Saturday, January 3, 2009

Exploring Concerns with a Noticing Statement

Hi Dr. Jenn,

I had a WONDERFUL time with Danny on New Year's Eve. He brought over some interesting music for us to listen to and also brought me a gift of SILK PJs. It seems too early in a relationship for such a gift, but to be kind I accepted it.

He sure does seem to be working hard to do everything right, including reading a Raw Food book that I recommended. It's almost like he is going overboard to do the things that would get me to like him. Too much, too soon, I think.

Even though I like being with him, I feel like I am needing to hold him off, and maintain time for my SELF. I really like what you had to say about BUILDING MY LITTLE NEST here without too many memories or influence of some guy.

Today I have another date with the Terry who I laugh with every time we talk. I am looking forward to that. I feel that Danny would not be happy if he knew I had a date with another guy today but the right opportunity to tell him did not present itself.

Is it important for me to keep reminding Danny that I am not yet wanting to be exclusive? It seems he is assuming that we are even though I have not told him that. How can I nicely remind him? Maybe not being so available for him will be enough.

Yes, I DO feel that I need more space from Danny. And he left his CDs here without asking and I will make a point of returning those the next time I see him. He wants to see me again tomorrow but I am thinking that I want an evening to myself. I can see that I need/want to schedule in at least one day to myself between dates with guys.

Another thing I noticed with Danny, is that there is some jealousy or something when I pay attention to my dog. My dog is NOT the get in your face type and has not asked for much attention when Danny is here. But Danny has barely even acknowledged that she exists. She is such a big part of my life, that I do want a guy who would like her too.

I like this stage of relationship, where I can just notice such things, and take some notes, and not feel I have to turn everything into a discussion. I also want to see how Danny is NATURALLY and not give him too many clues about exactly what I want and like because I feel he might be trying to BE just what he thinks it would take to win me over.

I am working hard at staying VERY aware that it takes time to REALLY get to know another person, and that the first person they portray, might not be who they REALLY are.

And I am also aware of the ways that I tend to want to be the person I think THEY would like and by being aware of that, I work at first being true to me AND to the little dog in my life.

I really like your suggestion to keep in touch with my girlfriends, etc. I DID go to a movie with my good friend Jamie the other day and we had such a good time catching up on life. I think that watching how a guy feels about that, can be a good clue too, to how he will be about it later. Some guys I have dated can be very possessive with me and my time... and not want me showing affection to my dog.... or spending time with my friends. And I plan to continue to do BOTH of those even IN relationship. Well, maybe it requires somewhat less time with friends but I do still want friends in my life. Right?

Will send a report soon about my date with Terry. We talked by phone again yesterday and again we laughed and laughed. Danny is NOT that easy to laugh with. He is much more serious and "driven".

One thing I really like about juggling is that it gives me something to compare each guy with and think about the options that I have when choosing one to share parts of my life with.



I just love how you are learning to savor this stage of dating! You totally get it now! It’s a real benefit to be able to notice how one person makes you feel versus another. Allows you to get to know yourself and what you really need much more clearly.

It’s also a step forward to be able to just notice things without having to DO something about it. Just noticing how things make you feel, making little mental notes, maybe forming a little hypothesis, then collecting more data.

Like this thing with Danny and your dog. You’ve noticed how this makes you feel, it’s like a little yellow light.

It’s true that you want to see who Danny is naturally, especially with a person who seems to want to please, a little too much. On the other hand, with a situation like with your dog, it’s the perfect opportunity to collect more data by having an open conversation about it.

Exploring something like that now, will give you more information about who he is.

And you can always bring up your concern about him trying to please you, too. I think that might be prudent given all of the signs he’s showing you.

Seeing how he’s able to engage in such a conversation will offer you much insight. If he can deal with something sort of small like this with grace, then it gives hope for handling the more intricate issues that develop later.

I always find that you can bring up these type of things easiest with a simple “I notice” comment.

Something like, “I noticed X about you and my dog. I’m curious, tell me more. ”

Just opening it up like that, will often give the person the opportunity to explain more about what’s going on for them.

Then AFTER you’ve heard their perspective, you can tell him a little about yours AND your needs. That’s ok too.

You want to help the other person understand your needs so it gives them the opportunity to meet them. They don’t have to guess what your needs are or what you want from them.

And in this case, you can follow that up with your concern about him wanting to please you, with a Sandwich, something like,

“It makes me feel so good when you do things like read the Raw Food book, because you know it interests me. That’s so nice. I haven’t dated many men who go out of their way to do things like that! (the positive) I noticed you seem to be willing to do a lot of things to please me. (the concern/negative). I know that in the past, I’ve sometimes been a little too willing to do things to please the men I’ve dated. I just want to make sure we don’t get into something like that here. It’s important to me that we both get to be ourselves. Of course, I think it’s great if we also stretch ourselves and learn about things that we each enjoy. What do you think? (Positive)”

This opens up a whole array of options to explore all sorts of things about both of you, without putting him on the defensive.

If you can have a conversation like this with someone, and have it go well- it tells you a lot about whether your relationship can withstand the tests of time!

Oh yes, and about reminding him of not being exclusive yet. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you can work it into this same conversation with something like,

“You know, I’m getting closer and closer to feeling like being with only you. (positive) It still feels right to take it slow and not just jump into being exclusive quite yet. I’ve had that get so messed up in the past, when I rushed it. (negative) I wanted you to know that I do think we are moving in that direction though (positive).

I invite you to give this whole conversation a try, with your own words of course!

And I do like how you are paying attention to what feels good to you- what you need, in terms of time and space. It’s very easy to just fall into the habit of giving all of your time to someone in the beginning and sort of losing yourself- and your friends!

It’s so important to stand strong and tall, in your Self, in your space. To not lose those boundaries of Who You Are.

As well all know, it’s when two Independent people come together, that they can offer each other Interdependence.

Interdependence is when two people can stand on their own two feet, AND be there to support and rely on each other. That is the healthy way to build love.

Plus, when you keep an active life outside of your partner, with friends and hobbies, you have more energy and ideas to bring back to the relationship to keep it fresh and exciting.

So it is important to see how a potential partner feels about outside friendships and hobbies. It really helps to have a good match in how you see those things. Some people want to be attached at the hip and others, like ships passing in the night.

You need to find a match with what feels good for you!

Let me know how it goes!

Dr. Jenn

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