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I felt he was hiding me or ashamed of me, did I overreact in ending the relationship?

Tagged as: Breaking up, Dating, Family, Friends, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 August 2014) 15 Answers - (Newest, 21 January 2015)
A female United Kingdom age , anonymous writes:

Hi, I would appreciate some thoughts on this please. I am in my early 60s and for the past 6 months have been dating a guy the same age. We really get on great and he has met my family including my grown up children. Our time together is usually spent either at my house watching tv or going for walks. He lives near me but by some unspoken rule I never visit his house although I do know he lives alone. I have low self esteem from an abusive past so I am not sure if I am making a fuss over nothing important here - he was invited to his niece's wedding recently where there was an evening do. It was all just across the road from my house but he didn't invite me. I suspect it was because he has not told his family anything about me and he confirmed this, saying that he 'paces himself' differently to me in relationships. To make things worse he did say a couple of months ago that he would like me to accompany him to the evening do but as the date drew closer he stopped mentioning it and so the day before the event I asked him which was when he said about the timing not being right. When he knew I was upset about this he did backtrack and say I could go but I would have felt uncomfortable given the circumstances. I feel so hurt about it all, like he is hiding me away or ashamed to be seen with me and I have decided to end the relationship. Everything else was good. Am I over reacting? Thanks.

View related questions: self esteem, wedding

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 January 2015):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you WiseOwlE for your honest and blunt reply. Now all I have to do is be strong enough to stand by my ultimatum. This man is into local politics and talks in riddles (as they do) and plays mind games. These men are very clever at what they do which is basically treating women disrespectfully. I can see all this so clearly when he is not with me, the trick is to see it as clearly when he is with me so that I have the strength to just tell him I've had enough and show him the door. I'll need the luck, thanks again.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (20 January 2015):

Your [love] is misplaced and you won't stand-up for your rights out of fear of "not having a man."

To put it bluntly, that's what it comes down to. Claiming you love him, really means you're afraid of loneliness.

You're creating and putting-up with drama; because you're in your 60's, and would rather be miserable "having a man, than without one." A man who is ashamed to introduce you to his family; because you mean little more to him than a friend with benefits.

Love is only love when it is reciprocated. When there is mutual respect between a couple. When everything is shared between you. Families and all.

You make idle-threats that he well knows you don't mean. So he has put you in your place. And there, my dear lady, is where you'll stay. Your ultimatum is empty. He'll let you stew on it alone, and "YOU'LL come crawling back."

You have my sympathies.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 January 2015):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hi everyone, I am writing now to update you on what has happened since August (nearly five months ago). Well he did come crawling back once all his family had gone home and came up with all sorts of excuses for not taking me to the evening do. I took him back because I was miserable without him. Meeting his family wasn't mentioned again until Christmas. He had still not brought our relationship out into the open with his family so Christmas was a bit of a disaster as I didn't get to see him at all over the festive period even though he was just down the road. He texted me on 29th December to say that the family were gradually leaving and could he come round that evening with my present as "Christmas isn't finished yet". I was so upset about not seeing him at all and the whole issue raised its ugly head again - why hadn't he told him family about our relationship so that I could have gone round and had a Christmas drink with them all. His reply was something like "you don't know how manic it is when we all get together". I have tried to end it with him over this issue as I feel so hurt but he seems to be good at worming his way back into my life with endless excuses. The situation now is that I have issued an ultimatum - he has one week to tell his family about me/our relationship or its over. If he does finally tell his family about me then we can progress with the relationship. He is making me feel that I am being unreasonable. He talks in such riddles that my head spins, things like he doesn't do things like I do, just because I have told my family about him doesn't necessarily mean he feels that he has to do the same, if I say I can't understand why he can't simply say that he is seeing someone he says that I do things that he can't understand - he gave an example of me having issues about my body and only letting him see me in candlelight. I told him that if it was causing him distress (like I am feeling distressed) then I would do something about it like getting therapy. We seem to go round and round in circles over this yet all I ask of him is to be open and honest about me with his family. I try to be assertive and not just cave in to him but it is very difficult as he seems to be an expert at using mind games. We are both in our 60s and I do not feel like we have all the time in the world. If he said that he had no intention of telling his family about me then I could let go and move on but he keeps me dangling with all his excuses and makes me feel like it is my fault. My head tells me to walk but it's not so easy when you love someone and this is the only problem in the relationship. Thanks for taking the time to read this, I will keep you updated on what happens.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (1 September 2014):

YouWish agony auntYes, Honeypie is right about the public image.

You said that his wife is living with another man, right? That's still within their "understanding". He can have all the casual sex he wants to without committing, and he can even have the girlfriend experience or the domestic experience he wants to, which is why he was asking YOU to have YOUR kettle on. Why wasn't HIS kettle on? Because it belongs to his wife.

This is a prime example of how the younger generation aren't the only ones who go for "friends with benefits". This guy you broke up with was doing exactly that with you for 6 months. You want commitment, and he was trying to pass you a fake. I say this in many of my answers hoping that those who read it get it and not allow a cheap substitute:

Domesticity does NOT equal commitment.

