Tuesday, December 23, 2008

He Says He's Been Hurt and Won't Commit

Hi Terry,

I met this man four months ago and we hit it off right away. He was married for 20 years, and then got into a four year relationship four months after the divorce. His wife left him for another man, and the four year relationship broke his heart also.

Anyway, he would not ever make the commitment to me. He kept saying, I'm not sure I have the feelings I should have for you, it should just be there. The next minute he says, he's been hurt so bad he doesn't know if he can ever fall in love again. When he says he wants to stop seeing me, a few days or a week later, he emails to tell me he misses me and he thinks about me all the time.

This last time he emailed me he said that he was in a committed relationship but wasn't happy and thought about me all the time, this is after we hadn't seen each other for a month, so we got together again and he was in love with me and going to let the other relationship go to pursue a relationship with me.

That lasted a week and now he says he's not sure he has the feelings he should have for me and he doesn't for the other lady either, and he's confused. He has not left the other lady yet he says because of the holidays, and they had plans, but he was going to right after the holidays. After talking for awhile, he says that I'm right, he's just confused and he wants to give us a chance now and he's going to commit to do that.

Is this the behaviour of a man that has been hurt so badly that he can't commit and may never be able to love again, as he says?

In the last two and a half years, he has gone from one relationship to another. I think he loves me and that scares him, and that if he would just give us a chance, he would overcome the fear and be happy. What do you think? Is there any advice you can give me to help him move forward in his life?

Thank you.


Dear K.-

You sound like a nice person. You sound like a nice person who does not deserve to be treated like a ping-pong ball days before Christmas.

You are allowing this man to call all the shots in your relationship. He is taking very good care of himself, thank you, while you're left wondering how you can help him.

He says he's going to dump the other woman he's dating after the holidays. Wow. What a guy. He doesn't want to break plans with her, so he'll continue to let her think things are progressing happily between them, and then BAM! Happy 2009!

Put yourself in her place.

But he's confused, poor boy, and so we're all supposed to rally around him and help him figure things out. And the one who manages to convince him that she truly understands him--will never hurt him-- will be the winner. She'll get the prize!


Except if you stand back and look closely, he may not be much of a prize. You said it yourself: In the past couple of years, he's gone from one relationship to the other. His wife left him for another man. Okay, maybe she was a heartless witch, or maybe-- just maybe--she wasn't. (There are two sides to every story.) Then he dated another woman for four years, and she broke his heart.

Why is everybody breaking this guy's heart? Seems to me he's out breaking everybody else's.

In the end, you can't convince anybody you're the one for him. You can't help him move on with his life. He has to do it for himself.

WHAT YOU CAN DO is come to terms with the fact that you deserve better than this. You shouldn't have to spend the holidays wondering if and when this guy is going to lower the boom on the other woman and come back to you.

(Because even if he did, do you really want to be looking over your shoulder, wondering when he's going to do it to you?)

The next time he calls you and tells you he's thinking about you all the time, tell him to keep thinking. Because you've moved on.

Let this be your mantra:



Because you can.

Banish this individual from your mind. Spend your time with people who support you and make you feel good about yourself. By all means, steer clear of small-minded creeps who make you feel defective because you're not in a committed relationship.

Treat yourself as you would a beloved child.

Merry Christmas. I'm saying a big prayer for you and wishing you all the very best. Here's to a happy, prosperous, and blessed 2009 filled to the brim with a love that never, ever makes you wonder.