Can I still fix things with my lover?
I understand that my story makes me seem like a terrible person, and maybe I am.
I’ve been in a live-in relationship with a man I’ll call Ace for about nine years now. There was not much in the way of physical attraction, even in the beginning, but we had so many other things going for us—very compatible intellectually and emotionally and aesthetically. I was in a bad place in my own life when we met, and I let things move way too quickly. Within six months I’d moved in with him. I began seriously fantasizing about ending the relationship almost right away, but I stayed. My bad. We loved each other very much, but though I did what I could in the sack out of pure affection, I didn't have sexual desire for him--didn't even like kissing him. There were other problems as well, but that's not what I'm writing about.
About three years ago I met a man I’ll call Bill. Bill was also in a relationship, but we fell in love and had a passionate affair anyhow. Over the course of two and a half years we saw each other whenever possible. When we couldn’t, we communicated over email and chat and phone. He declared me his greatest love, and I declared him mine, and there is no question in my mind that we both meant it.
Ace were Bill are both great guys, and I had different types of compatibility with each of them. Apples and oranges. But with Bill I also had passion. The physical attraction built up slowly and never abated.
Bill's preexisting relationship was much unhappier than mine. He left her a year into our affair, but I didn’t leave Ace. Bill and I yo-yoed like crazy. I suffered, but he suffered worse, because I was still living with Ace. I was paralyzed. I told Bill repeatedly how bad I felt about it. Still, no amount of empathy or good intentions could make up for Bill's suffering, and I know it.
Why didn’t I leave my relationship with Ace? Lots of reasons. I will tell you if you think it matters. In any case, Bill told me several times that if I didn’t leave my boyfriend for him he would eventually have to begin dating. He needed real companionship, a real girlfriend. I always said I understood and could never blame him for it, but that it would be very, very sad for me. For his part, he always said he could never replace me, I would always have him, he couldn’t open up to anyone again like he did with me.
“I might fool her but I’ll never fool myself," he said. "This is it for me. This doesn’t happen twice.”
I’ll skip over a lot of stuff and just say that Bill and I last slept together six months ago. We said it would be the last time unless I left my boyfriend. We remained in contact over phone, text, chat, and email—and there continued to be a lot of emotional involvement. I saw him in person two months ago. We had a good, friendly visit and ended up making out. The sparks were still there. He asked me to go home with him, but I said I couldn’t. He sent a follow-up email to the effect of KAPOW_POW_POW.
A month later came a brief period where I felt some distance on his part. Then we had a conversation in which he advised me to leave my boyfriend--that I needed a different kind of man. He said, “I can tell you this as a friend, because I’m not trying to win you anymore.” After much hard work, he said, he was over me.
(Pathetically) I asked, did he still want me? He said he was “taking the fifth”—whatever that means. He said he was ready to start dating and find a girlfriend, though when I asked, he said he wasn’t seeing anyone yet. I told him I couldn't blame him but was very, very sad. I moped and probably made him feel guilty.
I sent a follow-up email apologizing for moping, which he ignored. I sent another one asking if we were okay. To that one he responded, briskly, “Why wouldn’t we be okay? I’m busy and happy in a new relationship.”
Stupid me, I was devastated—because I love him, and because of the way he told me about the new girl. There was some angry back-and-forth over email, and then he said he thought we could be friends but that we needed to cool it for a while, because he still had so much anger at me for letting him dangle for two and a half years. I said I understood, and we told each other once more that we were each other’s great loves. That’s more or less where things stand with us. No contact for about three weeks.
You can guess the rest. Finally, after all this time, I knew what I had to do. Last week I broke up with my boyfriend of nine years. It was excruciating for both of us, but I put it off for many years too long. Now I’m heartbroken twice, and both heartbreaks are my fault.
Which leaves me with this: I’ve removed the roadblock that kept me and Bill apart, but now he’s not talking to me and he’s got a new girl. And he's legitimately very angry. What do I do? Do I even have a prayer with Bill at this point?
O-K Depressed-Squirrel. (I use this name affectionately because I refuse to call you a dummy and you’re not a terrible person and believe it or not the fault does NOT rest SOLELY on your shoulders.)
(cracks knuckles, this might be long)
To begin, you’re not a terrible person stop yer caterwauling and chill. You made a dumb move that’s it guess what, that’s life. It happens what’s done is done. Your tellin us about apples and oranges that have already turned brown/green mushy and sour.
Now, you mixed up what a “friendship relationship” is, with an actual, “lovers relationship.” This is ok, granted sucks for those who get hurt, but if you were perfect id be praying to you instead of the god I pray to right? If you truly have remorse for this affair I would suggest that you learn from it. So that’s that.
Now as for Billy boy he’ll be fine. He kinda sounds like a jerk anyway no offense. He obviously certainly had no issue with cheating or putting you in a position where you were cheating in the first place. See, now if I cared about Individual A and they cared about me but they were involved with individual B. Because I truly would care for individual A, I wouldn’t allow them to place themselves in a position where they would feel guilt over being with me. I want people to relax and enjoy my presence especially the one whom I love, I'd want to be the beacon of her serenity thus I would NEVER push individual A into breaking off from individual B because I would care enough to realize stability for the one I love is more important than my own desires of being with individual A. Obviously that’s me… But doesn’t that seem more real, doesn’t love mean you would do anything for the other? D-Squirrel, that is far from love that he gave you.
