He Was Only Separated, She Pushed For More & Lost Him - Relationship Advice
My question is similar to recent advice for Amanda & Marla. Except I am 44, never married and feel I have lost someone very special. I have a great job & a wonderful home & lifestyle. I am mostly very happy but want to share my life. I have had a wonderful relationship (having not been in one for years) but sadly I have blown it through sheer anxiety & i think panic. You see the guy I was seeing was only separated & I could not get my head around this and pressured him to sort his affairs out with his estranged wife.He has cracked and ended it. Am I mad or bad?
Thanks for reading me, and asking for my advice on your situation.
You're not mad or bad. You're just you.
It takes a special amount of patience to wait it out with a guy that's ending a major relationship or phase of their lives.
Although there's definitely some general advice I would offer, each situation is very specific and your wording has a couple of "tells" in it that need some addressing.
It's significant that you mentioned first that you've never been married. It's sort of an open-armed gesture of admitting that you don't know what the BF was going through in ending his marriage.
And then, with the rest of your post, you sort of place me in the same position, of not knowing. You didn't mention if there are kids involved, a custody battle, if the first wife is fighting the divorce, or what the details are there. You didn't mention if he was telling you he loves you and that he just needs to get through the legalities of the former situation so you two can be together, or if he was unsure and not committing to you.
I say this in a lot of my Hubs - his actions will always speak louder than his words. Was he saving money jointly with you for a wedding or house or something? Were you two living together? Sharing bills? Was he showing you in any actions that he was planning a future with you?
Here's what I think happened...
There's a certain comfort in being the one in control.
I don't think he was giving you all those signs that he was sure his past was his past, that he was ready to run right into another major relationship, and that you were his future. I believe if he was giving you all those rock solid signs, you would have said so.
Instead, I think he was probably fairly honest, finding his way after a big life change, a little shaken and a little slow on the trigger. I think you wanted him to be sure, and committed. I think you really cared about him, and I think it made you feel very helpless that you couldn't control the outcome of his emotions and his plans.
I'm not saying you're a control freak. I'm saying, after so long without being in a good committed relationship, it was scary to feel as strongly as you were feeling. It's hard to be scared. We've all been there. You just grabbed for some control because it's less scary that way.
You said you blew it with him because you were pushing him to get his affairs in order. Interesting word, affairs, isn't it. I don't believe that's actually what you were doing. I think you were pushing him to step up his commitment to you.
I think if he had proposed, set up a joint bank account, told you he loved you and only you for the rest of his life, and showed you every day that he was 100% committed to you, you would have had the patience of Job and waited out whatever legal mess he is fighting his way through regarding his divorce.
Even if the words you were using were telling him to get his divorce finalized, I don't think that's what you were pushing for.
Now here's the kicker: I think you knew what you were doing. I think you knew he wasn't ready to commit to you, or that somehow you had a glimmer of his need for time and space, and instead of letting him end it or letting things drag out for too much of that "wait and see" thing, I think you decided to grab the bull by the horns and force him to end it. It put you in control. It was probably far less painful than the wondering and the waiting.
Our minds are fabulous troubleshooters. I think you created your way out of what you knew wasn't going to go your way.
So my dear Fishcake, you are not mad and you are certainly not bad. You are a woman that knows she's a catch. You said it yourself - you have a great career, a great home, and a great life. You are ready to share it, like you stated in a very empowering and wonderful way. You fell in love with a guy that wasn't going to be that right guy and you pushed your way out of the situation. It's even in your wording about the ending: he ended it, but you're saying it was because of your pressuring. You took control of the ending even if you had to fake yourself out to do it.
Am I giving you too much credit? No. It's all in your wording. Or more specifically, in the lack of words... in the words you chose to leave out. You gave me the essence, because that's all you needed. I think you pushed this thing to the max, when you needed it to close.
Going forward, here's some advice. Dating separated, divorcing, divorced, or otherwise involved men takes a special amount of patience. I won't say don't ever date any of them or that would cut your dating pool down to half. But learn from that inner wolf that protected you this time from getting too far along, and let that instinct kick in earlier.
You KNOW there were signs long before the ending. You know I'm right. There were clear signs and words and deeds you could see that were saying he's not planning his future with you. Next time, allow yourself to SEE them. Don't ignore your gut, don't lead with your "what-if's." Lead with your brains.
Let this one go. It was a learning experience. The Amanda and Marla advice doesn't apply to you. Your "tells" are completely different. Deep breath, girl. And get back out there.