Mar 16

Having personally suffered from severe commitment phobia for many years, I know that being in love with someone who is afraid of commitment is not fun at all, but does someone’s fear of commitment always have to be the end of a relationship?

In real life, some people are not really meant to be together, and sometimes when you’ve tried everything humanly possible — and I mean really tried everything including asking for divine intervention — and failed, it’s smart to know when to walk away.

Walking away does not necessarily mean you will be able to stop loving that person because if you really love someone from your heart and soul you will never stop loving that person. Love is so much bigger than all of us because it’s the very fabric by which we are made of. And when you love someone what you are basically doing is getting in touch with what you are made of. Trying to stop love is like trying to get out of your own skin — good luck with that!

Walking away or “getting over” that person means that you stop expecting him or her to give you what he or she in unable to, is unwilling to, or just doesn’t want to. And sometimes that something is commitment.

But I think a lot of people walk away too soon. This is the sad reality of the “modern” world we live in. We think that relationships come in little neat packages with instructions “Add A Little Sex And Live Happily Ever’. Many people don’t realize that relationships need time and work. And with all the advice about “too many fish in the sea”, walking away seems the coolest thing to do. It shows that you “don’t care” and from where this kind of advice comes from, that is supposed to be a good thing. But many years later — just like the people who gave you the advice — you are still trying to “catch fish” in that sea. What does it say about you if you can’t catch even one fish in a sea with too many fish?

Many more aren’t willing to work as hard to make a relationship work as they work hard in their professions or careers. These same people start pushing premature commitment because of their own internal pressures and are quick to conclude it isn’t working and walk away.

And then there are some people who try to work things out but go about it the wrong way — nagging, begging, blaming, guilt tripping, giving ultimatums, playing break-up on and off again games etc. This very same things you do to try to get a “commitment” are the very things that make a commitment phobe even more weary of committing or run like an escaped death-row convict.

So true, being in love with someone who is afraid of commitment is hard, but commitment phobia is not a “terminal illness”.

Men and women do get over their fear of commitment. I did. And you probably have heard or know of many men and women who were written off as commitment phobes by the people they were in a relationship with and two months later they have committed to someone else. And the person who dumped the commitment phobe is left confused, angry, jealous, bitter and feeling terribly inadequate — like something is so wrong with her/him that someone who could never commit to them, had no problems committing to the next person.

Sometimes what a commitment phobe needs is:

– someone who doesn’t automatically assume that it’s all a selfish act but understands and appreciates where the fear and anxieties are coming from (fear of losing one’s independence, fear of marriage, fear of intimacy, fear of having kids, fear of financial burdens, fear of sharing a home, fear of offending family members, fear of moving to another state or country etc). Understanding and appreciation can help the two of you come to a compromise you can both live with.

– someone who is emotionally well enough and emotionally secure enough to give some real tough-love; Many commitment phobes have been through so many relationships and know exactly how the script plays out. Having a game-changer who will not play by the script can sometimes be the “shock therapy” a commitment phobe really needs.

– someone who is committed to really helping the commitment phobe get to that place where he or she feels “safe” enough to come out of their hiding place. Commitment phobia, like all fear, is really a wall to hide behind. And seeing that there is really nothing to fear is a great relief to a commitment phobe.

So before you walk away, make sure that you’ve earned your way out — that is given it everything you got and more. That way you don’t look back with regret because you dumped someone you still love and a few months later he or she commits to someone else.

Mar 16

It took me two divorces to learn to fight fair and not shut down and push love away. I now have a wonderful loving relationship and celebrated my seventeenth anniversary on Valentine’s Day. Follow tools that took me over forty years to acquire-and recapture your passion, romance, and love.

What do you do when you feel hurt and your mate is pushing your buttons? I learned to shut down and go into my cave. John Gray’s best seller Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus says that this is the man’s role, but I found myself in my cave before I knew I had reacted. This is not a healthy way to deal with conflict and it won’t get you the love you want. These three steps empower you to heat up your bedroom and recapture passion, and romance.

