I’m a woman in my 50s, waiting on divorce papers after years of separation (mutually stayed for economic reasons and kid with special needs). Kids now launched. Divorce is very amicable. Soon-to-be-ex is in another relationship, and I wish them well. It’s not the reason for the divorce. This isn’t the drama, just mentioning for context. I’ve had many years to process my divorce. Therapy has helped. I’m doing the work and I’m ready to move on with my life.
I met a man 5 years ago at a work conference. He’s late 50s. Not married. Lives in another country. The day we met, he stared and smiled at me for an hour in a meeting and when we were later introduced, we really clicked. We then ended up working closely for a few years, so we were professional and only saw each other annually for work. We always hug—he puts his arms out for me from 3m away and apparently smiles for me unlike for others (colleagues have commented).
He knows I am divorcing and that it’s amicable, but he doesn’t know I am leaving our field of work as soon as the divorce is done, so I can move to a new city. I believe my divorce is a hard line for this man and I utterly respect this. I’ve interpreted it as one of the reasons the relationship never launched romantically, so I’ve been fine waiting. I could be wrong and maybe he’s just lost interest; he gives mixed signals (hugs and flirty smiles, but then cancels on drinks, saying meetings came up). We only see each other at work meetings, usually around the globe. Those have stopped now with COVID. We don’t have the kind of relationship where I can just call him up with no pretext, and he doesn’t do that either. We are both a bit restrained culturally. But if it was for work, I could absolutely call, and after we would chat quite amiably about our many shared interests. He’d totally help me with a problem.
I am stuck with all the feelings that have grown over these years of getting to know him of what could be if we could only discover if the attraction is real. I want to tell this man how I feel, since when I will leave this work, I will probably not ever see him again. I’ve been thinking of sending him a letter when I do to say how I feel and what meeting him meant to me, but don’t want to seem aggressive or worse, needy. I know my divorce has taken a long time but now that it’s almost done, I want this man to know when I am free.
I do not expect to add water and mix to the relationship for instant love; I want to open the door and hope he walks through. There is catharsis in letting the feelings out regardless of the outcome, but obviously I hope for a chance at love with him.
Is there a better way to open the door for this relationship?