Was friendship the right thing to offer?
Hi there. I'm Sarah, single mum to my two teenage sons one of which has autism, OCD, anxiety and sensory difficulties and who I care for and home educate. I have no respite but my parents visit each week to support where they can although they do find it difficult at times.
I'm seeking a listening ear and hopefully another point of view on my situation.
I've been seeing a guy who I've been meeting for socially distanced walks over the last 3 weeks, and we've been chatting on the doorstep and when we bump into one another whilst he is out on his rounds (he's a postman) over the last 6 months..
I enjoy his company, our walks, and random chit chat and likewise he has said he does too. I was unsure how to proceed with regards to a relationship as this was what he was indicating when we first met up for our walks 3 weeks ago. I felt very cautious and unsure of what I felt able to offer. I explained my feelings of caution and the situation with my son to him and asked to take things slowly and see how it goes be that friendship or maybe something more.
I took things a step at a time, and I thought very carefully about things over the last 3 weeks. We went for a walk on New Year's day and he asked me how I felt things were going. I thanked him for being so patient and understanding with me over the last few weeks. I said to him that I had been feeling a bit unsure how to let him know my feelings for fear of hurting him, but I realised that I needed to be honest with both him and myself. I explained that my situation at home with my son is somewhat complex and unpredictable, meaning that with time constraints, lack of respite, support etc friendship is all I realistically feel able to offer right now. I told him that I value the friendship we have developed, and would very much like that to continue, and hoped that he would like that too. He said that he understood and was happy to be friends as he enjoys my company and he's just glad that I still want to put up with him. I told him I don't put up with him but that he is a nice person and I enjoy his company.
I'm feeling glad that we can continue to enjoy one another's company and our friendship. But if I'm very honest I know I would like more, and as far as I'm aware I think he still does too.
Is it wrong of me to offer him friendship knowing that deep down I would like it to have been able to become more? I didn't feel it at all fair on him to enter into a relationship when I know I won't be able to devote the time to nuturing all that comes with that. I chose friendship because I could see that I was enjoying his company and vice versa but I was fully aware a relationship is something I'm not able to offer.
I'd really appreciate your views/voice of experience because this is new territory for me.
Thanks for reading..
There's nothing wrong with wanting and needing more from your relationship with this guy just as there's nothing wrong with offering friendship, regardless of the circumstances. All successful relationships are firmly grounded on friendship first which develops trust, whether they go further or not. Going by your post, he comes across as an understanding guy, and it's obvious he knows that any relationship or friendship with you is special and unique, whether it's serious or not.
Regardless, this situation is your call without anyone judging you, let alone you judging yourself, and you well know what you have to do to be happy and content. You need to follow your gut instinct and if continuing to be just friends with this guy is the done thing to do without taking it further, then so be it.
I agree. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Keep it simple and casual.
BTW - have you explored all your avenues about getting some respite help with your son? There are many agencies now that do offer that. While I know you want to be a good parent, your son’s caretaking should not take up so much of your time that you don’t have any kind of a social life or time for yourself.
Good luck and find some enjoyable time for yourself.
Thank you both for your replies, it's very much appreciated. I am following my gut instinct as best I can. The more we've met, walked and chatted the more we've found out about one another and the nice thing is that it feels relaxed, I am being myself and to be honest I've only ever felt that way with my long term ex-partner who I split up with over 8 years ago. I can honestly say I was in love with him but we drifted apart due to a number of reasons but we ended as friends. He's the only person I can truly say I loved.
Sorry, I have digressed. My gut feeling says that although I feel I would like to be able to offer more I need to take it slowly and enjoy his company and friendship and not to rush into anything.
I have unfortunately explored all avenues I can with my son to no avail. My son will not engage with anyone other than close family. Until he is in a position to engage with professionals or otherwise and acknowledge his difficulties, they will not help or support us. It's hard to explain my situation without going into great detail.
He is nearly 16 and I'm doing my utmost to help and support him towards living independently in the future whilst trying to manage his difficulties.
I do feel sad that my life has become so restricted but I have hope that it won't be this way forever because I will work hard for it not to be.
In the meantime I remain grateful for having my friend in my life and sharing his company.