year of living copyIs not this the true romantic feeling—not to desire to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping you? — Thomas Wolfe


You’re almost there! You’ve described, interpreted, and linked a behavior to your feelings. You’ve also shared with your partner the ways in which you are likely to respond to the behavior that took place. The final step in this process involves your intentions: what you intend to do about the behavior, and, more important, your own relationship with the behavior.

What You’ve Said So Far: I noticed you watching that woman as she walked by and then you just commented on what nice legs she has. When you watched her, and then when you commented on her legs, I assumed that you were feeling attracted to her. I felt insecure and sad, because I’ve been feeling unattractive lately. I felt scared that I might be losing you to someone you find more attractive. I find myself withdrawing from you to avoid these feelings, and I also notice that I avoid doing things in public with you so I don’t have to face this.

Step Five: Stating Intentions. The final step can be seen as the “so what?” of the process. If after stating the “what you’ve said so far” section above someone said, “So what?” to you, your intentions are what you would provide as an answer.

“So, I’d like to talk about what you’re thinking when you do that, and about whether you’re aware of how painful it is for me. You see, I’d really like to keep spending time with you out in public, just without the pain.”

Observe: You’ve stated your intentions, or what you want (to discuss it, to know whether this is about attraction for your partner, to know whether your partner realizes how painful this is for you; you’ve also stated the intention of wanting to continue to be together in public). Look through this process carefully; there is no judgment, and this is why it works.


Today, practice intentions: practice requesting things from your partner without judging and without blaming. Practice, too, leaving behind the guilt at your want, and while you’re at it, practice silencing that voice inside of you that may be saying you want too much. This is your life, and this is your love. What is too much?

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