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Neequee

Losing a 3rd time within a year - W is pulling away

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As the girlfriend of my W, and although I am not rushing my boyfriend to meet his family and best friends due to not meeting his immediate family (adult daughter yet), it is very difficult to not be included in the family/friend affairs and events. My boyfriend/widower does make every effort to create and participate in our own (separate) events/excursions, but I still feel excluded. It has been 2.5 years since the loss of his wife and I began dating him at 15 months following her transition and we have been very consistent - monogamous at his initial request - and spent approximately 3 days per week with one another for the first 13 months (we live 40 miles apart). Since his adult daughter has returned to the family home to get her life on track and grieve (much needed and I support the decision as well), we now see each other once a week and occasionally may go 10 days without seeing one another. Our relationship has changed and I am not sure if this is just his way of wanting distance (we were friends and coworkers before he married many years ago, and at arm's distance, always remained friendly and supportive in our personal endeavors).  However, he has become secretive and a bit standoffish with time that he had always given to me before.  He does call to check on me and seems to want to keep me involved in the personal details of his life. I am not sure how to proceed other than to be supportive. When we do spend tome together, the relationship feels close and we touch and hold hands often.  It may be noteworthy to add that he and his wife's marriage was strained with a lengthy separation, he returned to the marriage and continued to loved his wife and cared for through her illness. This may have been why he was ready after 14 months to move into another relationship. He says - and shows - that he loves me but now that his daughter has returned home, they are developing a closer connection, and can heal together toward their new family life.  However, I feel removed and set aside. 

So for those of you that me be familiar with this type of behavior, loss setting and/or process of loss and re-loving in a new relationship, ow do I move forward?  What are the signs that I may not be seeing or want to see? I love and really like him. I have no children but have raised two children (nephews) and I have never been married (over cautious from my childhood family stuff), yet I have been in long-term, monogamous (live-in) relationships and I long for a companionship that will evolve into marriage, preferably with him. I am in my mid 50s and he is in his late 50s, I would appreciate advice, direction, etc. Thanks in advance.

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Hi Neequee,

I can't help you out with suggestions as I have not been in your situation or your boyfriend's situation.  I do feel for you as I'm sure that the changes you are seeing or feeling are hurtful.  We all feel what we feel, no one else knows what is in our hearts.  Perhaps your boyfriend just needs a little more time to be able to decide what his future looks like.  I hope you are ok with giving him time if that is what he needs.

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I can only surmise that he may be confused as to what he wants.  Going into a relationship this soon with a widower can be confusing.

It doesn't seem fair to you, however, for him to want an exclusive relationship and then not be there for you.  If I were in such a relationship, going ten days without seeing the person on a frequent basis wouldn't seem sufficient to me.  I would only advise you to have a frank talk with him about your needs.  It would seem you may be somewhat friend-zoned.  Some of his need for companionship may be getting met by having his daughter back home with him, but YOUR needs for companionship are not being filled!  

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