Jump to content

Boyfriend just had a bit of a wobble...


Recommended Posts

Thanks cat feeder. Do you really think it’s impossible to move on whilst you’re still married? Even if it’s for technical reasons? Everything that he has shown me up until now has given me the impression that he was ready and does want this. And of course this wobble has made me rethink that and hope that what we have had so far has been real and true.

 

But I dunno, I totally totally hear what you’re saying, but on the other hand I’m also reluctant to throw this away. Also... I have never had a relationship like this before. For the past 10 years I’ve been treated badly. This guy treats me well...with respect, honesty and openness. I don’t doubt that we need to find whether our balance works and whether he’s ready to give me what I want/need from a relationship but I’m reluctant to just close the door on something that could also be so ‘right’

 

All I know and believe is that even if it's technical you are still married - and it's best to wait at least a year of being legally single before dating. Check out the late Dr. Joy Browne's old podcasts and books on "the one year rule" -and you can talk all you want about shades of gray and exceptions -even if there are to me this is clearly an issue of him not being available to date and choosing not to be ready by delaying the divorce over technicalities.

 

He treats you well and he is not available for a commitment and now he is telling you he doesn't think he's ready for a serious relationship with you. So he very well might treat you well and you two don't have compatible goals right now because you want a potentially serious relationship with him. If it's meant to be right it will be right when he is single for a year - because he will want to be with you - if you stay with him now you are creating anxiety and stress for both of you and the good memories likely will be overrun with the doubtful and anxious feelings he is having.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The married is still married debate is a bit cultural and slanted for US culture since most posters are from US. In the US for the most part filing for divorce is easy, so people have an attitude that if you are only separated, not filing means there is unfinished business there and for the most part that will be correct.

 

In many other parts of the world, getting a divorce involves a lengthy legal separation first. We are talking a year or longer. So separated but not divorced isn't quite that straightforward. Divorce is harder to get, so when people set out on that road, they actually mean to divorce. They've been checked out of the marriage longer and in the process of getting divorced much longer. The cultural dynamic is different.

 

Of course, there is risk in any relationship you enter that it won't work out. Don't let that eat you alive though. I do think we have identified some of the issues of why he pumped the brakes on you and it is more to do with emotional and time pressure to see him and to maintain that intensity you had early on. You need to allow the relationship to normalize. The fact that he is communicating with you and trying to sort this out rather than just run for the hills, I think is promising for continuing to build a healthy relationship. You've only known each other for 6 months....so long ways to go before you can figure out if there really is a future there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with DF; I was raised in the U.S. but my background is Eastern European (Lithuanian) so perhaps that's why.

 

I also don't agree with arbitrary timelines such as, wait a year after a divorce and he'll be "ready".

 

How can one possibly place a timeline on something like that? Everyone and every situation is different.

 

Marshmallow, you said he was only married a few months, separated for 18, and due to the laws in your country (I think you said you're in the UK?) has to wait two years after separating before filing.

 

Which is very different from how it is in the US, so, and jmo, I don't think what catfeeder advised applies in your case.

Edited by katrina1980
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the one year rule wholeheartedly. Over the years, Dr. Joy had so many calls from people who broke the one year rule and told her that she was right. And I also had men call me back because I told them I wouldn't meet them because of the one year rule to tell me I was right. Yes it's "arbitrary" and I see it as a guideline with extremely rare exceptions. In this situation he's a classic example of someone who chose to delay divorce for financial reasons so clearly his priority was not to commit to someone else. Married people cannot date. Separated is "still married". I'm not being arbirtrary since I recognize there could be rare exceptions. And looking at the OP's individual situation he fits perfectly within the general rule. She just doesn't want to listen to what he has to say and what he is trying to say. And that will lead to even more emotional attachment and heartache with someone who is married and not available to commit to her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't believe it's always that black and white and though I tend to veer away from men who are not married or just out of a relationship myself, there is always an exception.

