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I've been seeing someone for several weeks (the shy guy) and have felt a real nice connection to him. He's a bit younger than me by 10 years and has admitted to not having any substantial past relationships due to a decade of alcohol and drug abuse. He is in recovery and has been sober for a year and a half. He seems to be very edgy regarding possibly slipping but I think he finds comfort in the fact that I'm not a user of anything.

The problem is that he has decided that I'm a very hard person to communicate with. Now, I have been working with him over the last couple of weeks to try and communicate better but honestly I am actually a great communicator. My therapist thinks I am as does my family, my friends, and all my past relationships (all of which were built on good communication skills). He feels strongly that I am not a good communicator and even though I say to him that we have different communication styles, he still thinks that I'm not really doing my part and that this is extremely problematic for him.

He gets very edgy and short with me when he believes I am not communicating well. I talked to my therapist about this on Friday and she suggested that maybe he is used to having very open and detailed conversations in all of the various recovery programs he has been in over the years. He now attends about 7 meetings a week which range from AA to Zen Buddhism. I imagine that in his group therapy meetings people pressure each other to be very explicit about their feelings. He tends to almost demand that I give him a lot more. If he asks, "how are you?" I cannot just say "oh, I'm doing great, how are you?" because he really wants me to be very specific about how I am really feeling and what I'm thinking. He is actually someone who asks a lot "what are you thinking?".

I'm wondering if anyone else has a lot of experience dealing with someone who is in recovery. Do they have problems expressing themselves? Do they seem to communicate differently because of the types of ways they have to express themselves in group therapies?

I really like this guy and would like for this to work out. It really seems to be an issue between us (or at least for him). He seems to want things to be quite serious at this time and I just want to have fun and date and continue to get to know each other. Still, I think we [I]both[/I] really want to have a future together as we mesh so well in so many ways -- the only thing that worries me is this incessant need he has to know every little thing I am thinking and in great detail (and I cannot even have a simple thought -- he wants things to be very complex).

I should mention, too, that he's in MENSA and incredibly bright. He is 30 but he doesn't seem emotionally at 30 probably because of his "lost years". I'm very proud of the hard work he does every day to stay sober. And finally, I guess I should mention that he is Bi-polar I and I am Bi-polar II. If I'm reading him correctly, I think he is a rapid cycler.

So, there are many things here, the recovery, the hyper-intelligence, the emotional immaturity and the Bi-polar. I'm a super easy person to get along with and he seems to make a lot of conflict for this fledgling relationship. Sigh, I really do want this to work out and am willing to try couples therapy (yeah, even at this early date). Are the cards stacked against me?





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