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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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hi i am writing about the same guy i wrote about in december,

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hi i am writing about the same guy i wrote about in december, we had a very rocky start but after chatting we worked things out and he became very loving wanting to spend most of his time with me, calling me and texting goodnight to me when he wasnt staying here. He ate and slept here most nights and was really lovely to my 2 kids. we had great sex togehter all the time and he held my hand all the time. however he would say things like we will be married in 2 to 3 years and how much he liked being with me. we had trouble with his ex fiance texting him all the time but he said he never replied to her as that would give her hope. i felt so insecure with him as he had told me that if she was to move down here he would leave me for her but always said that it would never happen as she would not move. so i lied, i made up a ex lover and spoke about him often in general passing to make me feel better - this is so out of character for me i just wanted to know if he would be jealous and really want me. i also told him i had spoken to my best friend about our sex life and he was horrified. i dont know what came over me i feel so ashamed and embarrased. any way he dumped me over a text message over these two things,he feels i am not over my ex - which is a made up ex and i cant bring myself to tell him this. i am so stupid to do this and i appologised saying how much i feel for him and not my (ex) and that i was wrong to discusss our private life and how immature i feel by doing it. i told himm i just wanted him to prove to me he wanted me and not his ex. he is no longer answering my phone calls or texts and he ended his text when he dumped me saying thanks for the fun times.i have texted him back asking him to please come and talk to me and not end it this way, i feel so hurt and upset, i want him back so i can behave properly with him in a relationship and not be so immature and stupid. i dont think he will get back with me but i wish he would, im not sure if i should just turn up at his place or just let it go. i feel so ashamed and sorry for what i have done i feel i caused this breakup over dumb behaviour. can you please tell me what i should do, do you think i should persue him

nphbrown :

If you think you've been immature and stupid, doesn't he qualify for both of these reactions too? Isn't it immature to hint at commitment in 3 or 3 years, when it doesn't normally take more than 6-9 months to find out what aspects of your relationship work well, what aspects need work, and what aspects might eventually be deal-breakers? Unless both partners keep avoiding any subjects that might feel awkward or insecure, including the "what is our commitment for the future?" subject. And stupid? What man who's seeking more than just a comfortable bed with a willing sex partner would let it slip that his ex-lover is still number one for the forseeable future, but you'll do as long as she's not around?

nphbrown :

If you want a secure relationship with a definite future, don't pursue him. Just let him know that you don't want a fair weather relationship, so he needs to be out front about his commitment--that you need to have "the talk" before you can invite him back into your house and your arms.

nphbrown :

Unless perhaps you realize from thinking about asserting your needs for a committed relationship as suggested, that you don't really need a full-on "husband-wife relationship," because your kids are a higher calling and priority than any man can be at this time. Some single mothers find out that their moral and emotional investment in their children trumps any romantic commitment until their kids start leaving the nest, or at least start distancing from her and keeping their own activities secret if they can't afford to go off and live on their own.

nphbrown :

Have you thought about what it might be like to prioritize him above your children? You have a chance now to become more aware of what you feel and want, and then to be more out front with that, to risk being more honest with your feelings so he'll have to be more honest with his.

nphbrown :

Your power consists of being mistress of your household and maker of most rules and routines, while his power lies in coming and going, and in hiding out and giving the cold shoulder. But you can still bet that he will read every email you write in full (Text messages are too short to deal with the subjects you'


what do you mean by a fair weather relationship? what do you mean about text messages being to short to deal with , do you mean that that you feel it is an inappropriate way to end our relationship? i am so hurt by it, we are both 48 years old not teenagers. what do you think about him ending our relationship this way, what does it say about him and our relationship, i cant stop crying at the moment and cant think straigtht

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I'm sorry I didn't realize how upset you are. I'll try to clarify what I wrote.

A "fair weather relationship" He's steady and good to you only as long as you don't make him uncomfortable--even though he's keeping you uncertain. It appears that "fun" is what he wants, and you've sensed he might react badly if you bring up anything he doesn't want to talk about (like his ex). If you want to bend over backwards, you could send him an email saying that you've been over your ex for over 2(4-6) years and you're happy that he's found someone else he's attached to. And you gave your friend only generalizations about how much you love your sexual relations with him. -- Unless something you've already said would force you to change these words to make them ring true.


If you think he's a really shy guy and terribly afraid of losing to any possible competition, it might be worth such an email. An email will get read beginning to end without the interruption of a sudden reply, and it invites him to respond in a more thoughtful way than a text message does. Thus email correspondence provides a way to negotiate a breakup or a reconnection with greater time and flexibility than texting. Texting is more suited to flirting, surprising, throwing curve-balls, headstrong reactions, and even brush-offs, such as you got from him.


What do I think of his text-brush-off? He's a chicken, fair-weather lover. If you write the email I've now suggested, you're erasing his only justification(s), so he'll either have to get more real, or just keep on hiding. If he's hiding and you're NOT begging, you can regain your self-confidence sooner. There's a cute John Mayer "love" song for his way of acting" "I will beg my way into your garden,

and I'll break my way out when it rains,

just to get back to the place where I started

and then do it all over again."


Name of the song: "I don't trust myself (with loving you)"


Summary: Closure is something you have a right to pursue, for your own recovery of health. But don't give away your power and dignity by pursuing physically or begging to return (in effect) to his "don't ask, don't tell" relationship rules. I've known several men in your age bracket in my men's groups, and it's really quite normal for women to start wanting more explicit commitment at 3-4 months in. Otherwise most cannot feel enough trust to let their good-behavior and other guards down so verbal and emotional intimacy can deepen. In my textbook Love & Intimate Relationships: Journeys of the Heart (published in 2000) I call that the "deepening stage." I've also seen that few relationships that are mostly "fun times" will ever last, because without some serious rain, gardens just don't grow. That is: you need adversity, need fear, need anger, need hurt, shame, and defeat, and need worry and sorrow to grow a sturdy relationship that will stand the test of time.


But many women, including my in adulthood stepmother, will not seek much more than "fun times" with a man until their children leave home. That's why I have to mention that.

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