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TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 4051
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Professional Coach
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After getting divorced last year (from someone who had

Customer Question

After getting divorced last year (from someone who had problems with addiction and cheated on me), late this summer I got together with a guy I had known very vaguely for a little while through work contacts. He's absolutely lovely and when we finally talked properly back in August we clicked in every way. We had a very passionate, fun, close relationship for a few weeks (I don't want to call it a fling as it felt far more than that). He told me how much he liked me, told me I was beautiful and sexy, said how good we were together and how it felt so right and natural between us. He couldn't stop touching me and gazing at me and was very affectionate whenever we went out together. That made me let my guard down and fall for him. But he does have a lot of problems - he lost his wife very suddenly, in shocking circumstances, three years ago, leaving him to raise their four children alone. And after losing her he got involved with someone who abused him, physically and emotionally - which was obviously awful for the children too. He clearly struggles with depression - his house is chaos and he doesn't look after himself well. None of that scared me at all - he was very open about everything and I thought that was a great start - I shared a lot of my past hurts with him too and it felt very bonding. But then, after a couple of months of seeing each other once a week, he started to pull away and tell me he couldn't have a relationship with me right now. He said he knew I was perfect, but he wasn't whole enough, had so many responsibilities he was failing in already, and would probably let me down so it was better to end it now. I was absolutely devastated as it had felt so right between us - I'd even met his kids and loved them. He wants me to stay in his life as a friend and says he would like to keep the door open potentially for the future, although he knows he can't ask me to wait and thinks I should get on and live my life. I can of course see he's very depressed and damaged, and still grieving, and I know I'm the only person he's open and honest with, so part of me wants to stay around and support him to get the right help - I know I can't fix him but I've been trying to get him to socialise a bit more, see the doctor and start doing some exercise, which I think has been helping him a bit. But of course I know I'll be hoping for more at some point and another side of me is scared he's not really interested and all this is an excuse. I get a lot of attention from other men but I had really fallen for this guy - he's broken, but I have my own scars so that makes me feel closer to him. He's also funny, kind, handsome and a great dad. I just don't know whether to stay in his life or cut him out so I can move on.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 2 years ago.

I know how much you are struggling around this and with him and believe you are truly wonderful for him, and you are, but he can only do what he is capable of doing right now and that is not getting more deeply involved at this point. You have been wonderfully helpful for him but as you said, you can't change him so being supportive and consistent will help him the most. But, if you feel that it is too painful to stick around and "just be friends" then only you can decide that. There is no way to predict whether he will come around again and want something deeper but if he can feel safe and secure again, then it is possible.