Challenges of The Dating SceneBy Dr. Margaret Paul
February 25, 2013
Dating provides many opportunities to learn and grow. Discover some of what you can learn that will be very valuable for you.
"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!
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By Dr. Margaret Paul