Today’s article is in response to a question from a reader (via Ask Melissa!) about whether she is being unreasonable by wanting more time with her boyfriend and more predictability in her relationship.
In my response, I provide guidance on how to approach this question, including how to reduce the anxiety around the lack of predictability and slow progress of her boyfriend’s divorce.
And I offer my honest perspective on whether she is being “unreasonable,” and what steps she should take to have her needs and desires met, and the one step she should NOT take if she wants to avoid pushing her man away.
I’m going through a divorce and also dating a man going through a divorce.
I feel like he doesn’t make enough time for me. He tells me that everything is going to work out and constantly acknowledges how patient I have been and how grateful he is.
But it is moving SO SLOW.
I guess I am just wondering if I am being unreasonable.
It causes me anxiety to wonder if I am making the right decision? If I am being unreasonable? If I am being impatient and just missing having a daily companion?
I have spoken to him about it multiple times, and he does make progress, but it is SLOW.
He would have a set custody schedule with his kids and we would see each other more than once a week, transition to living together and integrate our lives.
Am I being unreasonable by wanting more time with my boyfriend while we are both going through divorces?
Dear Graceful Earthling,
Thank you so much for reaching out. I love your alias by the way.
I think, in a way, you answer your own question with your alias.
Allowing you and your man some grace during this time of big transition for the both of you is the best thing that you can do for your relationship and for your own sanity.
I feel your concern and frustration.
Because you are both going through divorces of your own, the transitions are, understandably, requiring a great deal from you both mentally, emotionally and probably financially — which inevitably detracts from trying to build and nurture a new relationship while navigating those transitions.
When you think about it, it’s not just ending a marriage that you’re both contending with.
There’s the transition of ending a marriage AND all the transitions that come with that, such as learning how to be a single parent and/or learning how to live on a single income, and dealing with how the kids are taking the transitions.
It’s A LOT.
And so giving each other the space and the grace to take care of business in this area of your lives first is the best thing that you can do for your relationship.
That way you can be mentally and emotionally available for each other in your relationship when you’re both more available to grow and nurture the kind of relationship that you really want with each other.
The short answer is, if you’re both not available/ready right now for the kind of relationship that you both really want, the lack of availability in those areas could undermine your relationship together because one or both of you is going to feel like your needs are not being met.
Since you’re both going through big transitions at this time in your lives, you’re both dealing with stressors that are affecting your mental, emotional and physical availability.
Without knowing more about your relationship and the status of each of your divorces and other pertinent details, it’s difficult for me to offer my opinion since I don’t have the full picture.
But I encourage you to take a close look at your situations and examine what are your desires and expectations?
And how realistic are your expectations or desires given the situation?
Being highly aware of the situation that you’re in — knowing what you’re in for and consciously choosing whether you want to take on the risk and stressors that come with dating a divorcing man — helps you manage expectations so that you’re not thrown off or get too upset when things don’t go as you hope they would.
Are You Being Unreasonable?
“Unreasonable,” by definition, means that something doesn’t make sense or is unfair.
I don’t believe in unreasonable needs.
It’s ok to want what you want.
You have a right to need what you need.
Your needs are unique to you and what you feel you need in order to feel loved.
And wanting to spend more time with the man you love absolutely makes sense!
So needs, in and of themselves, are not “unreasonable.”
However, depending on a situation, having a certain need met might be unrealistic.
(Or it might reduce the size of your dating pool for those of you reading this who are single and looking for someone to meet that need).
For example, if you’re dating a single dad and you need a lot of spontaneity to be happy, expecting to get that need met is not realistic (to an extent) because if you’re dating a single parent, dates will have to be planned around parenting responsibilities.
But there are ways to address this in private coaching such as taking a close look at your needs, why they are important to you and helping your shift your perspective so that something that was previously an issue for you in your relationship is no longer an issue for you and no longer causes you anxiety.
But to answer your question, there are no “unreasonable” needs.
But the capacity to have your need met in your relationship might be unrealistic depending on your relationship situation.
In other words, it IS unreasonable to expect or insist a need to be met in a relationship that cannot support that need — that just leads to your unhappiness.
So the questions I encourage you to consider are:
How do you want your need for more time with your boyfriend to be met?
How attached are you to having that need met in a certain way?
Sometimes we get attached to HOW a need is met, when actually a need might be able to be met in a different way that may work better for the both of you.
How aware is he of your needs?
He needs to be aware of your needs in order to have the awareness and opportunity to meet them.
And is he willing and able to meet your needs?
How realistic is it for him to happily or easily meet your needs?
For example, if he is going through a really contentious divorce and undergoing a vicious custody battle that is not yet court-ordered, the likelihood that he can easily arrange a predictable custody schedule that he and his ex are both happy with is NOT very likely in the near term.
So, all that to say: know what you’re getting into so you can manage your expectations and adjust them as necessary.
And, of course, you always have the option/choice/power to not choose this relationship if it is really not working for you.
You’re ultimately responsible for meeting your own needs.
And by that I mean, you’re responsible for
- Making your needs known
- Managing/adjusting your expectations (if that is what you want to do) to be happy in your relationship, and/or
- Choosing a relationship that is able to meet your needs.
How NOT to Make Your Needs Known
Making your needs known is different from telling him what to do.
By being in your feminine power and talking about how you feel and what’s important to YOU, versus what you want him to do, you’ll inspire his masculine desire to provide for you, and it will make a world of difference in how he responds to your desires.
With my private coaching clients, I do custom scripting and help them craft what to say and how to say it for scenarios just like this.
For example, if you’re unsure what to say or how to say it, I help you script your texts, emails and face-to-face messages so that you feel grounded in your feminine power and you feel clear, confident and good about what you’re going to say and you know exactly when you should say it!
And, the scripting is designed to help you authentically express yourself in a way that inspires the result — whether it’s more attention or more connection — from the man you love!
So, for this instance, instead of saying “I want you to make more time for us,” or even “I’d appreciate it if you’d make more time for us,” it is MUCH more powerful to say “I miss spending more time with you,” or “I love spending time with you,” or “It would thrill me to spend more time with you.”
Because when you tell him what you want him to do (“I’d appreciate it if you’d make more time for us.”) he feels like he’s being controlled and this is a huge turn-off for a man, verses when you express your desires in a way where you make it about you and your desires and how you want to feel, he’ll be much more receptive to meeting your desire.
So, avoid being in the energy of pushing him to do something because that energy of trying to control him or trying to control the relationship is going to push him away.
When you’re in your feminine power of expressing your desires rather than trying to “row the boat,” he’s much more open to you and your vulnerability makes you absolutely magnetic.
If you want more time with your man, do make your needs known to him and give him the opportunity to meet them (you decide how long you want to give him).
But if he’s not moving the needle on meeting your needs, you either have to adjust your needs/expectations or seriously consider whether he’s the right long-term match for you.
I hope this helps provide some guidance!
If you are committed to turning your relationship around and are considering private coaching, I invite you to a complimentary Love Life Success Visioning and Strategy Session where we will get clear on the kind of relationship and life that you want to create for yourself, zero in on the issues that are in the way, and explore the most effective solutions for you so that you can truly have the deeply fulfilling relationship that you want.
Have a burning relationship question? Send me your question here.