Wasting years on a long distance relationship and a man’s dating dishonesty is senior fantasy love
By Tom P Blake Finding Love After 50
Note from Tom: This article appeared in 2008. It is a two-part article. Part 2 are follow up comments.
Ana, age 62, wonders if she'll ever meet a man she can trust. She explained why she thinks this way.
"I was married for 34 years. My spouse found a younger woman who he had an affair with starting in 2002; he left me for her on March 1, 2003. Our divorce was finalized on Dec. 31, 2003."
A few months later, in 2004, Ana met a man-10 years younger--at her niece's wedding. Ana lived on the West Coast, he lived on the East Coast. "We started emailing and became friends. We shared deep, intimate details about our persona and we both thought we had found our soul mate/kindred spirit. We had a deep friendship that developed into a romance; however it was very dysfunctional."
Over the next two years, they met "as friends only" a few times for dinner when he was on business trips. In November, 2006, he told Ana he was in love with her and asked how she felt about him. She said she loved him also, but told him she was concerned about two things: living 3,000 miles apart and their age difference. He told Ana those things didn't matter to him.
"So," she continued, "we tried being more than friends and I made love to him in 2007 and then it all started to fall apart.
"He would say he was going to visit me, then, at the last minute, he'd cancel. Each time he did, I ended the relationship. Then, he would tell me not to give up on us, that I was his soul mate. He would say he cared deeply for me and just wanted to be together when we could spend quality time. However, that never happened."
The man was scheduled to visit Ana in May, June and over the July 4th weekend this year (2008), but he canceled each time, claiming he had to attend to his sick mother. So, over the 4th, Ana went to see her sister who was vacationing in Idaho. She decided to let her sister know she was dating him, which had never been revealed to the sister.
Ana said, "Instead, I was the one who got the shock. I found out through my sister-who also lives in New York and has known him for 27 years--that he was in San Francisco that weekend with his new girlfriend, age 37, and that they were 'madly in love.' I realized that our romance had been an illusion."
"When I told him that I knew about his other romantic partner, he said he didn't know how to tell me about her and to not judge and think badly of him because he really thought of me as his best friend and soul mate.
"I forgave him and have been trying very hard to get over him and want to begin dating again. Yet, I keep comparing others to him and realize that I need to stop all communication with him to get on with my life.
"How do I tell when someone is truthful? Any words of wisdom will be gratefully accepted."
I told Ana she didn't need words of wisdom from anyone, she'd already figured out the situation herself. I also said she had wasted four years on a man who had merely toyed with her.
"He was not your soul mate. Soul mates don't cancel plans or lie. Soul mates do whatever it takes to be together," I said.
And I agreed she should cut off all communication, no matter how difficult.
"He's too young for you, he lives too far away, he hasn't been honest, and now, he loves a woman 25-years-younger than you," I added.
I suggested that instead of focusing on finding a new mate, she should get involved with activities she enjoys and just focus on meeting new people and making new friends of both sexes. She needs women friends as well as men.
And I adamantly told her, "If he calls, don't talk to him. Doing so could wipe out all of the progress you've made in breaking the chain."
Part 2 – Follow up to the above article.
Senior Fantasy Love
Loneliness and naivety can lead to poor judgment in singles, particularly in women, who often are more vulnerable than men. Some have fallen in love with an image-someone they've met on the Internet--but they've not met in person. It's called fantasy love. In love with someone you have never met.
Almost as bad is falling in love with someone you've personally met, who lives far away and you rarely see, and you do not know. Last week, we wrote about Ana, 62, who maintained a 3,000-mile relationship for four years with a man she met at a relative's wedding.
Ana and the man met face-to-face a few times, when he was on business trips, and were intimate just once. She believed he was her soulmate. He'd schedule visits to see her and cancel them. He kept apologizing and making excuses, pleading with her not to give up on him. Eventually, she found out he was "madly in love" with someone else. She wasted four years on him.
Some of you responded about fantasy love. Jane Ann said, "Ana had her sense of self worth totally shattered by an 'imagined' relationship. Had she been thinking--she would have KNOWN this was NOT a romance--but someone just toying with her emotions. Wake up and smell the coffee-we women allow this--so men do it!"
Rebecca thinks men are at fault: "Clearly Ana's friend did not share her feelings or her interpretation of their relationship. I have known men who have strung women along like this for years, avowing their love and desire to be together but never quite making it happen. Why do they do this?"
Marta says, "Here is what I learned the hard way via a failed, long-distance internet romance.
"It isn't possible to know if you have a 'deep friendship,' or have found your 'soul mate/kindred spirit,' without being in the physical presence of the other. I am not talking about sex here - we need to see the other's eyes, see his face move when he talks. Eighty (80) percent of communication is body language. Anyone can say anything via email, or even on the phone; when we are lonely we are vulnerable to being fooled.
"There is no way to know if someone is being truthful or not, except via the passage of time, which allows us to see if others are consistent, keep promises, etc. This can't easily be done from a distance, which is why I made a personal rule to only date locally."
Jennifer said, "Dating a man 3,000 miles away is like dating a stranger. A woman has no idea about who he is or what he does. Without really knowing him, Ana created a fantasy about him. She confused sharing intimate things by email with really getting to know him."
Jennifer passed on six nuggets of advice for Ana:
(1) No more long-distance dating
(2) If a man doesn't let you get to know him, he's probably hiding something
(3) If a man stands you up repeatedly, with no rational explanation, drop him
(4) If the relationship has to be kept secret from family members, something is wrong
(5) Sharing intimate details with a stranger by email is not a shortcut to developing a relationship. Telling secrets only creates an illusion of intimacy. It takes time and frequent (personal) contact to get to know someone in the real world
(6) If a man is much younger than you, a lot better looking and very charming, why does he want you?
Don't be fooled by fantasy love.