How to Strengthen Your Relationship/Is This A Relationship??
QUESTION: Hi Sharon,
I met a man over a year ago and we started dating at that time. Things seemed to be moving very quickly as he had even introduced me to his family and mother as he girlfriend. After 2 1/2 months, he disappeared....But then resurfaced a few months later.
I asked him why he disappeared and he said he didn't want to tell me. I continued to press for the answer and he finally told me that it seemed like I was beginning to become a little perturbed with him...and that he thought I was going to dump him. (Yeah right) haha!
Since that time, I've continued to date others and would date him also from time to time. (He also knew I was dating others) He told me that he was in no position to be in a relationship with anyone right now because he feels it wouldn't be fair to the woman since he has so much debt and he's not where he would like to be financially in life.
Even though he has told me this (and I believed him), he still asked me if I would like to get a place with him and live together! I turned him down.
The problem I have with him is his inconsistency...and the fact that he disappeared the first time doesn't help either.
He still keeps in touch from time to time. Now he's asking for dates from me again.
Is there a way to turn this around? Should I even bother with this man?
ANSWER: Dear Gloria,
To answer your question "Is this a relationship??" I would say, certainly not an exclusive one! If you move in with him, obviously your current social life would diminish. If you want to date him and enjoy his company, occasionally, there's nothing wrong with that, but I sure wouldn't "put all my eggs in his basket."
If you are able to live and enjoy life independently, don't give that up, especially on someone who has already pulled a disappearing act, and come back with a very, very lame excuse.
If he's a fun date, enjoy that, but I would certainly establish boundaries and maintain them. Then if things progress well on down the road, reconsider, but for now, "in touch from time to time" is not the foundation for a committed relationship or even consideration for cohabitation.
I hope this helps. I wish you much happiness in life.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks for the advice. I'm hoping that you can help me with another separate issue.
I would like to bring more people(supportive people) into my life. I'm having a hard time relating to people.
I think I'm experiencing some form of social anxiety. Almost like I don't have it in me to sit and listen to everyone's sob story like I used to when I was younger. It actually makes me feel anxious as I can feel the tension in my body increase as I'm listening to the other person. Does this make me a bad person? And are these feelings connected to fear of some kind?
Seems like I don't want anyone to bother me, but at the same time I really have a strong desire to have more friends and people in my life.
Is it normal to feel this way? And what can I do to live a happier life?
At this point, I'm afraid I'm going to be the little old (and bitter) lady with no social outlet. What can I do to change this downward mental spiral?
The fact that you are concerned about it, tells me you really aren't calloused, but evaluating how you want to socialize. As I read your concern, the old cliche kept going through my mind. "Misery loves company." Some of us realize we don't choose to spend the rest of our lives in misery and it really does give cause to social awkwardness. I'm amazed at how many people really have nothing positive to talk about!
I don't experience the anxiety, but I do not consider listening to other's complaints to be a social life, because that isn't my idea of "socializing." I think socializing should be based upon shared interests and activities. If others choose to complain, that's not my shared interest!
My suggestion is to avoid "support groups" and check into your area about other activities. A Bible study, a gym, a hobby club, or gardening class. I'm not a big fan of the MLMs but sometimes those offer a social opportunity and a way to enhance income. Whatever your interests are, but find a group that is focused on a direction or goal, rather than rehashing a past disappointment.
Again, I wish you well, and I don't think you'll become a bitter little old lady.