Am I the right woman but wrong time for this man?

by Just So Sad
(California)

The Question


I am 43 my boyfriend is 51 and we have been together for almost 3 years. I have two children from a previous marriage, he has two children from two previous relationships. His previous relationship officially ended 9 months before we dated, but really fizzled when she moved out 2 years prior to that. Our relationship started very slowly but he asked me to be patient with him and said he always saw a future with me. We live 35 miles apart. It took 2 years for him to say he loved me ( i told him after one year) but once he got there things became great. We have been the best of friends and rarely argue ( but it does happen - not severely though)

He has had lots of challenges in the last 16 months, including knee surgery, death of his father, major job change, his oldest child moved home and then moved out to live on her own ( he's very attached to her). His other ex causes him a high level of stress and is jealous of our relationship. His new work is extremely stressful and he is traveling a lot. Earlier in the year he did lie to me, as he started talking to an ex who had dumped him. Nothing happened between them but he said he needed closure. After it came out, he thanked me immensely for helping him recognize his feelings and being able to move on. It was at this point that he started telling me he loved me.

I have been very supportive and he has always told me I am better to him than anyone in his life and no one has every made him feel so good and that I made him realize he wanted things in a woman that he never knew he wanted. We hug and kiss and even strangers we encounter comment on our fun back and forth banter. I am a total helper and he and his children have adored my help. Our sex life is fantastic (and daring). His new job is close to my home, so he started staying with me and my children several days a week. All got along great, and he said he loved the normalcy of coming home and having dinner as a family and doing family things together.

He shocked me out of the blue the other night by telling me his life feels like blah, and that he is not happy with anything in his life. He says he is so tired and needs sleep. He said he has it all (he has lots of possessions, cars and a home) but says none of it makes him happy. He says that he worries that he never loved anyone and he doesn't know why is not happy with me nor his life. He asked for space to figure it out. He says there is no one else ( and I believe him as he has very little time) but he feels like I am another obligation to him and he feels that he cant make me happy.

I explained he does make me happy and the only thing I ever asked for was for him to say he loves me more (he's really bad about saying it, and says he has always been like that.) He does say he loves me after I say it. He says he now doesn't see a future with me and doesn't see marrying me and doesn't want to give up his house ( I never asked him too) and merge with me and my children. He also says he doesn't want to lose me and he can't imagine his life without me, and times with me are always great, and have been like a pain killer to his life.

He says he just wants to be happy and appreciate his life.

There were zero signs that this was coming. I believe he is in a mid life crisis.

I am trying to give him space and told him I am willing to give him more free time but I don't want training wheels to a break up.

I am very strong, financially independent woman and I can make some changes to help him through this, but do you think this is really a midlife crisis, and is there any hope of this working in the long run? I don't want anyone else, and certainly don't want to get involved with another man who might be going through this too!

Noel's response

It does sound like a midlife transition/crisis, and the only thing I can think of is to give him the 'space' he says he needs. Let him know you don't need him to marry you, or sell his house (sometimes a letter is better than a conversation, as he can go over it several times if he needs to.

Re: him saying he loves you, maybe you could let that go. Often men show love by what they do, rather than what they say. You might try asking him what kinds of things he does to show his love (again in a letter).

I don't know whether this will work in the long run, but I do know it will pass. I just don't know how long it will take.

Comments for Am I the right woman but wrong time for this man?

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Jun 22, 2011
You are right
by: Anonymous

God IS calling the shots and we "will" be OK! Thanks for sharing your stories. Best Wishes to all of you!!

Jun 21, 2011
Soooo Frustrated!!
by: Alabama

It's almost scary to read these posts and feel so much like we're all talking about 1 guy. I know we're not but good grief. There's a reason this generation of men are, for the most part, having such issues with commitment and integrity.

What happened to these guys that lying comes so second nature to them and dragging our hearts through the mud and stomping on them does not seem to really phase them. I too point blank asked mine on several occasions to just let me go if I was just not doing it for him any more. There would be no hard feelings and we could still be friends. He told me every time that it wasn't me and that if he wasn't interested in me I could rest assured he would tell me and end it. That wasn't his problem. He said he loved me and wanted a future with me but he needed some space to fix whatever was going on with him and that he wasn't the man that he wanted to be for me.

So time would march on and things didn't really ever change. Other than his stress level kept going up and he kept withdrawing further. I'm 5 hours away trying to figure out what's happening and he is completely walled off.

To cut to the chase, I found out in April that he was seeing someone else there and had been for almost 2 years. From the minute he was confronted he did not deny anything and was very remorseful to both of us for hurting us the way he did. He told me that she was just an escape and she was clear from the beginning there would never be anything serious between them. She says that's not true and she loved him and he knew it. She also told me though that he never told her that he loved her and she never met any of his family or his kids.

But I still can't wrap my mind around why he didn't just cut the ties with me if he wanted to see her. I wasn't the first one he had done this to. Every since his wife died 6 years ago, he has done this. Going from one woman to the next but starting a second one months before the previous one would end. He just doesn't seem to want to be alone but keeps running everyone off. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment though because he hasn't run me off yet. I haven't seen him in 2 months but we do still talk and text.

