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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1692
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Relationship question: Involved with someone who I seem to

Customer Question

Relationship question: Involved with someone who I seem to keep distant for fear of being hurt, and perhaps being cheated on. I've been cheated on in my marriage and now divorced because of that. My current relationship is strained because my boyfriend wants to get married, but I "push him away" and he now feels he needs to date other people. This, in turn, makes me want him even more, for fear of losing him forever. I love him and he loves me. But, my problem is, am I now feeling abandonment if he should date other people because I am "unavailable and can't commit"? Is that why I am feeling insecure about losing him when I am the one pushing him into another relationship? He has recently met someone whom he has flirted with by text and phone calls and now I feel somewhat jealous that he has done so in a timely fashion. I'm feeling hurt and deceived and that perhaps he can't love me as much as he says if he can do readily find someone else. I'm feeling insecure and I've never felt that before. We have an age difference. He is 6 years younger than I, although we are in our late 50's. I don't know what I should be feeling and why and find I am feeling very sad lately and don't know if I should "let him go" to sow his oats. And hope that if its meant to be, when I realize I want something permanent, he may not be available and I'll have lost someone I deeply care for and love. What is your opinion?
JA: This sounds like a can of worms I'm glad not to have to open. The Psychologist will do a great job for you. Is there anything else important you think the Psychologist should know?
Customer: no
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Psychologist about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

It sounds like you're destroying your chances at happiness because of excessive anxiety about being cheated on--so you've pushed him into "playing the field." Have you discussed fully how frightened you are and scarred from your past experience? How long has it been since your divorce? And how many post-divorce relationships have you had? and for how long each?

How long have you been seeing this new man? If you are past the 3-4 month early infatuation stage, it would be very normal for you to ask for an exclusive-dating agreement with your manfriend. And if you still found yourself paralyzed with fear of deepening your own commitment, then the best way to prove your love for your man would be to engage in weekly personal therapy by yourself (with the option of inviting him for some sessions) in order to work out your inner resistance to trusting another man after what happened in your marriage. For you need to dissolve this deal-breakinbg barrier within yourself, even if you end up not being ready for marriage, or discovering that your new love isn't as compatible or reliable as you now think (because you're losing it).

As soon as you make YOUR commitment to dealing with your distrust (and whatever else may be connected to it), you can ask your manfriend to commit to exclusive dating with you--even though it's possible you have blown that chance by allowing him to get excited about a new possible girlfriend.

Because you've let this "open-door-policy" go this far, I'd advise you to tell him you WANT him to refrain from dating anyone else for at least 1 month while you dive into your own therapy to make yourself more ready. But don't make it an absolute condition, because you seem to be suddenly changing your mind, so you'll need to let him know you don't have the right to insist that he change his attitudes just as quickly as you have changed yours.

PS. If you're only 6months separated from your previous husband, you're inner emotional being is probably not ready to commit to marriage again, though you could fall in love (that's called a "healing relationship"). In the first year after a divorce, it's common for women (and men) to dive into a new love, because it feels SO good and esp restores their sense of being the person they knew and trusted from before in their marriage. But in 3-6 months they can discover that they're not tuned in with the "whole person" of their new love yet, and there are unrecognized parts of him that are alien and even off-putting.

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

You're trapped between your fear of risking the betrayal you experienced before and your fear (and hurt&self-dislike) if you lose him to another "new love" for him. For "new love chases away old love" at least at first. These two powerful emotional forces will tear you apart, so you need a stable mind & heart to help you pull yourself together. And you might need more professional wisdom to help you work through more of your divorce trauma, so that you are as ready as you want to be to find pairbond happiness again.

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