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I have been in a relationship with a wonderful woman for over 4 months. We get along in every respect, share the same goals, lifestyle, etc. I am amazingly happy. I am 48, and divorced three years ago after a twenty year marriage, and I have two children full time. She is 46, has been married three times (all short – 1 to 5 years), the last also ended three years ago, and never had children.

 

She was physically and emotionally abused in her first marriage. Her second and third husbands were “really nice guys” but she felt were wrong for her, possibly even before they were married. She's said that whenever a problem comes up, she "flees." She ended up having affairs in her second and third marriages before she left. She said she was never looking for an affair, but they just happened. In between marriages, she has been in totally casual relationships with little or no commitment (including a few married men). She readily admits to having commitment issues and is going to counseling. She's sick of short term relationships and wants something that will last - the whole white picket fence thing, which is what she knows I want. Otherwise, she comes from a healthy, intact family.

 

She says that I am the love of her life and she wants to spend the rest of her life with me. It feels different this time. She has never been scared about the intensity of her feelings for anyone before me. She thinks in terms of us, instead of me and him. She has never had more than a modicum of respect for any of the other men in her life. No one has ever challenged her before me. She has never taken anyone (even husbands) to work events, or put their picture on her desk at work. She says she knows now what a real relationship and having a real partner feels like...she loves the feeling. She's scared to death of losing it. And, maybe most important of all, is she isn't fleeing at the first sign of a difficult issue.

 

I understand that we have taken different paths in our lives so far. I'm just trying to find something to put my head to rest. My major insecurity with all of this is that I want a life partner. I'm 48 and I don't want to date anymore. I want to build a life with someone, and she is otherwise perfect for me. But I certainly don't want to hitch my wagon to someone who isn't "relationship ready." I don't want to be left in a few years (following her established pattern) and have to start dating again in my 50's. I know there are no guarantees in life. But knowing what I want, I think it would be more than foolish for me to ignore and not examine her past commitment history. Can anyone provide some thoughts and insight into my situation?

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I think you're wise to be hesitant about the situation. I'm sure many of us have been in a similar situation in that we've encountered someone who has had past difficult relationships. It's a little too easy to believe that we could be that special "one" who's different than all the rest because that's what we WANT to believe. It doesn't mean it's not or can't be true. But we don't ever know for sure. After all, you don't really know much about the "nice guys" she cheated on other than what she's told you. And in all likelihood, the version you heard probably was told to you in a way that made her seem like she was simply a victim of circumstance or timing. Problem being that at the time, she probably told each one of them the same thing she's telling you. It's not to say that she's a bad person or that she's doing it on purpose to mislead you. But it sounds like she has had a history of having difficulty getting a grasp on her feelings or figuring out who she is and what she wants. So again, I think you are rightfully cautious.

 

All that said, you may have also entered her life at just the right time. I'm a big believer that even if two people are 100% compatible, they have to cross roads at the right time as well. I think timing is the ultimate downfall of what might otherwise be very good relationships. Naturally, I am saying this from the perspective of personal experience. I think the best advice that I can offer at this point without the benefit of knowing her very well is for YOU to get to know her better. I know you are eager to feel secure, but I don't think that trust or security can come overnight. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it's ever there. There are a scary number of posts on ENA of people who thought they could trust their partners and were betrayed many many years down the road. But such is life - you take risks based on your own assessment of the situation, its possible consequences, and whether or not you can live with those consequences. At 48, you probably understand this far better than me.

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Thank you for the very thoughtful reply. At this stage of my life, I've become a bit pragmatic, especially given her history. There are times when I want to believe her words, and there are times when I think "is this what you've said to all the boys?" I know there are no guarantees in life. I'm just searching for some assurance, or what to look for, or what to ask about, in light of an apparent deficiency.

