Thursday, October 8, 2009

The thing about red flags...

Dear Brooke,

I am feeling conflicted about several aspects of my relationship. I met my boyfriend a year and a half ago. Neither of us has had prior marriages and neither have children. He is 39 and I am 32. When we first met, he informed me that he "wasn’t sure about getting married and was probably too old for children". I made it pretty clear to him that there wouldn't be a second or third date because I do want to find my life partner and have children. He backed off and said that if he connected with the right person, it could be an option. Hello red flag...if it aint a burning desire and a priority in your life than we're not meant to be....I chose to ignore this red flag, and guess what - I'm exactly where one would think I would be - in limbo.

So a year and a half later we're in love, my parents think he's great, I adore his family, we share the same views with regard to religion, politics, finances and enjoy the same activities....problem is....I have a nagging suspicion that his "time clock" doesn't even closely resemble bigger fear is that I'm with someone who 2-3 years down the road is going to not feel ready to move forward and I’m nervous about waiting until I’m 40 to start having kids.

It’s like he's caught wanting to be a bachelor yet wants to be with me. Another issue compounding my anxiety is that we talk pretty frequently about the future, being married, having kids, where our parents will live when they are too old to live on their I’m hopeful, yet wracked with doubt because his time line seems a little out of whack given our respective ages, not to mention when we do talk about getting married he brings up divorce and me "taking his house and pension".

Of course everyone LOVES to weigh in on this topic. My sister says to just get knocked up, my best friend insists that this is going to end in heartache and to break up with him sooner than later, his mother says wait it out, others say give him an ultimatum. On a side note his father married late in life and didn’t start having kids until he was 40. I’ve tried several different means of communication with varying results....none of which have led to concrete answers. I am clearly not communicating effectively and I need some guidance from you.

Am I wasting my time?

Love in limbo

Dear Limbo love,

There’s so much going on, and I want to support you in figuring out your present situation, But in order to do that, you gotta travel back. Travel back to the day when the red flag was unfolded and strung up to the flagpole for everyone and their mother to see. The day that you, you gorgeous, smart, capable woman… ignored it and ran from it like the frikin’ plague…and agreed to a second date.

As human beings, we never… I mean never… do things that don’t serve us in some way. I know, sounds confusing and a little crazy, but it’s true. We’re always acting on or acting out our issues-- it’s the human condition. We’re incredibly intelligent emotional beings when it comes down to it. We know exactly what to do to get our needs met, even if it means suffering. When kids throw tantrums they’re really saying “see me, hear me, hello I need to be noticed!!” They get their need met. No matter how ugly it looks. So avoiding a red flag, when you seem to know exactly what you want, is a little tantrum of your inner world my love. It happened for a reason…it’s serving’re getting your needs met. Sounds like you have a little addiction to not getting what you want. Un-furrow your brow doll face, I’ll explain…

How is being with someone who may have fundamentally different ideas of what life should look like than you do… serving you? How does not clearly asking for or communicating what you really want…help you? Well, let’s brainstorm some possibilities…

Maybe it’s scary to ask for what you really want because maybe you’ll get it, and maybe you won’t. Maybe you’re scared to actually get what you really want, because it will be so new, you won’t even know what to do with yourself. Maybe you judge yourself for wanting certain things in the first place and that little inner dis-empowering voice yells “hey limbo girl, you are ridiculous and you ask for too much!” Ya, that voice sucks. Maybe you have fear that when and if you actually get what you want, it won’t really be that good anyway and you’ll be disappointed.

Maybe you're addicted to not getting what you want and what you need, so you (unconsciously) seek out relationships that you know you won't get what you need....because you don't know any other way. Think back to some of your other relationships…Hm. Maybe? Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. So many possibilities. The point is…you’re getting something out of this.

The thing about red flags is that we think they say “danger, do not proceed” but when we avoid them and get into sticky relationship situations, those red flags turn into big juicy green flags…leading us into our deepest core issues. Ugh, I know… fun times. Therapists love red flags…it’s like a secret trap door to your inner gold.

As soon as that red flag flew and you agreed to a second date, your inner world knew exactly what it was doing honey. This isn’t about wanting marriage and kids, or an inner clock, or any of those details… I sense that this is about your discomfort around really getting what you want, and your fear of disappointment. Reason I think that… Because it seems like by being with this man, you don’t have to risk your deepest dreams ever being a disappointment, ‘cause they aren’t part of the plan. And no one wants disappointment. It’s one of the worst feelings ever. Ever. So we do whatever we can to avoid it. I don’t know your inner workings love, but it seems to me that asking for what you really want and risking disappointment is scarier for you, than settling for what comes close.

So, now that you are curled in a ball either red with anger or with mascara running down your gorgeous face, let me just say this… That red flag that you are judging yourself for ignoring is turning out to be one of the most amazing opportunities of your life. You get to grow infinitely.

Let’s be clear… I’m not telling you to break up with your boyfriend. I’m saying, begin to ask yourself how being in this relationship is serving you? How is it enabling you to stay in your comfort zone? How is it helping you to not have to take risks you haven’t felt ready to take. Explore your relationship with disappointment. Explore your relationship with joy. And when you’re ready to embrace both of those things, begin to ask…clearly and strongly ask… for what you really want.

Love love loveeeee,

send your questions to Brooke at! Your identity will always be kept private.

No comments:

Post a Comment