Dear Neil: I’m a 40-something religious woman with a strong, rural upbringing. The friendship I have with one man is a wonderful thing for both of us, but I want more than that with him. He doubts he’ll ever get married again. But he is such a compassionate, caring and understanding person that it seems such a waste.
What’s with guys like this anyway?
Wanting More in Rural Colorado
Dear Wanting: Some people—men and women—truly enjoy the freedom of being on their own, making their own decisions, not being answerable or accountable to anyone else, and not having anyone else’s feelings, lifestyles and needs dictate or control their behavior.
Some people are very finicky, and are difficult to get along with on a day to day basis, so they wind up alone. Other people just consider the price of a relationship to be too high. This is especially likely if they have been abused in their past, in a relationship with a great deal of anger and acrimony, with a very controlling partner, or if they have been badly rejected or betrayed.
In addition, some people are commitment phobic—afraid of committing for fear of getting hurt or controlled—while others may just be poor risk takers who let their fears get the better of them.
At the very least, let your male friend know of your romantic interest in him. Follow the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” adage.
People change their minds all the time. Perhaps he needs a push.
Dear Neil: The column you wrote about trauma recovery did not include the category of separation or divorce. Could they be major life traumas as well?
All the symptoms that you mentioned about trauma are similar to what I have experienced with my husband leaving me. I feel like crying all the time. What’s wrong with me?
Divorced in Westminster, Colorado
Dear Divorced: It sure sounds like you’re grieving to me. People who are grieving, or mourning, sometimes have a hard time doing anything except crying. People who are grieving are dealing with emotions and issues around loss. So yes, separation and divorce are indeed considered major life traumas. In fact, separation and divorce are right at the top on the list of life traumas, equivalent to losing someone because of death.
Find someone who can help you get through this experience. Yo p your heart out of another romantic involvement until you feel stronger.
Although it’s not fun, people do get through the grieving process and come out of the experience feeling more whole, expanded and grown. Permit yourself to go through the tough times now, so that you can get over them and eventually move on. There really is an end to the grieving process, although it doesn’t seem like it when you’re in the midst of suffering of a lost.
You will heal, and there will be more sunrises in your future. Keep your chin up.