I Am Falling In Love With a Man Who Is Finalizing His Divorce. Should I Back Off or Can This Work Out?

Hi Evan,

 

Your blog has been really helpful as I find myself in an interesting situation. I’m 44, divorced with a son in college. Been divorced for a long time. Met someone at work and became friends over the course of 4 years. He’s been separated from his wife of 34 years for the past nearly 2 years. I didn’t realize he was interested in me as more than friends for at least 2 years, but found out 2 months ago. We started dating, held off on sex until last month, but he told me last night that he came to the realization that he’s not sorted through his emotions like he thought he had.

 

He still wants to see me, doesn’t want to pull away, but also doesn’t want to hurt me because he’s not sure what this will entail. He’s scared, has not felt this way before, and doesn’t know what is next. The divorce will be final within the next 2 months and I think it just really hit him, thought he thought he was doing fine. We get along amazingly well, laugh together, really care about each other and can talk to each other about anything. I’m not sure if I should step back even though he doesn’t want to, and let him work this through. Is there a chance it can work out? I think we can have something really special together. He’s as in touch with his feelings as a man can get, I think, so hopefully he can work through this and move on, hopefully with me. Any suggestions?

 

Sunshine

 

Dear Sunshine,

You’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya?”

Lots of women say they want the truth; few of them know what to do when they receive it.

Because this isn’t a matter about which I can give you any reassurance. All we can do is look at the facts objectively, and then assess your tolerance for risk.

The good news is that you’re with an excellent communicator. He has feelings for you, but has openly expressed his reservations as well. Apart from him declaring his blind love and devotion, you can’t ask for much more than that. Really. Lots of women say they want the truth; few of them know what to do when they receive it.

I know this from first-hand experience. Women always want to know what men are thinking, yet when we let you into our thought process, you immediately find fault – basically because we think things that you wouldn’t want to hear. That’s why we usually don’t say them.

“Yes, I’m attracted to other women.”

“No, I’m not positive humans are biologically programmed for monogamy.”

“Yes, I’m having reasonable doubts about whether we’re meant to be as a couple.”

These are perfectly fair thoughts that men usually don’t express, to protect you. Then again, just because we have a thought doesn’t mean that we don’t have equally contradictory thoughts.

“I’m very attracted to you.”

“I do see the benefits of monogamy, especially in raising a close nuclear family.”

“I may be having doubts, but I’ve yet to find a partner who makes me as happy as you.”

Clearly, I have some experience in this realm, and, as always, my wife is the exception to the rule. She had been burned before, by a cheating husband. And all she ever asked was to know exactly where she stood – even when it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. So when I openly expressed my reservations that I wasn’t “feeling what I thought I should be feeling”…she didn’t panic. She took it in and let me process. I proposed to her two weeks later and am EXTREMELY happy that I did.

Because you have clarity, you think it should be equally obvious for your partner. Alas, it’s not so simple.

To bring it back to you, Sunshine, your guy is in a position that millions of divorcees confront as they’re getting back out into the dating market. He likes you, he’s attracted to you, he desires a long-term relationship…but just doesn’t know if he’s ready to dive in again. He’s lonely. He’s made mistakes before. He wants to look before he leaps. But he just can’t help himself when he’s around you.

As such, he’s genuinely conflicted. And that’s the hardest part to deal with when you’re not conflicted. Because you have clarity, you think it should be equally obvious for your partner. Alas, it’s not so simple.

Be thankful that you have a man who respects you enough to speak his mind, be cautious that his reservations are legitimate, and be respectful of the fact that his process might be trickier than your process.

All I can say is that I guarantee that you will definitely not fall in love if you cut him off out of fear; you at least have a chance if you let him come to his own conclusions.

At least that’s what my wife thinks.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Janet

    Maybe there is a part of the letter that was cut before posting, but I don’t see where he says that he wants a LTR (and nothing that says he doesn’t). From what we’ve read here, what he wants long-term is an unknown.

    A lot of people don’t want that again after getting divorced, and that ambivalence might be part of his pulling back. Maybe she should ask.

