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   Relationship Problems

  • Relationship Problems (Written by Chris Fariello)

  • Relationships (written by Alex Robboy & Other sexperts)

HTHGS: Relationship Problems (Written by Chris Fariello)

Ask Chris,

   I have been seeing a man for about 1.5 years and he has not introduced me to any of his family and I have met only one of his friends (and I was introduced as a business partner), his son and his  ex girlfriend, (his son's mother for only a minute). This in itself  is weird. My first thought / feeling was that he had another woman, he  swears not.
   We live about an hour apart in Toronto, his son lives far from him as well, 1.5 hrs. and he does drive a lot. He feels we live too far apart and is always wanting to wait until our situation changes before he commits to a serious relationship with me, which I felt we were already involved in. At first I was hurt but I can see that this is not going to work as both our needs as people will not be met. I am a social person, he states he is not.
   We work together in a business environment and speak to each other daily. Each time I agree to let go or break it off and say goodbye as lovers, he agrees but insists we must be friends and keep in contact with one another.
   My biggest "beef" is that I feel that we have not been together as a couple, he has kept me at a distance for some time unless it has involved his son and mine who are close in age, or our business relation which may remain in any event. We have had amazing sex together, something he says is hard for him to let go of. I do like him as a person and we both have our own emotional baggage, but I feel that I am constantly shut out by him i.e.. when he arrive to see me he is already announcing his departure for the next day as he walks in, he had not invited me to a couple of parties he had last summer, and has already planned his vacation with his son alone this summer. During the course of this relationship we have seen each other 2 - 3 times a week max and spend little to no vacation time together as he wants to be alone with his son, that is alright with me as I have my own son to raise. We have had lucid times together and enjoy each others company from time to time.
   He gives me mixed messages, from marriage to I'm not ready now to let's wait until summer, he always suggests that if I wait until whenever things are going to change and he will be ready then and in fact this has been going on for the duration of this relation and nothing has changed but my attitude, I want to move on from this and not think about why he would be so mixed up.
   Last weekend I caught him lying to me and he had admitted to lying to me before. He said that he was with his son out of town and would not be back until later that day and my call display indicated he was in fact in town. He said he did not want to tell me because he wanted to something other than spend time with me and did not want an argument.  At that time I told him our personal relationship was off,  completely. Since that time he has called every day at least 3 times to tell me how much he misses me and likes me and now wants me to meet his brother and friends who live close to me. He has also said that he really wants this relationship to work out (only after a professional meeting where the prospective client was interested in me as a woman and he was jealous). This man grew up without his mother after 14 when she passed away, if that has any bearing. I had grown up in an abusive household myself and have had years of therapy for it.
   My question is why would a man say not now, you are free, I want this to work out, and I want you forever but wait? What is the best way to say goodbye and be able to maintain a professional relationship? Thanks for your time,
   I feel for you. Your story is not necessarily an unusual one and I would need to know more understand the reason behind both your and his decision to remain in this type of relationship. What does stick out, however, is that you do not sound happy about the current situation. I usually suggest to my clients to go with their gut. If you feel cautious about his intentions you may want to see that as a red flag. This may not speak directly to his character but rather the similarities to each of your perspective WANTS in terms of a relationship. You have spent 1.5 years already. Assuming the relationship will not progress, how much longer would you be willing to "settle" for good sex and occasional meetings? His recent reaction can be the result of many catalysts, perhaps he is sincere, or perhaps he only believes he is. Knowing/believing will be difficult. Establish for yourself specific boundaries and enforce them. It's important that you take responsibility for your own decisions in this relationship.
   As for saying goodbye- this is never easy. Again, you need to make a decision for yourself, set boundaries, and let him know what they are. Then you must stick to it. Typically there is pain associated with breaking up. This tends to be elongated when the break up drags on and on with hopes that things will change (typically, he will change) and they never do.
   Finally, it can never hurt to seek professional help, even for a short time, to help understand how you ended up in this type of relationship and well as mourning the loss.
   Janis, if you demonstrate to people your strength, they will see it and offer you the respect you deserve. You will also get more of your wants, and will spend less time waiting for others to meet your expectations.  Good luck,  Chris
   this tip was originally written by Chris Fariello , MA, MFT

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The Founder: "Alex" Caroline Robboy, LCSW, QSW, CAS

Ms. Robboy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Growth Inc and How To Have Good Sex Inc.  Alex practices marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, and also conducts periodic seminars about human sexuality throughout the northeastern United States.

Ms. Robboy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Social Work, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Marriage Counseling & Sex Therapy. Through the American Board of Sexology, she is a board certified sexologist and through the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists a certified sex therapist.  Additionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


  Our Philosophy sex is like dancing, it changes every time. It depends on culture, atmosphere and mood. Sometimes it is done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be fast and hard or slow and soft. Sex is a combination of non-verbal negotiation and verbal cues: a scream, a twitch of the toes, or a flush of the face. There is no one 'right' way to move, only what feels good to all those involved. 
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September 19, 2006