Just Using Him?

Q: I have spent many years enjoying my freedom after having been badly hurt in my last relationship. Earlier this year I met a single self-employed woman who I started to use as a supplier and we hit it off as friends and professionally. She invited me to her home and in due course came onto me for a night of pleasure. Since then my feelings for her have grown and yet she has kept me at arm's length, refusing my slow and steady advances. Recently I have reached a point where we either have to get together or move on. It feels as if she has tested my loyalty to her, yet I am now feeling that she could well have just been using me to get more work. She continues to tell me if we can't be friends then so be it, whereas I have told her that I wish she'd waited longer to get to know each other first before seducing me. -- Austin, 43

Dr. Susan: Ever hear the expression, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride"? I'm not sure what it means either, but I'd guess it has something to do with the futility of wasting your effort wishing for what cannot be. And one of the things that cannot happen is to turn back the clock. I suspect your would-be lady friend may even be insulted to hear that you wished she hadn't seduced you. As if you had nothing to do with it! What happened, happened. Now you go on from there. And what I'm seeing is that she isn't as interested as you are in going beyond a professional relationship. It doesn't mean the "night of pleasure" wasn't good for her. It just means she doesn't see you "that way" now. I wouldn't jump to the cynical conclusion that she's been exploiting you to get work. Feelings aren't always reciprocated; you know that. If you don't want to set yourself up for being badly hurt again, listen to what she's telling you. She wants to be friends. No more, no less. You have a right to ask her if she foresees any chance that over time (a few more months?), she might like to get closer, but if she says she doesn't think so, back off.

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