When You Love Someone Who is Scared to Love You Back

Fear, insecurity, or a painful past relationship can lead to fear of abandonment. Here’s what you can do when you’re in love with someone who is scared to love you back.

Here’s what one reader said about his ex-girlfriend. “I dated a great lady for 11 months,” says Steve on 10 Warning Signs of a Bad Relationships. “She chose to end the relationship. Now that it’s over, I realize I love her dearly. We exchanged emails – the only way she would communicate with me. The true reason for ending the relationship…something happened to her 30 years ago that she says she has never got over. She will not talk about it. I am the only person she ever mentioned it to. The event has left her guarded to the extent where she prefers to live her life alone, without relying or trusting anyone. She had counseling but it did not work. How do I love someone who is scared to love, who keeps running from love?”

In his comment, Steve also said that his ex-girlfriend simply accepts that she’s scared to love and that’s just the way she is. “She felt our relationship was becoming too serious so decided to end it abruptly,” he said. “I’m heartbroken that this happened and I really don’t understand that two people have deep feelings for each other and yet she is not willing to work things out. I am only too happy to continue as we were before, by accepting her fears but she will not…Is there any hope or shall I just let her go?”

It’s really difficult for anyone to predict if you should walk away from someone who is scared of love. In some relationships, hoping for the best and loving someone through their fear is the most beautiful gift you could ever give them. In other relationships, the healthiest thing you can do is end the relationship.

How do you know if you should let someone go, or keep loving them through their fear? You need to take a risk. Both options are risky; nobody can tell you what the best choice is or what the future holds. You have to listen to that still small voice in you, and trust that no matter what decision you make…you will be okay.

When You’re in Love With Someone Who is Scared of Love

You might learn how to help a loved one learn how to overcome insecurity and fear of abandonment in a relationship. But, you must also remember that what helps one person overcome fear of intimacy (which is running from love because of fear) may not work for another. You might try couples or individual therapy even if you’ve tried it before – just because counseling was ineffective once doesn’t mean it won’t work now. Sometimes we don’t connect with our counselors, or we’re too scared to tackle our problems. The timing wasn’t right, perhaps.

If you’re invested in your relationship, you might try these ideas…

Accept the fact that guardedness is very difficult to break free from

Fear of intimacy or rejection isn’t easy to overcome. Being guarded is a way to protect ourselves from getting hurt more than we’ve already been hurt.

in love with someone running from love

When You’re in Love With Someone Scared of Love

Unlearning fear of love is a process that takes years, and may never be completely “gone.” I was scared (terrified!) to love and be loved back; it took a year of counseling to help me be aware of my guardedness and allow myself to be emotionally available and vulnerable with a man. I found the process of breaking down my walls and learning how to love without being scared very, very difficult. It was painful.

In fact, I still withdraw from my husband when I’m hurt, angry, confused, or scared. I’m deeply in love with him, but I’m quick to push him away if I’m emotionally triggered. However, now that we’ve been married for 11 years – and more importantly, I’ve been working on getting emotionally and spiritually healthy and whole – I have torn down my old walls.

Remember why love is scary: because it makes us vulnerable

It is very difficult for anyone to change, much less someone who is scared to love and be loved in return. Love is an emotion that leaves you totally exposed to big and little hurts, major and minor pains. I’m actually surprised that more people aren’t running from love.

The guardedness – my counselor called it hiding behind my wall – feels like a part of who we are. We feel safe and protected behind our walls, and it’s not easy to expose ourselves to the frightening world of love. Love is scary for everyone, but it’s terrifying for people who have been badly hurt during their childhoods. They’re scared to fall in love again because they’re protecting themselves.

However, just because you understand why the one you love is scared to love you back doesn’t mean you should continue in the relationship. This is one of those times you need to listen to that “still small voice”, and decide what you need to do.

If you think you need to end your relationship, read How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About.

Learn about the dance of intimacy – and take a step away

I recently attended a live marriage counseling session; the therapist said 95% of couples do a pursuing/being pursued dance. The more the pursuer chases, the farther and faster the pursued runs. Maybe it’s not a dance – maybe it’s a chase!

The more you email, call, write, or text the person you’re in love with, the more you’ll push her away. If you want more emotional connection – more love – then you need to give her time and space to breathe. Give your partner a chance to miss you, to breathe, and to figure out if she wants to learn how to safely love you.

Learn why some people are scared of love

Trying to figure out why the person you love is afraid of intimacy or attachment might be a never-ending cycle of “maybe this” and “perhaps that.” One research study, however, found that adults who are scared of love had distant parents or caregivers.

scared to love

How to Stop Running From Love

The premise of Dr. Sharon Dekel’s study – she’s a psychologist and researcher at the Bob Shapell School of Social Work in Israel – is based on attachment theory. This theory says that during times of stress, infants want to get close to their parents or caregivers for emotional support. However, if the parent is unresponsive or overly intrusive, the child learns to avoid the caregiver.

These researchers believe that adult relationships reflect these earlier experiences. When our needs are met when we’re babies and children, we approach adult relationships with more security, seeking intimacy, sharing, caring, and fun. But when our childhood emotional and physical needs aren’t met, we don’t learn how to love. We get scared of love, and off we run.

Remember that being scared to love can only be overcome by one person

You can’t do much to reduce the fear your loved one feels. Only she can decide that she doesn’t want to be scared of love…and only she can take action to overcome her fear of intimacy. The tricky part is how hard counseling is. It forces you to face the reasons you’re afraid of falling in love, and it requires you to work on your thought and behavior patterns. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

When You’re in Love With Someone Scared of LoveThe first step is to learn about fear of intimacy, from books such as Stop Running from Love: 3 Steps to Overcoming Emotional Distancing & Fear of Intimacy. You might even consider sending her the book and letting her decide if she wants to pursue healing and forgiveness.

Are you scared of love? This book is for you. Stop Running From Love offers a simple, step-by-step approach you can use to move beyond your fear of intimacy and start building strong and lasting relationships. The exercises and self-evaluations in the book will help you become aware of how you operate in romantic relationships. You’ll review and reassess your relationship patterns, deciding what changes you want to make in future relationships.

“Love is something we’re born with,” said Marianne Williamson. “Fear is something we learned here.”

Are you in love with someone who is scared to love you back? I welcome your thoughts welcome below…I can’t offer advice or relationship help, but it may help you to share your experience.

Source of the research on avoidant attachment and fear of love: ‘Commitment-phobic’ adults could have mom and dad to blame via ScienceDaily.


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98 thoughts on “When You Love Someone Who is Scared to Love You Back”

  1. I’ll try to make this short and to the point. We started dating and really had chemistry, the connection was there, conversations flowed. However, he did share he was hurt by his last relationship and had been single since then. It had been roughly 8 years he was alone. Seemed odd but after I got to know him I could see he was all about working and raising his child whom he has custody of. He always talked about having walls up and being very guarded of his heart. As the months went by we became closer and little by little he started to open up more and finally did say he trusted me. We talked about getting married and building a house together. We discussed our future and had plans. I knew all his finances and he knew mine. He even send pictures of engagement rings and asked what i liked. Then his mother was diagnosed with cancer and he lost her 3 weeks later. I didn’t notice a change in him right away but as the months went by i could see our phone calls lessen, fewer text messages and a change in his attitude. He was rude at times, kinda like he was angry at me. Then after about 4 months he said he needed time alone to deal with family issues. I was confused and hurt, my mind racing. I just couldn’t understand why he’d push me away when we had gotten so close. We didn’t see each other for about 5 weeks. No contact! During that time I prayed and I read numerous articles on how men deal with mourning a parent which helped me to understand and to be patient. I trusted this man with my soul. I thought because he had been through his share of pain and hurt that he wouldn’t do it to me. I really believed that. Then out of nowhere i received text saying he missed me and wanted to talk. We pretty much picked up where we left off at this point. I understood he was dealing with losing his mother and still dealing with these issues. He invited me to stay at his house for the 1st time after 1 year being in a relationship. This was a long distance relationship, we lived 3 hours apart and would see each other on weekends. Things went really good that weekend, he stated that they let me in thier world and that was a big thing. Things progressed, we spent time together and would even spend the night together some weekends. Then again I started to notice phone calls slowing and text messages slowing. He always explained he was dealing with losing his mom and still very hurt. So i understood. Sometimes we went days without contact then weeks. He always sent a text saying he was thinking about me or missed me. Thats how things were from September until February when he finally ended things. Over the holidays he was distant but again i thought it was because of his mother, this was 1st holiday without her. We still talked and saw each other. He’d cry to me and talk about some of the issues he was dealing with. He had problems with anxiety as well and it was getting worse. He didn’t call on new years, said he was having hard time. Then Valentine’s Day came and no phone call or even a card. The following week i get a text message saying he could no longer be in this relationship due to problems he was having. He didn’t go into to much detail. Said he never knew love like mine but just couldn’t love me the way i wanted or deserved. He said he had to be true to his heart. He tried to love me but never felt the feeling of true love. I was devastated! I couldn’t believe the words he said to me. When I called him he was very cold and short. Like someone i didn’t know. He said it was nothing to do with me. My mind has been racing and Im trying to figure out what happened and how he let this relationship go 1 year and half to realize he didn’t love me. Looking back the signs are there for emotionally unavailable, i just wasnt familiar with the term until now. Or could this be due to the loss of his mother. Also his father is very ill and he could lose him at any time. Looking for opinions on what to do..Do i reach out or just leave him alone? I need face to face closure and I have so many things I need to say. I trusted this man with my heart. From the moment I gave him my heart I was all in. Help!!

    1. That sounds like he’s got depression. Depression changes someone’s character so they’re unrecognisable. My partner had a spell of depression a couple of years ago and I honestly felt that I didn’t know the man who I originally fell in love with. It passed but has left a scar. It’s not always just one episode either. You would have to ask yourself, could I live this way for the rest of our relationship? It may pass, it may come again. Only you can decide if you want to have a relationship with emotional issues at the forefront. Sometimes it’s easy to ‘be there’ for them because in your heart you actually want them, really it’s best perhaps to just let them go and work out their own needs by themselves. I would be reluctant to keep going back after amounts of time with no contact as that sets a pattern of behaviour you’re willing to accept. No need to be rude to him, he obviously had his issues, but you have your own needs, maybe he is right in recognising he can’t give you what you want. Especially where he’s at right now.

  2. The still, small voice. I told her I would never take off her friendship bracelet. I know that her parents are split, and that has affected her a lot. I was telling someone about us about the thought or instinct that I had that one of her things is thinking that some people run away, and I started tearing up. I fear that my own agenda is in the way, but that still, small voice tells me that I need to stick around. I’ve been thinking today, “What is she scared of?” and the thought rings true. I have a hard time trusting my gut, but it’s there. I just hope everything works out for us. I love the damn girl. Phew.

  3. Did you steal your story from me, it sounds EXACTLY like mine. We are at that stage now that I’ve “discarded” all because of a fight. Of course during this fight she said doesn’t feel for me the way she felt for me just 10 days before. She says she can just turn it off, I’m no psychologist, but I don’t believe that for one second. All I can do now is stay away and hopefully she’ll come back around, but if not for my own mental health realize it isn’t me, but rather her. Over the time I knew her, we talked about things that the more I think of those discussions, the more I believe she was really hurt as a child, and I’m not equipped to do much about that. All I can do is love her, and let her know I’m always there for her and hope for the best.

