consciously. Create a life that you love. Attract the loving relationship
that is "right" for you.
Topic: Uncovering Hidden Ambivalence
greetings to each of you!
weather is shifting and change is in the air. What a perfect time
to revisit your goals for this year and see how you’re doing.
I find that by this time of year, some of my goals have been accomplished,
some have been dropped and some are needing revision.
So give yourself permission to reflect and take stock. Then you
can re-focus on what is truly important for the remainder of the
Life & Relationship Coach
Something to think about…
If you have no doubt that you want an intimate partner, there are
plenty of things you can do to find one. If you aren’t doing
them, chances are you aren’t altogether certain you want one.
Do you long for love, yet fail to take decisive steps to make it
When you do decide to take action around dating and meeting people,
are you easily side-tracked? Perhaps for weeks or months?
Ambivalence may be the cause of your start-and-stop approach
to finding love.
unconscious ambivalence may be sabotaging you and side-lining your
determination to have a loving relationship.
work with singles, I have noticed that some individuals cycle in and
out of ambivalence. One month they are determined to date and push
past their fears or reservations. The next month they are questioning
if they even want a relationship, and their dating plans have stalled
book, If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?, Susan
Page identifies ambivalence as one of the underlying causes for singles
who want to be in a relationship and still aren’t. According
to Page, the main stumbling block for most singles is “not getting
what we want in love, but knowing what we want. We keep ourselves
from moving forward because we aren’t sure which way we want
Many singles have created full and satisfying lives on their
wonder if they should “rock the boat” by getting into
a relationship. One
single client recently said, “Sometimes I ask myself: If I
don’t really NEED a relationship, then why would I want one?”
She questioned whether she should risk the great single life she’d
created for herself, for a relationship which might or might not
dictionary defines ambivalence as “the coexistence of opposing
attitudes or feelings” and “uncertainty or indecisiveness
as to which course to follow”. Recognize these mixed feelings?
I’d like to share my life, but what if I lose my independence?
I want a rich personal life, but what if my career suffers?
I want to share myself intimately, but what if I get hurt?
I want a relationship, but is it worth the risk?
According to Page, there are two types of “involuntary
first type wants a relationship and hasn’t met the right person
yet. This type is probably taking decisive action towards their
second type is ambivalent, either consciously or unconsciously.
When the ambivalent type says they want a relationship, Page says
“what they really mean is: ‘I want a relationship, but
equally or more important to me is:
not having to take risks
progressing in my career
hanging on to my great lifestyle
keeping my secrets to myself
proving I’m right that the opposite sex is the problem'."
the ambivalent person wants a relationship, however they may secretly
value (or fear) something else more. Hence, their efforts to have
a relationship may be sabotaged from within.
you suspect ambivalence is slowing you down, here are some pointers
for moving beyond it:
1) Pay attention to your ambivalence.
will only control you if it remains unconscious. Once you are aware
of it, you have some choices about whether you allow it to call the
shots. So be honest with yourself about your true thoughts and feelings,
even if they seem contradictory.
if you feel justified or righteous about all the things you’ve
done to find a relationship, that haven’t worked. Ambivalence
can sometimes take the form of looking like you’re trying, while
secretly hoping you don’t succeed.
2) Don’t judge yourself negatively.
berate yourself for having ambivalence. It is a self-protective mechanism,
often rooted in fear. Be compassionate towards that aspect of yourself
that would rather dither and delay than risk failure or hurt. It is
a very human tendency and you are not the only one who has it!
Ambivalence can’t be willed or forced away. So treat yourself
and your ambivalence with kindness and acceptance.
3) Understand your ambivalence and design your next
ambivalence may be pointing to an important requirement of yours
OR it may simply be a guise for your fear.
When your ambivalence points to an important value of yours, it
needs to be honored. For example, if you’re afraid that a
relationship will cost you your independence, it may be that independence
is an essential requirement for you. You may need to select a partner
who respects that requirement and enjoys having an independent mate.
Your ambivalence needn’t cause you to stop your search. Instead,
it can help you to refine it.
your ambivalence is a “cover” for fear (fear of rejection,
fear of trying something new, fear of disappointment, etc.), it’s
important not to get stuck in the fear. I recommend taking small
steps towards your goal, at a pace that you can handle. This means
stretching beyond your comfort zone, without overwhelming yourself
in the process.
example, if signing up with a dating service seems like too big
a step, then start with a smaller step: Call 3 dating services and
find out exactly how they work. Or talk to 3 people who’ve
used a dating service to find out what it was like. Once you’ve
done that, you may be ready to take action. Or you may be clear
that you’re not interested in this dating option. And you
can move on to something else.
steps lead to the same destination as large steps, as long as you
keep taking them in the desired direction. Most fear is manageable
if we can slow the process down into do-able steps.
If you are STUCK and unable to take action, give yourself
the gift of support.
to a pro-active friend (not one who will agree with you that it’s
hopeless), read a good dating self-help book (see Page’s book
above) or talk to a counselor or coach. Seeking support may be your
next best step.
action toward your goal and you may find that your ambivalence decreases
as your pro-active behavior increases. With my clients, I have witnessed
the empowerment that comes when someone stops waiting for love, and
starts initiating! Their confidence increases, their courage and optimism
grows, and things happen!
one small action toward your goal of having a relationship this
week, despite any ambivalence. (Make that call, find out about that
dating service, accept that social invitation, ask for support.)
The size of the step doesn’t matter. Taking it does.
Vollett, BSW is a Life & Relationship Coach who loves to support
and encourage singles in their quest to have a satisfying, successful
life AND relationship.
offers Get Ready For Love! A Program for Singles. Clarify your vision
for your life & relationship. Then strategize how to make it happen.
Read more at www.shirley.vollett.com/singlesgetready.htm.
receive your free Relationship Readiness Review or book a free introductory
coaching session. Visit www.shirley.vollett.com
for all of Shirley's coaching services.
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