Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: I've been divorced not quite a year. I've been seeing a guy since just before the divorce was final. Even though I didn't think I wanted a relationship, somehow he has grown on me.
I've come to realize that to some extent it's good that he's gotten me to slow down a bit.
However, part of me just worries that I'll slow down too much. Also, it's my first relationship after a 20-year marriage and I worry that I'm just rebounding.
Yet, as much as I enjoy not needing to label things, I constantly find myself yearning for clarification. We communicate pretty well, and with both of us having controlling ex-spouses, we are both very respectful of one another. So I don't know what I'm asking, except maybe: What questions would you ask to evaluate if this is just a comfortable situation that I've fallen into with someone who is good and kind and whom I guess I'm finding I have feelings for or could this be something more?
It's just hard to articulate just what is bothering me. Admittedly it could just be that I'm afraid to let myself be vulnerable.
AFTER A DIVORCE
It could be that, and it would make sense. It also sounds as if you're struggling with a shaky sense of self-worth as in, the need for assurance that you are who you think you are, and that that's OK.
If that sounds about right, then I have two suggestions:
(1) The boilerplate, counseling. Find someone good and start sorting this stuff out.
(2) Stop trying to sort/file/label your relationships. You enjoy this man's company, so let that be enough right now.
As you said, you're at a point in your life where you're not in any hurry to "get" to some point. For you, enjoying someone's company is an excellent end unto itself. If you reach a point where you don't enjoy his company, then that says it's time for a different kind of end.
Think of relationships as having only these two states - enjoy his company, don't enjoy his company. The other stuff being, essentially: How to make peace with yourself?
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