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It's been two years, do I give up?

(Bellingham, Wa.)

I've been with a man for 14 years now, I am 50, he is 49, we started out as good friends, and he persued me for years until I let my walls down and believed that he did "love" me. We each have our own homes, work hard, and only used to spend weekends together. I was O.K. with that set up, cuz I was a single parent with a girl, and neither one of us was looking to get married. 1 1/2 years ago he woke me up out of the blue and said he had "no passion or desire" for me, and broke down for 8 hours of sobbing , telling me he was "destroyed" and did not know what was going on, that he loves me, but wants something "better". He told me is depressed and going through a mid-life crisis, and so I keep holding out hope that he will "wake up" from this and see me for how great I am. As far as I know, he is not seeing anyone else, at least that's what he tells me, and yes, I've talked to many people, who all say to let it go and move on, but I can not seem to do that. We talk on the phone every couple of days, I have not spent the night with him since he told me that, because I am so hurt and insecure and embarrassed by his words. For so many years I felt so comfortable, happy, and secure with him, and now I am so shattered, scared, and lonely and confused I don't even know what day it is. We have only had 6 conversations about us because he keeps breaking down, crying, not telling me to let go and give up, so I keep hanging on to him in my heart. I have not put my life on hold, I still go to work and hang out with my daughter, I just still feel like his girlfriend, even though we have not been intimate in 2 years, and I still love to talk to him when he calls or comes over, because we are such good friends, and he will tell me every now and again that he loves me, but only hugs me, nothing else. Could he be seeing someone else? If he would just tell me he is, I could let go easily. We live in a tiny town and no one has seen him with anyone else, of course he could go further to get it, but why would he still call and come over if he's got someone else?? So very confusing? What should I do? He did tell me his being adopted at birth made him have attachment issues, but I give him total "space" and always have so he wouldn't feel any pressure, and I do not nag or beg for his time, or any of the other complaints I hear about from men. Also we are both sober people so alcohol is not a factor, and I just DO NOT UNDERSTAND!!!! HELP!!!

Noel's response

I don't know what to tell you. It sounds as though he is still in the turmoil of a midlife transition, even though it has been two years. It took me five years, although I did not split up with Elizabeth during that time.

It sounds as though, except for sex, you are having a companionable relationship. I don't know whether it will ever get back to what you had before.

I suggest you decide whether, if the relationship now is 'as good as it gets' - i.e. never does become intimate again - you still want to carry on. If not, you might have to let him go.

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