ERP 133: How to confront the commitment conversation when you are afraid of rejection [Transcript]
ERP 133: How To Confront The Commitment Conversation When You Are Afraid Of Rejection
Return to Show Notes
Welcome to The Empowered Relationship Podcast, helping you turn relationship challenges into opportunities and setting you up for relationship success. Your host, Dr. Jessica Higgins, is a licensed psychologist and relationship coach who shares valuable tips, tools and resources for you to dramatically improve your relationship.
This podcast is 100% ad-free. To support this show, please subscribe and write a review today. Here is your host.
* * *
Hi, thank you for joining today’s podcast episode. Today’s episode is 133, How To Confront The Commitment Conversation When You Are Afraid Of Rejection. Today’s episode is a live laser coaching session with a listener, in regards to his specific relationship concern.
Before we get started, join me in setting our heart, our mind and our whole being to the intention of doing relationship more skillfully, more mindfully, and seeing it as an opportunity for growth. The landscape of intimacy is complex and rich, and poses opportunities for our development, and that’s the framework that I would love for you to consider as we talk about these relationship principles and dynamics.
In a recent e-mail from John Gottman – if you suffer a physical injury, would you wait weeks or even years before seeing a doctor? Probably not, because you know that a doctor can assess what’s wrong and treat it before things get worse. Unfortunately, most couples don’t think of emotional injuries in the same way. The average couple waits six years before seeking help, and by that point it can be too late. The good news is that according to the research, prevention is three times more effective than intervention.
When couples reach out to me in this place of crisis — even within this last week I have had contact with three or more couples that are in a place of separation, possible divorce… Had they reached out to me sooner, I truly believe it could be a different circumstance right now, because the couples that I’m referring to, one couple, the husband, is ambivalent. He doesn’t know if he wants to engage in any couples work.
Another couple, the wife has great disbelief that anything could be different. She does not trust, and this dynamic has been going on for years, so she has very little hope that things can be different
I wanna applaud you for taking time to consider this area of your life, of relationship, and investing in the quality of your development, in the development of your relationship. If you are interesting in deepening in your practice and developing your relationship in a healthy way, consider engaging in the Connected Couple program. You can find that link, it’s actually EmpoweredRelationship.com, but you can also find it on today’s show notes. Today’s show notes are on my website, DrJessicaHiggins.com, click on Podcast and you can find today’s episode, which again, is 133, How To Confront The Commitment Conversation When You Are Afraid Of Rejection.
As we turn our attention to today’s laser coaching session, I wanna frame that the way that I need this listener is in a more intellectual, strategic way, and I am also very aware that throughout this session he talks about feeling terrified. And from an emotional perspective, I would invite him into deepening into that hurt, facing it, confronting it. That was a place I did not go with him, partly because he addressed it more specifically towards the end of the call, but I will say that when we’re confronting inner deep feelings of wound, or even trauma or sadness, that it can be extremely helpful to look at, in this case, feelings of rejection, and look at those losses in the past. Look at where our needs were not met, where the injury was.
Also, asking “What would we have needed and what would we have wanted?” From here, we can develop new ways of being, new patterns, almost as if it’s an up-leveling of the software, a new operating system. Let’s get started.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, so how can I be of service to you?
Listener: Boy, where do I start? I’ve listened to a number of your podcasts. I came across them — I’m gonna say it was probably a couple of months ago, and I’ve spent a lot of time looking at myself, and I’m trying to understand who I am a little bit better, and maybe the type of people that I’ve attracted into my life in the past, and I’m unsure if I continue to fall into the pattern, or if there’s more on my end that I’m missing.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, great. So I love that you’re really paying attention and doing this inner inquiry and recognizing your patterns. Can you describe the pattern for me that you are aware of?
Listener: Well, I think for the most part I probably fall along the empath side to some degree, which leads me to attracting emotionally unavailable people, people that want to take advantage of others, in a sense. I’ve really worked hard on myself and tried to understand where that’s coming from. I would say my deepest fear would probably be the fear of rejection, and I guess I’ve always felt a little bit different as a guy… Not your typical man, in the sense that I may be a little more in touch with my emotions, and that maybe makes it a little more challenging as a guy.
So I’ve really just tried to work hard on liking myself, liking who I am, and trying to surround myself with people that I can connect with on a deeper level, because that’s something that’s important to me.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Absolutely, and I do think whoever we’re relating to, that’s relationships. So whatever the description of the relationship – friendship, intimate… I think there are qualities of that that transfer and that will help you no matter what, so paying attention to those relationships, even if they’re friendships, I think is really important, and I love that you’ve been really trying to accept parts of yourself that for you have felt different than what you’ve seen in other men, and really loving and really coming to like certain aspects of yourself that you’ve deemed different.
