Will He, Won't He?
May 7, 2012 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
This guy I've started seeing for only a month had told me from the start he only wants 'fun'. I'm cool with it & I'm trying not to get too attached, but I know how easily I can fall for a guy, past experience forced me to put my guard up, however I am really into him. I'm trying to not to let on or overdo any texting etc, but we do text quite a lot, both equally, & we talk a lot online. Yes, we'd done stuff & yes we've had sex already, but it seems like he does care about me, but I still don't wanna get the wrong impression (I'm 20 & not the most experienced with guys or relationships), so what I was wondering was 3 things; 1.) Do guys often say that if they have been hurt in the past & are weary themselves? 2.) Convincing themselves that's all they're after for the time being? 3.) And finally, do they usually stick to that or can they fall for you? Thanks, Natalie. xx
What a great question. I’m assuming that this guy you’re seeing is also close in age to you. The reality is that it’s normal for a young man to want to sow his wild oats, have fun and not be tied down. It’s common for a guy to feel this way even if he hasn’t been hurt by a past relationship. But if he has been hurt, then he’s going to be even more married to the avoidance of commitment! That said, I hesitate to generalize further. Everyone handles trauma differently. Plus, we don’t know what trauma he carries from his family of origin. If he was wounded during his formative years, then a bad break-up will have added salt to an older wound, making him even more wary of falling in love and forming a commitment. The good news is time is on your side for two reasons. First, he’s young and so are you. So you have time to discover whether he is damaged beyond hope or not. I’m banking on him realizing in time that you aren’t like his ex who made him wary, and that are a good choice for him. I recommend getting him talking about what went wrong in his past relationship. The “talking cure” is just that. If you get him talking about what happened, he can work through his wariness. As for the normal need for fun, what he needs to feel is that he can be committed to you and still have fun. Over time, he needs to experience the reality that you’re a fun person, and that a relationship with you will give him the best of both worlds--an intimate connection and breathing room and freedom. It’s said that all men naturally resist commitment because they are afraid of losing their independence, which is another way of saying that they fear the loss of fun. Just putting in the time with him, letting him feel that he can have it all with you, fun and freedom, will be just the medicine that he needs to overcome his wariness, let down his guard and let his heart fall for you. By the way, there’s a therapeutic technique called “joining” that is very effective in softening resistances of all sorts. You’ve heard the popular saying, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Well, when it comes to resistances, nobody wants to feel that his arm is being twisted. That only heightens resistance rather than resolve it. By contrast, joining the resistance actually has the magic effect of dissolving it. So, my point regarding his wariness and resistance to fall in love is this. If you join his feelings of resistance by saying statements like: I totally get why you want fun, that’s what life is about. If you can’t enjoy your ride what’s the point of living! If you join him, and don’t push him for love and commitment, he’ll come around. There’s no hurry here. As I said, you’re both young. You don’t need to rush City Hall. Enjoy your time with him and let his heart thaw! Let me know how long he takes to fall for you. The better you join him the sooner he’ll fall. Get ready cause his heart is soon to be a dead duck!!!
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book is mandatory reading for every couple that wants to build lasting love.”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
"Let me tell you why you're extremely important now. I really believe your message is there. You're spot on. More and more people should be taking advantage of what you're offering."
-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show