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Am I settling?

(67 Posts)
Colourmylife1 Thu 09-Apr-20 18:50:52

I'll try to keep this as brief as possible! I'm in my late 50s, divorced for 5 years following ExDH's affair and I've been with someone I met OLD for 3 years. We are very much in love, we have lots in common and when we are together we have the greatest time. He has his own house but spends most of his free time at my house and contributes generously to the bills. He also pays for holidays, meals out etc including for my adult kids. They all get on really well. He plans ahead, talks about the future and says that he wants to be with me for the rest of his life.

BUT - he works away a lot of the time and also visits his DP on another continent for weeks on end without any certainty about when he will be back. So, overall we actually spend very little time together and moving in together and/or marriage is really not on the cards. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand I'm not sure I want to remarry, on the other hand I feel that if he really loved me he would want to marry me! I know how illogical that sounds.

At first he assured me that his crazy travel schedule would change and he would be working less. In time I've come to realise that nothing will change. He's actually someone who cherishes his freedom and wants to come and go as he pleases with reference to no-one. There will always be a reason for him disappearing off. If it's not work or parents it will be something else. I actually don't blame him for this and in some ways quite envy him. I don't have the same flexibility due to work and other commitments.

My dilemma is this - do I settle for what he is able to offer me? Or do I give him up in the hope that I'll meet someone 'perfect' (i.e. more dependable and more physically present) at my stage of life? I'm not scared of being on my own but I do worry that I will regret giving up on such a relationship which in many ways is supportive, loving and fulfilling.

Any advice?

Mostlyhappy4 Thu 09-Apr-20 22:42:11

I was going to ask if you love him but have now read back and you say you love him very much. I can see it's a dilemma. Have you seriously imagined how your life would be without seeing him at all? Can you imagine being able to be happy in that scenario? Have you had a really serious talk with him about this? Does he know how you feel?

For me, I think I would find the coming and going into your home annoying. It might be different if you'd bought a house together on the understanding that he'd be away a lot. Does his contribution towards bills actually cover the cost of half of all your outgoings when he's there?

Whathewhatnow Thu 09-Apr-20 23:26:12

Sounds pretty good to me.

Dependable and physically present would not be the very top of my wishlist. Plus, is he actually dependable?? Does he turn up when he says he will? Remember your birthday and signifnxet events in your life?? Remember to ask about same??

As you age he is not going to be trotting off around the globe for work and parent visits, in all likelihood .

Having said that, you aren't wrong to want commitment from him. He should listen and take account of that if you tell him.

Colourmylife1 Thu 09-Apr-20 23:30:32

Thank you for replying. I do love him and he brings a lot of joy into my life but yes, the coming and going does annoy me - quite a lot sometimes. He views it as his home on some levels but doesn’t have any of the responsibility for the bills or upkeep. That said he offers to pay for a lot of things. He does give me money regularly which does cover his share of bills but there is no formal arrangement. I have tried to explain but he doesn’t get it. It does feel as though everything is on his terms. I don’t know if it would feel better if we jointly owned a house. I have thought about that. I think it would make me resentful.

After my divorce I wasn’t necessarily looking for a relationship. If I had had the offer of a FWB, someone fun for the occasional meal out, weekends away and holidays I would have jumped at the chance. Perhaps if I could see him in this way it would work for me. But I can’t switch off the feelings I now have and when he is here he is very loving, caring and affectionate.

I’m 58, he’s a few years older. Coronavirus and everything going on is making me think a lot (we are apart at the moment) and I think it would be nice to be with someone more dependable. The irony is that ExDH of 25 years was very dependable and reliable up until the day he started a 2 year affair before leaving!

I’ve never broken up with someone I love. I am ok on my own for now but I have to be realistic about the chances of me meeting anyone else.

Would I be be crazy to throw away what we have in the vain hope that I might find something different?

billy1966 Thu 09-Apr-20 23:54:30

OP, you sound fab. Not the least bit needy, just practical and realistic.

This relationship is bullshit.

Super convenient for him on so many levels it makes my head spin.

I have known and worked with so many men like this for well over a decade, and know how the think, behave, and how they ALWAYS value THEIR freedom of movement, above ANYTHING else.

He is all of the things you say, but you will NEVER be his priority.

You will Never have his full attention.

You will Always be waiting round for him.

Cut your losses and move on...

The whole house thing tells you everything...

He will be very generous but absolutely will NOT want to formalise anything.

These guys travel very light, and don't leave much around after them.

They ADORE their freedom above all else.

They actually have a real vanity attached to it, and see themselves as a real rolling stonehmm...and the truth is they are great company, light and easy, great raconteurs.....

