Why She Hurts Him
Q: I have this great guy but I keep hurting him, and I don't know why. He is everything that I want in a guy but I think I'm afraid of being hurt again. Maybe I'm pushing him away by doing stupid things. Could it be that after being hurt for so many years, I feel like I don't deserve him? Is it that I'm afraid to let him love me or am I just stupid? -- Natalie, 35
Dr. Susan: I'm sure you're not as stupid as you sometimes feel, Natalie. At times, we all do dopey things when we're emotionally involved. If, as you say, you've allowed yourself to be mistreated and hurt for years, you may be acting out of a misguided sense of self-protection. But as you see, you're sabotaging your own best interests. The best relationships are formed by people who are open to the reality of what's going on right now, rather than reacting to a new partner as if they were someone from the past. Of course it's possible that some deep inner part of you senses something about him that will end up backfiring and hurting you yet again. Another possibility is that you're so used to being in rotten relationships that, this time, you're playing the role of bad guy, and he's letting you. Talk to him about your fears. I don't know how long you know him, but you may sooner or later feel safe enough to let go and trust. If you trust, you can allow yourself to stop testing him and yourself, and love more fully.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.