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Hobbyist posted 4/25/2019 10:27 AM

Sorry for all the topic starting - a lot's been on my mind lately.

As you already know, I'm heartbroken and going back and forth between love, anger, sadness, etc - all the phases of grief.

The church community group where I go, and where my now exgf-ish (I'll describe the ish in a moment) has a closed FB group where they plan things. My exgf started in the group last year, immediately grabbed me to start dating, and then we weren't very active in group after that. We did go to things, but it was difficult to get her to go. I felt like I had to drag her to things. I was very active, as my goal was to build up my support system, and gradually that faded because she didn't want to go much (with lots of excuses).

They posted about an event, which she commented if they could schedule it on particular day so she could go. I read this and immediately felt the pain of the breakup again, I saw her "staking her claim" on the group. I posted that I'm going to leave the group, and then left. She texted me and said she hoped I didn't leave because of her, and I said of course I did. She said she was going to leave the group but was encouraged by the leader to stay (for both of us to stay). But still, how could she post that she's going to this event and not know that I wouldn't go, that I'm still hurting.

I feel like she's ripped my support system out from under me. I'm feeling very alone, even though I do have some friends and I know I'm not alone. I'm heartbroken about losing this group.

More details about our "ish" breakup. She saw that I had some hard things to work through - specifically, the trauma from my marriage, and frankly, she was doing some things that were triggering me. So, she said she was going to step back and allow me to work through what I needed to. It was sort of an ambiguous breakup. She said something about us taking a break (just a few days ago, about 3 weeks after the breakup), and I said, uhhh you broke up with me, that's not "a break". We're still "friends" but I don't know what that means? I hate the ambiguousness of this, I frankly don't know what to heal from - am I processing a breakup, or will she pop back once I've done some healing?

In the mean time, I'm going to IC, and working through some trauma books. I feel like she abandoned me because I have some things to work through. She said I will be a new person and she can't wait to see what I look like "on the other side". But, at the same time, I feel like she stole my support system - how could she not see that would happen when she started being active in the group she never wanted to attend?

Part of me can understand why she ended things with me, it seems sweet - give the person you love space to work through their issues. But part of me also feels like, if she's not willing to at least hold my hand and support me through my difficult journey, why on Earth would she get to reap the benefits of the person who emerges on the other side?

I don't know if I'm just venting or have a specific question, but input/comfort/flaming is welcome. Right now we're "friends" but I kind of want to delete her from my life so I can know how to process this - the ambiguousness of the breakup makes this harder than a clean break. I don't want to make a rash decision while I'm hurting though.

hardtimesinlife posted 4/25/2019 10:35 AM

To me it sounds like she's just not the right one. And maybe you will find the right one after the proper healing. It's hard to have a relationship when our baggage is so heavy, ya know? It doesn't seem right that she's keeping you dangling. Plus, she sounds opportunistic in that she was involved in the group heavily up to the point of finding a man. Now she's single again and jumping back into the group, while still keeping you as an option.

Hobbyist posted 4/25/2019 10:59 AM

I don't think the group thing is opportunistic (maybe when she first started but not now). Most people in the group are women, it's more of a support/study group, not really a "dating pool" group. Though it obviously happens since everyone is single.

barcher144 posted 4/25/2019 11:16 AM

Right now we're "friends" but I kind of want to delete her from my life so I can know how to process this - the ambiguousness of the breakup makes this harder than a clean break. I don't want to make a rash decision while I'm hurting though.

I am hardly a relationship expert, but everything that I have read is that you are nowhere near ready to date. In fact, your previous attempt was too soon and she recognized this and gave you the space to work on yourself.

You need to work on yourself.

After my first marriage ended, I was lonely and vulnerable and I wanted to be with someone, anyone. I dated a wonderful woman who was nowhere close to an appropriate match for me. It led me, more or less, to a nervous breakdown. It hurt me... it hurt her.

After she and I broke up, I literally gave up ALL THOUGHTS of dating for about 8 months. I worked on myself. I got in shape... I figured out what my redeemable qualities were... and I figured out what I wanted in a significant other.

(again, back to not being a relationship expert... a couple of years later, I met my STBXW#2... who literally drove me to suicide).

Hobbyist posted 4/25/2019 11:29 AM

I certainly recognize that I'm not ready. I was barely ready when I started dating her, and I told her this. Things slowly deteriorated after a while, and I realize I need to be alone to build up my confidence in being OK while alone.

