By Dr. Margaret Paul
February 25, 2013
"I am a 68 year old male who was married for 27 years and now divorced 15 years. I have fallen in love with a woman after only three months of dating, but she is disengaging by being incommunicado. I am mystified since things were going so well then suddenly she is not available. What to do?"
Franklin, as hard as it is, there is nothing you can do about her disengaging from you. You need to be very compassionate toward your own heartbreak. Generally, people do this when they get scared of intimacy. There are two major reasons they get scared:
They have a fear of engulfment – a fear of losing themselves - so when the relationship gets closer, they run away. This has nothing to do with you.
Falling in love after only three months may indicate some neediness on your part. You might have made her responsible for your sense of worth, happiness and safety. She might have felt pulled on by you to caretake you. If this is the case, then she might be disengaging rather than deal with this.
In either case, the fact that she is not communicating may indicate that she is unwilling to hang in through difficulties and learn from them. This is important information about her. As hard as it is to let go, you need to accept that you cannot create a relationship with someone who doesn't communicate and who instead runs away.
"I've had several occasions in a row where I've been in the early stages of dating someone or communicating online with a view to arranging a date and things have gone the same way. Each time the guys have seemed nice, open and interested in me. They've paid me compliments and seemed genuine. Then the communication tails off. The text messages become less frequent and then stop. I don't chase or become needy when this happens. A few times I've waited a while then sent a message asking if they've lost interest and saying it's ok if they have, but I'd just like to know. They've responded sounding all interested again, but then it tails off again! I'm already doing work on myself and my own feelings around relationships, but I'm just wondering what your take is on why I'm currently attracting this behavior in men. Thanks.
Marjorie, you need to accept that in the dating world, this is very common. It's best to not take it personally. Take it as information about the person and move on. You are not necessarily attracting this - it's just that there are many people like this.
One of the members of our website gave this helpful response:
"I, too, have been doing the online dating thing and thank God I have Inner Bonding while doing this and I also can relate to what you are saying. I actually become very leery of someone who comes on very strong with compliments, as they don't feel genuine - and how could they be? The biggest thing to keep in mind is to not take any of this personally and just have some fun with it. The minute there is an attachment is when the wounded self kicks in and that's what makes it feel awful. If someone does not keep up communication, that is a huge message in itself and that really is about them and not you, and I'm sure that's not the type of person you would be looking for anyway. Good luck and have fun and don't take it too seriously."
There is much to learn in dating. If you can learn to not take others' rejection personally, that's a huge learning! If you can learn that you are helpless over others' choices, and that their choices are informational - that's another huge learning! Finally, learning about whether or not you are making others responsible for your sense of worth, and learning to take responsibility for your own feelings is the biggest learning of all!
maha2us - North Chelmsford - 02/26/2013 02:44 AM
Nice article, Dr: M. Before I started practicing IB, I went on date with an objective of getting love. I believed the person whom I will be loving will have full of love for me and will be showering love on me. Also I expected the person who would be marrying will be rescuing me from the problems I am having. Now after long IB practice, my outlook is changed a lot.
Now when I am into dating, I will be knowing my capability of expressing the love within me. I will be looking forward to hone my capacity of being a caring, compassionate, gentle and tender person when I go for dating.
Cheers and Hugs,
Dr.Margaret - Berthoud - 02/26/2013 04:59 AM
I look forward to hearing about this when you start to date again.
Allan - 02/26/2013 07:16 PM
This is really a current topic in a time where dating has become so much easier available. I'm sure sure many can relate to it. I have found my projection on some guys I've been dating to go so deep, even when I had only seen them one or a few times. Some men can trigger so much stuff inside me, which really has nothing to do with them. Just as much as their behavior has nothing to do with me. It's just that their wounded self triggers mine. For example, their wounded running behavior triggers my shame and guild, as well as my false convictions that I have control over others. So I need to deal with that separately. Which can be hard sometimes, because my wounded teenager tends to not want to separate things. It's a slow proces for me.
