We blended our families, then it came apart. Where did I go wrong? Ask Ellie
Q:I’m a woman who’s been involved with a man I loved. We both have children — his 15-year-old daughter (adjusting slowly), his older boy who is very nice to me, and my sons, 12 and 14. We “blended” at his house, but I kept my condo, awaiting future decisions. I’ve been divorced for six years. His wife died five years ago.
He’s 55, I’m 43. I thought he loved me. My dream only lasted 18 months.
I read the letter about a woman who shares mutual love with a widower (March 15). I can’t understand why my situation failed, so long after his wife passed.
I’m confused and needing advice. I was very thoughtful and didn’t get annoyed when I overheard him saying he “met someone,” but never said my name. When we were out, he never introduced me to people as his “girlfriend.” I let it pass.
The one thing that did bother me, as it did the other woman who wrote you, were photos of his wife all over the house.
When I finally commented that perhaps he’d feel more at peace about her if he had grief counselling, he dismissed that immediately. He said, “I’m not weak. I don’t need someone telling me that I should cry.”
Since that short conversation, he started working longer hours at his office, coming back after dinner saying he had something sent in and isn’t hungry.
He ended our relationship a few weeks later. That was only a couple of months ago and I’m devastated. Where did I go wrong?
A:You didn’t “go wrong.” You believed you were building a lasting relationship together. He gave that signal when he moved you/your children into his home.
But in 18 months you didn’t fully know this man who thinks crying over a wife’s death is “weak.”
He also doesn’t easily share emotions. When he wouldn’t say your name, he was waiting to see if the relationship worked out.
This is his nature: He buries himself in work rather than deal with feelings and personal issues, especially not after experiencing his wife’s death.
He may have loved you in his own way, which seems very limited at this time. Console yourself that you and your kids didn’t have to accept his distancing.
Q:I’ve been in a state of anxiety ever since I first heard the word “coronavirus,” and it’s persisted even now after things have started opening up.
What kind of help should I be getting when an appointment with a therapist means waiting weeks/months, just to talk online?
I’m wound up all the time, expecting things to be worse. Can you suggest any helpful ways to live with anxiety during anxious times?