What's new
Ageless Love

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Do you think?

kat7

New member
that age gap relationships are more prone to partners going back and forth and in and out of the relationship than same age relationships?

My "YM" and I had a little discussion about this tonight. He said, "Except for the age gap, I think we're not unlike many people who maintain long term friendships which include a physically intimate relationship, that they go in and out of over a long period of time."

I said, "Yeah, of course. There are a lot of people like that...they're called 'commitmentphobes'!" He got quite annoyed with me for the possible implication that he should be defined as such. He said "I am FAR, FAR from commitmentphobic."

Just then, the cell phone connection cut out. :eek: He tried to call me back several times, but since he was on the road, we never reconnected. It was a good place to end it perhaps (since we'd already been talking for two hours,) rather than have a pointless confrontation... ;) Mind you, we talk about everything under the sun; we rarely talk about "our relationship" because awkward moments like these always seem to arise.

But I KNOW I have commitmentphobic aspects to my personality, and he seems pretty classic. We've both been in long term relationships before obviously, but he thinks there is something better down the pike for each of us, something we're both more suited for (or at least that's been his story for the last two years.) I don't necessarily think that way, (actually, I think we're pretty compatible, hence the long term relationship so far, and part of why he keeps coming back, or never really goes away!) but,

it got me thinking: would I tolerate the lack of commitment my YM has displayed over the almost five years I've known him if we weren't in an age gap relationship? Because I've walked away from same age relationships in the past because the man wasn't willing to commit long term.

Why is this different?
 
Last edited:

kat7

New member
Trish,

Hmmm.....hmmmm.....I do think we are both still in love with each other on many levels, but I think we both know it won't work out to live together. The last thing he said to me that was even close to wishing for it "working out" was last October when he said, "I think that if we lived in the same town, we would really enhance each other's lives."

But again...here he is moving to a new state...I'm not moving there, and he's not coming back here. So I don't really think I have any delusions that it's going to "work out." He is stronger in that belief than I am....I like what we have; at times, I delusionally think I would like it better if it was "committed" but it's not, and so it just is what it is. The truth is, I want to be free to date others (as I'm doing, actually...) to see if I can find someone who actually IS willing to be a supportive partner on a more regular basis here. I do think in his new city, new state, there will be women more on his level...intellectually and socially...and that he'll find someone that he feels will fit the bill. I hope that for him anyway, just as I hope that for myself right here. But it will be really weird when it happens.

I don't think I'd necessarily say that I hold out hope that things will "work out" between us Trish. I think they're just fine the way they are quite honestly. There is a lot of interest, love, caring and attraction. If I met someone on a par with that here, or the potential to be that, I'd be all over it.

Sorry, hope I'm not triggering negative stuff for you honey pie!
Kat
 
W

Wallypop

Guest
May I jump in...?

I have a couple of commitment thoughts...

One is, you have define commitment, because I see commitment as a process - not an event. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

I think we sometimes make the mistake of making commitment = marriage and marriage = commitment. That's not an "anti-marriage" statement. It's a "pro-commitment" statement.

I think you can find a lot of "unmarried" people who are very committed to each other.

I think you can also find a lot of people who are married but not very committed.

In years of consulting... one of the things I used to tell clients was "I earn the right to comeback tomorrow every day." Wouldn't it be interesting if we approached relationships the same way? It's a lot different than "you're my lover/spouse and you are supposed to..." Shouldn't we "earn the right" to be another's lover every day?

I'm being a bit hypothetical... but in a sense I'm raising this question: are you both perhaps more committed than you realize?

I guess I'd look upward and wonder... if you keep doing what you're doing will you both look at each other 5-10 years from now and wonder why your not married?
 
L

LemonLime

Guest
kat7 said:
it got me thinking: would I tolerate the lack of commitment my YM has displayed over the almost five years I've known him if we weren't in an age gap relationship? Because I've walked away from same age relationships in the past because the man wasn't willing to commit long term.

Why is this different?

You know, it's funny that you posted this topic. This has been on my mind lately as well.

