Menu

My Boyfriend Is Withdrawn And Ignoring Me After His Divorce – How Do I Save Us?!

HomeForumsRelationshipsMy Boyfriend Is Withdrawn And Ignoring Me After His Divorce – How Do I Save Us?!

New Reply
  • This topic has 36 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by Li C.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #64329
    Jen A.
    Participant

    My boyfriend just got divorced a little over a month ago………….. (finally)

    We had the perfect relationship that started very slowly out of a strong friendship and work relationship during his seperation from his wife……… she was living on her own already and filed for divorce pretty much at the time we started noticing our friendship becoming more………. we had perfect chemistry and he has a 4 year old son whom I got close to and it was to the point I felt like we were a little family unit….. lots of theme parks together, constant laughter and enjoyment and we both planned to get married when the divorce was finalized and saw eachother as soulmates……according to the Myer Briggs personality test we were! Only thing is, his wife decided she wanted him back same time the relationship started turning serious (she didn’t know about us but suspected by his behavior that he had met someone) and started causing a lot of tension and he kept trying to tell her it was over (she left him and he moved on)………. but she started getting crazy, stalking, social media tricks, headgames etc and so after 8 months of waiting for the divorce and dealing with him constantly telling me about the stunts she was pulling and being scared of her and of losing his son etc, (she’s a full blown narcissist and control freak…..very vindictive) I started pushing my boyfriend to do something about it and letting him know I don’t know how much longer I can do this if he didn’t at least start getting a lawyer, protect himself and start proceedings – the frustration reached a boiling point with me after the last stunt she pulled – so after I got angry, he got the divorce same week, out of fear of losing me and feeling pressure – but after the papers were signed, he freaked out as she completely hated him and cut him off making it difficult to parent his son, we had a few major fights at eachother due to how he was angry at me and mistreating me and then afterwards for about a month he noticeably withdrew……ignoring texts etc………. during this time and about a month before the divorce I also had to leave the country (and am currently still away due to work) so we haven’t seen eachother for 2.5 months now…….when I left the country we were stronger than ever, but since then the divorce happened and all the terrible fighting between us, it seems we have damaged our incredibly strong bond. His texts the last month have been very confusing…….lots of talk about how he loves me but that he is lost and going through mid life crisis and having realizations and insecurities that he has to fix…. but he wants me, just the right way he said…. not while he’s vulnerable, angry and sad.

    Regardless he was supposed to come visit me for my birthday last month and kept postponing and moving the dates of the trip and it lead to more fighting……….especially when not only did he not come visit, he only texted Happy Birthday, didn’t call, send flowers, care=d or anything…… now he says I need too much and am pressuring him too much and he can’t be the doting boyfriend I need and deserve right now and that he’s resentful of some of the comments I made during the week of the divorce (told him to man up to the situation – opps) …………. his last text was “I want to be with you, I love you very much but I don’t want to hinder you, you’re out there meeting guys I’m sure and I’m in no position or headspace to be the man you want and deserve right now and I can’t meet your demands or requirements, I need to fix my life, focus on my son and my career and it will only tear us further apart, I love and value you”

    We haven’t talked about it on the phone further to determine if we are on a break or a breakup – I kind of just left it…….. but it’s been 2 weeks and he hasn’t called or texted…….. I’m starting to worry we could be doomed and maybe that text was just a cop out of him really just wanting out because of our recent drama and his current resentment towards me.

    I don’t want to lose him. I do believe he is my soulmate and he is by far the greatest love of my life……… up until the divorce he would tell me the same and everyone who knew us saw how in love we were together and his family all told him they’ve never seen him so happy and that I’m good for him.

    So, should I be following up with him or continue giving him space, and if so, for how long? Please help!!!!!!

