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  #1  
Old 02-01-2006, 05:52 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Guys: how do I tell my ex-SO I'm getting married, without hurting him?

My ex ("John")and I had been together for 15 years. We met when I was 21 and he was 30. We weren't married, but living together outside of marriage is very common here in the Netherlands, so for the sake of describing the situation, just read that as " married".

We parted, amicably, May 2005. We had no kids to fight over. John kept the (rented) house and all mutual stuff, and our cat. We had always kept our money separate, so we haven't had a single row over money, either. He packed my stuff so he knew what I would take with me, and I was okay with his decision.

We had a kind of open relationship, so at the time of out break-up, we both had another relationship. It just hadn't been the intention of either of us that I would fall in love with my current SO. But I did fall in love with Arwin, so much so that I decided to move out, and find a place of my own, and live with Arwin, instead.
John still sees his GF, (who, by the way, I've met and she is a very nice lady) and he has had a lot of female attention since I moved out as well. I'm glad, but not surprised; he's just a really cool guy.
I love, and like, my ex very much. He feels like my father and mother rolled into one. I owe him a great deal. But lately, our break-up feels, to me anyway, more like leaving the family house to go to college, rather then like a true "divorce" . But I dread his anger and I hate, hate to see him hurt.

My ex was heartbroken over my decision to move out. He knew he would be losing me, in many ways. Really heartbroken; I have tried to talk the loss down by convincing him everything will only get better for everybody, but he's smart, and doesn't fall for it. He knows what he has lost. Not so much me, but the relationship we had.
But all three of us have tried to be grown-up and civil and maganimous about the whole thing. Still, and unsurprisingly, my ex's wound is still raw. I go see him for dinner one night every week, and while we talk pleasantly enough, I feel I have to tread carefully when it comes to mentioning Arwin or my life with Arwin. John hasn't yet wanted to meet Arwin, either.

Now, Arwin and I want to marry. This should be an happy thought, but instead of jumping about for joy I find myself dreading to have to break the news to my John.

John knows, obviously, that I now live with Arwin. He also knows I'm seriously thinking of having children with Arwin. I have also told John that I want a more " traditional" (meaning: not open) relationship with Arwin then I had with him.
That hurt, because my ex had a contempt for marriage. He always said marriage amounted to signing a contract about what can only be given freely, and the ceremony amounted to spending money on a lot of hoohah to try to convince people who don't really care of the fathomless depth of your love. I used to kinda agree, although I wanted to marry when we first started out fifteen years ago. In retrospect, at the time I wanted to marry John for the wrong reasons (securing him, feeling entitled to make demands).

So if I told my ex I want to marry Arwin, it shouldn't come as a big surprise. But it will hurt him and make our (his and mine) "divorce" seem that much more final.

So guys; would you have any advice on how to go about telling my ex about my marriage plans as painless as possible? How long do I wait? I feel the pain lessens as time goes by, but the risk of him finding out on his own increases with time, as well.
Should I tell him in person or by letter or e-mail, or phone? How do I word the whole thing? Again, I stress that I feel awful, awful when I see him angry or hurt. I'm probably a big wuss that way, but that is how iI am.

Advice from a guys perpective would be much appreciated. Oh, and thanks for listening.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2006, 06:09 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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That's a tough situation. But I assume, from your statements about maintaining a friendly relationship with him, that he knows the reasons you've moved on to a more traditional relationship.

You really have no option to break it to him over your weekly dinner. The fact tht he will freak is pretty much unavoidable. Doing it in a letter will only prolong the inevitable, as I assume you will continue to see him as friends.

I think you just need to do it. There's nothing to do but ride it out. It sounds like once he gets past the initial shock he'll come back down to reality and deal with it like people do.

Good luck in your new life. And good luck with "the talk."
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  #3  
Old 02-01-2006, 06:18 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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There is no easy way, so just give it to him straight.
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2006, 06:25 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Tell him up front as plainly as possible. I think most blokes are like me - we piss and moan, and make a big production about how put out we are but we quickly calm down and accept reality.

I don't know how he feels about your other relationships but in 66% of my "failed" relationships I have been happy for my former partners good luck. The other 34% I wished painful death upon but that's another thread.

Don't catastrophize - assume that everything will work out well and make the first steps. In terms of sales technique contrast the fact that you two never wanted to get married but you and Arwin do want to get married. Isn't life strange (Moody Blues).
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:26 AM
Shakes Shakes is offline
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I don't care HOW good of friends you all are; I'd say you two need some serious time away from each other. I'm talking NO contact at all. It will be easier to heel that way. Otherwise you will only be constantly reminded of what you two had together.

I'd say for Arwins sake, you need to take that bold step and just cut yourself off from your former BF. If you don't, it only screams to me that you're not ready to move on. Your not ready as YOU say "To have a more traditional relationship"

Well, geuss what?

A traditional relationship means Arwin has to come first and YOU can't have the best of BOTH worlds.

I'm not saying you should cut off all ties with your former BF indefinately; but do please give it some time, A LOT of time if you ask me.

I could go on about jumping from one relationship right into another but that's another story.
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2006, 06:27 AM
matt matt is offline
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Definitely tell him in person. I know it's hard. It might be easier if you arrange to go for coffee and tell him there's something you want to talk about, rather than use your weekly dinner. Different setting, and you can both escape quickly and think about what's just been said.

