Q: “I'm 43 and in a relationship with a 30-year-old man. I love him, but I just want more for him than he seems to want to give me. He says that he loves me, but his actions sometimes say something very different. When we are together, we enjoy each other’s company. I want to know how do I (or we) make this relationship better and stronger. Things have happened in the past, and I don't trust him. How do I learn to trust him again? I just want him to understand how I feel, listen to me, and not always have to take over the conversation. Please, help!” – Anonymous
A: It doesn't matter how much you love him, or how much more you want for him, he has to want more for himself. All the love in the world won’t get him there if he isn’t ready yet. Your relationship sounds like it's in serious trouble. This is not necessarily related to your age difference. Although, it does sound as if you are much more mature than him. It's more likely related to the type of man you have chosen.
You stated that he loves you, but his actions show something different, and “things have happened” which resulted in a lack of trust. He is not meeting your needs or expectations. It also sounds as if he is having trouble “hearing” what you have to say. Regardless of how much you talk or what you say, it won't matter if no one is listening.
You cannot make the relationship better or stronger by yourself. He has to be totally invested and see the problem too. He may not want to change at this time. You say he always takes over the conversations when you attempt to talk to him. I have to wonder what else he takes over.
It appears that you have definitely lost your voice in this relationship. You have something to say to him and you need to be heard. I would recommend that you sit down with him and have a conversation. Set ground rules before you start talking. The ground rules should include: 1) A designated time and place to talk without interruptions. 2) No cell phones, computers, or iPads on. And, lastly, each of you will have at least 10 minutes to talk without the other person interrupting. Make sure you have thought long and hard about what you want to say and how you want to say it before you have this meeting. Also make sure you take the emotion out of it so it is not a high drama situation. If he does not agree to have the conversation using these rules, it will say a whole lot about how much he is or is not invested in the relationship. Remember, a relationship is a two way street! -- Dr. Sherry
Email us your questions for Dr. Sherry now, and be sure to include "Ask Dr. Sherry" in the subject line!