Why keep ex­pect­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent from ‘the same guy’?

The Peterborough Examiner - - BUSINESS - Ellie

Q: My close friend is a woman who looks 50 but is 63. She’s very at­trac­tive, in­tel­li­gent, fit and in­ter­est­ing. She had a very good job over the years and now only takes on short­term con­tracts for a few clients. Mean­while, she keeps meet­ing and los­ing what I call “the same guy.” He’s al­ways a good-look­ing man, early 60s, divorced, also fit and in­tel­li­gent, usu­ally re­tired and fi­nan­cially com­fort­able. He’s keenly in­ter­ested in his golf and/or ten­nis game, at­tends sports events with his male friends and en­joys pe­ri­odic travel to warm des­ti­na­tions in win­ter. Some­times he in­vites her along, or they “meet up there,” and she pays her own way. Oth­er­wise, they live apart but have week­end sleep­overs that in­clude sex.

My friend, divorced long ago, says she’d like to be in a long-term, com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship, but this type of man usu­ally only stays in the pic­ture for 10 months max­i­mum (only rarely past a year). She’s not look­ing for a free ride or to marry some­one for se­cu­rity. Though in­de­pen­dent, she’s a very warm per­son. She says she wants a part­ner whom she deeply likes and re­spects. But these lim­ited re­la­tion­ships don’t be­come emo­tion­ally bond­ing.

What’s she do­ing wrong that only at­tracts such men?

Cu­ri­ous and Con­cerned

A: Two peo­ple sim­i­larly in­de­pen­dent, self-suf­fi­cient and, per­haps, also wary from past ex­pe­ri­ences don’t re­ally need each other.

The “same man” — set in his pat­tern — is clearly not driven by a de­sire for love and at­tach­ment, though he en­joys sex. (Noth­ing de­scribed sug­gests he also wants deeper “in­ti­macy.”)

In­stead, her male com­pan­ions sound like “been there, done that, time for some­one new.”

Your friend needs to as­sess whether she can even han­dle a true-love re­la­tion­ship. It might mean al­low­ing a man into her life who has some “com­pli­ca­tions” — e.g. less money than she has. Or a man with a thirst for try­ing new ex­pe­ri­ences with her, such as ad­ven­ture travel or liv­ing else­where, not the pre­dictable rou­tines of these other types (and her, too).

Or get­ting close with some­one truly “dif­fer­ent” from the rest, in di­ver­sity, back­ground, ex­pe­ri­ence.

Un­til she’s open to a com­pan­ion un­like the oth­ers, she’s un­likely to find real part­ner­ship with the men she cur­rently meets, dates and doesn’t hear from again af­ter months of the same old.

As a friend, ask her what she’s will­ing to risk.

Reader’s com­men­tary re­gard­ing the hus­band who doesn’t do his fair share of home help (Sept. 27):

“The hus­band likes hav­ing a maid, cook, nanny and sex worker with­out hav­ing to con­trib­ute to the house­hold rou­tines. He even re­sents the two nights he has to put the kids to bed.

“His pas­sive-ag­gres­sive re­sponse demon­strates that he’s also frus­trated by the life changes and re­spon­si­bil­ity of chil­dren and a home.

“She’s so busy in her home­maker role she has no time for her­self or her hus­band. She should do less. Off-load­ing some of her work­load and build­ing time for her­self will de-es­ca­late the con­flict over bed­time rou­tines.

“A prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion is to hire a ser­vice to do some of the chores like clean­ing, laun­dry, gro­cery shop­ping, etc. The cost is off­set by im­prove­ment to her men­tal health. Also, di­vorce will be way more costly.

“An­other step is to move din­ner­time for her­self and her hus­band un­til af­ter the chil­dren are through their bed­time rou­tines, even a cou­ple of nights a week.

“A lit­tle cou­ple time will go a long way to feel­ing ap­pre­ci­ated and pos­si­bly rekin­dle the spark for both of them.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

Bored with go-nowhere re­la­tion­ships? Get to know some­one with dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests, fresh ideas, an open mind.

Ellie Tesher is an ad­vice colum­nist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your re­la­tion­ship ques­tions via email: [email protected]­tar.ca.

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