Why not send former Kingston-resident Love Doctor your relationship queries? Use the form to submit your question(s).
My man is so emotionally guarded that I’m afraid to break off the relationship, because I fear he could have a breakdown.
As our partnership, after four months together, is not working for me then how do I end it without hurting him?
Jessica, St Elizabeth
Love Doctor’s Answer:
This is a tricky scenario, however it is no use going through the motions just to appease your boyfriend if you no longer wish to be in this relationship.
I imagine that what you are referring to is his choice to keep an emotional distance, which in a new relationship can be a deal breaker.
The reason he won’t get too close with you is probably down to either some trauma from his childhood or having been heartbroken by the breakdown of at least one previous romantic relationship.
Understandably, this man wants to avoid getting himself hurt again. However, you need him to be emotionally fearless if there is any chance of this relationship to blossom. That could be richly rewarding for both of you, but at this moment in time you want out.
I suggest that you try to peel off the layers to determine why he has his guard up towards you, and whether it is something that he carries round. You may discover that you remind him of an ex, and that is why he treats you with trepidation early on in the partnership. Once you can have the empathy and knowledge about why he backs off, then you may wish to continue the relationship.
Some men deliberately pretend to be emotionally needy as ladies do tend to like to try and change their boyfriend into their perfect man. Many men allow their girlfriend, and indeed wife, to think that they are altering them to avoid confrontation and keep the relationship going.
Yet love and romance is all about commitment. If he won’t commit to you emotionally, and you have already stated that it is not working for you, then the best bet is to step away.
You sound very kind and considerate, by not wanting to upset or anger him by calling time on your relationship. Yet sometimes in life being jolted, in this case you breaking up with him, can prove beneficial for the long term.
You could approach him in a gentle manner to explain that you are no longer enjoying your romance, and that you feel the emotional connection simply isn’t there.
A basic rule to follow is the two-one approach, which means that you give him two positive snippets of information with a genuine smile before you deliver the knockout punch. By employing this method, you will be able to soften the blow and that should avoid him having a breakdown or suffering anything similar.
So something along the lines of that you’ve been having an enjoyable time together, and give a few examples of the good times, and praise his character and/or physical traits. You have then prepared him perfectly, so now can either just use the excuse that you feel the relationship has gone stale, alternatively you can just state that you don’t see a long-term future together.
With both of those scenarios then you shouldn’t particularly hurt this man’s feelings. From the little information gleaned, he sounds too self-obsessed in protecting his emotions to enjoy a loving relationship with you.
If you really want to tell him the true reasons, then explain that he was too emotionally guarded. If, for example, that has meant he has not told you that he has fallen in love with you or that it has frustrated you that he has spilled out his emotions like a woman then give him an example. That way he will learn from his mistakes and be able to move forwards.
To fully embrace and enjoy the next levels of a relationship, you need – and indeed want – more from a romantic relationship than this man is willing to offer.
It’s easy to walk away if he begs you to reconsider and claims that he will make the effort to change, because it just proves that he is emotionally needy. For a partnership to work you need all of the right dynamics from both of you, so it is terrific that you have realised this after only a short period of time rather than waste years with the wrong man.
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