Men with time to read all this...give me a little hope about this relationship, pleas

I’m going to try and lay this out as cleanly as I can but I want enough of a picture that your responses, should you choose to give them, will be based on sufficient information.

May of this year… I’m a little less than 6 mos out of a 10 yr relationship with a younger man. I advertise for a lover on Craigslist.

I meet many men. They are all some kind of yuck or yawn.

Then I meet a younger man who is 5 mos out of an 8 year marriage (5 mos since they split, divorce not final, it was his idea and he’s glad, but they haven’t really processed much.) New in town after having his life completely discombobulated by Katrina even before the divorce. He’s trying to start a new job and take care of his own business, settle in a new city and find his footing. He’s been distracting himself with CL ads because he’s lonely and randy.

After an initial period of not much interest from either of us, he persists just for the practice, and we start clicking in email. Then we get together and really start clicking physically. (As I ended up telling him at one point: I’d rather kiss him than fuck anyone on earth, and that’s not because I’m one of those women who doesn’t prioritize sex. Just the opposite.)

We click so much that he starts to freak that it’s too much too soon he can’t handle it.

We talk, I explain that I’m a middle aged woman looking for fantastic sex, warmth and affection, not true love and marriage. I’m all about the experience, no pressure.


We see each other a few more times. Without going into it all in detail, let me just say that he was obviously skittish about it, and equally obviously totally unable to resist me. (Not cuz I’m so irresistible, just cuz we happen to have serious, undeniable, intensely great sexual and personal chemistry.)

But I finally get that he really needs some space. So I decide to back away and let him come to me.

6 weeks go by, he doesn’t come to me, I call, he writes an email that kinda blows me off, I respond that I deserve better let’s have a drink and do it right, he comes over, he expresses concerns that it’s too complicated right now his life is too chaotic to handle this. I explain what I explained before: you don’t’ want complications? You’re better off with me, a woman who has no kids, doesn’t want 'em, can’t have 'em, owns my own home and my own business and has healthy rewarding relationships with a nice circle of friends. What I want is a lover, not a hero, you’re used to dealing with 20 year olds, pay attention.

And before you know it we’re doing Ellen Barkin and Al Pacino in Sea of Love. Swoon Swoon. Yum Yum.

More meetings. More amazing sex. He’s the one who keeps me engaged in conversation, though. We talk about his marriage, his life, among other things. I’m insanely supportive and helpful and loving. He’s got anxiety and stress stuff, I’m Super Understanding Woman. He keeps thanking me for being so tender, loving and kind. He expresses how nice it is that we are actually developing this great friendship completely apart from the sex. Cool. God, this is great…walk softly, though…but then he does some expressing that makes me think its safe for me to express a little more, and all I express is how much tender affection I have for him. (I’m very emotionally available, as well as very emotionally expressive, but also very emotionally stable.)

So then he starts to freak a little and requests in email that I tell him again how it’s not going to be too complicated, do I want more, he’s trying to keep our relationship at arms length, he doesn’t want me to get hurt (which at this point is slightly annoying because I really hate having him project his own fear on to me as his excuse. )…I tell him look, I’m emotionally naked. I already care enough that when its over it will hurt, and that’s to be expected. I’m fine with it. Caring about people hurts, but that doesn’t mean you don’t care. My dogs will die and it will rip me to shreds…should I never have dogs? We’ve got something sweet and hot…Chill already…

But he wants a little more explanation. I become exasperated. I write a slightly snarky response, which I and several people who read it found pretty damn funny but still clear, and the message was this: please lighten up and enjoy this. I’m not bone china and I’m not going to break. That is all I’m trying to do here and you are the one who keeps injecting the heavy, stop it already.

He takes offense and breaks it off in email and tells me not to contact him at all in any way. Way over the top response, I go nuts, I emailwritecalltextmessage…we speak that night and he cops to the fact that while he was honestly offended, he really just seized it as an excuse because the whole thing was just too much for him right now anyway. We end it gently and lovingly, I tell him I’m always here for him if and when.