 

This guy has been separated for 18 months and he is showing signs of wanting to take a step back, it could be for a variety of reasons and still being married may be one of them. Clearly they are moving at different rates at this time. Adjusting would be helpful but not a guarantee.

 

I met my current BF when he had been separated for close to the same amount of time. We entered into a relationship very slowly and it was myself who was constantly pumping the brakes on it. There were few reasons I continued. One was, he seemed to have had his rebound experience behind him having dated a woman for 6 months and realizing it was a mistake. He hadn't dated for about 6 months when we met. Secondly, because while I was the one who was having misgivings about it, he was always and still is the one who has been 100% in - without hesitation. That and he has had zero contact with his ex.

 

We've been together for close to 2 years now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

marshmallow, I think you should do whatever you feel is best for you, you’re the one dating him, not any of us, so you know him and the situation better than we do.

 

I don’t happen to agree with the waiting one year rule, but regardless, I think we’re all in agreement, including you, that you should step back, lower expectations, allow yourselves some breathing room, and eventually find a balance that’s agreeable to both of you.

 

It may take some hits and misses, but hopefully you’ll find that balance and it will work.

 

Worst case scenario, it may end up that he needs more distance, and you need more togetherness, no wrong or right, but that would mean you’re just not compatible in that regard.

 

All that said, never mind the waiting one year rule, I am wondering if this man is capable of a long term commitment at all.

 

The reason I say that is because I find it questionable that he dated his ex for years, but then once they got married, the marriage crumbled after only a few months?

 

Something’s not quite jiving there. Many people with commitment fears are capable of dating someone for a long time (albeit with lots of distance attached which you said there was with his ex - they both acted single), believe the next step is marriage, but then once married, they/he/she suddenly start feeling suffocated, boxed in, and are simply emotionally incapable of handling the constructs of such a huge commitment.

 

Could this be him possibly and why his marriage broke down within only months? I wouldn’t expect him to share this with you, but it’s worth considering imo as I do find it questionable.

 

And now you’re seeing the signs for yourself. He comes on super strong at first but now is pulling back (another sign of someone with commitment issues).

 

Anyway, just some things for you to consider as you continue your journey together.

 

I wish you luck and again please keep us posted!

Edited by katrina1980
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't believe it's always that black and white and though I tend to veer away from men who are not married or just out of a relationship myself, there is always an exception.

 

This guy has been separated for 18 months and he is showing signs of wanting to take a step back, it could be for a variety of reasons and still being married may be one of them. Clearly they are moving at different rates at this time. Adjusting would be helpful but not a guarantee.

 

I met my current BF when he had been separated for close to the same amount of time. We entered into a relationship very slowly and it was myself who was constantly pumping the brakes on it. There were few reasons I continued. One was, he seemed to have had his rebound experience behind him having dated a woman for 6 months and realizing it was a mistake. He hadn't dated for about 6 months when we met. Secondly, because while I was the one who was having misgivings about it, he was always and still is the one who has been 100% in - without hesitation. That and he has had zero contact with his ex.

 

We've been together for close to 2 years now.

 

reinvent, given the fact your boyfriend was still technically a married man when you began dating, is now divorced and after almost two years you are still together, happy and committed, just goes to show how these arbitrary "rules" mean nothing and we should judge every man, every woman, every dating situation and experience on an individual basis.

 

And congrats on your upcoming two year anniversary together! I was actually wondering about you last night and if you were still dating him, you hadn't mentioned it awhile, so I am glad to hear all is going well!! :D

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes of course there are exceptions. I don't consider marriage technical unless it's just for a green card or similar. And as Dr. Browne used to explain -even if it's "just" for finances there's more to it almost always. I don't think this case is an exception at all especially since he's choosing staying married for financial reasons. That tells me -along with how he's feeling now - that he's not in a place to be able to be in a serious, committed relationship.

 

Glad it's working out for you Reinvent!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes of course there are exceptions. I don't consider marriage technical unless it's just for a green card or similar. And as Dr. Browne used to explain -even if it's "just" for finances there's more to it almost always. I don't think this case is an exception at all especially since he's choosing staying married for financial reasons. That tells me -along with how he's feeling now - that he's not in a place to be able to be in a serious, committed relationship.

