A magnet for married (and older) men
Chico And Delamar
DEAR CHICO AND DEL …I’m an avid reader of your column, as well as listener to your morning radio program. I make it a point to learn from other people’s problems and listen to your advices. However it never occurred to me that I’ll be writing to you some day. Mine may be a petty girlish issue, but I really consider my situation an abnormality for girls my age.
Since my early teens I’ve always been involved with older men. My confidant is my cousin who is 12 years older than me. My best friend is 10 years older and all my Ex’s are at least 11 years older, except for my first boyfriend (to whom I lost my virginity at 15) who was just two years older.
My second boyfriend was 11 years older, my third 15 years while my current is twice my age. Aside from being way too old for me, they all have another common denominator…. all are married!
I don’t know what drives me so crazy about older men. I am such a sucker for married men. Sometimes I would attribute it to the fact that I started hating “boylets” because my first BF (17 at the time), after getting what he wanted from me, dumped me for another girl for the simple reason that the girl had a stronger sex drive.
My guy best friend however helped me to love life again by giving me new hopes when he started to show me some attention. He was my ultimate crush since I was 13 that I’ve practically thrown myself at him— kissed him, embraced him, sat on his lap, slept in one room with him… but because of his respect for my cousin (who happens to be his best friend), he did not put malice to my being physically close to him. He even told me jokingly, to wait until I turn 18 and only then that he’ll start courting me.
But even before I turned 18, I met my second BF. We went out for nine months without me knowing that he was married. We broke up eventually.
Just as when my bestfriend was starting to court me (or so I think he was), came my third BF – a double degree-holder, married with children, which I knew from the start but got involved anyways. We went out for more than a year. But it didn’t work out. He had had personal that he had to go on hiding.
Next is this guy, very much married with a child. I fell for this wonderful man – mature, passionate, holds very sexy and attractive. We’ve been going out for a few months now, and I’ve never felt happier in my life.
I never demanded from any of them to leave their families. I know I couldn’t compete with them, especially with their kids. I just love the way they care for me.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. There have been a few single men who court me, but I can’t find the heart to fall in love with them. I just enjoy their company and nothing more, nothing romantic.
I don’t want to consult a shrink just to know what’s wrong with me. And oh, I forgot to mention, if it has anything to do with my family background, I’m not living with my dad…I never did. But I’m sick and tired of the old line the I’m just looking for a “father image” because I don’t believe having a romantic, moreso sexual, relationships with an older BF would suggest a need for a “father image.” Please help me….am I sick??? – GRAVE DIGGER
Maybe the reason you’re sick and tired of that father figure explanation is because it’s closer to the bone than you’d like it to be. And just because you don’t buy that explanation doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
I’m no psychologist, but it really makes sense to me. Besides, you don’t have to take the term father figure literally. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re looking for a literal father to have an incesttinged relationship with. But perhaps it only means that not growing up with a father, you tend to seek that sort of attention you didn’t experience with him from other men.
And we’re not just talking about father-specific things, but even generic ones. And in general, you would find in married men some fatherly traits you might have been craving for all these years.
For instance, married men tend to be more grounded, more stable than the bachelors, having been humbled and tempered by years of marriage and commitment. Having children and a wife, he would have learned the tricky art of (whether he meant it or not) nurturing those who depend on him. They tend to be more responsible, given that they have to play the role of provider for their families. They’re more in charge, since that is the general rule of thumb, the father being the head of the household. They also tend to be more stable, in terms of the financial, since most men wouldn’t get into a marriage without the funds to support a family, and the emotional, since by the time they get married, they would have sown their wild oats already and would have been done grappling with their commitment issues.
Of course I only speak in general terms, by no means do all married men fit these descriptions. But my point is, maybe what you’re looking for in your boyfriends is not a literal father, but a man who could give you the stuff that your father wasn’t able to.
Of course the bad taste that this proclivity of yours will leave in the mouth is the fact that your happiness lies in the misery of broken homes. At first you got involved with a married man, only because you didn’t know he was married. But now, you’re like a shark, patrolling the murky waters of love, smelling for any trace of a wedding band. Once you zero in on one, you attack relentlessly until the prey is willingly yours.
