DEAR DR LOVE:I AM A 23YEAR OLD SINGLE FEMALE. I AM CURRENTLY DATING SOMEONE WHO IS 30 YEARS+ MY AGE. WE HAVE BEEN DATING FOR 3 1/2 YEARS AND I CARE FOR HIM A LOT. HE WAS MARRIED WHEN WE FIRST STARTED TO DATE AND HE TOLD ME HE HAS DIVORCED HIS WIFE. WE LIVE IN THE SAME TOWN OF ABOUT 40, 000 PEOPLE.THE STRANGE THING IS HE HAS NEVER TAKEN ME HOME WITH HIM SINCE HE HAS BEEN ‘ DIVORCED’. THE LADY’S CAR IS ALWAYS AT HIS HOME. HE CLAIMS SHE JUST PARKS HER CAR THERE AND HE IS TRULY DIVORCED, BUT I DON’T BELIEVE HIM. MY FRIENDS KEEP TELLING ME TO MOVE ON, BUT I CARE FOR HIM SO MUCH.THERE’S A GUY I USED TO DATE BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL. HIS NAME IS MARC. AND HE IS 4 YEARS OLDER THAN I. HE HAS MOVED TO ATLANTA WHICH IS ABOUT 3 HOURS FROM WHERE I LIVE. WE STILL TALK OFTEN AND I SEE WHENEVER HE COMES HOME. I KNOW I WILL NEVER GET ANYWHERE WITH THE GUY I’M SEEING NOW AND I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH TO START SEEING MARC AGAIN. BECAUSE I KNOW I WILL HAVE A FUTURE WITH HIM IF OUR RELATIONSHIP WORKS. HE IS VERY NICE AND MATURE AND HAS A LOT OF GOALS IN LIFE. HE IS EXACTLY THE MAN I NEED. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TELL HIM WHAT I FEEL. CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME ADVICE.TROUBLED IN GEORGIA
You seem so verbally skilled that I find it hard to understand why you can’t come up with words to tell Marc that you are interested in trying again with him. I sense that your fear to speak, and being at a loss for words, is your mind’s way of protecting you from another unwanted feeling.I’ll break this down: By being tongue-tied, your mind may be protecting you from taking a chance with Marc and possibly being hurt by his refusal. If I am correct, your loss of words is covering other, deeper fears. Can you identify these fears? Am I correct that you are afraid to take a chance and be told ‘no’ by him? Are you afraid to start over and run into the same problems that broke you up before?Once you identify all your fears, you will know how to word your approach to Marc. If, for example, your self-examination leads you to believe that Marc will say he’s not ready to get deeply involved, then you can say: ‘Why is it that I have the feeling that I ask you out, you will tell me that you aren’t ready to get romantically involved with me?’Whatever fear your self-examination yields, use it as the foundation for your question to Marc. You sound like a very intelligent and level-headed woman who knows what she wants, and is healthy enough to exit an unsatisfying relationship. Once, you identify your fears, I am sure you will be able to move forward with Marc. I hope with all my heart that this relationship works for you. Let me know.