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Partner is afraid to push me away

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my partner and I got together in January after forming a very close mental and emotional connection from October 2018 onwards. He was just about to separate from his alcoholic wife at the time (nothing happened between us before that) and even though he is happy with the decision, he still needs to go through a lot of emotional processing, including separating property, finances etc. In the coming weeks, he will sell his place so that he can give money to his ex-wife and complete the full separation. He is worried about money, her constant texting and mood swings and his own psychological stress. When we are together, we are absolutely great together. We are both very happy and caring people, so we have our little haven away from the outside factors. But the upcoming sale and everything he has to manage sit heavy on his chest and he is scared that he may be emotionally overwhelmed. He does not want to push me away if that happens because he sees a future for us - as do I. We have created strategies, e.g. him taking some days for himself, so he can process everything and have the space to do that. I am very happy for him to do that, because I want us to work out and I would like to support him, even if that means that he cannot fully dedicate himself to me right now. I separated from my husband last year, so I understand what he is going through and how much emotional turmoil that can bring.

I guess, the only question I have is whether it is a real risk that his final separation activities and the emotions that come with them may lead to him changing his mind about me. Is that likely? I have zero indication that I am only an escape or that he is not truly happy with me. We have not spoken about love because it would be too early and, at the moment, he cannot go there as long as his old life has not concluded yet. But the signs I get from him indicate to me that there is some sort of love growing slowly. I have known him for years, so I know he is not a player and very considerate. I actually believe he is purely preparing for the worst case so that he can manage it appropriately but I have a feeling that it is unlikely his feelings would change. Do you think it is possible that he suddenly turns around and says he feels nothing? Or is it more of a coping mechanism to make sure he does not push me away because he says he does not want to do that by accident because he cannot deal with his emotions. A little advice would be very much appreciated.

4 Replies 4

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello AussieGal

Thanks for your story. I suspect it is a fairly common situation when one partner is in the throes of separation and the other worries about the potential outcome.

Your new friend had already decided to separate I gather before the two of you got together. His feelings for you did not spark the separation so it seems he genuinely cares about you. Will he walk away when his divorce etc is finalised? I think no one can give you a definite yes or no but it does seem unlikely.

One of the facets is his divorce. If that becomes extremely stressful he may decide he wants nothing to do with any relationship. However it sounds as though you are giving him space to process all emotions and effort going into his divorce and as you have gone through something similar (everyone is different) you can appreciate the turmoil he experiences at time.

I can understand why he worries he may change his mind however inadvertently, but you are not putting pressure on him to be with you all the time or any other reason to feel more stressed. I wonder if he feels a little guilty about being with you while separating from his wife. As I said he had clearly made his decision before you got together so you are unlikely to be the reason for his separation.

We humans are very good at giving reasons for doing or not doing certain things which is often the result of tiredness, poor appetite or other contributing events. In any case worrying will not make the situation change. Do what you are doing so well from the sound of it, give him space and don't be demanding. Assure him you care and want you both to be together in the near future. Remain calm, well as much as you can, so he does not feel he cops flack from his wife, directly or indirectly, then comes back to you for more of the same. Doesn't sound like it so please try not to worry.

I think you have adopted a good way for you both to manage successfully and I hope it all turns out well.


Hello again,

thank you very much for your thoughts and advice to date.

The story continues and a few setbacks have hit my partner in relation to getting property sold and sorted with his ex-wife so he can finally move on. He says, all he wants is for everything to be over so he can finally recuperate. He is feeling pretty low and out of energy, I am actually really worried about him. He has had a lot of stress - in life, at work, everything seems to be on his shoulders. I try to help him as much as I can but I think sometimes he feels like he has to get through this alone so he can fully finalise the grieving process.

So I am at a loss. I try to make sure I am here if he needs me but am very conscious to give him space and not load any of my insecurities onto him. Sometimes, unfortunately, things become a bit too much for me and on Friday, it broke out of me because I have been exceptionally stressed at work. He has been nothing but wonderful but I felt terrible for adding to his concerns while it should be about him right now. I do not want to be selfish but I am struggling with understanding what could be the best for him and us and also what I need to do for myself so I do not fall over. I am a very strong person but between my worries for him, my workload and an upcoming divorce from an aggressive ex-husband, I am feeling the impact. My main question is, what can I do to make sure I offer support but not too much so he resents the offer?

