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    can't pull the trigger
    An_247965 posted:
    11 years ago I had an affair with "her". The ex and her husband moved on to a new life long ago. We are both over 50 yo - no saplings. On and off for those 11 years I have been dating , We've both had other long term relationships in between. Both of us with prior divorces. She loves me - almost obsessively - and wants to get married in the worst way and I certainly have feelings for her, but I can not commit.

    She has some great attributes as a hard worker, and athletic, loves the outdoors, great in bed. There are some practical issues however - our respective kids ( all over 18 now ) still hate the other partner. ( ok they are gone soon - 3-4 years ) Our outlooks on retirement are not the same. She loves to dance and is good at it - I have three left feet. She has ridiculed me in public for some trivial faux-pas. Still we hang in there - on and off, in and out of bed. The anxiety of making a decision to be with her permanently is driving me nuts.

    I don't think it is the standard guy-commitment thing, I was willing to go all the way down the aisle with my last romance, but she chilled out and left Dodge.

    Comments on how to handle this ?
    fcl responded:
    You need her to take the pressure off. Getting married doesn't have to be the all-purpose outcome to a relationship. Andd you don't have to want to get married. You are not ready for marriage and you may never be. Don't force yourself into a corner that you are not comfortable about.

    From what I can read in your post, you are happy with this being a friends with benefits relationship but you are not happy with the rest of the situation. Not liking her main "hobby" is not drastic. My partner loves skiing but has never forced it on me - I have gone with him on occasions but mostly he has had skiing holidays on his own. Can she go dancing with her friends? What did she do before you came back on the scene?

    Have you told her how you feel about being ridiculed in public? If not, you should. Sometimes we don't realize the harm we are doing...

    Don't make any committments if you don't feel they are right. You're not ready and you have unresolved issues with her (poking fun at you, what to do if she wants to go dancing,etc.). Don't even think of tying the knot until they're dealt with. NEVER rush into marriage. If she can't understand that you are not ready to get married she isn't the one for you.
    There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
    Skater01 replied to fcl's response:
    Thanks for the reply FCL,

    Coincidentally, as we once again went through this interminable decision process, she recently has stated that suppose we don't get married, but start out by living together. That does take some of the pressure off. But I'm not anti marriage. I'm anti major mistake.

    Yes she can go dancing on her own - although that is a bit more intimate than if it were skiing. Yes I did tell her about the public ridicule ( i-o-e-o-t-o) - still my fault even though she was riding with another fellow.

    But wait there's more. ( If you order now....) She's recently dating a find. ( past 8 wks or so ) She's with him - and his kids- as I write ! despite spending the night with me a few days ago . Strangely this does not bother me to any extent. It bothers me more that she is willing to dump him if I gave a green light.

    This happened in another episode several years ago when she had been dating a well off fellow ( a shrink) for several years. When my supposedly true love left town, she left him to try to recapture me ( i've always thought it took 3 years to recoop from a love loss and I was certainly grasping at straws ). It was a mess to say the least.

    So while I have certainly played my fair share in this not-so-merry-go-round. It is her perhaps dependence or insecurity that perplexes me. I went on a ride yesterday, and in the same breath as telling me of her upcoming date, criticized me for " leaving poor old -her- alone". She has reminded me often that she must have people around to 'energize' her be it a bike ride, dancing, or whatever, ok she is belongs to extroverts-anon. that's ok,.

    On my side, I don't really don't want to grow old(er) alone - that's simply not fun or even natural. I do admire her in many ways, and I am the reason - at least partly - she is no longer married. The shadows of guilt, and retribution often dance in my back yard ( what is - is, and we all must cope with our buried bones ) . But I don't want every day to be a battle or to have an extra skin attached.

    You know, through all of this, I never expect anyone to provide THE answer to my situation. But simply putting it into words and seeing others words helps. Thanks again.
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to Skater01's response:
    While I can understand your guilt, it sounds misplaced. She has decided to leave other relationships to try again with you; it was her decision. So, unless you promised her something that you didn't follow through with, it's important that you not take on this as your responsibility. With a free and clear conscience, you can approach your current situation openly (not forcing yourself into something, making up for a previous "crime", and perhaps creating a new problem).

    I also get the impression that the two of you have some serious problems in your communication and working through emotional issues; these cause a serious problem in your relationship. The criticism you feel from her is a problem. I suspect that it is based on unresolved issues she has with you. These need to be worked through to have a strong relationship and to have a happy marriage, if you choose to marry.
    Skater01 replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
    LBP - Sound thoughts.

    I actually begged her to not leave her MD,Ph.D. - master gardener -body builder partner ( classic underachiever ) - she had it so so good and we - even then - had at best a staccato relationship. I was reeling from a lost love and lost job and a frazzled economy. What a gimmish.

    Admittedly, communication is not my strong suit, at least with her. I do know how speak, write, I've advanced degrees so there is no loss of tactical ability. Comes down to the nitty-gritty of not wanting ( being able ? ) to open up on a basic level with her - probably less than I've communicated here. A difficulty is not wanting to hurt her any more than I have, and it always comes off ( interpreted ) as yes - "We will one day live in ga-ga land. (along with SW and Prince C ). Of course, this would all be so much clearer if her version of the trailer was seen.

    I have been to counseling ( > 2 years - after lost love ) and certified as depression free as the next guy and have only the normal amount of family baggage that is cataloged in multiple self-help books - thank the lord for Dan Gilbert. So I am trying to make the best of it and use the internal neural network for it best intended purpose.

    thanks all

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