How to Know If You Are Settling

Are you settling for the wrong man?Are you settling for the guy you are with?

Should you look for a better relationship when things are “just okay” in your current relationship?

Women who are currently in a satisfying relationship can still point out a few flaws in their partner. Some of those flaws may have worried them when they were contemplating a commitment.

Other women can tell you about a guy they wish they had never pulled away from. How do you know whether you are going to regret the decision later to pour your heart, life, and time into a man?

Naturally, there are several different ways you can try to make a decision about a man. But there’s one method in particular that I really like. The method I’m talking about is superior, in my opinion, because it gets right to the heart of the matter.

Here’s the method I suggest.

Ask yourself if you are happier because of this man’s presence in your life right now.

Then switch that question around.

Ask yourself if you would feel a sense of relief if he broke off the relationship with you tomorrow.

Here’s why these two important questions matter more than all the guesswork you could do about the future. Trying to decide if you are settling is really the wrong question. I say it’s the wrong question because it requires that you do the impossible. It requires you to compare the man you are with to some imaginary man you might meet in the future.

Imaginary people can have any qualities you want. In real life, all people have flaws. Yes, some people are better suited to a relationship with you, and some people really can make you happier. Nonetheless, that does not change the fact that it is impossible to know whether you will one day meet someone who makes you even happier than the guy you are with. Since it is impossible to know the answer to the question, it’s not a useful question to ask. It’s better to focus on what is happening now.

Let’s get back to those two questions that help you decide.

First, are you happier because this man is in your life right now? If so, I would venture to bet you are not settling. If his presence in your life adds meaning and joy, you should embrace him whole-heartedly and turn down the dial on your worry a couple notches.

Now to the second question.

Would it be a relief if he called you tomorrow to break off the relationship or ask for some time apart to date other people? I realize you would most likely have mixed emotions, but if one of those emotions in the mix was a significant sense of relief, there’s a good chance you are settling. If a breakup would only yield feelings of loss, and no sense of relief, you most certainly are not settling. He is a man you want in your life.

The sense of relief is significant because it represents the conclusion of your intuitive mind. Your intuition is really your unconscious process of filtering through tons and tons of information. We don’t receive the results of that analysis in the form of a conscious thought like, “Yes, he is the right one for me.” Rather, you get the results of intuition when you ask questions that cause your mind to pay attention to certain emotions that speak on behalf of the unconscious conclusions some part of your mind has reached.

A feeling of relief would mean some part of you has come to the conclusion that you really do need to spend time dating other people before you will know if this man you are with is really the right sort of man for you. If the idea of a breakup causes nothing but sadness, that means it was a useless worry getting the best of you rather than guidance from your intuition.

I hope this helps! Most people have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the power of intuition. If you would like to learn more about intuition and how to put it to work in your relationships, check out my video on the power of intuition by clicking this link.

James


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64 thoughts on “How to Know If You Are Settling

  1. Kai said:

    Your posts add to my life in such meaningful ways. Keep it up! 🙂

  2. Thank you for that education! Very helpful. Had never really looked at it that way…. The 2 question method!
    I realized I am not settling.

    I do have questions about how to deal with a couple of issues that bother me. Addressing my BFs fast unsafe road rage type driving while I am in the car and his prejudice comments about others when with me. I feel both are disrespectful. He knows I don’t like either because I have said something in the past. Also I know driving issue is a risk for my safety. Pls advise how to address without acting like his Mom!
    Thanks, A.

    • James Bauer said:

      Great question, Annette. I’ll refer you to another article I wrote on that topic. Click here to see it.

  3. Jeanne said:

    You are always fun to read and right on the money for current relationships all women have and aren’t aware of the reality of the situation. Sometimes it is just better to ignore your inner voice and stick with it and then you can read your post and reality sets in. Thanks for the insight!

  4. Joan said:

    Hi James, This ties into the “ask yourself three questions before getting involved with a man” post you wrote. It seems like a “no brainer” idea, however, it is a more thought provoking task when actually sitting down to do it! (It is good to dust off the cob webs and vacuum up the old debris, as we are all a work in process and progression)….and it is a great mental exercise as much as physical exercise is to bring clarity to the mind, body and soul. These exercises, done on a regular basis, activates us to value our wants and desires first before we can be of a romantic value to someone else. It presents our whole, authentic selves into a situation that if compatible, brings happiness and joy to both people involved. It can also demystify ourselves for ourselves and for what we want in love interests while driving down that road, Embracing the best for others (and for ourselves), and not settling, is the most healthy way to live. Fine tuning ourselves in the present NOW expands our intuition and understanding to create the best for the future NOWS! Thanks again, Mr. Bauer, for more thought provoking ideas! Hmmmmmm………..where did I leave my journal? lol Joan

    • James Bauer said:

      Interesting thoughts, Joan. I like the way you think.

  5. Vicky said:

    Here’s my situation. I’ve been with my partner for 7 years, we have two kids together and recently after a lot of ups and downs, we’ve decided to take a break. I’ve started dating which is nice as I haven’t really been single since my teens. He said that he doesn’t need to as he knows it would upset me and also that he’s been around (there is a 13 year age difference) so knows what’s out there and he doubts if he’ll find someone like me again.

    I’ve met a few nice guys but no one that I can see a future with. The respect factor is huge for me and while these guys are fine, none of them inspire the level of respect in me that I still have for my partner.

    The problem is this: since we are no longer living together, my life with my kids (they live with me) is much simpler and dare I say it, happier. No more drama, arguments, me essentially making compromises to work around him and his habits. Of course, the kids are overjoyed to see him when he visits weekly and we are still good friends. I still look on it as a break and hope we can get back together after taking a breather and he said the same. But I’m worried that if we do get back together, I will again go back to working around him.

    I’ve tried communicating this to him and said we both needed to make changes if we were to have a future. I think because of the age difference and me naturally being more adaptable, he’s already set in his ways and basically it’s a take it or leave it situation with him. I would be devastated if it were to be the end with us though. So while he does make my life better for being in it, things are also easier when he’s not around, if that makes sense.

    • James Bauer said:

      I think I understand, Vicky. You love him, but the relationship really only works because you adapt to his quirks and stubborn habits. You have clearly already won his heart, and you have deep respect for him (which I’m sure is a part of why he loves you), but he is not good at change. I wonder if you might have the best odds for success with this type of man if you were to invite him to set extremely small goals for positive change. Sometimes, putting him in charge of choosing a small goal results in a change that does not seem that significant (to you) but it can break the barrier of his resistance to seeing himself as someone who can adapt. Also, be sure to draw out the hero in him by showing him how he could enrich your life with a few small changes (instead of framing the changes as remedial actions to fix a broken man). Good luck!

