Q. Hi there. I’m 51 and in a relationship with a great man. We have a lot of fun together and we have wonderful intimate times. I love him very much … but he doesn’t love me. He says he is not attracted to me and doesn’t see a future with us.
I know I’m the fool for staying with him — you don’t need to advise me about my foolishness. I’m writing to ask why he stays with me. He knows he is hurting me and yet he keeps inviting me over and seemingly having a great time. I’ve been with other guys who do this, too. They have told me they aren’t attracted to me. Why do they want to hang out with someone they don’t even find attractive?
— Feeling hideous in Watertown
A. “Why do they want to hang out with someone they don’t even find attractive?”
I don’t know what they mean when they say this. If they find you engaging and want to be intimate with you, there’s some sort of draw there.
They might mean: “I think I can be more attracted to someone else, and I want to keep my options open,” or maybe, “My physical attraction grew from friendship, and that’s the part of the relationship that’s more important to me.” It could also mean, “I have trouble being alone and your company, which is quite pleasant, will do for now.”
Regardless, it sounds like they do want you around, just not forever, and they want to make that clear. They believe they can feel more (emotionally, physically, whatever) for someone else.
You’ve experienced this issue more than once, but please know that not everyone works this way. There are people out there who’d rather be alone than do … whatever this is. And yes, you’d have a better shot at finding them if you walked away from your current relationship.
Clearly, you are good company. Give your time to people who earn it with actions and words.
You can let this man know that hearing him say these things is a major turnoff. Not attractive at all.
“I’m writing to ask why he stays with me.” It’s because you keep saying yes when he invites you over. He doesn’t have anything going with anyone else right now and you are a placeholder. Have some self-respect and delete his number! SURFERROSA
This isn’t a relationship - you’re a booty call. DANGLEPARTICIPLE
Good thing is that he is honest. Nobody can make him love you. That’s just the way it works, and it’s a good thing. Enjoy your association with him until you think it’s something you don’t want to be a part of anymore. VIGILANTKNIGHT
Apparently you have no plans to break it off so I don’t know what to tell you. He’s doing it because he can have his cake and eat it too, and he can say he’s been “honest” with you. Then, if he finds a better match he can leave you. HOLLY IVY
“He knows he is hurting me and yet he keeps inviting me over” ... does not mean you need to accept the invitation! He’s hurting you because you’re letting him hurt you. You’re literally inviting him to hurt you. JONRUNSGRAFTON
First off, he’s not a great man. He takes advantage of you, tells you he’s not attracted to you and you think this is great? And you know this isn’t good but you still continue? You should consider therapy, you need to understand what a “good relationship to a great man” actually means. You are creating your own hell. If you are not happy with this situation you should make changes. Otherwise, you are wasting your life on people who aren’t adding to your life. JSMUS
If Cracker Barrel offered free meat loaf every Wednesday, I would probably take them up on it occasionally, even though I’m not really fond of meat loaf, nor Cracker Barrel. PRONE2XS
Send your own relationship and dating questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.