Dear Ronnie The Dating Coach,
I’ve known this guy for almost three years. We’ve been friends, but have started to talk and date since he’s gotten divorce. We also work together so though I see him daily and have to act normal as if there is nothing going on. Lately I have been having doubts because I have know I’m falling in love and want a long term relationship. Definitely marriage when he is ready.
I am struggling with the fact that I know he wants to take it slow. I feel like we should be much further along since I have known him for years. My heart flutters whenever he walks into the room and he lights up my day with his smile. He is kind and genuine and is always so direct and considerate. I actually appreciate the directness – it’s more desirable and comfortable and I don’t like to guess in conversation.
I feel as though I have been doing a lot of guessing between us. I know that he loves me, he’s told me several times, but he’s introverted so he’s really hard to read. At the same time I do NOT want to pressure him to move forward because I know deep down that this is a no no. I don’t want to lose him.
I don’t want to waste my time and I have no idea on whether or not he’s dating others. This is so hard and I feel stuck. I feel blocked about discussing this because I believe in a man leading so I will truly know on whether I am being sought after or just convenient. I just can’t see myself bringing it up…but it’s been on my mind all year long. I love him so much, but sometimes I fear he’s not that into me…and other times it seems like he doesn’t want to leave my presence.
Please give me some advice as I already know in my heart that he is my soul mate and meant to be my husband. Please ease my heart with your relationship advice..
Baffled in Birmingham
This is a huge emotional issue for you and that makes it much more difficult to see things clearly. I understand how that can feel and how much this is weighing on you. My relationship advice is a little “tough love”, but I share it with your best interest in mind so I hope you can hear that. I want to help you with understanding men and what’s gong on here.
If I read this correctly, you’ve been having a secret relationship with this man for a year. You love him and he tells you he loves you. But you don’t know if you are exclusive? You can’t have an open conversation? How can this man be your soul mate or future husband if you can’t communicate with him?
I understand when you say a man should lead and I agree. But you are way past that point if you’ve been together for a year, or even 6 months. There is more to a healthy, loving relationship than passion. You need to be compatible, open and honest with each other for this to work out long-term.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all men knew it was their responsibility to bring up exclusivity and long-term commitment? Most often, that is not the case. As a woman, you must take care of number one and honey, that is YOU. You cannot live quietly in some corner hoping not to lose him. No wonder this is tearing you up.
You need to ask him, gently but directly, if the two of you are exclusive. And if not, tell him you are ready to be exclusive now. If he balks, blows up or acts evasive, these reactions send a clear message that even though he may love you, his agenda is not the same as yours.
This man was just divorced and for some men, it takes time to heal. For other divorced men, they want a chance to sow their wild oats again now that they are free – and that’s not unreasonable unless he wants to have his cake (you) and eat it too (plus other women).
I can’t tell from your letter if your relationship is a secret only at work or to the world. If no one knows you are in a relationship, then something is very wrong. If he’s keeping you a secret, I can’t help but think he is seeing other women.
Right now you feel like he is your “everything”. But, this is not healthy or good for your self esteem. You can’t live walking on egg shells and keeping such a big secret. He has all the power and you just sit hoping for his love.
Please respect yourself and find the strength to have the conversation. You need to know your true status. Hoping is not a strategy. While ultimatums are not advisable, knowing where you stand is. If you truly want to be married, you are going to have to face this issue with him to find out where you stand, if you are exclusive, and if marriage is something he even wants in his future. Otherwise, I’m sorry to say, you very well could be wasting your time on him.