How to Strengthen Your Relationship/Vurnerable after Split


Hi Tom,

I decided to share a little about myself to help you formulate your feedback, because I noticed that it helped in some of the questions asked to you…

My name is Markus.  I am 39 – soon to be 40 in December.  I have an 8 year old son and a daughter that is 17.

I am reaching out to you because I have fallen into a vulnerable state since splitting up with my ex-girlfriend.  In fact, I have been so lonely since then and have expressed it to her in text form as well as by phone and in person.  She misses me too, but has been guarded and tough with her feelings.  She has basically expressed to me that she will not allow herself to become vulnerable.  We separated the last week of August.

Nicole and I have been together for nearly six years. We have lived together the last 2 years. We meet each other at work back in 2007 – worked together until 2010. We spent a lot of time with each other during our first 4 years of dating. She would also spend a lot of nights at my place.  Nicole is now 31 years old. Nicole has a son who is 12 years old. He was 5 when I met him – my son was 3… Bringing our kids around each other was an experience for Nicole, because her son acted out a hand full of times – such as pushing my son around at playgrounds and dismissing him on other occasions. Nicole found herself having to apologize to me often because he behaved oddly towards my son – even to me… He would at times correct me if I used a word a certain way in a sentence, or pronounced a word that was different from the way that his family and circle would pronounce it.  Don’t get me wrong, he is a bright kid – but his smarts and moody behaviors ultimately contributed to the relationship coming to an end.

Nicole’s son and his father had split custody. Her son primarily lived with his father, and spent half the week with Nicole.  However, that changed 2-1/2 years ago because his father committed suicide. He had been going through rough times with his wife, fell into depression and took his life… Nicole and I had been looking into moving in together. After some time went by, we began talking about our involvement with each other and came to an agreement to move our relationship to the next phase. I agreed to relocate to another county with her. We moved into the same township where her son attended school.

My relationship with Nicole has always been great… I can honestly say that she is the only girl that I ever became friends with, yet loved romantically. She also feels the same way. She also realizes that our blended family was a challenge towards our relationship. We both would roll through the punches, but my tolerance peeked out this past year, especially during the summer months. I began seeing characteristics in her son that only a teenage kid would display. Her son has always entertained mood swings – like bipolar straights… He would shut down from time to time, loose interest in certain things – but yet would display high energy often. He is bright – very opinionate and challenged his mother all the time – he needed answer for everything… She at times would on eggshells, but she won’t admit it.

So as for me – well I too lost a loved one… Aside from the 2 kids I told you I have – I had a 19 year old that was killed by a violent crime. He died a year and half ago… Obviously, my way of dealing with my son’s lost is different than how son is dealing with his… My son’s death wasn’t a surprise because he had been living a lifestyle that was unhealthy.  He lived in another state, so I didn’t see him often. With that said, I feel that my relationship when through a trial because of our losses. Nicole eventually got her son involved with theater and invested a lot of her free time there with him - that involvement caused our relationship to derail somewhat. Aside from that, I had stuff I was dealing with on my own but for the most part was manageable… Things just started getting edgy – I just didn’t want my presence in her son’s life to be a trigger for him to start behaving in an unhealthy way… I didn’t want fingers being pointed at me from all angles – such as his dad’s side of the family who is very very pronounced in his life.

So here’s our current events - I met Nicole while working for the same company… I resigned in 2010, but came back a month ago – she actually gave the department that I worked in a heads up that I was looking to get off the road… She had moved on to another branch of the business – different property – more volume and pay… The department that I work for knew about me and my background, so they were happy to go through the motion of bringing me back on board with the company… So yup – we work together once again, but in different departments… we don’t see each other – only once since being there.

My reason for contacting you is for some perspective and perhaps some hopefully insight… I miss Nicole very much. I miss having her and her son in my life… In fact, my 8 year old also misses them a lot… We spoke about marriage, but I prolonged it because I had special proposal plans, yet had conflicting feelings because of the challenged that surfaced the past few years.
I basically want them back in my life, but she has playing her cards… In fact, I read one of your answers and it seemed like I was reading Nicole’s actions nowadays…

For example:  

“ THEN DO THIS. Get on Go Fish on line dating, have friends (not of his) fix you up and go have FUN and be the center of attention. No heart strings, just light fun dating. Immerse yourself in things you want to do - and DO THEM with JOY. Force yourself if you have to at first.

And don't call him EVER. Let him call you. And if he wants to see you, it's ONLY if you are free. Short notice meetings or dates aren't acceptable, you already have plans. Make him work for you - and be sweet, kind and very womanly when you speak or see him. But, he now has to make ALL the moves and jump through your busy dance card of hoops, and you aren't waiting and too busy for many of them anymore, because your dance card is FULL! All of a sudden, there will be a big hole where you used to be. He can fill it with seeking how to get you back (make him work HARD at this, and be kind and sweet but very non committal - FEW WORDS!”

I stopped calling her and sending her messages that convey venerability. We have been talking about going to dinner lately, for her bday that recently passed, but even that is a mission… She has agreed to it, but isn’t following through.  I have been sick to my stomach the past several weeks… I lost 15 lbs since the spit – so did she. I have even entertained the idea of asking her to marry – obviously invest in a ring… We recently had a text conversation about last Valentine day. I brought it up because a tv commercial reminded me about that day. I had bought a brand new outfit just for our day together. We went to a Shake Speer show then had dinner afterwards… All along she thought I was going to propose. I had apologized for the mixed cues back then. In the text, I told her about the special ideas I had in mind for that day… She knew all along that I wanted it to be special. She has always been understanding, yet is the most levelheaded person that I have even been involved with… In fact, she is also driven by logic. I am a very passionate person – logical, but well in tune with the spirit in me. I am not coldhearted… but she has always loved with logic and submissiveness for the sake of pleasing because she was the girlfriend.  Her work has always been a mind drainer, and obviously her son was a major part of life – her 2 most important balances… I on the other hand had been present, but yet over time felt caught up in limbo if that makes any sense… I was content with her, I am not high maintenance. She was great, but like I said…. Things just got sour and we both knew it.

I do want her back, but I know the challenge is going to be with her son – winning him back.

Your thoughts?

Thank you kindly

Hi Markus,

First,  that advice was not from me,  I would never give that advice.

You want her back,  you must win her and her son back.  Assume for a minute that you have no history with her, but know her story.  How would you start?  You know what he is into so you need to show support and appreciation for that.  And make it clear that he is important in his own right not just because he is hers.  Don't be pushy, don't demand that he like you.  He is a teenager and they are by nature difficult.

You also know what she likes.  Give her some space but ask her out to do things and go places she likes. Show her that you like her and respect her and her children.  If there are places that you two have a special connection to, take her there.  Show her affection. Non sexual affection: smile when you first see her, hold her hand, hug her. Kind words and gentle touches go a long way.  Don't bring up marriage until after you two are again on the same page.

Good luck,

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Tom Blair


Published author. Questions related to strengthening and saving relationships and marriages. Sex coaching questions. Questions related to mature singles re-entering the dating world after a death of a spouse or a divorce.


Neural Linguistic Practitioner Hypnotherapist Sexual Relationship Coach Internationally read author. Retired Educator All relationships are based on having certain needs being met. Healthy relationships are ones where there is a mutual meeting of these needs. Respect, honesty, communication are just some of those needs When those needs and others are not being met, the relationship will fall into disrepair. Together we will identify those needs and work to correct the imbalance. It is not too late, love can be rekindled. And it can last a life time.

Neural Linguistic Practitioner Hypnotherapist Sexual Relationship Coach Internationally read author. Retired Educator

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