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He knows what he wants but cannot decide

Guest_598
Community Member

Hi All,

my partner knows what makes him happy, i.e. the relationship we have and the dreams of a future with me that he has. However, his ex-wife is causing him to feel a lot of guilt and obligation which stops him in his tracks. He feels so bad about hurting people that he stays in a state of indecisiveness. He has gone to numerous counselling sessions with her now during which he told her that he does not love her anymore and that he would not date or marry the person she is these days. However, it makes him feel so harsh and bad, that he cannot get himself to tell her that the one-year separation will remain in tact for good. He will now go and spend two weeks with her and others over Christmas, just to get 100% clarity that the feelings are gone (he doesn't trust himself because he is so confused, but all signs show he has no love and trust left) and in the hope that she will realise that it would not be nice to be with someone who doesn't love her. I think he is hoping for her to say, ok, this isn't working anymore. However, I doubt that will happen because she holds on and forces him into more sessions and time together. I told him that I will have to make my final decision if he still cannot tell me that it is 100% over with her after Christmas. They have no warm interactions, no physical contact, nothing. They live in different states but it is almost like he feels guilty for leaving her abruptly a year ago and now has to give you any opportunity to talk etc. possible. He feels incredibly obligated after over 13 years of marriage but is incredibly happy whenever we are together. His best friend says it is like night and day when we are together vs. when he meets her for the counselling. So, I believe the love is definitely gone and will not return during those two weeks. But how can a man finally get himself to make the decision that he already knows is required? He already talks about selling their house, having to give her lots of money, getting lawyers etc. The only problem is, he does not tell her because he feels guilty, obligated and worried that it will hurt her. And that even though she hasn't been nice to him and she caused a lot of damage to their marriage due to her alcoholism.

He is seeing a psych but what could I possibly do to help him get this done? I have been waiting for us for a year. We are absolutely great together but I cannot constantly wait until he finally makes the inevitable decision. How can I support him make a call?

4 Replies 4

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi AG, welcome

"Make a call" Well I'm sorry to read of your dilemma. Remaining loayl and hopeful will have its negative effect as it wears you down, sadly, I hope it does work out for you though.

A story- Im 63yo, in my 20's I met a separated lady that had a 2yo son. She was 27, me 21yo. She had a terrible teenage time having a child adopted at 15yo then twins miscarried at 20 to etc and from a family of 11 kids. So she was under a psych and medicated. I wanted a family and commitment. I was in love and wanted us united. Throughout the next 5 years she left me no less than 400 times. Truly. Every 3rd day or so I'd come home to a letter. She'd stay at her mothers and tell me "sorry its over" then 2 days later return only to leave again and leave a similar note. She also couldnt divorce her husband as she had "made vows". Clearly there was a mental block there.

Then I made a decision. I'd give her 12 months to work herself out. 12 months to the day I asked her "will you get a divorce and marry me eventually." Same old answer "I'll think about it" I walked out the door. The hardest act of my life. If I didnt keep walking I would be bound to this treatment forever. 6 years wasted. a few months went by and we bumped into each other- we had coffee at a cafe. When she was to order her beverage she couldnt make up her mind. I brought back memories

Hence I'm a bit anti procrastination. I'm decisive and determined. My wife of 8 years now is the same and believe me, it makes life bliss if you are on the same page whether it be selling a house, buying a washing machine, saving etc

Guilt however is a terrible thing and I suffer for it also. I have selected a few threads that will help you and maybe him to move forward a little. Psychs are great and have their role, forums like this one is ideal between visits and to find some clarity from members. read the 1st post of these threads

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/guilt-the-tormentor-

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/anxiety/worry-worry-worry

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/who-cries-over-spilt-milk-

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/suicidal-thoughts-and-self-harm/my-own-worst...

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/relationship-split

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/guilt-anothers-glory

Repost anytime here or in those threadsTonyWK

Hello,
I am in the same position as your boyfriend.
It is sheer purgatory. I had a decent marriage (tho unfulfilling) and left 4 months ago. I have two kids.
I have a beautiful boyfriend and am so happy and feel deeply understood with him.

Calling time on my marriage is something I keep putting off. I am not usually like this - I am decisive and action focused. However, this is hell.

I feel for your boyfriend. Be patient, but definitely give him a timeline.
Best of luck to you sweetie.

Hi Dimitra,

thank you so much and I feel for you, too. I wish you lots of strength and happiness. I can only imagine how tough it must be for you, especially seeing it with my partner. He is the sweetest, most wonderful person and I think that makes him extra susceptible to carry all the responsibility and guilt although all he did was make sure his life is not wasted with something that is unfortunately broken. I think you have done the right thing, especially if you are happier with your new life. I separated from my husband over a year ago and got divorced this year. I am so glad every day. It was not a real life anymore and everyone's life matters 100%. So, if it helps at all, you have all right in the world to do what is good for you. Everyone has that right and it is the best you can do because otherwise you are only a sad, empty shell of a human being. And who would really be happy with that?

I wish you the very best for a fulfilled future!! And I hope my partner will get there, too. I have given him a timeline but I also try my best to support him. It is daily pain and happiness, so close together. But I cannot give up yet because I know we both want to be together. He just feels incredibly obligated to give his ex every chance to talk through the failures. I hope he will soon realise that he does not need to do that anymore because even if he talks with her forever, his feelings and their connection are gone. Here's hoping but it's really tough and I am losing hope... 😞

I put myself in my boyfriend's place and I know how hard it is for him to be patient. So I feel for you too.

I see my (ex) husband almost every day and it is very difficult. He is a good guy - kind hard working decent.Plus the money...oh the money... But I married him bc he was like the father I never had. There was no passion or relatability. My girls do suffer not having me there and the guilt of all this keeps me frozen.

Ive decided to see a counsellor to help me move forward. I have zero family or friend support as they all believe I have been "selfish" to pursue a love relationship instead of just "going through the motions" like everyone else does (according to my brother).

The truth is I love being with my boyfriend. We are both musicians and we come from the same kind of emotionally neglected parenting. Still, making all the changes and adjustments in order to be with him...well sometimes Im just not sure I have the fortitude for it.

In any event, I do hope your bf is gutsier than me.

Sending love.