  4. I was in love with someone who was sending out all the signals that she loved me back,even to the point of her telling me something like “I’d like a proposal before Christmas” in September… My reply was “well I can’t guatentee before Christmas, but if it happens, it happens. If not, may be next year…. So what did I stupidly do?… yes folks, I proposed. Her reply was” I’m not going to say yes, an I’m not going to say no”. From my point of view, why continue the relationship? …. so what had she really been telling me the last couple of months then, especially with this talk of marriage proposals ? The thing that hurts most is that I believe she was “the one”… we just fit so well together so well, even to the point of her young, pre-teen nephew asking her if we were going to get married.. That was just over 20 years ago, and it still hurts me very deeply . I hadn’t found anyone like her before I met her, and I still havent in all the years after… As for now? Well now I’ve just given up looking, you can only be said no to so many times to believe that may be marriage isn’t in God’s plan for me (what ever that is)

    1. Sometimes someone is loving you that you overlook.

      If you ‘fit’ that well with her maybe she was faking some things? Maybe you were too? As far as Gods plan for you, you’ve held on to her for 20 years? I’m sure there have been others in your life in that time who have loved you but you were blinded by your misty eyes for someone who clearly just wanted to play games. Consider yourself fortunate you never met anyone else like that since. It is unfortunate you may have missed, are missing, someone so much better. I hope you find what you’re looking for. What God has planned no man can undo, is a bunch of crap. We are our own worst enemies sometimes. Don’t be so afraid to love and be loved.

  5. I met a man at a restaurant a little over a year. We had small conversation and didn’t think much of it and went about my night as normal. Six months down the road he found my Facebook page and added me. I remembered the face but couldn’t remember much of the conversation we shared that night. It took me six weeks to respond and engage into another conversation again. We communicated quite a bit for the following 3 weeks. Eventually we ended up getting together and actually having a face to face conversation and we hit it off. Now we have been hanging out pretty heavy for the past month and a half. He is slowly starting to open up more about his problems with his teenage sons mother. From what he has said they were together for 14 years. Obviously I care about the man but I also am catching myself speak on the matter not to steer him in a different direction but to reassure him that he is doing the right things for his son. It’s obvious he has some bitterness about how the relationship ended and he has resentment towards her as well. I listen to him and always try to uplift him because I too have been.in a situation not identical but similar to this one. He is attentive to me. Always makes a point to let me know that the days he doesn’t get to see me is not due to him not wanting to. I understand his day starts at 6 am. He takes his son to school in the mornings and works 2 jobs. His dat doesn’t end until midnight.. sometimes 1am. I’m very understanding. I too have a seven year old daughter and a single mother. Here is my dilemma.. He shows me he cares. He makes time for me. We text each other through out the day, but when it comes to me hinting about us needing to figure out a way we can combine our free time even though we have kids. He acts as if I didn’t even talk about that. Ends up switching the subject or just pulling me in for a kids and a hug. I just don’t want to waste my time. Last year I wasted 9 months to a man that I found out was engaged the whole time. I cannot go through that again and don’t want to waste anymore time on a being a shoulder to lean on while playing the friends with benefits roll. Advice please! I’m catching myself falling for this man more and more each day. Even though he doesn’t show any signs that he is just using me as a pass time. His actions are saying he wants this to be but he has no words on the subject other then, “just chill out and go with the flow.”

  6. So a week ago my boyfriend of 5 months, broke up with me and it was completely out of the blue. I was the first girl in 6 years that he had asked to be his girlfriend, so right away I knew he saw me as special and different from other girls he had been with since his ex. His last girlfriend he was with for 6 years and was really in love with her, but she had deep emotional issues with her family and it was painful for the both of them so he ended things. Our relationship for the last 5 months was nothing short of amazing. Our chemistry is off the charts, we have so many things in common, including our visions for the future. We have a bit of distance between us, a three hour drive, he lives in Boston and I live in Stamford. His family is from here though so hes home all the time and we would see each other every other weekend if not every weekend sometimes. The distance didn’t bother us. We talked every single day and we both had this fiery connection that I had never felt with anyone else before. I was convinced he was the one. He apparently did not feel the same. I would be able to accept this easier if his actions aligned with how he felt, but he was nothing but affectionate and loving towards me before I went home (Minnesota) for the holidays. We had all these plans before I left to go home too. I was going to drive up to Boston with him and spend the weekend there, wearing matching onesies we had bought and exchanging Christmas presents. We were going to spend New Years together, but instead I came back and he broke up with me the next time I saw him. Didn’t give me much of an answer as to why he was doing this besides he didn’t feel the same as before or his feelings changed. There were no signs, but we were at the point where we were going to say I love you to each other and a big part of me feels as though he got scared. He’s afraid of committing to me even though our connection is undeniable because he doesn’t want to go through the same hurt he went through with his ex. I want nothing but to build a life with him because I truly believe that we were made for each other. I am having such a hard time wrapping my head around all of this, because no matter which way I look at the situation it just doesn’t make sense. I need some advice and guidance as to whether or not I should give it another try and talk things through with him when he’s ready, or if I should just let go.

    1. So basically I have known my female friend for just over a year now, we met at work. About 3 months ago now, I confessed to her that I think I’m starting to like her more then a friend. I did this through text message, she replied saying that she had thought about it herself and had also questioned her own feelings towards me. She said that she feels 100% comfortable with me, more so then her oldest friends she has know for years and years. but she doesn’t think it goes further. We met up for a drink to discuss it further, i was doing most of the talking and I said to her that I do like her..

      She didn’t really say much, however she did say there is something that makes me feel so comfortable with you. When she comes to my house and hangs out for the day, we sit very closely together, are legs are on eachothers and my hands rest on her legs. We are doing what a couple would right? I also gave her a foot massage aswell? Is this normal or am I thinking that this is what couples do? Or am I over thinking the situation ? Everything just feels so comfortable and natural with her, and she is the only female I have ever questioned my feelings for!?

      If we have both questioned our feelings for eachtoher then their must be something more in it then friendship?

      I personally think my friend is scared to explore or go further we me? As she hasn’t done anything like that before.. please someone help and give advice on this situation

  7. I have a weird relationship with a crush of 5 years. We have both had a lot of trouble in out lives recently. One thing which has become obvious is that his mum was emotionally distant and used too much physical punishment, and mine was very emotionally demanding which I found intrusive, and she was not empathetic. I also witnessed domestic violence which tends to cause me to fear showing men any weakness. I think he does like me but we really struggle to move forward in any way towards intimacy. It’s tough! At the moment we are awkward friends, although we have both made moves. He started these,but I was too defensive and naive/stubborn/scared to go along with it or even believe it was kindly meant, and now he just seems confused and defensive at the “crunch”. But we are still supportive of each other. However it is very painful, this limbo.

  8. I’ve been in a relationship for 4 years, this has has been married previously and was absurd treated badly, he is afraid he will get burned again, we talk daily. See each other a lot through the week, he’s so afraid of getting hurt, he said he stayed with his former wife trying to make it work, because he didn’t want to be a failure. How can I help him

  9. I met this women on a skiing vacation, a passion we both have. We both felt attraction for each other. When it came to start a relationship, she pulled back, explaining she was terrified to be hurt again. That fear was blocking her from making any further move. That fear came from a bad break-up from the past relationship, she still hasn’t, after 4 years, gotten over it.
    I am devastated, as I know that without that fear we would be together. I’ve tryied to make her feel safe and that I would care for her, but that did not help. I decided to respect her feelings and her decision and not to pressurize her with arguments, basically not looking for a contact. But I don’t want to let go just yet. I think I will contact her in a few days, see how she is doing. I’m trying to look for other solutions, but haven’t found any other just yet.

  10. I’ve been dating a girl for over 2 years. I would say about half of that time frame has been more off then on. We met on a dating app and we didn;t exactly click at first. However, after a second date we immediately became inseparable. We spent almost every day together, to the point where after 6 months she was ready for me to move in. I was hesitant at first, as I didn’t want to go all in and be left with nothing as she owned her house and a I rented. After a little bit of thinking and more time, I decided to go ahead with things. I moved in and started paying half the bills evenly. We did vacations and more. She had a 3 year old and I immediately became a father figure to this young man. He took after me and we developed a bond, almost as if I was his father. After about 8 months together, her mom left her step dad. Her mom became a bit of a recluse and with that, the family connections and time together went to a screeching hault. Her biological father abandoned her as a young child and now her mother had up and left without much at all. Soon as her step dad dealt with the divorce, he would leave as well and he became more distant. The stress and issues with her family became too much for her as she started to feel abandoned again, similar to what she felt as a child. I never once left her side and continuously stuck by her day in and day out. Soon I was trading the bedroom for a couch and time together became almost obsolete. Day became mundane and she began going back to weird habits she had as a kid. Depression came on strong and while I spent each day catering to her needs and feelings, my actions became ignored and almost hated. She continuously felt I would leave soon too and she pushed me away. In past relationships, she had strayed also when under pressure and as a result hurt those she was with. Eventually after months of moving out, driving an hour to her house at night to simply sleep on the couch, no intimacy and being asked to do things only to get bailed on usually last minute without as much of an explanation, I;d had enough and I worked up the courage to try and move on. I loved her dearly, but I couldn’t any longer feel this way. I invited a friend I recently had met up for a few days who happened to be female as a way to clear my mind and told her I would spend the week showing her around. Once my now ex found out, she freaked and instantly went into “Get him back” mode. She said she realized finally she couldn’t act this way any longer and that if she didn’t straighten up and move on with her life, she;d lose me forever. After a few weeks of hesitancy, I trusted her and instantly we were inseparable again. I;d loved her soo much and now I;d gotten back what I thought might’ve been lost forever. We were doing really well and we picked right back off where we left off. It seemed she was overcoming the demons of her past and she was putting fourth a great foot towards making sure we never experienced this again. But as the holidays approached, her sons 5th birthday and a starting school year came about (She;s a teache), , old habits began to reappear. She once again got lackadaisical. Intimacy went away. SHe started hiding her phone again and constantly finding excuses not to do things. To where one morning she suddenly stopped saying I love you. Out of nowhere, it was gone. I continued to fight for her and after a few months of asking her to not do this again, she broke up with me for what seemed like no reason again. SHe said she felt nothing. She said she lacked desire and she said she didn;t miss me. But she would always call. Always text. She would ask me to do things and go places, send songs that reminded her of me and constantly tell me how much she wanted and loved me. But would never reciprocate in real settings. Until one night recently I snapped. I’d had enough and I couldn’t take the lies, betray and constant let downs. All I wanted was her and it seemed she did too. But she’d bail on me with no excuse. SHe’d stop answering, make lame excuses and leave me sometimes in the car halfway form home without as much of a word. She told me she was no good. She told me she cared about me soo much that she couldn’t see me because she feared she;d hurt me like she had everyone else in her life. She said she could be with other and hurt them without fear, but me, she couldn’t stand the thought of hurting me.So she loved me soo much, that she couldn’t love me because she was scared of it. She believed she was not worthy. she BELIEVED SHE WAS NOT RIGHT IN THE HEAD. sHE BELIEVED SHE WAS not capable and that cheating, leaving or hurting was ok…because “that’s what she does”. SHe wasn’t willing to even go farther because she said she would 100% hurt me and wasn;t going to move forward. I don’t understand how she can love me soo much but not be willing to actually show it. I don’t understand how you can tell me you will hurt me when hurting someone is a choice and you can choose not to hurt someone you love. I continue to tell her each day I love her. I;m always available when asked and I’m always waiting around hoping today is the day she snaps out of it. But she’ll keep telling me to leave. To stop. To go away. To run for the hills and to find someone else. I know she loves me…how do I get her to act on it and not run.

  11. I’ve been with the woman I love off and on for 3 1/2 years and she is terrified of Love. She’ll break up with me and then come back 5-6 weeks later after she’s been hurt or whatever. I’m the one guy she trusts and relies on. Unfortunately we had our first real fight the other night. We were out and when she’s out she’ll go around and talk to other guys and whatever and states that we are just friends. Well what caused the fight that night, there were a couple of girls flirting with me and she didn’t like it. I told her, it’s OK for you to have guys flirting with you, but it’s not OK for me??? She said um yeah and I went off on her for the first time ever. I told her, I don’t know why you are afraid of me and I’ve never hidden my feelings from you. I told her I love her and want nothing more in this world than to be with her and then I left without her. Later that night she sent me a text mad because I yelled at her and embarrassed her. Well I did feel bad about that as I’ve never done it before and it was inappropriate and I did apologize. when she responded hours later she still said she had an issue with the girls flirting with me and I ignored her response (I was mad at her). Well I didn’t respond to her that night or the next day and when she called and texted me again the next day I still ignored her. At that time she got worried about me and started calling people at my work looking for me. I finally did text her back and then call her. I could tell she was relieved and the fact she was worried about me told me she cares. I’m not ready to give up on this woman as I love her with my whole heart, but I don’t know how much longer I can do this. Thanks for posting this story as it helps to read things like this to try and understand as much as possible.