    #64334
    Gabriela
    Participant

    I honestly think it is time you gave him a little space to breathe. Going through a divorce, especially with a young child is very complicated and although this might sound harsh, maybe you were his “escape mechanism” while going through the difficult time. Of course it is possible that the two of you got along very well and you are obviously very much in love, but sometimes when we are in love we have to know when it’s time to give space and let the universe work some of its magic. Sometimes time apart can be healthy for a couple and he is probably working on himself and on the pain that he is probably going through with so many changes. That doesn’t mean you won’t eventually make it or work things out or talk. I suggest you let him be for a while and after some real soul searching and reflection and time on your own so that the both of you can mellow down and figure out what you really want, and then after ask him if it would be possible to meet personally and talk about possibly getting further involved.

    I know how hard it is to be away from the person that we love and usually after creating a lot of expectations and hopes it makes things even harder than they really have to be, but unfortunately it sounds like a “time out” is in order for the two of you so that you can analyze the situation calmly and clearly to make sure you are making the right decisions as to the way you act upon the situation.

    Wish you all the best, be patient and kind and no matter what happens, the experience will enrichen you as a person.

    #64340
    sojourner
    Participant

    Jen A – First of all, sending healing thoughts to you.

    I have to ask this – because I’ve seen guys back peddle & vaporize like this before but not say what’s really going on – is it possible he is or has or wants to become involved with someone else? The fact that you are out of the country gives him all sorts of latitude to explore a new life without really having to tell you about it. There’s been a lot of stuff happen between you two, and a new relationship has none of that baggage. I am reading between his lines…

    I don’t intend to plant suspicions in your head BUT, especially with the birthday non-eventness, it is the first thing that is going through my head. Those are not the actions of someone who professes to love you and want to be with you. Actions speak louder than words. Actions reveal true intent where words are, especially at a safe distance, just words.

    “…you’re out there meeting guys I’m sure and I’m in no position or headspace to be the man you want and deserve right now and I can’t meet your demands or requirements, I need to fix my life, focus on my son and my career and it will only tear us further apart, I love and value you”

    Value you? Yikes. Words that strike terror in my heart. Things that make me go hmmmmm. It sounds to me like he wants you to let him go. If he can get you to do that on your own, then he is not culpable or on the hook for whatever he has going.

    Next time you do have communication with him, just ask him “is there someone else”? Ask for and be willing to accept an honest answer.

    I truly hope that all he is needing is time to get decompressed from the events you describe. If that is the case, let him be, follow Gabriela’s advice, it’s good.

    I hope this doesn’t stress you out more, but I think, humbly, it’s something you may want to consider.

    Best wishes.

    #64341
    Jen A.
    Participant

    Thank you both for the advice – I actually texted him back after he said that to me as I was wondering if there was someone else……… his response: “Hell no, no woman, no interests, nothing. I’m not in the headspace, I need to heal my life, I can’t be a good boyfriend/husband to any woman, I am a hair trigger right now”………..

    So I supposed I should believe him, but part of me is thinking perhaps he’s questioning if I’m right for him – and he recently had some big career success which has prompted a lot of woman to be throwing themselves at him……… his brother told me he’s not interested in any of them and knows he needs to fix his life however he did say this to me “if you guys don’t end up working it out, there may be one of them who I could see him becoming interested in but he wouldn’t act on it until he’s in the right headspace”

    So yeah……….. I think you definitely are raising really good questions and I’m honestly overall not sure what to think……….it definitely seems he’s questioning being with me right now, due to all the pushing and fights we had the week before he signed the divorce and week after…….. how do I get him to get over his anger towards me so he can see me like he used to?

    #64342
    Matt
    Participant

    Jen,

    I’m sorry for your difficulties, and can understand how difficult it can be when our partner pulls away. Consider he has a lot on his plate, and so perhaps your grabbing for him, while well intended, is unintentionally making you look like one of the things he has to sort out. This entangles you into the mess of it, and while he’s grieving (sorting, evaluating, and so forth) he may not have much to give you. A few things came to heart as I read your words.

