Need Advice on Gunshy Boyfriend

posted 3 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
Hostess
9908 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

@berrynuttyfarm:  I think you need to give him more time in your relationship.  Tone down the marriage and future talk and be in your relationship NOW.  You’re scared he won’t commit, he’s afraid you’ll run.  The way you’re going now, you’ll both get hurt, pushing him before he’s ready won’t get you ahead.

Perhaps suggest couples couneslling for the two of you.  Talk through your issues with a mediator, someone who might be able to help you connect and move forward.

Post # 5
Member
435 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

@berrynuttyfarm:  I guess my advice to this would be keep doing the things you are doing…(being patient, loving, and supportive)

Seems like you are a great girlfriend who understands his feelings. Over time he will be less “gunshy” and commit fully to you(ie marriage)…

Just be as patient as you can, and vent on the bee when it is driving you crazy… 😉

Post # 6
Member
3044 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

@berrynuttyfarm:  

how long have you known each other, not just dated? How do you get along with the kids and their mom? Do you want to bear your own children and have you and he talked about that?

if you aren’t wanting to bear his children (which would change things due to possible fertility issues) I would  try to focus on living your life now the way you would like to for the rest of your life – for the long haul, like you read. He isn’t going to do a runner in the middle of the night.

i’ve considered my SO and I to be pre-engaged for about two years now. I know a ring isn’t coming my way for a while, and it took over 3 1/2 years for us to be ready to live together (jobs in the same place, and totally emotionally ready for that step.) I would’ve definitely said yes had he popped the question within about six months.. But he’s taking his sweet-ass time to be sure about this! Regardless, though, I realized at a certain point recently that I don’t need that ring to KNOW he isn’t going anywhere and while of course I definitely want that I don’t feel anymore like I need it to prove he’s giving as good as it gets. I’m a lot less stressed since that occurred to me, and I hope  you have an epiphany like that for you too! 🙂

Post # 7
Member
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

This sounds like the relationship I had with Mr TTR before we got married.

Except it was I who was more gun-shy than him having come off a 20+ year Marriage, and a beyond horrid Divorce.

In truth the only cure was time…

As much as I loved him (and from the sound of things Your Guy LOVES you too) this was all about a very much broken heart and a down-trodden mind

Marriage is a big deal for many people… I too would say I am the kind who marries for keeps… so when it doesn’t work out that way it can be beyond devastating (I’d say in round numbers it took me about 10 Years to get truly past my Break Up… even tho I left my Ex… the Seperation & Divorce).

It was during that timeframe that I met Mr TTR and despite him being truly WONDERFUL… and not at all like my Ex, I was scared sh!tless that he’d change, and evolve into my Ex (ya unfounded thoughts, but they did exist).  As your Man has been Divorced 2x, I can only imagine how much FEAR he has of this happening to him again

Honestly, Divorce sucks… it is the worst thing in the whole world… as much as being in love getting Engaged & Married is a HUGE High… Divorce is most definitely the exact opposite.  It makes you question just about everything in your world / existence… and yourself too.

Divorce is sooo bad (even when necessary such as in my case… My Ex was an Abusive Alcoholic)… that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy !!

To rebuild trust to a point where it is possible to marry / commit truly 100% your all again to someone takes time.  Trust has to be built.

Sorry, I don’t have an easier answer for you.

Mr TTR being a guy, was quite content with our Relationship and my being in it (in so much as most guys, don’t see Marriage as much a requirement as women do)… BUT he did want to get married.  Me not so much.  He KNEW where he was emotionally by Year 2 or so of our Dating (especially so after we started living together).  BUT he also knew my state of mind, so he didn’t push me in any sort of way.  (He too was an Encore, and had a long Marriage as well… but he was also Divorced a lot longer than I).

As we were Encores, and older (I was in my 40s, he was in his 50s) and we both had grown kids and knew we didn’t want any of our own.  There was no real “need” to get married… we just lived common law.  It worked for us / me because in my mind altho it had “the apperance” of being permanent, it didn’t equate in my brain to being the same as having the potential to ever facing another horrific court battle (and all that entailed, especially financially… that for me was the biggest TRUST ISSUE that I was struggling with).

Then one day it happened… Mr TTR & I were coming up on our 6th Dating Anniversary, and I came to realize that Marriage was what I wanted… and I wanted it not just for me, but also for him.  Being Married meant that our Relationship would be strengthened in the eyes of the Law (example:  We travel a lot… and not being married, meant that in some countries… including the USA we were more at risk if one of us had a health issue, as Common Law isn’t considered married.  And it scared me that if he took ill, that I might not be allowed to speak for his needs as I can do here at home).

We talked about these issues and others… he had similar worries about my well being… as I am younger than him, and he was afraid that if something happened to him (incapacitated / death) that I wouldn’t be cared for / regarded the same way by society, family etc.  I wouldn’t be the “wife / widow”, worse case scenario, I’d merely be the entry in the Obit that says and “longtime companion”.  He definitely didn’t want that.

