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I am a 64 yr. old female who has been dating a 67 yr. old male for 4 years. This man is "very" close to one of his four children and this child's grand children. He fixes this son, and grandson breakfast five days a week, and fixes the son and family dinner 2 nights a week. He also does summer care of the grandson, and before and after school care of his grandson. I have one granddaughter and take care of her occasionally, and eat with her parents occasionally. I am constantly requested to be in an intimate relationship with this man. He likes to sleep together, and enjoys frequent sex. Although we live 30 minutes from each other and each maintain our own home. I have frequently informed him this relationship time, status, does not work for me other than, "being friends". I do not feel this man is available to commit to a real partner relationship with me, and I do not like having to constantly work around his time available and his family commitments. What do you think, and am I being fair? He feels I am denying him. I feel he is expecting something from me, but without making me feel secure in our relationship. Help, all and any advice will be taken into consideration. Thanks!!

Senior feeling peer pressure

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Hello Sherry, I wonder, does he include you at all with his family time after four years? It sounds like he has a closer relationship, perhaps, with his family. I am not suggesting that you love yours any less, as each family is unique, but is it by choice that you only see yours on occasion? I ask you because from your post this man seems to be very loving. I wonder if you have love for him. Perhaps you are hurt that you are not given as much time and devotion? Something about your situation is unsettling to you, do I think you should try to get to the real root of what that is. I don't think there should be any issue with the devotion to his family routine, unless you are simply asking to feel as if you matter beyond his frisky nsture!

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Sounds like grandpa has entrenched himself into his children's lives - and now can't get free of it, or does not want to. Unless he lets his family know that he is making more time for you in his life, this will not change. You can insist this, or risk losing him. Best case would be if you could join in some mornings or for dinner. But, don't count on it. From what you have described, he is fully invested into his family's day to day activities and it would take a lot of energy and strength for him to back off. It is what it is: decide if you want this kind of future with this man.

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Thank you Voiceand SusieDQ for your responses. Yes, I am included in about as many of his family activities as I choose. He is entrenched in his families life, and has told me that will not change. He says he loves me and wants a committed relationship, because he does not want to lose me. I have a difficult time committing to the arrangement. My issues include that we don\'t decide or plan anything, that most of our plans revolve around his availability. That is frequently a bitter pill for me to swallow. Feeling like I am being at someone\'s beck and call. He is a very good and loving man, I just feel our relationship will always continue to be his 2nd priority. That\'s why it is so difficult for me to want to be intimate with him. It\'s not on my time line, but when it seems to work for him and his family. This brings up resentment in me. My family and I are a little more flexible. He is a widower, and I am divorced, so his family has not been nearly as accepting (1st. woman after wife) as my family. It has been a hard 4 years. I do care about him very much and enjoy his company. But I see our future more as companions and friends. He wants it to be more. It is hard to let go of his friendship, companionship, yet I have a very difficult time fully committing to the relationship as it is. I feel like I\'m always between a rock and a hard spot. I do appreciate your responses, and I guess ideally yes, I would like to feel like I mattered beyond his frisky nature.

Senior feeling peer pressure

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Start dating other men. Fill your life with activities without him. See if he even notices that you are missing . . . Looks like after his wife's death, the family kept him busy. It is up to him to exert a little independence now and let them know he DOES have a new life and other commitments. But, like I said, don't count on this. The family has not accepted that he is capable of having a life outside of the family commitments. He needs to say NO once in a while. Does HE see this as a problem? Is HE mentioning that he is over committed to family? If not, then this is not going to change.

