How Do I Get Him to Deeper Levels of Communication?

 By Nina Atwood

Dear Singlescoach,

I recently got back together with a man I dated for four months and broke up with because of a lack of emotional depth in our conversations. He contacted me later, we discussed the issue, and it was like a light bulb came on for him. After that, we took our communication to a new level of sharing thoughts, emotions, desires, fears, and so on. We are now falling in love at the same level after six weeks of talking at this deeper level (we are in a long distance relationship). After our most recent visit, our telephone conversations are more about missing each other rather than sharing. How do you get back to sharing those heartfelt conversations when you miss each other so much it hurts? It seems that once you hit on all those levels of your heart and soul there is not much left except to talk about the kids and daily activities. I would love to get some deeper conversations going again. How do we keep the communication alive?

Background information: a. We live 5 hours apart, b. He is 51 and I am 41, c. I am a single mother of five and will return to school in his area, d. We have a plan for me to move there in early 2008, and e. We talk in depth about our future together.

– Karen

Dear Karen,

First, I want to acknowledge you for enlightening this man about a core issue – learning how to share at a deeper level with one another. Congratulations for turning that around and opening up the possibility of a real relationship. That said, there’s some risk here that you will drive him away if you don’t adjust your thinking a bit.

It’s normal and natural for a relationship to move past the early sharing-your-heart-out stage and into more focus on sharing about day-to-day events and activities. That kind of sharing is just as important and valid as the other. If you try to force the conversation back in the other direction, you will jam things up in your relationship. A better way to deal with it – at this point - is to allow your communication to naturally flow, without forcing or pulling him in a certain direction.

If you have something deeper to share, go ahead and share it. If he does, trust that he will. Let things flow more at this stage of the relationship. But now I want to address a larger issue that is looming in your future; one that I think is far more important for you to address.

Your relationship is still quite new, and it needs more seasoning before you bring your blended family together. You clearly need more face time and day-to-day life together, so moving to his city is a great step. But I caution you to NOT move in with him at this point. Keep separate households while you let the relationship deepen, and give your children adjustment time. Be hopeful, and be intentional, but make sure your eyes are open. This relationship may turn out to be transitional, so you must be prepared to live your own life and be ready to move on if it’s not right for you.

On the other hand, if he proposes and gives you a ring, I’d say the odds are more in your favor that you are indeed on the road to marriage. Until that happens, keep your eyes and your options open.

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