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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1206
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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Well I've been dating a girl on and off for 3yrs.....shes

Customer Question

Well I've been dating a girl on and off for 3yrs.....shes very nagging and insecure....i pus h her away but when I get rid of her after a few weeks I miss her like crazy....she really doesn't have alot of good wife qualities but we have the best times....she's loyal but very nagging and insecure
JA: The Psychologist will know what to do. Is there anything else important you think the Psychologist should know?
Customer: I would love to be with her but I just can't see a perfect outcome
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Relationship
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I'm 36,she's 29
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

I understand how you feel about her, but it sounds like most likely things won't change in how she responds to you. Have you spoken with her about your feelings around this? Not in an attacking way but in a way that she can hear how it feels for you when she nags. Let her know you would love to get closer to her, but this prevents it from happening. Telling her to stop nagging isn't enough...go deeper and let her know how you feel about it and what it does to your ability to connect with her more fully.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I appreciate that.....My question is can I contact someone after showing them multiple times that you don't want to be with them....we haven't spoken since she called my phone 56times on August 21
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

You can do whatever works for you but if you know there is no chance for long-term, then maybe you should try as best you can to refrain.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Well she's been pushing for a relationship for a while.....but I continue to push her away because I looked at her as a liability....her upbringing and her financial literacy always concerned me.....i believe she loves me but love doesn't pay bills....shes fun,loving and caring....when we're together it's always a good time
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Can you turn a partying fun-girl into a wife?
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

You can't turn her into anything but she can turn things around if she desires that life with you.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
What is a truly stable relationship
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

the million dollar question. When both people feel understood, loved, accepted and can give mutually where all persons needs are being met.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I truly want to try it but she lacks financial literacy and her upbringing was turbulent.....but our natural chemistry and her loving fun personality keeps me intrigued....we're definitely not equally yoked but she makes me feel better than anyone else
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.
Then go with all that and let it play put and time will tell if things can go deeper and she can settle down.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Should I give her a title? I never let her meet my family or children before.....My family will not understand her mindset
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.
Follow what you want and what your heart desires. If giving her a title makes you both feel great then go for it if you're not ready for that and do it in time.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Have you heard of the no contact rule
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Why are women nagging and insecure? What causes this? Why so overprotective and overly loving?
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.
No contact rule is fine after a breakup but it doesn't work to try to change another person. You also can't generalize that all women are nagging and insecure. Why is she like this no way to know but if it doesn't work for you it's time to move
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
What's a good ice breaker to say to a woman after not talking for 3weeks.....the last time we talked she was accusing me of cheating
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.
I think you just need to follow your gut here if you want to reach out to her reach out and let her know you're thinking about her and ask how she is that's the Icebreaker. I'm traveling for the rest of the day and won't be able to respond.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok thank you
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

my pleasure

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Can you talk...im nervous
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

Not sure what else I can say about it all....reach out if your heart desires, know that you cannot change her and if you can't deal with her ways, then the relationship doesn't seem like the perfect fit.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
How do call a person back? I never usually call.....this is a very very different positions for me.....im scared of her rejecting me just to play games
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

i understand you are scared but taking the risk sounds better than sitting in this turmoil. Ask her what she wants, let her know you don't desire any games and go from there.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Would texting be better
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

there is no right or wrong or what is better....it is what you want and desire...so do what feels best for you.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Should I start with I'm sorry or act as if nothing has happened negative 3weeks ago
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 month ago.

As I have suggested please follow what feels right for you. If you want to apologize then do so, but you can't overthink every little nuance. Follow your heart and your gut.

Please be well and I wish you the best with all of it.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Can I change therapist please
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 month ago.

Your present condition I call "brinksmanship" because you're yoyoing back and forth between dissatisfaction with some anxieties of hers when you're together and your anxieties and separation-distress when you've been apart for a while. Many people will keep doing this, because reuniting feels so good after all that distress of being apart, until it feels worse to be together (with the same old thing happening again more and more quickly, along with new wounds due to each accumulating breakup) than it does to be apart.

So IF you want to try it again, apologize for hurting her feelings by staying out of contact. Then describe specifically how she has behaved in a specific incident that made you feel "nagged at" and also what your worry is that she seems to be missing some elements of stability that you want in a partner--and tell her you want to have a serious talk about these issues. If you do this you may be able to reduce the process of in and out of relationship with all the emotional dramatics this triggers.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I appreciate that sir.....well after contemplating I reached out to her,being om the one who dumped her.....when I contacted her she immediately wanted to create a hostile environment.....So Instead of talking relationship with her I created a deversion conversation....she rushed off the phone....then contacted me yesterday asking if I would download video chat app so we could talk....we didn't chat that long....but she did chat with me long enough to show me she was going out last night smh....Games
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I rarely if ever contact her even in our mini breakup...she does 95% of the reaching out to me
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I'm wondering if someone with such emotions and insecurities being in a position of offense...
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello?
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 month ago.

