I am dating a man very seriously, but I am worried that he is staying with me only until he finds another woman. We have mutual friends and we are always invited to the same simchas and get-togethers. Women like him because they don’t know him like I do, and they swarm over him like bees. He loves the attention and talks to them more than I like. Afterwards, he will spend about an hour discussing one of the women and telling me what he likes about her and complimenting how wonderful she is or something else about her. If I complain about it, he gives me the silent treatment. This has been going on for a long time.
I recently found out from another woman that he contacted her and asked to go out with her. When I confronted him, he denied it and got angry. My family thinks he is a louse, but I love him and I don’t want to lose him. What advice can you give me?
It sounds like you’re giving yourself advice but are not ready to admit it. Do you realize that you stated that women like him because they don’t know him like you do? You know exactly what he is all about, and if all those other women who swarm over him would know what you know, they would not give him any attention. So why do you continue to stay with him? You love him? What do you love about him?
Internally, you realize that your impression of his persona is not that much different than your family’s opinion of him. That leads me to believe one of two things — you are either afraid that you won’t find anyone else to share your life with, or you don’t value yourself enough. And you are the only person who can respond honestly to that.
In order for people to fix whatever is not going right in their life, they need to figure things out. When someone is stressed, it becomes difficult for that person to see the entire picture of the situation from all angles; it becomes one big blur. You need to understand the psyche of the type of man you are describing and happen to be in love with. People like this man want to have their cake and eat it, too. He wants to have you in his life, but he is also looking to date others. From his point of view, he has it made! The question is if you can trust that you will ever be the one and only woman in his life at any point.
Typically, men like that are searching for something that they themselves are unable to identify because they don’t know what they want. Worse still is that the more attention they receive, the more they seek. In your case, this man has the security of having you in his life, yet he enjoys the attention he is getting from other women. If that would be the only thing, I would say that he is insecure and needs to feed his ego. Not that it is something to condone, but it does not compare to his shameless act of praising other women to your face right after he talks to them more than you would like. That is very disrespectful to you. It’s even worse, obviously, that you found out that he contacted another woman to date her. And don’t kid yourself — this is only one incident that you found out about; you have every right to assume that he has done this before and will likely continue.
One can say that he deserves the benefit of the doubt regarding that incident. However, based on how he behaves in general, I would be inclined to feel suspicious. You might think that one day this man you love will realize how special and different you are from other women out there. The problem is that someone with this man’s inclination is not capable of appreciating all that you have to offer. To assume that he will one day give up his ways and shut his eyes forever as it relates to other women is unrealistic. Such a possibility is an impossibility.
For whatever it is worth and so that you feel you gave it your all without regrets, have a talk with him about what’s going on from your perspective. Don’t wait until he starts talking to you about other women. Arrange to speak to him in a neutral setting so he can’t accuse you of being jealous or overreacting to a situation. Tell him how he makes you feel when he carries on conversations with women and then talks to you about them. If he refuses to acknowledge your pain, let him go. It won’t be easy, but marrying such a man (if it will even get to that point) is setting yourself up for a life of misery.
You deserve to be treated in the way that would make you happy. You should never allow anyone to make you feel as though you are playing second fiddle in their life. It is important that you reevaluate your priorities of the type of man you should be dating.
Unless this man undergoes a miraculous character metamorphosis, you will have to end your relationship with him before you become emotionally destroyed. Here is what you deserve from a partner in life. You deserve to be with someone who will make you a priority in his life, and for whom you will do the same. He should never feel the need to praise others to you, because he will believe that you are the best thing to happen in his life. Those are real attributes in a strong relationship.
It all starts with healthy communication where you both express to each other what you hope to achieve from being with one another. And when a problem arises, responding with the silent treatment is not an option. On the contrary, it is a passive-aggressive reaction, which is what you are dealing with now.
A person who is committed to making his relationship a successful one will be willing to work through misunderstandings and disagreements. He will acknowledge sensitivities and vow to never do anything that will trigger them. You should not be listening to how your man compliments other women. Instead, you are the one he should be complimenting, and hopefully mean what he says.
It sounds like I am describing a perfect person, one who is difficult to find. But a person who is emotionally mature should be able to provide those characteristics, which are lacking in your current relationship.
My concern is that if you break up with him he will try to get you back by promising that he will change. That is not uncommon. If he finds out that you start to date other people, it will drive him to do what he feels necessary to convince you to go back to him. But from the way you describe his behavior, he personifies the term “ladies’ man.” He likes women, and “the more the merrier.” He does not value having one woman, or wife, in his life. He needs many. He might be a womanizer as well. But whatever he is should not be your problem anymore.
Please listen to your family. Tune in to the way this man makes you feel about yourself and accept that he cannot give you more or anything different. There is an important rule of thumb to apply where it relates to other people. You can never change another person, only yourself. And no one can turn your negative circumstance into a positive one — only you. Right now, you hold the cards. Please choose wisely.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis and shidduch consultant. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com. Questions and comments for the Dating Forum can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.