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er... decision time? (please help me unscramble my brain *LONG*)

(68 Posts)
Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 18:48:12

Background: I left a long and emotionally abusive marriage 2 years ago. I've been in weekly therapy for over a year and have changed and grown immeasurably in that time in confidence and self-knowledge. I have a very happy home (redecorated) with 2 very settled dd (11 and 9) and have gone from being full of pain and hurt and anger and hatred towards the ex to generally feeling very 'meh' about him. He's a crap dad but does what he needs to do in order for me to work (in a job I enjoy) and spend time with great friends etc. I've gone from years of zero self-care and denial of all feelings to having a life which is much more balanced and where I know what I need. In short, I'm finally 'me'.

OK so I've been seeing a rather marvellous chap for 8+ months. He is a billion times more a man my ex ever was. He has a dd similar in age to one of my dd. I feel he pretty much sees me in the all the ways I was never seen in my marriage. In terms of our 'world view' of kids and how they fit into our lives we sing from the very same hymn sheet. He is grown up, solvent, very empathic, considerate, proactive, interested in the world and likes to 'do stuff' plan trips, get outside etc. He is very respectful and considerate of my kids and gives me all the space I need to spend time with them, and thinks of this above 'our' needs. He has allowed me to work through my stuff with my ex without ever getting overly involved or indicating that the subject of him is a burden or off-limits. In short he is a breathtakingly brilliant human being.

Emotionally we are very 'together', I admire him, in how he approaches his work, we love spending time together, the sex is amazing and wonderful (although, if I'm brutally honest, the physical sexual compatibility is there and he has a fab slim athletic body, I don't actually find him physically attractive looks-wise - so the sexual connection is emotional - totally weird and very close but not something I've ever experienced before). I think because there is a deep level of emotional trust which I have never had.

His parenting approach and that of his ex are a billion miles away from mine: I'm a very laid back/instinctive parent, I pick, pick, pick, my battles but also fight like a rottweiler for my dc needs (they both have mild SN) expect my dc to be very independent but don't sweat the small stuff or some of the medium stuff - he is the opposite in that he's quite formal and overly attentive/less intuitive and more old fashioned with his dd. Because of this I would never live with him it would give me the rage. Things between us are very emotionally close, and serious, although there is no plan to live together. He is utterly committed to me, and would 'marry me tomorrow' (aint gonna happen, obvs).

My concern, is, he is quite a 'formal person' and due to this, his sense of humour is overly adult and due to his very 'formal' ways, his age difference +8yrs stands out a mile to me, he is sort of from a different generation from me. His communication style around my dc was wonderful and respectful in the beginning. But now that we've been together a while, he hasn't relaxed it (it's who he is) and when the kids are around, things aren't as 'easy going' as they should be. My eldest dd finds him 'a bit weird' because she's grown up in a very relaxed parenting atmosphere. Socially, with me, his doesn't really get my dry sense of humour. I went to a party the other day and, although I don't see my mates that often (we are all busy with families, blah blah blah) the disconnect was clear and I could see that he will never sort of 'let go' of this formal persona to click with me and my mates (who are lovely but are laid back) socially and this makes me very 'conscious' of him around my friends. I think he moves in a world which is basically more moneyed and 'proper' but more superficial (feels awful saying that) after his divorce his friendships all dissolved leaving him quite alone. Where as I'm more grounded with really good, solid, longterm friendships and connections (I am sounding a bit up my arse, here.... eek).

I am starting to think that maybe this relationship is going to run its course, I'm starting to get the fear. GULP. And maybe I should tell him now, to make it less painful. Should I end it for his sake? Or should I tell him I don't really see a longterm future and see if he is ok with something more casual? (I don't think he can really do casual, if I'm honest). Or shall I see where it goes??? I think a big thing for me is being able to have a relationship with someone who my kids are 'easy' around. But we have wonderful times together when we're alone, he's an incredible support to me, I trust him implicitly and he's great to spend time with on long walks, weekends away, etc. even if he doesn't get my sense of humour sad I would miss him horribly if we weren't together. Losing someone like him would be awful after my shitty EA marriage. But should I grow a pair and let him go??? sad sad sad sad

Feeling all up in the air, and appreciate sage advice of all wise MN'ers, please.


Christinayangstwistedsister Tue 05-May-15 18:52:35

He sounds more like a great friend than a partner

I think you deserve everything in a relationship that you want, just because he is " nicer" than you ex doesn't mean he is the man for you

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 18:53:49

errrr..... just realized he's only 6 years older, not 8 (although it feels more like 10 or 12).

also my dd are 10 and 12 not 9 and 11 - I should definitely know that! passes biscuit to self

pocketsaviour Tue 05-May-15 19:07:25

It's only been 8 months. If the current relationship arrangement is working for you both (which it sounds like it is) then I don't see a reason to cut things short - unless you are wanting to re-marry at some point?

I don't think your DDs will suffer from having someone more formal and hands-off with them.

I would let things carry on for now, but be prepared to be honest with him if he starts conversations about the long-term.

lordStrange Tue 05-May-15 19:09:53

Emotionally we are very 'together', I admire him, in how he approaches his work, we love spending time together, the sex is amazing and wonderful

this, along with his being a a breathtakingly brilliant human being makes me think he is a keeper! Even though I get that he is a bit of a stiff unless you have over gushed on the other stuff you two sound rather compatible to me?

Also you are only 8 months in? No need to rush down the aisle!

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 19:16:19

thanks, christina and pocketsaviour yep the relationship certainly gives me so much. I've been incredibly happy so far, and in a lot of ways we do have important stuff in common.

