Angela asked: I have been dating a man for a little over a year who never says “I love you, care about you, etc.” Other than that, he’s OK, I guess. I’m 50, he’s 53, it’s almost like we are married but I can’t get him to react to my need of…not commitment, but I can’t think of the word?
Angela, there’s a reason why you can’t think of the word, and that’s because there isn’t one. It’s commitment that you’re looking for, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think, though, that what you need even more than commitment from him is a relationship plan from yourself. You need to work out exactly what it is you want, and helping you discover that is my specialty. Get a copy of Hindsight, What You Need to Know Before You Drop Your Drawers here: http://bit.ly/cB8meJ
I’d say these are good places to start:
Make a list of the things you want. Start the list right now.
Next, list your non-negotiables, and remember that these are not the same as your preferences.
My definition of love is this: when a person wants what you want for yourself, and vice-versa. Sometimes this means becoming vulnerable, sometimes it means facing difficult truths, and sometimes it means letting go and moving on. I hope this helps!
Can you be in love without trust?
Sabrina asked: I’ve been with my boyfriend for 10 months and I’ve never done anything to ruin his trust. I really like him, but I have a feeling that something is wrong with our relationship. He broke up with his ex-girlfriend because she cheated on him, and he was hurt very badly as he loved his ex very deeply. I think this breakup made him very insecure.
For example, when I told him he is the right person for me, he replied he said the same words to his ex and he thought she was the one. I was very upset and told him how I felt and asked him to focus on me. He apologized and said he needs time to heal as the scar is still there and he needs time to say “I love you.” It’s already been 4 years since he and his ex broke up. I wonder how long I need to wait.
Another example: two months ago, I got a male roommate. I never thought it would be a problem, as my roommate is a college kid. My boyfriend is very upset with this, and he said I may have an affair with my roommate. I am very frustrated, as he doesn’t trust me.
Except for this, he is a very good person. I can tell he cares about me. But any relationship should build upon trust. What should I do? Wait for him to regain his confidence, or move on? Thank you!
Oh, SABRINA. You could have summed the issue up in one sentence: he doesn’t trust you. That’s what this is really about. The fact that he won’t say that he loves you is neither here nor there, and if you think that’s what you really need, then you need to look not at him, but at yourself, to explore why it is you have a need to hear those words. “I don’t trust you” is a pretty serious situation, and means one of three things:
- You violated his trust in some way. Hopefully this is not the case.
- He’s not convinced you’re the one, which could mean he doesn’t trust himself.
- He’s still not healed from his past heartbreak – this is the best case for you because even the worst heartbreak can be healed in time with the right tools and inquiry.
So I’d say forget about those three little words, and work on establishing trust instead, unless you just want someone to stroke your ego and say nice things about you while you ignore the real issues. In any case, what you need now is to uncover what’s really going on, and either choose to work through it in a productive way, or call it quits and move on.
Daryl asked: I was dating this guy for a few years who I knew was in a relationship but he mentioned that he loved me more than he loved her. But he said he couldn’t leave her because she had done nothing wrong. We are so compatible in many respects so I had to give it a try to see where it would lead. He eventually got married to her even though he begged me to be with him a few days before the wedding and soon after he got married asked me to spend time with him. He said he thought of me a lot. And he’s shown a very different side of himself now, more attentive to my needs and very expressive. He also wants me to tell him if and when I date someone. He’s even indicated that he wants a baby with me and talked about us getting married. What should I make of this? Is he being genuine? Does he wish to come back, or try to keep both of us?”
I don’t want to come from a place of judgment with this, because I know how much it hurts to want someone’s love so badly that we would do anything to hang onto it, even if it means harming ourselves and others in the process. That’s why I need to lay the cards out on the table for you: you are living in a fantasy that has almost zero chance of becoming anything healthy in the real world. More likely, you’re just going to continue living a world of disappointment and pain.
Keep these things in mind:
- He is a liar. Not only has he lied to you and lied to his wife, he is actually living a lie every day of his life, and you have allowed yourself to be dragged into the lie.
- As a direct result of the dishonest situation you’re in, you have created another situation in which you will never be able to trust him, and he will certainly never trust you. You ask whether he wishes to come back, but who cares what he wishes? He has been living the high life for too long, with his lies allowing him to have his cake and eat it too. Certainly you can see how you deserve better than that – set your sights higher!
- He is married. Like it or not, he recited those vows in front of everyone, and I’m guessing you’re aware that you weren’t part of those vows. That’s just how it is.
- Your part in the lie is causing harm to your sister, a woman who has asked nothing but for you to respect the bounds of her marriage. That is what it means when she wears her ring. You have broken the code of ethics among women – you don’t mess with another woman’s man, ever, at any point. Given that there are three billion men on earth, I think you can manage to find one who isn’t already spoken for! You deserve nothing less!