Am I being supporting or sacrificial? Taking things back a step
March 30, 2015 10:29 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend (just turned 30, and I'm 24) of nearly 7 months is very recently divorced (it was finalized 4 months ago and they have been separated for 9). He's the most open and communicative person I've ever met and keeps me as much in the loop as I need to be about where he's at and how he's feeling regarding his loss (but also keeps some details to himself that I probably don't really need to know about.) Our relationship started out very mutual and enthusiastic, and mostly still is but he's taking a few steps back to analyze himself and it's triggering my relationship anxiety. I don't know whether to trust my gut or quiet the fear.

He's past reconciliation and wants to move on from his divorce and I've never been worried about that. We started out spending a lot of time together, possibly even too much at first, but he says that is how he is with all new relationships– he throws himself right in and wants to spend much of his time with his SO, and in my limited dating experience that seems to be my pattern too. He's a serial monogamist and as had many longer-term relationships before his last one (7 years together, the last 2 married.) His ex-wife is the one that wanted out and didn't want to try counseling or working through her issues so I imagine that alone was huge for him.

When we started seeing each other/hanging out, we genuinely enjoyed each other and wanted to spend all of our time together and it felt very natural. Both of us were healing from a recently failed relationship– obviously his was intense and more extreme, but mine also impacted me deeply and brought out abandonment anxiety that I didn't know I had and which resurfaced once I started realized I wanted a relationship and not just a cuddle-buddy/friendship with him. After some reading and introspection I discovered that I could also describe myself as having codependent tendencies and an anxious attachment style, while he was very clearly secure in his attachment, but healing from the loss and working through his issues. I once tried and plan to again try to start going to counseling to work through some of my own issues because they do not line up with where I thought I was and how much I thought I valued being independent (apparently I'm not.) He has been seeing a counselor as well for a while since before and after the divorce and is very supportive of me going too.

Anyhow, he's told me since the beginning that he can't be 100% and for the most part I was just along for the ride and had no expectations and didn't truly believe him simply because he gave me no reason to worry– as far as I could tell he was giving me 99% as he's been very caring, compassionate, and in-touch with his feelings and I feel so fortunate to have found someone, I thought, to help me heal in a supportive relationship. However we've had several deeper talks over the months where he's revealed more and more that he is not 100% and took a few shorts steps back to give himself more days to meditate, read, and do things alone or spend time with friends that he's since neglected, without me there.

Previously we were spending a lot of our free time together and when it became more established, we would spend about 5 but usually 6 days a week together. I've become familiar with his whole family and he wanted me to come to his youngest sister's wedding pretty early in the relationship, even though his relatives might question his new girlfriend before the divorce was finalized. We had one big conversation after 3-4 months where he said he needed more time to himself to process his feelings about the divorce since he said he enjoyed his time with me so much but when he was with me he was not addressing his grief or processing his emotions about the loss of his marriage and future, so then it was down to two days during the week to himself while we still did things together for most of the weekend, frequently going out of town camping and to running events together, or just spending a rainy day cuddling in front of a movie.

Now we've had a more recent discussion the week following more than a week-long vacation where we were together 24/7 with his two siblings and their spouses abroad and had a fantastic stress-free time and I felt like we got so much closer and bonded on another level. He mentioned getting comfortable with spending so much time with me afterwards but realized he was not where he's at to go forward in our relationship until he's had more time to work on himself. He wants marriage again and a family in the future and is very future goal-focused and worried about taking the right steps to get "where he needs to be" and I know he wants to be really cautious this time around.

So now it's gone down again and we might only see each other once or twice during the week since I said I really wanted (most) weekends together. We still keep in touch throughout the day and he always calls when he can in the morning or at lunch and again in the evening to catch up and be thoughtful. He also just adopted a puppy (he's been wanting a dog since he let his ex take the dog that was really more his) and is getting busier with his work which I'm happy for him since it means his business is successful and I do a lot to support him with it, but it seems like he doesn't seek me out anymore for the occasional breakfast or lunch on days we can't see each other in the evenings just for the sake of seeing me, and I'm afraid he's going to keep on wanting to spend less and less time with me. He assures me he doesn't feel any less for me, but I feel otherwise.