    If you believe the love between you is strong, and he’s simply overwhelmed, consider reaching out to him more with a metaphoric “postcard” than a metaphoric “grappling hook” or “bridge plans”. Said differently, consider: “Hey, my love. At the park, looking at some flowers, thought of you. Hope you’re well.” Rather than “hey, we haven’t talked in awhile, where do we stand?” The first, more of an invitation, a whisper of a home he’s forgotten. The second, more of an ask about rebuilding and timetables. These postcards can help him remember, gently, the reasons his smile blossoms around you, the song of it, the fun. With all the heavy goop he’s had to slug through, it could perhaps be a safe way for him to see that even at the distance, your heart is right there. It may not reach him, but it might. Just keep in mind that you may have to give one-sidedly for awhile. He may grumble in pain, but with time will perhaps come around.

    If he just ignores you for too long, though, the bridge may just be burnt, for now, forever, who knows. If he does reach back, and its thorny, such as further accusations, or rehashing the past, consider the basic stance of “I’m sorry I got pushy/fiery/angry, I was just scared. I mean to be supportive, I believe in you.” Hopefully he’ll see past the past, and into the present. (Of your heart. 🙂 )

    Finally, make sure you take lots of time to self nurture. Being away from home, working, troubling romance, your own care may get swept aside more easily. Don’t let it! Perhaps hop in a tub with candles, visit a museum, go for a walk in nature… somewhere that sings to your heart, helps you relax. You’re worth the tender attention, and since he’s busy with understandably difficult times, its a perfect opportunity to do a little soul searching for yourself, too.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #64351
    Jen A.
    Participant

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you so much – your post was so touching and gentle and much needed for my broken heart during this incredibly sad time. It’s funny that you said that, I feel your advice is what my heart is telling me to do, I just got off the phone with a friend where I asked her if I should just reach out end of the week (giving it 2.5 weeks where we haven’t spoken) and reach out in that manner you suggested, so reading your post right now confirms that is what I am to do.

    I am going to text him that I saw a car that looked just like his and it made me laugh and think of him and ask him how he’s doing (I always tease him about his car and it always makes him laugh) – he’ll probably respond, knowing him: “lol that’s funny. I’m good, u?” – so where do I go from there? we are still not in the same country and wont be until the new year (which makes this even more difficult) – should I ask him if we can FaceTime and then apologize that way, or apologize via text?

    and after that initial contact, should I begin contacting him daily? Knowing him, he likely wont make the first move to text in the coming days afterwards because that’s how it has been the last month……. no effort on his part to reach out first and thats one of the things we also fought about that lead him to sending his last confusing text to me……. I basically texted him to stop ignoring me and start showing more effort to communicate…… 🙁

    #64355
    sojourner
    Participant

    Hi again – as usual, our friend Matt is incredibly wise and kind. Great advise Matt…

    The only thing I can add to your additional questions Jen, is that I think you are on track with the text about his car – that’s a nice light communication. It lets him know you are thinking of him, that he is still important to you and that you don’t want to create any additional stress for him. I WOULD LEAVE IT THERE. If anything, just wait a few days and send another light & loving text. He knows how to reach you. He’s really kind of in a tough place, sounds like – the best way you can love him at this point is to just be supportive. Don’t be something else he has to deal with – give him time, and keep yourself busy and growing too.

    After what you’ve just said, it seems evident that he is not interested in any other gal. What a relief. His brother confirms this, which is great.

    Hang on loosely! Good luck, truly, keep us posted and yes, please take care of yourself, because YOU need love and support too.

    #64368
    Jen A.
    Participant

    Thanks again Sojourner – wow I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve received during this time from everyone. Thank you so much! You all have given me hope that this isn’t truly the end and sometimes, just hope is all we need to get through our days.

    I will absolutely be taking everyone’s advice and following my heart – I promise to keep you all updated. I think I’ll be waiting another week before contacting him, just to let his anger further subside.

    Thanks again everyone for all your love and support 🙂

    #64390
    Jen A.
    Participant

    *Update – so my friend went over a few days ago to drop off a present I sent over for him back in June (when we were together) – she only got it to him now and she said he took it, said thank you and put it under his desk……… it’s been 2 days and he has yet to text or acknowledge it to me……… his brother said he’s still very angry with me for some of the things I said to him (despite saying the same hurtful things when we were fighting) and is drawing parallels to his ex because she said the same things………… uh oh!? 🙁 Now what? This is not good – if he’s still angry, should I give it more time before contacting him? Not contact him at all and let him come to me when he’s ready?

