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My partner does not think it's important to introduce me as her SO or even admit she's in a relationship, to other men.

I think it's a sign of disrespect.

She thinks it's insecurity.

When I think of insecurity, I think of "gosh, she'll cheat on me!" or "gosh, she'll leave me for this guy!"

I never have thoughts like that. It's really, honestly, a feeling of anger in that she does not, IMHO, respect the relationship or me enough to introduce me to other males as her partner or mention she's in a relationship.

Three examples:
Twice she was asked out at work when men found out she was divorcing - once via e-mail; second via IM. Both times, she never responded; just ignored their requests. She thinks that is an appropriate response. I come from the standpoint that a simple "Thank you, but I amseeing somebody" would go a long way to showing me and the relationship that she is serious.

Third example, we met with a contractor she had been dealing with for some work on her townhouse and never introduced me. Even after I introduced myself, she never said "this is my boyfriend, I want his input". He kept staring at me like I was a competing contractor. lol.

These are just a few examples. I noticed this behavior after about 6 months of dating but accumulated the events as "yellow flags" and put them in my back pocket for awareness. It hasn't been til recently that they have come to light.

Again, she thinks it's insecurity and controlling that I'm "suggesting" what to say or how to behave.

I have never been accused of insecurity, even in 7 years of marriage. We are both very fit, very attractive 50 (or so) year olds that look 10 years younger with great, fit bodies and considered very attractive. I don't need to be insecure. I have no issues meeting women, nor does she (meeting men).

I've just never run into this situation before and it seems disrespectful, if not odd to me, that once you decide to be in a committed relationship, you don't do this. I'm almost thinking it's more a self-esteem issue on her part and needing validation?

FWIW, we are both college educated, divorced and with children. We each have a child with special needs. I have read many self help and relationship books, and have tried to get her to go to couples counseling with me but she "doesn't believe in counseling". My favorite relationship expert is John Gottman and she tells me I "hide" behind his quotes.

We have been dating for almost 2 years.

Thoughts? How do you respond to someone that thinks like this? Is it just a queston of differences in how we view relationships? I'm not sure I can be in a relationship that doesn't acknowledge me or the relationship to other men. I absolutely acknowledge our relationship and her to other women. She has seen it but says that is my prerogative and choice - she has hers.
Thank you, everyone, for the feedback so far! Truly appreciated.

rosequartz, it never dawned on me that she might be ashamed of me, but if that was the case, wouldn't she be reluctant to introduce me to everyone? She seems to have NO problem pointing out to women that I'm her man. lol. I hate to think she is keeping her options open. It disappoints me deeply, because we have so many things in common and get along great, otherwise.

MSNik, no she would not flip out, if I introduced myself as the boyfriend. But, she knows I wouldn't do that out of pride. I expect my partner to respect me enough to WANT to do it. I told her exactly the same thing about not responding to e-mails/IM and she called me paranoid and insecure. I've tried very passionately but with a level-head to tell her that I am not insecure and that it has to do with respecting the relationship and your partner. I even quoted John Gottman to her about sometimes needing to put your needs after those of the relationship (I was trying to show her that she could compromise and do it for the relationship sake). She told me I was hiding my insecurity and control behind his quotes and big words, but at the end of the day...I was simply wrong; that's it insecurity no matter how you slice it. Wow. I was speechless.

JohnR41, the majority of the 2 years, she was separated and divorcing, so she has only really been divorced a few months. We do talk about marrying and our future, so she knows I'm seriously considering it with her. I thought maybe it was the fact that she wasn't yet divorced that kept her from admitting it, but like I said, she had no problem admitting it to others. It seemed (to me anyway) that it was only with handsome, middle-aged men, married or not.

My biggest disappointment is that she won't discuss this rationally and without emotion so we can maybe find a compromise. Each time she ends up screaming, insulted or offended and storms off or hangs up on me. I am not like that. She has had VERY similar concerns with me, and I have settled them within 5 minutes so they were never an issue! She had a problem with me posting on a health-n-fitness blog that she called "a place to hook up" (it was not). I stopped immediately and told her that she and the relationship were what was important to me, not the blog. Another time, she had concerns with me starting massage therapy because her ex had cheated on her with a massage therapist. I offered to take her with me and pay for couples massages or seek out a male therapist. She discovered the therapist I wanted to see was a lesbian, so she was okay with it. Still, I was willing to appease her concerns immediately and without flying off the handle. She can't seem to pay me the same respect back.

We're taking a much needed break after three weeks of passionate arguing. I'm trying to figure things out, so your advice is helpful.

Thanks, again, guys for the feedback.
ken, thank you for responding. I tend to agree with you. IMVHE, I've noticed that SOME (not all) women in the Corp America Work Place carry a "sense of entitlement". And older women that may have gone through a bitter divorce have an even more pronounced sense of self that often gets in the way of the relationship. Still, I hold out hope that I might meet someone who appreciates and understands me.

Nik, I am so grateful that you take the time for such thoughtful responses.

Yes, I do wish things could be different. For months there were (seemingly) no issues, so that plays into my questions. But, like I mentioned, I now wonder if she was trying hard to be someone she is not and has now realized she just can't keep that up the facade? That's what breaks my heart the most.

Thank you for your description of your date night. That is EXACTLY what I would expect a partner to think about in preparation for their date, not dressing for somone else. You and your husband have built what John Gottman calls a safe haven. You are at a place where each has proved to the other, over years of confirming behavior, that there is nothing to worry about. You are in that safe haven spot. You can be at a party and you or your husband don't have to worry about the others behavior because you've always come through for each other. I've never been able to find this since my marriage, which sometimes makes me wonder if I, indeed, have too high of expectations as some ex-partners have stated?

