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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Just a quick question: I just started dating someone who is

Customer Question

Just a quick question: I just started dating someone who is separate but is still living with the spouse. I was disappointed when he told me this and I'm finding out now that a lot of people are in this situation for different reasons (I have been divorced for 10 years, and I would love to find someone and have a relationship).

Should I just back away slowly from this one?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.


First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating and confusing this situation must be for you. This happens so often. You are a very level-headed and competent woman but because you very much want to be in a relationship, you lead straight with your heart. What do I mean?

The way you wrote your question, it's clear that in your head you know that this man is not 100% available, so to speak. And your head knows that there is a difference between being "separated" and still living with his wife. And that even separated is not being divorced. It's like looking to buy a car that doesn't have a clear title. He's still married and you know the dynamics that are possible in such a situation. But, you very much want to be in a relationship so you're hoping maybe, just maybe...that's leading with your heart.

You wouldn't buy a car without a clear title. It's just as risky to get involved with a man who's still not in a position to have emotionally left his marriage behind. Yes, there are many reasons people stay in the same house, but they almost always include a level of emotional attachment.

I know I've been open and honest with you. And I've done that because you are clearly a very nice and honest person. And in my experience, the chances of being hurt in such a situation are much greater. And that's my concern. I would rather recommend to you that you continue looking for Mr. Right. So let's embark on that.


Now for your life. Why do I say your life? Because you are not going to find Mr. Right by just looking for "a guy" who happens to look great and is good in bed and enjoys you on the side. You've got to treat finding Mr. Right as part of living YOUR life. You are clearly a woman with values. You are not looking simply for sexual gratification. You are looking for a human being who wants to share his life with you and who values who you are.

That's why we're going to focus on goals, strategies, and plans. I want you to take a sheet of paper or on the computer if you prefer and on that paper write your Healthy Relationship Goals. Examples: make 3 close friends in the next 3 months; or go on dates with interesting men at least 4 times in the next 3 months, etc. So you see they don't need to even be goals for just relationships with men, but can be social relationships. Because the more social you are, the more you build your ability to express yourself socially instead of just career wise, the more you will feel comfortable expressing yourself to Mr. Right on a date. You need to feel comfortable sharing your inner self with other people on lots of different levels: acquaintances, friends, confidantes, and dates.

Next, I need you to take another sheet or underneath the goals in the same sheet write Strategies for my Healthy Relationship Goals. For each of the Goals, I want you to write strategies. For example, if your goal is to go out 4 times in 3 months, strategies might be: I want to identify the type of interests men you'd be interested in would have. Then I want to ask yourself where would they go to fulfill those interests. For example, if an interesting man needs to be someone who is into fitness, then he would be a member of a fitness club. If he needs to like art, then he would be a member of the Art Museum and go to gallery openings. If he needs to be spiritually oriented, then he might need to be attending church or a meditation class.

Then, you need to write on a separate piece of paper or underneath each Goal and Strategy: Plans for how to succeed with your strategies. So to continue the example above, you might write: my plan is to go to the 6 most popular fitness studios and check them out to see what their membership looks like and what kind of activities are there. Or for art, I plan to join the Art Museum and to go to an art opening at a gallery at least twice per month and maybe 3 times. Or if you are interested in religion, checking out 3 congregations for active ones that have social events.

These are examples of strategies and plans. I'm trying to focus you on your life interests. What do you want to do to further your having a meaningful life? Remember, Mr. Right needs to fit into what's meaningful to you, so look for him in activities that bring out what's meaningful in your life. And look only at men who have a "clear title" they can show you...

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, Dr. Mark

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


All of this makes perfect sense!


 


I often struggle when I'm a date with someone, guaging if they are looking for the same things as me. Do I ask what they are looking for (i.e., a relationship, nothing serious, etc.)?


 


Also, how should I handle the "unavailable guy"? Do I just disappear or have a heart to heart?

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
First, I am not in favor of heart to heart discussions with people who are not very close. You are not going to get him to change his behavior, rather he will become defensive and try to make you out the bad one. Nothing will be gained except some pain on both sides. So, accept that you need to move on and...move on.


Asking what intentions a man you're dating has is not a good approach. When on a date, decide what you are looking for first. Questions of intention are only for the 4-5th date, if you feel yourself building a connection. This becomes relevant also if you are not interested in casual sex and he is during very early dates. Then you will need to stand your ground and let him know what your intentions are. But in general, letting things develop is a better approach; you'll feel better and he will be less intimidated.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, Dr. Mark





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