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I began seeing someone a year ago, long distance, but we have made it work. We both take turns seeing each other, and he has always come out to see me more. 
 

He was just getting out of his marriage, when we met, but overall the distance has helped us take things slow. We do love each other, but I over reacted in an argument out of fear and insecurity. The argument was over him seeing his ex-wife, honestly they split amicably and will probably be friends one day. And I’m only human, and it got to me, I blew up at him for not committing to a plan with me, I completely overreacted because I felt like he was putting plans with his ex first. This has not been an ongoing argument, we have had to work through other, normal, getting to know each other communication things, but we always work everything out and come out closer and stronger from it. Very normal relationship in that regard. 
 

This argument/conversation turned into the “what is our next step” conversation, again we’ve been dating for a year, titles don’t really matter to me but I said I would like to “work towards one day being bf/gf”. I’m 33 and he’s 39, so we aren’t kids. 
 

At the end of the conversation he said he needed space. But we said we loved each other, and that we still wanted a future together, he said he just didn’t know how to get there, like there was a wall. So I said ok, and let him know that I wouldn’t reach out, not because I didn’t want to talk, but to respect what he was asking for. And he said he knew it would be on him to reach out.
 

He called 3 days later to check in on me, he wanted to make sure I was ok, and I was able to apologize for my over reaction and clear up some stuff that we had talked about through the argument. He kinda rambled and apologized for his side too, and left me with the feeling that he wasn’t sure if he was ready for a more serious relationship. And he has always been the sure one. We left that conversation saying that we were happy for what he had, and didn’t regret anything, and agreed that we were happy we were able to talk, and he said he’d call soon. 
 

He called again 4 days later, to check on me, wish me merry Christmas and we just chit chatted a bit, nothing heavy, we just laughed and asked how each other were, and then he made a comment that threw me for a loop. I recently took in my sister’s dog, and let him know that I had taken him to the vet (he’s old) and that he had gotten some shots and was so tired from it that he slept in my armpit, a place my bf always liked to snuggle into. I laughed while saying that “that can’t be good for you, bruh” and my bf replied “I don’t know, sounds like a good spot to me”. We ended the conversation shortly after that and he said we’d catch up later. That was about 3 days ago. 
 

I just don’t know if this is going to work out. And I don’t want to exhaust my friends with my over analyzing. 

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50 minutes ago, fleshandbone said:

This argument/conversation turned into the “what is our next step” conversation, again we’ve been dating for a year, titles don’t really matter to me but I said I would like to “work towards one day being bf/gf”. I’m 33 and he’s 39, so we aren’t kids.

So you are still "working towards" this after a year of dating? 

You say you're not too worried about titles, but you also refer to him as your boyfriend. Did you two agree to a relationship after this conversation? It sounds like he's hesitant to call you his girlfriend, but correct me if my assumption is incorrect. 

I am therefore wondering if it's your common sense - not your insecurity - that's kicking in and wondering why he's seeing his ex when he's not committing to a plan with you. What was he doing? It might be one thing if they needed to meet to sort out divorce logistics or some such thing, but it would be another if he actually was prioritizing seeing her and not you. Can you clarify?

I don't think you're over-analyzing, for what it's worth. There are some red flags here: had just gotten out of a marriage when he started dating you (ripe for rebound), now wants space when you're already long-distance and requested that space after a talk about where things were headed. You're right to be concerned about all of this. I would see what the next couple weeks bring, but I would also brace yourself for the "It's not you, it's me, and I'm not ready"-talk, unfortunately. 

Edited by MissCanuck
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1 minute ago, MissCanuck said:

So you are still "working towards" this after a year of dating? 

You say you're not too worried about titles, but you also refer to him as your boyfriend. Did you two agree to a relationship after this conversation? It sounds like he's hesitant to call you his girlfriend, but correct me if my assumption is incorrect. 

I am therefore wondering if it's your common sense - not your insecurity - that's kicking in and wondering why he's seeing his ex when he's not committing to a plan with you. What was he doing? It might be one thing if they needed to meet to sort out divorce logistics or some such thing, but it would be another if he actually was prioritizing seeing her and not you. Can you clarify?

 

I thought it might be easier to refer to him as that in this instance. Sorry about that confusion on my part. 
 

