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. 41

    Awww… you mean all the years of hanging around guys, being friends with guys, and being a mother to two guys have finally paid off? Thanks! 😀

  2. 42

    Yes thanks to EMK & Goldie  for commenting on my post! I think there are so many women who are curious about  emotionally unavailable men! THIS BLOG TAKE OUT SOME OF THE GUESS WORK 🙂   

  3. 43

    Q1: How can you tell the difference between an “emotionally unavailable guy” and a guy who just isn’t “into” you?

    Q2: Aren’t we all “emotionally unavailable” to certain people, at certain times, in certain situations?

    Q3: Are so-called “successful” relationships always built on emotional availability?

    Summation: I’m not even sure that I know what “emotional availability” means in this context. I know lots of lunkheads in LTRs. I know lots of warm, insightful people who aren’t, and  for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with emotional retardation.  

    Thus, I wouldn’t  say that “emotional availability” or “emotional intelligence” or “emotional” anything is a necessary correlate of getting married or staying in a relationship.        

    I think people like to accuse  the guy of having  an emotional problem  simply because  he doesn’t want a specific relationship with a specific person at a specific time in a specific way. Takes the sting out of the rejection. It’s a normal reaction, I suppose.

    1. 43.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Bettina – That’s a very good observation about women reacting to men who don’t want them and labeling them “players”. I’ve had it leveled at me, when I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be in love and be married. However, I disagree with your other assertion.

      I think successful relationships ARE built on emotional availability and just because there are tons of unhappy, emotionally unavailable people in relationships doesn’t mean this is something one should strive for.

      GOOD relationships are built on kindness and empathy for your partners’ feelings. Anything less, it seems to me, may be a relationship but not a GOOD one.

  4. 44

    Just from my personal experience, I have realized that whatever I fear the most actually happens. It is really quite simple if you think about it, if you are fearing something, you are obviously thinking about it a lot. Which means you attracted it into your life

  5. 45

    six months to say he loves me?! Really? I don’t think I’d want a “boyfriend” who doesn’t tell me he loves me (which means he’d need to tell me within 2 months if we’re to stick to the timeline of being my boyfriend at 6-8 weeks into the relationship).
    And two years to propose? One of the reasons I broke up with this guy the other day is because he said he’d need to live with me for a year before he’d be willing to propose. I feel like I don’t want to live with another man until I am engaged. Is that unfair? I’m happy to live together before we’re married, but not until we’re engaged.
    Mind you, if he was doing all the other things and I felt secure in the relationship because he was calling and texting daily and doing little things to make me smile and actually making an EFFORT, I’d probably be more open to just allowing things to unfold naturally and not worrying as much about timelines. But some dating experts say 6 months to a year for proposals and marriage. I’d like to be engaged at 6 months, and have a 1-2 year engagement. Is that asking too much from a man?

    1. 45.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks, Marie. Those dating experts are wrong. They’re most likely women who are telling you what you want to hear, instead of basing it on what men themselves actually want.

      And honestly, you think you know someone well enough after six months to decide if you want to spend the next FORTY years together? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

      And if you doubt me, let’s think of what percentage of couples break up between six months and three years of dating. If it were you, Marie, you wouldn’t be breaking up: you’d be getting DIVORCED.

  6. 46

    I think 6 months to be engaged is way to soon. Sure, people have gotten engaged/married within 6 months and succeeded, but generally speaking, I don’t want to be engaged until I know someone for at least a  year  – year 1/2.

    Also, Marie, if you have a specific timeline for getting married, I’d say living together will usually throw a  wrench in your plans. Living together usually slows down the process of getting down the aisle, it doesn’t  speed it up.

    If  a person  is sure  their goal is marriage,  imo, they should avoid living together beforehand altogether.  

