Am I sabotaging this new relationship or is it not to be?
August 2, 2017 7:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm having trouble discerning whether my new relationship of three months has legs, or if I should make a clean break. Complications: a) the new boyfriend has several connections with my ex and a big part of me would like to wash my hands of that whole scene, and b) I'm 38 and would love to have a family. Wall of anxious text inside.

After over a year on my own dealing with the fallout from a long-term relationship in which my ex seemed to spend most of his time looking over my shoulder to see if something better would come along (and yes, in the last few months we were together he found someone younger, prettier, with complimentary talents and interests and not averse to carrying on behind my back), in the first few months of this year I finally felt like I was getting myself together again. I was no contact with the ex and had reached the stage where I was no longer thinking about him on a daily basis. I was fitter and healthier than I'd been in ages. I had sold the house where we had lived and moved to a smaller place. I had plans to do up and rent out this house, go travelling. I went on holiday alone and had an amazing time. I started acting and was cast in a really interesting play. Life was going well.

At around this time, some mutual friends told me that T was interested in me. I'd started tentative online dating with no great results, a few first dates only. T was someone I'd seen around at events for a long time, but had only spoken to in passing. I'd heard that he was a decent sort and not unattractive, so though I wasn't super excited about him I asked my friend to give him my number.

Fast forward four months and we've been exclusive for three months now. From the beginning T's been reliable, thoughtful, kind, lovely in bed and his looks have grown on me to the point where I see him as handsome. BUT I'm having serious doubts about a long term future, whereas he seems keen to take things forward - referring to the future, possible children, getting a dog together one day, etc etc. Friends keep telling me that I'm overreacting and should relax into it.

I suffer from anxiety and am having trouble figuring out whether I have legitimate concerns or am simply being commitment phobic / avoidant, as all my past boyfriends were distinctly wishy washy in their attitudes to dating me and/or there was some logistical reason why the relationship couldn't go anywhere.

With T...
>> I feel like things are moving too fast - or are they just not right? On paper, all is good, but when I'm with him I sometimes feel smothered and stressed. He's started to notice and ask me if I'm ok. I have tried to explain to him a little about how I feel, but I worry that being fully open with him would lead me to end the relationship.
>> He's open about wanting a serious relationship with me and, perhaps, another child (he has a very cool eight-year-old with a previous partner and is a really good father. The co-parenting relationship is amicable enough that they all hang out together at local events and parties). I feel like he's building up to the big ILY and I know that I couldn't say it back to him. He keeps telling me how 'fond' he is of me and how he still has to pinch himself that we're boyfriend and girlfriend. I can sense that he's waiting for me to reciprocate in kind, but I don't feel able to.
>> He's very responsible and on occasion I end up feeling that he's treating me like a child or doesn't trust me to do things properly. This is deeply irritating to me.
>> My exes tended towards the silly, surreal-sense-of-humour types where we could hang out and cheerfully talk nonsense all day. With T, our conversations are much more serious, sometimes gloomy, and, although he likes a dreadful pun, I don't laugh so much. I also find myself tuning out and/or desperately thinking of things to say. The conversation doesn't flow.
>> I went away recently for a weekend and on my return he asked 'did you miss me?'. Whilst I had missed him a bit, I felt unsure, so fudged the response and I could see he was nonplussed by this.
>> A big issue, for me, is that he is good friends with a group of people including the woman my ex left me for and is still deeply involved in that music scene. T has told me some stuff from her perspective that I didn't really need to hear, including detailed confirmation that things were happening before I split up with the ex. Another indiscreet friend of T's (thinking that I wasn't that bothered about the ex) told me that my ex was 'much happier' now. I pretend to T that I'm ok with it all, though he knows that I don't want to be anywhere where the ex and the new girlfriend are going to be, yet the betrayal feels raw again and I'm finding it hard not to let the memories of that relationship poison this one. I know it's silly but it seems so unfair that the ex can swan off into coupled-up happiness whilst I've had to slog through pain, loneliness and am now seemingly unable to enjoy a relationship without comparing the new person to the ex. Part of me would love to wash my hands of the lot of them, but that would mean not being with T as well - cutting off my nose to spite my face?

