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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hello, I have been dating a 59 year old man ("John")

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I have been dating a 59 year old man ("John") for a year and a half. He is extremely smart and wonderful in so many ways.
At one time he was a millionaire but lost his money in an investment that went bad. He has been unable to obtain a decent job because of his age. The good thing is that he had invented a very innovative green type home that is like no other.
From the time I met him, John has lived in a trailer and has a minimal income. I have helped him financially over the past year so that he could purchase some necessities to advertise his homes. I also offered to sell my own home so that I could fund a model home for him. In return, he offered to pay off the model and let me eventually have the home for free.
Unfortunately I was in the middle of divorce and trying to obtain tenure for my job, which involved many hours of work. Because of those issues, I could not get my house ready as quickly as John wanted. He felt that we needed to beat the rising costs of interest rates, among other detrimental factors to home purchases. When I finally put my home up for sale, John insisted that I avoid realtor fees, so he created outdoor signs and posted the home on an online data base for several weeks. About 30 years prior, John had been the highest selling real estate agent in the country so he knew a lot about home pricing and he figured out the value of my home, which was lower than what I had paid. He said he would make up the difference to me in the future.
On the day before Easter, a panicking buyer called John and said she was desperate to purchase a home with no realtor fees because she had just sold her own home and had nowhere to go. John told me to let the woman come over on the same day. She called me around 4:25pm to come and see the house. My home was a mess because I had been making food for an Easter party and hadn't even had time to clean or put things away. The woman was understanding and suggested she come on the following day, Easter Sunday. I agreed that this would be better because it would give me the chance to clean up. As it turned out, she never showed up, nor would she answer her phone the next day.
Finally, I gave the home to my previous realtor, who suggested I remove some furniture and stage the house. She thought that once I staged it, I could get about $20,000 more than what John calculated. I said I thought the price was high, but she insisted that it was a good price because people would make lower offers. I agreed to try it and see what happened. John was very angry because he said it would never sell at that price. But I poured money into the house and after 8 days of few showings, I lowered the price. I continued to lower the price each week until I finally brought it down to the price John suggested. At the same time, I kept spending hundreds of dollars on staging, landscaping, and cleaning help.
By the summer, John was furious with me for not getting the home sold. He blamed me for not allowing the woman to come over and see it on the day before Easter. He also blamed me for setting the price too high and not getting the house ready early enough. He said that if I hadn't made the offer, he would have looked harder to find another person to fund the model. But, honestly, I never stopped him from doing that in the first place. I suggested other people who might be capable of funding the model and never expected him to wait for me. I made errors in judgement but I truly wanted to sell my home and help him - even though I didn't have to.
At the present time, John won't even speak to me. He says that I ruined his plans and that I am the cause of his failure. He feels that everything is my fault. I have told him that I am sorry for any bad decisions but that I truly meant well and wanted to help him. Over the past year, I have given John over $9,000 to help him pay for things. Whether or not I made mistakes, I put my home up for sale with the intention of helping him. John has rejected me because he said I am very hard-headed and listened to other people but not him, who has the most expertise in home sales.
I am truly devastated by this experience. I love John with my whole heart and after all of my efforts to help him, whether right or wrong, I have done more than I ever had to do in the first place. John no longer wants me now. He has been cruel and blames me completely for his failure. When I go to see him to try and talk things over, he becomes so enraged and becomes almost violent in his anger towards me.
Please advise me as to what I should do. I still really love John and I believe that his anger stems from exasperation with his situation.
I appreciate any help you can provide.

Thank you,
Hello Carol, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you did all you could to be there for John and a lot more. You went above and beyond what most people would do to help someone they are in a relationship with. You have supported him, given him money and attempted to change your whole situation so he could have a better life.

But in all of this, it sounds like you have made most of the sacrifices while John has not made any. Yes, he has encouraged you and tried to help you sell your home, but those things all benefited him and not you. You have been the one to give everything to him. Yet he has become angry with you when you did not follow what he wanted you to do when selling your home, overlooking the fact that you are the one going through this in the first place just to help him. Most people would have been grateful enough to have someone sacrifice everything for them in the first place, not angry because you did not follow all their rules.

The first step in dealing with this situation is to find out why you are in this relationship and if it is benefiting you in any way. Having feelings for John is great, but do you want to spend your life trying to support him and please him? It sounds like he expects you to give up a lot for him.

Secondly, if you feel the relationship is still worth it, try to back off for a while to see if John can get his anger under control and see the situation for what it truly is, you trying to help him out of a bad time in his life. Try to give him a few weeks without contacting him and see if he changes his mind.

Third, you may also want to consider therapy for yourself either in person or on line. Just talking to someone can help you work through your feelings and gain perspective on this relationship.

Fourth, find support. Talk to your friend, family and anyone else who is trustworthy and understands what you have been through. Sometimes hearing what others feel might help you can change your perspective.

Also, consider that this may not be a healthy relationship as it is. If John is that angry over this situation and is cruel to you, he may be abusive. And if he was controlling enough to become angry when you made your own choices about selling your home, that is also a sign he might be abusive. Here are some resources to help you determine what John's situation might be:

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft

Should I Stay or Should I Go- Lundy Bancroft

If you and John do reconcile, therapy might be a good option to help you both find a middle ground in how you work on things together.

I hope this has helped you,

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Kate - Thank you so much for your advice. I would rate it as a 5.

I forwarded our exchange to John but have not heard back from him yet. He may or may not respond.

I don't know if I can stay away from him for weeks because I am so depressed. I want to talk to him and have a conversation with no arguing or anger. So far that hasn't happened but I haven't given up hope. He does have a heart though he doesn't always show it.

I do agree that John can be very controlling. He is a brilliant man - very well read - but I do not think he is right about everything. John wants me to change, to listen better to things he tells me, but if I forget them, he thinks I never listened. That is his nature. I believe that part of his anger is that he thinks I ignored his advice. He may sound really awful from my description, but for the most part, he is a great person.


If he replies or we get to talk soon, I will let you know if I need more advice.


Thank you again.


You're welcome! Kate


It's good to know that John is generally a nice man. It sounds like he may just need some time to sort his feelings out then maybe you both can try again.

I appreciate your offer to rate 5 stars. If you could go ahead and rate (I cannot do that from my end), that would allow me to be paid for my answer. Thank you!