I am nervous about committing to any woman

Agony Aunt's picture

Dear Patricia Marie,

I am nervous about committing to any woman or even letting them get close to me and in the past have pushed away lots of women who have truly adored me. Nevertheless, I am also scared of the future as I don't want to end up a lonely old man. I am 46, physically fit, kind and loving and have a good job and fantastic family and friends. Many years ago when I was at university, my girlfriend suddenly announced she was pregnant and left me. Later a friend told me that she had never been pregnant. Two years later I fell head over heels in love with another girl. We went on holiday and her ex-boyfriend turned up. I woke up one morning to hear them being intimate in our apartment.

In 1994, I was working in America and fell in love with an intelligent, beautiful woman, but we had to go our separate ways and she met someone else. I adore women and have no problem attracting them and have had some wonderful relationships, but as soon as we get close I bring down the shutters and behave appallingly until the relationship breaks down.

I have recently started dating an incredibly attractive woman, but she seems to be wanting too much too soon. She doesn't seem to understand I can't cope with commitment, yet, continues to put pressure on me and sulks all the time if I don't give her the attention she craves. I don't want to break her heart, but am afraid of being hurt if we stay together.

Patricia Marie says...

Few things are as painful as wanting a loving partner, yet not being able to find one. Then, once we do meet who we were looking for, we sometimes begin to question the relationship, which is what you are doing. When we fall in love we can never be sure that person won't hurt us, because the very act of loving someone makes us vulnerable. The alternative though, could be a very lonely one. However, I am not suggesting you commit to the first woman who shows you an interest, and I do question if the woman you are currently dating has the understanding and empathy you need.

Take a moment to look at what you've accomplished so far in your life, and all the things you hold dear. They are a result of your commitment, intentions and actions. You made them happen, and you have the same power and ability to create the loving relationship you want. It is understandable that you are fearful of falling in love again after your past experiences. We all have inner barriers that are erected during our childhood, and we build even more with every unsuccessful relationship, in time often developing a fear of intimacy and deep emotional connection, and a sub consciousness need to feel in control and thereby protected.

It appears that although you suffer from loneliness, you cannot move away from this pattern, and are constantly working to mitigate future pain, by closing off to the women you are in a relationship with. I really do believe that embarking on some counselling sessions could help you move on from this negative behaviour to a more positive way of being. When you next meet someone who you could consider as a life partner, explain about your past and your fear of commitment, and make it clear that you would like to change. If the woman really loves you and is right for you, she will understand and try to help. If not, do what we all have to do when we take a risk and it doesn't go our way; take a deep breath, dust yourself down, and start all over again.

BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy), can be contacted on: 01455 883300 or www.bacp.co.uk

Patricia Marie, our Agony Aunt, wants to hear your problems, dilemmas, and quarrels. Just email them to patricia.marie@lady.co.uk