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Relationship advice: Dating older men (Also check out our video on the topic. See our video page)
Hopefully I won’t make this too long but here goes. I’m a junior in college and I have been dating the man I love for about four years now. He left to go to another city about 6 hours away from our home town to study art. I stayed here in town because one of the best programs for my major is at one of the state schools right here. About two years ago we decided a long distance relationship wasn’t the best idea. There was no one “else” in either one of our lives, but with new experiences we didn’t know where we were headed. We decided to continue “dating” though.
I dedicate myself to my education and the vice presidency of my sorority fully. I don’t blame him for doing what is best for him and leaving, nor has he ever criticized me for staying behind for my best interests. He graduated last year and has stayed where he went to school to work and pay off his school loans.
We have always communicated on a daily basis and make it a point to spend time with each other when given any opportunity to do so. We have always talked about the future, including children and marriage.
This past Christmas, he asked me to move in with him once I’ve completed my degree. I agreed. However, that was the last time I physically saw him. Between school getting more and more intense, clinical rotations, and summer courses, I haven’t been able to visit him. He also has not been able to come home due to a recent surgery.
Just last night he told me precisely this: “I never want to hurt you, so I think it’s fair I tell you that I’m seeing someone now. I can only blame it on the distance and the time we’ve had apart. It’s been so long since I’ve last been with you and right now, it’s uncertain when we’ll get the opportunity to see each other again and that alone hurts me. I don’t want that for us. If it ever happens between us, I will welcome it with the love I have for you. But for now I gotta do me. It hasn’t been anything serious with her and I don’t expect you to say anything about this, but I want you to understand that this doesn’t change how I feel about you. I’ll always love you. But apparently, we just can’t be together right now. Maybe some day. I love you and it’s killing me to never see you. It just isn’t fair to both of us. I still love you. I just can’t do this right now.”
I trust him, and I also give him props for telling me the truth. But it tears me to shreds to hear this. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from him however. It has actually been a REALLY long time since we’ve had that conversation. It always seems to eventually rub off within a couple of weeks or months, whether there is someone else or not, and we’re back to normal and dandy all over again.
With that said, I guess my question is: Why love me and be with someone else? Is he just leaving me out to dry for later use, or does he see what I see for us someday?
I could never bring myself to do such a thing as see someone else when he has my heart. Four years is a long time and I honestly can’t see a future without him in it. But I also don’t want to be waiting around for his new-found fling to get “serious” all of a sudden.. though it has never happend, yet..
I’m so sorry for the novel!! However, please explain.
Thanks for your question.
We applaud your focus and dedication when it comes to your studies. Getting your career in place should be your number one goal right now. We hope you complete your course load, and establish yourself in the working world before you make any decisions about your relationship. Once you do that, you’ll be negotiating from a place of strength and security when it comes to figuring this relationship out. That may sound business-like, but it’s important for both of you to feel equally strong as you move forward.
As far as this other woman goes: We think it’s pretty selfish on his part. The relationship doesn’t sound serious, so we don’t think you need to worry about that, but he shouldn’t say all the things he’s saying to you, and still be sleeping with some other woman. Because what’s really going on? Yep. He wants sex. And if he can’t get it with you, he’s decided to get it from someone else until he can be with you. (If you believe he truly wants to be with you.) Also, what about this other woman? We wonder what he’s saying to her if he’s telling you he loves you? In our opinion he’s treating both of you disrespectfully and no matter how you slice it, it feels wrong.
Sure, guys want sex as much as they can get it, especially a young guy like your boyfriend. But so do women. So does everyone. But some people, like you for instance, are able to keep the larger picture in mind, and not act on every impulse or desire. He thinks since he’s been upfront with you that he’s free and clear, and absolved from any wrong doing. However, no such luck. It doesn’t work that way. If he wants to be single and have the freedom to act any way he wants, then by all means he has the right to do that. But if he chooses to be single and see other people, he can’t still keep you on the hook, string you along, and ask you to move in with him. He only gets to do one or the other, but not both. And that’s exactly what his speech to you is all about—keeping you in the fold while he explores other possibilities.
So Marie, you have to figure out how you want to address this issue. If you let it go and tell him it’s fine, even if you end up together, some other situation will come up where he’ll display his selfishness. You say it’s happened before, which means there is a pattern here—although the sample is kind of small. But this needs to be nipped in the bud now. We’re not telling you what to do because obviously you two have a strong connection, and you know better than us. We’re just presenting the picture from our perspective so you can see it with a bit more objectivity.
Here’s a test: It would be interesting to see how he would react if you told him exactly what he’s telling you. We doubt very highly he would be open and supportive of you and your needs if you started seeing some other guy.
One more point. Remember, you were still in high school when you met this guy. We know you love him dearly, but people change and evolve throughout their teens and twenties. In fact, we hope people never stop evolving throughout their lives. So consider keeping yourself more “open” as you embark on all the exciting new experiences life has to offer: school, career, a new city, and definitely new people.
We know you’ll figure this out Marie. We hope this helps you a little.
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