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Q. I am involved in a relationship where the other person is unable to open up.
We were exclusive for a short time. I talked to him about him not providing emotionally what I needed and we decided at that time it would be better for us to move on, but we haven’t.
We talk, text and share intimate times daily. He lives in another town so we don’t spend lots of time together but when we do it’s great. The sexual connection is amazing.
When do I move on? Am I waiting to see if he becomes emotionally available? I am seeing other people, and honestly it feels wrong when I do.
A. It sounds as though you already have moved on physically, but your mind hasn’t gotten the message yet.
What you want is a deep, connected relationship, but this man is unable to give it to you. That’s the reason you mutually decided to separate. Of course, knowing what is right for ourselves and actually acting on it are two different things. Add satisfying sex to the soup, and you’ve got a complex situation to say the least.
While you have made the decision to move on from Man A by seeing other people (Man B, C, D), there’s a part of you that still lingers in the hopes that Man A will come around and claim you as his true love. If you’re patient enough, put in the time, be there for him, stay connected, he has to recognize your constancy at some point, right?
A possible reason he cannot be available for you is that he may be unable to have a relationship with anyone right now. If he’s not ready to stand by your side and go deep into the woodsy forest of relationship with you, it’s better you don’t have him as a traveling partner anyway.
Another possibility is that he’s not desirous of that level of relationship with you. It happens. We humans are a varied bunch: what turns someone on may be a turn-off for someone else. Rejection from someone you desire not the happiest of scenarios to envision, but what it does point out is that there are many types out there. Yours included.
So, do I need to kick him to the curb?
Not so much.
Relationships take many forms. If this man enriches your life exactly as he is and exactly as the relationship currently stands—that is, without the anticipation of any changes or redefinitions—there is absolutely no need to end your relations with him. In truth, it’s a blessing to discover another soul who makes us feel good about ourselves, shares their own life, and (bonus!) also offers us great sex.
If all those things are enough for you, then you can continue your relationship with this man with impunity. He makes you feel good; you make him feel good. All is well.
Because you need more (i.e., a connected and communicative relationship with a mate), it makes perfect sense for you to move on to other men. When you find the one who fulfills all you need, your relationship with Man A may need to be redefined. Trust your instincts; you’ll know when that happens.
But why does moving on feel so wrong?
When we share real intimacy with another human being, some part of us knows how rare and beautiful that exchange is. We don’t have this raw transfer of emotion with everyone we meet; that would be inappropriate, not to mention exhausting.
The fact that you have connected on a deep level to this man is a beautiful thing—your body and mind acknowledge how special that connection is. That’s why when you mirror the act of intimacy with others, your subconscious sends messages to your conscious mind that say, “This one’s not real.”
Why does this happen? Because you are still identifying with Man A as The One With Whom I Share Intimacy. Once you release him from that role, you’ll be open to allowing another man to fill his rightful place as your honored companion.
How do I let go?
Letting go and moving on is easier than you might think. Keep in mind the simple fact that you need something this man is unable to give you.
These steps might help:
- Get centered in your self and your quest for the profound, life-enriching relationship you deserve.
- Honor what you have with Man A, but…
- Be realistic. Don’t let that relationship define or influence you or your other relationships.
- Let go of any person or action that does not align with Step One.
Above all, remember that you are the one who is emotionally available and willing to do the hard work to be an equal partner in a healthy relationship. There is someone out there who feels the same. Go find him.
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