I believe in the natural law of consequence hits everyone and sucks, its like eating soap. You had an affair, you were miserable about it, you overcame that, you removed the roadblock I presume, "poor Ace." (joke) now your miserable again. (law of consequence) The most ironic thing im seeing here is the concept below…
Someone walking by you bumps into you and spills your coffee all over you. Then gets mad at you for making a mess… Would that make sense to you? I certainly hope not cause it would not make sense to me.
With you and Billy boy, the concept is the same… FYI
Both of you started cheating on your current relationship at the time. He decided to leave her. You didn’t. He’s mad at you because you actually had human empathy for Ace and did eventually do the moral thing. Now he’s mad at you because guess what, you’re a reminder of his lack of integrity. He made a choice, a choice that dented his integrity. Granted he made a stupid move just like you and he himself is not stupid or "evil" or whatnot. But from my aspect as a man, you don’t treat women like trophies you treat em like equals. By betraying his lover at the time he was doing just that towards her and doing the same to you only you were the new gleaming trophy. He ought to have known better, which makes him more accountable in my book. (that's just me... but ya know... im right...jk)
Now back to him being angry with you. He’s got a shiny new trophy, do you want to be an object or do you want to be someone’s equal?
(please note I say this not to offend you, but perhaps maybe to reveal something about just exactly who your are wanting back. My last question to you would be… Why on earth would you want someone like that back? For real?)
Oh gosh, keekay. That was the kindest reply. I'm actually weeping with gratitude. But see, from where I sit, Bill did the right thing. He cleared the way for me. Neither of us should have had the affair, but we did, and we were in love, and what were we supposed to do at that point? He made room in his life for me, and I didn't make room in my life for him. He was lonely and devastated, but I kept going back and giving him hope.
About a year ago, Bill and I met for a bowl of soup. He asked me, "Have I done everything I can to get you to come to me? Is there anything else I can do?" And I had to say no, there was nothing he hadn't done. He was all in, and I was still waffling.
Here's something he wrote to me back in September:
"Just stumbling along. I fall down and lie there, dreaming about you. I make myself get up. I take a few more steps, then I fall again. I feel so sad for the guy on the ground. I wish I could leave him there, but I can't. I gotta keep him moving.
For a brief, delirious few days, I thought something had changed -- you were going to claim or release me. But nothing has changed. You were just doing your thing. Kind of sad, but also -- I'm powerless to affect the outcome, so I'm going back to the old plan. I do notice (and I don't want this to hurt but I need to say it) that it gets easier and easier to shrug off the pain. If I had my choice, we'd be together. But that's not an option. So what I want, more than anything, is to get over you. That's the best outcome for both of us. Friends. We can do it."
It was cruel how he ended things, but I understand why he's so angry. I just want him to know I'm sorry and I'm different now and I want to see if we can really make a go of it. I wish I could go back and fix things.
Ok, I can see how the emotions of love overwhelmed him. I get it. I also can personally relate to him on the level of wanting to get over another. I personally have worked for years to control my emotions. Especially love because it can cloud analytical thinking. Now, Ill adjust my previous remark on how he sounds like a jerk. I jumped the gun there.
Having further information I would say now that he was letting emotions run him. However amending that as well, I understand that love is a very difficult emotion because it incorporates many other emotions.
So here’s the deal. In my opinion I think it would be healthy for you to move on and find a healthy relationship. Will it be different? Yes. I know right now you don’t want different. We’ve all been there each relationship is unique in its own way thus the reason as to why we can say to the individual we are looking at, at whatever moment in our lives with another lover, "your special," and truly mean it. Despite the fact we have said that to the others in our past relationships.
I would also say to you. Consider what you do. Because I believe I can confidently say you did hurt Ace. Are you willing to possibly hurt Bill and especially his new girlfriend if he does chose to once more cheat on his girlfriend?
So just consider that.
Alright so, on the offhand should you still decide to proceed. How are you going to? He’s angry, anger is the emotion that protects and hides internal fear. I tell you that so you can use that to your advantage. He has fear against you. Since his anger is directed at you. The best way to overcome this would be to try an deflate his fears. Intriguingly your positions are reversed now. So your reaching out and now its him that has to “dare to dare” so to say. He has to overcome the fear aspect before progress can be made. Im not sure if your after a lovers relationship or a friendship relationship. But either way since you two did have a past relationship your going to put him in a position where he is going to have to inevitably face his gf unless there are other circumstances im not seein. How are you going to overcome that? How is he going to? I have given this advice fairly recently, we can’t force people to change they have to want to change. We can manipulate them into change but even then ultimately they have the power of choice. Now Depressed-Squirrel are you prepared for the possibility that he may choose to not change?
If you are not, I would highly suggest that you get prepared because you do not want to end up throwing all your chips into one hope that has a 50/50% chance of working then should it fail. Those dreams that you’re possibly already dreaming of. About that old life you had with him, should they go up in flames the burn won’t hurt so bad. I do not envy your position most certainly I do not.
