On Life and Love after 50 October 28, 2016
Small Town and Remote Area Dating
Last week we wrote about Addie, who had just started dating a man in a small town. She was torn because he’s been seeing another woman once a week for two years. Addie agreed to share her story and hoped you’d give her your opinions of her situation.
Our Champs responded positively--sharing advice for Addie that they felt would help her see her situation clearly.
But this scenario is about more than just Addie's "Should I date him or not?" It also reveals the challenges many of our single Champs, who live in small towns and/or remote areas, face in trying to meet potential mates.
I selected 19 responses (17 from women; two from men). And at the end, I included Addie’s response, after she read the newsletter, but before she will have read your comments below. Thanks for being great Champs and thanks to Addie for being so co-operative.
Manu said, "If just a friend” is staying overnight, I would bet they are also friends-with-benefits. Can you live with that?
"Why are you waffling back and forth? He now has two women accepting him just as he is. I would also bet that if you were able to talk to the other woman friend, you both would not be very happy.
"Loneliness can really suck at times and that is when we tend to settle for less, or play the ‘what if?’ game. Dump the player and get on with your life.”
Shirley, “Tom, you have revealed a major mistake we women repeat whenever we are lonely, life feels bleak, and there’s no sense of change or a better future. I have to confess occasionally or sometimes often I ‘live backward,’ as I call it.
"Like many, Addie wishes but knows that this guy, this town, this opportunity to make changes is an illusion based on wishful thinking. The hints reveal a man who is flakey (New York term), who misleads and cares only for his own comfort, and Addie yearns that he look her way, pays attention, and then they’ll have the Hollywood romance. Oh yeah!
"Nothing is going to happen. What arrangement the man and his lady arranged remains, and Addie remains the onlooker who daydreams. I wish I could tell her to move on, but where can she go?
“I’m an older lady with a great imagination; I feel for ladies who are still hopping to and fro on that bumpy road to romance. Addie, move on; make a place and life for yourself with good friends, but don’t go backwards."
India, “Get busy with something he is not involved in. ‘Just running into him’ doesn’t help. Been there, done that, not going back!"
Lynne, “The red flags are flying high. Her mind sees them but she’s ignoring her inner wisdom. Too bad--heartbreak on the horizon.”
Judie, “Addie is interested in this man, knowing he already has a girlfriend/relationship. She's become obsessed with him, it started by calling and texting him.
“Now she is constantly inquiring about his relationship with another woman. She has been reviewing Facebook posts and photos, and her son is becoming involved. It appears that Addie is ‘hearing’ what she chooses to hear, one thing being, this woman just ‘shows up’ every Saturday, expecting to be taken places, has done this for the past two years? Really? He doesn't have a clue, till she knocks on his door? Um. Um.
“Oh, yeah, not mentioned, but Addie probably has convinced herself they aren't sleeping together. Well, surprise, the couple suddenly had a disagreement, most likely over ‘Just who is this Addie?’
“Addie mentions a small town, so obviously this man and his girlfriend have gone places together, have mutual friends, and have been photographed over the past two years. Yep, Addie wants a relationship with him, or at least wants him available to her, but that's not the way to go about it.
“One other crazy thing brought up - Addie already doesn't approve of his motorcycle-riding friends, people she's not even acquainted with? Oh yes, red flags are all over the place, but in my opinion they start and end with Addie!”
Dr. John, “I see two issues with Addie:
1. A man who will not tell the truth. I see that as a deal breaker
2. Addie's belief that after one date, a man should date her exclusively. I see that as unrealistic.
Pamela: “While he sounds likeable, his respect level is subpar and he's not good enough for a real partnership. We all need to realize being alone is tough, but allowing someone else to disrespect us in hopes of not being alone is the epitome of disrespecting ourselves.”
Two women--Annette and Stella--felt differently. They feel Addie should possibly go for it.
Annette: "This is really a mixed bag. It is very difficult to have a dating match in a small town. The girlfriend is available for his social life, not a marriage choice. Addie never gave us a view of what she is expecting from a future relationship.
"Backing away so much, showing fear of being hurt. Is he worth the effort? She barely knows him and believe me, it takes more than she has told us to make that decision. She has the upper hand vs. the other woman, in that Addie is local, and has no problem seeing him.
"She had the chance to move in (into a relationship) and become important in his life and she ran. What other people think is more important than finding happiness. She wants someone to tell her that it is OK to back away. Perhaps there is no attraction on her part. If there were, nothing would stop her."
Stella, ‘Ay, Addie! Who says he (and you) can't date more than one person? That's what being single is all about! He has a lady friend he dates, but he also wants to date you. Personally, I don't think that's unusual, much less evil. He hasn't deceived you. Until such time as he announces he wants to make it exclusive with you or her - go have a good time.”
