I have been dating a wonderful man for 6 months now. Before now, the last time that he was in a relationship was 5 years ago so when we first started he wasn't very good at staying in touch with me.

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Jaime on Feb 14, 2016 • 3 answers
Sometimes he would not text me after work and they would upset me. However, little by little he started keeping in touch with me constantly during the day. The other night he texted me in the morning and I did not hear from him the rest of the day. At night I mentioned it to him and he got upset. He has been distant ever since, he will respond to my texts but hasn't initiated them all this week.

Answers

Dear Jaime
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It seems that the two of you have different ways of communicating and different needs around staying in connection with each other. I wonder whether it might be helpful if you had an honest conversation with your partner about what's going on, how you feel when it happens and what your longing/need (caution: having needs and longings doesn't mean being needy) is in the relationship to feel safe and connected. It may be an important opportunity for both of you to get to know each other better. So a powerful way of coming into deeper communication with each other is to firstly describe the situation as it is, ie neutrally, as non-judgementally as you can. Then state how you feel about it, and then state your need/longing. So you could say for example: When I don't hear from you during the day, I feel upset, confused and unsafe because I have a need for connection, communication, consideration, trust, safety.... When you communicate in this way, ie you owning your feelings and beautiful need - it's more likely that your partner can really hear and see you and then understand you. And when we can really understand someone, are we willing to and can change. It is important that you then also ask your partner what's going on for them when they are not in touch with you so that you can also understand them and perhaps feel more okay when they are not in touch with you or less in touch with you than you'd like. This way you can perhaps find middle way of how you communication and connection that works for both of you. With well-wishing - Karen

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Karen Liebenguth on Feb 14, 2016

Hey Jaime, thank you so much for getting in touch and congratulations on meeting a wonderful man. It sounds like you are concerned with his level of contact and that your conversation with him the other night might have something to do with that? What answer are you looking for that will help you feel confident in this relationship?

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Lydia Kimmerling on Feb 14, 2016

Hi Jamie
Of course we automatically jump to conclusions about the quality of feelings the person has for us when they change a regular patter of behavior. However this is common when people start to feel comfortable with each other. Have you asked what's going on at work or in other areas of life? Maybe his mind needs to be focused on work. The one thing I will say is that it's important that we learn when it's our own insecurity and to find tools to release anxiety. When we try and make someone change to meet our needs it can build resentment.

It's good to say 'when I don't hear from you I feel like...' Rather than 'Why didn't you call me...' bringing it back to you being the cause of your feelings and not them means we are not blaming them or adding extra stress to what might have already been, simply a stressful week. Hope that helps
Becky x

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Becky Walsh on Feb 14, 2016