Understand that I do not fault you for reacting to the perceived threat to your relationship that Deborah represented. The truth is you were just trying to not get left behind standing passively by while some other woman swooped in and grabbed your guy. That is totally understandable. That said, however, your reaction obviously pushed some buttons in Bob – buttons that probably can’t be “un-pressed” right away.
The good news is that he obviously cares for you, and you for him. The not-so-good-news is that he feels compelled to pull away in order to sort things out. Unreasonable as it may be, saying the “M” word to any man early in a relationship can cause him to run screaming into the night. But using it in close proximity with some version of the term “breaking-up” is even more alarming, because regardless of your intention, he will likely perceive that he has been given an ultimatum of sorts – a kind of all-or-nothing scenario. And though it is obvious to me, removed as I am, that that was certainly not your intent, to him it probably sounded like you were, on some level, pressuring him to “fish or cut bait.”
To be clear, however, for now, your romantic relationship is over. When a man says that he wants to put the relationship “on pause,” he means that, at least temporarily, the romance is over. It is possible that down the road he may want to revisit a relationship with you, and if you are interested and available the two of you may be able to rebuild your relationship. And as frustrating as it may be, “giving things time” is probably your only solution. No amount of pushing, pressure, or promises to keep things light and casual will cause him to move back in your direction any faster.
As to whether race plays a part in any of this, all I can say is that I believe if those involved were all of the same race or if the racial mixture was slightly different, it would have little impact on the way this particular scenario played out. That doesn’t mean it is totally irrelevant – just that there is no evidence to show it is a significant factor. And whether your respective children knowing about the relationship so early on is meaningful really depends upon their ages, proximity, and how much about your personal life you normally share with them. And since parent’s feeling on when to involve their children in their romantic lives vary enormously from one individual to the next, I wouldn’t spend much time or effort speculating on the significance of this.
My advice is that you move on, knowing that reconciliation at some point in the future is a possibility. Do not dwell on tomorrow and what might be, concentrate on today and what is reasonably in your grasp. Right now he is not available. If you’re interested in romance, find someone else who is, too. And whatever you do, don’t use the “M” word till you’re certain that a permanent relationship is what you both have in mind.
© 2009 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.