 

Female commitment phobia is completely new territory for me. Why would she normally decide to flee, rather than roll up her sleeves and fight to improve her marriage(s), I'm surmising once the inevitable doldrums set in? She is very motivated and successful in her career - she's not afraid of hard work - that's what makes me wonder that the men in her past simply didn't challenge her and she became bored. Could she just be a bad decision maker, going through the motions of seeking a husband because that's what a woman is supposed to do? Don't most CP's want to avoid marriage at any cost? Or is that just the male variety? Am I maybe asking these questions on the wrong board?

 

Thank you.

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After being abused, the "nice guys", no matter how boring and how unchallenging, are safe because everything will be "OK" and you really don't have to get emotionally invested. This is what my mom went through. It is scary to love someone when you fear they will turn into a monster. Again, this is why she probably married the two guys who were just sort of "there".

 

You are catching her at a great time in her life. She is finally healing and ready to have a real relationship and take a real risk at sharing her life with someone.

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Thank you for the reply. Much like Kiteless stated, she has said that she believes her last two marriages came about simply because she felt safe with the "nice guys." They were easy and non-threatening. And it's not like she's the type to meet someone and jump into marriage a few months later - she has always been in a relationship with her past husbands for a year or two before marrying. She also has said that she knew they weren't quite right, something was missing, even before the ceremony. And she keeps saying that it feels different with me - she feels things she's never felt before. She hasn't found the right person up until this point, and now she knows how it's supposed to be - the soul mate, love of your life type of thing, and not the "okay, this should workout" feeling that leads to one compromise after another.

 

She is a very responsible, highly successful professional. Well educated, well dressed, well spoken, caring, dependable, hard working, and on and on. If she were showing any other signs of flakiness at all, believe me, Forest would be running.

 

Perhaps the most promising thing that I've seen while getting to know her better, is that she isn't "fleeing" at the first sign of a difficult issue. In our first two months of dating, she would try to, saying "well, I think I'm just going to go home." I would tell her I thought that was a bad idea - stay here and we'll talk it out. Since then, I don't have to say anything. I'll see her get up to flee, but she'll stop herself and we continue the conversation. She continually says what she's never had before, and the part that she loves about me most, is that I challenge her and I call her on her sh*t.

 

I don't know...I just hope that I actually am catching her at a great time in her life.

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  • 1 month later...

Just some followup thoughts. Although my GF is very driven and hardworking, I've been noticing that she can be a bit spoiled - she is used to getting her way. She never asks me for money, as she has her own. But when she wants something, she usually gets it. I've also noticed that whenever she asks her father for his opinion, he always tells her to do whatever makes her happy. She literally adores her father - he can absolutely do nothing wrong - and that leads me to wonder if she has been looking for someone to fill an underlying Electra complex.

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After three very short lived marriages and two she left due to being bored or whatever, you are right in trying to really think this one through. She may or may not have changed....I am sure in the early stages (four months is VERY early) of her last two short lived marriages with 'good guys' she also probably felt very much in love with intense feelings as she is stating she has for you (if she didn't i doubt she would have gotten married). She sounds like a person who doesn't know what she wants but at the time of it all happening she probably does feel strong 'love' or at least what she thinks is love, for the person in her life at that timeframe.

 

I am sure right now you see no signs of her 'fleeing' but remember it has only been four months. The newness of this relationship has not faded yet. You are still in the honeymoon phase.

 

I would suggest you take it slow and i know it might be hard but try not to fall too hard too quick. Her past is worth standing up and taking notice of. I would be very cautious if given the same circumstances myself. Our past does say a lot about how we might act in the future. It predicts propensity but of course people CAN change but it is hard to ignore three very short lived marriages. Sure this can happen to anyone in their 40s if they have a string of bad luck where the guy totally did a 180 after a year or so into the marriage but two times we know of that was NOT the case, it was her own 180.

 

I wouldn't even dream of a commitment like marriage with a woman with a past like this unless dating for several years. Sorry to not be more positive on it, but that is my take.

Much easier to get your life back together if she leaves without a marriage certificate then if you have one.

