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CounselorJules, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 573
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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I have a question. My 15 year marriage to my ex husband

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Hi I have a question. My 15 year marriage to my ex husband ended nearly 4 years ago. We have 4 children aged between 11-17. The relationship between myself and my ex is not good at all, I am taking him to trial over a family law matter ( financial settlement) and our trial is scheduled for 4 wks time. I live in a small country town and he lives not far from here with his partner of about 2 years. The marriage ended because of a confirmed one of a number of infedilities. I was also all used up from the emotional abuse and neglect, and towards the end there was a lot of bullying and being shoved around.
I met a nice bloke about a year ago, a few sparks flew and I summoned up the courage to get his mobile number and make contact. Unfortunately he was offered a good job practically that day and left for the over side of the country. We maintained some contact and when he returned once to the town where I live, he made the effort to make contact and see each other at a friends house. There was a bit more contact ( texting and a few phonecalls) then it just petered out. I felt ridiculous, like I had gotten carried away and read something into absolutely nothing. I felt he had messed with my head a bit. My self esteem
Sort of shattered again.
A few months ago, a lovely local man caught my eye, he has been here for years and being in a small country town, you know who everyone is. We ran into each other twice in 2 days all of a sudden and the sparks flew. He is a few years older than me, divorced and has 2 sons. We started keeping in contact a bit via texting, he iniated that we " catch up for a drink " on the first time that I ran into him. For a few weeks, things were a little crazy... We were texting a lot and he asked me over one night for dinner when he had a few of his friends there. Then I know ( he has always been very honest) that things started to fall down a bit around him, he suffers with depression and anxiety, his business is struggling and the relationship with his two sons has been strained. His ex wife is also in town.
We have slept together a few times and it's been wonderful, we have a beautiful connection. I feel like he has pulled back though, it was so full on in the start and now I'm so unsure. I feel like I've messed things up, maybe I have come on too strong? We still keep our communication going ... Sometimes it's me that texts and asks how his day was, or vice versa. I feel like he needs some space and the time to get through what he's going through, then come to me when he's ready. How long do you wait though? The problem is, he's not just a random fancy, I really have feelings for him and I feel like I've stuffed it completely. He is actually a very old fashioned masculine man, I trust him completely.
My marriage to my ex was awful, I don't want to make the same mistake again and be taken for granted. I don't know whether to sit back and go easy a bit, or what to do. My problem is I love very passionately, and I know women and men have different timelines for these things. We have been in contact since mid February.
Should I make things hard for him and ignore his text messages until he asks me out properly, or maintain that friendship and contact and see what happens ? I wouldn't worry if I didn't have feelings for him, but I do. I'm not interested in dating lots of men, a few other men have expressed an interest in me in the last few months also, but I'm just not interested. Once I make my mind up, that's pretty well it for me.
Any advice would be appreciated. I have been doing quite a bit of reading up on relationships to help me work through some of my hang ups about my own marriage failure, most of the time I listen to my heart and have faith that things will work out ok, other times I'm so scared of not having this wonderful man in my life, I just don't know what to do. I'm worried that I've messed up the vibe between us. I've never been out with many men before and consider myself not that successful with the opposite sex.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 6 months ago.
Good morning I am happy to help you! It sounds like you are thinking of starting over. I understand how exciting, but yet scary that can be! If you don't mind, I would like to take a few minutes to respond. You have put a great deal of detail into your question and my goal is to provide you with excellent service, so I would like to provide you a thorough answer. Please bare with me and I will be back shortly!
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 6 months ago.
A few different things that I wanted to address are the possibility of starting over.....what that may be like for you....One, I think that you do want to speak to him and continue communication. You guys have had wonderful intimate moments and it sounds like right now you may be guarding yourself because you are recognizing that you are vulnerable. I would encourage you to think less about the past and more about your future. He has been through a divorce too. I bet you guys have a great deal of empathy for one another actually.....I would not ignore his texts and I think you have to move from the honest emotion that you feel..... which is that you like him!!I want to share is something that I use in my clinic and groups. It is about the Law of Attraction.I am a big fan of Jack Canfield, he has the books "Chicken Soup for The Soul." He talks about the "Law of Attraction" and using a simple equation to help us realize our goals and focus on achieving the things that we want. It is E+R=O. Events +Response= outcome. In life, we cannot always control the events that occur, but we can focus on what we want long term (outcome). So first, decide what it is that you want. Write it down and be very specific about the relationship, career, personal goals, etc that you have. Then think of every possible event that can affect your achievement of this. Then take the time to create potential responses to these. It creates a safety plan or at least some sort of tool that you have in your "toolbox" to help you continue to achieve that preferred outcome. It may sound silly. But I think it is always a good idea to feel prepared-- it tends to ease some anxiety too. It also keeps you "congruent" or from reacting or overreacting when something comes up. I am an optimist and tend to believe that I can use positive self-talk to affirm who I am regardless of what or how others may say or treat me. That is where Louise Hay comes in. She teaches affirmations and talks about recognizing our worth to help us get through the pain. I make lists of affirmations and read through them every day- especially at the beginning of the day or before bed. It is a great way to start