It's an all too familiar pattern. Things are really good. There is connectivity, intimacy, affection and he/she is responsive to your emails/calls/texts. You feel like we are building momentum and that evolution is soon to come. And it's an evolution you’ve long waited for. You have put in so much effort, pouring your heart and soul into this connection.
And then things start to slow.
Things begin to feel disconnected again.
They take longer to respond to your texts/emails/calls. The affection begins to dwindle and they seem less intimate outside the bedroom. You begin to feel they are pulling away.
Pretty soon things slow to a near standstill and your pulse is racing. Your heart is aching. You want to know why this is happening. You want to understand. But when you bring it up to them they are dismissive.
“I'm just busy with work.”
“I'm just stressed out and have a lot on my mind.”
“Things are fine. I don’t know why you feel the way you do!”
If this resonates with you then the pattern of a back and forth lover, a non-committal partner, is one that you know all too well. You have been there or maybe you still are there. The struggle is very, very real.
But what can you do to change this debilitating pattern?
Dealing with a non-committal partner is a difficult pattern to break. Typically this is because by the time you realize you are in one there are patterns that are pretty entrenched in this connection. The emotional roller-coaster of a back and forth relationship can leave you feeling emotionally depleted and at your wits end. The good news is that there are ways that you can shift this pattern.
First assess what you are doing right now. What is your pattern in reaction to this wave of hot and cold? Do you send off message after message when you begin to feel they are pulling away? Do you become emotional and begin to make a huge deal about what is going on and what you are sensing?
Whatever it is that you are doing I encourage you to do the opposite. This is two-fold. Firstly I want all of you to know that giving to a fault never gives you what you are after. If all you’ve given thus far has not resulted in his total and consistent commitment why would giving more suddenly shift things in your favor? They won't. They will just continue to take and you will continue to build up resentment as they take all that you have to offer with hardly any concern to your needs.
The fact of the matter is when in love we are doers. We do not wait to be asked for help, we swoop in to deliver what we can see is needed. We go above and beyond for those we love. They want cookies? Got ‘em made. They want sex several times a night? We are ready. They seem bummed out because of stresses at work? We make the reservations at their favorite restaurant and give them a 30 minute massage at the end of the night.
But the fact is they may not have asked for any of that and because of this they do not seem to understand the exchange involved. Meaning they just take what you are offering and do not feel obligated to then do for you.
In addition to this, however, because we are doing so much, when typically getting so little, we set a pattern of what is acceptable.
We tell them that even though they have not committed to us fully we will still give them everything they could possible want and then some.
Now this doesn't mean that you should reverse your actions to such a degree that you say and do nothing. Quite the contrary. I want you to calmly broach the topic. I want you to call out the pattern. I want you to stand strong in that power as they try to dismiss it or gaslight the situation making you feel like you must be perceiving everything in correctly.
I want you to call their crap.
This can be hard for us. “What if they walk away?” “What if they end things?”
We are conditioned in this fear that it's better to take something than to get nothing. But what we fail to realize is that in doing this we set a precedence. We teach them how to treat us and in this case we are teaching them that we are not worthy of the commitment we so desperately want.
And the truth is if they are your standard back and forth, non-committal lover then whether you dissolve into freneticism and tears or you calmly call them on their crap they are going to end things for a period of time regardless. That is part of the pattern. You mention what they are doing, they blow it off, you insist that you are in fact not crazy and this is in fact happening and they suggest maybe taking some time apart.
It's as predictable as the sun setting and rising the next day.
Which leads to the second step you take which is to agree. “Maybe we should take some time apart for you to assess whether you want to step up to the plate and be the partner I need.”
Its a strong statement and its ok to say it even as you are shaking in your boots.
And then I want you to back it up. I want you to refrain from sending texts/emails and dialing their number. I want you to refrain from responding to anything they send you. And they will send you something. They will reach out (they’ve already done it in the past and in this case the past is the greatest determiner of the future). And unlike before when you would raise to respond because you were so happy they were coming back around you are going to sit on it.
Turn the phone off. Save the email. Do not return the call.
How long is up to you but I suggest waiting at least a day or two. This isn't a game, this is you reprioritizing. Whereas before you would have responded the moment you saw the message today you are putting you first. You are mirroring their behavior. You are letting them wonder “what is she doing?” “who is she with?” “does she still care?”
And you are asking yourself those same questions.
Because part of truly shifting this pattern is putting that same amount of effort and focus you put into them into yourself. You are making sure that you are well rooted in your self worth. That you are pursuing a relationship for the right reasons. Because if you are pursuing a relationship for the right reasons then you will not accept intolerable behavior from someone who comes in and out of your life like it's a revolving door.
Its when we love someone, value them and respect them more than we love, respect and value ourselves. When we simply want somebody in our life to validate our worth, make us feel loved and less lonely in this world that we ultimately allow someone to come in and out of our lives.
But this is not about having just anyone in your life. Its having the right someone in your life. Someone who sees you for the amazing person that you are. Someone who shares in your values and vision for partnership. Someone who wants to hear how you are feeling because they desire to be a partner worthy of being with you.
When you can solidify that foundation of self worth you will find rather effortlessly that those who couldn't quite get a handle on what they wanted suddenly know exactly who they want.
The question then becomes whether you still want them.
Let me help guide you through this sometimes scary process of shifting this pattern of back and forth in your relationship. You do not need to suffer in these patterns alone and nor do you need to resign yourself to a life of hurt and difficulty. Our work can help you achieve the relationship that you desire and feel good. Which is what love is supposed to be about.