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I do keep quite busy with my own daughter, and granddaughter, and have friends and exercise activities. But he feels very neglected if I get too busy. I go over one afternoon a week and spend it with him and his grandson. We usually bake or I take some activity for the boy and myself to do. Sometimes Grandpa interacts with us, sometimes he just takes a break. But then Grandpa always wants me to stay over, and since I live about 30 min. away, I'm usually ready to just go home and go to bed around 8. I really don't have any interest in dating. It's hard work, and really as you get older, we're kinda set in our ways. I think the family mainly this son feels he is responsible to kinda take care of this guy. That's what I think he likes about having me around. He has been all mopey ever since I said I am not comfortable being intimate with him, if this relationship can not proceed forward. Which it can't on his part, and then it makes me think I don't really want to be with someone like that. When I have broken up with him before, he jumps right on the dating sites, and constantly sends me emails about how miserable he is. Which I think he is, but it makes me feel guilty, and I end up going back, because I do miss his friendship too. But it always comes to me feeling he kinda uses me, as a crutch, and otherwise. I do think I add a lot to his life. And he is a very nice, caring, man, but I'm not sure he adds a lot to my life. I am pretty independent and have a good support group of friends. I appreciate your input, and your listening to me. Thank you, Susiedq.

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Sherry, it could be that he wants this aspect of the relationship to be all on his terms (cake and eat it) with you 'on-call' like you imply, OR it could be he's trying to make you feel possessive and thereby compete - whereby the result is he gets the very better-committed, full-time relationship he's after. That's a bit of a Catch 22, though, isn't it. I'm with you, though. The clue as to priorities is in the term *Primary* Relationship. This sense of priority should precede as standard, the assumption being the relationship partner has free dibs on one's free time, with the remainder apportioned with ones partner's agreement and blessing. Certainly, that's what a full-blown healthy relationship features. However, it sounds like he wants YOU to make the first move before he'll loosen his umbilicus with his son et al. I'm sure he *does* deny it and *say* (blah-blah) that it won't change. Better that than coming clean whereby he (his fear) risks exposing himself to humiliation as the party who wants the relationship so much more. Stalemate? Who gets to demonstrate committed-ness first? Otherwise, if he truly does mean it when he says things won't change, regardless, then it does seem he wants a woman who'll slot into *his* life rather than 50/50, in which case you have a man with a sense of over-entitlement. I don't think so, though; I think my first sense is correct, particularly when I see these two statements: "But he feels very neglected if I get too busy." and "I'm usually ready to just go home and go to bed around 8. I really don't have any interest in dating. It's hard work, and really as you get older, we're kinda set in our ways." Plus, obviously he must TELL you he's jumped right back on the dating sites, correct? Gosh, how helpful of him to keep you so informed, LOL. Conclusion: Two set-in-their-ways people digging in their heels and expecting the other to be the accommodator? And yet, reading everything you've typed, it seems obvious to me under the surface that actually you *would* be more willing to sleep over, etc., if only he would demonstrate you're his top priority (because clearly you find it too hard to walk away and stay walked away). COURSE it's hard work *as things stand*. So something is going to have to change so that it's easier and more pleasurable... and that means human intervention (because nothing's going to change on its own). So who's going to take the high road here and stop the nonsense?? Hope that helps.

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Soulmate thank you so much for your thoughtful response!! I felt your sense of the situation was very insightful and intuitive. We are meeting today to "talk" about our situation. IDK if we'll resolve anything for sure, but I believe if we both speak honestly, and openly from our hearts that's the best we can offer each other. I think we will as usual do the best we can with the skills we have. I would hope that we each can accept what the other is able to offer, and appreciate what we we can share at our age. I can only speak for myself, but I'm at a point where that's who I need to take care of first. I think for too long I've tried to please others, and that is good to a point, but with my declining energy level,(i.e. age) I have to prioritize what's really most important, and I hope he can accept what I am willing, and am not willing to share, do, or be. I don't see it so much as taking the high road, as just being strong enough to stand my (his) ground for what we have to do for ourselves to first fulfill our own destiny, and if the two coincide fine, and if not, we need to allow the other the same consideration. I sincerely thank everyone for their responses. It is very comforting to feel there are people "out there" willing to give someone else's "problems", some thoughtful consideration!

