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We're taking it too slow

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  May 5, 2010 08:27 AM

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News of the day: I have an asthma doctor appointment at 1 p.m. today. I tried to explain that my lungs are far less important than my 1 p.m. chat, but my doctor suggested that breathing is necessary when giving rational advice. She has a point.

For that reason, we'll be chatting at 1 p.m. tomorrow. I hope that doesn't mess with anyone's lives. My lungs thank you.

And ... Love Letters party June 4. Please save the date.


Q: Hope you can help me get some clarity in my relationship. I’ve been dating a girl who I will call Lisa for about six months now exclusively.

Lisa is someone I briefly dated about a decade ago. We are both in our 30s now. Both of us have been married before, both of us have fulltime jobs and kids.

She and I connect in many ways and we both feel like a future together is very possible. My question to you and your reader is this:

We live several towns away from each other. We only see each other once every 10 days or so, but we talk daily. Our intimate relationship is almost nonexistent.

At the beginning of most relationships it tends to be hot and heavy. This one has been the opposite.

My mind tells me that this is not normal and could only get worse, but my heart tells me Lisa could be the woman for me.

We've have talked about this problem recently and she says that she has a busy hectic life. She wants to let things develop slowly because she sees us working out. I also have a hectic lifestyle but could always find time.

Am I being impatient? Or does love really takes time to develop the older you get?

– Paul, Andover


A: Six months. Almost nonexistent? I wish I knew what you meant by almost, Paul.

Not all relationships are hot and heavy in the beginning. When people have been hurt, when they're balancing kids and work on their own, the beginning can be slow and cautious.

On the other hand, you're both quite young. I might argue that the perfect anecdote to a busy, stressful, single-parent lifestyle is a nice evening out with an understanding significant other. I'm wondering why she isn't more confident and relaxed after six months.

My big issue is the lack of regular interaction. You only see her every 10 days? That's not very often after six months. If you're both thinking that this could be something more, you're going to have to spend more time together. And if you do, you'll get a better sense of whether the lack of physical intimacy will continue if you become a bigger part of her life.

My guess -- and this is a very blind guess -- is that after a failed marriage, she's emotionally exhausted. She cares for you but wants to keep it safe. She's trying to prolong the beginning of this relationship to avoid the messy stuff that comes after.

Or maybe she has stress about you becoming involved with her kids. If so, she needs to come up with a plan for having a personal life and parenting at the same time.

You must explain that only seeing each other every 10 days after six months isn't getting anybody anywhere. You both deserve to know if this will work, and you're willing to put in the time and energy into finding out. If every 10 days is all she can offer, your head is probably right. This can't grow unless she wants it to.

Readers? Is every 10 days not so uncommon when kids are involved? Am I right to say that discussing the frequency of visits is more productive than discussing the physical intimacy? How slowly is love supposed to grow? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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