I Can’t Stay and I Can’t Go

MomResponds # 484 – I Can’t Stay and I Can’t Go

Question: Dear Luise: I am a single mum to 3 precious children. I left a troublesome relationship almost 3 years ago. The relationship is still very fractious. I am in a new relationship with a widowed man. We have been together 2 and a half years. Our relationship was struck up, I sometimes think, far too quickly after the loss of his wife to cancer. I feel I am now at the stage where I want to have some permanence in my life again and my new partner fulfills all the qualities I would love to have in the man I share my life with. We have a combined number of 5 children between us but this causes no problem. We all get on so well and I love the guy to bits. The problem is I do not think my partner has any intention of moving on with the view to sharing a life with me any further than we already do, which is seeing each other on a daily basis. I know he cares for me but I cannot read the signs nor pluck up the courage to ask what he wants from me being in his life. We are both still in our 30’s, which I consider still to be young. I don’t want to waste years again on a pointless relationship. I am sure his in-laws from his marriage have an invisible hold over his life. When they speak nasty of me to his children, he never defends my name. I am so lost just now. I’m stuck in limbo again. I feel I took too many years to eventually break free of my marriage, yet I seem to be enchanted by this man. I keep saying I will give myself 1 more month and if nothing develops I must move on. I think I have said that for the last 8 months!! Please advise me, I don’t want to make another big mistake.
Thank you, X

Answer: Dear X: Two and a half years is a long time to dangle. If what you have between you is the best he can offer then the ball is in your court.

There are a lot of warning signs, certainly the strongest being that he does not defend you when it would seem the natural thing to do. You say you can’t read the signs but isn’t that one pretty obvious?

It seems to me that any relationship that doesn’t have a strong communication base is headed for trouble. How can issues not discussed be resolved? Is it possible that you can’t pluck up the courage to ask him what he wants from you because you are afraid of the answer? Isn’t he already getting what he wants?

You are in charge of what you want…and the “waiting game” isn’t it, is it? You have the right guy and the wrong circumstances. There isn’t any way to call it anything else. Some people are content with half a loaf but you don’t sound like you are one of them. You want, (and deserve), respect and marriage and neither are coming your way in the situation you describe. You have a “convenient arrangement”.

Talk to the guy. Open up your heart and let him know what you are feeling and what you need. If he’s not interested, then his definition of love doesn’t match yours. And, you’re right, it would be a big mistake to try to build any kind of permanent relationship without the respect that true love brings. Blessings, Luise

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