Before I met my current bf, I never wanted a commitment. We have been together for a year and a half now and it is starting to weigh on my thoughts. I sometimes wonder if I do not push the issue simply because he is younger. I have brought it up on occasion, but it seems to be a topic we both generally avoid. If he were 5-10 years older would I leave him if he was not willing to at least discuss "the possibility of our future plans"? I guess, I don't really know. I have never been with anyone that I "clicked" with so perfectly, or that made me feel as happy as he does.

I would like to say that I would not leave him if he were older, but I really don't know what I would do. I have never experienced marriage and I am starting to think that maybe I would like to have that in my life at some point.

hmmm... lol I guess I don't have any helpful input since I have some of the same feelings that you are having. sorry, confused also... :(
 
G

GoldieCat

Guest
Well, I agree with Trish, that it has nothing to do with age or age gap.

I think you are right Kat, that you and he are both commitmentphobes. That status is one where the person is always pretending they will want a commitment from somebody somewhere someday, but will pretty much always avoid that ever happening by choosing people who are just as uncommittal as they are. Since this is a comfortable and well-known state, there's really no incentive to change, or to find out why you/he are like this.

"Being committed" has nothing, actually, to do with promises or marriage or duties. It's a Being With one another, it's willingly weaving your lives together in a way that enhances them both because it feels right, it's a solidarity that just Is. It doesn't need fanfare or vows. It's when you can feel secure in the knowledge that you are a team, and there's no whiff of coercion or struggle to keep that team together.

I dunno Kat, I've seen you stir up this analysis of your deal here so often for so long, and I don't see you getting anywhere with it. It is what it is. You are not fulfilled by it, and...well I really think you're wasting your time with this guy. Whenever you decide it's not right for you, he manages to suck you right back in, and having you hanging around in his back pocket suits him fine, while he goes out and sees other women or whatever he does. Isn't that just classic?

No matter what color you want to paint the arrangement, there wouldn't be any need for this kind of re-re-re-re-visiting if it were satisfying. IMO a relationship that works is one that runs smoothly in your life so that you can spend most of your energy on other things.

I dunno, just what came to mind. *shrug*
 
G

GoldieCat

Guest
A couple of other thoughts -

Yes, you are seeing others as well. But that doesn't lead to fulfillment around -this- "relationship." And, people have also pointed out here time and time again that keeping the ex (or whatever he is) around while supposedly being open to new people just muddies the waters. We know it's hard to move on without a clean break to cleanse the palate. That's good advice.

I wanted to say, too, that one needs to beware the supposed meaning of being "in love with" someone. Looking a level deeper, it has been shown that if you're a commitmentphobe (usually with a history including an unavailable parent), a person being uncommittal with you is EXACTLY what ENHANCES their attractiveness to you. (And conversely it has been shown that in most cases, as SOON as that person DOES commit, they lose their compelling quality). This is Commitmentphobia 101 stuff. My point is only that feelings are liable to be triggered by the wrong thing as much as the right thing, if someone has certain built-in issues.

And, more a-propos to your actual thread subject Kat - for some people, probably the majority, an age-gap is another way of keeping someone unavailable. In their minds the pairing is inappropriate, so they think they are safe that things won't ever end up anywhere. That is a completely different approach from that of those of us whose only trouble with age-gaps is what -other- people hand us.

Just more thoughts.
 
G

GoldieCat

Guest
:) @ Trish...

Well...I'm a believer in being aware of one's patterns when there's a lot of drama or unfulfillment around relationships. If you understand what is motivating you, then you have a far better chance of controlling it instead of it controlling you.

Most people never get that awareness and all they can do is analyze with the tools they -do- have, but without the understanding that goes at least a level deeper, it's just spinning wheels. For some, the "tools" they go to are stereotypes, for others, more precise tools, but still not quite the right ones.

So - if you have a feeling you have some patterns - do some research! :) There's a ton of info on the net and in books, if you suspect you have commitment issues.

I know I have had commitment issues myself, during a time when -I- was less aware, and I understand these were in response to the disappointment I experienced in my first marriage. I -got- aware, I learned a lot, and now - I am very happily in a committed life with a just-as-committed man. (Love love LOVE him!)

