Things got more serious with us leading up to that scheduled trip, and as the time got closer, he would tell me planned trip details while I expressed that I did not want to hear them. Eventually I realized I had strong feelings and that I could not continue this relationship knowing he would be traveling with his ex. I should also mention that, in addition to being on this trip, she was all over his social media and he admitted he still had feelings for her that were unresolved in spite of his falling for me.
We are both in our late 30s, but I’m not in a race to settle down and I am certainly not in a place where I am willing to settle. I told him I was done and that I felt that the whole situation was too much for me. He has since written me a letter expressing he is in love with me — yet still planning on heading on the trip. I am feeling a bit out of sorts here, not sure if I am blowing up something potentially amazing due to timing. Thoughts? — They Were On a Break
I think you did the right thing breaking up with a man who still has feelings for an ex he’s about to travel to another country with for two weeks. I would go a step further if I were you and tell him that you need him to completely leave you alone — no texts, emails, social media messages, phone calls, anything. You want a clean break because it was hard enough falling for someone who still has feelings for someone else and you don’t want to drag yourself through whatever trip he’s on — metaphorically speaking — with his confusion about where his heart is. Stand your ground, girl. A man who was truly in love with you would not risk what he had with you for a vacation. He’s playing you. He’s probably playing his ex, too, but that’s her problem. Let him go, and in the future don’t date someone who is “on break” from someone else. Any break-ups have to be clean, official, confirmed break-ups or you’re not putting your heart on the line, period. Since there’s enough risk in general for heartache whenever you date anyone, why add even more risk by dating someone who is still admittedly attached to someone else?
I’ll admit I was a little insecure about certain things (her exes and some of her close guy friends), but I never stopped her from doing anything she wanted to do; it was just nice to have a little reassurance every now and then.
Her mom suffers from health issues, is wheelchair-bound, and is frequently in and out of hospitals. With stress over her mom’s health, over the fact she has had to move in with one of her friends as a boarder because she can’t afford to rent on her own, and over a legal thing going on with her brother that I won’t go into detail about, she has decided that a relationship with someone who she felt needed constant reassurance was just too much to deal with, so she ended up calling it quits with me.
She told me that she still loves me and cares for me, but that she just has so much going on right now that she feels overwhelmed. (She also always suffers from severe depression at the best of times.) All her friends love me, and one of her closest friends has even said that we’ll get back together but that it’s just going to take some time.
I still hang out with her friends when she’s not around, they’re really cool people, and the other day my ex called my mom up in tears telling her that she loves me but that she just can’t be with me right now and that she’s sorry for hurting me.
What do I make of all this? I know it’s an early relationship, but I’ve honestly never felt this strongly about anyone in my life. I’ll wait as long as it takes, but am I just setting myself up for disappointment? Will she actually come back? — Set Up for Disappointment?
Even if it’s not disappointment you’re setting yourself up for, it’s stress, turmoil, and a whole lotta drama. Look at all the drama after only three months! And if she “suffers from severe depression at the best of times,” she is not anywhere close to ready for a relationship, let alone a relationship with someone who sounds as emotionally… well, needy, as you do. Please, for your benefit as well as her benefit, shelve any idea of a romantic relationship with this girl. If you think you could be her friend with zero strings attached, fine, but I have doubts that that would be possible. Probably better to simply cut ties with her, wish her well, and move on. And that means stop hanging with her friends, too. She was honest with you when she said she doesn’t have the emotional reserve to tend to your needs or the demands of a relationship. Respect that and move on.
That he either is very lazy about de-cluttering or is still pretty sentimental and nostalgic about his ex-wife and their marriage. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what the correct answer is here. The only one who can help you figure it out is your boyfriend, and it sounds like it’s time to have an uncomfortable conversation with him. Be sure to address your feelings about seeing these mementos of his past relationships so easily accessible in his home. His response to you will tell you a lot about where his heart is.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.