 

Glad it's working out for you Reinvent!

 

Bolded, yeah I actually agree with you Bat, in fact it's quite possible he may never be!

 

Per my second to last post (#56), he may have commitment issues in general that would prevent him from feeling comfortable with it (a serious commitment). To anyone no matter how intoxicating the chemistry or deep the attraction.

 

Which again could be why his marriage broke down after only months, after years of dating.

Edited by katrina1980
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could be. I wanted to add. I don’t think one year is arbitrary. I think many people benefit from a year of experiencing all seasons, holidays , birthdays as a single person - or in a relationship - prior to making serious decisions. I believe that is why Dr Joy chose a year as the appropriate amount of time to be single after a divorce is final. I miss doctor joy a lot - she died a week or so after my father died. I even met her personally once.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure some do benefit Bat, but there are also some for whom it doesn't mean a hill of beans.

 

reinvent is a good example as well as my own dad, and other happy couples I know; my opinion is every situation is unique and should be judged on an individual basis.

 

I find such rules rigid and yes "arbitrary," there is no wrong or right here, just a difference of opinion.

 

I am confused about something though.

 

You posted he's not filing for divorce for financial reasons, but didn't marshmallow say the reason he hasn't filed is because in their country, a couple must be separated for two years before filing?

 

She said it hasn't quite been two years, a few months shy of that.

 

So if marshmallow (or someone) could clarify that, it would be helpful.

Edited by katrina1980
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn’t think so. I thought that was an unrelated post. I agree with the philosophy and values of the one year rule. Dr Joy was so insightful about that and many other relationship issues. I think people should avoid dating people who are still married or very recently divorced if they want marriage especially.

I checked. He is choosing the two year route to have a no fault divorce. In my opinion if finding a new spouse or partner was a top priority he would prioritize that over the legal technicality. His priorities in that respect are consistent with someone who is not ready to look for a serious relationship. I agree wholeheartedly with what Wiseman wrote as an early response on this thread. Including that he will prefer to start fresh with someone new once he is no longer married.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I checked. He is choosing the two year route to have a no fault divorce. In my opinion if finding a new spouse or partner was a top priority he would prioritize that over the legal technicality. His priorities in that respect are consistent with someone who is not ready to look for a serious relationship.

 

Ok, thanks for checking and clarifying Bat.

 

I actually agree with you, perhaps for different reasons, but I agree.

 

I think he has commitment issues (in general), and by choosing this two year waiting route, he gets to avoid commitment without looking like the "bad" guy.

 

He can blame it all on the rules and laws of his country, and come out looking like a peach. Heck it's what I initially thought before delving more into it.

 

And I think he's had these issues long before he met marshmallow, and will continue to have them with every woman he dates, until he does some major introspection and/or seeks therapy to determine why.

 

JMO.

Edited by katrina1980
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He may not need therapy. He may just need time to be single.

 

Maybe but I still find it questionable that he dated his wife for years (with a lot of space/distance built in) but then after marriage, after making such a huge commitment, the marriage crumbled after only a few months.

 

And now, after coming on so strong, he's now introducing space and distance into his relationship with marshmallow.

 

I think this is telling and not something to be dismissed by saying "he just needs to be single for awhile."

 

There is something deeper going on there, again jmo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all,

 

I can’t write a long reply now, I will write properly later. But I wanted to clear something up. His marriage crumbled not through any fault of his own or down to his lack of commitment. Let’s just say, without quoting specifics, that his wife had a ‘lifestyle’ change. She left him once she realised this

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, thanks for checking and clarifying Bat.

 

I actually agree with you, perhaps for different reasons, but I agree.

 

I think he has commitment issues (in general), and by choosing this two year waiting route, he gets to avoid commitment without looking like the "bad" guy.