    I’m so heartbroken, day after day and sinking into further depression, filled with emotions of anger and hurt and of course loss. This is so hard 🙁

    #64398
    Matt
    Participant

    Jen,

    Its very natural to be left breathless when we give gifts that aren’t acknowledged, but that actually comes from your side, your wanting to be important to him right now. He has lots of stuff on his plate, perhaps consider re-reading the previous advice (I think you missed some pieces, or the words didn’t come across) 🙂

    From a different angle, consider how he is caught in some painful emotions, and while your gift was kind, your wish to have him respond favorably to you is unkind, selfish, wanting him to be in a place he isn’t. When I was speaking of postcards, I meant more like a postcard with no return address, like a text sent to him without the need for him to return it. Not a text like a hook, or a present with “oh god, I hope he likes the present and comes and showers me with love and affection and kisses”. This is why self nurturing is so important, because otherwise his lack of reciprocity inspires anger and distance in you as you wish and hope and plan and try to get him to reach back. Said differently, a present isn’t a present if it has a hook in it. When that’s the case, its just fishing. He needs space, and perhaps presents, but not hooks. 🙂

    Self care helps us find stable ground so we can stop looking for others to reply in the way we want, giving us the space to accept the way they do. Said differently, I know you’re hurting, sister, and would love to be comforted by your loved one. He’s not available (and consider your pushing helped create the space between you two) and so rather than becoming depressed, desperate, grabbing, perhaps comfort yourself, turn away from the situation, and be kind to yourself. You have the strength, sister, I know it. But you have to try, take the steps. 🙂 Accepting he may never want to be with you again, or he may heal and find you in his heart. Its a mystery you have to live with, because if you try to solve it right now, it will resolve unfavorably (90% of the time).

    Your obsession about when/how long before contact is understandable, but its not as important as you think. Rather, what is in your heart and mind when you contact him is the important bit. Laughing, happy, sharing? Or needy, demanding, angry? The former is attractive, the latter is repulsive. Said differently, if you have some other interests, consider tending those, doing other things. Him and what’s happening on his side is not a good hobby for you. So, what else do you like to do? Do you meditate? Yoga? Swim? Hang glide? Sew? There’s a lot more to Jen than just her boyfriend, ya know? Do that.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #64399
    Jen A.
    Participant

    Thank you so much Matt, I feel your kindness and your words are so unbelievably comforting right now. It’s hard for me because I guess I am struggling with a constant back and forth of emotions…… one minute all I want to do is love him, support and understanding of him pushing me away and continue to humble myself by getting in touch again……… but the other moment I feel angry that I’m the only one making any effort and chasing……… I tried so hard to walk away in the beginning when his wife had a change of heart, I didn’t want to be dragged into it but he promised me my heart was safe and that he was in it for the long haul………. he promised me I was his soulmate and told me he wants to marry me etc etc etc……. he wouldn’t let me go, and of course I didn’t have the heart to leave him during a time when he said it would devastate him if I did……… I feel he was selfish and now that the divorce has finally taken place and caused tension and fighting with us, he’s giving up so easily it seems…….. like he couldn’t be bothered and see’s me as an annoyance and extra thing to attend to. It seems so unfair 🙁 I guess that’s my struggle………… I don’t deserve it, I was such a great and supportive girlfriend up until the divorce, but even after I apologized so many times for not being more understanding………

    I of course do not want to lose him, but at the same time my pride is starting to kick up and telling me he needs to start coming to me at some point………. but then of course, most times I feel I need to be supportive and let it be one-sided for a while, but does that mean I’m not being loving to myself?

    #64400
    Matt
    Participant

    Jen,

    Yes, that’s exactly right. Leaving the front porch light on isn’t very loving to yourself, as it leaves the mystery unsettled, bringing a natural discomforting powerlessness in “having to wait”. But your question wasn’t “how do I break up with him, grieve, and move on?”. So, to balance the unsolved mystery, consider being especially tender to yourself with extra self nurturing.

