Desperate for love

QUESTION: Masters, I am divorced and have met a wonderful divorced man who lives 2000 km away creating a lot of difficulties. He suffers with depression and a lack of self value but I have never known such a caring loving person who speaks to my heart in such amazing ways. We love each other dearly but don’t know how we can be together. I sometimes feel he fears the intensity of a commitment. He places lots of obstacles in our path without realizing this for he is a huge thinker. I trust him implicitly and sense his feelings for me are real and true. I am struggling with all of this (I have 3 children). I want him to propose to me, I want to spend the rest of my life with him but I realize that he has issues to deal with which are not my responsibility. How can we make this work? Is it meant to work? Is there anything I can do? ~Andrea, Canada

ANSWER: You are very desperate for adult communication and a male, who is not abusive or demeaning, who will pay attention to you. You have always had a dream of a family where you are treated like a queen with respect and understanding. Your friend is able to sympathize with you and your past experiences because he has experienced some of the same interactions with his ex-spouse. The reason he seems so loving and caring is that he is the first man who has not tried to dominate you, and he wilts in the presence of conflict so he goes overboard to make things comfortable.

He is incapable of domination because he lives in fear, even to the point that he creates the belief that in his life he is surrounded with those who are persecuting him. This is the cause of his depression. You are correct that he has no self-esteem, and his constant analyzing, anticipation, and expectations keep him constantly afraid he will do something wrong or cause him to be controlled and punished by someone.

What you sense from him is his desperation to have a loving relationship, and that need appeals to your mothering instincts to take him in and nurture him. This would be equivalent to taking a wounded wild animal into your home, one so needy it tolerates human contact. Once it recovers sufficiently it will fear the confines of your house and strike out at you.

You must examine every aspect of this friendship. You must be honest with yourself about your physical needs for companionship blinding you to the hazards of this situation.