Her Shape Isn't Perfect Enough
Q: I have been friends with this guy Jim for many years, although it was only seven years ago that we became intimate. But because I'm friends with his ex-wife and we did not want to hurt her, we broke it off, sexually. He remarried after meeting a woman online. Later he divorced her and lived with me again, but there was no sex at all. Now he has moved out of my home, but I still see him. We go to movies, eat out, etc. I am deeply in love with him, but the problem is that he wants the perfect shaped woman. I am not that woman, and Jim's not perfect himself. Do I tell him how I feel or just stay friends? -- Louise, 55
Dr. Susan: When two people use one another, as you and Jim are, and someone is holding deep feelings back, heartbreak is a near certain result. In this instance, it's your heart we're talking about. You love him, but he only wants to be friends. He probably thinks you're both on the same page, while you keep hoping something will change in his pig-headed attitude. If a woman's shape is still so important to him at this stage of life, be ready to accept that you'll never again be more than friends. He doesn't find you sexually attractive anymore. Perfectionists always think there's a better choice over the next hill (or coffee counter).
However, if you value your self-esteem, and you hope to be with someone who will actually love you, then I'd suggest you take a long break from seeing Jim. Yes, tell him how you feel, but don't grovel or even ask for anything. You might say, "I'm not perfect. We both know that. But you know what? Neither are you and neither is anyone else you're likely to attract. I need and deserve more than a half-hearted relationship. So long and good luck." Then get out there and mingle. And if you get incredibly bored, you can always call him to go see a movie.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.