Thinking with me would be much appreciated! People who've been in a relationship after separation, or have had an alcoholic parent, or have tried to choose a better partner after making not great/bad choices in the past, who've made changes for the healthier in relationships and anyone who has a sharp eye for good choices! I've made bad relationship choices before, where I put way more energy in and didn't keep my eyes open. Partners had under-the-surface untreated psychiatric problems that they didn't know of or were in denial about, or simply did want a relationship at all. I've grown up in an abusive household, where one parent for a time had a problem with alcohol. I've lived and learned, trying to be careful.So here's the situation: Three months ago, I met someone, in their early thirties, just separated (legally simple marriage of less than 5 years, together for more than a decade, no kids, house is only asset). He told me after a two dates that he comes from a family where the mother is an alcoholic and self-harms (she falls a lot and people have to constantly be with her, or send her to bed) from at least when he was a teenager. There's been unsuccessful mental health treatments and his youngest sibling isn't moving out because she feels obligated. This makes me, and other siblings of his, sad. He seemed to deny it somewhat (saying that it was just hard for her to find an affordable apartment), but got really sad when I expressed concern as to how his father and, well he himself as the oldest brother, are letting this situation be. He wanted to talk to his youngest sibling immediately, because he feels a lot of things are not discussed that should be. I suggested he should think about this, not rush into things, and he took that advice. I mean, it's only my impression. I have no idea what the people involved all think and want. But my opinion is that the father has been sacrificing the needs of the siblings, enabling the mother. He is on good terms with his father, and does not seem used to being critical about this, or I don't really know because there's only so much we've been able to talk about last months.
He's moved out of the marital house now, coparenting a pet and planning to do so for years. I'm not a fan of this idea, but he listens to me, it's still his plan, and it's an adorable, adorable pet. He does not communicate much with his ex, who has some psychiatric issues (that he thinks he denied for a long time), she was very dominant in decision making in their relationship (in hindsight he's shocked by the sumtotal of this), and works in mental health care. They both think she has a great career going there (I have my serious doubts). My last longterm relationship was with someone who had great humor, very intelligent, but ultimately I discovered they had huge problems that he wasn't trying to fix. I tried a lot, a lot, to my detriment, and realized I should have ended it so much sooner. He started to blaming me for his life not being the way he wanted, which is a very weak spot for me. And I blamed him for not trying. I am very aware of my sensitivity around people who externalize and blame. I don't think that is what is happening right now, but I do think I may have to choose battles more strategically. He may be feeling overwhelmed my views. In this current situation we really like each other, he lives a healthy life, likes his job, has been very affectionate, can let go of work in his free time and keeps a lot of social contacts. This last thing is a bit of a difference between us: he has many siblings, and his family to worry about, very active contacts with colleagues outside of work (millions of texts per day), where I haven't got direct family left and am a more introverted and, I guess thoughtful, also just like him a bit non-assertive but trying to be very aware of what some people try to get away with. I think complementary reactions or even codependency is an issue for me. He has two best friends who are, single forever types, who he loves because they're always there for him (I don't know them, so I don't know in what way). He loves his siblings. He respects differences, different opinions, I think. He asserted me his values on family life are different from his friends', which matches what I've seen from him up to now, and this is important to me. I'm quite a bit older (never married, no children). When we met and after, we've talked about the age difference (not a concern for both of us), and the timing of this for him. And that I felt I was taking a leap of faith with his recent separation. He was understanding, but he also does seem to forget that talking to me a lot about his ex-wife. On the one hand I want to talk with him about his afterthoughts on this relationship and marriage and what he would want in the future, on the other hand it makes me feel a bit uneasy sometimes. But when it gets to be too much I tell him and he understands and has dialed it back before. Earlier this week I suddenly felt insecure about this, talked to him and he reassured me. We've had an insane amount of contact last months, the enthused kind of a beginning interest. I am willing to dial that back. Which is wat I think he wants right now. He has a hard time finding a steady place to live, the market's not easy for this but he's also delaying a bit, I feel. We've talked about a lot of things, from both sides, our lives. We've had fun as well, outings together, although most of his days are filled with getting from a to b (living in a now, pet in b, work in c, parents in d, me and other sibling in e), also traveling internationally for work. I feel he lets people go too far, he's just too friendly. Lots of people are offering help, but regularly in ways where they make him dependent in some way. He notices what's happening sharply but does not take action. I feel it could go the way where I get blamed for trying to keep a boundary (f.i. people who sublet him his current place who come by unannounced and he feels obligated because they don't let him pay the agreed upon rent and I just wanted to leave instead of stay with a whole family of strangers on a weekend day). It seems to confuse him. I am a bit annoyed he'd have me over somewhere where he knows this family feels free to drop by every weekend, and then surprise me with this, and not push those people to pay the rent, so he has to take this in some turned-around logic. Recently he said he loved the good talks and is realizing things, but needs time to process things. Since the time I've met him, other than the evenings he spent with me or in contact with me, I've not seen him have more than a couple of nights alone. He's different from me, and he's avoiding some things. I recognize his process, his own way of going through this, and I like him enough and trust that he will progress to wherever he needs to get. He's mentioned at once that something I said sounded controlling. He also said things like he thinks I've already thought way more than him about things in general. He's said he is slower. He's said he thinks I'm stern (but didn't relate that to a specific instance at that time). I want to make sure I don't repeat myself and carefully handle my own pitfalls. My hands were itching to find him a place to stay, so he can finally have the privacy and place/time to process. He seems to escape to people and activities, but then, I also think that is not such a bad way. He likes people, and the activities help keep him grounded while his work is very challenging. I was way too much on my own after my relationship, it helped me think and process emotions but my way also kept me from at least enjoying life a bit. It cost me extra time being single and missing out on feeling better with people around, after years of being in a relationship that hadn't been good for me. I think that for me, a regret as big as not ending the relationship sooner, really. So I do see some ways he's maybe avoiding, but also see him getting on with his life and being active in a good way. And I'm just getting to know him, of course. I don't know yet what he's really like. I want to give him time, be flexible with this (as he is with me), and to focus on me a bit more after the first enthusiasm of this. I want to try, because I think I do like him a lot, in spite of both our baggage.
So, I think my question is: am I missing loud alarms here, or is this worth giving a chance? I really want a healthy relationship from the beginning. And what should I look out for? I've never dated someone who had been married before, so this is new territory. He's financially uninvolved with the ex aside from the house, the pet I would not mind in my life, they are telling everyone they are separated, he's been out of the house for almost 2 months, coming weeks they're starting with the financial advisor on the house and finalizing the divorce. Please don't advise us therapy or mental health care! Good down to earth books on codependency or other subjects are welcome.