Yesterday, I ran into a high-school buddy — someone I hadn’t seen in over 30 years. He stopped me at our neighborhood’s dance party, to which the whole city is invited. Out of 10,000 people, he picked me out of the crowd. I guess I haven’t changed a great deal since high school!
Catching up, he shared with me the story of his post-divorce relationship. While dating a woman for 3 years, he insists he always told her he wasn’t interested in marriage. However, near their third-year anniversary, she dragged him to her therapist and unbeknownst to him, demanded he tell her and the therapist why he wouldn’t marry her.
His response was he never intended to marry her and he’d told her that all along. If this is true, apparently she expected she would be able to change his mind, then became disappointed and angry when he didn’t. Her therapist told her she was delusional and they broke up within the month.
I, too, have been caught in the trap of thinking I could get a man to change his mind. When I first met my ex, he stated that he wasn’t looking for a relationship. He was raising his son alone, had a full-time job, and freelanced on the side. He didn’t have time for a relationship. I guess he just wanted occasional booty calls. But I, never having been married, wanted a relationship. In fact, I wanted a husband. I acted like this “no relationship” deal was fine, all the while whittling down his resistance until we were engaged eight months later and married eighteen months after that.
I had another goal in mind, one which he also stated he didn’t share. I wanted children. Since he already had a child, and is 14 years older than me, he said he wasn’t interested in more. However, I saw how much he loved and doted on his son, and I was sure he would want me to have the same experience. He loved kids, so I thought I could convince him otherwise, as I’d done with changing his mind about wanting a relationship.
I was wrong.
In retrospect, I should have believed him about not wanting a relationship, too. While he worked on making our marriage hum, I never felt he was as committed as I was. No fault to him, really. I should have believed him and looked for a man who was interested in building a family together.
I’ve been on the receiving end of someone wanting me to change my mind. When Mr. Romantic asked if I wanted to move to his city — 600 miles away — I said no. I’d told him all along I had no pull to his city. When the meltdown occurred, he threw this in my face, saying that it showed how selfish I was. Had I been more committed to the relationship, which I wasn’t after only 2.5 months, I would have at least seriously considered a move. But I was not willing to pretend I’d move to his city while we were just in dating mode. If it progressed to a committed relationship, we would have explored where we both wanted to live and found a mutually-agreeable location. His expecting me to change my mind was ignoring my clearly stated perspective.
If a man states something clearly to you — like he doesn’t want to be in a relationship or get married again — believe him. Yes, he may change his mind, but don’t proceed expecting that to happen. You’ll be disappointed and angry, and may feel you wasted your time with him. But if he told you early on his point of view and you ignored it, don’t blame him.
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