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Santo B
Santo B, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience:  Clinical Social Work
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I broke up with my boyfriend 6 months ago. He has clinical

Customer Question

I broke up with my boyfriend 6 months ago. He has clinical depression and experiences anxiety more than the average person. We tried to see a relationship therapist but that did not go well for a variety of reasons but ironically, it did bring us a little closer. He has feelings for me but has made the decision based on my poor behaviors when we broke up, that I am not someone he wants to be in a romantic relationship with. He says that the romance part of our relationship is missing. I believe that it is due in part to his depression and his past difficult relationship with his depressed mother who was very bitter following her divorce with his father when he was 10 years old. She never found another romantic relationship.

He wants to be friends but based on some of his actions he cares for me more than a friend. His head and gut tells him he cannot be more so sometimes he'll hug me closely and sometimes his arm will press against mine when we are sitting close, but other times, he'll move his leg away so they are not touching. I have dinner plans with him. I want to win him back and gave myself 2 months.

What do I do to win him back? What do I say. I understand I need to show him that I am a calm, cool headed person and to show him I can be the person who he can be happy with. He worries about our interactions because I often appear hurt due to his actions. My father told me that I need to calm down and not get upset with him and to accept whatever he gives me.

I feel like I need to flirt with him, look good and allow him to open up and feel close to me. I mostly want him to laugh with me. He resists these opportunities but he is willing to spend time with me.

What can I do to increase the chances that he will fall in love with me again and want to kiss me?

Do I also try to real him in and then "release" him and go silent for a couple of weeks (no contact) so he misses me? Remember he has some relationship/attachment issues so not the typical guy but then again, he is the typical "guy".

Help!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.

Santo B :

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I hold a Clinical Master's Degree in Social Work with a focus on Adult Mental Health. I currently provide general Life Coaching.

Santo B :

please allow me a moment to read your question

Santo B :

I read your question and I am wondering if the reel him in and release him would actually work

Santo B :

You may not want to play a game with him, especially if he has a tremendous amount of anxiety

Customer:

I agree that is what I've always believed. You are not the 1st professional to tell me that. But I read this on-line.

Santo B :

aside from his mental and emotion health issues, and other than the romance absent from the relationship, what other things has caused him not to want to be in a relationship with you specifically

Customer:

I was told by a therapist that I may need to take more of a lead

Santo B :

I agree that you may have to carry some of the burden in this situation, especially because he has anxiety issues

Customer:

After 3 years together, I will admit I fell apart emotionally "waiting" for him to get better and trying to get him to see a therapist with me. He has gone to therapy on his own and his prescribed 3 meds for anxiety and depression.

Customer:

He also tried relationship counseling with a prior GF who was a psychologist but he felt ambushed

Santo B :

Have the medications alleviated some of the symptoms of the anxiety and depression

Customer:

he finally went with me but it was too late and I melted down. i should have remained calm but on the on the day we were suppose to go to therapist 1st time, he moved out of my house and refused to talk to me

Customer:

i was beside myself and did all of the wrong things, cried, followed him and insisted he speak to me and begged him not to leave me

Customer:

i said and did things that are embarrassing but he said he forgave me

Customer:

i continued to see therapist on my own and have grown

Customer:

therapist tried to help me and get him to go back to therapist

Customer:

but our last session did not go well and he does not trust our therapist

Santo B :

With regard to the prior relationship, did he share with you that the reason he felt ambushed was because his prior GF would analyze him?

Customer:

he says that the meds help him but he has alluded to it impacted his libido

Customer:

and he has moments where after a good day, he is on the couch crying

Customer:

this happened a couple weeks ago

Santo B :

That can be normal with anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications

Customer:

he felt "ambushed" because the prior GF's therapist told him something to the effect "what is wrong with you, you have a wonderful woman here"

Santo B :

That was completely inappropriate for a therapist to say that to a client

Customer:

and told him that bc of his relationship with his mom who told him he would be like his father and destroy relationships, he (Ron) would be a "destroyer" but Ron does not buy into that

Customer:

that is why he felt ambushed .. . ex GF was a psychologist and Ron is highly intelligent and had gone thru therapy himself for his depression so he can see that

Santo B :

Wow! That is a pretty significant statement on behalf of a therapist to a client. It is inappropriate and unethical based on my professional understanding of a therapeutic relationship

Customer:

so most recent therapist was suppose to walk us thru what worked, what didn't etc

Santo B :

Does he go to individual therapy now?

Customer:

ron was looking forward to that but ron was anxious and walked into the office and told the therapist, i don't love her and I don't want to be in the relationship and therapist said nothing

Customer:

i got upset and kept looking at the therapist for guidance and it got ugly and then therapist told me to leave

Santo B :

Does he go to individual therapy now? If so, how often?

Customer:

after, ron was super upset and called me told me he was so sad bc he thought he'd never see me again and how angry he was at the therapist ... then we talked for 2 hours and felt closer

Customer:

Ron said that i should find a diff therapist and doesn't understand why therapist didn't guide us as planned

Customer:

you see ... i know ron and what he says sometimes is not what he really wants ... he says he wants out of the relationship and even the therapist suspected that ron is not sure he often said to me "so Ron says"

Customer:

he needs to see psychiatrist to get his meds refilled and he does not talked about it often

Santo B :

During couples counseling, the therapist is their to facilitate a conversation between the two parties. If they feel that the session is not going well, and that there is on party that is vulnerable, they may stop the session.

Customer:

the relationship therapist I saw with him felt that maybe Ron did not see him enough and that often psychiatrists don't do enough, see their patients for 15 minutes often over the phone and keep overprecribing

Customer:

we were both vulnerable

Santo B :

Please tell me, does he see a individual therapist on a regular basis?

Customer:

like i mentioned above, he sees/speaks to a psychiatrist to get his meds refilled

Customer:

i honestly don't think he sees him enough and he needs to get relationship coaching

Customer:

ron had been through lots of intense therapy in the past and now feels like he knows enough and won't benefit which is the wrong thinking

Customer:

he talks about CBT but he needs more

Customer:

i tried to read/study but i know i cannot be his therapist

Customer:

i know i need to bear the burden and be the strong one

Santo B :

Normally psychiatrist are used for the purpose of medication management, and are not there to provide therapy services. A therapist is specifically train to focus on a person's strengths and to utilize the skills a person has to help them overcome there issues and struggles.

Customer:

i read about men and falling in love ... what was once easy for me having been in past successful long term relationships, it was much easier for me

Customer:

yes i understand what you just wrote

Customer:

that is why i was trying so hard to get him to see a relationship therapist who specialized in depression ... i researched and found a very expensive one

Santo B :

Based on the information you have given me thus far, it sounds as though Ron needs to seek the guidance of a therapist and consistently meet with a therapist to work on ways to cope with the symptoms of his anxiety and depression. Medication only will alleviate some of the symptoms, but he must work towards learning coping skills and mechanisms that will allow him to make himself feel better

Customer:

it might have been too late to see him and Ron was resistant yet he went ... he wants to be helped but puts up barriers

Santo B :

I think he has to work with a therapist individually first and foremost, and I think it would benefit both you and him to remain friends and put your relationship on hold for a bit

Customer:

yes i understand that but he needs to figure that out and i have to be careful in gently encouraging him but he may turn on me and tell me that I'm the one that has a disorder .. he tried to do that but he no longer believes it and the therapist confirmed I don't have a disorder myself

Customer:

is he projecting/

Customer:

so now, what do I do? we see each other but I need to request it and he is agreeable.