So it is something that can be conquered. It is a matter of being willing to do what it takes to have that happen. Those who are not willing...will still be here in 3, 5, 10 years, whatever...dealing with either the same unfulfilling relationships, or new unfulfilling relationships.

:)
 
G

GoldieCat

Guest
Welllll....see, you really can't go by that. Do you truly know who the "right" person has to be? A commitmentphobe thinks that wonderful, elusive, unavailable footloose rakish character WOULD be, COULD be, Mr. Right...if ONLY he would COMMIT! But see, they picked him in the first place -because- he was an impossible challenge.

Most commitmentphobes SAY they want commitment, they just never DO it. That's why this category was invented, for those people who are mysteriously somehow always at illogical odds with being in relationships.

Yes, it IS a scary thought that some people will never break out of their patterns. But you DO know people like that.

The key to this whole thing is that there really isn't a "right" person, in the sense that a relationship is who we BOTH are. If you are of an emotional/psychological composition that attracts, and is attracted to, people who do not work out over and over and over, then you really -are- half the problem. Classic commitmentphobia might not be that problem, but whatever it is, if you keep getting the Same Result over and over (and we shall remember that saying around here, you know the one I mean LOL) then it's probably trying to tell you something.

:)
 
G

GoldieCat

Guest
Oh, it's definitely not an easy thing. And of course you're not doing it consciously, that's one of the key points about anything we do, or things that keep happening to us, that seem to contradict what we think we're going for. That's why this has all had to be defined, because we tend to believe that everything we do is our conscious choice, and it is a surprise to many to realize that, until we get the awareness I mentioned earlier, we are being driven by our unconscious needs.

I'm simplifying a bit when I say this, but - we do have more control over who finds us than we tend to think. Whatever we put out there for people to find may be a beacon of sorts for certain types. If the wrong sorts are finding you, then take a look and see what kind of person they think they're going to get when they first run across whatever you're showing the world. Maybe ask the opinion of a friend of what kind of person you seem to be from what you've got out there.

Then, there is the option of being the finder instead of the (passive) findee. A lot of women don't think it's ladylike, but ya know, there is a lot to be said for being the one doing the choosing.

In any case, we then have a choice about whom we involve ourselves with. Could it be that you're picking out the same kinds of guys from the pool of potentials because they have a certain charm you always go for? Are you discarding certain ones for the right, or the wrong, reasons? Do you really know your reasons? Not saying at ALL that you're doing anything that fosters the Mr. Wrongs, I'm just saying it's possible.

I've also said many times that personally, I do not like the mainstream dating sites, and because I have the standards and preferences that I do, I knew from experience that I wouldn't be interested in 99% of the guys I met online (from whatever venue). So, I never had the trouble of having to pull out of an investment in someone I could tell right away wasn't going to be a good bet. A date or so would be enough to see whether it was worth another or not. It is a numbers game, all we can do if we're not going to be the chooser is to keep saying "next! Next!" And not get discouraged.
 

kat7

New member
Goldie, I agree with you on many points. I DO have enormous self-awareness of what my own issues are. And I think by REMAINING in a relationship that more than likely isn't going to offer me "true commitment" I'm doing myself a big favor. Rather than breaking up and going back anymore, I'm staying in it and NOT breaking up with him and NOT CARING if he "breaks up" with me anymore. Also, by not having a real commitment to each other, we can have a healthier relationship.

Why? Because I'm tired of repeating the whole pattern over and over again....I realize more than anyone it's ridiculous nature. The merry-go-round, the futility of it, ultimately. And so, I've actually made a commitment (yes, a commitment!) to myself to stop the cycle. If I broke up with him now, I would be at a far greater risk of going out and repeating the same thing with someone else. I need to get to my core issues surrounding my mother and "fix" it, as much as I am able. That's what I'm working on in therapy right now. I'm doing EMDR, if anyone knows what that is...I think once I take care of those original "hits" of feeling unworthing, unlovable, etc. that I can break this whole cycle.

