Decisions, decisions.

I don’t like this part of the play. It’s  better than being in a miserable marriage that is on Act IV. But still.

There is no playbook. Nobody to tell me if I do X then Y will happen. So often we try to control another person. The only thing I truly control in this life is my own actions. Or reactions.

I’ve been patient. Paced myself – which was the right thing to do, no question in my mind. I have not pushed like I would have before.

I am still unsure whether he is real long term relationship material. Frankly, that’s irrelevant. I don’t need to know that and my cynical and realistic brain knows that there are things you simply cannot know about a person until some time has passed.

But.

As I said before, I want to be a choice.

I have reached that point where I need to stand up for what I want and need. I feel it’s imbalanced now. This hasn’t been festering, but I can see it starting in my brain. I’m getting increasingly emotional. I need a way to get over it, or address this:

We have a few reasons for his ED and he’s not dealing with it. I don’t think he realizes how big a deal is this for me, and what I (willingly) gave up for this.

It’s coming up on three months. All exclusive. And I’m with someone who won’t call me his girlfriend. I can say labels are irrelevant, but it’s not the label. It’s what it represents. 

I want to know we are on the same road, even if he’s a little behind me.

So.

Decisions, decisions.

I’m pretty sure my addressing it will mean he walks away. Is it better to do this now because nothing with change? Or find a way to be okay with it and give him more time?  Do I tackle the ED and not the other piece?

Sigh. 

It would be so easy, my dear Shakespeare, if my part in this play of life could be scripted.

0 thoughts on “Decisions, decisions.

  1. These are all questions only you can answer. I can’t help but think not to burn your bridges ever, but definitely not prematurely. Then again, I am probably over cautious. I will be interested to see what you decide.

      • I guess I misunderstood, overreacted, and jumped the gun. The discussion may very well be interpreted as pressure, which may be enough to make him back off. You know him. I have formed my image of him by what you have written, (and then put my own spin on it I’m sure). How do you think it would be received?

        • There are two things I have an issue with right now.

          The first is his ED. Tackling that I don’t think is pressure but more a recognition that it’s an issue for me and I would like to find a way to resolve it, in partnership with him. It’s not an ultimatum I’m giving him…it’s starting the dialogue and letting him know I care and really want to find something that works. I don’t want to sleep with other men (unless it’s us playing together with someone).

          The second is more a philosophical conversation about where his head it at with regard to our relationship. Him not liking the label “boyfriend” when we are clearly exclusive with each other and looking to do more things together is puzzling to me. I would like to understand why. Where his head is at. And ultimately, feel comfortable that we are on the same path, even if he needs time to accept where we are. I’m not asking for a guarantee because I couldn’t give it to him either.

          He’s told me he doesn’t want to date others. I can be skeptical of that but he’s not acting contrary to what he’s said. I don’t know that I’m a choice. I’m worried I am his default.

          So that conversation should not be a bridge burner…it’s a dialogue. Seeking understanding. Now, what could happen is he feels it’s pressure that he can’t handle. Regardless of how carefully I bring it up, it is a form of pressure to ask for more certainty. I’m not sure he could even honestly answer all my questions. He’s got other shit he’s sorting out right now.

          It’s really a simple question, I suppose: “do you actively choose to remain ‘with’ me?”

          If he said – “Ann, I do feel like I need to explore a bit more with others right now, in addition to you”, I would have a choice. I can say “it’s me only or not me at all”, and that would end it. I can say “sure”, knowing that I don’t have the capacity to deal with that right now. So I could end it and hope he comes back.

          • But he hasn’t said: “Ann I feel like I need to explore more”. He has said: “He doesn’t want to date other people,” You worry he is telling you what you want to hear. I guess this would let him know what you want to hear.

  2. I think you are trying to rush things…But since you aren’t happy, maybe what you need to do is date other people because of the reasons you mentioned…and honestly, dating other people for him is what he probably needs at this point in his life. If it’s meant to be, you two can get back together and try again…Why burn a bridge at this point when that bridge might be what you need later?
    p.s. I don’t know anyone who trys “to control another person.” Thats NOT HEALTHY and how realtionships work

    • Please tell me more about your perception that I’m trying to rush things. I don’t actually need the pace of our relationship to change. I can’t see him more than I already am. But I need to know the intention is there, on his part.

