Q. I’ve been seeing a man for about a year, and for the past few months I’ve been feeling crowded. We’re both divorced and in our 50s with grown children. He’s mostly retired, has very little contact with his kids, and has very few friends or activities that occupy him. I have a busy life with work, friends, and family, and I’m also involved in my local community theater. I feel like I’m his only hobby.
He wants to see me more than on weekends. I totally understand his need for more companionship, but I’m not sure I want to give up my activities or what little time I have to myself during the week.
I feel really bad, but I waited 50 years to be able to come and go as I please without having to get permission or check in with anyone. And although it wasn’t spectacular to begin with, our sex life has diminished quite a bit.
I know the subject of moving in together is on his mind. I’m not sure I’ll want to live with anyone again. Yes, I hear how selfish this is all sounding. I feel so conflicted. Should I pursue fewer activities and give this relationship more time so I can get used to being part of a couple, or should I let him go find someone who can better fulfill his needs and give him all the time together he wants?
— Unsure of anything
A.“Yes, I hear how selfish this is all sounding.”
You don’t sound selfish. You sound like you know what kind of relationship you want, and that is not a bad thing!
You’re with a nice man who wants more of your time, but for some very acceptable reasons, you can’t reciprocate. You’re showing empathy and concern, which is nice, but sometimes two great people just don’t want the same kind of life. It happens.
If you wanted to give this your very best, most earnest try, you could see how it feels to sleep in the same place after a midweek activity. Maybe it would help to show up and share the last minutes of the day together and wake up in the same place. Not every evening with him has to be a full date.
But if that doesn’t work (or doesn’t sound appealing), it’s probably just an almost-match. Almost-matches can break your heart because they come so close to being right — but not close enough. If that’s what this is, it’s OK to let go.
You like your independence, and your partner is much needier than you are. The decreasing sex life is a symptom of the mismatch. WIZEN
You could see him at his place so you could be the one to leave when you want to. ADAM----
You don’t sound like you are really alone all that much between work, friends, and activities. But you don’t want time away from them. I don’t think you want to be alone so much as not with him. ASH
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