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  • Lori
    Post count: 0
    #5250 |

    Hey there :)
    My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. We were
    friends before we dated and he's always been a nice guy. It wasn't until
    we started dating that I realized he's very conservative with his
    emotions. When I say I love you he says U2. He has told me he loves
    me several times but he doesn't understand why I can't keep my
    emotions to myself like he does. We've hit a rough patch these
    past few weeks, to the point where he says he doesn't know if we
    can work it out, but we are still trying. I know he loves me but right
    now I feel tested. I told him yesterday I felt like I was failing his
    tests and he said I was right, I am failing.

    I'm doing all I know to do! Where do I go from here?

  • Martin
    Post count: 250

    Hey Lori – thanks for stopping by our patch of heaven.

    This is common between men and women and a situation of acceptance and understanding from both sides is needed. Men and women communicate and express differently. Typically one partner will be external and the other internal. The differences go on …

    Can ask your ages, are you guys employed, living together and past relationship experiences though? That would be helpful.

  • Lori
    Post count: 0

    I'm 30 and he is 29. We are both employed and have been with our companies 10+ years a piece. I have a 9 year old who is also in the mix. We do not live together but he does stay over 3-4 nights a week. He has been engaged before, they actually broke up a few months before we started dating. I've been single for the past 7-8 years and this is my first serious relationship.

  • Martin
    Post count: 250

    Getting some background info is certainly helpful, Lori – thank you.

    My wife and I just finished an interesting eBook called For Women Only – Inner Lives Of Men. Obviously this is for women to read and gain a much better insight into how men think and operate, internally. It was a fascinating and insightful read and I'll be publishing our review on the book shortly.

    That said, he's probably a little gun-shy due to the previous break-up (despite what he might or might not say). Further to this, men are usually internal thinkers whereas women typically aren't – that's just a primal and evolutionary trait. This is something you both need to accept and work with.

    I'd be interested in knowing the conversation you had about ‘tests' and failing his though. That's an unhealthy situation to be in where one or both partners have the other inside some form of a check-list. Real unhealthy.

    While it might simply be he's evaluating and internalising his relationship with you, suggesting to you there is, in fact, ‘a list' would require him to verbalise all these things to you, up front. You'd be able to understand how he thinks, what he thinks he should be expecting and determine whether you wish to remain with a person who isn't willing or able to accept and love you for who you are.

  • Lori
    Post count: 0

    There really wasn\'t much of a conversation. That\'s how I was feeling.
    I\'ve told him he needs to tell me what he expects of me
    but he always says he doesn\'t know. I had acted like a butt that
    morning and it seemed like everything I was doing was wrong.
    Then he confirmed it with agreeing I was failing. But we talked
    about it later that morning and decided to keep trying to
    work everything out. That next morning though he says we\'ll
    see how long it lasts. I feel like he is going about it with a negative
    attitude but if I say something it\'s going to trigger a domino effect
    again and put us back to where we were.

  • Martin
    Post count: 250

    Thing is, having a negative attitude will always lead to negative outcomes.

    That's the real challenge that needs to be better understood by both of you. Does he realise he has a negative outlook? Is it just your view point of him when he really doesn't have one?

    Try this exercise with him and lead into it as you'd love him to better understand you, your thoughts and visa versa, so you can better know and understand him too:

    • What are 10 things you see for your future?
    • What are 10 things you love about the other?
    • What are 10 things you love about yourself?
    • What are 10 things you'd like to change about yourself?

    There certainly needs to be a way for you both to start discovering more about each other as well as where you both are headed. The above is just one way to start that process.

  • Michaela
    Post count: 4

    Hi Lori,
    I can relate to how you feel. I am actually attracted to men who are slightly emotionally detached (daddy issues I think).

    In my experience, men, I mean nearly all men, are quite comfortable with you expressing your true emotions. What they are not comfortable with is you constantly barraging them with all your feelings about them.

    For example, an emotionally conservative man would be comfortable with you saying, “I feel really happy when I'm with you. I feel like everything is more colorful and alive,” rather than “You're the love of my life, I can't live without you.”

    Also, if you are feeling insecure about something, it's better to say something like “I feel afraid” or “I feel awkward” instead of launching into victim or attacker mode, saying things like, “you always do this” or “you're shutting me out, you have to stop that”.

    I hope that helps. @MichaelaChung1

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