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Stuck in a rut


Elle90
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I've been seeing a guy on and off for 8 years. We both have 1 child each, mine lived with me full time and his son lives with him full time. I love him both as a friend and romantically and I believe he does love me back but he's never able to commit as he's content in his ways. His son likes me also. I've tried looking for someone else to give me the relationship I need but I always end up back seeing him. This time I made it clear from the beginning we can hang out the once per week that we do, have some food, chat and our sexy time (good friends with benefits) and that I'll be happy and won't ask for more but that I will still be looking for another guy and we'll have to stop when I do. I also said if he wants to start sleeping with other women then let me know so we can stop. He was ok with this. I've now been speaking to another guy for a few months and am due to meet him tomorrow for a quick first date so I was thinking maybe it's almost time to cut the cord (sexually) with the other one if all goes well. It was already going to be a really difficult thing for me, letting go because we're such great friends too, he's my soulmate in more ways than one but I want to share my life with someone, he clearly doesn't. So I was at guy 1's house last night and he brought up a conversation he had in work where they were talking about their girlfriends/wives and I can't remember the exact words but he referred to me as his girlfriend in that conversation with his colleagues. He's never been one for labels and we've never been anywhere together as a couple in those 8 years although his family know about and like me, we always are at his or mine so this confused me but I didn't say anything, I was dumbstruck. I then bumped into his aunt when I was on my way home and again, she referred to me as his girlfriend. I know it sounds as simple as just asking him what's going on but in past experiences he either closes up or makes promises about the future which I've learned ends up not happening. I'm not even sure if I like this new guy I've been speaking to yet but it's looking good so far and it could be my one opportunity to have a proper stable relationship as I'm not getting any younger. I guess my question is how do I approach this without losing both of them? I don't want to be seeing both at the same time just to see what happens because that's horrible and not who I am. Girlfriend is a huge word for him and I'm also angry if he considers me that but hasn't thought to tell me. My head is a complete mess about this and none of my friends would understand. I know this is so long and that's with me leaving out some details. Please help me figure out what to do! 😞

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3 minutes ago, Elle90 said:

I've been seeing a guy on and off for 8 years. I made it clear from the beginning we can hang out the once per week that we do, have some food, chat and our sexy time (good friends with benefits).

I've now been speaking to another guy for a few months and am due to meet him tomorrow for a quick first date.

Sorry this is happening. It sounds like you are both in an unhappy rut. How old is he? 

On/off means unresolved conflict combined with unhealthy attachments. You have both. You want a real relationship, he does not. Yet you keep going back. Do not let semantics (GF) give you false hope, you'll still be coasting along in limbo no matter what phraseology he uses.

Yes date others but not with the intention of dragging out this situationship (sex or not). A new relationship where you are dragging an old  "soulmate" around will never work. 

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Thank you for replying so quickly. He's almost 40, I'm 32. I understood the no commitment thing for the first few years because of major issues with the childs mother previously (court cases and such) but I've tried so many times to say "this is it, I can't do it anymore, I'm 100% finished this time" but going back, even casually is my own inner conflict of being afraid to end up completely alone along with missing the friendship we have. Also, I can literally see his back window from my window, so I've never had to opportunity to have a clean break because he lives so close. I haven't posted on something like this before and it's difficult to tell 8 years worth in a few paragraphs but I'm hoping having an outsider prospective might give me the kick up the bum I need to realise it's never going to be more than what it is. 

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I see what you wrote as incredibly passive and self-dishonest.  He can commit. He chooses not to.  You can cut ties.  You choose not to. There's no "ending up going back to him" -it's a choice.  Girlfriend isn't just a label - is mother just a label?  It's a word used to describe the underlying relationship and commitment.  

You choose to settle for scraps because you prioritize your fear of being "alone" over being with someone who desires to commit to you.  Of course you have the opportunity for a clean break. You can put up blackout shades, you can move at some point, whatever you need to do.  You do realize after 8 years he doesn't want to commit to you, you just lie to yourself because it gives you an excuse to lie to yourself and  tell yourself "at least I'm not alone."  

For your child's sake stop the passivity -do you let your child get away with that like "I don't know I just ended up: not studying; not doing my homework; not remembering my really expensive winter coat at school -it just ended up that way, sorry! - but you're showing him in some way that it's ok to lie to oneself and be passive.

How would you be alone? You're a mother.  Do you have friends? Do you want friends? Do you do any activities or volunteer work? How is it that simply not having a sexual arrangement and friendship with this man would make you be "alone?"

I hope you do get real with yourself and stop making excuses.  Good luck!

