Menu

Emotionally Unavailable or is there hope?

HomeForumsRelationshipsEmotionally Unavailable or is there hope?

New Reply
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #364411
    Michelle
    Participant

    I’ve written on here a few times and it has been 6 months since my last post. I was with a guy (36) and me (33) since Sept 2019 to about January 2020. No major problems, everything was going well and we were getting closer and then we had an unexpected fight one day that led to him saying he didn’t really see marriage in his future and likely not ours. He thought we were too different and was hoping to find someone more compatible with him. The things he named as not compatible were not liking the same music and movies and me not getting some of his references.

    The breakup didn’t last and we started seeing each other casually without expectations soon after. Things progressed and we spent a lot of time during COVID together and every time I thought we were getting to a different place and that his feelings might be changing, he would tell me he still felt the same and that he didn’t see a future and we couldn’t be together. All the while we’re seeing each other 2-3 times a week and he’s contacting me daily consistently. I threatened to end it many a time, but summer came and I wanted to continue the fun until this past weekend.

    This past weekend I met one of his friends for the first time ever and I saw that as a huge change. I met the gf of the friend as well, and she shed some light on a few things. She said that my guy has been telling her boyfriend (the friend) that he has been seeing someone for some time, but more recently he started calling me his gf. I didn’t even know about this, so I confronted him about it later and he said well we basically are a couple. So again I stupidly asked him what he felt about us giving it a real go, and that if he really felt that there was someone better and he met that person later, he could bow out. He said he loves me, but he thinks that we should be just friends and that I deserve more. He cannot commit to me that way. He thinks there is someone more compatible out there for him. He asked if I would continue to see him knowing it would end and I said I couldn’t anymore. That I’d like to be friends one day but this was all too hard and confusing for me. A mind *** so to speak. So, he has said he’s miserable now and he needs time before we can talk again.

    I don’t understand what he has to be so miserable about if he didn’t feel that he was losing anything and doesn’t see a future with me! I’m the one who has kept getting played. I just wonder if this is classic emotionally unavailable behaviour. Let someone in, but never let them get too close, or if I really just can’t see these monumental differences between us that would cause problems and he’s right that there are people out there that are better suited for us. I have no perspective anymore and this relationship has taken up a year of my time which is INSANE.

    Any insight, or questions?

    #364412
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    I will read and reply to you when I am back to the computer in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #364456
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    First I will summarize what you shared about this relationship in your first 3 threads: you (32) met a man (35) online sometime last year, and started a relationship September 2019. By January you considered your 4 months relationship exclusive and aimed at the long term. You wrote that he made effort to see you even though you live an hour away (he moved back with his parents in 2019 and considered it “a real step backward”), having gone on local trips, restaurants, museums, shows, etc.; he texted you often, planned dates, paid for quite a bit, helped you around your home, spent Dec 2019 Christmas with his family one day, and with your family another day, and sex with him was “easily the best sex” you’ve ever had in your life.

    But he was “not vocal about declaring exactly what he wants, nor about how he feels”, and it took some probing for him to express somewhat that he is on board with an exclusive, long term relationship with you, but he remained uncomfortable with labeling the relationship and using terms like “boyfriend”. You were upset that although you had him spend New Year’s with one of your friends, he saw his friend twice around the holidays, but didnt invite you.

    You shared that you are aware of your anxious attachment style, aware of your insecurities and “issues from the past that tend to hover over new relationships”, “and I question my thoughts as they arise, or try to sit with them before acting”, “so I have been less impulsive in this one”. You saw to it that you repeatedly expressed your appreciation and gratitude to him, and that he is handsome, but he is less generous or frequent with verbal compliments and expressions of appreciation and gratitude.

    At the time, January this year, you were very focused on whether to tell him “I love you”, afraid that he will not reciprocate on one hand, and on the other hand, wanting to be authentic and let him know what you felt so intensely. Sometime in late January he visited you as usual and the topic of marriage came up. He told you “how he doesn’t see it for  himself”, that his parents have an unhappy marriage and bicker, that marriage “just breeds contempt”. You told him that it worried you “that he seemed so against long-term relationships, and what was he doing with me then?”. He said: “to be honest he doesn’t see it long-term”, that “he doesn’t likely see himself with anyone long-term and marriage has always just been a fantasy”, that the two of you were too different (you use plastic bags and he doesn’t, you don’t finish the food  on your plate and he does, he wakes up at 4 am, and you wake up later, you like different type of music, you don’t get his references), that “if he does find his ideal that would change”, and that the two of you “should find people that are more suited to us as individuals”.

