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Joined: May 2005
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Alphin Offline OP
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I have been ‘seeing’ this guy for 4 months, and I am increasingly worried that I’ve made a terrible mistake.

A little background. G has been my friend from school since we were 11 years old. He says he has always loved me, and now wants to marry me, or at least for us to move in together.

The last time he asked me out we were 16. I said no then, but our friendship survived, even when he left the country (he teaches English as a foreign language, and has lived abroad a lot). He currently lives in Spain, and I am in the UK. He is looking for jobs in the UK so that we can be together, though he was intending to move back to the UK soon anyway – his parents are elderly and not in the best of health.

He is an incredibly generous and kind man, I want to make that clear from the first. My children like him very much (both have known him since they were babies). He has helped me out financially and emotionally since my ex left, even before we became ‘involved’. Obviously, we also have a great deal of ‘history’ together as friends, which is very important to me.

He is 37, about a month older than me. He has never been married, although he did live with a woman for 7 years. This relationship just fizzled out – the split was not acrimonious and they remain friends. Prior to her, he had only had very short term relationships, the longest of which only lasted about a year. He has no children of his own, and, apart from ‘holiday contact’ with mine, very little experience with them.

He tells me I am his soul-mate, the only woman he has ever really loved, that his feelings wouldn’t have lasted all this time unless it was true love. Sounds great, huh?

Here’s the BIG ‘BUT’! Or several BIG ‘BUTS’!

I don’t love him. I have tried really hard, but it isn’t there. I know that ‘in love’ phase won’t last anyway, so it isn’t really that important to me. In truth, this is the least of my problems. I care a great deal about him, and hoped that would be enough, and that perhaps more romantic feelings would come in time.

Domestically, we have nothing in common. When we were teenagers, things like enjoying the same books, enjoying the same movies etc, were really important. Yes, we enjoy the same books and movies, but when you are heading towards 40, I think that other things matter more.

For example, I am a vegetarian. I have been for over 20 years and my children have been brought up as veggies, too. Because my ex left me high and dry, and I can’t work because I am disabled, I am also very poor. Food is very important to me – not just the eating of it, but the production of it too. I am very concerned that the food my family and I eat is healthy and also produced in a way that doesn’t harm the environment or cause hardship to others. I am an ‘ethical’ shopper. G isn’t. He knows nothing about food and cares even less. The only food he really enjoys is meat. He says that ‘when we live together’, he won’t eat meat in the house. Of course it’s fine if we go out and he chooses meat, but my point is we have a huge ideological difference between us here. I certainly don’t want to try and ‘educate’ him to my way of thinking, or ‘convert’ him to vegetarianism. If this way of life was important to him, he would have made changes before now. It would be the height of arrogance for me to try and make him ‘fit in’ with what I believe. And so, this difference remains.

It isn’t just the vegetarian thing, either. He has, I think, a very ‘childish’ attitude towards food. If he doesn’t like something, he just won’t eat it – simple as that. I remember once, years ago, I spent a long time making a soufflé with salad – I had invited him for lunch. When he arrived he said ‘don’t like eggs, don’t like salad’ and didn’t even try the food I’d made him. Frankly, I could have killed him!

He’s a little better than this now. Living in Spain has broadened his mind towards food slightly. But he still hardly eats anything healthy or nutritious. And, what is worse, he makes fun of the kind of food that we eat – in front of my children. I have asked him not to do this – we have very little money so my children will eat what they are given, and it doesn’t help to have someone making cute little disparaging comments about my food! But the comments will keep slipping out – he said the last time he was here (to DD6 who is a fussy eater herself) ‘If I don’t like something, I just don’t eat it’. Gee, thanks G – way to go with encouraging DD6 to eat her greens!

