Try not to jump right into another relationship straight away in a bid to make your ex jealous. I’m not saying ‘’don’t focus on yourself’’ but this is not the way to go about things as it only gives a negative message to your ex which may backfire if they do the same thing. so, what can you do to focus on yourself? You can start from appearance (new haircut, new clothes, get down to the gym, eat healthier, etc) keeping a good attitude and staying open-minded. Upgrade yourself with your outer appearance and inner attitude. Be the best version that you can be of yourself. If you’re really wanting to move on, then maybe you want to check out The Best Chat Up Lines to use on girls.
Typically, men love to see their woman as a prize that they need to work for. They see the woman that they choose to be with as an accomplishment and as someone that took work to earn. It might sound a little silly but it’s true. Men love to know a woman has a mind of her own, is confident, and isn’t easy to get. So, men pull away when women get too clingy. Do not start canceling all your plans to be available to him every day all day.
Thank you for reading this article and I am glad you found it interesting. There are several reasons why a man pulls away and stops contact suddenly without giving you any explanation. The important thing now, is for you to take time and reflect on this relationship. This time is for your personal growth and to rebuild your confidence. You are on the right path by working on your self and learning that you deserve so much more. I know that you truly care for him, because as you stated you have allowed him into your life several times. Keep busy and focus on what you need and try something new. I am not sure if you will ever understand why he became all talk and no action. Take this experience and grow from it so that you can have the healthy relationship you so deserve.
Yes, it seems as though this man has you where he wants you. Even though spending time with him makes you feel better in hopes it will change when you see him it will not. Honestly, I would go ghost for 30 days. Focus on you getting the control of yourself and your emotions because I understand that this can be hard but you deserve better and you have a right to demand better. He will want to know why you aren't talking to him and after 30 days you deliver that message and once you do you have the control back. I have an amazing coach that works with women so if you need anything in the future we are here for you.
Big or small, you have a few options. You could try and sort this out on your own (you’ve probably already tried that); do nothing and see if it somehow gets better (probably not), or you could take the plunge and go see a professional – a couple therapist (a decidedly better if somewhat scary idea). The therapist has a leg up over the other options in a few ways. One is perspective – she is looking at your relationship from the outside, rather than in the emotionally stuck middle that you are undoubtedly in. Not only does this make it easier for her to be a voice of reason and reality, but she can also see the greater gestalt that, up close, you cannot. But the other big advantage is that she probably thinks about relationship problems and solutions a bit differently than you might.  

I was in a relationship with I guy where I pulled away because I fell in love with him and I needed time to process it. I didnt tell him how I felt. I still texted a little, maybe every second/third day just a bit over two weeks, but by the time I came back, he was moody, and started drifting a little from me. He then wanted time apart because he couldn’t deal with my emotional boundary I put up before. So I told him the issues I had and that I fell in love with him. So while we gave each other space, we missed each other. I was happy to see him when I cane back but he begged me to fall right back into the relationship too fast and it was all a very confusing mix of blaming and missing me and I found myself backing away again. Thats when I decided to stopped seeing him, even though I loved him.
Dear Lauren, My ex broke up with me about 3 weeks ago and I just started no contact about a week ago. We were dating over 3 years. I have a college class with her and ironically sit next to her. How do I continue no contact when I see her everyday? The night before she decided to move out she told me she wanted us. The next night she went out after work and told me we were done, and she never came home. We had been living together for over a year now and finally moved into our own place. I'm pretty sure she slept with a guy she had been casually seeing from work the night before she never came home. I know she slept with him and I know we are over but I was her only sexual partner ever. How do I get her to see the good times we had and miss me? I really want her back and think we can be stronger than ever. ...
Even if a man is completely in love – it’s natural for him to drift away at times. There may be something he’s going through that you don’t know about, or he may be having a difficult time at work. The point is, you dont know, and there is more going on in the world than just you. If you feel it in your gut that you guys are still close, give it the benefit of the doubt.