But in the meantime, I'm hurting, while also trying to heal from trauma. I guess the question is, should I push her out of my life more, to solidify us not being together, or should I keep her in my life, holding onto nothing and trying to be friends? I realize you guys can't answer that for me, but I am a bit hurt by her acting like she can jump into my community group and act like nothing happened. She did offer to leave the group, only after she saw I was leaving because of her, but by then, the damage was already done.

Does anyone have a positive story of being able to be friends with an ex? Is it ever possible?

WhoTheBleep posted 4/25/2019 11:46 AM

frankly, she was doing some things that were triggering me. So, she said she was going to step back and allow me to work through what I needed to.

This troubles me. What specifically was she doing? Slippery slope? Wayward mindset? Then, instead of supporting you, she "gives you space.". I don't like that.

Ditto with the group. It does seem opportunistic to me. Even if it's mostly women,. The group likely goes on outings, etc where men will be.

If you were going to leave the group, I wish you had done so quietly. Your announcement opened a dialogue with her could have been avoided. This likely caused you more pain.

Without more detail, it's tough to give advice. I don't know how badly you triggered, or what she did to cause it.

Agree with the above. She doesn't sound like the one for you. As painful as this is, it's possibly good you didn't marry. And a clean break might be best. You can enforce that any time you wish.

I'm sorry you are in pain. (((Hobbyist)))

Hobbyist posted 4/25/2019 12:13 PM

I gave more details on redflags in other threads, but in a nutshell:

1) She did cheat on her first husband, left him for her second husband after less than a year of being together. She had a relationship with someone while separated from her second husband (I don't know if this counts as cheating or not? Still makes me wonder). Both her ex's are "terrible people" according to her, and I do know that her second ex is a narcissist and gaslighter, but not a cheater as far as she knows.

2) She doesn't know when people are flirting with her - I don't think she has good boundaries but it doesn't seem to be on purpose? Furthermore, she turns pretty cold when things aren't going well, not a good sign. Though it does take a lot to get her to that point, normally we talk through things for a long time before that happens. Those two things combined makes me think she'd be a high risk for starting emotional affairs (at the least!).

3) She considered working for her highschool boy/best friend, and when she told me about it, she said, "you shouldn't have a problem with this". I did have a problem with it, but I didn't feel like I was allowed to voice this.

4) She was pushing her goal of home ownership onto the success of our relationship. That was a lot of pressure on me. Not really a red flag but just another sign it wasn't meant to be.

5) We had some hurtful conversations, where she said sex wasn't that much worse of a betrayal than porn. There's a lot more to this conversation but I got stuck on this topic. Every conversation we had about it, she was trying to make it better, but she ended up just saying something that made it worse.

I realize she's probably not the one for me, I just don't know where to go from here. I'm hurting now, but I know that will pass, but can I really stay friends and not continue to be hurt by her? I do feel abandoned, and like if she doesn't want to be with me while I'm going through this, why should she get to reap the benefits on the other side? Is that reasonable or am I being dramatic?

And yes, I probably should have just left the group quietly, but I WANTED her to see that she was hurting me, and for other people to realize that as well. I realize that's not the best solution, but it is what it is and there's no going back now.

Catwoman posted 4/25/2019 12:45 PM

You're wondering why someone who has consistently been callous of your feelings continues to be callous of your feelings?

Think about that one for a moment.

However, I think you have expectations that are beyond what should be expected as well. You're expecting she give up something that she has done in the past because of your breakup. Those are mutually exclusive things. If you want to continue with this group, you need to do so knowing that she is a part of it.

Frankly, based on what you have written, why would you be in a relationship with a person who sucks so badly at relationships? Could "broken attracts broken" be at play here?

Cat

barcher144 posted 4/25/2019 13:00 PM

But in the meantime, I'm hurting, while also trying to heal from trauma. I guess the question is, should I push her out of my life more, to solidify us not being together, or should I keep her in my life, holding onto nothing and trying to be friends?

You should be cordial to her for sure. As my therapist tells me repeatedly: kindness, first and foremost.

I gave more details on redflags in other threads, but in a nutshell:

I am not quoting the redflags.... but yeah... DO NOT DATE THIS WOMAN.

Many/most of us tend to date people with whom we are comfortable, not people that are good for us.

For example, my mother is a narcissist. My first wife is a narcissist. My STBXW#2 is a red, hot, win-a-prize narcissist. See a pattern here?

