Dear Suzie, I have been seeing a lovely man for 10mths now and I think I am in love with him. I have told him of my feelings but he has been very honest and said that although he feels very close to me it’s not love. He talks about a future together, and we get on very well, we have lots of fun, like doing things together and have a great sex life! The trouble is i cannot help feeling very vulnerable when my feelings are so much stronger than his and get the feeling that he would soon get over me if we split up, whereas I would be devastated. It is not a nice feeling, how do I cope with these feelings of insecurity. I know I can’t make him love me.
You already know part of what I would say to you; you can’t make him love you. It’s a sad fact and a hard lesson. So many of us feel, in our heart of hearts, that if we love really powerfully and if we could only get our feelings across to the object of our affections, something would happen, something would change.
We’re like children in this situation, who have been told by Mum that we can’t have another sweet, biscuit, treat, and go on saying “Can I? Perleeaze? Can I? Just one???” And the problem is that if we did that as children and our parents did give in, we’ve learnt that badgering and wishing has an affect.
With love, sadly, it doesn’t. It might wear someone down to give in on the outward signs – partnering you or even marrying you. But you can’t change feelings simply by wishing. If he and you feel differently, you may go on for some time in this relationship but it will always be you pursing and him accepting. The only question is whether that is enough for you. That has to be your choice and your decision.
But…it’s always worth fully exploring and examining a situation like this, because it’s interesting that your man says one thing but actually does another. He says he feels close and talks about a future. He enjoys your company and likes doing things with you. What he withholds is the final commitment of making himself vulnerable by declaring love.
Some people are commitment phobic because their previous experience has taught them that the people they love, or who say they love you, let you down. If his parents split up or one of them was physically or emotionally unavailable, he may have unconsciously concluded that making that final surrender of admitting love heralds loss.
So the problem may not be with what he feels or what he needs or wants, but in what he can admit to. People with this problem often do sabotage relationships not because they lack the emotion but because they are terrified of losing out. Part of them decides it will hurt less if they leave before they are left – and often provoke a break up even though actually neither of you want it.
If I were in your shoes I think I’d ask him if he would do you the favour of going for a few sessions at Relate, to sort out what is really happening in your relationship. With the support and guidance of a counsellor, you may both be able to decide what is really happening, and what you may choose to do about it. Good luck!