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I don't want him to date others, he doesn't want me to, but he doesn't want me


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This situation I am in is really getting crazy. I'm seeing a therapist to help me get through it, but I am so msed up.


I met my ex 4 years ago when I was in a bad spot emotionally. I knew he was commitment-phobic, and when I met him, I was, too (I wasn't reacting well to my ex husband getting remarried and somewhere in my mixed-up mind I felt that getting a "boyfriend" would keep me distracted, and getting someone who clearly didn't want a long-term relatinship with me would leave me free to go back to my ex-husband should his marriage not work out). Everything was fine till I got pregnant 3 months into the relationship.


Now our daughter is almost 3. We have a wonderful coparenting relationship and I even say we are friends (when I'm not mad at him). Before I got pregnant, we were dating exclusively and he was afraid I'd find someone else before he did. I swore to God that I wouldn't have sex with anyone else but him as long as I lived, or until he replaced me or had sex with someone else or gave me reason to think he had. Well, he claims he has been celibate all these years. He dumped me 1/2 way through my pregnancy and a few months after the baby was born he invited me to have a FWB relationship, but I declined...I wanted him to marry me. So, we hang out with the child, as a family unit and get along well. BUT he will not be alone with me, will not look me in the eyes when he talks to me, will not share details of his life, will not engage in meaningful conversation, and will not touch or kiss me or allow me to touch him beyond a casual hug. He may occasionally kiss me on the top of my head, or pat my back or something like that. He doesn't do any of the things he did when we were close. He obviously avoids these things.


I felt that he would never overcome his intimacy issues, and I have, so I decided to start dating to hopefully find someone who could give me love and affection and commitment. He got mad and said that he doesn't want another man around our child. I gave him hell for using our daughter to manipulate me--basically he said I had to choose between my daughter and a man being in my life full time. So, now he's saying that he wants me to keep him abreast of all my dating activities so he can be sure I'm not getting involved with some psycho that might hurt our child, but for me to be aware that he may be dating, too. The whole reason I felt "safe" dating is that I thought he was not capable of having a relationship with anyone. I have told him over and over that he is my number one choice, but he isn't and says he can't (right now, maybe later) meet my needs.


So, I am all upset now. He is saying he wants to get married and "start a family". He started a family with me, already! He said he doesn't have feelings for me anymore....that's what happen in relationships-people have feelings, they get married, feelings change, they get divorced. So, if that is true, why is he wanting to get married? Besides, I don't agree. Feelings are cultivated. The only reason he doesn't have feelings for me is because he stopped doing the things that created intimacy. The only reason he will ever have feelings for another woman is if he does those same things. He needs to be alone with her. He needs to look into her eyes when he talks to her. He needs to share his thoughts. He needs to have physical contact.


Part of me knows he's just trying to manipulate me. He's saying, "I didn't date because you didn't, but now that you are dating, I will, too". It is better than using our daughter, but he's driving me nuts!


I know most people don't think like I do about children needing to have their parents together. I know there are more

"blended" families than "intact" families. I do love this man, even though I haven't felt "in love" or sexually attracted. I know that I can have those feelings again under the right circumstances just like I know he can have feelings again for me.


I am in therapy and it was my therapist who encouraged me to date. I told him I didn't feel "free" because I promised not to have sex till he did, and he claims that he hasn't. My therapist said he might lie to keep me where he wanted me. Of course, he might. But I'm not 100% sure of what I should do. My therapist says if I don't want to be single the rest of my life, I need to get with a man who is emotionally available.


It burns me up to think that he'll put effort into starting a new relationship.


well, if and when he does get married ...that will be the end of it for me. But he has kept me in limbo for 3 1/2 years...or rather I have kept myself in limbo because I didn't feel right bringing a new man into my life when I have children at home. I am really agitated about this.


I have 2 issues....my vow (which I have not broken) and not wanting my child to have a stepmother OR a stepfather BUT I also don't want to be lonely, single and celibate for the rest of my life.


Part of me wants to stop dating. I know that will make my ex happier, but it won't make him love me or want me. And I will feel bad. Part of me wants to keep dating and not be manipulated. He can have me if he wants me, but he doesn't want me. And doesn't WANT to want me. I want to be with someone who wants to be with me. He doesn't want me, but he doesn't want anyone else to have me. I don't want him to continue this current state of affairs (I love the co-parenting, but I need MORE) but if I can't have him, I don't want anyone else to have him either.


