Dr. Love, I have been with my boyfriend for six years. He is 13 years older than I and has never been married. I was married for 10 years and have a young teenage daughter. My boyfriend has a house and I live in a small rental house.He has a problem with staying with me at night even when my daughter is not home. I have tried to talk to him about how I feel and that I would like him to stay more often but there always seems to be a problem, either my bed hurts his back, so I get a new matress or he didn’t bring his inhailer, or he has to do somthing in the morning.When I get upset he just leaves like he is mad that I don’t understand. He is wonderful with my daughter and with my dog, but does not want much to do with the rest of my family or friends. He does include me in with his family and friends and expects me to go to the places he is invited and wants my daughter and I to go away with him to his families house for the summer weekends.I know that he Loves me very much and I Love him but I can’t understand why he seems to want me in his life so much but does not want to join me in mine. Many times I have thought that there might be a problem that he can’t or won’t talk to me about, when we have gone many months without sex, when his kisses are only a peck as he walks out the door.I have tried to end our relationship thinking I’m just not right for him but he doesn’t let me. He tells me he loves me and that I am what he wants. I need to know if I’m expecting too much from him or if he is expecting too much from me.I need to stop crying at night one way or the other.
It sounds like you are expecting more from this man than he can give. He is sending out numerous signals that he is scared to become too close to you (not wanting to sleep over, avoiding sex for long periods, not wanting to meet with your friends and family).When you personalize his problem and attack yourself (I’m not right for him) you are really clouding the issue. I don’t think what is going on has anything to do with you. It’s about him and his fears.How do I know with a fair degree of certainty that he is scared to get close to another person as opposed to simply not finding you right for him?Because, I don’t see him looking for another relationship. This relationship, with the built-in distances that he has set-up, seems to suit him just fine. Hence, my idea that he needs to keep distance, and this limping relationship is fine for him.You have two options. Either, accept him, fears and all, and don’t push for more connection. Or, put the issue back in his lap. Outline his various behaviors, and encourage him to talk about his fears. If you can get him talking, then you might be able to make some headway.By all means do resist the temptation to nag him for behavioral change (to sleep over, spend more time with you, etc. ). This only makes him more angry, and it doesn’t address the real, underlying issues that are causing him to avoid being with you.So, either put the focus back on him and get him to face his problem, or accept him as he is. If you can’t do either, then you can stay and be miserable or get out.I hope he is willing to work on himself.