If his regard for you is as high as yours is for him, he'll bury any hurt he feels and be happy for you.

Also, don't try and wait for the "right moment" or gradually steer the conversation into marriage territory, or you'll end up putting it off for another time.
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2006, 06:27 AM
Shakes Shakes is offline
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Forgot to add, I'm a guy BTW.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2006, 06:37 AM
Least Original User Name Ever Least Original User Name Ever is offline
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well, it sounds like you're just going to have to buck up and do it. you're running into the fun little problem of time. do you tell him now when he's still "grieving" or wait until time heals some wounds and then risk opening them back up/looking like you were hiding something.
tell him now. get it over with. that's best for everyone involved.

also, what unnerves me...is you're talking marriage with some guy and still referring to your ex as "your" john. what's the deal with that? he's not yours. never will be again.

the nature of a relationship is thus: because feelings can't be quantified, someone in the relationship inextricably loves/feels for the other person more than the other does. it's just about how close you can narrow the gap. i have the feeling that you cared/care for john more then he cares/cared about you. this is not to say that he never did like you, but he did some amazingly nice things that a lot of guys wouldn't do at the end of a breakup.

just tell john and get it over with..but then you run into the "how do i tell him" problem
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2006, 07:03 AM
Shakes Shakes is offline
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I sorry, I feel really compelled to come back into this thread after reading Least Original User Name Ever's post.

I see nothing but the onset of a trainwreck coming on here. I can't help but to feel sorry for poor Arwin.

What an emotional nightmare. No human could possibly have their head in the right place for another healthy relationship after 15 years together.

You might want to take a deep look at yourself and ask:

"Am I codependent?"

Not trying to say anything less of you. I'm sure and you seem to be a good person. It's just something to think about.

Respectfully,
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2006, 08:34 AM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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1. Be grateful you are on such good terms with John after all the things you went through. ( I wish more couples were so civilised. I strongly suspect the media and movies help play a huge part in the viciousness of divorces over here in the states. People are programmed that way to try to decimate the other whom they once loved and respected and it is teaching their kids that it is normal behavior. It.is.insane.)

2. Shoot straight from the hip in telling him. You've changed and you are happy with things and how they changed and have surprised even yourself. If he cannot accept that Things Change, he is in for a life of Rude Awakenings. How he handles the news is not your business. How you deliver it, is. (don't try to convert him to the wonderfullness that is what you are going through, next to Religous Zealots, Romantical Zealots are the worst.)


3. I don't think you have to tell him that you can see kids in the future right now. If you do go on the path to motherhood, you can tell him you are pregnant and if he is mature enough about it, well see how happy you are with your decision. Measuring you up now of the person you were then is a mistake. People change.

4. Don't expect a warm welcome or the warm fuzzies over whatever you tell him. It most likely will be a bit of a cockpunch to him and it will probably sting like a mental papercut. Give him time, be gentle with the info, buy the wine or dinner.


5. If you are still referring to him as 'my John', there is a sense of emotional attachment that really needs to be severed. He needs to be downgraded to 'John', just John. It will be hard the first time, but it gets easier.

6. Have the guys meet over a drink or three. Make it brief, stating you have to meet somebody or going to the movies, wash your hair...blah blah blah. A time limit with an excuse is a mental port in a potentially rough waters here. The guys, being guys, will do the customary Guy Handshake thing and the " Pleased to meet you" ritual and it will be awkward, but at least guys have these rituals. Humor can come into play with " One day, the two of you can discuss what a pain in the ass I am behind my back!" and then they will laugh and you can go, " Oooh, look at the time!"

Whatever you do, do it with dignity and let us know.





/you really need a webcam for Those Who Have No Life.
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2006, 08:44 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
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Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
How he handles the news is not your business. How you deliver it, is. (don't try to convert him to the wonderfullness that is what you are going through, next to Religous Zealots, Romantical Zealots are the worst.)
Very true. You don't need to sell it, however, don't swing to the other side and present it in the same tone as when your cat died. This is not a miserable, unhappy event, you shouldn't have to walk on eggshells when discussing it, you shouldn't pat him on the shoulder, look sad, and say you're getting married.

What you have is GOOD news about your relationship with Arwin. If he can't handle that, that's just too bad for him. If he is your friend, he should be happy that you're happy, even if you're happy with someone else. It may sting for now, but if he refuses to get over it, I think his relationship with you is unhealthy, you don't need friends who are upset when you have good things happen.
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2006, 08:46 AM
Least Original User Name Ever Least Original User Name Ever is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHAKES
I sorry, I feel really compelled to come back into this thread after reading Least Original User Name Ever's post.

I see nothing but the onset of a trainwreck coming on here. I can't help but to feel sorry for poor Arwin.

What an emotional nightmare. No human could possibly have their head in the right place for another healthy relationship after 15 years together.

You might want to take a deep look at yourself and ask:

"Am I codependent?"

Not trying to say anything less of you. I'm sure and you seem to be a good person. It's just something to think about.