I've been asleep since brief contact last night. Now about to take a distance phone counseling call for an hour or longer. It doesn't look to me like you're ready or patient enough to take on a long term relationship with a woman who's not very concerned with balancing her emotions with an intellect that would lead to personality growth. 3 years is what you get before the romantic passions normally subside enough that the motivation to bring the relationship into a more permanent stage won't carry you onward unless you work out how to deal with your conflicts when they arise--and most couples (who haven't dealt extensively with psychotherapy and/or couples therapy) won't keep trying to master these 2-sided problems (YOU & HER) because success requires a LOT of personality growth, and that takes willingness on both sides.

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 month ago.

You seem to believe that SHE doesn't have the discipline or motivation to want to grow more mature and thus manage to be more of what you want from her. And I'd guess that you haven't considered what YOU would need to learn about coping with your own emotions as well as hers in order to make the relationship work; and you may not have considered how compatible you might be as a couple (in what you want in a partnership) even if you DID try to make it work. So I'll explain some of where I'm coming from, since I'm 74 and been an individual and couples therapist since 1973.

I had 3 relationships of around 3 years after my first of 9 years (not a legal marriage but a moral marriage in terms of full bore unreserved commitment), where compatibility seemed to be very high, because my GF didn't try to find out who she was and just followed me around. And in each of those 2nd 3rd & 4th cases, when the romantic energies moderated (after the first one) a clear-eyed assessment of the compatibility and emotional harmonies convinced me that the relationship would not satisfy me for a lifetime, so I broke up (#2, 4) or she did (#3).

So I'd advise you to evaluate your relationship with your first wife, and any other relationship of a year or longer, and this one of 3 years in the following ways: Use the 13 types of Intimacy I'm putting into this transcript to compare A. How much you WANT(ed) to have that intimacy with partner 1, 2(if there was one) & 3 (this one) and B. How well that intimacy type worked and was satisfying between the two of you. Here's the list:

Types of Intimacy [From Love & Intimate Relationships: Journeys of the Heart, Brown & Amatea, 2000.]

1. Physical. Familiarity & closeness with another’s body in work & play, medical care, touch, massage.

2. Sexual. Erotic pleasure sharing. (The typical default meaning of intimacy for men, whether verbal or emotional sharing are involved or not.)

3. Emotional. Empathic attunement & expressing emotions. (The typical meaning for women, though the reality may be that one is giving & receiving only the emotions one wants, and not Crisis (9) or Conflict (10).)

4. Intellectual. Sharing spheres of ideas.

5. Aesthetic. Sharing experiences of beauty and excellence.

6. Creative. Sharing acts of creation together, including brainstorming.

7. Recreation. Fun, sports, play.

8. Work. Cooperating in tasks or occupation, wage-earning.

9. Crisis. Facing crises, problems & pain together.

10. Conflict. Struggling with differences & frustrating interaction cycles.

11. Commitment. Trust & mutuality from common investment of self.

12. Spiritual. Sharing religious, spiritual & transpersonal experiences & concerns.

13. Communication. Verbal sharing and understanding. (Typically combined with Emotional, Intellectual, crisis, conflict, etc.)

I'd expect that you'd notice that not many of these types are highly functioning with your present girlfriend, such as perhaps that Emotional Intimacy isn't very achievable with her because her emotions are so overwhelming to her and your reactions are to just back away and not even try to feel and express your own to her. AND perhaps that you don't want or need to share that many of them with any of the women you've been involved with, even the one who was your wife. For example, when I look back on my first great love (20-29) I shared #1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 (& 13 only partial); and my wife (from my age 41 to 73) who was a therapist like I am, it was #2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 13--and I took care of her through her first 2 and final 2 out of 11 years of metastatic cancer.

The value of doing this self-evaluation can be that you begin to realize what you're currently really interested in having with a woman partner--since many single parents don't seek as much intimacy with a sexual partner because they're getting enough of some types of companionship with their children (esp true for women). And I've found that as I matured, NOT having emotional intimacy with my first great love was NOT acceptable to me when I was 40 (and living in one of my 3 year love partnerships)--because by then I was a therapist and couldn't be happy with someone who couldn't cope well enough with emotions to be open & vulnerable with them, AS MY NEW experienced therapist GIRLFRIEND IS NOW (where at 5 months together only #5, 9 & 10 are as yet not well enough developed to know whether we'll harmonize them satisfactorily or not).

