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I met a great guy but I think he still loves someone else?

(84 Posts)
natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 00:04:47

Last year I started dating a man who is great in so many ways. He is 48 and divorced and I am also single after a long relationship. He split from his wife about 5 years before we met. We both agreed not to rake over past relationships but to focus on the present instead and things were really good between us.

He is very involved with a left wing political group here in the UK and over the time we have been dating I have met many of his friends from this group at meeting and socials. A few months ago an old member showed up again a 32 year old woman who is very, very beautiful. They obviously knew each other well and he got quite emotional as he greeted her. I caught a vibe between them right away but dismissed it me being paranoid and feeling a bit old next to her.

However the feeling didn't go away and noticed it several times him looking at her or them sharing an obviously private joke and again on subsequent meetings. I tried to keep ignoring it but eventually I asked him what the hell was going on between them. To be fair did tell me everything right away that before meeting me they had been together on and off for nearly 4 years. That he had loved her very much but that the age gap had been problematic for them, she was and is still young from a different generation and he wanted stability, someone to come home to while she thought nothing of taking off to travel or do a post grad abroad which is how they left things just before he met me. They never properly split up as far as I can tell.

He promises me that it is over between them and that they are just friends now but it is painfully obvious to me that he still has very deep feelings for her. Perhaps he really means that it is over or at least wants to mean it but I can’t help but feeling that he’d go back to her in a heartbeat if she gave him the wave. Since she has been on the scene I feel insecure and second best. I really, really like him a lot, thought he was a man I could have a future with but I’m scared to put my trust in him. Sometimes I just wish she would fall off the face of the planet.
Should I just ignore these feelings; can I ask him to sever all contact with her, perhaps if she wasn’t so much younger and so beautiful I wouldn’t feel this so much but I do.

natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 00:07:11

I am 44 sorry should have said.

VocationalGoat Mon 04-Apr-16 00:12:16

I don't have great advice but I really feel for you because it's fairly obvious he's still interested in her. But it's not because you're less than or not enough. He sounds like he's not really 'done' with her.
When you say she's been back on the scene, what's that about? Are they in contact more than usual?
I know you say he's great in so many ways, but it's kind of lame that he gave her so much attention, leaving you to feel second best. A decent guy would avoid doing that... letting their feelings run away with them. At 48, he should know better.
Where exactly did they leave their relationship before you met him?

VocationalGoat Mon 04-Apr-16 00:13:55

I am 44 too. smile
I saw your 72 in your username and figured it must be your birth year.
smile

HappenstanceMarmite Mon 04-Apr-16 00:19:26

Oh dear. This had heartache (for you) written all over it. Walk away.

natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 00:25:30

Hi Thanks for your reply, wasn't sure if anyone was still up!

She left last year to do a post grad course in prague and thats her back now, they have always been a bit on and off from what he has told me. I get the impression that he tended to be quite possesive of her so she would take off at times to travel or in this last case to study and that when she came back they would get back together.

They are both members of the same left wing group and are both quite heavily involved in it he goes to a lot of meetings and most of his friends are in the same group. She is friends with all them too so now she is back in london he is seeing her a lot, not alone but at meetings and so on.

He is a decent guy but yes his emotions do seem to get the better of him when she is around. I feel like I am the sensible option the one he wishes he wanted but I think she is the one his heart wants.

natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 00:31:41

Happenstance Marmite, perhaps you are right, I can totally see the danger and it isn't even really anyones fault its just a bad situation. But then I really don't want to give him up, he's the the best guy I've met and it took me a long time to find him. I don't want to thow that away if I don't have to.

VocationalGoat Mon 04-Apr-16 00:41:15

The one that got away... that's what he's chasing.
I mean, if it hasn't worked out for them in 4 years, chances are it will never work out between them. It's not like she's come back from Prague, all grown up and ready to rekindle what they had, which doesn't sound like much anyway. There's chemistry there between them that hasn't died down, but there's also something bigger, other than age I think, that's preventing them from getting it right and making it work for them. So yes, chances are you can have him all to yourself, but the question is, do you want to be with someone who is carrying this silly torch?
It would be painful to have to deal with this infatuation he is carting around. I'd think about extracating myself from this one, sad as that sounds. But it's terribly painful being with someone who is quietly thinking of someone else.