    He said he’d like to see you casually, but that’s up to you. You told him that you loved him and that he made you feel loved, and he said “that he loved me but I was not his one and only”. He told you that he would like to see you casually, that it is up to you and that “he likely wouldn’t be dating anyone soon”.

    You then broke up with him but a few weeks later, February or March, you went out with him to an event. The two of you then considered being “quasi friends, with possible intimacy”, a route he admitted never having gone before with an ex, that “usually he cuts ties instantly when he doesn’t see a future”. The two of you continued to see each other while both being on dating apps “searching for other people”, you going “on many dates, while he says he hasn’t”.

    You wrote in later March: “I don’t have any expectations or secret hopes.. If anything, I love him now more than ever, but I know that it doesn’t have to mean a forever.. I feel I have a lot more acceptance for who he is and who  I am”. You wrote about him: “he doesn’t just have trouble with letting me in, he won’t let himself in.. He doesn’t want to look  inward on his own”.

    A few months later, Aug 10, you wrote about the same relationship that because of COVID, the two of you spent a lot of time together, “and every time I thought we were getting to a different place and that his feelings might  be changing, he would tell me he still felt the same and that he didn’t see a future and we couldn’t be together”. You threatened to end it many times but “summer came and I wanted to continue the fun until past weekend”.

    This past weekend, you met one of his friends for the first time. This friend’s girlfriend told you that your unlabeled boyfriend told her boyfriend about seeing you, referring to you as “his gf”. You talked to your boyfriend about it, and “he said well we basically are a couple”. You then asked him “what he felt about us  giving us it a real go”, and he repeated what he told you earlier: that the two of you should be just friends, tha the cannot commit to you that way, that there is someone more compatible to him out there, etc.

    You wrote: “this was all too hard and confusing for me. A mind *** so to speak”, and suggested that you are “the one who has kept getting played”, wondering if this is “classic emotionally unavailable behavior.. I have no perspective anymore and this relationship has taken up a year of my time which is INSANE. Any insight, questions?”

    My insight, my suggested answers: he is not a player and he hasn’t been playing you. He loves you very much but he hates his parents’ marriage (and his relationships with his parents) more than he loves you. His greatest and earliest fear is to be stuck in his childhood experience: in his parents’ terrible marriage, in his troubled relationships with his bickering parents, in the pain and distress of his childhood.

    He feels most comfortable with his friends, that’s why he told at least one of his friends that you are his girlfriend. He felt safe with that friend, safe from any criticism or attack, so he told him the truth: that you were his girlfriend. He didn’t tell you that you are his girlfriend because he is afraid of you, afraid that you will figuratively, throw him back into his childhood misery and throw away the key.

    Unless we heal from very troubled childhoods (which would require him to attend therapy and move out of his parents’ home, as a start), we keep re-living that childhood. There was so much pain for him there, that his powerful instinct kicked in: NO! I will NEVER in this situation again!

    He doesn’t perceive that a relationship with you- once labeled and declared-forever- can be any different from what he has known in his parents’ home. And he will say anything and everything to make sure that he will not end up stuck there forever. (Saying that you and him are incompatible and that there is another woman out there who is compatible with him, are two such things).

    He is terrified of being forever stuck in his childhood, even though he already is stuck there and literally living there. Thing is, he detaches from this suck-ness best he can, removing it from his awareness.

    What do you think?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #364471
    Michelle
    Participant

    Thank you for you reply Anita. It really helps to have a unique insight into all of this especially because you’ve been reading about it since January and you recapped the history quite well. I feel like most of my friends and family think I will go back to him and they do think that I should’ve left the situation a long time ago. So basically they blame me for going back and think that I will continue to have zero self respect. I thought for sure you would say shame on me too.

    I agree in that there are a lot of psychological undercurrents to the situation. I mean I am aware of some of my own and am working on those. With him though, there is just this extreme emotional availability and I never really thought of the extent that it could be rooted in his skewed lens from childhood and living with his parents again. It does make sense though as he says that marriage would only ever happen under basically unattainable conditions. I don’t know if you remember but he did live with a friend prior to meeting me and it went very sour very fast. He describes the friend as having been a complete slob, never paying rent etc. So he sees any kind of partnership as one where he is likely to get burned. It’s partly why he says he won’t move out right now, as single apartments are very expensive and he won’t live with anyone right now. He does have OCD and I do wonder if he has a form of ROCD.

