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Am I settling?

Published on January 3, 2011 by j.c.gomez

I have been separated from my estranged wife for a while now.  Recently, I met a very sexy woman who seemed so vivacious and alive, that I was instantly attracted to her! Though I was just beginning to date other women, this woman captured my full and undivided attention, and quickly became the center of every weekend and several weeknights.  We have great intimacy, and share numerous common interests, but we also have personal interests that we do not share (this helps keep conversations interesting, I believe).  However, I am beginning to wonder if I am settling...  We have some differences that I believe are significant, that I fear will eventually become enough to actually have a "discussion" about.  Our families are of slightly different socio-economic classes  and very different cultural family lineage.  We joke about the movie called "Meet the Fockers", where my family is the uptight bunch, and her family being the very liberal group.  With so many issues in the way, am I making a mistake?  I love her... but is that enough?

ANSWERS

Almost sound like you're putting the cart before the horse. I would tend to view settling as being something more between you both and not so much how you'll get along with each other's family. I understand that some people place family approval above personal approval, and to each their own.

It sounds like even though you both have a really great connection that maybe you're a little scared yourself about how serious this could become? I couldn't begin to imagine how a seperation from an estranged wife would affect me, but I could guess that it might affect how I react to possible long term relationships, new fears, some trust in them, etc.

Thank you for the reply, Qverb. In a way, I suppose I am putting the cart before the horse. I was in my last relationship for five years. With my estranged wife, I knew we had a lot of common and uncommon traits. I also knew that there was a great deal of common cultural components, and I learned that my Dad knew her Mom from work. When we had our first family get together, her Mother acted so stand-offish, that my parents were offended. That crack in the foundation started a chain reaction that eventually resulted in my taking a stand and honoring my wife to the point of isolation (I stopped talking to my family for over two years).

So, for me, ensuring that our families will get along is paramount. Yes, of course my now girlfriend and I must have chemistry (which we do), otherwise she would not be part of the equation...

I do appreciate your perspective! You are probably spot-on with regards to my being scared. When my estranged wife started to drift away, I tried everything to keep the marriage together... pastoral counseling, two separate marriage counselors, self-help books.... nothing worked! Eventually, she kicked me and my son out, creating a chain reaction of events that left me emotionally crushed, financially broke, alone and lost. Having found love again, I suppose I am wary of losing it.... Hmmm....

First thing you need to ask yourself ..is this actually a rebound? Now I know that is something you dont want to hear..and Im not saying that it is. Just that you need to be sure you are ready for anything let alone something that you think will have problems. If you can confidently answer that it is not a rebound then we can move on. Yes there are alot of differences between you and her on many scales. This is only becomes a problem if neither of you is willing compromise or communicate. If both of you understand the differences and potential problems they will cause then you are miles ahead already. Take some time to think about and discuss with her whats going on in your head. That way you can both go into this with eyes wide open. Best of luck .

I can emphasize and sympatize at the same time. I have lived your story. You didn't say the time frame from last trying to make your marriage work and this new relationship. Lonliness can drive us into another relationship too quickly. I would recommend caution. Your son is involved, no matter what, and I know the last thing you want is to have him hurt again. The best advice I ever got was from my sister, who says, "if its not broke, don't fix it." Right now, just enjoy where you are; hold on to hope for a future, and at the same time watch for the red flags. Truthfully you may already be seeing them and ignoring them as trivial. Your heart will not lie to you. God created you that way. Remember that relationships will never be a perfect match, that only comes from a relationship with someone who is perfect, in other words, Jesus. The other relationships in our lives are there to help us to grow in love, patience, self-control, honor. Just enjoy the journey. Love your life. Find your own peace and you will attract that which you are attracted to. When you chase love, money, anything really, you drive it away. Rest in the promises of Christ, He came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. You might want to close the door finally on the marriage. Divorce is hard, but limbo is more difficult. I hope you will ask yourself some tough questions, and be honest to yourself.

Perhaps one part of you is 'settling' having found something vivacious and alive. But it sounds like other parts of you are not so sure! It can be helpful to think of different parts of you having different needs. When one need gets met, the next one raises it's voice and says "hey, wait a minute, what about me?"

It sounds healthy that you are not blinded by having success with the instant attraction. Now you can have a conversation with all these different parts of you so that they are not in conflict and don't ultimately sabotage the entire relationship.

Being estranged from your wife, it's natural that you want a relationship that can provide some zing, chemistry, bonding etc. But you have that down! If you can put words to your own personal conflicts regarding socio-economic class differences and other family issues, then you will have a good vocabulary with which to discuss these topics with your girlfriend.

Perhaps you may also want to consider whether once you have found someone who you get on with and enjoy common interests with, some other part of you begins to look for the problems, as if to alert you and protect you so that you don't just 'settle.!' A lot for you to delve into - are your doubts a sign of a sabotaging strategy in the guise of an alert, or do they reflect important parts of you that may not get fulfilled if you just 'settle.'

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