  6. Debbie said:

    James, I’m Debbie and I read faithfully everything you post. I have known a guy for almost 6 months now, and I’m so intrigued with him. He keeps trying to keep distance between us but it inevitably happens. He wins when it comes to being the strong one and “holding back” that is, he won’t text me for a week or two after making love to me and sleeping with me and holding me (finally after 14 months!!). So I try to wait and wait and wait. But I am so impatient, cause I really care for this guy and miss him the moment he walks out my door. How can I be more “distant?”

    • Debbie said:

      James, it’s Debbie and I meant “16” months…

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Debbie. It sounds like you are thinking distancing types of actions (or inactions) will bring more of him into your life. It is possible that you would seem more intriguing and loveable under those circumstances, but I doubt it. The key is not to distance yourself, but rather to balance pursuit. I think maybe that is what you meant, but I just wanted to clarify for other readers. Balanced pursuit allows the romantic tension to thrive in your relationship. You can increase romantic tension by demonstrating interest and then giving enough time and space for him to reciprocate before you pursue further. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but more of a guideline to help you keep the mutual pursuit going. I know it takes self-discipline, but it’s worth it!

  7. joy y said:

    Hi james.I want u to advice me,there is this guy I met he was always staring at me like he is lost and so interested in me.when I noticed it I just started to smile and say hi to him but when he noticed I was not attractive as before .he appeared disinterested in me.help

    • James Bauer said:

      Hello, Joy. The wording of your question presents two possible meanings, and I’m not sure which one you intended. Do you mean he no longer found you attractive once he noticed you were paying attention to him, or do you mean something happened to you that you feel has caused you to appear less attractive?

      • joy y said:

        Something happened to me dat made me less attractive

        • James Bauer said:

          In that case, Joy, I suggest you more fully embrace what is still very attractive about you. There are probably more attractive things about your personality, appearance, and unique presence than you could count. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on a flaw and defining yourself by it. The more you “own” the body you are in, the easier it is to accept life as you find it and make the choice to embrace life and other people with joy and a playful spirit. Joy and a playful spirit are your allies in drawing the interest of this guy, and the many others you have yet to meet. Focus on being the best you and let the cards fall as they may with this particular guy. If he is right for you, he will still find interest in you in time.

  8. christine said:

    Hi James,

    You wrote, ” First, are you happier because this man is in your life right now? If so, I would venture to bet you are not settling. If his presence in your life adds meaning and joy, you should embrace him whole-heartedly….” This is soooo true!!!!

  9. lily said:

    First, are you happier because this man is in your life right now?  If so, I would venture to bet you are not settling.  I don’t really get this piece.can u please explain.thanks

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey, Lily. It’s a way of simplifying one part of the decision making process. If you find a person enriches your life, it decreases the chances that you are just going along with the relationship for the sake of convenience.

  10. K said:

    Dear James,
    thanks also from me; very helpful! I am in a deeply happy R and I know that I am not settling. Just got another approval. However now it is really clear to me what I felt with some other men I met or dated and at that time this method would be very beneficial and time&effort saving.

    Love your work! Thank you so much!

    K.

    Ps: No matter how happy I am I don’t plan to stop learning about Rs and reading your emails!

  11. Margaret said:

    Sorry, I disagree. “Are you happier with this man in your life right now” as compared to what? Compared to sitting at home alone on Saturday night? To going out with the girls. To …………? If, I’d rather be alone than with the guy I’m with, then, yes, time to move on. But too many women and men stay in dysfunctional relationships because they can’t handle the anxiety separation. Someone can add joy and happiness on one hand but have certain traits that pull you down leaving you wondering if you could live with those traits “forever” on the other hand. Don’t sugar coat the flaws or incompatibilities. Don’t go blind. A better question might be, Can you live with the whole package? Are those character defects or incompatibilities ones that are minor and which you could live with for the rest of your life? How much of who you are is enhanced by this man and how much of you is torn down? James, I think your “happier” question may be a little too shallow and simplistic.

    • James Bauer said:

      I see what you mean, Margaret. Getting more specific would make it a better question for internal reflection.

  12. Stefanie said:

    Thank you James for your wonderful advice. It helps me every time I read them in my new relationship.

  13. Arni said:

    Hello,
    I guess I got my answer, no I am not happy I am miserable, I cry every night and miss him all the time. He is busy and did not tell me for months anything nice about me or that he loves me. He says that I do not understand his job or his obligations. I do understand them I just do not understand that I have to wait for months for his to come in the same country to see him and then when he is there I do not see him, he doesn’t write. When I asked him does he loves me, or want me anymore he just says we talked about it ( yeah long time ago). What I am supposed to I just cannot leave, and he says if I want to walk away to walk away, there is no planning for future because he does not do it. He says I hurt him by not being so in love with him at the beginning that he does not want to put himself out here again, that he is not hurting me that he just pulled away. And no matter what I do or say will not change the things until he is ready to put himselfout there again, that how has been for the last 10 months.Help I really love him

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Arni. If he is actually interested in a relationship he will be somewhere along a continuum from pre-contemplative (not sure but willing to experiment) to marriage-minded (seeking someone to invest in for life). It seems this guy may be in a mission-focused state, but his mission is not a great relationship…it’s work. If you choose to wait on this person, it will be on his terms. I don’t recommend it.

  14. T said:

    I love this article! I finally met a great guy, but occasionally find him boring. He definitely enhances my life, and adds value to it. I was just thinking yesterday that the dysfunctional part of me (issues from my past/childhood) are what makes me secretly long for a more complicated relationship. The last boyfriend I had, had “baby mama drama”, issues with his mother, and drank alcohol too often! Of course, when he was fully present, the sex and love (intimacy) was uh-mazing, but those moments were further and further apart…. I had this desire to see his life improve and to help bring it to pass. Yes, I guess I thought I was going to be his savior… Alas, he chose the bottle and to keep all his other issues… What is it that would drive me (albeit secretly) to desire to help this miserable man rather than be in love with a mutually respectful, fully engaged and loving person???

    • James Bauer said:

      Hmmm…maybe you feel most comfortable in a caring roll. You have good insight. One way to get more clarity is to compare and contrast. Envision a man who needs you to “rescue” him and a guy who is the opposite. Imagine how you would feel in both scenarios. This may reveal additional insights.

