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Wondering if I've done the right thing?

 
 
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 04:04 am
Hi.. I'm seeking a listening ear and hopefully another point of view on my situation.

I'm single mum to my two teenage sons one of which has autism, OCD, anxiety and sensory difficulties and who I care for and home educate. I have no respite but my parents visit each week to support where they can although they do find it difficult at times.

I've been seeing a guy who I've been meeting for socially distanced walks over the last 3 weeks, and we've been chatting on the doorstep and when we bump into one another whilst he is out on his rounds (he's a postman) over the last 6 months..

I enjoy his company, our walks, and random chit chat and likewise he has said he does too. I was unsure how to proceed with regards to a relationship as this was what he was indicating when we first met up for our walks 3 weeks ago. I felt very cautious and unsure of what I felt able to offer. I explained my feelings of caution and the situation with my son to him and asked to take things slowly and see how it goes be that friendship or maybe something more.

I took things a step at a time, and I thought very carefully about things over the last 3 weeks. We went for a walk on New Year's day and he asked me how I felt things were going. I thanked him for being so patient and understanding with me over the last few weeks. I said to him that I had been feeling a bit unsure how to let him know my feelings for fear of hurting him, but I realised that I needed to be honest with both him and myself. I explained that my situation at home with my son is somewhat complex and unpredictable, meaning that with time constraints, lack of respite, support etc friendship is all I realistically feel able to offer. I told him that I value the friendship we have developed, and would very much like that to continue, and hoped that he would like that too. He said that he understood and was happy to be friends as he enjoys my company and he's just glad that I still want to put up with him. I told him I don't put up with him but that he is a nice person and I enjoy his company.

I feel glad that we can continue to enjoy one another's company and our friendship, but I'm worried that he is still hoping for more than friendship. He's a nice chap but friendship is all I'm willing to offer as I'm not in a position to embark on a relationship and I also don't feel that way about him, hence my offer of friendship. I'm just not sure if I've made that particularly clear though with what I said to him?

I'd really appreciate views/voice of experience because this is new territory for me.

Thanks for reading..
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 06:58 am
You can never have too many friends. Keeping that in mind just allow this to happen on whatever timeline that is comfortable for you.

However .... I see that you don’t really talk about having a strong feeling for him or there being a “spark” or “turn on” for you. You just keep saying he’s a “nice “ guy.

If he’s OK with just a friendship that’s fine but it really does sound like he would like to move this along to something more. So if you don’t think that it’s really going to go anywhere then you need to let him know that there are boundaries to the friendship.

In any case, YOU are in control, so set your own boundaries - or your own invitation.



0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 08:14 am
@Cottonclouds,
Guys like to know where they stand and many of us are happy to have a friendship such as you describe. He still might still be hoping for something more but as long as you take care not to lead him in that direction he will adapt to lowered expectations in time.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 08:33 am
@Cottonclouds,
I think you should end it. He is looking for a real relationship. If you are not available for a real relationship then there is nothing there.

1. If you are open to a real relationship, you should tell him what you need. There is nothing wrong with a single mom dating. However you need to communicate to him what you need from him (support, understanding). These relationships are wonderful if both people are open and giving and understanding.

2. If you are not open to a real relationship then the relationship you have now can't continue. He is courting you because he wants a relationship with you. You need to be honest about that.

3. It is immoral for you to let him continue thinking that this relationship is a possibility if you aren't available. He will keep trying with you, when he should be able to find someone else who is open to a relationship.

4. We all say we will "stay friends and keep in touch". It is usually a lie. A courtship is very different than a friendship. Moving from one to the other is possible, but it doesn't happen that often.
hightor
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 09:02 am
@maxdancona,
max, I really disagree with your analysis.




maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 09:05 am
@hightor,
hightor wrote:

max, I really disagree with your analysis.


I would like to hear how. I am telling her she could choose a relationship or not, and that she should be honest. I hope she understands that single moms in her circumstances have wonderful relationships and that she can make it work if she chooses.

Is it my statement that usually people don't actually remain friends after dating a few times? I don't know if you have dated recently, but in my experience, that's how it goes.
hightor
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 09:40 am
@maxdancona,
I don't want to derail this thread. But, for instance, this comment:
Quote:
If you are not available for a real relationship then there is nothing there.

I think that is so bleak.
Quote:
If you are open to a real relationship, you should tell him what you need.