I’m told that this general scenario is insanely common. I’m almost 50 and it has never happened to me before in my life. What I mean is, I have never had a man I knew for damn sure no question was really into me end up bailing on me precisely BECAUSE he was into me and he just didn’t have the emotional space to be handle it in that moment, no matter how easy I made it. (And I made it way easy. In our last conversation he actually said to me that he knew he was the one complicating it and that he wanted very much to rise to the relationship, he’s not the kind of guy to be so selfish, but he just couldn’t, and the fact that he couldn’t and that I didn’t make an issue of it actually made him feel worse.)

It’s making me nuts. I’m so incredibly sad and frustrated because I really want to play this relationship out. We have an undeniable fire and all I want to do is let it burn itself out, not keep stomping on it.

But I do understand that he does have shit he needs to work out. His divorce wasn’t final, he was just getting in touch with his anger and sorrow there, and he was feeling anxious about his career stuff. I actually developed a better understanding of how he could feel like that shortly afterwards because my own relationship issues are not completely settled, I started a new job, and I thought about how if he’d been around that would have been big distraction and I really needed to kinda clean my own house a bit.

But here’s my question: given some time… can we reconnect? Because I find that he’s really got his hooks in me and I simply have no interest anywhere else. I just don’t. (and trust me, without my outlining exactly how much of a slut I’ve been this year in public, I’ve given plenty of other men plenty of opportunity to get my attention.)

I’d also welcome whatever insight anyone can give me into the sorts of people who freak out when things are too good, because I don’t’ understand that, either.

And I should lay out my biggest fear here… if he and I were closer in age I would trust in a possible reconnection a little more. But I’m concerned that he might just think to himself: Well, there’s no future there anyway, why would I want to let myself get that hooked in? the age difference is 14 years. He’s said that he’s not sure he wants kids, so that isn’t automatically an issue. But even if it is…when he’s finally free of some of his crazies, is he going to want to go straight to a relationship with long-term potential? Wouldn’t it make more sense to want to have something that has no potential for marry-me-honey-I-need-to-make-babies-now at all?

My basic point of view is very much carpe diem… none of us has tomorrow promised to us. Everything changes and everybody dies…squeeze every last drop of juice from wherever you find it and let the chips fall. Tomorrow is an illusion… we can plan, dream, and hope, but the only thing that is certain is Right Now. Don’t fuck it up, and don’t toss it out for something you may never have.

And I just want some more Right Now with him. I feel so freaking cliched, but it’s true: we have this damn fire that won’t die. Let it burn!


I look forward to some helpful Doper wisdom to sustain me while I sit with this. I suck a great deal at delayed gratification, forget denied.

(And please…no “Maybe he’s just not that into you” stuff. That is SO not the issue, really. I’ve never had the slightest problem recognizing when a man isn’t really interested, because lots and lots and lots of them aren’t. I’m no great beauty and never have been, I expect men to not be interested, I’m always pleased and mildly surprised when they are. )

I’m not a man, so I hope my opinion still counts.

I think that if he can go 6 weeks without contacting you, and it appears that he did, then you’re just not that important to him.

Sometimes you just have to accept that people have issues that are just too big to overcome, and it’s not about you, so you really have no control over it. I say let him go. If he comes around in the future, realizes that he wants to be with you, and calls you, then fine. If he doesn’t, fuck 'im- he wasn’t worth having anyway. Stop wasting your time with this whiny little boy and go out there and find a real man if that’s what you want.

You take this risk when you date someone that has recently gotten out of a serious relationship- he’s not even divorced yet, and obviously hasn’t resolved his emotional problems over it. I’d get out.

As a man who has been single for around fourteen months after a fifteen year relationship and who has been slutting around on craigslist for much of that time, I may be uniquely qualified to clarify your situation.

My guess: He is recently out of a very long realtionship and was probably worried that he would never meet someone. Much to his pleasure, he met someone who was great for him right out of the box. The problem is that as much as he wanted to meet the perfect person, he didn’t want to meet the perfect person until he had the time to play around with a few less than perfect women first. This is exactly why women don’t want to date men on the rebound. This is what happens.

Don’t come back to me with, “but it’s ok if he sees other women too, and it’s ok if he wants to take two week breaks every so often and it’s ok if he blah blah blah.” Logic and common sense doesn’t enter into it. The timing was wrong and that is unfortunate for you but that’s life.

I think part of it is issues with the dissolution of his marriage, but more importantly it simply sounds like, despite his good characteristics, he’s the kind of guy who’s a bit of an ambivalent waffler about making discrete choices.