1. Make love a priority and give up your old habits. In order to stay in control of your habits and your emotions you must stay present, and be conscious of your learned behaviors and reactions.

2. Create a vision of what you want. Once you know what you want you are empowered to build a foundation to support it.

3. Spend fifteen minutes a day focusing on what you love about your mate. Remember the fun and the good times and develop a habit of releasing the things that bug you.

4. Make your own happiness and growth a priority. You cannot be happy with someone else until you learn to be happy yourself.

5. Stay current with your emotions. A pot that builds up heat will eventually explode. Let the steam off often and learn to vent your emotions in a gentle and loving way.

Mar 11

As soon as you start referring to a relationship as boring or dull, you might as well call the funeral home because your relationship is heading for an early grave. That is if you don’t take immediate action; Otherwise known as couple’s first aid.

In every relationship (marriage) there has to be a degree of routine factored in or there would be chaos. The time you go to work, the gym, pick up the kids from school or daycare (if you have kids) maybe even eat. These few examples allow for a bit of normalcy in a very hectic world.

When you began factoring in your individual interest, a favorite TV show, reading a good book, spending time with family and friends and for some playing on the internet the hours in the day seem to pass you by and you wonder where all the time has gone (for some of you it will be weeks and months that have passed). Your interest and hobbies can be the glue that keeps you sane and relaxed from all the hustle and flow of everyday life.

If you look at your weekly planner right now you are probably scheduled to the hilt, now count the hours that you have scheduled with your mate. If you are good and I mean really good, you may have 1-2 hours in a week set aside for you and your mate to spend time outside of the routine. We normally spend 8-12 hours a day away from our mates during the work week (ever wonder where work wives and work husbands come from?). Co-workers typically spend more awake time with our mates than we do (no excuse for cheating, this is just the reality of having to earn a living). Co-workers generally hear how your mate feels about most issues in their lives. Funny how when you two first met you couldn’t wait to talk to each other about everything, now you get that out of the way at work or with friends. The problem talks are now what you save for your mate; no longer do you talk about how much you missed them while you were at work or what it means to have someone like them in your corner.

If both of you work closely with people that you go to lunch with, take breaks with and discuss your hopes and dreams with; You have just started an emotional affair that takes the intimacy which belongs to your mate and have given it to another. The next logical step leads to cheating. I know that many of you may say that this is the extreme, but if you talk with most people who have had affairs and ask them what led to them cheating and they normally point to a closeness that they developed with the other person and how it just happened (nothing really just happens it has to be thought out).

To prevent yourself from falling into this trap find away to incorporate your mate into your day; This may mean scheduling lunch dates with your mates or times that you two can connect over the phone if only for 2-5 minutes during your break time. After work find a hobby or interest that you can share with your mate and have fun at the same time. These tips will help you change a dull or stale relationship into something that you can be excited about.

Mar 11

It’s a bit disturbing to talk with engaged couples to hear all the various reasons why they choose to marry.

What many will not admit is that, sometimes, they are more in love with the “idea” of marriage than they are in love with the person they are about to marry.

Let’s examine this process from a physiological perspective.

When two people meet and begin their courtship they typically evaluate the relationship from their five senses. They might like how the person looks, how they smell, how they feel when they touch and so on. Then, they evaluate how the other person behaves in a variety of situations.

All this information is first affecting the brain centers that control our emotions. This area is called the “limbic system” and we find ourselves “excited” and “light-headed” and our heart beats faster when we are in the courtship and early stage of marriage. At some point during the first seven years of being together, our perception of the person shifts from the emotional centers of our brain ultimately to the logical, cortical areas.

The cerebral cortex is where reason and logic prevail. We no longer feel the pounding of our hearts, and the lightness of our senses, but realize that we have overlooked a lot about our mate because we were so joyous and thrilled about the wedding ceremony and just being “married”.

