I broke up with Sally to develop the relationship with my STBXW!
I made my decision in a vacuum and just announced to her the second time (the first breakup was for silly reasons) that we were done. She told me that it devastated her. I never knew.
Uhhhh, what? You dumped her for another woman out of the blue and it didnít occur to you that she would be upset by that?
This is a prime example of your lack of empathy. Did you ever put yourself in her shoes and imagine how she might have felt?
Iím surprised she gave you another chance after that.
Well, maybe I'm a better catch than you think, Scout! You're always looking at my glass half (no, 10%) empty. And perhaps Sally is a better judge of character than you as well. There are of course more details but you wanted to just jump all over me and reconfirm your notions about me, fine.
Sally and I were dating back then but we hadn't expressed love for each other. We were both seeing other people (our relationship was long distance) and we had been candid about our respective situations. Perhaps the only "unfair" part of things back then is that she had fallen in love with me but hadn't said it, and I broke up before she had a chance to tell me. We were both slowly making our choices. It happens every day -- one person is more in love with a partner than the other, and is heartbroken when the other one moves on. It's called life, not a lack of empathy, to the heartbroken one. And yes, of course I cared how she felt back then; I was kind to everyone. I didn't know she had been in love with me, though, at the breakup. She called me once, a year later, to see if I was still dating my future wife, but it was a short and awkward call -- I was already engaged. I didn't really find out she had been in love with me, back then, until this year. I didn't know the term empathy back then but I would have been kind to her to be sure. So ... sorry Scout, you were quick to judge and quick to complain and wrong on both counts.
As for empathy, you might have shown some yourself by asking how I broke the ice this year. You didn't care to ask but I'll tell everyone else anyway.
I tried to be as empathetic as possible. I first wrote her a short note, handwritten on an embossed card, that said it appears we had both undergone significant life transitions recently (I saw the obit for her husband) and would she be interested in reconnecting? I ended the note saying, if she found this letter to be unwelcome, just let me know by email or USPS and I would not reach out again. Such was not the case; we began an active email conversation the following week that went on for a full month before our first date.
During that first date, at dinner, I was of course very apologetic; I had rehearsed my words to her for weeks! I told her she had every reason to be angry that I had broken up to eventually marry someone else, and was now back because that woman had divorced me! I told her as much as I could remember about the times all those years ago, what went through my head, all the thoughts I hadn't expressed back then. In essence, her reply was, how could I be angry at you, you were kind and gentlemanly, we just didn't have the chance to date long enough to where we both had the same feelings; and I wouldn't show desperation, at the breakup, by saying, "please don't do it, I'm in love with you!"
Sally knew then, and knows now, that I am a sincere fellow; if I wasn't, there would have been no second date this year.
As I said in the previous post -- I was ready to settle down, Sally was not. I was the marrying type but she wasn't. I wanted a home and a family, and to start 401ks and investing money. Sally wanted to live in New York, go clubbing, and have a boyfriend who could take her to the south of France. We really were just at different stages of life, even though our ages were about the same.
We still are both blown away at the timing; her husband's obituary was in June, my wife walked out in September. There are so many reasons why it almost seems beyond a coincidence; after 30 years we both turn single at virtually the same time! We both look into each other's eyes now and wonder, openly, "is this finally our chance?"
Still, even today she teases me about it, and even her daughter teases me about it, that I "dumped her but came back." Yet, so much time has passed, so much water is under the bridge. I think I showed maximum empathy when I reconnected with her. And that's what I hope my friends here at DB care about. What am I doing today. I am thrilled to be with her, positively thrilled.
Now -- this relationship with her is not a done deal. We have a lot to work out; our marriages were very different. We have talked over how wounded we are, in our own unique ways, after our first marriages. We have some different political and social views. We still have different attitudes about money. And -- it is still a long distance relationship.
She knows I am on a divorce forum, by the way, but she does not know the URL. I felt that it would be healthier that way that she not see what I say here. But she knows all about GAL/180s/Detach. Also love languages. We talk about those regularly.
I welcome any other questions!
** Final point -- there is a concept out there about First Loves, which explains why middle aged and elderly people have great second marriages with someone they knew in their youth, and why this might be better than just meeting another single and starting from scratch. If anyone here knows about this I'd appreciate talking about it.