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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Counselor
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I met a woman on eHarmony a few months ago and it was magic,

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I met a woman on eHarmony a few months ago and it was magic, one of those rare connections you find in life where you can share anything and everything with the other person, in complete openness and honesty. From day one, we were talking on the phone every day, often times for hours at a time. We both gushed about how happy we were to find each other, and we saw each other many times over those few months. She even introduced me to her whole family over Thanksgiving.

The following Monday after Thanksgiving, she wanted to end the relationship.

It seems she has a boyfriend that suddenly resurfaced and now she’s confused. He’s a widow, married once before for 24 years, before his wife died of cancer. Their relationship has been going on for 4 years. He is 18 years older than her and financially secure as he approaches retirement, whereas I am beginning a new career. He’s been kind to her, offering her financial assistance a couple of times (she’s a single mom), and his adult children adore her. However, he has a habit of popping in and out for months at a time, with no warning and no communication during his absence. Last year, he disappeared for 9 months before resurfacing (she forgave him!). Even when he is around, he’s emotionally unavailable, both by her account and according to what his children have told her, as he seems to be married to his career. Her first marriage was similar in nature, which hurt her greatly and hurts her now. Although she has brought this up to him many times before, he continues to be emotionally distant. Her questions regarding their future together have been brushed aside by him; he often introduces her as a “friend” in public. He disappeared again at the end of summer after another discussion regarding their future, which is how her and I met.

Now, he’s back, assumes they’re still together, senses that something is different based on her current behavior and mood (he doesn’t know about me) and is now hinting at marriage. Her and I have spent many hours talking about the situation, and I’ve pointed out that, if he was truly good to her, then her and I would have never met. Yet, no matter what I say and no matter how wonderful our relationship, she can’t let go of this other guy. She loves me, but she’s scared of taking a leap with a guy (me) that is just starting a career, whereas the other guy can take care of her for the rest of her life with his ample amounts of money. She’s a good woman: I don’t detect anything malicious here, as I’ve listened to plenty of her tears over this. She feels terribly guilty over what she has done, and would rather let me go than keep me in a tortured state while she makes up her mind. I’ve spent a lot of hours with her, love her very much, and don’t want to lose her, but it’s terribly unfair to be with someone that could be whisked away at any moment, should the other guy finally decide to pop the question and produce a ring. The conversation has been going on for a month now, with no results. I’m emotionally exhausted and distraught. I waffle between being supportive and patient, and drawing a firm line with her. What should I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Draw a firm line for you! This is all about you. You can love her to pieces but you can't share her. Let her go and tell her not to come back until she is done with the other relationship. If she wants money more than love what can you do? My bet is she will be back, but, you let her go to be kind to yourself, not because you think she will be back. If she wants to compromise her life for money that's her business, if you compromise yourself for an wonderful woman who can't give her self to you that will be your business. I suggest you show her how to be true to one's highest self and make a difficult decision to love yourself even when it is painful or scary.

In short, she is being wimpy by not making a choice, you are being wimpy by not taking care of your higher self. Have some dignity.

Sorry if I sound harsh, I am just trying to put it to you straight so you have the best chance of having something great with her (or someone else) some day.

Mark Manley
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