidly growing entrepreneur (which means time wasn’t always easy to get). I met a few family members and friends, and he began to meet some of mine as well. We both agreed we wanted a relationship to be something that happened naturally. Fearful of being hurt I decided to see another man at the same time, but eventually ended things with him because I’d liked what I had found in the entrepreneur more, and wanted to focus on real growth. Although there’s still so much to learn about each other, 10 months in we began to get closer, saw each other more often, and seemed to settle into that natural relationship we had talked about. Our foundation to me has always been patience and letting things be. He’s always seemed genuine and only wants to make me happy. Then suddenly he disappeared for three weeks from everyone in his life, not just me. Since returning he had been him, but not himself and had he tried time and time again to have a conversation about what was on his mind and where he was at. Finally he admitted that just before around the time we started to get closer, he had had sex with a girl he wasn’t interested in long term, and his disappearance was because he found she was pregnant and then had a miscarriage. That he’d realized he wasn’t sure what he wanted and went in and out of phases of being ready for a relationship. That he knows he’s prioritized growing his business over anything, a business I’ve supported. He wants to be there for me in ways that he knows he can commit to, doesn’t want to disappoint me, and has avoided going further and further physically because he didn’t want to do things that would lead me to places he wasn’t sure he was ready to be yet. Lol talk about timing. I can respect that he isn’t ready, I never asked him to be, but now I’m faced with what I want to do. I’m fearful of giving patience and continuing to date as we had been, only to waste time and have him suddenly want to commit to someone else, but he’s always tried to give me honesty, which is what I liked about him. Given the recent experience he just had, he’s reevaluating his life. I asked why bother tell me any of this and what he thought I would do, he said ‘just kinda accept wherever things went’, and though he realized I might decide I didn’t wanna date him or wait, he didn’t fully realize losing me as a friend also, could be one of them. He comes from a party lifestyle, and I’m more the experience you look for after you’re done with that life, something I can see he’s yearned for. There is a good portion of me who wants to give him the patience that I would want from someone else, but I’m fearful of the disappointment. I’ve never tried to have a true connection with anyone like I have with him and I respect the ways he’s tried to protect me. I’ve told him I need time to process everything in it’s entirety. I’m really not sure what to do.

    Like

    • Dear Dorothy,

      You sound like a very stable woman who deserves the same stability in a man. I honestly do not get the feeling that his venturing off with another woman was protecting you at all – he was being surreptitious and sneaking behind your back. If he did it once, he’ll do it again.

      My honest guidance to you is to run in the other direction so you are open to meeting a man with a LOYAL AND FAITHFUL track record. One who is wanting the same type of relationship that you are and would NEVER even think of doing what the other man did to you.

      Move forward Dear One and you will be far better off!

      Sending you much love,
      Barbara

      Like

  12. I’m 33 divorced single mom of 6 young kids. The dad is not in the picture at all. I met a man online in November. At first we were both in it for the distraction from life (he is in his 50s and very very recently widowed after a long illness) it very soon became apparent that we have a crazy connection. We wear the same color outfits on over 75% of our dates. After Christmas (which I knew was hard anyway because it being the first holiday season without his wife) he told me that he couldn’t do the kid thing again (he has grown children) we have met and talked twice about continuing as companions both revealing that our connection is marriage material if the kids weren’t in the picture. I know he needs time to mourn his lose and figure out what he wants from life. He needs to date other women and see it’s not so easy (or fun) out there. My problem is so I stay as a companion/friend or do I cut him loose give him some space (3-6 months) to experience the world and then contact him again. I’m not sure I could distance myself as a friend to not fall in love and yet the thought of not being with him torments my soul. Suggestions?

    Like

    • Dear Sara C,

      As he is very recently widowed he truly needs a woman who can really be there as his friend. He has a long adjustment process ahead of him, so be there for him if you truly love him. That is the foundation of a great relationship. He needs understanding more than anything else. Go with the flow and see where it naturally leads without trying to push the river in any direction.

      Sending you lots of love,
      Barbara

      Like

  13. there is one guy that I love, and he showed me that he loves me he is serious, havingg job an he wants to marry now. I go to faculty and I am on third year now. my plan is to sign p for master degree but he wants to marry with me on my first year of master. I am not ready, becaosu I would work, go to school and be houswife(that us his plan) but I am not ready to promise that I wolud be ready for that becosue he cant pay me my school, and my family is agaisnt him so my family in that case wont either. we are in relationshio for almost 3 years, but sometimes he is too jelous, and wants to now every move I make. we speak a lot on phone, but I am closed with my problem, becouse it cant hurt him, he is too sensitive. he is good guy, and he tells me that really commited women wants to do things with boyfriend not friends. I am going out with him but he wants more of me and all time speaks about that, and how he is going to leave me if I dont accept mariage proposal. what to do? please help me.

    Like

    • Dear pepepljuga,

      He sounds like a control freak who demands HIS WAY or no way. I highly suggest you leave him and be open to meeting someone who will treat you as their equal. You are under NO OBLIGATION to accept a marriage proposal – especially since it is presented more like a threat. GO AWAY FROM HIM. That is the best guidance I can give you.

      Sincerely,
      Barbara

      Like

  14. Hi Doctor, I’m 24, I just found this reading while googling for some advices and I’m somewhat in this situation.

    Early last year I met a girl and we really connected with eachother, I fell for her, but at the time she was already dating someone else, so we just became friends. A lot of stuff happened along the way and we became really REALLy close (still nothing sexual), I guess the term “best friends” was a little short on this thing we had, and I always felt she had feelings for me but the time was not right.
    Last November she broke up with her boyfriend, we met that day, kissed and spent the day together. But after a week of avoiding me, she said I meant a lot to her, but wanted to stay single for a while. Of course this destroyed me and I was angry for a couple of days but I understood in the end.
    I was somewhat fine with this if it wasn’t for the fact that this happened again. We met after a long trip I made, watched a movie and cudled, in the heat of the moment we kissed again and more. And again she avoided me for a week only to have the same talk.

