When "Pushing" Becomes Ridiculous
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I am a 41 year old divorced woman who began seeing a 44 year old divorced man about 18 months ago. We have had our fair share of ups and downs. He calls me at least three times a day or more. Rarely do we go out on actual dates. Usually I fill into his lifestyle by visiting his home or going where he is expected to be at his request. I puppy sit his dog and cleanup around his home. The problem is whenever I talk about our relationship he says I am "pushing."
I believe after 18 months I should be able to tell him how I feel. I love him very much. When I tell him he responds by saying nothing. Asking him how he feels about me is considered a forbidden conversation area which causes argument. He claims I do not understand. I have asked him if he will ever be able to say he loves me. His response is... Sometime. What does that mean? I would like to marry one day. What can I do? When is "pushing" no longer acceptable but ridiculous?
I hate to be the one to tell you, but pushing this guy the way you're doing it is long past ridiculous. You've made yourself into a complete doormat for him. You go to him wherever he is. You puppy sit his dog and cleanup around his house. And you let him decide what is or is not a forbidden conversation.
This relationship has gotten off totally on the wrong foot. You've let him have all the power. You've already told him you love him and he hasn't told you he loves you and might tell you sometime. That's so insulting -- and yet you're still there, still dog sitting.
You will never be able to get this man to marry you because he has no respect for you. Besides, what would he get when he marries you? You already act like a wife and tell him you love him and he doesn't even have to respond or promise you anything. He's already got all of you.
When he says "sometime" it means when he has to. As long as he has everything he wants from you, then his sometime can be well, some time.
The best thing you can do is to totally cut him off. Tell him that you're not willing to accept his crumbs anymore and that you want a relationship with someone who returns your feelings and is able to tell you they love you. Then walk away. Don't take his calls. Don't email him. Don't contact him at all and don't let him contact you.
If he's used to calling you three times a day, that will get his attention. Maybe he'll feel something's missing in his life. He might even want you back. But don't jump at his offer.
Instead, find someone else and apply what you've learned from this experience. You have given way too much too soon. Next time, don't give any more than you're getting back. If you find that you're giving more than you're getting, stop.
If Mr. Sometime calls and wants you back, make him say the magic words first. And whatever you do, don't forsake all others until he gives you a good reason to.
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I have been dating a man for almost a year. We both fell in love fast and
he moved in with me. We have been living together for about 8 months. I
think he is a great man and he treats me well with love notes, opening the
doors, flowers, conversations, etc. We get along great and have the same
My problem...he has an ex-wife and a 8 year old son. Their marriage only
lasted a little over a year but he told me that after the divorce he was
still trying to make it work in the following years. I also found out that
he was with her again 2 months before he met me. He said he was doing it
for the child and that they weren't intimate. None of this has bothered me
until he called me by her name not only once but on two different occasions.
Then the other day I did a compatibility test using our signs and we laughed
and had a good time with it. Well later in the evening he called me a
Scorpio (I am a Aries) I asked him where he got Scorpio from and after a
little nagging he admitted it was her sign.
Another incident was when we were dropping their son off at the ex's.
She called on his phone and I only heard his end but then questioned him
about the call because it sounded weird. He said he didn't want to tell me
because I would get mad. But he finally did. She asked him if I was with
him, he responded yes, she then asked if he wanted me to be with him and he
responded yes. Then she made the comment you just want to torture me don't
you and he responded this is just the way it worked out. She then said she
found a reggae CD collection for $10.00 that she thought he would like. He
said well I would have paid you for it. She asked if he wanted her to pick
it up for him and he said if you are in the area. The end. Once we arrived
at the house he came out with the CD collection.
I told him that it is inappropriate to accept gifts from his ex and that the
phone call was uncalled for as well. He agreed and said that if it happened
again he would not accept a gift and he would let her know to stop talking
the way she did. Another thing I noticed is he still has old cards from
her, not a problem but since he moved in he threw out a lot of stuff but
kept a couple of these "love cards". He tells me he wants nothing to do
with her and that he would never want to be with her again and that I am
part of the reason that helped him move on. This is beginning to bother me
and cause some arguments.
Am I being blinded by love? Please help with your great advice.
Dear Blinded by Love,
Once divorce was rare and so were multiple marriages. In today's world, we have to be a little blinded by love when we fall for a man who's had previous marriages and children. We have to be willing to accept that those people have a place in his heart forever, and that the person we love is entitled to their memories, cherished and otherwise.
So he gets to keep his old "love" cards, he gets to talk to his ex if he wants to (but not too often), and he gets to pick up his son. He and his ex will have to work out their issues, and if you're a part of the equation, you'll have to work out your issues too. One way is to make friends with his ex, so that she doesn't feel so threatened when you are there. You could also learn some things about your guy from her.
You can't do a lobotomy on somebody you love and cut out the part of their brain that remembers former partners. So if he calls you the wrong name or gets your sign and hers mixed up, forget it. It happens. If it still happens after you've been together for a few years, I'd be worried, but you're fairly new as a couple.
Your ability to solve these problems together is a good test of whether you can be a good couple in the long run. Your guy's shown good faith by agreeing not to accept gifts from his ex and to limit the emotional phone calls. I'd hang in there with him as long as everything else is working.
Bad or Worse
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I'm 36, single, no kids. I have been married once, but it seems like 100 years ago.