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Du ist welcommen, Sherry. "IDK if we'll resolve anything for sure" I do. Because of the evidence - namely/inclusively, the fact you can't stay walked away AND THAT NEITHER CAN HE. Clearly the two of you have GOT to be together (strong mental & physical chemistry) so that means being forced to find a way or a compromise. I'm sure you *have* spent too long putting others before yourself, and clearly he's that type, too. But it's no good the pair of you reacting to that past experience by pendulum-swinging to the opposite extreme. If you imagine behaviour ranges as placements on a stick, and then see it that the stick is actually a circle that got snipped and put the two ends together, you can suddenly appreciate how closely related so-called opposites actually are, meaning systematically putting others first is as 'selfish' as doing the 'opposite', as in, both are geared towards keeping control. Whereas, you want to stay within the range marked Balanced. In other words, don't over-adjust that dial when you should only be turning it (your cases) up a notch or two. In actual fact, in a truly close, meaningful relationship the pair of you are supposed to play Swapsies: he takes care of you using gender-associated skills you lack whilst you do the same using yours. It's like that allegory about Heaven versus Hell, where a man dies, finds himself amongst others at a table laden with big bowls of food but where the only cutlery are ridiculously over-long spoons that bypass ones mouth but which have to be held at the end of the handle. In Hell the people are unable to lift food to their mouths using such unwieldy cutlery, and are starving. In heaven, the diners feed one another across the table and are sated. Don't place too much weight on the initial talks, though. A lot of men have too much pride to openly admit to backing down, but then will go ahead and do what's been asked of them anyway (like it was all their idea, LOL). Just watch his feet afterwards. Also, if you want to be very clever, try to sell what you want spun in terms of how *he'll* benefit. Because ultimately, it's true. He can't have a happy relationship if you're unhappy and vice versa. So, as you can see, ultimately, it's all about spooning. (LOL, sorry, couldn't resist.) Let us know how it goes.

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How much do you want to bet his marriage drifted into much like he lives today? overly involved with his children and grandchildren, simple life, sex once in a while, hum drum life. He may feel happy as a clam since you have slipped into this role with him. He can still do all his "obligations" and has you on the side. Get him to go away for a week's vacation with you. See how this flies with his "comfort level" within the family. Either push this towards what you want, or forget it. PS - Let him go on the dating sites. Any other woman would not put up with this, either. He's an old fashion man with an old fashion outlook on relationships.

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Thank you Soulmate and Susiedq, I appreciate your time and attention to my post. Actually I understand several of your comments and analogies Soulmate, but I have a difficult time synthesizing them into specific meaningful behaviors. If you understand what I'm trying to say. I do understand the "opposites" in theory, and sometimes in practice, but even with the understanding of the concept, I'm not sure how I see it relates to control? I feel like somehow I'm not getting a big piece of the puzzle. Regarding our talk, actually mostly me talking. We just seem to go in circles with yes, kind of a stalemate. He is very good at allowing me to express what I need to say, and he does not justify his own behavior too much, we just can't ever find any real solutions. I don't really want to just break up with him for numerous reasons because we've gone down that route several times before, and end up getting back together and it seems we just keep going in circles. Nothing ever changes about the relationship. We get along fine when we're together, but both our minds are busy when we're apart. Right now I feel very overwhelmed by the inability to fix, or change things so they are okay for both of us, and I fear the situation is giving us both anxieties. We have been to counseling, and I was told I either have to accept things as they are, or let them go. I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard spot. It also makes him very anxious because he doesn't know what I'm going to do. So as much as I think we care about each other, we also are not so good together, for each other. More confused and frustrated. I guess maybe I just need some time to sit and think about it. Or I need to get a job, and stop thinking about it, (everything) so much. Guess I'll call my counselor tomorrow. Thank you again for your listening, reading, and time spent replying to my post. I really wish I could step back so to speak and see this from the outside.