  2. 2
    Honey

    I think really the solution is to approach it exactly as you would any other dating situation…don’t read too much into what he says, watch what he does and how he treats you, don’t try to rush or force the situation because you are afraid, enjoy his company and wait to see how things evolve, enjoy the emotions you are having in response to his company but don’t assume there is an implied promise of forever. That’s what it’s always all about, isn’t it?

  3. 3
    Janet

    Also, she doesn’t say anything about what she wants, either. She thinks they can have “something really special together.” What does that mean exactly?

    This goes to Honey’s point on the other thread–assuming that they both want “tradition LTR” might be wrong here.

  4. 4
    JoAnn Anglin

    Having been in an almost identical situation, I’d say proceed with caution is the least of it. His whole sense of identity will change as he gets used to the idea of being divorced, and he may never resolve his sorrow over it. For me, I was so sure of how perfect we were for each other, that I’d just bide my time. I was way more invested in this than even I realized. A 1.5 year relationship took about 5 years to get over, with individual counseling and a support group. Nobody’s a ‘bad guy,’ but it can be devastating none the less. Hold off and hold back is good advice, but as the cw song says, the heart has a mind of its own.

  5. 5
    Paul

    Maybe it’s time we stopped trying so hard to be politically correct and shoot straight for once. Evan…you whimped out. Sorry, but it’s true. The gentleman should back off and so should she. Any divorce class in the world that is worth it’s salt will tell you that right after a divorce, or worse yet, before it is final, is NOT the time to be out forging new relationships. Most classes tell you it’ll be a good year, or more realistically two years, before you are healed, healthy, and ready top start dating again. It takes two healthy people to have a healthy relationship, and if a part of you is still in the old one, then that’s just all that much less you have to give to someone else…and we all expect to have 100% of someones heart when we’re giving 100% of ours. It simply isn’t fair to the other person not to have 100% to give. If you are going through, or just getting out of a divorce, you are hurt, you’ve suffered a loss and there isn’t any getting around it. Thing is, we think we are ready when we’re clearly not in most instances. I know this from experience. It’s easier being on the outside looking in than being the one who is all excited about someone and looking for ways to justify it, I understand that. But the truth is the vast majority of people are not ready right after a divorce…especially if the marriage lasted 34 years! Now, I’m not saying it can’t work for these two, but she has to give him some time, and he has clearly stated he doesn’t know where he’s at.

  6. 6
    zann

    I whole-heartedly agree with Honey (#2). It’s all a gamble anyway, whether you’re recently divorced, been widowed for years, never been married, or have been divorced 14 different times. Everyone heals differently and everyone has their own relationship history, clear back to their family of origin. In spite of that, I still think Evan’s advice is sound and comforting. I know many women (me included) tend to think the bold, definitive, even courageous move was to get out of Dodge the minute the guy shows any kind of hesitation..what I call The Ambivalence Reactionary Maneuver. Cut your losses, don’t give him a chance to dump you, march out of it with your head up high, and be sure to slam the door on your way out. Yea, yea, yea. You go girl. Well, that clean-break high lasts about… a day. Real maturity, self-love, and courage are what’s at work when you can hang in there — not like some needy, clinging puppy and not like some delusional overly-optomistic Pollyanna, but as a realist. If you keep yourself open to the man while at the same time keeping yourself open to the rest of your life, too — which you should do anyways, whether in or out of a relationship — you’ve got the best shot at having a relationship that will endure these rough spots and continue to grow into something deeper. No guarantees here, but there never is. I think Paul (#5) has some very valid points, but I disagree with the conclusion that You Should Never Date A Recent Divorcee. I was separated a year after a 20 yr marriage when a man initiated a relationship with me. I was clueless at the time, thought I was doing “fine,” but was actually a basketcase — a complete novice at being a single adult again. This guy stuck with me, was empathetic and self-confident but so very, very kind. Without being a doormat, he continued to treat me lovingly but gave me whatever space I wanted (trust me, I didn’t know what I wanted). I flip-flopped over and over and when my divorce became legally final, all of my insecurities erupted all over again. Eventually, due to his patience and steadiness, I was able to see this new man as an incredible gift and started showing my sincere gratitude, got outside of my self-involvement and gave back all that had been given to me. I was extremely lucky, I know, and I’m not saying everyone should be that patient. My point is simply that there are no hard and fast rules; and even if there were, there are exceptions to every rule.