I just keep feeling like there's a reason for all of this and surly to goodness it's more than all of these men are just liars and jerks. He wasn't like this when I met him and from what everyone told me he wasn't like this even in high school or growing up. They're all the same age/generation. Is it mid-life crisis? Or is it childhood wounds finally surfacing? I know he's not mine to fix. I couldn't if I wanted to. And trust me, I don't want to even try. He has to do that for himself for it to be permanent. It may not ever work out for us, but knowing this isn't who he was, I'm just going to have to ride it out and see what happens. God is calling the shots for me so I know I'll be ok regardless of what he does.

Jun 21, 2011
Oh No
by: Anonymous

I think you may be talking about my boyfriend of 3 years, (seems too similar). I just posted a comment in response to your situation and the more details of how you describe your boyfriend, the stupid lying and the selfishness with out regard and accountability describes my situation to a T.

We all just need to hang in there and support each other when it comes to these human beings with no empathy or feelings (or so it seems...narcissistic is actually or probably the definition of what I am describing anyway).

We all are a lot stronger than we think! We deserve so much better...

Jun 21, 2011
another update
by: Just so Sad

Thank you for the supportive comments. It has been 6 months now, and I have had zero contact from him. I had sent him an email asking how he could lie to me, but he never responded.

Re the question of whether he had integrity. He built himself into this person with great values and integrity. However, he did lie often (even about silly things, even to his kids). Every relationship failure was the woman's fault. Every work issue was the boss's fault. He does not have the ability to take accountability. His friends couldn't comment on his personality as had only one friend outside of work, that he saw 405 times during our 3 years together. His family lives out of state. He saw them once in the entire 3 years we were together. I did talk to them on the phone on occasion.

This guy was and likely always has been selfish and used people for what he needed from them. I was there to love him dearly, and he loved that I was so good to him. Perhaps he knew I wasn't the right one for him, but he would never let me go until he found something better. I always asked him to let me go if he wasn't in it for the long haul. He swore I was the one for him and we would be together forever... ( or at least until this girl 25 years younger came along)

Time is healing my very deep wounds. It was so hurtful to my children, they still have issues and the little one still cries over him. I have to be honest in that I don't see how I can trust another man who is around this age, and likely to experience a mid life crisis again. Honestly I just cant give myself to someone again with the risk of that pain to myself and to my children.

Good luck to all - may you fare better than I!!!!


Jun 19, 2011
What do his freinds say?
by: Alabama

I too read your whole post and felt as though you were writing about my life. I'm a 42 year old single mother of 3 and he is a 49 year old single father of 3 who lost his wife he adored 6 years ago to colon cancer. We were together for almost 3 years when he told me he needed "space" and all of the same things yours told you. The real difference in our situation is I live 5 hours away from him. That has definitely been a struggle for us and played on insecurities, but he was well worth my effort. But what I'm curious about is what did his friends and family tell you about him? What kind of integrity did he have or what was his reputation before you met him? The reason I ask is because everyone I've talked to about mine told me how great he was and what a great Christian guy he is. He would do anything for anybody and had a great reputation. I did my homework before I got involved with someone that far away from me. So I, like you, was very shocked to find out about the lies and other women.

But I have realized recently that he may have already been in the midst of his mid-life crisis when I met him. They say it can take 5 years for them to get through it and if we've only known them for 3 why can't this be the reason he has acted this way? Only you know in your heart what was real and what wasn't during your time with him. As do I. And I know he desperately wants to be happy again and I know he loves me. I haven't been able to just throw in the towel as you have and maybe I'm the one with issues that need to be resolved. I'm analyzing that as well. But I guess I'm asking you how sure are you he really has no integrity and is just a liar if he was in the midst of his crisis when you met? Is it possible he really does love you and truly wanted it to work with you but didn't realize what he was going through himself? Was what you had, that you know was real, worth waiting to see how things are when he comes out of the fog? The reason for my questions is because I'm trying to figure out what to do with my situation. So your thought processes that led you to your decision to walk away are very important to me and greatly appreciated. I do sympathize with you and can almost feel your pain in your post as I am feeling the same crushing pain in my heart as well.

Jun 12, 2011
My Life
by: Anonymous

I read your whole article about your boyfriend and I am so sorry to hear that happened to you. In a way, I feel like I was reading about my life as there are so many similarities.

I am 43 and I live with my 52 year old boyfriend and have been together for a little over 3 years. He has 2 daughters from previous marriages and I have one. Also, I think my boyfriend has been in midlife crisis for a few years because of all of his impulsive buys, but now like yours, he just bought a convertible corvette!!

Unlike your relationship, we have our share of arguments due to his lack of common sense in regards to many things. Anyway, I wish you the best and you are better off without him... He will realize that after it's too late!

Feb 03, 2011
Update on what happened
by: Just so Sad

Just wanted to provide an update - After telling me he didn't want to lose me, and I gave him the space he asked for, after two weeks he broke up with me, going back on all the things he said when he asked for space and stating that he didn't love me anymore and couldn't make me happy. He swore to me there was no one else and that he wouldn't date again for a long time

But the truth of the matter was, that he went on a business trip ( a week before he asked for space) he hooked up with a 28 year old business associate whom lives in another state, and cheated on me. He is now moving her across country to be with him and getting married to her. He is also telling people that our three year relationship was nothing serious and that I was just a friend with benefits.

I know this is a midlife crisis, as he barely knows this young girl, but most importantly I learned that the man I spent three years with had very little integrity and had been lying to me on several occasions. Although heartbroken, I realize that he is someone who was not deserving of my love, honesty and integrity.

PS - he also bought the corvette convertible!!! Cliche!!!!

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