Knowing When to Give Up

Q: I met a much younger woman at work. We went out, and after two dates we slept together. This lasted about three weeks, but then she decided she just wanted to be friends. That was almost two years ago. Since then she's met two guys, one of which she slept with on the first date. That "relationship" only lasted three days. She fell in love with the other guy and moved in with him after five days. He has three kids from his first marriage, and there is trouble with them because she tells me about it at work. I know I should run, but I am having a hard time cutting all ties with her. -- Rick, 60

Dr. Susan: When you say you know you should run, does that man you're getting your hopes up that she'll think of you as a romantic partner again? In that case, yes, run. She apparently loves having you as a good listener to share her problems with, but I don't get the slightest feeling that she is seeking to start up with you again. And even if she opened that door, you should have the sense to slam it shut. She makes a lot of impulsive decisions that don't work out well for her. Listen to her if you want to, but remember, you're just a friend. Don't start thinking "she's unhappy now, so surely she'll want to give me another try." And if you can't control your fantasies about her, then follow your gut and cut those ties completely. She's using you, and if that makes you uncomfortable or unhappy, you're in charge.

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