A lot of confused thoughts here, so any and all advice gratefully received.
posted by doornoise to Human Relations (29 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You don't want this person. That's ok. The bigger issue seems to be that your experience with your ex trained you not to trust your own feelings. Trust yourself here. Trust yourself to be ok even if you are being avoidant or commitment phobic, because maybe you're not ready for a commitment yet. Maybe you have more stuff you need to do, more things you need to try, before you know what you want in another commitment. All of that is ok. You deserve all of that. You are entitled to take whatever time you need to become whoever you need to be in this stage of your life, and there is not a goddamn thing wrong with you for not wanting to settle down with someone you don't love but who is nice enough just because you are a 38 year old woman. You can make that choice if you want, but there is nothing wrong with making a different choice if that's what you want.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2017 [13 favorites]


I think you answered your own question here:

I worry that being fully open with him would lead me to end the relationship.

If being honest means ending the relationship, I don't think it's meant to be.

You don't have to stay with someone because they're nice. Like, he seems totally fine and there is likely someone out there that's going to click with him. That person doesn't seem to be you.

It sounds like you're in a position to re-invent your life to your own liking, and I guarantee you that being single and happy is preferable to coupled and meh.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2017 [23 favorites]


Also, besides the stuff with you, there are things about this guy that seem sort of...not that nice? Treating you like a child is a giant red flag, IMO, and so is the fact that he seems to expect you to be fine with hearing about your ex and the woman he left you for. It sort of puts together a portrait of a dude who maybe doesn't have as much respect for women as he thinks he does, and, regardless of whether that's accurate, both of those things are super shitty.

And you don't laugh with him?

Dude. It's ok to get out. It's ok to be alone. You don't sound happy.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:53 AM on August 2, 2017 [13 favorites]


I don't laugh so much. I also find myself tuning out and/or desperately thinking of things to say. The conversation doesn't flow.

Seems like he's a great guy but there's just no chemistry, and unfortunately you can't just conjure chemistry out of thin air. Either it's there or it's not. You deserve to find that chemistry again and be with someone who makes you laugh -- because if he doesn't, then what's the point? The world is a big place-- don't sell yourself short.
posted by winterportage at 7:58 AM on August 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


I don't think the relationship has a ton of potential, you seem uncomfortable about a bunch of stuff early on.



But one thing I think you need to take ownership of is speaking out when you aren't ok. Pretending to be ok with something means people will keep petforming the actions that make you uncomfortable or unhappy.


It's ok to tell others no, to set and enforce boundaries. Don't subsume your own desires and needs just to be in a relationship with someone.
posted by Jacen at 8:04 AM on August 2, 2017 [10 favorites]


You have bad anxiety, so you look through everything with a negative lens. I suggest seeking professional help.
posted by GiveUpNed at 8:11 AM on August 2, 2017


You're looking for permission to end it, so here you go. At three months you should be super excited about each other.
posted by AFABulous at 8:21 AM on August 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think the crux of it is this: I don't laugh so much. I also find myself tuning out and/or desperately thinking of things to say. The conversation doesn't flow.

You have correctly identified that this would be a teeth-gritting way to go through the rest of your life. The rest of it wouldn't bother you if you were excited about the guy. Thing is, you aren't, because you don't really click with him. That's ok! Wish him well and make space in your life for meeting someone who you click with.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:39 AM on August 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


It feels like you are not being an active member of this relationship. T is deciding things and you are just going along. You need to decide what you want, regardless of being with T or not. Then you need to learn how to hold your boundaries.

