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Fighting About His Divorce

Two Questions On One Theme:

Jeanne wrote:

I have recently been dating a man who is making the beginning stages of his divorce. They have a 7 year old daughter. He and I have been friends for years, and began taking our relationship a step further.

I find myself very unsure about everything him and his ex do together, or even having her name mentioned. I fear I am not able to accept this part of his life. Lately him and I have been fighting on more of a weekly basis. I get upset, and he flips out. I dont know if this is just because of all the strain on our relationship.

We do want to be together, and we do deeply love each other. But there is just always something that upsets him or I, in regard to his divorce. Is this a normal for a couple like us to go through together?

If so, is there a way for me attempt to make things better. I would really appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for your time

Theresa Wrote:

I'm a single woman with no children, and I started dating a man when he was officially separated from his wife. I had known this man when he was married and knew that he was kind, thoughtful, a wonderful father to two children and a faithful husband.

So, we've known each other for years. Anyway, we dated for about 4 months and we definitely had something special happen between us. There was a spark ... a real connection ... and I know I wasn't a "rebound" (in lack of a better word) because he said that I wasn't. He was absolutely, totally into me. We got along wonderfully. Around the time when his divorce date was coming up, he kind of suddenly broke things off with me. He said that he wasn't sure that he felt the same "romantic feelings" that he felt in the beginning. I told him repeatedly that there was no need to rush things with us. I was willing to take our relationship very slowly.

Did he just freak out? Needless to say, I was heartbroken but what makes things more confusing for me is that we are still in touch, we talk at least once a week - he initiates the phone calls, or sometimes I do. I happened to be in his hometown last week and he asked me to lunch so I met him (first time I had seen him in 4 months) and after seeing him it just confirms even more that I still have strong feelings for him. Please help me understand something: Is he still "into" me? I want more than anything to ask him to dinner sometime. Or, is he just being a "nice guy." Thanks so much for the website and I really hope to hear from you :)

Dear Jeanne, Dear Theresa

My response to you both is really one answer ...

You need to give him time; however good your relationship, he is going through what researchers tell us is one of life's greatest traumas - and he is a father.

While this cannot be easy for you, it is unlikely that your problems measure up to his, and if you care for him, you need to think about that.

He will be insecure in his own mind, and will find it difficult - if not impossible - to give you the security you need at this time, and if you show your (perfectly natural) resentment of his past (Jeanne) or expect commitment (Theresa), you can only drive him away.

Remember that these times, unspoken fears and expectations mean as much as words. In both your relationships, he may be trying hard to 'do the right thing' - not wanting to repeat past mistakes, not wanting to promise what (at this time) he cannot deliver.

You give no clue as to the reason for the marriage breakdown, and your role (if any) through it. You'll need to consider those circumstances, and the effects it will have had on him too.

Time is what he needs; patience is what you need; there's no short cuts.

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