  12. I’m deeply Inlove with this guy and I’ve told him how I feel. I’m getting mixed signals. I think he wants to be with me but he is scared to hurt me because something awful happened to him a while ago.. he said that nobody can fill those holes.. I really want to show him that he is not alone in life and that I will always be there for him…and that he deserves to be loved.. am I selfish for wanting to be with someone who is still hurt? What should I do? I don’t want to give up on him. That’s not an option for me. But I’m so confused.

  13. There is this man I met after my husband died. He’s actually one of my husbands best friends. Me and this man really clicked together. We both agreed it felt natural to be together. But a little over a month he told me he loved me then said it was an accident right after. About a week later he broke up with me. But he still wanted to talk to me. A month later we got back together agreeing to communicate and stick with it. We went on a date where he told me he loved me again. But just like last time he claimed it was an accident. A little over a month later he broke up with me again claiming he doesn’t love me and could never develop those feelings for me. Yet through out the time we’ve talked and been together he tells me that he cares deeply for me and I mean a lot to him… I love him! It feels wrong for me to move on or date anyone. I want to help him but I don’t know how at all.. He’s still talking to me now. Saying he wants to be friends. He’s also told me that he doesn’t wanna lose me. I’m at a loss here. Other then being patient with him I don’t know how to help..

  14. I met a man 8 months ago. The relationship started out great. We had an awesome connection that I’ve never had before with anyone. I actually thought that he was the one. Then about 3 months into the relationship he ended it because he wasn’t ready and was broken from relationships in the past. He opened up to me about his relationship with his mother and ex wife. The relationships weren’t good. After we ended our relationship, we eventually started talking, seeing each other and having sex. After a couple months of this, we got back together. He told me he loved me so much and asked me to be patient. Things were great for a couple months then bam, it happened again. He said he wasn’t in love with me, had fears and his guard up. He asked for time and space. I told him I love him and wanted a serious relationship. I told him when he felt the same, he could reach out to me. Now it’s been 3 weeks and we’re falling into the same pattern. We text, talk and have seen each other a few times. He said he has been thinking about things and wants to see me to talk. I’m so confused about our relationship. I don’t want to continue this back and forth. I’m starting to resent him and losing trust in what he says to me. I want all or nothing and I don’t know if he understands. I know he cares about me and maybe even loves me. I wish he would commit to me or leave me alone until he is ready. I’m going to say this to him when we meet to talk.

  15. My problem is a little different. I’m not in love with someone scared of love…I myself am scared to fall in love. I’m almost 60, and my mother was alcoholic. My dad was unsupportive and I had drug and drinking problems earlier in life, but I’ve been clean and sober for 12 years now. During my addiction, I had a 10 year relationship with an emotionally abusive man.

    I’m finally out of all that mess, but I have never had a healthy long term relationship. It seems I am always attracted to unavailable men…(married, unemployed, in debt, drug problems), probably because they are “safe.” There is no chance of a lasting union…

    With single guys, it seems, I always find something wrong with them immediately. I protect myself. I’ve been told I have “barbed wire” around me. I guess I’m so scared of “falling in love” and being hurt again. I’m not even aware of this fear. It’s unconscious.

    Can you offer any advice or tips?

    Thank you,

  16. I love somebody who is terribly afraid of love. Anything I do which clearly symbolises love he runs. It took me almost 6 months to figure this out researching online, to eventually come up with the thought he’s fragile to live. He’s very distant emotionally never says anything that indicates love, however physically shows he does have feelings for me just doesn’t want to admit them or let him slip. It’s very difficult since I struggle with anxiety but I know deep down I really love this guy for who he is. I’ve expressed my love but he becomes distant and withdraw. If I try and end it he won’t let it. But he’s pushing me away to the point where I just want to be alone. It’s really hard and difficult for me I have strong intense feelings for him but he won’t listen acknowledge or move forward. But loving him made me a better person. I can’t leave him but can’t stay and not be loved. Time will tell what I decide either way I will choose what’s best for me.

  17. I was with a man like this for twelve years! He was completely hurt and shocked that I finally left him. We are now friends and I have to accept that he can’t be more than that. He absolutely loved me no doubt, but it was ALWAYS an excuse not to get too close and take the relationship a step further. Even though we lived together and were together every day, he never wanted to get married. It was always an excuse. “When I get my business off the ground” (He did) “When we buy a house” (We did) “When xyz” it was always an excuse to keep me to stay. I’m 14 years younger than him and even though I loved him and chose to stay, I do feel resentment for staying so long because now I missed out on having children and now I have to find love again to someone secure enough for marriage at 40. He feared intimacy so much that he never wanted to get close enough in order to have intercourse! There was a time, I thought he was gay. I just couldn’t get him to open up on my level of emotion and I was always left in the dark wondering why he was like this. He came from a divorced home where his parents actually hate each other and still to this day, they refuse to talk to each other. He’s in his fifties and he’s never been married and probably will never get married. His brother is around his age and he’s never been married and will probably never get married. His sister is on her third divorce! There was always excuses and blame as to why he could never get too close to me. I just had to finally walk away from him. After him, I became involved with two other emotionally fearful men and basically ran for the hills forever once they expressed their feelings. I must attract them lol.

  18. I have a friend we have been on and off for three and a half years. He loves me and I love him but he’s afraid to take it to a serious level. Every time he feels that he is loving me more or getting closer he gets afraid and backs up. I used to be the same way so I understand how he feels but I was willing to take a stance and conquer that fear in a previous relationship. We have talked and he has told me that he really really likes me but he’s just afraid so I’m trying to figure out what is it that I could do to help other than be patient.

  19. Hi met a girl on Facebook We talked for months. She invited me to Chicago were she lives. Problem we had what seemed a Great week i think i ruined it bye telling her i loved her. We talked and i feel she’s been hurt somewhere in her past and told her so. She claims her whole family thougj i was a terrific guy i live in a different State. She admitted she confused and has a Trust issue. Is this just an excuse. Thank you so much.

  20. Im a guy 16. Who has never been in a serious relationship. This girl I love I think is scared to fall in love. She weren’t oh teiht one of my best mates and he doesn’t know about us. Wenare very close and last week I went to a party at her house and she said she wants to kiss me. So we did in her room. Only a few days later she said she only wants to be friends. I don’t understand how within a few days she went form wanting to kiss me and we talked about taking it further to wanting to just be friends. I understand that she was hurt with her past realationship with my mate who didn’t treat her right. But still. I have treated her the best as I can and she is the first girl I can honestly say I’m in love with. I wrote her something to ask her out. This is it. It’s a bit long:

    I figured these notes that I write for you have always been after an argument and about me apologising and that isn’t right so how about this.

    Dear _____,

    When I see you or I even get a text from you I can’t begin to tell you how I feel. My face lights up and I can’t contain my happiness. You are my favourite notification. How I feel about you is what love songs are written about. If I could give you one thing In life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes so you can finally see how much you mean to me. I think I’m scared because you mean more to me than anyone else. I don’t just want you I need you. I don’t like you. I love you💗. I would do everything for you. I fell in love with you not because of the way you look but the person you are( although you look amazing too😘). You said that When people talk about you being a b*** or whatever that is you and you think I will hate you for it and I will leave. And I need you to know that I’ve heard that for years people talking bad about you, about who you are and what you have done. And I want to say I still fell in love you. None of this has changed my opinion of you. I have fallen in love with you and that means I’m here not just for the good parts but no matter what. I’m here for everything. I never knew when we met I would feel like this. I promised you I would be truthful. And the truth is I think about you all the time, you make me happy, you make me laugh, you’re smart, you’re different, you’re crazy and weird but I love you for it. And that perfect smile on its own can make my day. I can wait but honestly I don’t want anyone else but you. I think about you all the time. All night and all day. Your my first thought when I wake up and the last when I go to sleep. I wonder sometimes how lucky I am to have met you. Like when I came over we spent hours together yet when I left I missed you already. I want to be the one you’re scared to lose. In case I didn’t make it obvious enough I LOVE YOU!!!! And for these reasons I am asking you with all my heart: will you go out with me?

    W.E haven’t really talked for a few days and i really what he r everyone who I’ve talked to Jat knows about us has said she is afraid to move forward. She has said before that she only wants to be friends but when I bring up what happened last Friday she never answers. Is this because she knows she likes me? I just need help on what to do. Like do I just show her what I wrote outta nowhere in hope that it pushes her over the edge. Or do I wait? I’m afraid if I wait she will move on cuz W.E don’t see eachother a lot. HELP ME!!!!

  21. As a girl who is admittedly in her teen years, I feel too young to describe feelings for her as “love”. At the beginning of this year, a delicate relationship was blooming. She had been in a breakup a few months prior, from a hetero relationship. Now I’ve been attracted to her for about a year now, but January of this year I decided to fess up. She was interested in me as well, our friends were ecstatic, and all was well for about a month and a half, before she started having a sort of mental/emotional war with herself. From what I understand, she couldn’t really come to terms with the idea that she liked another girl. So I gave her some space, told her that I would be there for her to talk to, either for support or when she figured it out. Fast forward to a few days ago, there was a school announcement for homecoming tickets (the dance is in about a month). I spent days mentally warring with myself on whether or not I could ask her. It wasn’t about my ability to confront her, it was that I worried that a conversation about it could turn sour, or that she might begin to have problems again. Eventually I asked her if she knew when the dance was (I didn’t know the set date), and she responded with the he date, before saying that she thought she would probably stay home this year (bad experience last year, from the hetero relationship I mentioned earlier) unless a group of friends didn’t have dates. I offered, “you’re welcome to come with me if you want.” She asked if she could get back to me the next day. As of this morning, I received a message along the lines of her saying she could go as friends, but she wouldn’t do more than that, because she is afraid of falling into a cycle and hurting me again. So of course I said I would be happy to go as friends.

    I don’t think she realizes how much I care about her, but I’m committed to standing by as a friend and helping her whenever she wants help. I have a feeling I won’t be moving on any time soon.

  22. I have been in this chaser/pursuer relationship you describe for going on 20 years. The man I love and want to be with is as afraid of my love as I am of his. We have both been in relationships with other people off and on for this entire time, both of us married other people who were toxic to us, and continued to have bad relationships throughout that time. Whenever one of us seemed ready, the other wasn’t. Whenever we tried and got close to each other, one of us would run scared. Both had terrible childhoods and struggle with acceptance and fear. Both carried that into our relationship with each other as well as with others. Both of us picked other partners who did not accept us, and who were distant, uncaring and aloof. The difference is, I recently suffered the loss of my brother. He was my rock and my best friend, and not only accepted my love but returned it. Losing him was my a-ha moment! I left a toxic relationship for good. I am working through that pain and learning to recognize my own behavior and change it. I want a healthy relationship. This man I have loved most of my life is still a distancer, terrified of letting anyone too close and though he wants love and definitely loves me, is a runner. I am now faced with the choice to try to work through this beside him, with the very real possibility of failing, or to end the relationship for good. Because I was also a runner before my brother passed away, I am determined to see it through either way. For the first time in my life, I truly see my own worth, that my life and time is valuable and that I deserve something real and long-lasting. If the person you love is worth it, too, I say give them a chance. Go the distance. But if they can’t go the distance beside you, at some time you have to let go, painful as it may be. This man is worth my time and me energy. Hoping he sees that himself.