In a sense, from a sexual perspective you have adopted the stereotypically male role in this relationship, and for guys with a somewhat wobbly sense of their self worth as men, providers & “in control” individuals (and this not unusual for guys coming out of a divorce) this can be disconcerting. He’s the pursued “woman” and you’re the pursuing “man” in this context.

Beyond all that, I’d bet that part of the issue *is * the age difference, and he is resisting taking it further and investing in a relationship he sees (in a practical sense) as a probable dead end over the long haul, regardless of how pleasurable it is currently.

As an aside I’m 48, and dating via and getting amazing, wild money sex with women my age (and some even a little bit older). The fact that you’re in my age cohort, and upfront and direct about the needs of your hot little pussy is enormously gratifying. You go girl!

I’m getting a lot of mixed signals from you, and I’m not even looking for them.

All you want is great sex with a younger man. He gives it to you.

But he starts to freak, so you back off. Then you initiate a reconnection. He emails you, but you don’t want to leave it at that. You get back together, and both of you start opening up a little. He tries to back off. You go “totally nuts.”

You say all you want is a little carpe diem. But you’re wondering about the prospects for a long-term relationship.

The guy’s clearly on the rebound, he’s feeling pressure from you and he doesn’t want it. You’ve had 5 months of great sex with a younger man. Walk away and be grateful.

He didn’t exactly “try to back off”, he cruelly, harshly, and without truly legitimate justification told me to never speak to him again in this life in any format. It was a reaction that was wildly disproportionate to anything I had said or how I’d said it, and yeah, I went nuts. And he admitted later that it was over the top and unfair.

Not really, where did you take that from? I’m certainly open to all possibilities, but I’m 99.9 percent clear and comfortable with the fact that any relationship we would ever have would have a big fat expiration date on it. And actually, I kinda think that if I really did get the chance to indulge my desire for him completely, other issues would emerge that would make it easier for me to let go down the line. But at the moment I haven’t’ had anywhere near enough of what I want from him.

I’m a bit of a brat, I think, because this was on the heels of 10 years of spectacular sex with a much younger man. (15 years younger) I likes me some sex, and I likes it with younger men. It’s what boys are for, really…since I don’t want kids and I have my own life, the purpose of a man in my life is to be my lover, and generally younger men are a better bet than older ones. I’ve always thought so, and then this year when I re-entered the game it was proven to me again.

You, sir, are my new favorite person. And I think you are exactly right, not only because you are in the same boat as he is, but because you are saying in your own words precisely what I’ve been hearing from another trusted source since Day One, a source that was proved 1000% percent correct when we broke up, because every single syllable that fell from his lips had been told to me by my friend already many times over. We call her “The Profiler”, she’s astonishing in her ability to read people she’s never met based on pure reported by others, even through those others’ agenda coloration.

The way she puts it, and actually he kinda put it at one point, was that he was just lookin to get laid…instead he found ME, and that was a whole lot larger than he’d planned.

My profiler friend sez I need to wait it out, and that he’ll need to meet some more women who are decidedly NOT me, and then he’ll think back to how good it was, and her prediction is next spring, earliest. Sigh. She also thinks by the time he resurfaces I’ll be hooked up with someone equal or better. Which is ok with me, it just doesn’t feel very likely right now cuz I’m all full up with him. (It’s been about 6 weeks since we broke up)

No, I wouldn’t. My issue is simply… because the timing is wrong today does that mean it has to be wrong forever?

That’s the reverse of the point, but as an aside, he did try once and copped to it. He just screwed up because he didn’t’ understand which was my regular phone and which my cel.

That seems more than a bit sour grapey to me.

Know any?

I think you nailed it on both counts. There are things I havent’ gone into here that speak to the first issue. And we even talked at the beginning about how we are both used to being in control…yet we both wanted to give up some control. Hmmmmmm….

Oh I am, dear. Or I was. Except that got me exactly ZIP. ZERO. NADA. It was deeply disheartening. I had a lovely, very flattering yet honest photo up and a damn smart and interesting profile. And while I did get some interest, it was either from extremely unattractive people, or people who were as dull as dishwater. And I think over nearly a year on there I was contacted about…6 or 7 times.

