My close friend is a woman who looks 50, but is 63. She’s very attractive, intelligent, fit, and interesting. She had a very good job over the years and now only takes on short-term contracts for a few clients.
Meanwhile, she keeps meeting and losing what I call “the same guy.”
He’s always a good-looking man, early-60s, divorced, also fit and intelligent, usually retired and financially comfortable.
He’s keenly interested in his golf and/or tennis game, attends sports events with his men friends, and enjoys periodic travel to warm destinations in winter.
Sometimes he invites her along, or they “meet up there,” and she pays her own way. Otherwise, they live apart but have weekend sleepovers that include sex.
My friend, divorced long ago, says she’d like to be in a long-term committed relationship but this type of man usually only stays in the picture for ten months maximum (only rarely past a year).
She’s not looking for a free ride or to marry someone for security. Though independent, she’s a very warm person.
She says she wants a partner whom she deeply likes and respects. But these limited relationships don’t become emotionally bonding.
What’s she doing wrong that only attracts such men?
Curious and Concerned
Two people similarly independent, self-sufficient, and perhaps also wary from past experiences, don’t really need each other.
The “same man” - set in his pattern, is clearly not driven by a desire for love and attachment, though he enjoys sex. (Nothing described suggests he also wants deeper “intimacy.”)
Instead, her male companions sound like, “been there, done that, time for someone new.”
Your friend needs to assess whether she can even handle a true-love relationship.
It might mean allowing a man into her life who has some “complications” - e.g. less money than she has.
Or a man with a thirst for trying new experiences with her, such as adventure travel or living elsewhere, not the predictable routines of these other types (and her, too).
Or getting close with someone truly “different” from the rest, in diversity, background, experience.
Until she’s open to a companion unlike the others, she’s unlikely to find real partnership with the men she currently meets, dates, and doesn’t hear from again after months of same-old.
As a friend, ask her what she’s willing to risk.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the husband who doesn’t do his fair share of home help (Sept. 27):
“The husband likes having a maid, cook, nanny and sex-worker without having to contribute to the household routines. He even resents the two nights he has to put the kids to bed.
“His passive-aggressive response demonstrates that he’s also frustrated by the life changes and responsibility of children and a home.
“She’s so busy in her homemaker role she has no time for herself or her husband. She should do less. Off-loading some of her workload and building time for herself will de-escalate the conflict over bedtime routines.
“A practical solution is to hire a service to do some of the chores like cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. The cost is offset by improvement to her mental health. Also, divorce will be way more costly.
“Another step is to move dinner-time for her and her husband until after the children are through their bedtime routines, even a couple of nights a week.
“A little couple time will go a long way to feeling appreciated and possibly rekindle the spark for both of them.”
Reader #2 – “In my family, with a husband who worked full time and me a primary stay-at-home mum, our "rule" around the division of labour was that anything that happened at home after each of our busy days, was a shared responsibility.
“Having a husband lying on the couch in the evening while the mum struggles to get the kids to bed, is just not acceptable. Neither is his not helping with supper and clean up.”
Reader #3 – “What I see is a couple not sharing family activities. Both husband and wife should be preparing the meal which the family will eat. Alternate days, decide what to share, etc.
“The same goes for bedtime. Each can do it separately with each child, and just switch days.
“It builds closeness with the parent who’s often gone from home from eight to ten hours a day. It’s good bonding time.”
Tip of the day:
Bored with go-nowhere relationships? Get to know someone with different interests, fresh ideas, an open-mind.