I feel that he is very appreciative but everything in life is becoming too much for him. I am worried that he is withdrawing and my only hope is that the withdrawal is temporary because he needs to focus on his big tasks and problems. So I am letting him be even though it hurts. I know he cares a lot for me and I do for him but I am getting scared that things are becoming so overwhelming that he will cut everyone off. That said, he appears to see me as a little bit of a beacon and he really wants to see me - however, that is becoming rarer as he tries to deal with everything. I completely understand but it does not make me feel good. And then I feel selfish for thinking that. I know what it is like to go through a difficult separation but I also feel fears and heartache when I see him withdraw. Without external influences, we are amazing but I am scared that the influences will seep into our connection because they are so strong. What do I best do? How do I best support him through this without doing too much?

Hi ,

Yasee , what you feel is helping is actually pressure on him right now, that's the problem l think. A new relationship is huge pressure when one is needing to know and feel his feelings. lt's huge, l've been there and through all that. Even if you say nothing he still knows it's all on your mind and your needing to know.

So that for sure by the sounds is one of the very big things in this , because he isn't even ready and it's not only the emotional side of everything from his old life and ex he's still dealing with , plus all this huge physical stuff property and things, he hasn't even grieved it yet or come to terms and found himself again. So to have this pressure and you probably won't even realize it is or do everything you can to make it not pressure and just be trying to be there for him and help, but it really is though . A man feels this stuff from women no matter how patient she is. l'm going through that right now myself too.

And tbh , l think that is the main sort of thing in all this for him right now, he's just not ready for it it's too much on top of the other stuff. Sadly , l'm not sure what the answer is , he really needs to be alone just for now by the sound of it l'd say but probably doesn't wanna throw this thing with you away or risk losing it. lt's not to say he doesn't love you or what you have or all of your support , but l think it's all just too much right now is all.

Sorry l don't really have an answer or suggestion, give him some space , well maybe, but he could need months, or he might not even want it , but he does need it l'd say, butl'm not sure. l went through it all back when , totally alone myself. sorted it all, house, everything, totally alone. l was alone 3 1/3 yrs after ex w and l broke up because for myself l just knew l could not handle anything else and l needed time.

Sorry , l guess it's maybe just a bit of insight more than anything for you.


Ok, so here are the latest news in this saga. My partner and I are still really great together. We have a wonderful and very caring bond. But he is struggling a lot under all the pressures that have mounted. He could not sell his house and hence cannot pay out his ex-wife. That has caused him a lot of angst, especially as he is the only one paying the home loan, and in addition, his rent for his new place. His wife has moved interstate and wants money to buy her own unit but the house cannot sell because the market does not offer enough at the moment. All this has caused my partner to really deteriorate mentally and I think he has reached depression in the grieving cycle. I am trying my best to support him but the lack of control and ability to really help are extremely hard to cope with. He has now decided to move back into his house, which will be tough but maybe also relieve some of the pressure (no second cost / no constant travel between both to look after the house). But as long as the house is off the market and unsold, he cannot tell anyone about us because his wife would make his life hell and come for every cent. Which means, I am in a completely vulnerable position. I have very strong feelings for him but how far do I compromise myself? We said we would go public after six months, which would be now. But now everything looks worse than at the beginning. How do I manage this? I do not want to lose him but I do not think I can cope with another six months of secrecy before he tries to put the house on the market again. And although I completely understand he needs to do these things his way and go through it as is best for him, I feel hurt because he did not consider me in any of this. He says he is struggling so much that he cannot deals with the smallest issues anymore. And I can see that, he is not his usual self. I want the best for him but how far do I go? I know none of this is malicious and he cares about my happiness, nonetheless he probably needs to be selfish right now. He needs to look after himself to be better. But then how do I look after myself in the process, especially if I do not want to give us up because I know we have absolutely wonderful potential?