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Boyfriend just had a bit of a wobble...


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I have been in a relationship with the most wonderful man for the past 6 months. When I met him he had been separated from his ex for about 18 months. Neither of us were expecting it but when we met we just clicked from the start and decided to go with it.

 

We’ve always been very open with each other. I was aware that it wasn’t long since his ex left him and always wanted to be sure that he was ready for something new so we have always talked about it. He asked me to be his girlfriend after a couple of months and our relationship has been incredible. We have met each other’s families, spent weekends away together and our relationship has been progressing well. He treats me really well, my friends think he is great and we are very well suited. He is also an incredibly loyal, genuine and nice person (in massive contrast to what I’ve been used to before!!).

 

However, it seems he’s been having a bit of a wobble recently. He’s about to start a brand new job/career and he says that meeting me has urged him to sort his life out in that respect.

 

He says that his life is a bit of a mess at the moment. I’ve also noticed that he’s been holding back a bit more whereas before he has always worn his heart on his sleeve. We had a long talk about it a couple of nights ago and he explained that although he is over his ex, he’s not yet fully over the hurt that the break up caused (she left him). And whilst he cares about me very deeply and even loves me, he has also been reflecting on why he has been more distant recently. He says that when he met me he had spent a lot of time healing and was just ready to start really enjoying being single but then I came along and he wasn’t expecting it or looking for it.

 

Our relationship is very different to the one he had with his ex as he says he basically lived a single life alongside her. Whilst we are both very independent people, we enjoy spending time together which, in hindsight, maybe means the relationship has progressed quite quickly. He confided in a friend recently about how he was feeling, who asked him if maybe it was too soon and I think he’s been reflecting on this.

 

It came as a bit of a shock to be honest as he’s always been so open with me I was surprised to realise that he had been feeling like this. I’ve asked him whether he wants to carry on and he says he absolutely does. That he is fully committed to this and wants us to continue enjoying getting to know each other and building on what we have. He says he doesn’t want to wreck the possibility of being with somebody who could be ‘the one’ just because he’s at a weird time in his life, and that he just wanted to be completely open with me. But at the same time he’s been worried that recently I’ve overtaken him with where we are in our relationship and that although he does see a future with me, he just wants to concentrate on the present for now.

 

The funny thing is, since talking about it he has actually become more affectionate again. We saw each other again last night and I asked how he was. He said that since being completely open with me about everything, he actually feels closer to me and feels good about everything going forward but is worried that he may have pushed me away.

 

I’m currently going through the motions of reflecting on all of this. It has made me worry...what if it is too soon for him?! Everything he has done has shown me that he very much cares for me and I really don’t want us to give up on this. But at the same time, I also don’t want to get hurt if he suddenly realises that he’s not ready.

 

My gut is telling me to just slow it down and take it at his pace. But if I’m being honest it has made me feel more emotionally insecure around him. I have been hurt before and I don’t want to be in that position again.

 

I guess I’m just trying to work out the best way forward so thoughts and comments would be appreciated. Sorry for the long post and thank you to anyone who had read this far!

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Sorry to hear this. People in the throes of divorce/separation have a lot of mixed feeling and chaos going on. It will be a hot/cold roller coaster for quite a while.

 

When things settle down in his life, he will move on because unfortunately you and this time with you will be a reminder of this painful turbulent time for him.

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Thanks wiseman.

 

This has always worried me too. He has always told me though that they fell out of love a long time before they separated (they had been together for many many years). But because he’s a very loyal person he would have stayed with her whatever.

 

They ended quite amicably and he had dated other before me so I was assured I wasn’t his rebound. But I am his first proper relationship since so I think it’s been a bit of a learning curve for both of us

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I don't know. It sounds to me like he's longing for a bit of single life again.

 

If I were you, I would cut down on the number of times you see him or even take an extended break from the relationship and see how that turns out. If he were truly in love with you and seeing a future with you, he wouldn't be having these feelings.

 

Being hurt by his ex wife shouldn't be affecting how he sees you all of a sudden. There's something else going on.

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I see a guy who has the guts to be open and vulnerable with you. That does pull people closer. I'd build on that. Why don't you share your thoughts too?

 

I have done. We’ve had a few very honest and open chats about it all and he’s being very reassuring. He says he feels closer to me because of it all because we have truly opened up. I told him I feel a little bit like a rug has been pulled from underneath me but at the same rime I’m very glad he’s talked to me about how he’s feeling

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I don't know. It sounds to me like he's longing for a bit of single life again.

 

If I were you, I would cut down on the number of times you see him or even take an extended break from the relationship and see how that turns out. If he were truly in love with you and seeing a future with you, he wouldn't be having these feelings.

 

Being hurt by his ex wife shouldn't be affecting how he sees you all of a sudden. There's something else going on.

 

Also my concern. He basically led a single life alongside his ex for a very long time. It’s been different with us. Perhaps something he’s not been used to

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Was he married? And yet to get divorced?

