Am I a fool for wanting to wait?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2013
Am I a fool for wanting to wait?
9
Sun, 01-27-2013 - 8:07pm

My boyfriend and I were having a discussion over the weekend. He says I'm the third most important person in his life after his 2 kids. He said he trusts me, respects me, loves me, but is not "in love" with me. He said because of what his ex-wife has done and is continuing to do 5 years later, he is afraid to let someone into his heart. He does not know if he could ever be in love with anyone again. She cheated on him and then left him after being together nearly 20 years. He asked me to stay together with him and asked me if I would wait. His kids will both be off to college within 2 years. He said once they leave, he will have more time to focus on our relationship, and hopes his ex will leave him alone,  but needs to focus on his kids right now. We have been together for 2 years now. We still talk on the phone several times a day, we text, we see each other usually one night a week and on the weekends. Him and my son get along great. He would do anything for me. He has gotten me through some hardships as well. I like what we have, but when he said he wasn't "in love" with me, it really hurt. I told him so and he felt really bad for hurting me. He said he doesn't want to let me go, but he needs time to heal from the hurt of his divorce.

So, I want to stay with him, but I can't stop thinking about him telling me he is not in love with me. I do love him and I told him so. I'm so confused right now. I don't know what to do.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 01-27-2013 - 9:17pm

Hi,

He says: "He does not know if he could ever be in love with anyone again. She cheated on him and then left him after being together nearly 20 years."

He's at least being honest, with you and himself, about his ability to commit anytime soon. However, while he recognizes that he's still healing and dealing with his divorce aftermath, I think it's unfair to ask you to "wait" for him to really be ready to be in a new relationship. That said, I think you'd be wise to break it off and wish him well.

And here's why: He may or may not be "ready" in 2 years or 3 or 4 or 10. Why would you put yourself in the position of putting YOUR life on hold until he gets his life "in order?"

Think of it this way: Would you remain unemployed and destitute while an employer you really want to work for is "ready" to hire you for a job they know you can do? Answer: No.

So don't put yourself in this position with your life. 

His request for you to wait sounds too much like layaway. He likes you, maybe even does love you, but is too wounded/scared/gun shy to say the words and defy his Ex by moving forward with his life (and never dismiss the possibility that this is exactly what his EX wants him to suffer.) How convenient for him if he has you "wait" until he's ready.

Well, 2 years, heck 2 months is a long time in the relationship game. Because here's my prediction: one of you will meet someone new and ready to commit within that timeframe, especially if you're not looking. 

So do him and yourself a big favor: end it. If you both happen to be available at the end of his deadline, then you can test the waters again. But I wouldn't wait around for someone whose told you point blank he's not able to commit. 

You deserve better. Now you just have to believe it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2004
Sun, 01-27-2013 - 10:10pm
That broke my heart... But you must face it... if he's not in love with you after two years together, he never will be. Sorry for the pain you're feeling, and what you will face in the future, no matter which path you take.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 01-27-2013 - 10:23pm

I had a couple of thoughts--5 yrs is a long time not to be healed from the divorce.  Of course if his ex is continuing to harrass him it might be more difficult, but what is he doing to get healed?  A lot of men are resistant to counseling, but when things are taking a longer than normal time to get over, then counseling really is the answer.  I would bring it up and see if he is willing to go--if he isn't, then I think he's unrealistic that just because 2 more years pass, things are miraculously going to be better.  And his ex will probably use any opportunity possible to get at him--the kids still have college graduation, weddings, etc.  He needs to learn how to deal with her because since they have kids together, she will never be totally gone from the picture.

2nd, having time pass isn't going to guarantee that he will fall in love w/ you or open his heart.  It's one thing if he said I'm in love with you, but I'd like to wait until my kids go to college for us to move in together. Then it's more like a definite thing caused by logistics--he could make a promise that when the kids are out of the house, he'd move in with you.  But he can't promise that in 2 yrs he'll be any more in love with you because it's not something he can control.  If his kids are going to college in 2 yrs, he shouldn't have to focus all his time on them.  I have a son in 11th grade and I feel a lot more freedom--he can drive, he goes out with his friends.  Sure, I still want to pay attention to him, but he definitely doesn't need me as much, so I don't see why your BF has no time to focus on your relationship.

I wouldn't say definitely break up with him, but I would want to see him going to counseling to help himself--if not, then I would probably break up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Mon, 01-28-2013 - 2:30am

I have to agree with the others here. If he isn't over his divorce and healed after 5 years, when will he be? It almost sounds like he's making a lot of excuses, his divorce, his kids, for not making a definite commitment to you, so the big question is are you willing to wait 2 more years to see IF he's ready then? Also then he's going to have the financial burden of having 2 kids in college and therefore another excuse not to commit. You could stay with him with no expectations for the future except continuing to date him, that is if you're willing to settle for that, or you could move on and find someone that's willing to commit, and frankly if he's says he's not in love with you after 2 years together, how is his kids going off to college going to change that in 2 more? I see no corellation between the two things anyhow. It's like saying "why don't you wait around for 2 more years and I'll let you know if I'm in love with you then and willing to commit"

