Relationship advice: Adjusting to a new relationship
Question: I have separated from my husband of 22 years after trying to make the relationship and marriage work. We have not filed divorce papers and have been separated for 3 years. Since moving on with our lives, I have since met up with an old boyfriend whom I met before my husband. My problem or excuse is that, I still do love this new partner after so many years of not seeing him but however realise that he has been living a single life and is not capable of understanding what it takes to make both parties happy in a good relationship. He goes away every so often (which he is now doing) to Thailand to check on his business that is not becoming or making any profits because of poor management. I have never been asked to go on holidays with him, he however does tell me and if I ask him, that he loves me. I do understand that some people have different ways of expressing their love and some just don’t know how to. I basically see him throughout the years maybe 6 months out of a year as he works out of town and feels it will bring the money in to pay his house off. That’s providing he doesn’t have to go to Thailand to. He has told me not to stop his trips nor his football which I have never done and will not do but it seems to bother him when I get a little depressed when he goes for like 4 weeks and I say to him that I have not seen him for 3 weeks when goes to work and then when he comes in spends maybe a night with me before he has to fly out and then don’t see him for like 7 weeks. He tells me all the time that I don’t allow him to talk to girls which I do I just though have been trying to tell him that when he talks to them, he talks as if he’s flirting with them, he talks about them as though he cares more about workmates (girls) and he talks to me like I am just his little ‘maid’. I know my friends tell me I should leave him but, I believe in my heart that with a little advice, guidance and talking to him from someone else will maybe jolt somethings inside him to make him understand just what he may need to do in this relationship. As you can see from my previous marriage I am a very patient, good natured and trustworthy person but maybe a too kind, soft or good hearted person who wants to please everyone. Can you please give me some helpful advice on how to help this new partner of mine. I just don’t want to give up on him and stop loving him just because he doesn’t understand or know how to handle things. I know I can feel myself doing the same thing for him as I have been doing for my husband only my husband was jealous, possessive abusive and manipulative and this new partner is not like him, just not capable of understanding whats involved in a relationship or how to treat someone you love the way he would love for me to treat him.

Answer: Given that you are both coming from different life experiences and obviously have very different expectations about the relationship, it may help for you to see a counsellor or therapist together. If you believe this relationship is worth working on, find some quiet time with your partner when he is not rushing between his job and his business in Thailand and discuss what you both expect from the relationship as well as your personal short term goals and long term plans. You may find, through a discussion like this that you are both wanting very different things from the relationship and your future plans have no common threads. From your e-mail, I do get the feeling that your lover may be quite content with things the way they are and you have to be prepared for him to react negatively to any suggestion that things need to change. If he is not open to making any changes in the relationship, will you accept and be satisfied with things as they are or will you move on and seek someone who can offer you what you are looking for in a relationship. If you choose to part, you don?t have to part with animosity but rather with respect for each other?s life choices. It may work out better if you stepped back and viewed your relationship with him as loving friends rather than committed lovers.

By Michelle Lewis

Michelle has been one of Australia’s leading matchmakers and as a relationship expert is the founder of Date Doctors.

Her first book is The Street Guide for Flirting. We all notice that guy or girl who effortlessly breezes into a room and immediately attracts the attention of every individual there. And they’re not necessarily the best looking, wealthiest or smartest in the crowd. So what’s the secret? This guide shows you how to be the most fabulous flirt.

RRP $19.95 but only $17.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop.