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I’m confused by the mixed signals my significant other is giving me.

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Dear Rabbi,

I just ended a relationship with a man I met on JDate and dated for 20 months. It was a long distance relationship, and we had different backgrounds and experiences. He was formerly in the military, and somewhat observant. He is a retired Conservative rabbi. Although I wasn’t observant, I observed all of his customs at his level of observance, such as keeping kosher and observing Shabbat. We got along great, but we never seemed to move forward. It was a year before I met his daughter, and he didn’t seem to want to include me in many aspects of his life.

Every year he has large Passover seders in his home, and after dating 18 months, he told me he wasn’t comfortable having me come also. I was not invited! I was very hurt, and his only answer was that he wasn’t ready to “present” me to his family and friends. He also continued to log on to JDate, to just “look” around”, even though I told him it hurt my feelings and felt disrespectful to me. We stopped seeing each other after that, but got back together a month later.

The last time I saw him, I asked him if he thought our relationship had a future. I have reasons to doubt that after all the months of waiting for him to act like we’re a couple, and make room for me in his life. His answer was that he wasn’t optimistic, and he struggles to be hopeful. He said he wanted to continue to be together, and we could “wait and see”. I ended the relationship after that.

I feel terrible and miss him everyday. My heart isn’t into the dating scene at all. I understand that not all relationships are meant to be, but I’m confused by the mixed signals he gives me. I talk to other people who tell me that he hasn’t treated me as well as I deserve, and that I should accept that whatever his issues are, they are his issues, and I should move on.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Confused in Florida

Dear Confused in Florida,

I’m sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience. It’s difficult to be in love with someone who, as hard as you might try, doesn’t reciprocate in the way that you expect him to. It’s even more difficult, and painful, to do the only thing that you can really do: break off the relationship and move on.

I can’t explain to you why this man did not want to make you a full partner in a happy and healthy relationship. Only he has the true reason. The truth is, the reason doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is that you fully committed yourself to making this relationship work, and he refused to reciprocate. He made it very clear through his words and actions that he was unable or unwilling to give you what you wanted, and deserved. You chose to stay with him in any case. If it makes you feel any better, you are certainly not the first person to make that mistake and unfortunately, you probably won’t be the last.

The most important thing now is to follow the advice that your friends have given you and MOVE ON. You deserve to be in a loving and caring relationship with a man who respects and adores you. Period. I know how painful it is – I’ve been there myself – but I promise you that the pain will gradually disappear, and you will find a man who will make you forget that this unfortunate episode ever happened.

Be strong.

With blessing for success and love,
Arnie

Rabbi Arnie Singer dated for 15 years before meeting his Bashert. He is currently a dating and relationship coach in Manhattan and the founder of Jcoach.com.
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9 Comments »

  • dragon says:

    Definitely agree wth nivchara. I had a guy promise me the world but the minute I did anything remotely to respect my own needs, aka complain after many broken dates and promises, he would threaten to break up. After the 3rd threat, in 6 months, I just said fine. Go ahead. Bye.

  • Josh says:

    As a man with some commitment issues, I think you’ve made the right decision to break up. He doesn’t seem ready, for whatever reason, to make this move with you.

    However, after reading through the comments I respectfully disagree with Sharon, who said that ‘mixed signals after three months’ mean that you should end the relationship. I don’t think that three months is enough time to understand what the relationship is really like. Some ambivalence at that point is ok; the couple is just starting to get to know each other. 18 months, however, is more than long enough. Good luck moving on to someone who is ready.

  • sylvie says:

    Wish I had read this 5 years ago…and again this year….it is good to know that I am not alone- it makes it easier to move on. Hopefully we all find the “one” that we deserve- and he will be eager to commit! : )

  • Missie says:

    All great comments and advice. It sounds very common. And yes, it is difficult to move on when you realize that someone has been “playing” you until “something better comes along.” The smorgasbord of the internet dating sites beckon these losers. Rather than be candid, they are content to string others along, users if you will. One thing that helps is to remember that you can’t make someone love you. And, as another commented, why would you want to be with someone who does not want to commit to you? Why would you want to be with someone who continues to search elsewhere while “devoted” to you? Not real devotion…it is real deception.
    Keep positive and know that you deserve the best and never, ever settle for less.

  • Nivchara says:

    Clues that “He’s just not that into you”

    1. You tell him you love him and he says “I’m flattered” or “I’m not worthy”
    2. He won’t see you or spend time with you
    3. Calls you at HIS convenience but when you call “It’s a bad time”
    4. Keeps telling you that “I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t say what will happen in the future”.
    5. Doesn’t tell you about important things that happen in his life for example, waits till your on the phone with him for 45 minutes before telling you he had an accident in his car that day, or doesn’t tell you that he has a gig right around the corner from where you work, or doesn’t tell you that his custody agreement has been signed till a week later when it comes up in a conversation, even though THAT’s what you’ve been waiting for months
    6. Tells you that it’s not working for him at the slightest infraction on your part.

    There are probably many more but in my experience, if you see any of these things it’s time to get out before you get really hurt and take my word for it, even if you get out then, it WILL hurt you a lot worse than it will ever hurt him, and THAT my friends is yet another clue.

  • Andrea says:

    He can’t commit? Mixed signals all over the place. Answer is simple; there are other woman in the background. Just went through 10 years of this nonsense.

  • R says:

    Sharon is correct that I immediately decide if I’m pursuing a woman as a potential mate or for fun. I’ve also been on the receiving end.

    Responding to Laurie: I dated a woman who decided that we’d marry within a year of meeting. The more she pushed, the more I pushed back. It might have worked if it wasn’t for her self-imposed schedule.

  • Laurie says:

    Why would anyone want someone that they have to “get to commit”?..you can’t get anyone to do anything…committing should be mutual and borne of desire on both parts, anything else NEVER can work..too many people don’t have the inner strength or sense of self to be upfront with their feelings, especially negative ones..they’d rather tell sweet lies, than deliver bitter truths. Too many women want to think it’s other things, reasons someone is not “in it” when in reality it’s as the book says..”he’s just not that into you”.. because if he was, you’d both just know..too many people choose to ignore the red flags, not feeling like you’re part of someone’s life should tell you something. Length of time has nothing to do with it, it’s the depth of the relationship,people choose to stay in things because they’re willing to settle and are afraid of being alone..many people on these sites need to work on themselves before they can be online or dating in general in a healthy way.
    Excuses are just excuses, you’re either in something or you’re not…people want to make this all much more complicated than it really is..either works, or it doesn’t..shouldn’t have to try or work hard at making something work…At a certain stage of life, you do not want to “work” anymore…like myself, I want easy, real..when ya know, ya know..

  • Sharon, Israel says:

    I have come across more than my “fair” share of those kind of guys. The ones that act as though any day now, the relationship is to go to the next level, only to break things off right before it reaches it’s peak, many months & possibly years after it started.

    That’s an evil thing to do, right from the devil’s table. Guys can tell almost of the bat if a you are the one or not, often staying just to enjoy the perks of the relationship, while wasting valuable time of women in their 30′s.

    Best advice I have for women out there: listen to your gut. Mixed signals from a guy after a period of 3 months, means you are not his “Mrs.” but his “Miss right now” & he is not in it for the long run That’s exactly the time for you to get out.

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