Hi Appollonia thank you for the article I thought it was great. I started dating a guy back in June 2018, it was like a whirl wind romance we were seeing each other at least 3/4 times a week, he asked me to meet his mum after about a week i said no its to soon, then within a month I had met his mum, best friend, sister, female friends, Aunty, cousins. He was bringing me to family events, buying me shoes, cooking for me, spontaneously turning up with flowers and breakfast, coming to my family events, staying with me for a whole week. For 2 months I spoke to him every single day. Then after 2 months he bought us tickets for a festival and at the event we had an argument whereby I had apparently reprimanded like a child. From that point everything changed, he became distant and we were constantly arguing. So I broke up with him in September, but he came back saying he wanted to reconcile. In October we talked and got back together, but he continued to be distant and make little effort, not returning my calls and messages for 24/48, telling me we're meeting up but never making a plan to do so. Always saying he's busy working as an excuse as to why we are not meeting. In December I broke it off again. We were at the same event in January and again he said he wanted to try again, saying we should go away for the weekend and spend quality time rebuilding our relationship this of course never materialised and 3 weeks later I blocked him on phone calls, whats app, and social media. It's now been 2 months since I blocked him and he hasn't tried to contact me by other means. I still love him and want him, but I have been working on myself and will not settle for less than I deserve. However I still don't understand why he changed and why we he became all talk and no action.
Lauren, I believe your advice about giving the ex space is on point and I wish I had given mine a lot of space. I broke up with a man who suddenly dumped me with a phone message when he knew I was not home. Friends of ours told me to give him space, and I did not; big mistake on my part. He is with a woman he and his parents know, she is old enough to be his mother. He sometimes chats when he sees me in the area. I began to feel like I'm sitting on the back burner and decided to just greet him and not chat unless he wants to chat. A good male friend told me to give him six months, it has been three months, so I'll see what develops....
You want to end the conversation on your terms and get back to her at a later date. Remember, this is not meant to be a process where you accomplish everything you want to accomplish in a matter of hours. Rather, you accomplish it in a matter of weeks or months but trust me when I say if you are patient the strategies outlined on this page can be extremely effective.
so one day it so a happened that l had a show to perform in since am a model,,,, he shopped for me and gave me everything l wanted to run the show but surprisingly he never showed up and on going home there was another woman who was there and pregnant for him .......,... l cried out my eyes and l moved out of the house in the middle of the night and left the two..... it marked the end of our communication and l regretted why l just moved out the house and during that time he never wanted to see or talk to me
I’ve been “hanging out” with this guy off and on for two years. Before meeting him I read books on this exact subject. I’ve been married and divorced twice so I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing if I got involved with a man again. I’m very opened about my feels I always have been. I like that about myself but in the past I’ve also been pushy wanting things to happen right away. Now with this guy I’m “hanging out” with has pulled away a lot in the 2 yrs I’ve been seeing him, but he had always come back. I think it’s because I always gave him his space. Since being married and divorced twice taking things slow was fine with me. Just recently though, I couldn’t help myself and I told him that I loved him. I thought for sure he was going to pull away, but he didn’t not right away anyways. In fact, we talked about making it exclusive. I was so happy because it’s what I had been waiting patiently for two years for. Recently, we had a two year anniversary of when we met so being the person I am I gave him a card. I said a paragraph of very heartfelt things. I knew this would definitely make him pull away from me and I was right. Even though I know when it’s going to happen it still doesn’t make it easy to deal with. I love him and I want him to know this. I want him to know that I accept him for who he is. I feel the only way I’m going to get him to trust me is by letting him have his time away from me. When he comes back he’s different, for instance, he more loving sweeter. I believe him when he says he’s happy with me. He too has been in difficult relationships in the past that broke his heart. Love isn’t meant to go fast. Love takes time. I’m glad it’s going this way even though it’s hard because I came from abusive background and it’s why my marriages ended. This guy inspires me to grow and find myself. I’ve started back to school at 43 yrs old because of his encouragement. I don’t feel I have to be someone I’m not when I’m with him. I feel safe when I’m with him. I want him to feel the same when he’s with me. I feel that’s what true love is all about. I may love him but he’s not my whole world, he’s only part of it.
I love this article, I am definitely going to follow your advice. My only concern is that my ex might’ve done the 4wk no contact along with every thing else to me already. He now texts me everyday and he recently told me that he loves me and he misses me but hasn’t said he wants to get back together and he is talking to another girl. Should I still do this?
I`ve been in a 2 year and a half relationship with my boyfriend. He and i shared a very special connection, we went through so much together, like, for real… I got cancer after a few months we started dating, and he was still by my side, when i recovered we went on a two month trip around australia… We made so many things together, things that neither of us has ever done before with other people.
