Dear Dr. Romance:

I found your site by accident and I hope you can help me.
I have been divorced for one year and have been seeing a co-worker for most of that time. I have known him for five years and have been in a "relationship" with him for one of those. He is my best friend. When things started out they were great, and within 3 months, he began to not kiss me when we had sex. I really didn't think much of it, but then one night I asked him why and he said it was too personal and that he didn't have the same feelings for me as I did for him, (I had professed my love for him). We split up for one week and were back together having a friends with benefits relationship for the last 9 months.

I know what your thinking f/w/b is stupid and NEVER works. I know that. But I thought if I just hung on long enough, he would get that feeling back. If I ignore him, he pursues me, if I pursue him, he backs away. He has had 2 major breakups, (one a marriage where she was unfaithful), and the other he wanted to marry her and she left him, up and cold one day. It took him 3 years to
get over that, and I was the one that helped him through it.  

The man is my soulmate and we both know that. We have discussed it. We have kept this relationship pretty much a secret because of our jobs (although it is not against company policy).  People who do know say that he is just scared and will never make that commitment again. people who don't know us, but have been around us, have told me: "Do you know that he cares about you? You can see how he watches you and looks at you." And he does.

He wants it to be over and for us to be just friends. I want him for a lifetime mate. I can not get over him and don't want to risk walking away and him saying that I really never cared for him. If he truly doesn't want anything but friendship, why is he always still so sweet to me and looks at me, emails me, calls me, etc.? 

I can't get over a man who I see everyday and treats me like a queen. I wish you could see him the way he treats me and watches me. Can a person be so afraid of getting hurt that they would sabotage their own happiness, not to mention mine? i love him with all my heart and soul. I can't quit my job, and I can't ignore him at work, we have to co-mingle in our job. Help me, I am at the end of my rope. Please Please help me. Just this once!!!

Dear Reader:

I think you've scared the heck out of this guy.  You need to learn pacing: not getting too far ahead of the man you're dating.  Telling him you love him, and he's your soul mate was a big mistake.  It made him afraid of your neediness.

He could be commitment phobic, which means he may never make a commitment; or he could just be scared,and you're making it way too easy for him.  The smartest thing you can do is cut off the "benefits".  You can see my views in "Friends With Benefits."  If you want a real relationship with this guy, you'll need to handle it very differently.  Give yourself and him a chance to find out how much he cares for you.  You do that by backing off, and giving him the space to be in the lead.  Few men like to be led around by the nose (or any other part.)  Instead of taking the lead, back way and give him the chance to let you know what he wants. 

You've set a bad precedent here, so it may take him a while to realize he can't just sit back and wait for you to meet his needs.  You have to let him know it's a two-way street, so wait (no matter how tough it is) for him to make a move.  Once you've got him moving toward you, play it cool.  Use the "tennis match" approach, and only make a move toward him after he's made one toward you.

This will be a test to see how much he really cares; or whether he's just using you.  Read my article:  "Setting Boundaries and Saying No." for more information about how to do this. Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences has excellent information on how to talk to a partner who has different views about your relationship, 

Love Styles


For low-cost counseling, email me at

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.