 

He can blame it all on the rules and laws of his country, and come out looking like a peach. Heck it's what I initially thought before delving more into it.

 

And I think he's had these issues long before he met marshmallow, and will continue to have them with every woman he dates, until he does some major introspection and/or seeks therapy to determine why.

 

JMO.

 

He is choosing the 2 year route because his main priority was getting space from her and focusing on healing. Did to the reasons for the split he absolutely is not at fault... and for technical reasons neither is she. He is ready to be divorced, especially now he has met me which is why he says he called her to discuss it once me and him started to take off, after not speaking to her for a year. As there’s not much longer left I don’t think it really makes a huge amount of difference now. I have spoken to him about how he feels about the divorce and he says he is very ready for it and just sees it as a legality now. The hard work was getting space from her and healing emotionally. Those are his words anyway

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So she dated him for years, married him, then left him after only a few months, because she had a lifestyle change (i.e just a guess, realized she likes women)?

 

Ok, bizarre but fair enough.

 

So I guess the issue now is why he came on like gangbusters in the beginning, but is now introducing space and distance into your relationship, which is the same type of RL he had with his ex while dating, and apparently while married too.

 

One filled with space and distance. Or did it only become distant after they got married? A bit confused by that.

 

Marshmallow, I know you really want to believe in him, and I have no doubt he's a good guy, not intentionally stringing you along, and this all may be about you both finding the right balance, I hope so!!

 

But it's important to pay attention to everything, past and present, things that may feel uncomfortable for you to consider and acknowledge.

 

I mean he can tell you anything he wants, does not necessarily make it true unless backed up with action, so stay open, keep observing, pull back a bit and lower expectations.

 

Let this play out with both feet firmly on ground.

 

Remember, you've only known him for six months.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion if finding a new spouse or partner was a top priority he would prioritize that over the legal technicality.

Interestingly enough, my bf wasn't pushing the divorce due to financial reasons. He filed the day he moved out. 18 months later he met me, we cruised along at a snails pace. The papers on the wife's desk the entire time but he's afraid to push due to the fact she was hostile and could choose to go after his pension.

 

Was I a priority? yes, but we were still new and he knew I was very hesitant. But I wasn't going to push a man to do something he should want to do on his own. I didn't want any part of influencing someone who had a lot to lose, especially having just retired at a very early age. At some point it bothered him more than it ever did me and he finally pushed her to sign. But he waited long enough so there was some sort of cooling off period for her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So she dated him for years, married him, then left him after only a few months, because she had a lifestyle change (i.e just a guess, realized she likes women)?

 

Ok, bizarre but fair enough.

 

 

You mentioned earlier that you find this odd, but I see it all the time.

 

My ex husband for example. Girlfriend and fiance for 5 years. They moved in together and lasted 6 months.

 

That's why I am afraid to move in with my bf! I keep seeing this happen over and over again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mentioned earlier that you find this odd, but I see it all the time.

 

My ex husband for example. Girlfriend and fiance for 5 years. They moved in together and lasted 6 months.

 

That's why I am afraid to move in with my bf! I keep seeing this happen over and over again.

 

I've seen it too, but allow me to clarify.

 

What I think was odd was the reason she left; I mean surely she must have known or at least suspected she has an attraction to women way before she decided to get married, no? Of course I am just assuming that is marshmallow meant when she said "lifestyle change," I could be wrong!

 

Anyway, yeah I've seen and heard of couples dating for years too, living together even, but then they get married, making that huge commitment, and it all breaks down.

 

I am of the opinion that one or both has, and has always had, commitment issues on some level anyway; as long as they were dating or just living together, all was fine, but then once married making that huge commitment, their "issues" came to the surface and he/she/both realized they simply weren't comfortable with it, didn't want it, so ended it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

That's why I am afraid to move in with my bf! I keep seeing this happen over and over again.

 

Please don't be afraid to move in with your bf reinvent. Your RL is solid, if there are any issues, you're aware of them, he's aware of them, there is nothing lying beneath the surface there, right?

