She gaslights me all the time

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I met a wonderful woman over a year ago and finally asked for her number a few months ago. She gave it to me. 

Some issues I should mention: I got my heart broken almost 10 years ago and completely stopped dating. I knew I needed to mend my heart and grow. Before I knew it, almost a decade had passed. I’m also a bartender, which can push potential partners away. I get judged hard when this has come up. Add never been married at 45. A lot of people look at me like I’m an alien. 

When she walked in the door, my walls instantly came down. It wasn’t just sexual. There was something deeper that attracted me to her.

Things couldn’t have gone better, for the most part. She’s had two divorces, and the reason I bring this up is because I know she’s been used and abused, but she has never taken any responsibility for her part. She is still in contact with her recent ex-husband. At the start, she painted a picture that I immediately thought didn’t add up. 

During my 10 years of celibacy, I went through counseling and really thought about how I would approach dating. To say I have a strong intuition is an understatement. It’s a blessing and a curse. We had our first fight and it came out that she had lied about her dating history since her recent divorce, which shouldn’t have even been a problem. I understand people have a past. My gut was telling me something was wrong, and unfortunately, it wasn’t. I still carried on because I fell in love with her. She makes me want to be a better man. I really feel she has the same feelings I do. When her walls come down and she looks at me, I can feel her love. 

Here’s the rub. She completely ignores me and gaslights me all the time. It makes me feel bad about myself. It seems she ignores me to get a response later, so it justifies her actions, if that makes sense.

When we met, she wasn’t working and I gave her $600 and told her I thought she needed some counseling to move past her own heartbreak. She hasn’t gone and I don’t feel like she will. I know that’s not my decision to make. To keep this short, I feel like walking away and giving up. My heart is hers and I know I’m the man she deserves. I know we are both terrified of being hurt but I wouldn’t try if my heart wasn’t in it. How do I proceed?

– Conflicted


“I feel like walking away and giving up.”

That’s your intuition talking, so listen. You’ve done so much work to find your inner compass. Why would you ignore it now?

If this relationship doesn’t make you feel great, you can exit, be sad, and move on. It is not your job to fix this woman or help her become a person who deserves your love. You have to evaluate the person in front of you, and whatever she is now is not someone you want as a partner. That’s all you need to know.

I think the initial excitement about her – after so many years of no excitement at all – made her seem like the most epic love. You met her and thought, “This is why I waited!” The truth is, a connection can be monumental without lasting forever. She woke you up from dating hibernation, and that’s wonderful. But it was clear pretty quickly that she can’t be more. There isn’t enough kindness, trust, or respect to make this work for both of you.

It’s time to break up so you can heal from this experience and enjoy whatever’s next. There are many people out there who would love to meet an unmarried bartender who wants to be great to a significant other. Really, marriage rates are changing so much – and more people are than ever are starting a first marriage in their 40s and 50s.

Your mid-40s unmarried advice columnist says it’s fine.

– Meredith

Readers? Next steps here? Does this woman represent more than she actually is to this LW?

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