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One can only understand your situation or inner conflicts. Spending 8 years with this guy as a GF only, I guess there isn't any thing else left for you. As you said you are not gettin any younger with no future with him, you should consider seriously look for new partner. Otherwise you may again end up in a rut with him. 

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10 hours ago, Elle90 said:

I'm hoping having an outsider prospective might give me the kick up the bum I need to realise it's never going to be more than what it is. 

I promise you it's never going to be more than what it is now. 

Stop relying on this guy or that guy and learn to stand on your own two feet.

Edited by Jibralta
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21 hours ago, Elle90 said:

in past experiences he either closes up or makes promises about the future which I've learned ends up not happening. I'm not even sure if I like this new guy I've been speaking to yet but it's looking good so far and it could be my one opportunity to have a proper stable relationship as I'm not getting any younger. I guess my question is how do I approach this without losing both of them? I don't want to be seeing both at the same time just to see what happens because that's horrible and not who I am. Girlfriend is a huge word for him and I'm also angry if he considers me that but hasn't thought to tell me. My head is a complete mess about this

I bet it's a mess 😕 .

Sad, really that you're in such a spot.

I would have given up the 'guy friend' long ago, for my own mental health.

As you've been well aware for a longgg time that he does not see you as something solid - but you 'feel he's your soulmate' 😕 .

So.. all along is like you've agreed to be taken for a ride, while he has never given you anything concrete.

IMO, it doesn't matter if you like the 'new guy' or not.. I feel you should back away from this FWB situation and work on accepting it's never going to be what YOU want with him.

And get yourself back to good so you can actually move on in a healthy manner.  At this time, I don't feel you'd be any good for anyone, as you'd be thinking of your FWB for a while still.  That's not fair on your new one's, that you're trying to 'get to know', etc.

It's been 8 yrs of this?  Don't you think you'd know by now?

Be stronger than this.  Say enough of being led on and just be done with anything more than basic friends. ( So neither one of you expects anything other than occasional chat/ or to eat out- like friends do).

IF, for a time you feel you 'can't handle that', as being just friends, then have no more to do with him until you do - so you can work on accepting & moving on.  But, this is really unhealthy, such a situation.

 

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19 hours ago, Elle90 said:

I've tried so many times to say "this is it, I can't do it anymore, I'm 100% finished this time" but going back, even casually is my own inner conflict of being afraid to end up completely alone along with missing the friendship we have. Also, I can literally see his back window from my window, so I've never had to opportunity to have a clean break because he lives so close

- Right, your own inner conflict... But it CAN be done!

Maybe you just need to cut it off now totally.  No more agreeing on anything re: him.

And never agree to treating yourself so poorly so you won't be alone 😕 .

I've been in this situation.. Yes, I was involved with someone close by - which was on & off for a few yrs.. BUT, I did end up shutting him out for good, after I had enough, as he was playing me and I had 'too many feelings', was no good for me and I knew it!

He has moved on and I have had to deal with my own self through all of this. ( I have been to therapy to work through a lot of this mess.. and I've taken it a day at a time). Has now been 2 yrs and we have not spoken, which is best.  No need to....

So, I get it! I know the struggles. 

As I already mentioned, it's best for YOUR own well being to be done with this.  No more. Self respect 😉 and get on with your life.

 

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You will never ever ever get with a good guy if you have this man in your life.  Never ever.  You have tunnel vision, and plenty won't even try because this guy is in your life.  A back up plan, and he will never ever give you what you really want. I call my friends that are women, my girlfriends, so don't read into that.

I rekindled things with my now husband at 32, and got married at 33, but I starting making room in my life for someone before we got together again.  And that means getting rid of deadweight.  Your current on/off guy is deadweight.  Be brave.  Learn to love yourself, and find a bigger problem in life that learn to be by yourself and make yourself happy.  

Edited by tattoobunnie
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I always refer to my neighbor's man as her boyfriend even though she will state that it's really FWB. It is just easier for me to put a label on their relationship when speaking of him. My choosing a label doesn't change what they ultimately have. His aunt probably referred to you as his girlfriend because that's the simplest label for her to put on it. He most likely called you his girlfriend when talking to colleagues because he didn't want to get into the whole FWB conversation. Saying you're his girlfriend was easier. Even if he truly considers you his girlfriend it is clear that he isn't willing to take the relationship any further.

You've been in this for eight years, what else has changed other than him saying the word girlfriend to someone? I agree with the others that you aren't going to find your way forward if you stay involved with him.

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8 hours ago, purpleshirt said:

He most likely called you his girlfriend when talking to colleagues because he didn't want to get into the whole FWB conversation.

... which isn't even a conversation most people over the age of 19 would care to have.

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