    I know I mean a lot to her (and she means a lot to me) and she wants me close to her, but she also wants to live her single life. And was somewhat ok with this but our feelings get too strong sometimes and we end up hurting eachother, with her pushing me away after anything more-than-friends happens, and me pushing her away after she we discuss the topic.
    What’s the right path here?

    Like

    • Dear Matt,

      I feel sorry for you that you had to endure this utter nonsense from this girl. She’s playing games with your HEART and that hurts!
      I highly guide you to open your heart and mind to allow yourself to meet another woman who is capable of intimacy, honesty, and can handle a close loving relationship. This girl definitely cannot. You sound like a great guy so I’m positive there is a lovely lady out there that will match up with you perfectly. Like does attract like, and the others are to learn lessons from. It’s awesome that you can be close – keep being that way!

      Wishing you the best,
      Barbara

      Like

  15. Hi Doctor,
    So here is my situation. I am 29 years old. I do competitive dancing and I met this guy almost 2 years ago. He would try to seduce me and get close to me and was very obvious about his interest in me… but I had a boyfriend so I didn’t have much interest in him back then.
    Several months later, my relationship ended and he asked me to be his dance partner. We started dancing, competing, and spending lots of time together. Although, I felt he got emotionally distant as soon as I broke up with my boyfriend, he still told me he liked me and we started dating.
    After 8 or 9 months I could see we weren’t getting anywhere and he would always tell me he is not ready to commit yet, when I was starting to develop deep feelings for him.
    His hesitation to commit to me really hurt me, so we stopped talking. 2 weeks later, he came back and told me he wanted to try being in a relationship with me because he missed me too much. It only lasted 1 month and he went back to being emotionally distant, to finally tell me he was still confused and couldn’t be in a commited relationship right now.
    He is almost 39, and has NEVER been in a commited relationship in his life. He also has a lot of trouble expressing his feelings verbally. He wanted to be friends and continue dancing with me, but I couldn’t do it and asked him to disappear from my life.
    It’s been several weeks now and I’m still confused and hurt. I am wondering if I should’ve been more patient ? Was I wrong for wanting a committed relationship ? At the same time, I was hurting a lot from his lack of closeness and intimacy. So I don’t even know why I am hurting so much when I know this relationship wasn’t fulfilling my needs ! Help.
    Luna

    Like

    • Dear Luna,

      Please read the book Stop Being the String Along and run in the opposite direction while you leave skid marks from this man.

      NO you are NOT WRONG AT ALL for wanting a committed relationship. Once you get this guy out of your life – you’ll be surprised at how you start to shine. Truly get rid of him completely. I couldn’t be more honest with you. I know you will begin to soar!

      With much love,
      Barbara

      Like

  16. Dr Rose,

    I have been in a relationship with an amazing woman for closing in on 3 years. We are both a couple years removed from divorces and while we love each other so very much we have had a lot of ups and downs on our journey. By no means am I ready for marriage, but I do wish to progress our relationship beyond dating and work towards my family and her family enjoying fun times together. Yes, I do want a long-term commitment such as marriage and I know she does too, but she has much more hesitation since she came from a very controlling marriage where she was put thru a tremendous amount of emotional trauma.

    I do realize I can get “needy” at times and have been pushy on her times and I know this causes issues for her, but it feels that I am driven by her hot and cold spells that leave me confused. At times all she can talk about is how much she needs/wants me and talks about our future and at times she goes very cold and distant, so I feel like I am on unstable ground. I realize that sometimes my actions of “neediness” probably cause a reaction in her, so I think we are both doing things her that cause us fits.

    We are still together albeit, it is tenuous and a bit distant, so I am not sure how to push forward with this. I love her more than anything and I know she feels much love and caring for me, she is just scared and unsure and does not trust her feelings right now. I know when she has time to think she gets better, but I am trying to figure out how to handle her big ups and downs so we can work towards a more meaningful and long-term relationship.

    Like

    • Dear Bruce,

      For a moment or two I thought you were my husband describing me, so I’ll give you the honest truth. While she (and I) came from a controlling, abusive background – that distance and closing off is really a silent cry to want to be loved and understood. She needs to learn, just as I have learned that that sort of behavior is NOT healthy, and she needs to honestly and sincerely communicate her feelings to you in the now moment when she is having them, as her avoidance of you is getting you both nowhere.

      It’s genuinely a growth process, and if you truly love her, you will help her evolve by honest sharing. The feeling I get is that the two of you can have an awesome life together. Integrating your children in a “blended family” slowly is a wonderful move. Keep things as open and loving as possible while you KINDLY point out her behavior when she exhibits it. She does not yet know better, but once she does – she will do better, and then you both will grow closer and have a much healthier/more transparent relationship.

      Stick with it and you will grow well together.

      Sincerely,
      Barbara

      Like

  17. Hi Barbara!

    I was looking for some advice on my relationship. My boyfriend and I have been together for 6 years. We are both 23. We have a healthy relationship, but lately I have been thinking of our future. I feel like I crave more of a commitment from him. Are we too young? He tells me that he wants to have a future with me, but he isn’t ready to settle down yet. He says he wants to spend more time being “young” before settling down. Am I wrong for wanting him to move in with me right now? We aren’t financially stable enough to live together at the moment, so realistically it wouldn’t work. But I can’t shake the feeling of wanting more commitment right now. It happened randomly.

