"Sending mixed signals"

Question

My new partner split up with his wife after many years together.  This was before I met him and   although he doesn’t want to be with her and has no regrets about the divorce, he’s feeling   guilty about leaving her.   

This is starting to affect our   relationship. One minute he   tells me how much he loves   me and how he wants us to be together forever, and the next he’s distant and says he’s not sure he’s ready for another relationship. I want this to work so how much space should I give him? I don’t want to put pressure on   him but I don’t want to   be taken for a fool either. 

Answer

It sounds like your partner   didn’t give himself enough   time to heal before he got   involved in another relationship. He should have taken time out to   deal with the loss he experienced   when he broke up with his wife.   It’s often a good idea to go for counselling after a break up, regardless of who initiated it.

This   allows the parties to deal with all   the emotions associated with loss.  Grieving for a relationship and   going through the healing process helps a person to move on without   regrets. The years that two people   spend together cannot be erased   in one single moment – it will take   time.   

Equally, the mistakes that were made during the relationship need to be acknowledged so that the   same errors are not repeated. Baggage from a past relationship shouldn’t be carried over to the   next, and this seems to be what’s happening with your partner. I suggest he goes for counselling   to work through it and that you   continue to give him your full support during the process.    

MentalHelp suggests that after a break-up or divorce one needs to be allowed to process the emotions these can either be betrayal, guilt or even depression in some cases. “The emotional coping process starts with allowing one's self the freedom to grieve and ends with moving on with one's life,” writes psychologist Dr Mark Dombeck.