My ex-boyfriend of six years, early-50s, suffers from erectile dysfunction, pre-diabetes, and early stage prostate cancer. He’s overweight and unfit.
Since these health problems emerged one year ago, he’s reacted by withdrawing, and pushing me away. We spend less time together, there’s very little intimacy, or affection. He no longer wants to sleep in the same bed.
He became mean and critical toward me. Before, he was affectionate, sexual, and attentive. We had a loving, close relationship, and spent a lot of time together, but didn’t live together.
He’s a macho person who doesn’t show vulnerabilities. He’s very emotionally controlled. Yet he’s somewhat insecure underneath and doesn’t have close emotional relationships with friends, or family.
He was formerly needy of my time and attention, and needed consistent reassurance of my commitment.
My response to his withdrawing was to feel rejected. I often became angry and nagging, but I’ve since taken responsibility for my poor responses.
He’s unwilling to talk about our issues, refused to see a doctor, and told me to just leave him alone.
We stopped speaking three months ago when he cancelled his birthday plans with me to spend it with his ex-wife and adult children. I was extremely hurt; this hadn’t been our past pattern. He doesn’t like his ex-wife, they’ve been apart 20 years.
I’ve initiated a plan to meet soon to discuss the dissolution of our relationship.
Is this a typical scenario around serious health issues and the man’s inability to perform satisfactorily sexually?
I’m having a hard time about his shutting me out.
I truly love him and was prepared to stick by him, in sickness and in health.
It’s not typical, but it’s understandable, once he felt you let him down.
He’s seen the shadow of death, and he’s scared. You knew his personality, yet instead of accepting his initial withdrawal by considering his fear, and sexual embarrassment, you made it all about you being rejected.
It couldn’t be dismissed simply, as “my poor responses.” And hurt/anger over his retreat into “family” was a mistake; he needed comfort wherever he could get it.
Yet, there may be hope for re-connecting when you meet IF you drop all your own defenses and excuses, show your great concern for him, and ask to try again.
If you can’t handle this approach and mean it, forget it.
I've been in a one-year relationship with a former co-worker known to be a "bad boy."
We’re both in our 40s – he’d had several broken relationships plus a divorce; I’m going through a separation.
He professed love, said he’d never felt this way for anyone else.
Recently, something didn't feel right. I snooped and discovered his profile on a dating site. Plus numerous text messages to numbers I didn't know, along with pictures to and from people he’d "met" on the site.
He now says he's prepared to be committed. How do you trust after being deceived?
Will Time Tell?
More snooping, doubting him, and worrying, won’t help.
What can help is taking a break while you complete your separation. You’re too vulnerable during this process, likely to feel needy, and accept things you’ll later regret.
If he still feels ready to commit in several months – after you’ve been apart and not leaning on him – then the next helpful step is couples’ counselling. He needs to explore, and you understand, why he always lacked commitment previously, and why you both feel you can sustain this relationship.
I’ve had a very good, long friendship with a guy friend. Recently we started to flirt a little, and then it turns out we both like each other more than as friends.
But he said he’s not looking for a serious relationship right now, just to fool around and have fun.
How do I tell him that I don’t want to fool around in the way that he wants to, without our friendship becoming awkward?
Friends or More?
He doesn’t want more, he wants “benefits.” Call it what it is, and say that’s not for you.
Your sense is right on, that people who become friends with benefits have a difficult time going back to just friends, especially when it ends because one or the other has found a true dating partner.
So stop flirting and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” And try to carry on as before. It may or may not work.
Tip of the day:
During health scares, showing support is crucial, while self-interest is distancing.