Am I the right woman but wrong time for this man?
by Just So Sad
I am 43 my boyfriend is 51 and we have been together for almost 3 years. I have two children from a previous marriage, he has two children from two previous relationships. His previous relationship officially ended 9 months before we dated, but really fizzled when she moved out 2 years prior to that. Our relationship started very slowly but he asked me to be patient with him and said he always saw a future with me. We live 35 miles apart. It took 2 years for him to say he loved me ( i told him after one year) but once he got there things became great. We have been the best of friends and rarely argue ( but it does happen - not severely though)
He has had lots of challenges in the last 16 months, including knee surgery, death of his father, major job change, his oldest child moved home and then moved out to live on her own ( he's very attached to her). His other ex causes him a high level of stress and is jealous of our relationship. His new work is extremely stressful and he is traveling a lot. Earlier in the year he did lie to me, as he started talking to an ex who had dumped him. Nothing happened between them but he said he needed closure. After it came out, he thanked me immensely for helping him recognize his feelings and being able to move on. It was at this point that he started telling me he loved me.
I have been very supportive and he has always told me I am better to him than anyone in his life and no one has every made him feel so good and that I made him realize he wanted things in a woman that he never knew he wanted. We hug and kiss and even strangers we encounter comment on our fun back and forth banter. I am a total helper and he and his children have adored my help. Our sex life is fantastic (and daring). His new job is close to my home, so he started staying with me and my children several days a week. All got along great, and he said he loved the normalcy of coming home and having dinner as a family and doing family things together.
He shocked me out of the blue the other night by telling me his life feels like blah, and that he is not happy with anything in his life. He says he is so tired and needs sleep. He said he has it all (he has lots of possessions, cars and a
home) but says none of it makes him happy. He says that he worries that he never loved anyone and he doesn't know why is not happy with me nor his life. He asked for space to figure it out. He says there is no one else ( and I believe him as he has very little time) but he feels like I am another obligation to him and he feels that he cant make me happy.
I explained he does make me happy and the only thing I ever asked for was for him to say he loves me more (he's really bad about saying it, and says he has always been like that.) He does say he loves me after I say it. He says he now doesn't see a future with me and doesn't see marrying me and doesn't want to give up his house ( I never asked him too) and merge with me and my children. He also says he doesn't want to lose me and he can't imagine his life without me, and times with me are always great, and have been like a pain killer to his life.
He says he just wants to be happy and appreciate his life.
There were zero signs that this was coming. I believe he is in a mid life crisis.
I am trying to give him space and told him I am willing to give him more free time but I don't want training wheels to a break up.
I am very strong, financially independent woman and I can make some changes to help him through this, but do you think this is really a midlife crisis, and is there any hope of this working in the long run? I don't want anyone else, and certainly don't want to get involved with another man who might be going through this too!Noel's response
It does sound like a midlife transition/crisis, and the only thing I can think of is to give him the 'space' he says he needs. Let him know you don't need him to marry you, or sell his house (sometimes a letter is better than a conversation, as he can go over it several times if he needs to.
Re: him saying he loves you, maybe you could let that go. Often men show love by what they do, rather than what they say. You might try asking him what kinds of things he does to show his love (again in a letter).
I don't know whether this will work in the long run, but I do know it will pass. I just don't know how long it will take.