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Taking things slow or not a good idea?

(12 Posts)
AstrantiaMallow Thu 13-Aug-15 11:51:11

I'll try to be brief. I posted before when the guy initially asked me out.

I'm currently divorcing my abusive STBX. I've known a guy since last Oct, chatted to him properly in Dec, I find him likeable, respectful and interesting. He asked me out 3 months ago. I turned him down because divorce is very messy, I'm terrified of falling for someone abusive again and don't have time for a relationship. At the time I only told him it wasn't a good idea. I gave no other explanation. He was nice about it and I hadn't seen him since, just got two short newsy emails saying he hoped I was ok and telling me a bit about what he'd been up to. I replied to both but gave him no idea of the shit I'm going through with my ex. I like him and in some ways regretted turning him down.

I saw him the other weekend at a bbq. We spent a lot of the afternoon chatting together and I had the best time in ages. I'd decided I'd leave early and when I did he said he had to go too. We ended up stopping for a coffee on the way to the station - his suggestion - and talked for another hour. He then said it'd be nice to see each other a bit more and he asked if I wanted to go and see a film with him when I have a free weekend. I said I was happy to see him as friends but anything else wasn't possible because my divorce was taking too much of my energy and being in a rebound relationship wasn't what I wanted. I got a bit emotional as I told him and he became really apologetic. He said he only asked because he found me lovely but didn't want to upset me. He said he was happy to wait and take things at my pace. I also told him I needed space to rebuild my life and I wasn't sure I would really ever want to be more than friends. It was all a bit awkward after that, though he sent me a nice text after, saying he hoped I'd got home ok - it was quite a trek. He phoned me last night and we had a nice chat. He suggested I call him next when I want or if I need anything.

His life is very much together and seems quite full and I look at that and wonder why he's interested in me because really my life is such a mess. He lost his wife about 5 years ago and he online dated for a bit quite soon after, then realised it was far too soon. He said he then threw himself into work, which I know is true.

I worry my boundaries might be completely shit despite my best efforts. What I wanted to run past you all was this:
- does he sound pushy from what I say? I don't get the feeling he is but what's your take, please?
- I don't want to lead him on but I'm worried I'm doing that. He's told me he likes me romantically. I'm telling him maybe yes, maybe not. Is it bad to tell someone in advance that you may never want to be more than friends and that at this present moment in time you just can't tell? Or would it be better not to see him at all until I'm more sure? I feel completely out of touch with this sort of etiquette, if there's one ... My ex is completely different, a bully and I could never express myself. I'm now making a big effort to speak my mind. I like that we seem to be able to talk quite frankly. I do also like him, I'm just not in the right place at all.
- I haven't told him my ex was abusive. I've only said the divorce is terrible. Would he understand my reservations more if I mentioned that? I just don't want to play games, neither do I want to get sucked in something that brings more angst.

In the end we left it we'd meet for lunch early Sept.

pocketsaviour Thu 13-Aug-15 12:01:40

No, I don't think he sounds pushy. You turned him down in December, he didn't then try to contact you or change your mind (I assume). When he happened to bump into you, you were happy to have coffee - it doesn't sound like he refused to take no for an answer?

You've then been very honest with him about where you are emotionally, and he's been honest with you.

You've spoke to him since then as arranged and then he suggested you call him when you want, which is leaving the ball in your court.

I actually think both of you have behaved very well; you've set boundaries and he's respected them (unless you've left anything out?)

As to telling him about your shitty X: I think I would leave that until you either become much closer friends, or you begin dating (and not on the first date.) Even then you may not find you want to disclose it, and unless you feel your x might be a danger to anyone you date, you're not obligated to.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 13-Aug-15 12:27:56

As a widower he probably knows all about going at a sensible pace and giving a person time and space when they need it.

I think you're right to take things slowly and protect yourself but from what you say this man sounds quite thoughtful and not bombarding you with offers of dates etc.

You are completely right to be honest and do what feels comfortable for you. Just wondering if you have considered the Freedom Programme?
It must feel like a minefield after dealing with your ex, you are unused to someone showing interest and wary of what might happen.

horseygeorgie Thu 13-Aug-15 12:32:50

I think he sounds lovely and I think you have made your stance clear. When you get to know him a bit better you can fill him in about the abuse. It all sounds good to me!

AstrantiaMallow Thu 13-Aug-15 12:50:43

That's quite reassuring actually. It is like a minefield.

pocket I turned him down in May, not December. I haven't left anything out. I'm trying to do or say to him what I feel is right and have spent quite a lot too much time analysing the poor guy's behaviour but I find it really hard to be sure. I want to protect myself because I feel scared but I like him at the same time. I don't want my x to find out at all which is another reason really.

pocket - when you say until you either become much closer friends, or you begin dating That's what worries me. I just worry the line between dating and friendship is blurred because he's said he likes me in a dating kind of way. And that he will expect things to develop at some point.

Donkeys Now I've told him I hope his experience might help him understand better where I'm coming from.

