My boyfriend has the qualities that I want in a husband: kindness, depth, compassion, generosity and a positive outlook. He is a good communicator with the ability to discuss problems and admit wrongs. I’ve never met a man with these sterling qualities.
I am now 48, and he wants to get married. The only thing keeping me from it is that he can be very taciturn while I am gregarious. It frustrates me when he is not verbally responsive and is content to sit quietly. My idea of a mate is someone like me, who likes to talk back and forth. How can I possibly turn this man down because he is not chatty and extroverted, when he has all the other ingredients for a great husband? I am afraid of making a mistake, as I will be the one to quit my job and move to his town. He is the big breadwinner and is building a new house in the country (his dream). I know my mate cannot provide everything. Are my expectations too high?
Of him? Yes.
Let’s review. He is a good communicator but is habitually uncommunicative or reserved (that’s the definition of taciturn). He is content to be quiet. His contentment—uh, I mean silence—frustrates you. You want him to be different, less like himself and more like you think you need him to be. You are afraid of making a mistake by moving to the country, where you may be more isolated from conversation. You know, intellectually, that your mate cannot provide everything, but you have not accepted this reality. Deep down, you believe that a mate should be your clone.
Sound awful? Actually, it’s exciting. Your dilemma reveals that you are on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough. You have the opportunity to be engaged, internally, in a deeper union with yourself. To do that, answer this: “What is your discomfort with silence?” Without silence, there is no spiritual growth. Your neurotic ego (we all have one) insists that the problem is outside of you. Let’s try a new direction: “What does constant conversation give you?” Is it the feeling that you are seen, approved of and accepted? Does it fulfill a need for attention?
Why not get rid of the need? In the spaces between words, talk to yourself. Or engage in the back and forth with your God. Or meditate, breathing in deeply enough to fill the bowl of the belly, bringing the breath up to expand the ribcage toward the arms, raising the breath into the chest, and then exhaling, pulling the stomach back toward the spine. Quiet your mind. Eventually, you will see that your frustration was simply an invitation into healing yourself. As for your boyfriend, postpone the engagement until you love him as he is.
I am so ashamed, and I don’t know where to turn. I have been having sex with different (married) women at my gym. I am a single male, not dating. When I am pursuing a woman, I am relentless. After sex, I am flooded with shame. Please help me. I see these women and their husbands at social functions, including church.
You are addicted to the feeling of shame and are willing to risk anything to flood yourself with it. Cognitive or Jungian psychotherapy is vital. You also may wish to join the 12-step program Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Of course, there is no love (of yourself, these women or the community) in what you are doing. A more accurate name for the group would be Sex and Lust Addicts Anonymous or Sex and Infatuation Addicts Anonymous, but that would be less marketable. At any rate, there is support for you. Trust yourself to access it.