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General Dating Questions/Left Ofver Feelings From Previous Relationshiip

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Question
I dated a man in my complex about 9 years ago. The relationship ended because we wanted different things – he was happy with a casual, sexual, non-committed relationship and I wanted commitment and marriage (I was devastated at the time as he led me to believe different).  We remained friendly throughout all these years – like bff’s talking on the phone, almost daily, as we mainly talked about the business of the complex and various other things. I confided in him a lot.

There have been recent happenings that have made me suspicious that this man has something going on with another woman in the complex. This past week, I, and other neighbors, noticed that they were both away at the same time (note: this would not be unusual except for that these two do not really go anywhere and their lives and routines are very predictable).

I feel that, given our close proximity and how often we speak he could have at least mentioned that he was going away and for that matter that he was in some kind of relationship with this woman instead of being so secretive and sneaky all these months.

I have mixed feelings about this development: I am “sad, mad, scared” and find that I am actually jealous! I know this is irrational as the intimacy ended a long time ago. I have thought about sublely ending all communication with him as I have personal things going on in my life that I don’t want to share with him (or her). Please advise.
I am 61 years old; he is 72 years old; "the other woman" is 62 years old.

Answer
Hi Rose,
Thank you for taking the time to write. From what you've told me, it's clear that you care for this man a great deal. It's also very apparent that he values your friendship and that the two of you have a great rapport.

While you and your neighbors have speculated that he and this woman must be away together because they are both away at the same time, I would caution that you do not know at all if this is a fact. It's certainly a possibility, but you don't know for sure, so try to keep that in mind. And if they are away together, but did not tell anyone, it's likely because they were trying to avoid the gossip that your complex is clearly prone to.

The two of you are obviously good friends. But as with may "friends" who started out in a more romantic involvement, it's always going to be awkward to mention other romantic partners. So if he and this other woman DID go away together, perhaps he didn't want to stir up any of that awkwardness by telling you that he was going away with her.

Awkwardness is one thing. Nine years is a long time to have ended things and still have feelings lingering, Rose. Unfortunately "rational" doesn't always play a huge role in how we feel. It's natural that you're jealous that another woman *may be* spending time away with someone for whom you are so fond. Before you decide on ending all communication with this man, though, I hope that you'll take a moment to think about all you will lose by taking such drastic action.

You mention that you spend a lot of time talking on the phone and that you enjoy his friendship. Do you think that cutting off communication with him will allow you to meet someone else and move forward with your life? Or do you think that cutting him off will just lead to more sadness and anger over the unnecessary loss of a friendship?

If it's the former, then yes, I think you should perhaps just move on, Rose. You should absolutely be looking to meet someone who you're attracted to, someone you have a good connection with, and someone who wants to be in a committed relationship, leading to marriage. There's no reason you should not have those things, and if you need to end your friendship with your neighbor to move on, then so be it. There's no use clinging to a relationship from 9 years ago or what could have been.

If you're truly friends with this man, then you'll be happy that he may have found someone else to romp around with for now. Whether it's just a casual fling or whether this woman makes him want to rethink his marital status is beside the point. Focus on yourself, Rose, and what you want in a person to be happy. Get out there, mingle, and meet someone else who wants the same things as you. And if you decide to move forward and meet someone while still maintaining some sort of friendship - even if contact with him isn't as frequent or personal - let him know that he doesn't have to sneak around, and that you hope he'll share as much of what is going on in his life with you as you've shared with him.

I hope I answered your question, Rose. I wish you the best of luck in meeting someone. Try to be the positive, caring person that you are and don't let your hurt feelings get the best of you.

Good luck!
Ali  

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Ali

Expertise

I can answer questions related to "the chase"--whether to be patient or more assertive. I can answer questions regarding break-ups and moving on. I can answer questions related to flirting and meeting new people as well as how to inspire them to call you.

Experience

I have much personal experience as well as often play the role of matchmaker and advice-giver with many of my friends. I took several classes related to gender relations in college, giving me a solid perspective on communication between couples and what it means.

Publications
My writing has appeared on a website and various anthologies.

Education/Credentials
Graduated with a BA from Villanova University.

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