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Don't be so hard on yourself, Sherry. If it were easy to see ones own woods for the trees then where would be the need for counsellors, agony aunts and forums like this one? Thanks for reporting back. Don’t worry about applying the meanings in the analogies to your exact situation; that’ll come once you’re calmer and less preoccupied. If you re-read my last post I did warn you not to listen to the initial blahs (or lack of them) and to give it a few days for your concerns and requests to sink in whilst watching what (and if) he starts to *do*. Men, particularly of his generation, tend to communicate more in actions, including their responses to requests. Again, being too hard on yourself (and him). Prime example: Keeping the garden tidy is one of my husband's self-appointed roles (we're moreover traditionalists, he Tarzan, me Jane, swapping any role aspects willingly-consensually only). I've been lately asking if he could put the garden hoover-blower around (it's covered in leaves and crap) because another little heatwave’s on the way, ...and then again last night. He twice said he thought he had too much on this week. So do I, but I prefer to get on with things myself rather than have to wait around at someone else’s mercy. So last night, I said, 'Actually, don't worry, I appreciate you're busy so I'll do it if you like? The hoover's a bit unwieldy and heavy for me [it's a monster of a one] but.. if you can do it, surely I can? And perhaps it can from then on become *my* job! [smile]'. Just like your fella, HE SAID NOTHING IN RESPONSE. Yet next thing I know this morning? Yup, you guessed it! Nice tidy garden. (My man is just an especially speedy reactor.) :-) How come he acquiesced? Lots of reasons: First, I didn't push/nag as achieves nothing with very manly/proud/egotistical aka stubborn men except them digging in their heels in reaction to being 'bossed around'. Two, like most men he thinks he needs me to need him in practical ways (to help him remain lastingly secure in my affections) so my offer posed as a threat to his 'provider' status...and men are possessive/territorial creatures ("TARZIE’S garden and tools, not Jane’s, meh!"). Fourthly, picturing me struggling with that monster probably triggered guilt, him feeling like a cad. Finally, my implication about anything he can do I can do (possibly better), challenged his male pride. Understand, I didn't set out to manipulate him (well, not consciously, heh) but the just end result was the same and that's all that matters. Since your fella listened attentively, that could be taken as a sign of encouragement, a good start. The jury is still out, in other words. But here’s the rub, I suspect: You were rejected before suffering loss and so was he (not rational, granted, but a lot of bereaved individuals experience anger at their late spouse for having ‘left them’, so it amounts to the same thing). His son, therefore, seems like his sole constant …one that needs him long-term equally. As such, as a ‘portfolio’ that’ll guarantee-ably yield a return, son is a SAFE beneficiary of his emotional time and investment. You he’s not so sure about yet. He’s wary of investing until he can tell guaranteed returns will feature. He wants YOU to lay the first card before and so that he will. At the same time, like you he hopes the fact that neither of you “can” successfully stay away means it’s just a matter of time before one of you cracks. He hopes he’s better at enduring self-denial (despite the evidence runs contrary given that you weren't the one who leap onto the websites in search of distraction/relief), so he’s holding out for as long as he can muster. As I say – standoff. I MUST be correct to hold hope on your behalf, otherwise, how can he be so accommodating and giving to his son yet just not to you??? Doesn’t compute, does it, when usually an over- generous nature has trouble being selective and will express widely/indiscriminately towards members within one genre (family/friends). I repeat, it boils down to faith and the fact his son shows he NEEDS HIM TOO. He daren't learn to depend mainly *on you* whilst worried you could up and leave him at any moment through not needing him equally, unlike son. He’s being a bit of a romantic coward …BUT WITH (experiential) JUSTIFICATION. Are you? Neither of you will have settled back to being your natural selves just with slight improvements. Having blamed them, you're both trying to fight and suppress your more self-sacrificing natures - in order to avoid yet more hurt of rejection then loss. It's entirely natural following whatever shape/form of breakdown of ones prior relationship (and as I say, that includes having chosen a woman who went and died prematurely on him). But this misguided over-adjustment really doesn't help make the relationship development/bonding path as smooth as it could be. Plus it’s wrong. “Right Qualities (mine), WRONG RECIPIENT (the ex, incl. one that dies prematurely)” should be the conclusion, not trying to suppress those very qualities that make you both your true intrinsic selves. Me, I think it's far too soon to throw in the towel when, as I say, evidence shows he doesn't have a problem whatsoever with showing commitment/investment, loyalty and dependability per se. It's just the WHO/WHAT that's the scary issue. He just needs encouragement to aim it in YOUR direction. Do you agree that stands to reason? Back to the standoff… Compromise not does have to feature synchronicity. There's such a thing as takesie-turnsies. And also such a thing as EQUITY if not straightforward, more visible equality. He's a man. Practical and pragmatic and receptive to business-like negotiations. If you wanted to, you could quite easily say to him something like, "Listen, I'll do you a deal: you spend one day less per week running around after your son/etc. and I'll stay the night one (or one extra) night per week..and then we'll see if we both then start to feel more confident about taking things even further/deeper....How does that sound? Because this is still a case of, WHO'S GOING TO BREAK THE STANDOFF BY MAKING THE FIRST MOVE, THE FIRST SHOW OF *SEMI-BLIND FAITH*? Who’s got the bigger b*lls? Does it even MATTER who moves first given that irrefutable proof already abounds regarding NEITHER of you being capable of living happily without the other? I’d say in that case it doesn’t. I’d say this isn’t even about who loves/needs who most (although, actually, I’d put my money on it being him). It’s about who merely is the emotionally stronger and more resilient one as affords greater initial bravery. (As I take cover from an anticipated flurry of rotten tomatoes: ) as the woman, THAT’S YOU. Men have the tangible muscle, women have the invisible emotional version (nature is very fair). Get on with it… Show him you don’t just want but NEED him - in real and *lasting * ways - and, more importantly, MORE THAN SON DOES. …Although, by all means frame it within the abovementioned deal proposal as a way to save face. Your alternative is to TRY things his way for a trial period. .. by which I mean properly – with an open attitude this time – making the fact it’s a trial run plain. At least then you’ll have a leg to stand on if/once you find you still really can’t abide it, meaning the onus then falls undeniably onto him to try things more your way, take his turn. If he at that point still refuses, at you’ll be left knowing for a fact it really was always a case of Right Person, Right Place, WRONG TIME: he wasn’t suitably back to full health as enables readiness to do the hard graft of a relationship as earns its perks, as includes compromise, meaning this time you’ll find it easier to walk away and STAY away. A clean conscience, an inability to reproach yourself, convincement to point of CONVICTION, is a very powerful mental aid which even the strongest temptation is no match for.

