Fear of Abandonment in New Relationships Post Honeymoon Phase
I'm seven years post D day. Been divorced since 2017, and have had a few relationships since. They've all ended for their own reasons but this last one was different.
I've made a few posts on the last one which was just over two years in length. It was very often great but challenging at the same time. We definitely needed to communicate more and better and connect on a deeper level IMO. Emotional intimacy and deeper was like a disease to her and that always bothered me. I definitely had built up some anger for hurtful things that were said even if not malicious, that added to uncertainty at lease in my mind.
On some level we were perfect and others we were miles apart. Her three divorces and several relationships left her IMO guarded and emotionally distant at times. She liked her space (nothing wrong with that) but at times it seemed almost excessive from my stand point at least as I seemed to need more together time and am much more touchy feely physically and emotionally than she was. Even though we were in a committed relationship she seemed almost commitment phobic as she was mixed if not outright not interested in marriage and I got mixed signals in various forms like expressing interest in changing back to her maiden name and even comments giving uncertainty about a future spending time together in a non-married environment suggesting a long distance relationship being ok if I sold my main residence. There are other examples, at times I just felt uncertain, alone, unloved, and yet fulfilled all rolled into one. She was dismissive and avoident at times, and others pretty damn engaged in her own way.
As I did post mortem, I've been looking at my contribution to the demise. While she had her issues I most definitely contributed as she broke up with me. While generally confident and secure in the relationship I had very vulnerable moments with a lot of very raw emotion that I was medicating, seemed to self sabotage the relationship at times, seemed to have intense anxiety, would "lash out" at times for reasons I didn't understand looking for additional affection or attention when sometimes some had already been given. I didn't understand any of it. It all seemed to manifest after the honeymoon phase. She hung in there through it all for about the year the conflict was more prevalent. We broke up a month ago, reconciled for two weeks and then the same issues erupted again on my part and she pulled the plug for good. I'm finding significant shame and self blame even though she had her own issues.
I'm reading a great book, the Journey Toward Your Success by Kenny Weiss. In it he talks about Fear, Shame and Denial and the cycle of reliving your worst day ever. The chapter on Fear he focuses on the fear of rejection, Inadequacy and fear of powerlessness he asks at the end of the chapter "when and where have you felt rejected/inadequate/powerless in the past and where currently? It was a game changer for me.
I've been to IC a fair amount, but I had an epiphany pondering that question on my recent relationship and my chaotic and trauma filled childhood as well as the infidelity. I realized I have repressed trauma both child related and even adult and fear of abandonment.
For the first time in my life I googled fear of abandonment and began to learn about it in detail. I had textbook symptoms in the relationship, often taking my feelings as facts, the self-sabotaging when there was no rational belief she would betray me, hyper vigilant looking for signs she was losing interest, unexplainable fear something would happen to her, seeking reassurance in a sense to the point it got tiring for us both, looking for signs she was pulling away - it's all clear as day. While she had her shortcomings, described here by at least two contributors, she had me in a box and took me off the shelf when convenient (all true I think but sometimes i wonder), I had some very big unresolved trauma issues that directly led to the end of what was generally speaking a good relationship and what could have been, an even better relationship if we could have toughed it out and done some work. She felt overwhelmed both from the relationship and life events and she couldn't do it any more.
The question I have is, what's been all of your experience post D day and divorce with Fear of Abandonment? Have you had similar experiences that impacted a new relationship?
0 comment posted: Friday, November 11th, 2022
Another One Bites the Dust. I'm really feeling like I'm broken.
Well, that two year and seven day relationship is over. It's sad how patterns of behavior creep into a relationship until one time too many takes its toll. She was a good one but I also have to acknowledge the red flags and differences that were there all along. Me touchy feely her not at all. Me wanting to grow closer through things like Gottman relationship cards her no way. My issues from the infidelity in the second marriage her with issues from three husbands.
