I’m In Constant Fear Of Losing Him — How Do I Calm Down?

A pretty middle aged woman looking upwards.

I am a 56-year-old teacher, and met a nice man in March. He ended it after a short time. I felt he was making a mistake, but left him alone. I started dating and saw that he was on Match.com again also. I sent him an e-card for his birthday in May. He responded nicely, but gave me no indication he wanted to start dating again. Then he contacted me and said he found an old cell phone message from me and he wasn’t going to erase it because I am so nice. We started dating again in the beginning of June, and saw each other every day of his week-long vacation (he initiated it).

Now he is back to work and I am insecure. I always worry (because he ended it with me once before and also ended a six year relationship before me easily) that it might happen again. It’s terrible to live in fear. I have more invested in this now, and would probably be devastated if he did end it. He doesn’t know what I’m going through when we’re not together. Technically this relationship didn’t start in March, but June when we resumed. It just started, but I feel so connected physically and mentally, and it’s driving me crazy! How can I get to a place where this doesn’t immobilize me? I’m so afraid of losing the happiness and peace I feel when we are together. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you. Nancy

Hey Nancy.

You’re not at peace.

Your man’s job is to take down his profile, call you every day, integrate himself into your daily life and bill himself as your boyfriend.

You’re not happy.

You’re going crazy.

And you’re asking ME how to enable you to continue this pattern?

Sorry, you’ve got the wrong guy.

You must have mistaken me for someone who wants women to have unhealthy relationships with emotionally unavailable men.

You must have confused me with a man who thinks that men should be in control and that women should just put up with all nonsense.

You must have misremembered some blog post where you thought I said that the ideal relationship is one where you’re walking on eggshells, anxious about the present, insecure with the future, and consistently questioning your man’s integrity.

Any readers ever feel what Nancy’s feeling?

Any readers have a POSITIVE tale about how their panic-inducing relationship has lasted for thirty years?

If so, let me know in the comments section that you’re the exception.

But the rule, Nancy, is this:

Your man’s job is to make you feel safe.

Your man’s job is not simply to be smart and sexy and appealing, but to be consistent and kind.

Your man’s job is to take down his profile, call you every day, integrate himself into your daily life and bill himself as your boyfriend.

And if you’ve been with a guy for over 6-8 weeks and you still have questions about whether he’s your boyfriend, guess what?

You’re in a toxic, one-sided relationship that benefits him and is going to crush you in the long run.

Here’s a brief video clip from a speech I gave to a group of singles with the 8 Things that Your Boyfriend Must Do To Be Your Boyfriend:

Therefore, your question, Nancy, shouldn’t be “What do I do to calm down?”

Rather, it should be, “Why would I feel nervous or insecure around this man?”

Chances are, it’s because he’s not doing most of what’s in the above video.

And if he’s not giving you those 8 things, the only course of action is to walk away because you’re not getting your emotional needs met.

If, of course, you choose to stick with him — as most women would – you’re pretty much just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Join our conversation (78 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Happy Labor Day!

    I am so glad you told us these things, Evan. This is my new goal and I am not going to put up with anything else.

    BTW – books are great (Why he disappeared and Finding the One Online) – the profile is jamming baby – lots of dates, emails, calls, so now I can be picky!! LOL!!  

    I dumped the last guy after reading your site because he chose to be overwhelmed with work and not that into me. I want a boyfriend who is into me and I am never going to settle until I have it.

    It sounds dumb but we really needed someone to tell us these things and what a man is looking for.

    THANK YOU!  

  2. 2

    I agree Evan, BUT isnt it a bit too soon for that kind of commitment? What you are saying makes perfect sense AFTER they agree to be in a relationship. Could this be considered the gray zone before that? Most women dont enjoy that stage, and find it nerve racking. I say dont continue to have sex with him, and just “date”   he will come around or not, soon enough.

    1. 2.1

      I agree. Stop the sex and he will be committed or go away.
      STOP sleeping with every man and hope that he will be committed to.

  3. 3

    I really hate to say this, Nancy – but it sounds like he’s just using you until something better (in his eyes) comes along.   You have good cause to be nervous. This is not a man you can count on to be there in the long run.

  4. 4

    Good advice Evan, but what if all your needs ARE getting met and still you are insecure? My current boyfriend of almost 8 months is great to me, kind, reassuring, present and I still can’t dismiss the thought he’s going to leave me. I know this is MY issue, not his, because of past boyfriends who have dumped me. How do I move on from my past so I don’t mess up my future??

    1. 4.1

      I feel the exact same & been with my boyfriend 8 months too and I just know he’s the one :D. But I was dumped in past by a guy I was with for a year & half on and off and a guy I was with for 2 years. I was cheated on by the guy I was with for 2 years too. Luckily my partner is amazing and I actually trust again 🙂 and he never a goes clubbing so nothing to worry about there, but I always worry I’m going to lose him. He has literally become my everything! I have nightmares about losing him too.  

