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[QUOTE=SophiaM]Stacy, don't feel bad, your advice was very valuable, as always. I just wanted to make it clear that I definitely do not act overly "needy" or "clingy." I think I am pretty reasonable in what my expectations for a relationship are and I am not the super jealous type either. I'm pretty easy going, actually. Even though it's not in my nature to be patient, I've surprised myself on more than one occasion with my own patience :D For example, in my last relationship I waited nearly a year, without complaining, for my ex to introduce me to his son and to spend weekends with them, which never happened. Of course, I shouldn't have been THAT patient and that understanding.

Anyway, back to the subject of emotional unavailability and unexpressiveness, welll, apparently there are MANY men who are this way. I just learned from my friend who considers herself to be happilly married for a few years that her husband actually told her "I love you" for the first time AFTER they were married!!! Can you believe? Apparently, it was that hard for him to say it. While this might be a rather extreme example, it shows that a lot of guys are not encouraged to express their feelings and might have problems with it even if they do genuinely love you. In case of Justin, I think it's still relatively soon and it's perfectly normal he's not saying these words yet, but if he's also not big on compliments and verbal affection in general, then I think that's just how he was brought up, because from everything you've said so far, I definitely think he likes you very, very much. I would give him more time to open up to you. NG is the same exact way, but I think by now I am used to guys who are somewhat emotionally closed off. But maybe it's not necessarily emotionally; just verbally? My ex fiance was extremely verbally affectionate, as I mentioned before, and yet I don't think he loved me the way I truly deserved to be loved. He just used a lot of lofty words OFTEN, but in the end it was all meaningless. If I knew that the guy sincerely cares for me but wants to wait to express his feelings, then I would be fine with that. After all, we want them to MEAN it, right? The fine line is in the underlying reason why they're not expressing their emotions: Is it because thye don't throw big words around easily, but can't wait to tell us when they feel comfortable, or is it because they don't actually have these feelings towards us? Only time can tell and other, non-verbal behavior that can often indicate the man's real feelings better than what he says. Rememeber, talk is cheap. but if he wants to take care of you and is understanding when you're having your horrible chronic pain episode and can't even get out of bed, THAT's when you know that he truly cares. I hope that helped a little :)[/QUOTE]

Hi GE and Sophia :wave:,

It's great to see such quick and always insightful responses from you guys, and I think your advice is right on as usual. GE, your comments struck me as really true, and I think I've been focusing too much on what's missing rather than appreciating all the great things about Justin and how he treats me. It's funny because usually I am SO not one of those woman who needs constant reassurance and compliments, etc.--I even hate it when a guy asks me to talk about MY feelings! Sometimes it's just hard not to look for problems though, even when there really aren't any to be found, because I can't help but get nervous sometimes that everything is just too good to be true and want to prepare myself/shield myself against being too vulnerable to being hurt. But that's not going to get me anywhere, and now that I've read your post, GE, I just wish I had seen it earlier today, before I acted like a spoiled brat on the phone and over email with Justin...:confused:. I think I'll cut and post what I wrote, but please be kind...I already know it was probably completely the wrong thing to do and say.

The one good thing is that I've always felt strongly that Justin cares for me exactly as I am, without picking and choosing what parts he likes and ignoring or neglecting the rest of me. He's made this clear time and time again, and so I don't think he'll make a big deal out of me being a little neurotic and over-reacting today. At least I hope not...he's been very understanding so far as long as I take the time to explain where I'm coming from rather than get angry and/or pouty because he's not reading my mind and doing exactly what I want from him deep down in my mind, but haven't been able to tell him. Sophia, I think you are 100% right that it may have a lot more to do with an ability to express themselves verbally for our engineers rather than a lack of ability to open themselves up emotionally. I have also had very verbally affectionate BFs in the past, but they tended to be more verbal people in general, while the most quiet and shy, but certainly not the least emotionally invested exes tended to be more scientific-minded guys. It matters so much more to me that a guy feel strongly about me, and always treat me accordingly, than talk a lot about how much he's fallen for me, etc., and time and time again, Justin has come through when I've needed him and proven how much he cares for me. That's the really important thing, and I can't thank you two wise ladies enough for helping me focus back on what really matters, rather than looking for minor issues to worry about.