Santo B :

with all that he is going through, I don't believe he would be able to successfully fulfill the role of a partner in a relationship until he has been able to build up some coping skills that will allow him to be in a better place

Santo B :

He may be projecting, it may simply be a defense mechanism

Customer:

i did learn that if I back off, he will be more willing to be there for me like at a recent "event" (we are both triathlete) I told him that I will be ok and that I don't need him to support me even though a good friend of mine passed away a week before a big cycling event. He then made arrangements to find me on the ride and ride 2 hours with me.

Santo B :

i.e. "I am not crazy, you are"

Customer:

yes, I am learning all this.

Customer:

i am not ready to give up so I want to pull "all the stops" and do everything I can over the next 2 weeks. this is why it is important ... I will be doing my 1st Ironman and had some tragedy in my life over the past 6 months including losing him ... I am 45, of sound mind but sad. I love him and I need his love and support at the finish line.

Santo B :

Ok, so I would recommend that you try and simply be a supportive friend. Pursuing a relationship with him at this point may not be wise. He has to learn how to be comfortable in his own skin and environment, and until then, a relationship will most likely not work out between the two of you

Customer:

I know but I want to try

Customer:

I hear you but what can I do even if I fail ... I need to have hope in my life right now

Customer:

we are meeting for dinner and a movie tonight and i was thinking of cooking him something healthy and maybe do a picnic (we've never done that) I heard you should do new things

Santo B :

I understand that you want to try and that you love him, but unfortunately it doesn't sound like he is ready to commit to a relationship. Try to establish a successful and trusting friendship with him. If that works, then maybe move forward from there, but based on the information you have given me, I don't suggest you pursue a romantic/intimate relationship with him at this time.

Customer:

do i tell him, that I love him, and that I understand he does not want to be together but tell him flat out how i fell and that I am going to do what I can to win him over because the Ironman is hard enough as it is and I'd would like for him to be at the finish line for me?

Customer:

But if I go into the "friend" zone, isn't' hard to get out of it?

Santo B :

In my opinion, for a relationship to be successful, both people must be somewhat healthy emotionally and mentally

Customer:

I have 2 months until my Ironman so that is the critical date. It's really important to me

Customer:

i know but he may always be like this

Customer:

i would like to do whatever i can, over the next 2 months and then i'll walk away

Santo B :

I understand, but you are trying to get something from him that he most likely is either unable or unwilling to give to you right now

Customer:

i know that

Customer:

how can i influence him, however so slightly

Customer:

to even open his mind to thinking it is a possibility?

Customer:

it took my dad 3 years to get my mother back

Santo B :

Putting pressure on someone that suffers from anxiety and depression, and is symptomatic is not likely to work out in your favor. I realize that I may not be telling you what you want to hear, but I am basing this opinion on my professional experience with working with couples

Customer:

yes i understand

Santo B :

I don't want to give you advice for the sake of giving you advice.

Customer:

so no pressure so be his friend but be flirty

Customer:

i understand

Santo B :

I want to make certain that what i say is appropriate and effective.

Customer:

yes i understand

Santo B :

Treat him like you would any other friend

Santo B :

Give him time.

Customer:

what can i do to increase the chances though so he sees me more than a good friend

Santo B :

When you begin to see that he is getting better and building coping skills, then you can begin to talk to him about how you feel and where you would like to see your relationship go

Customer:

do i ask him about his hopes and dreams

Customer:

dad said to treat him like when i first met him

Customer:

give him positive reinforcement

Santo B :

No. Explain to him that you love him, and that if all that he can be to you right now is a friend, than you will take that and understand

Customer:

don't give him a reason to feel anxious

Santo B :

Tell him its ok, and that you are not trying to pressure him into anything

Santo B :

ask him if he is comfortable with being good friends

Santo B :

don't try to manipulate his feelings. he is vulnerable

Customer:

so don't ask him about his hopes and dreams etc or try to be close

Customer:

are you suggesting to be more distant?

Santo B :

You probably already know what his hopes and dreams are. Don't be more distant, just make certain that you can retain good boundaries with him

Customer:

and do i ever ask him, what worked between us and what didn't work, etc? we were suppose to do that with the therapist

Santo B :

don't set up the situation for him to become anxious or upset

Santo B :

I would say hold off on asking him that for a little while

Customer:

i'm not sure what my boundaries are suppose to be anymore

Santo B :

He needs to invest some time in getting better

Santo B :

Boundaries - Be supportive, but don't be willing to do things for him that he is certainly capable of doing himself. Show him that you care, but be careful when expressing your feelings for him.

Customer:

do i continue to initiate our get-togethers?

Santo B :

Be empathetic, not sympathetic

Customer:

ideally i want him to reach out to me and he will by email which i hate

Customer:

but do i cave and respond to him via email since that is what he is comfortable with. he has known for a long time since we first met that i didn't feel it was a good way to feel closer to someone ... you have to talk in person

Santo B :

I think it would be good to allow him to reach out to you. let him set the stage. Although you may hate waiting, he will contact you when he is comfortable

Customer:

if he was a "normal" guy, that would be my expectation but with his illness, my sense of boundaries and "roles' is unclear

Santo B :

Yes, meet him where he is at. Correspondence with him can be by email if thats what he is comfortable with

Customer:

so if i am not happy with just an email saying "how are you" and prefer him to call me and say let's catch up in person, do I tell him that is what i prefer and just wait?

Santo B :

We tend to want to help/fix people we care about. The nay person that can help his situation is him

Santo B :

Ask him if he would be comfortable with that. Don't demand it, and don't say that that is the only way you will communicate with him

Santo B :

Tell him your preference and see what he does

Santo B :

I think your willingness to make this work is admirable, but you really should take into consideration that he isn't doing this because he wants to. It is based on his level of comfort.

Customer:

yes thank you ... i am learning that and it has been a great learning experience for me

Santo B :

So, with that said, what do you think. I wish I could have told you that you should go for it and push him but I don't believe that would work out for you. I think that you will achieve more with some of the techniques i provided

Customer:

it is hard to separate his actions based on his illness versus taking it so personally

Customer:

yes i think it makes sense ... it's been 6 months though and i have not done a good job of not pushing ... but probably better than most people

Santo B :

We are all different, and we all have different strengths. I think that you have remained strong in this situation, and the only way to eventually find out if there is something more to be had with him is to remain strong and vigilent

Customer:

i've been patient with him for a long time even in our relationship i wish he can see that and recognize what he has in me

Santo B :

I think he will, but first he must learn how to deal with himself

Customer:

thank you ... it is complicated but as a mature woman of sound mind and with intelligence, i believe strongly we can be happy together if he does get some help but i understand i need to get him to come to that conclusion on his own

Santo B :

It is difficult to deal with someone that suffers from anxiety and depression. Their feeling of uncertainty can drive anyone a little bonkers

Customer:

i understand i need to get inside his head

Customer:

and be patient

Customer:

my therapist said that he could not be as patient as me and that the "no knowing" on my end is more painful that a clear breakup

Customer:

have you seen examples where the guy comes around in a similar situation?

