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I need some advice about a guy I'm dating...

I've been divorced for 3.5 years. I started dating this man about 7 months ago. He's wonderful! Thoughtful, smart, funny, caring, generous.... Like any relationship, we've had our ups and downs, and it hasn't always been easy, but we are really good at communicating, which I feel is important and I appreciate. But for the past few weeks, it's been particularly rocky. The department that he works in is undergoing a big reorganization, he got a promotion (well deserved and I'm very proud of him and his hard work), but the work required for this transition has been enormous. He's very stressed out, which I totally understand. When he's feeling this stressed out, he says he needs more time to himself to regain his inner balance, which I also understand. But for the past few weeks, we've hardly seen each other, we're barely talking, and when we do, it's like superficial texts. We have had a few heavy discussions about this. It's particularly hard for me because I'm not feeling like I'm in a loving relationship, I'm feeling sad and lonely. And while I'm trying to be really supportive of him and the situation he's in, the fact remains that I'm not happy that he doesn't have time for me, or us, anymore. He tells me, and I believe him, that he still loves me, and this doesn't change how he feels about me, but he's stressed and needs time and space. I think it's particularly hard for me because this was what my entire marriage was like. My ex's job was so consuming, there was no room for me. He was hardly ever home, we were never connecting, it was terrible. And I'd really like to believe my boyfriend that this is temporary, it's really hard and I don't know what to do. I can be supportive and understanding, but feel like I can't share with him (again) how sad and hurt I'm feeling. Or I can be true to what I'm feeling, but know that I'm adding more pressure and stress on him. He wants to go out to dinner on Friday night. Since we both have kids, it's not easy finding time together. This will be the first time I've been alone with him without kids in 2 weeks. I think he's going to act like none of this has affected us, but I don't feel that way. I don't want to make the night miserable, but we haven't really been connecting lately, and I just don't know what to do. Any advice??

Re: I need some advice about a guy I'm dating...

  • Well, only you can decide if this is a deal breaker. What concerns me is that he's basically bailing on you when times get stressful. I would wonder if you're going to be able to depend on him when you need someone to lean on. 
    I wonder if he's trying to do the coward's breakup-you know, when the other person just makes themselves scarce until you just stop trying to get a hold of him. Are you initiating all communications, or is he also calling/texting you?
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  • This is how he deals with stress. If it's having this much effect on you, I really don't think you're a match. And there's nothing wrong with that. Yeah, it sucks, because you've been together for a while, but if you're really feeling unloved and relating this to your XH, I don't think it's a good sign for the future.

    Even if this is temporary, that doesn't really matter, because he's bound to be in stressful situations again. Life has a lot of stressful moments! You can't ignore them because they don't last. You never know when you're going to face long-term stress like unemployment, health problems, etc. If this isn't a reaction that you can handle indefinitely, I think you might want to move on while you still can.

    (I can understand his reaction, because I'm similar. I just need time alone, and I don't want to talk about it with my SO. He usually wants to hug me or try to comfort me, so early on we had a candid conversation about how I react to that. It was a tough conversation, but I wanted him to know that I still love him and appreciate him even if I don't always want to be around him when I'm upset about something else. He accepts that he has to give me my space when I need it, but I conceded by promising to come to him as soon as I've calmed down enough.)
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  • Have you been to counseling on your own? This may be something that can help you. I agree with pp that it is concerning he is closing you out when he has problems. It's also concerning that you are equating this to your ex. Maybe individual counseling would help you find what you are looking for and how to find it. Seven months in to a relationship isn't that terribly long. Maybe this particular relationship has run its course.
  • I think you should both discuss this together next time you're alone together. He needs to know 100% how you feel and you two can decide if this is going to be able to change. It could mean that he needs to find a new job, or it could mean that you two need to split up for a while. If he can't be there for you emotionally, and wont let you be there for him, you have some major issues you should be working out together before letting this relationship continue any longer. Especially because you both have kids.

    Good luck!!
  • If you have had "ups and downs" in the first 7 months, that's a pretty giant red flag right there.  The first 7 months should be cake.  It's new, and fun - and if it hasn't been easy in the very beginning, well, that is NOT a good sign.

    If you feel lonely in a relationship, then that's something you need to be able to talk about. 

    Not seeing each other alone without the kid for 2 weeks - that actually doesn't sound too drastic to me.  You are both parents, and it makes sense that time together would be tough.  If the amount of time you get alone together is a big deal to you, you might be better off with a partner who doesn't have so many demands on his time, kids of his own, etc.

     

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  • this is particularly tough. In a loving, calm, and rational manner you need to express to him that you have no time no patients and no need to be thrown to the side in stressful times. Tell him you'd rather be present while he is stressed than be thrown to the side. You've been through this before so therefore you know the outcome if its left unsaid and brought to the surface "eventually". It'll all work out, cheers!
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