Your Dilemmas: He continuously says he loves me... but I don't think he's for me

In her weekly column, JOAN LONG, a Bishopstown psychologist and psychotherapist, answers readers’ queries
Your Dilemmas: He continuously says he loves me... but I don't think he's for me

"I am afraid though that if I end this I will be on my own, without any social outlets. My friends all have relationships as most of them are married and settled." Picture: Stock

Dear Joan,

Can you help me with a decision as I don’t know which road to take.

I’m widowed for eight years and met a very nice man 18 months ago: an utter gentleman who is very kind. However, I do not have the feelings for him that he has for me. He continuously says he loves me and how much his life has changed because he has me.

He fell apart early this year when I suggested we have a break as I told him I wasn’t sure. We both have adult children, who have their own families.

I’m not fulfilled by this relationship. While he is a lovely man, I don’t think it’s for me.

I am afraid though that if I end this I will be on my own, without any social outlets. My friends all have relationships as most of them are married and settled.

Before I met this man, I really had no social life and I don’t want to go back to that again as it’s lonely and endless! Endless!

What will I do? I feel this is very selfish of me but for the first time in my life I think if I’m honest with myself that I am putting myself first, but I also know this is a very good man and what I am doing is not being fully honest with him.

I do like him — but I am not in love with him as he is with me, so what should I really do for everyone’s sake?

My children and their partners really like him and include him in everything, as his kids do likewise with me. In many ways it is perfect, but my heart is not in it.

Dear Reader,

I believe you know what you need to do, both for the sake of your man friend and for you own sake!

He obviously feels very differently for you than what you feel for him. You are leading him up the garden path, or some path he doesn’t realise he is going. It sounds like he may well be oblivious to how you’re thinking and feeling about him. It sounds like he is FULLY invested while you are not!

I really can understand your fear of being on your own again after the taste of genuine companionship and partnership after being on your own for so long. Yes, that can be a bleak outlook, but you have said it yourself, you’re not being honest with this man who loves you.

If you do keep it going, for how king and for what? Until some knight appears? This hardly happens in real life, especially at our age... I calculate you are probably in your early to mid-sixties from what you say.

Let this man go — be honest with him, even though I expect it will be a very difficult conversation. I believe you have the capacity to be honest with him as, from what you say, you put others first in the past. You need to do this now as you’re not being honest to anyone the way it is.

You know, rather than focusing on your fear, you may be wiser to focus on all the positive possibilities that await you out there. But if you choose to stay “stuck” in a relationship that is not fulfilling, your emotional needs will not be available for any such possibilities.

One last point though, it may be more kind and humane to wait until after Christmas and New Year to have the conversation.

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