The second big thing – he smokes. A lot. About 40 a day. Obviously he is not allowed to smoke in my house when he visits, but he smokes in front of the children when we are out together. I hate it – he is killing himself in front of us – that’s how I see it, and setting a very bad example to the children. I do not want to be with someone who may well die a long, painful and entirely self-inflicted death in the relatively near future. It may sound incredibly selfish, but I have my own serious health issues to deal with.

So, I have told him that I won’t live with him unless he stops smoking. He has told me he will give up when he comes back to the UK, because cigs are so much more expensive here, and culturally it is becoming very unacceptable to smoke.

Third - he lies. Little white lies, very frequently. He has always been like this, from what I can remember, and it didn’t used to bother me much, but when someone wants to be your partner in life, and when you have been betrayed, lied to and abandoned by your previous partner, lying, even little white lies, matters a whole lot.

For example. The other day he had arranged to meet two work colleagues and their wives for lunch. On the way, he changed his mind, phoned them and told them he was sick and couldn’t make it. He went to the movies instead. Another example was when I had first gone to visit him as a divorced woman. One of his work colleagues invited us out, and we didn’t want to go – just wanted to be with each other. So G called his work colleague and told him he’d hurt his back. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just say, no thanks – another time.

It’s become a habit of his, the white lies. But I worry that what is basically conflict avoidance now (a problem in itself, I know) will become a way of life between us. That he will lie to me, and the lies will become bigger and bigger.

I know I need to talk to him about all these things – and believe me, I’ve tried. But on the telephone, I find it hard to get a word in edgeways. He just talks over me – it’s rude, yes, but he’s basically quite nervous and that’s why he does it. I’ll try and bring up a problem I want to talk about, and he’ll just talk over it. In the end I feel it isn’t worth the effort, and let it go.

Finally, I think he is very naïve about how things will be when (if!) we live together. I think he is very naïve about our relationship in general. I understand the enormous stress that step parenting can put on any relationship, but he just thinks everything will be fine, that because the kids like him now, that they will continue to like him if we live together. Also, this thing about him calling me his soul mate – well, I just don’t believe in ‘soul-mateism’ any more. I thought that my ex and I were soul mates, and then he left me for someone else! We had everything in common – certainly more than G and I do – so how can I be G’s soul-mate? He says that he’ll never leave me, that if he’s felt this way for 20 years it must be true love, but I tend to think that he’s felt this way for so long because he’s in love with a fantasy.

Part of the problem is this is a long-distance relationship. I don’t do well on the phone – I’ve never liked it as a form of communication; I’m much better at the written word and face-to-face dialogue. But when he visits, the girls are always here, so it is impossible to talk about anything to do with us. Emailing a grumble about a relationship seems wrong, too – we need to talk in person. But I don’t know when that will happen.

Finally, I am going to be alone this Christmas – the girls are spending the first part of the Christmas break with their dad. G wants to come and be with me for a few days, including Christmas. I don’t want him to. I really don’t think I could stand all the stress about food, his smoking and so on. Oh, he drinks too much too, in my opinion – did I mention that? But then my ex is an alcoholic, so I’m a little sensitive on that subject.

It’s a mess, I know. But I really care about this man. Ending the relationship would destroy him, as he says I’m all he’s ever wanted. I can’t do it. There’s also the very tricky subject of money – he has paid a lot of bills for me even though I have told him I didn’t want him to, but there was no way I could afford them otherwise so I accepted in the end. Now I kind of feel obligated too, which is a horrid feeling. But how do I live with this man? How can I compromise everything I believe in to accommodate him?

I'm such a horrendous harpy - I know. I think the main problem is I jumped into this much too early after my divorce. But G won't accept it might be a rebound relationship!

Do relationships work better if you don’t live together?

What can I do?

Alph.


Me, BS 37 Him, WXH (Noddy) 40 DD13, DD6 Married 14th August 1993 D/Day 2nd April 05 Noddy left us 3rd April 05, lives with OW (Omelette) 28 Divorce final 6th July '06. Time wounds all heels... - Groucho Marx ...except when it doesn't. - Graycloud
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I think you already know what you should not do.