I think T is not the right person for you. You can't be yourself with him and you have nothing to talk about. He might be the perfect person for someone else, though, you know? Let him go and have the chance to meet that person.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:40 AM on August 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


You're not into him.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:41 AM on August 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


If you have relationship-oriented anxiety such that you consistently end up with noncommittal or unavailable people and feel super anxious when someone you otherwise like likes you back, that's something to get a handle on. Books, therapy, whatever. It's worth pursuing that question apart from "is THIS the relationship for me?" Maybe try talking to a therapist about why you always end up with unsuitable people. Or that you don't know how you feel about this person. You might discover that you had a run of bad luck and that I'm totally off-base, but since you hint at this possibility, I think it's worth looking into it.

Second, hiding things kills closeness and intimacy. It's pretty much impossible to feel like you love someone when you're hiding things from them. This is part of why they say that loving yourself has to come first. Even if you were utterly weird or even objectively "unreasonable" to want certain things (I very much don't think anything you wrote is unreasonable or weird, but even IF), being honest about your feelings and asking for what would help in a non-demanding way is essential. Feeling like someone gets you and wants to make you happy, feeling like they're on your team (however weird and idiosyncratic that team is) -- to me, those are key ingredients to feeling close, partnered, love. So, try being honest about things like "I feel like this is moving a bit faster than I'm ready for" and "I'm still in pain over my last breakup and need as much space from that crew as possible" and "you probably don't mean it this way, but that tone of voice comes across like you are speaking to a child." You can start to open up about "my previous partners were all unsuitable or it was logistically impossible to keep saying them, so I'm feeling a little freaked out by our level of closeness."

(I also want to challenge that it might well be anxiety speaking when you say "if I were honest then we'd have to break up." Sharing feelings like that can also be just the start to a conversation that builds intimacy. Look at it this way, if you wanted to break up, there wouldn't be another part of you telling you not to say anything. That second part doesn't want to break up. So you seemingly have both parts. It's okay to have mixed feelings and not know what you want, or to be the one who wants to move more slowly, especially with complicating factors like painful reminders of your ex coming up. But also, if you're so scared of these feelings that you can't face them and can't share them with him, that's a great place to start with a therapist.)
posted by salvia at 8:44 AM on August 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


It sounds like you are holding back some part of your authentic self and that this is getting in the way of letting this relationship blossom. You were very hurt and don't want to get hurt again, so you keep T at a bit of distance so you don't get disappointed. You don't tell him about how his actions are making you feel or about your feelings towards your ex and his new girlfriend.

This is all understandable and I've been there too. In the early months of my current relationship my boyfriend and I were both having a good time, but not really talking about some of the big feelings and meaningful stuff in our life. Good news we were able to work on this together in some couples counseling and now we are much, much better at sharing big emotional stuff and expressing to each other when something bothers us.

My boyfriend too has a bit of a serious side and can be very reserved (especially around my friends), he didn't laugh so easily at first, but now we engage in all sorts of sweet, funny repartee and have our little couple inside jokes.

So some of things you have anxiety about could change if you work on them. Or you might find that you both really like each other, but that chemical spark is missing. I think you'll need to both invest some time in counseling to figure out which one it is.
posted by brookeb at 8:45 AM on August 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


3 months in (the most giddycrushy-part!), and you don't miss him while you're apart - there's your answer.
posted by speakeasy at 8:47 AM on August 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


Another indiscreet friend of T's (thinking that I wasn't that bothered about the ex) told me that my ex was 'much happier' now.

Or maybe he's malicious. Even if everyone assumes you are OK with the breakup-- and why do they assume you are OK with a situation where someone was cheating on you?-- that's a shitty thing to say.

If your question were all about this incident, I would be telling you to check with your current boyfriend to see if there's some reason his friend is being hostile to you, to tell him that comment was hurtful and try to see if he can understand that there is a problem. If he's all, "That's just the way X is, he puts his foot in his mouth sometimes" and suggests you need to put up with it on a continuing basis, he's asking too much. Friends putting a new partner through this kind of shit, while probably not all that common, is a familiar pattern and I would strongly suggest you find out now if your new guy is going to side with him every time and/or dismiss your concerns.

