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I'm concerned that my boyfriend may expect the same kind of commitment from me that his ex wife gave to him

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Question - (13 January 2018) 1 Answers - (Newest, 13 January 2018)
A female age 41-50, anonymous writes:

My bf (he's 51 and I'm 43) has been divorced for almost two years now (separated for longer than that). He's on good terms with his ex and they coparent well their two children (15 and 18).

We're taking things slow and he seems like a great guy. I would just like to hear what you think about a thing or two. And I'd like to say that I'm aware that we're all different and that there are recipes for life...

He met his wife when he was 20 and she 24 and they stayed together for almost 30 years. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that, I just never knew anyone with a similar story. His experience with DIFFERENT relationships (and women) is quite limited. As far as I know, he was always faithful to his wife.

She has organized her whole life around him (I honestly can't see myself doing the same). She cut her career short even before they had kids. She openly talks about how when they met it was she who pursued him. I can't be sure of course, but I got the impression that somehow she feels as if he's better than her and that it was okay to be his sidekick.

He's handsome and attractive, that's true. I've seen how women react to him. But he's (just) a (hu)man, as we all are.

I really like him and it's not just because he has those (superficial) qualities. He's funny, attentive, supportive and kind. To me at least, although I've heard some comments from people who've known him longer that he can be somewhat "dark", "mysterious", "reserved"...

We've been dating for 6 months now and I know that this is too early to tell, but I can't help but wonder about how much he had contributed to what I consider to be an unequal relationship with is wife. In other words, could it be that at some point he will demand the same amount of commitment (I was going to say submission) from me? For now, there isn't even a hint of such a behavior so I'm not letting my imagination run away with anything and create something that isn't there.

We had a few arguments here and there, but we managed to resolve them and find an understanding. He didn't expect me to accept whatever that is that he wanted, just because HE wanted it. On the other hand, his life with his ex-wife was exactly like that. His pace dictated the rhythm of a whole family.

I've met his kids and his wife. She's cordial to me and since she got to know me somewhat she has no problems with me being a part of her children's lives. Once when she came to pick up the kids, we were spending a weekend at my place, she saw my bf/her ex emptying the dishwasher and was stunned. Her comment, I cannot remember exactly her words, led me to believe that at some point he stopped participating in chores.

I don't know... I like him and feel good about everything, I guess I just cannot pretend that there aren't some things I don't understand. Even if I were to talk to him, I don't know what I would say, because between us, for now, there are no problems that would suggest inequality.

Thank you :)

View related questions: divorce, ex-wife, his ex

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (13 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntDon't compare their life to the live you may (or may not) embark on with this man.

I wouldn't make the presumption that he WANTS the same relationship AGAIN - if that was what he wanted, he might have stayed married, right?

I do think (especially after 30 years) that people fall into a pattern, a routine. I think it's unavoidable. But that doesn't mean he expects you to read his mind and be a clone of the wife or copy her behavior.

For you two to have had a couple of disagreements only shows that you are STILL getting to know each other and getting USED to each other's patterns and personalities. The fact that you two resolved them (satisfactory) is a good sign, I think.

Also, HE might not have EXPECTED her to make her whole world around him, maybe that is how SHE wanted to live. Some women (and men) are like that. So it might have been fully HER choice. Nothing wrong with that.

I would keep going as things are, I don't think I would actually bring this up because it's NOTHING more than your overactive imagination at this point, I mean he hasn't said anything or shown that he wants you to be "wife 2.0".

As for the whole chores thing. Well, I think that is natural too. My Dad who is a VERY good cook hardly ever cooked (maybe once every 3 months) when my mom was alive. Same with chores (and trust me she TRIED to get him to help out more, he just didn't). After my mom died he HAD to cook for himself, had to clean etc. Some years after he meet a new woman and guess what? HE is the one cooking most of the meals, cleaning etc. His "new" partner is VERY different from my mom but they seem to work out pretty well.

So for now I'd just keep building on what's going and if something pops up that YOU feel confirm your suspicion, then TALK to him.

The reason I say don't bring it up is because I don't believe is creating drama out of "speculations". And for now, THAT is all you have.

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