I'm in a very confusing situation. I am currently dating, i'll call him 'new guy', and I like him very much and care about him but I am not in love with him. I thought there was potential when we met about 2 months ago, but I have found out some things in the past 2 months that make him not so great. I'd broken up with someone that I was VERY much in love with about 4 months prior to that and we hadn't spoken at all during that time. I'll call him 'dream crusher'.
I wanted to get married and have a family with Dream Crusher, but he'd just had an out-of-wedlock child (he's 34 and never married) when we met and he was so screwed up by that, with DNA testing, court, child support issues, visitation, etc, that he got a vasectomy after we'd been together for 8 months. I tried to stay with him after that but I couldn't. I was 34 when we met and my clock was ticking, and he basically smashed it with a sledge hammer. I told him at some point that maybe I could be a good step mom, and when I asked several times to meet his daughter and maybe start getting involved, he didn't do that either and broke my heart all over again. I couldn't take any more, and left. I figured it was ok with him too because there were no attempts on his part to contact me for quite a while. He contacted me AFTER he found out through mutual friends that I was seeing someone.
So, about New Guy. He's very attentive and we spend a majority of our free time together. I met his 3yr old son within two weeks of knowing him, where as I never met Dream Crusher's daughter at all during our nearly 2 year relationship. New Guy and I do alot of things together and we really enjoy the same activities, where as Dream Crusher never seemed to be around enough... even though we enjoyed the same activities too. My friends and family love New Guy. They weren't crazy about Dream Crusher, especially after he started smashing the ticking clock. New Guy would love to have more kids... and we'll start with that problem first.
New Guy can't have kids. I don't know exactly why, but it has something to do with a horrible accident he was in about 4 years ago. Everything works like normal though, and he says there's some kind of surgery that would increase his chances of conceiving... only thing is, he doesn't have insurance, or the money to have kids in the first place and my financial situation is a joke. I can barely feed myself. And there's another problem. The sex isn't very good and I find myself avoiding his advances most of the time because I don't like getting short changed in the sack. He also drinks more than I'd like. Which leads to yet another problem... he was in ANOTHER accident where a passenger was hurt, and is in limbo with the court system right now (the accident was a little over a year ago) but since he was drinking, he might go to PRISON for heaven's sake. OH, and he's also not LEGALLY divorced yet. He's been seperated since the last accident, and I have a feeling it's because the passenger that was hurt was a female who wasn't his wife. He's making Dream Crusher look pretty good now. Another thing is, I don't like New Guy's son very much at all, and I think New Guy's parenting skills are AWFUL... but I don't have kids, so it's not like I can say anything. His son is a spoiled, whiney, mean, horrible brat of a child.
Dream Crusher never short changed me in the sack, and maybe there's a possibility of vasectomy reversal or at least step motherhood in my future with him... but he was so FREAKED out about those kind of commitments a year ago, I don't know if it would change. We email each other lately, and he dropped by my work to say hello the other day, and the feelings are still there, and I don't think it's just ME. We don't talk about getting back together, and he doesn't ask about my current guy and I don't volunteer any information.... it's just kind of friendly, other than the moments when we say how much we miss each other.
My friends and family LOVE new guy, but they don't know the bad stuff. They think we're 'perfect for each other'... which makes me want to vomit. New Guy isn't ALL bad, but I don't like the things that I've found out recently and I want out. He subtly informed me that his apartment lease is up soon, hinting at moving in. There's no way in hell. What's ironic is that I would have loved for Dream Crusher to move in and say and do all these things that New Guy is doing, but I at least dated Dream Crusher for 6 months first.
Dream Crusher was far from perfect. New Guy seems even farther. And I haven't met a guy in the past 8 years without some issue, whether it's not being able to have children, not wanting children, or if everything else is good in that department, then they're crazy or abusive or addicted to something, or just plain stupid.
Like Single Mom in your 8/8/04 column, I've been on singles sites, I meet them when I go out, I am attractive and meet LOTS of men when I'm available... but... it always seems like it ends up like this. Dream Crusher might have had a vasectomy... but maybe I'm getting too old anyway. 37 is right around the corner. Should I talk to him about this? I really don't want to keep meeting guys like New Guy and be disappointed constantly.
And what on earth do I tell my friends and family when I dump New Guy? Because I'm fairly sure I will soon. I'm not sure how bad I want to bear my own children anymore either, but maybe it's because New Guy doesn't do anything for me like Dream Crusher. What do you think?
Let's see, you have a choice of Dream Crusher who's a commitment phobic and got a vasectomy when he knew you wanted children, and you've got New Guy who's an alcoholic, might go to jail, not really divorced, bad in bed, and with a horrible child. There's nothing confusing about your situation - both men are lousy choices.
Old guy's vasectomy might not be reversible. New guy might go to jail. A future for you with either one of them is too iffy.
Run, don't walk, to your computer and find new men. Be assertive and be ruthless. If they're not available, ready and eager to commit, and wanting to have a child right away, don't bother with them. Put out exactly what you want. Don't pussyfoot around and don't be coy. That way you won't get men who aren't ready.
Put your own ad in (as opposed to only responding to men's ads). Choose from men who really really want you. Forget the ones who are lukewarm or whose fantasy you don't actually fill.
Don't lose your chance to bear your own child. Just because you've had bad luck before, and these two are total losers, doesn't mean there isn't a winner right around the corner.
As for what to tell friends and family, just tell them he had too much baggage and that you couldn't deal with his son. If they insist on a better reason, tell them the sex was terrible. That should end the conversation. Please remember, you can't live your life by committee and you can't choose your life partner based on whether your friends and family like them.
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