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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question
Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1200
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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I am about to lose control. I have bee seeing a man 10 months.

Customer Question

I am about to lose control. I have bee seeing a man 10 months. I am 37 and he is 48. I am the first woman he has went steady with in 15 years, I am first woman in those years he has taken away on holidays, met his son and taken to his local pub. A month ago we went on holidays with his family. We had a great time. When we came home it was his birthday and he didn't want to see me. That hurt me greatly and sent me on an emotional rollercoasster. We ended up agreeing to split up as he said he did not love me but had tried so hard to feel love.. The next day he came back saying he did not want to lose me and he did not know if he loved me or not but I was all his firsts. So we decided to get back together. Anyway I pushed and pushed the next week, just being a real woman moaning, He then text and said the last woman that pushe was 15 years ago and for that reason our relationship is over! Done. It has been two weeks and he will not speak to me at all. I just cant cope or understand. Any help?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 years ago.
Wait and see. Give him a message every 3-5 days that you're going to wait patiently for him to recover his balance. DON'T push and don't moan. Show him that you have maturity and patience that you din't have until now--so you're giving him a chance to learn that he too can develop some more patience and maturity.
Don't forget, his family may well ask about you and try to help him get comfortable again. Just let him know once a week or so that you'll wait patiently until he's able to recover his emotional balance and reconnect--ande you're sorry you lost your balance as much as he did.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But if a man tells you he does not love you and he tried to (if I could love anyone it would be you) Is there any point? Or do men sometimes just not know?

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 years ago.
Dear *****tine, I was adding to my message when you responded. I hope my copy can now be pasted so you can see what I've advised you to do. Love is not a simple emotion, and fear of loss is a big part of it.
It is a normal but little-discussed fact that when two people are very close their emotions naturally infect each other even if they don't intend to broadcast them. The fact that his previous girlfriend fell into the same trap of being desperate to get reassurance of his love demonstrates that his own anxiety about deepening feelings is so intense that it rubs off on the woman who is connected with him through unconscious emotional channels; and you are now feeling that same level of intense "brink-of-losing-everything" that he is. And that scares him so much (He's scared that he loves you, because he felt much more from being together on holidays for a whole month. And he's scared of love, partly because being in love means you can hurt terribly from mistakes, and you can get very scared of losing who you love. It is these feelings that he doesn't know how to handle.)
So the best thing you can do is to give yourself one or two meditation sessions each day, where you sit quietly, keep soothing down your breathing, and imagine he is sitting at some distance away from you and relaxing his breathing too. You can imagine both of you sitting in some very special setting where you both feel very comfortable. You can also imagine calming him down with your voice and reassuring him that you are still caring for him. You can imagine holding his hands or touching him in another way that is comfortable sometimes too. When you meditate in this way and visually imagine him doing the same, you are sending him comforting energy. And that comforting energy is what he needs to learn how to feel so he can identify being close to you as a comfortable feeling instead of a very scary feeling, as he has been used to for perhaps his whole life.
Don't forget, his family may well ask about you and try to help him get comfortable again. (Unless they don't want him to love anyone outside of them.) Just let him know once a week or so by written message that you'll wait patiently until he's able to recover his emotional balance and reconnect--and you're sorry you lost your balance as much as he did. And keep up your own relaxation imagery and meditations on him. Because your images and energy WILL get through to him, even if he never realizes it.
If you're aware of someone in his family that might have been the original source of him being afraid of closeness with anyone outside of his family, there may be visual exercises you can carry out that will help him get over his fears.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But there is also a chance he is being serious and he just does not love me? So I could be just wasting my time. He seems sincere when he says it. But things don't add up to me

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 years ago.
No. There is no chance that he really knows what he does and does not feel. Love is a large bundle of feelings, and he has already demonstrated that he felt terrible about losing you, and also felt scared of being consistently close to you as soon as he had a day or two when he wasn't right there with you. And you also don't know how he was used to celebrating his birthday for 48 years already, so you don't know what feelings were coming up about that that he wouldn't know how to tell you about. One central fact about love is that when we love we cannot control what we are feeling--without shutting ourselves down as much as we can--and we are always affected by what our beloved person feels, whether it is good or bad for us to feel that effect.
He has survived in decades of his life by trying to prevent himself from ever being afraid of losing anyone. And he has tried to prevent himself from ever feeling bad about making anyone else feel upset. So his survival strategy has been to cut himself off to keep from feeling afraid of losing someone and to keep from ever making anyone else feel upset because of what he has done or said or not done or said.
The emotional connection he is afraid of is strong between you two now. And that is a foundation of love. You certainly have the right to choose NOT to want to help him repair his disconnection; because if he gets scared of loving (being emotionally connected to) you again, he might break up with you again and tell you he doesn't love you. BUT NOBODY CAN KNOW WHETHER THEY LOVE ANOTHER OR NOT until they've have no thoughts or urges to about the other person for a year or two: LOVE IS NOT THAT FRAGILE. But FEAR can make liars of us all!
(adult children of divorce do what he's doing quite often) If you do want to be his partner, but you don't want him to break up with you every time he gets scared, then you could ask him to talk to a couples therapist about what happens inside of him when he feels like he doesn't love you anymore--because it's basically FEAR of the feelings he can't cope with.
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