    So, how long do you wait for him to heal? That’s between you and your heart. If you can be patient, he might come to his senses, see that your light is on, and find his way home. Maybe not, though. That’s between him and his heart. Love always requires patience, but it shouldn’t be an endurance trial. What’s the timeline like at this point for you? Do you want to wait? Do you wish to rephrase your question? Consider that self caring activities help us let go, so the mystery doesn’t pull our attention so heavily, doesn’t capture us.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #64403
    Jen A.
    Participant

    Matt – first of all, I really have to say, you are an incredibly talented writer and so wise. I’m just curious if you are a professional writer, you have a way with words that continue to lift me and help bring me clarity. I feel honored and blessed beyond words that you are taking your time to respond and continue to help bring clarity and comfort, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    The truth is, I really do love my boyfriend (or ex as it seems), despite how hurt I am by him and in the end I just want our incredible relationship back and him to love me again the way he used to and get past his anger towards me and find his way home. I do want to try to save us, however I’m wondering what you think, is it really me who should be doing this? or him?

    I’m also trying to understand and make sense of it all……….. I’m of the mindset that if a man really loves a woman, no matter what and no matter how difficult times are, he’ll never break it off with her or try to get her to break up with him (which seems what my ex was ultimately doing)…….. it begs the question, did he fall out of love with me because of the fighting? maybe he really doesn’t want to be fought for…….. perhaps the question is, how do I get him to start fighting for me?

    Ugh……. I’m so confused……… bottom line, I do want him back as I’m so deeply and completely in love with him, I want him to heal and be happy and of course, I want him to show me he loves and wants me again 🙁 – I want the love of my life to find his way home.

    #64422
    Matt
    Participant

    Jen,

    Thank you for the kind words, and it would be difficult to explain my profession, but I do write a lot. 🙂 Consider though, words are empty pointers, meaningless in and of themselves, and its the heart and mind of the reader that gives them meaning. Said differently, its not my love that makes the words shine, its yours. My love just moves me to hold up a mirror, offer what is seen in your dance. 🙂

    The same is true of this “he is the love of my life” and “my man should fight for me if his love is true”, as though the world revolves around one another, as though your love is resting “out there” with him, and he is doing poorly with such a gift. This isn’t the case, your love is inside you, and has little to do with him. He perhaps helps inspire it, but he doesn’t own it, it doesn’t belong to him, it isn’t “there with him”, its where its always been… inside you.

    Trying to go back makes sense, because in the past there were moments of security, peacefulness, awe and romance. Wanting him to quickly move through his grief, so you can have those feelings again also makes sense. But its also not kind to either of you to keep grabbing at it in such a way. He needs space to grow and figure out the man he is, and has such a full plate. Like a rubber band, wound tight, that he has to slowly cry and breathe and unwind and find silence and peace and so forth.

    This might be stingy, but you’re going to have to accept that the past is dead, things have changed, that “kingdom of two” collapsed. For now or for good, depends on the choices your both make here and now. Its unknown. So while it may seem reasonable to harness all that desire to go back to what it once was, its actually desire that does nothing. Restless spinning. Insecurity, a feeling of “lost home” that perhaps pushes you to grab toward him, hoping for him to rekindle your porch light. But that just doesn’t usually work, and at the very least, leaves you vulnerable to an inordinate amount of pain.

    Consider this in metaphor. Intimacy is like a bridge that crosses between beings, over waters of space and time. It requires a stable ground to remain steadfast, like a solid footing into the mutual dream that keeps romance flowing. It sounds like when the divorce happened, his land became flooded, a whole mess of emotional water that he held back, avoided, came pouring into his land. This saturated the soil, houses crumbling, bridge collapsing, and a whole lot of mess and stink is bubbling up for him. Trying to rebuild a bridge does nothing good right now, the land too saturated with water, too swampy for anything real to become built. This isn’t permanent, for the sun will shine, the waters will recede, and his soil will find its balance, its strength. But it takes time.