To use a business concept, but still apropos, the couple are in the “marketing phase” of their relationship. Each is trying to get the other person to like them and, eventually, to love them. They are, in effect, putting their “best foot forward” trying to make the “sale”, which is the wedding itself.

After the honeymoon is over reality sets in. Dealing with the every day stresses of life is not all the fun that we experienced earlier in the relationship, especially when children come along and the wife is not quite as amorous as she was during the first year of marriage, and the husband decreases being as romantic and attentive.

Now the focus is on careers and the daily routines that tire them. The couple cannot maintain the same level of energy they originally put into the marketing phase of the relationship and now that the “sale” has been made, they find themselves in the “service phase” of the relationship.

In the service phase of marriage, both the husband and wife are still expecting whatever was promised in the marketing phase but they, instead, experience disappointment.

The couple is surprised and disappointed that their mate is not delivering on the promises, whether implied or spoken, they had made during the courtship. This is when marital problems begin to occur, and the arguments increase.

In time, some couples feel like they were duped and experience a great deal of anger in the relationship and even think about divorce. This is when they tend to forget their marriage vows of “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part”.

It’s not “until we do not feel like doing it any more”. It’s until death do us part.

As Christians, we need to take our vows seriously to be pleasing to God. A healthy marriage requires mutual respect, genuine commitment, good communication, as well as time and effort.

It takes a realistic assessment of what we promised our mate in the marketing phase of the relationship when all our perceptions of that person was in the emotional centers of our brain and whether we are fulfilling those promises, or the oath we made during the wedding ceremony.

It also requires an evaluation of whether we are making good on those commitments in the service phase when our view of our mate is now in the logical, reason-oriented areas of our brain.

Marital problems and differences are resolved through forgiveness: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” [Ephesians 4:32].

Hopefully, this should be a clear message for those who are in the dating, or marketing, phase of their relationship. Be sure you are willing to deliver the “services” you are promising in the courtship.

Mar 11

Freedom means different things for different men. For some, the main joy of relationships is challenge. They happily pursue a woman as long as they don’t have her, but once they do, they start feeling trapped. These men feel as if excitement and new possibilities are now cut off.

Once commitment is in the picture these men feel as though they are trapped and imprisoned. They often say that once a woman has him, he’ll be putty in her hands. In the end he feels he will lose his sense of masculinity. For them it’s all a power game. The one who’s strong is the one who needs less. The power is in not needing.

These men need to be in control to feel their power. It’s no wonder that men like these cannot stay with one woman long. Sooner or later feelings of dependency start to grow. At this point, these men take to the hills. No matter how strong they think they are, their loneliness and frustration only intensify each time they run.

Other men start to feel used when time comes for commitment. Many women feel as though they need a man to make a commitment in order to feel secure. But when a man senses this, it can make him feel like an object, as if he’s being used for the woman’s security.

No man wants to feel as if he’s being used. As soon as he does, he’s going to leave. Feeling loved is different from feeling used. When a woman can give a man freedom, when she has a full, independent life of her own, it can take his fear of being used away.

Deep within all men want to feel loved in relationships. They want to stay and experience being valued and valuing another as well. Once their fears and patterns of running away are understood, they can be handled, and everyone can win. To begin, we must see where these patterns come from, and what they are protecting the man from.

Sometimes the pattern develops at an early age. At one point in a young man’s development the father becomes his opponent, his rival for the mother’s love. When the boy has a healthy maturation, he is able to relinquish his mother and overcome his rivalry with his father. At this point, his father becomes his friend, he identifies with him and is later able to go forward and attain a love of his own.

Some men do not overcome the rivalry with the father. They never grow to feel they can have a woman of their own. And, they act out this pattern over and over in all kinds of relationships. They may give themselves an unconscious message that love is dangerous, perhaps forbidden. Or, they tell themselves the love object, (mother), ultimately belongs to another, (to father). No matter how much I want her, they think, I can never have the woman of my dreams for myself. Or, if I do have her, I am taking her away from someone else.