Big or small, you have a few options. You could try and sort this out on your own (you’ve probably already tried that); do nothing and see if it somehow gets better (probably not), or you could take the plunge and go see a professional – a couple therapist (a decidedly better if somewhat scary idea). The therapist has a leg up over the other options in a few ways. One is perspective – she is looking at your relationship from the outside, rather than in the emotionally stuck middle that you are undoubtedly in. Not only does this make it easier for her to be a voice of reason and reality, but she can also see the greater gestalt that, up close, you cannot. But the other big advantage is that she probably thinks about relationship problems and solutions a bit differently than you might. 
Avoiding contact is not just a passive-aggressive way to make your ex miss you. It gives you time to do the things you need to do to prepare yourself for a new relationship (whether it's with your ex or someone new!). Take time during this month to get to know yourself as an individual and to work on areas that you may have let slip during your relationship with your ex. If you contributed to the breakup, this is the time to pinpoint your relationship weaknesses and do the hard work to improve as a human being.
After a healthy and happy relationship for 10 months, he told me his ex wife wants to get back with him. I asked where does this leave me within this equation, he wouldn’t respond, So I asked him does he love me, he said no he does not love me and had never made empty promises nor used the word love! I broke it off and now it’s been 7 weeks without contact! I was hoping he would realise my absence and hold onto the good memories we had together. Will he contact me as I am following the no contact rule as you advise
As much flack as classic romantic comedies receive for being unrealistic, some of their messages ring loud and true when explaining why men pull away. More often than not, experts explain most men withdraw for one of three reasons: they’re lost interest because he doesn’t see a future for your twosome, he’s afraid of becoming too vulnerable with you, or he feels rushed to commit to a more serious union.
"Although it will take some work to rebuild trust, this is your opportunity to form an even deeper bond," Dr. Bockarova says. "But that can only be if you speak up to your partner about what you like and dislike, when you feel hurt and when you feel happy, and how you'd like to be treated." She also recommends therapy to sort out any recurring issues.
good food for thought dave. my partner is 53 and divorced twice. so having his assetts split twice, and in second marriage time splitting with his son. i commend his bravery for taking the courage to still take the risk for seeking companionship with me. (who has also experienced both divorce once and child access splitting) we reassure each other that our assetts and finances are to remain our own, and up to self choices made for how much is shared towards gifts and/or meals etc neither of us want each other to be in our past experiences ever again,… Read more »
He was so sweet, romantic, a gentleman, fun, funny. He made my heart flutter. He tried to recreate my pose in the photo of me he had made his desk top photo. (I had made his photo my screen saver on my cell too. lol) He was doing things to keep my comfortable and told me he didn’t come all this way for sex and proved he wanted more. We were like best friends. So compatible.

Most of us are generally able to pull off being adult at work, or when we're in a good mood. Trouble happens when we're at home, when the mood is sour. It's then that we're apt to slip into feeling like a 10-year-old and get all sulky or angry or powerless. As soon as you realize you're slipping into that 10-year-old feeling (and you know when you are), it's time to remind yourself that you, regardless of how you feel right now, are a grown up, and map out in your mind what a responsible adult may do. Sure, there’s an element of “faking it till you make it,” but by doing your best to adhere to an adult stance you can gradually train yourself to feel empowered rather than frightened or small. It's a matter of catching and changing it; with practice, the catch and change will become easier, more automatic.
Offer to take him out to dinner on your dime. Don’t mention your emotional melt down. He doesn’t want to hear it. Make yourself humble and be grateful that he even wants to spend time with you. If you show him genuine remorse and he see this you might have a chance as long as he thinks you will never do that again. Goodluck you’re going to need it.
Don’t worry just give him time. This situation happened to me. With my bf we quarrelled so severely that I thought i never could get him back and i stopped even trying. I didnt call and write to him about 45 days and finally before new year he wrote to me saying he is so sorry. He could even dated with another girl in that short time. I could never imagine he would come back to me i thought it is really impossible cuz we had really severe continuous argument. So just give time and dont be clingy. Start your own life noatter he comes back or not
Forgive me for not agreeing. Men need to learn how to communicate out of bed as they do in bed if they want a great woman by their side. Otherwise they should get a dog who also can’t communicate and forgives you even if you kick him every time you see him. Accepting less than you deserve so you can understand him better will ultimately push you to leave. Better to call him out and ask for the courtesy of acknowledging your needs too and understand your feelings are important too. When does his considerations stop being about him and turn toward you?