So do you have a specific question that I can laser-focus on with you?
Listener: Let’s see… That’s a tough question. I guess how can I have some of those more difficult conversations without coming across as attacking or putting somebody else down, in a sense?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Can you give me a little more context for what you would be addressing in this difficult conversation?
Listener: I guess for me right now, I would say that I’m probably in a relationship with somebody else, and I guess they don’t necessarily like to put labels on what it is, and I guess for me, I like to understand how both people feel, and I guess I feel like she’s not committed at times, yet at other times she is committed, and I guess I don’t know how to bring it up without coming across insincere or hurting her.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, so do you mean insincere in the sense of coming [unintelligible 00:10:36.11] it doesn’t hold as much value for you…? Like, you don’t wanna be too serious about it, but you don’t want it to come across as like a light topic, but then you don’t wanna come on too strong and seem to intense and take her off-guard? Is that what you’re talking about?
Listener: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay. And it sounds like the topic that you’re wanting to bring up is the level of commitment.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, and how long have you been relating to this person?
Listener: It’s probably only been approximately three months. A bit of a unique relationship in the fact that there is some distance between us. There’s about an hour and forty-five minutes between the two of us. She has her kids every other week, which makes it a little bit more challenging, because when she’s got her kids, she has a lot more going on. And for me, I don’t have my kids; my kids actually live about 5,000 kilometers away from where I currently am, so I don’t see them very often… And it allows me probably with a little more free time, in the sense that I don’t have those extra commitments around kids, and I currently rent, so I don’t have those house commitments either.
I tend to have maybe a little more free time than she does, and I guess I’m the type of person that likes to have a plan in place, and I think we’re both kind of on the same page of “We’re gonna try to make it work and see each other when we can see each other.” I guess I don’t wanna go a week, a week-and-a-half without really knowing or having some sort of a plan or discussion around when we could see each other next or when we could chat on the phone next.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Right, okay. So it sounds like a couple things are happening… It sounds like you guys are in that beginning phase where you’ve already gathered enough information about one another where you want to explore a relationship together. You like her enough…
Dr. Jessica Higgins: …and so it sounds as though you are wanting to take the relationship to the next level, whatever level that is, but you’re wanting to invite her into that and you want a reality check if she’s also interested in a deeper level of relationship. Now, have you addressed that very explicitly?
Listener: I don’t know if I’ve done it really specifically.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Because I’m hearing you use language that she doesn’t wanna put labels, and that we’re just gonna see how things go, and that’s very casual language, which is fine… But if you’re really clear on what you’re wanting in relationship… Do you know what you’re wanting in relationship?
Listener: I think I have a pretty clear idea. I’ve been single for probably close to a couple of years now, with a little bit of dating in there, but nothing more than a couple of dates really with anybody. I live in a smaller community, and that makes the dating pool and the dating world a little more challenging. The closest major center is two hours away. So it doesn’t provide a ton of opportunity for dating.
I met this woman, like I said, about three months ago, and we seemed to hit it off right away, and we seem to have great conversation when we talk, whether it’s on the phone or in person. We’ve gone on a few dates, we’ve gone out for dinner, and I guess kind of in finding out a little bit more about her and her last couple of relationships – she had mentioned that they were only a couple of months long, and then the guys were saying that they wanted to see her more, at which point those relationships ended, because she couldn’t commit to more.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay. So you’re getting some indicators that perhaps she is not wanting serious commitment possibly, I don’t know. But those couple things that I’ve mentioned earlier about not wanting to put labels, let’s just see how things go, and perhaps her previous relationships in the most recent past she has not wanted to get serious with. So it sounds as though you do wanna have a serious committed relationship…
Listener: Yes, I would.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, and have you had the discussion around what you both would want in the near future in the way of relationship? And it doesn’t necessarily mean with each other. You can have the conversation around “I’m interested in developing partnership”, and that doesn’t mean that you mean it with her specifically; you like the idea of exploring the possibility with her, but you’re not in a position to say “I wanna commit to you in a really deep way”, but have you guys had that conversation around what she is wanting?
Listener: Maybe a little bit, and I don’t know even if she truly knows what she wants at this point either.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay. Are you scared of bringing it up and scaring her off?