    All of these issues are not things that I can fix and it may take years of losing before he is tired of that and ready to risk. I just wonder if it’s possible if he truly just didn’t love me enough. That I just didn’t stir enough feeling in him, but at the same time I feel that he is depressed and it would take a tidal wave to really stir anything grand in him. He keeps saying that loves me, in a way, but I am not his one and only. He says it so robotically that I don’t know how to believe it but I am trying to take it at face value. I do feel like we’ve come a long way in the year that we’ve been doing this, but it still all felt false because he couldn’t concede to any of it. It’s kind of insane that he’s been calling me his gf behind my back and I didn’t even know about it until the friend did. But it makes sense what you said, that by telling me I was it would make it unsafe again for him. He did tell me he just told his friend because it was easier that way. That’s what I meant by him playing me, because I feel like he was just doing what suited him best, because he didn’t want to have to explain why he couldn’t commit.

    I just didn’t have enough faith in it to continue and believe that I wasn’t throwing my own self worth completely under the bus for it. I would like to remain in each other’s lives in the future and hope that the romantic love can transcend to something platonic. I will need to stop blaming myself and things I didn’t or didn’t do before I can do that.

    Do you think he will ever realize what he lost?

    #364473
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    You are welcome.  “Do you think he will ever realize what he lost?”- first, I agree that this is his loss. I noticed throughout your writings, that you are intelligent, educated, well-read, insightful, honest, a decent person, seeing the bigger picture, understanding, empathetic.. indeed, no doubt in my mind, that it is his loss.

    Second, will he ever realize that indeed it was his loss? My guess: probably not- because he has been consistently closed to any of your input/ to new awareness. He just won’t consider anything that is not convenient for him to consider. He is stuck in fear and won’t look for a way out (except to make believe that he  is out by not committing to a relationship with you, by not paying high rent, by not moving in with a roommate, etc.).

    You added new information, in your most recent post, that he has OCD. OCD is fueled by fear, I know it personally because I suffered from OCD at an early age, and it came about by my scary, hostile home life.

    * Did you notice him performing Compulsions (the C of the OCD)? And Obsessive thinking?

    “I would like to remain in each other’s  lives in the future and hope that the romantic love can transcend to something platonic”- I don’t see that happening unless you are in a committed relationship with another man. I say so because in March you thought that you did not have any expectations from him, but soon after, all the expectations returned.

    The title of your thread is “Emotionally Unavailable or is there hope?”- I’d say, definitely, extremely emotionally unavailable and no reasonable hope.

    * I was wondering, you spent a bit of time with him and his family- did  you notice the interactions between him and his parents?

    anita

    #364514
    Michelle
    Participant

    Anita, thank you so much for the kind words, I feel like you’ve seen me through a lot of this and it helps to have the extra insight. Are you a therapist by trade or just wise?

    He comes from a very traditional European family (did not fully grow up in Canada) with a sort of cold mother, and a warm but seemingly distant father. They are both gracious people, but the father is a drinker now and I feel these issues have subsisted through most of his life. I did ask if he was able to express emotions as a child and he said that was not encouraged or accepted. It seems that they taught him that church, school and work and marriage would lead to happiness in life and he questioned these teachings. He did not feel understood and still seems quite distant and annoyed with them. He said that in his 20s, while he was travelling that they did not reach out to him much in 3 years to see how he was doing. Not a great dynamic there. I do think that he feels that he has disappointed them in life, with his choice of work and his lack of a marriage and providing grandchildren. He has stated as much and when I came to Christmas dinner last year his father seemed to express extreme happiness for him, having a new girl in his life and welcoming me into the family. He seems to care what they think as in the beginning I would leave from the house late and would walk out to my car on the street at night. Apparently his parents were quite upset with his and ever since then he has always walked me to my car. They also expressed that they wished we would eat with them more, and he mentioned this to me at some point so we tried to do that more. He still seemed to feel that their marriage was not something to aspire to, less than perfect and riddled with bickering and discontent. I see other sides to that and there are genuine moments of care and affection that I have witnessed.

