Do I stay and wait it out or give up and go?

Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 03:24 am
I've been seeing a widower for 10 months,
To establish the situation his wife of 25 years died of cancer 6 years ago and I'm the first girlfriend.
The relationship has been very stressful on both sides, his wife had told him to respect her and not move on too soon, I wonder if she had meant it as literally as he has taken it.
At first he wouldn't acknowledge our relationship but eventually after many rows etc we went public 2.5 months after we started seeing each other, we had known each other for about a year by then as friends first through a social group we both attend.
On the run up and over Christmas I got to know the entire family (his in laws and his blood family) and to my knowledge have been accepted by all.
After 7 months he finally put our status on Facebook, a remarkablely big deal to my partner, and last month he finally admitted he loved me.
Everything seemed good, we were finally after months of uncertainty moving on, booking holidays & trips away.
We had a fantastic week away together a few weeks ago we were both totally in love and free of the late wifes shadow and then bam we got home and 4 days later we hit the barriers and road blocks again.
He said he loved me very much, but although he wants too and would usually in past relationships start to see a future, he isn't prepared to do so with me.
The photos of his late wife all 20 or so of them are dotted round the house, yet not one of me is allowed I don't exist when I'm not there, I stay over up to 4 nights a week!
The cards I send him are proudly displayed in the living room right next to a photo of the two of them together.
I was married for 25 years and still mourn the lost of a happy marriage (divorced 5.5years) that simply ended as we fell out of love, I feel cheated that I've had to start again, but I don't let it hold me back.
I'm in my 50's I want to share the rest of my life with the man I love who says he loves me.
But I fear that in 2 or 10 years time things won't have changed and I will continue to be a part time partner!

Could someone share their experiences or views on what is really happening? Why is my partner so unwilling to move on, and can we overcome this?
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Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 02:51 pm
@Sharlou22 ,
You need to directly communicate with him how you feel, don't leave any room for guess work or interpretation on his part. If you want a photo of you two up at his house, get one framed and give it to him. Hell, suggest a good spot for it, "I love this picture of you and your wife, how about​ we put it next to it here". Have him tell you about the photo. Acknowledge that you see these photos and ask him about them. It will likely help him process through the loss and it may also make it click that his wife has been gone for quite a while and he still has all this stuff around. You are much (MUCH) further along in the grieving process, but don't compare your grief to his. If you don't feel like working through this process with him then move on, it doesn't make you a bad person for realizing that you aren't compatible.
Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 03:26 pm
He has been mourning not grieving. There is a difference.

He has not given himself permission to move on with his life, which may include loving again.

Did he ever go to grief counseling? Doesnt sound like it.

Unless he gets some help you will be as stuck as he is.
Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 04:16 pm
He said he loved me very much, but although he wants too and would usually in past relationships start to see a future, he isn't prepared to do so with me

Do you want a future with him? If so, then my opinion, you need to leave him. He said he isn't prepared to have a future with you.

Be clear with him - and say I want a future, if you cannot see yourself having a future with me, then we will need to break up.

Your own words you are concerned that 2 years and further nothing will change - he needs a kick in the butt - as one person suggested maybe he needs some grief counseling to give him "permission" to move on. If you want a future, he needs to be pushed a little to get grief counseling or an agreement to have a future with you - or you need to move else you will find yourself in 2 years and longer in the same position that you are in now.
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Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 05:22 pm
Thank you for your reply.
We have had the photo discussion 3 times, last night he confirmed he didn't see that the photos were part of our relationship. It's a family home and when his children visit they would expect to see the photos.
He told me he isn't prepared to remove any of the photos, decorate etc, we rowed and got very close to splitting, however in the end he did agree to consider having a photo of us together in the home, though I'm not sure he will go through with it.
I do try and think, why is it an issue she's the past, but it is very difficult when he starts throwing up his barriers.
I'm not trying to compare my divorce to his bereavement but I think 6 years is a long time, especially when I read this site and hear about men moving on within the year, I can understand problems that soon.
We have a wonderful time, and having been patient has got me a lot further recently, but since our break away we are back to the we can't see each other on certain days etc makes me feel sad that we had started breaking those barriers down and we have a wonderful break together and we step back 2 months again.
I want to be with him, I'm happy to take it slowly, but it's the 3 steps forward 2.5 steps back and the lack of knowing if there will ever be more!
3 months ago he wouldn't plan more than 2 weeks ahead, a month ago we planned holidays through out the year and we share cars now. But I wonder if I can plan ahead again.
I'm confused and honestly don't know what to do.
His mixed messages I love you, I'm not prepared to move on, you are coming on the friends holiday next March etc, it makes my head spin.
I offered to pay for counselling for him a few months ago, he did consider it, then stated he was better we started making plans. This of course meant he was cured and no longer needed counselling!
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Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 05:30 pm
Thank you for your reply.
We have discussed the photos on 3 separate occasions. He confirmed again last night that he is not prepared to remove any of them, including the one of his wife in the bedroom we share!
He states the photos are family photos and totally separate from our relationship, he did say we could have a photo of us together in the house which was a first, although I'm not sure he will do it.
We did consider ending our relationship but eventually we agreed we loved each other and didn't want things to end we've been so happy.
But the set back this week with strict can't see each other on 3 specific days which we had dropped a few months ago, is frankly depressing.
I honestly don't know what to do. Since the relationship started I've been so depressed and anxious I started counselling which had made me feel there was hope for us, but I'm not sure again anymore.
I'm too confused to make any decisions at the moment.
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Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 05:38 pm
Hi thank you, he did try counselling but dismissed it as not working 4.5 years ago and again a few months ago he agreed to go to save our relationship but he went to the assessment, claimed he was told there was nothing to really worry about he was just coming to terms with being in a relationship. As someone whos studied at phd level in psychology I know this would not have been the case. I offered to pay for some private counselling, he said he'd think about it. I will suggest this again.
I'm happy for the counselling to confirm we should or shouldn't be together, as we're both in limbo, we're very happy together, then he panics and we get set backs.
Reply Mon 12 Jun, 2017 01:25 pm
@Sharlou22 ,
So sorry, but this is unhealthy. A couple of things:

1. Any time a man (or a person who knows themselves period) does because they feel pressured to do it, they will resent you for. If you have to ask him to take down photos after 6 years, he may do it but he's going to internally and perhaps subconsciously resent you for it.