      James

  15. hopefull said:

    Hi james
    this piece touched me and was very helpful..i have asked myself this question and it has become more clear that i am not settling through reading this. i went thru a divorce a few years ago and feel very happy with my boyfriend of almost three yrs..the only thing i question really is if he will ever shift his focus at all from just himself to us and building a life..i pour myself into his dreams and activities and am i mother of 2 from my ex but it seems he isnt interested in the things i feel important most of the time…….he lost his mother at 18 and is now 25 and has trouble talking and being affectionate..tho i do see glimpses..i have trouble dealing with it cause i crave the affection and dont know how to get the affection to feel loved..sometimes i get bursts of anger because i dont know how to pull him out of it and get him to feel comfortable with showing affection
    not sure if u have any insight but would appreciate any help

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi. That’s a good question. You probably already know this, but let me make sure I’m not skipping over something important. Men in general are going to be less expressive when it comes to showing feelings. As with all stereotypes, that is not 100% true in all cases, but it is something to take into consideration. A lack of outward demonstration of affection is not necessarily an indication of the internal feeling about you in the relationship. Just remembering that can decrease the pressure you may feel to change him on this issue.

      That said, there are many common issues that can cause any person to be hesitant about taking the initiative to demonstrate affection. For some people it is simply a matter of a mismatched love language. He may be trying to show affection to you in ways you tend to discount.

      If you want to make a direct attempt to increase his display of affection, consider praising his small efforts. Catch him doing something right. Any time he makes any small gesture that moves in the right direction, tell him how happy it makes you feel. That direct feedback could cause a small but positive change in the right direction over time.

  16. Tina Kurrels said:

    HI James…This was indeed a useful and streamlined approach to sifting through those challenging internal ….questions. As you said, we all have flaws, and perhaps ways that we do not match SO well, with a particular partner. On the other hand, our deeper knowing, or intuition knows a lot more than we usually are aware of. So, asking how I would truly feel if HE…broke up with me, would I be relieved or sad….that did help me to get that I would be very sad, and that this man adds so much to my life. I do trust my intuition ultimately, and this was a perfect way to suggest having it help me out. Thank-you! Tina

  17. Jane said:

    This really helped. I have recently joined a dating site and have found myself talking, emailing, and meeting with several men, all of whom are really lovely people. There are similar and different things I find attractive in them. I feel a pressure to start dating one of them, but actually reading this post, I realise I simply need to give it more time. On balance I like all of them still enough to go on finding out about each of them.

  18. tammy horsley said:

    Hi James
    I have to say wow! I just read this article and had to have a little laugh. You see I’m going on 28 with 3 beautiful little girls. I started dating a guy around 5 months ago. I thought to myself he was perfect. Now I know one thing I’ve been through abusive relationships in the past and they have made it hard to trust. But in saying that I think not everyone should be thrown into the same basket and a couple of crazy ex partners.
    Everything started out really well. Then he pushed to meet my children. I thought why not. I’m the happiest I’ve been in so long. I had taken a long length of time to find me and this seemed to be going well. My kids loved him. Again the wow came. Yes he had his flaws like everyone but he was perfect to me.
    Then came the day he disappeared. I tried to call him to see if he was ok. Nothing. His best friend called me to ask if I had heard from him. I began to panic that something terrible must have happened. I left him a message to contact me as I was concerned. No one could reach him. The next day all he done was text me “I love you”.
    A few days past and he just shows up out of the blue. I wasn’t comfortable with his actions at all. I asked for him to keep communication more open with me as I felt worried that something horrible had happen. He seemed to feel really bad about it.
    Then came 3 entire weeks of him not leaving my side. It went from one extreme to the other. I had no real read on him. It was like he just moved on in and I had no say. The household became really intense.
    That’s when I started to question was any of it right? Was it best for my children and myself? Was I going down the path of another abusive relationship?
    I thought hard about it. I got to the point where I feared what would happen. I knew it was all wrong. He liked to drink. I had never realised up until this point how much he liked to drink. I had myself standing on the outside of my own relationship, looking in and seeing what was really going on. I had read many of your articles which helped me find myself. I was shocked at what I saw.
    Next thing I know he disappears again. Not contact again. Just the typical “I love you” text message. At this point I had draw a line and said no more.
    He didn’t like that I didn’t want him near me so of course he showed up. Little to his knowledge this is the same stupid behavior my abusive ex had shown in the past so I knew how to deal with it. I kept it calm and asked for the truth. He didn’t like me asking at all. I gave him the choice. The truth or leave and if he was to leave not to come back. He left. He also left his belongings behind (the possessions staying means he can come back). Well I wasn’t having it. I stood my ground. I called his best friend to collect his belongings.
    His best friend did just that and told me I didn’t deserve the treatment I had received. He also prepared me for the worst to come. The threatening to kill himself and the constant pleas for my attention. He even text me to say he was going to get help and expected me to stay faithful to him. All I bothered to write back is that I deserve a lot better and he should be ashamed of himself.
    I have had 3 days of peace so far though I am sure it is not over. I think it is his way to see if I will cave and take him back. Not one part of me regrets the decisions I have made. I believe on some level I was asking myself the same sort of questions you have written about. If it wasn’t for that I guess I would be on a downward spiral again.
    Thank you very much for your words. They have kept me from repeating history. For now I stay close to my friends. One who has been a very big support in all the right ways. He makes sure I’m ok and spends time with me when I need it. It’s been good to have the weight lifted off my shoulders though. Who knows where the road will lead but I am happier to walk the road with just my family and friends for now 🙂

  19. natalie said:

    Thanks for your blog and insights. I’d like to get your advice on my situation. My boyfriend and i have been dating for almost a year. We are 38 and 45 yrs old, both divorced. Mine was 6 yrs ago, his 11 yrs. He has three teenage children over the age of 13 and i dont have kids. We have the beat relationship either of us have ever had (so he says) and are wonderfully compatible. We both make each other better ppl, too. We had planned to get married this fall, but just called off the wedding and are on a break. Tge problem is challenging: he has never put boundaries in place with his ex, who us many years remarried, and essentially behaves as a married couple without the intimacy as they coparent their kids. It’s to a very unhealthy level…vacations just with them and the kids, spending all their free time together, etc. His kids are his priority, as they should be, but he also carries guilt for the divorce so he allows her to do anything and act very disrespectfully to me. She cant stand the idea of him being with another woman and sabbotaged his last relationship of almost 10 yrs. Her weapon: she gets her youngest daughters to hate his partner and they fight to keep their dad away from me. He couldnt get the kids on board to accept me, so we had to call off the wedding.
    Is this an untenable situation? We are so good together and he wants to be with me, but he doesnt know how to fix it and he never did for his last very long term girlfriend. What would you suggest?