Super fun if you are looking for an intercontinental fwb and absolutely no commitment.

Run for the hills, enjoy the memories and don't spend the next few valuable years waiting around for him...believe me you will be waiting....until he moves on.


Colourmylife1 Fri 10-Apr-20 08:55:37


Two completely contradictory pieces of advice! And you are both right. Now you see my problem!

In many ways he is a great friend and very supportive. He remembers special events and plans holidays and surprises. He is incredibly romantic, funny, wise and kind. My adult sons and friends think he’s great and good for me (although they do see the ‘flakiness’). My confidence was on the floor after my divorce and he has changed all that.

He has taken me to meet his family overseas and I could observe what an incredible son and brother he is. He has so many great qualities and I have never known anyone like him.

@billy1966 I understand what you’re saying and agree with most of it. I suppose what I come back to is this - do I have to be his priority all the time? Or at my age approaching 60 is that a bit princessy? I’m not sure he is my absolute priority either. I have many other people in my life. I’m pretty sure he would be there for me if the chips were down, though luckily that hasn’t been tested yet. I’m not sitting round waiting for him to turn up. I get on with my life. I have a great job and amazing family and friends.

I recognise that he’s never going to be the partner to go round a garden centre on a Saturday afternoon but at my age shouldn’t I just try not to ask for what he can’t give me and enjoy the fun times?

I genuinely don’t know! And clearly it’s not making me happy at the moment or I wouldn’t be posting on here!

Thanks to you all for your smart insightful responses.

billy1966 Fri 10-Apr-20 09:13:51

Well, like I wrote OP, you sound very together.

It will be a choice of is it worth it.

Your life is full so thats great.
But are you filling time when he's not around or living your life.

You are most certainly NOT princessy...don't ever think like that.

Its also not a fair comparison to ask about being his sole priority....this is the other end of the bar.

It's about balance in your life.

Anyway I'm glad posting here has given you some pause for thought.

Post again👍👍

category12 Fri 10-Apr-20 09:15:06

For me, I don't think living together is an essential and what you have together sounds good.

It boils down to whether having the conventional set up, the relationship escalator from dating to living together/marriage, is essential to you and a dealbreaker. Which is not something anyone else can answer for you.

KittyKattyKate Fri 10-Apr-20 09:40:29

This man has never made you any promises, nor has he asked for any from you. He sounds decent and he was there for you at a difficult time in your life. His parents won’t be around forever and that may play a role in future.

I’d keep him.

Colourmylife1 Fri 10-Apr-20 09:46:03

@billy1966 Yes, you’re right. It is the other end of the spectrum. Although I probably wouldn’t admit it I am afraid of being alone. I don’t need a man to complete me but it is nice to have someone to go out with and on holiday with. I do those things with friends too so I’m not hanging around waiting!

I am confident that he would be happy for me to join him on his travels but my work commitments don’t allow that just at the moment.

Thanks for your advice. I am considering your words very seriously.

mindutopia Fri 10-Apr-20 09:49:00

Being apart for work and family commitments is not the same thing as being not dependable. Dh and I lived on different continents (11 hour flight from each other) for several years before we got married. We are married and live together now, but I still have family abroad (though don't visit them often, but the prospect of needing to be away for an extended period of time is always there) and I work away 3 days a week. We have 2 small children.

Not being physically together every day shouldn't be an obstacle to a healthy, happy relationship if everything else is right. It was challenging, but we knew it wouldn't last forever (this is certainly the case for someone who is 58 as well, he's years of globetrotting are numbered). But we were emotionally available and dependable (kept promises, talked when we planned to, kept commitments to be together in the same place when we could). If he is in contact when he's away and you still see each other when he is home, it is doable, if you can both imagine a life together one day. Dh and I only saw each other once every 2-3 months during the time we were apart. But if he never wants a committed relationship where you see each other more regularly, and that wouldn't change even if he didn't work away, then that's something different.

Colourmylife1 Fri 10-Apr-20 09:54:08

@category12 I agree. This is what I’m struggling with. On one level I think I have a perfect set up. I’m not sure that I do want to live with someone all the time. I’ve got used to living on my own and mostly really like it.

@KittyKattyKate The thing is he has made me lots of promises - some he keeps and some not. Last year he promised to be with me for Christmas then at the last minute decided to go to visit his DM in a different hemisphere since it could well be her last Christmas. How can you argue with that? But I still felt let down.

His DP won’t be around for ever but I think there will always be something else which requires him to be elsewhere. It’s just the way he is

user1635896324685367 Fri 10-Apr-20 10:04:55

I'm not you and I'm not living your life, but on the face of it I think I'd be happy with what you have. It doesn't sound bad.

