You keep meeting people who would objectively seem to rise to your high standards and criteria for being a good partner. But once you get involved with them, you realize that your partner has many irritating qualities, is highly demanding of your time and affection, and is increasingly critical of your behavior in the relationship. You just can’t do anything right in this other person’s eyes. At the same time, your dating partner tells you repeatedly how much they love and adore you. You say to yourself, “Who needs this?!” You know it’s never going to work out, but you can’t stand the thought of breaking their heart.
Not wanting to hurt your partner, and not wanting to be viewed as a shmuck by her family and friends (who you generally like), you decide to do what you think is the right thing. You keep dating her, but you are careful not to touch her too much or show her too much affection. This isn’t that difficult, because by this time, her tender touches make you anxious and uneasy anyway. You start telling her that you don’t think you can give her what she wants in the relationship… that she deserves better. You hope that she will break up with you, so that you don’t have to personally hurt her… but still she hangs in there.