    • James Bauer said:

      In that situation I would recommend family counseling with him and his daughters seeing a competent psychotherapist who understands family dynamics. The therapist can help the father and children to recognize the sickness they are allowing by catering to the mother’s attempts for excessive and inappropriate control over events that do not concern her.

      James

  20. Met and fell for a guy earlier this year. We were dating for about 7 weeks. I was crazy about him (and still am) but I realised he wasn’t right for me. When I mad the decision not to continue to see him, I felt a sense of relief. As much as I still love him and have felt ripped apart, I never felt it was the wrong decision.

  21. Dianne said:

    Hi James, have purchased a few of your courses, they make so much sense!! I had been hurt numerous times so had decided to be happily single forever. Met a guy and started hanging out. He made it clear he wasn’t after a committed relationship,at that stage I had been happily single for three years, so I agreed to nothing serious. We clicked big time. I really liked him and him me. I started thinking I would like to keep him and hoped he would come to the same conclusion. He constantly reminded me we were just having fun, but he treated me like I was a girlfriend. I figured you can’t MAKE someone want something, so played it very cool, no pressure, hoping he would see how great I was and claim me for his own. He was amping things up, texting to say hi, calling every night to give me every detail of his day and to tell me how much he liked me, wanted to see me more etc. His actions were telling me he liked me,a lot. So subtley (or so I thought), I occasionally suggested we should get together, as girlfriend and boyfriend.
    Not so long after these ‘few little hints’, he’s seeing somebody else. I was devastated, he seemed so into me. He always spoke of having threesome, so this other woman was for him to get to know and realize his fantasy. He wanted me too, said I was number 1, priority, nothing would change. I felt so much for him, I couldn’t bear the pain of walking away. So he was seeing both of us. But slowly I was being pushed aside. Try to meet up with him , but he’s busy. At the same time that he is not seeing me, he is still calling every night saying he wants me, to just hang in there, give him some time. It seemed to me he thought he had to invest more time in the other woman, to get her to come around to the threesome idea, and I could just wait on the sidelines cos he had me where he wanted me.
    One day the other woman walked out because he received a text from me. She then did not answer his calls. He was totally devastated and heart broken. Wasn’t interested in seeing me. He talked her around. She eventually gave him an ultimatum and guess what? She is now his girlfriend and he wants to be friends with me. I am so hurt. He tries to downplay the time we had together and says he thought we were just having fun and didn’t realize how I felt about him. I just can’t understand. We got on great together, but he didn’t want a girlfriend, but first person that comes along, all of a sudden he has a girlfriend. I wonder if it is a case of availability, I live an hour away and have other commitments- children. She works with him and lives in the same town and is available constantly. He says I am his best friend,he wants me in his life, he can forever trust me and we met for a reason, for the future. My argument is how can we be friends when he has a girlfriend. I can’t text or call cos she will be upset. So we meet up occasionally for lunch and he calls me once a week.
    He is upset he hurt me and doesn’t want to lose me. Does he think it will unman him to come back to me. Also she is very unfortuneate looking and has a big sob story about her past. He is compassionate, so after hurting me does he just not want to hurt someone else too, by ending it with her?
    Anyway, I am not walking away, I am going to fight. My question is, because I am not seeing him very often, am I going to get anywhere with getting him back using your program. I figure the more time you spend with someone the closer you get. He spents all his time with her, they are going on a holiday soon. What chance have I got with a phone call once a week to influence him in any way?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Dianne. Do you know the main difference between friends and romantic partners?

      Friends enjoy each other’s company but don’t feel possessive. In a reomantic relationship, there is this special possessive quality. We want a certain level of exclusivity.

      Unfortunately, this guy you are interested in does not have that kind of romantic, possessive desire when he thinks of you. Since he has been consistent on this point from the beginning of your relationship, it is unlikely to change.

      Therefore, I recommend you keep the door open with him in case that feeling changes in the future. But don’t put your life on hold while you wait to see if that spark will emerge in the future. The best way to keep that door open is to just be present in his life like you have been. Don’t stop calling him on occasion. But don’t try to establish a deeper relationship either.

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Hi Dianne, It sounds to me as though your “friend” is commitment phobic. I have read a lot about this, as the man I have been involved with seems to have the same problem. (And he is 64!!) Absolutely TERRIFIED of committing. This is usually because they are sensitive souls and have been terribly hurt in the past, either by their mother or a girlfriend/wife and are SO scared of being hurt again – they put a shell around themselves. So, they start off by saying they do not want a relationship, and all the while they are feeling “safe” doing this, they are happy, but as soon as they feel trapped, they are off and move on to someone else, because of course they DO want a “safe” relationship, and the closeness, love and sex that comes with it, but not the commitment. However, as soon as THAT woman starts to put on the pressure, they will be off again. Running scared. Onto the next “safe” one – over and over again. They may not even know what they are doing – because of course they are in denial. I believe from what I read that the only way out of this cycle is for them to have counselling. If you can talk to him about this and get him to be honest with himself, maybe you will have a chance of a breakthrough with him. But he has to realize there IS a problem first. (Give him time to digest it – maybe get a book or notes off the internet). As you are still meeting up for lunch and talking, there is a good chance of doing this. But it seems rather strange to me that he still DOES want to see you, as a “friend”. Feeling “safe” at a safe distance. Keeping you in the loop. (I hope there are no “benefits”?) Although it is not fair on the “other” woman – I would not worry too much about her status. She is just a shield behind which he is hiding from you and the scary idea of being stuck with you forever. It is a very, very sad situation, and not fair on either you or the other woman. He needs to be made to grow up, and face his fears!!! Unfortunately, these men probably never will – they are stuck in the past and still suffering from the past hurt instead of letting it go. I don’t think men are as emotionally strong as women and find it hard to forgive and forget. Good luck!! Lorna