      He says he doesn’t want to date other people, but he could be telling me what I want to hear. I don’t think I want to date others if I’m dating him. I don’t have the time or emotional bandwidth.

      But as I said to Julie…I’m not trying to burn a bridge. This is not an ultimatum. It’s a discussion. Saying this is what I want / need and can we find a way to make that happen.

      And if you don’t know anyone that tries to control others, then you are surrounded by extraordinary people. I’d say 95% of the people I know spend a lot of time worrying about and trying to influence what others do. We get angry because they don’t do what we want. We cajole, argue, influence. The term “control” may be strong, I will definitely give you that. But I see so few people who truly concentrate on their reactions, versus another’s actions.

      • “He says he doesn’t want to date other people, but he could be telling me what I want to hear.”

        This confuses me a little. Do you think he might just be telling you what you want to hear? If so, why would he? Doesn’t that statement show his intention?

        Again, from my perception, but it would seem the actions and the words are very positive and in your favor.

        • I addressed this in another comment I just made to you. But to clarify: there are people who avoid conflict. The easy thing to say is “no you are enough for me”… even if his gut tells him otherwise. He may not even listen to his gut. He may not have the words to say “I like you but I also want to know that you are my choice”. He may not know that I would be open to the dialogue and fear if he brings it up, I may get angry, shut down, and walk away. He doesn’t know me that well yet.

    • Oh, well, I must react to your last sentence.
      I’m happy for you you don’t know anyone who would try to control another person.
      I know one too well. Even after more than a year apart, he is still trying to retain control over me :-/
      Sorry… let me go back to reading the comments now 😉

  3. I do have a pretty healthy group of friends/family! Well, one of my brothers has been married and divorced 3 times so he has issues…lol
    For one, you said you want “to be a choice.” Well, it’s only been 3 months…I think “choosing” someone is not something you do at this point in a relationship (and I’ve never used this language before but just trying to relate to it how you see it. You do hear stories of people just knowing as soon as they meet someone that he/she is “the one.” But I also have a few friends who dated for years and years before finally getting engaged).
    You mentioned “It’s coming up on three months. All exclusive. And I’m with someone who won’t call me his girlfriend.” Like I said before, it shouldn’t matter that you are his girlfriend at this point but because you keep thinking about it, in my book, it feels like you are rushing it.
    Like you said, he prob doesn’t realize how big of deal his ED is to you so I think you should have that conversation with him so he knows…I forget if he knows about your sexual history, and if he doesn’t, just telling him how much of an active sexual life you have had will give him a clue on how important sex is to you (and as I write this, I don’t know the best way to tell a guy this without scaring him, but there’s got to be a nice way to say it).

    • Thanks for the clarification. I disagree about the “choice” thing as I think you and I are approaching the term differently.

      We always have a choice, from the first date, about whether to continue with someone. I am not using “choice” as in, choose someone to be my one and only forever and ever. I’m saying – I have choices every day about how to spend my time and who I spend it with. I’m actively choosing him. Over others.

      I also fundamentally believe I continue to have a choice about being exclusive with him. Investing emotional energy, whether to make plans, etcetera.

      Too often we forget we have this choice and we just continue down a path because we happen to be on that path. Inertia is an incredibly powerful force. I refuse to take the easy road anymore if it’s not the right thing for me.

      (And I’m not going to continue to defend whether it matters if I’m his girlfriend. It matters to me, and I appreciate that if you were in this situation, it wouldn’t matter to you. But for me it matters not because it’s a label, but because his not wanting to use the term is a proxy for me for a deeper issue)

  4. I read a book which said if a man doesn’t acknowledge you as his girlfriend, you probably aren’t. Three months is long enough to be able to know if you are or not. Be direct and have a serious conversation, tell him it’s important for you to know where you stand. If he can’t handle that, he is probably not a long term prospect

    • Completely agree. It’s not the label so much as the resistance. I presume he’s resistant because of the place he’s at mentally and practically post-split. So if he’s not ready, then is there any way I can expect that we can actually be going down a potential relationship path together?

  5. I don’t think you are rushing things. I think it’s fair for you to seek and want answers. The point about this and all other relationships is dialogue. There’s nothing wrong with you asking and pondering about things that pertain to this relationship and it’s part of a compromise.

    Whatever issues he’s been dealing with, he doesn’t have to deal with them alone. I’m sure you are willing to go through things with him and you can let him know that.

