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DrJackiePhD
DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 192
Experience:  I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
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Why do men who have committment issues and realize that they

Customer Question

Why do men who have committment issues and realize that they do, not actually work on them? I just went through a break-up with one of the most amazing men I've ever dated (I'm 42, he is 38). He ended it saying that he didn't think he had 'those feelings' for me. Well, he didn't even give our relationship time to grow. Or himself time to actually develop them. He indicated that this is a pattern for him and he sees it. If that is the case, and there is an amazing woman like me who understands and would support him in doing work on himself, why does he instead choose to leave? I don't get it and it hurts like hell.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 2 years ago.

DrJackiePhD :

Hi, I'd like to try to help, if I can. I'm Dr. Jackie

DrJackiePhD :

I would like to try to help. Please let me know if you would like to chat. I'll be on here for awhile.

Customer:

Hello?


 

Customer:

I've been sitting here since you responded and even said hello but it does not appear that you received it as you just went offline. I am so confused about how this works.

Expert:  DrJackiePhD 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.

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If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
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Hello,
I am so very sorry about that--my internet, well my cable and therefore my modem/internet was down for a few hours. Apparently a line here locally was hit or something because our whole neighborhood it seems was down. Is there any way you might change your rating of "bad service"? I'll be glad to try to help you or if you would rather, refer you to another colleague. I didn't intentionally ignore you, and I'm really sorry this happened.
==Dr. Jackie
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

I would like to try to answer your question. If you would, would you please change the rating since it hurt my feedback? I tried to answer you, but internet was down for a couple of hours. I will even answer you now without requesting any payment.

I know you are going through a lot of hurt due to the break-up, and my heart goes out to you. It's terrible. And I don't have a magical answer as to why men do this. I do know from research studies that men are not alone; women engage in this type of behavior as well. One reason that men and women don't pursue working on commitment is because they lack motivation to change. People have to want to change behaviors of any kind, whether it's tobacco cessation, exercising more, or working on relationship areas. Without motivation, you can talk all you want to about the Olympics or sports or whatever but that doesn't mean you yourself are suddenly going to start exercising. You have to want it.

I know you are frustrated because he refuses to work on himself even though he knows he has a problem. It's almost like being frustrated because your mom won't stop smoking even though it has cost her a stroke and she now has COPD but she STILL won't stop. People have to WANT to change, and they have to be MOTIVATED to change.

Next, is it possible that he really didn't have those feelings for you? I mean, I know it's so tough right now, but do you think it's possible that he cares for you and even loves you but is not "in love" with you? In other words, is it possible that he didn't feel the passion that he thinks he must have and THAT is what he meant? I know that if this is the case, it's definitely not restricted to men; women share this burden as well. It's such a dilemma because people can meet the most amazing person and get along great and have so much fun together and yet one of them does not feel the passion that they perhaps have had in a previous relationship. I once spoke with a fellow whose wife of 15 years just could not have sex with him because she couldn't feel sexual attraction. They dated for two years but couldn't even consummate on their wedding night because she couldn't go through with it. I can't tell you how emotionally devastated this fellow was. His wife ended up having several affairs just to see if she was sexual at all. In the end, he came to realize that he couldn't force her to be intimate or share the passion. But it was so painful that he had to divorce her.

I hope some of this sheds some light onto behavior change. I have done some grant work and evaluation studies on behavior change (tobacco cessation) and would be happy to share results not necessarily of my study but of other studies dealing with romantic relationships and behavior change.

I am truly sorry about the internet being down. I hope this somehow compensates, and I'm sorry again for what you are going through.

Best,
==Dr. Jackie



DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 192
Experience: I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
DrJackiePhD and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Jackie:


I hear what you are saying and maybe this will never make sense to me but I do not understand how a man tells you that he feels like he is home (while being intimate), that he adores you, can't wait to see you, calls you from vacation with his family to say he misses you...and last...spends an incredible night with you laughing, loving, being intimate...just three days before showing-up to your house to tell you that he doesn't want to see you anymore. I mean I would understand if there had been signs. But there weren't any. The hurt is from feeling so blindsided.

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for responding to me. I wasn't clear on all those behaviors that he was doing. And I believe you--you write very clearly and seem very intuitive regarding this relationship. So probably most if not all of what I wrote earlier doesn't seem to apply. And I wish I had an answer for you. What you're saying does not make sense to me, and I can't explain it. I'm sure he came across as genuine and maybe he really is.

The only thing that comes to mind at all is that his mind can't sort through any of this or deal with this relationship, and so he responds to his "messed up" mind. Do you know if he has had any past relationships that were longer (I don't know how long yours was but let's say at least a year)? If he hasn't, then his mind probably can't make the connection between enjoying intimacy and an amazing woman/relationship and the commitment that comes with it. If he has had a longer relationship in the past, do you know if it was traumatic? I know this is not new news, but most people who have these commitment issues have them due to trauma in the past.

One other thought that I'm sure you have considered is, Could he have someone else "waiting in the wings" so to speak? I mean, could it be that he re-connected with someone from his past? I know that this is not a pleasant thought, but is it even a remote possibility?

You don't need me to share with you research results that tell us we can usually predict a relationship partner's behaviors based upon his/her past behaviors around you. Your story just doesn't fit in with what would be expected at all, and I can't imagine how you feel. Most of the theories in our field predict that warm, intimate relationships will stay that way unless acted upon by some outside force (i.e., an old flame calls one of the two people, one partner has a major life change like losing a job, etc.). So I've just been racking my brain trying to guess if your partner may have had some major, life-changing event happen.

I just don't have any better explanation. But I am going to do some researching in our scholarly journal databases to see if perhaps there have been any case studies done with an individual such as you have described as your partner.

Best,
==Dr. Jackie
DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 192
Experience: I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
DrJackiePhD and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Since PhD's are research based I don't feel as though I received an answer that really helps..as though she does not see clients in a setting that lends to answering my question. If 'Get another answer' means another person here, I'd like to do that. Especially if it could be a male since my question is about male behavior. Thank you!
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 2 years ago.
Often times this happens because the person has feelings that confused them and they dint know how to deal with them. It makes them back away because they do not want ti get hurt so they run. The only problem is with this is they lose out on a wonderful person. I know you broke up but I want you to contact this person and explain how you feel. Right now the pressure is too much. The slow starting relationship would be a better idea. He needs to take a risk and learn how to fully open up to love someone he is so afraid to get hurt. He needs to let you in and forget about getting his heart broke. I feel the minute he was getting close too you. He left because husband feelings fir you were too much to handle. Now you need to tell him how you feel so he knows. He might be unsure how you feel.

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