Putting Your Relationship On Probation: Part One

Love

Learning when it's time to step back and re-evaluate your relationship.

If things have been dragging along in a stuck or uncertain state and your Beloved has not responded positively to “The Talk”, you may want to put the relationship on probation. This means you will let your partner know that you may be leaving him so that he has a chance to work on things.

This is especially true if you still have hope for the relationship or you want to give him another chance. He is probably already feeling that things are off-kilter between you and that there are problems in the relationship. It may be time to have a caring yet honest talk with your partner that lets him know that for you, the relationship has entered a probationary period. If you have been seriously involved with your partner, it would not be fair to simply leave and pull the rug out from under him without warning.

There are Five Components of a Probationary Talk:

  1. Start in a mature, kind, and loving way.
  2. Be specific about what is not working.
  3. Be clear about your thoughts about the possible end of the relationship.
  4. Touch on the losses you both will have if things end.
  5. Suggest some actions or ask him for his thoughts on what actions he might suggest to turn things around.

In my new relationship advice book, Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor’s Guide to Lasting Love, I give numerous examples of women who describe what they said to their boyfriends in Probation Talks:

I really care about you, but with what has been happening between us lately, I have begun to reconsider this relationship. I am not sure that it is best for us to stay together because we can’t seem to work out our issues about the time we spend together and having a future together. Maybe if we get some help it might work out between us, but I am just not sure.
~Stella, twenty-nine

It would be very sad and painful to lose all that we have built up, for one of us to have to move out, to lose our connection. And it’s so difficult to sort everything out. And I know how lonely we will be feeling. But if it’s not working, it is not working…Our fighting is just out of control and I can’t live like this anymore. Unless there is something you think we can do to get back on track. What do you think?
~Marcie, thirty-five

It was so great in the beginning. But not now. We never talk like friends and rarely have sex. It’s like we’ve become strangers. Maybe we should take a few days apart to think about it. I think going into couples counseling or taking a couples education course might give us a chance. What do you think?
~Shakira, forty-seven

Don’t throw this speech in his face as an idle threat during fights or something you endlessly harass him about to gain power in the relationship. If you turn it into an emotional ultimatum, you will lose personal power in the relationship.

When having thing talk, here are six things to avoid:

1.  A lot of emotionality, tears, acting wounded or helpless.

2.  Making idle threats—for instance, saying over and over that you are going to leave if he doesn’t shape up.

3.  Bringing it up in anger during a fight.

4.  Begging, pleading, convincing him to give you what you need.

5.  Emotional blackmail—“If you don’t come through I am going to hurt or kill myself.”

6.  Attacking or criticizing him for his inability to move forward with you. 

Delivering the message in a kind and mature way shows you mean business and will optimize the chance that he will rise to the occasion and work with you so that your relationship can grow deeper. He may respond in a positive fashion or be willing to go into individual or couples counseling or get help through other growth or educational courses.

What If He Gets Angry and Withdraws?
On the other hand, if you deliver the probation Talk and he becomes defensive, critical, or argumentative and withdraws even more, you have a serious problem. About 75 percent of the clients I have treated tend, after their own anger dies down, to text or call and pursue their boyfriends even though they reacted poorly. And if you do this, he may respond weakly but not with what you want.

You want to hear him come to his senses. Admit he was wrong about pulling back and going radio silence. Promise that he will be a better man. That he wants you. That he must have you. Your heart, your gut are craving to get him back and for him to show that he’s crazy about you—even though you are furious and are not sure you should give him another chance, and even though you may hate his guts. At the same time, you can’t stop obsessing about him. Where you might catch a glimpse of him at a certain time of day. What you did wrong that drove him away. You can’t imagine not talking to him at all and not ever seeing him again. Even though he acted very poorly and cut your heart to the quick.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we listen to our emotions, instead of our more rational brains? Simple: Your heart wants more, much more; it wants to go back to being madly in love, to those floating-on-air days when you first met, to the feeling of being wanted by the one man you love being around. Even if things have gone very poorly, even if he has withdrawn, won’t commit, or cheated. Our hearts want him back.

And the secret we all want to know more than anything else is: Can we come back together in that communion of souls, return to that lost wild ecstasy?

Can this be done?
The answer is yes. If you know how to do it. And if you know how not to do it. If you avoid the pitfalls and siren calls that lead you to approach him in exactly the wrong way, as so many women do—the way that backfires and kills things off!

Using the Lasting Love Program detailed in Sealing the Deal, you can get your Beloved back into a state of “I Gotta Have Her Love”, even after he says he won’t commit, even if he becomes distant, even if he cheats. But you must pursue a certain course of action, one that doesn’t include dramatic outbursts, playing the victim, whining, or wallowing in your grief. And although, there are no guarantees, this course of action can work big-time.

So what is this secret strategy no one’s told you about yet? A strategy that allows him to come back and fully and completely choose you? Get ready, because it’s something so powerful, and I’m going to share it with you in the next excerpt right here on YourTango.com.

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