But as other people have pointed out, you haven't expressed your concerns about a lot of stuff. If you want to give the relationship a chance, try expressing them.
posted by BibiRose at 9:07 AM on August 2, 2017


I mean, it seems like you really lack some kind of chemistry or spark with this guy.

Now, I don't really believe in chemistry because sometimes that raw primal feeling of attraction holds us back-- sure it works for some people, but often it makes us yearn for these exciting relationships that are occasionally tumultuous and bad for us. Sometimes the attraction is triggered by damaged attachment styles. Not all of them, mind, but sometimes, chemistry is code for my lizard brain wanting things for me that are not great for me. My worst relationship, I had intense chemistry with. Butterflies in stomach. It was so heady. I was unhappy a lot of the time. This is where the adage, 'love isn't enough', comes into play. These are the relationships you just have to live and learn from.

I think you recognize this on some level about relationships, maybe. I feel like your past relationships were intense-- so you've done a complete 180 with the person you looked for next. Your heart was totally broken (and I get it, I've been in the position where someone was with me but felt like he was looking over my shoulder 'til someone better' and it is terrible and a huge mind f) and so I think you've picked someone you feel is the opposite, someone that is chasing after you instead of you chasing after them-- someone 'safe'.

But that isn't to say that the opposite of having intense chemistry is having just NO chemistry whatsoever. Because reading over your ask, I don't see it.

And I get it. I don't think you necessarily need intense!chemistry!wow! upon first meeting. I mean, my fiance and I-- we started off strangely. I was heartbroken over a turd, he was into me but didn't want to step on my heart or take advantage of my sensitive state. At first, I couldn't even really see him that way. He was handsome, but my internal narrative kept telling me he wasn't my type. (He's a blonde viking type, and I thought I liked them lithe, dark and brooding). All I knew is that I liked being around him, that it felt really pleasant and natural. And yeah, funnily like your dude, he likes puns and I thought 'groan' at first. And then I realized, whenever I was with him, I was really happy. And most importantly, I felt like myself. Or rather, that I could be myself. That I didn't have to hide. Conversation just flowed. And then one day he was my type. And it wasn't just 'his looks grew on me until I saw him as handsome,' It was, as our relationship deepened, instead of chemistry, I discovered a slow, intense burn. It was that my heart fluttered when I saw him, and I ached for him. I'll never forget when, early on in our relationship, one morning he was getting ready for work. I woke, saw his silhouette in the doorway, and as he paused and flicked his wet hair back, my breath caught in my throat, and I thought, 'damn, he's so hot!' You don't even know. I gleefully make puns with him now. And it took me much less than three months to come to this realization.

But I digress. My point is, from your ask, you don't appear to really have that with him? That he's kind, and thoughtful and good to you, doesn't make him automatically right for you, even if he is objectively 'better' than people you've dated in the past. Sometimes we get hung up on a relationship, because 'on paper' this person ticks all the boxes. There's nothing wrong with him, so should I really break up? Your gut says yes; it projects escapist fantasies about leaving, but you beat down your feelings with your brain because 'there's nothing wrong with him,'. But that's not a great reason to stay together. Moreover, women are sometimes conditioned to feel as if they're defective for wanting out of a relationship with a 'good guy' -- like they're being picky, or as if eternal spinsterhood awaits them if they dare leave a relationship with this kind lovely person who adores them. It's a pretty crappy double standard, and it can be pretty ingrained in us. And friends sometimes exacerbate this feeling, especially if you share friends with him. Because they want you both to be happy and they think you're great. Especially if you're both decent, lovely people. But, I mean, there are a lot of lovely, decent, good people in the world. We don't want to have a relationship with them all.

Before those two, I was with a guy that reminds me of your guy, (serious and yet with a kind of awkward humor) and with him, the spark just never appeared. When I told him this, he tried to convince me of all the ways he (thought) we were on the same wavelength. That was indicator number one. But the biggest indicator to me, was that with him, I just felt like someone else. Like an imposter. When I tried to be 'myself' he liked it, but he didn't 'get' it. And I felt lonely, even when he was right there-- despite him being kinda clingy.

