Dr Mark, I need help with my dance of intimacy. my boyfriend and I went from fear of expression to arguing, getting into a break down breaking up with getting back together and having 2 hr long love making session. Can you help me with way to make our highs and lows less severe and how to keep our intimacy alive with out us arguing and feeling upset? Please help me.
Decode Relationship DanceMy boyfriend and I have a pattern or Dance if you will that has some not so good steps. I would like to speak to someone that can help me figure out some new steps to make our dance more harmonious.Here is an example of 2 weekends ago:I have a hard time sharing my feelings. I feel as if he doesnt listen. I get nervous when I cant share. I get clingy when I see him distancing. He distances I get clingier and dont share with him my fears concerns etc. THen when I go to share Its such a stressful situation that he gets agrivated. He stonewalls. Then it builds until he wants to break up says he isnt attracted to me, its not ment to be... I get upset. I then share what I really mean. THen I go near him and touch him I become "soft". Then He responds in a softer way.Before you know it we are upstairs making love. 2 hours later....Then he shares what he likes. I feel calm am able to share my feelings and then we decide we need to be more open and feel comfortable. Is there a way to make this less intense? Like no break up in between. This who thing is an example of 1 day. This may happen months apart. I am in therapy he is also doing self improvement. This was a break thought moment as we were able to share our needs finally. One of our issues is lack of intimacy. He wants me to Receive. Enjoy myself not be mechanical. He wants me to be more in my body. Can you help me disifer this?I have a huge fear or rejection how can I stop this cycle that I am doing to make my life and my relationship more harmonious.
thank you angela
Hi! I'm sorry I was away. You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.
The two of you seem to have a hard time with verbal communication. Is this true, or is it just one of you?
You both seem more at ease with each other when there is physical touch. Is this true? Does it allow you both to share verbally when you've had physical intimacy? Is it only sex or even just holding hands and a hug?
You are in therapy. What is the focus of the therapy? Is it helping? What does your therapist say about this issue?
He is doing self improvement. What type? Is it helping him?
Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.
I feel its the both of us have a hard time communicating.. I know for sure I clam up with fear of rejection.... He claims he doesnt but if he wants to be alone or wants/doesnt want something his way of communicating is ignoring me or get frusterated and say well you are here right now and I wanted to be alone. This is an example.
You both seem more at ease with each other when there is physical touch. Is this true?
Does it allow you both to share verbally when you've had physical intimacy?
Is it only sex or even just holding hands and a hug?
We have a hard time with social cues like holding hands and hugging im the initiator and I get tired of it.
You are in therapy. What is the focus of the therapy?
Anxiety, fear of abandoment, rejection.
Is it helping?
What does your therapist say about this issue?
Communication is what is needed.
He is doing self improvement. What type?
Eric works on his diet, reads books like the 4 agreements and we have both agreed to try and be more verbal with eachother and to see eachother in a better light.
Is it helping him?
I think so a bit.
Yesterday I was upset becuase I called him wanting to spend time with he and his son. He didnt call me back until later in the day by then I was anxious, upset, felt rejected worried etc....
When we spoke he said he and his son had just torn down the back yard, did major renovation and was asking if I wanted to ride with them to a town an hour away to have dinner. We had dinner, great time...I wanted to hold hands but I didnt I was afraid of rejection.... Got to his house I wasnt sure if I was going to be asked to stay the night or not and when it was late I was like wanna go to bed he said maybe it would be best you go home, Im really tired and have lots to do get ready and I dont want us to stay up...I said ok he walked me outside to my car kissed and hugged and I said maybe we can get together this week or next weekend and he said yea sure.
Thank you for the replies to the questions and the added information. It helps a lot in understanding what the situation is.
I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You recognize that you are both not verbal communicators and that this is causing problems for the two of you. You are clearly more adept, though, than he is in being sensitive to the other person's needs and wants and trying to communicate with him. That's a plus, but it's also been extra frustration for you.
This is because he is so self contained that he lets sensitivity just pass by him. You are more attuned to the nuances of needs and wants, or at least you act on them more, you are not so self contained it seems.
This issue of his being so closed up in his own self is not going to change quickly, and he's not attempting to change it actively. So this is the situation you have to accept in the relationship. Communication certainly is what is needed, but this is easier communicated to you by your therapist than for you and he to communicate together (I hope that made you smile).
You will lead much of the time, like in the hand holding. I'm sure you get tired of being the initiator, but this is the man you want to be with and this is what he's like. You see, verbal communication is not the only communicating he's not so adept at. Physical communication is also communication and he doesn't use it to come out of his self, his self containment. He can be brought out, but he doesn't use communication to bring himself out.
You are able to use touch and physical closeness as a communication. And so you will have to become comfortable with being the initiator. This is not a bad thing. It's a matter of you feeling okay with it, of you not feeling it's wrong. Because it isn't wrong. From what you've written to me, it's the best thing you two have going.
It helps him and it helps you. The fact that it is based in you helping him is not a bad thing. As long as it doesn't make you feel he's less masculine because you're initiating, it can be fine.
My recommendation, then, is for you not to try to turn him into who he isn't too fast. It will be very slow, very, very slow for him to become someone who feels comfortable initiating any communication, including hugs, etc. So don't require it.
If you can be okay with this leading role, then I see the verbal communication being made easier. The method? You need to recognize that both of you are much more comfortable using words in meaningful exchanges when you're physically soothed. This is okay. When you're soothed, each of you is more relaxed and then words can be more effective or even more reachable. You each can get to words without being too anxious and defensive.
So use your strength, your touch and hugs and stroking his arm, whatever you can to first get yourselves ready for a discussion, then talk seriously. Connect with each other first. You won't be able to do this every time, but the more you do this, the less frequent the arguments and blowups will happen and the dance will indeed change.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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