Early in the relationship I had suggested the weekly Gottman State of the Union meetings. I saw it as something I needed to stay ahead of issues in a healthy manner. She's not the relationshippy type in that regard so we didn't do it. I think I've been harboring a growing resentment over some basic relationship stuff that manifested itself with anger and contempt. Not good. Just the example from the other thread a few weeks back, not letting me know she arrived at her daughters, is so simple but it hurt too. I've had this growing feeling on not being important to her. I've become hyper-sensitive to stuff and yep, I would lash out.
Last week she was out of town at a business event and pretty good about letting me know she was ubering and all. I know she was busy and preoccupied and I was trying to give her space. The final day we texted a few times throughout day. In that spirit of the building feelings of not being important to her I haven't historically gotten a lot of effort on her end showing interest, let's call it - she would do it, but it more often than not was focused on her life. she's routinely very preoccupied with work, her kids her high maintenance been friend, and family. My life is much simpler. The final night after no effort to ask how I was, or a "what's going on? She let me know she was going to dinner and how tired she was followed by text a few hours later letting me know she was back and how tired she was. It just struck me wrong, of all the things to text at the end of the day a reiteration of how tired she was. I really just needed a bit toward connection to ask how was I? It's been almost non-existent lately. And off we went to the races...
So as good as we were, we weren't. I'm in full on post relationship mode. Of the things I'm writing down of why the break up is a good thing I'm seeing things like lack of emotional intimacy, workaholic, addictions to Tik Tok and searches of French Provincial furniture, marriage phobic, all the basic courtesy stuff, routine quotes from any one of her three husbands her really high maintenance bff who she has to go to her house out of state monthly to help manage her friends life... even not talking with me or telling me we were moving in together at the end of her current lease. Prior to this when she renewed her lease she had told me she needed to be in her own place, which hurt because it really placed question in my mind about the future of the relationship - but ok - I respect that. and on and on. It's been alot.
And as I write this, I have to acknowledge all my own issues. Not coping well with growing resentment, I could have been more forgiving and handled our issues differently to include softer start ups. But we were just floating down the relationship path. We weren't dealing with core issues, we only dealt with the symptoms not the cause it all just built up. And maybe I'm making more out all "the issues" to protect myself from the fear of being hurt given all the things I've written about both on my list and here and other posts.
16 comments posted: Tuesday, October 11th, 2022
Relationship Courtesy Pulse Check
Hi all! Looking for a gut check of sorts. I'm in a two-year relationship, we live apart but not far from one another. It's been a bit of a self-awareness journey for me in that she's unique in the sense that she is very independent, guarded from divorces of her own - both emotionally as well sometimes in her interaction with me. It's been a learning experience but at the end of the day it works pretty well. After all, we all have a past.
One of our sticky points is what I'll call relationship courtesies. Things like for example, if you are driving several hours you let me know when you leave and when that you arrived ok. If you are getting into an Uber driving forty minutes or so going into the city by yourself, you let me know when you got in the car and when you arrive; just a simple text letting me know you're ok.
So the latter Uber example is happening as I write this. She was taking an Uber to see her sister in DC. I don't for a second question the event, but the protocol of it all leaves me a little off. Part of me completely gets her independent nature and that's totally cool. Another part is irked by no text either getting in the Uber or arriving at the destination. I offered to drive her and pick her up but she said she'd be ok and declined. I get it I actually felt wierd offering but Uber and Airbnbs give me the creeps.
We've talked about this in the past and we are definitely on opposite sides of the discussion. She thinks I'm being overly protective even high maintenance. I think she's being discourteous as her partner and dare I say unsafe. I'm retired law enforcement and I come from a place of believing the world can be a dangerous place. She's a city girl who has an air of invincibility. And I'll admit, sometimes it's a bit triggering.
So I guess I'm curious what's the norm? I understand every relationship is different, but I'm questioning my reality while trying to give her the space and it's a shitty feeling because I think it's such a simple thing to do for someone you care about and cares about you. This has been pretty much the norm in every other relationship for me it strikes me as odd. Thoughts?
