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Hi Project,

lately, surfing the internet I found your forum and I started to read looking for an answer that I cannot find anywhere. I am 35 years old, a gay at 35 or has already built his world or he starts thinking that he will not have one anymore, but frankly I don’t care much about building my own world, it will be what will be, there is only one thing that keeps me anxious and at the same time makes me move forward and it is the future of my ex-boyfriend.
We have not been together for years, but there has remained a profound connection between us, at least I think so. He is 30 years old and I see him very straggling, very confused, always looking for people able to understand him and also always disappointed by his experiences, it is as if he had chosen to throw himself away, sometimes he seems to think that his life is worth nothing, I cannot tell you why, but I love him, or better I think often of him and I think of him with concern, sometimes he makes me uncomfortable and I don’t know what to answer him, I would like to spend a lot of time with him but I know he would not stand me. 

He only looks for me at certain moments but in those moments our conversation is direct, sincere, without reservations even if often it ends up in misunderstandings or rather ends up in the realization that our worlds are far away, not as social environments but just as ways of being, he is 30 years old and has in theory a great desire to live but then has moments of frightful melancholy, a couple of months ago he lost his job and returned to depend economically from his parents, and for him a similar thing is destructive because he never got along with his parents, I am hypochondriac, also because my health isn’t certainly a health of iron, and with him I always speak of illness, depression and death, things that he doesn’t want to hear and then he tells me that I talk about those things because I'm looking for excuses and I don’t want to get really involved with him and when he tells me so, clearly, he puts me in crisis. 

I always thought of loving him, or rather I had always thought of loving him, but if I think about it, I make a lot of theoretical discourses but when I have to make a choice and stay on his side, sharing a piece of his real life, putting in crisis my stability and my habits, in the end I do nothing, I look for excuses and I cowardly pull back. In fact I think I have the right to ask him to adapt to me and my dreams, but they are dreams that don’t interest him and the speech ends in stalemate, ends in five minutes and leaves in both the feeling of another failure. 

I believe I’m no longer able to love, I feel limited by my selfishness, I don’t want to expose myself, to risk, I prefer to always say no looking for excuses, this is true, and I always do it and then I deceive myself to love him , I say I love him but evidently it is not so, he realizes it and makes me understand that he realized, basically tells me that I’m a hypocrite and that I don’t have the courage to make a choice, the choice to follow him on his ground, putting completely my safety aside. When he tells me these things I don’t know what to answer because they are real things. I begin to feel really a hypocrite and I begin to think that in fact I have abandoned him, even if I still say that I love him. 

Maybe I was not born for a couple life. In my life there was only him, I have never lost my mind for other guys. I always thought that I preferred to be alone more than to be with other guys, but I also thought that the speech was not for him, because I thought I loved him, but I realize that I can no longer love him and not because there is another guy, but because my life as a single is much less risky, much quieter, or at least has some background certainties, if I were with him I would no longer have any certainty and I would be tossed by the waves exactly as it happened in the first part of our story. I begin to understand that he doesn’t really involve me and I don’t know what to do, I am tempted to force myself to accept everything that comes from him, that is to take him as he is but I also know that sooner or later I would get tired and dream of being newly alone. 

Look, Project, I'm not talking about getting together but just being friends, but a friendship with him is not just a banal thing, and it's not even the fact that he still has his own sex life, of which I don’t know anything , if not that that life really exists and responds to needs that I couldn’t satisfy anyway, what puts me in crisis is that he, in the end, feels alone even with me, that in the end for him I’m a lifebuoy, a makeshift, a bit a last beach. Months ago I thought that somehow it could go on like this, but now I'm changing my mind. And then I'm cheating him, when we talk I try to give him a depressing idea of me so that he can lose that little interest in me that is left to him. I cannot tell him: look, I prefer to be alone! No, and then I tell him so many beautiful things and probably false, and in reality I try to push him to get rid of me. 

On one side I would like to be close to him, but on the other I'm afraid of him, I'm afraid of being trapped in some sort of mutual dependence. In these years, when he was with a guy I was happy, in a sense I was happy for him, because he could have a minimum of emotional stability, but on the other hand I was happy because I was hoping to be able to forget him, I hoped he was completely absorbed by the other guy and could forget about me, but systematically it didn’t happen, after a few months the other guy went his own  way and our relationship returned to take on importance. 

