Joshua was beginning to worry about his future. He once believes that he will enjoy everlasting love like his parents or other successful couples. As he put it, “My biological clock is ticking” That phrase is more often associated with women, but it’s a concept that applies to men as well. Joshua was referring to the fact that, at age 44, he still had not realized the dream of adult life that he had when he was a teenager.
Does Everlasting Love Exist For Joshua
Back then, he envisioned himself being married with children and living a comfortable middle-class life. He could even picture it: a white wood-frame house on a couple of acres, a fireplace, maybe even a fence in the yard for the kids and dog.
But that was not how things worked out. Joshua had at least four serious, long-term relationships, none of which led to his vision. In two cases the woman ended the relationship, and twice he called it quits himself.
The last one, however, was by far the most painful breakup, because unlike the other times, Joshua had gotten married, despite having reservations about the relationship from the beginning.
Can True Love Hurt: Life With Karen
Karen, twice divorced and the single mother of a young son, told Joshua that one of her goals was to have a second child. Joshua signed on for this as it fits in nicely with his own vision of happy and fulfilling adulthood.
The reservations he had about Karen revolved around his perception that she was someone who liked to run the show. She had strong opinions about almost everything and asserted them forcefully. Sometimes she may come
across as someone who believed her opinions are the only ones that mattered.
Inwardly, Joshua chafed at this, but he did not like confrontation, so he tended to keep his disagreements to himself. Also, having dated so many women and feeling as frustrated as he did, he took to heart the advice of a good woman friend who suggested that maybe he was too fussy.
And that what he needed to do was to realize that everyone had their flaws. So he decided to cut Karen a lot of slack when it came to being opinionated and tried to focus instead on her qualities that he liked.
Break Of Promise After Marriage
Not long after they were married, Karen retracted earlier statements she’d made about buying a house together. Instead, she insisted that Joshua move into her house and that they split the expenses. The reason she gave was that this would be less disruptive to her son.
Joshua gave in, though in his heart he would have liked the three of them to start family life together on a new footing. Things went along reasonably well for the first year or so. During this time, Joshua continued to avoid arguing or disagreeing with Karen.
This approach was reinforced on those few occasions when he did venture to disagree with her. Each time, he found that she was relentless in her efforts to convince him that she was right and he was wrong.
By the time they celebrated their first anniversary, Joshua was aware that the price he paid for avoiding conflict was less and less communication with Karen. She commented on this on occasion-that Joshua talked to her less than he had in the past.
Whenever she brought it up, he would just shrug his shoulders and say something to the effect that he was a person who just didn’t have much to say. That, of course, was a lie, but Joshua much preferred being quiet over
speaking up and risking an argument that he was sure to lose in the long run.
As unsatisfying as the lack of open communication in his marriage was to Joshua, he believed he could live with it. Unfortunately, that was not the only issue he had to deal with. Things between him and Karen took a distinct downhill tun as they struggled to get pregnant.
Struggling To Getting Pregnant
Karen believed it was Joshua’s fault, although medical tests were inconclusive and suggested only that his sperm count was toward the lower end of the normal range. Karen, meanwhile, was 37, and her doctor advised her that, although she was healthy, the chances of getting pregnant were slimmer after age 35.
When Karen brought up the idea of adoption, Joshua was ambivalent about it. “It wasn’t that I felt I had to have my own kid,” he explained, “go much as I was beginning to have reservations about the relationship. In particular, I was starting to get angry over how Karen had to have her own way when it came to even the smallest decisions about her son.!”
I was pretty much on the outside looking in. I began to wonder what my role would be as a father. I could bite my lip when it came to her son, but I was sure I wouldn’t be able to do that with a child I considered my own?
As time passed, the marriage showed more and more signs of strain as a result of Karen not getting pregnant and Joshua’s hesitancy to pursue adoption. Spats became more frequent, as the two found themselves
at a stalemate.
“To me, it felt like Karen just had to have things her way)’ Joshua explained. “If I wanted something different, or even had a different opinion about something, I was wrong” As unhappy as he was, when the divorce papers were handed to him, Joshua was pretty much devastated.
Karen had initiated the divorce following a single session of marriage counseling, after which she told Joshua that
she would not go back because the therapist “wasn’t listening” to her.
A Slower Start With Brigitte
It was nearly two years before Joshua finally gave in to the coaxing of friends and began dating again, and soon he met Brigitte. As Joshua described it, meeting and getting to know Brigitte was not a matter of “chemistry” or impulsiveness on either of their parts. On the contrary, they dated for more than six months and had not yet been intimate other than for an occasional hug or kiss on the cheek.
On their first date, Brigitte told Joshua that she was dating another man and that she was not sure how that relationship would turn out. She enjoyed Joshua’s company, she explained, but she did not feel comfort-
able being intimate with two men.
However, she liked Joshua, and if he was up for seeing one another occasionally, she would like that. This arrangement was okay with Joshua, at least at first. He felt that he’d been burned enough times that the idea of just being friends and having some fun with a woman might be the safer course for him.
When he described the experiences he and Brigitte shared, though, it was apparent that they not only had a really good time together, but that they shared many common interests, had a similar sense of humor, and could
talk about just about anything.
Different From Karen
Joshua described Brigitte as very different from Karen in that she seemed quite tolerant of differences in people’s opinions and tastes. At the same time, he recognized that their values and priorities were similar. He readily admitted that he felt attracted to Brigitte and that his feelings for her were growing.
But he was not sure how she felt about him and was reluctant to ask. “If I tell her I’m attracted to her” he explained, “she could tell me that she doesn’t feel the same. Where would that leave me?” Joshua struggled for months with the idea of letting Brigitte know he was attracted to her.
He wanted to tell her that he found her sexy, that he thought about being in a relationship with her, and even about having a child with her. He wanted to know if she felt anything more than friendship for him.
The reason for Joshua’s hesitancy was obvious, yet he agreed with me that he had nothing to lose at this point by sharing his feelings since it was becoming increasingly apparent that the relationship could not go
on much longer as it was.
It would have to go in one direction or another, and sooner rather than later. It was now beginning to be uncomfortable for Joshua to spend a weekend with Brigitte and have a great time, but not
be intimate and not know what was going on in the rest of her life.
She Is Getting Married
The issue of her other relationship had not come up between them for some time. He had no idea whether that relationship was still on, whether he might get an e-mail one day from Brigitte: “Just to let you know, I’m getting married next weekend. It’s been fun. Have a great life!”
Joshua decided to write Brigitte a letter and share his feelings. “I don’t want to do it in an e-mail! he said, “And somehow telling her over the phone or even in person feels like I’d be putting her on the spot”
He felt that getting a letter would give her some time to reflect before responding. “Also” he said with a grin, “it’s novel. Nobody actually writes letters anymore!”
Joshua sent me an e-mail to let me know that he’d mailed the letter. Five days passed, with no further word. | could only imagine what Joshua must be thinking and feeling. Then I got a message on my voice mail It was
from Joshua, and he sounded excited. “Brigitte left a message on my cellphone last night)’ he said. “I’d left my phone in the car and didn’t get it until this morning.
She said that it was the nicest letter she had ever gotten and that she wanted to talk. She also said that she had ended that other relationship a couple of months ago and was trying to decide when to tell me”
Joshua could be described as a man who became cautious as a result of his prior experiences. However, he was not a man who wanted women to market themselves to him. It was caution—not pickiness—that made him
move slowly. In contrast to Joshua are men who could more accurately be described as relationship burnouts. Getting involved with a man who has suffered burnout, as opposed to a cautious man, is generally a mistake, but
a situation that a surprising number of women fall into.