  22. Pamela said:

    From the beginning our relationship was a physical one. As a Senior Citizen the man I am seeing began our relationship with “was I sensual?” I have asked him if our relationship could change from “lover” to seeing each other outside the bedroom. He said “why, when we are having such fun.” He is a wonderful lover and he praises me on my skills in bed. Two weeks ago, his ex came on the scene and he broke it off with me because he couldn’t have “2 romances at one time”. That hurt, but I accepted his decision and met another man on a dating site I was shocked when he emailed me and said “can we get back together?” I refused to say yes until I knew what happened to his “ex”. He said “she hadn’t changed.” We are going to meet again next week At one time he wanted an exclusive relationship, but I am still talking with the new man and have plans to have lunch.
    My question is “is there any hope with the first man? and am I wrong to continue my relationship with the second.?” Dating is wonderful, but confusing at times.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Oh dear, Pamela, it is very confusing, isn’t it? And as “seniors”, we are stuck in a time warp with our old fashioned ideas of what is right and wrong. (I am a very young looking, fun-loving, energetic, slim, pretty 68). I would say, given the way No 1 has treated you so shabily, if you DO still want to see him and the other guy, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as they both know. If Mr. No 1 wants to step up and do the decent thing, all well and good – otherwise, just play the field. It doesn’t sound as though you are in love with either of them. It’s a bit unfair on Mr. No 2, but as long as you are honest, he can decide what to do for himself. This is the problem with internet dating. And don’t ever forget – some of them are married, anyway. (I understand it is the same with women). Everyone wants to have their cake and eat it these days. Fine, if everyone is in agreement – but I, for one, could not live my life like that. I am a one-man-woman, and proud of it. I would never share my man (or my body) with someone else. You never know where they have been, or are going!!!). There are more STDs amongst seniors now than amongst the youngsters. So be careful!. Otherwise, have fun! Lorna

      • Pamela Hormerte said:

        Thank you for your reply Lorna. As I explained in my email one of these men is my hot lover and the other is not physically able and so we just date. I would never have a physical relation with 2 men. My senior “lover” is widowed and he is very close to his own family that lives nearby. I know I am “the secret”, but that doesn’t bother me as much as not knowing where I stand. Our realization that we are very “hot” together is amazing and we both marvel in our ability to enjoy each other. We talk every day. He knows that I date outside of our relationship because I told him flat out I need more than “sex”. He is alright with that and as I get older I find that many men are not as physically fit, are workaholics, have disabilities, etc. I just want someone to have a normal relationship with. I am patient. Your insight was very helpful. Thanks again.

        • Lorna (LaLa) said:

          It was nice to get your response. It now looks as though you have resolved things in that you are gettng the sex with your hot lover and the dates with your other “friend”. Sounds like a good compromise. Lucky you. But you still don’t sound that happy. Why? What is it you really want? If you say you are a “secret” with your hot lover, it sounds as though he does not want his family to know about you. Why? That is the question.Often children are jealous of a new “woman” in their father’s life (all to do with money, I’m afraid!). And are you sure he is not still married? There are all sorts of weirdos on the internet, I have discovered. I even found the guy who I thought was MY “boyfriend” for the last four and a half years on there recently, after we had had a row, and he had told a load of lies about himself. (He is an alcoholic, smokes and has no money, never goes out, is commitment phobic, probably bi-polar or has borderline personality disorder, and PTSD or all three, as well as OCD, gets really, really anxious and angry with me and sends abusive texts when he is drunk, wanting to spank me if I am naughty – but of course he didn’t mention any of that on his profile!!!). I know, I know, why do I silll want him in my life? Well, I do love him lots and fancy him, in spite of, and now I am really worried about him because his neighbour, who he regularly gets blind drunk with, is in charge of his credit cards and she will not “allow” him to have contact wih me, saying I am “bad” for him and it is “not healthy” him seeing me. (What!!!!) She has blocked my phone and texts. He is actually very naive, sensitive, insecure, trusting and vulnerable. Who knows where that might lead? She could take him for every penny he does manage to make. (She’s always asking him for a loan). And his mother is very wealthy, with a beautiful house and elderly, he stands to have a lot of money when she goes. It gives me the heeby-jeebies. But he is his own person, at the end of the day. Anyway, back to you. As you say, you can be patient, and you are having fun, so even though nothing long-term may come of either of these relationships of yours, at least you are not sitting at home all alone. There are so few available men who fit our criteria out there for us as we get older (far more women than men, most of whom have died off) that we just have to be thankful that we have found anyone who vaguely fits the bill. However, I have read “having just anyone is NOT better than having no-one” – but I am not so sure. It is a very fine line. It’s all well and good having loads of lady friends and going out in groups (boring), but as you know, there is nothing quite like a fun romp in bed with someone you fancy and are compatible with or getting all dolled up for a nice cozy, one-to-one evening out with a “special” friend. And a dog does not fit the bill, either. (Unless you happen to meet another dog walker). What to do? I don’t know the answer. Sometimes we have to “settle” a little bit – especially as we get older – as sad as it may be. Is there any choice, realistically? We have to be honest with ourselves. Either that or sit home alone. Enjoy your two men – I am really envious, now that I am not “allowed” to even have my one any more. Maybe you will give ME some ideas about how I can handle MY situation – I have tried and tried sending emails. He did respond and invited me to go and see him next week for a few days (we are long distance), but said he would have to ask “permission” of his “best friend” Louise first, then this morning he said she will not “allow” him to see me. What to do? I’m worried about him. Maybe I’ll just go anyway, and see how the land lies? Scary !! I wonder what James would say? Love, Lorna (LaLa) x

  23. Lily said:

    “Would it be a relief if he called you tomorrow to break off the relationship or ask for some time apart to date other people? I realize you would most likely have mixed emotions, but if one of those emotions in the mix was a significant sense of relief, there’s a good chance you are settling. If a breakup would only yield feelings of loss, and no sense of relief, you most certainly are settling. He is a man you want in your life.” I’m confused. If I was feeling loss about him leaving how am I settling?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Lily. I’m not sure I understand your question. If you feel a sense of loss at the thought of him ending things, it does not mean you are settling. It means the opposite. But you might still feel loss even if you were settling. That’s why you should focus on whether or not you would feel relief. A sense of relief is what this question is supposed to focus you in on.

      James

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Hi Lily – I think if you re-read James’ article about settling from some time ago, you will see you have read it wrongly – no wonder you are confused!! It should end – “If a breakup would only yield feelings of loss, and no sense of relief, you most certanily are NOT settling. He is a man you want in your life”. You missed out the NOT – so the sentence had a completely different meaning. Hope this helps. Good luck! Lorna

  24. charlesE. said:

    Hello James. I met a guy almost a year ago through a mutual friend. He informed me that he is in a relationship with his grown daughters mother who he does not love but feels that he owed her something because he was an absentee father for years because his wife whom is now deceased did not want him to see them. he started seeing her after his wife died He says that he is committed to the relationship for one more year. he lives in another state. he calls me at least twice a week and text several times doing the week. He has been to visit me twice and I have been to visit him once. We enjoy talking and being together and we have so much in common. We have not being intimate. He and I both believe that we should not be intimate with but one person at a time. We are both seniors and I am 12 years older. He says that age is not a factor in our relationship. We have never talked about a future together. but this is what i desire and he knows this. how can I know what he wants for us in the future? I am reluctant to press him for answers because I do not want to scare him off..

