Why Does It Hurt So Bad?
I was married for over 25 years. I met a man just months before my divorce was final; he was 10 years older than I. We dated for one year, were together daily though never spent nights together. Sex was good—not great—because I cared for him. He never would say he loved me or even cared; that was just his way. I was the longest relationship he has had since his divorce seven years ago. Things seemed to be going a little down hill; nothing exciting was going on. I was OK with that. We had friends and I cooked or we ate dinners out. Suddenly, he broke it off with me. He went on a cruise a few days later and met someone. He told her she was beautiful; they were not intimate or even alone together, but he has already e-mailed her asking to meet her again sometime although they live 1,000 miles apart. She works on the cruise ship! This all took place less than a week after the breakup. He knows I miss him; should I call? Should I wait? He is a lonesome man and I know he still cares. I was very jealous of his past, the fact he looked and wanted much younger women. I know my mistakes. Help me!
Your mistakes? Please give him some credit for making his own "mistakes." After 25 years of marriage, a girl can get used to having a guy around, especially one to cook for, if that's your sort of thing. But he wasn't held to high standards for a relationship and he certainly didn't meet them. It's not clear whether you love him and miss him or whether your distress is the result of a resonant wound to your ego. His planning a cruise without you and taking up with someone else so quickly, not to mention his nights elsewhere, suggest that he wasn't terribly invested in the relationship all along. I don't know what you consider your mistakes, but I would like to suggest that you think about higher standards for the men in your life. Not everyone is comfortable making verbal declarations of love, but they should show it unequivocally in their behavior, in terms of consideration, respect, desire to be together, just to name a few. One thing none of us can change is a partner's past. To be jealous of it is not only futile, it suggests a reason why you didn't demand more of Loverboy. Jealousy commonly reflects a weak sense of self and arises from fear of loss. It may have its origins in some actual experience of loss earlier in your life. But that doesn't make it right or useful in a relationship. You need to gain some awareness of what is at the heart of your jealousy. You might do well to ask yourself, what is the most painful thought associated with his past. In the beginning, a little bit of jealousy may make a partner feel wanted, but ultimately it is like a prison. Because jealousy has deep roots in your core sense of self, it is not something that you can banish by wishful thinking. A little counseling with an excellent therapist can set you on a much better path for your next relationship.