Respectfully,

agreed. someone's getting hurt and it's not going to be pretty. sooner is better than later, however.
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2006, 08:47 AM
Least Original User Name Ever Least Original User Name Ever is offline
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Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
Very true. You don't need to sell it, however, don't swing to the other side and present it in the same tone as when your cat died. This is not a miserable, unhappy event, you shouldn't have to walk on eggshells when discussing it, you shouldn't pat him on the shoulder, look sad, and say you're getting married.

What you have is GOOD news about your relationship with Arwin. If he can't handle that, that's just too bad for him. If he is your friend, he should be happy that you're happy, even if you're happy with someone else. It may sting for now, but if he refuses to get over it, I think his relationship with you is unhealthy, you don't need friends who are upset when you have good things happen.

male or female, cheesesteak?
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  #14  
Old 02-01-2006, 08:54 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Thanks guys…I'll guess I have to just do it. :: sigh ::

The idea of going for coffee is a good one. I just didn't know if it would be better to give John the opportunity to "piss and moan" at me (I sure feel I deserve it!) or that it would be better to just tell him, scurry away, and let him work it out on his own. Our dinner would be suited better to the first, going for coffee would be better suited for the latter.

About the "my John" thing, that's a typo. In the first draft of my post, I called him "my ex" but that made the text unreadable, so I replaced it with "John". I just forgot to remove the "my". I realised too late that it sounds like an emotional give-away peeping through.

SHAKES, thanks. ( IMHO, you're the guyest guy I know on SD ! ) It's always good to hear other thougths. That's why I asked advice. You say I'm still too much emotionally involved with John and that way I can't give Arwin his due.
That could very well be true. OTOH, I sometimes think the last few years or so I was living with John, we were essentially friends, roommates with benefits, both looking out for another relationship. If you look at it that way, I've been single for five years, apart from one or two short rebound-relationships in between. I'm not saying that is the right way of looking at it. I'm not even sure anymore there is a right way of looking at anything. Maybe my views are just rationalizations for what I find myself doing. But IMHO, the view "I've been esentially single for a few years" isn't necessarily less correct then "I'm jumping from one 15-year relationship right into another marriage".

I have thought about scheduling some "away" time with John. Part of me would like a few months quiet. The problem with that is that our dinners together, while certainly more strained then when we were together, just aren't unpleasant enough.
I really want to stay good friends with John, and somehow it seems weird to try to accomplish that by building in distance.

I thougth the distance thing was more for ex-couples who needed some time away from bitter rows; I'm starting to wonder if distancing is necessary for the kind or "rows"john and I had; occasional painful talks where I tried to balance being honest and not hurting anyone, and he balanced between wanting to extract the truth from me and trying anyone, either.
Perhaps I hope that John wil be the one asking for time off when he hears about my marriageplans.
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  #15  
Old 02-01-2006, 08:56 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
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Male.
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:56 AM
wasson wasson is offline
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I don't care HOW good of friends you all are; I'd say you two need some serious time away from each other. I'm talking NO contact at all. It will be easier to heel that way. Otherwise you will only be constantly reminded of what you two had together.

I'd say for Arwins sake, you need to take that bold step and just cut yourself off from your former BF. If you don't, it only screams to me that you're not ready to move on. Your not ready as YOU say "To have a more traditional relationship"

Well, geuss what?

A traditional relationship means Arwin has to come first and YOU can't have the best of BOTH worlds.

I'm not saying you should cut off all ties with your former BF indefinately; but do please give it some time, A LOT of time if you ask me.

I could go on about jumping from one relationship right into another but that's another story.
YES. YES YES YES. A million times, YES. This is exactly right, word for word.

My current girlfriend remains good friends with one of her exes. Its tough for me to deal with. There's insecurity and jealousy issues that I don't have with other people and have never had to deal with before. It helps that she tells me regularly how much better I am than he is, and how happy she is that things between us worked out the way they did. But it drives me crazy when they go out for drinks and I'm not invited. I can't imagine a weekly dinner that I was never invited to, and her referring to her ex as "my John". Or being so worried about his feelings.

Listen, Arwin is your man now. Who fucking cares how "your John" handles the news? Its you and Arwin, not you and John. Arwin is number 1, and if John is number 2, he needs to be a distant, distant, distant second to Arwin. You only need to be sensitive to 1 person's feelings in the situation, and that person is Arwin.
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:00 AM
Least Original User Name Ever Least Original User Name Ever is offline
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Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
Male.

just wondering.
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2006, 09:03 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Originally Posted by me
...he balanced between wanting to extract the truth from me and trying anyone, either...
Make that...he balanced between wanting to extract the truth from me and trying not to hurt anyone, either...
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:04 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Wasson, would it matter that Arwin has no problems with it? He says he lacks the jealousy gene, and I believe him.
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:05 AM
Stonebow Stonebow is offline
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Originally Posted by Maastricht
Maybe my views are just rationalizations for what I find myself doing.
Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner.

It's not a big deal- we all do it. But you will need to suck it up and cut things off with him (I'm glad you've decided on the just coming right out and telling him).

My advice, for what it's worth. I'm not ascribing any motives to you, but here's a common scenario. Girl and guy break up. Girl moves on, but wants to keep the friendship. There is no time apart after the breakup. She really wants to be able to share her new life with her ex, but doesn't get it that he finds it painful. She keeps the relationship going, and finally, the ex does something hateful or tragic to really end things. She can walk away now, feeling like he was the bad guy all along, and she was justified in leaving.