Santo B :

I agree with your therapist. You feel unsure of yourself and feel like you're in limbo

Customer:

or even in a healthy situation, after 6 months and the guy is still seeing his ex, and "checking her out" and cares for her, there must be something there right?

Customer:

i mean when i broke up with my 2 long term relationships, i wanted nothing to do with them really ... maybe spoke to one but not to see them or get together

Santo B :

I have dealt with situations like this in the past. I think that the reason that he stills hangs around with you is that he finds comfort in you, which happens to be a good thing

Customer:

ok i'm being a baby here i know ... but he finds comfort in me which is good in a possible romantic way? :-)

Santo B :

I think that your therapist has probably given you similar advice to what I have said, and I truly believe that you will find comfort in knowing that although he may be anxious he is comfortable around you.

Santo B :

I can't be sure whether it is romantic or not. But either way, him feeling comfortable with you is a clear indication that he wants you around in any capacity

Customer:

i know... despite me being anxious and causing him anxiety, he still comes to see me and runs with me and bikes with me and made sure i had sunscreen coverage on me at a recent triathlon and kept looking for me on the course et cetera ... he really cares!

Customer:

when do i ask him the relationship questions so i can understand what he is thinking?

Santo B :

I believe he does. Stay strong. If you are willing to wait and see, I think you will know where you stand with him

Customer:

i mean i want to know so i can improve or understand

Santo B :

I would ask him when he is willing to share that with you. I think you will know when the time is right.

Customer:

i want to know for sure if he believes the meds impacted his libido

Customer:

i mean he says what is the "killer in our relationship is the lack of romance"

Santo B :

I can tell you that those medications impact many men's libido

Customer:

but he told me that his libido diminished with change in meds and he admitted to me that he rarely has an erection

Santo B :

Him being on three different medications is pretty significant

Customer:

so sometimes he admits to it and other times he says it "us" which frustrates me

Customer:

yes maximum dosage of limichtel, gababentin, cymbalta (I'm not spelling them right)

Santo B :

those are strong medications, especially lamictal

Customer:

so if i can show him the romance is possible and convince him the meds are partially to blame i feel it would help give us a chance

Customer:

so what do you know about them

Customer:

he says he has severe clinical depression and anxiety but not bipolar but aren't those drugs prescribed for bipolar?

Santo B :

Psych medications are not my specialty, and as a therapist we learn basic information about them but I do know that the medications you listed are used for depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc

Santo B :

they are sometimes used off label, i.e. meaning they are used for something that they were intended to be used for

Customer:

i feel like i need a coach to tell me what to do and say every step of the way

Customer:

i;ve lost confidence

Santo B :

the point of a life coach is to help guid, not tell

Santo B :

guide

Customer:

i have a hard time controlling my emotions

Customer:

its not normal for me

Customer:

i don't want to lose him

Santo B :

It doesn't seem like you've lost confidence, maybe in this situation and circumstance but aside from that you are probably a strong person

Customer:

i've never felt so certain

Santo B :

Less is more in this situation

Customer:

yes, my last ex BF who i've consulted tells me so

Customer:

ok so don't try to make the dinner tonight too romantic?

Santo B :

I would keep it simple

Santo B :

friendly

Santo B :

don't try to hard, just do

Customer:

ok thanks ... this is really heard

Customer:

do you think he understands what is happening? do you think on some level he may know that if he gets help things can be better? do you think he feels on some level that he still loves me and there might be a chance for us/

Customer:

dad says he is highly intelligent and type of person who will never stop learning so don't teach him

Santo B :

I don't know him, but it seems as though there is obviously something that draws him to you. He is probably extremely frustrated with himself, and hates the way he feels

Santo B :

Having anxiety and depression is extremely frustrating

Customer:

but i mentioned to him a book on EFT that i was reading and he asked me to share it with him on his kindle so he can read it ... maybe i keep on finding books for him to read on his own? do you know of any good books he could read that might have a possible impact and open his heart to me?

Customer:

yes he has used the word "frustrated" many times in the past

Santo B :

I f i were you, I would suggest less books and suggest he pursue a therapeutic relationship with a counselor

Customer:

so give him what he needs right now

Customer:

i tried ... it';s not working ..

Santo B :

give him what he needs, and meet him where he is at

Customer:

ron mentioned that "if he and i were to go to a therapist that it would be unethical for us to see the same guy"

Customer:

i don't agree but i found a new guy and mentioned it to him ... do i mention it to him again in the future?

Santo B :

Maybe in passing, but don't place to much focus on it.

Customer:

you see he doesn't see the point since in his mind, there is no opportunity for us to be in a romantic relationship ... and this is where my therapist will say "so he says"

Santo B :

I probably would not take on a couple and provide them with individual counseling

Santo B :

I would see one or the other, not both

Customer:

therapist says that he still believes that he can help ron and i have a much better relationship and never suggested that we break up and that ron doesn't always know what he wants ... dad said the same thing ... if ron is in good mood, he wants one thing but if he is in a bad mood, he wants another

Customer:

yes ron researched that and that is what he said ... but it is interesting that ron took the time to research it, don't you think

Santo B :

I think that you must remain supportive, and see where the relationship goes.

Customer:

if i were younger, and trust me, i have been looking for other prospects, i would just leave him and look forward to the next relationship but at my age, i don't think i'll find someone i want to be with like ron

Santo B :

I am not too sure about that, but i would give it a bit more time and see where it leads...

Customer:

i know i'm not suppose to think like this and you are going to tell me not to think like this ... everyone is but i live in silicon valley where there is suppose to be the best chance for a girl to find a guy but i'm 45, i look much younger, i am successful, and attractive, and have had good healthy relationships in the past but i decided to end them because i wanted a diff guy and i found him and his name is XXXXX XXXXX he is ill.

Customer:

i am afraid ron will get better and fall in love with someone else

Customer:

my dad and therapist says, he will have the same problems if he does not resolve them

Santo B :

Exactly. You must decide what you want to do with that. You realize that there is a chance that this may not work out. There is always someone else out there, but I think you have to see this thing through before considering moving on to something or someone else

Customer:

ok thank you very much!

Customer:

wish me luck

Customer:

and love

Santo B :

I hope I have been helpful to you. I wish you luck and I will be checking in on you in a few days.

Customer:

please do!!!

Santo B :

You can always revisit the Q&A page to ask more questions and voice any concerns. Good Luck!

Santo B :

We will speak soon. Have a good day!

Santo B, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience: Clinical Social Work
Santo B and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
One more question ... how honest or how vulnerable should I be with Ron? For example, if he asks how I am and I am feeling really down, do I share that or do I pretend to be ok? I am having a hard time getting myself together to prepare him a nice dinner and should I tell him that I wasn't feeling well?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do I tell him I wanted to prepare a really special meal for him and to plan a special day but I feel a bit down and could not rally the energy to do it?
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
The best thing to do is be honest and open with him. You don't need to shield him from the truth, you just don't want to pressure him into making decisions that may cause further anxiety for him. I would say that honesty is the best policy when it comes to how you are feeling. Keep your statements in the "I".
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I was honest with him tonight. We had a very nice dinner together. He helped me to prepare it and then we watched a movie on TV. He helped me make dinner and dessert which was nice. Something he didn't do often when we were together but he has been very helpful since we broke up. He doesn't take me for granted and is attentive. I actually enjoy dinner dates with him more now!