  23. I meet a guy about two years ago. We were just suppose to be friends but the more time we spent the more connected we became and our susposly friendship grew into a beautiful relationship . All of a sudden about three months later he started to pull away. We stayed in contact even though we argued over little things. Seems to me like he kept us distant on purpose. Forward wind to today… we have repaired our relationship things are going well. He’s at a difficult time and he now has allowed me to be there for him and be supportive for a change. Now he seems to be pulling back again. Should I stay or let him be????? Please give me your opinion I’m tired of the roller coaster but yet I don’t wanna give up

  24. Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience. It’s so painful to love someone who is scared to love you back! There are so many sad feelings – from disappoinment to shock, disbelief to rejection.

    For me, it was the helplessness that most got me. I knew my boyfriend really did love me…but his fear was too big for him to handle. This made me feel more helpless and abandoned than anything, like I wasn’t good enough for him to love. I think it took me a year to really get over him and feel better about myself again, and another few months before I felt ready to date other guys.

    How are you coping? Every day is different, isn’t it? Sometimes my feelings changed every hour 🙂 but then there were more positive feelings than negative, and I somehow found myself happy again.

    Take heart! You are not alone. And you will get through the pain … and you will not only love again, you’ll find yourself loving a man who isn’t scared of loving you back! xo

    1. Laurie, you are so right. Reason why, some people are also afraid is because they feel like if they give their 100%, the other person won’t give them at least 50%. It sounds ugly, I realize. But it’s what I’ve seen happen to other people I know, and to me. Vulnerability is also a very big one as well. You just don’t want to appear dumb when the person comes around, you want to say something smart or sassy just to let them know you and your feelings are not to be messed with. Additionally, the pursue-pursuer? That has to play a critical role too, because you want to see how long they will keep chasing you and their reasons of as to why. I’ve also heard people say looks don’t matter, I’d say they are huge liars. Of course they do! For example, look at Sofia Vergara and Mr. Joe Manganiello! The hottest two people came together, as they say Calvin Klein models and Victoria Secret models go hand and hand. And let’s just say the Calvin Klein model falls for a non-model type of girl, will the girl really believe that he loves her for her? Of course not. So that’s just how I see it.

  25. I was dating a guy for 5 months, I fell in love with him and invested time, effort and energy just to be together. I loved him so much and I cared about him. I can sensed that he cared about me also. But the problem was, he told me he was afraid of falling in love with me. I loved him with all my heart, I gave him everything, I took care of him when he was sick, I showed him that I cared so much about him and let him felt it. I wanted him to feel that my intention to love him was pure but I don’t know why he can’t able to love me back and afraid of falling with me. I wanted to stay with him and prove him that I really do love him but he keeps on pulling away, so, I decided to walked away and have self-respect and self-worth. It hurts to left him behind but I was getting hurt again and again by loving him and tired of forcing myself to be loved back by him. I was trying to work things out but really sick and tired of being ignored. My love was unrequited, I felt devastated, lost and broken but I have to get through this pain. I love myself more than anyone else so, I have to move on with my life because I believe that I deserve someone better than him, I deserve better than this unrequited love. I love him always but time will heal me and I know I will be better after this pain.

  26. I was with someone for 2 years. Oh Gosh how perfect we were. It was just meant to be. However, some family issues hppened and we broke up. Just like that. 3 years have passed and I still have a mini heart attack everytime I hear his name. I still cry when i remember how strong the bond was. I met a lot of guys after him but nothing was the same. Recently, I’ve been going out with someone and he’s the sweetest. He’s caring and loving. I like him. I know if things stay this way, I’m eventually going to fall in love. But i’m scared. I’m scared to fall in love with him and get my heartbroken all over again. Im scared to get attached to him. I always tell myself that i need time for me. I want a break from relationships and men because i still feel unstable. Now that i met this new person, I’m scared of love.

  27. I feel stupid for writing this because I am so young. I have not much real life experience about love. I have never been married or close to it, yet I find myself mad about a man who I’ve only seen in photos and on Skype calls. I care deeply for him and we have exchanged countless e-mails and messages. He cared for me as well, but finally admitted that he loved another woman. His best friend of ten years. He won’t commit to a relationship with me out of fear of hurting me. It was hard knowing how to help him, especially since I’ve suffered from depression since I was a pre-teen. I worry that if I help him he will choose the other woman. But I also know how selfish of me that is. I’ve gotten over myself because no matter what he deserves to be happy with whomever he chooses. Another problem is that this woman he loves is also afraid of being loved, of being hurt. I worry that this wonderful man I love will only get hurt and be turned away from love for good. I’m unsure what to do to help him, but I know I can’t just walk away, despite him hiding his true feelings about this other woman. I love him too much to just leave, to give him another reason to justify his feelings of unworthiness of love. I wish you all good luck in any romantic endeavors.

  28. I met someone while preparing to leave my husband and we fell in love with each other. The circumstances made it difficult. My husband had just started working for him and before he realized that we were falling in love, told his new boss that he was sick of me, couldn’t wait for me to leave him and so on. My love really helped me through this tough time but we really only spent time talking; nothing physical. He is very religious and his ex left him for a relative and I came to realize that he’s scared to go further. One day, after I had left my marriage, I was talking to him. We were really connecting on a deep level. He told me, very sincerely, that he loves me. I was on top of the world that day. Well, even though things were going in the right direction, my husband realized that things backfired and attempted to destroy what we had (even though he was having relationships with women in their early 20’s). He worked on my love because he knew this would cause guilt (even though I wasn’t ashamed because of the nasty circumstances…) I ended up having to move to another place and even though we were close, my love felt badly about falling in love so we lost contact. About 2 months later, there was some tragic event involving my husband…a lot of people really blame me, even though he had very serious problems, was abusive, and deserted our family. I was getting ready to have a baby at the time but he was too wrapped up in himself to care. Well. after missing my love for 5 months, I saw him again.

    We took each other by surprise when we finally saw each other again. Our eyes met and we went into (for lack of a better explanation) a trance. It felt like we stared deeply into each other’s eyes for at least 10 minutes but it probably wasn’t that long. It was the most intense experience of my life. I realized that he really did love me the same as I love him! It was a social gathering and we really couldn’t hang out together. But every chance we got, there was very intense eye contact, flirting, some conversation. He was really showing off because he wanted to talk to me but it wasn’t acceptable to the other people there )because everyone thinks we tipped my husband’s mental health issues, causing him to take his life, even though it’s way too complicated to blame us). He came near me every chance he got and there was a lot of tension and attraction between us. He even wanted to give me a ride home that night but because of the situation, everyone frowned upon that. So I didn’t even get to talk to him or say good night. I overanalyze everything that happened. Someone was flirting with me and even though I turned him down, my love was slightly hurt by it. Maybe I offended him…I don’t know. He did end up having several beers during the gathering and I believe that’s the only way he had the courage to interact with me at all. Now, over the past 2 months, I’ve been seeing him all the time when I go out. I’ll see him driving or at the gas station, etc. If I pull in to the parking lot, he takes off quickly. Sometimes I’ll get gas, even if I don’t need it or stop at a store because he’s near there. I sense that he is afraid because of how intense the feelings are (and they are so strong/intense and I’m afraid too…but this whole thing is making me sick! I literally feel love sick. Now I drive extra distances, hoping to see him. If I know he’s going to be somewhere, I might try to be there so he see’s me…I feel like I’m almost stalking and that’s not like me.) I sent him a text message a couple days after we had that really long, intense eye contact. really thought about it first. I let him know that he was on my mind and wanted to talk some time. No response in almost 2 months. One evening, I was in a parking lot and he drove by. He saw me but proceeded up the main drag. A few minutes later, he came back, sneaking in thru the back but I saw him as I was leaving. He must have come back, hoping I’d still be there but my timing was terrible! Then he ended up in front of me and turned…I kept going because I didn’t want him to think I am psych…he may already think so…it’s just so hard to know what to do! This is affecting my life in so many ways. I though about tracking him down and just telling him. I’m almost to that point. I have never been so in love.

  29. After being in a 15 year relationship that never really worked right, I met the most amazing woman of my life. We dated for 4 months and it was a dream come true for both of us. I made some significant changes in my life to be with her and all the whole time she fretted it wouldn’t happen. Let me just say here that this relationship was what we had both wanted our entire lives, the love, the caring, the love making, we fit together as well as anyone ever could. It was our dream come true and too good to be real. She had left her husband of 20 years and was working on her divorce. He was emotionally unavailable to her, critical, rude, abusive and uncaring in how he regarded her. She had no voice, she gave and he took. She had shut down for many years and after leaving him got her own place far from him and started a new life. After we met she said I awakened the real her again and being with me and what we shared made her immeasurably happy. She was my dream come true and we discussed a long term future. No rushing, she had her space, I had mine. When we were ready we would move in together and continue forward…….. Sadly at a certain point near the end she started having doubts, a nagging feeling of needing to be alone and that she wasn’t ready. We had always talked about the fact that we would talk about things that came up, she never had that chance with her ex and I wanted her to have a say and to be herself in all of it. She never told me she was feeling troubled, I would have done anything to help her with how she felt, I love her and she is important to me. She let her doubts and fear erode her conviction and decided she didn’t love me like she should. She said as good as it was and how badly she wanted “US” she needed to go back to being alone and she simply wasn’t ready although she thought she had been. I had no choice but to honor her wishes. We don’t talk anymore because no matter what we say even if its a chat about the weather she feels “pressure” from me to be together. She says we can’t be casual. Im heartbroken and I suffer every moment for it. To me it’s so simple, when you find this sort of love you hold on with both hands and you never let go…. she couldn’t even though she said so many times I want to want it… its everything i ever wanted…. So her ex gets 20 years of her love and devotion that he didn’t deserve and the man of her dreams gets a broken heart and will never be the same…. how does that even make sense? I wish you all the best…..


    1. Dave,
      I feel for you! I am in pretty much the same place. My guy was married for 20 years to a controlling woman. His ex had a 3 year affair with a neighbor. He found out about 9 months before he left – but at the time his oldest daughter was dying and he didn’t want her last months to be about the family collapsing. He and my ex and I were old friends from childhood who reconnected during his daughter’s illness. About a year and half after he separated, my ex left. My guy and I are started talking/texting more often really helping each other through our dark days. We ended up falling in love but he kept saying he wasn’t ready for a relationship. I wasn’t either – I would never have gotten involved if it hadn’t been him and it hadn’t just happened little by little and if he didn’t live 500 miles away. For 8 months we continued talking/texting and seeing each other a few times. He would get scared and pull back and then gradual step back and move a few steps further into a relationship before getting scared and stepping back. He finally told his daughter he was seeing someone and she flipped out. It was weird because he had been divorced for over a year before we got together and there were clear signs he was involved with someone (For example, I came to visit for the weekend and he cleaned the house really well except for her room and bathroom. He told her she couldn’t come over and then when she did his bedroom door was locked.) Anyway, after a week of her screaming and hanging on him and refusing to talk to him, he said he needed space. 3 weeks later he called to tell me I would always be waiting for a relationship and he would never be ready for one. My therapist said he was really talking to himself – he wants a relationship but is too afraid to let go and have one. It’s really sad because we never even had a disagreement. We got along great. And we had the most amazing conversations. I feel like someone cut off my hand and even though I have gotten through the worst of the pain, I keep forgetting my hand isn’t there until I try to pick up something.

      Your last line really made me weep – her ex gets 20 years of her love and devotion that he didn’t deserve and the man of her dreams gets a broken heart and will never be the same . . . That’s exactly where I am standing. And the really, really sad thing is, this is exactly what his ex would have wanted. To continue to control his life after she’s no longer part of it.

      1. I am broken. I found someone new who is really great but its not the same, it pales in comparison. I think about her constantly and my heart bleeds for her love.


  30. Dear LovelessinSeattle,

    I’m sorry you and your boyfriend broke up. It sounds like he had serious commitment issues, and he just couldn’t let himself love you the way you deserve to be loved. He was scared, and not even your love could save him from his fear of intimacy.

