Intimacy questions - The Romeo and Juliet Syndrome!

I have intimacy questions:
I've been going out with Brad for over a year now. We seem to be going in the right direction, and we've talked about making it more permanent. We see each other as much as we can, and when we're together he can get really affectionate, if you know what I mean. But sometimes, he pulls away, as if he just doesn't want to be with me. After a couple of days, he's back to his old loving self - as if nothing ever happened. He is not seeing anyone else. I put up with it because when he does come back, he's wonderful and compassionate. Even though this happens very infrequently, I am concerned. I don't want to fully commit to him if he continues to be like this. What should I do about this. Please give me some good advice!
Stephanie in Minneapolis

Dear Stephanie,
What you have is something that has been going on for centuries. Let's give you an answer by going to Act III of Romeo and Juliet. Yes, even Shakespeare was able to pinpoint this little problem. In act three, Mercutio and Tybalt are fighting in the streets of Verona. Romeo, fresh off his secret marriage to Juliet, cousin to Tybalt, arrives at the fight and tries to stop the violence. As he steps between the two, Tybalt is able to stab Mercutio and kill him. Here are Romeo's words as he looks at his fallen friend:

This gentleman, the prince's near ally,

My very friend, hath got this mortal hurt

In my behalf - my reputation stained

With Tybalt's slander - Tybalt, that an hour

Hath been my cousin. O sweet Juliet,

Thy love hath made me effeminate

And in my temper soft'ned valor's steel.

The critical line here is, Thy love hath made me effeminate. Men are very masculine. It is in their nature to be strong and independent. When they are in a relationship, they sometimes lose sight of their masculinity and it is a natural occurrence for them to pull away in order to fill the need for independence. Too many intimacy questions result in that need to pull away. If not, it can lead to negative outcomes. Romeo's love for Juliet made him too weak to really defend his friend. Men need that time to re-acquaint themselves with that independent feeling, Stephanie. If you just give him the time he needs, he will come back better than ever. Don't push him to give you what he is unable to give you at that time and you will be glad you let him have his space.

Hope that helps!

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