Looking back at my dating history, I have two serious regrets about my dating past... meaning, I look back at these women and think: wow, they were really good for me. One woman, I was convinced, was going to dump me for no reason at any time.

The other woman... I broke up with her for reasons that I could not articulate at the time. Now? I know that I broke up with her because she was kind to me and supported me and she didn't criticize me. You see, I was (am?) completely fucked up and I equate criticism with love.

I still struggle with this, albeit in my heart not my brain. My current GF is very nice. She's actually struggling to be a co-dependent too. We are both trying like hell to take care of the other so badly that we have arguments about it. Eventually, I crack a joke about being co-dependent and defuse the tension.

In closing, I seriously recommend that you spend several months thinking about who you are and who you have dated. My guess is that you can draw strong parallels between the people that you have dated and someone from your family of origin. Next, spend some serious time thinking about the type of person who is actually good for you.

You probably also need to recognize that someone who is good for you can feel incredibly uncomfortable. I think that my current GF is very good for me... she makes me very uncomfortable on a regular basis (because she's nice to me!).

[This message edited by barcher144 at 1:00 PM, April 25th (Thursday)]

devotedman posted 4/25/2019 13:24 PM

barcher articulated very well exactly what I was thinking.

so, without further ado, ^^^^^^^^

Hobbyist posted 4/25/2019 14:29 PM

That is very wise advice from all. Thank you for being here for me.

Cheatee posted 4/25/2019 14:38 PM

Barcher truthed:

Many/most of us tend to date people with whom we are comfortable, not people that are good for us.

Amen. And "comfortable" may mean we are working through some past history in unproductive and ultimately disastrous ways.

barcher144 posted 4/25/2019 14:45 PM

Barcher truthed:

p.s. I am an academic so I don't like taking credit for other people's ideas. 95% of what I wrote... I was taught by my first therapist.

Hobbyist posted 4/25/2019 18:01 PM

It's weird, because while we were together, towards the end, I kept thinking, "I'm not sure about this, I'm not sure about this...", but once it ended I'm like, "what nooo!". I think I have an issue with failing in a relationship - I just want to power through and keep moving, as long as it isn't awful, of course. I know that being alone for a while will help solidify that I'd be OK alone, and make me more picky in my partners. My brain and heart get conflicted a lot...

Thanks for the input all.

Phantasmagoria posted 4/26/2019 15:10 PM

But part of me also feels like, if she's not willing to at least hold my hand and support me through my difficult journey, why on Earth would she get to reap the benefits of the person who emerges on the other side?

Iím not trying to insult you, please believe this to be well intentioned input, but a couple of 2x4ís for you to consider:

1. Sheís not your therapist, sheís not your mother. Of all the things youíve written the above stood out to me the most. Iím generalizing but most women, especially early in a relationship, look for a man to be confident, self-aware, emotionally strong. They arenít looking to be a crutch, and definitely not looking for someone who presents as needy!

2. Being a martyr, and then complaining. She offered to leave your support group - so accept her offer and test her sincerity on this. Donít decline and then complain when in fact you had the option. This is part of the learning process of setting and then sticking to new boundaries for yourself. Often it will feel unfamiliar and very uncomfortable, but the alternative is what youíre feeling right now.

3. Sheís terrible at relationships based on what youíve described. Thatís a recipe for disaster when mixed with someone nowhere near ready for a relationship (see 1. above).

phmh posted 4/26/2019 18:52 PM

It seems like you need some space now from her. In the future, I recommend not making grand announcements that you're leaving any group (online or real life) - keep your options open! Find another support group. And note that you gave up on your support group when you started dating this woman. Even if she didn't want to go, you still could have. I read an interesting article a few months ago that suggested possibly part of the reason so many relationships struggle is that people expect the relationship to cover all of their social needs, and wind up losing friends to only hang out with their SO. Make sure in the future that you do not do this. (It can be a struggle for me at times to do this as I love spending time with my SO, but I realize how important it is for me to have time with my friends and for him to have time with his.)

I do know some people who have successfully built a friendship with an ex, but in those that I consider even somewhat healthy, they had at least a year or so of NC so they could heal. She doesn't seem like a good candidate for friendship for you at this point. It will keep you stuck and questioning yourself, unable to fully heal and ultimately unable to form a successful relationship with a healed lady.

I'm sorry you're struggling (and please keep posting as often as you need) but I know you can get through this and come out the other side happier than you can even imagine right now!

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