Q. I’m with a woman I love dearly. We are in our 40s. We were friends for 10 years before we got involved. The details of us getting involved are complicated. She separated from her husband a year ago. We had become physically intimate not long before that — maybe a couple of months. I question the longevity of our relationship because of the foundation.
Now she is going through a rather nasty divorce. I honestly wonder how her son is going to fit into the picture. He’s only a toddler, the same age as my nephew, but he doesn’t seem to like me very much. The boys tend to get along great and I love that, but he seems to dislike me being around. There’s also a language barrier. (I am learning her language so I can communicate better with her son.) On my side, since we became a couple, she has become great friends with my sister (my nephew’s mother).
But other parts of the relationship concern me too. The sex life I have with my girlfriend is fantastic, in my opinion. She occasionally expresses concern that it’s not more often than once or twice a day at this point, but I see quality over quantity.
Is it a relationship about sex? Healing past wounds? Building a new life for her? What am I part of?
A. It’s all too much, too soon, right?
It sounds like you can’t figure out what’s happening in the relationship — or how much you like it — because the two of you became a serious couple right off the bat. Maybe the foundation feels wobbly because the romance started during her marriage, but it’s also because you went from friendship to everything. Only a year in, everything is enmeshed.
It’s difficult to take steps back without ending a relationship, but I do think some space might save this — or at least help you figure out why you started this to begin with. If her son is uncomfortable with you being around, give him more time alone with his mom. Show up when he’s not there or when you can bring your nephew so it’s more of a playdate.
Your girlfriend wants more sex, but that requires you being over a lot. I’m not sure that’s what’s best for her family right now — or for you. Find out if she can understand.
Right now you seem to be following her lead, fitting yourself in based on her needs. Consider your own. Are you seeing friends and family without her? Taking some time for yourself will help you find balance.
Talk to your girlfriend about a schedule that gives everyone time to adjust. Tell her how much you love the relationship, but that you’re still figuring it out — which is OK.
Honestly, until you can answer the last questions in your letter on your own, don’t take any more big steps.
It sounds like you’re with someone who uses physical intimacy to distract from problems in her life. You two started with infidelity and now she has complaints that it’s not frequent enough at one or two times a day. I’m all for a high drive, but that jumped out at me; she seems to use sex to distract from what’s really going on in her life. A relationship with someone like that can’t last because someone who numbs out doesn’t know herself and can’t show up fully in a relationship.
Divorced people usually don’t end up staying with the person they were having an affair with. You’re the rebound. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Wow, the hits just keep on coming with this letter. Seriously, take a step back from this and take a long hard look at this. I am not sure if everyone is on the same page.
You’re right to see red flags. You can still be her friend and maybe FWB (with boundaries!) but DO NOT move in with her or get more serious until she figures out her life. Her first priority should be her son.
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