    You inspired me to write this article:

    How to Cope When the Man You Love is Marrying Someone Else

    I hope it helps, and wish you all God’s healing and peace as you move forward in your life.


  31. Loveless in Seattle

    I know my boyfriend is scared of intimacy, he couldn’t commit to me even though I loved him more than life itself. I accepted his fears, I know what it’s like to be scared of love. I loved him anyway….but he broke up with me six months ago. Now, he’s marrying someone else. The man I love is engaged and it has broken my heart. I feel like my heart has been ripped out and I’m hollow inside now. How do you cope when your ex isn’t just scared of love, but he’s marrying someone else? Any advice would be helpful and appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Loveless in Seattle

  32. Thank you for this article, I might read the book later; I’m scared and distant from intimacy, but I love my girlfriend. When I started reading this, I broke down into tears because I don’t want her to be unhappy or break any of the relationships she has. I’ve seen so much fail with theirs that I’m scared to take the risk at all. Not to mention I’m not sure if my mother’s homophobic or not so I’ve started lying just to see my girlfriend. Thank you.

  33. You need to decide if you can take a risk on love. Love is scary! It makes you vulnerable, and you could get hurt. Even if you have a wonderful healthy committed relationship, you’ll still get hurt because we’re human. We’re not perfect. We accidentally hurt each other.

    Try not to allow your fear of getting hurt stop you from loving truly, deeply, madly. It’s normal to be scared to get hurt by love….but you’ll only be half-alive if you build walls and stop allowing yourself to feel love for another person.

    And…be wise. Love doesn’t have to be foolish or naive — you can use your head in love!

    Read How to Guard Your Heart in a Relationship

    Listen to that still small voice. Your subconscious is picking up all sorts of hints and messages from the person you love, and it is sending you important messages. Listen. Follow your heart, but take your brains with you.

  34. Hi,
    I started dating my girlfriend three months back and things were very sorted. We used to connect well, everything was perfect and I am so deeply in love with her and always felt that she is on the same page. But a couple of days back she told me that , there is something inside her which stops her from loving me that much as she can. She was involved in a serious relationship which ended in January this year, and she was shattered after that. Now I used to be this commitment phobic guy who always ended his relationships as soon as the other person came close, but somehow with her I fell in love naturally. M afraid if I get hurt I won’t be able to love again like this . What should I do ?

  35. Similar story here in the UK. So, a 29-year-old contacts me, 32, on a dating site. She’s a child psychologist with a great family, I’m a journalist from a single-parent upbringing. We exchange messages, swap numbers, start texting, dating and virtually living together very quickly before she goes to Asia on a three-week holiday. She hadn’t been in a relationship for seven years although has dated other people, which I thought was strange right from the start. A night before she goes we have a wonderful date and I tell her I’m falling for her. So she goes, texts me telling me she really misses me before ending it two weeks after she got back, saying her feelings for me had changed. She admitted to doubts while were apart, which is natural, but was still texting me daily saying ‘I really miss you’. I’ve tried the no contact period but she instigates constant contact, and I’ve tried to get things back on track without success. I don’t understand why she keeps contacting me; she admits she misses me, thinks about me a lot and cares about me a great deal. So what’s holding her back? She says she doesn’t love me and that she doesn’t want to change me, yet our feelings towards someone are an ever-changing force. It’s driving me insane. I love her and she cares for me – but doesn’t want to do anything about it. It’s been a constant contradiction ever since we split. I would imagine for a psychologist she would understand her own demons although it seems clear they’re holding her back.

  36. John, I would trust your gut instincts. You say you’re terrified of telling her you want to be in a relationship with her because she may shut down – or worse.

    Since you feel like this is not a good time to tell her you love her and want to proceed because she is scared of love….what is another option? What could you do instead, to perhaps show her your love without pushing too far or fast?

  37. I am in love with a woman I met a couple of months ago. Our “relationship” was very brief but very intense, first a lot of texting followed by one 18-hour date which confirmed the feelings I was having before we met face-to-face. The trouble was, she was moving to another city, and we could only ever be together for a short time.

    Another problem: she had just been in a five-year relationship and been engaged to a man who broke her heart. She also has depression and PTSD stemming from childhood trauma, and she has abandonment issues because of her father’s absence while she was growing up.

    After we “hooked up”, she immediately had a breakdown and cut things off with me. She said she was totally unprepared for that sort of relationship and she needed to work on herself. Not long after, she ended up in the hospital after a suicide attempt. (I believe this was related to her previous breakup and not to me, although her feelings of neediness and vulnerability with me might have triggered it.) Then she moved away and now we barely communicate.

    She knows I have feelings for her. But she doesn’t know that I really want to give it another shot. She is amazing and I want her in my life. But I am terrified of telling her that because it could make her pull away and shut down even more. I don’t know what what to do, I’m in love with someone who is scared to love me back. Just give her more time without saying anything? Or put my cards on the table and then leave the ball in her court?

  38. This article helped me a lot. I can relate a lot to some of the comments also. My girlfriend split from me two months ago needing space to work things out. She’s 35, I am 41, She said she hadn’t had these feelings since she was married (she walked out on that marriage three years ago, after being married for six years), she said it came to an end of the road and she had to go. I think that has a lot to do with this.

    Anyway over this past two months I have given her space, but we have met up twice to discuss stuff and I have sent her flowers once. Good or bad idea I don’t know. She seemed to like them. I got one message, but that was it.

    The hardest thing is when we have met up these two times in the past couple months she is still clearly in love with me the way she melts and the way we touch and kiss and look into each others eyes but she says she cant be with me but doesn’t know why. Says she has issues and doesn’t know if she will ever be clear about it.

    She went to see a therapist and they say it could be to do with her Dad cheating on her mum for years. It was the elephant in the room. It has really effected her. Or the Ex marriage thing.

    Anyway, I realise I have to let her go at some point. It has been an exhausting 2 months for me mentally. Both times we have met have been the same. Love, affection, her saying I don’t know what I am doing, I miss you etc, but then just goes off and shuts me out again. It really really hurts. It’s on my mind 24/7 and is effecting my life a lot. I am trying to get on with things but it’s hard when you’re in love.

    Our last contact was on the phone 10 days ago, we spoke for 2 hrs about everything, she said she doesn’t know if she ever be clear but she misses me. It such a head spin. I honestly don’t know what to do for the best. I love her but its holding my life back in a way, I am going out and doing everything I can to better myself, mediation, getting fit, I am looking good etc. but it all just seems sad without her in my life. It makes me miserable daily. I have been told to completely leave her now until she contacts me.

    Any other advice on here would be amazing? She wants to come for her bike which is at my flat, but I don’t know if that will just set me back further?

  39. Love can be so confusing, especially when someone is scared of the intimacy and commitment that it brings. It’s confusing and painful for both partners, and there aren’t any easy answers.

    You understand exactly what is happening – you said it yourself. Your boyfriend is used to being in control of his feelings, and the feeling of being in love scares him because he’s out of control. He may want his life to be organized and manageable, and his feelings for you aren’t uncontrollable and unpredictable.

    Let him go. Give him space and time – give him a chance to experience life without you. I don’t know if this will encourage him to reconnect with you, but it will give you a chance to move forward.

    Get healthy and strong, and keep focusing on the positive things in your life. Allow your boyfriend’s feelings and growth to unfold naturally…and don’t give up hope for a strong, healthy, committed relationship!

  40. Catherine Higgins

    I’m falling in love with a man I met a few monyhs ago. Initially we communicated via emails, then texts. We started going out on dates and after a few became inimate. If he isn’t with me he texts me all the time. He’s a doctor so he’s able to keep in touch with me during the day while we’re both working. He’s extremely intelligent and driven. His future plans included ibtaining more degrees (he has two post doctorates now), golf and teaching. In all of his plans I noticed he’s alone without a relationship. As he started to plan things for us in the future I didn’t hear about his previous plans anymore. Now he tells me that he hasn’t been sleeping, he can’t concentrate at work anymore and he’s feeling anxious about things that he needs to take care of in his life. He didn’t want to get into a relationship until he had his life together. I told him that may never happen and it shouldn’t hold him back. He says that I’m the reason all this is going on…..he thinks about me all the time and its distracting. I asked if that meant I had to be removed from his life and he said yes. I’m devastated. I didn’t argue the point and didn’t let him know how much it hurt me. We spent the rest of the day together and at the end of it I felt the distance. I know not to go after him but it hurts like hell. He’s so used to being in control of his life and probably his emotions that he doesn’t have a clue what to do. As he does every night we’re not together he sent me a text just now saying good night. Why? Usually we text for awhile but tjis was short and to the point. But why even do that if he needs to end it? I’m so confused and so hurt.

    1. Relationships are important

      Stop sleeping with men before commitment. He’s not a commitment phone. You don’t sleep with men before you are in a monogamous relationship. Otherwise you will just be his plaything who he may or may not (usually not) ever make official. This is how men work, feminists be damned.

  41. It was a year ago when I met a man online. We talked & laughed & really connected. He lives across the country & is 50. 8 yrs older than myself. We would find ourselves talking on the phone 5-8 hours at a time. He became a part of my life & me his, until I found out he was scared of love. He asked me to be his girlfriend after about a month & said he will give me a couple years to think about it. In hindsight I see that was a flag. I told him I don’t need that much time & after a week I told him yes. He was so happy & so was I. After 3 months we planned our first meeting. I purchased a ticket to fly out to see him & he said he got the hotel room. It was just going to be a weekend trip. A day before I was to see him, he called & told me his mother had a heart attack and needed a triple bypass. I wanted nothing more to be by his side to help him get thru it. That was my plan but he said he needed to cancel our weekend. My flight was non refundable but he said he would pay me for it. I was upset but had to be understanding at that time with everything he was going thru. Our texting slowed over the next couple days, then he wouldn’t pick up my calls. Next thing his phone was disconnected. I was devastated & scared, I thought the worst happened to his month. After about a month I found his sibling on Facebook & reach out to her. I told her who I was & I asked her how her mother was doing. She said she was fine & nothing was ever wrong with her. No hospital at all. I told her about her brother & what he did but she didn’t want to get involved.

    I eventually found his new tel# & called. He answered & when I said who it was, he tried to act like i had the wrong #. I confronted him & said I just wanted to know he lied. He eventually said sorry & that he was scared, he didn’t know if it was real or if I was real. He asked me to allow him to make it up to me. I know it was foolish but I gave him another chance. I felt that he had a good heart at the core. After that our connection was right back on track. We talked about everything. He was my confidant, my best friend & the man I loved. We talked all the time about our future together. He wanted me to relocate to be with him. As the months passed anytime we made plans for him to visit, we’d pick the date & then a few days before something would come up, he would then disappear for a couple weeks without a word. I was going crazy, it hurt so much, I couldn’t understand why he was doing this.

    And now, after another cancelled week together, I haven’t heard from him in a month. My heart is destroyed! I feel like my heart has been stabbed a million times a day. For the last month I’ve been texting him, telling him off, confessing my love (which we both have in the past) my emotions have just been running the gamut. I want to hate him, but I can’t. I want to forget him, but I can’t. I want to see him, but I can’t. I want to just talk to him & hear his voice, but I can’t. I totally miss my friend & it boggles my mind how he can just cut me out of his life as if it doesn’t bother matter one way or the other to him. I used to love keeping my texts so that I can read & re read them, to relive our experiences but I finally had to delete them to try to move on.

    I left a VM saying that I finally get & I can’t make him want or love me. I will not beg him anymore nor would I contact him again. This has been the hardest week but I know, I feel so low continuing to reach out to someone who just does not even value me enough to respond. Its a clear reflection on how little I valued myself to keep going thru that.

    Àmazingly, with all my issues & all the hurt I’ve been thru with family & relationships I am still open to love & trying. To me love is the most important thing. The reason we all exist. To love one another. I just want a healthy, peaceful, loving relationship with a man who won’t give into his fears.

