Man anxious about date with ex-girlfriend

“I saw my ex-girlfriend, Michelle, a couple of weeks ago,” James said as we started our coaching session. “Our first conversation was awkward, but since then, we’ve seen each other a couple of times and have moved back into a comfortable friendship. We’re both cautious, but I’m hopeful that we can mend some of the damage that was done when we broke up.”

“You’ve talked before about how painful this break-up was for you,” I said. “I hear what you are saying about mending damage, but I sense there is something more going on. What is it?”

“I’m pretty clear with how I feel,” he said. “I only want to be friends. She’s a great gal, but I’m safer keeping my distance.”

“Keeping your distance sounds like a great way to stay safe,” I said.

In an effort to see how important this subject was to James, I suggested moving on to another subject. “What else would you like to coach around today?” I asked.

James became thoughtful and quiet. Then he said, “I guess I don’t want to keep my distance, even though that’s what my head is telling me to do.”

“You mentioned staying safe. What are you afraid of?” I asked.

“I’m afraid of getting sucked in,” he admitted. “It feels so comfortable and easy that it scares me. The other day Michelle and I were talking about a concert we went to and how much fun we had. She mentioned a similar concert that’s happening in a couple of weeks, kind of hinting at going to it together.”

“That sounds like fun,” I said, but I noticed that James kept his head down. “But it also looks like you’re not planning to go.”

“I want to go,” James said, “but if I go, what messages does that send? Will Michelle immediately think that I want to get back together? Because I don’t.”

“Were you planning on proposing to her at the concert?” I asked with a smile on my face.

“You’re right. Going to the concert doesn’t necessarily mean getting back together. It might lead to that, but it might not,” he said. “I was getting ahead of myself thinking about 50 steps down the road instead of just taking the first step by going to the concert and seeing how that feels.”

“From the perspective of the concert being just one step along your path, do you feel like you’re being sucked in if you go?” I asked.

“It’s just a concert,” he said. “It isn’t a proposal.”

He smiled and said, “No, I don’t feel like I’m being sucked in. In fact, how will I know what the next step will look like if I don’t take the first step and see what’s there for me?”

Coaching challenge: If you feel anxious or overwhelmed about a decision, see if you are possibly reading more into it than is necessary.

When moving forward in life, it is easy to get ahead of ourselves and “read more into it,” which can leave you feeling stuck.

Take each decision one step at a time and then re-evaluate to determine your next step. At each point along the way, be honest with how you feel and make your next decision/step accordingly.

The key is to take it one step at a time.

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Sheri Fisher is a life coach who lives in Grand Junction. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. For information, go to:


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