My partner wants his freedom

I have had a wonderful, supportive, joy-filled relationship with my partner for the past 5 years. We also have a gorgeous three year old daughter. But he wants his freedom. My partner recently said that though he believes I am the love of his life, he feels he is “missing out” by being in a committed relationship. He wants to travel, build his career as a musician and possibly explore other relationships.

I am absolutely distraught. He and I both feel that our relationship is nurturing, respectful and a source of joy but he seems determined to explore the “what if”. I am afraid that he is making a terrible mistake (although I do understand what he wants) We now have a family and a home and if he wants to go overseas etc I would prefer him to do it when our daughter is older and we can go together or as a family. If he leaves me I know that I will never be able to take him back and I TRULY believe that he will want to return to me and our child. He is a good man and I love him so very much. I want him to be happy but I am so very scared.

Your situation is a painful one. He sounds like a great guy, except that he may not be aligned with commitment at this time in his life. He sounds like he is still yearning to be in his Peter Pan phase, and five years is about his limit. I don’t know if there is anything you can say or do to change that. I can also completely understand your sentiments about once he leaves there is no coming back.

From the wise point of view of someone who knows the value of a relationship like yours and who is clearly ready for commitment (that’s you), he is making a mistake. However, he may not be in that place and cannot emotionally understand that wisdom at this time of his life. Sad but true. Bad bad timing for you. Possibly he is too young, but not necessarily in years, and he needs life to eventually teach him that wisdom and value. We cannot do that teaching.

At this point, you need to turn your attention towards your own healing. I would let him go if it were me in your position, and I would focus my energy on self-healing through the pain and also focus on my child. I am so sorry you are in this situation. If there is any way I can help, don’t hesitate to ask

Thank you so much for your prompt and compassionate reply to my question. I am determined to take your advice and let my partner go to learn what he obviously still needs to learn and I told him that this morning; letting him know that my love for him is not conditional on him being with me.

He now says that he does not want to lose me and if he does not have any other sexual relationships but we only see each other a couple of times a week – will that work? I am getting the feeling that this has more to do with his hating the sense of responsibility or obligation that being in a committed relationship brings and less to do with his desire to actually end our relationship.

Can we have a committed, monogamous relationship where he also feels he has the freedom to not phone every night or not to attend family gatherings etc?

How do we accommodate my need for security and his desire for freedom – we really are very much in love – but I am struggling!.

You can negotiate and structure any kind of relationship that works for the two of you. There are no rules written in cement. And you don’t want to get stuck in any cement, anyway. If he is expressing a commitment to monogamy, that is a basic foundation. Your needs for security have as much to do with you developing your own strength as an individual as it has to do with him providing a solid framework for the relationship. That is your job. His piece about freedom.

You don’t need to reply to this email if you are too busy. I just wanted to say Thank you very much for the advice and wisdom you shared with me.

It really did help me to accept the process and keep myself honest and nurtured regardless of what was going on. Jared and I are in a newly-committed relationship now as he has been able to articulate his need for “freedom” and I have been able to accept that he is deeply committed to me but that some of my “expectations” (especially the subconscious ones!) have needed to be re-examined and released.

Your service has been of incomparable value and I wanted to let you know that thousands of miles away from you, on a tiny island in New Zealand, a couple (and our daughter) are living much more honestly and lovingly than we could have done without your assistance!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart – I will be a regular visitor to your website and the latest book is on my wish-list for my birthday!