    1. It hurts truly when you’re in love with someone who is scared of love…So sorry…you will find your true love soon…put it in prayers, my dear.

  42. I’m in love with a girl in a land I have never seen. We have been video chatting non-stop and over time we grew to have feelings for each other. She is terrified of what will happen to us if we get too close and does not wish to lose my friendship in any way. I plan to see her this summer but I’m afraid she might try to back out due to her fear. She’s terrified, has even had nightmares of me leaving. In her past she’s broken, left, abandoned… Yet she seems so strong and independant. She is self conscious about her body but goes online and expresses it to… I guess build up her confidence. Am I wrong for liking someone like this? Should I really find someone closer? She’s far different than any other girl I have ever met and to be honest, I could see myself having a very happy life with her… I realy do love her, and I dont wish to lose her either.

  43. I am 35 female and absolutely terrified beyond words of being in a relationship. I could go into a whole spiel about how and why, and he said and I said. But basically it comes down to the fact I have terrible self esteem, the first person I ever loved picked on my major issues, reinforcing my self belief that I am completely unloveable. I was beyond heartbroken (that was 14 years ago and still not over it). I get crushes, I am a terrible flirt, but I will end things one or two dates in because I don’t ever want to fall in love like that again. The way I feel about a relationship that ended 14 years ago is bad enough. I don’t think I could survive that again, and that’s basically the sum of it. I am ok on my own, I cope, I survive, I work and I live. It may not give me super high’s and low’s, but I will never be hurt like that again. To survive, I need to not let anybody hurt me. I try not to date anybody anymore because I know I am incapable of letting myself be loved. I love my friendships with guys, but they misinterpret my feelings of love and friendship as wanting a relationship or casual sex. I want neither from them, just friendship. So I try to stay in group situations now, and never allow myself to be alone with any guy. I also strike up friendships with gay women (I am not gay) as they don’t put the same pressure on you as men do. Pretty sure my parents think I am gay. Pretty sure a lot of people think I am gay. I am not, I just don’t want to get hurt in a hetero relationship.

    1. Oh gosh darling… Bless you… Life is so so so short.. I know & appreciate that you are hurt but being in love is such a beautiful thing.. I came out of an 11yr relationship last September and I decided not to let anyone in.. but this beautiful Portuguese man persued me for so long.. I gave in & I am so glad that I did.. I don’t know if we will end our lives together, though deep in my heart I wish we would.. but he is a wonderful man for me right now.. Sometimes people are sent to you for a lifetime or simply a brief moment.. Don’t miss out darling, because being loved, even briefly is just so wonderful xxxx

  44. Hello I’m dating my old lover and it is amazing. We met while she was going through a divorce and fell deeply in love. After a few years I realized I was the one who was in love when she told me that she could never fully love again. We stayed together for about 5 years. When I came to the conclusion that she did not want to leave her husband of ten years I backed away in attempt to let her live her life. After 5 years we are dating again and I could not be happier! However in our 5 year seperation she has been serverly hurt and has become so distant that she pushes me away when I show my affection that she used to melt over. She knows and cares that I’m a good man to her but she wants to focus on herself and kids. I deeply madly love and cherish her and her two children and will do anything she asks of me. I just can’t help to look at her with so much love in my eyes she is my everything and I have been waiting for her for 10 years

  45. Hi, I am a woman who’s been dating another woman for 8 months now. It’s a pretty difficult situation since she has a 3yr old daughter and still lives with her parents. I really love them both, and I get along wonderfully with the kid.

    I don’t know much about her past relationships since she’s always been very private about that, but she’s mentioned that someone hurt her when she was younger.

    I love her. I want to keep going. But there are times when she pushes me away with no reason, and when I ask she says that it’s her way of dealing with things and that she likes being alone. She completely shuts me out. Now, I try to respect this but it really hurts and when I’ve told her about how I feel she says that it’s her way of dealing with things and it’s the way she knows she won’t intentionally hurt me.

    And now it’s been four days since she broke up with me. We went away for the weekend with her daughter and we had a great time. But when we came back she started acting distant again. And then the break up happened. She told me that she felt terrified, that she loved me but didn’t want to take the relationship to the next level because she felt like I wouldn’t support her, that she had a kid to think of, and that she needed the help her parents provided. Then she said that she just knew that eventually she would stop loving me. But at the end offered to remain friends.

    I know she’s scared because she doesn’t want to loose the support and love of her family. But I’m really heartbroken that she won’t even give this a fight.

    I don’t know if I should keep trying or if I should just let her go.

  46. When someone is scared of love, the best thing you can do is give them space and time. If you rush things, you may scare them away. Worse, you may push them into a relationship before they’re ready! And starting a relationship before someone is ready can be disastrous.

    You have time. Don’t chase someone you love; instead, trust that you will be with them if it’s meant to be. Have faith that love will untangle all the fears and problems. Don’t get in the way!

    When you’re in love with someone who is scared of love, you need to take a deep breath and give them room to grow. They will grow towards you….but only when it’s right for them.

    1. And I guess the real dilemma is the not knowing how the other person really feels because they won’t or cannot say. You then have to decide how strong your feelings are for the other person and whether you can wait or need to move on for your own peace of mind. For me – we were going out for 4 weeks – she’d ‘pulled’ away from me for 2 of those – 4 weeks on, we’ve only spoken once and that ‘spark’ or ‘chemistry’ that I thought we had seems to be waning. If only she would or could give me a clear sign – then I know I’d wait

      1. I know exactly what you mean. I am in a same situation. With me and the guy I’m dating it’s been 4 months now since we first started dating. On one hand I think I am seeing the signs that tell me to wait. I see it in his actions. Like wanting a sweater I wore so he can smell me. He is really sweet and affectionate towards me. We laugh and talk a lot about so many things. He trusted me with stories from his past, etc.

        Yet at the same time he doesn’t initiate contact anymore after 2 months. When I do he tell me we haven’t talked for too long. He tells me in some sort of ways that he misses me. At the same time he tells me he doesn’t think about me at all. And that I am the one who isn’t ready for a relationship.

        Even though he tells me he could very much fall in love with me he also says things that hurts my feelings a little bit. Like pushing me away.

        I have the time and patience for him. If only he could let me know if that is what he wants from me. Or if he truly wants me to move on. I don’t want to decide that without being absolutley sure.

      2. The not-knowing is difficult. And it hurts to feel like you are invading his or hers personal space. I for one don´t want to be that guy, and I told her. Said I kinda feel like I´m trying to imprison a rare, beautiful bird, putting it in a locked cage.

        Basically I just want her to be happy, and if that should exclude me being intimate with her, or an imortant part of her life, that is ok. – That I can deal with. But right now, I feel like I´m 1:reading too much into what she says and do. 2: put too much belief in profound moments we have had. 3: question those moments, and the nature of our relationship (could I`ve been so wrong?).

        Two things you can do. First; respect your significant other, give them space, even though they are bailing out (it is not your choice to make). Second; respect your own feelings and take care of yourself, there is no shame in loving someone else. This is a wonderful thing, but maybe you will need to come up with a plan B for how to live out your days in this (after all) beautiful world.

        For my part, I know I won´t give her up. I left the shallow waters and are in it deep. But I will respect her boundaries, her privacy and her decisions, because that is what you do when you really love someone.

  47. I love somone and he loves me too which he didn’t admitted until last week. now he says that he doesn’t have any confusion on the fact that he loves me but he is confused about the fact of going in relationship. he is afraid because he thinks he is not stable ebough to be in a relationship, he thinks that he will heart me which he doesn’t want. he says that he doesn’t want to start a journey and then in the mid way leave me back as it will heart me. and he won’t he able to take that he is hurting me.
    I love him a lot and I want him with me. but at the same time whenever I see that he is too worried about this fact and this is making him sad I feel like doing anything that can make him feel better, even going far away.
    what should I do???
    How sould I treat him???

  48. In a 10 year failing marriage and at work there is this girl I was friends with for a year or so. We were awesome friends, talked well, laughed, walked each other to the cars, hung out , lots in common, ETC. Toward the time I was going for separation with my wife I realized I had some heavy feelings for the friend at work. I never felt anything like this before not even for my wife. At the same time the friend started keeping a little distance. We spoke and it turned out we had mutual heavy feelings, we had some nice moments over about two weeks, we held hands and lightly kissed a few times. I can make her blush on the drop of a hat. But even with that she kept pulling back outright told me she was afraid of getting into a relationship, she felt like she fell too hard to fast, and I am still technically married. She had some real bad relationships which has left her alone with kids. To be honest the first few weeks after we expressed our feelings I pushed her a bit while all the time her telling me she doesn’t know if she should get into a relationship. Though I just wanted to take it slow anyway, it didn’t matter. She kept telling me she just doesn’t know what to do she says she has been over thinking it and the pressure internally is killing her, she is afraid the more time we are together the more it will feed into her feelings. At that point I finally backed off, it was tough but I was being selfish, I knew that. I am in love with her and I am fairly certain she is in love with me but I don’t want to be any cause of any pressure. The fact is I am broken, this really sucks. And it doesn’t help that she sits nearby at work and I hear her voice all day. We are down to awkward hi, byes in the hallways followed up by locking stares, sometimes brief conversation. I backed off about 3 weeks ago but I failed a few times and sent her a txt saying I miss her. Sometimes I get a mutual positive reply sometimes I get static. I did get her flowers for her a couple weeks ago too, I still do not know why I did it. She responded well and was speechless. She did tell me shes still got them even though they are mostly dead. At this point I am going to keep up the backing off without any “failures” because I have no Idea what else to do. This has been the most crazy roller coaster few of months of my life. Sorry for the babble. Any advice would be great.

    1. To dunno anymore.. I think from what you say that you should be patient with her. It sounds like she wants you but is scared. Just take things slow. Women can be strange creatures bro. But they are stronger than us guys. Be patient my freind and hopefully things will work for you and her. I feel for you because Iv been threw it and I know exactly what you mean when you say your broken. Be strong bro. Be strong. To me.. I don’t want to give you false hope but from what youv wrote I think you should let her know your still interested but don’t go in to hard.. I think if your patient you could win this girl.. I know it sounds crazy and hard to understand.. But even though she’s the girl for you.. Just try talking to a couple of other girls as friends ect because when you feel like you are now only a female can make you feel a bit better and stronger.. Be patient bro.. And good luck..

        1. 100% Real(lyNlOVE)

          Sorry, but Richard is a loser, but i digress for the matter at hand. U both over thought & 1 of the 3 answer is on this page 1 Have faith that love will untangle all the fears and problems. Don’t get in the way!, two heads were not better then 1 in this case, but thats ok, humans arent perfect either(1 was posted by laurie feb 26th above).

          2. This one, should be 1, but 1 incredibly suits you both so well to, but u both overthought, its just this simple as long as u didnt omit from ur divorce & past & she didn’t either, one door opens, when one closes, so it almost as if ur relationship is a gift from god throwing two good ppl a bone.
          3. I am twisted up over a girl, y im on the site, but enuff with me, if u really care, u will fight for her and she will for u, not mike tyson’s punchout fight, but u catch my drift.

          Im about to discredit my wisdom as ive attemoted to impart it on u, but its the validator of 3, I would wait all my life for the woman im involved with, if thats what she deemed necessary, point being, if i had to makeover hell & turn it into a replica of heaven, it would get done in short order. To have someone care about you outside of family is a rare, unique and profound thing, you only live once & I dont think you waste, if you want to go thru life like i let her get away, then thats on u, i will tell u this, i am scared to let my woman go, never felt that b4 her & i wanted to marry most of them, so hopefully those words helped, thank u for sharing cuz it helped me

  49. I write this hoping for help and advice. I’ve recently started going out with someone who I knew 20 years ago. We’re both in our early 50’s each with a few failed relationships behind us. She’s been really hurt in the past which has badly affected her, I’ve been hurt as well. Although it’s only been a few weeks, we seemed to have a real connection and the ice was broken fairly quickly and the relationship seemed to ‘flow’. I’m not in love with her, I think she thinks I am, but I do like her quite a lot. She says she loves my company, but thinks I am too intense but won’t talk to me about it. I’ve told her I’m happy to go at whatever pace she is comfortable with. Over the past few weeks I’ve enjoyed the communication, the texting, the messaging and speaking on the phone – just as much as the dates. She sent me this article the other day and I’ve been advised to ‘back off’ and let her have her own space – which I’m trying to do – but I’m conscious that having no contact at all might not be the best thing. I’m already missing saying hello, sharing our day, finding out what we did etc, which we were both actively doing before. Any advice.