    His OCD seems to surround cleanliness, order and symmetry. When he first came over to my house he stayed over and remarked that my kettle had disgusting limescale buildup and how could I be so slovenly. He found many other disgusting things wrong with my housekeeping skills. His mother keeps a very clean house and it seems that he must have been ordered to follow suit as a child. When we go on day trips he packs the trunk with a very specific order and he will not tolerate food in his car. Mostly his life is orderly and well kept, so that he is able to feel in control. He does seem to suffer from depression as well. Compulsions are learned behaviours, which become repetitive and habitual when they are associated with relief from anxiety. I imagine he would experience relief if he cleaned his room and wasn’t nagged about it by his mother as child. This must have led to compulsions which became habitual.

    I believe the obsessive thinking comes about with his relationships with others. It seems he actually put a lot of thought into our future, but mainly the reasons it wouldn’t work out, which seemed to do with shortcomings about me.

    I really didn’t think I had any expectations left for us, but his behaviour really led me to believe that he might be trying to seek closeness, and he played the role of boyfriend so well that I thought he might be opening up. Each time he had me fooled, or he had himself fooled, I’m not quite sure.

    I went to visit him briefly this evening before I spent time with friends and family. He lives in the same neighbourhood as all of them. I wanted to talk a little in person, and I do feel for how he is doing. He has not be taking our separation well. He said he has been using work to keep as busy as possible, but when I saw him he looked utterly beside himself and depressed. He would barely look me in the eye. He told me he’s been having terrible sleep. He gave me a late birthday present and we talked a little about his work schedule. He didn’t really ask how I am doing. I told him that I’d like to see him when he’s ready and some time has passed for me as well and I really do want him in my life if he felt that way too and it could be healthy.

    He started to walk away to go back inside and said sarcastically “yeah, if you’d want to see me..”I had just told him I did so I asked what he meant by that. He said “well you want to move on, if I can’t do things the way that you want, then you don’t want any of this at all”. He said “you don’t want to keep getting closer.” I found it very strange for him to say that as it felt like he was admitting that we were indeed getting close and that he was almost enjoying that and had been optimistic about it. It was kind of like seeing a pouty child talk about how he wasn’t getting his way. I explained to him that I did want to keep seeing him but not in a romantic way, because he had made it quite clear that eventually he would leave me for someone else and did not see a future with me. I asked him “don’t you understand that this would break my heart and hurt me greatly”. I asked him if he could see himself leaving me for someone else and he shrugged and said “well…” as if it may never happen. Then he said “yes we should take some time…” and walked away. I told him I’d love for nothing more than for us to keep getting closer in a real way, as we had been doing, but not if it meant that he wouldn’t acknowledge what had been going on, and that he would seek out better opportunities for himself. I mean I have also been confused and sort of playing along in this as well, letting him believe that it might go on forever, but I need to consider reality and how it makes me feel terribly at least some of the time.

    The whole interaction left me feeling guilty, manipulated, but also sad for him as I am not sure if he can see his part in any of this.. I don’t know if he truly can see if he’s being selfish. I also don’t know if he was trying to say that he was almost getting to a point where he could dive in. I felt like he admitted to that a little, but now I was ruining that by giving him an ultimatum in his eyes.

    I don’t know, should I have waited to see if he would have gone with another girl, or if he eventually would’ve been happy with me. The one thing it did make me see was what an effect I really did have on his life and how happy I really did seem to make him. He just seemed so lost and miserable today; like any colour he did have before had been sucked out of him.

    I feel an even greater need to tell him how loved he truly is, now more than ever. I know I give the most to people who give the least in return.

    #364537
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    You are welcome and thank you for your kind words. I am not a therapist. I’ve been through good therapy for about two years, and I’ve been very active here, daily for over five years, communicating with many hundreds of people from all  over the world, from teenagers to people in their 70s, with the goal of learning about myself/ about other people, both- it is my online, self directed university, so to speak, and as a result, I am indeed wiser than I used to be.

    You shared that his mother is “a sort of cold mother”. Putting aside who his father is, let’s focus on his mother because having a cold mother is powerful enough, in a child’s mind and life.

    He “still seems distant and annoyed with them”- a child is  naturally close to his mother. The distance was created by her, not by him. She rejected his closeness to her, she pushed him away. As a result he was angry at her, angry that she rejected him, that she pushed him away from her.

    “in his 20s, while he was travelling..they did not reach out to him much in 3 years to see how he was doing”- she pushed him away at an early age, again and again (a child doesn’t easily give up on his mother’s love, still hoping, still trying), and she never tried to undo the distance she created with him long ago.