Senior feeling peer pressure

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(sorry, that should have read 'better at enduring self-deprivation')

Senior feeling peer pressure

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In your first post, you stated that you do not like having to work around your partner's lifestyle and timeframe and that you feel he's not long term partner material because of his non committal. You are not being unfair to him, rather he expects you to just keep on going and therefore in a sense, he's being unfair to you. Frankly, you are being unfair to yourself by allowing this situation, where you are unhappy, to continue. Your partner may be very good at letting you express yourself about the situation but is he just hoping that you will eventually just accept it? If you're not feeling secure in this relationship then your counsellor, (and other posters here), are correct in every way..you either accept it or move on from it. One thing comes to mind, if this man loved, needed and dare I say it, respected you totally, after 4 years, he would have made you his in every way.

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Yes, Manalone, the last sentence in your response has frequently weighed heavy on my mind. He has said he would marry me, but I do drag my feet on that for several reasons. Financial situation being one of them. We are from, and have two quite different life styles. I also have experienced my mother remarrying after my father's passing, and without a will her late husband inherited 1/2 of my brother and my inheritance. It is not the most important things, but it makes me want to guard the inheritance I leave my children. He feels the same way about his children and only has his home as his legacy. Neither of us wants to sell our homes, and he would not be able to maintain his grandson's child care if he moved in with me, for we live some 30 minutes apart. I think he would probably follow through with a commitment and personal ceremony if I would agree to it, and since he is a widower (married 41 yrs.) probably willing to commit. I can not accept living with him and making the same commitments on a daily basis to his son and grandson. I truly fear it would kind of take over my own life. The thing is we would not be able to live together. I have considered moving in with him, but I would be moving away from my family and friends, and moving into an extremely different life style than I am accustomed to. Also I have independently raised my two grown children, and unlike him have lived pretty independently, so I feel I would be giving a lot of that up. I have proposed "friends", and as he calls it activity partners, which he is not particularly happy about. We do both enjoy each others company, and many similar activities, but at our age, and grown families it is very difficult to blend all the variables. Free me it alleviates a lot of the pressure and resentment I feel from the relationship. IDK how it will work out. I do appreciate your thoughtful response.

