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By Tom Blake
I received an email from Sharon, 66, who lives in Georgia. She wrote:
“I have a boyfriend in California. We’ve had a long-distance relationship for two years. He’s 68.
“We love each other, but he is dragging his feet when it comes to moving forward with the relationship. He thinks three circumstances are a big problem for us: 1) The 3,000 miles between us. 2) I have kids and grandkids I am close to; and 3) He doesn’t know what he’ll be doing after he sells his house.
“He doesn’t see how to ‘advance’ the relationship and has even put visits ‘on hold’ while he is working on his home, so he can sell it and move on and enjoy his retirement.
“We’ve been together four times. He still likes to travel and vacation with me—things are wonderful when we meet. He calls me twice a week, texts almost daily, and still sends gifts.
“I sent him a letter to let him know that this ‘in-limbo’ situation is not good for my mental or emotional health, so I am taking a month with no contact with him to pray and heal my emotions. I wonder what step to take next.
“I love this man and find it hard to concentrate on dating others, as he said he wouldn’t want to hold me back from a casual golf outing, etc., with a guy if I wanted to.”
I responded to Sharon: “What do you want him to do? Who would move? Him to GA? Or you to CA (away from your kids and grandkids)?”
Sharon answered: “I have given each of us one month ‘to process’ the relationship. Since last August, we haven’t had any concrete plans, and communication has trailed off. Am I even in a relationship? I understand his home-renovation project, and the stress he is under. I don’t feel that the project is a good enough reason to put our relationship on hold.
“I want to make sure he really feels the love and wants to continue our relationship. Not being able to and not wanting to are two different things. I sense our connection is being lost, including our physical connection. (COVID has nothing to do with our being away from each other, although he did get it once).
“During the first year, even though there were all kinds of hindrances to our seeing each other in person (flu, his sister’s death), I felt his steadfast love and care.
“I needed one month away to think and heal. After the month is up, I welcome him to contact me. Life will always have ‘big projects’ and stressors, and we can put things on hold, but not people and relationships.
“Which one of us should call after the no-contact period is up? What should he or I say? I didn’t give any ultimatums or ask any questions; just told him I was going to get some quiet time to heal myself and my emotions and pray about God’s direction for my life.”
Tom’s comment: Long-distance relationships are difficult. They’ve been together four times in two years. She’s way over-thinking the relationship. Her self-imposed “no-contact” period is an ultimatum that may be the nail in the coffin. She may have turned him off. I told Sharon that she should call, but he might not pick up the phone.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.