One last thing i wanna add real quick. I said "about that old life you had with him." Keep that in mind. Cause as you stated yourself you have changed. So has he. Things will not be like the familiar. It will be different and you must be prepared for that as well.
Id be curious to hear what you think.
I hurt the heck out of Ace, and I hope he'll forgive me. That was a mistake I made many years ago, and I should have corrected it long before I even met Bill. Ace is a sweetheart and will always be dear to me, but we had no business in a love relationship. You know what he said? He said Thank you for the best years of my life. I don't know what I did to deserve that.
I'd pretty much lost all hope with Bill, so it's good to hear you think there's a chance. I would not ask him to cheat. If he wants me back but doesn't want to hurt his girl, I would even wait out his new relationship if I had to, on the chance that it doesn't succeed. He did that for me--almost. And you're right: it wouldn't be the same. For better or worse, we'd be different together.
And, yes, I'd be the one doing the wooing. How to woo him? I don't know. I'm afraid to blow it forever by saying the wrong thing or being too negative. We've been guts-on-the-table for so long that maybe it's time to go back to the kind of joyous relationship we once had, before this past horrible year. Maybe I could open with a joke, just to see if he's still angry? I could really use some advice.
Every day that I don't have contact with him, I get a little more clarity--a little more humility--and I think I needed that so I could accept my responsibility. But won't there be diminishing returns at some point? I don't want to wait too long.
P.S. The first boy who broke my heart called me "squirrel." That was over 30 years ago. That's another thing I should have said: I'm not so young, and I can't keep making dumb mistakes.
(O.O) sorry didn’t mean to remind you of anyone just wasn’t gonna call you a “dummy” and add to the caterwauling. ;]
As for ace’s behavior I tip my hat to that that’s what I recognize as a man. So good on em. You said you don’t know what you did to deserve that. Well I can tell you exactly. You are unique, special you added to his inner self. Some people call this a Katra, Spirit, Soul and whatnot. To him you’re a person that he won’t forget he will keep the good things you gave him close to his heart and mind. The only reason I know that is because I have told that and meant that only twice in my years of life.
As for your loss of hope. There is always hope, it’s a matter of where to look and what to see. You said, “Every day that I don't have contact with him, I get a little more clarity--a little more humility--and I think I needed that so I could accept my responsibility.” I don’t know what you meant by accept your responsibility. But I can say, you are wise to recognize that in our humility we receive clarity. That’s how we learn. Your not alone in that. Person to person I can relate exactly.
With Bill you have learned or realized just how precious he was to you. Its as if you threw a diamond away because it was covered by dirt but you took a second look and now you see it. (the diamond being the relationship you had with bill) now you simply have to find a way as to how to remove the fluff so the diamond can shine just like any other diamond. (relationship)
I like how you used “wooing.” Its not a word I often see nor get to use. So if your going to “woo” this target. This is what I have observed, specifically for me to be able to recognize and avoid. Women have an innate ability to spark attraction in men. This comes in many forms. Be it way of dress, flattery, cunning, intelligence and so on. I can only give you a males perspective obviously you would know more than I concerning womens perspective. But I would say that you use your intelligence and feelings so long as you can control the feelings you will inevitably be able to progress. Now please note I carefully said “progress,” not that you would for sure win him back. Because I simply have not had the chance to analyze his words and personality along with intelligence within them.
***PLEASE NOTE BELOW IS A GENERALIZATION TAKE IT AS SUCH***
The only way I think I can really help you in how to “win his heart,” again is to give you the males perspective of when a woman tries to do exatly what you are going to try to do. I guess to start I would deffinately say take it seriously.
Your first question concerning how to reconnect with him, admittedly made me smile which was should I open with a joke… absolutely not. I have noticed that SOMETIMES when women are possibly uncomfortable because they “feel” they are on the "apologizers" side of the fence. They try to deflate it with a joke when a guy doesn’t think there is anything funny about the situation. I would wait until he makes his first smile in front of you. Then you’d be ok with jokes and what not. Men listen/hear blunt words. "I love you." Try to argue that. You can say, "ok but I don’t love you…" But you, already prepared for that would reply with your rhino skin to deflect the emotional strain that will be placed on you, something like. "You may not, but your so amazing that to be without you, I simply cannot…
(I-I know I-im pretty slick… jk)
Lets see what else…. Im sure your aware men have egos. (I know don't die of shock.) Take that into consideration when you engage him. I’m not saying be submissive… I don’t believe women should be submissive to men, I hate that and I proud to say I support that I hate it in my actions. So when engaging him understand you will be facing the ego part cause he’s obviously full of negative emotions. What you need to do to compensate is to be analytic. Watch, read, listen, spot his weakness in his words, body language, if you two are only texting via email or text or fb or whatever, all the better.