I think you want to break up. I think you want permission to break up. I give you permission to break up. Yes, it will hurt him, but I don't think this is the relationship for you, and the meaner thing would be to continue on with a guy you're not incredibly into. And the longer it goes, the worse it'll feel for both of you when it does end.

Also, as an aside, if you're constantly picking wishy washy guys it might be something to work through and identify those patterns.

Sorry for length. Best of luck.
posted by Dimes at 9:10 AM on August 2, 2017 [11 favorites]


I'm gonna push back on this litmus test of "missing him" and being in a giddy crush right now. That's how some people's brains and hearts work. Not me. And litmus tests of any sort are total triggers for relationship anxiety. ("Oh wait, I didn't think of the person first thing when I awoke; I must not love them enough!" "I didn't even think of bringing them home a burrito when I was at the restaurant; I must not love them enough!") A weekend away is fun! An adventure! New things to see and do! To not waste time missing someone that you just saw and are about to see again feels kind of, healthy to me. I could write an essay about why I almost never miss people when I'm away wherever; it doesn't have to mean anything.
posted by salvia at 9:12 AM on August 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


A weekend away is fun! An adventure! New things to see and do! To not waste time missing someone that you just saw and are about to see again feels kind of, healthy to me.

Sure, but for a LOT of people, adventures without the person they're dating makes them think, "gosh, it would be great if my person were here to enjoy this with me." That's often what makes a person realize they really like someone and want to be serious with them. So the concern about not feeling that isn't a dramatic teenage "omg if i'm not obsessed with them 24/7 it's not luuuuuuuv" sort of thing, in my view.
posted by palomar at 9:17 AM on August 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


I have a different take on this. It sounds to me like you actually quite like this guy, but you've been too burned to trust that the relationship is actually going OK. To me, it sounds like your anxiety is getting in the way and you're doing that thing where you don't believe you're good enough and therefore you're constantly questioning how you feel, whether you should feel that way, whether it's enough for him and for you.

If he's really smothering you or treating you like a child, that's a dealbreaker. But again, I wonder if your anxiety is affecting your lens here. I like that he's noticed you pull away and is asking if you're OK - that, to me, indicates empathy and interest. If your wellbeing didn't matter to him, that would certainly be a huge red flag.

If he already has an 8-year old, he is someone who has had to grow up and take responsibility - which means he's more comfortable than you are about talking about the future and commitment. He may be on a faster pace than you are, but that doesn't mean you're incompatible or that you won't get there. It sounds to me like having an honest conversation about the pace would be a great way for the two of you to get on the same page (or not, in which case you have your answer).

The fact that he and his kid and his ex have a comfortable relationship is a huge "green" flag, IMO.

I hope you can let the discomfort with the ex thing go, because it is likely to stand in your way with any new person, not just this guy. I get it - it's awful to hear about how happy our exes are - but it doesn't serve you well in the long term to cut off anyone who may hear things about your ex you don't want to know. You can also simply tell T never to tell you anything he hears.

The conversation lagging is the only real red flag to me. It's not a good thing to be running out of things to talk about this early in the relationship. Do you think any of it is influenced by your anxiety, as in you feel like you have to perform somehow ? I don't ask this to pin the blame on you, I only ask because it can be very helpful to view the situation through different lenses.

Love doesn't always strike like a thunderbolt. Sometimes it works its way in like water, past our stone walls of defense and second-guessing. Your friends know you better than us internet strangers, and if they're all telling you to relax into it, it seems to me that it's worth it to give it a shot. Maybe give it another month or two? Tell yourself that you're going to be all in for the next 2 months and if at the end of that you still have the same doubts, then you have your answer. Good luck - I'm rooting for you!
posted by widdershins at 9:20 AM on August 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


You just don't like him enough. That's all. It's not a catastrophe or the end of the world, as anxiety can make it feel.