 

Yes -they got married and broke up within a few months. In hindsight he said they never should have got married. That they did it mostly because it was the thing that everyone expected. Ultimately it then broke down. He said that they had fallen out of love a long time ago. But the break up was obviously hard because they had been together for such a long time

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Was he married? And yet to get divorced?

 

He is yet to get divorced as they are waiting the 2 years of official separation out to divorce on mutual grounds. But they have discussed it though. They are both with other people now and both want it to happen. But neither of them want to admit fault

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I'm of mixed minds here.

 

On one level, it sounds like you guys have something great and still promising. Aside from the obvious connection points—having a good time together, laughing, bonding, rolling around—you've been able to communicate about feelings in a way that is calm. Sharing and listening. Vulnerability. Sweet stuff.

 

On the other, it sounds like a lot of that "openness" as been about his ex. Talking about pasts is normal, of course, but there's a fine line between telling someone where you've been and using a new relationship as a mode of therapy to process where you've been. The former isn't really so deep, because the wounds are healed, more facts being shared than feelings being flung; the latter can feel very deep, and seductively vulnerable, but the risk is you're making fragility, rather than strength, a bonding point, and in the process building a foundation on pain. A lot of "ex talk" early on, for me, just triggers an automatic emotional divestment; I wasn't always like that.

 

New romance invariably stirs deep waters. I'm sure, for instance, that my girlfriend has had some thoughts and feelings, and will continue to have them, about her marriage since being with me—that being with me, feeling whatever she feels with me and for me, stirs them. But I'm "sure" of that not because she talks to me at length about how "intense" and "overwhelming" it is, but because that's kind of life, humanity. Falling for someone makes you reflect on that stuff, on past falls, past pain. The hope is that they surface as soft little jabs, easy enough to process, rather than sudden blows that destabilize.

 

In your shoes, what I'd do is just slow things down a bit. Not in some aggressive way, and not through countless "talks," but just sort of accepting that this new information means pressing pause on the pace of emotional investment and observing for a bit. But make that your pace—not you going along with his pace—since there is power and security in that. Active vs. passive, compassionate (to yourself, him, and reality) rather than being confused.

 

Let him process this stuff without being the go-to sounding board, without needing to have a "vulnerable ex talk" twice a week. That's a skill, and it's a good one to have. It's an illusion, after all, that two people are feeling the same things at the exact same time; the intoxication of the honeymoon stage is that it feels that way, of course, and it's always a record scratch when that myth is exposed, when a "wobble" comes along.

 

But just as there is beauty in connection, there's real beauty in being able to respect moments of disconnection without getting too thrown. That's real vulnerability, the beginning of it. It's a reminder that you two are not "one thing," but two separate things engaged in a kind of dance and still very much learning if you can be good dance partners. A good dance isn't just two bodies pressed together stepping in the same direction, yummy as that feels, but a flow—being able to step forward and back, being able to stand still as another steps back or forward, and so on. This is a moment for you to stand still.

 

Odd as it may sound, whenever I've had a moments like this—the early wobble of another person—I find great comfort in reminding myself that I will be okay if it doesn't work out. I was fine and alive before I met them, and will be fine and alive if I lose them. That's not coldness or a steel heart, but an ability to shore up your own emotional security rather than wait for another to plug the hole. I find it actually allows me to stay present, and genuinely open, rather than getting skittish and reactive and increasingly insecure.

 

I think it's a good sign that being open brought out more calm and affection in him. Hopefully this was just a little jab, you know, rather than a dynamic. Time will let you know the answer to that, so just be a little still and let time do its thing.

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So he's prioritizing the technicalities/legalities over being single sooner. He is not single. He is married. Separated is still married. My sense is part of the reason he delayed divorcing based on the technicality was because part of him wasn't ready for it to be over. That is the part coming out right now. Yes be open with him about your feelings and if you decide to keep dating him while he is married, give him twice the space he seems to need.

 

You both decided to "just go for it" -I don't blame you in the sense that it's thrilling when you click like that! And this is one of the downsides which I think you knew might occur. I'm sorry this is happening.

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He is yet to get divorced as they are waiting the 2 years of official separation out to divorce on mutual grounds. But they have discussed it though. They are both with other people now and both want it to happen. But neither of them want to admit fault

 

You met him after 18 months of separation and been together 6 months.

So the 2 year mark is now!

Has either filed for divorce yet? If not why not?

 

That’s what this is about! He committed to someone he was with for years only to split.

Separating is hard to deal with, divorce is a whole other ball game.

 

I am sorry but I think he will likely end things when divorce proceedings start. Because that is when he actually has to think about your relationship , how his relationship with her was 6 months in (likely just as lovely as yours)

 

You are in the honeymoon phase and he went through that with her too.

 

You might want to step back a bit emotionally.