    But as I said before, communicating is the first and best step. If bigger issues arise from you trying to communicate, then the relationship is not going to work. And also it doesn’t mean that you are going to be suffocating him with questions, expecting answers all the time or for him to deal with other issues alone.

    • It’s an excellent point you make about communication – if he can’t handle my bringing it up in a thoughtful and open way, then you are right, he’s not the one for me.

      Thank you.

  6. I think the ED is all related to everything else and his lack of label is somewhat concerning at 3 months. I think the letter you wrote addressed your very real needs and concerns in a thoughtful way and that you should address it all. You’re right that you risk losing him here, but sometimes men need to know they have something to lose. I like tony, I do…but I’d hate for you to spend another 3 months only to be in the exact same place and wish you’d had the time back. That’s just my two cents anyway!

    • That’s my fear, Hollie…. that I will be patient and give him time, just to have him a) decide 3 or 6 months from now that he needs to give others a spin, or b) never get to the point where we will be anything more than casual dating.

      I know there are no guarantees, and I well may decide myself he’s not a good longer term partner for me. But I like him, I really do. But I can’t rush the place he’s in and suppose ultimately would be willing to give him some time if I knew a little bit more that he felt about me the way I feel about him.

    • I am in this camp. I like the guy, but his label commentary seems like a game that he is playing with himself. If I had him in front of me, I could shoot his labels position down with a few well-placed shots. Ann doesn’t have this luxury based upon her thoughtful approach.

      If things don’t progress and she commits a lot of time to this without her desires being considered, then it seems that this is very one-sided and rather convenient for him…no commitment or real consideration for Ann’s needs, sex under his terms, etc. That is not what I would tolerate.

  7. Divorced and happily remarried man’s point of view: I think his behavior shows several red flags that you’ve wisely noticed and are equally wisely mulling over addressing, Ann. His reluctance with the boyfriend and girlfriend labels means a lot, I think, about where his head and heart really are. And if you think you deserve more, you do. In your cool-headed way, I’d bring it up and address it from your point of view, certainly. It can’t just be about him and his ex and his kids, and if it is … There you have another piece of your puzzle. Regarding the ED, that could be tied into his feelings above. Or it could be something physical. If he hasn’t been to see his doctor for an overall check-up, he should. Lots of illnesses can affect the plumbing.

    • Thank you Mark, I really appreciate the insight. I have known from the very start that where he is at with his split could be a potential issue. I suppose the whole “label” discussion made it hard for me to put that aside.

      I suspect the ED is caused by chronic marijuana use for the last 15+ years. He also says it’s because he masturbates a lot and notices a difference when he doesn’t. I agree it could be mental but now with these two other potential causes I’m frustrated (literally and figuratively) that he’s not addressing it.

      • Just an FYI on the pot smoking. The Hunter is 47 and has smoked pot everyday for 20+ years. He doesn’t have ED issues but age is catching up with him, so he’ll cum easily twice, but he needs a longer break for the third time. He’s taken Cialis twice and it makes his dick harder (and larger) due to the increased blood flow. It’s fun with Cialis, but we’re fine without it. Just my 2 cents.

        • Yup, I know others who have been users for a long time and it doesn’t impact them. Tony is ‘only’ 37. There is absolutely an issue and lots of research that says for some men, pot could impact them this way. I don’t think it’s primarily mental for him.

          • He has said that he notices a different when he avoids masturbating. There are studies that show that prolonged marijuana use can also be a contributor… but yeah, of course there could be other things, including mental, that are causing it. Thanks Maggie 🙂

  8. When I was a teenager my mom, a Marriage & Family Therapist, gave me this tool: “When You ___ I Feel ___ Because I ___ .” This has served me well.
    You can play Chess and predict his moves based upon what you tell him, but that’s possibly manipulative. If you wait until your emotions boil over you may say something you don’t really mean. If the two issues are roadblocks to maturing your relationship with Tony, I recommend you put your cards on the table sooner rather than later, because then you’ll have clarity on what actions you take. Yes it’s risky, but life is short and you’ll have a better idea on what path to choose. I suspect that you already know all of this.

    • Thanks Cameron. Knowing it and *knowing* it are different. The chess thing is right and is what I meant about control… I can’t play that game because yes, it’s manipulative and I can’t control the outcome with him.

      I haven’t shied away from tough decisions – this one being to bring it up with him – so suppose there’s no reason to stop now. I am delaying because it saddens me to think that I may lose a guy who I truly like.