Since he had to cancel travel plans this holiday, he said he was going to see her and the cats, since he felt it was his responsibility since they’d be in town essentially unable to see their families. I can understand it, since they split amicably, though I wasn’t the most comfortable with it. He understood where I was coming from and he ended up explaining that he wasn’t trying to prioritize that time, but for some reason his normal train of thought which is “what are we doing” was more “what are my obligations to call family and friends” and catching up with her ended up in that obligation category. 

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20 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Is his divorce final?

It is not final. They have the papers drawn though and are just waiting on whatever the next steps are in terms of what the lawyers/court do. I admit, I do need to get clarity on that. But, in this argument I did ask if he felt he was still wanted the divorce, and he said yes. 

They decided to get divorced before I met him, I was not a catalyst for anything. 

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3 minutes ago, fleshandbone said:

It is not final. They have the papers drawn though and are just waiting on whatever the next steps are in terms of what the lawyers/court do. I admit, I do need to get clarity on that. But, in this argument I did ask if he felt he was still wanted the divorce, and he said yes. 

They decided to get divorced before I met him, I was not a catalyst for anything. 

He's still legally married- you're 33 as you said so you know that he is still married.  Married men can't date and certainly can't be committed to another woman.  He feels obligated because she is his wife.  You are someone he is dating on the side.  He's not even ready to refer to you as his girlfriend- which he can't really since he's married.  Find someone whose divorce is final for at least a year -it's not just a piece of paper just like his marriage wasn't -and in particular it wasn't for him since he still feels family obligations to her.

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24 minutes ago, fleshandbone said:

It is not final. They have the papers drawn though and are just waiting on whatever the next steps are in terms of what the lawyers/court do. I admit, I do need to get clarity on that. But, in this argument I did ask if he felt he was still wanted the divorce, and he said yes. 

They decided to get divorced before I met him, I was not a catalyst for anything. 

What "next steps" does he need to wait for? You file the papers with the court and if it's uncontested it becomes final in a year or less. And yet a year has gone by and there's been no progress? And he's visiting his alleged ex and cats?

Yeah, this isn't done. 

Have you met the alleged ex? Does she know about you?

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36 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

He's still legally married- you're 33 as you said so you know that he is still married.  Married men can't date and certainly can't be committed to another woman.  He feels obligated because she is his wife.  You are someone he is dating on the side.  He's not even ready to refer to you as his girlfriend- which he can't really since he's married.  Find someone whose divorce is final for at least a year -it's not just a piece of paper just like his marriage wasn't -and in particular it wasn't for him since he still feels family obligations to her.

Thank you for your reply. I don’t think it’s just a piece of paper either. I respect the relationship they had and that needs to transition. That is also why we were still “working towards being bf/gf” because I wasn’t going to hold that title with this not complete.

But I politely disagree that I’m someone on the side, which sounds like I’m a secret. We share mutual friends who know we were seeing each other, his parents know of me, it’s not as black and white as that. 

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22 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

What "next steps" does he need to wait for? You file the papers with the court and if it's uncontested it becomes final in a year or less. And yet a year has gone by and there's been no progress? And he's visiting his alleged ex and cats?

Yeah, this isn't done. 

Have you met the alleged ex? Does she know about you?

I admit I don’t know the true timeline of it all. And that is where this argument went a little. I haven’t met her, though I believe she knows of me.

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So what are you looking from us? to tell you things will work out? We don't know. All the guessing in the world will not put your anxiety at ease. Only time will tell what the end result will be. I say, for your own sanity, is to put it out of your mind and keep busy with whatever to get you through.

Edited by smackie9
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12 minutes ago, smackie9 said:

So what are you looking from us? to tell you things will work out? We don't know. All the guessing in the world will not put your anxiety at ease. Only time will tell what the end result will be. I say, for your own sanity, is to put it out of your mind and keep busy with whatever to get you through.

Yeah, I suppose. The anxiety has just been getting to me. I’m trying to do things as if it’s just over. But, somehow found myself here to I guess help ease it by talking about it more hahaha. 

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49 minutes ago, fleshandbone said:

He was just getting out of his marriage, when we met,

...so he had not yet stabilized beyond rebound territory.

You're right. That is a problem. Research the term, and it can help you to understand why he needs the space to ground himself solo--and why it would be smart to back off and let him do that.

Think long range.