and end. It is somewhat like the serenity prayer for me. I think of the blessings I received through that hurt and how I am going to focus on being a better woman tomorrow. I have quotes all over my clinical office to inspire me, and others. Some of them say things like "courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day that says I will try again tomorrow." I have had to learn to be patient with myself also. And accept that there are times when I am weak and hurt. God gave us a spectrum of emotions-- those emotions, even the painful ones, really are a gift. You have to remember that you are created for a purpose and you are the child of a king-- But, what I mean by that is your worth is far greater than the acceptance of another person.You sound like such an insightful and compassionate person-- That is great. But there is nothing wrong with using a bit of self-talk and self-love to reaffirm that. It's not self-indulgent- in fact it is appreciative for the blessings you have been granted. Try being patient with yourself but also telling yourself things such as "I am totally adequate for all situations." "I choose to feel good about myself. I am worthy of my own love." "I can stand on my own two feet. I accept and use my own power." "I take a deep breath and allow myself to relax. My entire body calms down." Some affirmations about relationships may be "I release the need for love, and instead, allow it to find me in the perfect time-space sequence." or "My heart is open and I speak with loving words." Even something like "I am comfortable looking in the mirror, recognizing who I am, and saying "I love you" to myself." For pain or forgiveness try "I am ready to be healed. I am willing to forgive. All is well." Or "I move beyond forgiveness or understanding. I have compassion for all." "Each day is a new opportunity. Yesterday is over and done. Today is the first day of my future." Even "the past has is over, so it has no power now. The thoughts of this moment create my future." A couple of books to try are "I can do it" by Louise Hay and "Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting" by Lynn GrabhornThe Lynn Grabhorn book is possibly one of my favorites! it is humorous, but also really encourages you to look at what emotion is driving you-- fear or love! I found some more exercises for you to try in order to rebuild your esteem, because it sounds like confidence sometimes goes to the wayside when we are dealing with these things. The inner thoughts can be crushing and paralyzing..... I know the pain of a separation and divorce.... I went through one myself and I know it wasn't easy.....It also may be good for you to make a list of those who support you; find exceptions to these dark thoughts; list the reasons why you are a loving and compassionate person with so much to offer.I found some more exercises for you to try in order to rebuild your esteem. I know the pain of a separation and divorce.... I went through one myself and I know it wasn't easy.....The first one that I will describe more elaborately is "mirror work." The first one that I will describe more elaborately is "mirror work."It is simple and powerful. It involves looking in the mirror and saying your affirmations. Mirrors reflect our feelings back to us. Make eye contact with yourself. Let you soul speak..... Look yourself in the eye and say something positive. Tell yourself that you love and appreciate yourself anyway. You are a gift.Acknowledge yourself and who you are. Don't resolve to feeling that you wont have a blessed life-- instead say, I have a blessed life. My life is a blessing. You can change your thoughts.....1. Be intentional. Make a deliberate, conscious decision about how you want to create your day. Write it down. This can be a simple thing. It can even be something that you want to resist during the day-- anything that brings you down.... and focus on doing "one thing" that is uplifting to you.2. Be authentic or congruent. Live your life doing what feels right to you, even if others around you are not always supportive. I know that you are hurt by criticism, especially form your husband or daughters..... I encourage you make the decisions that feel best for you. You are responsible for your own happiness. Y3. Read uplifting books. Listen to uplifting tapes and CDs and attend uplifting workshops. I listen to Jack Canfield, Louise Hay, Tony Robbins, Earl Nightingale, or Abraham Hicks. I listen to them on Spotify.4. Take inventory of your own thoughts. Be aware of what is motivating you-- fear or love. If you find yourself being stuck by negatives, redirect your focus to what you are wanting. This may take a bit of practice. You are in the process of gaining awareness-- just like in your mirror work.5. Supply your body with the essential.s Sometimes when we are depressed we begin to eat foods that fulfill an emotional need but in supplying it with good nutrients, you will naturally feel better and have more energy.6. Avoid comparing and contrasting.... You are you. You are the only one who can be you. Your perspectives, gifts and value are exclusively yours. You are a unique expression of the divine. If you want something to measure yourself by, compare how you were yesterday to how you are today, and be kind. Like I had mentioned earlier about the serenity prayer-- or recognizing that each day is a opportunity and each day is an opportunity to try again.7. Celebrate the small victories! When you celebrate, you are expressing gratitude. Again, practice those affirmations and express the gratitude you have experienced, even in what initially appears to feel something was a road block-- remember that it isn't- its just a road block and you have to slow down.8. Try something new. Try a cooking class, an exercise class, try a knitting class, try anything that may have ever interested you! Even a new language. Get curious and learn all there is to learn about what interests you. Learning is growing, and it feels good.9. Do something nice for yourself. Maybe a massage, a pedicure, a manicure, buy a new book, go to a restaurant, "date yourself." Treat yourself well and demonstrate appreciation for who you really are.10. Volunteer. Being of service, without expectation of reward, feels really good. You are a giver. Find a group that you are passionate about and provide a service. Make it a surprise-- also helping others is a great way of putting our own issues into context....11. Get moving. Clean out a closet. Get out of the house. Go for a walk. Do some gardening. Walk the dog, visit a neighbor and ask them to participate :) Let me know if these are things that can be possible for you!
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 6 months ago.
It has been a few days, but I wanted to check back in with you and see how things were going for you. I am hopeful that my answer provided some clarity or suggestions, but I want to provide excellent service. Please let me know how else I can support you. Thank you!Jules

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