I did the Freedom Prog online.

Intheprocess Thu 13-Aug-15 20:02:36

It sounds to me like you're worrying to much about what might happen down the line. Stop thinking and let your instinct make the choice. What does your instinct say you'd like to do right now?

Smilingforth Thu 13-Aug-15 21:30:38

Be brave and go for it; you only live once!

AstrantiaMallow Fri 14-Aug-15 08:22:19

Intheprocess Right now I'd like to be friends.

My divorce is ongoing, and I have children to think about too. I have ptsd due to the abuse and the divorce is acrimonious so I have some tough days. As daft as it sounds going for coffee with him was actually a big deal for me. It was going with the flow, which I hadn't done for ages and felt scary. He's really nice company and I could absolutely do with more friends. That's why I agreed to see him for lunch.

I agree I'm overthinking everything, partly because due to my past and ex I'm worried about my ability to enforce my boundaries and I don't trust my instinct that much. From what he said he's after a relationship and feels ready for one. I'm just not in that place at all and I don't know when I will be. I could do with affection though and truthfully it's another reason why I'm keeping him at arm's length. I think I could easily fall for him quite quickly but for all the wrong reasons.

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Fri 14-Aug-15 08:35:50

I think you're being very wise taking things slowly, and he is showing who he is every time he respects your wishes and your boundaries.

I know exactly what you mean about not trusting your instincts after an abusive marriage. I even posted on here, questioning my new relationship and his motives. Not one person said LTB! They all said that he sounded normal. It was a big relief.

Just keep looking at his actions and ignoring his words, that's my advice. At the moment it sounds like you have a good dialogue going, and that he's listening to you and respecting your needs. All good things.

Keep stating your boundaries if you need to. It was something I was really worried about in my new relationship. So I made sure I spoke up (it was scary at first but got easier). Seeing all my boundaries respected was a very new thing!

I hope you get through your divorce really soon. It's all horrible. Time does help, but I still struggle with PTSD when I have to have any contact with xh. Even though it all goes through a third party.

be kind to yourself, and firm in what you want.

Have you considered doing the Freedom Programme?

Intheprocess Fri 14-Aug-15 09:35:43

It's like having to re-learn how to feel close to someone in a normal way. I'm curious as to what you think the "wrong reasons" are. A fear of repeating established unhealthy relationship patterns is something I'm very conscious of in myself. But then at the same time, I do believe developing a healthy relationship with the self and also with others goes hand in hand. How long until your divorce is done and dusted? Perhaps you could set that as a point of reference for yourself - tell him he's important as a friend, but let him know you're be interested in seeing how things develop after the divorce is final. Then you give him the chance to decide what he wants to do and give yourself some time to examine your own feelings having accepted that you do want more. How does that sound?

AstrantiaMallow Fri 14-Aug-15 13:58:33

It helps to talk it through Intheprocess, thanks.

By wrong reasons I mean if I dated him now I'd get the affection I crave but it would bring problems down the line, possibly very quickly because
- I have no idea if I really fancy him or if I just like the fact he's nice to me, which is new
- Affection would mean intimacy, most likely, when I'm still processing what my ex did to me
- I don't think I know him well enough to know if I want to date him- is he genuinely nice or is it all a front?
- as you say I fear repeating patterns. I married young to a much older man with an established career. The gap between this guy and I is only 10 years so not as big as before but still. He's also got a very sorted life and work. It appeals because he seems steady, calm and not needy or angry. But there's potential imbalance there that I'm wary of. I'm also slightly incredulous he's remotely interested in me.

Divorce should be another 4 months but if it goes all the way to FDR it could be longer. I'm not dating anyone until it's over. I really don't know how I'd find the space for everything on a bad day. It never occurred to me to tell himI value being friends with him.

I didn't expect to feel so confused. I had it in my head I'd get sorted with being financially independent, get better and carve up a little life with my children and a job. There was no man at all in the equation. I guess life is never so neat.

You're correct in that I need to accept the way I feel about him and that maybe I do want more. I'm not sure I want to acknowledge I do as it doesn't really fit in my neat little plan.

ChrisAndThatHorse - I'm glad it's worked out for you. It's all such a delicate balance. I did the Freedom Prog online before I filed for divorce. I completely surprised myself how assertive I was telling him I wouldn't do the cinema. It was panic speaking but somehow he didn't seem phased and accepted it, which felt weird as my ex would have found a way to change my mind. Thank you for reassuring me it's normal!

ImperialBlether Fri 14-Aug-15 14:06:37

I think he sounds absolutely lovely. I think he will be able to tell that you have been very hurt by your ex. I wouldn't tell him your ex was abusive unless you feel comfortable doing that. I think he will be able to read between the lines anyway.

You're right not to get involved with anyone until at least your divorce is over. Is your ex with someone else? I think that makes a big difference to the amount of time and effort they spend trying to attract your attention. Do your children have to meet him? If so, will you have to be there?

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