How to Know if You`re Really in Love/Is This Love?
QUESTION: Hi Carl,
I am wondering what to do with this situation that cooked itself up at the end of June this year. I am dealing with the aftermath and it’s effects now. I am not quite sure what to do. It could’ve had the potential to be really messier that it has turned out, and, it is a bit of a mess, at least internally with me. There has been so many changes I’ve gone through with this situation, but, here goes:
I had been in a dead marriage that lasted 13 years. My ex and I were just going along thru all the motions with no passion. We were living more like roommates than anything else. The economic downturn had caused me to obtain roommates to survive economically.
We’ve had two roommates that had since come and gone in succession from one room in the house for various reasons.
Now, I am beginning to feel like I would trade dealing with any of the idiosyncrasies of these guys in a heartbeat over who I am dealing with now and this current living situation.
We had finally had obtained this new roommate, who is by all intents and purposes, a sweetheart. Nice guy. Cute. Quiet. I would catch him staring at me from time to time, but it was no big deal.
Then, all of a sudden out of the blue blazes, this guy was coming on to me in the most flagrant outrageous ways, always out of my ex’s earshot and vision. I was feeling a combination of things; a part of me wanted to beat this guy over the head, but, not really. I was extremely flattered with the attention, but I was not wanting to disrespect my ex nor cause trouble for the new roommie.
Nevertheless, as time has gone on, I’ve found myself becoming very attracted to this man.
From July 2013 to November 2013, this man was flirting with me. He toned things down with the outrageous flirting and actually started acting like I was a human being instead of a thing. He continued flirting, but more tastefully and creatively. And, he had actually started acting like he was taking an interest in me as a person.
My ex moved out in late November 2013. I then get this email from our roommate that he wants to spend time with me. So, I approach him in person with this email as to how and what the logistics will be in regard to our first romantic encounter.
He then tells me because of his plans for the future with a building a career, until this is done, all he wants is a sexual relationship with me. He also told me that he likes the friendship that is developing between us and wants to keep that intact.
I really nearly beat the crap out of this guy. I was so angry. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of what he was saying.
I asked him if he knew what he was asking for, what such a relationship looked like if it was only sexual, etc. (“No, I don’t know what this looks like. We’ll lie around after we’ve had sex?...”) Essentially, he couldn’t give me an answer.
He told me that it would be up to me as to what will happen, if I want to reject his proposal, or not, … it was all up to me. And, he’d said that if he or I felt any stronger emotions coming up in relation to how we felt about each other, he would be open to discussing it.
Being that I am nuts (I can’t explain it any other way), very attracted to this man, and I thought I was open to experiencing different relationship styles given my newly hopeful freedom and spirit, I said yes, but, with the condition of having serial monogamy. For as long as we were going to bed with each other, no way was I going to be sharing him with anyone else, and vice versa. And, he agreed.
So, we went to bed.
Afterwards, this guy started acting like he got belted over the head. The way he was acting, what he’d said about wanting a sexual relationship was thrown out the window.
The second time we were together, he didn’t want to have sex, but he wanted to talk to me about what I thought of, how I felt about things, etc. He was satisfied just lying with me, and, as he’d said, just wanting to get to know me.
We’ve had sex a number of times since. And, still, once and awhile he would remind me of our relationship agreement (and it doesn’t get easier hearing this from him), like tonight.
I had been busy cleaning out this room over the last 2-3 days. I wasn’t going over to talk to my roommate because I was busy. I left him alone, and he noticed my absence. He started looking in on me, what I was up to, and even started getting involved with one of my chores in the room.
Today, I approached him talking about guitars, which I used as a lead-in to asking about when we would get to spend time together. As I had asked him this, I leaned against him saying that I missed being with him.