 

I do know how you feel though, my bf and I are going through the same thing, which I think is normal and healthy actually.

 

Just don't let it paralyze you from deepening your commitment to each other cause that's not healthy for your relationship imo.

Edited by katrina1980
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please don't be afraid to move in with your bf reinvent. Your RL is solid, if there are any issues, you're aware of them, he's aware of them, there is nothing lying beneath the surface there, right?

 

I do know how you feel though, my bf and I are going through the same thing, which I think is normal and healthy actually.

 

Just don't let it paralyze you from deepening your commitment to each other cause that's not healthy imo.

 

 

I've just been on my own for so long. When I was married, my ex wasn't around much (firefighter)

Outside of my sons, I've never really lived with anyone 24/7. Not sure I can do it at this point in my life.

 

That and his parents. Older, aging, health issues. When one goes the one left behind will likely have to live with him. Having been through this with both of my parents, most recently my mom, I don't have it in me to care give or be a part of it for someone else's parents. Honest but true.

. . ok. .enough 'bout me :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting thread this one is turning into.

 

For what it's worth, I don't think the specifics of his marriage are really important: not how long they've been separated, not the fact that final papers have yet to be signed, not the fact that he didn't get a certificate from the One Year Single School, not the "lifestyle change" that set all that in motion. All of that stuff can be small potatoes, thorns to pluck and calmly discard as they surface. Different strokes, different folks.

 

I think the question here basically is whether this is a "wobble" or whether dude is simply more wobbly, on a deep emotional level, than he initially seemed. Verdict is still out, and I don't want to ring the big alarms. But what I'm seeing here leans more toward the latter.

 

He was gung-ho quick, twisting the throttle all the way. Always intoxicating, that, but often a sign that someone is running away from something (unresolved feelings, a messy situation, pain, etc.) as much as they're moving fast into something. Emotional unavailability, in short, dressed up as the opposite. How do you know if it's the opposite? Generally when someone starts tapping hard on the brakes and saying things like, "My life is a mess right now."

 

Were there signs of this before the wobble?

 

Certainly sounds like it. The "clashes" about time spent together, for instance. I'm not sure those were really about you wanting x amount and him being cool with y, because of a difference in natures and temperaments, but you sensing a lack of equal enthusiasm and presence on his part. Were you a different poster, I'd be reaching for the cord in my back that, when pulled, spits out some aphorisms about anxiety, self-soothing, and the beauty of respecting different natures. But you strike me as pretty with-it and cozy in your own skin, which makes me think your intuition was spotting something: wobbles, basically, before he came right out and said he was wobbling. Or, put another way: you were wobbling a bit, and with reason.

 

My read on this guy is that he really, really wants to be emotionally available but isn't, and whether he's ever known what that feels like is hard to say. He stayed in a relationship, according to him, that had long ceased to be a relationship; not only that, he married her. All that is the behavior of someone whose emotional pipes are clogged, someone with some skewed ideas of commitment. If he wants to blame her boomerang sexual awakening for things ending that's his business, but to me it's the easy story. He gets to be the good, loyal, commitment-prone guy—the guy he first presented as—rather than the guy you're right now very much wishing he was and hoping he'll prove himself to be: a man who made a number of emotionally dishonest choices in his past, came to see that, reckoned with it, and emerged with clearer eyes and a more open and available heart.

 

I'd say this is a really good moment for you to take a breath, remind yourself that it's only been six months, and take stock of how you feel. To ask hard questions like: How long have you been concerned, even during the sweetest moments of the honeymoon, about whether he is fully present with you? (I use that word "present" because I think it's something you can detect and feel pretty quickly, even while you're both leaning into full "commitment" at different paces.) How much of your emotional bonding has come from him dissecting his past relationship and talking about it in general? How interested does he seem in your emotional truths—who you are, where you've been, how you're feeling—that aren't connected to the relationship but simply the singular being that is you? Does he seem to have space to take interest in that—in the story of you as opposed to just the ways you help him tell a story about himself?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...