I don't want to live with him or to have him live with me while my older kids are at home (about 6 more years).But I want the intimacy and affection and the feeling of being "coupled" that we had for 7 1/2 months. I just want it to be permanent. I want commitment from this man.


I thought me finding another man who had a busy life and would be okay with a "part-time marriage" while I was a full time mother (believe it or not, I have already found a man open to the idea!) was the answer. I didn't think he'd ever pursue another relationship. Why? He already knows he runs as soon as things "get serious" and he's 40, so I think he's pretty well set in his ways and i know his history with women. Textbook commitment phobe. I'm 45 and have had very little experience with men. I married young and spent 30 years wrapped up with a man who finally married someone else (but she divorced him after a couple years). Having this child limited my options, but I do not regret my decision to keep her. I feel like we are good parents to her, but I still believe that ideally, a child's parents should be in a loving, committed relationship.


I am kind of mad at my therapist now...I was sad to be trapped into a life with no romance or affection from a man, and only a small thread of hope that I would ever have it. Now my life has the possibility of love and romance with a new man, but I still feel held back my my child's father. I want him to be happy, but I don't want him to be with another woman.


I feel like a monkey wrench has been thrown into my plans. I was enjoying the prospect of sharing part of my life with a man who thinks I am wonderful and who showers me with positive attention and affection. Now I am hesitant to continue to pursue the possibilities of this new relationship that seems so promising. In exchange for what? A dead-end 'relationship' with a man who cannot connect with me now that I am in a position and mindset be truly committed to him. I am 99.999% positive that this man can't connect with me or with anyone else. I am sure my daughter wouldn't want me to be celibate and lonely for the next 16 years for her sake.


Why is life so complicated? I know my problems are insignificant compared to some and I am incredibly grateful that my child's father is so devoted to her and is so good to me. He really is good to me in many ways. He is a wonderful man. He just has some issues that are a huge roadblock. And I've got my issues, of course. But I'm good to him, too, and we are both great parents. But I think it would still be best if our child's parents were "together".

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I don't understand. But here goes.


You searched for and found a man who was emotionally unavailable in hopes that it would keep you occupied until your ex's marriage dissolved. Instead you ended up pregnant with this man, who then left you. You are both actively involved in your child's life as parents, but you both have taken a vow to each other that you won't have sex with other people? But he doesn't want a relationship with you. But you'd like one with him. And he doesn't want you to date other men, and you are still upholding your part of the vow to not be with anyone else even though he's made it clear he has no feelings for you?


Giiiiirrl, you crazy. Go out and date. No one is making you celibate - you are choosing to be this way because a man who does not want you has asked you to. If he wanted a relationship, chances are you would be in one, or at least talking to each other while making eye contact. He is the father of your child, and that is all. He has no say over what you do otherwise, so long as you're not endangering your daughter, he needs to butt out. Find yourself someone who is willing to commit, and just be careful about it. Do not worry about this guy - if he wants to date other women, so what? He is your ex - the same goes for him. That you are both aware he is not interested in a relationship right now, but you're so committed to him regardless? Nonsense. Don't wait for him. Go live your life.

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Yep, you got it right, except he never promised to remain 'faithful' to me. In fact, he promised me we wouldn't be "long term" and he'd drop me like a hot potato if things got "too serious" or if he found someone he thought was more suitable. He just told me last night that he felt bound to remain celibate as long as I did, at least till our child was older.


I promise you, before I got pregnant, I knew that when that time came, I'd have no shortage of men to replace him and I'd have no problem moving on. Now I feel trapped.


I KNOW you have the only right advice, but I am having a hard time applying it. I am wanting to force the square peg into the round hole. I'm wanting to force an emotionally damaged man to act as if he is "normal".


I hope my therapist can help me. I hope I'm not so stupid that I will resign myself to a life alone if I can't have the situation I want. But unfortunately, I see that as a possibility.

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I actually think you said it best:


He can have me if he wants me, but he doesn't want me. And doesn't WANT to want me. I want to be with someone who wants to be with me. He doesn't want me, but he doesn't want anyone else to have me.


