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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.

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  • #989429 Reply

    Thanks for the replies, they have made me feel better. My boyfriend is a good man, and his behaviour shows he does care about me. He has introduced me to friends and his sister (his parents live abroad). He rarely mentions his ex. He did not even tell me he’d been married until about the 10th date when I asked how long he’s lived alone, then who he used to live with. It surprised me as I thought he would have mentioned a marriage earlier. I was worried that he was not more forthcoming telling me this and I wonder if it had not come up how long til I found out? He has been quite open with other things. Anyways I did not like the idea of him previously committing to and loving someone else that much, and being with someone for years, but I accepted it.

    The other day I went back through his sisters insta and found wedding photos. He looked so happy with her and the wedding actually looked like what I’d imagined my wedding to like look, and really big, so now I feel like I would have to make our wedding (if this ever happened) different and like he wouldn’t want anything so fancy again. I had barely thought about his wedding before this and he has never mentioned it.

    I actually have no idea if he’s had another relationship since the divorce. But its been almost 3 years since his marriage ended so even if he hasn’t is that actually some sort of indication we are less likely to work out or I could still be a rebound? Also I’m not sure you would move on quicker after betrayal??

    Anonymousse is right that we have very different experiences with relationships and I think had I been in a past serious relationship, his past would not bother me as much. I prefer older men though and do know most people will have some sort of past.

    #989672 Reply

    You really need to focus on just being in the moment in your relationship with him – which will either work out or it won’t – instead of on all of these outside factors that you’re placing too much significance on. You’ve been dating 4 months, it’s a little premature to be thinking about what kind of wedding you’re going to have.

    #989729 Reply

    Look, whoever mentioned that you may be a rebound was wrong. He’s been divorced for a few years. That’s not something you should be worried about. I started dating my husband within a year of his divorce. I have no idea if he was in a rebound relationship between the divorce and me. I seriously doubt it. I’m certainly not a rebound.

    Stop focusing on a wedding to someone you’ve only dated for a short while. Focus on the person and whether you’re compatible long-term. A wedding doesn’t make a lifelong commitment work. People do. Enjoy getting to know each other. Find out if he’s someone you want to spend your life with. You’ll need to have a lot of conversations (Wendy has a long list of things to discuss) before deciding.

    At this point, your focus on a wedding raises red flags more so than his divorce.

    Also, of course he was happy at his previous wedding. He wasn’t expecting it would end in ruin. That doesn’t mean he’s pining for his ex or is unable to love someone else again/more.

    #989745 Reply

    I agree that you are getting way ahead of yourself. You’ve been dating a nice guy for only a couple months. Enjoy that. Get to know him. Judge the relationship by how he makes you feel, how he treats you, etc not by what his wedding photos may have looked like. His past relationships probably will have nothing to do with the one you have with him.

    I do think you are tempting fate by creeping on his sister’s Instagram to look for his wedding photos. Like you are making this into a Thing, when it’s possible it really isn’t a thing at all. Things happen in life sometimes not the way you planned (like a marriage ending in your wife cheating on you) and people are able to move on without weird feelings about it. Or they move on without it seriously affecting their relationships for the rest of their life. Most people don’t enjoy being cheated on, and since he ended his marriage, he probably doesn’t look back too fondly on that relationship. But in your head, because you’ve never had a long relationship, you’re making it into a big deal. And imagining heartbreak or feelings that you don’t actually know are there. And he might have complicated feelings about it! But he also might feel that way and still be happy he’s dating you. And so being kind of weird and creeping on his family’s instagrams and having a lot of thoughts about this could hurt your relationship. It’s his story to tell you when he wants to, not something you need to investigate.

    Don’t start planning your wedding. And if you like older guys, you had better get used to a certain amount of “baggage” or experience because that’s what you get with guys who are older than you.

    #989876 Reply

    Yeah, you need to slow your roll. Stop making so many assumptions, stop painting everyone with the same broad strokes. Some people bounce back quickly after a betrayal, some don’t. Three years is actually quite a bit of time to grieve, heal, and move on. Rebounding is more of an immediate thing after a breakup, so no, you’re not a rebound. But that also doesn’t mean you two will work out.

    If you’re curious if he’s dated at all since his divorce, you can ask. I think the only thing I ever eventually asked my divorced ex was how he felt about potentially remarrying one day. I otherwise wasn’t that curious about his past and let him volunteer what he wanted to share.

    I know some people like fantasizing about their wedding day, so I won’t totally begrudge you of that, but like others have said, it’s just one day in the marriage. Having to alter your dream party plans shouldn’t be a concern. Not to mention, once you go to enough weddings, you realize many look and feel the same.

    If you feel you need it, consider a therapist. Most people you will date at your age are going to have some kind of past and you’ll have to accept that no matter who you date.