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s a great question. It certainly is a unique situation you are in. I hope he is being honest with you, as he clearly is not being honest with the woman he says he is still in a relationship with.

      Setting that issue aside, I would say you are most likely to have success with the simplest approach. But it takes time and patience. Ask for his help. Ask him what is easy for him to say about the future and what would be hard for him to predict or promise. The trick here is letting him do the work of defining his own tolerance level for this kind of discussion. He won’t feel pressured when he is the one deciding how much he feels comfortable predicting.

      James

  25. ama said:

    We are both in a relationship… We have never been intimate. He tells me he wishes we had met earlier . I am sure abt him. And wish that he were mine. What do i do. He calls and txt often , i mean daily. We will usually talk for hours. I dont know what to do…..i do not want to scare him

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Hi Ama, I am sorry for your situation. How did you meet this man?
      I have read an article written by a therapist about coping with affairs in marriage (or relationships). It clearly states there, that affairs are absolutely WRONG. If the person having the extra-marital affair is not happy being married, then they should have the guts to say so and tell the person they are with that the relationship is over. If they do not WANT it to be over, they should be honest and agree to go for counselling and work on the EXCLUSIVE relationship. You are both in a half-way house – having your cake and eating it. A nice comfortable situation – and you can’t justify it by saying you have not been “intimate” – there are different kinds of intimacy, and if you have physically met up (possibly kissed) and being in constant daily telephone contact with each other, that is a form of intimacy, I think, whether or not you have actually had sex. That is a cop-out. It is not fair on any of you, as you are living in limbo. You are both cheating on your partners. You need to ask him outright what he wants, and ask yourself the same question, and have the strength and self-respect to walk away if he will not commit to you. Who knows, he may just come running after you. Good luck!! Lorna

  26. Irene said:

    Great piece James. Cleared alot in my mind but still conflicted. I was dating this amazing guy but broke it off because i got bored i think, plus he had this perception on cheating which i did not like. However seeing him date other people makes me really sad and makes me want to go back to him, overlooking his flaws and all. Cant really tell if its out of loneliness or out of love. I still compare other dates i go out on with how he treated me well. Please Help
    Irene

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Irene. Maybe your feelings run deeper than what it seems. But from what you wrote here, it seems you weren’t really enjoying the relationship that much even when you were in it and things were stable. So it seems you are better off meeting new people.

  27. Erin said:

    Hi James. Thanks for this , but I’m still a bit confused. You stated, “If a breakup would only yield feelings of loss, and no sense of relief, you most certainly are settling.”

    If you are settling when you experience feelings of loss, how do you know when you are NOT settling? My life being “happier” could be a result of a friendship instead of a romantic situation.

    Thanks so much.

    • James Bauer said:

      Ahh…that’s a good question, Erin. I appreciate readers like you who read very carefully and notice subtle distinctions like this one.

      Ok, here’s the answer that explains the sentence you quoted. You will experience a little bit of loss either way (whether you are settling or not) when you end a relationship you have invested in. So loss is a constant variable, meaning it is present in either condition.

      Relief, on the other hand is not a constant variable. You will only experience relief in a relationship where you were trying to make it work (but were really just fooling yourself and settling for a guy who is not right for you).

      So the way you know that you are not settling is this. You imagine breaking up. You imagine the day after the breakup…when it’s all said and done with no more contact needed. As you imagine this scenario, do you feel a sense of relief? If not, stick with the guy and see where things could go.

      James

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Hi Erin,
      It seems that you have read James’ article on “settling” wrongly, too, in the same way as Lily above did. See my response to her. The sentence actually reads: “If a breakup would only yield felings of loss and no sense of relief, you most certainly are NOT settling”. The NOT changes the whole context of the sentence. Lorna

      • James Bauer said:

        Thanks for clarifying that, Lorna.

        James

        • Lorna (LaLa) said:

          Hi James, I have just read your free article about fighting over money. What a great article!! It has cleared up some misunderstandings and anxieties I had – even though I kind-of knew what you are saying already. I thoroughly recommend that your clients read it – it makes so much sense. My “boyfriend” and I had a disagreement recently, which almost lead to the complete break-up of our relationship, over whether or not to pay 5p for a plastic bag in the supermarket (now in England we have to buy plasic bags, in an attempt to “save the planet” – some hope, but that is another story!!!). I didn’t realize at the time that by suggesting we carry the small amount of shoppng instead of buying a bag that I was challenging his manhood – he lost it completely and embarrassed me by “putting me down” in front of the cashier by yelling that it was only 5p – for goodness sake, and he was paying. I knew what the problem was, but of course it did hurt, and I felt humiliated. I couldn’t retaliate there and then in front of the whole store, and the issue did not get resolved, as I drove back to his flat in silence (he didn’t have a car at the time), packed my bags, got in the car and drove 3 hours back home (childish!!). That day I had already said I wanted to pay for concert tickets as a treat for his birthday the next day – as I knew he did not have any money to buy them himself, and I knew he felt bad about that. We ended up not going and I lost the price of the tickets. He is obviously VERY anxious about his lack of money, and SO proud – but does not know how to address it, and neither do I. He did tell me he has taken out a loan, so that is good in itself (the telling – not lying – not the loan!!) but it really is a HUGE issue we need to overcome. I feel I should just walk away from the relationship – because I cannot see a way forward – but I don’t want to lose him if we can sort it out – I do love him lots and admire him in so many other ways. Is love enough, though? He is from a wealthy family and a spend-thrift. I am financially comfortable as I have invested my nest-egg with a financial adviser. However, I do watch every penny, as I am worried about paying for my care in old age. In my marriage of 36 years, my husband and I were very money savvy. We pooled our resources. I did not work at all after having our 3 children until they were all grown up, then I did a little child-minding in the home, garden maintenance and extra work on films/television. We also had the income from three rental properties (I set this all up and managed it). From day one of our marriage, we sat down and worked out exactly how much we had coming in – how much our monthly outgoings were, how much regular savings we needed for unforeseen vet care for the dog, holidays, etc., then allowed ourselves a tiny bit of “pocket money” each from what was left over, to spend on whatever we wanted for ourselves. This worked a treat, as we were both frugal and discussed whatever we would buy together. I ran it like a business, kept strict records in an accounts book, did weekly menu-plans with the housekeeping, we had one joint bank account, and trusted each other implicitly. However, now, with the advent of women working full-time, this has changed completely. People seem to think they should keep the money separate and each is their own. I have never been able to see how this will work. And what about all the youngsters who never get married at all and just live together, with no real commitment to each other. I can’t see how it can work. You are absoluely right, there has to be complete transparency with the money – each having access to what is coming in. But I can’t see that ideal situation ever being resolved now that things have changed so radicaly between couples. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe couples will realize that there has to be honesty, transparency and trust. I hope so, for the sake of their relationships. Well done, you, for once again giving us real insight into a tricky situation. Thank you. Lorna

          • James Bauer said:

            Thank you, Lorna. I’m sorry to hear about the way he treated you. But I am glad you are able to recognize the pattern behind his reaction. There are so few things that can make people anxious and bring up fights as easily as money can. Some people don’t want to analyze themselves to figure out their own relationship to money. You obviously have. But as your story reveals, money can still trigger all kinds of frustration.