I even started worrying about why he didn't want me to see the puppy on the first night he brought her home (I insisted on coming when he was looking for a dog a few days prior and even found her at the shelter first) but he said he wants to make sure she is established as his dog (not mine, not ours, which I never considered it that way) since he's always had experience of losing a dog he felt close to in his past relationships once they ended. I see where he's coming from but I've never experienced this withdrawal from him before.

I recognize a lot of my fears are irrational and I've talked to him about these feelings often and initially his reaction is to get defensive and irritated until I explain to him that these reactions are only increasing my anxiety until we come to an understanding and I can calm down and respect his boundaries again. I'm obviously not handling this very well when all he needs is to either be alone or have someone who will respect his wishes for space more without freaking out, but I really want to address my own issues both for my own self healing and for our relationship to grow again, since it seems once we took a step forward we're now taking a big one back and it feels like it came out of nowhere, but he's told me it's been building up.

I also don't have any close friends still, but a lot of sorta-close friends and this has been a lifelong issue for me growing up and moving so frequently. Now it is even harder for me to find a best friend after college and I realize my lack of close socialization with other girls and out of the relationship is also impacting me more than him. I'm working on it but it is also tough.

I have no reason not to trust him and he says and shows he still cares about me, but my fear is telling me that this is just going to keep happening until he realizes he really can't do this and heal at the same time like his counselor suggested or he realizes my insecurity is toxic for his healing and he leaves me (my abandonment fear.) In my mind, if he doesn't want to spend as much time with me as I him then something is wrong, but at the same time my anxiety is making me crave affection and reassurance more than normal because of my insecurities, so it's hard to know if I should listen to my gut or silence the voices.

To clarify what I'm asking:
• Am I being stupid for waiting around for him to move on?
• Am I being extremely clingy and insecure or is there some truth to the worries (probably a combination of both?)
• Is he really capable of dealing with what he's going through and still seeing me or is this just a lie we tell ourselves?

I personally feel that he is worth waiting for but maybe I'm just blind sighted and afraid of being alone again, but I care for him deeply and have not felt this way about anyone before.
posted by korrasamus to Human Relations (25 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You either need to give him some space or decide you can't give him some space. Either one is okay, but it sounds like he's telling you very clearly that space is not optional for him.

He got involved with you 2 months post separation, if I read your question correctly-- I think for many people that would be way too soon, and his emotions would likely still be pretty caught up in ending his marriage. I'm two years out from mine, and I still keep needing to remind myself that my new Gentleman Friend is not my ex-husband.

One of the big things about my divorce was that while I was sad and troubled, I *loved* having my own space again. I'm really happy I didn't get involved too quickly-- I really really get what your bf says about the dog. You say you never once thought of it as your dog, but you also say "I insisted on coming when he was looking for a dog a few days prior and even found her at the shelter first." I would have the feeling you thought of it as your dog too. I know that's just a small story, but it's a telling one. Can you give him the space he needs and take the chance that it won't work out? Only you can answer that.
posted by frumiousb at 10:46 PM on March 30, 2015 [10 favorites]

No you're not being stupid at all. I was in a relationship with a recently divorced man and these are all the signs he showed that meant he wasn't ready for a relationship. If you do a search on metafilter you will find plenty of commenters warning the OP about just this thing. He absolutely needs time to process what happened. My concern is that he's using you to help him get through the hard part until he can stand on his own two feet. And once he can he may end it. Give him space, a lot of space while you go do your own thing. Let me repeat that: Go do your own thing, meet other people, focus on your own life, making new friends, etc. He's too self-involved to understand that what he needs is time to process or to see that this could be potentially devastating for you if he decides he does want to be alone for a while--a very common thing for people following a divorce. I didn't heed the warning that was given me and I regret it. It is a painful place to be. I can advise you to end it until he is able to treat you the way you'd like and deserve to be treated rather than you continually adjusting yours schedule to meet his needs, but something tells me this isn't going to happen. So I'll just say: Proceed with extreme caution.
posted by lillian.elmtree at 10:52 PM on March 30, 2015 [5 favorites]

I am seeing cascades of red flags from both of you. Too soon (before he was divorced), too much (getting so involved so quickly), too little (trust from both sides).