If you value your ex as a friend, let him go. Completely. If you're meant to be friends, once you've both settled into your new lives, you'll reconnect. But until then, it's just you wanting the best of both worlds, and neglects everyone else's feelings.
And, as someone posted earlier, I imagine your current SO's feelings should come first. If you're not ready to move on, you're doing him a disservice.
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  #21  
Old 02-01-2006, 09:12 AM
Least Original User Name Ever Least Original User Name Ever is offline
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reminds me of seinfeld..after a breakup..and someone says "let's be friends" because that's what you say...


..who wants another friend?
i mean, really, you've stopped the main thing that kept you together...why keep it going? obviously, there are different circumstances, but the "friends" thing is very rare, and if you have it, well, that's good, i suppose. but armed with this information that you're taking him, what are your expectations?
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  #22  
Old 02-01-2006, 09:15 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Stonebow, that has a ring of truth to it.

All but the "wanting John to do something that makes him officially the Bad Guy TM-thing". I am not that easily deluded, not even by myself. Besides, I feel waayyy to responsible for every bit of pain I might cause.
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:21 AM
wasson wasson is offline
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Wasson, would it matter that Arwin has no problems with it? He says he lacks the jealousy gene, and I believe him.
No. I think even if Arwin isn't the jealous type, it would mean a lot to him if you said "well, I told John tonight about our marriage plans. He wasn't happy, but I don't really care. I probably won't be attending our weekly dinner as often anymore."

If my girl would do that for me, it would make my month. I'd probably even say something like "oh honey, you don't have to stop seeing him on my account! He's an important person to you!"

For the record, stonebow hit the nail on the head with my girlfriend and her relationship with her ex. Drives me friggin' crazy. I think a little distance between them would work wonders for their friendship and my relationship with my girl.
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:57 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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wasson, thanks. Indeed, many people talk a bit more altruistic then they feel. But I don't think that applies to these two guys.

Maybe my problem is more one of ethics. I honestly don't know what is better. If I was sure that I am the one being selfish, by "wanting to have my cake and eat it, too", I'd be the first to cut off contact with John to let him "heal".
The problem is that I don't know if I'm being selfish. If I can rely on what both guys tell me, Arwin truly isn't jealous (he also isn't here on weekdays anyway) and John really prefers to continue seeing each other once a week. I can't judge if he still misses me: he says he does, but also that his life, in general, is okay now and has been for some time.
Both guys are not the types to say something they don't mean. If anything, I am the one who would like some time off from feeling guilty to John. But at the same time, I don't want to estrange from John if that isn't necessary.

Certainly, common wisdom says exes need to distance before they can be better friends. Now all I have to decide is whether that applies to my situation.

Anyway, I've casually invited John to meet me after work today at the gym we both frequent. Let's see if I can work up the courage to tell him, if I see him there.
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:01 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Originally Posted by Least Original User Name Ever
also, what unnerves me...is you're talking marriage with some guy and still referring to your ex as "your" john. what's the deal with that? he's not yours. never will be again.
Yes, that was that typo I referred to above, sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Least Original User Name Ever
this is not to say that he never did like you, but he did some amazingly nice things that a lot of guys wouldn't do at the end of a breakup.
You mean I did or he did?
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  #26  
Old 02-01-2006, 11:05 AM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by matt
It might be easier if you arrange to go for coffee and tell him there's something you want to talk about...
That sounds cruel - it may make him think it's something positive. Unless getting together for coffee is something you do all the time.
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:15 PM
Rashak Mani Rashak Mani is offline
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I should have been born in the Netherlands/Holland... they are so civilized and liberal ! Open relationships ! Nice relations with Ex-BF/GF ! Argghh... I so hate living in conservative catholic Brazil...
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  #28  
Old 02-01-2006, 12:28 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Originally Posted by scr4
That sounds cruel - it may make him think it's something positive. Unless getting together for coffee is something you do all the time.
No, when people tell you that they want to meet because they have something to talk about it's never good news. If they have good news, they just tell you. He'll probably know what's coming, guys are amazingly stupid, but we're not dumb.
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:34 PM
Stonebow Stonebow is offline
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I should have been born in the Netherlands/Holland... they are so civilized and liberal ! Open relationships ! Nice relations with Ex-BF/GF ! Argghh... I so hate living in conservative catholic Brazil...
I prefer the 'scorched earth' approach to breakups, myself. And I mean that. Literally.
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:01 PM
matt matt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4
That sounds cruel - it may make him think it's something positive. Unless getting together for coffee is something you do all the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark
No, when people tell you that they want to meet because they have something to talk about it's never good news. If they have good news, they just tell you.
I think both of you read rather more into having coffee with an old friend than I would! scr4, it was simply a suggestion, an alternative to springing it on him during their weekly dinner. Maastricht is in the best position to judge whether he'd interpret coffee as good, bad or neutral.
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Old 02-01-2006, 02:52 PM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Well, I told John.

I lingered at the gym and was about to leave when John came in. We hi'ed and I walked with him to the rowing machine. We talked a bit about the rowing and then I excused myself while he went on rowing, to see if he could improve his 500 m. Then I just told him.