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35 minutes ago, fleshandbone said:

Thank you for your reply. I don’t think it’s just a piece of paper either. I respect the relationship they had and that needs to transition. That is also why we were still “working towards being bf/gf” because I wasn’t going to hold that title with this not complete.

But I politely disagree that I’m someone on the side, which sounds like I’m a secret. We share mutual friends who know we were seeing each other, his parents know of me, it’s not as black and white as that. 

Yes but you're not sure if his wife knows about you.  You are someone he is casually dating.  She is his wife who he prioritizes in taking care - her cats are an extension and if they are his cats too they share "furkids" and he believes he needs to be part of her life and committed to helping with the "furkids" they were raising together when they lived together.  Of course you can't be his girlfriend -it's not just a title - it's the substance behind the title -you are not the person he is committed to, you are not his priority, you are on his radar of course, his parents met you as someone he is dating, just like his friends.  I bet you haven't met any of the couple friends they had as a couple, for example.  I'm glad you don't want him to even refer to you as his exclusive girlfriend given his wife.

 

I'm sorry this isn't working out.  You took the risk of getting attached to someone married and not available and sometimes those risks work out and I hope you had fun/good memories while it lasted.

Edited by Batya33
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Me personally would never go near anyone fresh out of a relationship, marriage, separation, divorce whatever. Your chances if it ever working is close to zero. You could be just a distraction...and now that you are getting clingy, it's become a problem, the fun is over.

Edited by smackie9
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30 minutes ago, catfeeder said:

...so he had not yet stabilized beyond rebound territory.

You're right. That is a problem. Research the term, and it can help you to understand why he needs the space to ground himself solo--and why it would be smart to back off and let him do that.

Think long range.

Yeah, I’m familiar. I guess because we moved in such a way, I thought he was transitioning more than he was. 
 

But, yeah. I’m giving him the space he needs. 

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It's always a risk when you are the first person someone dates when they're right out of a marriage or long-term relationship. 

Even if the marriage was over in all but name, it's still an enormous life transition. They are not yet used to not being in each others' lives, it seems. Otherwise, he wouldn't feel obligated to spend time with her around the holidays. Pandemic times are strange, yes, but I don't think this can be explained away by that alone. He's also asked for space and is pulling back. My gut would tell me he's not ready for a committed relatiosnhip with someone else right now. 

Do you know why their marriage ended, and who actually pulled the plug? I get it was amicable but do you happen to know any of the backstory there? 

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Unfortunately, you were in dangerous rebound territory when you started this relationship, and you are still in that territory now.

You should stay far clear of this man. He is not a good prospect for you. No one in his situation is.

You should set some ground rules about separated and divorced people, so that you can avoid a repeat of this situation in the future.

I recommend that you don't date separated people at all, and that you wait for a significant period of time after a divorce is finalized before even considering a date with a divorcee. 

I know you say that titles don't matter to you, but I think you're being dishonest with yourself about that. And frankly, what's so bad about admitting that you want a relationship? You should be unashamed to go for what you want in life. 

I think your 'overreaction' wasn't an overreaction at all, but a signal from that part of you that you are denying. It's telling you that you are not on a path for a relationship. You are not getting any bang for your buck. That is why you feel insecure and anxious--under these circumstances, you should feel this way.

Now your non-boyfriend is giving you crazy, contradictory signals, showing you that he doesn't know what he wants. 

He's not going to know for a very long time, maybe years. This is exactly why you should not be dating him. Say a nice goodbye, it was fun, and run for the hills!

Edited by Jibralta
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You spent a year of your life waiting for this man to "transition" and he still isn't sure?

He just did you a favor.  Honestly, if I held a man at arms length for a year and kept moving the goalposts and telling him I am still uncertain, I might likely lose respect for him for sticking around and waiting.

Bottom line , if he is willing to risk losing you, he wasn't really into you to begin with.

You don't have some mysterious insecurity issue. This man and this relationship has never been something you can count on and feel safe in.  Don't be tempted to take the blame and make this all about some personality flaw you now have.

Believe you deserve better. . .

Edited by reinventmyself
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On 12/27/2020 at 11:27 AM, MissCanuck said:

It's always a risk when you are the first person someone dates when they're right out of a marriage or long-term relationship. 

 

I read an article about this very thing years ago and there is so much truth to this.  First relationships post divorce rarely work out for this very reason . . Because they are *transitioning.