    For this one, my vote it so hang in there, with poise.

  7. 7
    Don

    I think you have done a great job describing some real thoughts that are going through many men’s head in a time like this. Everything isn’t black and white and some people can’t handle hearing that and some people can.

  8. 8
    Jessica

    Sunshine,
    Back off. You are not his therapist, but hopefully a future girlfriend or wife. Be thankful that he is a good communicator, but you need not carry his load of doubts, and wear yourself out in the process. Your guy needs urgent therapy, not an overly patient almost-girlfriend. Then, AFTER he’s healed, he may be a great guy for you.

  9. 9
    Ava

    I’ve got to agree with Paul. I have been there. Twice. Both men had been married less than 10 years, and I can tell you, they were NOT ready prior to the divorce. They WANTED to be ready, and yes, they liked me a lot and thought they WERE ready, but when push came to shove, they bailed. When the LW says “I think it just really hit him, thought he was doing fine.”, boy, does that sound familiar.
    In one case, the guy was a already good friend, and our friendship was ultimately ruined. In the other case, once the divorce became final, the man was much more upset about it then he thought he’d be. Both men had assured me they were fine with their break-ups. It’s very hard for me to imagine a man being ready so soon, after 34 years.

    Sure, every situation is different and should be evaluated on its own merit, but the odds on this one aren’t very good. That doesn’t that mean they can’t work down the road, but I’ve found that getting involved too soon can ruin any chance of things working out in the future. I’d back off on this one – I don’t believe this man, even with the best intentions, is emotionally available. The LW doesn’t want to end up being the rebound girl, and her man saying “he’s not sorted through his emotions like he thought he had” is the equivalent of waiving a big, red flag.

    Janet #3
    “Something really special”. Yes, she means an LTR, not a short-term fling. She wouldn’t bother writing this letter if she didn’t.

  10. 10
    Ava

    I have been there. Twice. And I’ve had friends who have been there as well. In my case, both men thought they were ready, wanted to be ready, said they liked me a lot. But they weren’t ready. Both men had been married less than 10 years. When the LW says “The divorce will be final within the next 2 months and I think it just really hit him, thought he thought he was doing fine”, it sounds painfully familiar. In my case, one man was a good friend (friendship ruined after the romance failed), and the other fell apart as soon as the divorce became final. I’m told that, no matter how long people are separated for, the finalization of the divorce is still very traumatic.

    Yes, every situation should be evaluated on its own merit, but I don’t believe that it’s possible for this man to be ready for a new relationship so soon, not after ending a 34 year marriage. Perhaps this relationship can work out later on, but the odds on it now are not good. This man simply isn’t emotionally available. He told me last night that he came to the realization that he’s not sorted through his emotions like he thought he had” is the equivalent of her man waiving a big, red flag. She doesn’t want to become the rebound girl, and she is better off waiting until her man has had a chance to mourn the loss of his marriage. And yes, I’d guess that the LW is hoping for an LTR with him.

    Zann #6
    While I’m glad your guy stuck with you, I can’t say that flip-flopping “over and over and over again” is really a great deal for the other person.

  11. 11
    dadshouse

    She already answered it – he hasn’t sorted through his emotions. He’s in no shape to enter a new relationship. I’m divorced, and I started dating immediately after separating. I needed the touch of a woman. 9 months later, I met a woman I wanted to be in an LTR with. We broke up a year later. It wasn’t until 3 years after my divorce that I had truly processed most of my emotional junk. And during those 3 years, I tried reconciling with my wife on multiple occasions. I was in no shape to move on.
    If a divorced person is still working through stuff, they aren’t ready for a lasting relationship. Period.

  12. 12
    Casey

    I was in a similar situation about six months ago, although this man’s divorce was not almost final. In fact, it was not going well at all. There’s a lot of anger between him and his estranged wife, the divorce is contested on a number of issues, there are children involved, etc. Any lawyer worth having will tell you not to date while your divorcing not only because of the emotional issues, but also because it makes things worse from a legal/settlement standpoint, particularly in a contested divorce.

