Dating older man

Dating older man

QUESTION:

your avatar   Jamie, 19-year-old woman

I am currently in a relationship with an older man and because of this, he thinks that we can never be more than friends. We have been together for over 6 months and have a sexual relationship. He knows that I care for him deeply and he says that he cares for me and will always be here for me as my best friend.

He doesn't tell anyone that we are seeing each other and we never really go out in public. I love him so much and he is very good to me. He treats me with respect and he cares about me. I don't think that I can see us as just friends if we can't be together. I find it hard to even think about walking away from him...I don't know what to do.

My question is whether I should stay in the relationship and hold on and hope that he will get over the age difference or should I just give up now and not waste my time because I will get hurt in the end.

ANSWER:

    Margaret Burr, MA, MFT

Jamie,

You are having sex with a partner who says he can never be more than a friend to you, and will not be seen in public with you. Despite this, you say he treats you "with respect". He says that he can never be more than a friend to you because he is older than you are, but he is willing to have sex with you.

You ask if you should stay in the relationship. What relationship? I'm not sure I see a relationship here at all, in that there appears to be no give and take, no mutuality, no interdependency, no compromise.

If you are having a relationship with anything, it is with your own projection, not with who this man really is. He is not relationship-material and he is telling you that. What part of "no" do you not understand?

Whether or not you stay in this situation, though, is pretty immaterial. If you do not choose to look at what you are doing (living in a fantasy world, basically), you will just repeat this with the next man you choose to focus your projection on.

My recommendation to you is that you get into counseling to deal with the core issues underlying your denial of self. You must (in my opinion) deal first with the hurt and loss of whoever originally abandoned, rejected or betrayed you (Dad?), before you will be available to engage with others in an authentic way.

Hear this part...Until you look at your core issues, your self-denial may lead you to risk repeating self-destructive and self-negating behaviors. Please get help.

Sincerely,

Margaret "Peg" Burr, MA, MFT

This question was answered by Margaret "Peg" Burr. She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC34374) with a private practice in Santa Clarita (near Los Angeles). She performs psychodynamic psychotherapy with individual adult clients as well as couples, teens, and families. She also runs groups for adults and adolescents. Her specialty area is Object Relations Systems Theory. This branch of psychodynamic psychotherapy uses a client's interpersonal relationships as windows into his or her intrapsychic structure.For more information visit: http://www.pegburr.com/

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