    Thank you,
    Katie

    Like

    • Dear Katie,

      Even Kate Middleton had to wait until Prince William was 28 before he would get married. Stay together and move in together when you are able to. Just make sure you are both on the same page as far as being in an exclusive relationship and NOT dating other people.

      The MYTH that “marriage” is some kind of cure-all, the final victory, must be transformed so you learn that you will both share a lifetime GROWING together if you choose to stay together. Take your focus OFF the “marriage commitment” and instead place it on plunging into your life purpose while you remain close to him at the same time. Nurture what you have and most of all nurture yourself. That will fill the void you feel.

      Sending you all my best,
      Barbara

      Like

  18. Hey doctor i’m 28 and i’ve been with this guy for 3 years now. I asked him in the past summer when re we get engaged and he answered this winter and he talked to my dad abt it…now it’s winter here and he tells me that he’s not ready yet to commit or to settle down…that he doesnt see himself ready for marriage and responsibilities…we have a great relationship we get along really good we have the same intrest we respect eachother space and opinions and we love each other and now i feel like need space from him…i just dont know?i dont want to give up on him but i m scared that he will never be ready for it.

    Like

    • Hi Liza,

      You’re only 28 years young! Instead of worrying about him marrying you, love and enjoy your relationship with him. Bring out the best in him, be his best friend, be his girlfriend, build trust. It’s okay to have personal space, just do your own thing, yet be faithful to him if you truly love him. Sometimes people need years to “be ready” to make a marital commitment. Love and enjoy your relationship and you never know “when” he will pop the question. After marriage, you STILL need to nourish the relationship and continue to make it stronger. Grow together, and love the process!

      Sincerely,
      Barbara

      Like

    • Dear Liza,

      If he’s not committed to you what are you doing with him? Three years is a long time. Commitment means seeing ONLY YOU – not playing the field.
      From what you said it sounds like he’s giving you a String Along relationship.

      On the other hand if he IS dating ONLY YOU, if he is your best friend, and giving you the loyalty of a true relationship then there is nothing wrong with putting formal marriage off for a later date. After 3 years and he’s not ready to get engaged, you can move forward with your life with a smile. You have to access the bond that you do or do not have with him. He may view marriage as in starting a family and may not be ready for that yet.

      You honestly have to go with what your gut is telling you, and especially what he is showing you! His actions show his intentions. Take a close look at that and there you will find the truth.

      Sending you much love,
      Barbara

      Like

  19. So, I have known a guy long distance for almost an year now and the sparks and chemistry was instant. But here is the thing, we met online through an Indian dating site. I am in Canada, he is in the US.
    Things went well for a few weeks and after that he wrote me an email saying, that I was great and everything he looked for in a companion but he has had a trail of heartbroken relationships and is not ready to open up to someone as yet. When I asked him then why did you iniate things, he said because he found me interesting.
    So we stopped talking to one another in that respect but have been in touch on and off. In the meantime I did try dating someone which didn’t go well and the man just walked away from my life.
    I am going to be 31 in the next few months and obvioulsy feel time is ticking but at the same time, I know I will not settle for someone because of that. Coming from my background, it is very uncommon for women to remain single in their late 20s or early 30s. Despite this, due to how strong and stubborn I am about the connection I
    want with a man, I eventally settle with, I have been able to break this societal barrier and go on by my life.
    Now, I am back to speaking with this man, we talk a lot and I am going bonkers, because he has opened up his entire life to me and so have I, but I sense he is doing this just at the level of friendship. He really admires and appreciates the person I am though.
    Now my issue is I havent met this guy, haven’t spoekn to him on the phone and this is the 21st century! Am I being utterly stupid getting carried away by him? I have thought about flying to US to go and meet him but what if he says “No” again?
    I have had my own history of heartbreaks and I don’t know if I cannot take another one. Allthough in the hindsight, I have gotten extremely emotonally strong especially after my move to canada. I have talked and maybe gone on dates with lot of men, but I have never till date felt like I have “met” the one. You know there some rare women who are perpetualy single? That is me!🙂
    I think I am smart, funny and pretty and I do get good attention from men. But I have has only 2-3 guys I made a real connection with where it went on for a couple of months, but the eventually bailed out, getting jittery pr confused.
    Now this guy( US guy) is everything I want! I have never ever felt this way about anyone else in my life. He is in school finishing his last year of PhD and I am going to be 31. I know I really like him and see my future with him, but he needs reassurance I think for him to feel that way about me given his failed relationships.
    What should I do? We only have chatted and I have heard some of his recordings. But other than that there is no other means of communication!
    Am I living in a bubble wrt this man? Cuz frnakly it has been an year and nothing had changed about the way I feel about him. We talk a lot and I do tell him at time I like him which he already knows, but he seems to conveniently ignore it. I really don’t know what to do. It’s killing me!

    Any comments/advice?

    Like

    • Dear FreeSpri,

      Honestly I guide you to view him as a nice friend to chat on line with and nothing more. If after a solid year he has not asked to meet you he is clearly not interested in a romantic relationship. I can share this because I met my husband on line and after a few weeks he invited me to come and spend some time with him in person. I did, a month later we git engaged, and the next year got married.

      Please stop beating yourself up about your age. You are YOUNG! It’s the quality of the person that matters and how they interact with you. You want the RIGHT ONE not just anyone who may want to commit to you. Keep your heart and mind open to meeting a new man who can DELIVER IN ACTIONS all you desire and deserve.