    But, I digress. In the end, he broke it off. We had a conversation after that, where he mentioned staying in contact. So, I sent him a few emails, and never received a response (never mentioning getting back together, but saying that if he wanted to talk, I was there to listen). I realized that he either didn’t want any contact with me or contact by me made him feel pressured…or as is more likely the case, probably a combination of the above and a lot of other things I have no idea about.
    I realize that we didn’t go out that long, and he doesn’t owe me anything. He may have owed it to both of us to know the truth of where he was at, that he wasn’t really ready to date seriously and as that was the case, he shouldn’t have let things go as far as they did (as I shouldn’ t have either). However, I respect the fact that he talked to me about it and was as honest as he could be instead of just disappearing.
    Just so you know Evan, I want the truth from men, and sometimes it hurts…a lot. I don’t always know what to do with the hurt, not because I don’t want to hear it, but because often men send mixed messages trying to avoid hurting womens’ feelings (actually most people do this…men and women alike). When in this situation, a man often flip-flops and says things you have no idea what to do with because he contradicts what he just said making it hard to know what the right thing for you to do is.
    Sure Sunshine can ask if he wants a LTR, but one minute he’ll say yes; the next he’ll say no. He’s on an emotional roller coaster and will likely flip flop several times. So what does she do? Should she really ask that question?
    I get I should have been more cautious, paid attention to the red flags, not had sex with him and all of that. I should have slowed things down and taken more time to get to know him and see where he was at. But, I didn’t and I screwed up. I know he bears some responsibility also, but given what he’s going through and I saw the red flags, I believe I bear the greater responsibility to have been the one to slow things down.
    Having said all that, knowing what I should have done differently from the start, I have a few questions: When you say back off and give him space…what does that mean? To be supportive…what does that mean? Should I have done something differently, i.e., not just stopped contacting him when I didn’t receive a response to a few attempts to stay in touch?
    I ask these questions because most of the men I will date in my age group will likely be divorced or in the process of getting a divorce, so I’d like to know if there are other things , other than those I’ve already mentioned above, that I could and should do differently.

  13. 13
    Selena

    What’s the rush? Why don’t you continue to spend time together and see if it develops into “something really special”?

    It either will…or it won’t. No crystal ball prediction.

  14. 14
    downtowngal

    A lot of good discussion here. OP seems to be approaching things in the right way, asking good questions. Bottom line is that actions speak louder than words.

    Guys who’ve been divorced have told me never to date a guy who’s going through or has just gone through a divorce if you’re looking for a ltr. They may end up having true feelings for you but at the end of the day only needed compantionship/diversion/ sex to get them through an emotinoal transition and aren’t able to commit emotionally.

    Of course there are always exceptions but proceed w caution. OP, you’re right to be skeptical. You’ve been friends w this guy for a while and sounds as if there’s a great deal of mutual respect. And he’s already told you he needs to sort things out. Allow him the space to do that, spare yourself further heartbreak. if it’s meant to be he’ll return when he’s ready.

    I have too many girlfriends who’ve had their hearts battered by seemingly terrific guys they’ve dated while ‘in transition’.

  15. 15
    Ava

    Casey #12

    I have learned that you cannot go by what a man says, you have to evaluate him on your own reading of the situation. So if you are getting mixed messages, that is a red flag. But don’t beat yourself up. You really liked him and hoped for more, and you hoped the positive messages would win out over the negative ones.

    I never date separated men now. It just seems so unlikely that they’ll be ready for what I want. But if I was interested in someone going through this, I would tell them to check back AFTER the divorce is finalized, and maybe WELL after.

    I have been surprised (as have my friends) to encounter men who aren’t ready for a relationship – or even dating – for YEARS after their divorce. I’m talking 5-10+ years. I suspect they should have gotten professional help, but didn’t. In general, I also think that men process things differently. Women will get therapy, will rant and cry to their friends, while men often behave more stoically, and have a more difficult time expressing emotions.

  16. 16
    Janet

    Ava @9: “something special” means “LTR” to YOU. We don’t know what it means to the letter writer. It’s a good question to ask her.

    Another good question to ask: What do the phrases “LTR” and “something special” mean to you?

  17. 17
    Diana

    I agree with many of the sentiments here. I know from my own excruciating divorce experience after a 26 year marriage, and from what I could gleam from my former husband’s experience, no matter how ready you believe yourself to be in moving on, the reality of going through the divorce process and solidifying this painful, final act in what was once a loving and lasting relationship is difficult to go through, and fraught with emotional peril.

