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love letters

Wanting more than sex ...

Q.I am a divorced woman in my 50s who was in a mostly good marriage for almost 30 years, but the love died. I started seeing a man I met online over six months ago. “Joe” is divorced and my age, and I am unsure if I should continue to see him. I should say that I am certainly not looking for marriage or even a commitment, but would like to be with someone I could rely on to plan dates or maybe even travel with.

That’s where there’s a problem. I always see Joe at my house and he has never invited me over (he lives about 30 miles away). When I asked him why he never brings me to his place, he said it’s because his teenage son lives with him half of the time. He also said that my place is “much more comfortable.” I have never met his friends or family, and have a nagging feeling that he is embarrassed to introduce me. I am attractive enough, but on the attractiveness meter he is probably a 8/10, and I am probably a 6. I know a relationship is not all based on physical attractiveness, but it is an important piece.

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We have gone on only a few “real dates” (mostly out for dinner or lunch) in that six months. Once we had plans to go to a movie and he showed up two hours late. I was all dressed and ready to go and he had no good excuse as to why he was late. Friends have told me that he is likely a “player,” and they fear that he is married. In fact, one of my friends calls me the “Monday through Thursday girl.”

About a month ago, I asked Joe directly if our relationship was just sexual and he pretty much said yes without hesitation and then left my place rather abruptly. I stopped texting him for about two weeks after that, and we got back in touch again after he texted me out of the blue.

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In the past six months I have gone on multiple dates with four other men. Mostly I felt I should because Joe doesn’t seem to want anything more than sex. The other men I have seen have been nice enough, but I haven’t felt as strong a connection as I do to Joe, so things didn’t really progress on my end.

Should I just let it slide that he doesn’t want to host me at his home? Am I correct to assume that what we have is not going to progress? I am at my core a kind, tolerant person who usually gives people the benefit of the doubt (but to my detriment, I think this kept me in a marriage for many years beyond its expiration date). I feel like I may be bordering on doormat behavior. Or is six months too short a time to assert myself?

Monday through

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Thursday girl

A “I would like to expand our relationship a bit, even just to be able to plan a date or go away for a romantic weekend.”

It sounds so simple, right? All you want to do is take nice trips and plan some cool dates. You’re not asking for much. But this man has no interest in doing anything on your terms. He wants to show up when he feels like it, and he’d prefer to keep you out of his life. Sex is nice, but it’s no longer enough to justify the rest of the misery. You must break up with this guy; there’s no other answer. He might try to bargain — because he has likes this arrangement — but stay strong. It’s over.

After you’ve set boundaries (block his number if you have to), try to go on some more dates. It’s difficult to click with a dinner companion when your mind is on someone else. It’s possible that you’ll feel differently about your connection to others if you’re really single.

One last note: your number scale isn’t a real thing. Attractiveness and chemistry can’t be reduced to that kind of ranking, so don’t even try.

Meredith

READERS RESPOND:

I like reading about someone who isn’t looking for a serious relationship — but wants to break up because they’re not in a serious relationship.

WAKKA

You ARE looking for a commitment and you are looking for a commitment from Joe. Otherwise you wouldn’t care if Joe never invited you over to his house or introduced you to his family/friends and you’d be fine with dating others. What you have with Joe now is exactly what a non-commitment looks like, and you don’t like it.

SEXUAL-CHOCOLATE

To find someone worth your time, don’t have sex until you have done many of the other activities you want, and get to know him better.

PRCNWBRO

Long letter to define a friend with benefits.

CONNORMACLEOD

Yes, there probably is a contributing factor to why he’s hiding you away, but really that’s a moot point. He’s shown you what he’s willing to give with regards to the two of you. It’s clearly not working for you and it sounds like there’s plenty of other prospects. TABLEFORONE

How many men will actually say, “I’m just in it for the sex”? He is a keeper — for during the week. Then spend your weekend finding Mr. Romance. He’s out there. DOGGISH

I’ve found the older you get, the less looks matter (to a point, of course). He may be a 8/10 in looks, but he sounds like a 1/10 as a boyfriend.

ITSMEEEEEEE

My first thought was the opposite of a “player.” I thought maybe he got cleaned out after his divorce and now lives with his mother. He doesn’t seem to want to take you out much. Money issue? JOERILLA

Dude’s married. WIZEN

Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein @globe.com.
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