Why wouldn't you stay just (long distance) friends?
It seems it's 'maximum' you should have with this guy.

And don't worry, he will not be destroyed if you leave him.

We all survived, marriages full of lies and cheating, and we moved on, stronger, with kids and their destroyed family lives in our lugagge too, together with our own lost illusions, some dreams... i.e. much worse things than he would lose if you discontinue this relationship...

PS: At the beginning of your message, I was thinking... you are disabled, cannot work, have two small children, poor... what other kind of man you can love and respect if not the one who can love and accept you and your kids and provide for you, take care of you, love you... what else do you need from a man...
Then, after your numbering all his weaknessess and your concerns... all I think now is - the most important thing you should have, and your kids above all, is - peace... Peace in mind, and harmony you make with your children regardless if you eat once per day or have treasure on your table (and in your pockets)...
Peace your own... Nothing better I can chose for myself, and nothing better I can advice you...


I'm not Belonging to Nowhere anymore! :-)
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Alphin Offline OP
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Hi Belonging -

Thank you for your reply.

I find myself caught between the two points of view you expressed in your 'PS' - that is, here is a man who loves and cares about me, who is certainly more stable and 'steady' than my ex; and, as you say, the need for peace.

I feel terrible about my post, as I think I've made him sound awful, and he is really a lovely man. We are just so different.

I know that I should never have gotten involved with anyone so early after my D, let alone an old friend. I don't feel I am capable of loving anyone.

The basic problem is that G isn't my ex. That's as honest as I can be.

Alph.


Me, BS 37 Him, WXH (Noddy) 40 DD13, DD6 Married 14th August 1993 D/Day 2nd April 05 Noddy left us 3rd April 05, lives with OW (Omelette) 28 Divorce final 6th July '06. Time wounds all heels... - Groucho Marx ...except when it doesn't. - Graycloud
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Sounds to me like aside from the fact that you are totally wrong for each other, neither of you is healthy enough for a relationship - you because you are a self described mess and are still comparing people to your ex (and thinking they don't measure up to him), and him because he can't survive without you.

End it now, save both of yourselves lots of heartaches later. Relationships should not be drama.

AGG


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Quote:

He tells me I am his soul-mate, the only woman he has ever really loved, that his feelings wouldn’t have lasted all this time unless it was true love. Sounds great, huh?





BTW, this part above does not sound great at all - it sounds creepy and borderline stalker material, which seems to be close to being accurate from the rest of your post (he won't listen to you, won't live without you, talks over you, etc etc). Yikes...


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If you don't think you can stand a three day visit at Christmas with this man, then how on earth do you think you'll be able to stand actually living with him!?

If you truly will have to "overlook" every single thing about him, then he's not the one for you....no matter what he's paid for in the past.


Me - BW/FWW
Him - FWH/BH
Still figuring it all out - but we're figuring it out TOGETHER <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
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I've made the mistake you're considering making of being with a guy because he was a good person and cared about me. Even without all the life style differences - I have a friend who's H was a butcher when she met him and is now a vegetarian like her - if you're still in love with your XH and/or don't love G, don't get involved with him for the sake of security. You'll be depriving both of you of the chance at true happiness!


FBS, D'day 12/00 * NC since 5/02 * divorce final 5/06 * property settlement 9/06 What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has Magic, Power, and Genius in it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Alph,

My friend of 13 years became my lover last Thanksgiving.
(My wife didn't care too much for this either).
We (OW & I) were SO different (smoking, drinking, religion, cats, loner vs. interdependent). The only real thing we had in common was sex. She liked it as much as I did. But I gave up virtually everything I had chasing the illusion that she loved me. It was a disaster!! I'm trying to pick up the pieces of my life & my M now.

If you have ANY misgivings now, they will only get worse if you get together. If you intend to try it together, get counseling (IC & JC). You have many issues to work out before you get serious.

