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.