People reveal themselves even more so in their typing. I’ll give you an example. With me I use Word to type everything before I post it on the web and scrutinize everything I say. You can make out my inflections, when im tired or im typing direct to the web such as in a chat if you are a good observer you will notice that I completely miss words, letters place words in odd places that don't belong. If someone like me, an observer of human behavior were to examine in detail I would come to the conclusion the individual or myself has a stutterer. If I compare that possibility with the words I am using in previous postings I would find that it is not due to a lack of confidence. If its not due to a lack of confidence and since there is obviously some intelligence (I don’t mean that arrogantly just simple intelligence.) then it is reasonable to presume that the individual or myself is not mentally impaired but in fact I am a speed thinker. (unless you have another idea) I am always 3, 5, 10 steps ahead. Calculating possibilities and probabilities. Ok so then we would take the fact that this individual is a speed thinker and the reason as to why simple words like the, and, do, it, are, or, and so on are missing. Because they didn’t get typed fast enough to keep up with my thought process. Ontop of all that… we could delve even further by that info alone and see my personality deeply. Which im absolutely NOT gonna do. With Bill if you were to implement this detailed observational method you would be able to know with accuracy what he is thinking. Along with knowing exactly who this individual is from the core of his being the rest of your life.
As for if you wait, feelings will naturally die but only if you really don’t love that person. If you have to convince yourself that your still in love then stop right there cause your not.
Please remember that I still think it would be more beneficial for you to press forward in your life and put this strife behind you. That being said while you are going through this and what, not keep your eyes open and make sure it is really what you want. People are gonna have opinions. Some are gonna be like mine. Some are gonna be harsh and accusatory. Stand your ground be a force against the storm if you believe your love is strong enough for him then allow it to be your strength. Let it drive you forward against your fears and concerns. I am one of those people who believe we are only limited by what we think we can do and I suspect you have it in you to believe you can do the impossible.
You don't seem like a terrible person but you do strike as a bit of a chicken - something you and Bill had in common. You married your ex-husband for company far ahead of anything else that's supposed to feature in a marriage, including the vital fundamental called sexual attraction. And Bill clearly wasn't in love with his own spouse. Bill didn't force you to commit adultery any more than you did him. It's a two-personed crime. One says, shall we?, and the other says, yes lets. Or both say it simultaneously and neither chirps up to say, no we shouldn't.
And then we witness Bill NOT having learned from the trauma he's only just put his poor (self-deluding) wife through when he says he's prepared to lock another woman into a long-term relationship under false pretenses. And why? Simply because he can't stand being on his own for 'five minutes' either. (Baby Tomato needs to ketchup.)
Either that or he lied to you when he said it and you more truthfully - strong chemistry aside - were his bridge over the scary singledom water to his next lilypad, albeit he'd have accepted you as a terminus lilypad had your deeper intuition not "somehow" stopped you.
Thirty years ago you were seriously hurt. You didn't dare enter another serious relationship because you couldn't face being hurt to that degree again as is potential par for the risky course. You therefore (as a pack type who needs others through which to learn via play) delayed having a rebound relationship and instead tried to shoehorn a mere friendship into a marriage template, using it as a place in which to hide from having to do a real relationship and in which to recover from your wounds both. Bill was your seriously overdue REBOUND. But a safer version given that you were still at the time safely in Ace Port. And I don't feel sorry for the self-deluding Ace, either, because a man damn well knows when a woman isn't in kissy/shaggy heaven - both in bed AND out! So he had his OWN self-detrimenting reasons for trying to pass a consolation prize off as First Prize.
His bad, Bill's bad, his ex-missus's bad, your bad. Quartet of numbskulls.
So as Keekay (so excellently) said in his first response before you insisted but then repeated in his final paragraph - leave it there. That you're kidding yourself you want Bill back now that he's - NOTE! - conveniently nigh-on-impossible to get but would waste a lot of cruising time being objectivelessly hankered over, AND, NOTE!, would result in a huge ego inflation courtesy of you left believing, if you DID somehow manage to succeed, that you're more attractive a feminine package than the other woman - is just your silly endeavour to put off the scary inevitable: finally meeting, entering and running a REAL DEAL relationship...MR PERFECT FOR YOU...He who could break your heart a SECOND time and MORE so.
A long-distance sprinter surveys the racetrack and other runner competitors. Though no fault of her actual athletic calibre or genes, she lacks the self-belief and confidence that she can handle the track or prove herself fitter than her competitors. So she concludes, 'I won't bother putting my all into this race, it'd be a waste of effort'. With that the attitude, I ask you: Does she win that race?
NO. Course not. Negative self-fulfilling prophesy comes to fruition. So how stupid is that?
Perpetual winners accept they could lose but don't believe they will, not if THEY have anything to do with it! They chose their event wisely then focus then give it their all. EQUALS WINNING TROPHY. That simple.
Stop being such a clucker, concentrate on what's left of recovering and learning from Bouncy Bill the rebound jobbie, then get back out into the romantic market and comfort yourself with the fact that it will NOT fail this second time round thus will NOT lead to huge heartache because  you're going to be cannier in your candidate selection (interviewing) process using all you've so painfully learned, and  correct teammate then mutually established and appointed, you're going to both succeed because as a team you're both going to give it YOUR ALL. That's all it takes. It's not rocket science. People just pretend it is because they're scared and because the background knowledge that successful for-life romantic relationships take hard, hard work puts them off - either because they'd rather be mentally lazier or don't believe they're naturally endowed with the all-round energy.
Yes, they DO have the energy and if they'd dare get NEAR that blissful, re-birthed state they'd realise how: a successful, perfect-for-you, I-love-you-so-much-I'd-chop-off-my-arm relationship is GRADE A FUEL, LIQUID GOLD.