IF he moves to your area, see if he can get a flat, and date him. Do not let him move right in. He needs to prove himself to you. Also, before you become intimate, he needs to get STD testing. You don't really know where he's been.


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Alphin Offline OP
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Thank you, everyone, for your no-compromise advice. I knew I could rely on getting that here - it is what I needed.

What I really can't understand is how he can be oblivious to the differences between us - although he always has been, come to think of it.

Still, I guess it's worse to know about those differences and still proceed.

Thanks again.

Alph.


Me, BS 37 Him, WXH (Noddy) 40 DD13, DD6 Married 14th August 1993 D/Day 2nd April 05 Noddy left us 3rd April 05, lives with OW (Omelette) 28 Divorce final 6th July '06. Time wounds all heels... - Groucho Marx ...except when it doesn't. - Graycloud
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Quote:

What I really can't understand is how he can be oblivious to the differences between us - although he always has been, come to think of it.



Perhaps for him the fantasy is stronger than reality.

Quote:

There’s also the very tricky subject of money – he has paid a lot of bills for me even though I have told him I didn’t want him to, but there was no way I could afford them otherwise so I accepted in the end. Now I kind of feel obligated too, which is a horrid feeling. But how do I live with this man? How can I compromise everything I believe in to accommodate him?



This is what I really wanted to comment on. It seems to me that either he gave freely (for the pleasure of helping someone he loves), in which case you owe him nothing; or else he gave with the intent to manipulate (whether consciously or not), in which case you owe him nothing.

The differences you describe are substantial. The man doesn't sound as if he's assessing the situation realistically: he acts as if the lifestyle differences are of no significance, since he expects you - and quite possibly himself as well - to believe that he can make wholesale changes in his lifestyle to accommodate you if that proves necessary. Of course, it doesn't work that way.

Heck, even his proclivity for lying suggests that his hold on reality isn't particularly strong. To him, facts just may not seem to be very important.

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Quote:

Perhaps for him the fantasy is stronger than reality.




Hi GnomeDePlume. Yes, I'm afraid you are right. Another example is that he's only just realised that I have a rather 'hot' temper - it's a fault I've battled with all my life! Still, I guess it's actually a positive thing that he's seen something 'real' about me as well as just the fantasy.

I also spent a few days with him whilst I was in the midst of a rather nasty Crohn's flare-up. This sure wasn't pretty - enough to burst anyone's bubble (and, incidentally, one of the reasons why my ex left). G was great! Kind and supportive, and didn't seem phased at all. I never thought that he would be the type who handled illness well - but he was 100% lovely and 100% better than my ex (who displays many signs of NPD, so it's not surprising).

Quote:

It seems to me that either he gave freely (for the pleasure of helping someone he loves), in which case you owe him nothing; or else he gave with the intent to manipulate (whether consciously or not), in which case you owe him nothing.




You're right, of course. My discomfort mainly stems from the fact that I was a SAHM for much of my previous marriage, and as such I was financially dependant upon my ex. I never want to experience that vulnerability again.

Quote:

his hold on reality isn't particularly strong. To him, facts just may not seem to be very important.




I think this is true. He's kind of been living a 'playboy' existence for a long time - no kids, no responsibilities, just a job that is very easy for him, and plenty of fun in the sun. I find it hard to believe that he could make the move back to rainy old England, into a small house with two emotionally damaged (but still lovely) kids in it, not to mention the miriad of junk going around in their mother's head without a whole host of teething troubles.

I mention this to him, he retorts by saying he imagines 'his three girls' walking through an English meadow on a summer's day, dressed in Laura Ashley.

*sigh*

Alph.


Me, BS 37 Him, WXH (Noddy) 40 DD13, DD6 Married 14th August 1993 D/Day 2nd April 05 Noddy left us 3rd April 05, lives with OW (Omelette) 28 Divorce final 6th July '06. Time wounds all heels... - Groucho Marx ...except when it doesn't. - Graycloud

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