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Dating a separated man. His wife wants to talk. What now?

(22 Posts)
VIX1307 Thu 20-Oct-16 11:44:38

His wife left in with no real explanation in March this year. They had been together for 7 years and married for nearly 2. We are early thirties. He says he is ready for a new relationship and has picked himself up and brushed himself off, hit the gym and overhauled his life and said he is now in a happy place again.
We have been dating just under 2 months so still very new, but going very well. Very attentive, sweet and a gentleman. Always in contact and making an effort, so it was noticeable when he went a little quiet on me.
When I asked him if he was ok, he admitted that his wife has contacted him asking to talk. I asked him if he wanted to and he said 'not even thought about it or replied yet'. I told him I appreciated his honesty and would back off to give him space to think. That was 3 days ago and he has not been in contact.
Do I wait it out? Message him in a week or so asking how he is? RUN FOR THE HILLS?

AutumnalLeaf Thu 20-Oct-16 12:00:52

I wouldn't run for the hills but definitely start walking in that direction with a firm purpose because

- she left him. Not his choice. Stands to reason he's likely to be still interested if she is.

- It was in March. 6 months or so ago in the context of 7 years is nothing. It's very fresh for him still.

- He started dating you at 4 months - so odds are he wasn't ready.

None of this means he definitely wants to get back together with her but the cards are stacked against you. I would play it cool and wait for him to contact you. He needs to work out what he wants on his own.

Sorry you are dealing with this.

SpotTheDuck Thu 20-Oct-16 12:04:10

Well, it may be that she wants to talk about proceeding with a divorce, collecting her tings, selling the house etc - not necessarily because she wants to try again.

So I wouldn't run for the hills or worry until you know what's happening.

For the time being, you've said you'll give him space and that was only 3 days ago. I'd give him at least a week before contacting him - and then I'd go for something like "hope you're doing ok and have managed to talk to (ex). Let me know if you'd like to talk or meet up." Shows you're thinking about him, but recognising that the ball is in his court and that you're not pressuring him.

YazooAddict Thu 20-Oct-16 12:16:04

Being cynical, the sequence of events could be:

1) she left for another man
2) that didn't work out
3) she's trying to rekindle what she left behind

His head will be a mess. I know mumsnet advice is usually 'let him have a chance to explore options with the best outcome being so not break up the family'.

However, id look at it from your perspective - you don't deserve to be in a relationship with someone who isn't 100% committed.

When he says he hasn't thought about it, he's protecting your feelings but ultimately being dishonest.

He probably has, and hasn't ruled out reconciliation. Sorry.

ageingrunner Thu 20-Oct-16 12:18:20

He's probably started dating a bit earlier than was ideal. Unfortunately it was always a possibility. You're his rebound sad

ageingrunner Thu 20-Oct-16 12:19:09

I say a bit earlier, but it's probably years earlier actually.

VIX1307 Thu 20-Oct-16 12:58:37

He also suspected another man was in the picture....
Yes, of course he has thought about it. I'm under no illusion that he hasn't or why would he go quiet on me. If there was no chance of it happening he would say.

He's also been unwell and off work (had been for 3 days prior with a lung infection) which probably also hasn't helped. One of his last messages to me was "I promise I will be in touch, but I've just got to get myself better asap X"
Not quite sure why being ill would mean he can't be in touch with me so seems silly to say that.
Whether he does or not is another story!

YazooAddict Thu 20-Oct-16 13:40:56

Well, looking at it positively;

If you wait you'll give him the opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to your relationship.

He's not going to be at his best, and may be clumsy while he gets everything straight in his head, but he should be respectful to you regardless.

Going quiet can be expected, and I'm sorry to say the wait will be painful, but I wouldn't say it's worth writing him off over - this is an opportunity to take stock and see how your relationship works under pressure; after his reflection, can you be open/honest and discuss a difficult topic the come of this stronger?

Muser54321 Thu 20-Oct-16 14:08:14

Oh boy. Poor you.

AT the moment maybe he feels he has options, maybe him having you made him more attractive in her eyes.

Maybe take back control and say that although you would have loved if things had worked out between you, you don't want to be his rebound while he figures it out so reluctantly you're going for coffee with a man who asked why you'd lost the spring in your step (lol, embellish). Tell him who knows, maybe he'll figure out what he wants while you're still single, maybe not but good luxk.

Don't make him feel he has all the time in the world to decide.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Thu 20-Oct-16 14:15:11

Have you had the "exclusive" dating chat? If not, then I'd feel free to keep your options open.

General rule for me, though, is "separated" men are a minefield. Wait until they are actually divorced which avoids this limbo crap. You are waiting for him to choose you. Please, please set a definite boundary beyond which you will not wait: 10 days? If it is not a "yes" to you, then it is a "no"-be clear about that. "I don't know" is a no; "I need more time" is a no. "Let's wait and see" is a no.

His "promise to be in touch" is a bad sign...why would he have to promise to contact you? Because his ex told him not to?