You should hear ME purr these days. I sound like a Bugatti Veyron! VvvvROOOOOOOOMMMMM!
I don't think I really said all that much different from Keeykay, really, so consider that a double-pincer job.
(So many commitmentphobes, so little time...)
(PS Keekay: LOVING the mental effort you're putting in. Do stick around, won't you!
Thank you, Soulmate, for your perspective--and you're right that I'm a chicken. Everyone involved messed up in one way or another--some of us more and some less. We're all human, and hopefully we learn from our mistakes. (Maybe someone else will eve learn from mine, but I doubt it!)
Keekay, I can't tell you how much your words have comforted me. You have a big, big heart--I can tell. I hope your life is happy.
I hear you loud and clear, both of you, that I should steer clear of Bill. I'm going to let this cooling-off period do its work for a while longer. A week? Two? More? And if I still feel then as I do now, I'll go to Bill with my cards on the table. I'll tell him what I want: him; though I know I'm not entitled to him. He asked me to choose before, and I didn't, and now it's only fair that he gets to choose.
I thought before, "I should let him take the lead; I should keep it light when we do talk," and then I realized that I was still acting the coward. Though it will expose me to even more pain, I have to take one last shot. I'll tell him as clearly as I can what I've learned about myself, and how I hurt him, and I'll ask for his forgiveness. I'll promise to try and stop being such a drama queen. And if he lets me back in, I'll ask him to take it slow and careful, assess the damage and see what's left and what's possible for us.
Maybe it's foolish to have anything else to do with him, but I've already done so many foolish things--what's one more?
First, aww did you hear Soulmate it (
As for how we were kinda sayin the same thing, no, Soulmate's spot on we are saying the same thing. Now you got two people telling you the same thing. Granted her colorful way of saying it makes it unique but she's right and can see it from a female perspective I cannot which I think in this is in large part what you need Depressed Squirrel. I really want to emphasize what she said about you inflating bills ego by pursuing him. Another individual pursuing someone is the highest form of flattery male or female. So be careful that you aren't taken advantage of.
I would humbly disagree with my comrade that you're a "chicken..." >.> lol the reason why I believe it's important to know this is because these are titles. No, we are not one thing we are many things. Perhaps the action you took could be considered that of a "chicken..." like extra chicken-y... jk But I've said it and I'll say it again we have all had those moments I don't want you to internally believe that. Joke ok great but don't let it hold you back at an unconscious level is all I'm saying.
You said "maybe someone else will learn from [your mess up]" then you stated, "but you doubt it." noOoOo you're on a healthy mindset on the right track. Don't belittle yourself, your doubts are only going to hold you back. Yes someone will I'm sure read this and see your struggle but one day you will come across someone else who is in very similar circumstances and you'll be able to know exactly where they're at and what they're going through when everyone else is blind and can only see "a cheater." Or someone with only one title when they're so much more.
The last paragraph you said Depressed Squirrel and obviously you don't know me and I can only have a glimpse into who you are from our postings. But simply as someone who wants to help, it made me proud of you. And hopefully without putting words into Soulmate's mouth (o.o) we are both proud of you. So take that as you will. You came to this forum originally with heartfelt confusion and correct me if I'm wrong inner chaos. Now you have organized that chaos to the point where you know what you are going to do. It doesn't matter if you're doing what we think you should do what matters is that you do what you can live with. Furthermore you have made a decision you're not on the fence anymore and you made it very logically and analytically which I hope you can consider this progress.
Lastly the last sentence you said still reveals your uncertainty. Which doesn't make me any less proud of you or anything. If I may suggest however that you cover that sentence the next time you look at it and simply believe in your own confidence that is growing?
(pps: nah I was thinkin about letting this be my last post... jk ^.^ I always like to watch the forums for those whom I feel I may be able to offer a deferent perspective.)
First, aww did you hear Soulmate it (
***you both know I'm ocd about incomplete stuff I put down... -.-***
Huh... well I guess your not gonna know what I said I didn't say anything bad or anything I wonder why is not showing... oh well thats a you guys problem.
(Keekay, I personally haven't a clue why the end of your sentance got lopped off. Maybe a technical glitch? Try emailing the owner to ask whether he deleted anything and why?)
Translation of your prior post: "I hear you both but - bar a piddly week or so - I'm going to completely ignore what you say anyway".
Not if I have anything to do with it. However, this is my last attempt because I don't do banging my head against brick walls.
Bill is perfectly aware that you want him back. You don't NEED to knock on his door and tell him a further time. He's not an idiot who can't know true love and associative desire when he sees/hears it and neither is he a goldfish with an 11-second memory.
Listen to me, read the following story that all the actions tell - which Bill is fluent in - and this time employ your jello. Words lie. Words exaggerate, embellish and twist reality. Actions, particularly a whole sustained run of them, cannot:
The fact that you went and did the right thing by Ace only once Bill's arms became no longer available to leap into, is, in terms of action-speak and meaning, 100% un-ignorable and 100% undeniable. You transferred your friendly affections for Ace to Bill, grew said affections to a magnitude greater than was possible with Ace, as entered the romantic-sexual domain, thereby got shown irrefutably in motion how much Less-Than your relationship with Ace was compared to what was available and achievable in this world PLUS grew the greater confidence as then as a package gave you the impetus to end it with Ace... AFTER having let Bill meantime dispose of himself *for* you.