  9. I am surprised though usually it is he man who runs fast and thinks ahead. is he with it. Does he know what he is involved in or does other thoughts occupy his brain?

    Just what comes to mind reading this. Just shortly I also read the letter and it surprises me. Your feelings are genuine and if one is wondering if those returned are the same one need to start a conversation.

    Walking away. You do you deem him capable of staying and listening or weak and walking away. yet that would have involved earlier talks and he is letting very little loose.

    I do not know the answer but in this case I would leap. After all it is now and forever or never at all. This step is not easy. But is it worth waiting? DO you know him enough to wait and trust your instinct? Do you wait to know more before leaping? Either one of them say have a conversation. With a stiff drink ready or a bucket of ice cream. You can still eat together if it works out.

    Keep on smiling Ann. Ice cream makes a mess and is sticky but yummy with a cherry on top 😛

    • Thanks hon. I think I have to make the leap, at least about the ED discussion. See how that one goes. Then wait (albeit not long) to bring up the other stuff…the time needs to be right and I need to think about what I want to ask and what I want to say.

      and I will definitely have a drink and ice cream in hand.

  10. I maintain the same opinion. I think you have to think about yourself first now. What feels right for him doesn’t seem to feel right for you and I strongly disagree that we have to keep our feelings for ourselves out of fear of scaring others away. That’s how we feel after all. For him labels might not matter. But for you they might matter. For him this might be rushing things. But ultimately it’s how you feel. Good luck , I know you are needing it 🙂

  11. The dialog needs to happen, because you are unhappy with the way the relationship is evolving and you desire an active, thriving partnership.

    My concern is that Tony is simply incapable right now of making a choice because of where he is in the timeline of separation from his son and sorting it all out. With that, I can see where you would feel as if you are his default. You have spoon fed this concept to him and he’s scrambled to get his head around it once it’s right there in front of him. Perhaps now that a week has passed since you last discussed your relationship he will be more prepared for the discussion. I hope so, anyway.

    Maybe Tony needs to date a little more to truly understand and appreciate you overall awesomeness. Maybe he imagines easily finding an ASV clone who would accept what he is able to offer them right now. That said, ending the bond of exclusivity now does not mean you cannot revisit and reestablish later on, when his head is clearer and he recognizes what he gave up.

    No matter what, I do not envy you with you the discussion. Dating is hard, no doubt about it.

    • Thanks Janelle. I thought about the one thing you said this morning – can I be okay with him dating others? On the one hand, I do think I’m a pretty good package for him and there’s a bitchy part of me that thinks “you will not find another as good as me”. But I am a realist and know he may find someone that’s a better package for him. If that’s the case, I’d rather know that now than after I’ve fallen in love with him.

      I don’t envy myself either, but I know this is an issue of my own making. I could just let things happen and suck up my misery but that just gets me to a place I’ve been before and I never want to be again. I refuse to let inertia take over. It’s easier now, but so much harder in the long run.

      Thanks for your ongoing support. It means so much to me.

      • I believe dating, companionship, relationships should be primarily good, positive, life-enhancing events. Anything that has the phrase “suck up my own misery” flittering through my mind has to be altered somehow, so I completely see where you are coming from after 3 months of patience and pacing and recognizing his place in the after-marriage landscape. You are taking the gentlest, most proactive approach to a thorny issue where there is no clear-cut path to resolution.

        • Thank you, Janelle. While I love debate and challenge I have to admit on this one, it’s good to get positive feedback. I feel like I’ve been those things, have been really good and am changing the way I have acted in the past.

  12. I had a moment recently where I didn’t want to know how he felt about the future, and when I finally did learn, I had to end it because it didn’t for with my vision. Then I regreyted ending it, because I demanded him to feel equally if not more than me in this moment. This is a spoiled thing to do. I guess I see now that I expect a man to be further along than me, and if he’s not then he must not be right for me…it’s a very dangerous, fairytale way to think.

    Maybe you see something here you can take from for your own situation, but hell, what do I know. Dating has been a rather large Slice of humble pie.

    • I don’t expect more. I completely understand he’s in a different place than I am, that’s he’s “behind” me in progress post-split. But I need to know that he’s consciously choosing to be with me, and only me, right now. Despite all the other shit he’s going through.

      Is that acting spoiled? I hope not.

