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Could this be a fear of commitment and if so what can I do about it?

Published on June 17, 2014 by wdevaux

I am a young 61 and my partner for over 7 years is now a young 74. Occasionally throughout our 7 years he would 'disappear' for a while - a few hours and early on for about 3 months and I thought that the relationship was over but then he surfaced again. By the way, we live 6 hours a part and this didn't present a problem. We saw one another on the average every 2 - 3 weeks. We have so much in common and very much enjoy being with one another. A year and a half ago he disappeared again saying he needed some time (for what??). I am an easy going person without placing any demands on him ever except that if he wanted to date other women I hoped he would let me know because I would not remain in the relationship. Anyway, he disappeared for about 8 months and then, again, resurfaced. We saw one another 3 times over 3 months and then he disappeared again only to resurface again recently. He told me that he thought that I was getting too serious, however, he had informed me early on that he didn't want to marry again (unpleasant divorce many years previous) and I was okay with this. Actually, I thought that we had the perfect relationship. I know when we are together I make him happy and he makes me happy so, at this stage of my life, I am really dumbfounded. We were just together a week ago for a couple of days and had a great time and now I think he's disappeared again. I think he's the one (much more so than me) who is scared of getting too close or becoming dependent. If this is the case, what can I do? Please give me your thoughts.


Dear wdevaux,

I can certainly understand why you’re feeling dumbfounded by his consistent ‘disappearances.’

I understand he informed you early on that he didn't want to marry again (unpleasant divorce many years previous) and after one of his ‘resurfacing’ he explained he thought that you were getting too serious. So, the facts are even though you have so much in common and very much enjoy being with each other this man needs lots of ‘space’ in his relationship with you.

I understand you’d like to know what to do. I’m not sure you want to hear this because it doesn’t have anything to do with him. I think your first step is to decide if the amount of time you currently get to spend with him is enough for you. I’d suggest you ask yourself some questions like; Is this good enough because of all the positive things you have together? Are you happy enough when you’re with him to sustain you for the time he’s gone? You’re the only one who can truthfully answer these questions for you.

Then if your answer to these types of questions is yes I suggest you decide to relax and stop wishing for more. Wishing for something you can’t have is so hard on both of you. If your answer to any of these questions is no then you need to tell him you can’t continue to see him because you need to spend more time with a man who you’re in a relationship with. I know it’s absolutely normal to want to spend more time with someone who you enjoy being with and the challenge is you and your partner need a very different amount of ‘together time.’

I understand deciding whether to stay and be okay with the ‘status quo’ or ending your relationship isn’t easy. I’m available to support your through this process if you’d like. I’ll help you get clear about your personal wants and needs – specifically the amount of ‘together time’ you need so you’ll be able to make decisions about what’s best for you. And once you’re clear about what’s best for you together we’ll create a conversation to explain it to your partner.

One additional point - I’m glad to hear you expressed your boundary about not wanting to be in a relationship with him if he wanted to date other women. I’m curious, did he agree to this boundary? And if he did do you trust his word? I’m not saying that his disappearances would include other women I just want to confirm you’re being sexually safe. Recent statistics indicate that people in their 60’s and over have the highest occurrence of ‘sexually transmitted diseases.’

All the best,

Coach Christine Your Tango Expert


I think you already know the truth--right? You know when he is not with you he is exploring other "opportunities"-- Stop making yourself so "available" - How can this be a fulfilling relationship for you? Next time he knocks on the door, don't answer. Get some batteries and let him hear you having a good time without his sorry a...

I understand how hard it can be when someone is not sure if they want to move forward in a relationship (when you are sure you want to) and from my experience in working with many people I recommend the following:

  1. Once you believe you have been honest about your love for him to him and have fully communicated that, then

  2. Let him have his space, usually men or women do not like to be crowded if they are deciding.

  3. Take this time to focus on you and love yourself deeper.

  4. Realize that if he can not commit to a great relationship with you, that is his issue and you should move on in your life. You deserve that.

I know I have made it successfully through this journey of self-love. Relationships are our biggest teachers!

I have created meditation CDs The Healing Journey Within: Meditations For Abundance and Love, Volumes I and II to help anyone on the journey of taking care of themselves and loving themselves (see link below). I also have a new book coming out in a few months: In Love With Me: The Girls Guide to Self-Love and Relationships. The meditation link is below. It is a great resource for anyone who wants to have healthier relationships because it all begins with us!

I wish you all the very best success!

Shannon Rios Paulsen, Life Coach

A 74 year old has obligations to grandkids and children. Is it possible this partner is visiting and bonding with family? You gotta factor in health issues that is causing his vacations