How to Strengthen Your Relationship/Losing hope

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QUESTION: Hi! Good day! I'm at these crossroads of my life. Dealing with problems at work and having relationship issues.

After being single for 1 year, I had a chance encounter with an old colleague who I haven't seen for 9 years but in that 9 years we kept in touch by texting or messaging thru facebook. So when we saw each other, we instantly hit it off. We only have been dating for 4 months but something immediately changed. He started acting cold and distant which hurt me a lot. We are no longer intimate as well.

When I asked him if there's a problem, he said that it all started when we had a fight about him going out and I couldn't bec. I was sick at that time. I know I have trust issues due to my past relationships. I have already apologized for that and started to trust him, also allowing him to go out with his friends. But he blames that incident and said that he's not really a commitment type of guy. He said that there shouldn't be any expectations and just enjoy what we have.

I'm just so confused right now, I don't know what this really is. Nothing has really changed and we still spend time with each other, he still texts me to tell me his whereabouts. He also made me leave some of my clothes and things at his condo. I'm just so confused and it doesn't seem that he's dating anyone too. The only thing that changed that he stopped holding my hand when we go out and he doesn't kiss me nor make love.

I really want this to work but I don't know what to do. Please help.

ANSWER: Hi Verns.  I am sorry for the delay.  Here is my hunch.  I am wondering if he senses you are looking for something long-term here and, if he is truly only wanting something casual, this would lead him to pull back.  It is also quite possible that you have shared enough about the trust issue you have that he is uncomfortable with this and fearing it would not subside if the relationship grows.  Either way, I think the important thing is to address the trust issue.  You want to resolve this the best you can so it will not impact you in the same way moving forward.  I am sorry if you have been pained in the past.  Can you share more?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi! Well about my past. Most of my relationships always end up either they cheat on me or just end the relationship telling me that it's best that we remain friends. I do have a lot of guy friends but when it comes to relationships it always crumble down. There's this fear inside of me whenever I get into a relationship, I fear that it wouldn't last thinking that this person will just end up hurting me. So that's where my paranoia kicks in. I just can't seem to trust anyone.

About the guy I've been dating, nothing has changed much and we still go out just like before but no intimacy. I don't know if he just need someone as a companion or he's just checking it out if this will work or not. Help I'm still confused.

Answer
Hi Verns.  With respect to the guy now, you have nothing to lose in asking him to describe you -- all the things he knows about you, believes about you, and even has concerns or questions about.  No matter what he says, please do not be defensive.  Thank him and let's jot it all down so we can review it together.

Now, more importantly, we need to address the catastrophizing -- the internal messages that may go something like "I wonder if he's cheating?  Others have, so how I do I know can trust this guy?"  We start expecting bad things to happen so our minds only focus on potential negative.  Meanwhile, we are less likely to see the positives when this happens and you better believe that others around us will start to pick this up and respond in poor ways.  

How about this Verns:  write me a list of all the good things about you as well as all the things you wish could be different -- as many as you can think of.

How to Strengthen Your Relationship

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Stuart A. Kaplowitz, MFT

Expertise

how to help relationship. How to address issues within relationship......I am pretty open here

Experience

20th year in the field. Managed and directed clinical programs. Now, I work out of my own office as well as supervise counselors

Organizations
California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists

Publications
The California Therapist

Education/Credentials
B.A. Psychology M.S. Counseling Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Awards and Honors
Hero of the Heart - Covina Valley USD

Past/Present Clients
I work with individuals, couples, families and children

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