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Soulmate, thank you for your detailed and thoughtful response. I received it in my email, but do not see it listed on the site. I may have done something wrong when signing it. A little history on the situation. This gentleman's first born 10yr. old son hung himself almost 45 years ago. The son he is now so close to was born to take the place of the first son. It is a very sad situation, and I don't know or understand all the situation. But I believe this man has dedicated his life to keeping this son, and his grandson safe. I think his wife never fully recovered from the loss, and the man took over most of the child rearing and care taking of this particular son. There are 3 other older children and the mom was their primary care taker. This gentleman does not have the same relationship with those kids, and sees them much less frequently. Also the gentleman told me when his wife passed this son, was "his rock". So I think the boy kind of took on care taking of the dad. The the grandfather retired to baby sit the grandson when he was about 1 yr. old. I think you're accurate about the son and father. They boy rely on each other quite heavily. And as I said this is a very good, and gentle man. I will consider your idea of "taking turns" I know he will not give up one day of taking care of his grandson, not on a regular basis. He has offered to tell his son he can not get his grandson after school on Friday so that we might go out of town for Friday and Sat. I have the sense he sometimes does this as much for himself (because he does get wore out) as for me. He would not do it for himself alone though. So I guess it is for both of us. I think you do have a very good point about him needing to feel I need him. I am NOT very good about being vulnerable in that way at all. Since I know he would not give up any of his present duties cooking for his kids 2x a week, and 5 days of day care, I'm not sure I see another negotiating item. But I will think on it, and sure enjoy and appreciate your responses and suggestions. Thank you.

