Decisions, Decisions

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  • #943603 Reply

    Getting back into serious dating after being alone for many years presents many challenges, the least of which (for me) is letting go of the dream life that is not having anyone to answer to. Live and die by my own sword, good – bad – or indifferent. I’m very curious as to others’ thoughts regarding this. For reference, I am 62, an empty nester and widow (of many years), financially stable, and already busy and happy. But I do love my current partner and he is offering the world on a silver platter. But I worry about being able to be somewhat selfless again, when it took me decades to finally learn how to become a little selfish (in a good, self-care kind of way). Thank you! They don’t make him like this man anymore, so I don’t want to muck it up!

    #943604 Reply

    How long have you two been together?
    Do you live together?

    #943605 Reply

    So does he want to marry you?

    #943607 Reply

    We’ve been dating one year and yes, he wants to get married. He lives in the next town so we see each other frequently, but he would prefer every day which is hard because I’m still working at a challenging and time-consuming career. I’m not trying to give up my limited down time that I need to survive at my age! Does this all make sense or am I being too self-serving? Hoping as we age the restrictions and expectations age with us, buy maybe not.

    #943611 Reply

    @Mary, Have you voiced this to him?

    #943612 Reply

    Agree with Raven. You can’t expect expectations to “age out.” People don’t just magically change. You need to communicate your needs and decide if his needs and your needs are compatible together, or if you can at least come to a compromise that makes both people happy and stays consistent both in words and actions once agreed to (at least until someone speaks up again if their needs have changed later). If he really is a great guy, he will respect your opinions without resentment or weirdness.

    #943625 Reply

    Yes I have voiced my concerns since day 1. And he has respected my boundaries thus far, but we are still living separately, and not engaged or married. I am just curious what happens after … like is it possible to give up independence at this age/stage of life? If we are living together, does that mean I will never be alone again? It just doesn’t seem right. I guess I want my cake and to eat it too.

    #943626 Reply

    Is he respecting your boundaries in order to hang onto you even though your desires may be incompatible? Or is he actually happy with things if they stay as is? (Don’t make assumptions or mindread to make decisions on his behalf, just ask and listen.) If you’ve talked this out and hit an impasse but no one wants to admit it because one or both of you is too afraid to break up, then you should move on. If you’ve talked this out and you’re both happy with your relationship being this way indefinitely, then great. Otherwise, find someone who wants the same things you do. Milestones (such as engagement and marriage) don’t need to look the same for everyone. Maybe you move in together but have mostly separate finances and separate bedrooms in the house. Some people want that type of arrangement, others really really don’t. So it goes back to really figuring out what you want and finding someone who truly wants the same and isn’t just bending themselves resentfully into a pretzel to avoid being alone.

    You may also want to go to couples counseling, or even your own independent therapy a few times, to figure this out. Is your need for separation something you’ve always had, or are you still tired and sad and apprehensive of investing again after being widowed? You don’t need to answer that for me, but can be something you explore with a professional to figure out if you even want to be in a fully serious relationship again. No shame in it if you do or if you don’t. The couples counseling would be to help see if you can work as a team to come up with a solution that works for both of you instead of drifting forward seeing how much you can each bend without breaking totally, until one of you does break.

    #943628 Reply

    @Maddie I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your thoughtful response. And you hit the nail on the head! That’s exactly how I feel and I don’t know how to figure it all out. There’s so much to look forward to with him, but yet something is holding me back. I think counseling on my own and with him as a couple is an excellent idea! And he will go willingly, he’s a mental health professional and in counselling already. Which is another thing I love about him, he’s constantly working to be a better person. Again, appreciate your response, it really did help me a lot!

    #943629 Reply

    I’m glad, I hope it works out for you!

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