These men often find that they are unable to be successful competing with other men; they are convinced other men will easily win the woman they desire. For them, some other man has more to offer, just as they believed their father did. This is a clear replay of childhood, when they felt they could never measure up to dad. Unless this dynamic is worked through a man’s ongoing relationship with women will, sooner or later, be troubled. Sometimes it is the relationship with the mother, not father, that causes a man to fear and run from love. In other cases, some mothers hold onto their sons emotionally and refuse to let go.

Other mothers withhold the love their sons need. Some are rejecting or overpowering with her son. When this happens the woman becomes the opponent for the man. Men who suffer from this situation run from women continually, seeing love as a trap, a place where they will never get their needs met. Many men are much more fragile than they seem. Harsh words from a woman they are dating can cut very deep.

A woman in relationship with a man like this would do well to encourage him to express his feelings. She should listen quietly and be careful about criticizing him. When she does express her needs and feeling, it is important to do it carefully, in a non-critical manner, making sure he is also aware of how much she values him.

Ultimately, for a man to be healthy romantically, he must work out unfinished business. Once he does he will develop a basic confidence in himself and be able to move forward and find a loving, suitable woman of his own. Commitment is an organic process that takes time. It usually happens in small steps and is the natural progression of the heart.

Touchstones To Remember (How To Deal With Men Who Are Afraid Of Commitment)

FOR WOMEN - Listen carefully to what he tells you. Don’t criticize. Understand. - Don’t think your love will change him or make him want you more. He wants you as much as he can right now. - The less pressure, guilt and obligation in this relationship, the better. The busier you are, the more self fulfilled, the better the chances for this relationship to continue.

FOR MEN - Look at your pictures and expectations in relationships. Understand why you feel trapped in relationships and always need a way out. What or who is it you are really running from? - Try to form a relationship where you can give yourself the emotional freedom to be who you are. Many men feel they constantly have to perform for the woman and therefore do not want to stay for too long. Allow yourself to be true to yourself in the relationship. Say no when you want to. Then you can say yes. - Find women who are more accepting. Ask them in advance about what they need to feel good in a relationship. If they are too possessive, go on to someone else.

Mar 11

A promise ring is a ring given as a gift that symbolizes a promise or commitment, though the actual meaning can be unique between the person giving and the person receiving the gift. Traditionally, a man gives a promise ring to a woman, though it is not unheard of for a woman to be the one to give a promise ring to a man. Though promise rings can take on different meanings for different couples, they traditionally stand for a commitment to each other, often a commitment that the couple will one day become engaged and eventually married. A promise ring is customarily given to a woman by her boyfriend when the two are in a serious relationship but are either too young or not ready for engagement, but have the intention of getting married someday. However, promise rings can symbolize other promises, such as a promise to be faithful, a promise to avoid certain behaviors, or a promise to be there for the other person. A gift of a promise ring should typically be accompanied by an expression of what the ring symbolizes to a couple.

So, what should you look for if you are considering giving the gift of a promise ring? This depends largely on your relationship, budget and style. A man giving a promise ring to a woman to represent a promise to upgrade to an engagement ring when his finances allow is not uncommon. A promise ring may be an elaborate diamond ring or may be extremely simple, though avoiding a plain band that can be mistaken for a wedding band is a good rule of thumb. The important part is that you make the gift a meaningful and personal gesture to the recipient. What does this mean? In a literal sense, you may get the ring engraved with the initials of the recipient, both of your initials, or a private message that symbolizes the meaning of the ring. Even if you do not opt for the engraving, try to choose a promise ring that fits with your partner’s style. For instance, if you are a man giving a ring to a woman, take notice of the jewelry of her own she usually wears, as woman sometimes have particular preferences. If she always wears silver jewelry, a gold ring would probably not be the best option, and vice versa. Most importantly, make sure to clearly convey what the ring represents upon giving it, to avoid a misunderstanding or unwarranted expectations from your partner.