I think I might be chasing after this 'total blendedness' of when my exh was an integral 'part' of my social circle (he's not any longer, he's buggered off entirely which is marellous). Plus there's maybe a similar need with regards to my dc?????? I dunno how massively realistic this is, at my age and in the murky world of internet dating, which brings perfect strangers together who would never otherwise have met.....?

Or is it more than that????

Mitzimaybe Tue 05-May-15 19:20:51

What did your good, solid, long-term friends think of him? That's often a good indicator.

If he's pushing for more commitment and you don't want to give it then it might be time for the talk. But if you're both enjoying things at the moment, then why not just carry on as you are and see what happens?

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 19:21:56

Deffo no urge to rush down the aisle. In fact even if living together were more an option, I'd be extremely cautious about considering it.

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 19:27:12

What did your good, solid, long-term friends think of him? That's often a good indicator.

My good, solid, friends think he's a lovely chap and they love that he's giving me so much in the relationship. And they are loving seeing me enjoy the 'adventure' of it, and that I'm finding a new way of 'being' in a relationship and having my needs met. But they think that he's a bit of an odd-ball!!!! (there I've said it) which is kinda true. I'm a bit of an oddball too, mind, just in a different way IYSWIM????????

Branleuse Tue 05-May-15 19:40:37

Are you expecting to be exactly the same as him?

I dont see any of those reasons as dealbreakers. I think youre just getting cold feet and some fear aftershocks from your EA relationship.

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 19:46:36

Are you expecting to be exactly the same as him?

Quite possibly..... I am wondering if I subconsciously believe that 'being in a relationship you can commit to' means 'being the same in every way about everything' which, with my EA ex meant relying on the heady cocktail of a whirlwind romance (which went disastrously wrong and involved ignoring yards of red bunting) and although I've consciously approached things in a totally different way, (on the lookout for red flags) my subconscious is still shouting 'but he's not the same enough' as me/my friends blah blah blah........

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 19:50:17

I've wondered about getting the oddness more out in the open to become part of the narrative of our relationship.... difficult to do though. I tried this last night, actually. We were in bed. He said, smiling 'we should've met when you were 18' to which I replied, jokingly 'not likely, I've seen pictures of you when you were 18 hee hee' which seemed to deflate him momentarily, until I assured him I was joking. He was not offended yet didn't laugh either.

Quitelikely Tue 05-May-15 19:53:51


Just to clarify, is he from a wealthy family, with a privileged upbringing and does he have a better than average job?

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 19:54:23


this, along with his being a a breathtakingly brilliant human being makes me think he is a keeper! Even though I get that he is a bit of a stiff unless you have over gushed on the other stuff you two sound rather compatible to me?

I have not over gushed on the other stuff.

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 19:57:14


Not from a wealthy family, no. strikingly similar family background. Same parental occupations as mine.

However, has been rather upwardly mobile and yes has a better than average job and has, for some time, enjoyed the trappings of same. His ex also had a very lucrative job. They had a different sort of life to me. His dd at private school, mine in state. He admires the way I am here and my life with my friends, etc. but it's different from his former life with his ex.

Hope that makes sense.

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 20:00:27

Materially, we are very on the same page ie if we were to buy a house (which we won't) we would not find it difficult to find something that meets our needs. I can tell we are on the same level with that. That stuff isn't hugely important to him. It's just that his life with his ex was emotionally shite (in a different way from my marriage) but yet they had all the trappings of a perfect life and socially it was different too.

MorrisZapp Tue 05-May-15 20:01:42

Blimey, I wouldn't laugh if dp said he found pictures of my younger self unattractive.

In fact dp did say something about an old pic and I was really hurt. Would he say something like that to you? How would you feel if he did?

Mitzimaybe Tue 05-May-15 20:02:11

I spent the early part of my current relationship thinking "there's no long-term future in this, we're too different, blah blah blah" but over the years I've changed my mind.

It'll go one way or the other, sooner or later. No need to rush into either a commitment or a split right now. As long as you're both enjoying it, just keep doing what you're doing, and try not to stress too much about it.

trackrBird Tue 05-May-15 20:02:29

I'd say this relationship doesn't have legs, IYSWIM.

Nothing wrong with him or you: no deal breakers necessary. It just won't go long distance. IMO. So hold off on listing compatibilities, or wondering if you have the wrong idea about what a committed relationship should look like...I would just enjoy the present with your partner.
Why not? smile

At some future point, things may change: or not. But your decision will be clear.

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 20:04:09

Blimey, I wouldn't laugh if dp said he found pictures of my younger self unattractive.

there is only one photo I have seen. It's this: a cringeworthy , hilarious picture of him in fancy dress at a party in the early 80s! Which was posted by a friend of his on fb for a laugh. It wasn't a 'general pic. He showed it to me for a laugh!

Quitelikely Tue 05-May-15 20:04:09

I think some relationships cope fine where the man and woman have separate friends, this is good if it's what you both enjoy. It becomes a problem if you begin to think his friends shallow etc

Does he respect your friends do you think or sort of look down on them?

LineRunner Tue 05-May-15 20:04:37

What does he mean by, he'd 'marry you tomorrow'?

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 20:05:01

Quitelikely he does respect them

Handywoman Tue 05-May-15 20:06:53

LineRunner he just means that's how strongly he feels about me....... he KNOWS marriage is Not. On. The. Cards.

LineRunner Tue 05-May-15 20:08:21

OP, well then isn't it a meaningless platitude?

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