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Hi Tom,

Not sure why you think people would treat you harshly for being in a relationship, if youre over your ex. Congrats if you found someone you like! The lines that most gives me pause are where you say you two havent changed much and But we were young, and although we had a great time together, we were typical of any couple in their mid-20s -- worked hard, played hard, and broke up twice. I broke up with people for real reasons. Id face why you actually broke up twice, and consider what has changed if anything due to the intervening years (meaningful stuff-/not stronger feelings, wanting it more, etc.) to maximize the chance of a different outcome or abort early if the same outcome is likely. Good luck!



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Originally Posted by OnlyBent
Hi Tom,

Happy New Year. Quick question, if your STBXW came back to you tomorrow and apologised for the hurt she caused you, for abandoning you and recognised all your changes and wanted to give it a second chance, what would you do?

This is an excellent question and one I have been working on with my therapist and have discussed with Sally.

I would talk. I have been waiting to talk for 14.5 months. But I would have to approach any discussion independent of Sally, meaning it would have to be just me and the ex. And after 15 months I am very doubtful I would go back with my her. I would forgive her, of course -- in fact, I already forgave her. But among all the things I have realized over this time, including my deep look into my own failings, I have realized that my ex did not really know me, even after having been married to me for so long. She didn't understand me. I made a million mistakes, of course. But her key decision was probably 2-3 years ago, when she decided to plan for a divorce rather than give our marriage a try. She thought I had anger problems. She was certain I would never change. She has insisted to her friends that she tried and tried and tried and finally gave up when it was hopeless -- but it never was hopeless! I forget which other DBer here said it, but at BD, the WAW views the LBH in only bad terms, and the LBH views the WAW in only good terms. After time goes by, the WAW starts to mellow in her critical thoughts, but the LBH looks are her more skeptically and wonders why he should stay with someone who doesn't want him and was willing to betray him by walking out without notice. I am at that stage now.

The chances of her doing that are miniscule. My ex is not especially sophisticated, and when she makes decision she sticks with it. Some people are not wired that way, but she is. I am certain that she is relieved to not have to be around me now, that it is a relief to have a kitchen, a bedroom, and a living room to herself. She's not coming back.

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Originally Posted by CWarrior
Hi Tom,

Not sure why you think people would treat you harshly for being in a relationship, if youre over your ex. Congrats if you found someone you like! The lines that most gives me pause are where you say you two havent changed much and But we were young, and although we had a great time together, we were typical of any couple in their mid-20s -- worked hard, played hard, and broke up twice. I broke up with people for real reasons. Id face why you actually broke up twice, and consider what has changed if anything due to the intervening years (meaningful stuff-/not stronger feelings, wanting it more, etc.) to maximize the chance of a different outcome or abort early if the same outcome is likely. Good luck!

CW, a couple DBers here were pretty adamant that you had to wait 2 years before dating again, much less being in a relationship. As for me? I couldn't let this pass. I couldn't say to her, let's start dating in a year. I would not be dating under other circumstances, but I know her, she knows me, it's like we have a 1-year head start on things and all we have to do is catch up on 30 years of life and figure out how our marriages have changed us.

Saying "you haven't changed" is mostly rhetorical. Of course we have. But it's the little things, mostly. She holds her fork the same odd way she did back in the late 1980s, and I remembered. She slips her arm through mine and nuzzles my shoulder the same way she did. I roll my eyes the same way as back then, and my laugh is the same.

The story of the breakups back then is both funny and poignant. When you're 24 or 25 you do dumb things, you say dumb things. Yet ... I broke up with Sally to develop the relationship with my STBXW! We have talked about this at length. Sally was not ready to settle down, but I was. And that was the primary reason. And why didn't I stay with Sally and just give her a few more years? Because ... my insecurities coming out again ... I was terrified of her. I grew up in a modest, crazy and ethnic (mostly Italian) household. I was born frugal and practical -- that's the technical man in me. She was neither. I wanted a girl next door type who believed in "for better and for worse," who wanted a white picket fence and a large family. Sally was worldly and wanted to go out to clubs and vacation at the South of France. She was beautiful and sexy and fun but I was looking elsewhere.

I didn't give Sally a chance back then ... 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. She ended up settling down 18 months later. She laughs and said maybe we were so close to getting married, the two of us, back then. But I tell her that I never want to speak of it that way, because wishing that we had married undoes her child and my three. So we just have to smile and look ahead.