VocationalGoat Mon 04-Apr-16 00:42:46

extricating... not extracating. Oh dear! I'm not sharp after 10pm. wink

groovergirl Mon 04-Apr-16 00:46:21

Natasha, I think you need to trust your gut feeling about this.

It is very sad, and as you say, it is no one's fault. He probably does not want to feel the way he does ... But he does. And the heart wants what it wants.

I wish I had some advice to give on how to make him fall properly in love with you and forget her. Maybe it's time to take a break from him, and give him a chance to miss you. chocolate

natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 00:49:15

Thanks vocational goat, I think you are very perceptive. I feel like consciously, in his head he wants to move on and that he does feel that it can't work out long term for them but they still as you say have chemisty and unfinished business and if I am being fair to him I don't think its easy for him to ignore his feelings for her.

I find her much harder to read, she is nice actually but I can't be rational about her at all.

natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 00:57:13

groovergirl, cooling things off with him is probably a good idea, it I felt objective enough to play it cool and try and give him some perspective on what he has with me. I'm just scared if I loosen my grip on him he run straight to her.

I just need some more time to think it over myself, and to talk to him about it.

VocationalGoat Mon 04-Apr-16 01:10:23

Definitely take your time... and do have a talk about it. Maybe talking about it will help him to sort his head out and realise he might lose his chance of being with you and being very happy.

natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 01:14:04

Thanks VocationalGoat, I will.
Keep you finger crossed for me!

groovergirl Mon 04-Apr-16 01:23:52

He probably will run to her, or try to. But he might not get a hearty welcome. From what you've said, it seems like she is nowhere near as keen on him as he is on her. Scooting off to a distant country for a year? Sounds like the relationship was, for her, simply a cheerful fling.

Infatuation is a hard thing to beat. It's like the endocrine system seizes control of the rest of the person and gives them OCD hell. Have to let it run its course.

Any chance you could give yourself a change of scene for a while?

natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 01:37:22

groovegirl, I could back off myself a bit, we aren't living together or anything just yet although previously we did speak about it. But I can't leave London or anything. I have no idea how she really feels, she obviously cares about him but I couldn't say if she would take him back. She isn't from london (she's scottish) and I think he has always been her main support down here so I think that she has some kind of dependency on him.

Perhaps it is just infatuation but if it hasn't run its course in 4 years when will it?

groovergirl Mon 04-Apr-16 03:24:34

After four years it probably isn't infatuation any more but a mixture of nostalgia and, yes, chemistry.

I dunno, Natasha. It's a tough one. I've been on both sides of this kind of situation, as the person enduring unrequited love as well as being the object of it. Love is like the food chain -- you go after someone, who goes after someone else, who goes after someone else .... No wonder it takes so many of us so bloody long to find mutual adoration envy

I wish I could suggest a quick cure, but the only thing that has helped me is keeping my distance from the love object and deliberately distracting myself with lots of activity to help weaken and eventually break those neural pathways. It does work, but it takes time.

However, fingers crossed that this does work out well for you and that he misses you more than he ever missed her.

VocationalGoat Mon 04-Apr-16 11:17:13

It's a tough one. I've been on both sides of this kind of situation

Yep, me too groover and natasha.

I really like what you wrote groover: "Love is like the food chain -- you go after someone, who goes after someone else, who goes after someone else .... No wonder it takes so many of us so bloody long to find mutual adoration."
Your post resonates with me Natasha... I'm the same age as you and although I am remarried, I spent many years as a single woman and single mother, hoping that amongst all the debris, a really lovely, loyal, caring person would come along.
It sounds like you have met someone who fulfills you... and you don't want to lose him to a flighty, long-term fling (on her part I think this can definitely be said).
I really hope your talk with him results in more security between the two of you.
He's 48 and he's been through enough to know how to avoid the vacuous route. I'm so sorry that you've found yourself in this place. You've found what sounds like a soul mate, a kindred spirit... and then Miss 32 Year Old pops up. It's so lame... I've been there in that 'Who are you going to choose?' place and it's not a nice place to be in. Though in all honesty, you're not quite there. Maybe he just needs a shake up, a wake up...

