Dear Girlfriend 911,
I just finished reading your book! Wow, what an awakening to what is happening in my relationship! I am a widow, age 69, who is dating a high school classmate. He's been separated for awhile, but he's not divorced due to a financial disagreement.
I am curious whether your advice pertains to relationships that are started when one is widowed and the other divorced later in life. Are your expectations different because you are not interested in getting remarried or having someone move in with you, but looking for companionship?
We have been seeing each other once a week for the past couple of years. He stated right from the beginning that it was to be a casual relationship. Unfortunately, this is not how it progressed for the next several months. However, about a year into it he backed off and I couldn't explain his behavior until I read your book. It bothers me greatly to the extent that I find myself feeling more alone since we are dating than I did before. He used to call almost every night, now he calls once a week.
I honestly feel that he is afraid of what he is feeling, and this is the reason he backed off.
He is a busy man with a full life and I suspect he sees commitment as control. He has been very conscious of not letting us get too close. However, isn't a two year relationship making some kind of commitment? He tells me I am the only person he wishes to date, and I do know that he is not seeing anyone else. He is, however, very outgoing, and a big flirt which I see as a sign of insecurity! He is an extremely good looking guy and looks much younger than he is, as do I!
The difference that I see is that he wanted a "casual relationship" to start with and was very honest about this feelings. Is this just a cop out, or is he serious?
We have the best time together, and I know he enjoys my company as much as I enjoy his. I must admit I fell for him early on, and I know he feels the same way, even though neither one of us has expressed this.
While the casual is fine, I would still like a long-term commitment, knowing that someone has you very high on their priority list, loves you and always has your back.
I have thought about not seeing him, but am wondering if the rules are different in this kind of relationship. I feel like I deserve so much more! Should I be sending him a Goodbye Letter?
Any help and advice would be much appreciated.
Thank you so much for reaching out to me. I was very touched by your email.
I think you need to get really clear about what it is that you want from this man. Of course it's fine not to want to get married again and just have companionship, as long as both of you are getting your needs and your wants met. A great rule of thumb that I always like to follow is, if it feels right it is right. However, obviously this is not feeling right to you because you do state in your email that you're looking for a long-term commitment, and that you feel like you deserve so much more. And of course you do!! I understand relationships involve some compromise, but you're not even in the kind of relationship you want to be in, and look how much of yourself you're already compromising. It's not okay, and I think you're coming to that realization.
In terms of your man, you can't blame him for being honest and upfront from the beginning. He told you he wanted a casual relationship and you accepted that. Maybe you thought it would change, or you could change him, but it hasn't worked out that way. He has set the standard for this relationship and he has set
the rules. And I would have no issue with this if you were blissfully happy and it all worked. But clearly this is not the case. So to answer your question about the Goodbye Letter, your situation is no different than any other. It doesn't matter what label you put on this relationship, the same rules apply. You've lowered your standards and he's getting away with anything and everything. So a Goodbye Letter would definitely be appropriate to send. If you want one thing and he wants another, then he can't be in your life until he wants the same things that you want. Never operate out of a place of fear, have the courage to tell him how you really feel and what it is you really want. If he's not on the same page let him go. If it's meant to be he'll come back. I totally agree with you that he is afraid of what he's feeling. Cutting him out of your life will force him to dig deep and figure out his true feelings for you. If he doesn't come back then at least you know and can move on and find the right person for you.
I hope this helps you. Good luck!