And Sophia, you are very perceptive to mention how significant it is in my eyes that Justin has been so accepting and understanding when it comes to my pain issues. This topic is especially sensitive for me because although Patrick was wonderfully supportive and gentle with me throughout that ordeal, in the end, I think he wasn't settled and secure enough with his own life to be able to sustain a relationship with someone with such serious medical issues. But Justin's attitude is completely different--instead of seeing my pain as a burden or a red flag, he seems to accept it as part of who I am, a part of a package that he finds irresistible and wants to embrace wholly and completely. I never let myself hope that I'd find a man who would be so accepting of something so private and difficult for me, but Justin has encouraged me to trust him and open up about what I'm going through so he can be there to help me and support me in whatever ways are possible. He's not at all judgmental or negative like so many other people I've encountered, but rather only wants me to feel as good as I can and assist me in whatever ways I need him to, from bringing me food in bed to researching different therapies for me online to waking up and holding me when my face hurts at night so I can fall asleep feeling comforted and relaxed. If that's not loving, caring behavior, I don't know what is...not to mention how wonderfully welcoming he's been when it comes to making me feel right at home at his place, leaving lots of clothes/books/cooking stuff there, and being able to let myself in and out as I please. I don't see how he could have done a better job of making me feel welcome, cherished, and cared for...but the main thing that struck me was when I asked him something about my pain at one point and how impressed and touched I was that he seemed to care for me and support me so unconditionally. He said that he was surprised, that it never occurred to him that anyone who cared for me wouldn't love each and every part of me, and that anyone who held my medical issues against me was an idiot and a jerk. He actually put it much more eloquently and sweetly than that, but that was the general idea, and I told him that not everyone was as brave and accepting as he was, and that believe it or not, few people were as wonderfully kind and caring as he's been to me since we first met. I can't tell you guys how good it felt to see and hear him tell me that he wanted me exactly as I was, problems at all, because everything that I've went through and am going through was what made me who I was, the person that he wanted to be with and care for no matter what. I was really worried that my pain would get in the way of me finding someone willing to love me wholeheartedly and unconditionally, but I seem to have gotten lucky on that front :)--at least I hope so! I'll keep you posted...I hope you do too, Sophia and GE!
Hi Sophia,

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. I can totally understand why you're disappointed and confused. If this doesn't qualify as mixed signals, I don't know what does! I really don't think you should let him leave you hanging for three weeks not really knowing what's going the very least, you should tell him you don't think it's right to remain exclusive while he's gone having seen each other only casually and infrequently of late. I would try very hard to have this next conversation somewhere private in person, not on the phone, because it may be too important a conversation to suscept it to the misunderstandings and feeling of distance that often occur during phone calls. If it's important to you to have the best possible chance at getting a resolution--positive or not--I'd suggest you go up there one night this week and speak with him rather than having to wait to deal with anything in person until he returns who knows when.

It sounds like your reaction was fairly similar to mine during the dispute I had with Justin over the weekend. Like you, I was frustrated because I didn't see that he was making the kind of effort I wanted him to put forth in order to spend time with me, show he cares about me, show he misses me, and most frustratingly, not going out of his way to see me. Sophia, as a friend I think I should say that you seem to be overthinking this and in my view, being a bit harsh on Nick. It's hard not to look at and evaluate your AND NG's actions using your viewpoint and expectations, so you assume that if he's not doing everything you'd like him to do if he was reading your mind, then clearly he doesn't care about you very much and definitely not as much as you care about him, grr. This is exactly how my thinking went last night when I got frustrated with Justin in a very similar manner to how you're feeling about NG--and just like it sounds you may be doing, I essentially created problems out of thin air by insisting that there must be a problem on his part and suggesting possible reasons I had decided he wasn't as into me (or at least not showin git) as I thought I should have. We sat sadly in silence contemplating the silly faulty assumptions, stubborn declarations which we didn't mean which we had said, and the foolish misundestandings we're still learning to communicate about and move past for several hours As we thought things over, Justin's insecurities became clearer and more obvious--he kept asking questions about things he think I may have said the night when he and his jerk friend got drunk such as if I felt like he wasn't the right guy for me, if we weren't such a good match overall, if he could really give me what I wanted from a man and a relationship etc.

The point is, men are often even more insecure and vulnerable when it comes to women they like...probably for a number of reasons, including that they aren't raised to believe it's ok to fall in love or get strongly emotionally attached to someone or feel hurt if they open up and trust a woman then get betrayed. Combined with the fact that they're generally expected to make the first moves when it comes to asking their girl out, going for a first kiss, getting women into bed, and even proposing marriage. That's a lot of pressure and must be pretty scary if it compares to how scared I feel about having my feelings exposed to Justin! Anyway, please hang in there and give it a chance...see how things go; you'll be able to tell next time you're around NG in person. Good luck Sophia...remember we're here when you need us, and good luck!

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