First Attempt At Dating
Hey everyone, I've not posted on here for a while which I guess is a good thing as I'm doing ok out in the real world without being consumed by the affair.
I just wanted to share with you my experience in dating and lessons I've learned really and if anyone else thinking about dipping their toe into dating again can take anything from it then great!
So I started talking with an old work colleague about 2 months after separating from my WS, another 2 months on from then we actually started meeting up, just for a quick chat and a coffee sort of thing until we actually went on a proper date about 5 months post split. All of this is granted VERY soon and I was very much like a fish out of water through all this but the date actually went well, we held hands afterwards and even kissed. Then, out of the blue she called things off, purely for things going on in her own personal life but we remained friends and slowly but surely we became close again and she asked if I would like to meet up again, so I said yes!
We went on a couple of dates and things were progressing well, it was slow going but we were close, holding hands, hugging, kissing etc.
Now this is where things go off the rails a bit! With things progressing well I started experiencing a whole load of insecurities that I never experienced through the 12 years of being with my WS. This mainly manifested with anxiety and trust issues, not anything like thinking she was cheating but more like needing constant re-assurance that she was actually interested in me. Slow responses to texts or short replies would result in me feeling like she had lost interest in me. I'd obsesses over how many times she text me first compared to how many times I text her first, I would be checking when she was last online to see if she had been ignoring my texts etc. It was driving me crazy and I think I can attribute this to the lies and gas lighting from my WS where she would tell me she loved me and I had nothing to worry about when in actual fact she was cheating on me!
Anyway, this came to a head when I went away for a weekend on my own and I felt that her lack of interest in what I was doing and not checking up on me was a sure fire sign that she wasn't into me so I decided not to message at all the following day (again, obsessing over who messages who first). We went about 36 hours without any texts between us before she eventually reached out to ask if she had done anything wrong. After talking about it this kind of scared her off a bit and she called things off again, saying she didn't think she had the capacity to be in a relationship right now.
As before we agreed to be remain friends and this was going well for a while, however, I still really liked her and once again found myself obsessing over the same things as before and looking for signs that she would want to rekindle things again. I was then triggered by some meme she put on social media, something about concentrating on yourself, chasing goals and not chasing "the one". So this just set me off in a spiral thinking it was directed at me, a subtle hint that she wasn't interested.
So I thought about it over night and then composed a message to her essentially saying that I still had feelings for her, it wasn't fair on either of us that we were maintaining a friendship under false pretences and that I think it would be best that we just cut contact all together. She seemed quite upset / angry about this, that it had seemingly come out of nowhere and that she really valued having me in her life, if only as a friend for now but had hoped things could have developed into more later down the line.
I just explained that I don't think my mental state could cope with 6/12/18 months potentially of that when I knew how I felt about her now and that there would be no guarantees that anything would ever come of it so we agreed to end our friendship there and then. She has removed me off all her social media accounts now so I think it's pretty final this time.
I'm actually quite upset about this, I really liked her and do wish I was in a better mental state to have dealt with this properly as I think just being more chill and taking things slow would have seen us progress at a steady pace. I also feel guilty about upsetting her and letting her down as such by not being as strong and ready to date as I thought I was, I hate the thought of being spoken about as a "toxic male" or something similar. I think what I now have which I didn't have previously in my last relationship is an anxious attachment style, I seem to tick all the boxes!
I do think whether the problem here is solely me or if being with someone who isn't appreciative of the trauma I've been through and wouldn't be empathetic to that and make allowances for me is a contributing factor too? I really don't know.
Anyway, this has kind of put me off dating now, I think with these issues rearing their head unexpectedly it's something new to deal with and try and overcome before I can be a safe partner for someone else.
So, if I can give some feedback to anyone considering dating again I would say the following:
- Don't be afraid to do it, I had fun, it gave me a confidence boost that yes, there are people out there who will find you attractive and a viable person to date.
- Being intimate with someone else, whether that's just holding hands, hugging, kissing etc rather than full blown sex is a huge hurdle to get over after being with someone else for so long, it feels great too!
- Be mindful of any unexpected feelings / emotions and try and act rationally rather than just acting on them immediately out of impulse! Having a close friend to talk through scenarios with and ask for their advice on how to proceed would be good.
- It's ok to admit you aren't ready if you try and fail.
2 comments posted: Monday, July 4th, 2022
Just wanted to share something unexpected that's developed in my life and I'm excited about.
I've ended up re-connecting with an old work colleague, we were never close and were acquaintances more than anything but we've been speaking every day for the past 3 weeks or so now and we are both astounded at how much we have in common. It's very early days but we are getting on like a house on fire and committed to taking things slow, I've spoken about her to my close friends and she's admitted she's spoken about me to her friends and family too. We're both very aware that we've come out of traumatic relationships fairly recently so don't want to jump into anything and potentially hurt the other but it's great to be back in the game so to speak and be forming a connection with someone else.
