I’m 23, my boyfriend is 45. At first he claimed he wanted to marry me and spend the rest of his life with me. I grew to love him a lot, so I decided to give him a chance to prove his love.

Well, lately I find every time I call he’s either busy or about to do something else. I know he’s busy. He holds a very demanding job. But he had just stated he would make time for me. Another thing, he doesn’t talk to me at all. I mean he won’t just sit down and talk.

If I bring up his past with other women, he doesn’t want to talk about that either. Sometimes I want to talk, but I’m scared he will lash out. He doesn’t joke with me or make me laugh, which he does with all his friends.

Another thing. At first he would make love to me so passionately it was unbelievable. Now I have to ask and it’s routine, as if he does it “just because.” He stopped saying I love you. He used to make sure I had everything to make me comfortable. Now, that is no more.

He used to allow me to answer his phone. Now, when I’m there, he lets the phone ring. If I ask to answer, he says, “Let them call back.” I think he is seeing someone else.

I’m really confused and this hurts me. I’m a fun type and he just isn’t complying. I know he is a nice person, but what is the problem? Please help. I don’t want to lose him. He was married before and has three children.

~ Lise

Lise, there is a joke about a married couple, both 60, who led what in religious terms might be called a virtuous life. One day the man and wife were surprised by the sudden appearance of a fairy. The fairy said, “You two have lived such good lives. As a reward, I will give each of you one wish.”

The woman spoke first and said, “I would like to travel the world with my husband.” Poof. In an instant, plane and cruise ship tickets appeared in her hand, along with bookings in 5-star hotels around the globe.

The fairy then asked the man what he wanted. Somewhat sheepishly, and without looking at his wife, he said, “I would like to be with a woman 30 years younger.” Poof. In an instant, he was 90 years old.

Your boyfriend got divorced and thought, I could be with someone double digits younger than my wife. He didn’t get the wrinkles, arthritis, and failing eyesight of the 90-year-old, but he forgot about the problems this might cause with his kids, the conflict with their mother, and the jokes and social awkwardness with his workmates.

It was new and exciting and he had fun pretending he was in his 20s again. But there is a world of difference between a man in his 20s and a man in his mid-40s. What can he say to a woman his children’s age? “What do you plan to be when you grow up?”

You say he is a nice guy. Middle-aged men are often nice guys. So he is not telling you to leave. Maybe he’s a little self-conscious, a little ashamed, of this error in judgment. He likely feels it’s not your fault, it’s his fault. He made a mistake, a mistake he doesn’t want to talk about.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Direct Answers for the week of August 19, 2019

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