Q. I am a 32 year old single mother and I have been dating an amazing man for the past 3 months. He is smart, funny, loving and caring and we have an incredible chemistry. We share a lot of common interests and are very compatible.
Things were going really well until suddenly he started becoming cold and distant. He took longer to reply to my messages which he had never done before and he didn't sound his usual self over the phone. I was worried and told him that I wanted to meet him. He said he wanted some space and needed some time alone and that he would meet me in a week. Not wanting to pressurize him, I said ok and waited for a week.
Then he did meet me after a week and apologized for his behavior. Throughout our date he was still not his usual self. Finally I asked him openly what was bothering him and he said nothing. However I wasn't convinced, so I again asked him, reassuring him that I would be okay with whatever he had to say (because I had this feeling he didn't want to see me anymore). And I was right but his reason didn't make any sense.
He said that he was starting to fall in love with me and that he was afraid of being in a relationship with me because of his fear of rejection. He said I was everything he wanted in a woman and that thought made him happy and scared him. In his words he said, "you are too good for me" and that he wouldn't be able to meet my standards.
I am totally confused and I am having a tough time understanding why. Why wouldn't he date me when he says I am everything he wanted? He likes me, cares for me and wants to have me in his life but he is afraid of being hurt.
When I talked to my girlfriends, they said it's a typical way for men to ease out of a relationship and not hurt the woman's feelings. After a few days, I got a call from him and we talked again and he again emphasized the same reason. When I told him that I could handle the truth and it would be better if he honestly gave me the reason why he didn't want to have a relationship with me, he said that ever since his ex cheated on him and abandoned him, he had a hard time trusting women and finding a genuine relationship.
He said that I was the first woman ever since his ex left him, who he felt he could trust and he was really happy when he spent time with me. Then suddenly, he seemed to have had a wave of intense negative emotions which caused fear and doubts in him.
- What if this relationship didn't work out?
- What if I abandoned him just like his ex?
- What if he wasn't able to live up to my standards and expectations?
He said those thoughts made him feel it was too risky and if things were to go wrong, he would be too devastated. So he decided to end things before being hurt. He said 'I know that sounds stupid, but that is the truth. I am not seeing any other woman nor was it an excuse to get out of a relationship I didn't want. I love the relationship we have and I love you but I am also scared..."
I like him very much and I hate to see our relationship die so quickly without giving it the space and time it needs to blossom. Personally speaking, I don't see myself as someone too good for him and I don't need anything special from him other than his love and time.
What should I do?
A. The thrill of a new relationship can be so intoxicating but at the same time so confusing. There are always clues as to the longevity of a relationship but so often we choose to ignore them usually because of the intoxication. While I cannot tell you what choices to make, I can point out some red flags and give you food for thought.
On the surface, the first thing I notice is that at 3 months in this relationship you already think you know who this person is; you use adjectives such as he is “smart, funny, loving and caring” and “incredible chemistry.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to know who a person is in 3 months. Yet, you have already concluded these assessments as truth when in fact, all you know is that this is who he is at 3 months into a relationship.
You ONLY know that you are compatible when two people are putting best feet forward during the rush of intoxication. Ask yourself, how would you know the difference between infatuation and incredible chemistry? Typically, infatuation is quick and intense and can last up to 3 years.
Since, it seems, you have already decided he is this wonderful guy, it tells me that you are seeking love, whether you were actually looking for a mate or not.
This says that he is filling the empty spots deep within yourself; that this chemistry is making you feel whole. When we fill our wounds with another person, we tend to move very quickly and don’t fully see who the person is standing before us. Some of the obvious red flags that will impact your relationship are; he is a poor communicator, he is not ready for a relationship and has trust issues.
If he is still burned by his ex then he is not ready to DATE anyone much less commit.
He also seems to have low self-esteem (or he’s hiding a side of himself that he is not proud of) which will also negatively impact your relationship.
Don’t you want a man who is strong, whole and self-assured?
Don’t be a woman who tries to convince him that it will all be ok, that is you trying to change him and could entice him into a relationship that he is not ready for. You can’t reassure him that it will all be ok because you don’t know that.
Respect where he is in life which is not ready for a relationship; the truth is if we are not ready for hurt, we are not ready for love.
I hope this helps and take good care.