Dating at Midlife/Holiday functions


Hi, I've been dating my boyfriend for 4 years now and I'm and have been rather upset about not being included in any part of his life. He never wants me or even invites me to any of his family or work functions, but expects to always be invited to mine. For example, this year he knew I was alone and by myself on Thanksgiving and yet never once asked me to come over and enjoy it with him and his family. And he's gone on a total of 5 vacations with friends while we've been together and never once has asked me to go away with him. By the way, one vacation he planned with a girl he just met and knew for 2 weeks and he went on vacation to see her, but refuses to ever go away with me. I don't know if I'm wrong in being so upset by all of this. I'm the type of person who always looks at both sides of the coin. I put myself in others shoes and see things from their perspective, but I'm tired of being so hurt by him. I have done so much for him and would give him the world and yet I only feel like a dirty little secret to him. He's upset with me because I want to attend his work Xmas party with him. I know people who work there as I used to work for the same place and I just for once want to feel like he truly wants me in his life as a partner. Am I being childish by wanting this? Am I wrong for thinking he should want me to be a part of his life? I give him independence and let him do his own thing, but I truly just want to feel like he wants me in his life and after 4 years I still don't feel that way. Please help!

Hi Stephanie.

What I have to tell you will be difficult. There are implications.
What I have to tell you is that you are right.
You have to pay more attention to that.

You are his little secret and that makes you feel dirty.

Pay attention to that.

I'm afraid that you are far more angry about this than you are willing to admit.

If there is any one clear gift from this relationship is that you will have to learn
to pay attention to your intuitions.

"Am I wrong in being upset by this?"
That voice in your head which questions your intuition is a prudent voice
and needs to be acknowledged, but it can not have the deciding vote. The voice of your
intuition, good voice that it is, keeps insisting.
A good rule is that if your intuition tells you something three times, stop and think about it.

Even so, the case is strong.
You are his little secret.

He takes vacations with other women.
He does not go on vacations with you
He leaves you alone on major holidays.
and yet you continue in this relationship for 4 years.

I get the feeling that, as a practice, or habit, you ask very little of a romantic relationship. You do not ask nearly as much as your intuition wants you to ask.

Why would that be?  
Do you have low standards?  
Do you have some beliefs about
what you are entitled to that severely limit your ability to have love in your life?
These are meaningful questions
and maybe as you begin to accept how extremely inadequate this current relationship is for you
you will begin to ask yourself for answers.

I hope this letter was helpful.
You might want to set up a conversation with me about all this.
Feel free to follow up or write me directly at

Philip Alan Belove, Ed.D.  

Dating at Midlife

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Philip Belove, Ed.D.


Hi. I`m Philip Belove (that is my name, really). I`m 71 and I`ve been a psychologist all my midlife, the past 35 years. My specialty has been counseling and coaching other midlife adults.  I think we all figure things out as we go along, but even more so at midlife. Being between 40-ish and 60-ish and single is like being a stranger in a strange land. I`ve learned which questions help people find their own way. I created this category, I publish a blog at and I write articles for various web sites. My commitment is to help people 1) understand and improve how they deal with others, 2) understand the forces that rule the relationships they are in, and 3) make the decisions which will shape, or create, or end those relationships  so they achieve the goal of midlife development  to finally live with personal satisfaction. I`ve been divorced twice myself. I`m in a satisfying relationship with a fine person. I`m very interested in learning about your challenges and in offering what I can.


Professionally: Licensed Psychologist. Marriage and Family Therapist. Coach.Author. University Lecturer. Personally: I'm 71. I've probably made all the big mistakes, er, learned the big lessons.I've forgiven myself and made many apologies and I've made it into a good, stable, sweet relationship. I now have a perspective on midlife.

Please check out my book, Rabbis in Love, at Also my blog at The Rabbi book was done as part of a research project. My collaborator, Marilyn Bronstein, and I wanted to interview couples with very successful marriage and also we wanted to talk to people who cared as much about their spirituality as love. Maybe being able to love and be spiritual were one and same, we thought. So we found a rabbi couple and the interview was so astounding that we interviewed nine more rabbi couples. One dropped. They'd revealed too much. It's a fascinating book and, Jewish or not, religious or not, these couples do a lot of things right and there is a lot to learn from them.

Masters in Counseling Psychology, Alfred Adler Institute Doctorate in Consulting Psychology, focus on family therapy, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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