Dear Melvin, My Boyfriend Leaves Me Breathless (But Not in a Good Way)...

In the bowels of the NYC subway system, love blooms. Check out the fashionable duo on the left.

In the bowels of the NYC subway system, love blooms. Check out the fashionable duo on the left.

Dear Melvin,

I am a 46 year old woman.  I am divorced from my first husband with whom I have two wonderful children.  I am back on the dating scene and enjoying myself immensely, meeting new people and having great sex for the first time in many, many years!  Go, me!

A few months ago, I was having dinner at a wine bar with a girlfriend, Stacey.  While there, two gentlemen approached us.  One thing lead to another and one of the men, Martin, and I have been seeing eachother for 3 months!  I like him a lot and could very well see myself falling in love with him and starting a new life....except for one problem...

He wants to accompany me everywhere!  Martin will often text me throughout my day to inquire how I am and ask what I am doing.  If I tell him I'm reading a book at Starbucks, he wants to know which one and offers to join me to turn the pages.  If I tell him I'm having drinks with a work colleague, he wants to tag along!  If I tell him that I'm grocery shopping, he wants to push a cart next to mine.

It is driving me crazy.  

How can I convey that I enjoy his company, but I also enjoy my alone time too?  I really like him and do not want to hurt his feelings.  But, I also don't want to become his Siamese twin after 3 months!  

Thank you,

Suffocating in Stuyvesant Town

Dear Suffocating,

Go me? You need to run, you!

Every example you gave of him attempting to merge his clinging self onto your time and space brought a deeper frown line to my face.  Right now, I look like a French Bulldog. Emotionally healthy people are able to enjoy their own company.  They enjoy their own space.  They maintain their friendships and refuse to chuck them the minute they get into a romantic relationship. 

I applaud you for standing your ground and maintaining your "me" time.  If you gave an inch, he would take a mile.  One day you will go to the bathroom and he will be there waiting, ready to share some poo-poo time with you.  You will wake to him tapping on your forehead at night, asking if he can come into your mind and share your dreams.  I'm exaggerating. (But barely.)

The fact he wants to attach to your hip after three months tells me three things:  (1) he doesn't respect boundaries; (2) he has no life; and (3) he's attempting to make you the center of his life.  Some people find this behavior sweet.  I (and I suspect you) find it cloying.  In my experience, this urge to merge does not diminish with time. 

Why aren't you running like Forrest Gump?  Since you want to give him a chance, I advise you to be honest.  Tell him you have certain things you value that help you maintain your sanity. You need to sit in your own space from time to time.  You also like to maintain platonic friendships outside of your relationship.  If he's reasonable (I'm warning you he's not), he should back down and give you your space (he won't).  If he starts to whine (he will) and try to paint his behavior as a positive (it's not) (i.e., "You're so great, I just want to spend more time with you baby,"), you will have to decide whether you can continue dating someone who wants to spend

I say it's better to run now than later.  Do you know how hard it is to run with a man attached to your hip?  Just trying to bring you some air, Ms. Suffocating.

Your Track Coach,


Melvin Browning