[Two Pronged] I'm an eligible bachelor, she just separated from her husband
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr Baer,
My name's Matt, an eligible bachelor. I met Fay through an online dating site and we got along with each other quite well, then eventually fell in love.
I love her seriously with all my heart, and I felt that she loves me too, but there's an issue with Fay: she is a separated woman with two kids (still legally married).
I know this upfront as well as her situation with her husband, let’s name him Geoff. Now Geoff is a natural womanizer, and Fay had gone through that problem for a very long time now, even before they were married.
After 15 years of being together (married for 10 years) she finally decided to leave Geoff to his current mistress (Lyka), and takes the custody of their children with her parents’ help.
Fay has been struggling financially with her kids without any support from Geoff, there's also a history of physical abuse. So I can’t blame her for hating Geoff too much. Fay told me that they've been separated for more than a year, and through all those years, she realized that Geoff did not love her fully. That’s why I took my chances with her because I felt that she's ready to move on, and hoped that we'd be able to make our relationship right, by legally separating with Geoff.
Throughout these 5 months of our relationship, I am discovering the problems that Fay is going through with Geoff. It’s really complicated; both their families are involved in their feud.
I'm doing my best to make her forget all those bad memories: treat her right, make her happy, take her to places, and let her feel what a normal girlfriend should feel. I even bring her kids some treats just to make them happy. But despite all those, sometimes I feel that Fay is still not moving on, she's fond of reading articles and posts, watching movies/series, post quotes in her social media account that relates to her past, and it really hurts me, I sometimes mitigate the pain just by teasing her about what she's doing but still the pain is there.
Every time we talk about Geoff and what we could do so he’d agree to an annulment, she gets really mad, and I can really feel her hatred towards him. But that always ends up in a fight and I think, "Isn't that enough?"
In fairness, Fay is a good, responsible person. She is a lot of things I want my future wife to be. But her not being emotionally ready is really shooting me down. Sometimes I feel that this relationship is just a rebound, and she's using me to escape her problems.
Should I still keep on fighting for this? I know this is not right in the first place, but I love Fay.
Thanks for the advice.
Thank you for your email.
It is a fact of life that we do not start new relationships with a clean sheet. We are already shaped by our past, particularly our upbringing and any previous relationships. If in addition one or both parties already have children from ex-partners, the picture can become complex and often confused. All this can be exacerbated by the non-availability of divorce which leaves many people in limbo, unable to obtain closure on one relationship in order to progress unimpeded with the next.
With this in mind, Matt, you have decided that your circumstances are such that you are an eligible bachelor, certainly one capable of acting as a knight in shining armor and "rescuing" an abused spouse with two children and financial issues. You reckon after 5 months that you love Fay but are gradually perceiving that all is not well in paradise.
The problems center around the unresolved situation between Fay and her husband, what you call her attachment to the past and your concern that this is not true love but just a rebound for her.
Meanwhile, what of Fay? You believe she loves you but as she is only separated from her husband and prone to dwell on the past, you consider that she is not emotionally ready to cut all ties.
Well, maybe you are trying to go too quickly.
Fay spent 15 years with Geoff and has been with you for only 5 months. She faces the prospect of endless legal procedures to cut her marriage ties which seem designed to test anyone’s patience (perhaps deliberately given the Catholic Church’s stance re: divorce). With two children she can also expect to have plenty of contact with her husband if he chooses to remain in their lives. Your desire that she invests herself exclusively in you is therefore premature and unrealistic.
However, there is one other issue which is worth mentioning. You say at the end of your email “I know this is not right in the first place."
It is not clear whether you are referring to moral or religious scruples of some kind but consider this: does Fay know about, or at least suspect, these doubts?
Because if so, her reluctance to throw herself 100% into your relationship would be quite justified.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. Thank you too, Mr Baer, for explaining what, to my mind, are the most salient issues regarding Matt’s relationship with Fay.
The last issue Mr Baer brought up is actually the first I would dissect not in this, but in your next letter (should you ever write us again) to us: Your feeling that “this is not right in the first place.” What exactly is this this? And what exactly is not right about it?
What I hope to explore with the space I have left is your unwavering belief that you are a knight in shining armor, swooping up Princess Fay from the prison of her marriage. That marriage is guarded by the fire breathing dragon Geoff, who has actually and physically singed her and is the only obstacle to your being with your beloved.
Why isn’t her anger towards Geoff unrelentingly aimed at her complete and permanent escape from him? That after all would be your aim were the roles reversed.
And why cannot she see that you are the best thing that’s happened to her? You are even generous enough to treat her children as part of the package (which, perhaps in your own personal experience, other men are not as willing or able?) Is she so confused she cannot understand that the most direct path to happiness is with you? Why isn’t she more grateful, goddamit?!!?
Is the above an accurate translation of your thoughts, Matt? That you have so much to offer Fay and if she is not astute enough to grab you as a drowning man would grasp anything to save himself, well maybe she isn’t worth all the pain and suffering you’ve experienced. That if Fay cannot match your steadfastness with occasional hints of future happiness with you on her Facebook posts, well maybe she is not ready for you – so sayonara, baby.
On the one hand, Matt, you are right: You are an eligible bachelor in that wala kang sabit (there is no legal impediment to your being married). Also, you have been as supportive to Fay as you possibly could, reassuring her that her anger towards Geoff is dapat lang (perfectly understandable). At no time have you judged her for her poor choice of a husband and have, in fact, even accepted her children (with him) as part of the package (up to “giving them some treats”).
And because, objectively and superficially you are right, it is tempting to be impatient with Fay.
Mr Baer has mentioned many valid reasons Fay may be hesitant. In conclusion, I would like to add one more.
Most people balk at being considered the “lesser catch” in a relationship. I myself wouldn’t mind being the lesser one, but only where money and property as involved. Throughout your letter, there is a feeling that Fay is so lucky to have you but there has not been a single mention of how lucky you are to have her. Never ever.
I sense no awe and gratitude from you that this woman has considered you worthy to pursue her. Yes … even if objectively perhaps, and for reasons mentioned above, no one else might think that but you.
What matters most is what you think and how you feel. And frankly, if all you can say is “but I love Fay.” (N.B. the but) preceded by “this is not right in the first place,” many would not merely hesitate, they would run as fast as they could away from you. And they would be doing you a favor.
No relationship can end well where one is expected to be forever grateful for having been chosen by the other.
All the best,
P.S. Mr Baer did not think me unduly harsh to you, Matt, but I do. And if, indeed, I was, I apologize and share a personal experience to explain.
When I married Mr Baer, I had had 3 divorces and he, one. Most of his friends (well…his ex-wife’s friends, really ☺) tried to dissuade him, but dissuaded he refused to be. Later, they tried to tell him how lucky I was to bag him AND that they would welcome him with open arms when we too got divorced as we inevitably would, given my track record.
Jeremy not only fobbed them off but told them it was he who was so lucky and he was so grateful that I finally accepted his proposal. Not once did he make me feel I was lucky to have a spouse willing to leave home and country just to be with me. So here we are, 16 years later and counting, each feeling the luckiest person alive to wake up next to the other.
I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world, dearest Matt, should you decide to pursue your courtship. – Rappler.com
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