Never Settle . A Small Town Saturday Night story. Red flags or a budding relationship?
A woman I will call Addie emailed me September 24, 2016. She said a friend told her about the Finding Love After 50 website and that maybe it could help her.
Addie said, “I have a question about a friend I recently began talking to via text and telephone. I have known this person as an acquaintance since high school. I saw him at a car show and we talked briefly, as we often do. I noticed his Facebook listed him as 'single' so I sent a message and told him it was nice to see him.
“We started communicating. I asked about some photos of him on Facebook with a lady. He said he and the lady got together just once a week, that she lived two hours away. He asked me to dinner. He told me the Facebook lady would not mind us talking but might mind us spending time together.
“He told me he only likes her as a friend and is not interested in anything else. I think this is contradictory information. I would like to get to know him better but do not want to get in the middle of anything. Should I meet him for dinner and ask him face-to-face about her or just steer clear?”
Tom to Addie: “I think dinner is ok, but get a clear picture of his relationship with her before you begin any relationship with him.
Addie, “Should I ask what his relationship really is with her?
Tom, “Tell him you don't want to start seeing him if he is involved with someone else.
A few days later
Addie emailed: We went to dinner; it went very well. We then went for a drive and talked. He told me the Facebook woman was just a friend and someone to do things with. I believe he wants more connection or 'love' with someone but doesn't want to give up having someone available.
“I call this relationship purgatory. Been there. Done that. Not going back. I feel sorry for anyone stuck there. I don't think she expects much from him because he seems very what-you-see-is what-you-get.
“I'm going to back off. I'll talk to him and may even see him but only very casually as an old friend, simply because I enjoy his company. We ran into lots of people we knew at dinner. I don't think I would ever move past friendship anyway but who knows? I am not sure our lives would sync overall. I'm going to be very careful.
“At the end of the evening I felt he might be considering a kiss so I just gave him a hug and left. He sent me a text thanking me and told me he enjoyed himself and I responded with the same sentiments.”
Tom: Good job on the hug and leaving it at that. Is your city a small city, where lots of people know each other?
Addie: “Our town is small enough that everywhere you go you know someone.
A few days later in early October
Addie emailed: “There is something about this situation that is making me uneasy. He sent me a text last weekend asking what I was doing. He called me on his way into town; he told me he had a disagreement with his 'friend.' They haven't talked much the last of couple days, which he said was not typical. I sensed he felt a little lonely.
“Should I just back completely off and not have contact with him for a few days? I wait for him to initiate contact anyway. It's very casual.
Tom: “Trust your instincts. You've only been to dinner once. You said you weren't even sure you wanted a relationship with him. “Don't over-think it.
“This scenario reminds me of an old Hal Ketchum (country singer) song called, ‘Small Town Saturday Night. (At the end of today’s column, there is a Youtube link to the song).
Addie: “Yes, small town in the Midwest. I’m over-thinking this. He mentioned she would usually go to his house Saturday morning and leave Sunday. She shows up and asks to go places with him. I don't know her or what kind of person she is but that sounds very strange to me. This has been going on for two years.
Tom: “I assume you would not tolerate her coming and staying at his house on weekends if you were in a relationship?”
Addie, Oct. 16, “I saw him at a cruise night last weekend--a gathering of street cars, kind of like a car show with Camaros, old Chevy cars and such. He has a pickup.
“We went for a ride then got something to eat in a diner. “I paid for our food this time. We were at a counter and I was in front so I gave the cash before he did. I'd like to just back off.”
(Note from Tom: This scene reminds me of Saturday night in Jackson, Michigan, when I was growing up. We called it, ‘Dragging the Ave’ (Driving up and back on Michigan Avenue, the main downtown street, was the big event in our small city).
“This weekend, he went on a benefit ride. His 'woman friend' went with him. Another friend of his posted their photo on Facebook. Someone who works with him told my son that he has a girlfriend.”
“I'm finished here. I know he said they were just friends but I'm just not comfortable with this situation. I want to stop talking to him aside from if we just run into each other out. I want it to just be like before.
Tom: “The red flags are there: he has a girlfriend and for you to get involved until he changes that situation will make you vulnerable to a broken heart. It's almost like dating a married man: he’s not married but he’s in a committed relationship.”
Addie: “I am over this. We are at a lot of the same events and have a lot of mutual acquaintances. So I don't want it to be awkward. I wasn't sure if we would be a good fit. I really like street cars. He does also. That's what I like about him. That, and I thought he was nice and friendly. He also rides a motorcycle and some of those friends of his don't really appeal to me. They are a bit rough.
“I do like this guy. I think it's time to throw in the towel on this one. It just seems there are too many things I'm unsure of. This other-woman thing has me bothered.
“Why do things have to be so complicated? I wish people would just say what they mean and mean what they say.
“I'm going to continue to communicate but keep a distance. Do you think that's the best way to handle it?”
Tom’s final thoughts. I particularly liked Addie’s words: “I wish people would just say what they mean and mean what they say.” Five times she said words similar to, “It’s time to back off.” I’m doubtful that she really wants to.
What do you Champs think? Part 2- The responses from Champs will be next week. Don't miss them--many were brilliant.
Link to Hal Ketchum “Small Town Saturday Night.”