I am currently in a LDR living in DC and my boyfriend in Florida. I was a virgin when we first met in October at the age of 38 and he was 33. We consummated our relationship 1 1/2 months later. When we first met he was a grad student, took his boards and signed on for his first career move to Florida in February 2009 in which he knew of 2 people that lived there but not the bestest of friends. Since he has moved, I have flown twice for very long weekends to Florida and we've met on vacation together in which we spent 4 nights together. We're planning on him coming up my way in June. I am pretty sure that I Love him and have not told him but he is very aware of my deep feelings for him. Basically he's scared and told me he feels the pressure of me knowing"he's the one". His argument is how do I know if he's the one if I don't have anything to compare with. Oh, he also happens to be my first long term relationship. Let me just say, that yes, I may not have the actual experience of having fallen in and out of love with multiple partners but I think I'm old enough and just living around other friends and family in relationships to be aware of how relationships work. I have to say that I am pretty, well liked and respected among my family, friends and coworkers. I am gregarious and funny, intelligent around the people I know but in social situations I get very quiet and shy. I've had many a comment of "you're so pretty, successful and smart, there must be a lot of dumb men out there not to notice you" Which is why when my boyfriend first noticed me, I didn't even know he was checking me out. I thought he was joking when he said, "let's go out". I was in total work mode at the time (we are both in the healthcare field and he was a grad student at the place of my work). We went out and between the time that we met and the time that he moved, I had to have emergency surgery and he traveled to 3 states and out of the country. When he decided to take the job in Fl he asked me if I wanted to continue the relationship and I said "H... yeah" I said that I would rather IT die of a natural death instead of us just quitting right then. And then I proceeded to clarify if this was going to be monogamous and he readily agreed saying that would be the only reason of asking me this. Sooo, right now he is saying that he feels the pressure of being the one, that he wants to get better established financially but because he cares deeply for me would like for us to continue seeing each other. And for me to find myself, live a little and to help me confirm my true feelings, by dating other people with the agreement that we would be truthful and honest. And that if the other person wants to have a sexual relationship with someone else, then we need to speak up (for me, that would be devastating thinking of him with another woman) And that maybe, after a trial run of this dating, we can come back to each other and say, "everyone else are a bunch of jerks and the only one I want to see is you" I honestly think it's not because he is looking or interested in someone else. He's just not sure of me and the distance is not helping us get to know each other. I'm not ready to lose him yet. There are times that he irritates the crap out of me and me for him. We are very open about our feelings. He feels that I'm trying too hard to make this work. I feel we need more time to get to know each other so that's why I'm not cutting him out completely. Let me just say the sex is awesome and not an issue (he actually said that himself) but I obviously have an issue of him planning on having sex with someone else. He also knows that I wouldn't move unless I had a ring. I have a career, house and lots of friends and family where I live. Here are the options that I see. 1. See each other (sexually and dating) on a monthly basis and continue phone calls to further get to know each other (may I remind you we have only know each other 7 months and most of the time separated because of travelling and surgeries and school) but allow each other to date other people to see if someone else may cause a spark and then we'll know for sure we're not meant to be. 2. Same as above but reverting back to just dating each other without the sex because I fear it may cloud the issues basically of us just getting to know each other. (this would suck because we truly enjoy having sex together) 3. Separation time in which we date other people but then this defeats the purpose of getting to know each other. 4. Make a complete break and knowing that there has to be someone else out there that knows what I have to offer and would have no doubts about me. Throughout all of this, I have tried to be patient because I know my boyfriend has been stressed with school, passing the boards, finding a job, moving his things and his dog, expenses from moving that are not reimbursed, the added cost of our travelling to see each other and pressure in maintaining our relationship and recently being forced to purchase a vehicle. I know I am not his top priority right now and that is what sparked this discussion. He's called me 90% of the time everyday and me the other 9% since he moved. I asked him why he calls me everyday and he stated, "because I care for you". He really wants kids. If I was 2 years younger, I would definitely say yes, but at 39, there are so many potential complications. I am a very health conscious person and a nurse so am very aware of the risks involved for a person my age. But also the potential of having a beautiful baby at the age of 45 (famous people do it all the time). Basically, I want time with him. I am not interested in dating other men but he feels that I should. He actully said that if I lived and experienced more men that he would trust my judgement in regards XXXXX XXXXX feelings for him. He doesn't believe I should be a whore about it but that I should just go out and meet other men, basically, comparison shop. I actually can understand his reasoning but it feels sooo wrong to me. And I already told him that if he cheated or planned to have sex with someone else (sounds the same to me) then that would be a definite dealbreaker and the end to our relationship obviously. I believe in monogamy and I actually asked him to do an STD panel before we had sex which he readily agreed and showed me the results.