Editing to add: Our protocol is one in which she wants me to text after I drop her off and arrive home at night which makes this all the more perplexing. We're nine minutes apart this is a 40 minute Uber with a stranger.
9 comments posted: Friday, September 30th, 2022
Dating Someone with Semi-Grown Children
Edited to add, this seems to have blossomed into other issues than just kids....
I seem to remember comments on this topic somewhere but figured I'd throw this out to the experts who have lived this, as I find myself in uncharted territory.
I've been dating a phenomenal woman for 7+ months, she's 56, me 58. There is fantastic connection and all indications are it is a healthy relationship and we both attach securely and there seems to be a future here as we've talked long term commitment and plans.
Me, no kids. Her three. Me married twice, her three times. Two kids are by the same father. My two marriages sound like a lot to me, so three threw me at first until I heard and understood her journey. Her first ended as a result of her infidelity. That led her to an accidental pregnancy which led to the second marriage and then third child. #2 husband turned out to be extremely abusive and this led her to seek safety in a "business" marriage with husband #3 who turns out is the same guy she cheated with in marriage #1, and as it turns out, an alcoholic. She described it as a business relationship more than a marriage and did it in order to protect her and her kids from abusive husband #2.
I know. It sounds like a lot. But she is the strongest, most solid woman I've ever met. I've walked in her shoes having cheated on my first wife (and then being cheated on by her when we married), and I understand her journey and the carnage poor decisions create. The important point is, she's grown into the solid woman she is today and I have grown as well.
Here's the question. As our relationship develops and grows, she is reluctant to weave me into her life with her kids. They are 20, 23 and 26 - all great. For example, her 23 y/o daughter is graduating from college and there is a weekend event where the parents are all going for the weekend which is really an open keg party celebration. She is going alone, and the dad won't be there. She didn't want me to go, even though I have met the daughter on one occasion very early on in the relationship.
Her 20 y/o son who stays with his dad when not in college came to visit her recently, and I didn't meet him in person, but did briefly on a zoom call once.
Another example was last Christmas celebrating it at a her best friends house with her kids and relatives of her friend. I wasn't invited as she felt it was too soon. I recently learned that her kids did give her crap for bringing a date when she brought a previous bf a few years back to a similar Christmas event.
She has invited previous bf's to events like the Christmas event, only to end of breaking up. She has stated she has tremendous guilt for uprooting her kids, what they've gone through and regret for previous bf interaction with them, and I get the sense she is trying this time to do the right thing and take that part slow. I have had brief interaction with all of the kids virtually, and did meet the 23 y/o daughter briefly.
But....I also can't help to get frustrated and to question it all as I'd love to get closer to that part of her life and excited to begin building those life events into our relationship. I'm beating back my negative thoughts but I also do question it and wonder why the hesitancy, when it seems to me at least, no reason not to accompany her, like at the weekend graduation event, where we begin to build these as positive events and memories.
Thanks all, your experience and feedback is really appreciated.
[This message edited by Kintsugi at 11:29 AM, May 22nd (Saturday)]
40 comments posted: Saturday, May 8th, 2021
Recovery Group and the Ex
Dated someone for 3.5 years and she recently broke it off and asked for no contact which has been really hard. We communicated a few times, mostly on facebook IM (she initiated on one occasion), but each time she has become more stern and all appearances are this thing is done. I'm blocked everywhere and she's pulled her social media accounts.
At one point she said to me, "You do you." She was going to begin going to a Celebrating Recovery group through our church. She feels like a victim and wants to work her resentment, anxiety and hurt through the group. It's an open one hour session of spiritual linkage to recovery and then the men and women break out into their own groups.
Two weeks ago the first in-person session was starting since COVID. I got thinking to myself, I have my own issues to work on, and since it was communicated to me by the ex "you do you." I went to the meeting which she was attending as well. I kept my back to her in the open session, no eye contact that sort of things, but she did (intentionally?) walk directly by me as I was speaking with the chairperson, and I caught a glimpse of her as she went to the ladies room. The next week, she did not attend.
