I’ve dated a woman I love for over six years, always living apart.
She says she’s never had romantic feelings for me. I’ve accepted this.
Her strength has inspired me. She’s exciting, and a beautiful person.
There were some tough times. She suffered terrible psychological abuse in her marriage, which ended 10-plus years ago. Things would remind her of her marriage and then she’d judge me against this.
I now realize that I never set boundaries about how she can treat me. I got so overwhelmed by her anxiety that I couldn’t bear to add more.
I understand the sickening legacy of domestic abuse without having to experience it.
I’ve accused her of never committing enough to make things work. I’m now realizing that I never gave it my all. It’ll be my greatest regret.
It may not have changed our splitting up, but I’d feel better. I cannot make up for all the counselling she went through to be with me.
I have difficulty connecting with people. I’ve come to a superficial level with some. I wanted that to happen with her but I kept waiting.
I’d love another chance, even if for a few months, to see if things change.
She was almost agreeable to a limited trial but I realized that it’d only prolong the inevitable.
She’s said that she’d like to remain in contact as friends. I honestly don’t think I can do that. I’ll always love her and I’ll never regret the time I was with her.
I feel it’s best for both of us if we just say our goodbyes. Is it ever a good idea to remain in contact?
If you change nothing, then no, it’s not a good idea to maintain contact.
But there seems to have been way too much double-think and second-guessing about how to gain her love or accept that it wasn’t going to happen.
Six years is too long to only wish.
Your sensitivity to her past abuse was admirable. Yet you let it hold you back from fully expressing your own feelings.
Your inability to connect more deeply with someone you love suggests that counselling may be what you need as much as her.
If you gain personal insight from therapy, you can then reach out and see if she’s interested in a second chance.
We have several grandchildren and love them all. We set aside money to help with their future education.
The eldest is ready for college. Meanwhile, some of these families have split up and relationships become more distant. We try to keep in touch but it’s not always been reciprocated.
Suddenly, when school tuition was due we got the email asking for money. It hurts that all we are to the student is a bank. Now, tuition’s been paid and not a word of thanks from the recipient.
We’re trying to appease ourselves by stating the money’s being used for "a better future for our grandkids."
Can we acceptably express our feelings?
You’re not “the bank,” but thoughtful grandparents who believe that education is an important key to young people’s futures.
Unfortunately, these young people often weren’t taught to show gracious thanks and appreciation of their grandparents’ generosity.
But you can teach the student. Send upbeat occasional emails showing interest in how school’s going… favourite subject, best prof, etc. Keep it light, say how proud you are of him/her. Worth a try.
FEEDBACK Regarding the boyfriend of one year who now sees much less of his girlfriend (Sept. 10):
Reader #1 - “I think he should check whether he had some physical problem, such as sleep apnea or something else which is making him tired and feeling old.”
Reader #2 – “I feel that her partner’s experiencing depression, due to what he said (no energy, isolating himself, no ambition).”
Ellie – It’s tempting for any of us, including me, to be armchair diagnosticians. But experience has taught me to follow all the clues.
They previously saw each other three-to-four times weekly. If he’d started having sleep apnea he would’ve said something about it to someone he sees that often.
He also doesn’t like holding hands, isn’t affectionate, and sex remains “routine.” These are unlikely to be sudden changes, but part of the winding down of his interest in the relationship.
Still, I did suggest the “girlfriend” raise the questions these two readers asked.
Tip of the day:
If you can’t connect fully with someone you love, find out why and maybe there’s a chance.