Listener: Maybe in a sense, and maybe it’s more of my own feeling of being rejected at the same time.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: For sure. Yeah, if you’ve talked about having past injury or hurt or fear around rejection, this is territory that’s gonna feel extremely vulnerable, and it’s not safe in the sense that if you guys don’t have a safe container that you’ve established… Or you guys have really no deep commitments and agreements.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: So you would be going out on a limb saying and just letting her know and revealing “I am interested in creating partnership in my life. You’re someone that I’m attracted to and I’m interested in exploring that with”, and just to be open about that. That’s a vulnerable thing to do.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: And with the risk of her saying, “I don’t really know.” It sounds like she might be not very clear whether or not it’s — it has maybe nothing to do with you, it’s just her own space in the world right now that she is, for whatever reason, not clear in what she wants, or she’s got other priorities… I mean, that’s the difficulty with having children and the whole idea of dating and possibly blending — I mean, that’s a whole other big thing, and people approach that differently.
I have someone in the Santa Barbara area and he was talking to me at a party and he was telling me when he got divorced, and his kids are just — I think his youngest is just about to be a senior, and he’s like “I completely wrote off dating. I would date, but I told myself I would never get into a serious relationship, ever. I wouldn’t let myself”, and he was basically asking me “Do you think it’s too late? Have I stuffed that desire of partnership down so far that I can’t access it anymore?” Some people take that approach when they have children and they’re dating; they can be very protective about inviting someone else in, or being serious with someone else. So regardless of the reason, she may be ambivalent.
Listener: Yeah. She’s shared a little bit about her marriage with me, and it doesn’t sound like it was a very positive environment, so I feel that she’s got a lot of — I don’t know if it’s hurt, or walls, but it definitely feels like there’s a lot of pain around that one main relationship in her life.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, and does that concern you, or are you suggesting that that’s reason for her ambivalence?
Listener: Well, I’m wondering maybe if that’s part of the reason for her ambivalence.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Here’s one thought — you sound like a very smart man, not only intellectually intelligent, but emotionally intelligent, and I just wanna comment, and again, take it or leave it, because this laser-focused coaching is just a… I’m doing a real quick blink on it all; we’ve just met, so… But what I was about to say was you could invest a lot of energy trying to understand what’s going on for her, what motivates her, what’s underneath the surface, and that could be all really great inquiry and curiosity, but it might not change the circumstance.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: And I just wanna caution that you could occupy a lot of your time and energy trying to understand all the moving parts with her, and if she hasn’t said “I’m interested in partnership” or “We are interested in similar things”, A, and then B, however slow, if you guys are both feeling caution from past wounds and experiences, that’s all workable… But it’s just how you work together – do we wanna talk about what we know about ourselves? When I have a concern, I’m super scared to bring it up. I don’t know how to bring it up. What works for you?
You guys could talk about how you operate in conflict, or what you’ve known about conflict. Do you guys wanna try to practice some new things together? You can have these — I call them meta-conversations; they’re like conversations about conversations. So you can talk about that ahead of time, but that’s like a next step. The first step could be “Are you interested, in your own life, are you wanting partnership? Because if we want different things, for me that’s the bottom line.”
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Because it’s so unfortunate, it’s almost even tragic to have deep connection, chemistry, on so many levels have it lined up, and then to have the experience where you’re wanting different things, and for whatever reason it’s not a yes. That could change, but I wouldn’t recommend pursuing her further if she’s giving you a no.
Listener: Yeah. I guess that’s probably what I felt. That’s the part that’s hard for me… Because I do feel deeply, and it’s hard to face your own vulnerability sometimes.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Absolutely. It’s some of the most courageous work that I know, and the most scariest, and the most terrifying.
Listener: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: And I don’t know any other way…
Listener: Well, there really isn’t, is there?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: No, I mean… When I’ve done this with my husband when we were first starting to date – I think I’ve talked about it on the show that I’ve had my own experiences with loss, abandonment and rejection, and when I was in this neighborhood of uncertainty of whether or not we were serious, and I wasn’t sure where he was at and I was seeing signs of ambivalence and I had to step into that reality of “He may not be into it. He might really like me and dig me, and we have a lot of fun, and there’s all these great things, but he may not want relationship.” And it was almost as if I had to connect with that grief and that sadness and almost experience the loss, to be able to confront it. It’s like I almost had to walk through that door and be in it.
