Forty-year-old straight boy. Got dumped. She claims she “can’t do this right now” based on an ever-growing cascade of suck. (Family, work, transportation, housing, depression.) The other critical piece of information is that I was her first relationship post a broken engagement. I accept that she’s not prepared to be in a relationship at the moment—she put less and less energy into us as her other issues mounted and, honestly, it wasn’t very rewarding. But she’s good people and our initial connection felt legit and I was pretty smitten.

Question Number One: Should I even bother checking in with her in a few months to see if the troubles have passed? Or is, “I can’t do this right now," just coded language for, “You’re great, but you’re not great enough.”

Question Number Two: On another note over the last few years the only women I’ve found myself really excited about are women who are experiencing crisis of meaning. Their struggles resonate with my own ongoing low-level existential dilemmas, which is to say, I don’t really trust people who trust that they’ve got it figured out. But women who haven’t figured it out seem to be unable to make commitment. Please note that I don’t have a knight in shining armor problem. This is not about saving damsels in distress. Rather I relate to struggle more than I do certitude. Any thoughts on how to find a woman who’s both willing to question why we’re here and simultaneously willing to open her heart to a fellow confused seeker?

Desperately Seeking Desperate Seekers


Answer Number One: The advice I gave to Pensive Upset Puppy in this week's column applies to you and your dilemma, DSDS. The relevant bits:

[When] someone you've fallen for says, "I'm not ready for a commitment," what they mean is "I have no interest in committing to you—not ever." Fido gave you a standard-issue brush-off line, PUP, one that the hopeful, naive, and deluded frequently fail to recognize. Your ex-packmate should've had the balls and the decency to be direct and gone with something unambiguous like "We had some good times, but I'm not interested in pursuing anything further." But he didn't, and as an adult person/puppy on the dating/scritching scene, PUP, it's your job to hear, "I'm not interested in you" whenever someone says, "I'm not ready for a commitment" or "It's not you, it's me" or "I'm not sure what I want" or "I have to focus on my studies/work/remodel right now."

I'm sorry to say that, "I can't do this right now," is more likely than not code for, "You're great, but not great enough." So don't wait for her, DSDS—meaning, don't pass on other opportunities that come your way. But there's no harm in checking in with her in a few months if you're still single. Just shoot her a note that say you're thinking of her, that you hope things have settled down, and that she should give you a call if she's in a place where she can see herself doing this/doing you.

Answer Number Two: No fucking clue. Sorry. Maybe the commenters can help you out.