Have Relationship Questions? Ask a Counselor for Answers ASAP
Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I ma sorry to know about your situation but hopeful about your decision to take a time to work on yourself.
I appreciate your empathy, but want specific guidelines for the break period, such as: no contact, limited contact etc.
I support your plan and it would be very productive if you truly invest on better understanding what your core needs and expectations are around relationships. For example, you said you have tried to convince these women to have non-exclusive relationships with you, but got a clear resistance about it. Then you]d need to choose if what you expect is to have an exclusive or non-exclusive relationships. In case what you really expect is to be able to have non-exclusive relationships, then you would need to find women open to that from the very beginning, in that way you would not get frustrated nor them upset by your expectations.
Which are your core expectations and what you truly feel you need from a relationship?
The approach to take depends on what you think you need and expect about this area. Could you tell me more about that?
If you expect non-exclusive relationships, then you should not contact any of these women any more for sure...
...since both do expect and made it clear they need exclusive relationships.
Have no problem with an exclusive relationship, if I have identified the "one". Would actually like to marry again at some point. I know both of them feel the same. However can not move forward til I sort out the dilemma of which one. This winter I dated 3 in a non-exclusive setting, and was very happy with that. One of the 3 was woman B, and we moved into an exclusive setting. She wanted that, and I did not want to lose her. Was happy with decision until woman A returned. Always had it in for woman A and she was the one who broke our relationship off last November. Feel that there is some unfinished business there. The problem is that woman A has nothing nothing wrong in the relationship, and does not deserve to be cast aside.
excuse me, last sentence should be that "woman B has done nothing wrong".
Working on yourself would mean you would get to develop further understanding of your values, beliefs, personality, needs and expectations, and how powerfully they shape your feelings, actions, reactions and life style. It's would be a time for you to resolve pending issues from past experiences that continue to limit or undermine your ability to play a healthy role in present relationships. Then what was the reason woman A end the relationship in the past?
Each person is unique and you will continue to find many people with similarities, skills and virtues, and feel attracted to them, but if what you want is a exclusive relationship, then you need to come to terms with the fact that for a healthy and truly fulfilling relationship to develop, compatibility is key, but besides it there must be reciprocity at multiple levels, where affection and passion, common interests and life styles match very well. Physical attraction and compatibilities could happen with many people, but deeper affection, passion and commitment for those who expect exclusive relationships could only happen with the person who you feel the most fulfilled, complemented by, understood, supported and happy with, and the one who also feels the same about your role in her life.
Woman A ended relationship largely I believe because I was needy as a result of getting into a relationship too early after the death of my wife (4 months). She denies that was the reason and says she also had rejection issues to resolve from her divorce 1 1/2 prior. However she has stated that I now seem different to her (more relaxed, etc) which is probably accurate. This issue is making me less relaxed though.
You literally invest trust, time, effort, affection, passion and life with everything it implies into an adult exclusive relationship, and that's why it is not that simple, commitment is never pushed but becomes a natural consequence of such intense and responsible work and sharing with each other.
Then according to her what was the reason for her to end it?
Interest of woman A and I are most compatible, but woman B is motivated to cultivate any interest that I have. Woman B tries very hard to please me in any manner, and is extremely affectionate. I simplified the distinction between them as: Woman A enhances my life socially, and I enhance Woman B.
During this break, work on identifying the inconsistencies between your expectations and your actions when in relationships, to explore what and how past issues still may affect your present feelings, behaviors, reactions and ways of coping. This way, from further insight and actually making changes in the way you approach relationships and their challenges, you would be able to choose partners and build relationships in healthier and more fulfilling ways, without pushing yourself into dilemmas like this one.
Woman A reason for leaving was: that we were both at emotional areas in our lives that need some work. Kind how I am feeling now about both.
I see. Then there are different indeed.
Then your selections should be based on what you value the most from a partner, what you truly consider as more worthy and fulfilling from a life partner, and what allows you to feel more whole, happier, relaxed and also to growth in areas you expect to improve. The one that seems to be a better life partner in the long run for you.
OK, then rule #1,no contact. What if I find the separation after a few weeks to one of them almost unbearable? Date that one, but non-exclusively initially.
Right. While working on it, on yourself, you would feel triggered by different feelings, fears and circumstances, which would require you to be open to change, to make adjustments, to be flexible, and that is very necessary for sure, just remind yourself that you need consistency and accountability for your choices, and actions. That way you would not regret the past at all, but see and address things much more effectively.
As long as you respect the other person's boundaries and limits, being truly honest and consistent towards her, there should not be any issue arising from this area, but only those natural ones typical of every process when dating, learning about each other, about yourself and allowing the experience to change you for better.
Can you please give an example of what consistency and accountability in relationship choices would be?
You would engage in exclusive or non-exclusive relationships in consistency with what you decide to do based on your values and expectations, taking full responsibility for your actions, that way no surprises nor frustration would come out of the blue, you would know very well what happens and why it happens that way.
If you agree to be in an exclusive relationship, that means your actions would match your words and you would be totally loyal to your partner-girl--friend; and in case you do not comply with your own commitment, you would take full responsibility for the consequences, from a crisis where trust is damaged affecting the relationship, to the end of it for example.
Having a girlfriend is not the same as having a life partner/wife, you know that very well, that's why you need to think how in the long terms each one of these persons would be able to play a healthy role in your life, fulfill your needs and you'd be able to support her in order for the relationship to be really reciprocal, healthy and solid.
I see, thank you. good example, as I have not by my actions of continually contacting Woman A, been loyal to Woman B. Even though there has been no sexual contact with Woman A, I have been emotionally un loyal, The consequences of that is the emotional turmoil I have been experiencing. Since I have damaged that relationship, it is probably best t end it. at least temporarily.
I support you, that makes total sense and seems respectful and responsible too.
Thank you. this has been enlightening. Good bye.
You're very welcome. I am glad to know that. Thank you for your trust. Please take gentle care and consistent action.