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Let The Door Hit Him In the Ass

When a guy you've been dating gets back together with an old flame—especially one far away—it can be hard to let go. The 4-way talks holding on vs. moving on, even when it's hard.

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Dear 4-Way,
I just met a man I feel like I’ve really connected with, and got the sense that he has really connected with me as well: physically, emotionally, and intellectually. However, after our fourth date (in the course of three weeks) he told me that he reconnected with an old relationship and, as a result, has cooled off toward me. The thing is, even though we haven’t had sex, he tells me he really enjoys the closeness we’ve shared and wants to continue seeing me. The woman in question lives in Europe and it would mean a long distance relationship. I, however, live in the same town, and can actually participate in a non-virtual relationship. I’m torn because I like him, but need to pull back emotionally because I don’t want to get hurt. I admit that I’m also hopeful that he’ll realize a long-distance relationship isn’t going to be practical and he’ll rekindle what got started when we first met. He’s being very honest with me—which I appreciate—and we’re both around forty, so there is a certain level of maturity here. I think I need to move on, but I’d also like to hold out to see if he’ll be available. Thoughts? – JG

The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer
Kudos to him for being up front with you about what’s going on. Now don’t let the door hit him too hard as you usher him out.

You are falling into the “Potential Zone”: If only he would realize that long distance never works. If only he would see that I am right here for him. If only...

You have to look at what is, not what may be. And what is, is a man who doesn’t want to be lonely while his love is far away. Value yourself enough to know that you deserve someone who is not straddling two continents. If you want to invest in potential, pick out a good mutual fund.

The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown
This is a personal hot topic for me and you are about to be on the receiving end of some RB tough love. The hot topic as I see it is why men continue to reach out to a woman WHEN THEY ALREADY HAVE A WOMAN (that’s me yelling in frustration). It isn’t that I don’t think that men can have female friendships while they’re in a relationship, they absolutely can and should. But it is harder to make that transition to “just friends” when you’ve already “connected physically.” It also begs the question, is he not getting the kind of closeness he needs from this other woman? (Probably not since she’s in the EU.) Is he keeping you on the back burner in case things don’t work out? You don’t want to be Back-Burner-on-a-Low-Simmer-Girl, do you? I’m guessing you want to be Full-Boil-on-the-Front-Burner-Woman, at whatever level the two of you take this relationship to—friendship or otherwise—because sometimes “being friends” in this situation ends up being a few stiffly-written emails with no plans for getting together. And that’s not really what friends do.

He gets points for being honest with you since he may not realize that you feel as strongly as you do. If by saying that “you like him” you mean that you want to be friends with him, I say cautiously go for it…but only if you think you can handle it. You never know where (or to whom) he might lead you. But be careful: it sounds like you’re still holding out hope that a romantic relationship could happen. You can only go on the information he’s given you, and right now what you’re working with is this: there’s another woman he’s interested in more than you. (I’m sorry.) If it stung a little when you read that, I suggest you let him do the heavy lifting on getting this friendship off the ground and get your hot ass back in circulation to meet someone else.

The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox
Around the corner or around the globe, I hate to break it to you, sunshine, but he’s into someone else! What guy is going to freely tell you this after only a few weeks of knowing him if he wants to build something with you? Maybe she was there all along. I say step back and see if he follows. Better to do it now than delay.

The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy
Oh man, I love the contradictions. He says he’s cooled towards you, but wants to keep seeing you. He values your closeness, a trait he’s showing means a lot to him considering he’s fallen for a woman… in Europe!

His explanations are about as clear as the London fog—as meandering as the Venice canals. They hold as much water as the Moroccan desert.

Nonetheless, it’s apparent there’s something he’s not getting from you. In plain English, ask him what that is. If you can give it to him, do. If not, don’t. But I’m assuming it won’t matter.

You’re right about your instinct, you do need to pull back emotionally—way back—maybe as far as Europe. He’ll probably want to rekindle with you then.

I give him credit for being honest with you. He could be seeing and emailing this woman in Europe without telling you—which tells me he wants you to back off. So do that.

He’s around forty, so I’m assuming he’s familiar with the idea that long-distance relationships are a challenge. You don’t need to hope he’ll realize this. He does.

Eventually, he or the European woman will have to hop across the pond to take it to another level. Either way, that timeline is not for you to set.

In the meantime, put yourself back out there. I’m confident you’ll find someone who wants their mate to actually live in the same country as they do. Probably even the same town. You’ll find it easier to feel close to them.

This is America, after all. Remember, Uncle Sam wants you!

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