TheHullster - 03/12/2013 04:08 PM
Hi Allan, I can certainly relate to you. But I still can't see how someone's behavior has nothing to do with me. When I get rejected as I just was recently, my WS tells me that if I was smarter, stronger, etc., they would not have rejected me. For example, someone who is too clingy and pulling on someone will usually get rejected by the other. This is what I have come to learn and have seen for myself over the years, so I'm still not getting how it's not about me but the other. You sound like you have a better grasp on this concept than I do.
Dr.Margaret - Berthoud - 03/12/2013 08:24 PM
You might want to read this article: https://www.innerbonding.com/show-article/2706/when-should-you-take-it-personally.html
TheHullster - 03/12/2013 09:33 PM
Margaret, this is the way I understand it from reading your article: if Im in my wounded self and am acting clingy and needy and the other person runs away, I'm to take that personally. But I'f im being loving, caring and open and someone is being harsh back to me, I'm not to take that personally because i did nothing to bring on that reaction. I was in my loving self. This is the reason I don't understand how one can claim as a generalization that rejection is never about the person being rejected. Sometimes it is personal and the one rejecting did it because he/she just coudln't stand the neediness or abuse or whatever other similar unpleasant behavior of the other. Am I missing something?
Isabel - 03/13/2013 03:39 AM
Hey Hullster, the way I understand the issue of taking things personally or not is like this: In either scenario you've stated, it isn't personal. You can be loving and still receive harsh or rejecting treatment. That might feel painful, but it isn't about you -- it's about whatever's going on inside the other person. Even if you're being clingy and needy, the other person's behavior isn't about you, strictly speaking. It's about whatever's going on inside of the other person. However, when people act toward us in ways we don't like, it may give us important information about ourselves and things we are doing in our relationships that aren't serving us well. This isn't always true, but being open to learning, we take a look at it anyway to see what might be going on. As has often been said on this site, others can be a mirror for our lack of self-care, so if there is a repeating pattern of rejection or people running away, it's important to turn inward to see how we may be doing something similar to our feeling self/IC and to heal that aspect of ourselves.
TheHullster - 03/13/2013 03:47 AM
Isabel you really threw a niew light on this for me. When you said that in either case it's not personal, I can see how that could be true because someone else might like you even with those qualities (clingyness, insecurities, et) and still want to be with you. So it is about the other person in the end. And in the other scenario where you are being loving and the other is not, it's easy for me to see how that is not personal at all.
Allan - 03/17/2013 06:56 PM
Hi TheHullster, thanks for your comment. I think Margaret's reference to the other article and Isabel's contribution are basically explaining it all. As well, based on your personal description, I don't really get it where exactly you are getting lost on this matter. You acknowledge that it is your WS who beliefs it has control over the other (by behaving in a certain way), but you don't understand that other's behavior isn't personal. But if you acknowledge that it is your WS who takes the behavior personal, because he believes you have control over others, then you would also be able to grasp that taking other's behaviour personal is based on your WS's lies, rather than on truth. Eitherway, you seem to have gotten a better understanding after the last few comments. If you want to discuss it further, feel free to PM me.
Phyllis - St. Louis - 03/17/2013 07:03 PM
If you are walking down the street and smile at someone, they can still choose how to respond. Maybe they will smile back. Maybe the will glare at you. Maybe, as actually happened to me in NY, they will look back in terror. I cannot possible cause their reaction. There is this moment of choice for them and it has very little to do with us.
nomnomnom - 03/28/2013 09:16 PM
@Phyllis... that made me laugh.
maha2us - North Chelmsford - 03/29/2013 02:36 AM
What you say is very true, Phyllis. There was a day, one person told me I was making obscene gestures towards her. It was some years before. On that day, she screamed loudly and said she will complain about me to the authorities. As on today I would not have been disturbed but then on that day I was disturbed because I had doubts within me and I was not taking care of myself. I was paining myself more because of what I was telling myself from my WS. I was paining myself despite the fact that even on that day I had a few friends who knew me, supported me. Cheers and Hugs,
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