I need a reality check and a lot of support and encouragement so I can leave my relationship without fear of being alone for the rest of my life. Please help me believe I'm not too old or weird to attract another guy to have the kind of wonderful relationship people talk about in this
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (23 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I am a woman in my early to mid-40s. My partner of six years (he's about 30) and I love each other but we both have needs that the other cannot meet. It seems like we both know we should part, but it's very hard to actually do so. He is in a stage of life right now where he feels he needs to focus on his passion (an artistic endeavor) above all else, and to play catch-up for several years he "lost" due to some problems that preceded our relationship. He has tried to do this while being in a relationship with me, and it's not working for me, although at first I thought I would love that kind of free-spirited, independent alliance where our art comes first. Basically, it's been like having a roommate you split expenses with, sleep with, hang out with, and love monogamously, but there's no merging of lives or long-term plans. And I'm finding that I want there to be.
I want a fully committed partner who looks forward to waking up with me every day for the rest of my life, and always has my back, whose eyes light up when he sees me, and who puts me first as I do him (which I have been -- but it hasn't been reciprocated).
He is consumed with building his career and becoming an independently functioning adult rather late in life due to the interruption. He says he can't fully give himself to another person until he proves to himself that he can stand on his own two feet. He also says he's a very selfish person and has no desire for marriage and family. He's "married to his muse." And I thought I was the same way, until I met him, ironically.
I can clearly see how me wanting him to grow into the role of equal partner with me, before he even knows himself, is asking him to skip a developmental stage I already went through years ago. I love him and don't want to impede his growth. He loves me and says I deserve better than what he can currently give. Still, when it comes time to pull the plug, neither of us seem ready.
If I were 25, I could wait a while, but at close to two decades past that I'm scared that I'm aging out of the dating pool and my greatest fear is that I'll grow old and die alone.
We separated about a year and a half ago. It was my idea and he didn't want me to go. I moved into my own apartment. I was so sure that I would feel a huge freeing of energy that the relationship had sapped, and that I'd be renewed by the separation. I also thought I would start dating someone closer to my age that I had more in common with.
Well, that was a bust. I was blindsided by grief and loss and I missed my love more than I ever thought possible. I tried dating a guy in his 40s who seemed to have a lot in common with me on the surface and it felt absolutely, completely wrong, like I had woken up and had a whole different life. This was truly my "Total Recall" moment.
My BF, on the other hand, moved past his grief and felt all the pride of living on his own that he never expected. We stayed separated for 8 months and by the time I moved back in, we had reversed roles: I was the insecure one and he was the independent one.
That was about a year ago, and we're still where we were before: both of us conflicted and ambivalent but still loving.
One major complication for me is that I hate the city we live in (he isn't crazy about it either) and would love to move, but he won't commit to making an actual plan with me to do so. I feel like I'm hanging out here in a city that's a horrible fit for me, just waiting for him to catch up to me.
Part of me just wants to cut and run. Every time I hear about a happy relationship like those in the thread I linked, or my sister's, or my newlywed friends', I just feel incredibly sad and lonely because that's not what we have.
And yet, when we part (even for a week's vacation, let alone our previous separation) we miss each other a lot. I don't want another Total Recall moment. I was going through major anxiety, depersonalization and derealization and I could barely sleep. I don't ever want to go through that again.
Also, there's the matter of my age and general "weirdness." (In a good way, I mean). My partner and I are countercultural artistic freaks who live unconventionally (and I should add, I have never been interested in having kids) and it's not easy to find guys I'm compatible with in that way -- and never having been in the dating scene as a 40-something, I imagine it might be even harder.
Further, I know that I would need a recovery period, and they say it takes half the time of the relationship to recover from it, so I'd be three years older from the time we break up before I'd be ready to find someone. I'm scared that by that time perimenopause will have stripped me of my youthful glow and trim figure and that pheromonal, fertile quality that attracts men.
TL;DR: I'm scared to be a lonely old lady because I squandered the last precious years of my hotness on a relationship that didn't work out; reality check desperately needed!