In a conundrum... need some advice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-1998
In a conundrum... need some advice.
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 10:49am


I am in a difficult place right now and need some advice on the best course of action. 

I have been seeing someone on and off for about 1.5 years. The first year was somewhat turbulent in that he was not fully committed to being in a serious, comitted relationship. He was very open and honest about this. We called it off several times as a result but then inevitably would hook up again. 

Despite all of this, I have also had my reservations about the relationship. Mainly due to our age difference. He is 15 years older than me. I am 42 and he is 57 now. He is a young 57. Nonetheless, it causes me to pause and he is also not very active (phyisically), which is another issue since I am and this was something I shared in my past relationships (going skiing together, running, hiking, camping). We go hiking together ocassionaly but I feel like I am missing out on these opportunties since we cannot do them together and it encompasses a big part of my life.

Also, we have only rarely refered to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend but simply as friends. I still refer to him as my good friend (with benefits). 

The other thing is that I am in the process of adopting as a single domestically. It may actually never happen since the family has to chose me. Nonetheless, this is something that is important to me and as I am getting older, I am trying to do what I can to manifest a family (something I always wanted).

Anyhow, over the past few months, my supposed friend has come forward to tell me that he really loves me (I know that he does. He cares for me deeply) and that he feels more committed to me and that he would like to move in together. Initially, when I brought up the adoption thing with him, he said that he could be Uncle Stephen. Now, he seems to be open to the idea of playing more of a father role. I know that is is genuine but for some reason, I still am reticent about moving forward in that direction despite the fact that I love him a lot and know that he totallly cherishes me and is now there for me.

Meanwhile during one of our breakups about 2 months ago, I decided to check out some of the online dating sites as I had never done this and was simply curious to see who was out there. I created a profile and received a few emails from some guys. Given that I was still somewhat hurt by the recent breakup and not feeling totally in that space of dating yet, I never replied although I certainly was intrigued. Since then, Stephen and I have reunited (but still in that weird place more from my perspective).

The other night, I decided that I would reply to one of the emails to say thank you and to let him know that I prematurely set up an account and realized that I wasn't in a place right now for a relationship (did not mention Stephen) and that I appreciated his kind words and wished him luck in his venture. He wrote back instantly and then an email conversation ensued over the course of a few days and I realized that this guy fits so much of what I am looking for (interested in long-term committment, super active and outdoorsy, very spirtual, which is super important to me and also the same age as me). Now... he wants to meet me and I am totally torn because I am technically in a relationship but in the back of my mind have kind of never fully been on board with the relationship despite the fact that I really love him but there is also a part of me that wants to try because I do love him so much and can also see the potential. I am...not sure what to do. I do not want to be dishonest but am also curious about this guy and am unsure as to what i should do. I'm also aware that this guy is communicating with other women from the dating site and he's been doing this for awhile so I know that I have to be cognisent of that and to tread lightly but I also know that we have a lot in common and that he is genuinely interested in meeting me. 

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 11:08am

I think you should meet the OLD guy.  Even if nothing happens, I just think that you are stuck in a relationship that's not really right for you and maybe you don't want to break up because you do have some feelings for the guy, plus the unknown is kind of scary.  Maybe it will be like a wakeup call that there are other men out there who might be more suitable for you.

