I’ve been dating a man 20-plus years older than me, for three years. He’s going through a divorce.
We love each other deeply and have travelled together. I've met his friends, mother, and siblings. He’s met my teenage son and my family.
However, his two adult children haven’t met me. Whenever we’re invited to a family function, I cannot attend.
They feel their mother’s being replaced.
I also don’t know where our relationship’s going. We don’t discuss long-term plans, like living together or getting married.
Two Big Issues
Is it his kids, or him?
After three years, mature people who love each other must each feel validated by the other, publicly. It means telling grown children that you’re a couple. And can’t keep being excluded.
He apparently moved into this romance early in his divorce process.
He needs to tell them that, while he respects their relationship with their mother, his marriage is over.
The bigger issue: does he really want a next phase for your relationship?
Or is he contented with a date-romance and vacations together? Time to ask.
Waiting around for the topic to arise, is frustrating and foolish. If it’s important for you to know now, say so. Once discussed, other issues will become easier to handle.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the on-off girlfriend who wants to be “just friends” (Nov. 23):
“She’s hardly offering crumbs. She’s offering the reality that it’s time to move on.
“She’s always been on-off, but he’s not accepted this. He’s expected something more.
“Her career progression may mean heavy time commitment for months or years… or a change in city or country, and a new lifestyle or circle of friends.
“Does she struggle over, “Can he move with me and settle well in a new city, or should I give up that chance and stay with him?”
“She apparently doesn’t see a long-term future with him so she’s winding things up. But she wants to end it in a friendly and respectful manner.
“Even if she doesn’t really plan to stay “just friends,” is it so wrong to sugar coat it?”
Ellie – Yes. If she’s offering reality, she has to be honest. Offering “friendship” gives false hope, especially when there’s been on-off history.
It would leave him hoping that she’ll still call, email, ask him to visit, etc.
All just crumbs. She’s over him.
After my best friend separated from her long-time boyfriend, she changed greatly. She’s had many sexual partners within two months and claimed she loved the last three.
She’s lost her job, doesn’t think about anything but men, and shares inappropriate information.
She’s known her new “love” one week.
I’m trying to be supportive but fear for her sexual adventures and am annoyed that she only talks about men and sex.
I avoid phone calls and texts because I’m so disappointed in her behavior.
I’ve voiced my opinions, but nothing matters but that “he” loves her.
Am I Being Selfish?
No, you’re being a concerned best friend. But, instead of judging, ask what else she likes about the latest lover. Suggest meeting him, so she can see him through your eyes too.
Maybe she just needs to feel free for a while. It’s a phase, but you can tell her gently that it comes with consequences.
Examples – sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), damage to her reputation and worse, damage to her self-esteem after each “love” leaves.
Be caring but concerned. This phase will pass.
I’ve attended a biker church for three years. We praise the Lord and rev our Harleys. We’re a loving, hugging bunch.
But there’s one man whom I DON'T want to hug. When he’s (rarely) talked with me, he immediately tuned out.
I figure he doesn't really want to be friends, so I’ve distanced myself (but it’s a very small church).
Now he makes a big deal of it ("Where's my hug?"). I feel uncomfortable but I’m 150% certain his intentions aren’t sexual.
How can I set boundaries with this man without looking like a jerk? How can I hug everybody EXCEPT him?
Should I endure the discomfort or find a new church?
How To Un-hug Someone?
Try this. Step back and pat his arm. If he makes a fuss that others see/hear, just say, casually, “Hey, you’re the guy who doesn’t listen to my conversation…”
He may explain himself, or not.
Stay with the church you like.
Tip of the day:
After three years together you have every right to ask whether there’s a future with a person you love.