DEAR ZELDA Your prob­lems an­swered

Our re­la­tion­ships ex­pert Zelda West-Meads an­swers your questions

The Mail on Sunday - You - - In This Issue -

HE IS BACK­ING OFF FROM OUR RE­LA­TION­SHIP

I have been go­ing out with a lovely man for nearly a year. He is 36 and I am 31. He is kind, in­tel­li­gent, good-look­ing and amaz­ing in bed. At the be­gin­ning of the re­la­tion­ship, he pur­sued me with en­thu­si­asm, told me how beau­ti­ful I was and made me feel won­der­ful. I thought he was as in love with me as I am with him and be­gan to hope that we might have a fu­ture to­gether. We both have good jobs, so I sug­gested that we think about buy­ing a house as a cou­ple. This is when things changed. He be­gan mak­ing ex­cuses not to see me and be­came less af­fec­tion­ate. It feels as though he is back­ing off and I don’t un­der­stand why. Have I done some­thing wrong? I am sorry, this must be up­set­ting. A typ­i­cal sign that a man has a com­mit­ment prob­lem is if, at the be­gin­ning of a re­la­tion­ship, he pur­sues you hotly, sweeps you off your feet and does indeed make you feel won­der­ful. Then, when you have fallen com­pletely in love and he re­alises that you’re ex­pect­ing the re­la­tion­ship to go fur­ther, he pan­ics and backs off. Un­der­stand­ably, this leaves you ut­terly con­fused and won­der­ing what you have done wrong. But you haven’t done any­thing wrong – it is more likely that he has a fear of com­mit­ting to some­one. His dat­ing his­tory could be a good in­di­ca­tor of this. Has he had many long-term re­la­tion­ships or does he have a track record of short, bro­ken ones? Does he usu­ally or al­ways blame the woman for the break-up? If it’s the lat­ter, he may be a com­mit­ment pho­bic man – and, as hard as this may be, it would be for the best to cut your losses and let the re­la­tion­ship go. Try talk­ing to him first about whether he re­ally wants to have a fu­ture with you – if he is pre­pared to get help, then this might be pos­si­ble. Per­haps his par­ents have an un­happy, volatile marriage or had an ex­tremely ac­ri­mo­nious or bit­ter di­vorce, so he is afraid of his­tory re­peat­ing it­self. Find out whether he is pre­pared to have coun­selling to work on those fears and make the com­mit­ment you want. Try the Bri­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Coun­selling & Psy­chother­apy (bacp.co.uk) or visit its­good­totalk.org.uk.

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