After my beloved father died, I distracted myself: Moving continents, changing jobs, supporting family, a second graduate degree.
I also entered a relationship.
Although the man I loved had a complex history (civil war background, devastating circumstances in his marriage), he truly loved me.
But I didn't know how to communicate rationally about emotional topics.
I didn't know how to ask him about his relationship with his informally-separated wife.
I made assumptions, broke his trust searching for information, and got very angry.
This continued for five years. When I finally lost him, all the grief from losing my father emerged.
Working through those feelings in therapy, I came to realize what I’d lost by losing my relationship.
I’d failed to communicate rationally with someone I deeply loved. I was so lost that I never acknowledged his needs, nor did I try to understand his perspective.
I had empathy and compassion for his circumstances, but I only made his life more difficult.
Now, one year after losing him, I’ve finally learned that the issue was really with me.
I now love that he has a respectful relationship with his ex.
I’d put him in a position where omitting the truth was easier than fighting with me, and I now see why he second-guessed wanting to be with me.
I didn't practice non-violent communication (which I deeply regret) but I also didn't know or understand anything I was going through myself.
Is there anything I can do to make amends with this wonderful man? Or have I pushed him so far away with my patterns of behaviour that all hope is lost?
I don't date regularly. I have never felt such a connection. I would love to have him in my life again.
It takes a lot of soul-searching and insight through therapy to recognize that the “issue” that blocked a healthy relationship, was in you. The man you loved, knowing this long before you did, eventually gave up.
Now, to try and reconnect, it’s the “patterns of behaviour” that you exhibited that he’d have to get past. He needs more than words expressing your acquired self-awareness.
He needs/deserves a profound apology, along with a deep expression of abiding love and respect for him.
Reach out to him, with thoughtfulness about whatever of his current circumstances that you know about.
What happens from here on is no longer about your past grief, nor your resulting period of self-absorption.
Offer him an unhurried time of renewing contact, and thinking about the possibilities of a future, without pressure or re-hashing what happened before.
If you can do all that I suggest, you’ll hopefully have a fresh chance at being together.
Please advise me on what do with a cheating husband.
Had you signed, “Fed Up” I’d advise the following:
Confront your husband (best to have evidence of his cheating), say that you won’t accept/ignore it any longer, and that unless he stops you want a divorce.
But signing “Need Help” signifies that you want to stay together, along with any children you may have.
So, tell him that you both need marriage counselling to learn why he cheats, and how it’s hurting everyone in the family.
Meanwhile, learn through a lawyer, legal aid clinic or Internet search, your rights in a divorce, to financial support and sharing assets like a house/car etc.
If he doesn’t stop cheating, show him what a divorce will cost him financially/emotionally.
I’m a man, late 60s, soon retiring. I loved my job, my co-workers were my closest friends.
My wife has few interests beyond our home and grandkids. Her few friends are neighbours living similarly.
I fear that our marriage won’t last.
I need conversation about current events with like-minded people and well-expressed dissenters.
My wife won’t change. What should I do?
Think “Transition.” Find your new daily pattern purposefully. Some post-employment people meet at a gym and/or breakfast, to start their daily energy boost and discuss current events.
Some try new self-expressions like painting, sculpture, playing music with friends. They join study and book groups, attend lecture series through universities, community colleges, local libraries, and faith centres.
Encourage your wife to try something new but respect her right to her own preferences. And don’t give up on your grandchildren. Their love and laughter are also important to your well-being.
Tip of the day:
Neglecting a former love’s needs calls for sincere apologies, unpressured contact and a focus on the future.