Meanwhile, does it mean my relationship can't assist me with the process? No, it actually is HELPING it....I almost LOL'ed last night at P when he said he had no problem with making a commitment. The old me, even a year ago, would have felt extremely hurt and degraded by that comment, wondering "why can't he make a commitment to ME? What's wrong with ME?" The new, NOW me thought, "Yeah, right, uh-huh...too bad you can't see the handwriting on the wall buddy." I can seperate that his delusion is about him and has nothing to do with my worthiness to be loved. If I had left him a year ago, I'd still be wondering why he didn't love me enough to "commit" to me, and now, I know why. He's the "active" commitmentphobe, and I'm the "passive" commitmentphobe.

So you see, it's all evolutionary, all developmental. I think as long as you have an awareness, it's all good. Meanwhile, we still have amazing chemistry, enjoy each other's company, and have wonderful conversations. That' can't be that bad. I can say with all honesty that it's not painful anymore, or I wouldn't do it. And in my book, that's progress.
 
G

GoldieCat

Guest
Heya Trish,

When I said you should look at how you're presenting, I didn't mean was it pass/fail, was it "positive." I'm talking about what kind of person you seem to be. There are lots of different, yet "positive," ways of being.

On a basic level, yes, we filter people by saying things like "I like hiking in the mountains" vs. "I like going to bars and seeing indie bands" or both, or neither, etc., etc. That's the -conscious- filtering based on the type of people we consciously know we prefer. But there is an overall sense of what a person might be like that comes through too, which is more of the subconscious. You know how you can tell that one person might be desperate, or lost, or full of low-self-esteem, or boastful and full of themselves, or chauvinistic, things like that.

Well, is there anything about how you present, online or wherever, that is attracting the same types of guys but not others? It's a great idea to ask those single men how you come across. :D



And Kat -

Guess I don't see things the way you do, I could debate some of your if/then statements, and assertions and assumptions, but - if you feel you're making progress then do what you think suits. I have seen life from both sides of the "futility" argument and...that just isn't the way it has to be. I also have seen how hard it is to believe that, and take action accordingly.

Anyway...
 

kat7

New member
Wallypop said:
I have a couple of commitment thoughts...

One is, you have define commitment, because I see commitment as a process - not an event. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

I think we sometimes make the mistake of making commitment = marriage and marriage = commitment. That's not an "anti-marriage" statement. It's a "pro-commitment" statement.

I think you can find a lot of "unmarried" people who are very committed to each other.

I think you can also find a lot of people who are married but not very committed.

In years of consulting... one of the things I used to tell clients was "I earn the right to comeback tomorrow every day." Wouldn't it be interesting if we approached relationships the same way? It's a lot different than "you're my lover/spouse and you are supposed to..." Shouldn't we "earn the right" to be another's lover every day?

I'm being a bit hypothetical... but in a sense I'm raising this question: are you both perhaps more committed than you realize?

I guess I'd look upward and wonder... if you keep doing what you're doing will you both look at each other 5-10 years from now and wonder why your not married?

Wallypop,

I think you raise some interesting issues. I do know so many people in "commited relationships" who do everything in their power to "get away with" various things...and don't seem very commited at all. I know for P and I it's been a long, long process of coming together and parting and coming back again and saying "I'm still interested in your life; I still care for you; I still want to know you and deepen the relationship. I still want to grow with you as your friend." I don't mean these things literally of course, but our actions indicate the above, and occasionally we do discuss it. So in this sense, it's true, our commitment to the relationship has been a process, not a decision. There have been many variables not in our favor, and yet we still hang in there.

It's doubtful that we will look back five or ten years from now and wonder why we didn't marry because neither one of us is a big fan of the institution. But I do think you are very correct that we are more commited than we realize.

Goldie, I don't know...I'm working with a very reputable LCSW, and have been for over a year. I've been following her advice and so far it's led me in the right direction. I'm more peaceful and detached than I've ever been. At least now I enjoy the relationship and don't feel angst over it, and can look beyond it (hence the dating...) but it's still a formidable force in my life and I'd be silly to not acknowledge that....
 
T

Tinkabell

Guest
GoldieCat said:
And Kat -

Guess I don't see things the way you do, I could debate some of your if/then statements, and assertions and assumptions, but - if you feel you're making progress then do what you think suits. I have seen life from both sides of the "futility" argument and...that just isn't the way it has to be. I also have seen how hard it is to believe that, and take action accordingly.

