Enlightening Answers: A Younger Man and an Internet Dater

I’ve been in a relationship for a year and a half with a younger gentleman. He treats me sometimes very badly. I’ve tried to break it off but find myself miserable without talking to or seeing him. I know it’s a bad relationship to be in and I know he’s not going to change. But I’m not ready to cut him out of my life. I’ve had several bad relationships with men, but this man makes me feel loved and needed when we don’t fight and argue. Any insight you could give me would be great.

Love Sucks

Dear Love,

Sounds like you need to stop fighting and arguing. I’m not kidding. I know it sounds like a simplified answer, but it may be the difference between going from a “bad” relationship to a “good” one. Because what you’ve described is a relationship that’s both. Which happens a lot. There are good reasons we’re in the relationships we’re in, and bad reasons. So if you’re not ready to cut him loose, then focus on your “good reasons” by doing what works in relationships. And that means leading the way to love by bringing him appreciation, compliments, affection, and support – and not falling into negative, love-killing behaviors such as being critical, sarcastic, contemptuous, or shut down to him. You’re smart to know you can’t change him. But perhaps you can change your dynamics with him for the better. I see couples do this all the time. It sounds like it’s worth a try and you owe it to yourself to find out.

I’m in a relationship with a man who says he must continue to Internet date other women because he wants to be “in love”… It feels like he’s addicted to this search and so cannot be content with the long-term, grown-up love he says he feels for me. I want to know how to help him, or maybe how to leave him if he continues to stay “in love with love.”

Ready for a Mature Man

Dear Ready,

You can’t “help” such a man, and it’s not your job. Your job in your relationships (and everyone’s, by the way!) is to commit to yourself and what you want, and then to find a partner who fits what works for you so that you’ll be able to both get your needs met and naturally appreciate that person. To hang out endlessly waiting for someone to want what you want is a soul-crushing, heartbreaking, wrong approach to relationships. What I like about your story is that this man is being honest with you. Let him pursue cyber love all he wants, and please resist the temptation to try to save him from himself. He doesn’t want you to, and you can’t. And you never know – the woman meant for him may be just a click away – and the man meant for you may be as well.

Good luck!

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