Sometimes you start by saying to a guy: I love you ... and then you get trapped by those words and you don’t come out of it anymore, even when the feelings are gone now. Step by step I became also aware of this: the feelings are not eternal and even those that seemed to me stronger and almost indestructible then end up wearing out. Sometimes I'm worried about him, now, after he has lost his job, the situation has worsened and the mood has really dropped to its lowest. Sometimes he makes speeches that make me really scared, maybe that's why I tend to distance myself, assuming it's not just for cowardice, that seems to me the most credible hypothesis. I don’t know if this is love, Project, I know that I would like to see him smile as it happened very few times. 

Now he attends a psychologist who, from what he tells me, should not be so bad, but after months of, so to speak, therapy, things have not changed at all, at first I had hoped something would have changed but then, with the loss of the work, things went just wrong. I feel very uncomfortable, Project, I don’t know what to do, I'm not afraid of what people can say, after all, years ago we were together, people knew, or at least it seemed so, but nobody ever bothered us . I'm afraid to get close to him because I could delude myself to move him away from the depression and then end up realizing that anyway nothing will change. I feel uncomfortable, Project, I feel like a middle-man.
Answer me, if you want, I would like it.

Richard N.
Hi Richard,
I read your email with great interest, because there is very little obvious and schematic, there are the doubts typical of the construction of true emotional relationships. In your case, things are a bit complicated because both from you and from his part it is to build everything from scratch, without being able to refer to anything prefabricated. He also has a sexual life, ok, but the relationship he has with you has lasted for years and has not broken up. You had the feeling that everything was about to collapse, or that it had already collapsed, but even in writing this mail, you still show a lot of nostalgia for this relationship that you seem to consider already concluded. A relationship is not concluded when you do everything to understand what to do, but when you don’t ask yourself the problem at all, and you certainly asked that problem many times e very seriously. You didn’t have any other guy, but not because it didn’t interest you, but because you had him, and your brain was already occupied in a story that was basically a romance, sex or no sex, it was still a way to want well, and you can be sure that you have been a much more strong certainty for him than many others. You could also fear that you created an addiction and maybe it was already created but in fact, loving another person doesn’t mean building something for yourself but thinking of being useful to the other person, and you have been useful and continue to be. It struck me a lot the question of accepting everything that comes to you from him. In fact, it is precisely the fact that you don’t accept everything and that you maintain your independence of judgment that makes you a precious person. I launch myself in an interpretation. The other guys were with him, then something didn’t work and they left, this is the common logic of couples, but it is not the logic of love, it is the logic of those looking for something for themselves, between you and him there were misunderstandings and perhaps deeper than it seems, but you stayed there, you did not disappear, you did not try to build something for yourself, you gave in, but up to a certain point in order not to lose him, but in spite of your many doubts, in the end you remained close to him, and this is the logic of love. And don’t tell me that at the age of 35 you wouldn’t find a guy, if you wanted it you would find one certainly, but you already have a boyfriend. Frankly, I don’t think you'll leave and you'll leave him alone, I don’t think at all, you're talking too much about it to put into practice a similar project. He is now going through really difficult times, because for him losing his job and returning, at 30, to depend on his parents is really hard to accept. He is testing you to see if he can trust you without reservations, but I think he can certainly trust you, and, be sure, he will not go away, because a relationship like the one he has with you (I say deliberately "who has" and not "who had") he can only have it with you and he knows it very well. Your relationship has all the appearances of a fragile relationship and now almost in a straight line of arrival, but it is a very deeply rooted relationship. You're thinking about how to behave with him but you're sure he will not put you aside, now he reacts strongly with an aut aut, asks you to follow him without reservations ... what will you do? First of all, you will not interrupt the dialogue with him because to interrupt the dialogue would be disastrous for both of you, you will continue to be there, yielding a little, but with caution, and so you will accompany him out of the worst moments. I think this guy has given you so much through that frank dialogue he has with you and I think that without him you would be really uncomfortable. Now you are also passing moments of uncertainty, talk to him and you will see that he will not be surprised and this time he will accompany you out of your doubts.
A strong hug.

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