Q. My boyfriend and I have been dating for about two months now. When we met, we were both freshly out of serious, long-term relationships. In his case, an eight-year relationship that included two years of marriage, and for me, a four-year relationship. Before I knew it, we were seeing each other every day. We get along on so many levels (intellectually, sexually, same sense of humor, etc.), although I admit that sometimes I do I feel slightly overwhelmed by the nonstop hangouts.
My real concern doesn’t have to do with our compatibility, but rather our timing. This guy is still only legally separated from his ex-wife. He is pretty far along in the process of having the divorce finalized. I know that I am the first girl he’s been with since his ex-wife, and that puts a considerable amount of pressure on me. I worry that he is simply relationship hopping. To make matters worse, he talks about his ex-wife constantly (which is understandable; he’s still in contact with her pretty regularly).
He also tends to over-compliment. It makes me feel like he is trying to convince himself that he wants to be with me rather than coming off as genuine. He insists that his feelings are legitimate and that he simply “can’t believe he’s dating a woman like me.”
Is this normal? Will he relax with time and just grow to enjoy the time with me instead of harping on his ex-wife or over-compensating with compliments? Would it be best to spend less time together?
A. The over-complementing is probably genuine. You’re in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, and he is clearly smitten. That said, the timing on this one does stink. Both of you could have used some time alone. He should be discussing the divorce with friends and professionals, not with you.
I do recommend that you set some boundaries when it comes to spending time together. You don’t have to go out of your way to see him less; you just have to make sure that you’re seeing other people more. You should be spending quality time with your own friends and family, and putting some effort into relationships that you might have neglected over the last four years. If you focus on your community, there will be less time for this new guy — and perhaps that will give him some space to focus on his own needs.
There’s no need to cut him off, just seek out balance. Once you have it, you’ll do a better job figuring out whether this romantic relationship has long-term potential.
Enjoy it for what it is, and if you feel you need a little space, ask for it. Nothing wrong with that.
“This guy is still only legally separated from his ex-wife.” Not in Massachusetts he isn’t. Make sure you’re not getting played.
I think you should ask for some space. Regardless of your guy’s drama, you just got out of a long relationship and you should take the time to get to know yourself better.
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.