I think you know what the deal is. I think you know what you need to do. I just don't think you want to do it because you have feelings for this man. While I think you intellectually understand that he doesn't think you are "the one" you don't want to accept that rejection into your heart because it hurts.


Of course it hurts! You care for him... you want to be with him... you have a family with him... if he wants a relationship, why doesn't he have one with you? Right? Wrong.


I think that part of the problem, unfortunately, is that you haven't had much dating experience. Sometimes you can like someone very much, even be sexually attracted to them but just know that they are not "the one". This is what is happening for him. He feels bad because you are a nice person... but that doesn't change the fact that you are not "the one" in his eyes. It has nothing to do with cultivating feelings... he doesn't want to cultivate feelings for you.


I think you need to come to terms with the idea that you will not be in a relationship with him. You have to drop the notion that it's just about him being a commitment-phobe.


I'm sorry... I know it hurts, and reading my post probably hurts too. But sometimes we need to feel the hurt in order to be able to move on. And that's exactly what you need to do. Come to terms with the fact that it will never be more and move on...


I'm sorry you are going through this. It hurts.

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He is most definitely a commitment phobe. I have read Steven Carter's books and he fits the profile. He is almost 40 and has had few relationships, always short term (from a one night stand to 4 months maximum), he always enters into relationships with women who don't fit what he's looking for (he says he wants to marry a young virgin, but he tends to get involved with older, divorced women with kids, like me, so he has a built-in excuse for why things won't work), and he always feels the urge to run as soon as things start to get 'too serious'.


Whether or not he is is 'commitment phobic' is really irrelevant. He doesn't want a romantic relationship with me again. He doesn't want to want it. He wants to keep me at a "safe" distance. But he doesn't want me involved with another man.


I don't know HOW to get through this. I hope my therapist can help me, but it is going to be hard. I am seeing a guy who is very sweet and demonstrative and his religious beliefs are more in line with mine and he seems open the the idea of having a non-traditional marriage with me. I have told him in no uncertain terms that I am looking for a man who will let me live separately while I finish raising my kids, and it would be very much like a marriage where one person travels a lot. I have known several marriages where the husband and wife were basically only together on weekends, and they made it work, but not everyone wants to sign up for such an arrangement. This guy is divorced with a child of his own who needs his attention and he is supportive of my devotion to my kids. I don't know if we will make it to marriage--he seems in a lot more of a hurry to marry than I am--but there seems to be potential.


Yes, I'm being rejected by one man, but I'm being ardently pursued by a man who really has the capacity for love and commitment. And this is the first guy I have selected to date since I decided to make myself available. I met him online and weeded through a lot of guys. This man doesn't meet my ideal-he is much older and has a child and I don't want to be be a stepmother--but there seems to be a lot of potential.


I am so stuck. I'm not just hurt, I'm extremely angry and frustrated. I am a bit obsessive. I want my way. I'm kicking and screaming but in the end, I'm not going to get the cookies, and I know it. So why put up the fight? (sigh) Time does heal all wounds. It took 4 years for me to "get over" my divorce and get to the point that I had NO desire for my ex husband, and I was able to walk away with no sadness or regret when he made moves on me lately. I know I'll get over this, too, but it will take time and it will be painful. I don't let go easily.


Thanks for the advice. You are so right.

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I think its good that you realize there is a problem and your addressing the issue by seeing a therapist, that is very brave of you. Knowing that there is a problem and getting professional help is the first step to getting well and getting on with your life. I think its important for children to have both parents in their lives, but that doesn't mean both parents need to be living together or married. Obviously your relationship with this guy is not working out and he has made it more than clear that he doesn't want a relationship with you. It's probably a good idea to arrange some visitation times for him to see your daughter without you, perhaps an evening or a weekend arrangement? All of these years you've been there and you haven't dated and you have served as some sort of safety net for him. It's time to stop. He needs to know that you won't be there forever, that you are going to date (and there is not a thing he can do about it) and that you are going to move on with your life. Besides being the best thing for you, once you're not there he might realize what he is missing and he might come you're way. But as long as you are so available he will just take you for granted and that's the last thing you want.


Good luck

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