I am utterly confused. I met this 44-year-old bachelor a number of
months ago. I was not looking for love but he was charming and it just
happened. We went very fast because after 20 years of marriage, I did
not know how to be a girlfriend just a wife (I am 38).
We fought a lot during the first months mostly because he was trying to
control me and being an independent woman I fought him. One day when I
said I had it (which I did many times before out of fear I would say
that so I could protect myself) he accepted and let me go.
Three weeks later he called and asked me out to dinner. He said he
wanted to be my best friend. Over the next 6 months...he has taken me
out to dinner usually once a week...he threw me a surprise birthday
party inviting all his friends (I am new so i do not have many friends)
... went on vacation with me and my children.....calls everyday.... but
no sex during this period except for once during vacation. Two months
ago he pulled back -- calling me everyday but refusing to see me. He
gave me many excuses why he wasn’t seeing me.
He doesn’t invite me to parties with him anymore (although he never
tells me he is going to one – he says he has business meetings) and
doesn’t invite me to hang out with him and his friends. After a month of
not seeing him at his request, we finally saw each other and spent a
wonderful night together. He stayed over but no sex! He said he is not
rejecting me, and that it’s him (whatever that means).
Do I just let this friendship continue and see where it goes? The
problem with that is that I have a deep longing for him. I will not date
or sleep with others while we have a chance because that is not the
person I am. Please help, how can I tell he loves and cares for me as a
women without asking him? Could he care like this as a friend?
Ah yes! The "independent woman syndrome”. Frankly, my students know to
look (or listen) for this and to run for the hills when they see it
coming. "Why" you're probably asking? Because it's simply a
manifestation of the current "feminized society" - one in which many
women have bought into but frankly, it's also the reason that so many
women are reporting the greatest dissatisfaction with their
relationships of any time in history! What does this have to do with
your situation? Read on...
By espousing the fact that you're an "independent woman" you're also
saying that you don't need anyone in your life to be happy. Guess what
that mindset does to you and your relationships? It actually makes it
come about! Now, I can't read this guys mind to know exactly what he's
thinking, but I'll bet it has something to do with this attitude! Not
only is it artificial (obviously so to those that understand it), but
also dangerous. In effect it's the backlash to another unhealthy
attitude/psychological issue, that of co-dependence.
Here's another way to think: what about being "inter-dependent"? My new
book talks much more about this concept, but in short; it takes your
greatest skills and combines them with your partner’s greatest skills to
become a real "power couple". Neither person has to fight for
"independence" or worry that they aren't self-able. Instead, these two
choose to be together and to draw off the strengths of the other to make
themselves and their relationship something truly unique.
Much of what you've
described about your relationship sounds like your boyfriend trying to
get enough distance to re-grow his own testicles and to find a
relationship in which he can be the man. Do you think that your attitude
here is conducive to him feeling sexual towards you?
There's a lot of speculation in this response, since I don't know you or
your situation. However, I've seen this same scenario time and again and
it all starts with "...I'm an independent woman..." Interestingly, when
you really delve into this statement, I've never seen a woman that wants
to be truly "independent" because that simply leads to autonomy and
being alone. This obviously isn't your goal.
I suggest that you rethink your position and how it affects your
relationship. Being an independent woman is trendy, but not very
attractive to most men. Further, you don't really want this guy as your
"friend" do you? You want something more. If he isn't able to give that
to you - for whatever reason, perhaps it's time to move on and find
someone that is. Just be sure you have something to offer your new
Dr. Dennis Neder
Have a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all email. You
can write to me at
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For more information about my book,
"Being a Man in a Woman's World",
Copyright (c) 2003, 2004 Dr. Dennis W. Neder All rights reserved.