If I Lean Back, Will He Lean In?

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness.” Khalil Gibran

 

My clients, Jenna and Steve, have been together for 12 years, a second marriage for them both. She’s very clear that she wants more connection, more intimacy and even more fun in their relationship. She wants to feel like a priority, she wants more communication and she wants more time together. And she’s told him again and again in a variety of ways what she wants.

So why hasn’t he done it?

It’s not like it’s difficult.

It’s not like she hasn’t been clear.

He should want that too, right?

She’s been leaning in hard, trying to make the relationship work for a while.

She’s been the one that planned the dates or vacations. She’s been the one the one recommending books and podcasts and ways to improve their marriage. She’s often been the initiator of sex.

But she’s growing tired.

People and relationships are complex and can’t be forced. And intimacy and connection can’t be cultivated when you’re trying to wrestle it to the ground and make it happen. Sometimes it needs some space to breathe.

You have to create an environment between the two of you where he will want to give you what you’re asking for, where it’s not complying to a request or a demand, but reaching for more within the relationship himself.

And sometimes that means leaning back a bit.

Not trying to force it.

Not wrestling it to the ground and beating into submission.

Not pushing so hard until you’re exhausted and full of resentment or ready to give up.

Leaning back…allowing him to have his experience without making him wrong. Being loving and present because it’s your true nature and it feels better than the alternative. Seeing the best in him and appreciating the parts about him that are truly spectacular. Focusing on improving yourself, managing your noisy mind, and feeling good about how you’re showing up in the relationship.

Not giving up…but not forcing it either…

What you may find when you lean back is that now he senses that something is different; he senses the gap between the two of you. And then he leans in. And when that happens, he’s doing it by his choice and his desire…rather than bending to your will.

Don’t lean back to manipulate his behavior; it won’t work.

But give some space for him to have his experience – without relinquishing any of your desires. That’s when miracles can happen.

I’m still believing that a miracle can occur for Jenna and Steve. And I’m still believing in a miracle for you as well.