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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I dated someone last year for about 6 months. He seems to

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I dated someone last year for about 6 months. He seems to blow hot and cold. He was very very into me for about 4 months, then started blowing cold and told me he was "unsure." He hasn't been able to say "I love you" to anyone in 15 years he said. Before he started blowing cold, he had a conversation with his parents who told him that they "just knew" when they met each other and got engaged after 3 weeks. This is why he backed off of me, because he didn't feel so strongly. I feel this advice just doesn't apply to him though.


That annoyed me of course. I think relationships take time and things were different back then. Plus, his parents were in their early 20's and he is 42 now and hasn't been able to commit. He's a different person.


I got tired of his distant and cold behavior and broke things off. 3-4 months later he contacted me apologizing and asking "what does he have to do?" I was working out of state at the time and told him how angry I was. He never said he specifically wanted to be together, so I didn't understand what he wanted.


A few months later I finally started speaking to him again. He eventually started flirting with me really heavily and reminiscing over things. This went on for about a month. He said women turn him down all the time and he has lost motivation. I thought all of these were hints at wanting to give things another shot. My out of state job ended and now I am back in town. A week before coming back into town, he put an online personal ad back up and hasn't been talking to me as much. I called him when I came in town and asked if he would like to do lunch. He jumped at the chance. In person I couldn't really read him well and he seemed uncomfortable. The conversation was good and we laughed a lot. He called me as I was driving away so i thought he was excited.


I contacted him a few days later and asked if he would like to do a kayak adventure sometime and he said he would let me know when he was free. (He has an extremely busy schedule and is even out of town at the moment.) The flirting has stopped, he doesn't talk to me very much.


I'm really confused now. He's an engineer. (sidenote: he seems a bit socially obtuse and his own boss even said that to me once.) He's not a ladies man or a friends with benefits type. He really wants to get married. When we dated a year ago, he hadn't even dated anyone for a year, so I don't think he's "playing the field." Is this an anxiety problem? Is he wanting me to pursue? (I had to ask him out initially before after he drops hints.) Was he flirting hoping for something and when I didn't say "come on over" he gave up? It's weird that he was flirting so much for a month and dropping hints (or so it seemed) and then put an online ad back up. I want us to go out on dates, not just sleep together so I may not have been flirting back as forwardly as he was.  


What are my options? I'm starting to think a direct conversation soon is the only way to go to ask what happened. I just hate being vulnerable like that to get shot down.

Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective

Dear friend,

I believe that your friend suffers from social anxiety tied in with low self-esteem. He is very afraid of rejection and wants a relationship that has 100% certainty (and of course none ever do unless you work at them).

He is so afraid of rejection that he finds it hard to take the lead, which is why he gives you so many hints all of the time -so that you will take the lead.

When you didn't say "come over" he did indeed give up. He didn't want to ask you because he was afraid that you would say no.

No to him is very LARGE and threatening.

If you want to have a relationship with this man you will have to take the lead and help him build his confidence. I believe that he is very enamored of you but his fears keep him down.

He doesn't want discussions but rather wants just to be held and comforted. Discussions will scare him away until he builds up his confidence and feels secure.

There is a wonderful man lurking beneath that frightened little boy and I believe that he wants you to help him grow out of this - and I believe that if you care for him deeply and understand this, that you could have a wonderful relationship.

It is worth a try.

I wish you wisdoom and perseverance and success, and to that hand I shall keep you in my prayers.

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Last year when he backed off, he told me I met his minimum when I asked what he was looking for. Most people think I am a catch. He also accused me of not being myself at one point, like I was pretending to like things in order to be with him. This scared me and made me think he was really self-centered. I have been afraid of him because sometimes I think he thinks he is better than me. He brags about himself a lot and is hard to have a two-way conversation with. Thing is...I make more money than him and my job is more difficult. Not that I care, but to be told I met his minimum was pretty insulting for me. Another note, he always seemed suspicious of me...when do I go to the gym and do I really go...I am thin and have some muscles so he shouldn't have to wonder too much. And why should I have to prove that I am who I say I am? Part of me thought he was afraid to commit because there could be greener grass. But at our age, there usually isn't much greener grass to be had so I was confused by his hesitation.

On the other side...he is very sweet and known to be very sweet. I don't know what to think of his personality. Is all of this just social skills issues as well?

Dear friend,

You have presented a lot more information about your friend that shows that there is more to him than just social anxiety and a lack of social skills. He demonstrates some paranoia, lack of sensitivity (that could be the social skills but maybe more), and inflated sense of his own self-worth (which flies in the face of low self-esteem, unless he is building himself up).

It seems as if he has some personality disorder traits, but from what you have said so far, he cannot be classified as one of the 10 different personality disorder. He may have some mixed traits, but before I respond I would like to ask you some more questions so that I can give you a decent and valid answer.