  7. 47

    I feel really stupid to have stayed with my boyfriend for 7  YEARS hoping he would FINALLY propose to me. I THOUGHT we had a really great relationship, very passionate and compatible, our children got along, we enjoyed each other’s family, we had so many interests in common. I THOUGHT he was THE ONE. However, he did break up with me after 4 years, then we got back together, and were looking for a   home together, when he announced without discussion he was happy living alone but we were life partners. THEN he broke up with me suddenly after another year, announcing “from here on in lets just be friends”, blindsiding me completely. He started dating a women a week later. Do you think he had already lined this woman up before breaking up with me?? IS that why he did this, or is it that he turned 60 and was going thru a midlife crisis and wanted a woman 12 years younger than him? After reading Evan’s book, Why He Disappeared, I get that of Course I should have kicked his sorry ass to the curb after the first break up. Waiting more than 2 years for a committment is a recipe for disaster. I will never do this again. I lost myself in a relationship with a man who called all the shots, made all the relationship decisions, and it has taken  7 years of devotion to a man who gave me butterflies in my stomach and with whom I thought I had an amazing relationship. My previous marriage had been to a man who was manic depressive and verbally abusive. I ended that, thought I was NOT co-dependent, but must have been to have tolerated 7  years with no solid committment!

  8. 48

    I think Nancy’s source of anxiety and insecurity is not so much the man is emotionally unavailable to her, but he’s a recycle who’s already dumped her once.   She already has a negative history with him.

    I raised 3 daughters.   They were not allowed to date boys they had previously broken up with, even if they really liked the boy.   The reasons I gave was they would be yo-yos, their lives would be   soap operas and their friends would get sick of listening to it.   My girls are grateful for the boundaries I set.      

    I had to relearn this lesson myself when my oldest daughters’ dad and I considered a reconciliation after my last divorce.     We’ve always loved each other, he was my best friend and will always be my friend.     As a mate though, no thank you. I won’t get past the fact he ditched us in Montana while he screwed multiple women across 5 western states after our baby died of SIDS.    

    I am the queen of emotionally unavailable men.   Mine are the adventurers, the Tom Sawyers and Huck Finns.   I am working on that by making myself more open to men, to being emotionally available to THEM.       I have great memories of high adventures into wilderness, I want to keep them memories and no wish to relive any of it!

    I’m not  comfortable with a declaration of love within 2 months.   We don’t know each other, that love is for an idea, not for me.     I’ve been seeing my current man for 8 months.     Both he and I had to cowboy through some tough  life  changing events  last winter and our emotions are just now stabilizing.       We are crazy about each other, we have trust and friendship.   We are not sleeping together.     He does not know where the relationship is going if anywhere.    I’m okay with that considering what we’ve both been through.   We are working on communicating and emotional intimacy.     He is not seeing anyone else, he is busting his butt rebuilding his house.      I continue to meet other men and have an active social life away from him.     I am not sleeping with anyone and he trusts me with that.   (small town)   I am happy to not be smothered.

  9. 49

    @ Bettina: I’ve been in those guys’ shoes a number of times myself. Not being into certain people is one thing, but there have been times in my life when I didn’t have it in me to commit to anyone or anything. You meet a great guy, you’re interested, he’s interested, you go on dating, you’re a couple, he’s madly into you. As soon as you realize it, you get this sinking feeling in your stomach – this is it, I’m locked in, that’s all it’s going to be. (And yeah I had that feeling with my ex too; I forced myself to ignore it and we continued to live happily ever after till our divorce 20-some years later.)
    I’m guessing I felt like that with every guy I met because, at that time, I wasn’t ready for anything serious.
    In fact, right now, I might be going through the same thing. In theory, I’d love to be in a committed LTR with a close friend; I know from experience that I will be loyal and committed and will make sure that my partner has a good time. But, right now, after two bad breakups this year and a divorce last year, I’ve come to a realization that I am probably not ready for that just yet. So I’ve been telling everyone that for now I’m just taking it easy, meeting new people, and living life one day at a time… guess it makes me a player, but at least I’m an honest player… I hope 😀

  10. 50

    [email protected]: Agreed. Reminds me of a truck driving around Manhattan that reads “Eat Fish, Live Longer.” How about “Eat Fish, Live Better”?

