REPEAT AFTER ME - REBOUND. RELATIONSHIPS. DON'T. WORK.
THE SYSTEM says that if you are in a rebound situation you are in for a mess.
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I always read your articles and like the way you tell it. I have a unique problem and can’t find a similar situation among my friends or in your literature. I went through a very hard time with my marriage, and stuck out 10 years before realizing it was going to kill me if I stayed. I am a doctor, and have never considered having an affair. At the end of my marriage I became good friends with a nurse, Mona, who was also getting a divorce. We were supportive of each other, and agreed to keep it on a platonic level. But when I made the decision to proceed with my divorce, she confessed she loved me, and I also had to admit I had very strong feelings toward her, and we looked forward to the day when we could have a romantic relationship.
During the final stages of the divorce, we began dating and did some couple-type behavior -- hugging, kissing, and holding hands. Then, all of a sudden, she stopped returning calls. The few times I was able to talk to her she was vague and distant and finally said that she wanted space. She let me know that she felt like she was “the other woman” and that she didn’t want to feel that my divorce was because of her. I know that this was very distressing to her because her husband had cheated on her constantly, and for her to feel the stigma of being the other woman really affected her.
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I did what most men mistakenly do -- gave presents, begged her to talk, sent her long love letters. I even fooled myself into thinking that she just wanted to keep a distance until the ink was dry on the divorce papers.
But then I found out that she started seeing someone else. She claimed she still loved me, though. Initially I reacted with anger, but after several days I cooled down enough to let her know that we had meant a lot
to each other and if she wanted to try and salvage our friendship I would be willing to talk to her.
I didn’t hear from her for two months, and since I needed some sort of closure I e-mailed her to tell her to stay away from me and not contact me anymore. Well, she answered me, and we started talking again and then became friends again.
We talk on the phone for a couple hours every day now, and when we’re together we hold hands and cuddle. She will not kiss or have any intimacy beyond this and still says that she only wants friendship. I am getting very mixed signals, and have never heard of a woman doing these things but only wanting to be friends. She’s not interested in seeing anyone else, and I am the only “man” in her life right now.
Doc, I don’t know whether to hang in and hope that things will change or take the approach of acting disinterested to see if this will perk up her Interest Level and make her realize that I am a good catch.
I really love this woman, but don’t like what I have now and am very frustrated. I certainly don’t want to ruin any chance of a relationship with Mona if I can help it. I know that as of right now I do not have that relationship, but Mona is clearly showing interest and getting something from the coziness we have now. I am very confused and feel powerless. Your advice would be helpful.
Drew - who needs to break the impasse
DOC LOVE'S ANSWER
First of all, I want to commend you for staying in your marriage for as long as you did. When it was all over you wanted to say, “I was going for ‘forever’ like I promised at the altar. I did my best to make the long haul, and I didn’t just say ‘I do’ to fool around with this girl for 10 years.” But like my cousin Doctor Love says, “Some diseases have no cure.”
When you hooked up with Mona, you should have realized right off the bat that you were dealing with two people who were seriously on the rebound and not really available. You had all the ingredients for disaster. What the heck were you thinking, man?
Why were you getting all heavy with a woman who was still married? I tell you guys not to talk serious when they’re available. Mona’s still legally hitched and you’re blabbing about the future? You should have been putting on a clown show, not a “psychology today” seminar. You would been better off disappearing instead of yakking about how you’re going to get re-hitched the minute you’re free of your wife.
But you went ahead and engaged in “couple-type” behavior anyway. Like 90% of the men out there, you had to go rushing in like a bull in a china shop. The problem is that...
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