Dead End

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Dear Hoopers,
I just got out of a very long term relationship about a year ago. My ex and I dated for 6 years and we have 2 beautiful boys together. I met this guy while I was going through my “finding myself” phase. He’s really sweet, caring, understanding of my situation with my ex, and he always puts me first. Originally, we agreed to just being in a friends with benefits relationship. Only because he just got out of a serious and hard relationship as well, his only being 3 months prior to meeting me. And I was fine with being friends with benefits. I didn’t want anything serious. After hanging out a couple times it became more serious. We literally do everything a couple does. He comforts me, holds my hand, kisses me on the forehead randomly, cuddling with me at night, the way he talks to me. He’s not seeing anyone else and neither am I. We’re only seeing each other. When I ask him about moving to the next step, he says he just wants to take it slow because of his rough past. We’ve been seeing each other for 3 months now. Is this a lost cause? Should I give up and run?
-Dead End

Dear Dead End,
First question to you is regarding the “finding myself” phase you mentioned. Do you think you are still going through it? Six years is a long time to be with someone. Pair that with parenting two children together and I can imagine some challenges with the transition. This doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to move on in less than a year, but I would take a deeper dig into what you really want in life and in the next relationship. You owe yourself the time to take a deep breath and make sure you are happy and healthy for a new relationship.

I don’t think this relationship sounds like a lost cause, but rather a really beautiful start! He sounds like a great guy; sweet, loving, caring and comforting are nice checks on the list. If he’s communicating that he wants to move slow, take his word for it. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t see a future with you or appreciate spending time with you. Rather, he’s telling you like it is. He just got out of a hard relationship with a rough past and he doesn’t want to rush things. He’s telling you where he stands, so it’s important to listen.

It may turn out to be worth the wait.


To make a relationship work, the timing has to work too and that takes both sides being honest, self-aware and respectfully communicating with one another. Keep communicating honestly. If you don’t want to wait around for him, then that is your choice. With all things considered, I don’t think it would be such a bad idea for you to give this new guy more time. It may turn out to be worth the wait.

Dear Dead End,
Many times after a long-term breakup, you walk away with a feeling of freedom and a new importance on finding the right relationship for you. I’m sensing that freedom in your question. I’m sensing a “why aren’t you ready to commit to me?” I think that this feeling has a lot of truth to it.

Perhaps your response to this feeling is to end the relationship. You would be well within your bounds to make that decision in order to focus on your future. Another response may be to pull back on the affection in the relationship. That level of hand holding, forehead kissing, and cuddling may not feel right for you, especially for someone who isn’t willing to commit to a relationship. He is free to keep things casual but you also have a right to set boundaries around your physical and emotional self.

He is free to keep things casual but you also have a right to set boundaries around your physical and emotional self.

-Dr. Ryan

You certainly don’t have to give up and run, but if your primary goal right now is to take care of yourself and your future, then that might be the right move for you. Stepping back from the relationship or even just from the same level of affection doesn’t mean that you could never be together, it just means that it isn’t the right time. Trust your gut and the feelings from this time of finding yourself and I’m confident that you will go in the right direction.
-Dr. Ryan