Why Men Leave

iVillagers chat with Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, author of Why Men Leave

Cmrebecca: Welcome to our chat with Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, author of Why Men Leave. She will discuss how you can strengthen your relationship by understanding what is inside of him - not you - that causes him to back away. Up first is jrano0713.
jrano0713: How can you understand when he gives you the silent treatment when he is mad?
BrendaShoshanna: When a man gives the silent treatment, he is manipulating you and withholding his love and communication. You cannot understand what is truly going on inside him unless he is willing to tell you, so don't try to guess. Instead, put your effort into letting him know how important it is for him to actually use words and tell you what he feels. I want to emphasize that guessing at what anybody is feeling is a mistake. That is called projecting, projecting our own fantasies and fears upon them. It is always best to talk things out. Let him know that it is safe for him to express his feelings, and that he also must tolerate some anger on your part, if that is what happens. It will be far worse in the end if he doesn't communicate at all.
jrano0713: Tried that already. He says he doesn't want to say anything to make me mad.
BrendaShoshanna: Anger doesn't mean a relationship will end. But no communication often leads there.
jrano0713: Thank you I will try that.
Cmtdarden: Up next is akgumby.
Akgumby: My man shows up, takes me out, and we have a great time. Then he gets drunk and tells me how much he loves me - and then I don't see him again for two or three weeks. What gives? This has been going on for seven years.
BrendaShoshanna: When a man drinks, you cannot trust what he says to you. He may have feelings in the moment, but they are not reliable. It is better to be with an individual who is stable, sober and aware of what he is saying and feeling - and can back it up.
Rblu: A counselor once told me that actions speak the truth, not the words.
Cmtdarden: Up next is reey.
reey: How do I deal with his fear that I will leave one day like his ex did? Thanks.
BrendaShoshanna: Thanks, Reey. Men often fear a repeat of the pain they've experienced in other relationships. It may take him time to trust again.
Reey: What can I do to help him?

BrendaShoshanna: Keep him clear about the ways that the two of you are different. Have him voice his feelings when they arise, and reassure him that you are not her.
Reey: Thank you.
BrendaShoshanna: You're welcome.
Cmtdarden: Up next is lukeone.
Lukeone: I have a problem. After dating a new woman for just a short time, I feel suffocated and leave quickly. I'm sure I hurt their feelings. But I can't help it. What should I do?
BrendaShoshanna: Some men fear commitment greatly, fearing that it will bring the worst to them, problems they can't get out of. In your case, I would let the woman know that I needed space. Go slow. Take your time in getting to know each other. Be with a woman who is independent, and doesn't cling.
lukeone: I find that most women like to cling.
BrendaShoshanna: Let the woman know in advance about your needs and patterns. If you are honest you'll find the right one.
Cmtdarden: Up next is evcruz.
Evcruz: My son and his wife have been married for some years. He is only staying for 2 reasons: (1) daughter and (2) he does love his wife. However he is FED UP with his wife's EX interfering with his stepchildren, whom my son supports and the EX does not. His wife, for the children's sake, does not want to make any waves.
BrendaShoshanna: It is best not to interfere with the marriages of our children. Even though it can be painful to see them in situations that you do not feel are right. If they ask you, let them know what you think, otherwise, stay out of it. He'll have to find his own way.
Evcruz: Brenda, is your answer to me to "not interfere"? I do not 100% interfere. In fact, I am a best friend to both of them. What I am looking for is guidance and maybe what I can expect - and how to cope with it.
BrendaShoshanna: It is wonderful that you are his best friend, but he is the one who has to cope with it. You can be there for him to listen to him, encourage him, and support his choices. But he is the one who must make his decisions, work on his issues and do what's right for him.
Cmtdarden: Up next is perceyangel.
percyangel: When we fight he throws past problems in my face and then grows silent and shuts me out. Then at bedtime, he makes me unwelcome by making it impossible to get in it or kicking me out of bed. The next morning, he's all loving. I get confused. He says it doesn't mean anything.
BrendaShoshanna: Many men give mixed messages, they want you, and they do not. They themselves are confused and ambivalent. It sounds as if he is doing his best to make you crazy and mad.
percyangel: We've been together for 15 years. The good times are very good, but the bad times are killing me.
BrendaShoshanna: I would let him know how his behavior makes you feel, and if he can't be more stable and consistent, find yourself a healthier situation.
Percyangel: Thanks.
Cmtdarden: Up next is Green53.
Green53: Why do men fear commitment?