Hi Lauren, i had recently bought the book men are from mars and women are from Venus, it has brought me to try and discover more wonderful information on your page. My boyfriend of three years had recently just left me about a month an a half ago, we had just moved in together and were only living at our apartment for 2 months before he decided to lay the break up on me. He says he needs to find himself and his happiness, this term is still so confusing for me when things for the past three years were going so well. and just 2 weeks before he broke up with me he had talked about marrying me wanting to spend the rest of his life with me. as soon as he left the apartment and packed his things he doesn't want to see me or doesn't really talk to me and whenever we do talk it always ends up in the both of breaking down crying because its so sad. he has told me that he still loves me deeply and cares about me but doesn't want to be in a relationship right now. I have no idea really what to take from all this, i know that i may have smothered him to much in the relationship but at the time i did not know what i had been doing i do know that i some how contributed to this traumatic event. but he is making it seem like its totally over and he is just cutting things cold turkey. i never seen this break up coming and he said to me that it just happened and he didn't even realize he was going to do it. after three years of being together hes acting as if he doesn't even know me. i just need some advice of insight on what might be happening to him or me right now for this to take place? ...
So I started up with this guy about 6 1/2 years ago I was 19 he was 27. I lived in another state at the time and would see him when I came to visit family. When We first started hanging out he would take me to fun places around the city. We ended up sleeping together. He still was showing me attention and we were having fun together. He was sweet and funny and showed me respect. He’d call and talk to me on the phone while I was back home. I came into town for a lil while and had car trouble and no longer had a ride home. He offered to drive me and my friend home. He brought his cousin along to have someone to drive back with and the whole ride back to my house about 6 hr drive he sat in the backseat with me holding my hand and kissing me while his cousin drove. We get to where we are going and he ends up staying the night before hitting the road in the morning. Calls me when he makes it home and tells me about the drive. We continue to stay in touch. Couple months go by and two of my friends and I decide to take a trip to the beach this particular beach about two hours from where I visit family and where this guy lives. So I shoot him a message tell him I’m going to be in his state, he immediately say he wants to come see me. So he drives up there and we stay up all night together watch the sun rise on the beach. He asks me to come back with him. With out hesitation and say yes and there I go with my one tote bag of clothes back to his house. I stayed with him for about a month before going to stay with family. The first two weeks were great. We had great sex and would be cuddled up ever night. We’d go out to grab food maybe get a drink, then he started getting weird. A month goes by and I Decided to go stay with family. Still seeing each other everyday for the most part. I would still go spend the night with him sometimes and then one day he hits me with the I don’t want a relationship With you. Confused as hell asking why and he never had a good answer. He always said it was him not me but specifically said that he didn’t want a relationship with ME, why? I still do not understand to this day. Anyway I ended up finding out that he had knocked up his previous girl and she was having his baby. He already had one kid with his high school sweetheart and supposedly the girl he fell hard for. I honestly don’t think he’s ever gotten over her but the way he talks about her was alway kinda harsh. Anyway here I am feeling crushed and confused by all of this. Then he tells me that he can’t see me anymore he trying to make it work with the new baby mama. Ha that’s funny because the whole time she was staying with him he still would call me and want to see me. She ended up moving out. Things didn’t work out and let me state it was not because of me. So we pick back up and hang out almost everyday again. Having sex most nights me sleeping over and what not. He started confiding in me telling me everything about how he feels about everything besides me. This continues for about 3-4 years I guest a friends with benefits sort of thing but yet we were always doing bf gf things. Yet he still did not want a relationship with me. Not that I kept asking for it I stopped and just accepted the way things were because I cared about him and I wanted him near me. He says he just isn’t in the right mind to have a relationship with anyone doesn’t want one. Then he goes to work with family in a different state. We didn’t talk while he was away. As soon as he gets back he’s calling me up wanting to see me. Talks about how his trip was and how he met a girl and that she was his gf while he was there. Ugh I thought you didn’t want a girlfriend? I’m feel stupid at this point but still felt the need to be near him. He ends up leaving to work out of state again and I finally met someone new that made me feel like I mattered again. I’m with this guy for about four five months and not hearing from the previous one that didn’t want a relationship at all. Then boom he calls on Christmas none