I did ask him to do something (to travel to my next triathlons with me to support me) and he said "he cannot". I am still struggling with controlling my emotions so I did express that I wish he would be honest with me. And he said "what do you mean" and I said, you say you cannot go but you really mean you do not want to. He got upset with me and mentioned that he had not been there for 10 minutes and we are already arguing. This time I was able to stop. I asked for his patience and I was honest and told him that I have a lot of anxiety too. I told him that I've been patient with him for 3 years waiting for him to feel better so we can have a "normal" relationship. I told him that even before he arrived tonight, I was anxious and worried he would not show up. He told me that he has always shown up whenever he agreed to with me. I told him, that I knew that but I felt anxious.


He then explained to me that he needs my help to not be so anxious. He said he feels it physically. He told me the is tracking his mood lately and taking notes. I asked him this is something his psychiatrist asked him to do. He said "no". So in a way, I am happy to hear he recognizes things are not so stable for him and intelligent enough to know he needs to gather "data". I joked that my goal is when he takes notes on his "good" moods, that my name is XXXXX XXXXX it more than his bad moods. He laughter and said "ok".


He laid on the couch and helped himself around the house and put the clean dishes away from the dishwasher ... things he didn't do enough of i the past. I appreciated it very much.


When we say goodbye, I still get sad and I probably hug him to much but I always ask him and he reciprocates and hugs me back and rubs my back. He doesn't seem to mind.


One day at a time. Dad gave me pretty much exactly the same advice you gave me. I need other men in my life to coach me through this. This is the toughest thing for me.
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
I believe it sounds as though the date went very well for the both of you. It doesn't seem that there were any significant issues, and his anxiety remained at bay. I believe if you can continue this pattern with him that it may lead to a successful relationship. I cannot say whether that relationship will be romantic and intimate, but even a friendship at this point would be great.
Santo B, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience: Clinical Social Work
Santo B and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Santo B,

Since Saturday, the last time I saw Ron he has emailed me on Sunday, on Monday and today just to have light conversation. He asked me how my long training ride went on Sunday and then shared a fun article about the best pizza in the US (it's an on-going joke that I cannot find good pizza in California and that NJ/NY has the best pizza). I have not replied yet. I miss him and it is July 4th tomorrow. I am usually upbeat and know I need to appear strong, happy and that will make me appear more desirous in his eyes (or any man for that matter) but for the 1st time in a long time, I actually was up all night and stayed in bed until past 12 noon although I was awake. Feel better now but it's late in the afternoon, and wish he'd call me. I have not replied to his emails. I want to go for a swim with him and I want to do something with him tomorrow for July 4th but I wonder if he made plans to spend it without me because in his head, that is what he should do.


Do I just lay low and now respond to him. Have him miss me and wonder what I'm doing and just make plans with my friends for July 4 and wait for him to email me again? He knows I prefer talking versus email and he wrote in yesterday's email that we would talk soon but he's done that in the past and just emailed me.


Having one of those moments where I miss him. I am writing a cookbook for fun and thought about posting some recipes on my Facebook fan page ... he'll see that and will be proud of me. He has always encouraged me to do this. It's a hobby of mine and I'm off from work this week so I have time to work on it.


Ugh ... I feel like a little immature girl who doesn't know what to do or say to a guy.
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
Why don't you email him just to say hello, and ask what he has planned for the holiday? I don't see why you can't write him, and also make sure to wish him a happy 4th if you don't see him. Keep it layer back and casual. Be friendly, but don't set the stage for him to think you are asking him about the holiday to make plans. Let him know that you will probably hang out with some of your girlfriends. I don't think you can lose with a simple casual email.
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
I am just checking in with you to see if any of the suggestions we spoke about were helpful. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have not replied to him yet. I'm struggling with not having him reach out to me.
I am happy he still wants to see me, feel comfortable with me and treat me well when he is with me. I realize I must show him that most of the time we are together, it is comfortable and fun for him. I know I need to create emotional intimacy and it is a long process although we are close and he does share a lot with me.
Honestly, is it really possible that he would be this comfortable in my presence, and NOT be wanting anything romantic? Again, I try to put myself in his shoes and think of past relationships where I was good friends but there was no romance or chance of that when it ended. I remember feeling sad about the relationship but relieved it ended and had no desire to be friends.
Do you think from what i described he has avoidant behaviors? I know I should not try to play psychologist. I'm really struggling here and just playing it cool.
I'm afraid to respond as you suggested because I don't want it to be "ok" in his mind to just be distant friends. I want him to want more.
I am so tempted to ask him 1 more time to come to Napa next weekend to support me in my triathlon. You told me not to ask him again. He told me he cannot. Would you be able to speculate why he cannot? What does he feel?
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
I don't think I can speculate, but there may be some anxiety about traveling. It may not have been a problem in the past but may have become a problem. Why not suggest getting together with him when you return from Napa. You can tell him all about the triathlon, and see where he is at at that point. I think you are doing well right now, and if it is meant to be more than it is right now the relationship will evolve to include intimacy. Just give it some time.