He moved away from me (literally, really), stating that he liked the space that we had over the last few days, and to remember our relationship agreement (ugh!), and that he had missed being with me too. He’d said that being away from me is giving him time to think of his feelings for me, for himself, many things, and that he is a complicated individual. He was thinking of having me stay with him this evening, but he was too tired. But tomorrow would be great! He then went on talking about color of the scarf I gave him for Christmas, how the color would be looked as a Communist symbol in his country….
And, this is what is killing me: he reminds me of this relationship agreement we made now and again. But, I think I am seeing a pattern with his reminding, and it only comes when he may be perceiving that I, or he, may be starting to fall (or get agitated) for him, or myself.
After reminding of our relationship agreement, he starts feeling guilty and starts back-pedaling by trying to make up for what he’d said by being very courteous. Or, by being very nosy to see how I’m feeling.
But, this is the other thing: he’s not rejecting engaging or initiating in normal relationship activities with me, like going out to have dinner with me, going to the movies, the sex, going grocery shopping, getting involved in my life or his (he gets involved to an extent; he is an introvert with a capital I.), and starting to get to know each other. He’s very possessive about me too. And, he always has to get hugs from me before we retire to our respective rooms for the night, if we’re not going to spend the night together in one room.
I even had a medical emergency related to our lovemaking where he was going to rush me to the ER (my bud’s too long = vaginal tear). I was bleeding for three hours. I nearly passed out. He found all the sweetest drinks and foods in the house and fed me. He then made my bed, and tucked me in where I had slept until morning. He’s actually helped me in a dire moment and would’ve taken me to the hospital if I allowed him to.
But, he has cried wolf too many times using our relationship agreement for me to stomach going on like this. I am calling shenanigans on what he’s doing.
I adore this man. I don’t believe that he wants to have solely a sexual relationship with me. I do feel that he wants a romantic, or a normal relationship with me, but he’s not sure because of being hurt, having been hurt, ?, whatever. I am tempted to take all my marbles and go home. I don’t want my feelings to be dictated this way.
But, before I go, I want to at least ask him why he feels that he has to throw the brakes on at the most inopportune times when there is the potential of love that can be expressed. And, to ask if he has been hurt in his past, or does he know what he wants in relationship. Otherwise, why would he act so controlling in this way?
I really don't want to separate from this man, but this situation has it's challenges. I am so confused at times.
Once, I wrote him a letter telling him how I had felt when I had first met him and how I see him now. This is the only time I had told him my feelings about him during this time in my life.
I left my marriage with no bitterness in my heart, and a lot of hope and expectations for what a good loving relationship can be. I have been alone in a loveless marriage for a long time. I know that I do not need to be with someone, but I’d love to show and share what I can contribute to a relationship, and share my life with someone who’d have the capabilities to love me back. Having to experience love like this was the farthest thing from my mind.
(And right under my roof, 7 paces from my bedroom door, which has to be tough for him, and is proving to be difficult for me too.)
Carl, thank you for your time and attention to my message. I look forward to your response.
Haven't I answered this question?
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Carl,
Hi! This is the first time that I had ever sent you a question and a scenario of my situation.
I haven't received an answer or correspondence from you yet, until today with your question of haven't you answered this question.
So, Carl, as of yet I still don't have an answer.
I remember writing a long response to you, but I failed in saving it. I am sorry.
I am going to be brief, this time. I am sorry; usually, I get a quick idea of a potential solution or response to a writer, but I couch it in a long letter to show dedication, consideration, care, and value to the questioner, but I am sorry--at the moment I have time only for the answer I feel that applies;
First, thank you for writing to talk about relationships; it shows thoughtfulness and love for yourself.
You started a relationship with someone that he dictated the terms of. There is no romance in that. He may have been doing the best he could, but he most certainly was not in love. If you are okay with that, listen to him, set out to have him listen to you, and proceed by supporting one another with compassion, understanding, and dedication. Love each other.
If--on the other hand--you see this as I do, as a sexual relationship of convenience, largely benefitting him, and you realize you are worth more, then do as I would, and drop him.
A relationship that starts our unromantic and confusing is going to remain that way.