Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 5:31 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (4)
  • Print

Relationship is out of her hands as she waits for his decision

Carolyn Hax: Invest in productive things you do control — knowledge, better habits, good causes, new adventures — as you wait for him to fully get over his last relationship.


Syndicated columnist

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
What makes anyone think the boor is interested in a baby? MORE
I wouldn't want my child to be exposed to any mean-spirited person who could care less... MORE
Fatal Attraction comes to mind. MORE

advertising

Dear Carolyn

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn!

You espouse the importance of taking time for yourself to be whole and ready for a new relationship, and I agree.

A couple months ago, I fell head-over-heels for this guy, and I know he felt the same. Unfortunately, he had just gotten out of a long relationship and never gave himself time to recover. That eventually caught up with him, and he recently asked if we could take a break so he could fully get over her and piece himself together before we became any more committed.

I agreed, and I do understand, but waiting is really painful. Should I continue with trust that our strong relationship will prevail in the end?

– Anonymous

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Well that’s a bummer, I’m sorry.

I don’t think it serves you well, though, to trust your relationship will “prevail.” Trust that the natural outcome of this waiting period will be the right one, whatever it is; trust that you’re going through the worst of it now, because we’re wired to get used to new realities, even painful ones; trust that you’re strong enough to emerge from this pain better than you were going in; trust that living in suspense without losing your mind is a life skill that, if you don’t possess it already, is well worth cultivating.*

Fill in the blanks with what works for you, just as long as your trust is centered on you and your choices, versus what he does, which is out of your hands.

*How? By understanding that the thing you’re waiting for isn’t coming unless and until you witness otherwise, and by investing yourself in productive things you do control — knowledge, better habits, good causes, new adventures.

DEAR CAROLYN: Haven’t spoken to my father for two and a half years, for various reasons that boil down to his being very selfish and refusing to validate feelings.

He called the other day. Many people in my life think that I should let (my grudge) go because “that’s just how he is,” and that I’m depriving him of my child (born after I cut him off).

I’d love a relationship with him, but his message didn’t indicate any desire to resolve issues, simply to brush them under the rug. Thoughts?

– Calling Dad

DEAR CALLING DAD: There isn’t much for me to go on here, but I do feel comfortable saying that I support unconditionally those who sever ties to people who are harmful to them.

When people are merely disappointing, though, then my advice is to try instead to accept that no one will ever be who you want them to be. We even let ourselves down by that standard. So, if that’s the case with your dad — that your main complaint is his not being the dad you wish he’d be — then think of what you want from yourself, and from other people.

You want to be accepted and loved as you are, right? And forgiven your shortcomings? And not set up to fail?

You can’t make anyone give you these things, but you can show how it’s done by calling him with your expectations set to “naught.” Given that Dad’s shortcomings appear to be of long standing, just make sure you go into it knowing your integrity is your only certain reward.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax. Find her columns daily at www.seattletimes.com/living



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Love the column? Pre-order the book!

Love the column? Pre-order the book!

Reserve your copy of "The Seattle Sketcher," the long-awaited book by staff artist Gabriel Campanario, for the special price of just $29.95.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►