      I send you much love,
      Barbara

      Like

    • Whoa girl you need to slow it down. You’ve never even talked to the guy on the phone. You write that you feel your clock ticking, but you’re not going to let that make you settle—and yet this is driving you to want to grasp on to this connection that you think you have with this person that you have never met. Beware the pictures you paint in your head, the romantic fantasies that you are creating in there about someone that you think you know. None of that is real. Unless you live somewhere with an extremely small dating / mating pool, focus on the people around you and meet people in person instead of through the interwebs. And if you DO need to meet people online, try to keep them within driving distance! Like 30 minutes or less! I say, focus on the things that you love, that inspire you, that fill your heart and soul with joy and contentment and love will find you. Worked for me!😉

      Good luck!

      Like

  20. Hello Dr. Rose, wondering if you could provide some guidance here? I’ve been engaging with someone on the other side of the continent. We connected immediately and met up twice. Ever since then, this person has expressed that I’m amazing, etc. but the distance is difficult to assimilate. I’ve offered to relocate, but this person can’t hear that this is even possible.. then expressed that they are feeling scared because they want to be sure. This person has been emotionally distancing from me over the past few weeks (because of the physical distance) and hasn’t moved forward with making plans to see me again despite my persistent efforts. I’m not ready to move on.. like I could see myself spending the rest of my life this person. They wrote an email finally opening up to me, again reiterating that the distance is too much, yet they recognize that I’m a gem. I responded by ending it yesterday. And now I’m devastated. Would it have been better if I had just remained opened and gotten agreement about things continuing or ending? I would have liked to get a response from this person either giving me closure or saying hey, let’s be friends.. but there hasn’t been any response. Should I reach out?

    Like

    • Dear Lisa,

      You definitely did the right thing with ending it. As you shared he was not open to your relocating and by staying in the relationship you would just be stringing yourself along, and THAT HURTS! I applaud your honesty and courage. There really is no need to keep contact, as you feel far too much than “just friends” so moving on completely is the greatest thing you did. Open your mind and heart for someone new to enter your life. Get really clear on the kind of person (including location) that would be ideal for you. Then just leave it up to the universe for him to enter, and as time goes on, when you least expect it – that is what will happen. It happened for me and I am VERY happily married now – so I am positive it can happen for you, too. Hang in there, give yourself a LOT of love, get super involved in your life purpose, laugh, LIVE, and love the people who love you.

      Sending you lots of love,
      Barbara

      Like

  21. This has me wondering. I’m 20 and My 21 year old boyfriend and I got together after a rough time in my previous relationship. It actually started sexually but then we realised we wanted something more and through the relationship he brought up once maybe twice that he wasn’t ready to settle down, but we had decided to work through it. After 11 months he came out and said that he really thinks that we should just work on being best friends because of how much we love each other and that he does not want me out of his life.

    This however was they guy i was thinking about spending the rest of my life with so I was pretty heart-broken. We keep ending up getting intimate with each other when we do spend time together and we are very much in love, but he does not think he is ready for the commitment of a relationship.

    I’m really not sure what to do because the idea of no longer having him is really taking a toll on me.

    Like

    • Dear Ashley Smith St Clair,

      I honestly would guide you to move forward if it is hurting you too much to be “just friends” when your heart gets broken on a repeated basis. It’s great to be friends if it’s not hurting you, but the fact that it is, is so important to acknowledge and open your heart to allow another to enter who IS on the same page with you with respect to a fully committed relationship, after it blossoms as a best friendship FIRST.

      I send you lots of love and just as a suggestion, you might want to read the book Stop Being the String Along: A Relationship Guide to Being THE ONE as what you are sharing and the honest solutions are all over the pages. It’s a real eye-opener!

      With much care,
      Barbara

      Like

  22. Hi Sherry
    I am in a relationship with a very handsome and loving guy but he is so quick to marry me, he has been pressuring me much and am just not ready. He is the guy everyone would wish for in terms of being there for me through it all. I am however not sexually attracted to him either. I am sure it would grow if he decided to wait but his character is just putting me off, he has no patience and I wont settle to please because marriage shouldn’t be for gambling. Its so frustrating, the one who is most promising is the one I do not connect with and he doesn’t understand me. Is it possible to at least get sexual attraction towards him someday and how will I ever achieve that because any intimacy with him feels like assault.

    Cathy

    Like

  23. Hi Barbara, I’m kind of confused. I’m dating a man who is committed to me, and is planning to marry me next year. But there are some intimacy issues. He hates kissing and sex has become very rare due to the overtime he has been working. He is divorced and in addition to that has a child with another person. He has told me he isn’t ready for another child right now and i can respect that because neither am I. He is my best friend though and i do have a good time with him. But i’m scared. What if it stays like this for the rest of my life and i regret marrying him.? We have talked about it and he assures me it won’t, but do i just be his friend and let things play out? or do i break it off and find someone completely new?

    Like

    • Hi Natalia,

      I sincerely guide you to move on and keep your heart open for a new man to enter your life who does not have addictions and where you can be intimate and truly love being together. When someone promises to make changes and they do not, that is your red flag showing that the issues will NOT change. It’s best to marry someone that you do not want to change. I have found this and am very happy. I’m sure you will, too.

      Wishing you all my best,
      Barbara

      Like

  24. Hi Barbara,

    This post really resonated with me. I am in the middle of figuring out a tough situation in love. My thoughts are below; words of encouragement, wisdom, and direction are encouraged. Thank you.

    My girlfriend of five months recently told me she cannot be in a relationship right now. (I am 28, she is 24) There has been nothing wrong with our relationship, in a traditional sense, perhaps timing is the only variable that doesn’t quite fit. She has told me that before meeting me she had really wanted to find herself and be on her own for a time, to figure out what she wants out of life, and be a person that she is comfortable with. Our relationship progressed very quickly, yet all of a sudden we came to a halting point that she still had to face these things before she could proceed.

