Dear Coach Laura,
I am separated from my husband for more than a year. I have been dating a man since January. This man treats me with so much respect and does things around my home. I find myself with very strong feelings for him. The problem is he has been badly hurt and taken to the cleaners by his previous marriage and he says we can only be companions and good friends because he will never allow himself to be hurt like that again. I know by the way he holds me and kisses me this man has strong feelings too. He says he is so scared and confused. Although he is scared he still stands firm we will never be together. Do I let him go and take the time to heal once more or do I believe nothings impossible with God?
Many men today have been through extremely painful divorces where they have been taken to the cleaners, and have resolved never to be married again because they never want to risk putting themselves in that kind of position again. This is a highly unfortunate reality, certainly understandable and one for which I have a lot of compassion. These men who have resolved never to marry again, probably won’t. That being said, there are men who are willing to do some healing work (through therapy, books, self-exploration, etc) and be open to investing their heart in a relationship and even getting married again. The key for women who meet men after their divorces is to develop two areas of your feminine nature: your discernment and clarity of whatâ€™s most important to your heart.
In the Feminine Power Card deck there are several cards dedicated to the core principle of conscious choice. Conscious choice requires knowing yourself deeply. It also means honoring yourself first. Knowing what you need and want in relationship and honoring that is critical to your happiness long term. As this feminine power card states, Responding requires connecting to one’s feelings and sharing the truth without harming anyone. Once you are clear on what’s important, you respond as if you are speaking about the most important person in the world to you who is indeed, YOU.
I deeply understand your situation, because my now husband was one of those men who got taken to the cleaners through a very painful divorce after 15 years of marriage and expressed to me at one point how skittish he was about getting married again. When he expressed this to me I was scared that my dream of being married to my soul mate was in jeopardy. But at the same time when he said this, I wasnâ€™t clear if he really was the one I wanted to marry. This meant that we were actually in the same place.
I did know that I wanted to be married or at least in a committed monogamous relationship that my soul mate and I declared and celebrated with our family and friends at some point. So if he had said, “I don’t want to be monogamous or in a committed relationship with you,” I would never have been able to feel comfortable in the relationship and would have left it. Since he had said to me being in a committed monogamous relationship for now was important to him, I let time evolve our relationship as I realized I had some healing and clarifying to do as well.
Here’s what I knew for sure: he’s an honest man, a highly ethical person (based upon his actions of treating me with lots of respect, his honest expression of fear, being on time, listening to my opinions and emotions and more). These were all green lights for me and in hindsight I realized having a good honorable man in my life allowed me to acknowledge and face my fears and heal them over time.
We created a safe space for each other by not putting pressure on each other. Rather, I was very clear on what I needed in relationship. I did a lot of clarification of what was important to me prior to this relationship. I never asked him for that. I just let him know what I needed knowing that if he wanted to provide it, he would. And if he couldn’t or wouldn’t, that I would then need to make a decision based upon what was I had previously decided were my negotiables and non-negotiables for relationship. That is a very powerful place to stand. It is the place where you take full responsibility for your happiness (and you do not make your partner responsible for your happiness). When you take this perspective, life becomes easy and very fulfilling. I saw him make the efforts to provide me what I had expressed what was important. So things progressed.
Then and only after I determined he was someone who had matched my important qualities and demonstrated them could I delve into exploring him as my soul mate. To do this, I asked myself what I consider the ultimate question about the future of this relationship: â€œCan I trust him with my heart?â€ I got very still, closed my eyes and focused on my heart (after a few minutes of mind chatter), then I asked myself the question. There was a very matter of fact â€œYesâ€ that came to me. That’s when I knew I could marry him. Interestingly enough, I could feel him getting closer to me as well. Once I knew my answer, I had to ask him a question. That was, â€œIf you were to be open to marriage or long term commitment, would you choose me?â€ The answer was emphatically yes. That’s exactly what I needed to feel safe in this relationship. I didn’t need marriage. I needed his heart. In that moment I felt very safe in this relationship.
This took place over the course of almost two years.
Remember that you are healing too. Furthermore, you are a woman involved in a divorce where you are trying to get your owed compensation. And if you are discussing this matter with him, it is in his face. You are both healing. Take the time to explore yourself, your needs, desires, habits you want to let go, must haves from your man, etc. Then see how this fits in with the guy your currently with. It will be clear whether you are to continue this relationship or not. If it’s not a yes, be weary of fully investing your heart into this relationship.
Wishing you every JOY,
Summary Coaching Questions:
- What are the red and green lights you see in your relationship?
- What is important in relationship to you?
- What must you have in relationship to feel safe, loving and loved?
- Can you trust him with your heart?