My friend said it's not a complete loss but I feel devastated. I haven't talked with him about options 2 or 3 and am not sure how he'll take it but for some reason I added those 2 in there to cover my bases. And I have to question myself am I degrading myself to agree to #1 or is it a valid opton. Is abstaining from sex reasonable even though I would be frustrating us both? Is there a benefit to having or not having sex in this type of "relationship". There's no denying the enjoyment factor and the feeling of intimacy and shouldn't it bring us closer and maybe reinforce any positive feelings he may have for me? I guess the sex part could be an addendum question #5.
I truly love this man. Friends have said that it's because he's my first. I've dated other men and everytime someone made the moves on me, my first intinct and action was to get away or push the offending appendage away. With this man, I didn't have any hesitancy except to say right be before we did it for the first time I said to him, "Are you sure about this?" What can I say except I have high standards and for some reason, this man, despite all his faults and insecurities, my heart, mind and body responded to him and only him after 39 years.
Thank you soo very much for your much needed objective advice. I cried and thought about those options all day today that I presented to you. I truly wanted option #1 but I had to play the devil's advocate with myself and threw in 2-4. I know it's going to be tough knowing he's out there trying to charm some other woman (God, I'm crying right now seeing me write this) but I'm going to have to remind myself that if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. I asked him if he could picture me in his future, he said yes (think that was the only thing that gave me hope), but the pressure of "being the one" and forced to make me happy is more than a negative that he could handle. He definitely has issues: his mother died when he was 8 y/o, his father soo devastated by the loss of his wife, my boyfriend's mother, practically gave up his son for the grandmother to raise who was a mean person from what I hear. That's when I finally figured out he doesn't really know how to have a relationship with a woman. Supposedly, he had 2 long term relationships. The first one was when he was in his teens and an emancipated adult (again, lack of family support/love) and he was in that relationship for 6 years but that he said he wanted to end it in the 2nd year but was too scared to hurt the girl. I think that's where some of his fear stems from and actually stated, "I'd would rather end it when the relationship is new instead of 1 year from now to bring up any doubts". The last relationship lasted 7 years and just ended last summer before I met him. It was during the last year that he found out that the gf didn't want any children which amazed me. Basically, I think that wasn't really a relationship but convenience and he agreed with me. He said if they fought, they let the problems go and didn't really discuss them. Which I am so glad that you agreed with me on the "irritating" with each other. Friends have told me that we should be in the honeymoon phase. Basically, watch/censor how we talk/act in front of each other. I figured, we didn't have the time or luxury to do this. I adress each issue as they came and left the ones not worth the time or conflict aside which he interprets as nagging and overanalyzing every situation. My issue, I know is insecurity. We argued about Valentiines day in the fact that he didn't get me anything and didn't feel the need to "acknowledge" it. He said I had too many expectations of what a man should act like (cards, saying I miss you, scheduling or agreeing to be with each other) of which he did none or rarely of these. Which I interpreted as he didn't really care for me. I finallly figured out that he "cared" for me when he said, "I bought you that King size bed in MY house so that you could sleep better because you always had problems sleeping with me, I fixed MY other car so that you could have a car to drive while you're visiting, I bought those pots & pans for MY kitchen so that you would feel comfortable in the kitchen instead of microwaving all the time, do you really thiink I bought them so I could cook?" He didn't hesitate when he answered this after I asked him what did he do to show how he cared. Oh, and the daily callls. Go figure but it took me a second to see that he really did think that he did those things for me instead of me thinking he did that for himself but of course that was after the damage was done when I accused him of not caring or being inconsiderate. I think that if he had given me overt signs and statements, I wouldn't have had the insecurity that I had and in turn the desperate effort in making it work which he interpreted as, rightly so, irritating the crap out of him.