Me: " Ehm.. there's something I want to tell you, but I'm dreading it because it might hurt you. ....I want to marry Arwin somewhere this year."
John was silent for a few seconds. Then he sort of grinned, I think to hide emotions, and he said: " Well, that was to be expected.....was that it?"
Me: "Yes."
John: "Are you relieved you told me now?"
Me: " That partly depends on how you react."
Then we both went silent. John shut of his rowing machine and went to another machine. We exchanged just one more glance and then I walked out of the gym room.

:: deep sigh::

So, all in all he took it well. But I'm still bracing for emotional impact. His impact or mine, I'm not sure. And I feel like absolute, absolute crap right now.

Tomorrow is our scheduled dinner evening. I'll just go and see if he wants to talk to me or not.
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:08 PM
anu-la1979 anu-la1979 is offline
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Why do you care about how he feels about it? Don't you think it's sort of telling that you spend so much time worrying about his feelings or that you have to justify anything to him? He didn't even congratulate you.

Seriously, I would be cancelling dinner right about now until you're certain that the response will be "that's great" rather than a lengthy dissertation on marriage blahdeblah.
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  #33  
Old 02-02-2006, 02:53 AM
matt matt is offline
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Well done!

Don't beat yourself up about this, John's happiness is not contingent upon your actions. He'll have had a bit of time to digest this news, so your dinner may go okay. I suggest you use it as an opportunity to talk frankly about the things you've been skirting around. You've done the hardest part.
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  #34  
Old 02-02-2006, 06:16 AM
Rashak Mani Rashak Mani is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonebow
I prefer the 'scorched earth' approach to breakups, myself. And I mean that. Literally.
Hhhmmm... I prefer peaceful break ups myself. In fact I still see one of my exes once in a while.. and I talk/email/friends with all my exes.

As for the OP I think that if her Ex really likes her he will be supportive of her marriage.
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  #35  
Old 02-02-2006, 08:08 AM
Stainz Stainz is offline
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Well one of my exes and I are still good friends, and my husband is fine with it.

However, if I EVER worried about the ex's feelings as much as you worry about YOUR ex's, I would seriously question the health of that friendship.

If I were your fiance, I would wonder about that too ...
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  #36  
Old 02-02-2006, 08:25 AM
Least Original User Name Ever Least Original User Name Ever is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maastricht
Yes, that was that typo I referred to above, sorry.


You mean I did or he did?

i know, i saw the typo thing. my apologies for plowing it into terra firma.

and yeah, he did some things that were above and beyond, according to today's breakup standards. he helped you pack in a civil manner. i can't think of many guys that'd go out of their way to do such things.
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  #37  
Old 02-02-2006, 12:49 PM
eleanorigby eleanorigby is offline
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Pardon me while I jump in here.

What are you doing? What in the name of all that is holy are you doing? Let's review:
Quote:
Me: " Ehm.. there's something I want to tell you, but I'm dreading it because it might hurt you. ....I want to marry Arwin somewhere this year."
John was silent for a few seconds. Then he sort of grinned, I think to hide emotions, and he said: " Well, that was to be expected.....was that it?"
Me: "Yes."
John: "Are you relieved you told me now?"
Me: " That partly depends on how you react."
Then we both went silent. John shut of his rowing machine and went to another machine. We exchanged just one more glance and then I walked out of the gym room.

:: deep sigh::
What is with the deep sigh? You are supposed to be getting married to a man you profess to love-MORE than this John dude. Hello? Is this thing on? Can you hear yourself?


You do not own John in any way--you say he smiled when you told him the news. And then, you set him up--big time. Note his NON-reply when you attempted to hand him the responsibility for YOUR other relationship. You really want your cake and eat it, too. This is not nice. You are 35 years old?

Frankly, the way you told it made me think that you wanted John to talk you out of it.

So John doesn't believe in or approve of marriage?

So what? He can go live his marriageless life--that's HIS choice.

Why the hell are you so wrapped up in this John's approval? You disguise is as not wanting to hurt feelings, but ending relations DOES indeed hurt feelings.

You cannot avoid it.

I dunno Arwin --but I would be running for the door if my SO was doing what yours are doing.

Lemme put it to you this way: no good can come of you trying to take care of the feelings of two men. Of two anybody. It sound an awful lot like you want to keep 2 men on your string--and that is most definetly not nice when marriage is in the picture. And if you do have kids and name the boy John I will put you on my batshit insane list for all time.

Sorry for the rudeness, but IMO, you need a slap upside the head.

How long have you and John been over? Did you spend ANY time at all alone? Even a week? Something?

I do not think this is going to go well. And I don't buy for a single minute the "poor me, I have 2 men aching for me, but sadly, one is cannot win the joust" nonsense.
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  #38  
Old 02-03-2006, 06:13 AM
Antonius Block Antonius Block is offline
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Maastricht, I originally found myself drawn to your posts on the SDMB because I have some very fond memories of time spent in your namesake city. Your posting history shows me that you are a very intelligent and kind-hearted person, so I'm pre-disposed to want to see you happy. [I'm also insanely jealous that your command of the English language is so much better than any of my non-native languages!]

