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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I have waited a while to post my current situation. I am hesitant, because I know what I should do, but I am hesitant to do it. I don’t know why I hesitate. She has given me no reason not to. I feel a fool and a chump, and I hate feeling this way and at the same time I feel like I cannot gain any traction. So here it goes.

I am a 54 year old retired guy. I was married back in the early ‘90s but that marriage only lasted four years. I’m not really a player, and although I have had many relationships over the years settling down was never really an option for me. That was until I met my current girlfriend (let’s call her Sarah) back in June 2019. We met at a backyard barbecue hosted by a mutual friend who worked with her. Sarah was 45 at the time, beautiful and vivacious. I had never met any woman quite like her and we hit it off. She really seemed to like me and for me it was lust at first sight. We went out on our first date the next week and dated exclusively from that point on.

Sarah was married for twenty years before divorcing her husband in 2018. She has two teenage boys and she shares joint custody with her husband. I live one town over from Sarah, and since we started dating she has driven from her town to mine (about 25 miles) to spend weekends with me. Sometimes, when her ex-husband and sons were out of town, I would travel over to her place and we would hit the town and have fun. Sarah is very outgoing and has a huge circle of friends, most of them married couples. It seemed like every weekend I went there she had some plans for us to go to different social activities with her circle of friends. That was fine with me because I’m a sociable guy and I like people. I was accepted by the group and became good friends with several of the husbands. As I said I am retired, so I would hang out with these guys and play golf occasionally.

I never put any pressure on Sarah when it came to our dating. I never made any demands, and that is what she says she loved about me. If a particular weekend came and she wasn’t in the mood for company, I didn’t go see her. When the Covid lockdown hit we continued our relationship by Skyping every night and then continuing on with seeing each other when the restrictions lifted. There were no problems really. As for commitment, she told me many times that she was not looking for a husband, but just wanted to enjoy the kind of easy going relationship we had. In March of last year was when she told me for the first time that she loved me, and even though she was not in any hurry to settle down again, I was definitely the man she would want to spend the rest of her life with. Up until recently sex was frequent and very good. We are definitely compatible in bed, so that’s not an issue.

Now comes the issue and my dilemma. I asked her many times over the past year and a half if she considered us an exclusive couple. I told her back in March 2020 that I needed to know if she was dating other men so that I could feel free to date other women if I wanted. She vehemently told me “No! I only want to date you.” And that is when she told me she loved me, and I reciprocated because I do. But then something happened last month that has put our good relationship into a tailspin. On May 10th, 2021, Sarah’s ex-mother in law died of a sudden heart attack. She and her ex-in-laws had remained very close after her divorce from their son, and the news hit her hard. The ex-MIL was like a mom to her and the loss devastated her. I drove to see her and held her for hours while she cried into my chest. I did what I could to help the family prepare for the old woman’s funeral. I sat with her ex-FIL who is a wheelchair bound Korean war vet with dementia, and kept him distracted while Sarah and her ex-husband went to the funeral home and made arrangements. Over the next week I drove to her house every evening to console her and the boys. I cooked her and the boys dinner and then drove back home each night.

I was invited to the funeral so I went. This was when I first realized that something was off. I sat in the back while Sarah sat next to her ex-husband and the boys with the family. I stayed to the side during most of the proceedings, talking to Sarah’s friends and chatting with people who had come to pay their respects, but Sarah barely spoke to me during the whole day. She never left her ex-husband’s side, and they even held hands at the burial. It was weird. I felt like an interloper. Then at the reception it was the same thing. I went up to Sarah a couple times and tried to give her a hug but it seemed like she didn’t want me to. I milled around with some people in the back yard. Then I went inside and helped with dishes. I could see Sarah and her ex sitting on the living room couch talking to people. They looked like a married couple. I know it sounds petty but I started to get really mad. I’m one of those guys who retreats into myself when I am angry, so I just kept my head down and we finished cleaning the kitchen. I told Sarah’s boys I was leaving and gave them hugs and then I went to Sarah and told her I was heading home. She looked irritated and asked me why I was leaving. She told me not to leave and said she wanted to spend some time with me and if I would just wait she would get with me. Well I waited another hour and she never did. She sat with her ex and talked long into the evening with some people I didn’t know. Finally, I just grabbed my keys and left. It was probably a juvenile move but I was hurt and disappointed.