the less wants to see me. I’m freaking out like a bomb exploded inside me I hated him for what he did with my emotions I had found someone new who made me feel great and he had to try and mess that up. He showed up at my house I kicked him out feeling frustrated and mad like why? Why do you keep coming back to me? I ignored him even when he’d text me telling me to come over or to come drink with him. I didn’t keep it from my man he and I can tell he knew I had unresolved feelings for him but I hated him or I thought I did. A year goes by and Things got complicated with my man. I fell in love with this new man and he broke my heart. So I did something stupid and decided to let the old one back in. Feeling Harry broken and lonely I started sleeping with him again only once in awhile I didn’t want to see him all the time like a used to because I was already hurt. The sex was fun at first but then he started to pull away again trying to tell me he doesn’t want me falling in love with him. I told him what was up and that I loved this other man and that I just need someone near me. We’ve been doing this for two years now. Hanging out having sex sleeping together. He has moments when I feel he generally feels safe and at hone with me and others where he can’t get away from me fast enough. I have no idea what he wants or is thinking like why does he always come back to me. Why does he insist on making me feel like he wants me but doesn’t. I’ve may his friends his family. Why does he insist on making me feel like I’m not good enough for him? Does he like me does he not? I need answers and he’s not giving them to me. When I’ve asked if he even care at all for me he can never answer me directly always try’s to change the subject. Why am I not good enough for him to be in a relationship with me?

In the dating world, I often see that one of the most common reasons men pull away is that they find the woman to be challenging, and she gives in because she likes him. She starts settling and making excuses for his lazy or inappropriate behavior. There are many times I see a woman dating a man, and he shows all the signs that he is not ready for a relationship with his behavior and his words. Instead of pushing yourself towards him in the hopes of changing his mind, I believe the right thing to do in this situation is to dig deep into your feelings. If you can control your feelings by maintaining a friendship, then go for it. (And I’m not talking about being “friends with benefits.”)
He’s 18 and I’m 19, so I guess it is young enough to be in a relationship. The day after he broke up with me, he texted me saying he felt sorry that he’s ruined my life and that if I ever need anything I could text/ring him. Of course I replied and said I just basically missed him. We texted for a bit and I asked him how he felt and he said his head was all over the place. He said he wanted to get back with me but he would feel like the way he broke up with me, would happen again. He also said he loved me, missed me and missed what we had, etc. This made me feel a bit happy knowing despite he ended things, he felt the same way. He then said he would need a few extra days to properly decide his decision. I couldn’t hack thinking of how many days it could be..
I saw a whatsapp pick of a workmate on my guys phone, he said he used it to let someone leave him alone I got a bit jealous and now he for the first time in our relationship got distant and didn’t answer my calls or texts, I decided to leave him alone since he’s very busy with work but I saw him and it seems he’s chasing me down and came up to me, we had a good brief conversation, though short but I can sense he was happy to see me.
Hello I can imagine your going through a hard time trying to understand this guy. He’s confusing you because he’s confused himself. He has distanced himself because this is what guys do when they are thinking if they want to be with you or not. This also shows how he doesn’t care much about you and more about himself. He says these things like I miss you and all that stuff to make sure your still around for him as an option but does his words match his actions? If he missed you he woukd see you. Does he see you? No ? Then he’s not telling the truth he’s using words to keep you about for his own ego and loneliness. There’s a way u can find out if he wants to be with you or not and that’s by ignoring him he sends u a msg like I miss you can I talk to u or just hello no mater what his msg says u say nothing. A woman’s silence shows and expresses your hurt more than your anger and words do. This also gives him time to properly miss you and it also stops you looking easy in his eyes men want a challenge they want to chase so give him what he wants and don’t feel bad about it either he hurt you did he care ? Sounds like he didn’t.

The day we broke up, we went out fishing with two friends and it was really cool, and we went to see some of his friends play handball ( which is a very important part of his liife, but i have never played, so don’t really care, but I wanted to make the effort for him and to be with him). I was doing so good until he decided to go play ball with his friends during half time, leaving me alone on my chair, while I had come to be with him. There were two people I had talked to before close by ( which was his excuse to leave me) but they were talking the foreign language and imagine how hard it is to engage in the conversation when you don’t know what it,s about and you need to switch language… So i got mad at him and told him it wasn’t cool to leave me on my own.
