It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Ready to Move Forward” whose boyfriend of about a year expressed disinterest in being a father figure to her two kids.
She wrote: “I feel stuck because I want us to get married and he doesn’t see that happening for 5+ years at which time my kids may go off to university (although there is no guarantee they will be out of the house even then). I find myself, at the end of our beautiful weekends (when we’re away from our kids), having frustrating relationship talks with him or holding myself back from saying or doing something I might regret. He has told me he’d rather break up if I’m going to keep being resentful of this situation because he’s not ready to change it right now. I really don’t want to break up; I think he’s an absolute gem and I really value our relationship.”
Her update, below.
I was kinda shocked because weeks before he had started sending me house listings of homes we could look at together, he was talking about setting goals together and he was putting in writing what we wanted in a relationship. I also made a big deal of his birthday, and we had just celebrated a one-year anniversary. My take is that he realized he did not want to go down the route of a blended family life with me, didn’t want to buy or take care of a home together, and didn’t want more kids to be responsible for. He really just wanted the fun part of dating on weekends.
Also, I’ve been going through a lot of stress lately with my work, and he complained that “all you talk about is work,” that I’m not as financially stable as he would like, and that I am indecisive. (I have a bit of ADHD but am totally functional and run a business.) It just pisses me off because he was picking apart my personality and this is someone who is supposed to love me and accept me as I am. I’m not perfect and I’m always working on myself, but who is perfect?
His kids are older and he had a lot of spare time to go to the gym, ride his motorcycle, read, or spend time with his kids. That is versus me, with younger kids, as I was spending virtually all my spare time with him, and when I asked him to help with things in the house on the weekends he was here, he would, but then he would complain about it or say we spend all our time doing that versus going downtown to restaurants, etc. Like I said, he wanted me as a dating partner but not someone with whom to build a life together.
Anyway, that is the update. I have been pretty down but trying to move on, having no contact with him, and exploring dating a bit again. One thing I am getting out of this break-up is I thought I had picked such a stable, steady man, but I was also using the relationship as a way to escape some issues I need to work on in my life, namely creating more financial stability and less stress. My marriage also suffered from these two issues, but I don’t want to fix them to get back together with these partners. I want to fix them for me.
Thank you for the update. I’m sorry you’re hurting, but it does sound like you two wanted different things and, ultimately, were not a match for a long-term relationship. Your final paragraph puzzles me. You seem to be aware that this relationship was a way for you to escape some issues you need to work on, as you say – issues that hurt your marriage as well. But you also say that you are exploring dating again, just weeks after this devastating breakup.
You didn’t ask for advice this time, but I’m going to give you some anyway: Take a year off from dating. Like, do zero dating, and really focus on yourself like you say you want to do. Get some therapy and try to unpack your fear of being alone. I think until you address the issues that keep affecting your relationships, you’re going to continue having the same problems with men.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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