I've been seeing a man for about a year, and for the past few months I've been feeling crowded in the relationship. We're both divorced and in our 50s with grown children. He's mostly retired, has very little contact with his kids, and has very few friends or activities that occupy him. On the other hand, I have a busy life with work, friends, and family, and I'm also involved in my local community theater. This was something I made sure to let him know about early on, to prepare him for me not being available all the time (it was a real problem in a previous relationship). I feel like I'm his only hobby.
When we first started dating, he assured me that this was all fine with him, but recently I think he's not feeling so fine about it. He wants to see me more than on weekends. I totally understand his need for companionship, but I'm not sure I want to give up my activities or what little time I have to myself during the week. While I enjoy his company when we're together, I'm eager to see him leave on Sundays so I can have some alone time.
I feel really bad and hate to cause him any hurt, but I waited 50 years to be able to come and go as I please without having to get permission or check in with anyone. And although it wasn't spectacular to begin with, our sex life has diminished quite a bit. I just can't feel enthusiastic about it at the moment. He's kind, patient, generous, understanding — all the traits I admire in a person. I know he's in love with me. I care about him very much, and wonder what's wrong with me that I don't want to spend more time with a really good man. I know the subject of moving in together is on his mind, and that discussion is looming on the horizon. At this point in my life, I'm not sure I'll want to live with anyone again. Yes, I hear how selfish this is all sounding. I feel so conflicted. Should I pursue fewer activities and give this relationship more time so I can get used to being part of a couple, or should I not keep him hanging on and let him go find someone who can better fulfill his needs and give him all the time together he wants?
— Unsure of anything
"Yes, I hear how selfish this is all sounding."
You don't sound selfish. You sound like you know what kind of relationship you want, and that is not a bad thing.
You're with a nice man who's in love with you and wants more of your time, but for some very acceptable reasons, you can't reciprocate. You're showing empathy and concern, and you wish you could be a better companion for your significant other. But sometimes two great people just don't want the same kind of life. It happens.
If you wanted to give this your very best, most earnest try, you could see how it feels to sleep in the same place after a mid-week activity. Maybe it would help to show up and share the last minutes of the day together and wake up in the same place. Not every evening with him has to be a full date.
But if that doesn't work (or doesn't sound appealing), it's probably just an almost-match. Almost-matches can break your heart because they come so close to being right – but not close enough. If that's what this is, it's OK to let go.
Readers? Less community theater?