And so we talked about our life, our past, our present, and our future (aka a LIFE PLAN & TIMELINE Talk, altho it didn’t start out that way).  And then I said the words… “I think we should get married”.

He was a bit taken back, as he truly thought I wouldn’t ever go there… and we’d be that couple everyone knows that has dated for 20+ years.

But I said it, and I 1000% meant it.

I wanted to be married before the end of 2012.  And he agreed.  And then I became a Waiting Bee, because he told me to leave the Proposal up to him.  And because I never had any qualms about our relationship (I was in a frame of mind previously, that we could have dated forever)… I was ok with that.  I trusted him, he trusted me.  I KNEW the Proposal / Ring was just a matter of time.

And, like a guy… he did it in his own way, and on his own timeline (lol, months later while we were on Vacation).

BUT he did hold to his promise that we’d be married before the end of 2012… infact when we got Engaged, he had worked out a lot of the details about that too in his head… sharing with me his vision etc.  (Like many men do… when they make up their minds… they are ALL IN for sure).

Anyhow… my best advice:

If YOU don’t want kids, then I think you should just sit tight and wait this out.  Enjoy the fact that you guys are happy together now… and continue Dating status quo.  As I said, this approach of no pressure on me, and just enjoying the Relationship that we had, made me fall in love with Mr TTR all the more.

Your guy you’ve said is the type of guy who isn’t Anti-Marriage (same place I always was).  Which is a GOOD THING… cause lots of people coming out of Divorce end up being very much Anti-Marriage… and those people who definitely say I DON’T WANT TO MARRY AGAIN should be listened to.  Those people rarely change that stance.

Your guy is just stuck in… “I’m not ready to marry again” because he hasn’t gotten his feet back under him, his heart melded back together, and his mind that was filled with hurtful memories to a point of peace yet.

In time I’m guessing he’ll get there… like I did, and you’ll have proved to him that you are trustworthy… HIS FEARS will disappear, and he’ll Propose.

NOW…

If YOU WANT KIDS… that could be a whole other ball of wax given your ages.  At 37 you are going to want to probably be married sooner than later.  And I get that.

So you’ll have to go thru a process of self-awareness and decide what matters to you more.  Being Married or Not.  Being a Mom or Not.  Or being a Unmarried Mom.

That is a tough decision… and only one you can make.  Cause if things don’t work out between him and you down the road, then you’d be a single mom.

And I’d never advise anyone to use a baby / kid as a pawn to try to get a man to marry them… so that isn’t a good idea (Men who marry when they aren’t ready… tend to build LESS TRUST and MORE RESENTMENT… and that never bodes well for the future of the Relationship / Marraige)

I hope my words have helped somewhat… (( HUGS ))

 

Post # 8
Member
534 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

A few things jump out at me here that I think you should consider:

1) You’ve only been dating 11 months.  My FI and I decided to get married at 11 months, but I’m not going to say that wasn’t a quick decision.  Most couples date a few years before even discussing marriage; you’re talking about it and he’s just not ready, which is understandable.

2) He’s been married and divorced twice.  Maybe he’s telling the truth that neither divorce was what he wanted, but I feel like we’re missing some of the story.  Divorce is rarely the total fault of one person except in cases of abuse (physical, emotional, drug/alcohol, etc).

3) Has he sought any counseling to help him handle the heartache from these two failed relationships?  Divorce SUCKS.  It is SO hard to deal with.  I’m divorced, have been for almost 3 years (separated for almost 4) and I STILL grieve the breakdown of my former marriage…and I’m about to marry the love of my life!!  The pain of divorce is not something that just goes away when you meet someone new – and better! – than your former partner.  Therapy has helped me greatly in dealing with all of the complicated feelings regarding divorce and entering a new relationship.  Your SO should consider therapy as well.

4) Does he understand that all relationships are their own separate entities?  That’s to say, does he recognize that not trusting his former ex-wives has nothing to do with whether he can trust you?  If he’s lumping you all in the same category (i.e., “women I’ve loved”), that suggests to me that he has some more emotional growing to do.

I’m being a bit harsh here, and I apologize.  I just think you need to take a few steps back from this situation.  Ask yourself exactly what you’re willing to do.  You say you’re willing to wait – is he willing to ask that of you?  Is he telling you, “Wait for me; I’ll get there?”  Or is he saying, “I’m not going to be ready, so move on if you need to?”  (If it’s the latter, get out!)  You’re willing to wait now, but will you still be willing to wait a year from now?  Two?  Five?  Are you willing to be lumped together in a category of women who shattered his heart?  Are you interested in having biological children of your own, and is he willing to do that with you?  There’s a lot to think about here.  I would say that if you are okay with giving him some time and space, you should do that, but be prepared that he might take longer than you need.  

At the very least, I think therapy for him is probably necessary; couples counseling would maybe be even better.

Best wishes to you.

Post # 9
Member
518 posts
Busy bee

I’m a similar age. I’m 38 now and he’s 44. He’s divorced with 2 children. So I kinda know where you are coming from, being the same age and having children involved.

