Dear Dr. Love,I have someone who I like very much and get along with too. He’s my next door neighbor. He owns his own buisness and works very hard at making it a go of it. He has come over and watched movies with me and my boys (they get along with him also and like him too and would like to see us get togther). He has called me up out of the blue a few times to see what I was doing. I have made him supper a few times and even took him supper to his shop which is 20 miles away.We have been initmate a couple of times but nothing after that. Its just like nothing happened. I told him how I feel and what I wanted and it seems that since I said that, he just decided to stay away. He once told me that if I ever wanted to talk to him not to be afraid to, so I did and that is what happened afterwards. He is good to my boys. He has taken them some places and has tried to teach my oldest son about what he does in his trade. They really enjoy him around here. They even go as far leaving us alone when came over in hopes of things working out.He still asks about me once in awhile and we see each other on occassion when we both are outside. What chance do you think there might be for us or is the answer none. I know that he is shy and was hurt real bad by a former girlfriend. We just have so much in common. Everyone at work and even my best friend says that I’m happier when I’m around him or have been around him that previous weekend. I think everyone is pulling for the relationship to work out.What to do in Texas
You ask what hope there is for your relationship with the distant neighbor. At this point, the man sounds terrified of intimacy. And, there is only one thing you can do to help move him past his fears. Back off. This guy set you up to pursue him (don’t be afraid to talk to me, he said, ) and then after you let him know how you felt, he ran in the other direction. I don’t think this man realizes that he arranged to have to move in close, so that he could pull away.It sounds like someone in his past made him feel swallowed up and taken over. His mom, his ex. , we don’t know. But, one thing I do know, you must be seen by him as the exact opposite: No needs, no agendas, no pressure. In fact, whenever he contacts you, you need to mirror back his own fearful and tentative feelings. Be busy, off somewhere, not sure you’re available. In mirroring back his own fears and hesitations, he will feel unpressured by you, and this will make him feel less terrified to approach you.By not appearing like a woman that wants to take him over, he will probably move closer to you again, but realize, that even if allows himself to be nearer to you, we will still be dealing with damaged goods here. (I sense that his fear of intimacy stems from deeper sources than simply a bad divorce. )My point is that you are still going to be facing a relationship with a man that is terrified of intimacy, and will probably always be inclined to pull away. If we succeed in helping him come closer, there is something else you can do to minimize his tendency to pull away in the future. You can try to get him to talk about what makes him hesitate to be close. Fears of: being hurt, abandoned, swallowed up, loss of freedom, fears of angry feelings that arise when close. All these issues can be worked through by talking them out.So, if he opens up and tells you what he is frightened about, then it is your job to let him know that you will work on giving him what he needs. The bottom line with this man is this: Unless he is very open to personal growth, and is willing to work through his intimacy fears with you or a therapist, we will have to face the fact that your relationship will probably be spotted with major cooling-off periods. You will need to decide if you want that type of relationship. Lot’s of luck. Let me know how the back-off technique works and what you decide.