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Dear Wendy

Worried my partner isn’t fully over an old love.

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice Worried my partner isn’t fully over an old love.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 24 total)
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  • #988317 Reply
    avatarSleepless
    Participant

    I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about 6 months and really like him. He is 30 and I’m 25. He’s been married before and I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact that he loved someone else that much, and has already had a proposal and big fairytale wedding like it wouldn’t mean as much to do it again with me.

    I’ve dated a fair bit before but haven’t been in a relationship longer than 6 months and never been in love, but am starting to feel that way about him. My boyfriend however was in a relationship for 7 years total, lived with her for 4. She left him less than a year after the wedding, for someone else after having an affair. He was heartbroken and says he did not see it coming and now feel conflicted about her as he loved her so much but she hurt him.

    his was 3 years ago and while he does seem to really care about me, it took him a while before talking about it or even telling me he’d been married before. I worry that deep inside he’ll never get over her and I’ll never have his whole heart.

    I know this might sound unreasonable and everyone has a past, but I’m struggling to accept this. Do men always hang onto an old love and can they fully recover from heartbreak? I’ve read men take divorce harder.

    #988381 Reply
    avatarbloodymediocrity
    Participant

    “Do men always hang onto an old love and can they fully recover from heartbreak?”

    Of course they can. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t scars, old wounds that pop open from time to time. But this is true of everyone, not exclusive to men.

    But if you really can’t get past the fact that he’s been married before, well, you’ll have to decide how important it is that you get to be someone’s first fairy-tale wedding. Is this dream wedding worth breaking up an otherwise good relationship?

    That’s your call.

    #988448 Reply
    avatarsmallworld
    Guest

    If the ex cheated on him and it ended on bad terms it’s better for you. You’ll look good in comparison and men are less likely to be hung up on someone who betrayed them, rather than if the relationship ended on good terms.

    #988555 Reply
    avatarallathian
    Guest

    I don’t think that men take divorce harder, necessarily. Usually when there’s a breakup, one partner has been mentally preparing for it for a while, occasionally for a long time, while it’s often a complete surprise surprise for the other. There may have been signs that are obvious later, but which the person hasn’t been willing to see. The one who takes the initiative to break up has had time to process it for a while, whereas the other person starts processing it when the breakup happens.

    In a monogamous relationship, people don’t cheat on their partners if they’re fully committed to that relationship. If they cheat, it’s because there’s a lack of commitment on some level, maybe unconsciously. People who always cheat on their partners are incapable of committing fully to a monogamous relationship. That’s at least how I see it, for me, commitment to a monogamous relationship means that you don’t cheat under any circumstances, YMMV. Open relationships are something else entirely, of course.

    Do you know if your boyfriend and his ex tried to reconcile after the affair or did she break up with him because she wanted to continue the affair rather than commit to him? You said “she left him” and that’s why I’m assuming the divorce happened because she wanted it. All of these things can have some bearing on why he’s having trouble letting go of the old relationship.

    There’s always the possibility that he’s never been serious about you from the start, that you’re his rebound girlfriend. Do you know if he’s dated other women after his divorce and before he met you? I’m not saying that you need to know or are entitled to his entire dating history, but the first relationship after a big breakup rarely works out unless the person has fully come to terms with the breakup. That’s not to say that people can’t fully commit to a new SO after a breakup, but it does mean that they must be completely over the old relationship.

    #988679 Reply
    avataranonymousse
    Participant

    I am my husband’s second wife and I have never ever wondered if he’s hung up on her. I literally almost never think about her. I often forget he was married before me. I know his life and marriage with her is nothing compared to ours. Their wedding didn’t make ours less meaningful.

    Your insecurities are at play here- his past has nothing to do with what you are feeling. You’ve been dating six months! This is the time you should be over the moon happy and excited. Why do you think you are worried about this? Does he talk about her a lot?
    Sometimes it takes people a little longer to express feelings when they first start dating again. I would focus on why you seem to be preparing for the worst instead of being grateful for the good thing you have right now. You didn’t mention him ever expressing feelings for her or anything negative about your relationship. Maybe you aren’t a good match- you’re clearly at different stages in life as far as experience with relationships.

    #988691 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    I agree with others… I was married and divorced before 30. My husband was engaged to a former girlfriend. No lingering feelings in either case, and no worries.

    I think you’re wrong to assume that your bf must have unresolved feelings OR that he wouldn’t feel a second wedding is as special, just because you think that’s how men are. That’s nonsense.

    Unless… you are picking up on real indications that he’s not over his ex. Of course that’s possible. Is there something there that you’re feeling in your gut?

    #988775 Reply
    avatarHelen
    Guest

    I’m my husband’s 2nd wife. He was previously married for 9 years. I never think about it. He shows me daily that I’m the most important person to him. We were older when we got together, if I had been 25 I might have dwelled on it at first.

    #988805 Reply
    avatarCopa
    Participant

    One of my exes was divorced and I didn’t think about his previous marriage much at all. The only thing you’ve listed here as “evidence” he may not be over her is that he didn’t tell you about her or his marriage right away. I don’t think that’s a red flag at all. In fact, I’d think if he told you all about his ex, their marriage, their messy divorce, etc. early and often, that’s when I’d wonder if you had a problem. From what’s written here, it sounds like you’re worrying needlessly and projecting your own anxieties onto a man whose behavior isn’t indicating he’s still hung up on his ex.

    #988857 Reply
    avatarktfran
    Participant

    Count me in on the second wife club. All I know about the ex is that the husband dated her for a long time then he proposed but soon after realized it was likely a mistake. They went ahead with the marriage and were divorced within 18 months. We started dating less than a year later. We’re happily married.

    Not sure why they actually divorced. He doesn’t like to talk about it. I don’t even know her name.

    Anyway, others are right. Him being married before isn’t a problem unless that’s all he can talk about. A there something else wrong and you’re clinging to this as a red herring? Or are you afraid of getting hurt and looking for reasons he might hurt you thus becoming a self fulfilling prophecy? Definitely worth looking into.

    Ps. Our wedding was still awesome!!

    #988894 Reply
    avatarCopa
    Participant

    To add to one of @ktfran’s points, I’m a few years older than your boyfriend and have a decent chunk of friends who married young and are already divorced. I don’t know that any of them necessarily regret their choices, but most say they got married because they got caught up in the momentum of their relationships, not because they felt like they were soulmates or whatever. Heck, my divorced ex got married at 25 after being issued an ultimatum, divorced by 30. It’s possible your boyfriend was heartbroken at the time but with hindsight looks back on his marriage very differently.

    #988921 Reply
    avatarKarebear1813
    Participant

    LW, Love has nothing to do with being someones first at life experience. Sorry Disney b/s us that we’d all end up in picture perfect fairytale of having no other lover. I suggest you dig into why your jealous of this and if you cant accept that this person had a life before you then move on!

    #988927 Reply
    avatarron
    Guest

    karebear is correct and a therapist, even on-line, can help you with that. This is the flip side of he men who feel it vital to marry a virgin. Can’t help feeling it is low self-esteem and fear of negative comparisons. You have to take your SO as you find them. If you like and love them, then great — whatever went before doesn’t matter and is just part of the journey to their present selves. If you don’t love/like who they are today, then their prior sexual/relationship also doesn’t matter. Decide what matters to you rather quickly. It isn’t fair to him to keep stringing him along, feeling as you do, if you suspect that you can never accept his past. I wonder if you even want to be married, as opposed to wanting to have a big, glorious wedding. It seems strange that the all-important ‘first’ that bothers you is his prior wedding ceremony. Seems super shallow, but perhaps he likes that.

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