Anger Management: Don’t Scare Her Away

 By Nina Atwood

Dear Nina: My ex-girlfriend and I met on Myspace, emailed for a week, phoned for a week, then met for dinner and a walk. We dated for two and a half weeks, walking along the beach holding hands. Then she blew me off, saying it was just a friendship and she didn’t have time for a relationship. I was angry but I moved on. A month later, she called me, apologized and wanted another chance. We dated for three months and it went well. Her only complaint was that it was annoying to witness me getting mad at drivers in other cars. One night we were watching a movie about a man physically abusing a woman and I got very angry. She called me later and said that I scared her with my anger, and broke up. I tried to stay away. A week later I called but only got her sister on the phone. Since then I’ve text messaged her sister, sent a few emails to my ex-girlfriend, and gotten little response. How do I turn this around and get her back? I think she’s running from our relationship because of childhood issues. I’m losing sleep and full of anxiety. Help! – David

Dear David: Your ex-girlfriend has given you a great opportunity – to focus on your own growth so that this doesn’t happen again. Fear and love do not go well together, so when you frightened her, you likely crushed whatever feelings of affection she had for you. It’s not okay to act out your anger while driving; it’s not okay to show anger when she breaks up; it’s not okay to act out your reaction to a television show. It’s ironic that the show was about a man abusing a woman, and your reaction scared your girlfriend.

Anger is your theme, and that’s what you have to fix if you ever want to have a good relationship with a woman. Your reaction to the television show indicates that it’s an issue for you. I’m wondering if you witnessed mistreatment of a woman – your mother, or someone else dear to you. I’m wondering if you grew up with an angry father. Whatever the issue, it’s yours now to deal with.

The first step for you is to stop contacting your ex. She’s made it clear that she’s not interested. When a woman says “no,” you must respect that boundary. No matter how frustrating it is for you, that’s your issue, not hers. Stop. If there’s any hope for a future with her, it will be because she walks back in the door, not because you coerced her back into your life (which I don’t think is a possibility as she’s clearly closed the door). If you continue to contact her sister or her, she will feel harassed, and that’s not at all the feeling you want to inspire in a woman you care about.

Second, if you’re not already, get yourself in therapy and deal with your anger issues. The point of growth for you is to learn how to be frustrated and not act it out; to learn the daily practices that will re-wire your brain toward greater serenity so that most things don’t frustrate you. As you change your level of frustration, reduce the emotional triggers that set you off, and learn to accept other people’s choices and behaviors without taking them personally, you change your own radar for relationships. You will attract women who are strong and confident, and you won’t be threatened. You’ll be confident that your love is enough for the right woman. You will easily let go of anyone who doesn’t feel that you are right for her, and that will be okay.

Entry Filed under: Advice for Men,Ask the Singlescoach®,Breaking Up,Dating,Personal Growth,Relationships

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