      • No, in your case not at all (in my case, maybe…). I think it’s brave to stand up for yourself instead of just trying to play it cool – to stand for what you really need, even if you think it will end it (because then you are opening yourself for other people that can provide what you need). I did the same thing recently, but now I’m just smarting from the pain of separation…maybe me thinking I’m spoiled is a way to justify going back…I don’t know.

  13. I support you in speaking up about your feelings. Being exclusive to Tony is only worthwhile for you right now if this relationship is heading somewhere. Otherwise you are giving your energy to something that is unfulfilling for you, when you could be investing your time in seeking out a more fulfilling situation

  14. In Nature if you run at a creature, it almost always runs away. The same is pretty much true in the affairs of humans, but in the sense of emotions.

    When women I have dated started to fish for compliments it turned me cold inside and put me off them. It comes across as needy and slightly controlling. It reeked of them trying to take something from me that I wasn’t ready to give just yet. Their asking either delayed what was going to happen if they were patient or it lead to me walking away. No man wants to be in an emotionally-draining relationship and a woman craving reassurance is a drag. Been there, hated that.

    No two relationships develop at the same pace. Usually the women are further along in the phases of a romance. Nobody can be pushed or pulled through a romance; they will move at their own speed. Us men are like donkeys in that we resent being pushed and pulled.

    His drug abuse and chronic masturbation hint at a self-control problem and possibly a depression issue. If you said to him “No more drugs and jerking off…otherwise we’re finished!” You will almost certainly lose him. There is a slim chance he will clean his act up., but I wouldn’t count on it.

    Sorry to say Ann, but this guy is not in the emotional condition to give you what you want. The question is: how long are you willing to wait?

    I can guarantee you that badgering him to give you what you want now is counter-productive.

        • There is a huge difference in my mind between wanting to know that someone is choosing to be with you, and as you say, “fishing for compliments” which is akin to my bitching that he doesn’t say enough that he thinks I’m pretty.

          • Communication is largely about the recipient, their perception, not the motivation of the sender. How do you think your words are coming across? They’re certainly not giving you the result you want.

          • I’m not quite sure how you can say that, because I haven’t talked to him about the ED. When it comes to our relationship, I’ve been very careful, cautious, and measured in my words, as my posts have outlined… and each time I have gotten the response I desired. His actions have spoken of his care for me even if he isn’t effusive in his compliments.

          • I am a guy…ok…a man. I have read and re-read Ann’s post and, for the life of me, I am not seeing at all indication of her fishing for compliments or seeking to push Tony in any direction. To the contrary, she has been considerably patient and gentle with him and in particular, his ED challenges.

            Also, how does remaining silent help a relationship to grow? How can to people who care about each other progress if both are avoiding having communication if they worry about being pushed or pulled. To the contrary, I don’t want my relationship to languish if my partner is worried about pushing or pulling me. Languishing and stagnating is helping who? I suppose if one person is getting all that he or she wants from the situation while the other is hurting, this right? Or, should the one who is hurting (yet afraid of pushing or pulling the donkey…er ASS) simply and casually discard the relationship? How does this help?

            I call bullshit on this self-serving, one-sided approach. You’d be better served to tell Ann to shut up, lie down and take it.

            Perhaps I am just kidding myself about my 26 years of marriage?

  15. The ED issue is a big deal for any woman who still has great desire for sex and if a man is… reluctant to address the issue, well, that’s a problem and one that can have dire relationship consequences. Realistically, you can talk to him about it, ask him if he’s willing to take one of those nice pills so that this part of your relationship – and it’s an important part no matter what anyone says differently – and then see how he responds, keeping in mind that you can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do as well as giving some thought that he might be one of those men for which the little pills either won’t work or is otherwise a problem for him.

    What you’d have to consider – and this is just my opinion, mind you – is which is more important: His exclusive companionship and the non-sexual value he brings to your table… or his ability to get it up and keep it up. I read this and thought, “Shit, I’d know what I’d do – get the pill, take it, and wreck shop on girlfriend…” because it’s one thing to get dumped because you can’t do a woman right on a consistent basis and another to get dumped because you can’t do it at all – and that condition can be remedied so your dismissal from her life will include you, essentially, being pig-headed and stupid (unless, again, those pills present a serious health risk or are otherwise contraindicated).

