Dear Thelma: Is he worth fighting for?

In love with a man who has two exes and is still involved in their lives.

Dear Thelma

I can’t sleep because L, who I’ve been with, just told me that he wants to break up. He is 40 years old and I’m 29. I got to know him three years ago when I broke up with my ex. I didn’t fall for him instantly. We were just friends and he was there for me.

Being with him makes me feel special and wanted. No other guy makes me feel this way. But he’s pretty messed up. He’s still staying with his No. 2 ex, because the house is under both their names and she’s not moving out. As such, I can only go over when she’s not around. I’m really upset about this as I feel like I’m the third party. He said he’s trying to fix the situation, but there doesn’t seem to be much progress and he’s not telling.

His work requires him to sometimes work late. So, we see each other two to three times a week. He’s told me that he likes me but he’s not the marrying kind. I knew this when I fell for him.

Despite this and the house issue, I’m waiting for the housemate to move out so that I can be with him more. He’s not doing all that well financially, either. Last Christmas, I mentioned that it would make me very happy if he could get me a necklace because l would feel like he’s by my side when I’m wearing it. It took him a few months, but he still got me one anyway.

Then, last week, he accompanied me to a fair. I thought things were getting better and that he might change his mind about marriage, because I can see that he’s willing to do all these things for me.

Once, when I was pestering him about something, he said that I’m nosy and mentioned that he didn’t know why he’s still with me. I thought, does it mean that he really likes me? Just like how I like him despite all the mess.

Now he wants to break up because he “screwed up big time”. He said he just found out that his No. 1 ex was pregnant when he left, but she had an abortion. Seems she became depressed after the abortion and she’s blaming him.

He said he was responsible for her depression and felt bad for hurting me, but didn’t have a choice as he felt more responsible towards her.

My point is, why didn’t she say something back then if she wanted him to be responsible? It’s not fair to me that he has to give up on us because of something that happened in the past. Also, the ex knew what she was doing and chose to abort without telling him. Why is this coming up only now? How can he decide on this by himself? He said it is not my business but that’s not true. Why didn’t he discuss this with me first?

Despite all that, I still told him that I’m willing to go through this with him. But he’s giving up already. There are always other solutions, right? He’s not a bad person and despite it all, my heart still wants to hang on to him. I have so many plans for us. Without him, I’ve nothing to look forward to. I’m confused, lost, scared and feeling stupid. 

Lost Girl

Thelma says

You are definitely right about your guy being messed up! To begin with, you are not stupid. It’s no surprise that you are feeling confused and lost. You met him when you were in a vulnerable position. You connected and a relationship sprouted.

Perhaps, you were a little too quick in getting into a relationship after the previous one ended. Often, people who break up think that someone else’s presence will help them get over the pain. This is a fallacy. It is always best to give a bit of time between relationships to adequately mourn the end of the previous relationship. This “alone time” allows someone to reflect on the ended relationship, and learn from what worked and what didn’t. This is the time to discover yourself and find out what you want from a relationship.

Now, this guy’s life is in a mess and you’re caught right in the middle. It’s surprising that he’s 40 years old, yet finds it difficult to make important decisions in his life or even just sort out the situations that his previous decisions have now left him in.

This situation with No. 2 ex – surely, it’s not that difficult to sort out a joint living arrangement. If the property is in both their names, then a lawyer can easily be contracted to sort out the legalities. No wonder you feel like the third wheel. You are in a supposed legitimate relationship with a single man, and yet you have to skulk around behind his ex’s back.

And, no, it isn’t right for him not to inform you about the change in his living arrangement. In any relationship, honesty is of the highest importance. If your partner does not want to tell you something, alarm bells should start ringing. If it feels like they are withholding the information in order to protect you, it’s a sign of disrespect as it is condescending.

And, you are right about the situation with No. 1 ex. While he bears some responsibility for what happened, she has to take responsibility for her actions as well. It may have been hard for her but she could have spoken about the pregnancy to him. It is unfair that he is blamed for the depression she is now experiencing.

Honestly, it sounds like he doesn’t want to be with you any longer. He may be speaking truthfully about the troubles in his life. But, it does also look like these are convenient excuses for him to distance himself from you while looking like a victimised angel. Think about it – if it’s not about the problems in his life which always seem to be mounting, it is that you are nosy. All of a sudden, after all this time, he finds you nosy?

You have to decide if you want to be with a person who does not want to be with you. Do you think it is enough to just take you to a fair or buy a necklace for you as a present? Or, do you think it’s more important that there is honesty and respect in a relationship? Also, this gives you the opportunity to see what he’s like in difficult situations.

As sorry as he makes his situation out to be, it does not look like he’s able to handle life’s problems in a mature and sensible way. You can tell a person by how he or she handles a difficult situation. It shows character. Is this character you see appealing to you? Count yourself lucky that you have the opportunity to gauge this before you decide whether he’s worth fighting for or not.


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