If you notice that it is not progressing than I would suggest you discuss with him the possibility of moving forward towards a more intimate relationship. Right now, just focus on you and your needs.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So should I call him today and be honest about how I feel in a calm way which is that I am motivating myself to get out for an open water swim, a 90 min bike ride and then a 30 min run which is on my training schedule and then trying to find something to do later for July 4th (I'm still kinda new in the area) and just say, in a casual way, that I appreciate that he knows how I feel being that he had felt the same way in the past when he had his depression bouts. Napa is 2 weeks away and I don't think I can wait until then. My needs is that I need him there. You see, because I relocated here, I don't have the close friends to go there and support me at this upcoming race in Napa. I'll be at a hotel room by myself, in a romantic place and with the stress of a race with no one to cheer me on. It will be the 1st time i'll be completely at a race by myself and even Ron has never experienced that. Every single race he's done, he had 1 person or a group of his closest friends there, to support each other. I want him to think about how hard it is for me and frankly, he could not do it. He could not be in my shoes and go to Napa by himself and then to Canada by himself. He has a crew of people to coordinate fights with, car rental, hotel everything whereas I will arrive at the airport by myself etc.
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
I see nothing wrong with that. I don't believe that it would be inappropriate to find out what he is doing for the holiday. If he has no plans, why not ask him to hang out. I wouldn't bring up Napa though, not just yet.
Santo B, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience: Clinical Social Work
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Santo B,
Ron and I are still struggling. We make small improvements but I wish I could give him 10 days that he is completely happy around me. I have difficulty when he does/says something hurtful.
He invited me to go to the gym on Friday and then again on Saturday, he did a lovely thing and joined me for the last 2 hours of my 6.5 hour training ride yesterday. It was a good thing he was there because I did not take in enough nutrition and got dehydrated. Because of his experience, he saw that I was in trouble and helped me to recover. He joined me for a quick bite after. I had to ask him to eat with me. He did not offer.
He told me that it is harder for him to say "no" to me than "yes". He admitted that he has an emotional desire to drive me to my triathlon in Napa this coming weekend and support me but he said that he learned from our therapist that if he wants to end the relationship, he should not have any more contact with me because this confuses me Now, I asked the therapist about this and he told me that he advised Ron based on Ron wanting to end the romantic relationship. And the therapist always added "and so he says" (therapist has shared that Ron may want 1 thing 1 day and another thing another day and may not know what he wants as well). The therapist will tell me that he never suggested that Ron and I break up and that he could help us to have a better relationship and said that to Ron. I reminded Ron of this but he ignores this.
So of course, I am hanging on to Ron's emotions for me. While it is small, it is a good thing I suppose that he does care for me. My guess is that in his head he feels the relationship cannot work but in his heart he cares for me. I told Ron to follow his heart.
Ron is very intelligent... a PhD electrical engineer and very analytical. I know that to win him over, I need for him to come up with a logical reason to want me.
My event is this weekend. I still don't know what to do.
I want him there. I want him to see what a wonderful time we'll have together. It will bring us closer. I understand as a man he will also feel good being able to support me. In return, I show him gratitude and respect which I understand is what men need and that is how men feel loved (repeated and admired).
Santo - is there any hope at all? Is this relationship completely dead? Would a man feel all that Ron feels if he is sure he wants the relationship to be over? I know that I want nothing to do with my past boyfriends, even one I use to live with, not even to be friends. I was friendly with 1 past boyfriend but it was hard because I moved across the country so we are far away.
I am typically very optimistic but feel sad. Ron is tracking his moods and I want him to write how good he feels when he sees me but I am having a hard time not wanting to ask him to talk about our relationship or anxiety on whether he'll be there to support me in something that is so incredibly important to me in my entire life ... completing an Ironman.
I've asked you this is so many different ways and each time, I understand your response, and then time goes by, Ron and I have an interaction, and I'm confused again.
How do I regain the romance back with him? How do I change his perception of me? Do I just try to be as upbeat and positive as I can in his presence? I understand falls in love because of how the woman makes a man feel ... which is good. I feel good in his presence, of course not when we are fighting but I do feel comforted by him. I believe he feels comforted by me too ... he has told me that in the past you noticed that in your previous reply.
Is there any chance I can win his heart back more and more each time? I have a small piece of it. I know if he is happier around me, engages in fun activities with me, I will have a good chance.
But I hear he needs to feel like he wants to chase me. He needs to see how independent I am.
From a man's perspective and in your training, what is he feeling (ha, the million dollar question) and what are my chances? I'm not crazy to believe there is some glimmer of hope? He says he doesn't want a romantic relationship but he hugs me, he has dinner with me, he acts like a boyfriend, he is attracted to me, he simply cares for me and in his heart he really hurts when I hurt and he misses me sometimes.
What can I do right now to up the ante? It's been 7 months now since we broke up and we've been caught in this difficult "friendship" for a while. It has been better in the last 2 months but i'm just dying inside here.
Oh, I had how he emails me to ask me how I am. He is avoiding calling. Would it be wise to tell him I"m not reading his emails anymore? Everything needs to be on the phone or in person? It's driving me crazy.
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
You have asked some very difficult questions. I realize that you are feeling a bit torn up by all of this, but I believe if you continue on this path you may find out where you stand with him. We have been discussing ways you can talk to him without causing him anxiety, well what if you decided to discuss with him where this relationship is going? This may rock the boat a bit, but it isn't good for you to continue to feel like you are in limbo waiting for him to come around. You are beginning to cause yourself anxiety, and it sounds like this situation has become quite overwhelming for you. Maybe ask him as "a friend" what he is looking for in a relationship, and has he found it?

It seems somewhat confusing whether he is being stubborn and resisting a relationship with you, or he himself is torn as to whether he wants to be in a relationship with you. I am not sure you should confront him about this before you triathlon, it may be best to do it afterwords. If you want him to go with you, then you should ask him if he liked to go with you and support you as a friend. Explain to him what it would mean to you and see how he responds to your request.

It sounds like he does care about you, but it also seems that he has complicated the situation for you and himself. Sometimes you can't analyze a relationship down to logic, it simply is what it is. I am not sure if this would help, but I believe that you now need to find a way to reduce the stress and anxiety this is beginning to cause you. It may be time to push him just a little to find out whether or not this is going somewhere, or if its time for you to begin focusing on you and distancing yourself from him and the need to pursue this relationship.

Also, when people are depressed and suffer from anxiety, it is not strange to move two steps forward one step back. That is something that is quite common with people that suffer from depression and anxiety. I hope this helps. let me know if this was helpful.
Santo B, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience: Clinical Social Work
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. XXXXX read about some of the behaviors of people suffering from depression & anxiety.

1) What is the best way to help that person continue to move forward and feel more emotional intimacy? I try to ask him about his work, how he is feeling, etc.


2) I tried to share with him how I felt about our relationship and kept it in the "I" or so I thought. He still felt like I was berating him. I don't feel like I am. Is it common for someone with anxiety or who is aware of their "weakness" to be defensive and claim you are berating them?


3) Once he told me that I didn't help him when he sprained his ankle. Isn't that berating. In this instance, I had offered twice to bring him crutches, do his laundry and drove him to the pool so he could swim. Once I reminded him of this, he realized that his disappointment towards me was inaccurate ... and basically he made that up in his head? Is this common with people with depression & anxiety to almost be delusional in believing negative things about their partner that is not reality? How do I deal with that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi!

Not sure if you saw my followup questions below? I know it's a lot. Any help would be appreciated The good news is that he is now going to travel with me to the triathlon this weekend! Yay! He had been very supportive this week. He invited me to go for a run and a swim. He checks up on me. One day my phone was not working and he kept calling me, trying to reach me via email and instant messenging, trying to figure out what was going on.


Well let me know what your thoughts are on my 3 other questions.


I've made it this far and hope we have a good time at my event. I hope he will now go to Canada with me for my big Ironman. It would mean a lot to me. Should I offer to pay for the airfare? I paid for all of my travel when I supported him in the past. I'm keeping optimistic. Things are working out so far albeit really slow and cautiously.
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.

1) What is the best way to help that person continue to move forward and feel more emotional intimacy? I try to ask him about his work, how he is feeling, etc.

Based on your most recent post, I think you are doing a great job fostering a increased level of emotional intimacy. Unfortunately, he must be handled delicately, and thus far you have been doing that, which has resulted in him being more attentive to your needs.

2) I tried to share with him how I felt about our relationship and kept it in the "I" or so I thought. He still felt like I was berating him. I don't feel like I am. Is it common for someone with anxiety or who is aware of their "weakness" to be defensive and claim you are berating them?

I believe it depends on the person, but it does sound as though his defenses are up, and he is unable to differentiate what you are trying to convey to him. When people suffer from anxiety their symptoms can be terribly debilitating. I believe he is unable to distinguish whether you are simply telling him what you want and expect from the relationship with him, and him assuming that you are berating and criticizing him.


