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Men with tough shells


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I have been v good friends, with my boyfriend, for over 10 years before we started dating. He is 54 years old and although he has previously been I a committed relationship for long time, he has never lived with anyone. We are very intuitive of each other, on the same wavelength and have great chemistry. I get him and he gets me.


Both of us have been very hurt from previous relationships, and have bad childhoods, we can related to each other concerning each others emotional baggage. He says I understand him like no one else has done, when he really opens up to me most time he ends up in tears. This only tends to happen though when he has had a few drinks, otherwise if we talk intimately or about love he tends to laugh it off or make jokes.


Its like he is two people his outer shell is his humor and sarcasm which deflects anyone getting too close or hurtful, and soft squidgy insides is just crying out to be swept off his feet with love and too feel secure in love.


All his actions and words show he wants us to be together and to start a family, we are currently in a LDR but every time we spend time together he then retreats into his shell and for around a week after wards its like he is a different person. I remember his last partner commenting on the fact they never spent more than two nights together, as he needed his space. He is a workaholic that really needs his space ( I do to) and I understand that, but is this a normal male cancerian trait in a relationship?


The trouble is it still makes me feel insecure, I know its him and it has no reflection on "us", we have been through a really sticky period where I did get v clingy, needy and tried to move things on too fast and i scared him, but we worked through that through communication and understanding.


I know its just him when he needs his down time, and space to breathe, but it does kind of trigger my needy feelings and I start wanting to call him and text him just for affirmation that he his not rejecting me. ( which my mind tells me is stupid but my heart otherwise!)


I have read on this site that older men need a lot of reassurance, and you need to take things slow with them, he has told me that he is a very "trying" partner in relationships, its almost like he is testing to see what my response will be to things.


I just really need some reassurance that it is normal for cancerians men to retreat after periods of emotional, intimacy and physical contact. We still talk nearly everyday, but when he is tired he is a different guy its like all his sparkle has been drained out of him, he does also keep saying that he is an "emotional virgin" and I need to take his Cherry! lol


Many Thanks


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you mentioned his childhood. were his parent seperated or in a turbulent marriage?

it may be possible that he doesnt know how to be emotionally available or in a relationship because he never had a 'mentor' so to speak to show him what a relationship was.

my dad was emotionally distant to me growing up, and never had a lasting relationship. because of this i am unaware as to how to open up and trust people in relationships.

i am seeing my psychologist again for this.

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Yes, and it's not cancerian related. My guy is 52 and he has always been sort of relationship schizo. I think it's a fear of intimacy or a learned trait that self protection and privacy is important. It caused a lot of fights with us, thinking that he was distant, disengaged, mad at me, you name it. Some of that was my own insecurity, but his behavior was very erratic.


I myself am a Cancer, and I go through swings.... sometimes I want a lot of socialization and attention, at other times I want to be left alone or I am tired. Plus my job is highly stressful and I can't just "turn off" when I walk through the door or pick up the phone. There is no predictable pattern... ie, I don't do this after emotional intimacy as you describe. It's cyclical but at most you might say it follows my hormones, and that's a very loose association. It's more the amount of emotions I have been dealing with.... periods of high emotion wear me out.

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Yeah he had a tough time with his dad when he was younger, he was an alcoholic who also used to knock him and his mum around. That's why he is a workaholic now, he had 3-4 jobs as a kid on the go at once and it gives him a buzz to be constantly working, it replaced the bad feelings of his parents giving him no attention, he found praise elsewhere.

When I explained this too him he said I had hit the nail on the head, and he cried saying he felt so relived that he has meet someone who finally understands why he behaves the way he does.

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well. i'd say counselling wouldnt hurt. it can help you both learn how to better communicate and resolve these problems. i know what its like to be behind a wall against my will. i bet he really wants to feel, but may find alot of trouble in breaking them down. i'd say that you are going to be an excellent help to that though.

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we both know its gonna be hard, both agree we are both as equally screwed up and cranky. I make us communicate, when we dont we both end up in our shells and things start breaking down, but I'm learning his signals of when he is Eddie and when he is Mr Road Runner and when he is the latter giving him space.





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