“I am 43, never been married and am currently talking to a guy (long distance) that I’ve known for about 3 years now. We met in grad school in 2008 and did not reconnect until March 2009 via phone. We’ve been talking ever since. He is now divorced and told me that he has very strong feelings for me and would like to have a relationship.
At the time he expressed this to me, I did not have the same feelings for him and only felt friendship which I told him in a very careful manner. I was concerned about his feelings. More recently, I started to have feelings for him and wanted to give romance a try.
Here’s my concern – he withdraws for months at a time when he is going through problems and shuts me out. This makes me feel rejected. So I don’t know if I should even consider going forward with him? Please let me know what you think I should do.”
Uncertain in Dallas
When a man disappears, that is a big red flag! Luckily, you recognize this. Your friend may have problems with depression. He might have issues with intimacy. Or both.
This is a true cause for concern whether you are dating over 40 or at any age. If you are going to be in a relationship, you can’t maintain intimacy if he is going to withdraw. While he may just be taking care of himself, it does cause a feeling of rejection – of course. That’s only natural.
One thing I have noticed is that sometimes people (men and women) start these phone relationships for exactly this reason – they can control the intimacy, how much there is and when they want it.
Consistency and communication are two big keys for a loving and healthy relationship. While he may need a lot of space or want to work things out solo, shutting you out when in a relationship does not bode well. Even though you were friends while he
was doing this and not lovers, I think it is still a sign of serious trouble.
If he did this while you were in a relationship, how could you connect, discuss what is happening or co-exist in a living space? He is showing you that he is not capable of being a full partner. Things will come up in any life or relationship. If every time you hit a bump in the road, your man disappears, that will be more than painful. It borders on emotional abuse, even if he doesn’t mean anything by it. His lack of ability to cope will make it impossible for you to stay connected, feel loved or safe.
While it might seem at 43 that you don’t have many options left, there really are good men out there. Men who want a relationship and have a capability to be in one. I’m sorry to say, I do not think your phone guy has the emotional intelligence or availability that you would need for a successful, healthy long-term relationship.
As your dating coach, I highly recommend looking around for better men who knows how to stay connected and communicates no matter what the circumstances are. You deserve more than a partial relationship.
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