    He will have his good days and his bad days. As I am certain you know, he is likely dealing with feelings of guilt, regret, grief, anger, and confusion, and now he’s also dealing with longingly held feelings for you, Sunshine, that have now been escalated and compounded through your intimacy.

    My suggestion is that I would let him know that while you care for him and you respect how he feels about you, and that you hope to have a future with him, you feel that it does your relationship a disservice not to be there wholly for each other. If your relationship is truly meant to be, then when his divorce is through, and he has allowed himself to have that emotional space and time that he needs to fully heal and find himself again, then you will be together, if that is what you both still want at that time.

    Otherwise, you will become a part of his painful journey, and in the clearing, his new awakening and possibly yours, too, may reveal a different light that may have you realizing that his burden was not worth carrying.

    This takes clarity and strength, and love of a different kind. I wish you well.

  18. 18
    Ava

    Janet #14

    LTR and “something really special”, yes, for me they’d mean the same thing. I can’t read Sunshine’s mind, but if she is in fact, “falling in love” with this guy and writing a dating coach about her fears, my guess is that’s where she would like it to lead. That’s what I think “hopefully he can work through this and move on, hopefully with me” means.

  19. 19
    Janet

    Ava @ 18: “Falling in Love” is from the headline of the piece (an editorial insertion) and not from the letter itself. Again, maybe she says that in some part of the letter that didn’t make it onto the site, but it isn’t in the letter as posted.

    I still don’t see where the LTR part comes into this, and today I am feeling the frustration of other posters on here who have spoken about this–that “dating” isn’t the same thing as a relationship, or an LTR, or a marriage. Further, not all people who are dating are looking for LTRs (especially among the male population), not all LTRs are marriages, not all marriages are LTRs. I mean, don’t you all know people with relationships that fall into these different categories or am I the only one? (Or maybe those with other viewpoints have left this board!:) )

    But I do encourage this kind of discussion–every discussion starts with an agreement on the definition of terms. And it’s good to know, Ava, that you yourself hold the expectation that dating leads to falling in love to an LTR/marriage. It is also good to realize that not everyone holds this same expectation so that you can have these kinds of discussions upfront and not assume that the person you are dating wants or is expecting the same relationship trajectory. A lot of women get hurt when they assume this about the men they are dating. And, to be honest, I know many men who have been hurt in the same way.

  20. 20
    Leftos

    Evan’s got great advice no doubt about it. We also would encourage you to post the question on our site http://www.Leftos.com. We have a very dedicated, active, mature, and loyal user base that hopefully could help you. It’s also a very interesting conversation. The notion that Evan brings up about women not wanting truly hear what men are thinking is another great discussion. We’ll definitely point our users this way to check out this post.

  21. 21
    Casey

    Janet’s post reminded me of something that frustrates me…comments from well meaning people like:
    Diana @ #17 – “If your relationship is truly meant to be, then when his divorce is through, and he has allowed himself to have that emotional space and time that he needs to fully heal and find himself again, then you will be together, if that is what you both still want at that time” or
    downtowngal @ # 14 – ” if it’s meant to be he’ll return when he’s ready” or
    Jessica @ #8 – “Then, AFTER he’s healed, he may be a great guy for you.”
    Are you serious!!! How often does that ever happen?!?! Only in movies and books. Have you ever seen it to happen in real life? Especially after you’ve had sex and the man wasn’t ready for a new relationship (or the woman for that matter)? It’s utterly redickerous! An urban legend!
    I know that most people say these things because they are only trying to be kind and didn’t want to upset the person more, but sugarcoating it just pisses me off! Stop putting foolish, romantic notions in my head…I’m already having a tough enough time with it. I’d rather you just said something like: “You screwed up and you’ll never a second chance with him…so learn from it, and I’ll be here to help and support you, and remind you if you’re getting close to screwing up again.” Cause that’s what I really need…not some idea right out of a fictional romantic book or movie that maybe he’ll come back some day when he gets it together and/or comes to his senses and realizes he made a mistake!
    Sorry…it just really ticks me off!!! Rant over. :-)