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012
Mon, 01-28-2013 - 8:33am

elles515 wrote:
<p>My boyfriend and I were having a discussion over the weekend. He says I'm the third most important person in his life after his 2 kids. He said he trusts me, respects me, loves me, but is not "in love" with me. He said because of what his ex-wife has done and is continuing to do 5 years later, he is afraid to let someone into his heart. He does not know if he could ever be in love with anyone again. She cheated on him and then left him after being together nearly 20 years. He asked me to stay together with him and asked me if I would wait. His kids will both be off to college within 2 years. He said once they leave, he will have more time to focus on our relationship, and hopes his ex will leave him alone,  but needs to focus on his kids right now. We have been together for 2 years now. We still talk on the phone several times a day, we text, we see each other usually one night a week and on the weekends. Him and my son get along great. He would do anything for me. He has gotten me through some hardships as well. I like what we have, but when he said he wasn't "in love" with me, it really hurt. I told him so and he felt really bad for hurting me. He said he doesn't want to let me go, but he needs time to heal from the hurt of his divorce.</p><p>So, I want to stay with him, but I can't stop thinking about him telling me he is not in love with me. I do love him and I told him so. I'm so confused right now. I don't know what to do.</p>

Wow, him saying he's afraid to let someone into his heart is a rather backhanded way of saying "all you women are alike".  You aren't "someone"--you are the woman he's been involved with for the past 2 years. Why is he afraid? Is he afraid to have sex with you, too?

Is he expecting you to cheat on him?  You are not his ex wife, so it's patently unfair of him to lump you into the same box as her.  What exactly are his expectations of you that something like that would be used as his reason for proceeding this way?  Is it fair of him to reap all of what a relationship offers without him fully investing himself?

His teenagers are practically grown--if they were younger than 12, then I could see the preclusive focus on them. But if they're off to college within 2 years, then what is the truth here?

IMO, the reason why he's not in love with you is because he's still emotionally invested in his ex wife.  Even if his feelings for her are negative, he's still invested in her.

It's nice that he's done all those nice things for you, but at the end of the day, do nice things fall in love with you?  Do they answer the need you have for more depth in your relationship?  Of course he doesn't want to let you go--he's getting his needs met despite you and yours.  5 years is long enough for him to have resolved his issues--and if he wasn't resolving it, then he should not have been pursuing relationship with women until he was emotionally available to make the investment.

If you stay with him, then  you will have to own the time you lose behind a man who is not in love with you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2007
Tue, 01-29-2013 - 12:30am

I can empathize and understand why he wants to focus on the kids for their last couple years at home - whether he recognizes it or not, the guilt of putting them through the divorce and probably any other ugliness/complications that have arisen from the split or the cause of the split is fueling the fear and likely the real reason for him not wanting to take the relationship to the next level, hence IMO fueling his desire to put the relationship on hold.  Naturally he does not want to lose you entirely - so he hopes you can wait for him. 


I would imagine he feels along the lines of "I don't have much longer with them, I've (or mom and i have) screwed up their last few years......... I feel its very important to focus on them as much as possible these last years I have with them PLUS enable me to prep them for college and the adult world PLUS navigating the whole college applications/FASFA etc etc without the distraction of a relationship, plus try make up for whatever crap I (or/and their mom) have put them through. 

Just another perspective from a divorced mom of teens with little to no help from dad (not financially) remarried to the best step parent I could have found but even he gets tired of the challenges of my kids (one of whom is very difficult AND now 18 and in school) sometimes and even though I gained big time help-wise (again not financially), if he wasn't so easy going, so so patient with my kids and so helpful, combined with not needy for my time/attention, there is no way it would have worked for me - because my focus is on them as I attempt to make up for putting them through what I call prior "loser relationships". (Add to that useless dad) combined with this is my last few years with them.........

mom_uk2socal - Mom to DS22, DS19, DD16

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Tue, 01-29-2013 - 10:38am

If I were you I would move on. He should be over his marriage by now. As the others have said, so how long is it going to take him to get over it. Who knows? The question I have is what the heck was he doing getting involved with someone in the first place if he knew he was not ready for a new relationship? Has he been stringing you along so at least he was not alone all this time?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Wed, 01-30-2013 - 12:03am

What you're doing is gambling here.  Instead of risking losing money, you're risking losing you, your self-confidence, your heart, your mind.  When someone says they are not in love with you, believe it, they say that for a reason.  He will always have some connection with his ex simply because he has kids with her, and he'll always have contact with his kids, which you will have to accept.  If he's this torn up still, has he done counseling yet?  Sometimes it takes a pro with an open mind to force folks to think about things differently, and he definitely needs help there.  Otherwise, he WILL just stay the course and assume he won't be able to let you in.  My DH had two EAs and was not a good husband the rest of the time for many years, many....and he wouldn't "let me in" completely all that time, and now I've told him it makes me afraid to let him back in completely, because he HAD that all along and now it scares me.  But I'm in counseling to get help for it, and I'm not sure you indicated this guy is getting help.  It's so easy to just stay stuck, it's like your feet are super glued to the floor.  But right now you're taking a huge chance that it will be as he says down the road - maybe nothing is going to change, from what you've said so far I don't think I'd count on it.  I think some time apart right about now might be the smartest thing you could do.  It'll give you a chance to find out if you really miss him, but I mean really really apart, not being in contact for a long time.  Not for him, for you.  If you're going to take a chance here, just be sure it's in YOUR favor. 

BTW, I now do understand the "I love you but I'm not IN LOVE with you" thing.  It's kinda crap, but I've now been there, so nowdays I realize that scenario does indeed exist.  You care about somebody a LOT, you love them as much as you can given the circumstances, but much of that "in love" romantic part of it has faded with good reason.  It happens.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2014
Fri, 02-14-2014 - 4:59pm
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