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Sorry, I'm an amateur magician and was just practising my invisibility act on you. Nice to see it worked. Nah, LOL, it was just a technical glitch. All sorted now. :-) But, now, Sherry... this whole issue runs far deeper than your OP suggested, doesn't it. 1. Your mother's 'replacement' relationship wasn't the problem, the lack of a Will was. 2. The biggie... People constantly make this mistake (until life bum-spanks the silly attitude out of them) so you're not alone, but... It is simply not possible to have a *portion* of a relationship. You're either in or you're out. We're ambitious beings first and foremost (hence can evolve), a drive which gets applied even to our romantic relationship alongside the primitive mating programme marked 'This Way and This Way Up & Round'. If a relationship isn't situated on the bona fide train track as heads for a terminus (one entity, four legs, twice the happiness), via set stations, it'll have nowhere real to go and inevitably derail... a matter of When, not If. Our conscious minds might LIKE the idea (and even the reality for a while) of Casual/All The Perks, Not All Of The Work, BUT OUR NATURES DO NOT. No matter our own doing - we start to feel short-changed, start finding whatever tangible faults seem to fit/explain that nasty itch, start whinging and acting-up... It creates a negative interactional loop...round, down, round, down...SPLAT! "Married" or Single/Single or "Married". No inbetweenie. Me, I had to learn that one the hard way. The only way you can maintain a casual affair for any decent length of time is by never getting mentally close to the worthwhile degree that triggers that ambition drive. But that then presents a sense of meaningless and futility... 'hamster on wheel'. We do not pairbond in order to eat, sleep, work, play. It's the other way around. We're put here to procreate...via pairing up...TIGHT. And even if we pass childbearing age, the main programme never lets up. The rest is all just facilitating details... Padding... Stuff to do when we're not sh*gging or preserving/maintaining and strengthening the glue. You're in conflict spiritually and materially/practically. Been on your own too long. You want to have your cake and eat it. *You're* the one who has mental blockades to committing, and he's reacting to that by not daring simply to TRANSFER his EXISTING pairbond behaviours that he's keeping active temporarily via his own son, towards his (supposed) real McCoy - you. (Obviously there are father-son behaviours going on, but I'm talking beyond that.) Look at the evidence: he's treating his son as if his son were his WIFE. Your own family attachments are self-evidently a lot looser. 'Houston, we have a bit of a commitmentphobe (or commitment-shy)'. Is it temporary or established or intrinsic? You're going to have to decide. Sure, you can try to arrange things to make that scary level of committedness and bondedness as least 'taxing' as you can manage. Sure, why not? Just because you have to choose a seat, doesn't mean you can't upholster and add throw cushions. But you should not be trying to put yourself off a man you CLEARLY have strong feelings for, using mere rationale. You didn't fall in love with him via your rational side, did you now. And I don't agree he's naturally selfish and wilful (as already pointed out). Yes, if he were everyman, I'd agree he's being pig-headed and selfish. BUT HE'S STILL IN BEREAVEMENT. This provides the only fair context whence comes an exceptional light by which to judge. So it's no good you trying to put off your heart using your head. Only your heart can put off your heart and only your head can put off your head. UNLESS THE TWO ARE IN 100% AGREEMENT - A TEAM. *Life* is a relationship! If you get caught up in a barbed wire fence, the only way out without suffering yet more damage is to reverse out the same way as you went in. Excuse the analogy because unlike barbed wire, there are far many more benefits, advantages and pleasures to be had out of an all-singing, all-dancing romantic union. But my point is, and it bears repeating a 100 times: you cannot REASON your way out of mental/emotional attachment (which is what you're HALF trying to do ...and then half not, LOL). See what I'm saying? And - more to the point - neither can you stay comfortably enmeshed or extricated unless you're very clear on WHAT IT IS YOU ACTUALLY *WANT*. WHICH DO YOU WANT *MOST*? Make your hemispheres start cooperating like a team and then you'll get a WHOLE decision - because only a bona fide/complete decision begets action. Conflict lands you in paralysis, with only your helpless mouth at liberty to do anything (whinge, whittle, whinge, whittle...). You are not self-united. You are literally in two minds... your body simultaneously trying to [a] go forwards and out the other side of the fence and [z] backwards to where you were before you met him, in the erroneous anticipation of being able to find some halfway house - neither in nor out. Again - NOT POSSIBLE. So this is about increasing your mental resourcefulness and inventiveness/creativity whereby you can *remain* - and comfortably/happily - in one or other situation. It's about being cleverer with seeking potential solutions. 1. Live at BOTH houses - half and half or alternate or weekdays at yours, weekends at his (but together is the point). Then no-one has to give up either house. And anyway, you have to mentally COMMIT before that one comes up next on the agenda. A bit cart before horse, therefore. 2. Pre-nup. He might find this insulting, but, hey - that's the risk you take, you can't have it both ways. 3. ...Over to you - because this is YOUR 'style' to get over on your particular life path. If you over-help a butterfly to break out of its cocoon rather than let it struggle, you destroy the very process that builds wing strength, meaning the minute it emerges and takes to the air - WHEEEEE, plop!...its life as a flying entity is over already. You've already had evidence that you can't reject this guy from your life in expectation of avoiding serious heartache for however long as part and parcel, so what more motivation does a body NEED to try harder to find a way around all the undesirables, impediments and impracticalities? However, reading your last... We have ANOTHER issue in the mix: his misplaced guilt monster (failure to prevent/save) and attempts to feed it so it'll stay mainly sleeping. And you can bet your bum that his wife's fairly recent death just brought it all back to the surface again. But no WONDER he wants his choice of partner to join him in that sentry role! Unless he gets counselling for this, no, he won't ever ease off his son. That's ease, not leave, because there's an ongoing mutual 'joint bank account' in existence that contains a considerable sum from lengthy, depositing of funds from both sides. But what's this? "He has offered to tell his son he can not get his grandson after school on Friday so that we might go out of town for Friday and Sat." PROGRESS!!!!!!! See? His feet are starting to move! :-) Here, do you suppose your very act of COMPLAINING showed you DO care more than he originally thought (because a fly-by-night sees no need to try to change a thing)? (That's a rhetorical question, btw ;-)) Let me leave you for now with these eye-openers: 1. The most vulnerable people in the world are those who think linking up with other people creates vulnerability and go about their lives behaving like they're islands. Sure, there are always risks in anything we do, including crossing the road. But that's life for ya, can't do anything about that. But what's a fact is that the LONE pack animal is the one that inevitably becomes lunch! 2. If you survey a race track and consider that you've no chance of winning first place, you destroy the very mechanism that pushes you to run at a winning speed. You think, 'No point in busting a gut, I'm not going to win, anyway'. And because you then fail to bust a gut, you end up attracting the very thing you feared: losing. Like your driving instructor once told you: if you focus on the oncoming cars out of fear of colliding, then collide you will. Focus on the road ahead. Not the horizon, not 5ft in front of you. The median ground. 3. Every cloud has a silver lining ergo every silver lining has a cloud. There's no such thing in this world as 'better'. Every single thing has its equal share of up and downsides. There is only 'different'. If that's not a win/win truth situation I don't know WHAT is. Stop trying to protect your heart and ego or you'll have even more reason next time to believe you need to protect your heart and ego, Sherry. Yours, Ex-giant-commitmentphobe (who's so ucking happy thanks to finally making a life decision she even almost expletes in a public place and looks constantly like she sleeps nightly with a coathanger in her mouth). PS: "Blimey, doesn't she go on!" LOL

