I’m confused by the mixed signals my significant other is giving me.
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?
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.
With blessing for success and love,
To ask Rabbi Singer a question, email email@example.com.