Cottonclouds told him that she's not open to anything more than friendship. But I believe that friendships can be "real relationships" even if they aren't romantic relationships.
Quote:
If you are not open to a real relationship then the relationship you have now can't continue.

The definitive "either/or" really limits the possibilities for meaningful human contact between men and women.
Quote:
It is immoral for you to let him continue thinking that this relationship is a possibility if you aren't available.

I don't feel that it is "immoral", as she's plainly expressed her choice to limit the friendship at this time.
Quote:
He will keep trying with you...

As long as he isn't bugging her about it, flirting with her, and bestowing gifts on her I don't think this is a problem. I believe that she's capable of acting within the limits she's spelled out and if he isn't, that's a problem that can be dealt with at the time.
Quote:
A courtship is very different than a friendship.

That's true but if one person insists that it remain at a non-romantic level the ball is in the other person's court.
Quote:

Do you disagree with my claim that usually people don't actually remain friends after dating a few times?

I don't doubt that many people have that experience; it hasn't been mine. But in this situation, they're simply people who run into each other on occasion without any "hot and heavy" behavior. She's been honest, he's remained friendly. I think there are choices available to them going forward.

But I understand your sentiment:

maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 09:51 am
@hightor,
A courtship is not a friendship. Thank you for responding hightor. This is the main point I am making. I have had dates with dozens of women. Most of them were a brief courtship that didn't lead to any type of relationship.

Here are the facts ( correct me if I am wrong)

1) You have lots of friends you have never dated (by dated, I mean have spent one or more times with them romantic intent).

2) If you have dated a friend, it is because you believed there was a possible romantic or sexual relationship.

3) You remain in contact with your friends.

4) You are no longer in contact most of the people you have had dates with.

When you go on a date, by definition, you are looking for some sort of romantic or sexual relationship. There is nothing wrong with seeking a sexual or romantic relationship with someone. I don't understand why people have so much difficulty being honest about it.

Of course, men and women have wonderful friendships with no desire on either part for a romantic or sexual relationship. That isn't what this thread is talking about. Dating and Friendship are two very different things. Don't confuse them.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  4  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 10:00 am
@Cottonclouds,
I’m a single father, and one of my boys is autistic so I know where you’re coming from.

The last thing you want is a third party coming in and interfering with how you bring up your kids.

As long as you let your friends know that your children are your number one priority you should be fine.

I have plenty of female friends, some married, and it’s fairly normal to have friends of the opposite gender without any romantic attachments.

I wouldn’t pay much attention to Max, he has his own issues especially when it comes to women.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 10:04 am
@izzythepush,
Izzy,

Is it your opinion that single parents with special needs children shouldn't pursue romantic or sexual relationships?

I believe that single parents (even with special needs children) should have romantic relationships, and that the key is support, understanding and communication from both parties. It is not clear if Izzy agrees with me or not. This is kind of an important point.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 10:08 am
@maxdancona,
I’m not wasting time on you and your own neurosis.

You have no idea what it is like to have an autistic child but that doesn’t stop you from telling people what to do.

Now you’re telling the OP she needs to have a romantic relationship whether she wants one or not.

This is not about you.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 10:10 am
@izzythepush,
Quote:
I’m not wasting time on you and your own neurosis.


I wish this were true.
glitterbag
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 12:01 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
I’m not wasting time on you and your own neurosis.


I wish this were true.


So what's next, are you going to start another thread about being trolled???? Stop being a victim.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 12:32 pm
Let's recap what I consider the important points of the thread so far.

1) There is nothing wrong with a single parent with a special needs child who pursues a romantic or sexual relationship.

2) There is a big difference between courtship and friendship. In a courtship you pursue a relationship that is romantic and sexual. In most friendships, this is not the case.

3) Most courtships don't turn into lasting friendships.

I want to rise above the petty squabbling and stick to the relevant points.


maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 12:42 pm
@maxdancona,
And let me continue. People have the right to say yes to a romantic or sexual relationship. Obviously people have the right to say "no". Our society is obsessed with the right to say "no". But let's consider the other side.

I love having someone with whom I can share a bed. I love the sex. I have the intimate emotional relationship. I love the freedom of sharing experiences. This is something I share with one person. I don't have this with my friends.

There is social pressure that pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship is wrong or harmful. Although there is some dishonestly here. When you go on a date, that is exactly the point. When I am courting someone I fuss over details, and make plans, and focus on every detail, and open doors... and all the other things that come with romance. I don't do this with friends, it is part of a courtship ritual and is supposed to sharing to bed.

