Dear Annie: Wanting more and not getting it
Dear Annie: I will very soon turn 68. I was with my ex-husband for 42 years before we divorced eight years ago. I dated several men in the first four years, but four years ago, I connected with a man I had dated in high school.
We spend three nights a week together and a little of the day after together. Very rarely do we vary from this schedule, which is his choice, not mine. Fortunately, we only live about 10 minutes apart, but I do all of the traveling, except when I had surgery recently; he came to my house those evenings for two weeks. We always have a great time together and laugh a lot. I love him very much, and I’m pretty sure that he has strong feelings for me, although he doesn’t say it.
Here’s where I need help. We’ve skirted the idea of living together several times. I would love to move in with him. This morning, I made the remark that if I sold my house and he would move with me, I’d move to a warmer location. He then said we could never live together because we are so different. The only difference he gave was that I like people and he doesn’t. He said that after having a family for 41 years, he enjoys being alone. When he’s by himself, he says he’s with “all of (his) friends.” I’m sure he means his TV, cans of beer and packs of smokes.
I can’t give him an ultimatum, because he would just laugh and dig his heels in, and I don’t think I could follow through if I said, “We have to live together, or we’re through.” I don’t really enjoy living by myself, although there are some good things about it. My daughter lives an hour from me and would love to have me move closer to her and her family. I’m going to put my house up for sale this year, and I was wanting to stay in my area as long as I am in a relationship, but after our conversation this morning, I’m beginning to think I should look to the future and move closer to my daughter. I don’t want to give up on this man I love, but I can’t see myself, in five or 10 years, just spending a few hours a week with him. Feb. 12 marked our fourth anniversary; ironically, it’s the same date we broke up on in 1964. — In a Quandary in PA
Dear Quandary: It sounds as if you have codependent tendencies and you’re allowing a fear of being alone to drive your decision-making. Be honest with yourself. What do you really want out of a relationship, a few hours of comfort and familiarity each week or loving commitment from someone who wants to share a life with you? I think you want the latter but are afraid to ask for it. You shouldn’t be.
Find the self-confidence to deliver that ultimatum — “Either we move in together or I’m going to have to move on” — and really mean it. If he’s not willing to commit, then I think you really should move closer to your daughter. She will always be there for you, offering unconditional love. And you sound like a charming woman; I’m sure you’ll meet another man in your new town, one who wants the same things out of life that you do, and you’ll be so glad you didn’t settle for second best.
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