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Sherry - if you two get married, or decide to live in, then get an NEW house to both of you; rent or sell both of your houses. Start fresh. I don't recommend marriage now. There's too much compromising that has to be done. And the very best that you are going to get is the compromised version. Hire a day care person for this grandchild a few days per week, especially Fri. AND then make him get away, even if it's just to the neighboring town with just you. If you really want this man, then you are going to have to MAKE THIS HAPPEN. Come up with some creative ways to get what you want. He needs therapy. He has delayed grief from that tragedy with his child and his wife's death revisits that grief. INSIST that he go talk to a male grief counselor. Your local funeral parlor can give you a referral. Good luck. Don't do anything in a hurry. He has a lot of therapy work to do and you need to find out why you hang on to an emotionally unavailable man.

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Thank you SusieDQ for your response again. We have discussed the logistics of a NEW place. Then we run into if /when (remember we're in our 60's) something happens to one or the other of us, the other person would have to sell the place, because the heirs would be involved in the finances. Yeah, I don't think marriage is necessary for either one of us. Neither of us have any "cheating" history. You know I think for quite a few of the past four years I believed a change might come about because of what I thought was his desire to BE WITH ME, but I learned through our counseling, this is who he is, can I accept it as it is? Hence, I continued to try, but what I've concluded is that I can't be intimately connected with him, with the situation as it is. As long as I can keep the relationship on a FRINDS basis I'm okay, with not EXPECTING anything MORE from him. We have been to counseling together, and this is who he is. In some ways I respect him for standing up for what he believes, but I feel it also limits OUR options. I do not believe in pressuring someone to do something I want, because they would just end up resenting me. I'm not very good at manipulation. I think some therapy might be a good idea simple to help him deal with his past grief, and probably guilt, but again I think one has to come to that decision on their own. I have enough trouble making good decisions for myself, how could I be confident in knowing what is best for him? Just because I want it? I also agree with Soulmate, that I have commitment aversion issues to some degree. This particular situation pushes those buttons in me. Thanks so much for your thoughtful response SusieDQ.

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Soulmate thank you for your thoughtful and thought provoking response. I'm not sure WHERE to begin with processing all you said. I see what appears to be many glaring truths, things I don't quite understand, and some things I need to mull over to fully digest. We are getting ready to leave for a camping trip early Friday morning, and since Thurs. I've dedicated my time to my daughter and granddaughter, I'm busy cooking and packing today. I'm going to take some time and think hard on the many thought provoking ideas you have placed before me. I sincerely appreciate your response, and so much of what you've said resinates within. Thank you for your perceptions, and for being present to discuss my situation!!

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Sorry, Sherry, didn't mean to foie gras you. You take your time, I'll go at your pace. ...Not that I condone you under-estimating yourself because I couldn't fail to note YOUR feet are already making changes, too: "and since Thurs. I've dedicated my time to my daughter and granddaughter,". !! :-)

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