Dear Jack, like many men you have a fear of
intimacy. You want physical intimacy and
nakedness but not emotional nakedness with a
woman. You’re locked in. You don’t want to bare
your soul to avoid vulnerability. Like many men
you find that uncomfortable.
Unfortunately your girlfriend doesn’t realise it
has nothing to do with her. She has no problems
with intimacy. In fact she relishes being
vulnerable. That’s how women create
responsibility of care. She’s just committed
herself to you in an absolute exercise of trust.
It’s inexplicable to a man.
You have native unexplainable fear of
commitment though at some level it’s about
being in control. Your holding back protects you
from being vulnerable to someone. Stops the
other party having leverage over you. Some of
this though is repressed feelings – emotions from
your childhood. You started holding back since
then. With your repressed feelings you shut an
iron door against memories of the past to take
control of your present.
Your relationship with your dad wasn’t and isn’t
exactly great. He never affirmed you. In fact he
was MEAN! Child abuse coupled with wife abuse.
You experienced constant abuse from a
terrifying father, who himself never knew love
growing up. You live with anger in your heart.
You don’t know it but that anger seeps through
your being. To protect yourself you always want
to be in charge, to control all the variables.
Makes you feel “safe”. That control makes it hard
for you to express love. You’re trying to control
I’ve seen this before: people caught in the trap of
needfulness, who yet wants total control in a
relationship. They always want to have their
way. And when things don’t go their way, dark
clouds of anger. Unforgiveness uses such
trapdoors to enter the house.
Unforgiveness is an expression of power.
Control. It gives judgemental control over
others, incarcerates people in cages of the heart.
Such is the power of unforgiveness. The only
thing though is that both the warder and the
prisoner are locked up in the same prison. It’s
hard to justify the case of a man who wants what
he’s unwilling to give. If you want love, need
love but you’re unwilling to give love, there’s
going to be conflict, frustration. If you want love
give love. That’s the law of life. What we want
we must give. And you can’t be loved without
being vulnerable, opening yourself up. That
requires first and foremost emotional
acceptance of needfulness. Needfulness is not
Now I know some of the stuff Jil writes to you are
heavy for you. But that’s because you’re not
used to being loved. And so when she says, “I
can’t live without you”, you get uncomfortable.
It’s too heavy. You don’t reply. You’ve got to
allow her to love you. You need her love. And
she’s just being herself. Her heart is full of love.
Let her buy you gifts, give you presents. Love
gives. Don’t distance yourself on the inside. Don’t
depersonalise yourself, watching your life from
the balcony of your heart. It all boils down to
trust, being able to trust someone with your
emotions. It’s what emotional intimacy is all
Now I know you love her but you need to show it.
A woman needs expression of love. She desires
to be entrusted with your emotions, to be the
trustee of your true feelings. It’s an aspiration
men can’t easily understand. She wants to take
care of you – if you give her the chance.
Entrusting your feelings to her gives her some
sense of purpose, and a special sense of
responsibility. And I think God gave this woman
to you having regard to your person and history.
She’s what you need.
Now I’m not saying you must open your heart to
any and everyone; that’s not wisdom. You can’t
give your heart to the undeserving. You don’t
cast pearl before swine. But this woman is
different. And she’s invested her all in a
remarkable feat of faith. It’s because she trusts
you, wants you, sees her future in you. You’ve
got to start to learn to trust. You’ve got to be
vulnerable to draw on her capacities and
strengths. That’s the way it works. It’s okay to be
vulnerable with a loved one, with someone
whose love cannot be doubted, whose
commitment is unassailable. Real men cry! With
her by your side you can work out the issues, let
go of your fears one bony finger after another.
Soon you’ll get to the place where you know no
fear. Perfect love casts out fear. Don’t be
remote. Don’t withdraw or view her with
suspicion. She’s on your side. You’re in it
Start expressing yourself through simple
gestures – cards, flowers, symbolic gifts… Call
her. Just to chat about nothing, or just to tell her
you’re thinking of her. Such gestures go a long
Now if it seems she wants to consume you with
love – it’s the strength of her commitment. If it
seems a bit too much remember, there are men
praying to be in your shoes; men who want
someone to care for them. Some will do
anything to get that kind of attention, to get
Life is a paradox. The headless is often capped,
while the headed lacks a cap.
I think you’ve got yourself a wonderful woman
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