I think that it's a noble and worthy goal to try to maintain good relations with someone who has been such an important part of your past life. I certainly don't believe in the "scorched earth" policy. A lot of who you are today (i.e. the person that Arwin fell in love with) is due to the experiences that you shared with John. There's nothing wrong with that. John clearly has problems with the very concept of marriage, whereas it's something -- together with raising kids -- that I suspect you've always wanted, but you fell in line with his way of thinking. That's OK; you were much younger than him, so it's not surprising that you were heavily influenced by him. However, now you've grown into yourself, and his way of living is no longer yours. You've parted amicably, and I see nothing wrong with maintaining contact. I am in friendly contact with almost all of my ex-girlfriends, and I'm very happy that that's the case.

So, as far as I'm concerned, your goal of having a loving romantic partnership (+ marriage +kids) with Arwin, while maintaining friendship with John is both worthy and workable. There are a couple of problematic issues, however:
  • You say that John does not want to meet Arwin. This is an incredibly immature position for him to take, given that you will be marrying Arwin and hopefully raising a family with him. It sounds as though John wants to still have weekly contact with you, while being able to disregards Arwin's importance in your life. Let's face it: if John met Arwin and they really don't get along, you will have to drastically reduce the amount of time that you spend with John. Anything else is disrespectful of your relationship with Arwin.

    As far as I am concerned, any additional time from now on that John is unwilling to meet Arwin (with you present, of course) should count as a major negative against John. A real deal-breaker.
  • You're bending over backwards to avoid any hurt to John, even though he brought the situation upon himself. If he had expressed a desire to marry and have children with you (i.e. matching your own wishes), but you had eventually rejected him in favor of Arwin, it would be understandable for you to want to ease the transition as much as possible for him. You would, after all, essentially be rejecting him as a desirable mate, and (I assure you!) that hurts. However, that's not how it happened. You came to realize what you really wanted out of a relationship: Arwin offered that, and John couldn't. He really has no cause for complaint. I don't mean to imply that you should be cruel to him, but you shouldn't treat him with kid gloves.

    John has his own rules for living, but he doesn't get to set yours. It's one thing for a more-mature male to talk a 20-year-old female out of the idea of having xhildren, but he has to have realized that other factors were going to come into play as the years went by. If he didn't realize that, then he was just setting himself up for a rude awakening, and that is in no way your fault.
OK, that's some blame in John's direction.

Now, Maastricht, there are a couple of things that I'd really like you to do. It'll only take a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, so bear with me...
  • Much of this thread has been about how things appear, and that can be very important. Your SDMB user profile gives your date of birth and your age, which together show that you were writing the info in 2002 or 2003. Nothing wrong with not updating your info -- except that you say "...living with my hubby, and generally happy...". Now, I understand if you used the term "hubby" for John (perhaps it's a cultural thing; I suppose if you don't believe in marriage, then you can call a live-in boyfriend a "hubby", but it still seems a little strange to me). However, you don't live with him any more. You now have a fiancé, and you will soon have a husband, and he is not the same person as the "hubby" that you mention in the user profile. I may be over-reacting to a small thing, but if I were in Arwin's place I would be offended that the representation that you offer to the SDMB (which I know is an important part of your life) is of a time in which he didn't exist for you.
  • Since the above-referenced line in your SDMB profile really seemed to have hit a nerve with me, I went to your Web site (linked to in the profile). Nice site, [and BTW you're beautiful as well as smart, but that's not relevant to my point here ], but I cringed when I clicked on "Mijn foto album" and saw... that the only picture of you with a male was captioned "With my hubby, Jack (2003)". Seriously, you need to replace that with a photo of you and Arwin, captioned with him as your fiancé. By all means put the one of "Jack" (presumably John's nickname -- if not, then I'm really confused!) on a deeper-linked page, but call him "my boyfriend at the time". If I were Arwin, and your current Web page were how you represented yourself to the world (and all of the other photos are fine, BTW), I'd take the "Jack" one as a major slap in the face.

    IMHO as a male (which is what you asked for in the OP), you need to downplay earlier references to John as your "hubby" given that Arwin is actually going to be your husband a few months from now. His willingness to make the commitment merits a terminology different from that which you used for John, and in this case I think that means that John was your "boyfriend" or "partner", not your "hubby".
I don't mean the above to be too critical of you, Maastricht. I really respect you as a Doper, and wish you and Arwin all the best: you're lucky to have found him, and he's lucky to have found you. John's position is one that he really carved out for himself. If you and he are able to remain friends, that would be great (although please make sure that Arwin isn't just being polite about this!), but if John expects too much from you, you need to be prepared to lay down the law in no uncertain terms. He is really lucky that he still has the possibility of having you in his life as a friend, and he may need to make some concessions in order to achieve that.

Sorry if I've blathered...
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  #39  
Old 02-03-2006, 04:38 PM
vl_mungo vl_mungo is offline
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Phone him when he's not home... leave a voice mail. Screen his calls for a couple of months. If you run into him by mistake, claim there's something wrong with your phone but you'll be in touch soon.
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  #40  
Old 02-03-2006, 11:46 PM
zweisamkeit zweisamkeit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonius Block
Much of this thread has been about how things appear, and that can be very important. Your SDMB user profile gives your date of birth and your age, which together show that you were writing the info in 2002 or 2003. Nothing wrong with not updating your info -- except that you say "...living with my hubby, and generally happy...". Now, I understand if you used the term "hubby" for John (perhaps it's a cultural thing; I suppose if you don't believe in marriage, then you can call a live-in boyfriend a "hubby", but it still seems a little strange to me). However, you don't live with him any more. You now have a fiancé, and you will soon have a husband, and he is not the same person as the "hubby" that you mention in the user profile. I may be over-reacting to a small thing, but if I were in Arwin's place I would be offended that the representation that you offer to the SDMB (which I know is an important part of your life) is of a time in which he didn't exist for you.

