We do not spend enough time together

-- Question for John --

I am in a 2 year relationship w/a man I was engaged to 10 years ago. After I broke our engagement he married and had kids and I remained very single, sometimes in unhealthy relationships. We found each other again by accident, and this new relationship was better than ever, until an accident caused him to be out of work for almost a year.

We live an hour apart, and I don’t see him for long periods. We don’t spend enough time together for me. He seems to be ashamed of the fact that his funds are limited and we can’t do the things we used to do because of that. He is a very proud person and believes that a man must provide for his loved ones.

I understand that his first obligation is to his children and I don’t expect any more from him right now than he is able to give, but I can’t even seem to get some time lately. I express these frustrations to him and all he can say is that hearing me upset doesn’t help things. I’m trying to be patient, but my natural Taurus traits are trying to dominate!

How can I let him know that I am here for him, I don’t want to pressure him, and that I love him for who he is and not what he does? This relationship is very important to me and I don’t want to lose it. I honestly don’t think he does, either. What’s your advice?

-- Answer from John --

Here’s what I’d do if I were you. Tell him again and again the same two sentences you wrote to me: “I am here for you, I don’t want to pressure you, and that I love you for who you are and not what you do… This relationship is very important to me and I don’t want to lose it….”

Then prove what you say, and give him all the time and space he needs… and learn that this can be your opportunity to grow also. You have been in unhealthy relationships in the past. A healthy relationship is between two people who can each take care of the own feelings. So, for instance, if one partner is feeling “neglected” – instead of pressuring the other person to change and take care of that feeling – they will take care of that feeling themself. I know that this is a hard one, but it is absolutely required if you want to move beyond the grip of unhealthy codependency in relationships. I know because I had to learn it myself.

If you see the wisdom of using this challenge as an opportunity to learn to self-nurture your own feelings, then make that your soulwork for the next six months. You will be a stronger person for it – whatever ends up happening with this guy, by the way, you will grow from doing this soulwork. And it will make you much more able to be in a healthy relationship. You are half the definition of a relationship. Your strength will define it to be stronger. You will not fall into old patterns or codependencies anymore.