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So he's prioritizing the technicalities/legalities over being single sooner. He is not single. He is married. Separated is still married. My sense is part of the reason he delayed divorcing based on the technicality was because part of him wasn't ready for it to be over. That is the part coming out right now. Yes be open with him about your feelings and if you decide to keep dating him while he is married, give him twice the space he seems to need.

 

You both decided to "just go for it" -I don't blame you in the sense that it's thrilling when you click like that! And this is one of the downsides which I think you knew might occur. I'm sorry this is happening.

 

To be fair, knowing the reason for the actual break up (which I won’t go into for privacy reasons!) it should really be her that admits fault. I think before he met me there was no reason not to wait it out and to be honest I don’t think they’d really discussed it. He’d just focussed on moving on and distancing himself from her. As soon as things started getting more serous between me and him he called her to discuss the practicalities. There’s not much longer to wait now to be fair

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You met him after 18 months of separation and been together 6 months.

So the 2 year mark is now!

Has either filed for divorce yet? If not why not?

 

That’s what this is about! He committed to someone he was with for years only to split.

Separating is hard to deal with, divorce is a whole other ball game.

 

I am sorry but I think he will likely end things when divorce proceedings start. Because that is when he actually has to think about your relationship , how his relationship with her was 6 months in (likely just as lovely as yours)

 

You are in the honeymoon phase and he went through that with her too.

 

You might want to step back a bit emotionally.

 

Because they need to prove they’ve been separated for that time. There’s just a few more months to go. He has said he will file for divorce as soon as that time comes. I do actually believe he is over her as a person, i just think there is some pain there from the actual break up x

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I don't know. It sounds to me like he's longing for a bit of single life again.

 

If I were you, I would cut down on the number of times you see him or even take an extended break from the relationship and see how that turns out. If he were truly in love with you and seeing a future with you, he wouldn't be having these feelings.

 

Being hurt by his ex wife shouldn't be affecting how he sees you all of a sudden. There's something else going on.

 

I think that this is good advice.

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In places where there is a lengthy legal separation requirement before a divorce can even be filed, it makes things very difficult to gauge in terms of dating. Some people will be truly and utterly done, moved on and the final divorce is just a legal formality once they can file. Others....are still processing and the act of the divorce still comes with emotions and a shock to the system so to speak. Plus various shades of grey in between the two extremes.

 

Above aside, I think he told you two important things. One is that he does want to continue with this relationship. Two is that he feels that you are getting ahead of him and getting too serious before he is ready for it. In other words, you aren't moving at the same pace. He effectively just pumped the brakes a bit on you. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since he is communicating with you and seeking mutual understanding, rather than just going cold on you and leaving you hanging. Talking about it and trying to work out what's mutually comfortable is actually healthy and a good sign. So I would pay attention to him pumping the brakes and be sure you aren't pushing things along too fast with him, but I wouldn't exactly freak out and pull back completely or run for the hills. I'd say slow down to his pace and let him pick it up more as he feels comfortable and see how that feels for the both of you.

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In places where there is a lengthy legal separation requirement before a divorce can even be filed, it makes things very difficult to gauge in terms of dating. Some people will be truly and utterly done, moved on and the final divorce is just a legal formality once they can file. Others....are still processing and the act of the divorce still comes with emotions and a shock to the system so to speak. Plus various shades of grey in between the two extremes.

 

Above aside, I think he told you two important things. One is that he does want to continue with this relationship. Two is that he feels that you are getting ahead of him and getting too serious before he is ready for it. In other words, you aren't moving at the same pace. He effectively just pumped the brakes a bit on you. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since he is communicating with you and seeking mutual understanding, rather than just going cold on you and leaving you hanging. Talking about it and trying to work out what's mutually comfortable is actually healthy and a good sign. So I would pay attention to him pumping the brakes and be sure you aren't pushing things along too fast with him, but I wouldn't exactly freak out and pull back completely or run for the hills. I'd say slow down to his pace and let him pick it up more as he feels comfortable and see how that feels for the both of you.

 

Thanks dancingfool. I think this is what has surprised me...I thought we were moving at the same pace. So if anything it’s just come as more of a surprise than anything. In the past he was moving faster than me. Maybe one day we will meet in the middle...!

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If you're in the UK then if she did something that caused the marriage to irretrievably break down then surely he can file for divorce on the grounds of her unreasonable behaviour, whether she likes it or not.

 

It’s very hard to explain without quoting specifics. She didn’t ‘do’ anything as such. There was no cheating or unreasonable behaviour in that sense. But it was her choice to end the relationship.

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He has dated a couple of people. But I am the first proper relationship he’s had. As I say, he wasn’t looking for it. He’d just got to a point where he says he was happily single.

 

I'm sorry if I misunderstood something here, but how can he be "happily single" if he's still married?

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I'm sorry if I misunderstood something here, but how can he be "happily single" if he's still married?

 

Maybe bad wording on my part. Happy by himself? Happy on his own? He’s still married of course but he’s not in that relationship anymore. Sorry if I wasn’t clear 😊

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