Anyway...

I agree with you there Golds.....

As I also agree with this.......:

I dunno Kat, I've seen you stir up this analysis of your deal here so often for so long, and I don't see you getting anywhere with it. It is what it is. You are not fulfilled by it, and...well I really think you're wasting your time with this guy. Whenever you decide it's not right for you, he manages to suck you right back in, and having you hanging around in his back pocket suits him fine, while he goes out and sees other women or whatever he does. Isn't that just classic?

I will be the first to admit that I 'thought' I was doing things .....MY WAY.....and I had it all under control.....and I sounded 'just' like you did, when you explained away your reasons for keeping this 'guy' in your life....

But Kats....I really think this bloody guy is doing you a huge 'dis-service'.....In love with him or not.....hes standing in the way of the door girl.....Golds can see it, as can I....

Dont you think its time you moved on.....hard as it is.....There is a much better alternative out there for you.....Don't be scared to take that 'other' path.....

;)
 
T

Tinkabell

Guest
.......and another thing...,.'


You may feel 'peaceful' and 'detached' right now....but there should be no 'need' to have to project yourself into this State, with so much Therapy.......

If this whole 'relationship?' with this P was sailing along as it 'should' be.....there would be no need to be having to put yourself in a state of Detachment.....should there?

The mind is a powerful tool....and it can decieve us in all sorts of ways.....Just be aware of that Kats....I do believe this 'guy' is still affecting you, whether you will admit it or not...

I only know this because I have been there time and time again.....I can just see it Kats....thats all :)
 

kat7

New member
Hi Tinks! Long time...

Of course this guy is effecting me! That's what human relationships are about, no? Simutaneously, from a Zen perspective, I am detached.

I am dating others. I don't think P is the be all, end all of any guy by any stretch of the imagination. But so far, I don't see anyone who challenges me, enlives me, or stretches me as a human being as P does.

Goldie said something interesting earlier in this thread I think about about a relationship being there to support you so you can expend your energy on other things. Well, I feel this relationship does that for me right now. Certainly not in any conventional way, but it's still there...I know he feels the same way.

More later...
 
B

Bella_D

Guest
I think by REMAINING in a relationship that more than likely isn't going to offer me "true commitment" I'm doing myself a big favor. Rather than breaking up and going back anymore, I'm staying in it and NOT breaking up with him and NOT CARING if he "breaks up" with me anymore. Also, by not having a real commitment to each other, we can have a healthier relationship.

Kat, just speaking from a space where I have committment and loyalty and emotional safety in a relationship, my problem with the general situation you're in revolves around `boundaries'. Our boundaries are part of what attracts and repels others, and i think if you're willing to endure an ongoing non-committal arrangement, your boundaries....and what is communicated to others..... adapt to the situation.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself correctly here, so please forgive my clumsiness. I guess what i'm trying to say is that while the `free and easy' stance may be optimal for your current situation, it could be down right scarey for a sincere guy who wants a committed partner. This is what i found anyway; if you seek committment and loyalty and a true life partner, its best to put yourself `out there' as the kind of person who wants, and is capable of, such things. And such people don't typically endure long term non-committal arrangments because its not their nature and its not comfortable. Well, thats how others can perceive it, even its that not entirely accurate.

I also found that a little lonliness is not always a bad thing, if it means you're a least being authentic. The lonliness can be the drive that makes you take risks when the right guy comes along. And its amazing how powerful friends can be....friends hooked Stu and I up. But it wouldn't have happened if I had seemed half-involved with someone else and was putting myself out there as free and easy. people around me knew who i was and what i looking for, and my actions didn't contradict that.

Personally, i have trouble reconciling you as a committment phobe. You have a great capacity for intimacy, with yourself and others. you don't back away from deep personal scrutinty, which is actually quite hard for many people. Mostly I have found that true committphobes don't want intimacy becasue they don't want to know themselves. this is not you.

