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He Was Only Separated, She Pushed For More & Lost Him - Relationship Advice

Updated on August 18, 2011

Dear Veronica,

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?


Dear Fishcake,

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.


Submit a Comment

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from NY

    Thanks so very much efeas! xoxo

  • efeyas profile image


    8 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

    I think she thinks you are brave because it takes a lot of guts to come out and tell it like it is but at the same time do it in sucha graceful manner that you empower the people you are talking about. Kudos Veronica! You are great & Brave!!

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from NY

    Granny's House,

    Thanks for commenting. I don't get why you think I'm brave? What did I do?

  • Granny's House profile image

    Granny's House 

    8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

    Veronica, You sure are brave. I agree with Sa' ge. He is married. Stay away. In time the right one will come along. Stay strong.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from NY


    This specific guy certainly has a unique set of circumstances. But I promise you this - if he wanted to be with you, his ex-wife would not be anchoring him backward. If and when he meets someone he truly wants to be with in that forever-kinda way, he will do it.

    I'm sure there are ladies with kids and baggage and complicated histories that are saying the same thing about you - that they'd have an easier time finding someone if they were less saddled. You sound like a catch - don't forget that. If you're going to re-examine yourself regarding why you're not finding the relationship you're looking for, look at things like how you said you were ignoring the pull his ex wife had on him, which lends to actual relationship skills. Don't look at things like having stability, beauty, fitnesses, and an independent life as hindrances. I know you don't really, but even poking at that is just not helpful. You asked what you need to do to find a guy that is ready. Just be yourself. Open yourself to new experiences if the old ones aren't working. Most importantly, pay attention to a guy's actions. Don't rationalize, or make excuses for him, or believe what you want to believe instead of the reality that is actually occurring. I'm sure you're going to be just fine. ;)

  • Sa`ge profile image


    8 years ago from Barefoot Island

    Veronica, nice work here. keep it up. you have such insight :) love and peace Sister :)

    Fishcake, stay away from married men, separated means still married. Stop LOOking for a partner, put your time and effort into yourself, your work, your hobbies. Start treating yourself to things and places you like doing and going to. Be very good to yourself in these areas of your like and I will guarantee a partner will fall right onto your lap and he will be your dream partner. I dare you to start being extra good to yourself. aloha~sa`ge

  • loveofnight profile image


    8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

    this is definitely an interesting hub, i will have to re-read it later to absorb all it has to offer.......thx

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Thanks so much Veronica for your answer.

    You do seem to read between the lines - and how wise!

    I went into this relationship on my guard from the start because he was separated.As you state I am not a control freak, but I am used to being in control of my life.

    I have much to offer and am totally 'free' with no children or ex hubby to worry about. Maybe I have less patience with those that take time to move on from knock backs. Although I have not been through a divorce, and I do appreciate this must bring up many different emotions from guilt, failure , sadness and much more, I have been through some major events in my teens & twenties and basically I just had to get up and get on. The buck stopped with me. There does come a point with anything in life that you just have to make a decision one way or the other.

    With regard to this lost relationship, he was very loving towards me and spoke of our future together and we had great fun and spent much time together, which gave me hope.

    Yet, Veronica you are so right when you point out actions not words, he said all the right things & nearly did all the right things, but my instinct kept telling me I was being kept at arms length. Bearing in mind our ages (44 & 55) and financial set up - really the world should have been our oyster. What I think I chose to keep ignoring or had underestimated was the pull of an estranged wife! The life he had with his wife was very good. They have a successful business and their two adult children now work/run the company. it was a very 'family' affair that I just felt I could not compete with(but that may have been my insecurities coming through).

    But what confuses the issue is they do lead separate lives, his wife has a new boyfriend and there has been the very glimmer of a divorce. But lawyers were consulted and then things just stopped. I guess it takes a lot of strength to finally end something that on paper was so good. Perhaps I will never understand.I have many friends that sadly are divorced and I have been there for them but maybe I have never really appreciated the sense of failure people feel.

    You mentioned about not dating separated or divorcing or divorced men. I too have thought this but also agree this will cut my pool down considerably! I feel that may circumstances for my age are unique. I am quite uncomplicated in terms of baggage and not having children means I do not have dependents. I am also, so I am told, very young & healthy looking bascially I think cos I feel young & healthy! But you know what, this seems to go against me. This is not meant to sound big headed or elitist - so please don't think I am saying that. But I often feel if i was divorced with young children and financial woes I would have better luck finding a partner! I feel my life history means I do not have much in common with most people. Where do I go, what do I need to do to find a guy that is ready, willing & able? Please let me know where I am going wrong - I can take it!

    Thanks for reading my waffle - I now seem to have spilled my heart out!

    Fishcake x


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