I had a wonderful first date with a beautiful woman I can’t seem to forget. We spent five hours talking over dinner, and it felt like 30 minutes had passed. But I have one lingering doubt. Whenever she talked about her ex-boyfriend, she got this look in her eye, the look every man wants a woman to have when she thinks about him. She says they are friends, she loves him and she calls regularly to see how he is doing. She says it would never work out long-term because he has an anger problem. They dated for two months, and he was abusive, emotionally and somewhat physically. Am I crazy to hesitate? This woman is everything a man would want.
For you, hesitation is self-love in action. Never pursue a woman who is pining over an ex-partner. Run like hell from a woman who imagines herself in love after two months of abuse. Keep running until you admit that she checks in with him because she hopes the relationship will reinvent itself someday. And, yes, it could. He could go to counseling and, with devoted effort, transform himself into a man who can transmute his anger. In the meantime, you are waiting for her face to go flush with infatuation when she thinks of you. Here’s a little secret: She will never think of you that way until she stops thinking of him that way, and she will never stop thinking of him that way until she stops all contact with him. Whew! Get it? When she checks in with him, she is stoking the fire that keeps her lust alive. You are doing the same thing when you obsess about her desirability. So stop. Telling yourself that she is every man’s dream seduces you into believing that other men want what you could possibly have. But you can’t have her because she is not emotionally available. She’s involved. Thinking otherwise keeps you in denial. Thinking otherwise pumps up unhealthy parts of your ego. Is that what every man wants? (Of course not, darlin’, and that’s why you hesitate.)
My husband died 12 years ago. I leaned heavily on his parents for support, as it was the darkest point in my life. I am not close to my parents, and his family treated me as their own. A year ago, I unexpectedly met a lovely man who I have been dating. I have kept this a secret from my former in-laws, because I am afraid it will hurt them. However, the relationship is now serious, and I would like to introduce him to my daughter and to my in-laws. What would be the best way to handle this situation?
Transparently. Visit your deceased husband’s parents and tell them that you believe you have been given the gift of love again. Open your heart and explain how much this gift means to you. Remind them how much they mean to you, too. Invite your in-laws to meet your new man. Choose a neutral location, like a cozy restaurant you never visited with your in-laws or your new man. Let your boyfriend know how sensitive the situation is, but stop yourself from worrying. Instead, trust him to be the wonderful man you are in love with. During the meal, someone will probably mention your husband. Lean into his memory like a blessing. On the other hand, if your in-laws refuse to meet your boyfriend, don’t take it personally. It may be difficult for them to see you moving forward or to imagine another man raising their granddaughter. Don’t try to change their minds. Trust that life is unfolding exactly as it should on a timeline that is not yours to control.
“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today,” said cowboy humorist Will Rogers. Are you living the resurrection?