I think I don’t have to tell you that this taste for committed men will get you nowhere. True, you get that thrill, that rush that comes with it, but eventually, when it all boils down to the fact that you’ll never have them for good, it will drive you nuts.
Besides, even if you did end up with one of them, as in he leaves his family and you move in together, you’ll never have a good night’s sleep, because you’ll be thinking that if he cheated on his wife, what makes you think he wouldn’t do the same with you?
Look, you’re young, and you obviously have major issues to deal with. Maybe seeking professional help isn’t such a bad idea. The fallacy that talking to a shrink is only for loonies is so 30 years ago. Maybe you just need to talk to someone who could help you thresh out the stuff that need examining. There are so many single men out there who could supply you with a lifetime of love and nurturing (where they are lurking, is another problem altogether).
The point is, they’re probably somewhere out there. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a man of your own, without having to look behind your back all the time, checking for jealous wives and co-mistresses? There has got to be a better way to find yourself a man.
The explanation you don’t want to hear might be the explanation that you NEED to accept. Before you throw the newspaper into the trash bin, wait! There are some things you need to hear from a total stranger like me who only sees the details you have shared with us in your letter. I base my opinion just on what you’ve written in your letter, nothing else. So, if I still draw the same conclusion, the conclusion you don’t want to hear, then there just might be some truth to it. And the reason why you’re not interested in giving it some credit is because it just might be the truth. The truth you cannot and will not accept. In other words, you’re in denial.
It is no sheer coincidence that a young woman would zero in on married, old men and hook up with them. If it happens once, you could argue that it’s a fluke. But according to you, it is this type that attracts you the most. Anything younger just doesn’t pique your interest, right?
The fact is that you never had a father figure. You never had a father to love you and take care of you and look after you. At some level, that would bother you, dont you think? Especially if you see that your friends have it in their lives and you don’t. It’s not something to be ashamed about, it just IS.
Well, I am of the belief that the things we usually look for in romantic relationships are the ones we feel we lack in our family life or maybe things we didn’t have while growing up. It’s not the ONLY thing we look for, but they are things that we feel we need but never got from whatever home life we had growing up.
If you want to know why you do the things you are doing, ask yourself what these men have in common. But you already know that, right? Okay, so after that you know they are all married, a lot older and usually with families, what is it that you get out of relationships with them? What do they provide you? What is it that you get out of getting involved with men with families? That is a question that you have to answer to give you some peek at the real motivations behind these relationships.
It’s easy enough to say you’re just looking for a father figure. But it may be more complicated than that. There are many possibilities here. Maybe you want a father’s love and you’re looking for it in a romantic relationship? Maybe you are rebelling at the fact that your father was not there by taking away these married men from their families? Or you maybe you even like these doomed relationships with these men because you want them to go back to their families, something that you hoped (?) your father would have done?
There are a lot of possible explanations here but there is one that will be true for you. Nobody can tell you what it is, except you. You will have to find that out for yourself.
It’s fine by me that you don’t want to be reduced to a cliché. You don’t want your behavior to be explained in two words like “father figure”. That’s good. That really doesn’t explain anything anyway, in my opinion.
But you can’t stop at getting irked by being labeled. You have to start examining your motives, the reasons behind your decisions. Focus on the inside. It’s not about the men really. It’s about you. Look inwards. That is the only way we get a closer look at the people we have become. And it is the way we can decide if we want to change the course of our lives by getting rid of these traps we’ve made for ourselves.
Look into yourself. Keep asking the why questions. And don’t stop until some truth is revealed — some truth that will hurt you, some truth that will free you, some truth that will heal you.
(Chico and Delamar welcome your letters. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax through 5277511. Listen to the Dynamic Duo Monday to Saturday, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. over Monster Radio RX 93.1. the radio version of He Says, She Says goes on air every Monday, Wednesday and Friday)