2. If he has pictures and a such of her everywhere and youra are not allowed, realize that you are a patch over a bullet wound, and your picture would be invading her "shrine." He is not memorializing her - he is idolizing her. She has in essence become his Goddess and you can never compete with that. And now you're in counseling over a man you've been seeing for 10 months? Stop allowing yourself to be put through that.

3. Everyone's family is accepting because they're afraid to disapprove of anyone because they all know it's time for him to move on and don't want to be the reason he doesn't. Unless you come over high and curse him out, they probably are going to approve. Also, when you say you met the in-laws, do you mean his dead wife's family? Why would he have you meet them? Red flag.

4)I'm sure you're an awesome woman, but you're being used as a bandaid right now, and he'll go to counseling to save your relationship, not because he loves you, but because he needs your company so he can be loved and won't be alone. And he "finally admitted" he loves you? Have you ever truly been loved? When a man loves you, TRULY loves you,you won't have to try to get him to admit it. It will be flowing out of him. He won't have to say it, but he will.

Sorry to be blunt, but you're divorced and you're not new to the game. Don't sit around and make these rookie mistakes with this man just to keep from being alone. If he's still immortalizing his wife, then you're alone in your "relationship" anyway. Keep going and it'a going to end up like your marriage. You'll push, pull, drag and beg. You'll give 115%, and when you either get tired of carrying the emotional weight or expect him to give more, he will refuse and you'll find yourself "falling out of love again." You'd do better to free yourself up for someone who is actually going to treat you how you deserve to be treated. Don't jump out of the skillet into the frying pan with this guy.
Reply Mon 12 Jun, 2017 10:50 pm
@Sharlou22 ,
In limbo about whether you want to be together? After 10 months? That is the biggest red flag ever. If ya'll can't make it 10 moths without questioning whether or not you want to be together, do you expect this to magically get better and stay better for years? Do you hear yourself? And now you're offering to pay for private counseling for him - not because you love him and want him to be better, but because you have a void yourself that needs to be filled, and he can't fill it like he is. You're ready to put that much of a financial investment into someone who restricts the nights you can come over (yet you call it "our bedroom" . . . okaaaaayyyyy....) and won't even hang a picture.

If you had a daughter going through this, is this what you would tell her to do? Certainly not.

I'm sorry, but it bothers me to see you throwing your dignity on the ground for him to step over puddles on. He's not a child and he's not your responsibility. You can't fix him -it's not your job. But, honestly, take a good look at everything you're doing for a man who is showing you that you're not #1. He's not your husband but you're making husband like plans with him. Your acceptance of his laxidaisical attitude is perpetuating the cycle of him giving you whatever excuse is convenient and you bending over backward to make it untrue. He is running you - he's got you where he wants you, and it's not someplace you want to be.

Yet you stay.

Reply Tue 13 Jun, 2017 03:47 am
Thank you for your reply, can I ask have you ever been in this position?
I most certainly know what love is and that my partner does love me, when he holds me in his arms it's not fake, I've pretended many times during the end of my marriage but this isn't one of them I could spot a fake. He tells me all the time that he loves me since he first told me, I never pressured him to say it, in fact I never expected to hear it and to resist pushing him into saying something he didn't mean I never told him how I felt!
But you may well be right and although it's a bitter pill to swallow that your partner loves their late wife more, it's probably true. However she is dead!
A rookie, I'm 50 and had 5 relationships in my life one of which was 27 years long when does anyone become an expert and when your hopes dreams and emotions come into the mix it's very difficult to just cut someone loose when you love them.
He has since added a photo of me with him into the house, is this a sign or to pacify me I've no idea, time I guess will tell.
Thank you again
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Reply Tue 13 Jun, 2017 04:14 am
I'm sorry you feel so angry about my position.

I stay because i'm not a quitter, I stay because I can see the man I love is struggling and confused, and sometimes lashes out by saying unkind things when he doesn't know what to do or how to process his feelings. I stay because I have chosen too till now. I wanted to hear how other people in similar situations have dealt with this situation it certainly is not uncommon, have you been in this situation?

Please note I never referred to the bedroom as 'ours' it's s the bedroom we share when I stay at his.

I offered to pay for private counselling (as I believe the NHS counselling is poor in most cases, having used it during my divorce) to help him, not me, im quite prepared to accept that he may well decide I'm not for him, and a risk I am prepared to take, to help someone that I love who is stuck between the past and the future.

Having been divorced I discovered money means nothing if you're not happy I left a very comfortable life to find me. My partner is not poor and neither am I, but men rarely invest in themselves in this way, it was an offer and he has chosen to pursue counselling without my financial support.

He has also placed a large photo of us in his house, does this mean anything, who knows! But I stay because he has made the effort and I won't throw it in his face. Maybe I will eventually leave, but it won't give upon him till I feel it's the right time.
Reply Tue 13 Jun, 2017 10:46 pm
@Sharlou22 ,
I hear you and I'm not angry. I just hate to see someone giving and giving and giving themselves to someone who is still lost in someone else. It ticks me off to see women give of themselves to someone who is not giving back what they deserve.
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