I have been allowing this man to depend on me for his life….

by Rod Smith

READER: I read your column about “Women Who Lose Themselves In Relationships” and I do not agree with you. I am dating a man who is coming who is out of a marriage. He lacks any sense of who he is. Obviously his state is fluid and therefore I have been empathetic. I have been encouraging him to rebuild a life finding and developing new friendships, interests, hobbies, and just to take time alone. I have found myself being too empathetic, and losing myself in the drama of his impending divorce. I am a very independent person, however do have a nurturing side. My problem is not the lack of my own life, but it has been allowing this man to depend on me too much for ‘his life’. (Edited)

ROD RESPONDS: While each of you may feel you are being very helpful and empathetic – in the face of his many needs – you are still mothering a man who is not your child. Your “empathy” will short-circuit his necessary and solitary journey, toward or away from his wife. Men (and women) who are “coming out of a marriage” are not healthy material for deep relationships. Please don’t assume “nurturing” requires some degree of dependency. You are being sucked into a situation it is likely you will regret.

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