I think the idea that you & your current BF (if that's even what he is--I don't know how someone could consider moving in together but won't call you his GF--then what are you?  a roommate?) could live together while you have a child and he would not be the co-parent is really strange.  What does that even mean?  obviously a baby is a ton of responsibility and it would be better not to have to do things on your own but if he is there, "uncle" or not--the child is going to get very attached to him--if you seriously want a child in your life, it would be unfair to bring in a man who would not commit to the child totally and be at least a stepfather to the child.  Is it just that he doesn't want any financial responsibility?  I think of Michelle Pfeiffer who had adopted a child on her own and then got married--now I can't think of her DH's name but do you think he did not raise the child as his own?  if you do that, you come as a package deal and any man must sign on for that, the same as if you had given birth.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2013
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 12:34pm
Just some info -Im an "older" guy, just getting out of a marriage of 23 - yep, thats 23 yrs. This was due more to both pursuing careers vice running around, then waking up one morning and thinking what on earth am I doing. Im married to my roommate, Im not happy, neither is she. We agree for the big D. Life moves on. Your current relationship isnt what you honestly in your heart want. Yes you may love the guy - are you IN love with him, or is it a friendship with benefits. If he (you) dont have more items in the pro column, then the con column....stop it and meet the other guy. That doesnt mean the "other" guy is THE one, it just means your being honest with yourself and realizing you dont have as many things in common as you originally thought. That doesnt make you the bad guy, it just makes you the honest one. I also agree with - if your adopting, or planning on it with earnest...whom ever you choose must be totally on board with it, not part time.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 1:42pm

I agree with the others.  You "named" it yourself......"friend (w/benefits)".  That's not a "committed"'s what you described, on again off again.  The only difference is that FWB's don't usually "break up".  They move in and out of each other's lives, but sans "break up".  What exactly is causing the "break ups" over and over again?

Suddenly this guy is talking about "love" for the last few months.  Do you think maybe he senses that you're about fed up with the situation?  He wants you to move in together?  Is that his way of  making sure you don't dump him?  If you move in with him, you'll be "settling" for a sedentary life with him, something you wouldn't be happy about.  There has been so much "on again - off again" with this guy, what happens when you or he ends it again?  Who moves out.....and for how long.

You owe this man NOTHING........I say go for the On Line guy.  Chances are it won't work out either, percentage wise, but at least you'll be doing something proactive with your life.  You owe the FWB nothing, including telling him what you're doing on line.  It's your life, you owe him nothing.  If you find you like the OL guy, then it's time to say goodbye to the FWB for good.  That's the only way you'll move on with your life.  Also, a new "live in" might be very detrimental to the adoption process!

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 2:08pm

I don't know what to tell you about the OLD guy, but oh my dear, you are talking some big things here.  Unless you two are ready to get married and adopt a child together, I really don't see this working.  Plus you clearly are missing out on activities you enjoy.  Don't have to do everything together, but it seems a little lopsided for your comfort level.

I had a friend in a similar situation.  She was dong IVF with donor sperm, and had a BF.  They broke up, got back together. She got pregnant and had the baby.  No intention of him ever adopting the child, but he was daddy.  They got married and divorced to years later.  Also large age difference.   Now this little girl has a dad, who isn't really her dad, that is divorce from her mom. 

Don't get me wrong, he is a great guy and loves this little girl as his own.  But he has no legal rights (nor support obligation).  The whole thing was just odd all the way around. 

Only you know what is right for you, but I think we all urge you to follow your gut and NOT move in with this guy.  Regardless of any other guy. 

Take care and keep us postes! Hugs...

Serenity CL making a second marriage work


Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 6:17pm

I'm going to chine in on the FWB part.  Sometimes one or the other gets socially lazy.  This man does not meet your requirements as a long time constant companion.  That is what it is.  Go and encourage your FWB to seek out others.  Having two different lifestyles does not work in the long term.  You may stay friend and even lovers but not someone to live with.  living with someone is a big difference most of us in this culture do not realize.  You, your self are used to coming and going as you please with out answering to anyone.  Spending time with activities and friends as you please.  The transition is not so easy when someone expects you to ck in.  Boundaries need to be set.  So think very carefully.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-1998
Thu, 12-12-2013 - 10:31pm

Just wanted to thank all of you for your sincere advice. A funny thing (depending on how you look at it, I guess) happened shortly after I posted that note. The online guy sent me an email to tell me that he wanted to focus on someone else that he met through the online dating site so that didn't work out after all. We didn't even meet. Either way, this certainly opened my eyes to what is out there and to the fact that I need to reconsider what I have with FWB.