I drove a half hour back home and did not receive a call from her until another half hour after that. “Where are you? Where did you go?” she demanded angrily. I told her it was very late and that I wanted to get back home before midnight because I had to get up early the next day to meet with a mortgage agent to start the process of refinancing my house (which was true). She asked me why I was mad and I denied it (I was). She knew I was lying, and asked me what my problem was and why I was acting like a child on a day when she was trying to concentrate on her family. I didn’t know what to say so I just apologized to her for not saying good night and we talked about a couple more things and then she hung up. Since that night things between us have been tense. I went to see her the next weekend and she was somewhat cold and distant, but weirdly the sex was off the charts good. Really hot. Afterwards she told me that she could only see me that night because she was going with her ex-husband to church the next day to see their oldest boy baptized. I asked if I could come and she made up some excuse as to why I shouldn’t and that pissed me off. So I just got up to go home. She kissed me goodnight and she told me she was sorry if she was being *****y but that her ex-MIL’s death was hitting her hard. I told her I wanted to be there for her but she keeps pushing me away. She denied that and told me she loves me and that I need to be patient with her.

Then this past weekend I asked her if she wanted to come over and she said no, that she had plans, but that she promised she would spend the 4th of July weekend with me. Well since this past Sunday I have not heard from her. This past Monday I joined this group and I’m now I’m here looking for advice. I think she is back with her ex-husband and won’t admit it. I want to confront her but have no real evidence other than her behavior to back up my suspicions. Am I being a big selfish baby? Should I just back off and let her do what she is going to do? I don’t want people thinking I am trying to control her. I have no desire to control her. In fact the whole thing about our relationship she loved is how chill I have tried to be around her. No expectations or demands. But the way she flat out ignored me at the funeral really hit me hard, or am I overacting about that whole thing?

Look I know she and her husband have a long history, but they divorced amicably and during the time I have been dating her the ex has not really been a factor up until his mom died. I know that I don’t have a claim on Sarah, but dang! we expressed our commitment to each other. I really love this woman and I saw a future with her. Maybe she doesn’t love me as much as she thought she did. Or maybe she has just been playing me for a fool this whole time? Using me as a stopgap until she could get back with her husband?

She texted me “good morning Huggy” for the first time in three days this morning. I don’t even know if I want to answer her. Part of me says end this stupid charade and move on, and the other part of me says to answer the text. As much as I understand she is grieving, I have that gut feeling she is two-timing me. No actual proof. Should I trust my gut? I have read many threads on this site and that seems to be the consensus. Should I break it off for good with her, or just pull way back and wait to see what she does? There are too many red flags for me to ignore. She seems overtly preoccupied with her ex-husband and that should be the writing on the wall. I think I want to play it cool and not chase her. I'm going to back off and see if she chases me or comes after me to know why I am not kissing her ass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Trust your gut here, you know what is going on.

Why did they get divorced?

Does the ex husband know who you are and what your relationship is with this woman?
From what she told me they had grown apart and were constantly fighting over kids, finances, etc. According to her the relationship had grown toxic. She never told me if any infidelity was involved, but I never asked either.

Her husband is fully aware. He has a girlfriend whom he openly dates and I am acquainted with her. I have thought about giving her a call to see if she knows what is up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Spending time with her ex could bring up feelings of nostalgia for him. Being there for him in his time of need, can elicit the internal caretaker that lurks in most women. With their long history, it can be easy to fall back into a pattern that can lead to confusing feelings.

You have to walk delicately because she has already said she doesn’t want to be exclusive so you don’t want to push her away. This is a time to lay back and get busy with your life. I know it seems counterintuitive but if you act like you’re not phased, she will wonder if she’s losing you and will up her efforts with you. If not, then you know she’s gone. Either way, it’s best to dial back your availability. Give her chance to miss you.
No she was the one who brought up exclusivity last year when I broached the subject. I was ready to go either way but she said she only wanted us to date each other and that is when she admitted she had fallen in love with me. Now? I'm not sure. Maybe it was just infatuation and this family tragedy has snapped her out of it. Maybe it was only a one-way love affair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
One thing that the op hasn’t mentioned is has the ex husband a girlfriend or has he been dating. Maybe he’s been hoping for reconciliation and he sees the death of his mother as the perfect opportunity.
Either way at her age she’s too old for teenage dating games. She’s either your girlfriend or she’s not and in your shoes I would ring her and ask.
Also quit with the texting and talk to each other. You will soon no exactly where you stand especially if she won’t take your call.
Yes he has a girlfriend. She's younger than Sarah and quite hot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
You are correct. Right now you are a chump. That can only happen if you allow it. You’re fairly young but at your age life is short. Right now you seem to be living on hopium that she’ll wake up and be what you want. Fat chance. How much time are you gonna waste on hoping she gets it.