  22. 22
    Ava

    Janet #19

    I think you are misinterpreting me. I never said that I “hold the expectation that dating leads to falling in love to an LTR/marriage”. All I’m saying is that I wouldn’t want to be in an LTR that I didn’t think was “something special”. If I thought a relationship had the potential to be that, then yes, I would hope that it would turn into something long-term. Obviously, not all dating leads to LTR. I think I figured that out quite sometime ago, thank you very much.
    And I’m well aware that the “falling in love” headline is an editorial insertion. Again, I am inferring that a serious relationship is what the LW wants. If she was just casually dating and not looking for anything serious, I doubt that she’d have bothered to write or think that this relationship could be “something special” or that when this guy disengages from his marriage, she hopes that he will “move on” with her. “Move on” to what? A few months of casual sex? Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m simply not picking that up from her letter, and I’m not sure what is so frustrating to you about that.

  23. 23
    Selena

    Why use the ambiguous term “LTR” at all? Why not just say straight out what you mean:
    “I want a relationship that will lead to marriage.”
    Or,
    “I want a relationship that is more than casually hooking up.”

    “I want a long term relationship” is meaningless because:
    1) No one can predict how long any relationship will actually last, and
    2) What is long term to one person may not be long at all to another

    Who goes about thinking they want a relationship that will last no less than 6 mos.? A year? 10 years? Dumb.

  24. 24
    Diana

    To Casey, color me confused. :) My message was intended for Sunshine. I went back and re-read your first post and while similar, I sense that you rushed into your situation with a guy that is now clearly indicating he’s no longer interested. I don’t think any of us here need to try and knock some sense into your noggin, or banish foolish romantic, “never going to happen” thoughts from your mind, as you have already grown and learned from your experience what you were meant to learn. I am sorry it has been a painful and difficult time.

    My comment to Sunshine was not intended to convey that she should wait for him because surely he’ll fall right back into her arms, once he’s recovered from his divorce. I was saying that they would be together, if that is what they both wanted at that time. By no means do I think that Sunshine should put her life on hold for him.

    What should you have done differently? Backing off and giving him space means that you go about living your life, at least to me. For example, rather than your trying to reach him with supporting messages, he should have been the one trying to reach you. And as you know now, sleeping with him before knowing where you stood was a mistake.

    As a woman, I know how incredibly hard curbing your own emotional needs can be, and when you send him messages, what you are truly doing is pacifying your own emotional needs first, cloaked in the desire to offer support. But men often feel emotionally overwhelmed by this. If he were still thinking of being with you, maybe there was something about the emotional intensity that he felt he couldn’t handle, and so he avoided it by avoiding you.

    One of my hard and fast rules is to never get involved with a man who is currently separated or freshly widowed or divorced, though these men are in my age group, too. My own experience gave me the insight and the clarity to recognize what a difficult and painful situation that could create for me. But hey, we’re all human, doing the best we know how. We really are too hard on ourselves sometimes.

  25. 25
    Selena

    Casey,

    Evan recommends “mirroring” for women when it comes to men. Example would be waiting for him to contact you, phone, emails, etc. which you return in kind. Not initiating them early on in dating. I can understand how for some women that can be hard to do – seems too passive perhaps – but it is the best way to gauge the man’s level of interest.

    And I agree with Diana, you are being too hard on yourself over how you handled the situation you were in.

  26. 26
    Janet

    Ava@22: What is frustrating to me is the obvious ambiguity of the terms used in these kinds of discussions (see Selena @23) and the assumption that everyone means what we mean when we use these terms, and the assumption that everyone wants the same thing out of a relationship.
    I’m in a so-called “serious” LTR, and for the life of me I wouldn’t try to tell anybody what these terms mean for them. (I will, however, be able to provide plenty of evidence, research, examples, etc. as to what these terms do NOT mean.) But I have a very diverse group of friends and acquaintances and have a global career, so I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of things that throw into question “the way it is” in American monogamy-land. A lot of the assumptions on here are very demographic-specific, it seems to me (white, middle-class American, liberal, educated, not practicing a religion).

