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Some time ago a woman whom I shall call Sally came to see me for a coaching session. We sat down and after a few minutes of small talk, she began the session by immediately asking me a question: “why is it”, she said, “that I often feel hurt and disappointed with the men I have been in relationships with? I have had four relationships over the past 10 years. They always seem so promising and hopeful at the beginning – and then gradually the men seem to withdraw and we finally break up, leaving me feeling very hurt and alone again.”

She told me that she met another man about 6 months ago, that she had quickly developed feelings for him and they had moved in together about six weeks ago. I then asked her how she communicated and behaved with him on a typical evening or weekend when they were home with each other. She said that she was very affectionate with him, touching stroking and kissing him a lot. And she usually said “I love you” perhaps six or eight times each evening or on a weekend day. But she said she could see that her many affectionate gestures or words seemed gradually to be making him uncomfortable, which hurt her.

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