What is a “real relationship?” I feel like I can answer that question because I have been in relationships that weren’t “real” and “real relationships,” and I can tell you, real is a heck of a lot more fulfilling! Here is an email I received from someone seeking dating advice, who is saying she wants a “real relationship.”
I’m in my late-thirties and it’s been a couple years since my divorce. I have recently been seeing a guy (33, single, no kids) who has been through a couple of bad breakups that really did a number on him. Now he lives in this sort of isolation to avoid suffering.
I like him but his disconnection is damaging my already damaged self-esteem. We recently talked about this issue and he made it clear he likes me and likes spending time with me but doesn’t want to have any attachments with me because he’ll not risk being hurt ever again.
We only see each other once a week, no calls or texts in between “dates” and when things tend to get a little bit closer he “disappears” for a couple of weeks and then comes back. I already decided to end it because I want more than this. I want a real relationship.
Ugh. This sounds awful! I completely understand this scenario because in my younger days, I dated a dozen of these! And guess what I finally realized? I was choosing unavailable men, most likely because I didn’t want the pressure of commitment. I even dated someone for several years, and the minute he committed I couldn’t go through with it. So I guess what I’m saying is, you might want to think about whether you have real feelings for him, or if his commitment-phobia is the attraction.
Here’s the thing. I’m hearing a lot of things about him—HE went through a bad breakup that did a number on HIM, HE made is clear that he won’t risk being hurt, HE disappears… Try to remember that this isn’t about HIM, but rather about YOU. HE sounds like he needs to be in therapy, or maybe he needs to grow up. By the way, I’m not judging him, I’m just saying he sounds like he has issues.
You have already been married. So, now, don’t you want someone who really, truly wants something serious? Who wants YOU? I’d say at this stage, you should settle for nothing less than a man who is dying to be with you, who adores you, who cherishes you—and for exactly who you are.
You nailed it. There is nothing worse for self-esteem than someone who is in and out. No calls or texts between dates? That must make you feel horrible, after the two of you have been intimate. You deserve better! I’m not even saying he isn’t a good guy, but the relationship needs to change or you need to get out of it.
I think you owe it to yourself to have a talk with him. Tell him how you are feeling and basically ask in a really nice way, “In or out?” You can tell him you love him, that you won’t hurt him, that you will do your best to be there for him.” And then you have to leave the ball in his court. If he walks away for good, then you are better off. And, you never know what can happen in the future. Or, he might surprise you and say he will try to be a more committed boyfriend. Whatever ends up happening, you will be better off than you are now. If you continue on this path, your self-esteem will get worse and worse, and you will become more unhappy.
There are so many wonderful men your age out there who want a commitment, who want to be in love and have that nauseating relationship where the two of you talk and kiss and text each other every minute. For me, there is no better feeling, and if you want that, I bet you can have it. But first, ask yourself if you really do, or if this guy is what you subconsciously want because YOU don’t want to get hurt again.
I hope I helped, and I hope you find a “real relationship,” whether it’s with him or someone else.
Like this post? Check out my article, “9 Ways To Get Your Divorced Boyfriend To Fall In Love With You.”