DEAR ZELDA Your problems answered
Our relationships expert Zelda West-Meads answers your questions
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.