Jewish Journal


February 23, 2010

Apres Paula Abdul



That's just love's facade waving from a distance.

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Dear Yenta,

Twice I seem to have started to fall in love with girls who claim only once I’ve plunged my heart overboard for them: “it is not the right time for me.” – Their excuses being along the lines of having just arrived in a new city and feeling a need to commit solely to one’s work, one’s craft, or one moving on to another country, another school, or whatever and therefore not wanting to commit to a relationship. Are these excuses, or am I just busted? Am I falling in love with them just because they become unattainable? How do I both simultaneously tell a girl how wonderful she is, how beautiful, how amazing while at the same time keeping my distance so she can breathe and not feel as if I am suffocating her growth as a woman? How should I best keep calm – best maintain proper communication when a request for less communication has been flagged?

Thanks Yenta, and Happy Chanukah.

-Two Steps Forward and Two Steps Back


I adhere to the strict belief that when we choose our partners we choose them with full-subconscious knowing. By this I mean that you knew, when you chose these women, that they would eventually leave. My grandfather used to say that there is a lesson to be found in everything. When it comes to matters of the heart, we are always being clued in to our own emotional maladies. The good news is, when we pay attention to these issues, we are given the opportunity to heal them.

This is not a simple question. For one, I think you need to ask yourself what “fall in love” really means. Have you known real “love?” Is this “love”or the projection of it? Psychologist Robert Firestone talks about something called “The Fantasy Bond.” He writes:

”Most people have fears of intimacy and are self-protective and at the same time are terrified of being alone. Their solution to their emotional dilemma is to form a fantasy bond. This illusion of connection and closeness allows them to maintain an imagination of love and loving while preserving emotional distance. Destructive fantasy bonds, which exist in a large majority of relationships, greatly reduce the possibility of couples achieving intimacy.”

This leads me to my presumption that you might have issues with intimacy. Why do you feel that having a girlfriend implies needing to adorn her with words like “wonderful, beautiful, amazing?” As nice as it is to express these sentiments, they are not an inherent part of being in a loving relationship. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you are always putting your woman on a pedestal it not only dehumanizes her, but it also implies your own self-loathing. It is a faux version of real love, one that is veiled in emotional lies and ultimately serves to push her away.

There is a fine line between compliments and obsessive expressing. Also, don’t underestimate the power of non-verbal communication, even a quick loving glance often communicates admiration and appreciation. You do not sound like you are communicating, but distancing with all of these compliments. Do the compliments have anything to do with what you are actually feeling, beyond sparkle eyes for your lady? Do you enter relationships so you can give love, or share love?

It is best to come into a relationship whole and to seek to enjoy the wholeness of another. As cheesy and impossible as this sounds, it means that the work you have cut out for you is YOU. You need to explore your own issues with intimacy, discover why it is that you have been actively cutting love’s aorta for yourself, not the other way around. A common cause of intimacy troubles are related to childhood abuse. Check out: Emotional Unavailability : Recognizing It, Understanding It, and Avoiding Its Trap by Bryn Collins

Also, remember that a woman’s growth has nothing to do with you. She will thrive or destruct based on her own choices. You can support her growth, or witness and appreciate it, or, in attempting to lasso this lady with such tight reigns, you also might find that you are a hindrance and therefore a disposable entity on her path to becoming. Your version of “communication” is more like smacking her with positivity in an effort to control her and keep her by your side. Perhaps she is exiting in hopes of less bullshit. In the end, instead of tethering yourself to a woman, it is high time you get the reigns on yourself.

For more help read: Fear of Intimacy by Robert W. Firestone and Joyce Catlett.

To pose a question anonymously, click here and send your e-mail to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.

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