In 7 years of marriage, I was never accused of controlling or insecure behaviors. Without going into detail, suffice it to say the main issues in my marriage were dispassion on my part (as a whole, not just intimately), and clinical depression on my ex-wife's part, coupled with the added stress of a recent birth to a child with cognitive and physical disabilities. Anyway, I will be divorced 10 years this October. No one, including myself, thought I'd still be single because I'm such a "good catch". I have a thriving 20 year career in IT but I don't let it define me or consume me. I rather be home each night with my family and sipping wine with my partner. I workout 6 days a week and have been told I look 10-15 years younger than 50. I'm conscious of dressing contemporary but not too young, and not old either (no wing tips...ever! lol). I am a great co-parent with 2 wonderful kids and a great relationship with my straight A 17yo daughter and her younger brother with Down syndrome. I try to be present and aware in a relationship but not overly demanding. I'm not opposed to individual and relationship therapy to fix me or my relationships. I own my own home (kindasorta) and am well-respected by my neighbors based on what they see (no revolving door of women, no wild parties, etc.) I mention all these things not to impress or brag, but because I sometimes wonder if it plays into my sense of disrespect? In other words, I see a partner behave a certain way or say something to which I disagree, and I frequently think to myself, "Are you kidding me? Everything I bring to the table and you're going to dis' me with that person or say that?" I asked my therapist to explore this further.

For the first 3 years after my divorce, I did not think of a relationship or dating. I dove myself into parenting my children. It was like a splash of ice cold water to my face when, one day, my daughter's then kindergarten teacher (my age & legally separated) asked me out. We dated for nearly a year but after only a few months, I saw similar behaviors to my current partner, maybe worse. She would literally make eye contact with another guy when out and hold the stares, often invoking a response from them, reciprocating stares from the men or in a few cases, they actually physically approached her with me standing there. Again, call it pride, but I am not the kind of person to put my arm around my partner to send a message when they themselves are participating in these games. Anyway, I walked away to her disappointment. Six months later she returned, admitting her behavior and wanting to try again, but I refused.

About a year after that, I tried e-harmony and met a wonderful divorced woman my age who owned a very successful business. We dated for 14 months. This was probably the most emotionally stable. I walked away though because she had no desire to move the relationship forward, even after 14 months. We were no further ahead after 14 months than day 1. Even her family and children thought I was still just a good friend, so my children (who knew we were dating) had to maintain a lie to her kids.

About a year after that, I had my longest relationship since my marriage. Twenty months I dated a divorced woman my age I met on Match. For the first 6 months, everything was wonderful, but after I refused to marry her after 6 months, I began to see a shift in her attitude. I told her I was not opposed to marriage but wanted to know we were on the same page about things and we were not. She was insisting we had to live in a particular (high-end) zip code, even though she rented while I was under water with my home. She also voiced her need to keep her job, even though she was an office manager and made 1/10th of what I made, she didn't care that I would have added an hour to my commute if I moved to her desired zip code. If instead she would have moved into my home in a nice, middle-income neighborhood and we could have fixed it up as we pleased and then sold and moved, I would have married her immediately. But she refused. After 12 months, her priorities changed completely and I was no longer considered in much of her planning. One day, she went to a family "keggar" party where her sister's boyfriend asked her to crawl into bed wit him and her sister. She told me afterwards and told me she said nothing to him, which upset me greatly. I told her I was going to say something to him about his behavior and she forbid me to say anything. Well, that episode, coupled with everything else, pretty much traumatized it for me. I tried for 6 more months before walking away, crushed and hurt, as was she.

Three months after that, I met a separated woman, 15 years younger, who was visiting my city from Kentucky and at my gym. We had a short-lived romance. But the distance and complications with custody made it difficult to sustain. We mutually ended it.

And about 6 months after that, this current partner (my age) began to drop hints at work that she was interested (we had been working together for 2 years (she was married). I resisted at first, even telling her that her focus should be resolving her marital problems, one way or the other. Weeks later, when she told me she had legally separated, I made the decision to test the waters. Things seemed okay and so we moved forward. The rest you all know.

So, you see? It's not from lack of trying nor lack of attracting mates. As you can see, with the kindergarten teacher, the keggar partner and current partner, there were episodes perceived as disrespect by me and insecurity/control by them. Each time, I dragged myself to therapy, and each time, my (same) therapist has said I had every right to (and should) feel disrespected. And yet, it keeps happening. So, is society that *** up? Do people not realize what it takes to be in a healthy relationship? My 54yo sister who is happily married believes 90% of society doesn't get it. That scares me. I sometimes wonder if I should meet a therapist. lol

I returned to my hometown a few weeks ago to get away from everything (I have no local family support). My sister invited her g/f over a few times while I was visiting and it was clear after a while that my sis wanted us to meet. It was emotionally satisfying to connect and banter with someone. But, I feel like I need to grieve for a while; maybe heal, with this current relationship ending. It would be unfair to move into something in my current emotional state.

So, I press on, hoping one day I'll meet someone that agrees with me - sees things the way I see them. When I was 40, I didn't worry much about meeting someone. But at 50, I start to worry about how much time I have left before Father Time REALLY begins to wreak havoc on my mind and body? I've been able to stave him off so far, but things can change in an instant. Online dating helps speed things along but there is still that "honeymoon" period in every relationship that tends to muddy the waters.

Maybe russianbride or meetasianwomen are the sites I should be trying. Or maybe farmersonly (gasp!). lol

Respectfully submitted (and grateful to you all for listening),


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