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Next Question we’ll be answering: Four years of mixed messages
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My first love of 24 years ago found me on Facebook and long story short, we found that we both never stopped loving, pining, and thinking about the other; though we both moved on with our lives and married-him 3 times and me once. He is now divorced and I am widowed. We live 4-5 hrs away from each other and I am a full time premed student taking care of my terminally ill father. He has 2 jobs and a very young daughter with cancer, just starting to recover. Yes, we have a lot going on. We love each other and both agreed to take it slow, but are both getting very frustrated with the separation.
It’s been 6 months and we still haven’t seen each other. Our text/talk time has decreased dramatically since he got his second full time job, and since my dad took ill. I have more time on my hands than him, but less money, to go see him and visa versa. I am old fashioned and think the guy should make the effort and I think he keeps dropping hints and asking me am I in his town yet. At first I thought he was joking until he said it 4 months later with more passion. I am thinking I should go and treat it like a blind date and make all the arrangements for myself the first time and then discuss the handling of future visits with him. Is this thinking okay? Will I hurt his ego if I did that?
I sent him gifts 3 times in the beginning of our relationship and he was bothered by it. He said he felt as if he owed me, which I have no idea what that means. I once visited his town a few weeks after that conversation, just passing through overnight and he was offended that I didn’t connect with him since I was so close. I didn’t because if he was offended with the gifts then maybe he would be offended with me providing the hotel room also. I am so confused. I tried to have this talk with him and he said I could have asked him. Can you please advise me how to proceed without hurting his ego. I know he thinks if I love him enough I would make a real effort to see him, I just feel trapped in how to make that happen. Thanks. We are so stressed out! Two things to note: we are both very clear that we want this to end in marriage when I graduate from undergrad and before I enter med school (2yrs) and second that we are in an exclusive relationship and trust eachother fully. We have never argued, brought up or debated about others involvement in our relationship. Its always about lack of time and communication, which scares me but we are trying.
Thanks for writing to us. Let’s see if we can help you sort this out.
First of all, there’s a big difference between giving gifts and visiting someone. We can see why he felt a little funny with you giving him three gifts early on in your reconnection. You probably felt so excited and wanted to express those feelings to him. That’s understandable. But getting a gift from someone can be interpreted in many different ways. He likely interpreted it differently than you intended.
But we don’t see a problem with you visiting him. Because how else will the two of you figure out if you really want to be together? You say the plan is to get married someday but how do you really know until you spend some extensive time together? We recommend as many visits as possible, at least as much as your busy schedules and wallets/pocketbooks can support.
But please don’t surprise him or make arrangements without talking to him first. Maybe you could come up with a plan that would work for both of you. Maybe you could visit each other every two/three weeks, alternating between you going there, and him coming to your place. That way you both feel you’re on even ground. And you both can share in the expenses. He shouldn’t have to carry the burden of paying for all the trips, but we hope that he might offer to pay when you actually go out together for dinner or some other nighttime activity. Your situation is not the typical “meet someone, get to know them, first date, second dated scenario.” So some of the normal rules of dating don’t totally apply.
As far as him taking the initiative: On the one hand you say the guy should take the first initiative, but on the other hand you seem to be someone who likes to get the ball rolling. So you have to sort that out within yourself. This is less about what guys should do, and more about two different people with two different personalities. Is he typically someone who initiates, or is he a “wait and see” kind of guy? His personality will determine his actions more than just being a guy. Your personality will determine yours.
We do think you two need to step up the phone talk a bit. It doesn’t have to be every day, but enough that you feel like you’re on the same page about these issues. It’s easy to avoid talking about real issues because you’re so elated to have reconnected, but you have to make the relationship as real as possible within the constraints of your situation. And the best way to do that is talk, talk, talk. Sure you should enjoy the butterfly feeling of meeting your long lost love again, but all of those feelings need to be grounded in solid communication.
Best of luck to you. It’s exciting that you found each other after all of these years.