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Want relationship but this person has become distant.

Aug 27, 1997

I'm negative and in June began seeing a person who is positive. Things were wonderful the first month. Not only were our times together special, I think I was making a real difference in his life. He even gave me credit for motivating him to tell his doctor that he was ready to move up to his next level of treatment. The Doctor said it was about time and that only his mental attitude had kept him back. After this wonderful month of June, my friend suddenly began to get distant. Now we just talk on the phone once or twice a week. There is little or no talk about getting together unless I bring it up and the answer is always "Yeah, we got to." I guess the simple reason for this behavior could be that he just doesn't like me. But, ego aside, I've told him that all he has to do is tell me things won't work out and I'll step aside. So far he hasn't, so I'm trying to find some answers. I think the most likely reason is that he lost his partner of 11 years to AIDS during the holidays last year. He spent close to 2 years caring for him while he himself stayed healthy and responded well to treatment. Obviously this loss has affected him greatly. He has told me flat out that he does not want anyone to go through with him what he went through with his partner. Recently he attended a social function with his partner's family whom he hadn't seen since the funeral. During the weeks before the event he was extremely depressed and withdrawn. I called two days before and he couldn't speak and just totally broke down. I know he needs to gain his perspective on this loss before he can move forward. I'm willing to wait so that he has the time he needs. This is important before any new relationship can prosper. Am I taking the right approach, beating my head against the wall or is there anything else I could be doing ?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

There may be lots of reasons why your friend is not currently available to see you, several of which you astutely enumerate. It is clear that you care for this man very much and are really hurting due to his withdrawing from you. If you have not already done, so I would suggest that you share how you are feeling about the current state of your relationship and be explicit that you are hurt and would like to continue to date him or at least be his friend (if that is something you are interested in), and that you need him to be honest with you about whether he is able to do either of those. I certainly would not advise you to just sit around waiting and hoping that he will come around. If you are interested in having a relationship then you need to be out there exploring the possibilities of meeting new men. By no means give your friend an ultimatum, just share your feelings with him and ask him how he is feeling about not seeing you. His responses should hopefully provide you with the information you need to decide upon a course of action. Good luck.

Can I accept a lack of communication?
Always worried about infected husband

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