Asking you where your feet are and those of your partner may sound strange. This is
because we tend to think that feet are just feet, and don’t think about them much beyond
whether they are pretty, strong, or not. Well in truth, they have a lot more to say than that. In fact, they can help you understand the kind of person you are in a relationship with beneath all the verbiage and fancy maneuvering that people display. The reason that we miss recognizing this is that we are too focused on appearance and not the position that the feet are in.
There are three main positions in which we can place our feet, and each one is reflective of who an individual is in the world. Each of the positions has their own characteristics and way of relating to others. The first position consists of having two feet in and is indicative of people who have a real YES for the relationship that they are focused on and are fully committed to showing up from head to toe; mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The two- feet-in person is direct in her or his statements, demonstrates real clarity, and expresses what his intentions are so that there is no mystery. This person can be counted on and trusted, since he or she is willing to totally show up in the relationship. Unfortunately, this position in no way represents the majority of the relationship choices that one can make with their feet. So if you encounter a true two- feet- in person, take notice because you won’t see it very often.
The second position is two feet out. Here again, this person is totally committed to moving in a direction. The only difference from the first position is that this person is focused on moving away from you rather than moving towards you. Also, in contrast to the full yes of the first position, this stance is a full no. It too possesses the same clarity of intent as the first one, and therefore can be trusted as well. Now, many times people question and doubt when they hear a NO, but that is often because they don’t want to accept the loss that comes with a NO statement. This is reflected in the book for singles called “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
Some of you might think that there are a lot of people who are capable of demonstrating the two feet out position. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most people who are saying NO do it passively or express it partially and indirectly. This is especially true in beginning dating. You will frequently hear expressions such as “I’m busy,” “I’m not sure”, “It’s a bad time,” or “I’m out of town.” Or you might also experience phone calls not returned, the person showing up late, as well as people who hide through texting. Any and all of this will leave you confused and obsessing about the other person’s real intentions, as to whether the relationship is trulyending. On the other hand, if your date is someone who states a clear no, treasure it regardlessof the reason, because it will prove to be a rare event.
The third position is one foot in and one foot out. In this case the person is moving in two directions at the same time with one foot going forward and one foot going away. This is by far the most popular position of the three and represents at least 60% of the people you will encounter. It is preferred because it is the safest, since it covers all the bases. You can be sort of in and sort of out at the same time, and minimize any real risk or true vulnerability. Some scenarios will sound and appear like the following: “I want to be with you, but I am not sure,” “They will come on like gangbusters in the beginning and then suddenly fade away,” “ have sex with you, but won’t share anything verbally or “ let you know that you possess some flaw that stops their total commitment.”
The one- foot- out-one- foot -in person is a study in ambivalence, and if you choose to
be involved with them, you won’t know if you are coming or going. I was involved with one woman who made every day into a drama of whether we were either parting or getting back together. There were so many breakups that I stopped telling my friends because it was killing my credibility. You can be assured If you are in a relationship with this kind of drama and turmoil, l that you are in a relationship with a one- foot- in and one- foot- out person. Chaos will be the norm here. A big part of the chaos that occurs in these relationships is because this individual will not make any real agreements that you can count on. Since they frequently say one thing and do another, agreements are a hit and miss affair.
In addition, I must warn you, if you find yourself staying in a relationship with this kind
of person, then it is time for you to admit that you also are a one- foot -in and one- foot- out person, and you were just pretending to look different than your partner. My clients who fall in love with married men are constantly saying that they have found the perfect relationship, if he would only follow through and leave his wife. If you fall for this, you will be in for a rough ride and miss seeing that the person is a match for your level of emotional risk.
Now many people will present to you very quickly that they have two feet in because they know that this is what you want to hear. If you fail to pay attention to the indicators beneath the posturing, then you will probably be surprised when the one- foot- in –one foot out behavior starts. “The calls become less frequent, the energy dissipates, and vagueness takes over the relationship. If you ask certain questions such as, “What were your other relationships like? What are you afraid of?, or What can I expect in being in a relationship with you?” you will more likely be able to expose this contradictory position. This is definitely true if you encounter any defensiveness or grandiosity when you ask your questions, especially comments like “I don’t play games, I am never selfish, or I am not afraid of anything it is best that you start moving toward the door.
It is important to remember that people who clearly have two feet in have nothing to
defend and nothing to prove, and they don’t usually talk in paragraphs nor are indirect.
Conversely, those who have two feet out don’t give double messages, nor do they walk away in anger and leave a trail for you to hook into. They just leave.
In no way does being married indicate that you no longer have to be conscious of where
a person’s feet are. I see many married couples who don’t have two feet in and hide their ambivalence and disinterest by constantly fighting with each other. Quite often the presence of ambivalent feet is due to the fact that the partners didn’t have a full yes even on their wedding day. They might have gotten married because it was time or the other was available, but they didn’t have a full emotional YES. After several years this gap will truly emerge and create a hostile distance between you and your partner. Another group of married people are constantly pretending and threatening to leave, but their NO is just a manipulation rather than a position that they can carry through with.
If you can use this awareness in your relationships as to where you and your partner’s
feet are, you can save yourself significant time and energy that is typically wasted in endless frustration as you chase after the one- foot- in-one foot out person or insist on not accepting the two feet out situations. One woman I know spent years of emotional angst to keep her husband despite him repeatedly saying that he didn’t love her or want to be with her. Another frequent occurrence is when people get ahead of themselves and want to believe that they are truly ready for a two- feet- in committed, intimate relationship when all the evidence says otherwise. There are no tricks here in relationship land. Ultimately, you can only be with your emotional match and you will end up being confused and disappointed if you don’t honor this truth.
Whoever you attach yourself to needs to have feet that match yours or the relationship will not work. Two feet in go with two feet in and no one else. Two feet out go with two feet out. Any one foot in and one foot out person can only match up with its reflection. Remembering this can save yourself years of your life, as you will stop wasting your time attempting to change the obvious.