Lower your expectations for this one, sorry. flowers

Mix56 Thu 20-Oct-16 15:04:21

You could send him a text, saying you are not stupid, if he is thinking about returning to W, or has already done so, then fine, you will move on, but won't be waiting in timid silence beyond the w/e, or however long you decide?

ocelot7 Thu 20-Oct-16 15:28:21

2 months is very new so you aren't really properly in a relationship yet. Its VERY important not to get over invested so early
I disagree about not dating someone separated - it depends. For me my DP had been separated 14 months but divorce not yet through (it is now).

But when I was overseas for work shortly after we got together he told me his inbetween ex had asked to meet for a drink. I assumed people!e only did that to explore getting back together but it was clear to me I had no rights to him so just had to wait & see. It helped that I was not over-invested by then - (though would have been miffed!) - learnt through previous painful experience sad

ocelot7 Thu 20-Oct-16 15:29:48

I also think its really inappropriate to be sending ultimatums after 2 months!

VIX1307 Thu 20-Oct-16 15:34:55

Well he has mentioned that it is just me that he is dating, I wouldn't say we were in a proper gf/bf relationship though (if there is a difference).

I've only just recently come out of a relationship myself earlier this year from an emotionally unavailable man who broke up with me 3 times until I found the courage to walk away. So ideally a stress free easy relationship would be preferable. It's a shame as I genuinely believe he is a good guy.

I don't think his ex knows about me as he has always tried to keep communication to a minimum with her and doesn't reply to her guilt trip text messages (when he uploaded a photo on what would have been their 2 year anniversary, she text saying shes glad he's out having 'sooo' much fun)
So I don't think it's a case of her finding out about me and suddenly wanting him back....

YazooAddict Thu 20-Oct-16 16:41:41

Making ultimatums is tantamount to asking him to break up with you. He'll be stressed being in the midst of a divorce and adding pressure is likely to just make him decide it's not worth the hassle.

Personally, I'd just set him a deadline (which you don't communicate), then contact him on that date and talk about it, knowing if he's still not giving clear direction that you're prepared to walk.

Mix56 Thu 20-Oct-16 17:35:03

Yes, there is that Yazoo, , & if he is a genuinely nice bloke, he won't say "oh well I'll have another go with W, & go back to GF if it doesn't work"
But, if he isn't clear in his mind, then I wouldn't want to be the person coming second best.

Zucker Thu 20-Oct-16 17:42:00

* (when he uploaded a photo on what would have been their 2 year anniversary, she text saying shes glad he's out having 'sooo' much fun)*

Weird text for her to send if she left him? I think you need to cut your loses with this one and leave them to it. If he had no intentions with her he would say it straight. The humming and excuses mean he really is thinking about it, which isn't putting you into a good space in this "threesome".

HandyWoman Thu 20-Oct-16 18:11:45

Agree with ocelot this is a fledgeling relationship and ultimatums are totally inappropriate. I think separated men come into three categories 1) still lives in marital home - do not touch with barge pole 2) separated less than a year/'I don't know why she left me'/finances still entwined - proceed with extreme extreme caution and 3) separated a long time, finances sorted and divorce proceedings planned or underway - all good

This seems to be early days all round and the telling fact is that he has become a bit reserved. I would send that respectful message and just see what happens.. ultimately do not emotionally invest too much in this guy.

DrFoxtrot Fri 21-Oct-16 00:13:21

I have had the same thing happen to me OP this year. I'm dating a lovely man who was about 5 months separated when we met. Two months in, his XW asked to talk to him and it was clear he thought it was about trying again. I was disappointed but also not too emotionally involved at that point, so I told him that he had to do what was right for him. I couldn't possibly offer an ultimatum and I was prepared to walk away if he wasn't 100% into me. I want to say 'committed' to me but that's the wrong word.

Anyway, after the conversation with his XW, it was clear that them getting back together was not going to be happening (both their opinions) and the conversation also involved more talk about the separation and practicalities of that.

I gave him time and he came back to me quite quickly. I don't think he was truly ready to date initially but I think he liked me enough to take it slowly and continue. The whole incident did shake me a bit as I realised he was not as ready to date as I had first thought. It sort of 'reset' where we were at, like a step back. But I felt I had nothing to lose by continuing to date him, so I did and it's been at a lovely steady pace since.

I think what others have said is key - keep your emotional investment back a bit longer. I would be texting to find out how he is and where things stand with the conversation with his XW. He must expect that you'll want to know.

Stormtreader Fri 21-Oct-16 12:49:03

" hit the gym and overhauled his life "

My guess would be that her new guy isnt going that well, shes seen pictures of him post-gym, and has decided to see what her options are.

hellsbellsmelons Fri 21-Oct-16 15:54:32

Don't contact him.
Move on with your life under the assumption that he's not available.
If he contacts you again then take it from there.
If he was 'over' her he wouldn't be behaving like this.
So back off and leave him to it.

stabbypokey Fri 21-Oct-16 18:53:54

I would say gently trot to the hills. Men who have recently separated (particularly if it wasn't their choice) are real lose canons. They bury their feelings and are all over the place. You can have fun but it really has to be at arms length.

I remember the look on my dad's face when I said I was dating a recently separated man (I'm in my 40s BTW), as he remembered what he was like when he was going through a divorce. Let's just say the look he gave wasn't of approval.

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