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Friday, December 19, 2008

Advice: "My Girlfriend is Pulling Away..."


Marilee (not her real name), my girlfriend of three months, seems to be pulling away from me. For the first two months, our relationship was great. We would often talk for hours, well into the night, revealing everything about each other.

I'm 30, never married, and Marilee is 27, with three kids, who I adore. Should our relationship go to the next level (marriage), I'll have no problem assuming an instant family, so that's not an issue.

However, she is still married to her husband, although they have been separated for two years.

When I ask Marilee about what's wrong, she just shrugs and says, "Maybe we're moving too fast." I also notice that her ex-husband (to be) has been helping her around the house, doing handyman chores. This hurts because I'm a professional carpenter and I'd be more than willing to fix anything that's broken.

What can I do?

--Mr. Fix-it
Aunt Savvy's answer:
You may be a victim of bad timing.

Marilee may be pulling away because she's not ready for another relationship. The fact that she is still married to her ex-husband (to be?), reveals a lot about Marilee and her current relationship with her husband. Neither person seems to have moved on, and there is always the chance that Marilee may get back together with her ex (not to be?), although these second go-rounds often fail.

Even if your relationship does reach the next level, please consider that you have not known Marilee very long; three months is not enough time to establish a deep relationship, no matter how many all-night talks you may have had. You simply don't know her well enough yet.

Most importantly, you seem a bit cavalier about the "instant family" issue. Even under the best of circumstances, blended families offer their own set of problems. No matter how much you adore Marilee's children and they adore you, they may come to resent you and feel that you are trying to take their daddy's place. Consider, too, that Mr. Ex will be a large part of your life: weekly custody transfers, birthday parties, weddings, etc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a major stressor in a second marriage.

For now, the best thing you can do is have a heart-to-heart talk with Marilee; however, be prepared for the possibility that she will ask you for more space or, perhaps, even end your relationship. While this will be painful, at least you will be able to pick up the pieces and move on.

Note: This is not a real question, but a what-if scenario based on a common relationship problem. Aunt Savvy will always disclose when a question is based on a scenario.

Aunt Savvy would be pleased to consider answering your real questions for this site.

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