    “he feels that he has disappointed them in life, with his choice of work.. “- he looked for reason for his mother pushing him away, not understanding that his mother was cold all along, before she gave birth to him, nothing to do with him or his choices in life. (Children automatically take responsibility for how their parents treat them).

    “When he stayed over and remarked that my kettle had disgusting limescale buildup and how could I be so slovenly. He found many other disgusting things wrong with my housekeeping skills”- I see his anger here, anger at you. He saw the limescale buildup and was angry enough to .. almost call you disgusting.

    “Most of his life is orderly and well kept, so that he is able to feel in control”- his childhood experience was chaotic, out of his control.

    “he actually put a lot of thought into our future, but mainly the reasons it wouldn’t work out, which seemed to do with shortcomings about me”- I think that his anger at his mother has been directed at you, not because you are not as clean as his mother, but because she rejected him, because she pushed him away from him repeatedly, over all the years of his childhood.

    He came into the relationship with you angry at his mother and misdirecting that anger at you, so he’s been looking for things about you to attach his anger to. His anger at you pre-existed you (the music you like, the way you eat, clean.. your alleged shortcomings), just as his mother’s coldness pre-existed him.

    “he might be trying to seek closeness, and he played the role of boyfriend so well”- as the social animals that we are we never really give up on seeking closeness in one way or another.

    “I thought he might be opening up. Each time he had  me fooled, or he had himself fooled. I’m not quite sure”- I don’t think he cold heartedly fooled you. He wants closeness with the object of his affection and he gets angry at the object of his affection, both. He moves toward you (affection) and he pushes you away (anger).

    Last evening you visited him and he “has not taking our separation well.. he looked utterly beside himself and depressed.. having terrible sleep”- his affection for you and emotional attachment to you is alive and well.

    But so is his anger: “He started to walk away to go back inside and said sarcastically ‘yeah, if you’d want to see me'”- that’s his anger at his cold, rejecting mother directed at you. And he continued: “if I can’t do things the way that you want, then you don’t want any of this at all”- that’s him talking to his mother. He tried to please her, to do things her way so to get her to love him, but he failed. When he said “then you don’t want any of this at all”, by this, he meant his love for her.

    You said it yourself: “It was kind of like seeing a pouty child talk”- like I wrote above (before I read the sentence I just quoted), he was talking to his mother.

    When he told you repeatedly that there is another woman for him out there, an ideal woman, he was threatening to do to you what his mother did to him: she rejected him for some ideal concept of a son (so he thought, in his mind).

    “He just seemed so lost and miserable today; like any colour he did have before had been sucked out of him”- you got a glimpse of how he looked as a child, living with his cold, rejecting mother.

    “I feel an even greater need to tell him how loved he truly is, now more than ever”- imagine his mother felt this way, when he was a child, seeing him so “lost and miserable”, if only she needed to let him know that she loved him.

    His need for love is still there, but it is heavily mixed with anger for not having received her love for too long.

    “I know I give the most to people who give the least in return”- I suppose you repeat a childhood pattern as well, trying hard to reach out to a parent who did not love you in return, not enough. But you don’t have the anger mixed in, as he does.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #364543
    Michelle
    Participant

    I kind of wonder though. Have I just reaffirmed all of his greatest fears. Have I gone and done what he was worried I would do all along. Just as he thinks he’s getting closer to me I go and do what his mother did to him and pull it all out from under the rug, make it conditional. Just as he was doing to me, I went and did to him.

    People have asked if I waited all this time just so that I could do what he did to me. I don’t wish to punish him. I feel like I am trying to save some love for myself and whoever I may want to give it to in the future too. I felt like maybe I could deal with a right now but I think I was fooling myself.

    I just wonder if maybe people are right and he was testing me to see if I would stick around and now I’ve just abandoned him. Now I see that a lot of his operations were likely unconscious and that he may never have left me for someone else, but he wanted to always have that out. What do you think about that? Do you think that if I’d stayed that it would’ve shown him that someone would ultimately be there for him despite anything and soothed some of his inner child scabs? Or would he have kept pushing me away because a mother’s love is not a void that I can ever really fill. I’m pretty sure his mother has expressed love to him at some point, it just doesn’t seem to have been a consistent thing growing up?

    I just don’t know.. If love requires pain, some self sacrifice? Seeing more than the other person can and staying because they need you? Friends would tell me how **** it was that he could tell me he would eventually be with someone else, and how could I put myself through that. But should I have had the insight to see that that was all just a ruse he was using to push me away and test the boundaries of my love?

