A while back a man I work with asked me out. I was surprised since he’s recently separated. I had little expectations but decided to go out with him. Well, six months have gone by and things have been relatively good. Sure, there have been ups and downs. From time to time he withdraws and wants to spend time with his friends or alone; this bothers me and makes me feel insecure. He’s explained that he has a lot of pressure on him due to his pending divorce and his work responsibilities; he’s also stressing out about the fact that he’s turning 60 soon. I definitely understand some of what he’s going through but it’s his lack of communication that is difficult and make me feel insecure. I’ve expressed my concerns and fears to him and he’s said he wants to try and meet me halfway. I’m happy with this plan, but I hope he’ll follow through. I don’t want to feel alone or waste my time waiting for him to figure out what he wants. I also don’t want him to be turned off by my insecurity. Is there something I can do here to help him see I’m worth his attention?
Insecure and Scared
Dear Insecure and Scared,
Thanks for your question. You can’t convince him of anything or make him feel a certain way. But confidence is attractive; it’s also a relief to be with someone who’s secure because there’s a clear distinction between being with someone you feel obliged to support — emotionally — and being with someone you choose to support.
Confidence can manifest itself in a variety of ways but in your case it’s all about independence. Your guy wants someone who’s at a similar life stage as him. He’s busy. He probably has kids to see, a demanding job, friends. And now that he’s getting divorced he wants to do all the things he felt he couldn’t do while married. This likely means resuming hobbies, hanging with friends, and focusing more on work. Yes, he may also want you in his life, but not to the point where he’s going to want to give up all of these other things to have a relationship with you. And he doesn’t want to feel guilty when he’s off participating in activities or events without you. He wants to know you’re happily involved with your own life — family, activities and friends — while he’s busy living his. Otherwise he’s going to cut ties, especially since the last thing he wants is to be tied down in a serious relationship after getting divorced.
That said, I do agree with you. He does need to follow through on his promise to communicate better and more often. A short call, or a few texts daily wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Hopefully he’ll see that this extra effort is worth it, and that maybe after a time he’ll start to weave you into the fabric of his life. Right now you need to be patient and self-assured while he works through this transition.
Page 2 of 2 - Last thing, if at some point you find yourself doing all the heavy lifting, then maybe he’s not the guy you thought he was. Sure, he gets a pass for the time being, but relationships are a two-way street. Eventually, the two of you need to be on the same page. If not, you might need to reconsider this relationship.
Saelen Ghose is the head writer for The Guy’s Perspective, a popular relationship blog and website. Over the course of his tenure he has responded to thousands of relationship questions, and while he hasn’t solved every problem, he has provided a thoughtful perspective on every question received. If you have a relationship question of your own, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Saelen will do his best to answer your question. Please limit your question to 200 words or less. For more from The Guy’s Perspective, visit www.theguysperspective.com.