Naked Truth: Is Someone You Love Pushing You Away?
Hi Lisa. I just lost a great woman I’ve been dating for the past year. It was going really well, but then she started nitpicking about things about me that never seemed to bother her before—my dog, where I live—and said she needed space to find herself again. I’m happy to give her that, but it’s been almost three weeks now and I haven’t heard from her. Her family says she’s confused and hurting. It’s painful knowing she’s suffering and there’s nothing I can do to help. I love her and her six-year-old daughter, and I was ready to ask for her hand in marriage… but I can’t wait forever. My question is, do I give her space and see what happens or just let her go?
I am so sorry you’re going through this. I can tell you really care about this woman. From everything you wrote, it sounds like she has an “avoidant” intimacy style that is causing her to push you away. She’s afraid of getting close and needing someone. The closer the two of you become, the more uncomfortable it gets for her. This fear is so powerful that it causes her to nitpick and push you away. What’s tricky is that she doesn’t know that her fear is what’s causing her to feel uncomfortable. She thinks the reason she starts to feel uncomfortable around you is because you’re not the right person for her.
There are some excellent relationship books that could help you understand attachment styles better. I would start with one called “Attached.” Ninety-nine out of a 100 of my clients who read it say they love it! Two other excellent books about adult attachment theory are “Hold Me Tight” and “Wired for Love.” Another option to consider—if she’s willing—is to see a therapist with her. If she is, in fact, avoidant, she will need the help of a therapist understand where her urge to run away is really coming from and how to stop it. You might also want to take a quick compatibility quiz on the “Attached” website. Here’s the link: www.attachedthebook.com/compatibility-quiz You can see what both of your attachment styles are. This information can be crucial to understand what’s happening. From what you’ve written, you seem to have a secure attachment style. When a secure person is in a relationship with someone who is avoidant, it can cause the secure person to become anxious.
My last word of advice: don’t get defensive and block her. I know she broke up with you and it’s really painful, but women are funny. Sometimes, we push men away when we really want them to come back. If you truly adore her like you say you do, I suggest you read these books (or listen to them on audio) and then give her copies. It will be a revelation for both of you. I would love to know how it goes. If you see a therapist, try to find someone who”s done some trainings with John and Julie Gotman or Sue Johnson.
I wish you the very best. I hope this helps, Rick. You sound like a good man.
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Naked Truth: Protect Your Marriage at All Costs
Hi Lisa. I am happily married to an incredible woman. Recently, several women from my past decided to walk back into my life after 20 years. How do I get them to back off before they jeopardize my marriage? The ring and paper don’t seem to be enough, and they don’t seem to be respecting traditional boundaries.
Thanks for reaching out! The single most important person in your life should be your wife, and you need to do everything you can to protect the sacred bond the two of you share. You say these women “walked back into your life,” but I don’t think they just walked in. You had to have let them in. My guess is that you haven’t been clear enough with these women or that you are still trying to be nice and polite so you don’t hurt their feelings. I see this a lot with my male clients. The problem is, if you don’t take care of this, someone else is going to get hurt… and that someone is probably going to be your incredible wife. If these women aren’t respecting your boundaries, I would dispense with any niceties and tell them—in no uncertain terms—that you are flattered they are thinking of you, but that you are happily married and won’t respond to any further attempts on their part to contact you. Hope that helps!
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The Price You Pay for Pressuring a Guy Into Proposing
You’re head-over-heels, I’d-do-anything-for-him in love. He tells you he’s never had feelings like this for anyone else before… but every time you look down at your left hand, your heart falls to the floor. He still hasn’t put a ring on it. What’s worse, with each photo of another friend’s diamond ring you see and feel obligated to “like” on Facebook, you become a little more envious, a little more desperate… and a little angrier at the love of your life.
Why the f*** hasn’t he proposed!?!
Few things are more frustrating for a woman than a man who won’t propose. Let’s face it, watching all your girlfriends get married—especially the ones who haven’t even been with their partners as long as you’ve been with yours—can be gut-wrenching. As happy as you are for them, it’s hard not to feel a certain ache when it seems like everyone you know is getting to “I Do”… except for you. There they are, on honeymoon in Paris, while you’re sitting at home scrolling though your Instagram feed, feeling more embittered by the minute, contemplating ultimatums.
So, what gives?
Over the years, many of my male clients have told me they would marry their girlfriends tomorrow if… drum roll please… they would just chill out and stop being so anxious!
Yep. The biggest complaint I hear from the men I coach is that they don’t want to sign-up for a lifetime of fighting and struggling with the woman they love. A big part of the trouble is that all the anxiety and disappointment surrounding the issue of proposals and marriage causes tension and resentment, and before they know it, the sex and intimacy that made their relationship so amazing in the first place is taking a backseat to fighting, name-calling, and bitterness.
And guess what? Sex and intimacy are the things you need most if you want to sustain a healthy, happy marriage!
Believe it or not, men actually want intimacy just as much as women do, but they feel that intimacy more when there’s less fighting. Also, men don’t like feeling as if they’re being pushed into things or that someone is making their decisions for them. Oftentimes, marriage is on a man’s mind, but when he starts feeling pressured and pushed around by his partner, he’ll start to feel threatened, guilty, and confused… and he may have second thoughts. The pressure and fighting can feel emasculating and disrespectful, and it doesn’t bode well for a man’s ego… or his romantic feelings.
The bottom line is this: men are romantic, and when they truly love a woman they want to make her feel special… and eventually make it official. But they want to do it in their own way, on their own timetable, when it feels right.
I know it can seem agonizing to wait for a proposal, but pushing him when he’s not ready or picking fights because things aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like can definitely work against you.
There’s nothing wrong with letting him know you wanna hear those wedding bells chime, but if you beat him over the head with them, they’re going to start sounding like warning bells: get out while you still can!
So, the next time you’re about to let your anxiety and anger get the best of you, think about what’s at stake: you just might sabotage your relationship before he even has a chance to get down one one knee.
If your anxiety is getting out of control and causing you to push your partner away, you might benefit from some coaching. I’ve helped hundreds of couples improve their intimacy and communication and get to marriage… and I can help you, too! In fact, I’ve even officiated at a few of the weddings for couples I’ve coached Click the button below to book a consult…