BrendaShoshanna: There are many reasons that men fear commitment. Mostly, it's because they haven't found the right woman for them yet.
Green53: What if they have been in a relationship for a long time?
BrendaShoshanna: There is something lacking in the relationship, and they do not want to commit to that person because of it. Some men are just plain afraid of losing their freedom, friends, and lack of responsibility. Figure out which one you have.
Cmtdarden: Up next is tracey_com.
tracey_com: My boyfriend and I are both divorced. I'd like to remarry one day, but he is very hesitant about remarrying. He was married for 15 years and I for 2.5. Does this mean I'm not the right woman? What do you suggest?
BrendaShoshanna: Hi Tracey. No, not necessarily. It means he has a fear of making the same mistakes again. It would be good to go over the ways in which your relationship is different from his past marriage. It would also be important for you to find out how hesitant he really is. Does he intend to work on his fears, or is he just not marrying material? It doesn't mean you're the wrong woman, but he may be the wrong man for you.
tracey_com: Thanks
Cmtdarden: Up next is lukeone.
Lukeone: Currently I'm seeing a woman I think is trying to drown me with her emotions, what should I do? Also, what is your Web page address again?
BrendaShoshanna: Hi Lukeone. No woman can drown you with her emotions. If she is too emotional for you, tell her so. Let her know how she is making you feel.
Lukeone: Then she will take it personally and get mad.
BrendaShoshanna: Perhaps she can find other ways of expressing herself. If she can't, perhaps she is the wrong one for you. My Web site is http://www.Brendashoshanna.com.
BrendaShoshanna: It is important not to fear anger. Anger is a part of any relationship. If you communicate honestly and truthfully, not blaming the other, but expressing your needs, the other should be able to hear it. If there is anger, and it is expressed responsibly, not by hurting another, it is fine. If not, there is a problem.
Cmtdarden: Up next is Greathelp.
Greathelp: What are some of the signs a partner gives off when cheating, e.g.; leading them to be caught?
BrendaShoshanna: When a partner is cheating, the other one usually senses it. There is withdrawal, staying away from home more, especially at times when the person used to be there. There can also be withdrawal of love, affection and attention.
tracey_com: In response to greathelp's question Brenda, should you call them on that hunch?

BrendaShoshanna: In answer to Tracey, it is always important to be honest.
Cmtdarden: Up next is tknta.
Tknta: How do you know if he is ready to leave but not doing so because of circumstances?
BrendaShoshanna: You can feel it when a person is getting ready to leave. They are withdrawing from you, pouting, sullen, and their attention and affection are elsewhere. However, some men and women too, stay in this situation for a long time. Why not just ask him what he's feeling and what's going on? Open it up to an honest discussion. See if you both can work your problems out.
Cmtdarden: Up next is VCLC.
VCLC: What do you do when he lies to you purposely? This is the first time this has happened.
BrendaShoshanna: Let him know you are aware of the lie. Let him also know that lying is unacceptable. Trust is central to all relationships and lying stops that. Make it safe for him to communicate honestly.
Cmtdarden: Up next is hassenffeffer.
Hassenfeffer: My boyfriend of a year just broke up with me in the midst of a huge fight. We had a trial separation (a week) then decided to keep trying to work through it. For two months all was good then - poof! - he says he still feels the same as he did when we separated. A few days after we broke though, he started calling acquaintances of ours and asking how I'm doing. What's going on?
BrendaShoshanna: This man obviously has conflict about you and the relationship. Although you are apart, he obviously misses you. This does not mean that he will be getting back together. It's important not to build hopes because of calls and messages. If he wants to get back with you, he must contact you directly, and be willing to work on the issues that caused the problems.
Cmtdarden: Up next is sordid.
Sordid: My boyfriend of 8 years is in jail awaiting trial. He is probably going to go away for 5 years. Should I stand by him through a hard trial or cut my losses?
Tknta: Sordid, it depends on what he is standing trail on!
Sordid: The trial will be hard for me, but he has stood by me through hard times to.
BrendaShoshanna: This is a difficult question. It all depends on your love for him and loyalty. How much does he mean to you? I would certainly stand by someone during a trial, whether or not you plan to remain with him if he goes to jail for a time. The trial is not a time to leave him.
Cmtdarden: Up next is br_ndi.
br_ndi: My question is how do I get my boyfriend to understand the emotional needs of a woman? He used to show me so much love and affection but now it's hardly ever, or when he has absolutely nothing else to do.
BrendaShoshanna: The best way to get your boyfriend to understand is to educate him by telling him how you are feeling. Tell him without demanding a response, or blaming him for not knowing now. If you communicate it in the right way, a man is able to listen.
Cmtdarden: Up next is VCLC.
VCLC: He says that I don't trust him. He is always accusing me of this. Why?