    My first reaction was one of pain and distrust, why can’t you find yourself and grow with the person you care for? My brain and sensible side tells me that no one has their life completely figured out, there are difficult decisions that each one of us face everyday. Why not try and face these things together? As two people trying to attack what they want out of life? Sensible brain right?

    My second reaction, and the one I now solely subscribe to; she needs this personal growth for herself. She needs to be comfortable with who she is before she can be fully comfortable with me, or anyone else for that matter. I would not want to pry this opportunity from her, just as I cannot force her to care for me or be with me if she is not in a place to do it. As well as I want to be with someone that is complete and whole on their own, I cannot fill that void in their being. Thus, as hard as it is to swallow, I realize this transition is for the best. Tear.

    We have spoken since the break up, and I have told her that, while not easy, I can understand these feelings and would never want to force her to be with me in a committed relationship if she does not feel she can do so. I believe we both may want a shot at relationship someday, but she does not want that shot now. She is struggling to decide if she should pursue graduate school, or if she should keep fighting in the ever competitive career world. To compound that, relocation may be the best thing for her. Point being, right now she is not happy in her career, and some kind of change is necessary. I feel somewhat more established where I am at career wise, but have realized there are things I still want to pursue, and those things will take my time and energy.

    I have told her that I do want a shot at us, when and if she is ready, and that because I care for her I can be there for her in whatever capacity that may be right now. I don’t quite know what that other capacity is, but I am willing to explore whatever is amicably comfortable. True friends, lovers, a dance partner…maybe one or all of the above? My feeling is i wouldn’t ever want to be with someone if we couldn’t both feel secure enough to give each other space and be independent, if that means no labels, then, no labels. We have great friendship, trust, attraction, and a great sex life (maybe the best I’ve ever had…and I fooled around for quite some time in my earlier years) She is taking some time to think if she can do this, as I am traveling out of the country for 3 weeks, and we both figured that we can revisit how we both feel about this on my return. My head tells me that I am putting myself at a deeper risk of being hurt somewhere down the line, but I am letting my heart do what I think is right.

    I have been through heartbreak, and the ups and downs of a relationship. I have had long relationships, (3 years) and short relationships (weeks). I feel much differently about the course of them and what makes a relationship whole and strong now, then I did when I was much younger. You are taught that true love conquers all, and if someone wants to be with you, they will throw everything else out the window and make it work. My heart, and experience, tells me that relationships, nor the world, are black and white like this. They take effort, and understanding, if you really love/care for someone you can be there with them through whatever it is they need. You definitely don’t tell someone to throw away their dreams to be with you.

    This woman challenges me, is beautiful, kind, and above all else genuine. Furthermore she is able to make this very difficult decision about herself, that while super hard on both of us, is the mature and strong thing to do for her independent self. It is both the reason I care for her, and the reason I am in pain. While I am not at the point to settle down, at this point, she does present herself as someone that my gut says is worth finding out more about. Only time will tell😉

    I don’t even really know what I am asking from here. I am putting my emotions, thoughts, and feelings out into the world. Looking back on it, and reading it, it feels like the right thing:)

    Like

    • Dear Sean,

      I read all you wrote and with full honesty, I must quote what you wrote as the healthiest solution to your situation.

      My second reaction, and the one I now solely subscribe to; she needs this personal growth for herself. She needs to be comfortable with who she is before she can be fully comfortable with me, or anyone else for that matter. I would not want to pry this opportunity from her, just as I cannot force her to care for me or be with me if she is not in a place to do it. As well as I want to be with someone that is complete and whole on their own, I cannot fill that void in their being. Thus, as hard as it is to swallow, I realize this transition is for the best.

      I couldn’t have put it better myself. Be her friend if you can, if it doesn’t hurt you! If it does hurt too much to be friends, then wish her the best from your heart while you view her with loving compassion. She is very young! The right woman, either her or another, will enter your life when you least expect it. Be with someone who knows who they are, what they are all about, and is passionate about her own life.

      I truly send you my best and I’m sure once you plunge all of your focus onto your own life purpose, it will get easier and easier for you.

      Sincerely,
      Barbara

      Like

  25. Hi Barbara,

    I’m 23 and have been with a girl who is slightly older than myself for just over a year but she decided to end it the other day as she is looking to settle down, move in with each other etc. and I can’t decided if I am ready for all of this as it scares me, particularly to think I’ll never sleep with another girl etc.

    I am confident if I can show to her that I am ready to settle down then she’ll have me back but I’m so scared to make a wrong decision either way. How do I know if I’m ready to settle down with her and accept never being with anyone else? Some parts really excite me and other as I say scare me. We get on so well together and I really do care about her so it hurts that we’ve ended over something like this.

    Any help would be brilliant as I’m so confused and don’t know what to do. Many thanks.

    Like

    • Dear Nathan,

      The best thing you can do is be completely honest with yourself and with her. If you’re not ready to settle down, staying with her will only string her along and cause unnecessary pain. You will know when you are ready, it will just feel perfect in all ways.