3) Once he told me that I didn't help him when he sprained his ankle. Isn't that berating. In this instance, I had offered twice to bring him crutches, do his laundry and drove him to the pool so he could swim. Once I reminded him of this, he realized that his disappointment towards me was inaccurate ... and basically he made that up in his head? Is this common with people with depression & anxiety to almost be delusional in believing negative things about their partner that is not reality? How do I deal with that?

I believe that confusion plays a role in depression and anxiety. I don't believe he has a delusional disorder, but simply has difficulty understanding the difference between kindness and niceties, and someone patronizing him and his ability to do for himself. Unfortunately, he has to deal with these issues with his therapist.

I believe that although you continue to take baby steps, you have found a way to make him more and more comfortable with you on a more trusting, emotional, and intimate level. I realize that it is moving slow, but if you continue to move slow your more likely to get the result you are looking for. Also, be aware that when people that suffer from depression begin to do better, it is a crucial time because it is the period that they are most likely to relapse into a depressive state. Keep up what you are doing and keep e updated on the progress of your relationship.
Santo B, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience: Clinical Social Work
Santo B and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Santo B,

Great news! Ron came to me to support me at my half ironman triathlon. We had a great time. I had my best race and set a personal record. He was anxious about staying 2 nights with me so I compromised and said that we could go home after 1 night. It turns out, he suggested that we stay a 2nd night! We went out to dinner and had great conversation. He slept in a diff bed, same room which is appropriate.


Yesterday, I wanted to give him space. He emailed me in the morning and I did not respond. He was just sending me some information on a project I was working on so there wasn't a reply requested. He then texted me in the evening asking me if I did a training ride. I did not respond and I did that on purpose. I told my dad that I was going to play it cool for 24-48 hours. My dad told me don't wait more the 24 hours because Ron will become anxious. He was right! Ron called me this morning to see how I felt. It takes 2-3 days to recover from a triathlon race. I texted him and told him I was running an errand near him and if he wanted he could join me for lunch but if not, no problem. I was surprised he called me to say he was interested in lunch! He then sent me the following email:


"i realize better what's happening for me. i get weirded out when ppl come and go from my life. (i know why this is. another story.) so when we have limited contact then go to lots of contact then go back to limited contact it really hits this hot button for me. i easily get attached to ppl and it can take me a few days to get back on my feet after these cycles.

and i feel like i have to go through the hard times with you then when you get on your feet it leaves me weirded out.

i'm weirded out right now. has me anxious and depressed. :/

that's me sharing a bit."


So I did not read this email until just now. BEFORE I had a chance to read this email, he asked me what I was doing later and I said that my training schedule is to do an easy recovery swim. He said he might join me. I played it "cool": and I said I will be there at 7 pm but it he cannot make it, not a problem. Sure enough, he shows up and then we have dinner after. We had great conversation. I then come home to read the note above.


Could he be remembering all the good feelings ... feeling so love for me? I hope so. I will continue to let him feel like he is in control and be strong and happy myself.


What do you make of what he wrote? Clearly, his past (father abandoning him) + high anxiety coming into play. I just hope it doesn't back fire.


I did send him a nice note back thanking him for sharing and that i understand. I also complimented him saying what a good friend, confident, mentor and coach he has been to me.


I know ultimately, it has to be his decision to want to "chase" me so to speak. He has to come to this desire on his own.


I am trying to live in the present and enjoy each moment I have with him. I find myself, staring into his eyes and feeling good. I just enjoy talking to him, laughing with him myself.


What is your take on what he wrote and what is going on? It seems slightly more optimistic that he may come to Canada with me for my big Ironman? I will wait to ask him.
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
It seems as thought things are going well. No matter what, he will always suffer from anxiety and that's something that you can expect to happen.

It almost sounds like, based on his text that he enjoys taking care of you and providing you with comfort. It may make him anxious but he is being a caretaker to you. I think that him sharing this with you, and then deciding to spend time with you is a humongous step for him.

I suggest you continue to do what you're doing. His realization of what makes him anxious will allow him to recognize it and deal with it accordingly. He is slowly learning how to tolerate these feelings, and the more time he spends with you, the more he will find that his anxiety has little to do with you and mostly to do with him. Keep me updated, and let me know what happens with Ironman.

Lastly, don't ask him about ironman. I think that he may be leaning towards going with you. Good Luck!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Santo B,

Hello. So Ron asked me to drive him to the airport for his trip to visit with his family. While he was away, he kept in touch with me every day. He either emailed me or texted me. He knew I had a 100 mile training ride planned and he texted me to check in. That is good news. He did not call me and if we were dating, that would be the expectation. But we had a good text exchange back and forth.


He seemed really happy to see my face at the airport. He had a big smile and anxious to hear what I've been up to. We went out for ice cream after and I played it cool and just went home.


My Ironman is in 4 weeks in Canada. I am tempted to buy him a plane ticket now and then wait 2 weeks to see if he will go with me.


I have the feeling he is inclined to go too but in the past, if I don't push a little, it may not happen.


I could be wrong. You say don't ask him, but how do I bring it up? It's a big trip. I know he can get away easily. It's just buying the plane ticket and I really only have 1 more week to purchase it. Do I purchase it and take the chance he'll come?
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
I think at this point you can begin hinting to him that you would love his support at Ironman, and you have been looking at plane tickets. See what his response is to that. I wouldn't buy the ticket for him without talking to him about it a bit. I realize I said not to ask him, but things seem to be going great. I would insinuate that you would like him there, and if he were to agree to come you will buy his ticket.

I think that would be a reasonable way to bring about the subject without putting too much pressure on him to make a decision on the spot. What do you think?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
History with Ron is that he waits to very last minute to make a decision. I am learning this is his high anxiety. It makes me anxious! I brought up the Ironman again after we spent a really good day together. We had lunch, worked together, swam together after and then had dinner. He gave me a very warm embrace when we said good night.

I sent him an email this morning and her wrote back the following:


"it makes me feel very anxious too. i'm incredibly conflicted. on one hand i do want to be supportive and help you with your trip and big day. on the other hand i know what it does to me emotionally. i get messed up. i get reattached in some inappropriate way and it really takes an emotional impact on me for days and days to follow. this happened to me after vineman too even though the trip itself was fun
it's like yesterday. we spent some time together and there is a comfort in that because we know each other well and because things are more calm and peaceful. but are we holding each other back from processing our loss and moving forward? this is what i feel like what we're doing - taking comfort from one another, but not allowing ourselves to heal and move forward. and unfortunately it coincides with a really big event for you in imc."

In my opinion, we both have moved forward and our relationship is DIFFERENT. I reminded him that the therapist we saw told me that he could help us have a "DIFFERENT AND MUCH BETTER RELATIONSHIP" with each other and Ron doesn't want to discuss this nor acknowledges it.

I understand that Ron is fighting with his decision that he does not want to be with me but I know in my heart, he still loves me and we can both learn how to have a better romantic relationship with one another. I felt, but do not have the courage to say to Ron that I know why he was so confused after Vineman Napa triathlon and that is .... he is falling in love with me again!

1) I should NOT say that, right? I should let him figure that out.

2) It is so frustrating that he interprets these feelings as "inappropriate". It seems completely normal and acceptable to me.