Then when I was able to honor that reality of where I was at, two things happened. One is I was able to support myself; I didn’t abandon myself, because I didn’t push it away and say “Okay, this doesn’t seem right. Never mind, let’s try something else”, and just skirt the whole issue.
Listener: Yeah. Yeah, because avoiding the issue isn’t gonna work.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: No, for me it didn’t, and I have seen with most people, it’s just we get the same opportunity in the same scenario, unfortunately. And fortunately, because it really asks us to do the work.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: So in my experience, being able to meet my grief and my sorrow, and the risk of losing relationship, I felt ironically stronger, because I was able to be present for myself. On some level, I almost pep-talked myself and said “I can get through this”, and to give myself the reassurance and the self-soothing that I’m okay, and that I’m lovable; it’s not gonna annihilate me. On some level I had to find some lifelines to be able to move forward, and that literally was one foot in front of the other. Scary, scary, scary one foot in front of the other.
So being able to be self-present, and accept and not deny my own real experience, my own reality of what was real for me and really my history – not denying that. So accepting myself and loving myself in the flaw of having wounds.
Then the second thing that happened is — and this has been one of my biggest, biggest, biggest teachers… It’s being able to be really honest and stepping to my now-husband but my boyfriend at the time, from that real place… I didn’t try to put it on him, I didn’t try to psycho-analyze him or the interactions, I just was able to say whatever was real and vulnerable, like “I am scared that you don’t want to be in relationship anymore”, or whatever it was. I had to do this several iterations, by the way, but every time I did that, he would lean into connection. I’m not saying the person that you’re dating will lean in, but for most people, if there’s an honest revealing that’s tender, regardless of the circumstances, they can feel the genuine nature of that and the caring trust that you’re trying to give her, and sharing with her so openly that people will regard that.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: And I think we’re so afraid that we’re giving somebody the weapon to destroy us… I’m just sharing with you that yeah, there were a lot of missteps, a lot of attempts to try to understand it intellectually, and say the right thing and do the right thing, and truly, my biggest path through was what I’m describing.
Listener: Yeah. You know, I don’t wanna get to a point where I am, like you said, psycho-analyzing the other person or over-thinking the situation, which is something that I have definitely done in the past. I try to portray my own feelings at different times, and there have been moments where I guess I’ve absolutely felt her connect a little bit more in those situations.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah. Can I also say one more thing, or do you wanna finish your thought?
Listener: No, go ahead.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: For someone that’s a little skittish perhaps at the moment for whatever reason, I think it’s a huge way of building safety and a display of respect, to be able to say and name it super transparently, “Here’s where I’m at. I’m super interested if you do know where you are at. No pressure like you’ve gotta know where you’re at… If you don’t know, that’s fine. But if you do know, I’d love to hear”, but that you’re naming for yourself what’s true and then you’re giving her space to say what’s real for her.
It’s almost like — let me make this a little more simple… Let’s say even on the first date you’re wanting to hug her, and you can acknowledge the desire; it would look something like “I really wanna give you a hug. Are you open to hugging? Would you like that?”, or some version of “Can I hug you?” So there’s the naming “I have a desire to hug you. Would that be okay? Is that something you’d be open to?”, however you’re asking where she’s at and asking permission.
For somebody that has maybe felt pressure — because sometimes when we’re dating, it can feel like there’s so many subtext and implicit things being communicated, and we don’t really know… There are gonna be all these mixed messages and we could feel something but we don’t know what it is…
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Go ahead.
Listener: No, I was just agreeing with what you were saying.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, so to name it creates safety. There’s this phrase in psychology “Name it to tame it.” So when there’s a lot of anxiety going on, sometimes just to name what’s real can really lessen that uncertainty, anxiety or pressure, and it can really create that safety. And then to ask with openness, with no strings attached, with really like “I genuinely am interested” or “I wanna respect your wishes”, or “I wanna really honor where you’re at.” That can feel like a permission and an openness, and that can be really refreshing.
Especially I wanted to say — I know you’re saying “I’m not a typical dude”, but the gender norms are that men typically… And women rely on this a lot – the dating script is the man will pursue the woman, right?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: And so there can be this pressure of “How do I respond to him, and he wants this? Do I say yes or do I say no?”, and it’s this constant thing, so to really ask her preference or her desire, what she would like, that could be really a beautiful transition into the reciprocity or the equity of like “I care about what you want, I also care about what I want. Let’s see what we can create together.”