Joan, “I keep running into this. Many men like to have women on the side and they're lying to everyone, maybe even themselves. This 'only friends' thing is a trap.
“One man I met said he had a friendship-with-benefits thing going on, and he wanted to find a real relationship but meanwhile he won't let go of the sex relationship. He wants to smoothly move from one woman to the next; some men just can't be alone for one day! The other ones I'm running into are the ones who are very attractive and financially set and think they can be players until the day they die, and they say they don't want any commitments because it ruins their lifestyle. I’ve given up on dating. What’s the point?”
Joanie, Tom, you are wonderful to do this for us senior singles. Every story I read gives me insight to myself.
“The man in the story isn't' promising Addie anything and if she got involved and then rebuffed him he would say ‘Well, you knew I had a friend.’
"There are quite a few men, who need multiple women at a time, especially if the women know about each other, and are in conflict with each other.
“These men usually appear nice, not argumentative, not abusers, not obviously addicted, sometimes even charming....but their need is not for a committed deep 1-1 relationship; they get their self worth from multiple women wanting them and in conflict for them.”
“This lady sounds so nice....she wants a whole man and a real relationship. No matter how much she likes this guy she really needs to keep looking. I know it’s hard but she has to take care of #1 first.
Mary Lou, “Addie, dump this guy. He’s got a GIRLFRIEND. It took a while to get the complete picture, and now you have it - he is involved with someone else. She stays at his house on week-ends, which means they are probably sleeping together. You are only going to get hurt here.
“He has not lied to you, he obviously likes you, but he is not emotionally available for you because he is seeing someone else. Put him on the back burner, and tell him you like him, but don’t want to go out with him while he is seeing someone else. Be friendly and kind. But don’t go out with him anymore until he is single. You never know what will happen down the pike.
Gail, “Addie is parked in a town called Denial! He is obviously lying to her and has a girlfriend. She is having trouble moving on because he does the cruiser thing. Move on, girl, you are pursuing another woman's man, how would you like that?
Linda, “She seems to be competing and wants to win him over from this other gal. He just wants them both and possibly even more. She should run the other way, not just hold back. There are some things in life that aren't worth sharing and this is one of them, at least for me.
Marta, “Sounds to me like Addie is only considering this man because there is no available pool of men from which to choose; which is a common dilemma (especially in a small town or a remote area). Having said that, she would be wise to listen to her gut instinct, which is to end any thoughts of a relationship with this man.
“He is ‘hedging his bets’ by keeping her around in case things don't go well with the other lady. That is not good enough. We all deserve to be loved for ourselves.
“Settling leads to diminished self-esteem and loneliness inside, where it counts. Never settle, be alone till you are truly loved.
Liz, “Move on, Addie! The red flags were there from the beginning, so don't kid yourself and pretend they weren't. As Tom advised: "Trust your instincts!"
Wayne, “Start thinking with your head, not your heart. Move on and give yourself a chance to find a healthy relationship. Your friend wants the ‘best of both worlds’ and is playing you like a fiddle. Don’t enable him.”
Sarah, “Her heart says one thing and her common sense says another, she feels and speaks from both places right now. Sometimes it takes a little while to break away from something that feels good and fills a need so well and sometimes it is hard to do....even though we know. She is smart not to dawdle even though her heart isn't where her common sense is just yet.”
Jeanne, “Addie says he mentioned that this other woman would sometimes go to his house on Saturday and leave Sunday!! That would be it for me - he has a girlfriend and is not honest enough to say so. No further contact! And just say hi when you see him and move on. She needs an honest man in her life.
What Addie said after reading the newsletter, but before she read these comments, “Wow. Reading this through from the beginning, it looks so different to me. You are correct I really did not want to call it quits with him but my gut was telling me I should.
“In a relationship, I want to establish a friendship first. I was very hopeful he and I could do that. I was very open to moving forward to more with him. I'm not very hopeful of this any longer.
"I'm looking forward to the feedback. He still texts and I answer. But there's no flirting. Just simple texts. I don't like it much. So I am going to let him be. He is not a bad person. Neither am I.
"I think it may be time to put this small-town story to rest. Thank you for your guidance and input through this. I really appreciate it."
Tom's comment: We will put this small-town story to rest. Again, it reminds us of how difficult it is for senior singles to meet people to date in remote areas. The Internet could be helpful for people to reach out beyond the town boundaries.
As I've mentioned, I am doing a major upgrade to the Finding Love After 50 website by adding 25 categories of past articles I've published. For example, one category is titled "Senior Relationship Challenges." Under that category alone, there are now 18 articles. Eventually, there will be more as I go through my archives. By reading this blog, you are already on the website. Just go to the categories tab on the home page and pick a category and then pick an article.