      Sending you my best,
      Barbara

      Like

  26. Hi Barbara,

    I’m a 27 year old male in medical school at the moment. Very tall, used to be a basketball player, get a lot of attention from girls, but have currently been dating a very down to earth friendly type of girl for the last 4 months. She is also 27 years old, we have great chemistry, get along easily and genuinely enjoy each others company I feel.
    Awhile ago she had asked me if we should continue seeing each other and I let her know that we should. Months went by and we got more intense and became intimate. She is very physically attracted to me. However after things had intensified, now I feel she’s pushed away slightly. She’s very busy working as a nurse and has been through relationships most of her life including a 5 year relationship. I noticed a change in her behavior and it started to make me think about what was going on. She’s still affectionate around me and we still have a wonderful time in each other’s company, but the difference now is that I feel like I’m the one putting forth the effort to see her and meet up with her.
    Just recently I asked her if we should continue seeing each other because I really liked her but wasn’t sure if she liked me. I wanted to be exclusive and she said she was not ready to jump into anything too serious. She said she thinks I’m fantastic, loves spending time with me and thinks we should continue getting to know each other. All her life she’s been couped up in relationships and feels she needs some time to herself to explore her life. She said she’s not actively pursing anyone else but doesn’t want to say she’d be exclusive to me because that would put her back into a relationship. She also said she is not cold and would not try to lead me on, but she just does not want a commitment at this time. When she asked me if I had a problem with that I told her that I still wasn’t interested in seeing anyone else. She said we should continue to get to know each other and go from there.
    To me, I perceived this as she still is legitimately trying to get to know me and doesn’t want to jump too fast into a situation which could potentially be bad. Especially since she’s been in long term relationships before and they eventually didn’t work out. Yet the reason I have some doubt about this is that I feel like I’m the one putting forth more effort to continue getting to know each other. My intentions are to remain friendly with her and have a good time. But it’s very difficult for me to pull this off because in the back of my mind I feel like she’s just keeping me around as a placeholder for either someone else, or maybe she’s not over her ex boyfriend whom she knew for 5 years. She broke up with him two years ago and has been dating guys since. However I feel like all of those guys have found themselves in a similar situation that I’m in with her now. For instance, she dated a guy for 3 months prior to me and he said he wasn’t cool with her still being friends with her ex boyfriend.
    Are these worries I have reasonable? Or am I being insecure? We’ve already had a talk and I feel like I need to talk to her again. But I’m afraid to do that because it may look like I’m still trying to push things when I shouldn’t be. Especially when I’ve already said I’d respect her space and see how things play out.

    Greg

    Like

    • Dear Greg,

      I would guide you to continue to be her FRIEND and keep your options open if another woman crosses your path that you may be more compatible with where things just fall into place and you don’t feel like you are “on hold” in any way. From what you wrote it feels like she is string you along in the romantic department, hence her desire to be friends. So be her friend, and keep your heart, mind, and eyes open for someone who wants the same kind of relationship that you want. Be honest at all times!

      Sending you my best,
      Barbara

      Like

      • Thanks Barbara. That’s the most sound advice to give. She broke things off with me at the beginning of the month, saying she got uncomfortable with me because she felt like I was walking on eggshells around her. I feel like I was driven to that a little by her. Just recently reached out to her and we reconciled a little. She seems like she wants to get back to being in a relationship but at the same time does not seem fully committed. I went through so much hurt with the separation. Following your advice is the right thing to do, but can be hard when you get emotional. I’ve never dealt with a girl that brings me in just to keep me at a certain distance. Thank you for listening to me.

        Like

  27. Hey babara i came across your website and its really inspiring! i am 30years old and my boyfriend is 34 years old yes he has a kid though she doesnt live with him in same country but i understand that he has to have a relationship with his baby moma, but my problem is hes not ready to commit, he always says that to me everytime and he keeps reminding that we are in relationship not marriage. i feel so embarrassed because he sounds like i am desperate, he says being married you cant do all the stuffs you can do when you are single, he wont hear of it and this hurts me because we are both faithful to each other and we are always together and admired together as a couple but i dont know why he says this……. Could it be that he doesnt see me as the perfect one for him or am i just not good enough for him? do i stay or just move on because he gets uncomfortable at the mention of marriage. i asked him when he told me he loves me Why he wont commit if truly he loves me and he said MARRIAGE IS JUST NOT FOR ME I HAVE ALWAYS TOLD YOU FROM THE FIRST DAY WE STARTED DATING. advice please and would like to talk to you privately via email if you dont mind?

    Like

    • Dear Nikki,

      I’m so sorry to heart the pain you are going through. I have been there, too and I know how much it hurts.

      In short, totally MOVE ON and allow this man to be in your past. You ARE GOOD ENOUGH, and really deserve to have the kind of relationship you desire where your partner wants the same type of relationship as you do!

      I HIGHLY advise you to read the book Stop Being the String Along: A Relationship Guide to Being THE ONE.
      You can download it wholesale on my website book page or get it from any bookseller. The reason I am sharing this with you is because of the identical pain I went through and how much this book helped me and so many others.

      I am currently engaged to a man who can’t wait to marry me, and he treats me better than I have ever been treated before in my life. I know if this is possible for me after a lifetime of pain, it is also possible for YOU! Hang in there, place all of your focus on your life purpose and TRUST that as you believe you DESERVE ONLY THE BEST that is exactly the type of person you will attract into your life.