I think you should take a break from each other. If you both want to get back together later on, fine, but you could both use time as independent human beings not in a relationship.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:53 PM on March 30, 2015 [7 favorites]

It's not you, it's him. But unfortunately the life lesson is yours: don't date people on the rebound. Do you think you can give him the space he wants? I wouldn't be able to, in your situation. Sorry this is happening to you.
posted by superfish at 10:56 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

You deserve better than a flaky, wishy-washy, therapyspeak-abusing thirty-year-old divorcee who started dating before the paperwork was final as a bright young thing in her early twenties. DTMFA, live your life, and find someone more worthy of you. No matter how much you like him, this guy is treating you poorly and a total schmuck.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 10:59 PM on March 30, 2015 [31 favorites]


Stop overthinking.

Pay attention to what you are seeing... someone who is clueless in relationships who just met someone who is MOAR clueless and mayhaps using her for a bridge.


Sorry, sweets. If he was worth keeping at this stage, he would have been kept.

If not, he'd be "reluctantly" released to some rescue organization that would feed him while he healed.

Do you want to be the healer?
posted by FauxScot at 10:59 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

"Healing" from a divorce does not work the way he is telling you.
posted by jbenben at 11:31 PM on March 30, 2015 [5 favorites]

He's telling you he needs a lot of space, like a LOT of space. You're wanting to develop a more secure attachment style and get over anxieties. I don't think being with someone in the middle of such a dramatic transition will be helpful to you.
posted by salvia at 11:59 PM on March 30, 2015 [7 favorites]

As a previous posted stated: proceed with caution.

He has identified his own needs and has identified them to you. Space. This is legitimate and it's probably good for HIM and HIS life to have this space.

But this question is about you, and your needs, because yours have to come before his and before yours (plural).

You seem to need a relationship that either begins slow and then blossoms into some kind of mutually enthusiastic commitment, or begins strong and stays strong (until the mutually enthusiastic commitment means you spend many nights a week watching movies together on the couch, but this is OK, if you're both OK with that phase. Anyway, I digress...).

Don't assume his needs are what you need. If you can't feel secure with this dynamic, you need to rethink if this is a pattern you want to engage in: To keep the boyfriend, I need to jump onto HIS needs' bandwagon, and put mine second.

And to further emphasize another poster: Your own life. You're 24, and this is a perfect time to figure out even more about yourself, even more about your needs, dreams, career choices, coping mechanisms, introvert/extrovert/combination, make new friends, nurture old friends, hobbies, anything that makes you happy and content being you.

Make your life rich and fulfilling and the relationship(s) in the future have a good chance of having fewer questions since you won't need to ask so many. You'll have the personal security and growth of knowing if he is the right one for your path. Personal growth happens alone. Perhaps that's what he's trying to do. But if he's making his own terms for himself, you need to make your own terms for yourself.

Good luck. Don't let him lead the way of your life.
posted by stumblingthroughitall at 1:35 AM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

Am I being stupid for waiting around for him to move on?

Well, if you want to be in a relationship of [TYPE] right now, and he can't give you a relationship of [TYPE] right now, then you're just wasting time spinning your wheels. You could get out there and find someone who will give you a relationship of [TYPE] right now, right now, and not at some point in the future, maybe.

Am I being extremely clingy and insecure or is there some truth to the worries (probably a combination of both?)

You are engaging in a higher level of attachment than I personally would be comfortable with. But that's OK. Everyone has things that they need and want from a relationship. Some people like to live in each other's pockets, some like to see each other once a fortnight, etc. The problem is when you get pocket-type folks and fortnight-type folks together in the same situation. There's too much shear force there, and eventually something will have to give. You sound like an Anxious person, and someone taking some actually pretty healthy time out for things like socialising with their friends will set you off. See also: feeling great about bonding on another level when you were together 24/7 on holiday, but him wanting a day to himself without you there feels awful to you. I think you'd benefit from learning to take a step back and deal with the fact that not everyone is going to be on the same page regarding levels of contact, because you're going to find this sort of thing happening again and again if you don't.

Is he really capable of dealing with what he's going through and still seeing me or is this just a lie we tell ourselves?

He sounds pretty self aware and is setting boundaries with you, rather than just disappearing. He told you right at the start that he couldn't be there for you 100%. That's something of a platonic ideal in relationships, when it comes to communication. It was open and clear. Whether he's capable of giving you what you want is another matter. I think you're asking for more than he is capable, and you'd benefit from moving on and finding someone who can give you all of the contact you want.