What you think you want and what you ultimately need, post divorce are often two entirely different things.

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I feel you two are on 2 different paths.  Where you are ready & willing but he is not.  :(.

He is still 'working through' his end of a long term relationship/ marriage, when you came along?

So he put it all on hold.. it would come flooding back again, eventually.

 

All I say is NO high expectations with this.  ( Put yourself in his position).

Takes time.. more than likely, a LOT of time.

 

He just isn't ready for any of this, mentally & emotionally.  he cannot 'give' you what you deserve.

Sad when one selfishly gets involved when they are purely not ready for it.  😞

 

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Thank you, everyone, really, for all the replies. I got a little overwhelmed in it all. 
 

I agree with a lot of what everyone is saying. And can only expect it to be over, really. But like many who find themselves here, we still manage to have that thread of hope. 
 

I appreciate you all taking the time to reply. 

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1 hour ago, SooSad33 said:

I feel you two are on 2 different paths.  Where you are ready & willing but he is not.  :(.

He is still 'working through' his end of a long term relationship/ marriage, when you came along?

So he put it all on hold.. it would come flooding back again, eventually.

 

All I say is NO high expectations with this.  ( Put yourself in his position).

Takes time.. more than likely, a LOT of time.

 

He just isn't ready for any of this, mentally & emotionally.  he cannot 'give' you what you deserve.

Sad when one selfishly gets involved when they are purely not ready for it.  😞

 

I agree that he put that healing on hold and ended up compartmentalizing things. And I think I thought that he was working through it on his own. 

1 hour ago, reinventmyself said:

I read an article about this very thing years ago and there is so much truth to this.  First relationships post divorce rarely work out for this very reason . . Because they are *transitioning.

What you think you want and what you ultimately need, post divorce are often two entirely different things.

I agree with that last statement, I once told him something similar when we were first still getting to know each other. But you know, we take chances sometimes. 

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On 12/27/2020 at 1:27 PM, MissCanuck said:

It's always a risk when you are the first person someone dates when they're right out of a marriage or long-term relationship. 

Even if the marriage was over in all but name, it's still an enormous life transition. They are not yet used to not being in each others' lives, it seems. Otherwise, he wouldn't feel obligated to spend time with her around the holidays. Pandemic times are strange, yes, but I don't think this can be explained away by that alone. He's also asked for space and is pulling back. My gut would tell me he's not ready for a committed relatiosnhip with someone else right now. 

Do you know why their marriage ended, and who actually pulled the plug? I get it was amicable but do you happen to know any of the backstory there? 

Yeah, had he been able to travel, he wouldn’t have been in the same city, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have ended up in this spot somewhere down the line. In all honesty, it’s shown me that I had a lot of insecurity and fear to work through on my part, because as I mentioned this wasn’t an ongoing argument, I just let the fear distort the reality that he has never put me second or made me feel as if this isn’t something he wants. He has wanted the titles before, but I didn’t until everything was final. 
 

The split was mutual, but brought on by him. They ended up more roommates than anything.

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7 minutes ago, fleshandbone said:

I agree that he put that healing on hold and ended up compartmentalizing things. And I think I thought that he was working through it on his own. 

I agree with that last statement, I once told him something similar when we were first still getting to know each other. But you know, we take chances sometimes. 

Yes- that's obvious but the point is you have to as an individual decide which chances are worth the risk.  We don't "all take chances sometimes" for example by eating moldy bread that has flies on it even if we're hungry or by going out alone at night in a dangerous area just because you feel like taking a chance, you wouldn't make out with a guy on a first date after he tells you he has covid even if he's really hot/cute.  Telling someone that something is risky is not the same as telling someone you think it's too risky and therefore you're not going to take that risk because there are too many downsides.  For example.

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1 hour ago, fleshandbone said:

I just let the fear distort the reality that he has never put me second or made me feel as if this isn’t something he wants.

Is that really true, though? Because when you had the discussion with him, it turned out that the Reality actually was that he didn't know how to get to a relationship with you. 

I don't think you distorted reality at all. In fact, I think you should give yourself some credit for sniffing it out despite appearances.

If he really wanted to be with you, he would not have taken this argument as an out. Everybody overreacts; everybody gets cold feet. It's understandable. He would have chalked it up to nerves. But he didn't do that.

 

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