Suspicious Boyfriend

Q: I have been in a relationship for the past four years with a man who is emotionally "unavailable." He is not affectionate at all and says that was just the way he was raised. What's worse, he's always accusing me of cheating on him and lying to him, and nothing I can say or do changes this. Does this relationship have a chance? -- Nadine

Dr. Susan: I'm surprised you've managed to make this "work" as long as you have! Clearly, some of your needs are being met, while your desires for affection and trusting intimacy have been sadly neglected. Men who aren't affectionate can learn to be more physically demonstrative, if they want to, no matter how they were raised. Sounds like your man has no real interest in changing or in trying to please you. More seriously, though, is his lack of trust in you. He's probably got real intimacy issues that keep him from letting go both physically and emotionally. Are you certain you're not doing anything to rile his mistrust, such as lying about small things? It might be very helpful for the two of you to consult a therapist to find out what's getting in the way of closeness. Does he have a history of being in deceitful relationships? If he refuses, then what he's saying is "take me as I am or leave." Period. In that case, it would be up to you to decide if you're happy enough with things as they are -- conflicted and distant.

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