Friday, October 05, 2007

She's In Love With an Older Man

Dear Terry-

I have an unusual and stressful problem, not to mention complicated. My ex is now 50, and I'm nearly 21. We finally became a couple last year after years of dancing the tango and him not admitting how he really felt--we were together and finally happy.

I got ill in the summer and ended up in the hospital, and he stuck by me through thick and thin; however, we split up after I came out--from what I can piece together this is my father's fault because he put all the blame at my ex-boyfriend's feet and caused him a hell of a lot of grief. G (my ex-boyfriend) couldn't sleep and was phoning all the time to find out how I was doing but had nothing but grief from my family who wouldn't let him see me.

A year later, we are becoming closer again, but she says he loves his ex--an ex that has been married for 15 years. They did used to have an affair, but that stopped over 10 years ago, and I think he is using her as an excuse to avoid being with me, or the heartache from my father.

We stood in the kitchen together last night while my dad was cooking, and G had his arm around my waist. My dad came up and took his arm from around my waist and told him to keep it off because I "could take it the wrong way."

Now, if G's starting to subconsciously want to touch me and hold me, then I do think he still cares and wants to be with me, but with the interference from my dad it's becoming difficult, that and the old scars from his past relationships. Now, if he still loved his ex last year, he wouldn't have begun a relationship with me. He's not that type, so I do think he's hiding behind her for several reasons.

So the question is this:

How can I subtlely get him over the past and back on track? I love this man with all my heart and want to marry him, but I need him to get over the past for us to begin a future.

Kind regards,
In Love and Longing


Dear In Love-

Whew!

Did I read it right when you say you're almost 21, your ex is 50, and you finally got together after "years of dancing the tango?" How old were you this tango started?

About your father: It seems to me he's desperate to protect you from getting hurt, and he doesn't trust your ex. Now, you're a grown woman, and you can make your own decisions, but your father is seeing red flags.

Be honest with yourself. What red flags might your father be seeing? Whether you choose to heed them is entirely your decision, but please slow down long enough to at least acknowledge them.

Now, about the grief your father is throwing your ex-boyfriend's way: Your ex is a 50-year-old man. He should be able to endure a little resistance from the man who helped bring you into the world. Your father loves you and is rightly trying to protect you (wouldn't you try to protect him?). With a little determination, your ex could stand up to your father and prove himself worthy of you.

That is, if he's so inclined.

About your ex's ex: She may be married for 15 years, but that doesn't mean anything if your ex still cares about her. If he says he does, take him at his word. Yeah, I know it hurts. I know it's not what you want to believe. But, trust me, it beats wasting your life torturing yourself over a guy who may be wholly incapable of loving you the way you deserve to be loved.

Now, what if I'm wrong, and he does indeed love you? Well, it is up to him to come to terms with his feelings and act on them. Is it intelligent to love somebody and walk away from her? No, it's not.

If he loves you and is an intelligent human being, he will find a way to love you in spite of his fear. You will not have to search for evidence of his affection for you. You will see it, feel it, hear it, touch it, and taste it every day of your life.

About marrying him: At the risk of sounding ageist, he is 30 years older than you. When I was in my 20s, I was besotted with a professor 31 years older than me. My mother sobered me up fast. She said, "Yeah, he seems pretty great now, but you could end up one day taking care of a very old man."

So now I'm saying the same thing to you.

Think about it. If you're lucky, you'll be 50 one day. This guy will be 80. Can you picture him today in a relationship with an 80-year-old woman?

I didn't think so.

Now picture yourself taking care of an 80-year-old man: Your friends want to go the theater, but your husband wants you to stay home, feed him his pills, and watch him fall asleep in front of the news.

Whatever you decide to do about this man, know this: It's not possible to "subtlely get him over the past." Only he can get himself over the past. Only he can get himself over whatever it is that's stopping him from giving you what you want out of the relationship.

There are other men out there, you know. Please be open to the possibility that one of them might make you a lot happier than this guy.

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