Mar 11

In essence the commitment you make when you choose to be in a relationship with another person is a commitment with yourself first and foremost. You are agreeing that you will do the work, you will put in the effort, you will do whatever you can to make this team work. Teamwork? Well yes, that’s exactly the point. When you enter into a relationship you are also agreeing to be part of a team, one that will protect and serve, a team that will beat the odds. So let’s try and answer some of those questions shall we?

So how do you keep your relationship going?

Put the effort in. That means thinking the right things, doing the right things and saying the right things - consistently. What sort of things? Well you could be genuinely appreciative of your partner no matter what the occasion (when they make your dinner, iron your shirt, pack your lunch, buy your shampoo etc) and that means you need to be thinking about being appreciative all the time, so you can see when the ‘right moment’ arises. In addition to this, we all like surprises, so every now and then be appreciative in advance - do something that’ll remind them just how grateful you are to be in their team. Flowers, chocolates and weekends away are obvious examples but the thought doesn’t have to translate into money - you can be creative with the thought. I recently painted a cardboard box with some poster paint and filled it with confetti - that brought a smile.

How much effort does it really take?

In truth, a fantastic amount of effort is required over a sustained period of time but the reality may feel different - it may feel that for the bulk of the time, you are not making any effort, you are simply enjoying doing the things that make you happy, the trick is to do those things the same when the dark clouds roll over and trouble rears it’s head - that’s when you make the most amount of effort and draw on the energy of the free and easy good times.

Do I have to stop being ‘me’?

The short answer is NO. But it really isn’t as simple as that is it? When you’re part of a team you give something of yourself to make that team work and you also accept those elements that other people add to the team and take those things on board and that may then colour how you see/do things differently? I would suggest that maybe, you are not stopping being ‘you’ but you may be adding things and that maybe being ‘you’ will to others then be subtly different?

Mar 11

This may offend some people, but it’s just an opinion based on some statistics and from looking at real-world relationships. So, please do read with an open mind, even if you do not agree with the points made here.

Statistics show that most people who living together usually don’t ever marry, or the marriage generally ends in divorce. Many individuals (especially women) are doing themselves ill service by living with a partner in a intimate relationship, without being married. Some people argue that marriage is only a piece of paper signed and or meaningless. The part about being a piece of paper is partially true. The truth is when someone marries someone it’s much more than that! Individuals are expressing to each other that they truly love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together.

One of the many reasons divorce rates are so high amongst people who have “shacked up” before marrying is that they anticipate that things will change after they are married. Some people believe that ultimately being married will all of a sudden make life seem perfect and the other person will change. The reality for most is that it does not happen. This disappointment is ultimately what makes many individuals to end the marriage.

Many men who living together never ending up marrying because many men simply do not feel the need to. If you look at it from a man’s perspective, he is basically getting everything (and probably more than) a wife would give him without marriage, so why should he even bother? There is a comfort zone mostly for men who live with women they are not married to. There is no actual (or legal) commitment. He can leave whenever he wants with much less guilty feelings than if it was his wife. Women are most likely to want to marry as she knows in her subconscious mind of the fear that he may pick up his bags and leave at any time without too much emotional hassle.

This may sound brutal to some women, but there is a difference on how live-in girlfriends and wives are looked at by men. A man is much less likely to leave his wife than he is to leave his girlfriend. Men do leave their wives of course, but for the most part, men are much more likely to leave their girlfriends more easily and without guilt. It’s a similar principal for men cheating on their girlfriend verses their wife. Again, this unquestionably happens where some men cheat on their wives, but a man will feel less guilty about cheating on his girlfriend then his wife.

The best solution is to not living together with someone if you are looking for a possible marriage partner. This will benefit women more than men, but it helps the marriage overall for both partners.