    1. Neil.. I think your right. You should still send the odd text ect. At least to let her know your still there for her ect. But just go slow and I know it’s hard to do but sometimes let her chase you. She’s properly scared of getting hurt or being loved. Just be patient my freind. Giving her space doesn’t mean you shouldn’t text her at all. Good luck Neil.

  50. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    It is so disappointing and frustrating when you’re in love with someone who is scared of love — especially when you know how happy you could be together! You have chemistry, you communicate well, you enjoy being together, and you feel like a relationship could be satisfying and fulfilling.

    The best thing is to give her time and space. If you pursue her, she’ll keep running away. You might text her a hello every month or so, but don’t chase her.

    If someone you love is telling you that she’s not ready for a relationship, then I think you need to respect her. She knows herself, she knows her past, and she knows what she can handle.

    Sincere love allows freedom, space, and room to breathe.

    1. Im in that situation now and have been for a few years. Im crazy out of my mind for this girl but shes scared to love me back. I cant do a damn thing about it. We would be so perfect for each other but she always runs away. Year after year. Im not even interested in other gals except her. Nobody comes close. I wish I could just remove her from my life but I just cant bring myself to do it!

  51. I was dating this girl for a month. We were old high school mates that reconnected. Honestly, it was an amazing month. Our connection was real and organic. But I noticed immediately, this girl was guarded heavily and expressing her feelings was very challenging. She opened up and told me about her failed marriage. Guy was a drug addict. Stole from her, almost died. Obviously was a very trying time that left her damaged. In addition, she stated she’s a runner. Runs from her problems. Things were going smooth and progressing towards a relationship, when she called to tell me how scared she was. Scared because she hadn’t felt feelings like this in so long and was scared to open up and get hurt. But that she really did like me. A lot. Was supposed to go see her the never week, but I could feel the slow fade happening and she was being a little distant. She ghosted me the next week. I sat in an annoying limbo for about 5 days until she finally texted me. Told me I did nothing wrong, but she realized she wasn’t ready for any sort of relationship. On top of that, she said something was missing and she wasn’t feeling the connection I was.

    I was pretty shocked. A week before she was singing my praises, telling me how great I was etc. Now she says she’s not feeling it. Pretty disappointing.

    Haven’t talked to her since. Any advice is appreciated.

    1. I will say contact her once a week, so she knows you like her. But do not tell her to much od how strong you feel for her. As a female who is afraid to be in love the emotions start to spin and a person gets confused and pressure and the only escape it to run away. It almost like being in the lake and feeling like you drowning.

  52. Without love, I feel like there is no real meaning to life, it keeps me going and gives me hope. I think it’s the key to happiness. In a way, I am a hopeless romantic. I am not very experienced in the world of dating but always wanted to be able love someone and have that love returned to me. I met someone a while ago and started what I felt like was my first real relationship. He told me how he was hurt in the past and that he was afraid of love. He even said he might not ever be able to love. The sad thing is that because he was so truthful to me, I fell in love with him. It made me see how great of a man he was, that he would never lie to me. This period of time where I felt in love, was the happiest and blissful experience, just like I imagined love to be. Stupidly, this happiness was only because I had no doubt in my mind that one day he would love me back. Months past and a couple arguments later, it hit me that I could be terribly wrong. That the truth he told might actually be true; that he could never love me. That we might not have a future together. I’ve talked with him about love again and at that time he didn’t love me. He said love takes time, you can’t make someone love and to just enjoy what we had now. I agree. Love happens naturally and when there’s pressure, it’s impossible. So I don’t talk about it at all. I’ve never even told him I love him, because of the fear that he doesn’t feel the same way and pushing him further away. I decided to wait but now, the wait is starting to take a toll on me. How horrible it is to feel like you can’t express your feelings to the person you love. Now all I can think about is how he doesn’t love me and it is keeping me from loving him 100%. It’s making me compare our love, that I feel like I care more about him than he does me. It’s torture. Maybe if i don’t really love him and is only in love with the idea of love. I just feel like if I knew he loved me, I could be free to love again. The tables are now turned and now I’m the one afraid be in love because it only seems like a dead end.

  53. So I’ve been talking to this girl for a while now. We have this connection and I know she feels it too deep down. We think the same, we are always together, she comes to me about her problems and everything. The relationship we have has everything anyone could want in a relationship except for one of the most important things for me, love. It pains me to not be able to tell her I love her for fear of scaring her off. She has been hurt by too many guys and has seen both her parents’ relationship with each other end poorly as well as her mothers second marriage fail after 15 years. Because of this, shes afraid to become attached. Its gotten to the point where I’ve began holding my feelings inside because i would rather hide my feelings than risk scaring her away. What should I do?

  54. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Sometimes the deeper the feelings, the faster and farther we run away. It sounds like she knows herself, that she pushes people away. She knows she’s scared of love…but she doesn’t know how to get over it.

    I feel for you. I hope she finds her way back to you.

    1. Thank you laurie. It’s now February. Tammy has been in touch and we chat on the odd occasion. She still has problems and if she decided she wanted to make a go of things I’d still be fully interested. But I don’t know if she will ever be ready for a relationship. I was so devastated when I wrote in December. Iv never felt like that and my barriers went up since. I’m stronger now. But I do try and keep in touch with her and love it when I get a reply. Like I say.. If she wanted to see me again I would love that but I’d be careful not to fall to deep because the pain was unreal. If anything does happen I will keep you informed bless. I think this site is really good. And really helps people. Xx

  55. I carnt believe I’m not on my own here.iv felt so lonely this last month. I’m not the type toread or write about love but I’m so confused and struggling. I met a girl who started to tex me out the blue from a freind on Facebook.. We text for about a week. She was very nervous about meeting me and when we did finally meet it was great. As soon as the first meeting was over I text her to say how much I liked her and wanted to see her again.. She was so happy because she said she thought I wouldn’t of wanted to see her again and her smile would be gone. So for the next week we seen each other and we was both texing consistently about how much we liked each other and connected. It was real good chemistry and she said to me she never felt feelings like she was feeling for me.. I’m 38 . She’s 32 . Then bang.. Literally she went so distant ect. Didn’t see her for 2weeks and hardly any kinda nice texts.. Just quick replying ect. She tells me she pushes people away and she believes she has post traumatic stress disorder. I’m so confused.. I can honestly say Iv never felt like this. I’m so devastated.. The pain is unreel. I thought I was only person in world right now who feels like this.. Selfishly I’m glad there’s you guys.. My names Richard. I love this girl. Her names Tammy. But it seems we could properly have a great real love but for her being scared or whatever it is. One minute she’s stepping close again. Then the next backing of like a flick of a switch. I feel like I’m in a cold place. Just wind and cold. Feel so alone and just want to hold her. Carnt believe I’m writing this but hey.

  56. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    What story are you telling yourself about your relationship? The words you’re using to describe your relationship – and yourself – have the power to build you up or tear you down.

    For example, if you say that you’re not strong enough to let go of him and move on, then you won’t feel strong enough to move forward in your life.

    But if you tell yourself a different story, you will feel and act differently. You will empower yourself to make smart, healthy choices in your life.

    How can you change your story so that you feel stronger and more courageous?

  57. I met this wonderful girl for the first time about 3 months ago. She was in my bio class at my college. Something about her struck me immediately. I can’t say I knew that I would love her right then and there but I can tell you that I wanted her to bemail mine. And so a couple weeks later I finally got her number and we started texting and gradually hanging out more and more. And man….did I fall hard. She was simply the most breathe taking girl I had ever known. Words don’t do her justice. On her bad days, she’s still worth the world to me. And shortly after we started liking each other, the infamous ex showed up very un happy. I don’t know all of the details but apparently that wound was still fresh for at least him and that was a toxic relationship for her. It mad me extremely angry the way he was talking to her. 1. That’s the girl I love and I would never in a million years curse her out and make her feel so horrible about herself. 2. If you say you love her, you don’t degrade her. It was just a whole big mess for about amother day. She eventually came to me saying how it was wrong of her to not try with me because of someone who makes me so unhappy. I was overjoyed that I was getting to love her again but at the same time very scared for her. Slowly I was finding out more and more that her heart had gone through and naturally I became more worried because of all of this new information that could cause me to lose her. Well about a month later, I asked her to be my girlfriend and she said yes. Life is good at this point. I have a blessed life, good friends, and now I have a girl this is way out of my league in every aspect. Then comes the rough part of the story. About a week and two days into the relationship, I get that text. The one that makes your stomach drop, your heart pound, and everything go silent. Im still trying to understand all of this as well. It’s been about 2 weeks since that happened. She cares about me, a mutual friend tells me and every now and then I can see it but she’s very good at hiding her emotions. Part of me wants to let her be with that glimmer of a hope that she’ll realize that she wants me back, and then there’s the realistic part of me that knows that she’ll have enough restraint to not tell me even if she does miss me and that’s what hurts the most. The girl of my dreams won’t let me love her. And I could be totally honest right now and tell you that if I somebody asked me if I know who I’m gonna marry already, it would absolutely be that girl. She’s my heart. She’s my happiness. (Of course I will live without her assuming things don’t workout but I’m praying for her) This girl has me wrapped around her finger and I love it. I wish my heart had the right words to say but words don’t do it justice. I’m at the point now where I know I could marry her one day. She pretty much has told me that me and her just aren’t right. She doesn’t feel right about us. Maybe it’s just the feelings still in me talking but I have no desire to let her go. I don’t know whether I should continue to love her or do what the article says and give her space. Of ours giving her space is my greatest fear right now. Scares the heck out of me. Something has to give.

    1. I just felt as if I am reading about my own story. Sadly, even I haven’t figured out a solution for when you’re in love with someone who is scared of love.

  58. I’m 17 and just experienced my first heartbreak. This guy that I’ve known my entire life moved back to my hometown this past summer. We reconnected and started hanging out a lot. As the days went on we started getting closer and closer to eachother. After a few months we had started to talk about the way we felt for eachother and I just could never really explain it to him. I finally found the word for it,love. Honestly this feeling I had for him was shocking because I’d never loved someone before and he had gone through enough bad relationships to think that I was using it to get something from him and ultimately he was scared and ran away from the feelings he told me he had. So we stopped talking and hanging out for a month or two. During that time he got a girlfriend. This relationship that I was completely shocked about lasted a few short weeks. When I find out about it ending I decided I needed to talk to him and tell him what was up. I reexplained my feelings with so much passion that I didn’t even know I had. He again told me he was afraid of everything that I had just said to him. I cannot give up on him just yet. I just don’t know what to to say to him anymore to make him realize that I’m not like those other girls. I have no intentions of hurting him or using him. All I want is for a chance that he never gave me.