I'm also moving into my own place this weekend so there is lots to be positive about and I've not been in such a good state of mind since DDay. Hopefully good things are around the corner!
2 comments posted: Tuesday, November 30th, 2021
R Against Wishes of Friends & Family
Just after any advice if anyone has been through similar.
To put it briefly, 6 weeks or so after dday and separation my WW has asked to meet up and talk about us and essentially see if R would be possible and how that would actually work.
One thing I’m struggling with is I’ve been fairly open with friends and family over the nature of our split and they are more or less all of the opinion that they wouldn’t even entertain the idea of R with her.
So, if I do decide to R how do you go about re-integrating your WS back into family life and with friends? Not only that but dealing with the awkwardness of lots of mutual friends knowing what she did and dealing with the shame, for want of a better word, of people knowing you are a BS and stayed with the WS?
39 comments posted: Monday, October 11th, 2021
Hi all, just discovered this forum yesterday and have been enjoying reading all the posts, it's comforting to read stories of people going through similar and people coming out the otherside ok.
I really just wanted to tell my story, even if it's just a therapeutic exercise to get it all out there and share with everyone.
I had been together with my ex partner for roughly 12 years, discovered her affair about 2 months ago and ultimately split just over a week ago.
So as I said, I first became aware of the affair roughly 2 months ago when I woke up in the middle of the night and noticed she was on her phone. She hadn't realised I was awake and I went to lean over her to give her a hug only to see a message from another man that read "I've missed you today xx".
This rocked me to my foundations and took me a good few minutes to process what exactly I'd just seen but eventually I plucked up the courage to ask her who that message was from and what it meant. She then admitted she had been speaking to this person for a couple of months, she didn't love him or have feelings for him, it was just flirting but ultimately she didn't think she loved me any more. I was devastated and after the initial shock I did a full 180 on my initial reaction telling her we were done and said I still loved her and wanted us to work through this. She said she needed some space to think and I moved out of our family home for a few days. We spoke at length about what each other felt was missing from our relationship and I did the pick me dance that I've seen many people mention for these few days until she then decided that she was susprised at how much she had missed me whilst I had been gone and she wanted to try again. It's also worth mentioning at this point that she admitted this relationship / affair or whatever you want to call it had been going on longer than the couple of months she first admitted and gave me a time frame of 6 months or so which would have been just before Christmas.
I went back under no illusions that our relationship was at rock bottom, that it would take hard work and I promised her that I would work on the issues she had raised but I also wanted her to do the same, we were both in agreement and for the first 3 weeks or so I felt things were going great. In my mind I had pictured a road to recovery of 6 months at least to where I would trust her again and she would feel 100% confident that our relationship was what she wanted so I was prepared for baby steps and a long journey ahead.
Then, completely unexpected I saw his name appear on her phone in her recent contacts, she knew I had seen it too but we both kind of ignored it and over the next couple of days it grew into a huge elephant in the room until I could no longer cope with the anxiety and brought it up. She then told me that she hadn't been in contact with him for the prior 3 weeks, that she'd cut all ties as soon as I came home but she felt he deserved to know the truth and had contacted him the night I saw his name on her phone to let him know we were making a go of it and that she wouldn't be speaking to him again.
With hindsight I can see now how ridiculous this sounds, that I should have seen the warning signs but at the time I knew our relationship was on a knife edge, I still loved her and wanted to be with her and casting doubt on what she said would put all that at risk. I accepted her answer and moved on, or at least tried to. The following week or two was fine, we were getting on, things seemed to be going ok but I still couldn't get the fact he was in her phone still out of my mind. Stupidly I had never asked her to block him, delete his number, cease all contact with him or anything like that as part of my agreement to trying again. I told her I trusted her and I wanted our relationship to work because we did trust each other and I didn't want to be in a relationship where I was having to demand things like asking her to block people, I just trusted that she was no longer in contact with him.
I should also mention at this stage that her phone is like fort knox, it's set so when a message is received it doesn't state the name of the person sending it, nor does it show a preview of the message itself as is the default setting on most phones, instead it just says "message received" or something like that, you then have to unlock the phone to see who it's from and to read it but I don't have her passcode and my face isn't setup on her facial recognition. Again, a massive red flag but one of those things when you've been with a person for a over decade and have no reason not to trust them you just don't ever question it.
So once again, the anxiety got too much for me and I said that if we were going to work as a couple I needed her to show that commitment to me and delete his number, block him on all forms of social media, essentially cut out any way that he could contact her and she could contact him. She took this badly, accusing me of having issues and that I was the one at fault for not trusting her and that if I don't trust her or take her at her word then we wouldn't work, that she isn't being in a relationship where she's being controlled by someone etc etc etc. After a huge argument she eventually relented and showed me deleting his number in her phone, she also threw me her phone and said I could go through it if I wanted. Again, in hindsight I should have done there and then but I didn't, again choosing to say I trust her and that all I wanted was her word that she had done it.
