What he says and does are totally different

-- Question for John --

I have been in a new relationship for two months. When we started seeing each other and discussing what we both wanted, what he says and what he does are two totally different things. His actions are in my favor, for example, he says he never been to affectionate but he’s always touching me and holding my hand and stuff like that.

From what I gather, and we have talked about seeing each other exclusively, he’s been hurt and yet he says he likes me. But he sometimes confuses me with what he is saying. What he says and does are totally different things.

In the end he said to just have a little patience and give him a little time…. from a guys view what does that mean?

-- Answer from John --

It means that he invites you to let things be the way they are without letting your insecurities take ahold of you — and let things progress naturally, without trying to get some kind of verbal assurances — at 2 months into a new relationship, with two people who have history and baggage and past reasons to be afraid, this sounds like a good invitation from him about how to stay with it with him.

Here is a general finding about what works in love. The real thing in relationship that makes it possible to get through all the hurdles is the ability to soothe your own upset feelings (fear, anxiety, worry, frustration, whatever…). This essentially involves shifting your attention from the exterior — the other person — to the interior — to your inner emotional space. When you try to control things on the outside — which includes spending alot of your time just thinking about these things, what do they mean? etc…. — you are not learning to deal with the emotional realm within you. Instead, you will only tend to try to get the other person to respond in certain ways to make you feel better. And this, in fact, is the crux of the source of all relationship problems.

The only real solution is called emotional self-soothing. This does not mean, however, that you are required to put up with things that really don’t work for you. There is no better time to learn to master your own inner domain of feelings than right now. This will serve to strengthen all your abilities to create and sustain a great relationship over time.

Right now in your situation, for instance, this would mean that you would stop trying to think about what he is seemingly doing to “cause” your feelings of discomfort or worry. Instead, you would turn your focus to self-nurturing and learning to soothe your own inner world of feelings (the book above discusses specific ways to do this) and as far as the external world is concerned, making sure your support system remains strong from other friends so that you do not get more dependent on him than he is on you. You keep a sense of balance and interdependence, by taking real good care of yourself. This lets the heat off him (I understand you have been intentionally keeping it off, but I’m talking about dealing better with the internal sources of the worry). And that ends up making him feel better around you, naturally.

Actions speak the truth. Words are flimsy and cheap. Go with what he is doing — and do not worry so much about what he says right now.