-does he have other paranoid thoughts, such as hisdden, demeaning, or threatening content in ordinary events or comments?

-is he reluctant to share information with you for fear if will be held against him?

-does he prefer solitary activities?

-is he emotionally cold, detached, or bland?

-does he have much interest in sexual activity?

-does he have an need for excessive admiration?

-does he exploit others for personal goals or gain?

-do you think he is incapable of having empathy towards others or really understand how they feel?

-is he preoccupied with control, orderliness, and perfection?

-does he like to control the situation including how things are done (hates to delegate tasks)?

-is he stingy?

-any other traits you can think of?

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I do feel that he reads into things I say and over analyzes. I did finally tell him that and to please stop judging or making negative assumptions, hoping that we can build something even if it is friendship. I feel as though if I even say something as simple as "this cookie isn't that good" he interprets it as I am an unhappy person or something extreme. Or because I go to the local apartment gym for convenience, then I'm not really going to the gym and am telling him that I am so he thinks we have something in common? That was my impression on the paranoia. He even made a comment at lunch that he thought he should have worked for the CIA. I don't think so because his paranoias about me have been incorrect. He doesn't seem to understand people or their perspectives which could explain things that he is suspicious about.


He is reluctant to share a lot of information and I have no idea why. I used to work with him, so I am pretty confident he doesn't have secret women and running around. He seems very lonerly and odd. If I ask something personal about his past, sometimes he will not answer.


He does a lot of social sport activities and the rest are solitary. All of them not really social as in meeting people for drinks and talking.


He can act cold at times. Other times outgoing. I'm not really sure on that one. It was commented by some friends of mine last year that he seemed depressed or asperger like. He thinks of himself as outgoing.


He did have interest in sexual activity when he was blowing hot...not as much when he went cold. He later told me our beginning of the relationship was just lust. When I told him "so that means you have been using me" then he complained that he felt awkward about sleeping with me. But he took no responsibility for what he said. To me that would have been a no brainer but he didn't seem to understand his part in the problem.


I think he does have a bit of an ego. Likes to brag about himself a lot and it does get boring. I think he picked up on my zoning out when he does this and was mad. He complained we don't have good conversations, but it's hard to when someone mostly talks about themselves and doesn't ask questions.


I don't think he exploits people at all.


I do think he has issues with empathy in some ways. I don't think he is purposefully mean to people, he just doesn't understand other people's feelings or that there are logical explanations for things he doesn't understand.


I think he seeks perfection in himself and I felt like he was picking me apart last year. Other than having a rigid schedule and being inflexible, I don't see any other orderliness. He wants control of his own schedule and won't budge in order to meet up or be more social. I don't see him as wanting to control tasks. He doesn't keep his own house clean very well when he is single and I can't see him being stingy over how I would clean it, if I were cleaning it. He doesn't seem picky in that regard.


A huge problem I had with him is he isn't very assertive, not just with me but everyone. If you are super busy and can't hang out much, I don't mind. But be polite and be assertive about when you can hang out. He has that problem and can be rude about it, as though the world revolves around his activities. This is part of the problem for me with not wanting to take the lead. The times I have asked him to do things since I moved back, I leave them open-ended. Such as "you tell me when you are free...."


btw...he does not think he is very good looking and says he has lots of low self-esteem. He made comments about not liking his looks a lot. I am considered attractive and a catch by most people. I really have my stuff together. So I am confused by his attitude at times. So here we are a year later and he hasn't been able to find one single person to where is all the arrogance coming from? If he's so great...then he should have tons of dates no problem.


Thank you for the answers to my questions. I have narrowed things down and now have more questions. I shall not speculate so as not to prejudice your answers. I like to solve diagnostic mysteries and will continue to do my best to help.

-Does he usually make eye contact with you and others?

-Does he have odd facial expressions, body postures, or gestures?

-Does he lack social or emotional reciprocity?

-Does he have abnormal (in focus or intensity) peoccupation with interests that are restricted and stereotyped (such as spinning something)?

-Does he ver rigidly perform rituals or routines that don't appear to have a function?

-Does he have repetitive motor mannerisms?

-Does he seem overly absorbed with some details (of objects for example)?

-Does he seem not to want to share achievements, interests, or pleasures with others?

-Do his peer relationships seem immature?

I await your reply. Please allow that I may be with another client when you respond, or on a short break.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

-He makes eye contact pretty well. I have questioned the asperger's thing in my mind a lot. I made notice at lunch that he was able to read my expression correctly once when I reacted to something he said.


-I would say his facial expressions can be odd at times. I have seen him have a glassy eyed look and he has always stood up very straight.


