No longer know what to do, think and feel - Please help
I have been in a relationship or something like it for over a year. The man I am with separated from his wife in 2018 but they parted in anger. That played on his mind for a long time and he could not move on. Half way through 2019, he realised that he has to face his demons after trying to push all the pain and grief away for too long, not accepting any of the pain. We went on and off because of that - him telling me he wants me in his life but also ending our relationship because he knew he had unfinished business. I was heartbroken because I love him dearly but accepted that it had to be over despite my wishes for a future with him. After I went away for a while (no contact with him), I came back and he pulled me in again. We have always had a very close, intimate and very beautiful link to each other, so we both feel very drawn to each other. So after he started things again, the issues with his ex-wife were still not dealt with. He did not want to be with her (no love, not connection and she had moved away). However, he also still couldn't let go and didn't know why (it was likely guilt and the feeling of failure). So he said he had to face her to finally get closure. That didn't work well because she simply resigned from her job, booked a flight and moved back into their home (where he lives). She arranged for counselling and while she thought they would do it to save the marriage, he resented her and chose to use counselling to try and make her understand that this marriage was really over. But until then, he ended things with me again knowing he needed to finalise things with her. Or actually I ended it somewhat when he told me that he agreed to her coming back. In the end, 1.5 months ago, he finally ended it completely. He struggled with that a lot because he did not want to be the bad guy - he seems to have real issues with feeling like he is hurting someone. She (an addict) also made him responsible for everything although she largely contributed to the failed marriage. She finally packed up her part of the house and moved interstate for good. But since then, although he says he made the right decision, he is in a real depression phase and I am worried about him. He now told me today that he currently feels anxiety at the thought of us going on two trips together that we had planned and booked when he was still excited (before she left). I believe grief has finally hit him and so now we have to cancel the trips.
As hard as I’m sure it is to accept, this guy just does not seem ready for the living, fulfilling, and committed relationship that you want. You both seem to be in completely different places now and it seems that no amount of trying or willing it to be is really changing that fact. Unfortunately, people need to work through their grief and how long that can take is dependent on the individual but he doesn’t seem speedy in that regard. I’m sorry as I know how hard that can be, and I think deep down you are coming to that realisation as well. It can be especially hard when you get on so well and have that bond but I think two cancelled trips is pretty telling.
thank you very much for your response. I generally agree with you, I know he is not ready for a full relationship right now. But I also know that he is working on getting better with the goal to build himself up so we can have a flourishing relationship in the future. So my confusion and uncertainty is around whether I should wait for that while occasionally seeing him and taking things slowly or if I should call it all off. I am not sure whether I will actually be able to live like this unless I could see improvements along the way. But if I call it all off now, I feel a lot of work and energy put into us would be wasted, especially now that he has finally cut the last ties to her. Obviously he still has to work through that emotionally but would I potentially throw away an opportunity just because I am impatient? Or should he be in a much better spot right now considering the actual separation was over a year ago and he has just very successfully avoided dealing with his grief? I am confused about if he is very selfish or if he needs to be this self-centred right now. I woke up pretty unhappy today and I do not know how to shake that. The thought of not having him in my life hurts, but the thought of living a casual relationship with him for an undefined time is equally heartbreaking. I really don't know what to do. And the fact that he is working to get his issues cleared up always keeps me thinking that I should be more patient in the short term to gain something in the long term. Am I just lying to myself or is it possible that he will get better and better from here until, some day in the not so far future, he will be ready for us? What could possibly help my decision-making process so I get rid of some of this confusion and am able to clearly decide for one thing - either stay or go?
I really feel for you, that feeling of “I have invested so much time, if he’s nearly there I would have hate to have left too soon” but I also think that you have given him quite a lot of time. I have been in a similar situation and was strung along by someone who promised me he was getting there, etc but I eventually decided that the only thing worse than being in that situation for 2 years (or whatever the time may be) was being in it for 2 years 1 day. Some people come into your life and are there for you from day 1, I decided that was someone that I deserved, one mans “not sure” is another mans “I knew the second I saw her” and that’s what I realised I wanted when I started listening to what I actually wanted. That was my situation, and you are obviously entitled to follow your heart, but if maybe set an internal time limit on it to re-evaluate and see whether things have changed in 6 months or so. Just a suggestion. A lot of people out there are time wasters and it’s so selfish because time is not something you can get back.