I am rooting for you all the way. I really am. flowers
Really great insight and kind words from groover.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 04-Apr-16 11:42:57

I too like groover's foodchain analogy; poignant and true.

I feel very sorry for you, Natasha, it's not a nice situation to be in. The thing is, this other lady was young at the time and they didn't make it because of that, not because he didn't want to. He still wants to - and she is now older and may want different things to when she was dating him, maybe she now wants what he wants?

If that is the case then it's a perfect storm and it won't be a question of you giving him up or having the choice to... he isn't yours to keep or give away.

If it were me in this situation, I'd like to think that I'd say to him, "I really like you, but I'm not going to play second fiddle. There's a small window here where I'll keep trying to see the good points in our relationship and want to keep it... just bear in mind it's a VERY small window and by making me feel this way, you're risking losing me completely.".

Very sad for you and I hope you get the outcome you want.

natasha72 Mon 04-Apr-16 13:03:36

The food chain analogy is very apt, and at 44 I feel very much at the bottom of the food chain dating wise.

Lyingwitch I fear you are right that he still wants her very much, and always did he just didn't realize that she would ever be available to him again.

I'm seeing him tonight so will see if I can steel myself to speak to him about this but I also want to pick my time well.

I wish I could just magic her away.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 04-Apr-16 13:11:45

How long has this woman been away, Natasha? I mean, they dated and then she left... when did she leave?

She left to study, that's a valid reason to go. And now she's back. Does she have family/friends here?

Did you partner date much when she left? It sounds like he didn't - or nothing serious.

I know you wish it, what would be better is that he chooses you, not because you make him but because he wants to. thanks

oldlaundbooth Mon 04-Apr-16 13:23:30

It sounds to me like she has come back from Prague, she's 32, ready to settle down and has her sights set on him.

She's attending all these meetings, getting herself back in his life.

She might not have been ready when she was 28, but she certainly wants to be in his life now.

I'd take a back seat OP, from what you have said if she clicked her fingers he'd come running.

Sorry if that's not what you want to hear.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 04-Apr-16 13:58:58

It is a tough one. I agree that it is not a good thing to feel second best and you have been putting up with it for a few months already. It is disrespectful and well, can I say rather shallow?

I agree with talking to him about it as he can not read your mind and probably has not paused for a single moment to consider your perspective (a bit of a red flag in itself). It is a kind "heads up". But you have already talked to him. He said he did love her, but did he say that now he doesn't? It seems like that would have been mentioned in your conversation. Did his behavior change towards her post conversation?

From your post, I understand that you are not a part of the political group. If he gives a sincere response to be your partner- no doubts and exclusive, but then begins a policy of not including you (never mind how petty the reasons) in the political get togethers: that would be a red flag. So one would need to keep an eye out for his behavior changes. And this really isn't good territory for a relationship...you would essentially be monitoring his behavior...indefinitely?

Do you get the feeling that perhaps you were/are the 'good enough for now' relationship until Wonder Girl returned?

Cooling it off is the right thing, imho, for you and your self respect.
Also what LyingWitch said-perfect storm.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 04-Apr-16 14:06:30

I meant shallow of him, not you, Natasha. blush

No, 44 is a great age! You did everything right. Keep on keeping on with your fabulous life-dating/men are optional, not essential.

bjrce Mon 04-Apr-16 17:53:07

HI OP.

Did he actually ever mention her before you met her?

It sounds from your posts he didn't,.
The thing is, it sounds like they are both on the whole wavelength of:
"If only, we meet at different stages in our lives, it would all be so different!"
Romantic, nostalgic type type of way and the fact that she is so much younger than him and "so beautiful", he is all caught up in this dream world.

It also sounds like she enjoys the whole " younger, unattainable" persona she portrays to him!
From their history it sounds all, Mills & Boon.

I would hazard a guess, if you two split up, he will go back to her, but their old problems won't go away.
Even, if he seems to think , age was their only issue. I could be really wrong here, but that in time, his age might just be too big an issue for her.

Don't go wasting too much time on this dreamer.

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