 

I would also be leary of the 'spoiled' behavior because if you see it in only FOUR months (which again, the rose colored glasses are still on in relationships this early on) try to imagine this in a yaer, two years, and longer. Things like that do surface much more the longer two people are together and the comfort phase kicks in. For me a partner with a lot of flexibility who doesn't always need his way was always critical for me.

 

zeitgeist wrote you a very meaningful reply and I am 100% in agreement with all of it. And it's true, when people speak of what went wrong in a relationship rarely will they paint themselves in a very negative light. They will share some of their shortcomings but most people are not naturally inclined to talk about everything that they did that led to it going wrong. So be cautious and take it slow and if you are hoping to marry her then just know you could easily be husband number four in the past tense if you don't take precautions to the 'nth degree.

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Thank you for the reply. I really appreciated zeitgeist's reply - and all of the replies for that matter. BTW, FYI, we are still together and just past our six month anniversary. My GF just seems to be an enigma. She is SO together - that rare combination of bright and happy, fun yet responsible, driven yet balanced, etc. Our goals and life outlook match perfectly. Things are still going really well, but I continue to worry...

 

The point I was trying to make in my last post (about being spoiled) are in regards to my recent observations. She isn't overly pushy about getting what she wants, but she is persistent. I am assertive in stating what I want, when it's something I have a somewhat strong opinion about. But the continued interaction brought up an additional avenue of thought regarding my original concern over her ability to commit. Also, I'm not even sure if someone who does get married has a traditional "commitment" issue...isn't that usually regarding someone who avoids getting married?

 

Anyway, she has readily admitted that the collapse of her relationships have been her fault. She takes responsibility for it all. Her second husband was nice, but boring. She knew that before they got married. She admits that she knew something didn't feel right, but he felt safe - she calls him her rebound guy from her abusive first husband. The marriage lasted less than two years. She admits that she broke his heart and feels horrible about it. Her third husband was 16 years older than her. She feels she married him because he was a good guy, and he was simply so persistent in pursuing her. She was still wanting to have children at that point (mid to late 30's), and he was in no way interested at his age. She let go of that, but shortly after they married, he decided to retire and he became completely listless and boring. He never wanted to do anything, sat around all day, etc. She worked all day and they didn't even have anything to talk about when she got home. After being married five years, it eventually drove her nuts.

 

Her reasons for getting married and then divorced seem to make sense as individual stories. It's the overall picture that is worrisome. Is she spoiled and will always become easily bored? Is she looking for a perfect man (like her father's image) that she'll never find? Or could she, despite her other talents, really be that bad of a decision maker?

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I have to agree with the other posters. 6 months into a relationship is no time at all and even if it feels right, it isn't enough time, why rush?

 

Last year I got into a very intense and ultimately shortlived relationship that was going to see us get married. I got very badly burnt emotionally and financially. I ignored her past history (that she told me!) and thought things would be different with me, but it wasn't. She ditched me and I was totally heartbroken, but with the help of this site, friends and family I got back on track quickly and found someone really wonderful.

 

10 months into this far better relationship and I am not thinking about marriage, there is no need, so don't rush, get to really know her and if she does get easily bored and does end things at least you won't have spent a small fortune needlessly.

 

Good luck.

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Thanks for the reply, DeviousDevil. I'm not trying to rush this at all. I think my earlier post explains where I'm at...

 

My major insecurity with all of this is that I want a life partner. I'm 48 and I don't want to date anymore. I want to build a life with someone, and she is otherwise perfect for me. But I certainly don't want to hitch my wagon to someone who isn't "relationship ready." I don't want to be left in a few years (following her established pattern) and have to start dating again in my 50's. I know there are no guarantees in life. But knowing what I want, I think it would be more than foolish for me to ignore and not examine her past commitment history. Can anyone provide some thoughts and insight into my situation?

 

I'm just trying to gain some insight from other's experience. What should I look for? What questions should I ask? Has anyone out there dated/known someone with a similar background, and if so, what were their "issues?" I've never known anyone (at least, not very well) that's been married three times. Since my divorce, the only people I've dated have had one long marriage - a path similar to mine. Yikes!

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