Love And Life Toolbox
love and life tool box

Ask Lisa: I Ruined my Relationship out of Fear

My boyfriend and I recently broke up. I realized it’s because I fought him constantly for petty things because of issues that I’ve realized stemmed from my past. And every time I fought him I’ve noticed he pulls back and gets confused over his feelings for me, even if he compartmentalized the situation and forgets the fight, however the subconscious parts remember.

When we first started off as friends I kept pushing him to other girls until he thought he had no chance with me whatsoever and pushed his feelings for me and really thought of me as just a friend. And he was resolved that we would just be friends. Until I told him how I felt about him. At first he fought me and said that all he could see of me was friendship, but as time went on, the feelings he hid came out and he gave me his heart.

Well idiot that I was I kept fighting him again, mostly this time of jealousy. He kept taking it until he couldn’t take it anymore and ended it with me. Days later I wrote him a letter trying to get him back and start again. He hesitated because he said he already is convinced that all he thought of me was friendship and he’s made up his mind. He felt nothing for me but friendship and didn’t want to lose me as his friend. I convinced him somehow and he agreed so we started out slow and days later we were back to what we were again.

This time when we broke up I took longer to contact him. I egged him on to end things because he was confused on his feeling for me and it just made me resent him. Even though we fight, we’ve never insulted each other, nor yelled at each other. He was devastated thinking he was the one who ended things, when in reality I manipulated it to make it look like it was all his idea so I didn’t have to feel guilty for what i did.

I feel so remorseful. I realized I ruined the best relationship I ever had because of fear. We have this great cosmic connection that even he said was so rare, most people don’t have what we have.

I finally got a chance to talk to him today and apologized for what I did to him, but he can’t seem to remember the fights. and he said all he felt now was friendship. I was like? just last week you cried because you liked me so much. And I realized he did it again, his mind compartmentalized and placed me in the friendship file. His mind is so quick to go into a survival mode. I asked him if we could start off as friends, and dating no one for 2 months. he agreed but he told me not to expect anything nor to pressure him. i agreed since i did the damage and i want to make things up to him.

Even though from my experience it took about less than a week for his subconscious to remember his feelings for me, what can I do to help him remember and get back his feelings for me. I’m scared that I have done so much damage that his feelings are so hidden way down deep. I have only two months. I feel like I’m working with someone with amnesia or something and racing against time. And why do guys do this? How can they compartmentalize that easily?

Right now we’re starting off as friends, chatting really well as if nothing happened at all. We’re making things comfortable and he is sending me winking emoticons a lot even talking about the first moments we flirted with each other. i won’t read too much into it, but that is what he did with me when he flirted.

Please help me what can I do to help him remember and get back his feelings for me? We live in different continents so this is not going to be easy to get him to have those feelings for me again, but I’m willing to take people’s suggestions.

Lisa’s thoughts…

It’s very common for fear to be a block to intimacy and real connection.  People are fearful for so many reasons – usually because they’ve been hurt before.  You can identify the fact that you’ve purposely sabotaged the relationship with him – several times.  And he seems to be pretty good at “compartmentalizing” so he blocks himself off from his sadness/disappointment easier than you do.

The best way to create emotional safety is to have an atmosphere of open communication, understanding, validation, empathy and respect for each other.  It sounds like you two have a great foundation with such a good friendship!

But – you have a great deal of distance between you.  This will likely prove challenging but not impossible. Work really hard at keeping your heart open, noticing the fear that comes up for you and sit with that feeling.  You can’t control what he does – all you can do to promote the best possible outcome is to be as open and present as you can be.  Perhaps he has been so hurt by you that he is holding back – which would be understandable right?

You can’t manipulate him into “getting his feelings back” for you.  Perhaps he has them but he’s protecting himself.  Create a safe haven for him to come out from hiding.


Need advice?  Consider a Relationship Consultation for guidance.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of with emotional and relationship health articles, guides, courses and other tools for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in,, and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers Emotional Health and Relationship Consultations via email, phone or video conference.

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