Listener: Yeah. I think that all makes really good sense, and if you can allow yourself to be open and honest and try to get a measure of where the other person is after you’ve stated what you would like, then it would give that safe spot for them to be vulnerable and be open and let them say where they’re at, whether it’s what I wanna hear or not.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Precisely. Because truthfully, I would want for you – and not that it matters what I want for you or not, but I would want for you to know sooner rather than later, rather than invest a lot more time, a lot more energy and resources into developing a relationship with her, and she doesn’t want something serious, I would rather you know sooner.
Listener: Yes. I mean, that would definitely make it a lot easier, and there would be less pain if that was the case.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, and just for the neurology of some of the brain — what’s operating here, just from a very crude level… You know, you were talking a moment ago about just how hard it is to be vulnerable, and the mind, or unconsciously what’s happening is you’re gonna seek pleasure and avoid pain. So to have this conversation is probably not gonna be your go-to. However, if you can focus your mind on the long-term – because we’re just talking short-term; short-term it’s gonna feel good to go out to dinner, and have a nice date, and really be in each other’s energy, and maybe have affection or whatever it is that you guys are enjoying together, that’s gonna feel desirable… Versus bringing this up. But if you look at “Down the road, what’s the long-term cost of me not having this conversation?”
Listener: I never thought of it that way.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: What would be the long-term cost?
Listener: The long-term cost would be either one of two things – an opportunity to grow together, to grow that connection, to understand each other on a slightly deeper level, or the ability to not invest more time, more energy into something that might not produce the type of relationship that I’m after.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Right, so when you focus the mind on “What’s the long-term cost?” and you’re also including the long-term benefit, which is to get the clarity, which is to have the opportunity, if she is interested, to deepen in your connection, so to focus the mind on the long-term, then skirting it and avoiding talking about it might not seem so pleasurable, and addressing it might actually seem more interesting and more pleasurable.
Listener: Yeah, because it might absolutely help get me and get us where we’d actually both like to be. I think we all as humans try to find those relationships where we can have the honest, unfiltered conversations with one another without feeling judged, hurt or negative energy.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Exactly, regardless of the label of the label of the relationship.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: I mean, you’ve been practicing this already, which I love. You’ve fostered intimate friendships, so you know how to do this… It’s just you’re upping the ante because it’s in the matter of the heart and this is an intimate relationship.
Listener: Yeah, for sure.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Well, as we’re talking, I’m aware that this feels like the next step, but I also wanna say I’m aware that sometimes it’s not this cut and dry… Because she might say “I don’t know”, and then you’re like “I want partnership, and I’m interested in that and I would love to explore what we could create together and if we’re a good fit.”
For her, she could say “I like you, you’re amazing; I don’t really know what I want, it’s super complicated for me right now”, and you could take that as a no, if you’re really taking a stand for bringing in partnership and deep intimacy, and that that is something you’re committed to. She would be a not it, if that was your number one…
Dr. Jessica Higgins: However, if you are in the position of feeling like there’s enough signs of possibility that you’re not ready to say “Okay, I’m done”, it will take repetitive practice of some of this stuff to continue to name what’s true for you, reveal it, invite a space where you’re curious about her experience. It might take her a little longer to be transparent and open with you… But if she’s leaning in and if she’s doing the work, then that could be enough of a yes that she’s on the naming what you guys are, the label of what you guys are she’s ambivalent, but the practice of being in relationship, she shows up and she’s a yes. So that’s a mixed message. She’s not saying explicitly “I want deeper partnership and I wanna explore that with you”, she can’t give you that, but what she’s giving you si she’s willing to do relationship process with you in a way that feels really fulfilling. When you do you work, she matches you.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: That’s gonna be a confusing place, because it’s gonna be a mixed message.
Listener: Absolutely. And I guess when I really look at it from my perspective, if I want the type of relationship where I can have these conversations, then I need to be extra cautious and just truly aware of what I’m getting in return when I open myself up in these instances. It might be something very small, like you’re saying – she might not be able to provide the words of saying “Yeah, I want a deeply committed, loving relationship”, because of everything that she’s gone through and her own journey. But if I can have those conversations, at least then I’m opening myself up to give myself the opportunity to say “No, absolutely, I wanna continue working together”, and maybe see that she opens up in those instances too and shares a little more about her own story, her own struggles, her own pain, and we can navigate that together. Or I can decide that “You know what, this is a definite no based on what I’m seeing.”
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Exactly, because you can think about all of this, but you won’t actually know until you get into practice, and how she shows up and the information you get when you do your work.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Because we can’t anticipate how somebody’s gonna respond based on our change in behavior; that’s a total fantasy, we have no idea.