I have to say that this one piece is a bit silly. I mean, I've been here since, what? 2002 or thereabouts? I haven't even looked at my profile or even the control panel since that same year. I suspect I'm like many many posters here. I seriously don't think that her profile being outdated is some horrible or majorly important thing.
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  #41  
Old 02-04-2006, 12:44 PM
Linty Fresh Linty Fresh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanorigby
Pardon me while I jump in here.

What are you doing? What in the name of all that is holy are you doing? Let's review:


What is with the deep sigh? You are supposed to be getting married to a man you profess to love-MORE than this John dude. Hello? Is this thing on? Can you hear yourself?


You do not own John in any way--you say he smiled when you told him the news. And then, you set him up--big time. Note his NON-reply when you attempted to hand him the responsibility for YOUR other relationship. You really want your cake and eat it, too. This is not nice. You are 35 years old?

Frankly, the way you told it made me think that you wanted John to talk you out of it.

So John doesn't believe in or approve of marriage?

So what? He can go live his marriageless life--that's HIS choice.

Why the hell are you so wrapped up in this John's approval? You disguise is as not wanting to hurt feelings, but ending relations DOES indeed hurt feelings.

You cannot avoid it.

I dunno Arwin --but I would be running for the door if my SO was doing what yours are doing.

Lemme put it to you this way: no good can come of you trying to take care of the feelings of two men. Of two anybody. It sound an awful lot like you want to keep 2 men on your string--and that is most definetly not nice when marriage is in the picture. And if you do have kids and name the boy John I will put you on my batshit insane list for all time.

Sorry for the rudeness, but IMO, you need a slap upside the head.

How long have you and John been over? Did you spend ANY time at all alone? Even a week? Something?

I do not think this is going to go well. And I don't buy for a single minute the "poor me, I have 2 men aching for me, but sadly, one is cannot win the joust" nonsense.
Oh, I don't know, eleonorigby, I think you're being a bit hard on her here. I didn't really get any of that from from what she said. Maastricht started out by stating that she was on good terms with John even though he was heartbroken at the collapse of the relationship. Obviously, she still cares about John's feelings, and the conversation reflects that. John asked her if she was relieved that she told him, not if she was serious about marrying Arwin, so I think her answering "It depends" was justified. I think Maastricht handled it pretty well.

Personally, I'm amazed that people can be friends with their ex's while dating someone else. I'm with Stonebrow on the scorched earth policy, not because I want to be cruel to my ex, but because it would just feel . . . weird. Really weird. I can't imagine just going from a passionate relationship to tea and conversation without some heavy emotions, especially if you knew your ex was seeing someone else. This might be a result of the fact that I grew up in really small towns, where the closeness of everyone made this sort of thing difficult, if not impossible.

I trust my wife, and my wife trusts me, but if I came home with the news that I had spoken to an ex over coffee, Mrs. Fresh would suddenly have a lot of questions.

In short, I think Maastricht did OK.
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  #42  
Old 02-04-2006, 03:46 PM
eleanorigby eleanorigby is offline
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I agree that my tone was harsh, and I apologize for that. But I stick by my position.

Seems to me that John took the news with equanimity, until she added the rider of "that partly depends on how you react."

1. she has no control over how anyone reacts to this news-she shouldn't expect any.
2. his feelings are his, not under her control at all. Nor are his actions.
3. she is not recognizing the line drawn between them now(that was drawn when they broke it off)--John must take a distant second to Arwin now-and always.
4. telling him in such a way and adding that bit at the end just feeds drama--I suspect that was some of the intent.
5.IMO, again, OP needs to truly say goodbye to John (and should have before saying hello to Arwin): physically, emotionally, psychologically. Someone up thread mentioned co-dependency--that has some merit.

I wish them all the best of luck and hope this situation resolves.

But, again, there really isn't a situation, unless OP is seen as the Lady Fair and these two guys as Knights jousting for her favors. 35 is too old for this stuff, IMO.
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  #43  
Old 02-04-2006, 04:33 PM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Wow, all the attention! Thanks everyone.

The dinner went well. Johns attitude amounted to, as Antonius Block said, trying to forget about Arwin's importance in my life.

The responses in this thread have made me think if that is okay with me. Do I want him to feel happy for me? Show happiness (or even fake it)? Do I want him to meet and acknowledge Arwin?
I don't think I do. But I'll have to get back to you on that when I have given it some more thought.