Bill was just a tool. A key to freedom.
Let's visually analogise it to make it crystal clearer: You were in a locked cage with (boring) Ace. Bill opened the door (which once opened, couldn't be locked again) and offered himself as your sole route to liberation. You didn't want Bill. You just didn't want to remain in the cage with Ace. You could SEE Bill was not the only liberations fruit and wanted the wide open fields (and to wherever they would lead) beyond where Bill stood and whatever you now suspected they contained. So you waited and waited, not moving a muscle in his direction, until Bill got the disillusioning message and slunk off with his defeated tail between his legs, whereupon only THEN did you exit the cage, making your first few tentative steps towards the hills. But then you looked back, saw Bill on his path in the opposite direction ...and that he'd had linked hands with another woman. SHOCK, HORROR!
That feels insulting. It feels like, too soon. (After all, his prior behaviour had led you into believing he'd wait for FAR longer than he already had or at least would likely grieve for bloody ages.) It feels like everything he in the past insistently gushed didn't hold half as much weight as he'd have had you believe at the time.
Your ego doesn't like that so it has triggered an urge in you to want to gain refutation in application. If Bill would let go of that new woman's hand in favour of yours, that would re-establish the permanent 'truth' in Bill's past hearts and flowers claims and prove this woman's status in his eyes to be nothing more than Consolation Prize... compensation... *2nd* Prize... with you still the 1st. So you've trotted back and said, 'Here I am at last!'.
Only Bill isn't-isn't-ISN'T letting go of new woman's hand and gratefully taking yours at last.
What do they say? Oh, anyone could try to claim that he's now too SCARED to get rejected by you all over again. But that's rot. Men have had copious practise at taking rejection since the first time they asked a girl out. For starters, you're FREE now so where's the hurdle any more? What - his pride? He loves his pride more than getting to spend the rest of his days with the woman he allegedly can't live without?? Secondly, XXX Love & Desire wrestles XX Fear/Pride to the ground and knocks it unconscious, leaving the way free. So, although Bill may well be "scared" or too proud, neither can he have desire enough to put paid to those. Furthermore, fear of LOSING that One Good Thing from one's lifetime also outdoes fear of further rejection/insult. Desire + Fear Of Loss together make Fear Of Rejection look like Pee-Wee Herman up against Arnie.
Either this new woman is NOT truly 2nd prize/consolation or Bill's love for you wasn't muscly enough.
The only other conclusion is that Bill's pride - whether it forces him to fail to ever take you back or to first punish you gooood by making YOU now wait-wait-wait for an insultingly, faith-shakingly long time - is so humongous it signifies a mal-formed ego. That - trust me - is not a component that aids a successful pairbond, let alone one that can last a lifetime. Au contraire! Without the distraction of illicitness it would go splat within a year.
Back to you: When you meet The One (or one of The Ones), you do not keep your sub-standard relationship going on the side. You have zero need to. Because of how much you love The One, you are incapable of FEELING any need to, emphasis on incapable. You end it the minute you reach this extent of feeling and can't wait to shout out to the whole world about your 'beautiful and precious, once-in-a-lifetime thing'. And nor can you wait to become a bona fide, societally-acceptable couple.
Obviously your mind sensed it was not the be-all-and-end-all relationship, that it was just BETTER, but that best is still to come.
Do your ego's (temporary, short-term) bidding over your heart's and inner wisdom's longer-term aims by trying YET AGAIN to tell Bill how much you do, do, do, NO, REALLY want him back til death do you both part and you're a self-obstructive, self-sabotaging fool aka Your Own Worst Enemy.
Stop trying to lofty up what was a two-personed crime and a mere stepping stone. That you have AN EGO that gets to run riot over your sensible side at times when your sensible side is knackered and taking a nap is what makes you human, not this so-called mistake. You were not "paralysed". You were too loath to go against instinct in doing the wrong thing. Yet now your ego has for its own stupid need for gratification managed to convince you it was The Big One when it bloody well wasn't.
...or trust me on this: you'll be back on this or some other forum in ANOTHER year.
Soulmate, again thanks for giving so much thought to my situation. I'm sorry if you feel you're not being listened to -- you are -- but notice that I didn't ask, "Should I try to fix things with my lover?" I'd already determined that I wanted to. And I don't think I've made any excuses for my role in this mess.
My OP was perhaps confusing.
1. Bill didn't hurry to start dating and get into a new relationship. He waited a long time and warned me it was coming, I was expecting it, but I was taken off-guard by how I learned about it, because he said he didn't have a girl and then two days later said, "What's the problem? I'm busy with my girl."
2. This didn't happen after I broke it off with Ace. It happened while, as far as he knew, I still hadn't made myself available. Now he's imposed a period of cooling off, so I have not had the opportunity to tell him I realized my failure and left Ace and, should he wish it, I'mm free and I want to try to have a real relationship with him. If he has any inclination to try, I expect he'll be (to say the least) nervous about it. I will do the work to communicate what has changed and what I've learned about myself. And I'm not asking him to cheat. If necessary, I will wait until he sees how it works out with his new girl.
