A few days ago, I received the following email from a client.
“My girlfriend recently was treated badly by a man she thought was going to be a long-term partner. She then decided that she gave too much love and affection and that she should have treated him like s***. She said she was listening to an online course which advised her to hold back and treat a man you’re interested in badly.
Angeline, I am curious what your feedback would be on this.”
Here was my response:
It’s a great question…without a simple answer!
Before giving any serious advice, I’d want to know more about her situation. But here are my immediate thoughts:
First, I don’t recommend you treat anyone badly.
1 – The advice sounds like the same old game-playing rules, in which you don’t be authentic.
2 – Since she says she feels she “gave too much love and affection” it sounds like things were out of balance.
3 – Basically, if a relationship is healthy, then both people are putting in similar energy to move it forward.
4 – If one person is putting in a LOT more energy (planning all the dates, doing most of the texting, or most of the talking, etc), then I suggest that person needs to back up (not as a game) but to take time and evaluate what’s happening.
That person needs to get CURIOUS and ask themselves some questions:
WHY am I doing more?
Is it because I’m so anxious and afraid that the other person might wander away?
Do the two of us have different needs for the amount of time and energy we spend?
Is there actually a difference in the amount of interest?
Does one person simply LIKE to listen?
Or is the other person feeling ignored?
The energy in a relationship should usually be similar to a tennis game: the ball gets sent to one person, and they send it back. It keeps going back and forth, with both people reaching forward to hit the ball and keep it going. They each spend about the same amount of focus and energy to keep the game going.
Bottom line…be authentic, be curious and ask gentle questions, don’t try to MAKE things go the way you want them to, and look for balance.
Healthy relationships take time to build.
In a garden, the plants that grow fast…are called weeds.
What are your thoughts?
To Your Relationship Mastery,
Angeline & Dixon