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February 19, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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Question:

I am a 39-year-old male. I have been married and divorced twice. I blame lack of communicating for my marriage failures, along with a sexless marriage.

I am in my third serious relationship and hopefully the last. My girlfriend and I have a great sex life. I have opened up to her and told her everything about me from likes/dislikes, worries, and past relationships to things that have been very secret that no one else knows about me. The thing that bums me out is when I ask her to be fully honest and open to communication, she does not want to open up. She has been in several relationships that have failed due to physical and mental abuse. I have asked for her hand in marriage and she has agreed.

I would like for her to open up and tell me what she has bottled up inside before getting into a marriage and later finding out about a secret past life that I would later regret. My question would be, how can I tell her she needs to open up to me before I make a third mistake?

Loverboy, 39-year-old man

Answer:

My dear friend,

This lady must love you, for she has agreed to marry you. If she has suffered cruelty and abuse in the past, it must be very difficult for her to trust again. When she met you, all the way through the courtship and the building relationship, she must have worried: "Once he is sure of me, is he going to become abusive too?"

She has been hurt, and must be a brave person to keep trying instead of withdrawing from potential future hurt. All too many of my clients are single women like that, who no longer dare to allow a man to become emotionally close to them.

If you rescued an abused animal, say a horse, you know you'd have to be kind, gentle, and patient to win its trust, and to lead it to a position of feeling good with life again. Same with a child. If you took an abused, cruelly treated little boy into your life, you would not expect him to act like kids who have had a normal background. The same is true for adults.

This lady is not sharing with you in the way you are sharing with her, because she is still afraid of being hurt. At least, that's my guess. You can show her this message from me, and ask her. When she is ready, if she ever wants to, she will share with you. But why look at the empty part of the half-full glass? Accept and enjoy what she is offering you. Cherish and love her, and make sure you never act in an abusive way, whatever happens. Concern yourself with what you can give to her, rather than what she can give to you, and you will have a long and satisfying relationship.

Good luck,

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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