      I send you lots of love!
      Barbara
      For more interaction you can always reach me here: https://plus.google.com/+BarbaraSherryRose/posts

      Like

  28. Hi Barbara, your article is really great and makes sense the most to me right now
    My boyfriend of 1 1/2 year just broke up with me 2 weeks ago. Things were really normal before the break up so this is an out-of-the-blue break up and I’m still shocked. He told me he’s not ready to settle down and doesn’t she himself as getting married and having kids, he wanna be single and wanna do so many things.
    Before this happened, I went back to my country for my sister’s wedding, I was happy about the wedding that I kept talking about it whenever I’m with him or his family, I even told them I catched the bouquet from the bride. But for me all this is just for fun, I don’t ask him to marry me, at least at this stage, but I think my actions made him confused and thought I wanna get married now.
    Also at the same time, he was in his 2 months trip to Asia, I got upset with him sometime (because I miss him!) but I tried to be the best understanding girlfriend.
    When he came back from his trip, things were ok until I brought up the topic that I didn’t think he’s giving me enough attention. But I also told him I didn’t want to make this issue serious and only want to improve our relationship. Then 2 days later we met up for coffee and he said all this to me (as above) and I asked him if he had ever been really opened up to me, and he admitted that he wasn’t, he once said he felt vulnerable if he let someone to know what’s he feeling. I also said that he didn’t really put effort into fixing this relationship.
    I haven’t talked to him since then but I really miss him and he’s the right one for me.
    After thinking and thinking, I came to an answer that there is a misunderstanding between us. It was that I was so happy about my sister’s wedding and it made him thought that I want to get married now while he’s not ready. From deep down my heart, I didn’t mean that at all, I don’t want to get married now either, we’re still young, I’m 21 and he’s 24, I still have lots of things to do, but I’m confortable at both living my life and be with him (I know I can find a way to make it work). I’m happy with what we were doing: being together at a couple and having really good moments together, I’m not ready for long term plan too! (But he thinks I’m ready).
    His mom and sister said that he looks like he already made up his mind about the break up and he looks ok (he always looks ok because he doesn’t show his emotion to people), but I feel really bad if I don’t tell him that there’s a misunderstanding between us! I’m willing to work this issue out, but I don’t know about him, he’s so hard to read!
    Can you give me an advice? Should I talk to him about what I think? And how to get closer to him and know if he’s willing to work this issue as well?
    I’m happy with the idea of staying as a couple for few years until we’re ready for a commitment. But I just don’t know if he wants to.
    His family said I mean alot to him, when we broke up he also said he still cares about me and even called to check if I get home safe. This is so confusing!

    Like

    • Dear Lovehurts,

      Take your time, as you are both so young. Above all follow your gut instincts. Get absorbed in your life purpose – to shine and be centered in joy. Keep your heart open to the idea that you may meet another man who is much more clear about where he stands which will make things much more clear for you. Have you read the book Stop Being the String Along? I highly suggest it as that book is actually based on a soul mate relationship. There are many free excerpts here on this site from that book for you to read. Hang in there and above all follow what is true for YOU – ALWAYS!
      Sending you lots of love,
      Barbara

      Like

  29. Hi, my name is Austin and me and my girlfriend have been living together for 2 years now. I know I’m not ready to settle down but at the same time I feel that I could never let her go because she fits me so well. She is perfect for me in every way but sometimes I feel like we are in two different parts in our lives. She is 21 almost done with college and I’m 19. I still like to go out with my friends on the weekends when she just wants to stay in. My parents live on the other side of the country but I would have places to go if we did break up. I just don’t know if she would be willing to stay friends if I told her I’m not ready. And if she wasn’t I don’t know if I could let her go. Should I stop putting it off and tell her? Or just see were it goes?

    Like

    • Dear Austin,

      You said it perfectly when you wrote:

      I feel that I could never let her go because she fits me so well.

      You are both really young. You CAN remain a couple and give it a few more years before you get married. It’s SO RARE to find someone who fits you so well. Trust me on this one! You can have a heart-to-heart honest, genuine and transparent talk with her about how you like to go out and come to a mutually agreeable solution that you are BOTH happy with. Perhaps one night stay in together, and the other night ask her to join you when you go out with your friends.

      I truly wish you the best, stay true to your HEART and you will always make the best choices!

      Sincerely,
      Barbara

      Like

  30. I just broke up with my girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. I am 33 and she is 29. Everything was great in the begining with us but then 6 months in to the relationship things changed. Long story short, I felt like i cared way more than she did and she cared more about hanging out with friends, etc. Today we had a conversation and she finally admitted that she is not ready to settle down like I am. She said she hasn’t gotten everything out of her system and is not ready. This hurts be because she really convienced me that this is what she wanted and pursued me for that matter to now tell me that she isn’t ready. She has issues within herself that she told me she didn’t realize was an issue until she met me. We had our closure conversation today, and I feel that I should leave her completely alone. However, i can not lie and say i am still not in love with her. But i know i need to let her go for my own sanity and to protect myself. I read your article, which is great by the way, and I guess I would like to know if I should still try to pursue a friendship with her? I know I can not right now because this is still new and all I do is get disappointed by her and continue to hurt myself in the process. I am just really hurt right now. I have mixed emotions. I feel betrayed…i feel like i was strung along and now to have my heart broken like this, it just really hurts and i do not know what to do. she is really a great person. we just did not see eye to eye on relationship issues and i now know why. any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated. thank you.

    Like

    • Dear SP,

      So sorry for the delay in replying to you. The best advice I can give you is to move on with your life completely and view her with loving compassion so you no longer feel bitter. At least she told you the truth, and was good enough to be completely honest with you. I know all too well how it hurts, and I also know that you will adjust as you focus on your own life purpose. You’re still really young and I know if you open your heart to meet a new BEST FRIEND your friendship can blossom into a life long true love and marriage.

      I share this with you because this is exactly what I did and have never been happier! I truly wish you the same, you really deserve it!