    Our ability to get it up and keep it up is a damned touchy subject with us and says a lot about our manhood so, yeah, not being able to bring the board to you is emotionally damaging to us and anyone who has the nerve to say something to us about it just ain’t gonna make things better even though we should expect girlfriend to say something about it.

    Should you talk to him about it? Yeah, even if it’s to let him know how you feel, what your needs are in this, etc., and hopefully he’ll want to visit the doctor and get that prescription written. Should you walk away from him if he balks or just refuses to do anything to fix the issue? I honestly don’t know but I think that some women would do just that if he can’t handle this important part of the relationship business.

    You might even want to read this blog I read before I read yours: https://illustratederoticsexpositions.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/a-wifes-blue-pill-opinion-guest-post-by-gina-g/

    Then do what you gotta do…

    • Thank you for the man’s perspective on this. I totally recognize that it’s a very touchy subject and am trying to be super cautious and thoughtful about whether and how to approach it.

      I have no intention of dumping him because of this, I guess unless he is pigheaded and stupid about it and unwilling to hear my concerns. I doubt that will be the case.

      And I saw that post too and thought it was timely 🙂

      • Yeah, it was right on time, wasn’t it? I don’t about other guys but if this were me – and one day it might be me – I wouldn’t hesitate to ask my doctor to hook me up, both for her continued pleasure and my own piece of mind because the thought of not being able to get it up and keep it that way just scares the living daylights out of me – and it should scare any man in a relationship because if you don’t handle this, um, it’s almost a sure bet that someone else will be getting into her panties at some point because until a woman loses her desire for sex, yep, she’s gonna be wanting it from someone who can bring her some wood.

        Is there an easy way to have this conversation? Not that I know of because, as I said, some men are REALLY touchy about this and anything said to him regarding this is seen as an insult to his masculinity… and even if he knows that he’s got a problem.

        And we think women are funny about this sex thing…

  16. I think you’ve been amazing with the way you’ve been handling this Ann. Because I also know the urge to push is phenomenal (I’ve been there too!)

    However I think it’s not an either or conversation. I think they are valid points that need to be addressed in your relationship. One isn’t more important than the other. They are both worrying you so therefore are important.

    I totally get what you mean by saying you want to be his choice. We all want to be someone’s choice. Even with Cern, even though he says I am his, I still doubt him because I’ve never been anyone’s choice before so I keep thinking there’s a “but” somewhere.

    I think if you talk to him and open discussion he may realise that these things aren’t something that you can just leave alone but impact you to the point it does.

    Yet I also understand that is a delicate topic and would be hard to find the words to keep dialogue open and not have him get defensive.

    All the luck in the world. But I’m glad you’re going to have the talk.

    <3

    • Thank you, Sharn. I really appreciate the positive reinforcement. I feel good about how I’ve been and so reading a couple of comments that said they felt I was needy and rushing things etc etc., just didn’t ring true to me. This is different for me than the neediness I felt with Andrew.

      Perhaps I don’t feel like I’ve been many people’s choice, either. Or the ones that choose have been moving too fast or aren’t the right ones for me.

      I’m definitely going to have A talk with him. Need to think through about what 🙂

  17. I so fucking hear ya!

    I could be tacky and cliché by reminding you how your heart knows the answer… Because it does. Just listen to your nagging voice, it’s telling you exactly what to do.

    He doesn’t sound emotionally available because of what’s going on with the ex. I may be wrong, then again you may think the same thing. And like you said, labels mean shit. My last boyfriend called himself to my great surprise my boyfriend, but made it pretty obvious he wasn’t on the same page as I was emotionally.

    What are you hanging on to? What are we all hanging on to when we know in our hearts it’s got no place to go, yet we cling in a “don’t worry I’m not clingy” mode. Ok, try this out, if you were your best friend what advice would you give yourself. Would it be the same if you were your big sister? Or yourself at the age of 15, what would that self of you say to your today you? Listen to those voices, they all love you and want the best for you.

    And then you can always get drunk…

    • Thanks Marie!!

      Some of this situation is definitely exacerbated by my brain. No question. For sure he’s challenged with being totally emotionally available given where he’s at with his divorce.

      I guess part of it for me is knowing how much is too little, how long is too long to wait, and what’s the balance of being respectful of where he is and what my needs are.

      I don’t want to make the same mistakes I made in the past and let someone else exclusively call the shots, to my ultimate detriment.

      Drunk sounds good….

