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Question
Posted by: Sally | 2005/07/26

Cannot choose

I met this man 7 months ago. At the start he said he wanted a 'friend'; a peer/buddy to hang out with... this was cool because I was not really in the market for a lover.

He is seriously separated and in the middle of a divorce after a marriage of 25 years.

I came out of a serious 'living together' relationship of 20 years at much the same time.

Very soon after we met it was already clear that we had an incredible physical chemistry between us and within 2 months we became lovers.

The problem is that he goes through these wobbly patches where he will suddenly - in the middle of dinner for example - decide that he now has to be alone for a few hours... and then just take off. It upsets me terribly - try as I might to get it under control, it devastates me every time... He then gets even more knotted when I get upset (he cannot deal with emotional upset stuff he says) and then he turns around and says that he cannot be my lover but he just wants us to be friends... because if we were just friends it would be ok for him to sometimes just take off.

The thing that makes this 'wobbly' patch of his so scary is that he completely withdraws (physically, mentally etc).

I am upset when this wobbly patch happens occasionally - and now he is expecting me to accept it as the 'normal'.

I love him - I cannot imagine my life without him... but on the other hand, I cannot imagine living with the 'wobblies' all the time... Its like living in an earthquake zone - you never know when its going to strike. Anything can set it off - incidents with his kids, his estranged wife, work, something at my house...

He keeps telling me its not me, its him... that I am collateral damage in the war he has with himself... as if that is supposed to make me feel better.

I need some good sound advice from clear thinking people please...

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

This was not a wise relationship to get embroiled in. Both of you were vulnerable, and not even on the rebound but in the midst of emotional turmoil on ending long and troubled relationships. That is NEVER a good time to plunge into another intimate relationship.
At this stage in his life, these periods when he needs to be alone may indeed be normal. And if they are unacceptable to you, as you may feel you need more consistent affection, then maybe this relationship is not going to work out. He should be seeing a counsellor so as to better handle the situations that set off his wobblies, and maybe you deserve to see a counsellor, too.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: ec | 2005/07/26

Prepare yourself for a couple of years of roller coasting if you want to stay in this relationship-i figure it takes at least 3 years to 'find' yourself after being in a long relationship (and he's been married for 25 years and you 20 years which is a loooong time)-this guy is not even divorced yet, so neither one of you has had time to mourn the old relationships or 'heal' from the hurts it may have caused! is he not on the rebound? I think after being in a long relationship especially, one should be on your own for at least a year before committing to anything new.

Reply to ec
Posted by: Dee | 2005/07/26

I think you need to be patient with him.It sounds like he is not ready for a relationship and needs time to heal.I would say give him a chance.Stick around as a friend and see how it goes.If it might not end up as you would have wished you can just bow out gracefully.It is better than making rushed decisions and creating a mess

Reply to Dee
Posted by: SG | 2005/07/26

It seems to me that you are at different "stages" in the recovery process.It could be that he is not ready for any commitment at this stage,hence his withdrawing at times.
You will need to help,guide and understand him if you are wanting this relationship to work.
He is only a human being after all so certain needs are there,he might be using you to fulfill those needs but really not ready for anything more.
You probably need to take a hard look at what you want and expect out of the relationship.
Try communicating with him about your concerns but do it in a loving and understanding way.
You can make it but it is going to mean a lot of hard work and possibly the help of an outside expert.

Reply to SG
Posted by: Harry | 2005/07/26

My opinion is that you made a mistake by falling in love with him. I know coz I can relate. You guys were just out of serious relationships & finding each other & finding comfort in each seem to have had the obvious reaction in that you got intimate with each other. He may have safe in doing so as you do mention that you guys had a kinda understanding.
This has however changed, but it doesn't seem to have changed on his part. Seem all he still really needs is a friend/confidante/lover. However, making love to you has the emotional baggage attachment which he is now wary of. He knows if you guys get initimate then you may expect more. More he knows he cannot give your right now, so this adds stressful situations to him, whereby he acts/behaves in an irrational manner. You guys just seem to be caught up in a rather emotional situation when it seem you both weren't really ready for it.
Take a step back & see for yourself. The worst thing I guy in his situation wants to deal with is emotional games & he seems to be doing this all too well, with a little help from you.
Don't get me wrong, I am in no way saying this is all your fault. It took two to get this started... maybe try being the friend he seems to want. Don't be the girlfriend you may want to be. Obviously though, you guys would have to set ground rules that you keep to hard & fast. Emotions sometimes have a sneaky way of creeping in. I feel you guys are just at different levels at the moment.
Let see what the other opinions are, maybe it'll give you a whole new outlook.
& take it easy on yourself...

Reply to Harry

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