To be completely frank, it sounds like you got WAY too invested WAY too quickly and want a much higher level of emotional connection than he does. You're going to make each other miserable if you keep asking things of one another than you can't accept. Work on lowering your attachment level, for your own sake, because it will make life much easier for you when you don't panic at the fact that your partner hasn't laid eyes on you that particular day. It's healthy to spend some time alone doing things you want to do alone. You're asking for a lot, which is OK if you can find someone who can give you that lot. Your choices are to find someone who can do that, or lower the amount you ask for, which has the added benefit of massively increasing the chances of finding someone who can give you a sufficient amount.
posted by Solomon at 3:24 AM on March 31, 2015 [6 favorites]

Oh boy. I'm really sorry. I suggest you break up with him; rip that bandage off and get on with your life. Here's why:

While you may have actually been compatible and had a great time together, this guy wasn't fit to date. And he was using you. Not in a malicious way, but instead of taking alone time and processing his separation and learning to live alone, he used you as a massive crutch to help him get through a very hard time.

You filled a role for him. You reminded him that he was worthy of love. That someone found him attractive and worthwhile. That someone wanted to be around him. And while you were together, that meant he didn't have to actually think about his dissolved marriage and what all of that meant, and what type of life he wanted to create for himself. Instead, he had you to fill the emotional holes.

Now he's feeling sturdier and more on his feet and recognizing that as awesome as you are, there are lots of other women out there or if not that, he's ready to proceed on his own. So he's cutting you out slowly.

I'm really sorry; there's nothing you can do to salvage this. He needed space a long time ago but instead took the emotionally easier route of getting a shiny new girlfriend. You helped him put all the space shuttle pieces together and he's ready to go into orbit, leaving you on the launchpad.

Stop seeing him. Move on. And this is why, again and again, the suggestion here is to never date recently separated people.
posted by kinetic at 3:32 AM on March 31, 2015 [20 favorites]

Also this: whenever you're in a relationship with someone who wants to spend less time with you, that's always an excellent indicator that they're laying the groundwork for breaking up. When you want to be with someone, you make the effort to be with them. It's not complicated.

And this: for your own sake, learn to listen to and respect that little voice inside yourself. It's telling you that he's pulling away, but you're trying to quiet your gut by trying to convince yourself that you're being irrational. And then talking to him to quell your instincts, except your instincts are right.

You're NOT being irrational. He's pulling away. And he's telling you the truth; he doesn't feel any less for you. He just wants to move on.
posted by kinetic at 3:44 AM on March 31, 2015 [11 favorites]

This type of relationship doesn't sound like it is working for you. You want someone who is all in, right away. A guy who has just divorced (especially one who did not initiate the divorce) isn't really that guy. Props to him for telling you so!

I also dated a guy who was 2 months post separation, and we fell hard and fast for each other. We still only saw each other maybe once every other week for the first 3 or so months, and then maybe once a week for the next 7. Not because we were trying to stay apart, just . . . we both had other things going on in our lives. I had a lot on my plate with work and I've never been the kind of person to be with someone 24/7. I'm sure he was doing his own thing alone when we weren't together - I've never asked. Point is, even though we knew almost immediately that this was a serious relationship, our styles and comfort zones were not to jump right in, and we fit well that way.

Seems to me that you want a jumper-inner. I'm sorry. It might be best to pull back entirely.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:48 AM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Am I being extremely clingy and insecure or is there some truth to the worries (probably a combination of both?)

Of course it's both. FWIW, it's not crazy to feel insecure in a relationship that is not secure. He still has a lot of healing that he needs to do, and it sounds like he's beginning to realize that his therapist is right- of course he can't move full steam ahead with somebody else and work on healing at the same time. Trust your feelings; this relationship is not going well. I agree with other posters that it would probably be best to end things. It will be very hard but you will come through stronger on the other side. Good luck.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:03 AM on March 31, 2015 [5 favorites]

I understand where he's coming from with the puppy thing. It's a place of extreme hurt. So his reaction there isn't "wrong," exactly. But... it does show that he's not over the trauma of his divorces and past break ups (maybe the last one, maybe all of them).

It sounds like he's not committed to a relationship with you. That's probably what he meant when he said he couldn't be 100% in. That doesn't mean 99% in -- that means he's half in, he has one foot in and one foot out the door.

My guess is that he acted super excited early because this validated him. He felt worthy of being loved, and it felt great. But now, he is realizing that he doesn't want to be in a relationship with you. Maybe he isn't ready for a relationship, or maybe he wants to date around, or maybe he is acknowledging some incompatibilities between the two of you that he overlooked early on.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:11 AM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

To be honest, after reading your OP, I feel like I need some space. It just reads as kind of hyperventilate-y.

