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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 530
Experience:  Specializing in relationship/family counseling
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Hi! About four months ago a new neighbor moved in upstairs.

Resolved Question:

Hi! About four months ago a new neighbor moved in upstairs. He took a strong interest in me and pretty much swept me off of my feet. I had reservations because he was recently divorced but he assured me that the marriage was mainly to get his girlfriend at the time into the country as a legal resident. Things seemed really great until I started returning the feelings he seemed to want me to have. About a week before he flew out to a friend's wedding, I could tell that he was emotionally slipping away. Desperate to keep some kind of connection between us, I suggested that we step the pace down a notch and just be friends. I thought this would make him happy but he didn't react at all (went stony). While he was out of state, I heard nothing from him. Things went from bad to worse when he arrived home. We spoke briefly about the state of things and I told him that I had used the time apart to distance myself from the feelings I had had for him--again, thinking he'd be pleased. He seemed angry at this and began freezing me out entirely. Now he avoids me whenever he can--suffice it to say, we no longer hang out and enjoy one another's company. All of this is most distressing because he lives just upstairs. I've told him once again (recently) that I'd like to be friends--would like to wipe the slate clean--but get no response. Yet in his own way, he sends a very strong response by going to such outlandish lengths to show me that he doesn't care and to avoid me (exaggerated efforts). I'm at a total loss. If he doesn't want to date me, I thought he'd be more than pleased to have my friendship offered instead. It's certainly better than the ridiculous ducking and weaving he's doing now. Since I've started dating other people (also partially hoping that doing so would make him relax--send a message that he's off the hook) things seem to have gotten worse. I know my only recourse at this point is to leave things be--and I can do that--but it would help to have a sense of why this happened. After all, I was just living here minding my own--he swoops in, heats up, cools off, and then does a very loud impression of not being here. What gives?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.

Alicia_MSW :

Hi, I'm Alicia. Thanks for asking your question - I'm happy to help you today.

Alicia_MSW :

This is indeed a confusing situation, and I can see why you're feeling baffled by his behavior. I would be too if I were in your shoes.

Alicia_MSW :

My gut reaction after reading your entire question is that he's one of those guys who enjoys the thrill of the chase.

Alicia_MSW :

The reason I say this is because you say that he essentially started pulling away from you once you began to return his feelings.

Alicia_MSW :

And when you tried to cool things off (thinking - as many women would - that this is what he was after, slowing things down a bit) he pulls away even more.

Alicia_MSW :

It seems to me that he's acting out toward you for basically no good reason, except whatever it is that he sees as a good reason in his head. And unfortunately we can't read his mind (though it would be interesting if we could, of course!) so we can't say for sure why he's acting this way.

Alicia_MSW :

I think you've handled things respectfully XXXXX XXXXX tried to make as much sense out of a "crazy" situation as you can. But without his input, there's no way to know for sure what triggered his change in behavior.

Alicia_MSW :

I'm thinking that he must have some other unresolved relationship issues (you mentioned him being recently divorced and having gotten married in the first place to get his girlfriend into the country) - so perhaps there are things going on there that we're just not aware of.

Alicia_MSW :

I realize how difficult this must be for you since you probably see him all the time if you're living in the same building. My advice to you would to just keep going like you've been going - dating other people, being cordial and pleasant to him when you do run into each other, and ignoring the behaviors he's displaying now (the ducking and weaving - he's obviously trying to elicit some sort of reaction from you, and I think the best thing is to act like you don't notice this behavior at all.)

Alicia_MSW :

Perhaps in time, he will cool off (I know it's already been some time, but still - he seems to be dealing with some issues on his own) and he will become more interested in pursuing a friendship with you, but for now, it seems best to try to protect yourself, live your life, and let him sort out his issues.

Alicia_MSW :

That's my take on the situation - I do give you credit for handling it as well as you have, because I think a lot of people might have reacted to his behavior -thereby engaging in a "dance" which can create a very uncomfortable living situation.

Alicia_MSW :

Just let me know if you have any questions or if you want to discuss it further. I wish you lots of luck with this and I hope he stops this silly behavior very soon.

Customer:

I really appreciate your response--the situation has been so odd; I needed an outside perspective to see if I'd missed anything. But it boils down to what you described--we can't know what's going on in his head. At this point, all of this is his show. I also thought your advice to ignore the behavior and get on with life was good. I have met someone new but plan to take things very slowly (I don't usually bounce between relationships so quickly). At any rate, thanks for the advice. There is a sweet guy tucked away in that mental patient; maybe one day he'll reappear (but I won't hold my breath). Thanks!

Alicia_MSW :

You're welcome. I realize how these kinds of mind games can really start to make you feel like you're the crazy one - but trust me - it's not you!

Alicia_MSW :

Best of luck with your new guy :)

Customer:

Thanks! :-)

Alicia_MSW :

Have a great day, and feel free to let me know if you need any help in the future.

Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 530
Experience: Specializing in relationship/family counseling
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