We've Come to a Standstill. (Let's Reconsider Our Goals.)

Letter #1


I was shopping at Wal-Mart today and they were playing those old songs from the >80s over the PA like they usually do and, suddenly, the words of one of them hit me as if the singer were talking to me personally. I had been thinking about us at the time and now Glenn Frey was telling me I needed to do "some soul searchin'," which is what I really started to do. I thought about how we met, fell in love, and then got involved in this intimate relationship and how we've been together now for over three years. "I love you" is something we say to each other every day and I'll say it again. I love you and I can't really imagine my life without you in it. You've been the center of my hopes and dreams for a long time, but I want you to know that my most important hopes and dreams have not yet become a reality.

It was a long haul, but you and I both managed to graduate in the past five years and find good jobs in our individual fields that pay reasonably well. As I remember, finishing our degrees and starting our careers were the two major obstacles that had originally kept us from planning our future together as a couple. But now you've reached all the short-term goals that were on your list and so have I. And the truth is, we haven't made any long-term goals for our relationship or even talked about our commitment to each other for a long time. So what's next? Do you know? Every time I bring up anything about "us" and our future together, you seem uncomfortable and change the subject. I'm beginning to wonder if we are actually drifting apart instead of growing closer together. Is that just my imagination?

Ever since I was a little girl, I always believed the natural course of my life would eventually include all the trappings of a traditional American woman--a husband, a home, and children--but now my whole life seems to be spent in the typical 9-to-5 rat race. Don't get me wrong, it was a great accomplishment for me to get a degree and find a good job, but now I realize I'm not satisfied with that anymore. I also need to know what you want from me down the road: just a roommate who's a career person like you, a full-time homemaker and mother, or maybe just something in between? Before any more time goes by, we need to decide if we even still want the same things in life and if we both envision our future happiness built upon a relationship together or not.

At any rate, I can't go on much longer the way we are. Things have been getting increasingly more difficult for me in this relationship. I feel like I'm in a car with the motor stuck in neutral and I'm not moving forward any more. You've been out of town for a week now and I'm really missing you. But when you come back and read this we need to have a serious talk about our relationship and what our next step together should or shouldn't be. Just like the man was telling me in the song today, we need to "take a look inside, no matter what we see." We need to do "some soul searchin', just you and me."

The apartment was getting oppressive without you in it and so I've moved in with Susan until you get back. When you find this letter, call me and we can have a serious talk about our future.

Letter #2


I know that you said before that you needed more time, and I have tried to respect that. But we've been seeing each other (on occasion) for almost ten months now, and I'm just not sure where this relationship is going--if it's going anywhere anymore. When we first started going out, we seemed to have so much in common, and I thought you really cared about me. Was I wrong, or have your feelings changed somehow?

I hate to think that you've been leading me along, but I'm concerned because you still aren't willing to make a strong commitment to our relationship. I've tried to express the feelings that I have for you, but you keep putting me off. I believed that we were heading in the same direction. But I am ready to plan my future--am I wrong to still hope that you will be a permanent part of it one day? You always talk about your family and how much they mean to you--don't you ever think these days about having a family of your own?

We need to talk. You must know how much I've come to care about you. I love you--there, I said it. Is there any hope that you might love me too? I don't think I can go on any longer like this. I need to know where you're coming from. If you don't think you can ever feel the same way for me that I do for you, I need to know. I love you, I want you, I need you--but I can't wait forever. Please say that we can get together soon and talk.

Letter #3


I was at the mall today, and stopped to watch a young boy playing at a pinball machine. I observed him for a little while and he always kept the ball in play--back and forth, up and down. That's when it hit me. My relationship with you has been bouncing all over the game board, too, for over a year now. But it never really moves forward--the game just continues.