  5. 5
    Bree Talon

    I have definitely been guilty of putting too much focus on my relationship with my partner in the past, at the expense of myself. What is so easy to lose sight of once our emotions get entangled is that autonomous being we were before we fell in love. I am all for love! But self-love first, during and always. I love taking care of my man. But  the biggest reason he loves me taking care of him (and  takes care of me) is because of how I take care of myelf.   If we made ourselves more of a priority, it would be easier to see when our partner wasn’t doing the same.  
    I love the 8 Things video. Thanks Evan!  

  6. 6

    If a man broke up with me, and then wanted to get back together, I would be taking things very slowly. One of the problems I see is that Nancy spent every day of this man’s week-long vacation with him. It’s too soon to spend that much time together, even if he initiated it. It also implies that she stopped dating anyone else. If there is no commitment to be exclusive, then it is too soon to be giving one man all your time. If he really wanted to be Nancy’s boyfriend, she wouldn’t be feeling so insecure.

  7. 7
    Cheryl Miller

    “You must have confused me….” dude, this question wasn’t about you.   Why all the references to/about you?

  8. 8
    Valley Forge Lady


    I have dated this guy!     He is hell in bed.   He talks about his past relationships frequently but never about a future with you.     He is happiest when you are doing something for him.   If he does something for you it is because he is expecting more in return.   You seldom meet his family or friends.     He does not have  many friends.     His family is not important to him.  He always has to have the last word.   Your ideas are either wrong or not important.   You look up the word narcisist and his picture appears.

    Darliing,  save your mind, your self esteem and your dignity.     Disappear from this man’s life.     Do not explain just  disappear!     He will not like  it but if you stay he will try to take you down.   He has done this with all of his women.     Sticking around will not change him.     You are very special but you are not so unique that you will change the  stripes on this Tiger!

    It took me three years to get over  a man like this.     But  the monkey is off my back.   Reading Evan’s work has helped me see the light!     Truth be told  I have   a long history of finding emotionally unavailable men  irresistable.     Those days are behind me.    I am  62 Years old and still  attractive.     I am on line and  discovering that men of all ages are attracted to me……it is my responisibilty to pick the  man who  deserves me.      YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!!!!    

  9. 9

    I’ve been there– the total happiness when you’re together, the total panic when you’re apart.   It felt like I was always waiting for something– for him to call, to make plans, to move the relationship forward.   And it did not end well.   Crushing, as Evan said, when he broke up with me, and of course he broke up with me.   I will never put up with that kind of anxiety again.   Good luck, Nancy– it’s not easy to cut a guy loose when he has that kind of pull on you, but it sounds like he’s not a good bet for the long run.

  10. 10

    Is it him or HER??????   Sometimes a guy can be doing things right and the woman has issues.   It’s hard to tell from this letter what the case is.  

  11. 11
    Katarina Phang

    I’m always baffled by why women who invest in a guy so quickly after a few weeks/months without knowing where he stands.   If he doesn’t say you are exclusive, date around, for God’s sake!   Enjoy his company and a bunch of other great men.   What’s wrong with that??

    Of course she feels anxy.   She puts all her eggs in one basket unnecessarily.   And sooner or later her insecurities and needy vibe will drive him away again.

    Be a powerful goddess by absorbing all the attentions you can get from any man and feel great about yourself.   A woman can even do this without dating guys when she’s in an exclusive relationship.   Example: dress up when you go out and turn heads and have guys tell you how pretty you are, smile and thank them.   Just doing that boosts your self-esteem in the way you didn’t think even possible.   You will realize you don’t need to pine for any one guy, let them pine for you!!.   How’s that for a change in attitude and mind set?


  12. 12

    Great Post Evan.

    If anyone feels like they are walking around on eggshells, then they are not being themselves. Why would anyone want to be with some-one we have to fake it with all the time?

    Don’t invest so much into a man straight away, invest in yourself imo, and wait until a man wants to invest in you before giving him so much of your time and energy.

  13. 13

    Thank you, Nancy, because I needed to read this post right at this very moment. It’s like a brutally cold bucket of water over my head. I am in your age-range, and I gotta say, it absolutely floors me that at my age I am still susceptible to the allure of the emotionally unavailable charismatic male. You do not walk alone on this one.   

    For me it’s in the form of a guy I’ve known for 6 years. 6! He is warm, open, extremely affectionate, easy-to-talk-to… handsome. He compliments me endlessly — likes my body, my style, my weird sense of humor, my outlook, the affection and caring I show toward him. But the fact remains that the man cannot — or more importantly, will not — commit to me. It’s not a mystery. I know the trap I’m walking into every time he comes sniffing around for some no-strings-attached fun.   