But craigslist and a couple other, more to-the-point websites together, over about 4 months, yielded something like 300+ responses, about 80 or so that were in any way interesting enough for me to respond to at all, about 30 meets, and more actual physical contact than was probably necessary to demonstrate to me that yes, my standards are insanely high and very few men will meet them. It’s not a choice, it’s just the truth, unfortunately. (And I’m not talking about high standards in terms of the whole nine yards… it’s just that I realize I do have to like the person to some extent in order for them to be sexually interesting to me at all, and then I have to be attracted, and once those two hurdles are cleared, they have to be excellent kissers first, then excellent everything else after. It’s that last where most of them fell apart. And no I didn’t have actual sex with all 30 or even close, and yes I used condoms when I did.)

Stoid–I feel for you, I really do.

But I think you ought to let him go, with no regrets, hopes, or expectations. For whatever reason, he’s not ready to be involved with you. He’s made it pretty clear that he’s not interested. Do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? Since he doesn’t want to be with you, doesn’t that, all by itself, make him not what you’re looking for? And do you really want to deal with someone who’s obviously got some serious issues going on?

When you say you’re “a bit of a brat”, it’s true. The man tries to get away, and you pitch a fit. You two have sexual chemistry and great sex- that is why he doesn’t get completely away, yet. Sooner or later, he will decide that your flipping out isn’t worth it, and when he tells you to never contact him again, he’ll mean it.

Let the boy go to construct for himself an emotionally healthy, needy-womanless, post-divorce life. Let yourself go to find a boytoy that you won’t fall in love with, or whatever it is that you want. Neither one of you need this drama just for some good sex- you can find that any day of the week.

Hey, thanks, but you screwed up the quote tags on that and I almost missed the compliment.

By the way, what other “more to-the-point” web sites have you used? You may e-mail me if you don’t want to post them here.

Stoid, hard to say. if you read your toy boy correctly, he wanted some hot monkey sex and got that plus an emotional trap he’s going far out of his rationale way to avoid.

He’s got to go out with some losers, have bad sex, meet someone he likes a lot and not have it work out, and ya maybe in 6 months he’ll be ready for you. Maybe there will be a couple of hot monkey sex encounters with you in there. If yes, and you’d like to see him again, make it a great time and leave it with call me when you want to see me again. He’ll go back to sub standard sex with young emotional harpies and possibly decide that I’m ready for Stoid.

I’ve been in the situation of wanting hot monkey sex without attachments, and finding myself in bed with hot monkey sex and the obvious potential for something special to develop. I was younger and traveling so chalked it up to hot monkey sex and tried much later to reconnect (alas pre internet days, moved with no forwarding address; and one case more hot monkey sex with someone I really liked but we lived on different continents and settled for buddies with benefits for quite a few years).

Thanks, I appreciate that.

No, I wouldn’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with me. But he does. A lot. But he’s also very uncomfortable with it and so he doesn’t, too.

It would be simple… a bummer, but simple, if he just didn’t want me, period.

Good grief, Alice, I’m hardly pitching a fit every five minutes and never was. Once. Exactly. And justifiably. He was mean, I didn’t deserve it, he said so himself.

I agree about the drama…which is what I kept telling him when he’d create some. As for good sex being available any day of the week…I sure wish I lived in your sexually fabulous wonderland part of the world, I truly do. Because sex is extremely important to me, and finding the cherce stuff is damned difficult in my world.

Thanks. All good to hear.

Stoid, I feel for you, I really do – great, great sex is a rare and wonderful commodity, and worth holding onto.

But you can’t hold onto it if the person you’re having great sex with isn’t looking for whatever kind of relationship will mesh with whatever kind of relationship you want. And the fact that he’s an idiot and you’re right about what he does/should want (sic, sic, and sic) – irrelevant. If he wants out, let him go.

And either he’ll come back or he won’t, and either you’ll find someone else to have amazing sex with or you won’t, and either way, life goes on.

