My ex is with a brand new man however I nonetheless love her, and have even proposed | Relationships

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I’m unsure the right way to describe the present state of my “relationship” with the lady I wish to spend the remainder of my life with.

We’re the identical age (early 50s) and met a few years in the past; we lived shut to one another and, whereas it was a beautiful relationship, we maintained a wholesome distance that helped forestall an intense flame from burning out rapidly.

We talked about spending the remainder of our lives collectively – however by no means made that formal dedication (we’re each divorced with youngsters).

At one level, I needed to depart my native job and took some work out of city, one thing I remorse not discussing along with her. I used to be in a position to journey again continuously to spend time collectively but it surely took its toll, particularly with the stress of my job.

Predictably, when I used to be at a low level and our relationship started to wrestle, she discovered another person; he’s a lot youthful and ticks a number of packing containers. I couldn’t blame her. He was there; I used to be not. I’ve now left that distant job however I’ve not been in a position to return to the identical metropolis, although I’m greater than prepared to maneuver again for her. Nonetheless, she is on this different relationship.

This appears like so many different relationships that run a pure course – besides that not solely do I nonetheless love her however I feel she loves me too: a minimum of she tells me so. I’ve even proposed.

She says this different man is good and type, and she will be able to’t discover a cause (moreover me) to interrupt up with him. He is aware of about us and could be very jealous. I feel we’re all ready for another person to surrender first.

In the event that they broke up tomorrow, would I drop every little thing and go working again? Sure, although such issues are at all times simpler within the motion pictures than in actual life. I’d strive, anyway. As she and I’ve mentioned, we have now to have religion and hope the universe has a plan – whether it is meant to be, it will likely be …

I feel you’re spot-on in not understanding the right way to describe it. This sounds messy. I perceive emotional conditions can current us with nice indecision, but it surely’s as if neither you nor your girlfriend understand how you bought into this. The truth is that you simply took a job away from dwelling with out actually discussing it along with her, and he or she began relationship another person. What’s extra, there’s an harmless individual concerned – and youngsters.

There was a push-pull narrative to your letter: the connection was “great” however you saved a “distance”; you talked about spending your lives collectively however by no means really dedicated. After which the perfect line of all: would you drop every little thing and go working again in the event that they broke up? Most likely.

My first query is: had you cut up up when this occurred? The state of affairs you’ve each discovered your self in appears extra about fantasy than actuality, one thing the UKCP-registered psychotherapist John-Paul Davies instantly picked up on. Davies needed you to have a little bit of empathy for your self: “If what you need is a long-term, dedicated relationship with somebody, you’re not getting it right here. Maybe that is why you place ‘relationship’ in inverted commas. What does it imply for you, on a day-to-day foundation, that this girl is successfully residing her everyday with another person?” Davies additionally observed you had an expectancy of issues not going properly: “It’s not predictable that loving companions discover another person when one individual is struggling and at a low level.”

We puzzled the place that expectation got here from. Generally, when we have now previous wounds, we’re used to being harm in a sure method. We don’t recognise how garbage our state of affairs actually is as a result of it feels acquainted, and we equate that with fascinating. Generally when relationships get too actual, we sabotage them (you going away, her introducing a brand new boyfriend), as a result of then we are able to elevate them to an unattainable fantasy state, the place they’ll develop into something we would like. This is the reason folks typically hold going again to exes or fall for unavailable companions. However long-lasting relationships are in regards to the on a regular basis, the odd, the thrill and the pettiness, the navigating of life after that “intense flame” burns out.

You’ve informed her how you actually really feel (if certainly you already know that) so it might be sensible to go away her to it. I do know this might be tough and painful within the shorter time period, however the state of affairs you’re in has the potential to trigger nice harm additional down the road. “Leaving issues to the universe” is nice printed on a tea towel, however actual life requires a extra lively enter.

Each week Annalisa Barbieri addresses a family-related drawback despatched in by a reader. If you want recommendation from Annalisa on a household matter, please ship your drawback to ask.annalisa@theguardian.com. Annalisa regrets she can’t enter into private correspondence. Submissions are topic to our phrases and circumstances.

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