Speaking as someone who likes his space -- regardless of how much I care about someone -- this guy's currently preferred schedule of a few together-times a week sounds totally reasonable and healthy. (The denizens of AskMe would be throwing up just as many red flags if he was immediately consumed with you.)

When my current partner and I were in our first year of our relationship, we had a similar arrangement. She also likes some breathing room, but definitely wanted a bit more facetime than I did. We worked out a compromise (I think we added a day together, or something). Now we live together, and we definitely miss each other when separated. But we spend plenty of alone time in different parts of our apartment, popping into the others' space occasionally for a chat or a cuddle. Not including time asleep (which is sometimes also separate), we probably only spend an hour or two of a given day in the same room.

Background: I was just a couple of months out from a serious, several-year relationship that had appeared to be moving towards permanence. Not a marriage, obviously, but I wasn't 100% about fusing myself to a new person just yet, either. Although I liked her, it took me awhile to pack away Old Girlfriend things and fully appreciate New Girlfriend as a potential long-term partner.

Am I being extremely clingy and insecure or is there some truth to the worries (probably a combination of both?)

Yes. The answer to all three is "yes." In that, yes, you sound clingy/insecure, and yes, that might be contributing to his expressed need to step back a pace. And yes, in that we can have fears that are 1) logically speaking, totally overblown, and yet 2) essentially quite accurate. A lot of stuff surrounding relationships is self-fulfilling.

At the end of the day, this guy is going to have his "space," one way or another. Either you'll follow the bulk of the advice here, and dump him immediately, or he'll get exhausted by your neediness. Or you'll give him some time to himself (assuming he still respects a schedule that meets your reasonable need for some contact each week) in which to get used to his new life, and having you as a part of it. It sounds from your description that he's giving you regular signals of affection (daily calls/texts/contact), so there's a chance that following this latter course could work out. It certainly sounds more positive than the other two options.
posted by credible hulk at 7:51 AM on March 31, 2015 [10 favorites]

Anyhow, he's told me since the beginning that he can't be 100%

he said he needed more time to himself to process his feelings about the divorce

realized he was not where he's at to go forward in our relationship until he's had more time to work on himself

Three times he's told you he needs time and space. Give it to him. "I like you a lot and I like the time we spend together. You've told me you still have a lot to process, and I feel it would be best for both of us for you to take the time to do that alone without distractions. So we are breaking up, now, and it would be best if we don't contact each other for six months. After that, if you feel you're ready to commit 100% to a relationship, please call me. I care about you very much, and I want you to be happy and secure."

Give him a hug and walk out of his life. If he ever calls--he almost certainly won't--then re-evaluate at that time whether it's a wise idea for you two to get involved again, after a long conversation about where is head is, a conversation where you listen much more than you talk. (I'm not saying you talk too much! Saying that those conversations work best when it's the person-needing-space doing most of the talking.)

He's not a jerk, he's not a schmuck, he's not an ass. He's been through a traumatic emotional experience, needs time to deal with it, and has told you that repeatedly. That's not abusing therapyspeak, that's setting emotional boundaries and communicating honestly about how he's feeling. He's also doing that totally normal human thing of rebounding after a breakup.

You'll be fine. There are other great guys out there. Might be a good idea--after you've taken a few months single to get over him--to find one who isn't in the early stages of processing the end of a relationship that took up the majority of his twenties.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:54 AM on March 31, 2015 [24 favorites]

I dated a recently-divorced guy and had a really similar experience, especially with him telling me he couldn't be "100%" invested in our relationship, and me just believing that since we had so much fun together and I loved him so much, it would all be ok and work out in the end.

The thing is -- when people tell you something, you kinda gotta believe them! He's telling you that he can't fully invest it your relationship, he isn't fully over his previous relationship, and he's not ready to commit and move forward with you. Those things could all be fine if you also were in a place where more casual dating was what you were looking for. But it sounds like that's not the case for you. Don't be afraid to move on and look for a relationship with someone who is as ready to commit and invest as you are.
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:58 AM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

Please please please stop focusing on this person and work on focusing on yourself. Oh honey, I want to give you a hug. You are so young, you can make friends, you can pursue hobbies, please start thinking of yourself and stop giving this guy all of your time and energy.

