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Boundaries, Needs and Never a Priority

Community Member

Dear All,

I have been with my partner for three years. We had several on and off episodes because he was not able to move on from leaving his marriage with a manipulative, alcoholic wife. I have been riddled with anxiety throughout most of our three years because of the constant emotional turmoil on his end which caused turmoil for me. I never felt like I had a real chance to get into his heart. And although he sometimes said that there is love, he never says I love you. I struggle with that but have understood that he still needs to grieve. He only just finalised his legal separation. He also just sold the house, most property went to her. At the moment, since he has lost everything, he has a tough time and has taken the current lockdown to grieve. It's working and he says its productive, we don't have contact during that time. However, what triggered the grief work was that three weeks ago, I found two emails from Jan/May in which he wrote to his ex-wife telling her that he thinks of her a lot and in January he asked if, should he be in her state for work, could they meet. I believe him that he does not love her, that has been very apparent over the years. But he has a really unhealthy connection that he cannot let go - almost like a safety net because that is the only attachment type he knows (she neglected and didn't treat him well and that's what his parents did). I was heartbroken and felt very betrayed. I have given him so much. I have now done more work on myself, especially boundary setting and articulating my needs. I told him that, as often requested, I need him to tell his ex he is in a new relationship. He told me that he dreads telling her because he doesn't want to hurt her again after already leaving her. Like Stockholm syndrome. I told him it's very disrespectful to both of us to lie about me. He doesn't like the idea and I'm disappointed that he can't even do that for us. My question is, rather than me being adamant on my suggested option, is there a compromise that is good for both of us? I love him and we both want to be together but I am sick of giving in and feeling like an option rather than a choice. I worry a lot about having to give myself up. That's not healthy for me. How can we create equality? He says he wants to let the connection fade out, I can't trust him that he will not actively seek connection again. How do we compromise in this situation where my trust has been eroded and needs proof that I can trust him?

1 Reply 1

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

From what you've posted I can see that although you love him, he isn't, from your viewpoint, fully committed as he has made contact with his ex a few months back.

The turmoil between you both has been from his past relationship, property matters and other things.

I'm sorry but when you add his concealment of his relationship with you and his emails to her that isn't a good look and it certainly not an indicator of full commitment portraying a happy partner. If happy, wouldn't he mention you with pride?

As far as how his parents treated him, yes there could be segments as to the effect on him, but imo you can get caught up in these deep psychological issues and leave the obvious and direct to be seen as less important. I leave psychological topics to psychologists.

Your main question surrounds trust in that you are not convinced he won't seek connections with his ex. Yet you say you love him. He doesn't ever say "I live you" which, frankly, is a common thing to say in a relationship.

I don't think you'll get the "equality" of which you seek. All relationships have a crossover section of compatibility e.g. close to the same values and treatment of others. Among those is consideration, commitment, trust and lesser one's like age difference, career and if you both like children. The more things you have in common the greater chance of success and stability. In your case, unfortunately, some basic inner circle qualities are not there.

Due to the above I would certainly reach out to a relationships counselor. If he doesn't want to attend then attend alone because the missing commitment and lack of trust won't mend itself.

I hope I've helped at least to clarify some of the standards we enjoy in a strong relationship.

Repost anytime