Following are leftover questions from my online chat, “Pushing Love Away,” of August 18:
I’d dated a woman exclusively for six months. We had a strong sexual attraction from the start, laughed a lot together, and we’d been getting closer emotionally as well.
But we had some big differences – age, religion, and finances.
She’d been working for years while I’d pursued further education and only recently got a full-time job, though at the entry level.
So she had a much bigger income. I wasn’t prepared for planning the future yet.
But it seemed I could never assure her enough that I loved her despite that I couldn’t commit to the future yet.
Whatever I did to please her, she wanted more.
There were so many frustrating arguments about it that I finally gave up and walked away.
She must’ve realized that the combined effect of the differences between you two were too big to overcome. Yet she obviously still cared deeply for you and held on to hope.
She wanted you to love her enough to somehow make it work. So she pushed you to do more, say more, and try harder to show your determination to stay with her.
But she also drove you away.
She did this by asking for what you both already knew was unlikely – especially since you were the one with the financial disadvantage, and religion can also be a big divide.
It’s a classic case of both of you avoiding discussing possible solutions instead of barriers.
And, of neither being brave and determined enough to challenge the odds against your relationship surviving.
But she took the lead in ending it, by forcing you to make a decision…, which you did with your feet.
I’ve been living with my boyfriend for three years. At first, it was perfect.
We were so in love, we talked or emailed every day at work and couldn’t wait to come home and make love every night.
But the past two years have been less great because he works late a lot, I’m left to do the shopping myself, cook, or pick up dinner, do laundry, etc.
I can’t help but complain about this and he says I’m an unfair complainer since he’s working to get more money for us to have a house and start a family.
But I can’t seem to see anything but his faults now.
Am I just trying to end it, or justified because he helps so little?
You’ve set him up to fail you.
Either you accept that he’s working towards the things you’ve said you want/need in the future…
Or, you decide that those things don’t matter as much as having him be your house partner, working less and helping you with cooking and laundry.
Also, there are more practical choices:
You could discuss ways to make your chores easier – e.g. you both shop, clean, and cook stuff ahead together on his day off. Or you get weekly cleaning help, so your load is easier.
But he’s right that your response to just complain IS unfair.
So is jumping to the conclusion that you’re trying to “end it” because he can’t constantly be at your side.
Perhaps you’re feeling rejected, and if so, speak about your feelings instead of his perceived failings.
Even people who work late can still show love and make love.
Especially if they’re not pushed away by criticism.
My husband’s mother and grandmother both died when he was young. He had a sad, lonely childhood but later made many friends and became very outgoing.
When we met, he was upbeat and sociable.
Over six years together he’s changed to moody, less sociable, worried about his health (medical tests show he’s fine).
He’s become sexually withdrawn from me.
I feel rejected without reason. I don’t think he’s cheating but maybe I’m being naïve?
Fear of intimacy has many faces. One manifestation is related to fear of death and losing people you love most.
His early losses may be a factor. They once spurred him to become outgoing rather than remaining sad and lonely.
But he’s older now and realizes the adult pain of potential loss, so he’s shielding himself from it.
A therapist can help him recognize and deal with this anxiety, which is more about him than you, not true rejection.
Tip of the day:
People who push love away often have reasons reflecting their past, not their present relationship.