Dear Annie: I’m a 49-year-old who has been dating and living with my girlfriend for almost one year now. We’re madly in love. We have talked about marriage, and I would love to, but she keeps saying no.
She went through a 25-year marriage that she thought would last forever. She had been single for a few years until the time we started dating. When we talk about it, she says her fear is that, one day, I will leave her, too. I can’t get her to understand that I’m not like that, and she would have to try hard to push me away.
What can I do or say to ease her mind? – Confused and in love
Dear Confused and In Love: It sounds like she is traumatized from the abandonment she suffered during her first marriage. She is frozen with fear, anticipating that what happened to her the first time will happen again.
As a couple, communication is key. Rather than trying to “get her to understand,” listen to her concerns. Then, instead of pressuring her to do something she does not feel comfortable with, try creating some future plans. Continue to express what your needs are, and allow her to express her needs, without trying to change her. And encourage her to seek professional help for her trauma. It sounds like she is hurting.
Dear Annie: I have been seeing the same man for 18 years. I say “seeing” because he is married. “Patrick” and I have been messing around together for a long time. Many times throughout the years, I’ve told him that he should really think about what he was doing since he was married. His response alternates between, “She and I are pretty much done” – clearly a lie – and “I don’t know how I can love two women at once, but I want to.” I tell him that he can’t. We’ve known each other for so long now that he is one of my best friends. I want to end our romance, but I’d like to keep him as a friend. He says he won’t have it that way. He continues to call and come over. How do I make him see that we can have just a friendship? – No More Messing Around
Dear NMMA: Even if you two did somehow manage to cease being intimate – a big if – a continued relationship is not a good idea. You’d just be going from a physical affair to an emotional one. Show yourself the love and respect that this man has never been able to muster for you, and stop seeing him. There is someone out there for whom you will be more than enough.
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