Mar 11

I am sure that most of you will agree that it is not always easy to keep the romance alive in a relationship. Despite this however, a good friend of mine has just told me about the way in which he welcomed his girlfriend back from a weeks holiday abroad. It certainly puts me to shame and in this article I will write about the great lengths he went to, ideas which I hope will inspire other men in their quest of keeping the flame of romance alive.

Ian and his girlfriend have been a couple for the last four years and are very much planning a long term future together. His girlfriend, who is called Jody, agreed at the start of the year to take a weeks holiday abroad with her best friend and her family. This would be the first week that Ian and Jody had been apart since they had become an item.

I work with Ian and it has to be said that he was not exactly the same person during the week when she was away. Talk about a moody young man and I was getting the brunt of these mood swings. Now I am quite a bit older that Ian and must confess that I love it when my girlfriend goes away for a week, in fact I encourage her to go!

On Jody’s return to the UK, she went back to their house and was amazed to see the little surprise that Ian had organised. He had bought two hundred and fifty candles and had arranged them in a rather special way.

He had also cooked a rather lavish chicken dinner with all the trimmings, with a quality dessert for afters. This was then followed by some rather expensive chocolate.

I am happy to say that the real Ian has now returned to work and I just hope that Jody is not planning any other trips away from him in the near future.

Mar 11

Codependents are people who exhibit far too much caring for people who depend on them. While this may not seem like a component of a bad relationship at first, codependency leads to several unhealthy outcomes, including the tendency to smother a loved one with over affection or self sacrifice to the point of martyrdom.

This is most commonly exhibited by the archetypical over protective parent, who cossets their children to the point that these kids never really mature, and are left unable to fend for themselves when they are alone. Spouses and girl/boy friends can also exhibit codependency in a lot of ways that can be ultimately unhealthy. Examples can include a wife who lets her husband become an alcoholic and physically abuse her, and she stays in the relationship simply because he “needs her to look after him”. If you’re wondering whether you’re a codependent, here are some of the signs and symptoms you should look out for.

The first sign of codependency is completely altruistic love and affection. While there’s nothing wrong with loving someone, the healthiest relationships in the world are two-sided. If all you’re doing in the relationship is giving and giving, and you get nothing in return other than a “noble” feeling of being a “good” person, the odds are high that you’re a codependent.

The second sign of codependency is the philosophy of “living for him/her”. While a beautiful and romantic notion, this is a mindset that, when taken to an extreme, is very self destructive. While in most good relationships the partners value each other, there is no law that says you should stop thinking about yourself. If you don’t think about your own benefit at all, and even worse, if you think of the cliche “I’ll die without him/her”, you’re probably a codependent.

The third sign is a tendency to condone almost anything and everything your partner, child, or parent does. This is a serious problem that causes a huge number of social problems in the world today. Children raised by parents who cease to discipline them and teach them properly will grow up spoiled and arrogant, often becoming belligerent, problematic, and unproductive members of society later on. Spouses who are likewise treated this way will often become alcoholics/drug addicts, will cheat on their wives/husbands, and abuse their family members in general.

The fourth sign is smothering. This is the exact opposite of condoning everything, and manifests in a blanketing over protectiveness that makes you do almost everything for your loved one. You cook for them, clean after them, pick up their trash after them, and keep the rest of the “bad” universe away from them for fear that they will get hurt. This leads to individuals who are unable to fend for themselves at all in the absence of their codependent. These people cannot live by themselves and can do nothing even remotely productive.

Lastly there is the perfectionist type of codependency. This manifests as extreme discipline and training, wanting your loved one to be the “best”, all for “his/her own good”. This type of codependency often means that you have an image in your mind of a “perfect” person, and will do anything and everything to make your loved one fit that mold, no matter how unsuited he or she is to it. This leads to extremely unhappy relationships and broken homes. Children raised this way by demanding parents often break under the stress and require counseling later in life.

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