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. )