Sunday, December 17, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Nothing wrong with putting transition relationship to the test

Testing the waters of the transition relationship

Q: Two years ago my husband died of cancer. He was much older, and our marriage was never easy. Yet, I loved my husband, he loved me, and I believe that, ultimately, our marriage was a success. I grieved hard for two years.

But back in July, something changed in me (long story) and I feel great — free, open, alive! And I decided I am ready to date.

Strangely enough, my first time out of the gate I met someone with whom I am extremely compatible — age, interests, values, etc. I fell. Head. Over. Heels. He likes me too — a lot.

BUT, in his own words, he is terrified because he believes he is my transition guy and, in his mind, transition guy can never be long-term guy. He thinks I simply don't know what else is out there and I need to explore.

Eh, I'm not that interested in exploring. Money is tight and I could use more friends, but I have a really good life in almost every way. I am still doing things to expand my circle of friends, so it's not like I have turned my life over to him. Yet, he pulls back and is very guarded.

I should add that he split from his second wife a year ago, so he is in a transition, too.

Can a transition relationship never become a real relationship? I think it can but I don't know how to help my friend see this.

Anonymous

A: Yes, of course, transitions can become permanent.

A funny thing happens when your goal becomes one of persuasion, though: Where you might once have been open to letting this relationship run its natural course, whatever that may be, you're now invested in having it become a long-term committed relationship. How else will you prove your point? If you break up, won't he have been "right" all along?

It's impossible to have a relationship without any external concerns, hopes or influences, but you still want to get as close as you reasonably can to creating conditions where the relationship lives or dies on its own merits. You stay because you enjoy each other. You leave because you don't. Period.

Please don't mess with that important process by investing yourself in being the great transition exception.

Instead, embrace the fact that neither of you can think for the other; or know where things are going; or know who's right, if anyone, about whether the transition issue is even relevant — then use that as the root of your positions on this subject.

Such as: "Maybe you're right that transition guy can never be long-term guy. Let's find out by giving it a shot, instead of quitting before we start." Or: "I get the 'see what's out there' idea. I just don't feel that urge myself." Or: "Sure, you don't want to get hurt — or maybe this is really about me as transition girl? What do you say we move slowly?" Validating someone's concerns tends to be a lot more productive than reaching for ways to disprove them. And if he never drops his guard, then that's who he is, not who you made him be.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Thrown off by sudden, no-gift Christmas

Thrown off by sudden, no-gift ChristmasI am meeting part of my family for an early Christmas celebration. Five days out, my cousin e-mails everyone to say she will only be giving a present to her mom and our grandparents. She is skipping our aunt, my...
Published: 12/14/17
Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Superstar Katy Perry: In the ever-escalating arms race to be the most eye-popping pop star on the planet, sometimes you have to call in for backup. Even if you’re Katy Perry. When plotting her lavishly spectacular Witness Tour, which arrives i...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

NEW HOPE: Star Wars partiesWith the opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the force of fan excitement is strong, so of course there are Star Wars parties this weekend. The giant movie complex Riverview 14 GDX is having celebration with characters from...
Published: 12/13/17
5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

1 Battle at the Beach: The Gasparilla Bowl is coming to Tropicana Field on Dec. 21, but before that the bands, cheerleaders and dance teams from Florida International University and Temple University will have a day of beach-related games and competi...
Published: 12/13/17
6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

A grandparent can be a tough person to buy a Christmas gift for. Likewise, many grandparents are stumped on what to get the kids besides some cash. Why not make your Christmas gift something you both want more of: more time together making memories. ...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Leave gender out of division of housework

Leave gender out of division of houseworkWhy is it that when a woman cares about the division of labor at home ó like her home being a decent level of clean ó she is considered to be overreacting?OK, Iíll get down from my soap box now. (Iíll also bre...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Overwhelmed parent weighs out options

Overwhelmed parent weighs out optionsQ: Since my kids were born, my job basically covered the cost of day care. The kids came home overtired and overstimulated.As they became preschool age, I restructured my work to freelance so I could drop off and ...
Published: 12/12/17

Tell Me About It: Identity of biological father is revealed

Identity of biological father is revealedQ: When I was 18, my mother revealed that the father I grew up with was not my biological father. She claimed she didnít even know my bio father, and never contacted him again after their brief weekend fling a...
Published: 12/11/17

Tell Me About It: Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepy

Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepyQ: My daughter, 11, has three friends from school. One girlís parents are generous hosts. "Emma" is an only child and has a pool, fun toys, great snacks.The problem is that Emmaís parents donít let Emma be a gu...
Published: 12/10/17
Top things to do for the week of Dec. 11-17

Top things to do for the week of Dec. 11-17

Katy Perry: The Teenage Dream songstress roars into Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Friday ($45.75-$195.75). amaliearena.com. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights begins Tuesday, bringing fun celebrations including Hanukkah in the City at the Sundial St. ...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/12/17