Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Relationship with commitment phobe(7 Posts)
This is my first post, so I'll try to keep it to the point.
I am 37 and I was in a relationship with an older man (60) for a period of 6 months. Before that we had developed a strong friendship with daily emails, although only seeing each other once every one or two weeks. He had never been in a relationship before and is a confirmed bachelor, as such the relationship was never particularly physical, more a mental meeting of minds. Still, I had never felt so in love with anyone before.
We finished in July because he was struggling a little with the idea of any commitment beyond what we were doing already, especially as I have two children. Although I never wanted more from him. He said that he thought I was more invested in the relationship than him, although he had told me in June that he thought he was falling in love with me. I was heartbroken. We decided to stay friends and despite things being frosty for a while (on his side) we have managed to maintain a friendship over the last 5 months; less regular emails but still meet ups. I've gone through the whole range of emotions and was doing quite well until about 6 weeks ago when he returned from a trip and told me he had missed me. He's emotionally very restrained and is careful not to be too forthcoming in case he gives me the wrong impression, so it was unusual for him to say that. I played it cool and ignored it. Over the next few meet ups he was more tactile when parting. Which brings me to this week. We exchanged Christmas presents and he seemed very touched. He kept saying how good I had been to him. He was very flirty and when we parted we kissed properly. This was followed up by a charming email. However, I know that he has past form for over thinking things once we're apart and his latest email, despite being chatty, is essentially void of any recognition of what happened between us.
He's away for a month now. He hates personal messages and can be quite curt. I really want to ask him what last week was, but I'm terrified that he'll do the 'just good friends' thing or worse that I'll scare him into being frosty again. I know I sound pathetic but he's very important to me and I want him in my life. Just wondering whether I should text him and if so how to phrase it in a way that keeps it light and non-confrontational?
Sorry this is long.
To be honest, it sounds like he's stringing you along. He waited for you to start playing it cool and then essentially flattered you back into his life and now he has you where he wants you. He wants the benefits of a relationship without the actual relationship.
If he's 60 and has been this way his whole life I can't really see it changing now. You have to think what you want out of life - do you want to be always chasing him round, doing things on his terms and all the uncertainty? Has he expressed any interest in meeting or getting to know your DC at some point?
My honest opinion. Don't text him. Walk away now or you'll end up stuck in this cycle. It's not fair of him to be playing with your head this way.
Honestly? You're worth more than constantly chasing a man and wondering where you stand. Why do you want a relationship like that?
It does seem like he is stringing you along. You cool off, he warms up to put you back in your place. You will be stuck like this forever if you don't leave now. You'll have to go cold turkey. He's not going to change, he likes his life like this.
I agree with previous posters that you are wasting your time.
He's 60 so by this point in his life he will have a pretty good understanding of what he wants and his own character. If he's "struggling with the idea of commitment" ESPECIALLY (your word) because you have two children he's the wrong person for you. A true commitment phobe gets more interested when the other person back off (which is what happened here) So my advice is:
1. Walk away now.
2. If you really can't or don't want to then:
firstly, ask yourself why this is. I used to be like this - drawn inexplicably to an on/off man who was the Love of My Life. But eventually it dawned on me that I was also commitmentphobic and although I felt tortured by my so-nearly perfect love story that wasn't all there actually it suited me. It suited me to pretend to myself I was in love/willing to commit/had a real relationship... but actually the truth was I felt free to feel this way about that man precisely because I knew it would come to nothing.
Are you really avoiding commitment yourself?
If so you have two choices. Embrace it and accept this cycle without complaining OR try to make break which probably will involve some therapy.
secondly, if you decide to carry on - DO NOT mention the "relationship" or "what is going on" or "what happened" to this man. It's the worst thing you can do with people like that. Stay silent. Even with non-commitment shy types (normal people!) A relationship is like plant and should be allowed to grow; if you keep digging it up to check on the roots (discussing/analysing/quizzing) it won't flourish.This is EVEN more the case in relation to commitment phobic types.
You will have to resign yourself to a lifestyle of managing his commitment fear - which will (I'm afraid) mean on/off forever; trying to hide your feelings and 'playing it cool' when you can; knowing he may find someone new at any moment (new is "safer" to a commitmentphobe because you can delude yourself this is the ONE who doesn't know about all your commitment fear); never planning holidays or future things.
Why would you want that??? Unless of course deep down, it suits you too!
Please, you're worth so much more
Either he's just not that into you or he's never going to offer more to anyone.
We're your parents very distant? Was this all you were brought up to expect.
Don't waste years on this man. You will regret it
Where are your boundaries! He's stringing you along, he knows what you want and gives you just enough to keep you around but never enough to satisfy you. The only relationship on offer is on his terms and if you want some say in your relationship then this isn't the man to have one with.
Throw this one back and ask yourself why the prospect of having a relationship with someone with the emotional maturity of tween is so appealing.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.