We've dated, we say "I love you," but there is no movement toward commitment. We discuss philosophies on married life--everything from rearing kids to raising a garden--but the conversation never leads to an action. Is it all just words? Well, here are some words for you: I love you. I can't imagine life without you. I don't think I could ever find anyone like you. You carry all my hopes and dreams; you are in my every thought. I feel as if I have always known you; you were in my dreams before I ever met you. I am ready to take the next step in our relationship--the BIG one, the one that says, "I'm yours forever. I'm willing to walk with you to the depths and the heights life has to offer. Whatever happens, I'll be there at your side, and we'll face it together. I'm ready. We've known each other long enough to know how we will react to life--we usually even know what the other one is thinking.

So where do we go from here? You know how I feel. But do you know how you feel? I think it's time we seriously thought about "us" and our future. It's time to put away our fears and misgivings. We've danced around the "us" subject for too long now. Whenever I've mentioned any long-term commitment, you've been quick to change the subject--or is it just my imagination?

My hope is that you'll approach "us" with the same determination that you showed when you fought for your degree and your first promotion. That is what I need from you right now--I need you to fight for "us." Otherwise, I'm afraid that we are stuck, or worse, drifting apart.

At any rate, I can't be the pinball anymore. I love you, but I can't bounce around anymore. I hope you will read into this letter my sincere commitment to our relationship. After you have time to read and digest it, let's sit down and have a serious talk. Maybe you'll feel differently, but I hope not. After I drop this letter off, I'm going for a long walk to sort things out--I'm feeling a little anxious. You know my cell number. Please call me when you are ready to talk.

Letter #4


Is it just me, or has our relationship become stagnant after three months of being together? I'm not sure where we are heading, and I believe we need to take new steps in our relationship.

I'm doing a lot of soul-searching and self-evaluation, and I want you to do the same. I'm not thrilled with our relationship the way it is. We have no clear direction, and I cannot continue like this any longer.

I need to know how you feel about us, and where you would like to see us in the near future.

Could we get together on Friday evening, around 8 and talk?

Letter #5


Both my mind and heart are heavy as I'm beginning to realize some things about our relationship. Today I left work early and drove to a quiet place to think--up in the mountains to our favorite grove of aspen trees. That's where I am now as I write you this letter and share my thoughts with you.

As you know, we've been dating for nearly two years now, and we had been friends before that as long as I can remember. My feelings for you haven't changed. I still love you. But our relationship is like a ship on the ocean with no wind in its sails--motionless on the water with no direction. That is to say I don't think our relationship is progressing anymore.

We first agreed to take our relationship slowly and see where it led us. Then, over time, "life" began to happen to both of us: after business school I wanted to find a career job, and you focused on getting a promotion and paying off some debts. We both wanted to feel secure before we allowed our relationship to move to the next level of commitment. But we've both met our goals months ago, and our relationship is still stuck in neutral.

I feel empty inside. My job is not enough to satisfy me. There's so much more I want in life--marriage, a family and a home. When I think of this kind of life, I really can't picture it without you. We've spoken of marriage before, but only casually, as if the matter required no urgency. Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I think you're a dreamer, as well. I think you probably dream of a better life, and I'm hoping your dream includes me, too.

I've come to a decision now. I can't go on living our "status-quo" relationship anymore. I want to move ahead, and it would make me so happy to move ahead with you--if that would make you happy, too. So I really need to know how you feel about "us." Over the next few days, could you take some time to think about your feelings and what your goals in life now are? Please call me when you're ready to tell me what you've decided. Let's take another drive to the grove of aspen trees, away from the noise of the city, and honestly discuss our future.

Please call me soon.

Letter #6


We've been together now for almost a year. Overall, it's been a great year. You know I love you, but lately it seems as though things have come to a complete standstill. We're not moving forward anymore. I want you to be a part of my life, but I can't continue the way things are. I'm not happy because I'm unclear as to exactly what we're doing or where we're going.

The short term goals that we set have all been accomplished, and it's time to set some new goals for our relationship. I would like to see us spend more time together, talk more, share more, and take the relationship a step further. How do you feel? Do you want the same thing?

Can we talk about this? I'll call you.