Magazine

Love Letters

I love her, but I feel like I’m her boy toy

Will his recently separated older girlfriend ever get serious about him?

In Season One of her new Love Letters podcast, Meredith Goldstein explores what happens when love ends in a breakup. Listen to the podcast now, and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and RadioPublic.

Q. I’m a man in my late 20s and met someone 10 years older last year. At first I didn’t think much of it because we met on an app, and she was still living with her cheating husband. She moved out last fall, and her ex has moved out of state, but she has not filed for divorce yet. I truly love her, and we get along well and enjoy the same things. But I just have a gut feeling she isn’t that interested.

I’ve met her closest friends (she lives with a few of them now) and we hang two to three times per week. But since she moved in with friends, she sees me only at her convenience. I admit I am a very needy person; I have learned that the hard way in the past. She is a very independent person, which I admire.

But at what point is there a compromise? I’m not asking to go out and party on a weeknight, but even just cook dinner and hang out? Also, I get bothered that she still hangs with an ex who lives in town. She claims “he’s like a big brother.”

Advertisement

Am I overreacting? I respect space and time alone (being an introvert myself), but she’s a social butterfly. I have a nagging feeling that I’ve just become some long-term boy toy. She is going through a lot, and I respect that, but at what point do I throw in the towel because she doesn’t seem to care? — TheConfusedGuy

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

A. She probably cares. In fact, it’s possible she cares a lot. But it doesn’t sound like she’s ready to see anyone more than three times a week. This woman does seem to enjoy having a boyfriend, but it sounds like you’re looking for a life partner.

Even if there’s nothing malicious going on here — even if she sees you as much more than a long-term boy toy — you’re allowed to feel unsatisfied, and you should tell her you’re ready for more.

If she can’t get enthusiastic about extra dinners and including you in more parts of her life, please walk away. All it means is that this isn’t a good match. Maybe she’s never been a person who wants a lot of romantic company. You need to be with someone who doesn’t make you feel needy.

When you talk about this, don’t bring up the “big brother” ex. He’s not the issue. You need to make sure your intentions and hopes for the relationship are very clear. — Meredith

READERS RESPOND

Advertisement

You are kind of a rebound, my darling. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if it is starting to bother you, and you need something more serious and long term, let her know. DIAMONDGIRL

Boy Toy, you should move on. I think you helped her get the nerve to leave her husband, but she doesn’t see you as a long-term prospect. Your turn to leave and find someone who wants you to the same degree you want her. ENJOYEVERYSANDWICH

Mere’s right. You want something different than what she’s offering. You’re feeling bad about it and that’s enough of a reason to think it ain’t working. Also, good point about not even mentioning the ex. Nothing to do with jealousy. WENDY

“I just have a gut feeling that she isn’t that interested.” Trust your gut. THATGUYINRI

Send your letter to Meredith here.

Meredith Goldstein’s new memoir, “Can’t Help Myself,” is now available.