3) It is more than just comfort. We are interacting as friends and he is drawn to me. I feel strongly (and I know I should stop playing psychologist here) that he is fighting with his intimacy issues. He is afraid to be in a relationship with me because of my behavior in the past and his as well but I know we are working to get beyond that and have made progress. He is also not able to accept feelings of love and intimacy due to feelings of abandonment by his father as a child and how his mother behaved after the divorce.

So, what do I say? I am trying to stay cool and be honest with him in sharing that it makes me feel anxious. I know I should not tolerate this but as I have told you, I know this is something I need to accept in him if I want a romantic relationship with Ron.

What do you think he is feeling? What do I say? Do you feel there is still hope we can work towards Ron coming to a decision in his head that he may want to be with me romantically? I'm certain he is attracted, that he loves me and he enjoys and respects my friendship. These are all good things to have in a relationship right? Do I remind him that it is good?

Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
I think that you should continue doing what you're doing. Allow him to be the aggressor and allow him to rediscover your feelings for you. You are doing great thus far. I believe that since the beginning of our conversation till now, you and him have made such wonderful progress. Keep it up. I wish I could answer some of your very specific questions, but unfortunately I am not in his brain. I think you have more insight into how he is feeling than I do. Trust your feelings and your instincts at this point.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well, I don't think what I've been doing is working. He wrote to me today:
"hi... i thought about this some. i think what's causing my discomfort is that when we get together you're goal is for us to get back together and mine is not. i'm there as a caring friend, not trying to reunite us. the result is i leave feeling like i've disappointed you. and in the back of my mind i know i'm getting connected to you as a friend and that once you realize you're not going to be able to reunite us as a couple, then you'll not want to be friends and i'll have to emotionally deal with the loss of a friend. the discomfort is it feels like a lose/lose to me."
I wrote back to him ...
1) First, you don't know what the future holds.
2) I have learned from what I've read and my father that we must "survive the relationship and do not expect too much from it. We understand and realize it's nature and inject "loving kindness" in it."
3) The wise man said" Yesterday was a memory, future is unknown now is the knowing". Enjoy the present.
I believe and understand you are afraid of being hurt
I know you are afraid of being with me in a romantic relationship because of what happened in the past and afraid we will not be able to find the romance. As you know, I feel I have the answer to that.
I know you are afraid of losing me again as a friend but by not going to Canada with me, you hurt me as a friend. I know you know what being there will mean to me. It is more than just the event. It is the culmination of things and hurt I have felt and being there, alone, will be ... I don't have the words to describe. It is one of the most meaningful, most important time in my life and I would be thrilled to have you there to support me, getting on the plane, on race day et cetera.
I don't want to give up. I do believe in my heart he is afraid to love me because he made a mistake and told all of his friends so and he made up his mind we cannot be together because of my behavior and because he believes there is no romance. I believe my behavior and his can improve and I believe he came to the wrong conclusion about romance because his depression and medication has an impact. The reason I say this is because I KNOW it when I see him, when he and I are together and how he cannot resist me. He wants to hug me and be with me. He has a smile in his eyes. I know this in a man. It is not just a friend. It is more than a friend.
I really need him there so I cannot give up. Did I say the right things to him? What else do I say?
I want to write to him:
1) I believe you enjoyed being with me at Vineman and you naturally wanted to spend more time with me. You missed me the next day. All very natural feelings
2) But in your head, you have made up your mind that you don't want someone like me in your life because of the way that I behaved and you are afraid that there will not be any romance.
3) In time and with a strong desire to improve, I believe that with professional help, both of us can continue to improve our coping skills. I am in particular learning how to cope when you are anxious and then I become anxious and I think I've become stronger as I begin to understand you better.
4) The romance part, I have a lot to say about that and someday we should talk in person about this topic. We haven't done a good job of addressing it head on and I believe there is a loving, compassionate way to address this without it feeling uncomfortable.
5) I believe that you are afraid of getting hurt. I believe this fear is a combination of the fear of losing me as a friend after investing yourself in me, the fear of falling in love with me again and reconciling that in your mind because you are convinced it will not work between us (although this is only reality in your own mind).
6) I believe we'll have a most wonderful time in Canada and that you should enjoy the moment. Going to Vineman was great. Being at Vineman was great. After Vineman was fine too! You felt nervous but we had a great week together right after! So everything is positive, fun and perfectly fine.
Should i say that to him. I feel like saying "you are afraid you will fall in love with me!" but not sure he will receive that well. Most guys wouldn't, right?
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
I don't think you should mention the "falling in love". I do think you should emphasize on the fun you and him had during the last trip together. I would also mention that although he may feel as though there are expectations, that you have decided not to expect anything and be surprised by everything. It seems that the uncertainty that he is feeling is manifesting into a great deal of anxiety. I realize it's difficult, but you must remain the strong and confident one. As you know, if the relationship is to progress in the future it will. If you express to him that all you are looking for from him right now is friendship and support, it may make him feel more comfortable.

If I were able to talk to him, I would have a better idea of why he has so many reservations about rekindling a relationship with you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. Good advice.
1) Do I ask him to discuss his reservations about rekindling a relationship with me after my Ironman?
2) From my past conversations with Ron, he feels we do not belong together because the romance was lacking which I agree.
- I tried to address that early in our relationship. We all of the sudden stopped being physically intimate and I confronted him about that and his distant behaviors. That is when he broke down and told me about his depression.
- I know the medication and depression impacts libido but he has not discussed this in detail
- I know that how we both feel in the relationship impacts both of our libido and I have only recently learned how sensitive he is. So I am trying to change how I behave towards him in a way that has a more positive impact on him. He has told me that he needs to feel closer to me by sharing how he feels. We are working on that.
- He says that there weren't enough good times/positive experiences in our relationship. He said he felt he was always disappointing him. And when I tried to explain to him some of the behaviors of his that hurt me, he took it as berating him. I feel that he didn't learn good behaviors of how a man is suppose to behave in a relationship b/c his father divorced his mother at age 10 and he felt abandoned and it was a bitter divorce. Ron mentioned that he and I had such good interactions recently and he wondered what was different. I said I think I know and I asked him what he thought was different and he said he had to think about it but he hasn't gotten back to me yet. I simply told him that we are BOTH behaving well towards each other and BOTH contributing to a positive interaction. I also tried to tell him in the past, by using examples of his friends who are couples and what they do for each other that seems to work and how the lack of some of those behaviors hurt our relationship.
- he most likely has intimacy issues that hurt our relationship and you will probably tell me I should say that to hi outright
- finally i demonstrated some poor past behaviors. I have been extraordinarily patient. Our therapist told me so. He said that he (the therapist) would not be as patient as I was nor be able to tolerate what I tolerate. He said that I have been able to tolerate the intolerable. As a result, I did explode and I did and said things that really hurt Ron. Even though it was after many months and much hurt, I realize it is wrong but Ron is afraid of that. When he sees me that hurt, Ron says it sends him into a depression and that scares him. I am aware of that and I personally am coping with this better but I realize that for my own well-being,
Ron needs to improve how he relates to me as well. It's not good for me to feel hurt all the time. Ron can't improve the way he copes/behaves unless he acknowledges he has a problem and seeks help from a professional.
And so that is why he does not want to rekindle I think. I believe he loves me. I believe the romance part will be an issue for him in other relationships and he has admitted it to me that he had this problem with other woman but then we never discuss it further. When I try to bring it up, he gets defensive, and pretends he never said it and that it is my fault or that he and i simply do not belong together.
I can only work on
1) trying to get him to feel closer and more comfortable with me
2) improving my behaviors when I feel hurt or to take a moment and understand Ron's anxiety better which helps me to feel less hurt when he behaves in a way that I find undesirable.
So, knowing these are his reservations ... what do you suggest I do next?
p.s. Ron and I are compatible in many ways and we are both physically attracted to each other. I know he enjoys spending time with me. He told me so and frankly it's been 7 months since we "broke up" and he has spent a lot of time with me lately. I see him "checking me out" all the time. I know for sure he is still very attracted to me and he cannot resist hugging me. His embraces are warm. Once he kissed me on my head. He is conflicted when this happens. i've thought about kissing him on the cheek. I also know I can impact his emotions. I am trying to do what I can to "melt his heart" in a good way.
I guess I should just continue to try to melt his heart ... whatever that is?
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Santo B,