3. As I said in the OP, there are a lot of reasons I didn't leave Ace earlier. You've got some reasonable theories about that, but you don't have all the information.
And incidentally, (4) I mentioned, because of the coincidence of the nickname Keekay gave me, that I'd had my heart broken 30 years ago. You concluded from this that Bill is a rebound from that. I suppose that's possible, but it seems like a remote one. I was 17 when that guy broke my heart--a kid. What teenager doesn't have at least one heartbreak? I've lived a lot of life since then. I don't think Bill is a rebound from that.
Everything you've said indicates that you're a smart person who has seen a lot of relationships unfold in different ways, good and bad. I have mucho respect. But there is that slim possibility that you're not right about the conclusions you've jumped to about me and Bill.
I want to take a chance and let Bill know what has changed and let him decide what he wants to do about it--that's the situation now. Any advice about how to do this in the most sensitive way, and in a way that creates the least additional damage, is most welcome.
Again, thank you, Soulmate, for your kind attention to my sorry mess.
Well Thanks for clearin that up for sure. I still stand by my previous post about how really in the end you should do what you can live with. (and i kinda feel bad about giving you a nick-name that made things confusing.) but yea... ill still be watchin this post if any ideas pop up I feel may be of benefit for you.
I have read the other replies and I agree with the general consensus- you're not a terrible person, even though you have made some very bad decisions in all this. We all make mistakes. I just have an observation, I guess. You never say exactly why you didn't leave Ace after you'd fallen in love with Bill. Why didn't you? It was way out of your comfort zone to begin an affair with Bill to begin with, but seems like you were paralyzed with fear when it came to moving out or at least ending the relationship.
(JEEZ, you're stubborn?!! No WONDER you could abstain for 30 years!)
More unfoldings than you can imagine, in fact, so if by slim you mean in the quantum mechanics sense and the information you HAVE given me is true/correct, then slim is right. Not least because putting jigsaw pieces together until a clear and detailed picture emerges is not rocket science. For me, if not for you (yet), this is toddler blocks or the same episode of Thomas The Tank Engine for the Nth time.
Talking of facts including irrefutable ones contained in the actions:
1. Six years into your 9 year relationship you began your affair with Bill. To cheat that early on contradicts the claim of there having been any meaningful hurdle against eventually leaving Ace a year later on Bill's urging. And clearly *Bill* saw no insurmountable preventative like you're now trying to allude to, or otherwise, and assuming Bill's *not* unreasonable to point of insane, he wouldn't have kept nagging like he did. Nor waiting around.
So GOTCHA! and stop trying to kid a kidder.
Plus you admitted one of your reasons was being scared to be on your own. I don't, therefore, NEED all the information - just enough of the bottom-line actions. (Plus I've heard every variation of detail imaginable, anyway, because it's same stageplay and basic script, just different actors.)
This all means that you didn't trust the strength of Bill's commitment to where it represented never-ending. When someone IS truly, madly, deeply in love with you, you know it and don't doubt it (- even trying to makes you feel like a retard), meaning NOTHING scares you and NOTHING can act as a blockade. Nothing!
2. Despite you'd declared each other your be-all-end-all, it took Bill himself a whole year to be the first to finish his own relationship. (His relationship was worse ergo his reaction accordingly was befittingly extreme in pace; had it been no worse than yours he too would have taken 3 years.) The delay action and size-of action says he couldn't have ended the relationship based on how much stronger a love he felt for you than towards his wife or any past lover any more than YOU did - because in those cases one wastes no time. NO TIME. The delay likewise matches the time it takes for self-confidence to increase plus having benefited from the means (you) to detach sufficiently from his wife and old life, and NOT because he'd had the chance to sample the love of his life. That stage of certainty takes 8/9 months tops, by which time you're acting instantly to try to compensate for the prior 'time wastage'.
3. I don't give a hoot whether you asked if you should get back with Bill or not. I'm not your servant, you're my customer. I who is X miles further up your same path and knows the outcome am TRYING to give you the rare benefit of said first- *and* second- and third-hand familiarity with what lies up ahead. Same path, different walkers. I'm not special, I'm not treated more favourably by some unseen deity, I just didn't turn back like you're trying to do (which isn't out of instinct but FEAR). I kept on in a forwards motion courtesy of gritted teeth, concertedly never looking back at my rebound (despite he looked back plenty at me).
What other possible reason do you think I have for so strongly urging you not to turn around and go back? What - you think *I* fancy Bill, just from the sounds of him, and want to get you out of the way so I can be the one to nab him off his girlfriend? LOL
I don't even KNOW why I'm so hell-bent on making you in particular have faith and giving you that peek into your 'crystal ball'. I just am. Ignore my instincts at your peril (or to be less dramatic about it - detriment...although really, actually, what could be more dramatic than missing out Amen on the BEST of your soulmate pool!)
