Hax: Taking a break in relationships

The Washington PostDecember 5, 2013 

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 caught up with him, and he 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, but waiting is painful. Should I continue with trust that our strong relationship will prevail in the end?

ANONYMOUS

I don’t think it serves you well 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.

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. 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

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, make sure you go into it knowing your integrity is your reward.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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