If I discuss with him directly now, he is going to say "no" and I want to wait until after my Ironman for the following reasons:


I have made much progress, as you noted, in getting him to want to go to Napa with me for the weekend and support me in my triathlon. He does not want to accept or interpret him feeling anxious after we returned, but my gut tells me that he enjoyed being with me at Vineman so much he wanted to spend more time with me immediately the next day and then we spent almost every day together when we returned, even if it was just to meet for lunch. He's falling for me again! BUT he brain sends him a warning signal because he is afraid of being hurt by me and he probably told everyone that he doesn't want to be with me (he knows he told some white lies to make himself feel better because he didn't want people to say to him "what's wrong with you, she's a GREAT girl" and say there is something wrong with him. Anyway, what happened at Vineman was a breakthrough for us. He was starting to fall in love with me again but he has pulled back. I need to have 1 more moment, the Ironman, where we will spend more time together, flying to another country, in a romantic setting, at a very big event, that is packed with energy and emotion. it will remind him of how wonderful it felt for him and he will see what it means to me and be part of those good feelings.


I feel that I need to get him there, to have that positive experience with me to have a better chance of him not resisting the love he feels for me.


I know you understand how complicated it is. I know in my heart, and Ron even confirms it how much he cares. My father told me, and maybe you can confirm or deny, what man spends this much time with a woman, he does not care for more than just a friend? When he hugs me sometimes, it is much different than the way he hugs his "best friend" Caroline who he had dated once. He does not see her as much and their's is a true friendship only. There is no physical attraction whatsoever. With me, it is much different. That is why I keep hanging on for so long ... 7 months now. I truly believe the 1 think standing between us is his mental illness and intimacy issue. Of course, isn't that a barrier for a lot of men? Yes, but I really need him to come to Ironman with me. The trick is getting him on the plane right now.


So I am thinking of buying 2 tickets and that will allow me to wait until the very last minute to ask him again. I have 2 weeks to go until my event. It sounds crazy, but this event is the best chance I have to move forward towards a romantic relationship with him. I do realize that with a "normal" healthy guy, I don't need to do this but I feel like I need this miracle to make it happen for us.



I meet with him tonight to swim and talk and we have a date on Saturday.


Tonight, he knows I want to talk so I thought we could discuss why he and I are getting along so well lately. He actually posed the question and when I asked him why he thought this is so, he said he'd have to think about it. To me, it's obvious, but to him, he is struggling to process his feelings so I am not surprised he cannot say it directly.


I am hoping we can have a very positive conversation about how things are better between us tonight. After all, isn't it better than having a talk about what is wrong with us? The former could leave him feeling good. If he feels good, he is more likely to go to Canada. I have to get him to feel comfortable and in a good mood and to come to the conclusion he will have fun in Canada and when we return, we will be fine.


Do you think that is a good approach?
Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. I know it's like I'm asking you like you are a magic 8 ball! LOL ... it is complicated and it is good to know that you feel as an expert and as a man that I am on the right track.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
oh my goodness! he told me he always felt he wanted to find a way to go to Canada with me and admitted he just felt anxious for all the reasons I'm aware of

I told him, that although he was anxious about going to Napa with me, he had a great time but even though we had a great time, he still has anxiousness. I have to learn to understand that and cope with his heightened anxiety ... even if I don't think it's real or exaggerated, I guess I need to understand, that is the way he is?


I cannot believe it! He also admitted that he is afraid that he will continue to get closer to me through being in Canada and that I might stop being friends with him if he does not agree to being in a romantic relationship with me.


While that is a possibility down the road, it is not what I intend for now.


My gut tells me that he definitely has feelings for me more than a friend. He's really worried about losing me and getting closer to me. Call me crazy, but this is why I remain hopelessly in love and feel there is some glimmer of hope of us reconciling romantically. After my Ironman, if all goes well, I will try to convince him to see a therapist again.


I think he may be open to it! Horray! I wanted to share with you.


Feel free to give any advice but I understand my situation is complicated and you have answered as best you can at this point.


I will let you know how I do on my Ironman and how Ron and I are doing. I feel pretty good right now. :-)

Expert:  Santo B replied 2 years ago.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ironman Canada was a success. Ron supported me very well. I had a moment where I was upset with him bc he planned to go for a run while I was there with the wife of a friend. I was upset bc he didn't discuss it with me and he was only there bc of me. I explained that to him and that i wished he asked me in advance. he understood and i told him to go running and we were fine after. but he never offered to pay for the airfare. dad says don't bring it up.


 


Ron insisted on sleeping on the pull out couch. There was too much going on for romance but he did go wine tasting with me the next day and we had fun although we were tired.


 


He seems shy to take pictures with me. I know its a slow process for him. I do believe he has intimacy issues but in the past he took very good pictures with me. I hate what his body language shows.


 


When we got back, he let me take him to dinner for his birthday last night. I got him a nice gift. He seemed appreciative.


 


He made plans this weekend with his friends and I just learned that one of the plans is a bike and wine ride which we had done for the past 2 years. It was my idea and it meant a lot to me. I just sent him an email telling him that I feel hurt that he planned to do this without me. After all, I am his friend. I told him that the wine ride meant a lot to me because of the challenges we had when we were dating and how I felt he put our relationship on hold while I stood in the sidelines cheering him on and so he could train and be successful. The wine ride was the one ride I did with him and his training group and it marked the end of may weekends he was away training. it truly meant a lot to me.


 


Did I make a mistake by sending him that note/?


 


Am I wrong to feel that way?


 


Am I wrong to tell him that i hope he would consider inviting me?


 


Am I wrong if I out my foot down as the last straw that this really pushes my boundaries?


 


He seems open to talking now and we are supposed to go for a hike on Monday ... but he only suggested it after I asked him what he was doing. I am gratelful that he wants to do something with me but am very hurt abou the wine ride.


 


I know I need to be patient with him and accept this is who his is. I want to tell him, "you have an intimacy issue" and this is what is hurting you and me. Do I do that? I know he needs to realize this on his own and want to improve. I feel that he wants to but is stubborn.

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