Q: My partner “Janis” died from a stroke five months ago. She and I weren’t aware that she had any heart issues, so it was quite a shock to say the least. She was 53 when she died. I’m 58 now. We were very much in love and had been together 30 years. I miss her horribly.
Two months ago, I was attending an event and met “Carol.” We hit it off right away. Carol had been in a relationship for nine years when her partner died. That was two years ago. Carol and I have many things in common: we love movies, walking in nature, good restaurants, and on and on. My point is that we are a great match. However, I can’t say that I’m in love with Carol, and I can’t say that I’m not. I just don’t know. One of my problems is that having fun sometimes makes me feel guilty, like I shouldn’t have fun because Janis is not with me.
The other night Carol suggested that we think about moving in together, maybe even having a commitment ceremony. I didn’t have a commitment ceremony with Janis. (We were together so long before it was really a popular thing to do; we just never saw the point of it.) Anyway, having a ceremony sounds like a fun thing to do. But, there I go again, thinking about having fun and having a commitment ceremony when Janis and I didn’t. It just somehow seems all wrong.
I’m not sure what my question is, other than I’m feeling uneasy and not sure what I should be doing, or not doing. What do you think? Should I move in with Carol and have a ceremony?
To Move In, or Not
A: I think it is too early for you to move in with Carol. You are still grieving over Janis’ death. It sounds like you are having a good time with Carol and that’s fine, but you need to give yourself more time before you make big decisions in your life, such as making a commitment with another person. You also said that you didn’t know whether you were in love with Carol or not. My guess is that at this point in your relationship, you like Carol as a person and you like how you feel when you are with her; she gets you out and away from your grieving. Getting out and having fun is good for you, but not the moving in and commitment thing. It’s too soon. If she’s the one for you, she’ll wait for you to heal from your loss and there will come a time when the commitment will feel right, along with a ceremony.
Stalking my ex
Q: I broke up with “Tom” a little less than a year ago and haven’t gotten over him yet. People tell me to move on, but that’s easier said than done. I really want to try and get him back. I love him so much that I drive by his house, his place of work and other places that I think he might be. I call him thinking that I will talk to him and that he’ll want to talk to me, but when he answers, I hang up. I’m chicken, I guess. I’ve tried going to the bars and other places to meet men, but it’s not working. I dream about Tom a lot. I sometimes think I see him on the street only to be disappointed when it is not him, but someone who looks like him. As you can see, I’ve got it bad. How can I get over Tom, or should I work at getting him back, like not hanging up when I call him?
A: You need to look at the fact that you are stalking him. That’s not pretty and it’s not good for you. Besides being distressing for Tom – if he’s aware or suspicious of it – it keeps you from moving on, which is what you need to do. How do you think you are going to get over him by constantly focusing on where he is, and your showing up there? If you can’t stop this stalking behavior, you should seek counseling before this turns into a legal issue as well as an emotional one.