    But this reveals the problem I have with laying out relationship “goals.” A guy can do all of those things you say he should be doing and it could still be a bad fit, a non-starter, or even an abusive relationship. So maybe some refinement in the message. Like a postscript: “All this said, GOOD relationships are built on kindness and empathy for your partners’ feelings.”

    Though I’d make it “partner’s” feelings since this seems to be site about hetero 1:1 couples. (the grammarian in me ouldn’t resist!) 🙂

  11. 51

    The grammarian also couldn’t type!!! Add a “c” to that “ouldn’t”!

  12. 52

    I’ve known of a few people who got back together with someone they had broken up with, and then they married them, and are happily married. In all the cases I can think of, though, quite some time had elapsed between the first break-up and the two getting back together. It wasn’t a back-and-forth situation. In the meantime, they stayed friends.  

    The book He’s Just Not That Into You implies that men are almost never emotionally unavailable; they are either into you or they’re not. I do think that there are times in when one isn’t ready for a relationship, though. Perhaps unconsciously, during those times do we tend to choose a person we might not normally choose?

    As they say, “timing is everything”.   

  13. 53

      @Amy 4
    “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”
    Amy I really feel you on this, and was hoping others would respond because I do the exact same kind of “mental sabotage”.   In my case I can blame it on my OCD (anxiety/obsessive intrusive thoughts that aren’t a reflection of reality, just paranoia of “what if”).   However I imagine that there are tons of women out there without OCD, who are doing the same thing to themselves and wondering what’s up with “their gut”.   When I read things like “listen to how you feel” I sometimes start second guessing myself.   Even when all signs point to green light, and the guy is following Evan’s “8 Rules”!   It’s very disconcerting.
    My only solution here is “know thyself.”   As corny as it may sound, I’m looking into a book about “Calling in the One” (can’t remember the author’s name), which is about removing mental and emotional blockages to love.   If you see he is giving you what you need (like my bf is for me — thank you to Evan’s advice!), but you still feel unstable…then it’s time to investigate why, and it may not have anything at all to do with your boyfriend who is, in your own words: great to you, kind, reassuring and present.
    Sometimes I think we forget to turn to ourselves in examining our love lives.   What are our preconceived ideas about love?   What ‘stuff” are we holding onto that we may not realize we’re holding onto?
    Evan actually discussed this very thing in his interview with Allana Pratt in more detail, and he’s mentioned it in his blog before: for a long time he was trying to date ‘himself’, maybe without consciously doing it.   He could have missed his wife if he’d gotten too paranoid!   His “energy/mental somersaults” could have “blocked” her!
    (Forgive me if I’m putting any words in your mouth Evan! That’s what I got from listening :))
    Long post, yes.   This blog spoke to me, thank you for all the wonderful comments- great insights.

  14. 54

    two things (I’m on a roll!)
    @Sherell 32
    “Initially it is about going out and having fun and learning about a person.   I think many women get their feeling involved too soon.”
    Agreed!   Great comment.
    @Nancy: It seems to me that there’s some disconnect in where you and this man are in the whole dating process.   You mention that the relationship “technically started in June”, yet the sense I get is that for you it really started back in March.
    On his side, he may just be thinking it’s the same as before…that being “fun dating”, rather than “serious relationship.”
    I’d advise taking this SLOWLY Nancy, no sleeping with him!   He knows you’re interested, so let him plan some dates (in public, no nighttime bedroom movie canoodling) for the both of you and see what happens.  
    Meanwhile, do some activity you love, on your own or with friends.   Remember that YOU are the ONLY PERSON who can truly take care of and nurture YOU.   A man can add to that, love you and care for you and make you feel all warm and squishy inside and maybe fix your sink or make you a website or cook you a cannoli, but he cannot be responsible for your happiness and inner peace.   That is too much for anyone.
    So what do you love in life?   What makes you happy?

