Question asked by Lauren –
I’ve been dating a man for 2 months, he’s quite deep but buries his head in the mud when it comes to his problems or emotions.
He’s said that he wants a long term relationship, and that we’re basically soulmates and it’s the real thing between us. We live a couple of hours apart from each other so it makes seeing each other a bit difficult but we manage once a week but speak every day. Sometimes I get the impression that he’s a bit insecure. He said at the start he wanted to take things slow as previously his relationships have moved too fast and it hasn’t worked out. We haven’t even slept with each other as he doesn’t want me to think that’s all he wants. I’ve never pushed him except in the sense that we should see each other a couple of times a week.
He’s now told me that he needs time to think and to get his head straight. I’m so confused!
You are with a guy who is presently in the state of “sorting” out his past ghosts. It’s not an easy place for a girl to be, as it can get pretty frustrating and confusing at the same time.
It’s quite clear that he has been “jilted” badly in the past relationship. Most probably his previous girlfriend cheated on him, or deserted him pretty coldly, and shattered his sense of trust and confidence. Unfortunately, your boyfriend also looks like a “sensitive” guy who has problems dealing with his emotions. You are right in your assumption that he is “insecure” and to a good extent a little paranoid about opening up again to a new relationship.
Break offs can be very painful for a guy when he’s the one who gets “dumped” or cheated on. It leaves him feeling less of a man and it’s bound to eat into his self confidence. He starts “under valuing” himself and starts creating situations that ensure self sabotage, in an unconscious attempt to create more pain for himself. The bottom line is that he loathes himself for being in a “failed” relationship and is inflicting self punishment out of this inner hatred. Because he is suffering himself, he’s also unconsciously making you suffer.
The fact that he has not slept with you during the past 2 months of relationship indicates that he is paranoid about having “fun” and being playful, for the fear of getting hurt again. He’s taking sex too seriously, and in fact he’s being overly cautious and calculative; of course he’s mindlessly comparing his “past” relationship with his present. To top it all, he’s gone into his shell completely and is afraid of opening up to you.
He’s in an emotional dark room right now and is likely to be “dependent” and unsteady in his behavior. The fact that he called you a “soul mate” within just two months of relationship, and that he keeps insisting this is a “real” thing between the two of you, just shows how “touchy” he has become and how desperately he’s trying to make himself feel like he’s moved on from his past ghosts. Don’t take his “soul mate” statement too seriously though; he’s completely delusional and confused right now.
It’s quite unfair that you should face the brunt of this “emotional” hang up instigated by his ex-girlfriend(s). Now he’s talking about setting his mind “right”, which basically reinforces the fact that he is just plainly confused about what he feels for you. He might even have gotten into a relationship with you purely to fill up the gap left by his ex-girlfriend. This can be a pretty “unstable” domain.
So what should you be doing under these circumstances? Here are a few tips on how to deal with a confused, and emotionally “hung up”, boyfriend.
Give him his space
Let him deal with his problems. He has to sort out his ghosts, and take a stand on what he wants from life. Being touchy feely and emotional is quite unsuited for a man, as it ends up crippling his “manhood”. It’s important that he “gets” a life first before getting into a relationship. Allow him the space to restart his life, you can even suggest that he takes up some new hobbies or goes on a vacation.
Be playful around him
You don’t have to be his “emotional” cushion. It will only end up making you feel a “therapist” instead of a girlfriend. He is being pessimistic about life in general, so you can be the source of optimism and cheer in his life. If you allow yourself to be dragged into his emotional drama, you will start feeling suffocated in sooner or later. Don’t make his “emotional” hang ups into a big deal, handle it with a pinch of salt. Stay cheerful and positive when you talk to him. This is an important aspect of dealing with an emotional boyfriend.
Don’t try to force the relationship
The more you try to “sort” things out the more convoluted they will become. Let the relationship take its course, for the good or bad. Be open-ended for now. If he wants time to think about the relationship, you don’t have to “hang around” either. Give yourself a break, and divert your mind towards other things. It’s futile to ask him to “visit” you more often, and it does come off as “desperation”.
Take up responsibility for your life
A relationship works a lot better when each partner is willing to take up responsibility for his/her own life, without being overly dependent on each other. This way there is a lot of breathing space and hence you don’t feel the suffocation of each other’s needs. Try to have a life beyond this relationship, hang out with your friends, work on new hobbies and find new interests in life. The more we depend on a relationship the worse it gets. The more independent we are the more fulfilling relationships become. So don’t make him feel that you are dependent on him and also help him become independent as a person. Remember, love does not imply dependence.
Get him to burn off his past
The man’s got to get a life and clear his mind off his past failures. Everyone goes though messy relationships once in a while, it’s no big deal and it’s definitely not a mark of “personal” failure. Get him to let his hair down a bit, and bring more fun into his life. Go out for dinners to some cool places, go hiking, head for a holiday resort, watch some fun movies, horse around and basically drown out the seriousness in life. Deep down all we want is to be happy; a relationship should just help reinforce this innate drive in us.
In conclusion, if you are dealing with a confused boyfriend, the first thing you gotta do is relax and stay cool. Don’t get yourself all knotted up over his emotional baggage. Get him to enjoy life in your company, be adventurous and stay chirpy yourself. If he wants time, give him the space to be and live your own life. You have to learn to love yourself before you can ever hope to give or get love.