Can I be honest here and just say :  It’s only been 11 months!!!! I didn’t even meet my boyfriend’s kids until we were together almost a year! He wanted to make sure I was sticking around and a good person and he knew my character before he got his kids involved and potentially attached to me. I didn’t move in until just over 2 years. SLOW DOWN!! This man has been through a lot and has kids and abandonment issues. What’s the rush? If he’s so perfect why wouldn’t you give him another year? I don’t understand this concept of ‘wasting time’, if you’re happy and in love and enjoying life together, I don’t understand why you would walk away. You say you’re patiently waiting and not pressuring him, but you have posted once a month about waiting, at 9 months, 10 months and now 11 months, it doesn’t sound patient at all, and I am sure he is picking up on this pressure.

It’s exactly what you said: prove yourself and give it time. I have the same thing as you with the marriage talk, HE brings up marriage all the time, not me. At first I would get excited and think that meant he wanted to do it now, he had me try on rings, he talks about our wedding, but now I have learned that it’s because he’s excited and truly does want to, but he is just going to do it when he’s ready. In his mind we are going to be together for life so what’s the rush. If yours is gunshy maybe this is his way of easing into it, getting used to the idea, making sure you’re going to stick around no matter what, etc.

You asked how to be a good girlfriend to him, well for one, give him time. Don’t pressure him. Prove your trustworthiness with him and his children. Work at your relationship with the children. Show him you care about his children and understand his love and relationship with them. Support him, in his career and personal endeavors. Show him in every situation that you’re in it for the long term and not going to run or give up on him. Ask him to go to counseling with you. I don’t know why so many people think it’s a bad thing. How is it bad to work on yourself? To try to grow to learn to communicate better, I don’t think it’s ever a bad thing.

As long as you feel he’s committed in his heart wants to move forward and be a family and have you live with him someday and you both want to be together, give him time.

From your post it sounded like he wanted those things in the future, and with you. just not today. You have waited 37 years, why isn’t this man you love so much worthy of another year of your time if you truly want a future with him. If I misinterpreted this and you’re not sure if he ever wants those things, that’s a different story.

Post # 13
Member
4901 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

Eleven months is really a short amount of time.  I get that time is not on your side if you want to have a baby.

I’d give the relationship time to evolve on its own.  It sounds as if you’re basically happy together & you genuinely like & enjoy his kids.  That’s a gift.

I wouldn’t bring up timelines for another year, personally.

Post # 14
Member
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I can see why, from your perspective as a Christian, that you think that slowing down comes with particular difficulties. I’m not a Christian so never had to consider this factor in my relationship.  However, my DH and I had also been married before and had children so we were not prepared to jump into marriage before the time was right. Admittedly, we did not hurry, but equally the very idea that we could be ready to marry or even commit ourselves to getting married 11 months after we’d got together would have had us running for the hills. Separately! We didn’t rush into living together either since it was very important that our children were entirely comfortable with our relationship – and each other as potential stepbrothers and sisters – so although we we were rarely apart, we lived in both our houses for nearly 3 years. After which we set up home together.

In your case, I am not surprised that after such a short period together, two failed marriages and three children, your BF will be absolutely unready to get engaged, let alone married right now. He may well be happy to discuss marriage in principle but for sure, he is clearly not emotionally ready to take that step. Being fervently unwilling to live together before marriage or even have sex does bring its own urgency to your situation but it is still no reason to take things faster than they should naturally go.

If I were you, I’d discourage discussions about marriage until the point that he is ready to take that step.  I’d be the loyal and caring girlfriend that you clearly are while strengthening your relationship with his children and I would let him slowly gain more trust in the idea of a permanent, committed relationship with you. There’s nothing worse than a marriage that one party was fundamentally unready to enter into and the short term benefits would be outweighed by the long term unsustainability of it.  

Post # 15
Member
592 posts
Busy bee

@berrynuttyfarm:  I’m not worried about the time so much as him afraid of getting hurt again. He might intellectually recognize you and your relationship with him are different, but it doesn’t sound like he is emotionally recognizing it.

As someone who had their entire life turned to ash by terrible relationship ends I understand his position. But I was DETERMINED to never let my emotional baggage come between me and my current SO. He should NEVER have to pay for the sins of someone else. Its such a hard thing to make your partner go through that and it would break me to inflict and difficulty or pain on him that he didn’t deserve. But it was very hard work for me, and still is some days. I can proudly say though that I’ve never let a ghost come between me and the man who loves me and is here with me now. 

I would highly recommend he get individual counseling. And maybe after he’s started a few sessions that you sit in with him on one or two. 

Post # 16
Member
771 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@berrynuttyfarm:  I’d me more worried at the 3-5 year mark, 11 months isn’t too long to wait. Unless you are wanting to start a family.

Also, the children having a hard time may be reason enough for him to be gunshy. He may need to address that situation first to make him feel more comfortable proposing.

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