4. So-so interim relationships can't suffice as rebound jobs. Hence why your marriage didn't suffice either. Bill was your rebound. The next one is the biggie IF you start walking in time because - same path, different walkers. People who've learned from their mistakes walk away from them, this case, keep walking UP the path. You're considering delaying the biggie by going back to do a No Hoper again, making another mistake. And all because you're ignorant of the journey and its markers *and* your aforementioned commitmentphobia (caused by you having left it too damn long before daring to get into another relationship capable of embroiling your heart beyond that critical quantum thereby giving your mind too much time to dwell on the trauma and in the process becoming loath to dare go there again (until Bill).) It's not 'possible', it's psychological - psychical and logical - fact. And it also explains why you're calling yourself by the pet-name of your first big ex - because psychologically, it seems like here you are again.
5. "Then we had a conversation in which he advised me to leave my boyfriend--that I needed a different kind of man. He said, “I can tell you this as a friend, because I’m not trying to win you anymore.” After much hard work, he said, he was over me. "
He IS over you. And purely because he'll always be grateful to you for having been his transitions mechanism, his stepping stone, he wanted to say thanks in the form of doing you the same favour I'm now trying to impart.
Know this: men of average emotional intelligence constantly project. "You look cold, I'll put the heating on". No - HE'S cold. So his statement actually meant: Leaving my wife was the best thing I ever did. What does THAT tell you if not that he was HAPPIER ...***with his new lover***. Because look at it logically: How can that be if YOU were the love of his life? Surely no matter WHAT woman he was with, being without you-you-YOU would equal him being more miserable than he'd ever known?
THAT, DS, IS ANOTHER GOTCHA!
It's ALL a gotcha. Except to one in denial.
Yeah, well, there are piranhas in denial. And in your case they're called CRINGING HUMILIATION. If you insist on trying to beg Bill back like you believed Bill's original claims were genuine enough to stand the test of time ergo still stand today, you are henceforth and forevermore going to cringe majorly in memoriam at having prostrated yourself for no reason.
Maybe the fact it took you over 30 years to re-dare is why I'm so strangely compelled to keep nagging right now. Maybe I don't think you'd recover from that humiliation and self-anger whereby you could experience a true romance before you popped your clogs. Normally, you see, I'm up for helping someone get their ex back (ask any regular adviser on here). But not when it's futile.
He told you he's over you. Even if I didn't hear sincerity in that extract - no man hoping to one day soon get back with you would DARE go as far as saying that because he knows he risks the overly probable consequence of you ending up being locked into a relationship with another man by the time he inevitably yielded or changed his mind and decided to try to lure you back. And he already knows what happens when you merely *feel* locked in so to risk that again would make a man who still wanted to make a go of it with you so stupid his mode of transport would be a little White minibus. I presume he's not?
Actions, actions, actions, actions, actions...
He's over you. He's not "angry" (as could stand in the way of his true desires behind mere stubbornness), just temporarily in-memoriam resentful over events PASSED. No amount of persuasion attempts including "I've changeds" or "But this time what I have to say is DIFFERENTs" are going to have the slightest effect. Because he's met The One.
You need to catch up to reality now. Wakey-WAKEY.
"I'm not so young, and I can't keep making dumb mistakes."
Correct. So Kill Bill. (Sorry, couldn't resist.
Lastly but not leastly: like Keekay said - have a bit of respect and sisterly solidarity for this innocent new woman because, even though Bill is going to stick with her no matter what, you can STILL make things needlessly rocky for them for a while. Want that on your rap sheet as well, do you?
Now you're just trolling, Soulmate. Keekay: thanks for your humanity and insight
No, I'm not, don't be so ludicrous. You're just not ready.
Well, give it time to sink in before you react. I've done my social duty and that's that. Plus Old Father Time always proves to be the ultimate judge and jury over who's right and who's wrong. You'll see.
Best of luck.
Taking the fifth only means I won't answer that question again. Meaning he has already answered enough no. of times.
Yes do let Bill know you are no longer with Ace without telling him you did it to be with him. Tell him you realised what he said was true and that you were not happy in the relationship with Ace. Leave it there and leave it to him to decide.
I do feel there is still chance with Bill. He was probably only trying to pressurize you to let go of Ace.
I know this is not the advice most people would give me, but had many sleepless nights wondering how I could have let Bill slip through my fingers. I realized I just could not live with myself if I didn't tell him what was on my mind, and what had changed with me that might make a difference to him.
I sent a letter, acknowledging the pain I've put him through and apologizing as specifically I could for how I've hurt him. I did not make excuses, though I did try to explain why I hadn't taken action earlier.
"To sum up: as much as I wanted to claim you, I didn't want to face the
things I'd have to do first--and eventually the cognitive dissonance
got bad enough that I let our connection suffer. I can tell myself
whatever I want about my tenderheartedness and my good intentions, but
it comes down to being chickenshit--whether my fear was about my own
pain or someone else's. And just because I was miserable does not
cancel out the fact that I made you miserable."
I told him I'd left Ace--that it was what I had to do to become happier in the long run.
I also said I wanted another chance with him. We haven't been in contact in a month, so I don't know if his new relationship has taken hold. I said it was in his hands, and that if he was still in his new relationship, then it was his turn to choose me or not.
Put the letter in the mail last night. Now I can only hope I hear from him. He might write or call right away, or he might have to think about it for a long time. He might never get back to me. Whatever happens, I feel so relieved that I tried my best to fix things.