If anything, our relationship can be painfully honest and then appropriate times of silence or just acknowledgement at times. You pointed out that we don't seem to have an issue with age. I think it's because I'm asian and 4' 10.5" and look like I'm 25 instead of 39. He also happens to be caucasion. We talked about wanting and having kids and he said he wants them and I said I would have wanted them at a much earlier age and I put it out there that if he wanted a baby making machine, someone much younger than me, then he needed to stop our relationship now and look elsewhere (gee, aren't I so generous giving him an out) and he came back with, "there's always adoption but the fact that having a baby doesn't freak you out, I think we have time" (All this serious talk and no mention of the "L" word) And also despite my 18 years as critical care nurse working in high crime areas and indigent people and working in a very challenging and stressful field, I'm still very innocent and naive in social situations. I've spent many years reading romance books but at the same time, know the true reality human nature, it's cruelty and joy and also of the human body and it's capabilities (and listening to night shift nurses talk about uncensored sex & body parts). Ironically, I think that's why the sex is soo good between us. He taught me the reality of it all and he answered all my frank and unhesitating questions and was so considerate in his actions and my reactions (so glad you didn't suggest we give that up).
I apologize for giving you a book to read but felt I should expand more on my relationship in hopes of giving YOU closure on the advice of my relationship and the background of the people you advised. I'm not sure when I'll tell him my decision (he just told me last night) but he told me to think it over the next couple of days. I hate to say it, but I think I'll let him squirm a little. My friends think I'm too accessible to him and that I should still play the game of "hard to get". That, I'm still learning.
Thanks again Cher and I'll keep you updated. Hopefully you can add us as a success story.
Hi Cher, thank you again for your insight. I was wondering if you could tell me if it's a good idea or not to put a time limit on this exercise of dating other people and what the end result should be (just putting that in writing seems a contradiction). I've read in places that we should put a time limit for LDRs. For example, that if after two years of travelling and neither is willing to move or the relationship hasn't progressed to something more permanent/committed then we should end it. I think that by then we should know where we are with each other. I was almost going to bring that up (prior to this recent conflict of dating other people) and I did mention it in our discussion the other night but he felt that was too much pressure . Maybe he didn't give me a chance to explain the merits, that it would give both of us an out. My belief is that I don't want to get to the two year mark and then he still doesn't know if I'm the one and just hang around for him to find himself? I don't want to be one of those women pining for something that may never be and at the same time I can say I gave my best for 2 years but that wasn't good enough therefore, so long. See, I may love this guy but I'm still practical.
So, going back to the time limit in regards XXXXX XXXXX dating other people. Good or bad? Or is this when you say, " you agreed to it so stick it out til you get to the point you can't take it anymore" In other words, wait it out and hope for the best. Is there a point that he could be taking advantage of me and my feelings, say, 1 year or let fate be the deciding factor. I guess what I mean by that is if he should decide to have sex with someone else after 4 months of this and that's when I call it quits.
My second questions are should I be doing anything different in this dating "relationship" compared to the monogamous. One thing that I will be asking him to do is use protection all the time now. Right now I'm on birth control for medical reasons first and the obvious reason second. But I do insist on using additional protection during the cycle I'm most fertile. Call me paranoid but I don't want to find out that I'm the 1% that gets pregnant on BC pills. By asking him to use it all the time, it takes the question & anxiety of wondering "Is he using protection this time because he's been with someone else?" Now that I think about it, I definitely would insist that he has to use protection with others. Maybe that's a moot point because I'm supposed to break up with him anyways if he did have sex but using protection should be justifiable and safe for everyone involved. Actually, using additional protection should be unsaid but I don't want him to take any chances with my health. Oh, and I'm going to ask him that he not tell me if he's planning on sleeping with another woman but to insist that he give me all the gory details after the fact. Is there any benefit for him telling me beforehand aside from me enjoying masochistic tendencies? Or should I expect to be told beforehand and be couseling him on the merits of why he shouldn't and the possible consequences, like me breaking up with him and or at least make a conscientious effort in dissuading him? I also figure, if he waits to tell me afterwards, I might be rational and ask him if he enjoyed it and how did it change his feelings if any or maybe he'll tell me it was horrible and I jump up in glee and be happy that he dodged that bullet. What's your take on this? Before or after or before & after?
Othe changes I thought of is leaving out the terms of endearment & PDA. I call him Baby as a greeting and in conversations. There's a certain amount of intimacy & ownership in PDA and using endearments because I don't do it/use it for anyone else. I feel that he doesn't deserve that familiarity from me and maybe I want him to notice that things aren't the same. Or in this aspect am I being too petty and I should do what I naturally would do and leave those parts of a relationship unchanged? Are there any other rules or limits or changes that I should be doing and that we should be aware of that you can think of?
Again, your input will be most appreciative.