It's just not a great fit. Yeah he's better than your EX, because he's not actively betraying you, but that's a very low bar. Better is not always good enough.
posted by French Fry at 9:23 AM on August 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


Try being honest with him (to be fair, if someone doesn't express "I don't like X or I do like Y," there's not really a way for others to know; people can't read minds). If it doesn't work, you have the answer to your question and break up.

People are very different - some people love alone time, some hate it, just like some people love travel (exciting! surprising! different!) and many would rather stay near home, because travel is stressful and tiring and challenging or whatever and they just want comfort, familarity and relaxation. One isn't superior to the other.

He might be a great guy, or he might not, but even if he is, it doesn't mean he's right for you right now, and that's fine. Agree on getting some help for the anxiety in general, which clouds everything.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 9:30 AM on August 2, 2017


BUT I'm having serious doubts about a long term future, whereas he seems keen to take things forward - referring to the future, possible children, getting a dog together one day, etc etc. Friends keep telling me that I'm overreacting and should relax into it.

For what it's worth, I don't think your friends are serving you very well here. It's only been 3 months! Saying that you're "overreacting" because you're expressing legitimate concerns that things are moving too fast when he's talking possible children(!) after 3 months of dating is not overreacting. It's completely reasonable prudence considering the short time you've been dating. Maybe he's been crushing on you for a while and your friends know this, so they're anxious to see you two commit? I don't know what the deal is there, but I think your concerns are legit and I would also feel weird and slightly panicky too if someone I'd only been dating for 3 months was talking about possible kids and a dog when neither of you have even said you feel in love with each other.

I feel like things are moving too fast - or are they just not right? On paper, all is good, but when I'm with him I sometimes feel smothered and stressed. He's started to notice and ask me if I'm ok. I have tried to explain to him a little about how I feel, but I worry that being fully open with him would lead me to end the relationship.

He's open about wanting a serious relationship with me and, perhaps, another child... I feel like he's building up to the big ILY and I know that I couldn't say it back to him. He keeps telling me how 'fond' he is of me and how he still has to pinch himself that we're boyfriend and girlfriend. I can sense that he's waiting for me to reciprocate in kind, but I don't feel able to.

I went away recently for a weekend and on my return he asked 'did you miss me?'. Whilst I had missed him a bit, I felt unsure, so fudged the response and I could see he was nonplussed by this.

You are feeling uneasy and uncomfortable in the relationship and he senses this; you've tried to communicate your feelings to him, but aren't able to be completely honest. Despite sensing something is wrong and you don't return his strong feelings, he seems to be trying to manipulate you into saying out loud that you feel as strongly as he does. This is worrisome. It suggests that he doesn't really care for you to express your true feelings. Along with this:

He's very responsible and on occasion I end up feeling that he's treating me like a child or doesn't trust me to do things properly. This is deeply irritating to me.

It makes me wonder if he's got some control issues and your instincts are correctly telling you to slow down or even break up.

A big issue, for me, is that he is good friends with a group of people including the woman my ex left me for and is still deeply involved in that music scene. T has told me some stuff from her perspective that I didn't really need to hear, including detailed confirmation that things were happening before I split up with the ex.

This was just cruel and insensitive and makes me further question his motives. What good could possibly come from him relating the details of this crap to you?
I think you are 100% correct in not wanting to get dragged back into this drama, especially for someone you only feel "meh" about.

Trust your instincts. You are not being commitment phobic/avoidant. You are listening to your gut and that's always a good thing. Break up with this guy. He doesn't seem right for you.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 11:50 AM on August 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


If you were dating me, and I'd read what you'd written about us here, I'd walk away from you. This would be so painful to read. Do you mean to string him along? To hide your truth? This isn't as dishonest as cheating, but it's not honest. Be a better person. Be direct, and let him hear you. And if the end result is breaking up, so be it. If it's a more honest relationship, you'll both benefit.
posted by Capri at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


This sounds like "good on paper" but ultimately "not feeling it." You devote a lot of this question to things you don't like about him or examples that show your lack of interest, but it lacks compelling reasons for you to stay with him. Look, you don't have to stay with this man if you don't see a future there and the kinder thing to do is probably to cut it off now before his feelings get too deep. I wouldn't lead him on. It sounds like you feel he is a great catch or you'd like it to work out, but ultimately he's not the right guy for you. That's fine. Just tell him and move on.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:13 PM on August 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


There are two different things going on here.

