DEAR ABBY: For a long time, I have been in love with a man who is 15 years younger than I am. We had a relationship for about a year, which ended six years ago. Since then, we have remained friends and occasionally hooked up a few times. The short relationship we had was close to perfect. He broke it off with me because he said he couldn’t give me the relationship I really wanted and I would end up resenting him or even hating him for it.
Although I didn’t understand that when he said it, I understand now he was right. The problem is, I cannot seem to get over him. I’ve had two unsuccessful relationships since. They weren’t the same as it was with him. I don’t know what to do.
A few months ago, I cut off everything with him, and we haven’t talked in many months. It’s not working! I’m still in love with him and can’t get him out of my head. I mentioned the age difference because I had a hard time with it, but he didn’t. What else can I do? I’m afraid to start anything with someone new. — HOPELESS IN NEW YORK
DEAR HOPELESS: What you are describing is painful, but it’s happening because you haven’t accepted the reason the two of you broke up. He said he couldn’t give you the relationship you really wanted — whatever that was. You are not in love with this man. You are in love with the fantasy of the person you wanted him to be. Once that fact is firmly in place in your head, you’ll be able to move forward, although it may take help from a licensed psychotherapist to accomplish it. Whatever it takes, please do it, so you can start living your life. (c) DEAR ABBY
Yeah. I’ve been there. Objectively, I want to tell her that what he told her is code for, “You’re too needy and clingy for me, and I’m feeling suffocated and overwhelmed, so stay the freak away from me… except for when I need a good lay.” But the way he put it was… very euphemistic. Let’s put it that way.
He said he couldn’t give me the relationship I really wanted…
Right. He’s just not feeling it. No man in the history of life has ever thought, Oh, I love Janice so much, but I can’t give her the relationship she wants! Oh! Alas, I’ll free her to find someone better. Men aren’t like that. If they want you, they’ll go for it.
[…] and I would end up resenting him or even hating him for it.
Nah. He was looking out for number one. That part was tacked on as part of the ruse.
Although I didn’t understand that when he said it, I understand now he was right.
Yes, he may indeed have been right, but it sure wasn’t the reason for the breakup. It was a “right” lie. Like, if someone asks me how much I weigh, and my response is, “My dog’s name is LuLu.” That’s correct. My dog’s name is LuLu. But it’s not the accurate answer to how much I weigh.
I’ve had two unsuccessful relationships since. They weren’t the same as it was with him.
Yeah, I feel her pain. This guy sounds sort of surface-level charming and charismatic in a young-soul sort of way. No intense emotions, no deep connections with anyone, no actual awareness of the world around him, no traumatic life experiences. Been there. Guys like that can seem intoxicating because they’re just so positive. But that positivity is based on having led an absurdly easy life, thus rendering it unearned. In other words, the guy’s probably a flake.
And the age difference. Gee, I could’ve written this letter. Huh.
The short relationship we had was close to perfect.
No. It was just very smooth and easy. Being in the thrall of a charismatic guy who only pretends to think deep thoughts can take its toll on the female psyche.
One thing she could do is prepare an interview for this guy. Nothing intense or upsetting, but she needs to see that his answers are all vapid. And he is vapid. He knows how she feels about him but is using her for occasional sex because it pleases him. He’s a total twat.
The questions could be things like, what do you think happens after we die? Or, does God see euthanasia as a sin if the circumstances are extreme? Or, if your pet dog could talk, what would he tell you? The whole point would be that he’ll fail all the questions. And the letter writer needs to open her eyes to the reality that this guy’s as shallow as they come.