These men who pull away have an avoidant attachment style. Read ‘Attached’ by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller and ‘avoidant, bad boyfriends’ by Jeb Kinnison. After reading these I realised that I’d been unhappily married for over twenty years to an avoidant man. I’ve since met someone with a secure attachment style and the difference is night and day. Unfortunately most secure men pair off youngish so the dating pool is disproportionately full of avoidant men. DO NOT MARRY one you will be miserable.

Being friends with benefits makes it easy for him to get what he wants and often results in men pulling away. Maintaining a real friendship without an attachment of the desired outcome can give him the opportunity to see you in a different light when he is ready. It’s important to keep your options open and not focus all of your energy on one person if you know what I mean. 😉


Realize when you and your partner’s plans no longer mesh. Couples that once had perfect chemistry can run into trouble when life-goals and missions collide. If one person, for example, wants to go back to grad school while the other wants to travel the world, one person might feel slighted or cheated no matter which choice you go with. If you are constantly fighting or drifting apart because you have different dreams, it may be time to pursue your goals on your own.[13]
The ones who are close to us can easily stab us in the back. Her friends or ex friends were not in her position. I would advise you to open your mind and let the “friends” exit out. A relationship does not include more then 2 people. You mentioned she did not clear it out with her friends. We don’t often see the need to make the close individuals understand as we perceive that they must already be seeing our point of view. Small situations can easily be turned into gigantic ones.

Spend time connecting. When you're in a new relationship, you spend time talking to each other and learning what the other person likes. You discuss your fears and your interests, what you love and what you hate. If you've been in a relationship awhile, you may stop doing this together. If that's the case, you need to consciously work at rebuilding that connection by making time each day to talk. Make time for just the two of you, and when you do spend time together, try to dig deeper than just the day-to-day dramas that fill your life.[22]


Great article . Men deal with emotions differently , they also truly want to be in charge and for this they need to withdraw in order to think . For women its an opportunity to cool down and figure what they truly need from their men . And when he comes back be busy , be sweet ,understanding . Men dont change their mind that easily , the live they have for their women dont fade . Keep calm
Often we women come across much more crutical than we realize. We are so socialized to being critiqued we just take it and deal. Men cant. They cant absorb it, it just sits on them and weighs them down. Always phrase any critiques positively? Sandwich it between two affirmations of good things he does or positive qualities. State you understand him. A man will “man up” when he knows his woman believes him to be a good man.
Then we were completely out of each other’s lives. I stopped thinking about her entirely—save for those random moments I’d spot short brunettes reading on library stairs. I spent the next four years dating other people, with some hits and many misses. One woman stole a couple hundred dollars out of my checking account and got engaged to another guy while we were living together.
Dear Lauren, My ex broke up with me about 3 weeks ago and I just started no contact about a week ago. We were dating over 3 years. I have a college class with her and ironically sit next to her. How do I continue no contact when I see her everyday? The night before she decided to move out she told me she wanted us. The next night she went out after work and told me we were done, and she never came home. We had been living together for over a year now and finally moved into our own place. I'm pretty sure she slept with a guy she had been casually seeing from work the night before she never came home. I know she slept with him and I know we are over but I was her only sexual partner ever. How do I get her to see the good times we had and miss me? I really want her back and think we can be stronger than ever. ...
The hardest question of all to answer though is this one: ‘why do men pull away after intimacy’? The answer is unclear, but it’s usually tied to a man who realized you weren’t what he craved in the long run. Especially when he becomes distant in this case, it can be difficult to repair what you had. We’re not saying it’s impossible for a guy to overcome his worries about you or the relationship. However, usually, once those doubts become so strong that it makes him pull away and become distant, it’s often too late to salvage something strong and durable.

I agree with you! It’s ok if they need space, but I am done putting my life on hold wating for him to see if he wants me. Life is too damn short to be miserable. This article gives you the reasons he’s pulling away. What ya need to say when you see him again is…ive been out enjoying myself. While you were needing your space…I’ve met someone who actually wants to spend time with me. Hope you find someone who will put up with your disappearing act. In the meantime I have a life.

And should even these small steps seem too overwhelming to take within the relationship, try building up your skills and confidence in easier environs. If, for example, you are trying to be more positive or more open or more assertive, road-test these behaviors with friends, strangers or coworkers where there are fewer emotional triggers to derail you. Once you get your sea legs there you can move on to the heavies like your partner or parents.  
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