“I am very confused about a man who loves me very much. We had a relationship for three years and I ended it. He was facing homelessness and so I took him in. A part of me wants the relationship and another part says don’t go there. Help!” ~ Debra, Philadelphia, PA
You say the man loves you very much but nowhere do you say that you love him. You also say, “A part of me wants ‘the’ relationship” but we suspect it is more likely the case that you want ‘a’ relationship.
Many times people settle. They are not truly happy in their relationship but the idea of starting over or dating is daunting. They also settle because they mistakenly tell themselves, “This is the best I can do,” rather than honestly look at whether or not the relationship feels right and if they feel good, expanded and expansive out of being in the other person’s presence.
It is easy to become addicted to having someone around without really liking him or her or without liking yourself in the process. You can talk yourself into being with someone and give yourself good reasons why you should stay in the relationship but the litmus test is not only whether or not you love him but more importantly, the answers to these questions: How do I feel when I am with this person? Do I like myself? Am I more self-expressive or am I contracted when I am with him?
You have your own answers. You are your own best guide. You can trust how you feel when you are around this person (and when you are not) and that will give you the answers you need. Taking care of someone and “rescuing” him from homelessness is very charitable but it is not the basis for a healthy relationship.
If you love him and love who you are in his presence, then his facing homelessness is not relevant – it is just the starting point for your love affair. But if you are staying with him because you feel sorry for him or if you are secretly afraid that you can’t do better and being with him is better than being alone, then you will never be truly happy. If the latter is the case, then you would be well served in helping him find a new living situation.
We wish you the best,
Ariel and Shya