In 2012, I met a very special guy. We connected emotionally. But he soon revealed that though he was separated from his wife, he had an on-off relationship with a girlfriend.
We both backed away, especially me, as I don’t get involved with people who are still attached.
He eventually broke off with her, and we started dating. The following month, I received a Facebook friend request from his ex-girlfriend. I promptly declined.
He and I had four great months. Then, without warning, he said he didn't want to cheat on me and thinks he’s still in love with this ex.
I showed him out the door. I felt so defeated. I've always been very careful about whom I date, and filter as much as I can.
After the breakup, I worked very hard to gain strength to overcome it.
A month later, he called. I let it go to voicemail.
His message said he needed to speak with me. I emailed him that I’d be busy for two weeks.
We eventually met and he told me exactly what had happened when we broke up.
His ex had left his items that remained at her place on his porch, along with a note stating that her mom was dying. Overcome with guilt, he felt forced to decide between us.
He told me he should’ve asked for a break to deal with his ex's mom, instead of breaking up with me.
He said that after contacting the hospital, he discovered that she’d made up the story. There was no sick mom.
However, we eventually worked things out and they’re going well. Sometimes we have glitches but nothing major. But he has yet to finalize the divorce from his wife.
What are some of the things I should be on alert for with this relationship? How can I ensure that we’re going forward, without harping on when he’ll finally divorce?
I’m thinking of leaving him when and if things don’t progress anymore.
You’ve seen from past experience that your guy is not always strong-minded, especially when a woman pushes him. What happened with his ex-girlfriend can happen with his estranged wife.
There are always pressures in a divorce – financially and legally, as well as emotionally.
Talk to him about time-related stages in your relationship. Don’t harp on “when.” Instead, set logical deadlines together as to what’s reasonable progress vs. obstacles and delays.
Make him accountable for what’s causing the latter (i.e. not just his ex-wife, but how he responds to her). If he avoids that responsibility, you’ll know when to leave.
I’m still in love with my boyfriend of three years but feel like I lost ME. I no longer have time for my friends between my work, and being with him.
He likes a lot of attention. I want to get back to who I was when we met – far more independent, with a lot more energy.
Now I just say No to everything else, so that I’m available for him.
Find yourself. Start letting him know that you have personal needs, too.
Make a regular date with your close friends – every two weeks or even once a month, but do it.
Find an interest just for yourself - a yoga class, a pottery course, whatever. Don’t let him “need” you on those set dates.
You’ll love your boyfriend a lot more if you love yourself. And, if he develops understanding of your need for self-affirmation.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young woman concerned about racial and religious differences between her and her boyfriend (April 15):
Reader – “I married outside my race and culture and had no regrets. I didn’t have any family opposition although I was initially concerned about how some members would react.
“If she feels they have something special, and it’s financially possible, she and her prospective husband should visit her native land together. It’s not enough for him to be introduced to her culture via the prism of her family, especially if they’re unhappy about the relationship, but for him to see it fully, to understand the differences and even the prejudices.
“Culturally, my husband and I weren’t very different, but there were some areas where we were miles apart, but my living in his culture and his having experienced mine helped us to understand or at least accept them.”
Tip of the day:
Be alert to a partner’s pattern of caving in to pressure from an ex.