He's told you the truth about how he feels and is going to keep telling or showing you that with time. I believe him that he needs his space. It's unfortunate that he entered into a relationship with you and has been spending so much time with you right after his break-up but it sounds like he's realized he needs space and is trying to get it, and you're admitting you're not respecting his boundaries.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship but this one is not giving you what you want, so instead of smothering him and spending so much time analyzing his behavior you need to back up and seek out counselling to work on these issues you've identified. If you really like each other if you both take a break for a few months or slow things down to 1-2 dates a week it won't ruin anything.
posted by lafemma at 8:05 AM on March 31, 2015 [4 favorites]

I disagree with the people who are criticizing him for his behavior. He is being honest and upfront and it's up to you whether you decide you want to be involved with him considering the things he says he needs.
I didn't actually commit to someone until 2 years after my divorce. I rebounded a lot and I had some appalling feelings/issues/behaviors to work through before I was ready. The first year of my relationship still involved some growing and healing. It's tough to go through a divorce and it's tough to adjust to being with someone again.
I don't want to hurt your feelings but if I were him I would be looking for even more space too because it seems that you get insecure and move closer to him the more he asks for it. If you need more from him, as others said, that's ok, but he's not in a place to do that right now and that doesn't make either of you a bad person. It just means you're not right for each other.
From what you've said he makes it pretty clear he's still around/cares about you but that's not enough for you.
Getting a divorce was the most stressful and traumatizing thing I have ever been through and that's very hard for people to understand if they haven't experienced it. It's not the same as ending a long term relationship. It's just not.

It sounds like you need to decide if you're going to totally respect his wishes or if they're going to make you miserable. It's ok if you decide you can't do it, but clinging to him isn't going to bring him closer and it's going to make you very unhappy.
posted by shesbenevolent at 11:20 AM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

To answer your question, you're being sacrificial. You're being a martyr girlfriend. You need to focus some time and energy on yourself, as others are saying above, and not on this guy. If he's worth it, he'll start prioritizing you. But he's jealous of his own puppy's affections here. His puppy! Frankly, that's pretty bizarre.

Yes, you need to meet new people, both men and women. Best friends? That's a hard first step to climb. Just settle on figuring out how to meet new people for now.

Yes, it's hard to meet people after college ends, but guess what? Your whole life, from now on, will be after college ends. Making friends is a life skill, and not an easy one. It takes practice. It's not always fun. You have to set yourself up to take risks. But courage and persistence are key. I really recommend Meetup for this because it tends to attract other people who want to make friends, and you can meet them in groups IRL. I made a bunch of friends on Meetup (some of whom are still good friends 5+ years later, and I married and had a baby with one of them). I had to start a lot of conversations with strangers of various ages and potential weirdness levels; I had to show up again and again to groups even though I wasn't sure I would have fun; I had to friend people first on Facebook, take the initiative to invite them out to parties and happy hours, etc. It doesn't just happen, especially if you're an introvert. Meetup itself may not work for you, but it's a good place to start. Have courage and be persistent.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:51 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it's so hard but this is a good lesson to learn: believe it when someone tells you who they are or what you want. He's not into this relationship at a level that you want or need. Don't accept being with anyone who is less than 100% into being in a relationship with you.
posted by dawkins_7 at 2:55 PM on March 31, 2015

The biggest red flag is your use of the words "fear" and "afraid" in this relationship. You fear doing something wrong, you are afraid of not being in the relationship. Well, when you value yourself, you are not afraid. You might be sad, and you might be regretful, but you don't feel afraid because no matter what happens with the relationship, you will be there for you. Don't be afraid. Listen to what you need - which is secure, supportive, present, and future-focused relationships - and realize that this guy, nice as he may be, simply cannot give it. Nothing to be afraid of there.
posted by Miko at 7:20 PM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

I've never heard of anybody coming back from wanting more space in a relationship. He's slowly heading out the door with regards to a romantic relationship with you, I think. And since you need more from a relationship than he's giving, you should do as feckless fecal fear mongering said.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:31 PM on April 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, this is not the relationship for you, you're clinging to something that's dying.

He gets to call all the shots and he's got you snowed with his tales of woe so you can't even ask for anything.

He's not a real boyfriend. Real boyfriends participate. He's just a divorced guy who needed someone to make him feel less lonely and wanted until he recovered.
posted by discopolo at 12:02 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

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