Dear Debbie,

I have been in many bad relationships and now find myself holding back with a guy I really like, what can I do?

Dear Holding back in Tamarac,

You may be holding back in this relationship because you were hurt in the past and are scared to become vulnerable again. This holding back creates a feeling of unease since you are not truly being real with your feelings. This internal void can only be filled once you are honest with yourself and the relationship.

In order to allow yourself to open up in the relationship you will need to trust. Trust is one of the most important aspects in a relationship. Trust comes from within, it is a choice. It is difficult for you to trust when other men have proven that you should not. However, it is important that you recognize that you may be comparing guys and relationships. This comparison creates the expectation that what happened in the past may repeat. This thought creates fear and causes you to hold back.

The truth is that the pattern of your old relationship may or may not repeat. There may be parts of this relationship that remind you of your past relationship. If that is the case take a step back and reflect what it brings up for you and what lessons you can learn from it. This awareness will help you see if this relationship is a healthy one. When you approach the relationship in this way you access your power; decide to trust, learn, and create the relationship that you want.

It sounds like you really like this guy, if that is the case, really look at him with new eyes, without comparison, and with awareness. Trust is a choice, the “what if” that you are worried about can turn into the “what if” that is ecstasy.


Please be advised that the advice written in this column is not a substitution for psychotherapy.


Debbie, is a highly skilled and compassionate therapist. She provided deep insight and powerful tools to help us as a couple to transform our lives and our relationship.


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