Rebound Lover Not So Loving
Q: While I've been breaking up, painfully, with someone over the last year, I met and fell for a stunning mature man. I wouldn't let this new relationship unfold until I was moved out because I didn't want to be a cheater. The problem is that he's not been involved with anyone for so long that he thinks my attention is too much and has asked that I keep a distance. Yet he flirts, he carries on with me, and my heart leaps for joy whenever we've met. We met socially twice before I moved out, there was restraint exercised on my part, but now I find I can't open up to him because he's always saying he can't give me what I want. He's not able to commit, and he won't even kiss me now. It really is a strong chemistry but he's pulled away completely, made some negative comments about me as if they were the reasons, then tells me anytime I need him he is there for me. What does this mean? He says I look great for my age. He continues to communicate by email and phone. It feels more and more like a no-win situation. Is there anything more I can do?-- Brittany, 50
Dr. Susan: In situations like this, you need to follow your instincts. And what I'm hearing you say is that something doesn't feel right about this relationship. It's not moving forward at all. This stunning gentleman is telling you, in his own words, that what you want is more than he is going to deliver. He is willing to be flirty and friendly, but if he won't even kiss you, that's a pretty clear indicator that he's holding back quite a bit. His pulling back is causing you to hold back. All in all, nothing is going to happen, and he is fine with that, it seems. Look elsewhere to start your life anew.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.