    As you try to rebuild a bridge, it just produces more rubble, more junk for him to clean out. The flood was perhaps caused by his sacrificing of his desire to meet the expectations of women. You, his ex-wife, his mom, telling him to be this or that, pushing and prodding and poking. Instead of telling all y’all to back away, shut up, leave him alone to sort out what he wanted, he repressed it, hid, did your bidding. Just a guess, I don’t know him of course.

    This is perhaps why I keep feeling moved to steer you away from this restless grasping at him and his side, wanting him to give you back the home you once had. You’re your own home, hold your own love, have your own swampy ground to tend more delicately. Said differently, dropping the metaphor, perhaps through tender self nurturing, you can discover and uproot the causes that lead you to push and prod and poke and demand. I think it has something to do with you deciding he is the source of your love, and so reaching for your own stability, your warm affection, trying to create a sense of home within your own heart, keeps looking like you somehow “need” him to give you happiness. So, of course you’d be angry if he stops you from coming home, refuses or ignores your cry… but he doesn’t have your happiness, isn’t its keeper or muse. That’s perhaps just you, grabbing at him for something that’s been inside you all along.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #64776
    Jen A.
    Participant

    Hi Matt and Everyone,

    So here’s the update –

    I sent him an email apology on Monday, very heartfelt, no grabbing at him just reaffirming him, what he meant to me and apologizing for not being more understanding during the week of his divorce and asked for his forgiveness as his friends told me he was still very angry and resentful towards me for words I said to him during that time and the way the fighting escalated.

    He finally responded today, kind of surprising, it was very cold. He apologized saying it was selfish of him to drag me into his situation and that he misses me and our lives together but said “I’m sorry i can’t be that guy for u right now. I blame all that happened on timing. I didn’t give myself a proper grieving/self assessment period. I saw a beautiful great woman, and jumped at the chance to have u. However I did see this situation coming to a head in the long run. I saw it beginning to unfold in march. I started seeing where my situation was taking a toll on u, and my insecurities were surfacing in our relationship. I just wanted u so bad. There so much i should have done, but i only saw blind love. I tried to “have my cake and eat it.” I wasn’t all the way out of and over my previous before i started something new. ……..”

    he also said “I realize I’m in a grieving process, and i can’t drag u through the mud while I’m going through it. I don’t want to mistreat u in any way. I hate that we spoke to each other that way. I hate that i conjured resentment toward u, and said u were a burden” and mentioned that he wasn’t over his ex-wife and is sad their marriage failed………..

    I texted him back that I understood and wasn’t able to be in a relationship right now either due to needing to fix things in myself as well and that I hope we can be friends again when time starts to heal……..

    It definitely feels he’s still very angry………. it’s been a month and a half since the papers were signed and all hell broke loose, I’m hurting bad thinking that maybe he never did love me beyond blind love? was it all a lie? and of course wondering if his anger and resentment towards me and the fact he’s going through it right now is clouding his feelings towards me to write such a cold letter, he even started off as “Hey Diva Swag” so casual………

    What should I make of all this? Do you think it’s simply that he’s in the grieving headspace that he’s being so cold and almost seemingly brushing off what we had? Not once did he mention in the letter, anything about trying again in the future, or that he still loved me, although his friend told me he just told him 2 days ago he did still love me………. but again the letter was quite vague and cold, it ended with saying he wasn’t in love with his wife but not over her and last line was “it’s definitely not fair to you, I’m sorry” – That’s all. That’s how the letter ended 🙁

    Do you think this is all just him grieving or has enough time passed for him to be thinking clearly enough about our situation to know it’s over for good but he’s just not flat out saying it?

    How can I tell if there’s a chance of reconciliation in our future once the grieving and anger have subsided? Do I keep sending “postcards” from time to time? what do I do from here, I don’t want to let go, but I can’t tell anymore what I should do……. Too confused and perhaps clouded by my own emotions I suppose as well 🙁 🙁 🙁 so broken right now.

    Please help 🙁

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.