In a conundrum... need some advice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-1998
In a conundrum... need some advice.
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 10:47am


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: 02-25-2013
Sun, 11-24-2013 - 10:12am

On and off again relationships are never meant to be. If a guy is willing to let me go at any point, then he's just not that into me. Commited, emotionally mature people who really love each other stay together and work out their issues. Since you would even consider meeting up with another man, or it appeals to you, it means you really don't love the one you're with. I highly doubt your online man will be who he says he is. I think you should break up with Mr. on again off again because he's not the right person for you. Try It's a lot less pressure than online dating and a lot less crazier. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2012
Sun, 11-24-2013 - 12:23pm

I have read your post twice and here is what I thought after each reading.  1) My gut STRONGLY tells me that this is not a desirable relationship.  For your benefit and that of the child you may be adopting, this is a losing proposition.  (2) "Falling In and Out of Love" credit due to PPL, is  bad thing for two adults. And it doesn't sound like that is over yet.  Being FWB is a neat arrangement if you only enter into it fully understanding that neither one of you will be hurt terribly by ending it.  Take the two points above and add a guy who is still contacting other women, and you have a very fragile nest for a child. If you have been open--you should be--with the folks who will be approving the adption, I think they'll help you understand this and object to the adoption.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2013
Mon, 11-25-2013 - 12:10pm

I personally don't think you are in a difficult position as much as you think you are.  From what you've described Stephen it seems as though the guy just simply can  not grow up.  And that is OK.  That works for him.  However, you've already answered your issue.  You simply don't mix well with Stephen.  You have other goals in life and he doesn't match up or at least isn't along the similar path as you.  He's used to pushing and pulling you in and out of his life.  People like that will do that constantly.  They'll never change and nothing you do will change that.  He's 57 doll, you adopting a child is not going to make him stay.  It's okay to care for him and love him, but you've got to take care of YOU! But warning, once you start pulling away and he realizes that, he'll say whatever the heck he wants to pull you back in.  You MUST be strong and pull away.  He's really toxic for your inner and outer soul.  

I wouldn't focus on any males coming into your life right now especially since you are in the process of adopting.  Online dating is cool...but remember anybody can be anybody behind a computer screen.  I'd say forget the online dating thing, pull away from Stephen and focus on the adoption.  Get that covered and squared away.  There are so many single parent groups and meet ups out there that you never know, you may meet someone by accident and things could evolve.  Good luck girl!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
Wed, 12-04-2013 - 3:58pm

I can relate somewhat to your situation. It's hardest when you know the man cares about you at least in the sense that there is an emotional commitment. Love in terms of loving someone enough to change yourself. Maybe not there yet. I experienced this with my x-bf, similar to you, 15 yrs my sr. He was faithful, wanted to have a long term commitment with me but fundamentally very different in some ways that he's not willing to change for me. So, you can say he loved me but not enough, or he was good but not enough.

This is the kidn of R/S that hardest to walk away from. It's b/c the man treats you well and committed to you. You mentioned age as the biggest factor besides the activity level. I think if you have suh a big deal breaker such as age difference then clearly he's not for you. For me though differnet levels of acitivities don't present much of a challenge. Surely you can find things to do togeterh. If he wants to be with you, he would be coming along on these outings. If you want to do much more than he can then yiou can make friends, join meetup groups. 

It's hard to let go of one person when you really don't have any strong prospect lined up. I've been in this sitch before too. The new person may or may not work out but you would be cheating if you go out with the new person while supposedly exclusive with your current bf. I think you just have to let things take their course but don't cheat on you curren bf.

My bf and I eventually broke up due to a fundamental difference in value (money). I still miss the emotional connection we had but he wasn't willing to make the compromise to be of one-mind with me for things to work. Now I'm single and looking. Nobody exciting yet but sometimes we just need to let go of people who are not right for us.