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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5954
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Im a 50 year old woman in a relationship with a 54 yr old man

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Im a 50 year old woman in a relationship with a 54 yr old man I love very much. I've been in the relationship for 20 months- We now live together. My main problem is insecurity - a feeling I've never experienced before. Also my partner is currently unemployed and feeling -I think depressed.
He is a very adventurous guy and we've done lots of exciting things together. I have always felt that my responsibilities- a 19 tr old daughter at uni ( who still needs me very much) and living close to my mum restrict what I can do. I feel strongly the need to provide a secure home for my daughter whose father is an alcoholic and also to be there for my mum who has lost my dad and brother in the last 3 years.
I feel he is stifled here and his lack of job and friends/ colleagues in this area is proving too much.
He has spent most of his adult life working around the world then returning to his mums which I know he thinks of as his true home. he has always taken his children there and used it as a base. He loves his 2 children very much but has a very part time role in their lives. He has expressed his sorrow at not being around when they were growing up but his wife left him for another man when the children were very small. He did for sometime have them every weekend but when he found himself redundant he moved abroad and there started his nomadic life style.
he's a well qualified engineer but finding it difficult to find suitable posts without moving away.
I know I have been negative about this since I fear it will be the death nell of our relationship. He is a lovely, gentle understated man who draws people to him especially women. He is the man who I would like to live the rest of my life with but I am stumped about which direction to go in. Half of me wants to support anything as long as he's happy, the other half is worried that his feelings for me do not run as deep as I would like them to.
He is in a bit of a hole at the moment with regrets about lost businesses, the break up of his marriage and being in a financially precarious position at his age. I can understand all that but when I asked him a direct question ' do you still love your ex wife' he answered ' I can't say I don't'
I am devastated by this and although he split up 17 yrs ago and his ex is married and I really don't think he thinks there will ever be a reconciliation - it breaks my heart to feel he still holds a candle to her. I broke with a partner of 22 yrs , 10 yrs ago and although I too will always care about my ex and love him in certain respects. I absolutely am over him and am glad I decided to end the destructive relationship.
I feel although he is kind and always does the right thing, he is very much a youngster at heart. enjoying younger peoples' company and seeming to notice them more. there was a time , and he still does occasionally show me special attention , giving the impression that he dotes on me. However, sometimes he is withdrawn and doesn't speak to me. These times are becoming more frequent now. He has said he needs my help but I'm not sure what to do. Are my insecurities unfounded? or am I ignoring the signs that he really wants out. he says no and that he loves and wants to stay with me but all discussions of the future seem to end in a brick wall.
Any ideas where I should go from here?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you are very invested in the relationship working. And that is a good way to make a healthy and strong relationship last. You also seem to be in a good place with your family (though the situation with your mom may be stressful) and your life in general. You have worked through your past and you seem ready for a future in a solid relationship that is long lasting.

However, it does not sound like your partner is in the same place. You mentioned that he still sees his mom's place as home base, is still establishing a relationship with his kids and that he focuses a lot on his own personal needs and desires. While all those are not reasons to end a relationship, they do make it very hard to be in one. It also makes things unbalanced for you because he may be more invested in what he needs personally and not as ready to settle down and make things work between you.

Letting your needs go in your relationship to make your partner happy makes for a very one sided relationship. Yes, he may be used to travelling around the world and taking care of what he needs. But those traits are not ones that lend themselves to a good and solid relationship where both people can be happy. Someone needs to be willing to settle at least some and give themselves over to the other person and their needs before there can be a relationship, with anyone. There also needs to be a willingness to have both partners give a little in order for both to be happy together.

Your feelings of insecurity may be well based because of how your partner is acting. He seems, from your description, very much about doing things in his life that have nothing to do with a solid relationship and taking care of those around him. Your life on the other hand is doing just that. So there is a valid reason for what you feel and not just because of your own issues. Your insecurity may simply be because of your partner not being willing to settle down and focus on making a life in one place.

You can talk with him and see if he is willing to see a counselor. It may take someone neutral who can see your situation objectively to explain to him that you both have to move more toward the middle in what you need from each other in order to make this work. If he is willing to go with you, ask your doctor for a referral. Seeing a therapist can also help him rule out depression from his job loss which will also help you both. But if he is not willing to try, go on your own to talk to someone. You may need to decide if your partner's issues interfere too much in your relationship and what you want to do about it.

And also consider that you are feeling as you are because there is a good reason. A relationship needs both people willing to commit and to put the relationship first. If he is still attracting other women, feeling restless staying in one place and has unresolved issues from his family relationships he may need to work on these problems first before you can have a solid relationship where you are both happy.

I hope this has helped you,

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for that response Kate. I am reassured that my insecurities are based on reality not made up. I just need to be reasonable in the way I voice them . You didn't mention his comments about his ex wife. do you think they are automatically cause for alarm? Also, a major thing I missed out was that my partner lost his dad 6 months ago and seems to have been doing a lot of soul searching since then.

You're welcome!

Sorry about that. I did miss responding about his ex. What he said is concerning and needs addressed. He seems to have a lot of unresolved issues from his past. And if he is still feeling love for her, he needs to work through that (going back to her does not seem a possibility just going on what you said). He also could possibly mean he still loves her just because they shared kids and a life in the past but is not willing to be with her like he is with you, which he would need to clarify for you.

The death of his father could also be contributing to how he is acting. Any death of someone close may bring up feelings of your mortality which in turn lends someone to examine their own lives and how they feel about their own accomplishments, regrets and relationships. Along with the loss of his job, he may be feeling lost and unsure of what he wants. Therapy could certainly help him sort his feelings and find his path again, if he is willing to go.

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