Q: We knew each other in high school, we re-met 30 years later, had great chemistry and immediately started dating. Within 3 weeks she confessed she still had feelings for a man she just broke up with and ended our relationship. She described/describes him as somewhat of a mess, yet someone who DID positively change her life. She's been seeing him again on a casual/sexual/"no hope for a REAL relationship in the future" basis but recognizes I'm a much better choice for growing old with. Romantic and sexual chemistry with us was very good, so its not just a rocking chair partner she wants. She's stuck between the simplicity of a casual relationship with him and a committed to the future relationship with me. I want to be patient without being a fool. I've had a casual relationship myself so I get it - but with both of us 48, I want the real deal.
Do I set a time limit? How do I be strong with her without being demanding? How do I handle this? I am understanding and patient but I'm not willing, on principle, to wait around for too long. I don't think that a lot of time should be granted as it signifies a lack of REAL interest in me to break her casual ties. Advice? Please? Hurry?
A: Although the book "He's Not That Into You," was written for women, I believe that in some situations, it applies equally to men as well. This woman has outright told you that she'd rather be with someone who offers her no future than continue to date you and see where things go -- no matter how good the chemistry, intimacy and connection was with you. For whatever reason, she's chosen the hold this man has over her. I can think of many reasons why she'd make this choice, but franky, none of them will help you in the end.
You could take the angle that she's telling you this information as a cry for help, trying to extricate herself from a situation she can't seem to break free of. But that's the role a friend should play, not someone wanting to date her themselves. And frankly, she's isn't stuck. This woman has already given you her decision: she wants to continue things with the other guy, and she ended a relationship with you in order to do it.
It is time for you to recognize she's not that into you and move on. Let her know you won't be pursuing or calling her anymore if you feel so inclined, but I'd recommend a clean break. Don't have any contact with her for 30 days. Mourn what could have been, spend some time by yourself, hang out with friends who have relationships that you admire and aspire to. I fully realize its a hard road to walk down, but after taking a bit of time and giving the relationship a bit of distance, you'll be able to see for yourself that if she really wanted to be with you, nothing could stop her from pursuing the meaningful and future-minded relationship you long for and deserve.
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