Some posters have mentioned that my current SO should come first, period.
I think that's more of a preference thing then an "objective" truth. Would you want your SO to stop seeing his or her parents if she was in a relationship with you? Would you begrudge him the time he spent with his kids? I don't really see the difference. In many ways, John is more " family" to me then my real family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Least Original User Name Ever
and yeah, he did some things that were above and beyond, according to today's breakup standards. he helped you pack in a civil manner. i can't think of many guys that'd go out of their way to do such things.
Well, this is just a detail, but I think I was being at least as nice as he was in that regard. You see, in packing for me, he got to decide what was mine to take with me and what he wanted to keep.
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  #44  
Old 02-04-2006, 04:53 PM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanorigby
I agree that my tone was harsh, and I apologize for that.
No apology necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanorigby
1. she has no control over how anyone reacts to this news-she shouldn't expect any.
2. his feelings are his, not under her control at all. Nor are his actions.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanorigby
But, again, there really isn't a situation, unless OP is seen as the Lady Fair and these two guys as Knights jousting for her favors. 35 is too old for this stuff, IMO.
You're right that there isn't really a situation anymore. This thread started out with a simple " how" question, and it was answered. The rest was, basically, a discussion about the evils, if any, of feeling responsible to an ex when you're in a new relationship. But that discussion is probably best continued in its' own thread.

About the Lady Fair stuff...you're right, a bit of Damsel In DistressTMdid creep in my posts. However, I can assure you that no jousting is going on, and that I have every intent of keeping it that way. If anything, this thread has made me aware that I'm maybe even taking too much responsibility to nip any jousting in the bud.
John has no shortage of female attention, and he's busy building his own love-life.

Antonius, thanks for your thoughtful and friendly post. I'm all for rites de passage that don't hurt anyones feelings, so I've updated my profile as you suggested. It didn't hurt a bit.
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  #45  
Old 02-04-2006, 04:54 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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There's a difference between your S.O. having a close relationship with his/her family and having a relationship with his/her ex, who still carries a torch.
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  #46  
Old 02-04-2006, 05:17 PM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Guinastasia, why? Even if my ex still carries a torch, what does it matter? The relationship is over, and no emotion anyone has is going to chance that.
Are you saying I can't see him unless, and untill, he stops carrying that torch? I don't see why. He'll stop carrying it eventually, in the natural course of such emotions.
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  #47  
Old 02-04-2006, 06:30 PM
wasson wasson is offline
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Quote:
Guinastasia, why? Even if my ex still carries a torch, what does it matter? The relationship is over, and no emotion anyone has is going to chance that.
Are you saying I can't see him unless, and untill, he stops carrying that torch? I don't see why. He'll stop carrying it eventually, in the natural course of such emotions.
If your ex is holding a torch, it sure as hell matters to him that you're with some other dude and won't leave him alone. It'll help him if you just cut off ties. It also matters to Alwin, who I'm sure doesn't like it when you leave him to spend an evening with an ex who he hasn't met, who pretends like he doesn't exist, and who still wants to be with you. Its not fair to either guy.
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  #48  
Old 02-04-2006, 06:53 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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I'm not sure it's fair to John to keep him hanging around, carrying this torch for you. Sure, you're OK with it, but you're not the one getting hurt by it. This might be one of those 'you have to be cruel to be kind' cases where it's better to give him a chance to move on. (I had a torch-carrier too, btw.)

Quote:
Some posters have mentioned that my current SO should come first, period.
I think that's more of a preference thing then an "objective" truth. Would you want your SO to stop seeing his or her parents if she was in a relationship with you? Would you begrudge him the time he spent with his kids? I don't really see the difference. In many ways, John is more " family" to me then my real family.
Your spouse comes before all others, period. And the fact is that John is not your parent or child. The point is that John is not seeing your new relationship as he needs to in order to have a healthy friendship with you, not that family members deserve time too. (That's a different issue, really--if John really were your relative, he would still need to come to terms with your new relationship. Mothers who never accept their DsIL find themselves out in the cold, if their sons are acting correctly. And John is an adult, not a child.)
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  #49  
Old 02-04-2006, 07:00 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Because until you cut the cord, John is never going to get over you. Yes, you want to be friends with him, but unfortunately, that's not a good idea right now.
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  #50  
Old 02-04-2006, 07:44 PM
Linty Fresh Linty Fresh is offline
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I agree that the spouse comes first, no matter what. I also agree that it's unfair to let a guy keep holding a torch for you and leading him on, not allowing him to let go. I'm with you all on that.

But is that really what's going on here? So far, I'm getting that she's been on good terms with John, John--while not happy about breaking up--has gotten on with his life, and is forming "a new love life" (Does this include an actual relationship, or is he just searching now?), and that he reacted a bit ambiguously when she told him about the upcoming marriage. That doesn't add up to "holding a torch" in my mind.

Sure, there was the reaction, but I imagine that's normal. John might be feeling genuine pain and jealousy, but then again, he might just be feeling the passage of time. Long after I got over the separation from significant others, I still felt something when I heard they had gotten married. There was no pining for the ex's, to be sure, but it was like "Wow, we're all getting older, aren't we?" I felt the same way when I heard about the divorces. It's a product of age, I suppose. Suddenly, these little "time landmarks" are a lot more important than they used to be.

Still, I might be wrong. Once again, my understanding of the situation is hampered by my inability to identify with being close friends with an ex. I've heard about it happening, but I don't think I could pull it off. I just don't get the impression that John is being strung along with what I've read here.
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