Anyhow, i'd support any of your decisions, and your lifestyle. I'm just questioning whether you've merely adapted to a situation which is not entirely comfortable for you.?
 

kat7

New member
Kat, just speaking from a space where I have committment and loyalty and emotional safety in a relationship, my problem with the general situation you're in revolves around `boundaries'. Our boundaries are part of what attracts and repels others, and i think if you're willing to endure an ongoing non-committal arrangement, your boundaries....and what is communicated to others..... adapt to the situation.

Bella, thanks for taking the time to reply. I think that humans are completely adaptable to any situation. Nazi Germany comes to mind as an extreme. I'm sure you're right, that I have adapted myself to be comfortable in this arrangement. I know I have boundary issues...growing up in an alcoholic household set me up for major problems in this regard. Historically, I've either become enmeshed, or more recently (over the last 15 years post a devastating divorce) I've perhaps gone the opposite way and held others at bay. I haven't hit healthy ground there yet, and I'm well aware of it.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself correctly here, so please forgive my clumsiness. I guess what i'm trying to say is that while the `free and easy' stance may be optimal for your current situation, it could be down right scarey for a sincere guy who wants a committed partner. This is what i found anyway; if you seek committment and loyalty and a true life partner, its best to put yourself `out there' as the kind of person who wants, and is capable of, such things. And such people don't typically endure long term non-committal arrangments because its not their nature and its not comfortable. Well, thats how others can perceive it, even its that not entirely accurate.

Yeah, the easiest thing to do is to find people just like me, who DO have similar issues. That certainly seems to be what I attract. People who want to make a commitment scare the hell out of me. And yet, in my heart of hearts, I believe that's what I really want somehow, or perhaps a better way to put it is that that's what I believe my lifepath to be: in partnership.

I also found that a little lonliness is not always a bad thing, if it means you're a least being authentic. The lonliness can be the drive that makes you take risks when the right guy comes along. And its amazing how powerful friends can be....friends hooked Stu and I up. But it wouldn't have happened if I had seemed half-involved with someone else and was putting myself out there as free and easy. people around me knew who i was and what i looking for, and my actions didn't contradict that.

I spent six solid years alone in my forties. I'm not afraid of being alone. I'm always authentic, even if I'm a jerk. :D

Personally, i have trouble reconciling you as a committment phobe. You have a great capacity for intimacy, with yourself and others. you don't back away from deep personal scrutinty, which is actually quite hard for many people. Mostly I have found that true committphobes don't want intimacy becasue they don't want to know themselves. this is not you.

Thank you. I appreciate you saying those things very much. Unfortunately, I don't think self-reflection negates commitmentphobia necessarily, but I would agree with you that most commitmentphobes do avoid it. I do think I have great capacity for intimacy, in fact, true connection with others is what drives me. That's what I find so contradictory about my own personality. I don't mind scrutiny because I have fairly decent self-esteem at this point in my life, thankfully.

Anyhow, i'd support any of your decisions, and your lifestyle. I'm just questioning whether you've merely adapted to a situation which is not entirely comfortable for you.?

I would say the situation more mystifies me than anything, it doesn't really feel uncomfortable; indeed, it's probably very comforting in many ways because there is no commitment. When there was, he was anxious and moody. I was always anxious because I always felt like the bottom was going to drop out. There is no question in my mind that we genuinely love each other and that we enrich each other's lives. What is clear to me is that my life would be even far more enriched if I had a partner who I could depend on, but could I handle it? There's the rub.
 
Last edited:
T

Tinkabell

Guest
Its a tough one Kats....

But I think that is we allow ourselves to reside in a space 'with' a person that isnt giving us what we want....We are sending a message to the Universe, that this is ALL we deserve....

If you want 'more'....you need to be acting and living in a way that 'advertises' this fact......Otherwise you are just going to attract 'more of the same'.....

Even if you say you are keeping your options open....your heart seems to be telling a different story...and I fear this could 'repell' any future suitors....;)
 

kat7

New member
Tinks,

I'm sure you're correct to a large degree. And I have often asked myself, would I want another life? I don't know, cuz it's pretty damn good. I hate to mess with a fine thing. Knowing I could make it worse, or better is a risk, but I'm always up for that!!!!
 
Top