Way too many people (90% of them are women) are fooled, offer cooked meals, loving gestures, and setting aside their own needs to please their partners, and all they are offered is a warm body while the guy quietly keeps his escape route open, plays word acrobatics like "move at a different pace" and takes without REALLY giving. When the woman starts feeling her needs deprived and starts wanting reciprocation, the guy either becomes distant, says more things to keep her in his bed, or disappears entirely only to repeat this lack of intimacy on another woman.

Men like these are MIRAGES - they give the appearance of being the ideal partner, but they never really engage. I know sex should never be used as manipulation, but wouldn't it change the world if women didn't have sex with any guy who wasn't the REAL thing, and if women stopped falling for the games and lack of intimacy? It would truly be the dawn of a new day.

The good news is, OP, that it'll be the new dawn of YOUR day, because there are other much more worthy men out there who aren't afraid to cherish you as much as you are willing to do the same, and from your posts on here, you have a lot of love in you to give. Be patient, and continue to not accept cheap, fake domesticity, and you'll do much better than this guy.

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A female reader, anonymous12345678910 United Kingdom +, writes (1 September 2014):

I can't say whether you did the right thing or not splitting up with him but it does seem rather dodgy him not taking you round to his house.I had a boyfriend once who had a wife that he'd been separated from for 5 years and they obviously no longer lived together but there was always something a bit strange going on-I'd find lovey dovey texts from her then the next thing she'd take an injuction out on him,then she'd be trying to split us up,then having boyfriends move in,then I'd catch him on the phone to her sounding like they were still together,whatever was going on it never seemed to be completely over,even though they seemed to have given up on a normal marriage and living together.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (1 September 2014):

Honeypie agony auntI have to agree with YouWish.

The fact that he and his wife hasn't bothered to divorce after 12 years is kind of telling. I mean, it is SO much easier for him to not "really" move on and commit to someone else WHEN he is still married.

For me though, the biggest no-no is him not inviting you to his house at all.

I don't think he was ashamed of you, I think he was MORE concerned with HIS "public image" or public persona" then your feeling.

You did the right thing.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (31 August 2014):

YouWish agony auntWow, you sure DID leave out a massive piece of information!

HE IS STILL MARRIED.

No wonder he works at a "different pace", which is his way of saying that he is unavailable to have a healthy relationship with anyone as long as he is still married.

12 years is more than enough time to formally divorce (and have that divorce finalized). Otherwise, what he is is a MARRIED MAN who has both an open relationship and understanding with his current wife who does not live with him.

It's clear why he isn't showing you off with his family now - they see him as married to someone else, and you want to progress the relationship like any normal person would, and he instead wants to keep you in the shadows of his "understanding" with his wife, meaning "seen but not heard" and "don't ask don't tell".

You did the right thing big time. Stay away from married men, especially those who are separated and has no plans to finalize a divorce. That's deal-breaking baggage of the first degree. Be fortunate that you only wasted 6 months on the loser.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (31 August 2014):

Your additional comments make me feel more confident in my response. Although not introducing you to his family after six months was enough. If he's not legally divorced, you certainly made the best decision to dump him.

He's protecting his social-image. He wants keep dating you all undercover and behind the scenes. While he comes off like the loving and proper family-man, now turned bachelor. Maybe so "wifey" doesn't go ballistic; and decide to go the legal route out of spite, and clean him out.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 August 2014):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks all you lovely people for taking the time to reply. Some excellent advice and all helped me realise that I have made the right decision in ending the relationship. In answer to the questions YouWish raised I would add that his wife left him 12 years ago and she is now living with a partner. Together they have 5 children all with partners and lots of grandchildren. He has been to family get togethers where his ex wife (or wife as they never actually divorced) has brought her partner. I am not the first relationship he has had since the breakup, he has had at least 2 others lasting about 2 years each although he did once tell me that his wife has never seen him with a significant other which maybe should have rung alarm bells as there would have been family weddings going on during the time he was with these other women. Regarding me never feeling that I could go to his house, he would often text me asking if the kettle was on and of course it always was but I never felt I could do the same to him. Once he cooked a meal and then brought it all round here to heat up and serve. I had my chance then to ask why could I not have just gone to his and eaten it instead of him carrying everything round here, but I didn't want to rock the boat and felt that at least he had cooked for me instead of me always cooking for him. I realise now that it is silly to avoid asking about things like this if they bother us and do not feel right but at the time it just seems easier to go along with it. I shall chalk it all up as a new learning curve and if there is another man in the future and something doesn't feel right, I will wade right in and ASK! Thanks again.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (31 August 2014):

The fact that you are not allowed to drop by at his house, ever, is a cause for concern. Why on earth not. He probably has not told his friends about you otherwise you would be invited along to occasional events. So I think you are best off without his friendship which seems just one way.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (31 August 2014):

YouWish agony auntYou didn't mention whether he has children or what set of circumstances made him single and for how long he has been single.

