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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question

Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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Okay, so im seeing this boy we are practically in a relationship

Customer Question

Okay, so im seeing this boy we are practically in a relationship we have both agreed we are "practically" in a relationship but, he has said he doesn't actually want to be in one, he's said the reasons are because he doesnt think he's got room in his head for "serious feelings"; yet he told me im one of the only people he trusts and that he wants to carry on things how they are. I just can't see a reason for why he'd do this, i know he's had problems in the past with bullying etc and he's an extremely paranoid person.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 4 years ago.
I would be glad to help with this, but I am not sure what your question is. Ask and I will do my best.

Edited by Dr. Ed Wilfong on 12/2/2009 at 10:42 PM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I'm just unsure why he actually feels he doesn't want to be in a relationship, everything between us is great, i just can't physically understand why he wouldn't, and i can't think of a logical explanation as to why, he doesn't?
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for getting back to me. I can't speak for him, but hopefully I can give you some ideas from my experience in dealing with this type of problem.
I suspect looking for a logical answer will leave you frustrated. It is likely an emotional issue for him. Many people are afraid of intimacy. The closer you get, the more he has to lose. This scares a lot of people.
The idea that you "practically" in a relationship but he doesn't want to be one. I have trouble understanding the distinction (I bet you do to).
He is giving you clues that he is very frightened. You are the very few he trusts. He is telling you it is hard for him to trust anyone. He more than likely been hurt by abandonment of some sort - no necessarily a girl (probably not, IMHO). Perhaps betrayal by a friend, hurt by a divorce, or a death, or just be hurt by a lot of people he didn't expect to hurt him. The bullying you mention could have caused a lot of hurt. The fear may extend to everyone, even though it makes no sense. Emotions like fear follow their own rules and don't always make sense.

The positive factor I see here is that he seems to like you and be as close to you as he is emotionally capable of.

I wouldn't push him, but when times seem to be right, ask him about his fears. Ask him to help you understand "a relationship will not fit into his head." Depending on the severity of this, the wall may gradually move. If not, he may need to talk to a professional. We deal with these issues all the time and can help him understand his fears and hopefully overcome it.

He may actually test you at times, subtly. If you get to close for comfort, he may do something to push you away. A helpful response may be to ask him what he is afraid of, in a calm and caring manner. If you stay, I imagine you will have to be patient.

You are still you and after being patient and trying to help him become less fearful of your abandonment, you ultimately have to decide what is best for you. He may have a problem with intimacy, but ultimately it does hurt and confuse you. If it becomes unacceptable, always take care of yourself.

Sounds like you have reason to be optimistic, but it may be a bit bumpy and hard to understand for a while.

Best wishes,
Ed

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