Dear Coach:

I have been seeing my guy for about 5 months. While we have spoken about how I’m ready for commitment, he waffles on the issue. Things were great between the two of us up until the moment I told him that I loved him. We were talking about feelings during one of our talks, so I saw no harm in telling him just how I felt. Ever since then, he’s backed away. What can I do, if anything, to help bring us back closer together again like we were? I do love him and I’m having a hard time keeping my feelings locked up.

In Love

Dear In Love:

I’m sorry to hear that things have hit a snag for you; I can tell how disappointed you feel and I support you through this. It sounds like your guy really means a lot to you, has brought a lot to your life, and you’re invested in things working out. First and foremost, I hope you’re not kicking yourself for having shared your true feelings for him. I applaud you for being authentic and honest about your feelings and there’s nothing wrong with being open about that. So please don’t fall into the “regret trap” because you’re just being who you are—an expressive, caring, and giving man. A real catch!

The problem appears to be in the differing thresholds you and your boyfriend have for intimacy and emotional expressiveness. It does appear by your letter that your guy does have some possible intimacy issues. I wish I had better news for you with your question. Unfortunately, when our partner is the one who has intimacy issues, there’s not a whole lot you can do since we can’t control or change another person. It’s that person’s responsibility to confront these issues that hold him back. Any efforts on your part to “help him along” could be construed by him as your trying to pressure or control him, and he’ll react with more resistance and distancing, and possibly even breaking things off, so be careful. It might be helpful for you to read my articles “Intimacy Freak-Out & Gay Men; Parts 1 & 2” [Part 1] [Part 2] for additional information on intimacy fears that tend to be common in gay men.

My best advice to you at this point is to keep “going with the flow”. Your giving him space is a good move and may allow him the time to process and “catch up” to where you are, but there’s no guarantee. You might want to reflect on yourself to assess if you have any intimacy issues or traits that might be triggering his discomfort. If he has ever said he’s felt suffocated or that he thinks you’re too clingy or needy, these might indicate self-esteem issues on your part that you might want to address. Otherwise, he could just be projecting his insecurities onto you and needs to resolve these himself.

In short, honor where he’s at right now and support him in his current place. Pushing too hard might sabotage a good thing if deep down all he needs is time to pace the relationship. Become the best man you can be by focusing on your own personal growth and becoming more “dateable” than you already are. Ultimately, you will have to decide how long you’re willing to invest in this man if things don’t change over a time period that you’re comfortable with. When you begin to feel that you’re making too many sacrifices, you may have to question if you can be with someone who’s emotionally unavailable to you. Only you can decide how long you’re willing to wait. Live by your vision and personal requirements and try to find other outlets to define yourself to take some of the emphasis and frustration off of your guy while he figures things out. My fingers are crossed for you, my friend! Relax, be yourself, and be happy!

–The Gay Love Coach

The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed.None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
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