Strong Feelings Scare Him
Q: I met this man six months ago and we had a three-month relationship. We got along really well and our feelings seemed to get stronger and stronger. We agreed that we matched on many levels. He had to leave the country a couple months ago for a job, and in the beginning we were in regular contact. Then it became less and less. When I revealed how much he meant to me and that I would like to be with him whatever it takes, he sort of withdrew. In our last phone call he said he could never face seeing me again because the first time already hurt him too much. But he wanted to stay friends. I broke off all contact because I thought it would make it easier for me to move on. But I cannot for some reason. Did I scare him with revealing my strong feelings? He has never been in a long-lasting relationship in his life at the age of 45. -- Robin, 41
Dr. Susan: When anyone tells you they want to stay friends, it's the kiss of death. It means they don't hate you and wouldn't mind bumping into you at the mall once a year, but they don't have any deep feelings for you anymore. Now, with this guy of yours, there are a couple of things that may have happened. Sometimes expressing too many ardent feelings, too soon, will scare a guy off. Especially a guy who has avoided becoming entangled in any lasting relationships by his mid-40s. But what are you going to do? Tip-toe around and hope he eventually expresses love first? The other possibility is that he liked you well enough, you got along great, but by being apart from you for a couple months, his feelings just changed. It happens. Certainly it's hard for you to move on. But now you know your feelings aren't mutual, do yourself a favor and let go. And don't blame yourself for admitting to him that you liked him a lot. That's just honesty. After three months together, honesty is a good thing, not something to regret.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.