All Woman

He's pushing me away

Let's Talk

With WAYNE A POWELL MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor

Monday, June 25, 2012    

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Dear counsellor,

I feel as if my boyfriend is pushing me away. We have known each other from I was in second form at high school and he was working. It took us five years to realise we had feelings for each other. However, as our relationship reached its seventh anniversary, I started receiving less calls and if I do not call or text he will not call or text me. This got me frustrated and I tried talking to him about it. The last time we talked it almost turned into a quarrel. He then called me for a week straight and I was delighted in the change. I felt us reconnecting, then we were back at square one.

I met this other guy who I'm attracted to. I do trust my boyfriend; it is my feelings for this guy I do not trust. Then there is my boyfriend's lack of interest in me. My boyfriend is 12 years older than I am and I have accepted the fact that his responsibilities and time differ from mine. I want my boyfriend's love back completely, but I see this other guy more often than my boyfriend. What must I do?

Your story serves as a lesson for men who show little or no interest in their spouses. As much as a man is busy making money to make life better for himself, his spouse and family, nothing replaces the emotional support his woman needs. If the emotional connection is missing, the woman will gravitate to someone else who will provide that bond. Sometimes this may happen intentionally or unintentionally.

As the saying goes, it takes two hands to clap. It also requires the efforts of both partners to make a relationship work. In your case you seem to be giving more than you are receiving which is no doubt frustrating and counter-productive.

So what has happened in the seventh year of the relationship that has caused your boyfriend's interest to wane? Is he more involved at work? Is there anything you are doing or not doing that contributes to his withdrawal? Most men "tek weh" themselves physically and emotionally from spouses who are unsupportive or are just plain miserable. If you fall in either category then you would have to take some responsibility for what has happened.

You mentioned that your boyfriend is 12 years your senior. Could this amount for him placing less emphasis on the relationship and more focus on achieving his career goals? When there is a wide age gap between partners both have to make a concerted effort to understand the other's values, interests, social upbringing and experiences which will determine attitude and behaviour. If you intend to marry this man do ensure you both engage in premarital counselling to discuss some of the divergent differences in opinions and ideas that is an indication of the age gap. Failure to do so will result in a conflict-ridden relationship. It is also important that the relationship is not on a parent-child level, that is, the male partner plays the parent role and the female partner plays the child role. This is often the case when a wide age gap exists.

So now you are attracted to another man. That's not surprising as you are longing for love and affection that is not forthcoming from your boyfriend. As you seek to get those needs met, you will no doubt gravitate to this new guy and may even fall in love with him.

So what do you do? You have to find a way of getting through to your boyfriend that he is slowly losing you. You need to make your feelings known to him. If you are unable to secure a face to face talk with him, write him a letter and pour your heart out. Let him know that you are concerned about the future of the relationship and let him tell you what are his own expectations of the relationship. In the meantime, it would make sense to cease any serious contact with your new friend as this will only complicate matters.

Hopefully, after you have had dialogue with your boyfriend, you will be able to make a decision either way.

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