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Sunday Edition #11: My Column in Yellow

Dear Yellow:

I’ve been seeing a guy who just got out of a long-term relationship that has been on and off for the last year. He is kind, and interested, and attentive. We have been getting closer and building intimacy and trust. But, he tells me he’s not emotionally available. Since his actions show something different, I don’t know what to believe.

Believe his words.

Some might jump up and say,”but actions speak louder than words!” True, but it really doesn’t apply to this situation. Why? Because his words come from his logic and understanding where he currently stands emotionally and his actions come from a general human desire for companionship. Look at it as a mini war between his head and his attraction to you.

I do think he cares and an authentic connection exists, but that isn’t enough when hurt and healing are going on at the same time. His actions show you are important in his life while his words are the red flag he is waving in your face to let you know the ocean isn’t safe for swimming.

Now, it’s on you to decide if you want to wait out the storm or find a different beach to play on.

It is tempting to wait because he is kind, interested and attentive so your basic need of companionship is being met but he won’t be able to support your desire for something deeper. I think we can all agree that the superficial physical stuff is easy. Showing up and having someone to chill in bed with is easy. Sex is easy. Going to dinners, movies and art openings are easy. Walking around the best city in the world (New York City, duh) holding hands and enjoying all the wonderful things it has to offer is easy.

But what will he do when real life starts happening?

When there is a miscommunication on a street corner… When family causes stress… When illness hits… When work isn’t going as planned… When you have a horrible and irrational mood swing that isn’t supported by logic (does that only happen to me?)... When generally shitty things occur... Where will he be?

My best guess is not by your side. As he is running out the door, he will remind you that in the beginning he warned he wasn’t emotionally available and can’t handle the heavy parts that come along with a real relationship.

All of this doesn’t mean he isn’t a great human being. It just means he isn’t ready to be your great human being. It also concerns me that he ‘Cycled’ in his previous relationship and it’s very possible he might cycle back in again.

No one wants to be a voluntary ‘Interim Girl’ - the one who fills the space between heartbreak and new love. The one who helps him to heal and move on. I’m a serial Interim Girl and let me tell you, it sucks. I’m grateful for my gift of healing but damn, it is a painful punch in the throat the first time you see him with someone else doing and being all the things he claimed unable to do with you.

There are always exceptions to every case and I hope you prove me wrong. But let’s be honest, don’t we all think we will be the exception and then weeks later end up in tears laying on the cold tile of the bathroom floor wondering how we ended up here… again?


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My Life in Yellow is not a licensed psychologist or health care professional and the advice within this column does not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a health/medical professional. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

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