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Give up or give time?

 
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2015 10:20 am
Hi,

I’m hoping some of the lovely people on here might give me some advice. I’ve been dating a widower for 9 months and we broke up last week. This was at his request as he said he’s too messed up to be in a relationship right now. However, he wants to stay friends. He contacted me the next day to suggest some DIY things he could do in my house and again a few days later updating me on what his kids and he were up to (almost seeking approval). Now, usually, if a guy says he doesn’t want to date and wants to be friends I’d walk away and move on (as hard as that is) as I think remaining friends will only hurt me and hold me back. However, I absolutely adore this man and I know he’s still grieving. We have had such an amazing connection on so many levels and to throw it away seems such a terrible waste. So I’m torn as to what to do.

A little background: he’s on anti-depressants and has been since his wife died 24 months ago, but he’s recently become much more down – I strongly suspect this is due to their 20th wedding anniversary being this month. They had a mostly good marriage, though he’s been very open and has told me that in the final few years things were tough (he slept apart from her and had contemplated divorce). Naturally, when she was diagnosed with cancer, they grew much closer again, and I’ve no doubt he loves her and always will (and that’s as it should be).

My question, I guess, is, if you were in my position, would you simply end all contact or give him some time as a friend and hope he sees what he’s throwing away?

Also, has anyone dated a widower who has broken things off and then have him return, or am I just deluding myself?

Any and all advice welcome.

Thanks!
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2015 11:14 am
@hopeful04,
My suggestion (note: I've never been in your position) would be to suggest to him that he seek counseling. No strings, no expectations, etc. This is, he is your friend and you are concerned about him. Antidepressants are all well and good, but it often helps to also get counseling. It would also be a good idea as these drugs can stop working and can sometimes make the people on them feel worse, even suicidal. Getting a counselor or any medical professional involved means that he'd be better monitored.

I think some of this is above your pay grade. He needs some time to get better, and that should probably be on his own.

In the meantime, I'd personally be friendly but I also wouldn't hang around and wait. I would put myself out there and go out on dates if they became available to me. Live your life while he recovers. It's not cheating and it's not cruel and it's not impatient. You are allowed to not put your life on hold.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2015 11:15 am
hopeful04 wrote:

I'm not sure if it's relevant, but in case it affects people's answers, I'm in my 30s and he's in his 40s. We both have primary age children.


I copied your reply over from the other topic and then pulled that topic (I'm an Admin here). You don't need 2 topics. Smile
0 Replies
 
Vernon of Prague
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 02:06 am
@hopeful04,
Hi,

I had one friend just like that and he suffered quite a lot because of it. I knew him for 2 or 3 years but he made no progress.

Your question i very complicated, as it might vary individually. The question probably is do YOU want to wait and how long or do you want to move on to another guy.

This is what I would do on your place: I'll count pros and cons of being with this guy. According to this I'll decide how much and how long do I want to stay being friend with him. Meanwhile looking for other fishes of course...

Does it make sense?
hopeful04
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 04:53 am
@Vernon of Prague,
Thanks for your replies!

I feel I may be setting myself up for more heartache and I've got to minimize that risk. So, with that in mind, I've decided that I'll give it a month of being friends. If, after that time, I still feel as dissatisfied and flat as I do now, I'll have to cut my losses and move on.

I'll try to reply here to say what happened in case anyone else is in the same boat in the future.

Thanks again!
PUNKEY
 
  3  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 07:05 am
Well, he has told you that he is not ready. But he wants to stay connected with you, so he offers to do things around the house. He is doing what he can when he can. He's being honest with you.

The issue is: You two are at different stages in your lives. Right man, Wrong time.

Two years is NOT a long time in grieving. And, yes, that anniversary date is hard on everyone, every year. (I'm at my 6th year and every May I am "off", for sure.)

You need to assess if you going to be a "transition woman" in his life. You nicely fill his days now , but you may not be the final choice when he is ready to finally move on. But then again, that's true with any kind of love.


Has he ever gone to grief counseling? (Men usually don't, and they do grieve differently). I insisted that the widower that I am dating go to grief counseling before our relationship went any further. He had such mixed feelings of anger and betrayal with his deceased wife, and had to deal with that, so he could finally forgive her before he was able to go on. It sounds like your guy needs to talk to someone about the past so he can move on.

This is all going to take patience on your part. If you have the time, then you can wait. It all depends on how much you want to put yourself out to an unknown.


.
Vernon of Prague
 
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Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 11:29 am
@hopeful04,
Thank you too! What you said sounds like a solid plan, so go ahead and good luck! Smile

V.
0 Replies
 
hopeful04
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 12:51 pm
@PUNKEY,
Thanks for the advice.

I don't know why I put 24 months in my original post. It's been 2.5 years, not 2 years. However, I still don't think that's a long time for grieving a life partner.

He had some counselling a while back and when we first met (when I was scared of being the transitional woman and grilled him on the topic!) he did an excellent job of convincing me he was ready for a new chapter and that I was the right woman for him. However, I think deepening feelings have triggered guilt, grief and depression on his part and he's distanced himself as a result. I realise there's nothing I can do to change that though and I have to respect his decision.

So I'll stick with the month plan and see what happens :-)

Thanks again!
ehBeth
 
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Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 01:05 pm
@hopeful04,
Other than thinking of him as a life partner - do you like him? is he someone you'd like as a friend? can you deal with him as a friend rather than as a potential partner?

Widows/widowers need friends who weren't attached to the previous relationship. It's good for them to have friends who know them on their own. Could you handle being one of those people for him?

_________

and yeah, 2/2.5 years is a very short time for grieving - even with some counselling. he may have believed he was more prepared for a new relationship than he truly was. Anniversaries definitely bring on stronger feelings of mourning again.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
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Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 01:07 pm
@hopeful04,
hopeful04 wrote:
So, with that in mind, I've decided that I'll give it a month of being friends. If, after that time, I still feel as dissatisfied and flat as I do now, I'll have to cut my losses and move on.


so if there's no chance for a relationship/partnership you'd cut him off as a friend?

might as well say goodbye now
hopeful04
 
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Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 02:13 pm
@ehBeth,
If there's no chance of rekindling the romantic relationship *and* I feel as low as I do now about the situation, then, yes, in a month's time I will need to walk away.
ehBeth
 
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Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 02:21 pm
@hopeful04,
Why wait? if he's not someone you want as a friend, it would be kinder to say goodbye sooner rather than later.
hopeful04
 
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Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 02:40 pm
@ehBeth,
Why wait? I guess because after what we've shared together and how suddenly his feelings changed (literally in the space of a few days, at a very emotive time), I hope there's the potential he may change his mind. Life is short and it's rare to meet someone you're so connected with.

So it's not that I don't want him as a friend. I do. Friendship, fun and laughter was a big part of our relationship, but so was romance and sex. In short, I want him as a friend *and* a romantic partner. And as much as I want to support him, I have to look out for my feelings too. So, either in the next month I will become more at ease with a platonic relationship or he'll contemplate changing his mind (granted, I don't think this is likely in that time frame or perhaps even at all). But I'd like to give either option a chance.
Vernon of Prague
 
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Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 03:10 pm
@hopeful04,
Quote:
If there's no chance of rekindling the romantic relationship *and* I feel as low as I do now about the situation, then, yes, in a month's time I will need to walk away.


if I may interfere, to me it sound reasonable. The situation is not the best but she want's to give it some more chance to see if something happens or not. People with depression might be very burdening for healthy people. But how do you differ depression from simple sorrow? Only by time...
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
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Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 05:04 pm
@hopeful04,
Fair enough.
0 Replies
 
 

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