Hi Dr. Love,I am in the middle of a break-up. I read your last article about that to the teenager.I am 33 and I thought I made it clear. Basically I said –it’s not you, it’s me. I need more affection than you can give. He kept saying he was confused. We must have talked on the phone for over an hour today.Man I was pissed. I told him I am not sure if I want to continue seeing him. I’m kicking myself for not being more assertive. He kept putting me down saying I need sex more–I told him that was very hurtful. Basically I also said there is nothing wrong with me or him–just that he is not very affectionate & I am. I like cuddling & all that & he’s not that way.I feel so lousy now. I have only dated him 2 months & I new by the second month, it was not working. To complicate matters I have grown close with someone else who knows all about this situation. I am not on the rebound.Please advise –what do you do when a guy just doesn’t get it or refuse to get it? I think I will have to be cold which you don’t recommend and leave him a message on his machine saying I’ve made my decision and it’s just not working out.
I know you were trying to take the responsiblity for the break up on yourself, but, the words used still made him feel attacked. Why?When dealing with very fragile individuals, it may not be possible to even use the word’you.’ For example when you said, I need more than’you’ can give me, he heard that he was defective because he couldn’t meet your needs. Because he felt insulted, he turned the blame back on you and made you out to be a sex maniac. (Redirecting blame is a classic move to build an ego that is fraying.)Next time, you will know that when dealing with very fragile people or people with low self-esteems, you will need to use neutral phrases that don’t include the word’you’ at all. You will need to say something like: our needs are different. Or, our needs don’t match. Or we have outgrown each other. Putting the fault on the universe, is the only sure way to prevent the other person from feeling wounded–and wounding you back in return.I also think the break up didn’t go smoothly because you were trying so hard to protect his feelings that you didn’t send out the clear message that it was over. Since you waffled, he received mixed signals and this opened the door for him to try to convince you stay with him.So, now, you need to get the point across, without question. How you do this is up to you. Whatever feels most comfortable. You can send a note, leave a message, or speak to him in person again. There are no rules.In this case, I think you are reluctant to speak to him, for fear that he will attack you again. So, you could leave a message saying. We both said a lot of things that stung last time and I don’t want a repeat performance. So, I am calling (or writing) to say that I need to end this relationship. It isn’t working for me. We aren’t compatible. Or our intimacy needs are too different. Whatever reason you give, remember not to use the word’you.’ Put the problem on the universe. Don’t tell him that he can’t meet your needs, which will make him feel insulted all over again. And, you will be up poop creek without a paddle again.Good luck.