I’ve had several clients over the years who are beautiful, smart, and successful. Most come to see me because everything is working except for one thing: They long to get married and have a family of their own. Usually, they visit my office right after they’ve met someone wonderful and they’re afraid it won’t work out…again.
Mark was tall, confident, and smitten with Susan after 5 dates. He texted her daily asking, “When can I see you again.” After the 4th date, he began speaking of their future and even hinted about marriage. On their 5th date, he introduced her to his friends and everyone said they seemed to be perfect for one another.
Then it happened. She was sitting at her desk, checking her email when she casually read his text, “I’m sorry but I need to take a break from our relationship. Something doesn’t feel right and I’m not sure why.”
Susan is devastated. She can’t understand why he’d pull away so quickly, but she hopes that by being patient and kind about his fears, he’ll feel safe to come back. She finds all kinds of ways to justify why he feels scared; he’s been hurt before, they got serious too soon, he doesn’t know how to handle having such strong feelings for someone, he doesn’t feel worthy of love.
She’s refusing to move on and date other men even though she hasn’t heard from him in weeks. She’s determined to prove to him that she can be his soft place to land in a cruel world.
What Does It Mean When a Man is Scared of a Woman?
Sometimes, when a man says he’s scared, he means he wants out of the relationship in a way that will a) Give him room to come back if he changes his mind and b) gets him sympathy. After all, who could be so hard-hearted as to be angry with a man whose biggest problem is that he just loves you too much for his own peace of mind? This way, he gets to end the relationship AND gets you to feel sorry for him.
Ask around for yourself. Find men who are devoted boyfriends and husbands and ask them if they ever felt afraid, and did it make them want to leave. They’ll tell you that if they did feel scared, the idea of losing the woman they loved was far scarier. You don’t have to look much further than the recent story of George Clooney who after years of claiming he’d never marry again because he “wasn’t good at it”, recently told his fiancée, who he proposed to after only 7 months of dating, that he couldn’t wait to be her husband.
Understanding the Third Stage of His Bonding
Often women believe that when this happens it reveals a man’s character. That if pulls away now, he’ll leave the relationship when things get tough. Sometimes that’s true but often this happens simply because a man is going through Stage 3 of his Bonding Stages. What’s this stage?
During Stage 3, everything seems to be going well, but a man begins to experience feelings of doubt. As these doubts begin to build he instinctively begins to fear his feelings for her are fading. Then he remembers past relationships that caused him pain and how he had similar doubts.
As his doubts continue to rise, he tries reassuring himself that nothing is wrong. With each attempt at self-soothing, the jarring question hits back like a hammer to his heart, “Then why am I doubting?”
Most women react to this by asking him to explain his fears and wanting him to reassure them. Which is a normal request. But it only makes his fears worse.
When a man begins expressing doubts, he needs to see how the woman he loves responds to his doubts. During this stage he begins to have doubts not because he doesn’t love her — but because he DOES. His fears are actually trying to protect him. How, you ask?
Because the only woman that can hurt him is the woman who gets close. Unconsciously he knows this and what’s often happened is he can feel himself letting her get close. So his doubts begin trying to push her away, which is exactly what happened to Susan.
Is There Any Hope? What Can I Do?
While I often tell women to avoid men that won’t commit, here’s the other side. There are 5 stages men go through before they fall deeply in love. What I’ve just described is Stage 3 and it’s a crucial time in a relationship. Most women don’t realize that this Stage presents a golden opportunity to develop a deeper connection with a man – not in spite of his fears – but by using his fears to create intimacy.