    So when Sayanta talks about wanting a man who values spirituality, abstenance before marriage, female empowerment, commitment, and who is intelligent/educated and takes care of himself physically, I really hear where she is coming from–which is a background different from the one I described in the previous paragraph. And here’s the thing–there are other people (men AND women) who are with her and will appreciate her precisely because of this difference from that mainstream American demographic. May not find them here, though–I guess all of us tend to gravitate toward ideas that resonate with us and away from those that don’t.

    Will say, however, coming from my white, middle-class American, well-educated background (don’t discuss my politics or religion usually) that these kinds of assumptions do produce lots of good songs (“you say potato, I say potato…”).

  27. 27
    Janet

    Oops! Major oversight! I left “straight” off of the list above. Guess that oversight reveals that that’s what I am–I didn’t even consider that a gay person might be weighing in on this site.

    Though just to confuse things further–I do know men who are gay/bi who want to be or are married to women and might be looking for dating/sex/marriage advice.

    Now THAT would be an interesting letter on here!! :)

  28. 28
    Jennifer

    Janet #26
    I agree with what you say here : “May not find them here, though I guess all of us tend to gravitate toward ideas that resonate with us and away from those that don’t.”

    I for one find it very tiring to always go through the ‘who says she wants a LTR/marriage/serious relationship’ discussion every time someone writes in to Evan with a question. No one would go onto a swingers discussion board and wax poetic about the importance of sexual monogamy. Not saying this is a ‘marriage/LTR’ board, but if more people here tend to think along those lines than not, why keep forcing the issue? It just seems to me a good way to keep everyone’s frustration level higher than necessary.

    And I’m not white nor am I an athiest. But I do know that one exception doesn’t make the ‘rule’ any less prevalent; just adding this in as a data point.

  29. 29
    Jennifer

    I feel that Evan has targeted himself pretty well for a certain demographic. He has programs on Finding the One Online, books on Why You’re Still Single (with the presumption that you don’t want to be anymore), gives seminars for women looking to establish relationships, appears on t.v. as a relationship expert.
    A great deal of (women) who consume dating and relationship material do so with the intention of creating a long term relationship (most often that will lead to marriage).

    Of course these aren’t the only women in the world, nor is this the only view on relationships in the world. But it seems to be the niche that Evan has carved out for himself, so questioning every letter writer as to her real intentions just seems a bit unnecessary to me. Not because other viewpoints are wrong or not valid, but because *the women who tend to write to Evan* don’t seem to be coming from that place.

  30. 30
    Casey

    Alright…wow!!! I find this thread fascinating because, of all the blog entries I’ve read on Evan’s website, this one seems to have more misunderstandings/misinterpretations between people making comments than I’ve seen before. Ehhh..maybe it’s just me.

    Anyway, I’m apologize if I upset anyone with my little rant. I didn’t think Diana, downtowngirl and/or Jessica were talking to me with those comments. I’m sorry it was unclear that those were examples of similar things said to me by well meaning people. When I re-worded one of my sentences, I forgot to add back in that they were examples. But frankly, it really ticks me off whether those types of comments are made to me or anyone else because I…and maybe no one else feels this way…find it a unrealistic and somewhat patronizing. That’s what my rant was about…not aimed at anyone specific…I just got off on a rant.

    Diana @ 24 and Selena @ 25 – As for me needing to curb my emotions or not mirroring or whatever…ummmm….yeah, about that…no. We are talking about only a few emails: one that told him to call if he just wanted to talk, one thanking him for providing some information I needed, and one was a funny story I copied him and a few other friends on because I thought they, and he, might find it humorous. As for mirroring, I did that also. True I contacted him first because I liked his profile. But, he was the one initiating the emailing, texting, calling, asking me out and telling me he took his profile down.

    I asked these questions: “When you say back off and give him space what does that mean? To be supportive what does that mean? Should I have done something differently, i.e., not just stopped contacting him when I didn’t receive a response to a few attempts to stay in touch (which, by the way, he suggested we stay in touch)?” because I’ve been accused of being too unemotional and unsupportive…too independent by my ex-husband and ex-boyfriends. So, I was curious if there was something else I should be doing…thinking maybe I wasn’t being emotional or supportive enough…maybe I should have hung in there a little longer…maybe called or emailed him a few more times to see how he was doing.

    But, hey thanks for playing — although you were way off base — answering the questions you thought asked, rather than the ones I asked.
    Happy Holidays everyone!

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