How Does A Guy Who Says He’s Afraid Of Getting Hurt End Up Hurting You?

It’s one of the most confusing aspects of dating: You’re into a guy and feel even more smitten when he says he’s afraid of getting hurt because it makes him seem more trustworthy and emotionally intelligent. Then he dumps you or goes AWOL, checking out of the relationship before it can bloom into something real. Why does this happen?

  1. He lied. This is the most obvious reason that comes to mind: the guy is a jerk who lied about being afraid or insecure. Why? He probably thought that showing you a fragile, sensitive side would win you over. It was his way of playing games with your heart. Heck, if he was really afraid of being hurt, he wouldn’t have hurt you because he would have liked you enough not to.
  2. He was hoping to keep you hanging on. He might have said he’s afraid to get hurt, but he was actually unsure of where he stood and what he wanted from you. He expressed his fears, you trusted him and perhaps most importantly, you stuck around waiting for him until he could decide what he wanted to do. He made the choice to end things. Jerk.
  3. He’s afraid of intimacy. Being afraid of getting hurt then checking out of the relationship could mean the guy was afraid to get serious. It might sound like a copout, but he probably has negative views about commitment and love, with the result that falling for you felt like pain inflicted on him — no breaking of his heart required because the risk of it was traumatic enough. The most infuriating thing about this is that a guy who’s afraid of intimacy will probably leave in the best of times, just when your relationship is becoming serious because that’s when the greatest risk of heartbreak arises.
  4. He’s got trust issues. The painful heartbreak that littered his romantic past could be what made the guy afraid of trusting you. It’s really not about you but women in general. But wait — everyone’s got some degree of trust issues, so if he’s holding onto this to the point that he missed out on a great opportunity with you, it does make you wonder how deeply damaged he is. You had a great escape — if he can’t be open to trust, there’s no way he’ll be able to love.
  5. He couldn’t rise to the expectations. When a relationship becomes more serious, there are more things at stake but also more that’s demanded of both partners. If the guy bolted, it could mean he was unable to deal with the expectations that come with being in an exclusive, committed relationship. He’d rather stick to one-night stands or flings. His loss.
  6. His past has a hectic hold on him. How much do you really know about the guy’s previous relationships? If he dealt with unrequited love, bad heartbreak, and so on, this could make him bolt on a relationship that seems too good to be true. Of course, you shouldn’t pay the price for what others did to him. If he’s trapped in the sordid past, he can stay there instead of flinging it at new people he dates.
  7. He’s insecure and worries he’s not worthy. We like to think of guys as egotistical and super confident, but that’s not the case for all of them. It could be that he was afraid of getting hurt because he thinks you’re better than him or he’s not on your level. When that fear becomes overwhelming, he has to dip. It’s a shame, really, but it’s his loss.
  8. He was playing you. When a guy says he doesn’t want to get hurt or he’s afraid you’ll hurt him, he could actually be projecting his own guilt of being an a-hole onto you. It’s similar to when guys cheat and they ask if you’re the one who’s cheating or become suspicious of you. So when he said he was afraid of getting hurt, what you assumed was his sensitive, fragile side could actually have just been his manipulative streak at play. Good riddance!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.