Though it’s not a club I’d wish to welcome you to, since you seem to have joined anyway, welcome, my friend. Though it happened to me with more than one man in my life, one in particular stands out. He called me, oh, about a year and a half after we stopped seeing each other. He wanted to apologize for having treated me so bad and to offer an explanation; he was completely freaked out by how perfect I was for him and he simply couldn’t deal with it. He apparently had an overbearing mother who didn’t approve of any woman he’d ever “brought home,” including his former wife. She had told him as a young man that, “Somewhere out there, there’s a woman who’s going to take you away from me and I hate her already.” He grew up believing no one would ever measure up to his mother or her standards. Well not only did his mother like me, she loved me and encouraged him to marry me! He put me on a pedestal so high that there was no way he could measure up. This so completely freaked him out it sent him into a tailspin that he simply couldn’t deal with. He’d spent that past year in intense therapy and spent more time talking about me (and we’d dated less than 5 months) than he did about his ex-wife, to whom he was married for 7 years.

I’m glad he worked it all out, but boy was I equally glad not to be emotionally tied up with him anymore. Too many problems I didn’t need to deal with – have enough of my own, thankyouvery much. Take my word for it, guys with the kind of emotional baggage your boy is exhibiting are Not Worth the Trouble. The very best motto you can adopt is, “NEXT!” Because I promise you there are indeed other guys out there who will be more stable and more willing to share your relationship philosophy.

You have played this relationship out, just not the way you would have liked. Honestly, practice saying this until you believe it. . . “NEXT!”

Good luck, girl, you deserve it!

I used to know someone who was in a bit of a similar situation. He made the mistake of marrying someone who wasn’t completely right for him. The marriage could have been made to work, but he wasn’t willing to do what it took, and the two of them wound up getting divorced. Now, the whole thing was a big shock to him (because he was so damned oblivious to what he was doing wrong). I told him when the divorce proceedings started that what he needed to do was just take some time to be himself, not get hooked up in any kind of relationship, and just get himself sorted out so he didn’t wind up in the same kind of situation or worse. He didn’t listen to me.

While the early yelling and screaming stages of the divorce were going on, he hooked up with a gal he worked with. I and everybody else told him that this was a bad idea, but he didn’t listen any of us. She fell helplessly in love with him and didn’t want to let him go. He claimed that he tried to get rid of her, but when I asked him if he said, “Get the fuck out, bitch!” to her, he said, “Well, no.” Eventually, he slipped into a very dark spiral where he became insanely jealous and beat the crap out of her because he saw her talking to a guy who had a mutual friend (the guy was also old enough to be her grandfather). He continued to physically abuse her for a few more weeks before she finally had enough of him and left him (I’d quit being his friend before any of this started. I could tell that he was going to a very dark place, and I had no desire to go anywhere near it. Self-destruction is a very contagious virus.).

While I don’t think that he would have been okay if the two of them had just boinked once and called it quits, her desire to continue the relationship, when he didn’t want it, accelerated his descent into madness. Now, from what you’ve told me, I don’t think that you have to worry that the guy you’re interested in would go so far, but by persuing him, you could be adding to his emotional stress level without intending to.

Walking away from someone you love deeply is the hardest thing in the world to do, but if you love them, and you know that it’s the best thing for them, then it’s what you have to do.

Oy…so long! But hey, either I will have moved on, in which case it won’t matter, or I won’t, and I’ll be thrilled.

Men. They are bizarre. They can strap on a gun and walk into the line of fire…but emotions completely undo them. Weird.

I have thought about this a lot. There are other things with him that I won’t go into on a public message board. He is a bit fragile in certain ways. But being the “fixer” that I have a terrible tendency to be, I find myself wanting desperately to help him get over the poo that’s in the way of his being happy. Life can be so damn good if you just LET it, you know?

Anyway, I have definitely considered whether he might end up being a big mess to deal with if we ever really got close and tied in…and I thought that would be ok, because if it was icky enough, it would make letting him go a whole lot easier, you know what I mean? I think a great deal of the problem I’m having is that I never really got enough from him…while the course of our relationship played out over 4 months, we were actually in each other’s presence a total of 11 times. And with the exception of the first 3, his fears and skittishness were always present, so there was an unsatisfying edge to it. Towards the end we were really starting to connect and get more comfortable…and then poof. Because for him too comfortable is Uncomfortable Grrrrr….

Yeah, but will they drive me absolutely batshit crazy with knee-weakening lust? Cuz if they don’t, their stability and philosophy sharing doesn’t do me much good.

