Dear Dr. Love:I recently separated and am in the process of divorce from my wife. We have separated for a while and during that time I met a fantastic young woman. Young as she is 23 and I am 33. We began dating in November and soon she started throwing out the love thing and marriage.Not being divorced yet, I was resisting the marriage talk, but admittedly fell in love with her. She recently broke up with me and stated that the reason was that she needed time alone and to figure out what she wanted. No problem from me, but then she breaks-up with me and now I am left dazed and confused.She told a mutual friend that the reason was our age difference, but that was never a problem before. My two kids met her one kid and got along great! She told everybody that I was exactly what she was looking for in every possible way. Now, after she broke up, and I asked her why, she is emotionless and cold.I am lost without her and cannot sleep or think about not being without her. Obviously I loved her more than she loved me, but am I missing something? Is there anything I could do? Or rather, is there anything i should do to try and make the relationship work? Or, should I accept that she wants to move on?
If I read your letter correctly, it sounds like this woman backed off and then broke up with you when you didn’t immediately agree to marry her. I do smell a rat!For one thing, I have to be suspicious about why she was in such an all fire hurry about getting married. The relationship was very new and she was pushing for commitment far too early in the game.When a person pushes so hard for marriage, so early on, this is called a counterphobic behavior. Counterphobic behavior is a defense mechanism in which the person goes to the opposite extreme in order to guard against what he or she fears the most. In this case, she may actually be afraid or phobic of marriage and commitment, and as a defense against the fear, she went to the opposite extreme by pushing for the very thing she feared most.It is also likely that she has abandonment issues. By asking you to marry her so fast, she may have been trying to protect herself from being abandoned–by locking you in very fast. When you didn’t seize the moment, she dumped you, as a way of protecting herself from being abandoned or dropped by you down the line.You may love this girl, but you need to see that she is quite troubled. She acts out her inner conflicts by engaging in actions that are unconsciously designed to regulate her inner turmoil and fears. The only thing you can do at this point is talk to her about my observations and see if she bites.If she is willing to own her issues and get help, then you have a fighting chance. I’m afraid that I don’t hold out much hope since she seems totally unaware of what is really going on inside her self. Plus, her inability to discuss her issues with you–and running away instead–isn’t promising for long term relationship stability.If you do succeed in slowing her down long enough for a talk, let me know how it goes. If she’s interested in working on her issues, I’d be glad to help her out.