From your post she doesn’t give a damn about you and never will.

like most you have trouble making a decision so you’ll keep yourself bound up in this. What’s that gonna get you?
Yeah I know I'm being led around by the nose and I need to go cold turkey off her. But I have invested a lot to end it all over for what right now are just assumptions. That is why I am pulling back and watching. But I won't wait forever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
This is essentially correct. Don’t chase her and get on with your life.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing though. If she comes back around and you’re not sure of things, just demote her from committed girlfriend to a girl you date.
I like this idea. Maybe it is time to put myself back out on the pasture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
The signs don’t lie. Shes self centered. It’s all about her and no one else matters much. Let her go. You can do better than this.
This was the first time since we went exclusive that she has acted this way. Before her MIL died Sarah couldn't seem to get enough of me. She texted me twenty times a day, sexted me, sent me dirty pics of herself, brought homecooked meals for me to eat on weekends when she would come see me, and treated me like her king. Then SLAM! Down came the door and I'm on the outside looking in. It sucks. It hurts. You seem to have a love-killswitch embedded in your brain. I don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
The reason I am sure she is back with the ex husband is because the waterfall of love has been shut off to a trickle, literally over the course of a week; kind of like when the Army Core of Engineers diverted Niagara Falls back in 1969 in order to clean the trash. Who does this unless they have found a new person to focus their love on? I am thinking I was a surrogate for her husband. It is already evening and she still ahs not contacted me since this morning. This is so frustrating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
This wouldn’t be the first time that the death of a loved one has killed a relationship.

She is grieving, so why didn’t she turn to the one she said she is in love with for comfort? We turn to one ones we love when we lose a loved one. She is showing you who she loves and doesn’t.
Yeah you hit the nail on the head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 · (Edited)
So she just called me out of the blue a couple hours ago. This is the first time in days she has actually called me. She was talking to me without a care in the world, as if she had just talked to me this morning. Well she wants to know if I still want her to come over this weekend, except that she can't stay past Saturday noon because she has to go home and get ready for a lawn party at her house on Sunday. I told her I could come and help her and she shut that down quickly. She gave me some weird lame-ass reason why I should not come to the party, so, I guess you all can see where this is going.

I'm going to play along and when she comes over Friday night I'm going to sit down and have a heart to heart with her. I'm tired of being played like this. I'm probably going to just break up with her because I'm too old to be participating in a junior high school cafeteria romance.

Someone asked how or what I have invested over the past two years? Two very nice, exotic vacations that I paid for. I usually paid for all our meals, even though she makes as much with her salary as I do with my retirement. I have helped a great deal with finishing up the remodeling of her house: not so much monetarily but with my sweat and knowledge of construction. I helped her get competitive bids on the work and helped steer her through a big blowup with an unscrupulous contractor. She has a long way to go with the house but I helped her get a long ways down the road with it. I became a good friend to her boys and was even giving the older one free guitar lessons. I was her sounding board for every bad day she had at work, every argument she had with ex-husband concerning the boys, every little victory in her life she shared with me. I was her insider and now I'm suddenly on the outside. What is hard to accept is how fast I have fallen from grace. I did absolutely nothing wrong except maybe spoiled her with too much attention. I guess she prefers the chaos of her ex husband.
 

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Discussion Starter · #104 ·
You’re taking the right approach. If it were me, I’d be direct with her. Say something via text: “it’s clear to me that you are trying to get back with your husband or someone else. You have stopped making me a priority and I cannot be in a relationship, with someone I care deeply about, and not get the same in return. I wish you well in finding what you are looking for. Unfortunately I know it’s not me. So I think it’s best that you no longer contact me. Thank you. “

then don’t respond. If she wants to fight for you she will. I doubt she has it in her.
I wish you well.
This is good. Mind if I use it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Thank you all for your support. Feeling like a chump today and mourning what I thought would be the last relationship I would have in my life.

Anyways, my phone has been blowing up with calls from her friends and even one of her boys texted me. I sent him a text telling him that I would always be he and his brother's friend, that his mom and I won't be seeing each other anymore, and that he and his brother can contact me by text me if they need anything.

I thought long and hard about this whole situation, and I have come to the conclusion that even if her behavior was related to mourning, I should still be the first one she should be coming to for comfort, and the exact opposite has happened. I have been to many of her family functions and to be excluded from this party is a slap in the face. Even if she wasn't cheating with her husband or some other rando, the poor treatment and lack of respect from her bodes a bad future for us. Cheating or no cheating, she is not good partner material for me. I just don't understand why now? It has to do with her ex. I guess I will hear from someone eventually, but right now I just want to lay low and disappear.

I am going to take the advice given here and pack up my little RV and head to the beach for the weekend, maybe even head down to Mexico and gorge on beach tacos and beer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #127 ·
While she may be blocked, she can still get information to Arthur via friends and the boys. Arthur didn't mention the content of the texts he is receiving. But it doesn't sound like she is pleading to patch things up through these texts sent by others. I think he would have mentioned that in his post, but I could be wrong.
most of them are from two of her girlfriends and one of the gal’s husbands. I responded to him because he's my friend and I gave him a very short answer as to why I was breaking things off with her. He came back that he was also annoyed by her behavior at the funeral and understands, he didn’t know about the other stuff, and wished me well. He invited me to play golf next week. A cool dude.

anyways, Im at a place getting lunch on my way down to Ensenada.
 
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