On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – July 10, 2020
By Columnist Tom Blake
“I won’t settle,” a senior single woman says, but she already has – for four years
Stacy wrote, “Have any Champs ever mentioned that they don’t understand the relationship they are in and don’t know how to accurately describe it? I feel that way.
“I am 60, a senior single woman, successful in my career, have three grown children, take care of myself, own my home, and repeatedly have been told I am attractive.
“After 26 years of marriage, I divorced my husband in 2014. In 2015, I met, Bob, a wonderful man on Plenty of Fish (POF). We live 50-60 minutes by car away from each other. We instantly hit it off. We share many similar characteristics, likes and dislikes, temperaments, values, and life priorities. I knew early on that he was a man of integrity and quality.
“When we met, Bob had been divorced 13 years after a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage but hadn’t healed from the scars. While I was happy and feeling hopeful about our future, Bob always held back.
“During the first two years of dating, Bob broke up with me twice. I was devastated the first time; we reconciled after a week. The second time, I was hurt and confused but each day became easier. We reconciled after three months. We have been dating each other for two years since.
“Bob has always told me he didn’t want to remarry and that I should date others because he knew I wanted a lifetime partner.
“I won’t ask him questions if I don’t think I’d like the answers, fearing they likely would be hurtful and might cause the relationship to end.”
“We continue to spend most weekends together. Plus, we call and email during the week. We both are busy in our work. Right before our third anniversary, I had an uneasy feeling after an evening phone call with him. He sounded vague, suspicious. I checked his POF profile and yes, he was looking for other women to date.
“I was so upset, at 10:45 p.m., I drove an hour to his house. I confronted him about his profile. He was reassuring, saying it didn’t mean anything, he just liked reading profiles, and that no one ever contacted him. I wanted to believe him, but it took a lot of soul-searching and determination to try again. I asked him to take down his profile and be exclusive. He agreed.
“Now, into our fourth summer, and with the COVID-19 virus making seeing each other more difficult, we have had and continue to have our ups and downs. We spend as much time as we can together, but we both took extended vacations to visit family and have been apart quite a lot.
“Last week, I began to wonder if I should resume dating other men. He seems content with our situation. However, he is unwilling to involve himself emotionally. He keeps up a guard, a wall.
“He does not allow himself to be put in vulnerable situations. He goes to great lengths to avoid confrontation. And yet, I can see love in his eyes and in his smile. However, he has never told me in four years that he loves me.
“I saw an ad on Our Time and decided to look at it. Guess what I found? A profile that matched Bob’s 100%! No picture or words this time, I’m guessing he doesn’t want to pay. I cannot tell you how hurt I have been. I didn’t mention it this past weekend because I don’t want him to know I know.
“I went online this evening and he had been active within one hour of me leaving him. I don’t see how he would have time to meet and date women. I think he is just reading the profiles as a hobby.
“I stay with him because I cannot imagine any other person making me as happy as Bob makes me. It doesn’t matter what we do, we have fun and enjoy being together. We finish each other’s thoughts and sentences. He is smart, funny, clever, and kind. He is very easy-going and accepting of others.
“I want him to stop looking at dating profiles! I’d settle (bold face and italics entered by Tom) for some kind reassurances and travel plans. Bob needs to find a more appropriate hobby.
“I would appreciate your opinion.”
Tom’s answer to Stacy
“Stacy, I’m trying to be respectful and diplomatic. However, it’s probably not what you want to hear.
‘You are part of the problem with Bob. In the second to last paragraph, you said, “I’d settle for…” You already have settled. You have settled for four years of not being told he loves you. You have settled because you are afraid that the truth will be painful. You are afraid if you rock Bob’s boat, you will be alone, possibly forever.
“For two people to succeed as a couple, there must be open, honest communication. You don’t have that with him because of your fear.
“You have settled by thinking his studying online profiles of other women is just a hobby and you are not facing the reality that he is looking for another woman who will make him happier. A man of ‘integrity and quality,’ as you referred to him, does not do that.
“You have settled for him telling you to date others, while not knowing if he has or is dating because you fear knowing the truth.
“You see love in his eyes and his smile. But, his actions don’t connect with love. This is a man who hasn’t healed 17 years after his divorce. Bob is not going to change,
You need to:
1. Identify what you want from this relationship
2. Open communications and get the cards on the table, not just about his “online hobby,” but about all things important
3. Be prepared to be on your own because that’s likely going to happen
4. Find self-esteem and courage
5. Stop settling
If you don’t do these things, you will be stuck in the same rut you’ve been in for the last four years.
Your situation reminds me of the title of my favorite Robert Earl Keen, Jr. song, “The road goes on forever” (and the party never ends.)
The party never ends at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point (prepared and delivered 600 sack lunches in 2013)
Link to “The Road Goes On Forever (and the party never ends): You can click on “skip ad” when the video first appears.