My common-law husband of 14 years and I separated 18 months ago. I truly believe that we both acted out of anger.
We have a son whom he picks up from school every day and sees every other full weekend.
We talked a lot in the beginning; I wanted to remain friends. We never talked about what happened, he’s never said that he misses me, nor said anything about the break- up.
I’ve found it very difficult to accept the separation and I feel like I cannot move forward with my life.
I still have hope, but I haven't told him so, because I'm so afraid of rejection.
Sometimes I feel like he still loves me a lot. He calls me every day while I’m driving to work, we’ve talked an hour or more, about everything but us.
It makes me feel still very important in his life.
His parents have a lot to do with our split and I resent them a lot. We used to own a home that now his brother has.
The two brothers got into a huge physical fight and don't talk anymore. As a result, my husband, son, and I ended up living with his parents. We separated a year after moving in with them. I moved out and found my own place.
One friend has said that it’s harder for me to move on because I see him every day and we talk to each other too much.
But just thinking about not being as close, or his having a new partner, kills me.
He’s a good man, a good partner, a perfect father, and a hard-worker who loves his family.
I don't understand why he calls, texts me, and talks to me a lot if he doesn't want to be with me.
We still say our inside jokes, and laugh a lot together. He’s asked me out for dinner and for drinks and we still have a blast together.
Whenever I feel that he’s getting distant from me, I get really upset even though I don't say anything. He feels it when I'm angry, cold, and quiet and he tries to get closer to me again, by calling all the time.
I don't know if this behaviour is part of the process of breaking up, or if there’s still strong feelings for each other. I also think he’s so scared of his parents about getting back together with me.
Sad, Lonely and Confused
Yes, some separations morph early on into a lingering emotional dependency on past patterns, like daily chats and even some dates. It feels (falsely) safe. No one has to truly try to go it alone.
The big issues – like in-laws – don’t have to be discussed or re-fought.
But this period will pass. One of you will recognize the need to detach more, or may meet someone else. And unless you’ve fortified yourself with an understanding of that next phase, and of your own ability to move forward, it’ll be devastating again.
Realities: If he’s that scared of his parents, he’s unlikely to defy them. If he doesn’t talk about your separation, he doesn’t want to change it.
See a therapist to discuss whether you can handle the risk of being direct and asking him if there’s any chance to re-connect.
If you can’t do that, or you do and he says No, then you’ll need the therapist’s help to find your inner strength to move on. For your self-esteem, and your son’s sake, too.
FEEDBACK Regarding the person worried about having educational differences with her new partner (July 9):
Reader – “She didn’t make the distinction between having a formal education and being educated.
“My husband and I have been happily married for 13 years and have two great kids. He works in the trades, and I'm pursuing my Ph.D. in English Literature.
“He could’ve easily gone to university – he's bright, reads widely, is interested in the world. But he dislikes being confined to an office and enjoys the physicality of his job, so he chose the trades’ route.
“It's lucrative, technically challenging, and most importantly, he loves what he does.
“The differences in formal education matter less to either of us than that we're both committed to each other's happiness.
“We value and respect each other's character and take the long-term health of our relationship seriously. The diversity of our interests makes our horizons broader.”
Tip of the day:
There are stages of a separation to work through, rather than live in the past.