Q I am 36 and exclusively dating someone, 41, for almost a year now. I feel, given our age, we should have enough experience to know whether we would like to pursue a serious relationship. When I ask my boyfriend about a future commitment, which means he wants me in his future and is committed to making it work, his response is, "Let's take it slow."
Frankly, I don’t know how much slower I can take it. I am not insinuating marriage or even living together. I would like to know he is committed to the possibility of a life together. What is a reasonable period for someone to know if they are willing to commit on the level I described?
I understand everyone works on a different time clock, but when does time run out? He will only share that he loves me if I ask him. I am a patient, caring, loving, smart woman who has a lot to offer. I love this man, but I am realistic and will not wait forever.
A Sara, Einstein explained relativity to his long-time secretary by saying: an hour sitting with a pretty girl passes like a minute, while a minute sitting on a hot stove passes like an hour. Einstein's relative time is unlike clock time, which passes in regular, unvarying beats.
But no matter how one measures time, you and your boyfriend have been together long enough for him to know what he feels. He wants to slow time to a stop. He is satisfied with what he has. You are trying to move time forward to a wedding.
There is a third kind of time, psychological time. In psychological time, the time is always now. If your boyfriend truly loved you, his feelings would bubble to the surface all the time. He couldn’t help himself. He would tell you he loves you and wants to be with you always.
You are afraid, if you approach the subject directly, he will say no. But approaching the topic in a roundabout way is more likely to cause him to take advantage of you. He gets the point, even if he pretends not to.
Say from your heart where you want your relationship to go and insist on his answer. It is better to get a no now, than to wait one, three, or five years for the same answer.
Wayne & Tamara
Q I am looking for some advice on how to handle heated moments. I try my hardest to remain calm and keep my voice lowered, but my partner ends up waving his arms and using a host of tactics to argue instead of dealing with the issue at hand.
Usually I start by saying, “When you do that, it makes me feel like…” His response is usually something like “you’re being irrational” or “that’s a bit harsh.” He says anything to invalidate my feelings. I don’t know how to word my feelings so he sees they really are an issue for me.
A Jenna, the tactic of saying "when you do x, it makes me feel y" has been around for years. It can only work when the other person is as earnest and honest about communication as you are.
You believe there is a way to word things so your partner will understand and respond to your feelings. But there is another possibility, the principle known as Occam’s razor. Sometimes this is interpreted as “the simplest explanation is most likely to be true.”
The simplest explanation is this. He understands every word you say. He doesn’t care about your feelings and is successfully communicating that to you.
Wayne & Tamara
Invade – to enter as if to take possession, to intrude upon.