Nobody Wants to Get Hurt
Q: My friend and I have been dating for about 7 months. He says he does not want a relationship because he was married for 12 years and it ended in divorce 3 years ago. He says he is afraid of getting hurt. I was in 15-year relationship and I don't want to get hurt either, but I really like this guy and we spend most of our time together and do everything together. Do you think he is using me to get over his wife? He tells me it's okay for us to see other people. He is 45 and says he wants to live out the rest of his years happy without the confusion of a relationship. Do you think I should move on??? -- Dianna
Dr. Susan: I am constantly amazed at women (and men) who refuse to listen to what their lover is telling them. Your "friend" is utterly clear about what he wants, and he's telling you right upfront: no commitments. Just friends, for as long as you're willing to meet his needs. He wants your company and your body, plus some other women's bodies now and then. When the thrill of being with you wears off (one and a half more years at the absolute maximum), he'll be gone faster than you can say "It was fun while it lasted." Since he's been divorced for three years already, I doubt he's using you specifically to get over his wife. He probably hasn't learned a thing from his marriage, except to steer clear of intimacy and commitment. That's a time-honored way of avoiding "confusion," but it's also a way to avoid all the joy a truly close relationship offers. He's telling you--in plain English!--that he isn't willing to do the work he knows will inevitably have to be done if your relationship is to progress beyond the casual level. If you want more, yes, move on.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.