  59. So basically my current situation is killing me. I met this amazing, sweet guy 3 years ago and I have never been so attracted to someone from a first meeting in my life. We both connected instantly. His friend had then told me a few days later that he had recently broken up with his girlfriend of 4 years as she had been unfaithful. When I was told this I knew I wouldnt want to get involved with someone out of such a long relationship. But as the weeks went on he started to persue me and chase me.I couldnt resist him. Eventually we both fell hard for eachother. He made me so happy . But then after awhile, things changed .. he didnt text me as much and never asked me to meet him. Eventually I got sick of being treated this way so I kissed someone else. He then found out and wrote me off completely, even though he wasnt making any effort with me. He completely shut down.I explained to him that I loved him but as the weeks went on I felt like I didnt matter to him. this happened 2years ago. Ever since we still talk and meet up sometimes but he doesnt treat me the same. He says he still loves me but hes not ready to get into anything . I told him I understood but asked why he still trys to talk to me and why he still tells me he loves me. His reply was that he wants me but he isnt ready. Im completely heartbroken. I dont know what to do as I love him and only him but he cant see it. I would love some advice on what I should do .. thank you.

  60. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Louise,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience. It takes alot of courage to talk about being scared to love! You have a lot of insight and self-awareness, and I hope you’re able to come to a place of healthy and growth in your relationships.

    I wrote this article with you in mind:

    While I don’t give advice, I’m happy to share my thoughts about certain relationship struggles. I, too, was very scared of love…but I didn’t want to be alone. Counseling helped alot.

    I hope this article helps, and wish you all the best.


  61. This article makes a lot of sense to me. Every relationship I’ve ever had I’ve ended, mostly after a few months. As soon as my partner tells me he loves me and wants to spend more time with me I run away. I was married for 8 years and thought I had broken the chain but all I did was push him away to. We ended because I needed space and my feelings for him had changed. But that happens with all of my relationships.
    I’ve met my recent ex 7 months ago, we split up a few weeks ago, because I told him I needed space. He’s the first person I’ve actually been with that I think I am in love with. But I concentrate on his faults and strategy arguments when I don’t need to just to push him away, so I can have my space. I don’t want to see someone everyday, but he says he wants to because he’s in love with me.
    I can’t break this circle I’ve created, because I don’t understand why I’m doing it. I do love him and think about him constantly, but whenever we get back on track and the intensity of the relationship comes back, I break things off again. How do I stop? 🙁

  62. How do you convince someone to stop running scared from you? I meet someone I instantly connected deeply with. It was mutual even though that scared her. She had a bad history in relationships especially one several months prior and was scared to date and let people close. We agreed to be friends 1st and spent a lot of time texting, talking and hung several times. Really enjoyed each other’s company. I did not push being more than friends as I knew she was scared. After a few weeks, she asked me out on a date. It went great and she wanted to see me again. A few days later she suddenly went distant and then MIA. I can only assume her emotions scared her and anxieties came into play. Contacted her a few times no response. Now giving her space. Been a couple weeks since she went MIA. I really like this person and I am completely willing to be patient, just unsure how to proceed. Advice is appreciated.

  63. i know its been a long time since this was written, but i would like some feedback from someone who has experience with this.

    so my Ex just broke up with me this past sunday for the second time. She says it is because of a few reasons, mainly that she keeps having this dream of being with another guy which she interprets as a sign from god that we are not going to be together. another thing is that she feels like she doesn’t love me as much as i love her. she is dealing with a a lot of things right now since her grandfather passed away about a month ago. she was hurt in a past relationship where a guy she was totally in love with left her for another girl. since then she has tried and tried again to date guys but most of the time she leaves them for one reason or another. mainly i think because she doesn’t want to fully open up to getting hurt again. she thinks she is unworthy of being loved by someone and so they will want to leave her, and every guys she has broken up with wrights the relationship off so her subconscious probably takes this as a conformation that she was right. back about a month and a half ago(around the same time she started having these dreams) she asked me if i would move in with her for the summer since once school ended we would be an hour and a half apart otherwise. i was unsure because i had promised my parents i would help work this summer. she was not very happy with this and we had a long fight that we eventually came to begrudging terms on. i think what happened is that at this point i failed her subconscious test. she had broken up with me before and we got back together, but i still wasn’t willing to commit to her fully. so in the back of her mind i think this was a huge stop sign. even though she consciously loved me, i think her subconscious produced these dreams as a way of saying “stop!! what are you doing?!?! he is just going to leave you!!! you have to find someone else!!!” and as our relationship progressed, and she started loving me more, the dreams became clearer and more fervent. she didn’t tell me about the dreams at all till we broke up. at this point, she has convinced herself that she never loved me in the way she thought she did, which i know to be crap, and that she needs to move on to what “god has in store”. basically i haven’t told her what i have concluded, and she doesn’t realize it herself. she needs help, and i want our relationship to work. i am going to tell her the truth and offer to help pay if she wants to go to counseling since her family doesn’t have much money. is this a good idea?

  64. I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 2 1/2 years. He recently told me he doesn’t no if he loves me. I know he does. He had a hard relationship where he was cheated on. He is so afraid of being hurt again. We are currently on a break and he is trying to find himself. I don’t know how long I should wait will he come around. He is seeing a Counciler. We were very happy up to the day he said we need to take a break. He even told me he is very close to telling me he loves me, but needed to do this.

    1. Dear Keri,
      if you loved you why would he leave. Love is a want to be with and around someone. Take care of yourself Keri. Give him all the space he wants in the world but don’t give him the option to come back whenever he wants. Tell him you love him very much but you’re not going to wait for him. Show him you have standards and you’re not going to take this kind of behaviour from him.
      Girl honestly, go out and get your nail and hair done. Revamp your wardrobe and attract someone who is not unsure of whether he wants to be around you.
      My life experience is that people take things, amazing things, for granted.. until it starts slipping away.

    2. Ok, I’m not sure how I found this website but here goes, I’m in a similar situation (I think), I’ve known this girl for a while and we really really connect. Technically, we were never bf/gf and when we went out the first time, she shortly after said she needed to be friends and really appreciated my friendship. I thought she blew me off, but she meant what she said and we continued to be friends but I’m telling you, this isn’t exactly the friendzone. It was one of the best dates I ever had and I wondered what happened. I was prepared that one day she’ll turn up with another guy, but after 1 year, that hasn’t happened. Our friendship is real close to the point people think we’re going out (there was this implicit exclusivity) but the sexual tension is still there but recently I asked her again about moving forward into a relationship and she said she couldn’t, she said she considered it but couldn’t and still saw me as a friend. I couldn’t figure it out – I knew exactly the risks of being friends but I also knew the connection was real or else I’m the biggest douche in the world. This was something else. The she blurted out from out of the blue “all the relationships I’ve been in failed because of me, I have issues”.
      After much consultation with others the moral of the story is, people who are scared of love are real. Their opening up and attraction to you is also real but their fear is real too. This article is spot on – only they have the power to overcome their own fear. The best way to deal with this is to give them space and in a general sense, move on – you have to face the facts since love just can’t be forced. It is most definitely possible to move forward, I have seen it happen with ample counselling but know it’s an indefinite waiting game. Know that your bf is being honest with you and his “real” intention is not trying to screw you over. People need to be whole when they enter into relationships.

      1. Hi Tim,

        Just had wiped my tears away. I am in the same situation.,I hope i have the guts to tell my whole story.. I thought this is my most awaited “Mr. Forever” after my so many failed relationship..

        I just ask him yesterday, “what are we, we have been sleeping together. We are romantically and intimately doing things as couples do.. We go overseas, i cooked for him, he embraces me.. kisses me.. i can feel that he loves me, but when yesterday..the most terrifying question came out of my mouth ..i asked.. what are we.. he simply told me he don’t want to talk about relationships. (He knew one day i will ask…) He told me “we are good friends,and i am happy” and he asked me aint you happy everyday, i answered yes.. I told him i love him and it is really killing me.. I never heard any response.. After a long hours of silence..

        I told him.. I cannot take, see or message him anymore coz it makes me fall in love more and it is breaking me into pieces…

        I know he needs to figures out his past issues of being afraid to fall in love again and get hurt. I let him go.. A bird will always return into its own nest, it might not be me..I am just taking risk and chances..

        Now, I am really in pain.. I don’t want to wait in vain and it is really killing me.. I just have this faith, if it is meant.. it is meant to be.. I am screwed now, but i know i can recover.. And Tim, you are right “People need to be whole when they enter into relationships”

        I’ve been into many relationships.. I loved, get hurt.. I hope one day.. I can feel to be loved again.. It is the greatest feeling..

        Now Crying..

  65. Hello..
    I’m going to start off with my age right off the bat, I am 15 years old. I noticed that in this article a lot of marriage-based things were mentioned. As I’m sure you know I am not married, or looking to marry any time soon. My problem is that I have known a guy for about a year and a half now, he started at my school as a new student when I was a freshman and at first we weren’t close at all, but now we are very very close. There is a lot of detail to this story that I’m going to have to leave out for the sake of both of our time. To keep it short, he hasn’t dated in about 3-4 years because his last relationship hurt him terribly… I guess what you might call us is friends with benefits? I recently told him that I love him… and he tells me not to. And he tells me “just don’t think about it”. I told him that I can’t not think about something that I feel all of the time… He also told me that he wished that he could feel like that and that he doesn’t feel any emotions except happiness and apathy. I know that you’re thinking, “She’s only 15, she’s probably not in love. It’ll pass”, I thought the same thing.. but he makes me feel like no other person can make me feel. And back to the “there is more detail” that I won’t share thing, the more details explain a lot… I just really need to know what I can do to help him and explain to him that I do in fact love him and that it’s okay to feel the same way. I don’t necessarily want to help him for me, I want to help him for him. I have considered that he doesn’t love me at all, he just lusts me, and in the end I’m ok with that. I just want him to be happy, and to be able to love one day.

  66. You mention that your husband calls you on it when you push him away and withdraw….how does he do this? What does he say to you?

  67. I was walking with a friend today, and she said her new boyfriend is scared to let himself fall in love with her. She decided to end their relationship because she wants more from him than he can give her.

    It’s a personal choice – there is no “right or wrong” way to cope when someone you love is scared to love you back.

  68. Hi Kim,

    It sounds like he knows what he wants — which is not to fall in love again, because he’s been hurt in the past! Letting him go is your best option. I wonder if he’s open to getting counseling, to help him deal with his past relationship breakups? That would be ideal for him.

  69. Hello- well I met this guy and we both instantly had a connection. He’s had a hard past and he got married at 20… He’s now 32 and I’m 25. He told me he told himself he will never allow himself to fall for a woman again. He has told me he likes me so much but he will become distant and I won’t hear from him. He will say things like he’s trying to reach out with his feelings of how he likes me then once I start overwhelming him with my feelings he distances himself more. So I decided to let him be and let him miss me. So time will only tell. I love this man so much and iv been researching a lot on his issues just to try to understand him more.
    Thank u

  70. Hi Bryan,

    How would it change your relationship if you told your girlfriend that you love her? I understand that that’s what you’re asking ME, but I’m asking you to think about it slightly differently.

    What difference does it make if she knows you love her?

    In other words, what’s wrong with being in a relationship with her and not telling her you love her? Why do the words need to be said?

  71. So I have recently come to the realization that I’m in love with somebody. She is a very guarded person and has explicitly told me that the fastest way for someone to push her away is for them to tell her that they love her. Because of this, I am holding off on telling her for the time being. She has told me that she was raped in the past by her boyfriend at the time and that he treated her very badly. It is also of note that she once told me that she believes I was “sent to [her] by God to restore [her] faith in men,” which is at least a good sign I would assume. She has been very busy lately (or at least that’s what she says) so we haven’t gotten to see each other very much. I’m worried that she might already be pushing away (although she has had seemingly valid excuses for not being able to see me). I’m also worried that she will push away for good if I express my feelings for her. I’ve never had any experience with this sort of issue and I am completely lost as to how to approach this situation. Any advice as to how to proceed would be very greatly appreciated.



  72. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Steve. I hope you and she have found a way to be together, and that she’s no longer so scared to love you back!

  73. Thanks Laurie for your kind words, having read the article it certainly gives food for thought, particularly the chase part. I did copy and paste your previous article on itimacy to her with the suggestion we work together with what we had but never got a response. As it has been a month since the split I’m accepting now theres nothing further I can do…Thank you for at least giving me an understanding if nothing else.