Midlife dater ig­nores red flag wav­ing

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Amy Dick­in­son [email protected]­dick­in­son.com Twit­ter @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I ca­su­ally dated two men at the same time: One man is my age (early 50s), and an­other man is 20 years older. I did not com­mit to either, nor did I lead them to be­lieve that we were ex­clu­sive.

When my mom got sick and my work­load in­creased, I told each man that I needed to fo­cus on other things and asked for some space.

The younger man re­spected my re­quest and for the last sev­eral months has sent me an oc­ca­sional text or phone call to say hello, which is fine with me.

The other man was tex­ting me ev­ery sin­gle day. I found it an­noy­ing, and rarely re­sponded. Even­tu­ally I wrote him a let­ter mak­ing it very clear that I do not want a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship and would like to be friends, but that can only hap­pen if he backs off. He con­tin­ues to send me at least one text ev­ery day, which goes unan­swered.

My mother is now sta­ble, and I am ready to start dat­ing again.

The guy who texts ev­ery day tells me he loves me and that he just wants me in his life. He’s not a ter­ri­ble guy; he’s gen­er­ally kind and makes a good liv­ing. Is it pos­si­ble that he is be­ing chival­rous and this is his way of fight­ing for me? Or is this a red flag hit­ting me in the face?

— Midlife Dater

Dear Dater: Here’s a ba­sic dat­ing rule: If you have to ask if some­thing is a red flag, then it IS a red flag. What’s that I see? It’s a “not so ter­ri­ble” guy hoist­ing crim­son-col­ored fabric up a flag­pole.

You don’t like his be­hav­ior. You’ve told him so and have asked him to stop.

Stalk­ers, bound­ary crossers, or ob­sessed lovelorn peo­ple of­ten be­lieve they are be­ing chival­rous. But there is noth­ing chival­rous about dis­re­spect­ing some­one’s stated wishes. True chivalry in­volves be­ing will­ing to sac­ri­fice your wishes and de­sires for some­one else’s sake.

This man is of an older generation, and he may not fully un­der­stand how an­noy­ing it can be to re­ceive un­wanted texts, but telling a woman that you love her af­ter she has asked you to back off is not a Hall­mark movie; it’s a Life­time movie.

Mean­while, there’s a per­fectly nice guy close to your age who is re­spect­ing your wishes. It’s your call.

Dear Amy: I am a 66-yearold man, re­cently re­mar­ried. My wife has three daugh­ters, ages 33, 31 and 29 (none are mar­ried).

She has a code­pen­dent re­la­tion­ship with all three daugh­ters. They know how to ma­nip­u­late her, and she seems to need to al­low it. This has put a tremen­dous strain on our mar­riage.

Less than a year into our mar­riage, we sep­a­rated and are close to di­vorc­ing. I feel very alone and can­not ac­cept be­ing ne­glected while she caters to her daugh­ters’ ev­ery need at the ex­pense of our mar­riage. Nei­ther of us seems to want to di­vorce, but un­less things change, it seems in­evitable.

We have sought coun­sel­ing, where she admits this and vows to change but never fol­lows through.

I don’t want to give up, but con­tin­u­ing this way is no longer an op­tion for me.

Your ad­vice?

— Mar­ried but Soon Sin­gle

Dear Soon Sin­gle: My un­der­stand­ing of code­pen­dency is that it boils down to a de­sire to con­trol. And so while your wife’s daugh­ters ma­nip­u­late her, her in­tense en­gage­ment with them is re­ally about her wish to ma­nip­u­late and con­trol them. Grown-ups need to be al­lowed to grow up. And your wife’s over­in­volve­ment is likely im­ped­ing her daugh­ters’ growth and in­de­pen­dence, which might be her ac­tual (but un­spo­ken) goal.

If she wanted to be in a ro­bust and healthy mar­riage with you, your wife would put the mar­riage at the cen­ter and en­gage with her daugh­ters lov­ingly, but not ex­clu­sively, while they or­bit. That hav­ing been said, if she can’t or won’t ad­just her be­hav­ior, you will either have to ac­cept be­ing a satel­lite in this fam­ily sys­tem or exit it al­to­gether.

Dear Amy: Re­flect­ing on the let­ter from “Stressed,” the teen hav­ing panic at­tacks, I suf­fered from anx­i­ety for years in my 40s, which was weird to me be­cause I was a yoga in­struc­tor. Fi­nally, I chose to go to a prac­ti­tioner, who im­me­di­ately put me on the per­fect med­i­ca­tion. I had anx­i­ety-re­lated asthma!

— Bet­ter Now

Dear Bet­ter: A phys­i­cal checkup should be the first stop. Copy­right 2019 by Amy Dick­in­son Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

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