There is nothing wrong with saying "yes". Pursuing a sexual or romantic relationship is an important part of being human. In my opinion, our society discourages this in a way that isn't healthy.

People would be happier if they said yes more often.
0 Replies
 
Cottonclouds
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 01:15 pm
Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my post..

I enjoy having friends in my life, they make it so much richer.. I didn’t accept a date with him under the assumption that we would enter a romantic/sexual relationship, I went into it to get to know him and to see where it would lead to which I assumed would be the case from his point of view too? And for me, with this guy, it was friendship. Having a male friend after having briefly ‘dated’ is new to me, however my ex partner, whom I split up with 8 years ago, have remained close friends with no other expectation other than friendship. I perhaps wrongly assumed that this also worked going from a dating point of view, hence my offering of friendship, which is what felt most comfortable for me with this guy.

With regards to ‘ending the friendship’, I’m not sure as to why I would do that? I understand that dating and friendship are two very different things, and I don’t feel that I have confused them, I have realised that I am not in a position to date or offer a relationship, but that I enjoy his company and am grateful for his friendship. I understand that he is looking for a real relationship in terms of love and companionship, I have been honest with him and let him know where I stand in that the type of relationship I am able and feel comfortable to offer is friendship. I personally don’t feel that it’s a lie when people say they will stay friends and keep in touch. If I did not wish to be friends or stay in touch, I wouldn’t be questioning whether I’ve said the right thing, and I would have not offered friendship, I would have simply said ‘thanks, but no thanks’. But I understand not all people approach it in this way.

Admittedly I don’t have a strong feeling for this guy, there was no spark, but he is genuinely a nice person and I do enjoy our walks. However, as I mentioned I do worry that he might like something more than friendship, and you are quite right that I need to both be aware that I am not leading him in that direction. I have set my own boundaries, and I agree that I will need to make sure he is aware of these so that he knows where he stands, as I guess I may have not made it particularly clear in my offering friendship, which although he has said he is OK with, he could potentially have misunderstood it as a friendship for now with the potential for more?
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2021 01:24 pm
@Cottonclouds,
Just to clarify. If you have been very clear and said "I am not interested in you romantically" then I have no criticism. There is nothing wrong with trying to continue as friends.

I am just saying that I have been on both sides of this conversation many times. In my experience this almost never leads to friendship. The one exception was a woman with whom I was already friends before we decided to try dating. We had a couple of dates until I called it off. She remains my friend, which is good because we are part of the same social circle.

So I guess it is possible. It isn't what normally happens. All I am saying is that clear communication is the right thing to do. It sounds like you already did that.

Forgive my sniping with Izzy and Glitterbag... it isn't you. We are (shall we say) old "friends".


0 Replies
 
Teufel
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 16 Jan, 2021 09:36 am
Deep plutonic relationships between males and females rarely work, unless one of them is gay ... Meaning there is absolutely no sexual responses.

When we meet members of the opposite sex that we like, within that is always a section where we find them attractive. That is natural, it is why we have a species and babies get born.

My personal feeling is that the man this lady is talking about feels that as she has not yet chucked him away, then there is hope of something more. The lady gets some small respite from her children - what does he get? What is his gain? That could be the other way around, it is not gender based, just pragmatic.

My personal advice to anyone in a similar situation is to be 100% clear from the start what the parameters are or issues can easily be created by a lack of communication. People, most people that is, make assumptions ... they do not do hints or think about the logistics ... Rather, one has to spell it out in words of one syllable; usually more than once.
Ragman
 
  4  
Reply Sat 16 Jan, 2021 09:41 pm
@Teufel,
Teufel wrote:

Deep plutonic relationships between males and females rarely work, unless ....

Sorry but that word should be platonic, not plutonic.
glitterbag
 
  5  
Reply Sat 16 Jan, 2021 10:34 pm
@Ragman,
I wondered about that, then I remembered that his wife, daughter, granddaughter, all 5 sons and numerous cousins, nephews and friends with benefits are all highly educated with glorious accolades in either PHD or IUD specialties....some even have IOU, EAD, SOB, COD, ETA, FBI, OMG, HSB's, FYI, and assorted OBE's specialties maybe they are also Astrophysicists, Astrologers, Anemics and/or Armenians who know everything there is to know about Pluto. You remember Pluto doncha? He pal'd around with Goofy and Mickey!!!!
 

 
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