I’ve been dating a fantastic woman for four months exclusively; we’re together as much as possible.
She’s been separated for two years, and is now going through a divorce. Her marriage ended within 18 months, and our romance wasn’t an affair, or an escape.
She knew she’d made a mistake soon after the wedding.
She and her ex had some serious problems while dating, and she’d hoped that marriage would resolve them, but that didn’t happen.
I’ve fallen in love with her and want to say so, but she gets uncomfortable when I start to express strong feelings.
She just changes the subject or walks away.
That makes me uncomfortable, too, and I start doubting myself.
Our chemistry’s terrific, we discuss everything else, and we enjoy each other’s company a lot.
I get it that she doesn’t want to make another mistake. Neither do I.
We’re both late-30s and both have expressed hopes for a more settled future.
But when do I insist on knowing whether this is moving towards a long-term relationship?
Not yet…. four months’ dating is still the “attraction” period.
You have plenty of that between you.
But you do not yet have the deep awareness of each other’s core beliefs, past hurts, and current concerns that bond a couple. That’s why she still fears more disappointment and hurt.
Enjoy this time together, and don’t build anxieties.
Use your intimacy time together to open up about people and events that have affected you. Share the negatives as well as the positives.
When you’ve also weathered some tough moments and disagreements together, that’s the time to express the love and commitment that you feel for her.
My husband and I have a very busy life with our young children.
We love each other, both work hard, are very involved in children’s activities, have almost no time for ourselves.
But my husband will suddenly display jealousy that I might be involved with someone else.
It shocks me because it’s so obvious I have no interest, let alone no time for that!
It happened the other day when I was messaging on my phone a lot while we were watching the kids at baseball practice.
It was because of a text from my close girlfriend about a problem. But I walked away to get out of the sunshine glaring on the phone.
He went quiet and moody, which is how I knew he was upset about something but couldn’t figure out what.
This is only one example… he’ll go silent, not say what’s bothering him, but change his demeanor and only when pressured, reveal that he had a moment of distrust.
How do I deal with this when I’m totally loyal and loving to him?
He’s quick on the trigger towards jealousy, and you need to know why.
There’s a background story somewhere, but it may be painful or awkward for him to discuss it.
Raise the topic gently, not during an incident.
Tell him that your love for him is obvious every day. And you expect to be trusted, since you’ve never shown reasons not to be.
When he doubts you, it’s deeply hurtful.
Say that you believe that his flashes of jealousy have nothing to do with you, but with something that he carries from something or someone else in the past.
Sharing that “trigger” could help you both know and avoid unfair suspicions. Or, if needed, counselling could help him recognize the triggers and handle them differently.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose dying grandmother was always so mean to her, she intends to miss her funeral (June 20):
Reader – “I can understand how this history has shaped you from a very young age.
“Whatever happened in the past, rise above the situation and be very proud of yourself, for what you overcame.
“I would say, attend the funeral.
“Years from now, you do not want to live with regret. Make peace, and maybe your mother will realize how strong and forgiving you are.
“Then she, in turn, will be proud of you. If things between you and your mother then change for the better, attending the funeral is worth the effort.
“But even if not, you will know in your own mind, that you did the right thing.”
Ellie – Some relatives’ cruelty makes respect impossible. But I agree that attempting a new relationship with her mother is important.
Tip of the day:
Saying “I love you” is about more than an attraction. It’s about commitment.