What’s on YOUR non-negotiable list?

Posted by on June 20, 2011 in dating after divorce, single women over 40 | 0 comments

‘Cindy’ is a lovely middle-aged woman, vibrant, active, and successful in her career. Her love life, however, has consisted of a series of men who devalued her and contributed very little to the relationship. She came to me to change that pattern. I congratulate Cindy for taking action to make some internal changes that will help her attract a wonderful man into her life. But she had a lot of history, and change isn’t so simple.

After working together for several months, Cindy has changed many of the negative patterns in her life. She has learned to value herself much more, the first step in learning to recognize what she needs in a relationship in order to feel valued by a man.

She has a solid list of non-negotiables, the traits in a man that she can’t live without. If a man doesn’t fit the list, he doesn’t get to be a part of her life. She is quickly extricating herself from toxic relationships. She has learned not to go on a second date with a man who drinks four alcoholic beverages on a first date (true story)!

She finally met someone who looked like a keeper. He’s a giver, a nurturer, and has said and done some lovely things. There is one caveat: he’s not yet divorced. He has been separated for SEVEN years! There is no chance at reconciliation. They don’t love each other. So, what’s holding him back from getting divorced? FEAR.

He is afraid he will lose everything financially. So afraid, in fact, that he hasn’t yet gone to a lawyer to get some real information. Without the facts, he is making it all up, which has paralyzed him from moving forward.

Which brings me to the second thing that’s holding him back: SHAME. He hasn’t told anyone that he’s separated. When he introduces people to his girlfriend, he says that she’s a friend. His friends speak about his wife and what a lovely woman she is. And this infuriates Cindy. Guess how she feels when she’s with him and his friends? Devalued, of course!

Which brings her right back to how she felt in past relationships.

I’ve advised Cindy to check her non-negotiable list again. If she wants to feel valued in her relationships with men, she needs to be with men who are emotionally, financially, and legally available to her. Otherwise, she will not feel valued.

She should not make any demands on him. She needs to let him know that as long as he’s still married, it won’t work for her. She really likes him, and she will tell him that. If and when he is divorced, he should feel free to contact her.

Only then will he be free to develop the kind of relationship devoid of fear and no shame. And there can finally be a chance to develop a real, deep, wonderful loving relationship.

What’s on YOUR non-negotiable list?

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