Question... part of me wants to continue attending to focus on my crap and healing and I love the church so I want to remain at that location, and part of me thinks I need to back off feeling guilty about any influence I may have had for her not attending and the impact I might have on her recovery.
Recovery comes first in my mind even in the shadows of no contact. What would you do?
9 comments posted: Tuesday, August 4th, 2020
Am I a Narcisist?
I posted my relationship troubles under "realizing the damage done" but this particular comment was made to me by my probably ex gf. She asked me if I thought I was a narcissist.
I've never thought of myself as a narcissist or having narcissistic traits. Quite the opposite actually. That is her perception though even though she described 75% of the relationship being good.
She thinks I gaslight her, she doesn't feel validated, our relationship started quickly, she feels criticized, etc. All the symptoms of a narcissist. I just don't think I am. I could surely have done better on things, I just think the relationship ran into trouble and the symptoms feel like they are the traits of a narcissist.
This does bother me, and I'm going bring it up in IC. I want to validate her feelings, apologize when I'm wrong (she says I never do, I think I do my share), yes the probable break up upsets me and I'm trying to keep her in my life, yes we fought when she seemed done with the relationship, she exhibits all the symptoms of being gaslighted, I think I exhibit empathy - I'm concerned and interested in how she's feeling. I don't think I'm anything special or warrant special treatment.
I scored a 2 on a narcissistic personality quiz. Over 20 is considered being a narcissist.
My question, can a relationship going bad feel like it was inflicted with a narcissist and it simply had issues that made if feel that way? I'm of the mindset that our troubles can be attributed to poor communication and poor conflict management in the relationship, by both of us.
[This message edited by Kintsugi at 9:11 AM, July 17th (Friday)]
11 comments posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2020
Realizing the damage done
Editing with a question, what has been your experience dealing with anger and fights in a relationship post divorce once back in the dating scene? Do you need space, deal with it directly and how does your partner handle it if some space is needed?
I'm almost 5 years post D-day and 3+ divorced. I've been in a pretty good relationship for about 3 years. We fight periodically, which is normal in any relationship. It's how we both deal with it that recently fractured the relationship to a point we're broken up.
When we fight, my way of dealing with it is to ask for space, normally involving her going back to her place. Usually the next day I'm fine, sometimes in would take a few days. While good for me, she takes this really hard, effecting her emotionally and mentally. A secondary issue of this arises when as I'm calming down, she's ratcheting up. It acts like pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire.
Recently for example, this situation happened and we were supposed to go out of town. As I'm coming down she decides that maybe she shouldn't go out of town with me. This angered me and I went anyway (had to go to take care of some things). While away, I just didn't want to text or talk to her, I felt it would have evolved to saying things like wishing she was with me (it's a beach area), we missed each other, etc. I get this "I'm being manipulated feeling" when this happens, and just didn't want to communicate, thinking to myself, "ok, you made your bed now lie in it.". I was hurt she didn't go. Not communicating hurt/angered her further to the point where she moved most of her things out of my place. When I realized she did this upon returning, that further hurt/angered me.
Well, we had agreed to talk when I returned. Our talk was really her breaking up with me. Right out of the shoot she broke up. My head just wasn't at that space, didn't really see it coming, I thought we were going to talk through the issues of the week, and decide what we wanted to do. The thing that hurt the most for me, was she just went for it. Didn't want to engage in discussion or anything. Ok, I thought and said, breaking up was a great idea.
I can't help but think all the damage done post D-day doesn't somehow play into me needing and asking for the space that in turn hurts her. All this has me second guessing what I thought was a pretty good recovery out of infidelity and thinking, what the hell is up with me and relationships. Just a vent if nothing else, I guess, this relationship stuff is not easy and writing this is making realize if nothing else, maybe there was a compatibility issue, if not some issues on one or both of our parts.
[This message edited by Kintsugi at 3:47 PM, July 16th (Thursday)]
46 comments posted: Friday, June 26th, 2020