    I wrote him when I got home last night. Shared a letter with him that I’d written months ago in anticipation of this time. A time where I might have the strength to not go on operating like we have been. I told him that he was the love of my life thus far and how he has taught me so much, and that he will always be loved by me and that I will always be in his corner. That I want him to have felicity, no matter who it may be with. I’ve written him letters that I never sent since we met, as a way to sort through my feelings. They remained fervent and rather unchanged since the beginning, they just became a little less optimistic with time.

    I reiterated that I was leaving the situation behind and not him and that I will continue to want him in my life when we are ready. I think there is another chapter for us, in a different way I said. I told him that I believed he was saving parts of himself for someone else and ultimately we could never go as deep as we could’ve because of that. And that is something that I need, and I feel like I need to consider myself at least a little bit. I wanted us to have a love that had no limits and ultimately it was stifled in many ways. It felt as though there were parts we just weren’t exploring.

    I just don’t know if I have a pattern of seeking emotionally unavailable people because maybe I too, am emotionally unavailable people. My mother was anxious avoidant in childhood and this was due to her upbringing. She sought out love from her children to fill her voids. My grandmother was very harsh but loving in her older age. Now my mom shares her love with me any chance she can get. My dad was very loving with me but passed in my early 20s. He was also a highly depressed/OCD sufferer. And I have sought out men like him for some time… I am slowly trying to accept love freely, but I am still probably more comfortable giving it. I will be working on this and trying to add more awareness to the patterns that I live out. I have been in therapy before as well. Did I mention that both me and this man have degrees in Psychology. We both wanted to be therapists at one point. It’s really hard for me to see him as a therapist because he seems so entirely uncomfortable with emotions.

    So amazing that you’ve used this as an outlet to learn more and that you’ve been brave enough to do the work in therapy on your own. I mean really you don’t have to be an expert in a field to help someone else, to give them that little nugget of wisdom that they remember and take with them. I’m sure there is a lot of thanks to go around.

    #364546
    Michelle
    Participant

    I just don’t know to what extent he was being manipulative consciously to keep getting what he wanted, a relationship with me… vs the unconscious manipulation.. testing me to see if I would provide him with unconditional love.

    Seeing him yesterday I felt like he was trying to manipulate me to return. Pouting about how it had to be my way or the highway, even though I feel like I haven’t been given much choice in the situation. Stay in a self-destructive situation or try to save a part of myself and bow out early.

    #364547
    Michelle
    Participant

    **Sorry I meant a fake relationship with me. All of the benefits without the commitment.

    #364549
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    “I just wonder if maybe.. he was testing me to see if I would stick around and now I’ve just abandoned him.. he may never have left me for someone else, but he wanted to always have that out… Do you think that if I’d stayed that it would’ve shown him that someone would ultimately be there for him despite anything and soothed some of his inner child scabs? Or would he have kept pushing me away because a mother’s love is not a void that I can ever really fill”

    My answers: no matter how loving, accepting, undemanding, enduring woman you would have been with him, he would have continued to push you away forevermore, even  when the two of you are 80 years old, unless he had some serious psychotherapy for a couple  of years or so. His mother created a void in him, and the filling of that void was time limited. After too many years of void, it is no longer possible for it to be filled without healing. Not even by his mother, if she changed her ways.

    “I’m pretty sure his mother has expressed love to him at some point, it just doesn’t seem to have been a consistent thing growing up?”- no mother never expresses love for her child. No person in the world never expresses love for another. But a smile and favorite food on occasion, even daily, do not make up for repeated anger and hostility toward the child. Her being cold  means she was angry and hostile- the motivation behind her rejecting her son and bickering with her husband for years.

    “If love requires pain, some self sacrifice.. because they need you?”- without him being motivated to attend and seriously work in the context of professional therapy for about two years, your sacrifice would have been for nothing. He probably would have stayed with you. He probably wouldn’t have looked for the ideal woman, a concept that was indeed “a ruse he was using to push” you away, just as you stated. But at the end of the story/ the end of your lives together, he and you would be where you are today, just older, sicker and exhausted.

    In other words, what is the point in sacrificing for a relationship that will not change? You invest in a child so that he or she will grow up to be a healthy adult; you invest in a plant, so that it will grow and flourish. What is the point of investing in a man so that he can keep being the hurting child he’s been for so long, into old age?

