DUMPED - SUDDEN CHANGE SYNDROME
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: I recently had a woman who told me I was ”perfect for her.” She was a single mom and she told me I was a great dad. She had financial difficulties which I could make disappear. She said I was the best lover she ever had. Etc. Then one day, after 3 months, she turned ice cold on me. I couldn’t revive the relationship. Your advice is to write off the relationship as quickly as possible and move on. But (1) she was gorgeous (2) sex was incredible (3) we had so much fun etc., so I felt that I had a lot invested. She kept saying she didn’t know what the problem was. And unfortunately it dragged on but eventually ended, brutally painfully with her calling me all sorts of terrible names – undeservedly so. No question. I just wish you would discuss because I am still baffled. Stuart
MLB ANSWER: Thanks for writing in, Stuart. You are correct that my advice is to write off the relationship as quickly as possible, and move on – absolutely. Even though the sex was fantastic, she was hot, and you two had so much fun together – the fact is that she turned on you for whatever reason. Remember – you can only control yourself … you cannot control the feelings, emotions, and actions of others … so the best thing to do when someone turns on you is to simply watch her disappear in your rearview mirror. The hard part is to try not to take it personally – because the reality of it is that the relationship was just not right from her standpoint. It could have been her ex-husband, or ex-boyfriend … or other issues from her past … or some incompatibility with you that she began to notice. You mentioned that it finally ended “brutally painfully” with her calling you all kinds of names – that is too bad. The best thing that you can do as a midlife bachelor is to take inventory of the lessons you have learned – things you have learned about yourself … and fine-tune the machine so that the next time you are in a relationship, you are that much more knowledgeable about yourself. Remember – even a Ferrari needs a tune-up once in a while … and so do we as bachelors. You also have to realize that we as men will never truly understand women, and the various things that can motivate their behavior … which is why men can view women as crazy. Check out the subsection of this site entitled Fundamental Truth #6 Women are Crazy under Midlife Dating Advice in the Fundamental Truths about Women and Midlife Dating Today section. Also – your woman may have been psycho … so compare her to what I describe in Types of Women – Psycho. [Men can be psycho, too – everything is relative.] In terms of fine-tuning yourself, you might read over the Midlife Bachelor Personal Makeover section – just to make sure you are not overlooking anything. And – you might consider checking out the section entitled Develop a Strategy for Midlife Bachelor Success – in particular the subsection called Periodic Re-evaluation of your Midlife Bachelor Strategy. I’m not saying the breakup was your fault, or that you necessarily did anything wrong – all I’m suggesting is that you use it as a learning experience. Now, Stuart, I believe it is time for you to find your next victim. Maybe try a different type this next time. For example, I seem to cycle between the Party Girl type and the High Maintenance type. There is also a good recent article here entitled Seven Signs You are Dating a Party Girl. A party girl might be good medicine for you right now - they are an awful lot of fun, you know. GO GO GO Stuart! Please let me know how it goes.
THE 30'S LIFE CRISIS
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: My boyfriend of 8 years [after living together blissfully for about 2-3 months] woke up and realized that his youth was slipping away, that he was scared of 'growing up', of the real commitments, challenges, responsibilities that lay ahead. At first he didn't know what was wrong--he just needed a break--so he blamed me, the relationship etc. as the cause for this irky feeling...which he later realized wasn't the cause. Ultimately, it's a "30's life crisis"... I'm 25 and he pretty much said that although he loved me so much, it just wasn't fair, he was "over the hill" while I'm at the prime of my life--and this may be the only time for him to take a moment and figure out/reflect on what he wants in life...to figure out what he is/isn't ready for.
I moved out and after a few weeks we started talking...he'd tell me how he was feeling and I'd try my best to empathize. Eventually we started hanging out, have a really great time together [we had more fun together in the past couple of weeks than we have in years--but that is partly due to some of his unrealistic expectations of long-term relationships] and ended up sleeping together. He would tell me that he would come back, he just needs time to come to terms with his issues. I was his first girlfriend and he's pretty timid with women--so he isn't the kind to dick around with me or toy with my emotions.
After a few more weeks, I realized that my presence in his life was not helping him; I used the excuse of “I know him best, as a friend in this period of his life where I feel he really needs someone, I can't abandon him.” My existence in his life still meant he had that constant source of security without the commitment--I want more, he isn't ready...and there was nothing urging him to face his crisis. I decided to cut off all contact...for him to focus on himself, and for him to realize I won't be around and wait for him forever...and once he is ready to talk and ready for something real, we can talk.
With that said--how would you even go about helping someone like this? I realize, of course--there was nothing I could say or do that could make him get past this point in his life...that it had to come from within...but there has to be SOMETHING that could help. I have been as supportive as I possibly can...but at some point, I felt like I had to do what I had to--for myself, and for him. Thank you for taking the time to read and help. Ruth, Age 25, Los Angeles, CA
MLB ANSWER: The "30's Life Crisis" - I've never heard it called that ... but I definitely like it! Really it just sounds like he doesn't know what he wants in life just yet - and that he's trying to keep things more or less uncomplicated for himself. One way to view this is simply "maturity" ... meaning that he is in the process of maturing career-wise, financially, emotionally, etc. Unfortunately your relationship is a casualty of this growing up period of his life right now.
You obviously care about the guy, and that is really sweet. In my opinion though, you should cut your losses now - and go on with your life ... because he may NEVER be ready for a relationship. Or at least not anytime soon. And I've seen way too many people hold out and wait for someone ... only to learn later on that those early signs were the most telling of that person's true character. This may or may not be true in his case - you are the best judge of that. Again, my suggestion is that you move on with your life, and leave him in your rearview mirror to mature on his own. Since we’ve exchanged a few emails, you know that I did my homework on you – and I can say with confidence that you are a very good-looking professional woman with a lot going for you. You have a lot of options as far as dating goes – so I suggest you go out, and have some fun. Past relationships are part of your past – today is your future!