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    Seems like a no-win
    An_245963 posted:
    I am a 53 yr old divorced male. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and it really affected me. I had and still have a lot of issues with relationships and being social. Although married at one time for 19 years, it was an empty marriage to a woman with more problems than me I think. I hardly dated until my late 20's and then got married just days shy of turning 30.

    So I have not had much experience in healthy relationships. I was forced to be a "married single" and now am single. I am a super nice guy, intelligent, good job, in fantastic shape, look 10 years younger, and have no problem attracting women. I've found though that I crave my alone time and seem to only want companionship part-time. I question if I want it enough to ever remarry. On one hand I want some companionship but on the other hand not too much. I am still attracted to women but would never be in a "friends with benefits" arrangement.

    I hesitate to date now because the women I am meeting all want something long-term and I don't know if I will ever want that. I know though that finding women just to be friends and do things together will be hard and if I am attracted to them I'll also want something physical but won't go there unless it's a committed relationship heading toward long-term.

    So it seems like a no-win. So far my conclusion is to not date and hope my libido dies soon!

    Anyone else torn between wanting a relationship and wanting your solitude?
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD responded:
    The struggle between wanting closeness and separateness is practically universal, so you are certainly not alone. I wonder what your ideal relationship would look like. How much time spent together and spent alone? And what would the quality of that time look like?

    If you want to change your situation in the direction of having a committed relationship, consider this: Many people struggle with the idea of relying on another person because they expect that person will let them down or will cling on too tight. Do you relate with either of these struggles? What are your thoughts and feelings that make you want to push away?

    As you gain insight into your particular struggles, you might find a path through them.
    An_245963 replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
    For starters I have never had a good relationship in my life so I don't know what that looks like. I know I love the solitude of time alone with no one else in the house. There are nights when I'm I enjoy not having to talk to anyone. I think I push away because I am afraid that a committed relationship would make me feel claustrophobic. Going out Friday and Saturday night but having the rest of the week to myself is fine but the thought of sharing a house with someone and needing to spend time with that person every day and keep the emotional intimacy alive is a bit much. I am not sure I can be happy in that case.

    It's almost like the ideal situation would be a committed but casual relationship with someone. I had that for a year and a half recently but I was still attracted to the woman. I wanted to be able to be affectionate when we were together but she did not want any affection. She strictly wanted an activity partner. She cared about my looks and always complimented me on them yet never wanted to touch. That was too frustrating for me.

    Morally though I could not do a "friends with benefits" type of relationship. So for me I either marry (which I'm very uncertain of) or live a celibate life.

    I don't think I worry so much about the person letting me down. Maybe clinging too tightly. I also suffer from anxiety and can't handle stress and I always find relationships stressful. I think my childhood overdosed me on stress and I coped by becoming emotionally numb. That and a lifetime of almost no physical intimacy and now sex is not that exciting. My emotions don't engage so it's hard to get turned on.

    Yes I am in counseling and have on and off my adult life. I just am apathetic and there is no burning desire to change and so I live a so-so life. I don't know how to want to change. This is the only life I've ever known.
    dfromspencer replied to An_245963's response:
    A lot like me!! After my divorce, I wanted my alone time. But, after so long of being alone, that need for companionship came up. Now, for the longest time, I've lived alone. For the last twenty years, to be exact. I'm 54, just so you know how close we are. I loved the solitude. I had no one to answer to, I was free to do whatever I pleased. And now, all I want is that what I have missed for so long, companionship/love, and life with "The One"!!!

    I think once you find the ONE for you, you will forget all about wanting this aloneness, this emptiness? I know I will, i'm sick of being all alone!!! Oh, its great, for a while, then, not so much!

    I hope you find what you are looking for!!!

    An_245963 replied to dfromspencer's response:
    Yeah I might grow tired of it at some point.I think the key will be finding someone like me who is comfortable with alone time and does not need a lot of shared time to feel loved and connected. Some to be sure and who knows maybe over time with the right person I might want more however I am only enough and have enough life experience that I don't believe there is a ONE that will make it all different for me. That is because of who I am. There are things about me that prevent there from being a ONE. I've never met anyone in my life including close friends I've wanted a lot of contact with. That is just who I am. For many people it may just be a matter of finding the special person but for others I think our personalities are different and there is not going to be that one special person that changes everything. We might though find someone we can be comfortable around and have a decent relationship with. No major sparks or getting lost in each other's eyes. Just good friends who can hang together yet be apart and it's all good. Maybe I can find that but I need to be able to be content with my life either way. There is no guarantee I will ever find that person. If not I want to be happy anyways.

    Best wishes to you in finding that person!
    sluggo45692 responded:
    This advise is for both you guys. Hang in there. I married later in life and it ended badly. I stuck to my guns and decided I wasn't going to be alone or miserable. Don't let your past rule your present and future. Set your standards and stick by them. There is no perfect relationship. There is life and all we can do is live it. I know we hear this over and over, but listen to the meaning. Grab the good and hold on to it. Tolerate the bad and get it over with. I don't want to work 3rd shift, but I can live with it and be with my family. Still not married, but don't want to be. Make sure your partner gives you what you want and you do the same for them. If you need space, then they should give it to you. A healthy relationship is one that may not be perfect, but it non-toxic. Alcoholism, drugs, and abuse are never to be accepted. Difficult times are to be overcome with good times embraced and relished. Find your lead in life and follow it. Don't let what happened in the past be your excuse to be miserable in your life. Good Luck
    dfromspencer replied to An_245963's response:
    I have to agree with you, on so many points. At least keep true to yourself, and have fun in the mean time! Do all those things you love doing. Who knows, maybe you will find that person who will also like to live more alone, yet together???

    The biggest thing is to have fun. Enjoy living life. That's what I did, and it got me through twenty years of living alone. I even enjoyed my own company at times, you know?

    Good luck in whatever you do!!!

    dfromspencer replied to sluggo45692's response:
    Thanks Sluggo, fantastic advice!!! Especially the give and take part. I have always done that, and expected that in return. I will not accept any abuses, ever! No alcoholics, drug users, or abusers in any form! If it is in their past, and that is where they keep it, great!!! I can deal with that.

    Thanks again, take care!

    rohvannyn replied to An_245963's response:
    Best of luck to you, An_245963. One small word of advice I have is this: If you do want a good relationship, you cannot expect to live as you always have and not to change. WIth a relationship, particularly later in life, both partners have to give a little.

    Decide what is improtant to you, and what is less important, so you have negotiating room. For example, I spent my growing up years and all my "dating years" sleeping alone, so it was really tough learning how to sleep next to someone. I finally did but it took me YEARS, literally. I can finally do it but I usually can't sleep while cuddled. I continue to improve, slowly.

    I'm sure you can find a woman who likes her solitude as well. As a way of doing that, find one who has active hobbies. Then you can be the sweetheart who supports her by giving her time for her hobbies! Marry a writer or an artist or a long distance cyclist. You'll get plenty of solitude...

    'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ

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