Dating at Midlife/re connecting

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QUESTION: Hello,

You're great at giving advice so I have another question for you. First, to give you a little history there was this guy I started talking to almost two years ago when I was going through my divorce. I think we really started to like each other but because I was going through a bad divorce and he was moving out of state a few months later, things ended really bad. Basically, he wanted to have a casual relationship with me until he left (for his job) and I was angry that he was leaving so we quit talking. A few months later, I heard from him and he said he was thinking about me and wanted to see me before he left in a month. I was afraid he just wanted to have sex one more time before he left so I told him no. Fast forward to 7 months later, I just got a text from him out of the blue asking how I've been. He's living in another state now and has no plans to come back. He told me that when he was here he really like me but didn't want to hurt me and had no idea how to handle the situation but that he always thought I was beautiful and an amazing girl and that he misses me. He also wants me to come see him. I told him that I wanted to just talk on the phone for a while to make sure we were on the same page before I came out there. My question is, does it sound like it's possible that he is just wanting to have some kind of sexual escapade? I do believe that he misses me because he is a very successful and handsome man who could probably get any girl he wants. Not to mention, why bother with someone in another state who you've had a dramatic past with. I'm just afraid of getting hurt again and not sure if I should trust him.

Thanks!
Kristina

ANSWER: Thanks Kristina,
Positive feedback and words of appreciation are always appreciated.  If you like what I do, tell your friends.  I've been coaching and advising folks on this topic for a couple decades and learning about it feeds my soul, so any chance to talk with someone about this stuff is always a good time for me.  Also, don't forget you get a one time free phone conversation and that's usually pretty interesting for me as well as for the people who call.


I said, "Oops," when I read this: "oing through my divorce. I think we really started to like each other but because I was going through a bad divorce and he was moving out of state a few months later, things ended really bad. Basically, he wanted to have a casual relationship with me until he left (for his job) and I was angry that he was leaving so we quit talking."

A lot of times folks start up a relationship to get them through a transition. It's hell going through one of these alone and so the need is there. But then it's hard to tell whether the relationship has more possibilities.  Also, folks in a transition, especially toward and during midlife, especially when the transition involves getting to a place where you can be more True to yourself, more free to create your life as you want it,... well those relationships that help  you get through often have to be set aside for a time, or for good.  It's as if you say, "Okay. Hhanks. I really needed that. But now I have to listen to deeper levels of my soul. Sorry."

So I read the second part of your question in that light. YOu said "y question is, does it sound like it's possible that he is just wanting to have some kind of sexual escapade? I do believe that he misses me because he is a very successful and handsome man who could probably get any girl he wants. Not to mention, why bother with someone in another state who you've had a dramatic past with. I'm just afraid of getting hurt again and not sure if I should trust him."


Should you trust him?  Hmmm.  Your question needs some maturing. Trust him to do and not do what?
and also, maybe even more important, you have to ask yourself: what do you trust yourself to do or not do
What are you afraid you'll do.
What specifically is the personal vulnerability you are aware of within yourself?

You sort of know it.  It's something about getting really attached to him and then having to suffer those
terrible pains of losing someone who was once part of your life.
That's a pain  in and of itself. It's an honorable pain, something to be proud of. It means you were able to  open your heart and love.
The loss is real, like losing a loved one to death.  It's painful but not embarrassing or humiliating. It's just painful.

Associated with that is some baggage.  You said,  "I do believe that he misses me because he is a very successful and handsome man who could probably get any girl he wants."

So I guess that at some level, you want to now that he wasn't just reaching for you because the was desperate for anyone, just anyone. You want to know that it's personal.  This is also legitimate and it goes back to that transitional relationship thing.

Still, you are too hard on yourself. You both did a transitional relationship. You chose well. IT was good and then you got in too deep. My guess is that if you knew at the beginning that it would end with so much pain, you'd still do it again. ( I think of that Willie Nelson song, "I'm not trying to forget you anymore."  You can find it on Youtube.  It takes a long time to get to that position. You're not quite there yet.

So what to do?

Well, it's a tough call. YOu have to walk that road and no one else can do it for you.

Try this.  Suppose in ten years you look back on this choice and you chose to go see him and it still didn't end up as a marriage.  Would you be
glad you did it or would you be kicking yourself for being a fool?

In every life decision, you have to think about least three paths into the future, the best the worst, and another version of good but not the one you first wanted.  Then you decide if you want to gamble on those three outcomes.  

Do let me know what you do, Okay?
Also, do please let me know if this was helpful.


Philip Alan Belove, Ed.D.
www.drbeove.com







---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you!

When I think about it, I've always missed him ever since he left. I've learned to not trust men and somewhat expect the worst. I would love to see him even if it ended in pain all over again. I guess the only reason I would regret it is if he brought me there to take me for granted. Do guys get that desperate though? I mean, do they become so desperate for sexual companionship that they'd call an ex in another state? We haven't talked in 7 months so do you think chances are he genuinely misses me and still has feelings for me? If he does then I feel like it might be worth the risk. I could ask him all of this and I plan on it later but I need an outsiders P.O.V.

Thanks again.

Kristina

Answer
Hard to tell here.

I am distracted by this in your letter:  "I've learned to not trust men and somewhat expect the worst"

That's a baggage tag.  There's something in this that's deeper than just the history with him. Might be worth
a few hours of conversation to unpack it. Usually when folks hold onto ideas like this there is a mixture of good stuff and
just plain wasted motion. So you might want to talk with me or someone about this piece.  

Probably you've felt taken for granted in the past, and you've got your radar out for it and you also don't trust your reading
of those situations.  So there's a lot to think about.

Do guys get that desperate?  Yes. Some do.
Some look for sex while at the same time they want the relationship to be short term, a relationship they can leave.
It happens.
Sometimes that works for the woman and it's a good clean deal.  Many women just want a lover who
will also go away and leave them alone and not expect much else. This happens at midlife in both women and men.
They are not desperate.  There are plenty of people to choose from if that's what they are looking for.

And sometimes, people aren't sure what they are looking for.  You, for example, were mainly looking for a transitional
relationship, although you probably wouldn't have been able to articulate that.  Still, if a guy came along and said, "me. Marry me now." you
would have said....wait, I'm barely divorced.

So maybe you have a subtle habit of condemning yourself.  'oh. he only wants me because he's desperate."  If so, you want to stop and think about that a bit. Why might a man want you?

As to the not talk in seven months, not sure what that's about.  

Under the best of circumstances you would get on the phone and have a nice little talk and sort of see what's going on and so on.

You seem to be going all-or-nothing on this thing.  I don't know him or you but I suspect that unless one of you is really dysfunctional
it's probably an intuition on his part, a curiosity about what was, now that the dust has settled, now that you've had a little time apart, now that some of the pain has subsided.  The question is more"  How do we take a look at what we had?

you might say, "Look, I don't want to travel xxx miles and spend xxx dollars just for sex. I m curious about what we had and what we might have.  If you want to get to gether on those terms, okay.  Let me know.


Does that help
(sorry for the typos.  Got to run.)

Philip

Dating at Midlife

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Philip Belove, Ed.D.

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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 www.drbelove.com 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.

Experience

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.

Publications
Please check out my book, Rabbis in Love, at www.rabbis-in-love.com Also my blog at www.drbelove.com 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.

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

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