      Sincerely,
      Barbara

      Like

  31. I was just praying and asking the spirit, do I leave or stay because he is not ready for a committed relationship. It’s not easy though, he says he only sleeps with me, but he has many female friends that have feelings for him. He said he feels broken after his wife left and doesn’t know if he can love again, but has very strong feelings for me, that I have cracked the block a little, but feels if he forces it, I will end up hurt. Of course I don’t want anything forced, we have a beautiful close friendship that I don’t want to loose. We help each other with our kids, (both single parents) and even started working together. But we get very close, then he pulls away, then comes back in, It’s been a yoyo lately, and very tiring on my emotions. Coming across your article I think is the answer to my prayer. I think giving him space to heal and continuing to be his best friend is the best loving action. I’m relieved I don’t need to leave.

    Like

    • Dear Tiffany,

      I read every word you wrote very carefully and I urge you to read the book Stop Being the String Along: A Relationship Guide to Being THE ONE.
      As you have such deep feelings for him, this close then not close, friends but really wanting a real relationship where you are both on the same page is not the reality, and I want to help prevent you from being hurt and wasting a lot of time. I share this with you because I was in nearly the identical situation. I can promise you that the guidance in String Along and the identical results women have shared with me from all over the world have saved them from years of “waiting in there” which is usually heart crushing.

      I send you lots of love and hope you will give it a read – it changed my life, healed my deepest pain for the identical reasons and I am positive it will do the same for you.

      Sending you much love,
      Barbara

      Like

  32. You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the finest websites online. I most certainly will recommend this website!

    Like

  33. usually i do not write on blogs, but i would like to say that this article really convinced me to do so! congratulations, very nice post. {…}

    Like

  34. Thanks for this, it was very interesting. I’ve been dating my boyfriend Adam for just over a year and a half now and he graduated last year and spent this year at university. Before dating him, I had been in a relationship for 2 years with this other guy. After dating this other guy (not Adam) for about year and half, my best girl friend committed suicide completely turning my world upside down. As a result, the relationship I had with that other guy completely fell apart, despite the extensive therapy I was in. At the time, Adam was my best guy friend. I denied feelings for him for a long time because I didn’t want to ruin the friendship but I was crazy in love with him and always have been. He brought me out of a major depression and when the school year came to an end, he had to prepare to leave to university. I don’t endorse long distance relationships, I usually hate them and think young people should just live it up. But I was crazy about him and couldn’t lose him, the thought alone killed me so we decided to stay together and do long distance. It was hard. We were both completely faithful, I visited him lots, I’m crazy about him, would do anything for him, all that crazy fairy tale crap etc. When he got home, I was thrilled and so excited to be with him again. But…I found out that he failed 5 of his courses. He went from straight A’s to straight F’s and I had no idea. I’m not really sure if he shut me out completely when he was at university, or if he really just didn’t do anything so there was nothing to tell me. He sat in his room for days once playing video games instead of going to class…I called him almost every morning at 8am to wake him up to tell him to go to English because I knew he was failing and he would just say YEP yep…and go back to sleep. He also slept in and missed a midterm worth 20 percent of his grade. He also hangs out in a group of about 12-17 girls, where he’s one of two guys and the other guy is gay…This is not the Adam I fell in love with. I know university changes things but he won student of the year for his academics when he graduated and now he’s failed 5 courses. I’m really worried about him but at the same time, he isn’t opening up to me about what’s going on in his life and I can’t force him to do that so I feel helpless. So he came home for a bit from university and then I find out that he’s super short money and so he has to go up to Alberta and leave me here (again) so that he can make money to re take the courses he failed…He’s in a hard faculty so I get that. But seriously, I feel so annoyed with him. I know it’s not really his fault, he has to have a job, and I can’t go to Alberta because my job is here. He had to go to university, I get that too. It’s just frustrating when he fails all of his courses and has to leave me to make enough money to re take them…Anyways so on top of that, lately I have been feeling like I have no idea who I am anymore and that ever since Celia (my best friend) took her life, I have no idea what I want from life or friendships or relationships or anything. I haven’t been single since almost 2 years before she died (so 4 years ago) and I feel like I maybe just need to adjust to life on my own a bit, figure out who I am as opposed to who I am when I’m in a relationship, discover what I like to do just me, not what I like to do with romance? If that makes sense. However, Adam is the love of my life, and I’m crazy about him. He is trying really hard at his job in alberta and he’ll be home in a month or so before possibly going out again. He is more committed to me than I’ve ever seen any man be to a woman and says he’ll prove to me that he’s better than he’s been the past year. He treats me amazingly…when he’s here. I just feel like if he’s not here, I should take the time to be single and figure my life out a bit? Do I sound crazy to you? I want to be with him but I also want to just enjoy being single and independant and adjust to all the changes that have happened in my life this past year. I haven’t flirted with a guy since I was 14, its been one relationship after another. I’m afraid that if I don’t experience other things for a while, I won’t appreciate the amazing connection and bond and friendship that we’ve nurtured as much as I should. And I want to spend the rest of my life with him. We’re best friends as well as lovers so it’s tricky. I can’t picture growing old with anyone but him or opening up to anyone like I have to him. I can’t lose him but I feel a little bit less committed than usual. Not as in I want to cheat on him, I just don’t feel like being super committed right now when I barely even know myself. I’m afraid that if I tell him I don’t feel one hundred percent committed or whatever, that he’ll think I’m just trying to let him down easy or that he’ll think I really don’t want to be with him. But I do, just not sure if I want it now? But on the other hand, if I ride things out a bit all of this could pass, maybe I’m just stressed out and over thinking, what do you think? Please ay advice would me much appreeciated.

    Like

  35. Isn’t this the opposite of what Rose tells us to do in the String Along book? Should I or shouldn’t I be understanding of the man that originally showed intimacy, then backed off….but still wanted to date. (date me exclusively) How long is too long to wait to see if they will get over their fear of a relationship?

    Like

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