    And even though I’ve had other relationships during that 6 years, he still manages to reappear in my life, stirring things up, until once again I’m convincing myself that he really IS the man for me, we’re such a good fit, I should just live for the moment, be here now, enjoy it for what it is. Except there is little enjoyment, and what enjoyment there is, is tainted with doubt. Clearly, it doesn’t work for me. It works for him, and I’m sure this is painfully obvious to anyone who’s watched me — an otherwise sane, competent, independent woman — go through this ridiculous dance with this guy. Over and over.      

    When I’m reconnecting with someone familiar, it can feel so natural that I convince myself that all is well.   But really, if all was well, I wouldn’t be feeling all the anxiety and turmoil — oh, and let’s not forget the self-loathing.

    So, that’s why it’s so refreshing to watch our pal Evan’s video about the 8 Things a Boyfriend Does.   When your man comes up so glaringly short of those 8 Things, it’s very hard to continue the denial. Even 6 out of 8 is not good enough — not for you, not for me or any other self-respecting woman. Dump this dude and be nice to yourself.   The calm will eventually follow.   

  14. 14

    Great post! Marioned, it’s him. He’s a selfish asshole.

  15. 15

    Thank you, Evan!! I just broke up with my “sort-of” boyfriend because he couldn’t make me a priority in his life after 4 months of being with him (he would make the effort for a while but he was inconsistent and I was unhappy most of the time). I ended it. I told him that I want it all, or nothing. He wants me in his life still, but I told him not to call unless he’s ready to give me everything I deserve. I was never exclusive with him, because he wasn’t doing the things listed above to try and BE my boyfriend, but of course I wanted those things so I stuck around for a bit (he’d give a little and improve his communication, etc, only to fall back into his old habits after a couple weeks).
    I just told him I couldn’t have him in my life yesterday so reading this post today is perfect timing and SUCH a blessing. Thank you.
    Walking on eggshells and feeling crazy and insecure is NEVER a recipe for happiness!!

  16. 16

    Valley Forge Lady… OMG, thank you!!!!!! Haha.

  17. 17
    Valley Forge Lady

    Nancy….Zann….Ladies who love Bad Boys…………(I am reforming!)

    I have a homework assignment for you!   Go to the Urban Dictionary and look up the word….Player.       This says it all!     Even men recognize the kind of evil that lurks in the character of men who play on the feelings of caring women.

    We all have the responsibility to make wise choices.   Dr. Phil says it best……”There are not victims….only  volunteers.”

    Pu on your Big Girl Pants….and make wise choices.   This  should be very enmpowering.

    Hey Evan…………….How is your Mom Doing?                      

  18. 18

    Cheryl Miller @7

    Geebus love, how long have you been reading this site?   I feel like I need to explain this sloooooowly for you…

    Evan is a writer.   Writers  usually consciously  adopt a style often referred to as their ‘voice’ which manifests in the various literary techniques they use.  

    What you’re objecting to is the voice Evan uses to write for this site. I happen to find it very effective. I can hear him talking to me when I read.   From what I can see lots of other people like it too.

    If you don’t like it then no problem,  buh bye.  

  19. 19

    I’m with Katarina’s #7… just had a conversation on this subject with a good friend of mine and we both agreed that, unless both sides have explicitly agreed to be exclusive, no one owes anyone anything.
    I did not see any references in Nancy’s letter to any conversations where she and this man had agreed to be exclusive. So they’re not. He’s having fun, and she should do the same. If she is so emotionally attached to him that she can’t have any fun unless he’s around, then maybe it’s time to walk away, because staying with(?) him under the circumstances would be too toxic and one-sided. Imagine the shock on his face when you leave before he does 🙂
    Of course, it’s easier said than done. Been there, done that… got the proverbial T-shirt.
    On another note, can Evan and some of the commenters go easier on people like Nancy (or me?) who are just getting back on the market in their 40s and 50s, and are still learning the ropes? Dating at this age is brutal, and definitely not the same as it was when we were last on the market in our late teens and early 20s. I’m just starting to learn to enjoy the process, take it one day at a time, and not put any unnecessary pressure on myself and others, but it is a skill and will take time and hard work. It’s a jungle out there!

  20. 20

    @Goldie #19, what do you mean can “EVan and the commentators” go easy on you and Nancy? Evan tells it like it is, and that’s the only reason I keep reading his blog. Some women need  a wake-up call, and unfortunately unless they get it, they will keep wasting their lives on unhealthy dating situations. If you want to be coddled, maybe you should go somewhere else.

    1. 20.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Even though Margo and I generally disagree (she’s far angrier at men than I am), she and I are in accordance on this one. She asked for my opinion. I gave it. I’m not sure how it’s harsh when I didn’t insult the OP at all.

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