Red Responds: She Refuses to Chase Him

Dear Red,

I am currently living in a house with my recent ex, who is moving out in one week with our four year old daughter. We have been split up for about two months.

During those two months, I met a man, through a friend, who I thought was the “one.” He seemed to feel that way too. We had an instant attraction for one another. We dated for about three weeks, spending every waking moment together. We got very close very fast. Within the first week he introduced me to his two boys, who are four and nine years old, from a previous marriage. They took to me right away, always wanting me to be around. He wanted to meet my mom, which he did. He also wanted me to meet his mom, who lives out of state and was coming to town to visit the boys. But before that could happen, he became very distant. He didn’t seem to want to be around me anymore.

This is where things get complicated. His boys live with their mother, who lives in town. He is trying to get custody of them by being nice to his ex. They were married for nine years and have been divored for one. I feel as though he still has feelings for his ex. Although, he denies it.

I asked him if he wanted to stop seeing me and date other people. He said “No, lets just take things slow, especially in regard to feelings.” But, with him being so distant, I decided to break it off with him, reluctantly.

We text each other from time to time, at which time he asks me if I have been with anyone else and when my ex is moving out. Just when I thought I was getting over him, I ran into him at a mutual friend’s party. He knew I was going to be there but he still showed up. He didn’t stay long, but he did say hello. When he was leaving, I gave him a hug. He gave me a big bear hug, as if to say he still cares about me.

I don’t know what to do. I miss him so much, but I don’t know for sure if he misses me. All sorts of things go through my head. I’m not sure if he wants to get back with his ex or is dating other people, All I know is I really want to be with him, but I refuse to chase him. I feel sad, lost, and confused. Please help me with this issue, Red.

– Karen in San Antonio

Dear Karen,

This man got a classic case of cold feet.

He and his ex wife have a shared history and a fairly decent relationship. Don’t begrudge him this or make it a problematic situation. He doesn’t want her back in his life in any romantic sense, but he also doesn’t hate her or have the typical disdain we are so familiar with. He just happens to be a good man and a good father trying to attract the flies with honey rather than vinegar.

I have to point out there is a wee bit of irony going on here. You actually reside with a fresh ex, while he is more removed from a less-fresh ex, and you are the one with concerns? More accurately, you were the one voicing concerns, which made him wonder a bit about what was going on in your house. Let him know when your ex does move out. This will give your current interest so much needed reassurance, and help close up some of that distance you were experiencing.

While by no means should you chase this man, if you let him know that you are still interested and are willing to respect his request to take things slowly, this is a relationship that can grow and develop. It’s not going to come about again with the original speed, but the communication will be improved and the foundation much more concrete.

Here’s the really hard part. If you really love him, you are going to have to endure some of the bumps in the road when his fears kick up, because he will pull away from time to time. And though he wants a fantastic and solid relationship, he’s not rushing toward any formal type of commitment. Building a future with him will require personal risk on your part, because if you walk away from him again, there will be no third chance.

Brightest Blessings,
Ext. 9226

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