Dead ex, fifteen year age difference, with jazzy tunes in the background.. help? (aka- do I dump my boyfriend?)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I really appreciate some input on this. I need a perspective that is outside of the relationship.
Since last January I have been dating a guy on again and off again. I am 22 and he is 37. He is not a conventional 37 year old by any means - he is a (locally) well-known Jazz musician by trade, very flaky, and disorganized. He works odd jobs to make money but the driving force in his life is music. He is a loner by nature... he has a few friends, through music, but in his spare time he either hangs out alone or with me. The age difference hasn't been a huge problem because I, being 22, work odd jobs and am a bit loopy myself.
he came with a lot of baggage... his best friend and ex of eight years died unexpectedly a bit less than a year before we met and started dating. She was actually seriously dating someone else the entire time they were together.
We weren't friends first. We met, hit it off, hooked up, and kept up the routine. This is my first relationship and I really love him. He is my best friend and we have a blast together. (also the sex is great). It's wonderful to be so comfortable with someone. I think a lot of my euphoria may have to do with being in love with the relationship itself, as it's the first time I have experienced this.
Here's the problem (*dun dun dun*): One of the first few times we talked, he said that he felt "emotionally numb" after his friend died; as though he didn't feel like he would be able to have a connection like that again with someone. He said he didn't think he could date anyone for awhile, but after awhile we got together anyway. And now, over a year later, I feel like he is emotionally closed off. I was reading some poems of his in his journal (with his permission) and came across a letter he wrote to her. He was so passionate in his words, and he has never been that way with me, not to that extent ever. With me it's more playful, superficial and silly.
We also have different expectations of the time we spend together. Right now we have been spending more time together, after an off phase, and we see each other about two or three times a week. I would love to see him every other day, and at least talk to him once a day. He could go days without seeing me or talking to me (note - he saw his ex once a week at most, once every few weeks normally). He is incredibly sweet and happy to see me when we do get together, but I feel like I'm not a big part of his life.
The combination of these two things, plus all the baggage ("i'm not as independent/artistic/cool as his ex) make me really insecure. We talk about this, and I often express that I'm sad and want to see him more. And if not, I want more affirmation that I am important to him. He says that he is busy and that he just isn't up for being social, or wants to relax alone. This is the reason we (always me) decide to stop hanging out, because I am unhappy with the amount of time we spend together and I'm left wanting more. He says that he realizes the positive impact it has on me when he is open and assertive of our relationship (by calling me when he's sick, saying "I love you" bringing me flowers), but that sometimes it just feels "wrong" to be this way. (The time we spend together is always, always positive. Us expressing our appreciation for each other, being smiley, etc.. And, he never gets annoyed when I tell him I want to see him more, or when I do call him more. He just is sad that I am not always happy, and he always comes to see me in those moments.)
But we always wind up hanging out again and I have tried to cut off contact, but we always touch base after a week or so, get together, and have an awesome time. I don't know what to do. Am I a crazy punch-drunk 22 year old who needs to wake up and realize he's not going to come around? That's what my friends say but I just keep going back and they get mad. But I don't complain to them, and I keep this relationship pretty private.
We are on the upswing and I know the cycle is going to repeat itself unless I do something. To be honest, I want to know: is there even a CHANCE that he will change? and if not - and this is the main question - how do I cut this out?
(and yes, I've been casually dating other people but I just don't feel the same way about any of them).