You might also object to an implied standard of achieving more types of satisfying intimacy as a definition of "desirable relationship"--because like my therapist wife of 32 years you're an introvert (who didn't want to share her spiritual life or her reading-books-life much at all) or a "guys'club adventurer," nature-lover or computer-game-lover who doesn't want to spend too much time with his own wife. In Most non-Western societies men & women don't expect so much intimate time that their personalities hugely overlap, and then both partners get more chance to grow in separate directions and manage to keep the RIGHT KINDS of intimacy so they'll still be satisfied with each other for a lifetime. Or like me, you use each trial partnership to find out what is fulfilling and what is not, and refine your desires of what kinds of intimacy you want (and more or less couple intimacy, vs buddy-intimacy, vs group, and vs solitude (where learning #4, working #8, aesthetic appreciation #5 and spiritual activity #12 can be highly rewarding without a partner to share them with).

This is more than what you're asking for; but it's a context within which to consider your current choice of which side of the fence you want to get off on, reunion until it's snarled up again, or ending it, where you'll have to deal with unwanted loneliness and what-ifs.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you very much...im gonna study this
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 month ago.

These are a few of the "homework" explorations I developed during 21 years of teaching Psych of Love Relationships, for which I also wrote the research and therapy-based textbook used for the last 10 years. A famous early family therapist called marriage an "emotional finishing school" and it is certainly a very good one, and sorely needed for our culture and probably most others throughout the world--especially since most local marriage experts are women and most world leaders and politicians are men. A major benefit of doing the research into your experiences with intimacy in your relationship history is to be prepared to recognize what you really want for enduring satisfaction when you meet these aspects in a partner--so you don't keep postponing the satisfaction you want by up to 3 years at a time after settling for some high points you were attracted to at first. What magnetizes us can also change as we mature, since coupling is indeed an emotional & spiritual finishing school, and I'm not even finished yet at 74.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello Dr. Norman.....well I contacted her....and I've been in a totally calm place...weve been talking daily...we went out Saturday night to eat....everything was going well then she has a panic attack all yesterday.....it started yesterday morning when I wasn't feeling well so I commented I might go to my grandma house for some meds...she insinuates I'm going beck to my "other woman I been dealing with(insecure)....then she text me she wants "us to be happy so I replied you must 1st be happy within.....after that it was a big debate over where we're going...and she hasn't met my children or my mom....but nothing about her is saying she's ready to be a "wife"....i said that....so I told her forget I called...then this morning she's normal
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Basically how can I get her to see my pov? It's like I can see the "car crash before it happens,not saying it can't be nothing beautiful in the end but right now would be a travesty. She's screaming she wants commitment and build something but what she has shown has been the total opposite....help me
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 month ago.

She has not shown the total opposite! She has shown a panic fear of abandonment and desperate clinging to you, which is quite natural under your present circumstances: That you've been on and over the brink of complete breakup for several weeks and more. And as the DUMPER (you) always feel in-control, and therefore like "the rational one" while the DUMPEE (she) always feels helpless, so any normal fears of abandonment would be blown up out of proportion. (You also have significant fears of that underneath your rationalizing mind, or you wouldn't be saying she's shown you the "total opposite." I wonder if in your own previous divorce YOU were the DUMPEE, since that's the most common position for first husbands, because they didn't see the breakup coming while the need to leave was building up inside of their wives and most of her attempts to cope with emotion-based issues (if she made any) were brushed aside as unwarranted by the man. That doesn't mean that the 2/3 of divorces begun by wives were usually the husband's fault, but ONLY that emotional motivations aren't "real facts" for most men. So emotional alienation grows up under their radar until it's experienced as unwarranted betrayal by the husband, and the Blame-Game obscures the real attitude & lifestyle differences from which the separating life trajectories arose.

I'd estimate that you're both very frightened of breaking up and not able to assess the issues between you and thus gain understanding of whether you want to deal with your differences or part ways. Since you didn't get around to assessing your intimacy history yet, I'm even more persuaded that your brink-of-breakup emotions are in charge of your consciousness as well as of hers, even though you think you're the muchmorerational man in this relationship. (In fact we are NEVER able to think/evaluate relationships without every thought colored by emotions--named & unnamed.) Which is why you should probably see a therapist in person to help you accept your feelings even while they color all of your thoughts.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Good morning Dr.Norman......i can't lie you're dead on Doc! I'm amazed....you've given me alot to think about my feelings, my emotions and my life...in every relationship that I've been in(6) they have all been over 3yrs since I was 17....i usually stay in it until I find out the woman has found a new man......its like I look at sex as possessive....once we have sex I'm partially in until another man is in the picture....i'll hang on forever doc.....its sad.....but with my current situation I read some men relationship manually before we met and it said "NICE GUYS FINISH LAST",So you have to always hide your feelings......and never chase a woman....so it kinda worked but I never knew how to get it to turn into long lasting love....it was alot in the book but it was by Coach Corey Wayne.....i do want this woman....but without argument and ending up poor and broke