Question: Dear Luise: I wrote a while back regarding my grief process with around my mother’s death and all of the other things (family and other relationships) impacted by the manner in which I handled things over the past year. Well- my romantic partner and I worked things out and were moving forward in a a very positive direction- when out of the blue- a person from his past materialized claiming that she has a child that is his. Mind you that the baby is apparently going on two years old. From a practical perspective- the dates do not add up. My guy and I started dating in October of 2011- he was seeing her in the late summer of 2011- she says the child was born August 2011. He never saw a kid nor saw her pregnant during the time they were seeing each other. Well needless to say- a paternity test is in order- which she refuses to permit. He- on the other hand, has been trying to work through this without my intervention (which I am absolutely fine with- I do not want to be in the middle of it). The issues are: (1) this has triggered something very deep in him- he has been married before and was not permitted to be involved in his son’s life by the mom; (2) he has no interest in the mother of this child and that apparently complicates matters even more and (3) he has moved into a psychological space that has entirely shut me out. I do love and care about him very deeply and I just cannot believe that something like this would pop up out of nowhere. I have assured him that even if the kid is his, I am still there for him. We are 50 and 51 years old- and of course, all of this is a shock, but I am having a hard time understanding his reaction. I am an analytical person and the first thing I would have straightened out would have been the dates and the next order of business would have been a paternity test done be a doctor. I have not attempted to intervene and he does not want to talk with me about it- but to totally shut me out is hurtful. We went through so much with my mom and overcame so many obstacles- and it is difficult for me to understand how he would permit this to entirely derail our entire relationship. Is this one of those ‘cut your losses and move on type things’ or ‘be patient and wait for him to work it out’. He has said that he needs to handle it on his own- and believe it or not, I totally get that and am fine with him handling. What I am not fine with is that he is shutting me out- that is not fun or fair- at least in my opinion. This man is the person who showed me that even at my worst- I was still lovable. This was a huge thing for me- and I don’t really want to walk away from him- but I also know that I can’t force myself to be there if he does not want me there. A quandry…K.
Answer: Dear K.: Sometime we get a series of hurdles. I have no idea why.
Your guy showed you unconditional love when you were down for the count and I agree that now it’s your turn. You can’t change his way of addressing his issue, of course. Locking you out seems to work for him for some reason, although he may not even know himself why he has taken that stand.
I would suggest you ask him if there is any way at all that he would like your support. That includes his being alone…if he feels the need. All you can do is back him and back off. Acceptance can be a priceless gift. No, his attitude isn’t fun or fair. It also isn’t kind or thoughtful. It just “is.”
I am a person who likes support that I can count on at the worst times in my life…but there are those who shut down and pull away when they are overwhelmed. Blessings, Luise