Listener: Absolutely, yeah.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: So the only way to actually experiment is through practice, and I think you’re exactly right, I think that’s your answer… It’s “If I show up and I really do my work, my part, and I open the door for this type of relationship that I’m wanting in practice, does she meet me?” and all the things you’ve just said. I feel like that’s it.
Listener: Yeah, and I think that’s the most important aspect. Some of those conversations can be terrifying.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, but if you don’t have them, the other thing is you probably will feel out of integrity. You’re not gonna like yourself. You’re gonna feel like you didn’t have your own back.
Listener: Yes, absolutely. And at the end of the day, don’t we have to look out for ourselves first?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, I mean, it’s your life, right?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, so the only other thing I would invite you is to — it sounds like you’ve done some great work to think positively about yourself, you have a support system… So you’re talking about how scary it is to have these conversations, so I would recommend doing some filling up of your own cup, whether or not it’s the things you say to yourself going into that conversation of what’s gonna help you feel reassured of your worthiness, despite maybe feeling rejected on some level, but you will be okay… Like, how can you find a ground for your self-worth and your security for yourself.
You can only do the best you can, but that’s the only thing I would suggest, in addition to what we’ve already talked about, as you move forward to approach these conversations… It’s to really practice safe vulnerability, where you don’t put yourself out on the road and you’re naked and you’re standing in the middle of traffic; that’s not what we’re looking for, right? We’re looking for you to feel safe, for you to feel grounded, for you to feel whole and complete, and when you feel like there’s, to the best of your prediction, an opportunity for you to step into that opportunity, but to take care of yourself while you do it.
Listener: Yes. That’s something that I’ve tried to work on in the last couple of years, and it’s something that I still continue to work on. I’ve recently started to do some daily gratitude, and trying to fill my own cup first, so that when I’m in a position to give to somebody else, that my cup is already full, so I can give without it coming across as needing something in return.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yes. And I would only add, if you can also be available to receive, too. That’s one of the tricks – to stand in a place to receive, too.
Listener: Yes, which can also be quite challenging at times.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Absolutely, absolutely. But when you can stay that extra second… I have a client who I’ve been working with; he is a young man in college and just really wanting relationship, and just struggling to meet people, meet women. He’s super socially graceful and gifted, so that really works for him, but he’ll be in whatever setting, and he’ll see somebody he is interested in and he will approach her, and he’s doing a great job of striking conversation, breaking the ice, and then he gets cold feet, and then he just turns away. I’m like, “I feel like if you would just ask yourself to stay one more minute, that you would — yes, it’s basically risking her rejecting you, but you’re also creating a huge opportunity”, because I feel like he was ducking out too quick; he just didn’t wanna give somebody the opportunity to turn him down.
So I’ve just talked to him this week, and he said, “Guess what?!” He was at the Apple Store and struck up this conversation, and he was like, “You were in my voice, you were in my mind, and I stayed one more second”, and it shifted in that he got a date. I haven’t heard how the date has gone, but… So it is scary to stay that extra second and see if somebody reciprocates, but that’s also where we get to have connection and feel loved.
Listener: Yes. You know, I feel that maybe that’s partly me too, right? “Let’s run away before somebody else can do it to us.”
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Exactly. Or like you said, you have chosen women that aren’t really that available, that were not really meeting someone at a vibration that they’re a yes, so we are being seen. If they’re not available, there’s all this other stuff that we get to preoccupy ourselves with, rather than true intimacy, and the fear of that.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Is there anything else?
Listener: Not that I can think of right now. I think you’ve given me a lot of great information, and a few things that I can work on. I’m gonna try to have some of those more challenging conversations and just really try to be mindful of being vulnerable for myself, filling my cup first, and then allowing her the opportunity of some openness afterwards, so that she can respond however she responds. Then I’m gonna have to decide if it’s something that I’d like to continue to pursue, or if it’s something that I need to maybe look at closing at this moment.
I hope you have enjoyed today’s episode. Again, this is 133 – How To Confront The Commitment Conversations When You Are Afraid Of Rejection. If you are interested in reaching out to me to learn about coaching or any other questions, you can find me on my website, which is DrJessicaHiggins.com, click on Contact, and you can find all the ways to reach me there.
Until next time, I hope you take great care.
* * *
You’ve been listening to Empowered Relationship, your relationship guide. Remember to take a moment to write a review and subscribe today. You can also get your free relationship gift by visiting DrJessicaHiggins.com.
Return to Show Notes