Unless he was made single in the past year, 6 months is about the right time to be doing some of those dating things like meeting the family and introducing them, and 6 months is MORE than enough time to be inviting over to his house.

I would be suspicious that I was the "other woman" if a guy started behaving like this no matter what age we were. Unless he's a raging slob with a massive porn collection at his house, there's no reason for him not to invite you into his house and life at 6 months. It's NOT normal for the only dates to be consisting of him hanging out at your house or short walks near your house. I don't believe in unspoken rules...I would have, on a walk, just said, "let's go to your house" and see what his reaction was to that.

As for the his introducing you at the 6 month timeline, that depends on the circumstances that have made him single. I know that my mother who is also in her 60's was widowed a year ago, and her introducing another guy to us would bring quite a bit of drama. I would be okay if she found happiness, but my brothers would have a big problem with it as they are not over their father to the point of wanting to see someone take his place. He may be avoiding drama in that way wheras in your family, you may be at the point of your family accepting you as a dating person.

You seem computer savvy - have you done a background check on this guy? You didn't mention how you met him...my first thought is if he has you as his "affair" while he's in another relationship due to the way he dates you and doesn't let you near his house.

Either way, Now that you've broken up with him, it's over. I would have done the same thing as you, though taking you to a wedding at 4 months - I see his point, as 4 months is pretty soon to be doing long term stuff like weddings. At 6 months, there should be some introductions and DEFINITELY he should be cooking for you AT HIS HOUSE.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (31 August 2014):

CindyCares agony aunt I don't think he is ashamed of you.. it sounds more like, you two see and value your relationship differently.

For you he is your SO. You do not know what the future holds for you, but, at the time being, he is definitely the official title-holder.

For him, ... you are a lady whom he is dating, period.

While many people would not have a problem introducing you to family and friends, in fact showing you off- oth other people are more prudent, they will only " bring you home " and show you to their parents ( in your case, to his offspring / siblings ) once they know you are the ONE, that who's there to stay.

But, that 's not the weird part, there ARE people who feel this way. The weird part , is that you are not allowed into his house. It seems he has put on a fence, a limit to your closeness and involvement, which your status as a "lady who 's been dating since 6 months " does not allow you to trespass.

I understand that you felt incomfortable with that. Ok, takings things slow and all, but , 1 ) when you are mature , you are supposed to know much better what you want and where do you want to go in a relationship, and this should naturally shorten the selection process 2 ) said without the least flippance, since I am no spring chicken myself... you are over sixry, time is not on your side, I mean, it's not like you have all high school and college years to get slowly to know each other and see if you click... objectively , if it has to be " serious ", you've got to decide it somewhat sooner .

I think you two had / have different expectations from this relationship, so , all in all, I think you made the right decision.

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A female reader, Lonely 81 Australia +, writes (31 August 2014):

I totally agree with the other aunties, you have done the classy thing here. He has been very disrespectful, going to a wedding across the road from you and expecting you to sit at home! It should have been a great opportunity for him to show off his new love interest, at a happy occasion, without the pressure of one-on-one introductions. You deffonately deserve better.

That being said, I have a feeling he might be back. If he does try to crawl back, don't just cave. Make him aware of how you feel and make sure that you are welcome at His home too.

Best wishes & stay classy ;-)

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (31 August 2014):

No, you are not overreacting.

Being a mature man, he may be embarrassed about the fact that he is dating; and doesn't want to explain what he's up to or who he's with. He thinks "he's" calling the shots. He seems to believe introducing you to his family is somehow committing to you. That's a bunch of old-school out-dated chauvinistic malarkey. Out of respect, I will not use the expletive I prefer.

He would have the unmitigated gall to be attending an event just across from your house, and not invite you as his date? That is most disrespectful and insensitive.

It's not because he's ashamed. I think he's implying you're still under evaluation, and he was still deciding whether you measure up to his standards. Meanwhile, you're good enough to visit, but you're still on trial. Awaiting the results of his final review. BUNK!!!

Ending the relationship was a dignified and justified reaction. A wedding is a celebration, and inviting the person you're currently dating as your guest, is very much appropriate.

It is the best way to introduce them to your family, and to offer them a warm welcome. He's not letting you get any ideas in your head that you can expect anything more serious than occasional visits. If he had only known you just a few weeks, it may have been a little premature. Half a year has past, and you've not met one member of his family? What's he waiting for, results from your background investigation from the British Secret Intelligence Service?

Don't feel regret. Six months was long enough to have introduced you to his family, especially after he has met yours. That lame excuse he gave you was something he pulled out of his back pocket; or somewhere in that area.

You deserve to be treated better than that. I'm so sorry!

Don't second-guess yourself. You're a dignified and classy lady. He's an old fool.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (31 August 2014):

Honeypie agony auntWere you wrong? I don't think so. It felt RIGHT for you. I do think it's QUITE OK to be slow in introducing family & friends - 6-12 months for me would be the "norm". But for you to not even be invited to his house? And he lived alone? Makes no sense.

Don't second guess yourself. If you felt it was the right thing for you, then it WAS the right thing to do.

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