  15. 55

    Ruby #56, I don’t know about other men, but there have definitely bee times following the end of a relationship that I was pretty much emotionally unavailable. The way I see it, anyone who hasn’t done a significant amount of processing and moving on from past relationships tends to be fairly unavailable.  
    Laura #52 – I agree with the point about the “recycled” feeling. I have been in this position myself, and found that it was difficult to forget that the person had already dumped me once. And that was after a few years apart. Which is why the few months apart Nancy speaks about in her situation seems like it could easily be a source of valid concern. Because what majorly changed in a few months? Maybe something shifted internally for this guy, but it seems fairly possible that he’s just enjoying her company for the short term, until someone “better” comes along.  

  16. 56

    The assumption in this “emotionally unavailable” discussion is that the female in the equation always IS emotionally available. I’d quibble with that. I know lots of women who are something of an emotional  mess.   Which means “emotionally unable to relate” in my book. I wouldn’t wish them on any guy. (Well, any guy whose friendship I want to keep…)

    Most people do seem to find somebody, though (high rate of marriage). And the majority of people seem to be or  become unhappy with their pick (high rate of divorce/of miserable married people).  

  17. 57

    Bettina #60

    Unfortunately, I think there’s a lot of truth to this. Even if half of all marriages end in divorce, we’ve got to assume that there is a percentage (although it may be small) of people who stay married, but are unhappy. On the other hand, if a couple stays married for 25 years, has a couple of great kids, and ends up divorced, does that mean the marriage was a mistake?  

    Of course, women can be emotionally unavailable too. But women seem to do a better job of processing their feelings then men do, and  tend to have more awareness of the fact that they aren’t ready.  I see separated or just-divorced men rushing into new relationships all the time, without actually processing their grief, while women seem more likely to seek therapy and spend time talking to friends.

  18. 58

    Hi Nancy,
    We’ve all been in your shoes at one time or another. I suspect that you may have a decent guy, but your insecurities about losing him create a potentially self-fulfilling prophecy.
    A wise woman once told me to MYOB when it comes to other people, especially when we feel this attached. If you are busy minding somebody elses business, then who is minding yours? In other words, if you are spending all of your alone time obsessing about your man and immersing yourself in your worries about losing him, who is taking care of you?
    I’d like to suggest the following; Remember that YOU are a person of value who has a lot to offer. Fill your free time with positive endeavors and people; friends and family who love you, gardening, exercising, a nice country drive, a long walk, anything that nurtures your soul. Make plans for yourself instead of waiting to see if he is going to call you to get together. There is nothing wrong with saying that you already have plans for the evening but are free at another time. It will appeal to him that you have a life outside of him, and you will feel so much better about yourself for creating this fulfilling life.
    Above all, remember this, YOU will be okay…no matter what happens. Even if you lose him. Be strong, love yourself.

  19. 59

    Does he have to do ALL 8 things when your just starting to date? How long till he MUST do all 8 things till you walk away? Thanks, I LOVE your work!

  20. 60
    Moe D

    The easier women make it, the more we’ll take it. Why sign a long-term vagina contract now in the age of the free-dealing, free agent female? Toss in online dating and it’s ridiculously easy for a lazy player to keep his bed warm, faces rotating, and never actually have to grow up emotionally.
    Blame Western society.
    Blame empowered women.
    Blame yourself.
    But don’t blame the MEN for doing what they’ve done for thousands of eons before. Procreate whenever, wherever, and with whomever they ACCESS to, with the least amount of effort.
    Before it was a caveman clubbing you over the head and taking it. Then we evolved to courtship and marriage. Now he just sends you a 160-character text message — and you’re over there hot & fresh faster than Domino’s Pizza.
    Simple solution: no sex before verbal commitment. I know everyone’s doing it. I know he can “get it elsewhere”. Let him. Value your vagina, because he won’t. When you do, he will too.
    Be the exception, live an exceptional life.
    *If this doesn’t apply to you, wonderful. It does apply to many women these days– and the market’s flooded. Sorry.

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