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Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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I have met a man very within weeks of him separating from

Resolved Question:

I have met a man very within weeks of him separating from his wife of 15 years - despite him being emotionally detached from the relationship and it deteriorating long before they finally 'separated' . We both have two children around the same age from previous relationships and are now 7 months down the track with our own relationship and despite both being madly in love with each other like we have both never experienced - he recently began talking about moving in together and marriage etc only to then get cold feet when it came to the crunch. We have tried to break it off but only last a couple of days at best without missing each other and really stressing without each other - but I just want to know what I can do to give him the clarity/space without the turmoil that he needs to move on without guilt... ? and me not being hurt emotionally in the mean time :(
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Arundhati replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your question.

I have a couple of follow up questions to help me understand your post better.

1) Have you made up your mind about breaking up with him? As in there's no going back into a relationship with him?

2) Is your question more about what you can do to help him break up and also to help yourself deal with the pain?

I'll wait for your reply before I offer my thoughts.

Kind Regards,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hello Arunhati,

I definitely don't want to break up with this man - either one of us want to be apart - the issue is that due to such a short amount of time between him separating and us meeting he is now struggling with the guilt of his separation and how soon he met me and developed such strong feelings - for both of us it is just overwhelming even 7 months down the track.
He wants to move forward with things as much as I do but feels he hasn't worked through his separation properly and that he has guilt about the end of his marriage etc...

I feel that it is almost like he is pushing me away with one hand while he needs to to balance the adjustment of being a single dad with his children (the relationship is shared and both parents are extremely active) and he feels that due to meeting me so quickly that hurt his ex wife and that now he now needs to redeem a friendship and maintain that friendship for them and their children - all at the same time wanting to move forward with a relationship with me all at the same time...

I know from a theoretical point of view that the best thing to do is give time and space and let him work out where hes at and what he wants without my influence or being there but we have tried to brake but he lasts about two days and is phoning or emailing me about how much he hates being away from me and that his feelings are overwhelming and cant stand the thought of not being with me etc ....and to be honest i feel exactly the same way its almost corrosive and when we are together we have such a great friendship and connection its amazing and gets stronger every day.

My main confusion is my feelings and having to work out a balance to allow him to work through while still having a relationship - we have certainly scaled things back to just weekends and maybe a dinner or so during the week - from almost everyday - but we still talk every day - i just need strategies or advice to help me deal with him dealing ,,,,does that make sense??
Expert:  Arundhati replied 6 years ago.
Hi there,

Thank you for the additional information it certainly helped.

I think your struggles are being made harder by his inability to keep his word and stay away. It sounds like he's in a lot of internal conflict. The thing is, he needs to be clear about what he wants too. It is somewhat unfair to expect you to step back and wait for him to make up his mind even though you've been together 7 months now.

I think that fact that he has already separated, that relationship should not be his priority. I understand that he and his ex-wife actively parent the children, but nonetheless that should not come in the way of his dating life. In other words, his ex-wife surely has to accept that at some point he will move on and be in a relationship with another woman.

Nonetheless, if he needs time to think, you can suggest that the two of you completely minimize contact till he can make a conclusive decision about what he wants. I suggest this because often one person will raise such doubts and the relationship will continue indefinitely without commitments, and with the other person awaiting a response. If that happens, it would not be fair to you. And if he is allowed to walk the middle path it could indefinitely stay that way. So I'd encourage you to draw firmer boundaries with him so that he can come back to you with a conclusive plan and answer of how to proceed going forward.

What do you think?

Kind Regards,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The firmer boundaries definitely sound like the right thing to do - and although that has been said in the past- we both end up missing each other like crazy after a day or so and its almost spiraling into unhealthy...... If i define the line - how do i not answer his calls or respond to his emails etc if he tries to contact me when this happens without upsetting him more...? Is there a time limit on this and your absolutely right about a definitive plan...!
Expert:  Arundhati replied 6 years ago.
Hi there,

I think your challenge is to stay supportive but firm. You can say something like "I really feel a very strong connection with you and that is why I don't want to be this to be half-hearted. It also keeps me in a perpetual state of uncertainty and in the long run it's not helpful to either of us. That is why I think it's best that you take as long as you want but come up with a definitive decision. Till then I think it is in both of our best interests for you to not communicate with me."

After you say that, if he still does call, you can gently remind him of the same thing, and keep yourself from falling back into the same pattern. Once he realizes that you are unwilling to go on with this somewhat unfair arrangement (unfair to you because he is technically enjoying a relationship without making any concrete commitments) he should have enough push to arrive at a decision.

A time line is also good. An internal time line for yourself - beyond which you will not wait, if he's still not sure, will ensure that you're not caught up in this situation indefinitely.

I hope that was helpful. Please let me know if you have questions/thoughts. Also, I'd really appreciate it if you click "Accept" as experts are not credited for their time or service otherwise.

Kind Regards,

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