Today’s article is in response to a question from a reader (via Ask Melissa!) about how to determine if he’s really over his ex-wife.And to your concern that he had asked you to “have compassion for his wife as she’s lost everything,” I do feel that his ask sounds a bit odd because it is also coming from someone who says that he “wants to move forward” and “sees you as the next chapter.His asking for your compassion for her indicates a level of protectiveness that he feels for her, and I wonder if he’s feeling somewhat responsible for her emotional well-being (rather than letting her take care of her own emotional well-being).Talking about her a lot might not necessarily mean that he’s not over her. If he is talking about her a lot because there’s a practical concern that he needs to think about like childcare or custody arrangements, that’s one thing.But if you find that he is still doing a lot of emotional processing out loud with you about his ex and his divorce, and you’re starting to feel like his therapist, it could be a sign that he still has some healing to do (in which case he might really benefit from working with a professional counselor if he is really struggling emotionally).You mentioned that you have a great life, you love where you are right now, you have a great self-employed job, home and friends, and you look after your elderly parents.And if you were to be with his man long-term, you would likely have to relocate.
But I wonder whether he is truly asking for compassion or if he is using his ex’s emotional state as an excuse to not move on from his relationship with her and calling it “compassion.” There’s a difference.
I mention this because you indicated that they’ve both had addictions so there might be some codependent tendencies in their relationship or perhaps there’s some unhealthy emotional attachment to his ex.
I want to make clear, though, that compassion, in it’s purest form, is a wonderful thing.
It feels limited because as far as being able to commit and function in a new relationship with you in a normal, healthy, open way—he would not be available to do that if he hasn’t resolved his previous relationship.
I don’t doubt it when you say that you get along so well and have the same faith and interests.