I moved in with my partner after dating for nine months. I was hesitant to live with her, but she said it would be time sooner or later and if I didn’t move in she would have to make a decision about us. Essentially, I moved in because of love and a little fear. When I began to notice destructive behaviors in our relationship, I moved out. We go back and forth now about whether to be in a relationship. I have been consistent in wanting to work things out. Now she wants a platonic relationship with me. She says she is not emotionally available for me or anyone else. Each time I decide to quit, I change my mind and decide I can be friends with her. Should I move on?
You know the answer. What you need is support to follow through with your decision. Try surrounding yourself with people whose only agenda in relationship to you is loving kindness and gentle challenges to be true to your values. This will help you to remember what a healthy relationship is like. In time, your amnesia will lift completely and you will begin to understand and appreciate the qualities of a true friend. You will succumb to sweet laughter at the thought that someone who is not emotionally available can be a friend, much less a partner. You will giggle realizing that such a person is not mentally available, either, since thoughts precede emotions. You will be surprised to see that the destructive behaviors began long before you moved in together. It will be obvious to you that if a person is not able to reveal their feelings and share freely, perhaps the best option for them is to be alone or to become a devotee of a therapeutic process. You will realize that whatever choice they make is none of your business. Your job is to love yourself and love others, in that order. It is not your job to sacrifice yourself and your sanity for your partner, hoping that she will notice that you’re bleeding and translate your behavior as proof that “you really, really love her.” Wake up and see what a terribly wicked spell you placed on yourself in order to avoid being alone.
Yes, wake up. You moved in with her under a threat. What threat do you use to keep yourself tied to the relationship? Unpack that box of thoughts. Liberation is surely at the bottom.
I’m 49 years old and I’ve always related better to animals than to people. Neither I nor my family and friends have the ability or talent to love others. It’s a deficiency that I’ve never overcome. I try, but it doesn’t last.
Animal companions rarely inflict lesions on our egos. Nor were they socialized to correct us when we live "outside the lines," so we feel free to love them fully. We’re also in power in those relationships, providing food, shelter, warmth and health care. The lack of complex language skills and the simplified desires (eat, sleep, play, snuggle) are pretty easy to live with when that is all you expect. Human relationships, though, are a mental and emotional adventure. We know that we will be wounded. What we forget is this: Those wounds are where God is calling us to look deeply into ourselves and change. Instead, we try to change others. I urge you to keep trying to love well. Trust that by careful tending, love for others will take root in you and bloom one day.