Your post reads a little like a "grass is greener" situation.

Are you actually thinking about it because you're unhappy or is it that life doesn't look how you'd imagined (or how you'd known it for the majority of your life) and that leaves you uncertain about whether that makes it "wrong"?

I also wonder whether the way your marriage ended is feeding some of your sense of insecurity/uncertainty rather than it coming from the relationship?

I think a lot of us have suddenly found ourselves re-assessing things in the current situation.

category12 Fri 10-Apr-20 10:11:20

The broken promises is concerning.

I think if you continue with him, I would have a conversation about him not promising things unless he's prepared to deliver on them.

When he went to his parent for Xmas instead, did he expect you to just swallow it or was he seriously apologetic about it?

I wouldn't be hanging around on someone who lets me down - there'd be a limit on how many times.

Scott72 Fri 10-Apr-20 10:22:20

Surely the term "settling" (which I dislike) only applies if you were making some sort of serious long term commitment together, such as marriage, children or buying a house together?

midnightstar66 Fri 10-Apr-20 10:29:09

This situation would actually suit me perfectly. Depends if it suits you OP.

GilbertMarkham Fri 10-Apr-20 10:41:50

Are you sure be hadn't got someone else in his dp's country of residence? Sounds like he spends a lot of time there, the vast majority of which without you.

Suspicious and cynical of me, I know.

GilbertMarkham Fri 10-Apr-20 10:42:33


dontdisturbmenow Fri 10-Apr-20 10:51:06

Keep him. He sounds great. He'll get closer as things in his life and his energy slows down naturally. You sound like great friends and that's a treat. Don't forget too that it's that distance that makes your getting together still special and exciting. Monotony of every day life would take quite a bit of this away.

Time40 Fri 10-Apr-20 10:55:34

He sounds like a FWB! Personally, I think I'd treat him as if he is one.

Colourmylife1 Fri 10-Apr-20 10:57:02

@category12 He was very apologetic and like I say it was hard to argue against him visiting his mum who’s in her 90s!

@midnightstar66 On paper - me too! Which is why I’m struggling to pinpoint what is missing.

@user1635896324685367 Yes that’s a really good point. I certainly find it hard to trust and feel much more anxiety.
@GilbertMarkham Gosh! That has gone though my head so many times - that he is leading a completely double life. It would be so easy for him and it would add up and explain all sorts of things BUT he has taken me to visit his parents and introduced me to his family and friends. They would all have to be complicit and I just can’t believe that in my logical brain! I’m not naive, my ExDH was the last person anyone would expect to have an affair so I know what people are capable of! The betrayal has made me hyper-vigilent.

midnightstar66 Fri 10-Apr-20 11:05:43

* On paper - me too! Which is why I’m struggling to pinpoint what is missing.*

Maybe because it's not the norm- we are so conditioned to traditional relationships. It doesn't sound like you have anything to lose if it doesn't work out in future so probably worth enjoying it as it is. He won't always be working and his parents won't always be alive so things will naturally change. You can deal with these changes appropriately depending on how they work out. To me it would be daft to just end this on the basis of potentially finding something or someone that you're not even sure you want.

Colourmylife1 Fri 10-Apr-20 11:53:28

@midnightstar66 Yes, I agree I have nothing to lose. It’s not as if I’m wasting my child bearing years on him grin

I know my family and friends would think I would be silly to throw this away and to some of my happily single friends it does seem like a perfect set-up. I just get a bit wistful to be spending the long Easter weekend all on my own and would like a partner to help with the gardening!

My pre-divorce life was very conventional and after my break-up I was happy to throw myself into something new and exciting but it turns out I’m more conventional than I thought and I miss many aspects of my old life.

Maybe that’s why I’m over-thinking everything at the moment?

midnightstar66 Fri 10-Apr-20 12:00:05

I'm kind of in the opposite position. Always loved the conventional and when I met current dp he didn't want anything serious. I wasn't sure I'd enjoy anything casual as I never have before and I hoped he'd change his mind... well he has but in the mean time I've grown to very much enjoy the space and convenience of something more casual to the stage he's getting a bit suffocating and I think I'm going to end it. Who knew I was such a loner 😆

user1493413286 Fri 10-Apr-20 12:03:29

I think in any relationship you have to work out is it more good than bad; no relationship is going to tick every box (in my opinion anyway); there are almost always things that you have to accept but does the frustration this causes outweigh the happiness?
I think though that if you continue this relationship then the main thing is accepting that the relationship is not going to be the centre of your life and may never be; it’s more of an enjoyable add on and you need to act the same way he does in putting yourself first.

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