  18. I so often feel like I’m the ‘traditional guy’ in relationships when things like this come up because I can relate to him more than you in it.

    I’m reserved, cautious, I step into things carefully, and explore them slowly. Apart from the ED :P, I’m Tony.

    It’s all complicated (what sort of relationships aren’t?), but if a man I was seeing wanted me to ‘define’ what was going on, to put labels on it, to declare my intent, I’d be put off because if I was *ready* to do that, I’d have done it already. If I haven’t, I’m not. And him asking just makes me feel pressured and uncomfortable because there is no way for that conversation to end well.

    “I like you, I like how this is going, I want to see where we can take it” is probably the best I can do at that point. And in your case, it seems like Tony’s really already said/shown that.

    That’s not to say you shouldn’t do whatever makes you feel like you aren’t wasting your time, but I suspect NONE of my relationships would have gotten off the ground if my partner had done that because it puts me in a position where I either have to declare something that I’m not sure is true (and I won’t do that) OR I would sound like I was dodgy/not serious (which would have dire consequences for the relationship). To me, it’s a no-win.

    The ED is easier: “Hey Tony, I want you to stop masturbating for a couple of weeks, let’s see what difference that makes.”

    Ferns

    • Thanks Ferns. I really appreciate your point of view and peek into what could be his perspective. I don’t want to rush him because I understand the place he’s at, being relatively newly single. And I’m sincere when I’ve said this pace is good for me because I want to take my time too. I want to really get to know someone and am not in a place where I’m thinking “hey, commit to me forever or I’m out of here”. Hardly.

      I guess what I’m stuck on is whether there’s any way for me to tell the difference between exploring slowly and being careful (but still, I presume, actively deciding to continue with that person) and just being a time filler because I’m fun and convenient, until something better comes along? That’s my big fear…definitely borne out of my marriage…it looks silly when I write it but it’s that reassurance I’m craving.

      I suspect I won’t know, and can’t know right now. Perhaps he doesn’t even know. Because you are absolutely right…that kind of question backs someone into a corner. I don’t want to do that. I have no experience with letting things be and I feel like I’ve done extraordinarily well (for me) for the almost three months I’ve been doing it.

      Perhaps when I have the ED conversation I will get a glimpse. If he’s willing to tackle it for me / with me etc., that’s surely a good sign?

      • “I suspect I won’t know, and can’t know right now. Perhaps he doesn’t even know.”

        I think that’s probably the case, which I expect is really frustrating.

        I don’t think wanting reassurance is silly: you want what you want for your own reasons. But I do think that seeking it in this case is not going to get you where you want to go.

        I DO think that it seems like you might be running into an issue with compatibility of expression (the love languages thing), and putting that on top of the ‘not quite in the same place’ thing, it’s making you feel adrift.

        He gives you the things you said you wanted (I didn’t look back: physical touch, quality time?), but it SOUNDS like what you really want (or value just as highly) are words of affirmation.

        With the ED, I’m not being facetious about how to approach it. He’s admitted masturbation impacts him: rather than some nebulous discussion about it, saying ‘Hey I want you to try this for me’ is simple, clear and I have zero doubt he will do it for you :). Also, masturbation control is hot. Oh wait. That might just be me.

        Ferns

        • You totally nailed it, Ferns. The combination of lack of expression (even though yes, I’m getting my top two forms of “love”), plus the fact that we are in different places, makes me feel adrift.

          That’s really what it’s all about. Not that I doubt he likes me, or is lying to me, or seeks others, or any of those doubts. I simply don’t feel grounded right now and it makes me highly uncomfortable.

          We did have a joking text back-and-forth about my putting him in a cage to limit masturbation… xo

  19. Right, it’s getting late and I’m tired and so many good people have left very valuable comments…
    So I’ll be quick.
    I really think you should have the talk before things get poisoned between you two. Because you’re not yet in such a relationship that it would survive resentment.
    So please, talk to him. About both issues. About the way it makes you feel that he doesn’t seem to want to address the ED issue because you have high needs, and he is not meeting them right now. And staying exclusive is something that you want, but you need to know that he is trying to improve on this particular area.
    As for the BF label… explain to him why this label is important to you. Because it means he chooses you.
    Not fun discussions to have, but definitely better to have them now than later regret not having had them. Don’t forget that not to act/talk/listen is a choice just as much as deciding to act/talk/listen…
    XO

What do you think?