    I think that you see yourself in him, you see in him the unloved child that you were and you want to save him from the pain of being unloved. Question is, will you direct your efforts toward yourself and save yourself?

    * It is way easier to try to save another than to save  ourselves.

    “My mother was anxious avoidant in childhood… Now my mom shares her love with me any chance she can get”- the time limit to fill the void that she created in you is gone now. Just like I mentioned regarding his mother, it is too late now for her to fill his void.

    “I have been in therapy before as well. Did I mention that both me and this man have degrees in Psychology.. he seems so entirely uncomfortable with emotions”-impersonal, academic, outside-learning is very different from personal, inside-out learning, when it comes to emotions. He can have a PhD in any subject, and yet be as uncomfortable as he is with his emotions, having no insight, so it seems, into his mind and life.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #364573
    Michelle
    Participant

    He just told me today that he is sorry he can’t return my feelings. I told him I know and that it was okay. I mean for whatever reason, he may just not have strong enough feelings. I may also just be looking for them to be returned in the wrong place.

    #364576
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    He could very well be in the habit of disassociating himself, separating himself from his feelings. But regardless of the reason he can’t return your feelings today, better that you leave him alone and let him be. He is a bad investment for you. Just because you invested so much in him, doesn’t mean it will be a good choice to continue to invest. As a matter of fact, it will be a bad choice.

    But you are hurting, aren’t you? It will take you hurting and enduring that hurt to fully understand that giving up on him is the right choice for you. It will get better, really, if you go through this hurt and see reality like it is. Put all your good intelligence and empathy and resources into helping yourself, not him.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #364578
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    We are primarily emotional beings. Our greatest motivation is to move away from pain and move toward pleasure. Most people will drop all reasonable thinking for a moment of pleasure. Specifically here, you may drop all our excellent, intelligent communication for any sign that he loves you. He can say three words: I love you, and that is all it will take to undo all that we have discussed. Because the best thinking in the world does not compare to a good feeling that we desire to experience.

    But please, stick to the good thinking. The good feeling will follow, just not now, later, much later, with another man. It will be worth it. Persevere, learn while in pain. You will make it, you can make it.

    anita

    #364759
    Michelle
    Participant

    Thanks Anita. I am trying to sit with it and for the past few days I have only texted with him briefly and he is definitely not reaching out to me during this time.

    I have asked if he’d like to get together as friends at the end of the month or in September at some point. He has said maybe and we will see. I know this is my way of ripping the bandaid off a little slower. I really do hope he is meant to be in my life in some other way, but I heed the warnings that you have suggested. I know that it will be tricky and I will have to be fully honest with myself about whether it is something I can handle without falling apart.

    It may very well fizzle out completely and we will no longer have any place in each other’s lives. It will be telling to see what ensues. I recently consulted with a psychic that I have used for years and she basically reiterated all that we have discussed here, just by what she picked up on from his photo. She says he is not a bad guy, but he really does need to sort himself out and that I should not put all of my eggs in his basket. She feels that he is overly concerned with getting hurt or hurting me and he is not ready for a serious relationship. She was adamant that she sees him in my life and that I would know further about where I stand with him next summer. I have been reading a lot of articles on emotionally unavailability and I have been really trying to see the relationship without the rose coloured glasses. I am now asking myself if he is someone I truly see myself with, as he is today. The answer to that will become more and more clear with time, but I know there are things that would be hard to come to terms with. How do you build a romantic connection when one person refuses to connect emotionally.

    I know that if he came back and told me he wanted to be with me, that it would feel really good. It does not mean that it would be right and I have been trying to really think that about how it would make me feel. I feel as though I’ve been chasing this hooded figure for so long, as he has yet to really turn around and show me his face. I have yet to consider his place in MY life. I’ve just gotten so caught up in following him.

    About a month ago, I did meet a guy at a coffee shop near me in town. I had the go ahead to date other men, and after a few visits this man did ask me out. We’ve seen each other infrequently because of all of this going on with the other guy, but he has proven himself to be patient and is quite willing to discuss his past and things he is looking for in the future. I want to take it reallly slow, but I am enjoying getting to know him. I know it will ultimately help me to see that there are other men who do not display the behaviours of the other. I just don’t want to jump into anything and want to take time for myself. I do think I ended this at the right time, as I have yet to go back to work, and have some time to deal with all of these emotions.

    I’m sure I will update you as time goes on, and I hope I can post more positive things on this forum in the future. Thank you.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.