Please help me understand my partner. I am 41 years old and my partner is 30 years old. We get on fantastically well. He always says how comfortable and relaxed he is in my company, and we have very similar interests. He says he has never been with anyone before that he gets on so well with BUT he says the relationship is 99% perfect. Something niggles him always.
He did say after going out with me for 3 days that the relationship probably won't work since his ideal partner will be a similar age to him and with no children. I have two children one 12 years and one who's 8 years and they all get on remarkably well. He encourages us all to go out together which I have never had before with any other relationship.
I know I can't change his mind. He says we are very much attached to each other but he can't get the thoughts of his ideal partner out of his head.
I have always been under the impression you marry your best friend as he may never find the perfect person. We see each other every day and text every day and do absolutely loads together every week. We are sexually compatible but as his thoughts come back to him and we get serious again he backs off, as if he's frightened of getting too close.
Can you help understand his thoughts? Will he ever change his thoughts?
Signed, Not His Ideal Partner
Dear Not His Ideal Partner,
You are an ideal partner, just not for this guy. You need to find someone who will appreciate you for what you are.
Yes, I understand his thoughts very well. They go something like this: "Wow, what a great deal I have. I get to have sex when I want it. I get a companion to do fun things with me so I don't have to be lonely. I can even hang with her kids when I feel like it. And the icing on the cake? I don't have to promise her a darn thing! I can insult her, tell her she is not good enough for me and that I would really prefer someone different, and it doesn't matter! She still wants me around. This is fantastic. So until someone better comes along, hey, I might as well stick around."
His message to you is unequivocal and clear: "You are not what I want."
So here is my question to you. Why would you want a partner who doesn't want you? The fact that he is still hanging around doesn't mean that he really wants you and he just doesn't know it. It doesn't mean that he will realize over time how much you have come to matter to him. It simply means that he is getting a payoff for being with you today. He gets sex ... today. He gets companionship ... today. If you start talking about long term commitment, then again he tells you that he is most definitely not interested in that, at least not with you.
Why would you put up with that?
Because it means you don't have to be alone ... today. You are also getting a short-term payoff for being with him. More than that, you get that most precious of commodities in relationships -- you get hope. As long as he is hanging around, you can hope things will change. You hope he will eventually see what a wonderful relationship you have and realize he can't live without you.
Hope is a great thing, but in this case it is blinding you from seeing the truth. Your hope is trapping you in a go-nowhere relationship. It is preventing you from moving on and finding a guy who appreciates what an amazing person you really are.
His thoughts will not change. For whatever reasons, he is just not that into you. My advice is to accept that and walk away. Show this guy the door. Only then will you have real hope, because only then will you be available for the partner you deserve, the one who isn't constantly telling you that you are not good enough.
You deserve better than that. Give yourself permission to go find it. The right man for you is out there, I promise.
All the best,
There have only been a few responses to this week's Question of the Week about how to make a relationship survive (and hopefully even thrive) during periods of enforced separation. If you have some thoughts on this topic, why not take a moment and contribute to the discussion. I'll post a few thoughts on this tomorrow.