-I cannot tell if he isn't very reciprocal emotionally or socially or if it is just me. When we dated, I was the only person that he spent social time with, as in eating out and talking. He doesn't seem to desire those things much. Everything else was playing sports or taking a class or working. I do find it weird and annoying that...not to be stalkering here...but he was checking the online personal ad again so I assume he is taking the time out to talk to someone. Clearly he could email or text if he wanted to and I would think my asking him to lunch would show an interest. I'm wondering why he changed his mind in my situation. Unless he was hoping for a bed invitation and since I haven't given that go ahead in response to his flirting, he think I'm only interested in friendship at this point.


-When it came to dinners out, he only seemed to want to do dinner once a week. He later made comments that he thought people are spoiled wanting to eat out. He is very cheap so I do not know if it's the money, or if he is uncomfortable in restaurants. He later snapped at me that I "never cook" and whatever happened to having a meal in. I don't cook for myself much because cooking for one is a lot of work. And number two...if we are only going to see each other once a week because of his rigid schedule like we did at the end of things...I don't think it's fair to expect me to cook. We should go out on dates. The fact that he doesn't see that makes me think he doesn't "get it."


-I really didn't notice any unusual preoccupations with interests other than racquetball. He played in tournaments and is an expert. He knows a lot about sports too that seems a little moreso than most people.


-I never saw him do rigid routines that don't seem to have a function. He does seem to be a workaholic and there is little time for play. He even wakes up at night and works sometimes. Many times I woke up to him being awake and sitting outside thinking or just sitting up in bed. Talking in his sleep once. He was angry too. He didn't remember it later and it kind of freaked me out.


-I haven't seen him be overly absorbed with details other than me or relationships. I feel that he overanalyzes things and misinterprets things. He will bring up a detail that you can't remember that doesn't matter. Such as once I was confronted over not liking milk just because he had never physically seen me drink it. Actually I like milk a lot. And who cares?


-He does not share interests with a girlfriend. He was very concerned about me, he said he was worried I was the type that would want to do everything together. (I'm not.) And he stressed it's important to have separate interests. But basically he didn't want me involved in any of his interests. He was very concerned about my interests and was going on that we had nothing in common. But I had just moved to the area and was still finding things to do. He held it against me that I played bingo with a friend, that he didn't play bingo. But I only played bingo to be social with her. I would hardly call bingo a "hobby" but he did. I'm very open to sharing interests and I think he interpreted that as me trying to make us fit, when I wasn't. We once went to a football game together and I laughed and had a great time. He told me afterwards he was going to bring a guy friend next time because he didn't think I liked it. That made no sense at all.


-To add to the shared interests part...he thinks he is in love with someone when he wants to give up his schedule and interests to be with that person. And since no one is making him feel that way, he thinks he isn't feeling the right feelings. So it feels like a catch 22. I think his rigid schedule and interests are part of who he is and cannot be changed. He thinks the right person will come along and I guess blow him away with love and he will start being more spontaneous. And since he is weird about sharing interests or being open to each other's's almost as though you must magically have the exact same interests or you aren't really being yourself. Maybe I took it all too much to heart. But I felt like he really was worried about these things.


-His friends are all very nice and mature people. I think they have no idea what he is like in relationships. I am the only girlfriend he has introduced to his friends in 8 years. His last girlfriend he claims he was with for a year and a half and lived with him sometime, never met them. She always thought he was cheating and couldn't get over that he says. I question if he really has had the relationships he claims to have had because I can't believe this girl lived with him and he wouldn't introduce her to his friends. I also find it hard to believe that he has had any real relationships when he seems so weird about sharing interests...friend introductions...scheduling time together...I would think at his age those things shouldn't be that difficult by now.


-Also, he claims that before I came along he had been depressed for an entire year. He didn't clean the house and had to have professionals come over. When I went in the house, it was fully furnished. If the previous girlfriend really lived there, where would she have put any stuff? His closets are packed with clothes. There didn't seem to be any empty spaces. I question if there was indeed a girlfriend, that the move in was more of a two week trial where she brought over a suitcase and he is exaggerating it. And the friends never met her. I could even see on his facebook that they were at his house for thanksgiving...and since she never met them...then where was she? Kind of weird. And he does have depression issues. When we broke up he was "unsure" and very cold to me. But was depressed for months after the breakup. He never told me that until much later. I tried to tell him that that means we probably should have worked things out. Once again...seems like he doesn't understand his own feelings.

Dear friend,

Thank you for getting back to me.

He is a very difficult man to read, particularly indirectly, although you have done an excellent job in describing him.

He has a very quirky personality and may be diagnosable as "Schizotypal Personality Disorder" or if he does not meet enough criteria then as "Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified". He may have high-functioning Asperger's Disorder, and this is often confused with Schizotypal PD.

In any case, I do not think that he is appropriate for a long-term relationship for you or anyone else for that matter. You are a catch and he is not. I do not believe that you will ever find the satisfaction or happiness that you deserve if you continue with this man.

He has too many barriers to overcome, and I do not think he will change for the better over time.

I hope I have helped, and I wish you God's blessings.

Warm regards,