Last edited by tom_h; 01/01/21 02:30 AM.
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This is a forum. People posting in a frank manner is not "being treated harshly". Come on Tom! No one would begrudge you if you could answer OB's question with a firm "I would not take her back no matter what". The problem posters were trying to get you to understand is that many Less rush into dating to get over the pain of the break up of their marriage, and that is not healthy.

In the end, none of us can stop you from dating or being in a new relationship. Knock yourself out! But we will rightfully point out when a LBS wants their spouse back and dates anyway.


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Quote
I broke up with Sally to develop the relationship with my STBXW!


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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 didnt 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?

Im surprised she gave you another chance after that.


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Originally Posted by Steve85
This is a forum. People posting in a frank manner is not "being treated harshly". Come on Tom! No one would begrudge you if you could answer OB's question with a firm "I would not take her back no matter what". The problem posters were trying to get you to understand is that many Less rush into dating to get over the pain of the break up of their marriage, and that is not healthy.

In the end, none of us can stop you from dating or being in a new relationship. Knock yourself out! But we will rightfully point out when a LBS wants their spouse back and dates anyway.

Whoa, Steve, "harshly" was not my words! Please make certain of that ... I recall being curious that some of you had pointed opinions, but I never said harsh; I said "challenging" tongue-in-cheek.

Forgive me but I'm a bit sensitive about having words or meaning ascribed to me that I did not say or mean. You've seen the exchanges. And yes, I want you all to keep me accountable so ask away about things.

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Originally Posted by scout12
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I broke up with Sally to develop the relationship with my STBXW!

Quote
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 didnt 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?

Im 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.

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You say you welcome any questions or feedback, then are rude and condescending when you read something you dont like. You continue to tell someone their perspective is wrong, you assume they want to jump all over you ( which scout did not , you had been open to learning about empathy, and thats what she was showing)

You are very defensive and abrasive with people who try to help because thoughts arent expressed exactly in the manner you would like to hear them expressed. And no one has ever been rude, but unless they say something you want to hear, you come back with venom. How is that effective communication? Do you communicate with sally like that? Or does she speak to you in the tone and in the way and say only what you want to hear and how you want to hear it?

And Here is my question regarding sally. You reached out to her for romantic reconnection when you say her husbands obituary and he had only been dead and buried for 3 months? Did I read that correctly?

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The time line is also a little confusing. You came here 8/27/2020 to save your marriage, but you were beginning a relationship with sally at that time, one that was never mentioned until now? So you were dating someone no one had any idea here, and you were given advice on divorcebusting thinking you were uninvolved with someone else and single?

Im so confused. Please clarify if I am wrong

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Originally Posted by tom_h
Originally Posted by Steve85
This is a forum. People posting in a frank manner is not "being treated harshly". Come on Tom! No one would begrudge you if you could answer OB's question with a firm "I would not take her back no matter what". The problem posters were trying to get you to understand is that many Less rush into dating to get over the pain of the break up of their marriage, and that is not healthy.

In the end, none of us can stop you from dating or being in a new relationship. Knock yourself out! But we will rightfully point out when a LBS wants their spouse back and dates anyway.

Whoa, Steve, "harshly" was not my words! Please make certain of that ... I recall being curious that some of you had pointed opinions, but I never said harsh; I said "challenging" tongue-in-cheek.

Forgive me but I'm a bit sensitive about having words or meaning ascribed to me that I did not say or mean. You've seen the exchanges. And yes, I want you all to keep me accountable so ask away about things.


Ok, I stand corrected on the word "harshly", it was CW's word, not yours.

Everything else I stated stands. I agree, you're sensitive, but not just about words being attributed to you. It appears you are quite sensitive about anything other than attaboys. Remember, the posters here are trying to help. I found in my threads that it was better to ignore advice you don't like, rather than challenge everything you disagree with. Maybe insight into a bit of a dynamic that helped in your marriage ending and resulted in your STBXW not speaking to you? Maybe she doesn't want a scolding everytime she gets a minor detail incorrect? Something to consider.

Happy New Year Tom, may 2021 bring you peace and prosperity.

Last edited by Steve85; 01/01/21 01:32 PM.

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