    #990765 Reply

    Honestly, the fact that it took him so long to bring up his ex rather proves to me that he IS over her. In my experience, people who aren’t truly over their exes can’t stop talking about them. Hell, they often come up in great detail on first dates. And THAT’s when you really need to worry…

    #990817 Reply

    You might be picking up on a resentment he has to his ex which doesn’t mean he isn’t over his ex but would mean that he is going to have some trust issues in the relationship. We weren’t at the table when he disclosed he had been married before so only you know if he was acting cagey or uncomfortable. He might use it as an excuse as to why he’s distant with you or can’t commit or doesn’t want to get married again etc. Just because someone has a reason for acting the way they act doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Just evaluate if you want the same things and if not move on. You’re making a bigger deal than it is.

    And as you yourself age and enter your late twenties and claim you like dating older people you will find that most everyone (even yourself) will have a dating history. This isn’t going to be like when you’re 19 and dating a 24 year old. So you will have to accept that you won’t be someone’s first love and they likely not yours.

    Also, It’s odd that you are concerned about you’re own wedding though especially since he hasn’t even proposed to you. It says that you are more interested in the image rather than the reality. It seems that you are hung up on his ex and “winning” as if the type of wedding you have will determine your marriage. I was already married at your age (am now 30) but I didn’t plan my wedding or even think about it before we were engaged. A wedding is only a party – a very expensive party- but just a party to celebrate. It has no bearing on the marriage.

    #991018 Reply

    And a wedding can be quite a small party. Doesn’t effect the quality or duration of the marriage one whit. Most of the marriages in my family have been modest affairs. None of us dreamt of a big wedding. All of the marriages have lasted, from 35 to over 50 years. LW should want to marry because she really, really wants to live with this guy for the rest of her life (often doesn’t last that long, but that should be the intent going in), not because she’s always dreamt of an awesome, big, splashy wedding. That he already had a big wedding should matter not at all.

    Almost all of the guys I know cared almost not at all for a big wedding, even those who went the big, formal wedding route: it was what their gf or one or both sets of parents wanted. That yours will be his second big wedding will have zero impact on your marriage — if that even happens. You really are rushing those thoughts.

    #991498 Reply

    I’m not actually obsessed with my future wedding. I have dreamed about having a wedding one day but hadn’t really thought about a wedding with him until I saw the pictures of his wedding with his ex I shouldn’t have looked as its what made me feel a little insecure. I was feeling fine about things before that. I didn’t go hunting for the pictures, his sister started following me and it didn’t take more than a quick look through her insta to see them.

    I did find it strange he did not mention he’d been married or talk about an ex sooner than 10 dates but I had not asked, although there were openings he could have used to bring it up. I’d casually referenced my ex but nothing more. That is true though that it would be a bad sign if he talked about her a lot. He doesn’t talk about her now. He did offer the information eventually and seemed a tad awkward talking about it. Maybe it still hurts to talk about her. He must have positive memories of her too though even if it ended so badly. Or maybe all the memories are tainted? I sometimes think back to my ex positively and I know thats normal. Sorry I know I’m going on now. I really do like him, this has all just popped into my head again in the past few days.

    #991620 Reply

    I think it’s a bit off that he didn’t mention he’d been married until 10 dates in, when asked, but not the red flag it would be if he was cursing his ex and talking a lot about the situation early on.

    My online dating profile had the “divorced” option selected. My now husband asked a casual question about it on an early date and I gave him a basic answer that summed it up without bashing my ex. I’m sure I’d have brought it up before 10 dates, but I wasn’t cheated on. I didn’t have bad, hurt feelings about the marriage and was over it. I could be matter of fact. For your bf, hurt and trauma are probably still there. He doesn’t like talking about it. I don’t think it’s a red flag in itself though. I also don’t see any significance in who he has or hasn’t dated in the past 3 years, but you are allowed to ask.

    Also, of course he loved his ex. Of course he has happy memories. Everyone does, of pretty much every relationship. You do realize people can love many people in their lifetimes?

    Again, I would advise you to stop thinking about this stuff and focus on how you feel when you’re with him. How he treats you. Whether you have all 5 components of chemistry (check out “Is He Mr. Right?” by Mira Kirshenbaum).

    #991736 Reply

    You seemed wedding-obsessed because you kept mentioning it.

    Anyway, everything @kate said.

    I can’t say whether 10 dates in was waiting too long to bring it up. If he was visibly uncomfortable, he probably doesn’t like talking about it. He’s raising no red flags here.

    The only reason I knew my husband had an ex-wife early is because we work together and I vaguely knew he was once married. I also distinctly remember a convo with a man I dated before him. Early in he asked what my story was in relation to my dating history. I told him I was once engaged but called it off. I honestly don’t know when I would have brought it up if he didn’t ask.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by avatarktfran.
    #991939 Reply

    My divorced ex’s ex-wife was a closeted lesbian who cheated on him, then left him for, another woman. We met online, so I knew from his profile he was divorced, but I could tell he didn’t like talking about it. He was a little embarrassed… that he’d married young against his better judgment, that he was the only divorced person he knew at the time, that he never realized his wife was into women even though there were some signs all along. I was the first person he dated after his divorce and I don’t think he really knew how to do it yet. I don’t know that there’s a one-size-fits-all best approach for telling a new person about your past. Everyone’s different. I have friends who are very open books in dating whereas I’m someone who is probably slower to get to know. Neither is necessarily wrong.

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