The following month or so was going great, or so I thought, we were getting on well, we had been doing things both as a couple and as a family, we were making plans for events as far ahead as 12 months in the future and I genuinely thought we were on the right track until all my worst fears became true.
By pure chance I found myself in a position where I was looking out of our back window which over looked the garden, she was sat in a chair just below the window and hadn't realised I was there and it only took about 30 seconds before she opened up her messages and was engaged in a conversation with someone else where they were firing heart emojis back and forth to each other, she had sent him a picture of herself (the exact same picture she had sent to me that morning), she was referring to him as babe and gorgeous (the exact same pet names she calls me) and the whole conversation read like something you'd expect from a newly wed couple still in the honeymoon period.
Whereas the last time I was floored by the discovery, sad, upset, heartbroken, this time I was mad. I immediately asked her who this person was and then she admitted it was the same person as before, that she had simply renamed him in her phone when I asked her to block him. Three days prior she had been out on her own, telling me she was with friends but I immediately connected the dots and asked if she was with him, she admitted it and said they had even kissed. I stormed out of the house and that was us done.
Over the coming days I've spent much of it battling to get the truth, each time I chip away at her something else comes out or I discover information myself that rips apart the lies she's told me. She initially stuck by her story that she had only spoken to him that one time to tell him it's over and that the meetup 3 days prior to our breakup was purely coincidental and they just bumped into each other which then sparked her reconnecting with him via texts. She swore this until she was blue in the face but what she didn't realise is that her phone is on my account and I managed to pull the call logs which proved she was in constant communication with him the prior 2 months we were supposed to be trying.
In fact, just 4 days after I returned home she had left for work early, telling me she was busy and needed to get a headstart, instead she spent a full hour on the phone to him before she began work at her regular time. The phone records also blew her story of this beginning roughly 6 months ago completely out of the water as she was calling him as far back as 18 months ago.
Discovering the call logs also gave me something else, his phone number. I plucked up the courage and called him, spent around 40 minutes on the phone going over things with him but I realise now I approached this all wrong. Instead of asking him to tell me his side of the story I was relaying things she had told me and asking him if that was true or not, he pretty much just confirmed everything she had said the whole time which was a huge error on my part. However, one positive did come out of this in that he was under the impression I had left her 2 months ago, she'd never told him I'd returned home and he assumed she was single these past 2 months. You can obviously never tell but the tone of his voice and how he came across changed dramatically once I told him everything we'd been up to as a couple the past 2 months, as if he was discovering she'd been cheating on him! From what she tells me he called her later that night and was absolutely furious, whether that's true or not I don't know but I did feel a slight sense of achievement that I might have ruined whatever their relationship was.
So that brings us to where we are today, I am trying to get over the hurt and pain of the whole thing whilst also trying to move on. One thing I am struggling with is the feeling that I still don't know the truth. I've told her that I want to know all the details, that she owes me that after 12 years of being together and being cheated on for 18 months but she refuses to engage in any dialogue about it. As it stands she is still sticking to the story that despite texting and calling him for 18 months she's only ever met him in person once, 3 days before we split and that she doesn't have any strong feelings for him, it's only ever been flirting.
I find this hard to believe and have told her this, brought up numerous times where she's gone away without me a day or two at a time and would be perfect opportunities for her to meet up with him but she still denies it. If I push her she will just say "you'll never believe anything I say anyway" or something similar and say "I can't do this" and just shut it down.
I've told her I want this from her as closure, that it's torture not knowing and I want to know just how much of my life has been a lie for the past year and a half but she's not forthcoming with it. This hurts me more than anything that she won't even give me that but I know from speaking with friends and family that ultimately it doesn't matter, we've split now and knowing the truth won't change anything but that doesn't stop my intense yearning to know. I've even gone to the trouble of writing out questions I want answers to and sent them to her saying that I'm not looking for an argument or to interrogate her, I just want honest answers to these questions in her own time when she's ready but even still she won't give me it.
The biggest thing that hurts is the asking me back and promising to try, then never trying and just carrying on with him like she did all the while making me torture myself over not trusting her and gaslighting me into thinking I was the one with the problem when in fact I was fully justified to have my suspicions.
So basically that's me, on my own again in the world for the first time in 12 years, without feeling like I know the whole story from my ex and struggling to come to terms with it all. I'm fearful for the future, will I find anyone? Will the two of them now become a couple? Will he become the step father to my son? Will she have a better life with him than I could have given her? Will she go onto have more children even though we decided as a couple we didn't want any more? It's tough going but I'm doing my best to struggle through. Thanks for listening.
83 comments posted: Tuesday, September 21st, 2021