BrendaShoshanna: Some men feel they can't trust women. They are scared to be vulnerable. They are afraid the woman will leave, or will throw up their mistakes in their faces. Find out what your man needs to feel safe and trusting with you, and then give it to him.
Cmtdarden: Up next is Fun4u99.
Fun4u99: If one cannot orgasm when the partner speaks of his/her ex, should the partner be told? If so, how do you tell them so as not to frighten them from speaking openly anymore (knowing how important an orgasm is to a man)?
BrendaShoshanna: If your partner is turning you off by speaking of his ex, let him know. There is nothing wrong with communicating your needs and your responses to what he's doing. Tell him gently and lovingly and things will be all right.
Fun4u99: How is gently and lovingly?
BrendaShoshanna: Gently and lovingly is without blame.
Cmtdarden: Up next is VCLC.
VCLC: Me again, last question and I will hush. All we ever do is argue. He doesn't care about me, he only cares about himself (he said this), and he only talks about divorce. What to do?
BrendaShoshanna: If a man clearly tells you he only cares about himself, and all you do is argue, there seems no basis for a relationship here.
VCLC: He won't go to counseling. I've asked.
BrendaShoshanna: What you must do is care for you - respect yourself, treat yourself kindly and don't look for that from him. Distance yourself from him. When he feels your absence, perhaps he'll realize what he's doing. A relationship is always a two way street.
Cmtdarden: Up next is Green53.
Green53: What do I do if my husband is hiding family income from me?
BrendaShoshanna: Hiding family income is a serious affront to basic trust and honesty in a marriage. You must bring this out into the open and discuss it with him. Let him know that trust is crucial to any relationship. Ask him how he would feel if you hid money from him? Make sure that you keep on top of this. Stay aware of all aspects of what goes on in the relationship.
Cmtdarden: Up next is melissamom2.
melissamom2: I am happily married, but I have a serious crush on an ex-boyfriend that I work with. What should I do? When I talk to him, I remember the old times together.
BrendaShoshanna: If you are happily married, I would do everything I can to distance myself from the boyfriend. A crush like that could grow and play havoc with your marriage. Instead of remembering all the good times, remember the trouble and difficulty you had, why he is your ex and not your present husband. Think of your husband's good traits, and keep your physical distance as much as possible from the ex-boyfriend.
Cmtdarden: Up next is lukemanjj.
Lukemanjj: Why do men sometimes have short tempers?

BrendaShoshanna: Men sometimes have short tempers because they do not communicate sufficiently with words. They do not express their frustrations and resentments, so instead it all suddenly flares up. Some men feel it is not masculine to talk about their feelings and needs, but it takes as much courage to talk and listen and allow another one to respond to you, as to flare up into a fight.
Cmtdarden: Up next is kristmas30.
kristmas30: My boyfriend lives in Australia. I'm going to see him in a few weeks, but I've been thinking about an ex lately. Do you think it's because I'm lonely?
BrendaShoshanna: Yes, very probably, you are lonely, and there is a gap. When there is a vacuum or gap, we begin to think of or long for someone else. A long distance relationship is very tricky.
kristmas30: Tell me about it!
Cmtdarden: Up last is 3421.
34213421: My boyfriend and I just broke up. How can I get over it? Why does it appear he is not affected by the breakup?
BrendaShoshanna: That's a good question. Men are often afraid to show emotion for fear that it is weak, not masculine and that they will seem too vulnerable. In fact, men are often even more sensitive and vulnerable than women are, which is why they hide it with an extra macho attitude, of not caring. The second part of that question was answered, why he seems not to care. The first part is different. It takes time to get over a relationship, so to start, be patient and kind with yourself. Focus upon your strengths and the good you received from the relationship. Figure out the lessons you learned and then stay aware of all the ways in which you are worthwhile and lovable. Be patient. Surround yourself with positive friends and good activities, and before long you'll be ready to go out there again.
Cmtdarden: Brenda will be doing a wrap up now.
BrendaShoshanna: In closing for tonight, I'd like to say that it's important to realize that men are complex individuals. Also the most crucial and important part of all relationships is honesty and communication.
BrendaShoshanna: If you communicate without blame, or without making the other feel bad about him/herself, they will be able to hear you and be willing to listen, and respond. Trust, loyalty and patience are a part of all relationships. They must be built carefully over time. Come join me at http://www.Brendashoshanna.com for my free e-zine on love. Thank you all for joining me tonight. It's been a real pleasure.
Cmtdarden: Brenda, thank you. It was a pleasure having you again, and we will see you on the boards. We hope to chat with you again soon.
BrendaShoshanna: This is a lively night here tonight. Seems like there's a lot to be said. Hope to see you all again soon.
Cmtdarden: Brenda's book, Why Men Leave, can be located at: Amazon.com - click here BrendaShoshanna: There's a lot to say. Get my book Why Men Leave. Read it. It will help.

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