            James

  28. Debbie said:

    Hi James. I am definitely happier with my boyfriend in my life. He is fun, respectful, a great conversationalist, we like many of the same things to do, he loves adventures and new places and things as do I, he makes me laugh and much much more. So question 1 is great. But guestion 2, would I feel some sense of relief if we broke up? I must honestly say yes. I had two marriages prior to this. The first only lasted a year but it was disasterous, drinking, women, substance abuse, money issues, all of which he kept secret from me and his lovely family until it all came out. The second a long over 30 year marriage solid commitment and values but no passion or conversation or sense of adventure or exploring, he content to sit at home and watch TV. So with this lovely new year and a half relationship, I have that secret sense of dread that if it leads to marriage that this great guy may turn out like my previous husbands and if we were not together I wouldn’t have the fun but also the fear and angst of impending doom. I really enjoy our time together and don’t feel bad then but I am afraid of a marriage as I’m worried how this wonderful man may change too in a long term relationship as this has been my experience. So there is a sense of relief as these thoughts could be shelved and my mind free and relaxed if I was not in a relationship.

    • James Bauer said:

      I see. That makes sense. In this case, the relief would not come from ending the current relationship. Rather, it would come from taking your bets off the table. The relief in this case would come from ending anxiety about whether or not the current relationship would bring up painful emotions at some point in the future — painful emotions you learned to fear because of past relationships. So it seems you should not end this relationship based on the feelings you have about the second question.

      James

      • Debbie said:

        Thanks James that’s where my heart is and what my mind says is the right path.

  29. Emotions said:

    Hi James..the emotional woman here again. I met this guy about a year ago at a gym. He was eyeing me and when i noticed i left the gym shortly in addition to it being late. However when i got outisde the rain started pouring. The guy was right behind me. We ended up talking for hours about the rain then about family. I felt an instant connection. When he ask for my number i was skeptical but gived it to him after he asked three times.
    After that night we became friends we would just talk. I was hoping he would ask me on a date or even to work out sometime but he never would. We would meet up at the gym which was by my house after he had worked out to just talk then one night he kissed me and i was suprised. A deep passionate kiss. After that night he initiated sex and i gived in but it wasnt what i wanted. By now he had explained to me he had separated from his baby mother and they were sharing custody. He wasnt on child support because he was doing all he could while in school. As time went by this seem true. However we never spoke while he was at home. He works at night so it didnt bother me that much. Sometimes he would call on his way to work and would text everyday when he woke up at 3pm during the day.
    Lately i started wanting more than what we were doing. Just hooking up. I wanted a sign that when he finished school we would spend more time and maybe he would consider doing more together. Still nothing. His daughter goes to school now its been about a year and a few months since we met almost two years. He has graduated but still lives with his brother and takes his daughter to school and the baby mother picks her up . he says. He tries to rest before work at 10 pm. Around thanksgiving we did not text. I was mad that i had ask him to help me with something around the apt and he has yet to do it. He too did not wish me a happy Thanksgiving three days went by then he responded to a message i sent days before. Normally we do wish each other well around holidays etc. Anyways i have been super sarcastic since then. I ask him finally for the 100th time about the way he sees me. He said he cannot tell someone he love them if he doesnt. And we are not bf or gf so he is not obligated to do anything .And he is always busy with little time n i too did not text him around thanksgiving. When he said all this i distanced myself. He said he was coming over but i told him not too that i need to find someone who cares about me. And may want to work towards a relationship to which he didnt respond. I then told him i need space. He said ok.
    I feel like all the men that i have ever been with all have never really liked me for me. l Cannot figure out what it is they never let me get close to them. Never really show me emotions . no affection no love. My ex before him was abusive to me. The one before him was in the military and went to be closer to a girl he liked. I have gained so much weight now. I struggle with a bad case of self esteem . i have been skinny most of my life. I cannot figure out if they really dont lokr me or is it something i do that is a turn off. I want to get married one day and really thought by now i would. Im 30 and feel way older. Am i naiive do i give in too quickly. I am so lost when it comes to men

    • James Bauer said:

      I see why you feel frustrated right now.

      For a long time I did not want to believe this. But I’ve finally come to see that there is some truth to it. Some of us seem to attract the same kind of person over and over without realizing how or why it happens.

      It’s as if we have blinders that prevent us from recognizing the signs that other people see. Signs which caused them to walk away from the wrong kind of relationship. Some therapists say we are drawn to relationships that feel natural and comfortable because they are similar to what we have experienced in the past.

      Here’s my advice for you. Stop having romantic relationships in private. Get your friends involved. Let them act like a filter, helping you to interpret those subtle nonverbal cues that give away a person’s motivation.

      It seems that in this case, the man you built a relationship with never really intended to build any kind of commitment with you. And he was actually honest with you about this. But for some reason you chose not to see that. Friends can help you overcome that problem. They can challenge you to think about what you really want for the long-term.

      Be strong. Don’t give up. Just be more picky and demanding.

