Dear Dr. Love,About 7 months ago I was at the local gas station (I live in a small town of 500) when I saw this girl that I thought I had seen before but I didn’t really remember. I fell in love at first sight, and made up my mind that I would find out who she was. Later that week we had already talked a few times in passing and I got up the courage to give her my phone number. Soon we would spend many nights talking for hours on the phone.After about 3 weeks I asked her out. She said she didn’t want a relationship at the time because there was too much going on in her life. I knew she was telling the truth because she had told me about her moms addiction to alchohol along with many other problems. Now I am wondering if I should ask her out again. We are much closer now and her mom is winning her battle with alchohol. But, I have held back because I have found that she has a deep fear of relationships and intimacy. Most likely caused by her moms 4 past marriages.I know she is scared of getting hurt in a relationship, and that she also is scared of letting anyone get close to her. I myself would be there for her no matter what (I am used to being under tremendous stress), though I worry that she will never talk to me again if I ask her out. She is very dear to me and though I don’t want to risk our friendship, I am scared that my feelings for her if they go unspoken could affect her negatively. I can’t just step out of her life because I promised her that I would always be there for her. I really need your help. I know she could be the one.
What a beautiful man you are! Sensitive, faithful and loving. This girl you have fallen for is some lucky person. Now, for the problem. You are afraid that she will drop you if you ask her out a second time, and you are wondering how to handle this. Have you thought of discussing your feelings with her by asking: ‘I’m wondering why I am afraid that if I ask you out again, you will drop me?’ By dealing with the issue in the way I suggest, you are helping her to discuss her feelings with you in more neutral territory. At the same time you are protecting yourself.If you handle the problem in this way, she will probably feel safe enough to talk with you about her fears. When she does, you can ask her what she thinks will happen if she gets close to you. She will probably tell you that you will leave like all her mother ‘s ex-boyfriends did. When she tells you what she is afraid of, it is your job to show her the opposite behavior. For example, she may be afraid that if she tells her true feelings she will be left. So, you will show her that no matter what she feels, you are right there beside her. In this way you will be healing her wounds by giving her a ‘corrective experience.’Realize that this girl has been quite traumatized and you will probably need to discuss and work through her fears over a period of time. Also, you might suggest that she talk to me so that I can help her to more quickly resolve why she is so frightened to get close. Best of luck. Please let me know how your relationship progresses.