Do I choose emotionally unavailable men?

My boyfriend of one year seems withdrawn from communication and physical contact with me. I noticed this distance several months ago and than it seemed to improve.  Lately, if I hug him or try to be intimate with him he completely withdraws.  I have asked him what is wrong and he gets upset and just accuses me of basing our relationship on sex.
We spend a lot of time together when we are not working (both of us have demanding jobs).  We have fun and have a lot in common.  He also said he is attracted to me and is just not in the mood.  I feel something is wrong and I clearly cannot talk with him about it or it turns into a argument.
He has a very hard time communicating about our relationship. He has never talked about a future with us or told me he loves me.  He said he has a hard time with the “L” word and he does not throw it around freely.  He claims I should just know how he feels.
I am divorced and was married seven years to a man who could not be affectionate with me.  He eventually cheated on me and became physically violent.  I wonder if I am basing my perception of my relationship on what happened to me in the past?  Or do I just choose emotionally unavailable men?  Thank you! singed stazie, age 35

Dear Stazie, You could be doing both.  The odds of choosing the same kind of partner is huge unless and until you do some soul searching and take steps to learn from your past relationship and work on your level of self-esteem before entering into a new relationship.  With that said here are a couple of suggestions for you to consider.

1.  For the next two weeks don’t ask anything of your boyfriend – no physical contact or sex unless he approaches you first.  No communication about the relationship unless he brings up the subject.

2.  During that two week period be kind to your partner but not demanding or rude in anyway.  Read the following articles during that time and prepare yourself for my next suggestion.  Read Accepting Influence and Softening the Approach and Express and Own Your Feelings .  Also read all of the articles we have on Expressing Love .

3.  After the two week period approach your boyfriend in a loving and supportive way and tell him you need 15 minutes of his time to talk about your relationship concern.  Set a time and a place where you won’t be interrupted.  Have a timer on the table and honor the time frame of 15 minutes.  Once the timer goes off, thank your partner for his time and praise him for listening and showing that he cares.  If you both decide you need more time then set another time to talk that you both are in agreement too and keep it to the 15 minute time frame.

4.  During this meeting practice what you have learned from the articles that you have read including the article Words do Count . Use the “I” statements and talk about your feelings instead of pointing the finger or accusing him or shaming him in anyway.  Explain as clearly as you can what you need from him to feel his love.  Ask him what he needs from you to feel loved.  Be a good listener and really hear what he has to say without trying to defend yourself.

Also, during the two week period read our articles on Self-esteem . Anytime we experience a divorce the self esteem plummets and it takes some time to rebuild and not repeat some of our past behaviors.  The better you feel about yourself, the stronger you will be and the more likely you will receive the behavior you want and desire from a partner.   Remember you can only change yourself and your behavior.  Read Change and Grow and take it from there.  So many people make the mistake of trying to change their partners.  The only person you can change is yourself and as you change and grow for the better that will also influence and create change from others.

Please understand you have free will.  This advice is given only in the realm of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a substitute for therapy or professional counseling.  We wish you well.

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