      Always on your side,

      James

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Dear Emotions, That is such a good response from James, as usual – he has such a lot of wisdom to give us. I’m so sorry to hear your sad, sad story, because it does seem as though you were really taken advantage of, and I know from experience how that can sap your confidence. Not your fault. But I think you have worked the answer out for yourself. You need to work on your self-esteem and confidence. Maybe, just maybe, he picked up on that, and targetted you as being a possible “soft touch”. Especially when you say you gave in to sex, but “it wsn’t what I wanted”. Never do that!!! Saying “No” is your POWER – don’t give it away freely. Work hard on raising your self-esteem – your image of yourself. Read books – there are lots and lots out there on Amazon. Read all you can. Talk to your friends. Get a therapist if you can afford it – but, honestly, all they seem to do is to get you to be honest with yourself and look deep inside yourself for the answer, which you have already started doing. Dig deep into your psyche. It’s in there somewheree, hiding. Do not be afraid. You have to work on the “Root Cause” of why you feel bad about yourself – and weed it out. Maybe something your parents said, or your siblings, people at work or other kids at school. Rise above it. Become strong. It is possible. It does take a lot of courage, time and hard work, but it will be SO worth it. Believe me – I know. I was beaten down after a painful divorce and just wanted to be loved again – by anyone!! You are young. You must work on this so that it does not affect you for the rest of your life. Forget about men for the time being. Join lots of clubs and keep yourself busy with new interests and new friends. If possible, join up with friends and family to have girly “pamper sessions” and have fun changing your image. Some cosmetic departments in large stores offer free makeup make-overs. You are already doing something good and positive by going to the gym. Learn about healthy eating, too, and the weight will soon drop off – it doesn’t have to be permanent. Treat yourself to a pretty new outfit. Nothing boosts your confidence more than knowing you are looking your absolute best. It takes a bit of effort, but well worth it. Above all this, do not rely on a man’s opinion of you to influence your self-worth. Do not look to a man for validation. Look to yourself. YOU are the most important person in your life. YOUR opinion of you is the most important one – no-one elses. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love you. And believe it!!! Remember the line in the song from the musical “West Side Story”? – “Who’s the pretty girl in that mirror, there – who can that attractive girl be?” Look it up on UTube. Fun! Best wishes and a big hug.
        GIRL POWER!! Lorna (LaLa)

  30. Trisha said:

    So I need advice. I met a guy online nearly 4 years ago. He had recently filed for divorce and I was going through one as well. We dated pretty consistently between our busy schedules and made time to see each other. Well about a year ago his friend moved to town and that pretty much ended our seeing each other regularly, which I understood, he hadn’t seen him in years and shared his apartment. He became very distant and when I asked to see him he would get upset or find some excuse not to be able to see me. We did continue to text although it was much less frequently. He said he loved me repeatedly and when I asked him if we were exclusive he said yes.( I had been asked out by other men). I finally got an opportunity to see him before I left on a summer break for an overseas assignment. At that point I assumed we were still dating exclusively. He texted me frequently the first week then less after and eventually he disappeared. The last text I got before he disappeared was how much he loved me. I didn’t know what to think. When I returned home, I tried to contact him and was told by his friend he no longer had that phone number. She gave him the message I was home and wanted to see him. He contacted me and we met after nearly 4 months. It was a bit strained and something didn’t seem right. I had missed him so much and it seemed he didn’t miss me at all. A couple of weeks went by and we started texting again. He said how much he loved me and wanted to see me. I had moved into a new place and told him he could come see me there. His reply was odd and basically said he might come see me. After that text he disappeared again and I was puzzled at his behavior. I texted and asked if we were just friends( because I was asked out again) he said yes. So in a weeks time he went from loving me to friend zoning me. I was very hurt. After that( just a few days) I heard from a friend he had been saying bad things about me while I was away. I’m hurt, confused, and angry. If that wasn’t enough he showed up at my gym with a woman while I was there just days after he friend zoned me. My friend said his behavior is almost sociopath and I need to block him in every facet of my life. What I left out was that he seemed to contact me every couple of weeks professing his love before he disappeared. My friend thinks he did it just to keep me from dating anyone while he did what he wanted. Thoughts?

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Oh dear, Trisha, that sounds practically exactly the same situation I have been in for the last 4 and a half years. All I can say about my situation (which may relate to yours) is that the man I have been involved with, and who has professed over and over that he loves me and does not want to lose me, has: 1) huge psychological problems due to his past record – his guilt, basically at the way he treated his ex-wife and kids; 2) has lost his status, due to becoming bankrupt, therefore has very little money, so no self-respect; 3) lives in a dead-beat town, even though his flat is very nice and he is proud of it and keeps it nice; 4) is very depressed and lonely at times; 5) is a spend-thrift whenever he has money (it comes and goes sporadically due to his work situation – sometimes he is completely broke); 6) has a huge drink problem; 7) has an alcoholic out-of-work female neighbour who he feels sorry for. He lends her money, lends her his car, drives her around, buys her drink and she then comes round to his for “boozing sessions”, they cook meals for each other – basically she is his only “friend” (I call her a cling-on!). He now tells me they are an “item” – they are going around together, she is controlling his life as he has given her his bank cards to take control of his finances, and that I will have to “fight to get him back”, because I love him (I’m not sure if this is all true, or if he is trying to make me jealous – which he does all the time – due to his insecurity). We haven’t seen each other for some weeks now, since I went on holiday. He says he wants to see me but he will have to ask her permission!! He gets very anxious about me coming and tells me she says I am “bad” for him and “not healthy”. Basically, she is controlling his mind and his life, and trying to push me out. After reading everything I can get my hands on, I believe he probably has “Borderline (Emotional) Personality Disorder” as well as Anxiety Disorder, (possibly) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – and he may also be bi-polar. His father became demented not long before his death, and I am not sure if he is going the same way, or if it is the effects of the alcohol. He has a very controlling mother, and I believe he sees his neighbour as a mother substitute. He definitely wants a woman in his life – when we had a row last year and he thought we were finished, he went on the internet to find someone else. He is obviously thinking now, that this neighbour will fit the bill, as there is no-one suitable on the internet!!! Even though they have known each other for 6 or 7 years and nothing happened before now. It is a very worrying situtation, as I think this woman could take him for everything he has got. His mother is very wealthy, and he stands to gain a lot when she dies – she is 85 (he is 64). Who knows? As far as your situation is concerned – I hope this has thrown a bit of light onto how your man could be. I know how you must be feeling. It has literally driven me half mad, and being a long distance away has not helped. He used to ask “where we were going”, and I told him I do not want to live in his dead-beat town. I live in a very affluent part of the country, have a large house and enough money, and have asked him to join me here, to try and sort out his drink problem and see how we get on, but he is terrified to do that. I have now, regrettably, come to the conclusion that there is no hope for him or our relationship. I love him deeply, miss him all the time and worry about him constantly, and had hoped we could have a future together, but I think he is now a lost cause and will probably kill himself. It gives me sleepless nights, but I have to learn to live with it, I believe. I hope this has thrown some light onto things for you. I think if you read about some of these conditions, it will help you to understand what is going on. Maybe you should date other men and find someone new, even though you could still keep an eye on this other guy as a friend, if you care about him, but it is not easy. I wish you luck!! Lorna

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