I’m running out of years when I can get laid at all, much less well-laid. I’m going to try and keep my sex life alive as long as life itself goes on, but I need others to participate. The pool of men I have to choose from is shrinking rapidly. The fact that I found Mr. MakesMyKneesBuckle at all is a miracle…that I’ve lost him so quickly just won’t stop giving me a stomachache.

Thank you for the support, babe. Do you still live around here? Know any great guys that would appreciate a woman like me? I need a distraction…(although the mere idea has the same impact on me as thinking about dessert after stuffing myself on Thanksgiving dinner.)

I was adding to his stress, that’s what he finally made me understand, even though it confounds me that it is true.

My last communication with him was actually an apology for doing that, because it was innocent and came from a good place, but I wasn’t honoring what he needed.

So none of this is about wanting to invade his current space, because I know I can’t and shouldn’t. I’m just hoping for tomorrow, and that tomorrow isn’t too far down the road. 6 months I can do. 18 months…2.5 years…never? WAH!

I think that one can expect this to scare the crap out of most men (it sure would frighten me). The main purpose of men in your life is sexual romance? Men running away from you is basically bound to happen.

Having a relationship with a woman is pretty much what defines a man. All of us have that drummed into our heads at a very early age. Not only that, but when we’re in this relationship, we’re the ones who’re supposed to be in charge, and handle everything, while women are stand there, bat their eyes and tell us how wonderful we are. We’re not supposed to cry or feel any kind of pain, ever. If you ain’t gettin’ any on a regular basis, you’re gay. This, of course, is absolute bullshit, but it’s what we’re programmed to believe. It can be very difficult for us to escape that programming so that we can try to relate to women as people, and some times, women want us to be that way, rather than being human.

Right now, he’s having to deal with the emotional feelings of being a failure as a man. See, he blew it by getting a divorce, so now he’s “damaged goods” and figures that no one will want him again. You show up, and tell him that he’s the cat’s meow, and he can’t shift gears from being “worthless” to “Superman” quickly, so the little hamster running around in his brain is having a coronary on it’s wheel trying to figure out what to do.

AlDiMiFingOla, I’m guessing that you must be a youngster. Stoid’s attitude isn’t all that uncommon once you get past a certain age. She’s done all the wildly romantic stuff when she was younger, and while it was fun, she knows that the guy with the buff bod, farts and scratches himself just like she does, when no one’s around, and rather stay in the “pretend” realm where everything’s all “Prince Charming” and “Princess Heaving Busom,” she’d rather skip to the part where he’s not afraid to walk around with holes in his underwear, drinks beer, and bitches at the TV. That’s a real relationship, when two people can be attracted to one another warts and all. I’d much rather have a woman like Stoid who’s going to be willing to overlook the fact that I’m a bit absentminded when it comes to housework, won’t freak out and not know what to do when I’m sick as a dog in the middle of the night, and will love me just as much when I’ve screwed up yet another home improvement project as she does when I’m all gussied up for some kind of fancy occassion. That’s lightyears better than hearing, “You’re the man, you must choose, and I have to do it.” all the time.

I am so confused…why? There are men in my life that are my friends, but if there is any kind of sexual component to my relationship with a particular man, then that is the fundamentally reason I am with them, and that part of it has to be fabulous and firing on all cylinders or there’s no point to pursuing the relationship from that angle. What is the scariness there?

My meaning is simply this: I am not looking for a life partner. I am not looking for a roommate, husband, etc. I desire a lover. If my lover is also a great friend and our relationship expands to encompass many other things, fantastic. If it doesn’t, that’s fine. And if I find myself having everything BUT a great sexual conneciton with someone, I’m not going to remain in a sexually-oriented relationship with them, I’m going to make it friendship. If they don’t want to have the good stuff and drop the sexual component, then I will leave the relationship altogether.

To me, if you take kids out of the equation, and I did that a long time ago, the only thing that differentiates my friends from my boyfriend/life partner/soulmate/hubby/lover is the fact that I get naked and rub bits with the latter. If the naked bit rubbing part isn’t working, then what’s the point? Let’s just be friends. I’ve always been completely unable to fathom people who stay in sexually unsatisfying relationships for other reasons (not kid-related). Why not just change the nature of the relationship?