I’ve found another emotionally unavailable man

Today is an update and letter in one.

I'm still looking for updates from former letter writers. What happened to you after you wrote to us? Send an update to meredith.goldstein@globe.com. Tell us whether we helped – and what we missed. We love closure.

Hi, Meredith!

Remember the impatient one? Yup, here I am again. It turned out I wasn't as crazy as I thought when I sent my first letter. My ex was not ready for a committed relationship nor a family whatsoever, and we were just way too different. He kept saying things he thought I wanted to hear (and just to answer some of the questions from the comments section that day: he's not old, not a sugar daddy, I didn't want his money, I literally would have done anything for him, he is four years older than I am and I'm 28, and yes, I was really upset back then). It didn't work out and I was left completely shattered, alone in a foreign country. Things were difficult, but I had a lot of support and I got back on my feet. Soon after, I tried dating through Tinder, but that didn't lead to anything meaningful, also because I was not really emotionally ready.

Now I have another problem. I had a crush on this guy I saw at the gym over a year ago. I liked him from the first time I saw him, but never talked before because I was in a relationship and I couldn't really fantasize about another man. I could tell he liked me too, but we never said more than "hi" to each other. But then I was single. In a moment of weakness, I added him on Facebook and he immediately started talking to me. We hit it off from the beginning and we talked at the gym too. We never planned on dating because ... wait for it ... he's another one who's emotionally unavailable. He's really interested in me and all that, but he's significantly older, has a child, broke up with his wife a long time ago, is not divorced and has no idea if he's going to get divorced anytime soon, has no idea what he wants ... and the list goes on. I really appreciated the fact that he was so incredibly honest.

At first, I thought I could be just his friend while he figures things out, but he started hooking up with random women and I feel somehow betrayed even though what we have is really close to nothing. We do talk every day – most of the day, actually – when we're not working. Do I continue talking to him to see where it goes? Should I try to get over the fact that he slept with someone even though he still talks to me? I don't think I can, but at the same time I see great potential in him. Or am I repeating the same story again? How do I deal with being attracted to emotionally unavailable men? (P.S. I love the Love Letters podcast, and I hope what I wrote makes sense. English is not my first language.)

– Impatient Again


I don't believe that you're intentionally – or subconsciously – seeking out unavailable men. With that first relationship, you were trying to be patient. You wanted to give your ex some time to make decisions about commitment.

This gym crush is a bit different. You told this man what you wanted, and he let you know he's in no place to satisfy your demands. Then things got complicated – because his actions have suggested that he loves having you in his life, enjoys the emotional intimacy in the relationship, and that he wants to make you part of his daily routine. I understand why you're confused.

Still, we must look at the facts. This man is not taking steps to be your partner. Meanwhile, your goals haven't changed. You want an actual boyfriend who's 100 percent with you, not sleeping with others as he makes sense of his romantic life.

You're not his platonic friend, so it's time to cut him off. He's given you the information you need. Now you have to believe it.

The lesson here is that you shouldn't give much time to someone who says "I can't." The second you hear those words, you can say "Thanks for letting me know" and then back away. You don't win anything by trying to wait it out.

You can't change someone's mind about where they are in life. They have to do that on their own.

– Meredith

Readers? Is it worth waiting for this man to sort out his priorities?