1) you don't like some stuff about this guy / aren't super into it
2) you resent things you've never talked to him about or addressed, and/or are actively lying about

You might try to fix 2) and just be radically honest with him about things like not wanting to hear about your ex or feeling like you're spending too much time together. You seem to be completely abdicating the responsibility for your happiness to him by letting him dictate everything, and that's something you can address separately from whether or not you're into him. Like, if he's moving too fast, you can say "look you're moving too fast for me, I am not ready to settle down right away." If that ends the relationship, so be it, but there's a certain amount of dignity and comfort that come from just straight-up asking for what you want and letting the chips fall where they may.

(This overly accommodating behavior is likely a hangover from your demeaning / uncommitted ex.)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 1:44 PM on August 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think most of us here except the people who take a long time to fall in love think that at best, you are "meh" on this guy and probably won't get any less "meh." I think your real question is, do I settle for this guy so I can have a baby? Because yeah, at 38 you may never catch another guy in time. (I'm realistic and permasingle, folks who will give me shit for this. I plan for the worst.)

Think more like, is this a guy I want to use for his sperm, inevitably break up with in a few years, and then share custody arrangements with?
Can you handle having a baby alone as in with sperm donor, or will you only have a baby if there's a man along such as this one?
If you break up with this one and he does turn out to be your last chance for a baby, can you stand that?
Can you stand being in a marriage with him for 20 years (if it lasts that long) when you feel like this about him now?

None of us can answer those questions for you, but I think that's kind of where this question is really going.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:24 PM on August 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


My exes tended towards the silly, surreal-sense-of-humour types where we could hang out and cheerfully talk nonsense all day. With T, our conversations are much more serious, sometimes gloomy, and, although he likes a dreadful pun, I don't laugh so much. I also find myself tuning out and/or desperately thinking of things to say. The conversation doesn't flow.

Aw, no. A partner who fills your life with silly and compatible chat is worth their weight in gold - both in quality of life and I'm sure even financially. Just think, someone like that will save you money on antidepressants, you both won't have to spend much money on entertainment, they'll eventually be better at entertaining your young children if you have them, you'll probably fight with them less because you'll find them more charming, it'll be easier to communicate, I could go on. Don't settle on this - you could make a case for "settling" for many qualities, but never this.
posted by benadryl at 6:45 PM on August 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


Thanks all for helping me to clarify some feelings. I've decided that I need to break up with him as soon as I see him again.

Whilst he has many good points, on reflection, I know deep down that I'm done with this particular relationship. I take on board your points about 'saying my truth' in relationships, noted. Perhaps I would have been more open with him regarding my needs if I'd thought there was a real connection and the possibility of a long term future.

Not interested in stringing him along or staying for his sperm, thanks! I'd rather be alone forever than parenting a child in an unfulfilling relationship. I can be a happily single dog lady instead.

I've told him that I'm not happy and we need to talk about things when we meet tomorrow, so the ground has been prepared.

Thanks again all those who responded.
posted by doornoise at 8:29 AM on August 3, 2017 [7 favorites]


It's done. Some sadness but mostly relief.
posted by doornoise at 9:58 AM on August 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


...in the first few months of this year I finally felt like I was getting myself together again. I was no contact with the ex and had reached the stage where I was no longer thinking about him on a daily basis. I was fitter and healthier than I'd been in ages. I had sold the house where we had lived and moved to a smaller place. I had plans to do up and rent out this house, go travelling. I went on holiday alone and had an amazing time. I started acting and was cast in a really interesting play. Life was going well.

THIS is the real you! Keep kicking ass and don't settle. All the best!
posted by LuckySeven~ at 11:12 PM on August 4, 2017


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