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New Love New Heartbreak

seeker16 posted 12/3/2019 11:38 AM

Itís been a looong time since Iíve visited this forum! Iím a bit over a year now post D. Nearly two years total separation. I started dating earlier this year and met some amazing women but no one that I ever felt like getting serious with nor was I really looking for anything serious, until one special woman I met a little over 3 months ago.

Iíll keep this short, but I have fallen madly in love with her and a month ago I was confident she felt the same way but now she is suddenly pulling away and this hurts even more than my D. I have gone from being the happiest Iíve been in maybeÖeverÖto constantly depressed again.

We are still seeing each other and ďtaking it slowĒ but our whole dynamic is off now and I feel like itís a matter of time before she breaks it off for good. She is more recent post breakup from a serious relationship and after seeing me for a few months she said she realized she wasnít ready for another serious relationship yet because she is afraid of getting hurt again. Believe me, I understand this but Iím feeling kind of naÔve for letting my guard down, not that I really chose to. We met by chance and werenít looking but I feel like her feelings were never genuine considering she kind of strung me a long (even if unintenionally) then pulled a 180 on me. I don't know...maybe not. Maybe she does just need time to heal but now I'm worried our chances together are lost because maybe she was too vulnerable at first. Iím just so confused and terrified of losing her. I am not ready for thisÖ

Hutch posted 12/3/2019 12:53 PM

I wish I had profound advice or words of wisdom that will help. I can offer my thoughts on it though and hope this might help.

First, what has she said to you when you've talked about this? I know you wrote that she has expressed she's not ready for a serious relationship and doesn't want to get hurt again, but has she told you how she feels about you directly aside from her fears? I think the two can be separate issues.

I ask all that because I'm curious if you were both to the point of falling in love. It can obviously happen at different times; sometimes one can fall quicker than the other person, but in the end, you get to the same point. Gently, is it possible that maybe you fell and she just has not gotten to the same point?

Sometimes taking it slow is not a bad thing but at the same time, if your goals and/or feelings are different, it may not work out. Other times, it can truly be just the need for more time. In that case, date, take it slow, be her friend if needed, and see where it goes.

I'm sorry you're hurting. It is hard when you feel more for the other person, but in this case, it may just really be the fact that she's scared.

I guess I'm most curious when you speak with her, other than being scared, do you think she is in love with you as well?

[This message edited by Hutch at 1:57 PM, December 3rd (Tuesday)]

Okokok posted 12/3/2019 13:06 PM

There is something called "attachment theory" and different "attachment styles" that you may want to look into (with the caveat that 3 months really isn't a super long time, and there could be any number of reasons she is now pulling away).

Specifically, you may want to check out anything you can about "avoidant attachment style."

Again, not sure if this will apply to you or this person, but I have found myself in this situation post-divorce and it really sucked, so I wanted to share.

Fablegirl posted 12/4/2019 11:20 AM

I am in agreement with Okokok, there are different attachment styles and this sounds like avoid approach to me, as it's something I used to struggle with. I have used the "fear of being hurt" excuse as a way to create distance, because it was easier to control situations that way. At the heart of it though is the fear of abandonment, but often the person with "approach avoidance" doesn't have the insight to be aware of it. They just feel more comfortable with people at emotional arms length.

seeker16 posted 12/4/2019 12:14 PM

Hi Hutch, thanks for the response. Prior to telling me she wasnít ready for a relationship she talked a lot about how she felt. In terms of feeling at peace and comfortable with me and being very sure about me, wanting to be with me, etc. She even sent me an article about ďfinding the oneĒ. The L word was never exchanged but alluded to. I had no doubts she had fallen as I had just based on our conversations. The night she sent that article she even said, thereís something she wants to say but is afraid to. I assumed it was ďI love youĒ and I said well maybe I want to say the same thing and we kind of played around it but never said it. Well, things went well for a week or so then the sudden 180 happened.

Thereís a lot of factors I didnít go into that could have led up to this. Maybe she started really thinking about getting serious and got scared. I didnít mention, but we are currently long distance (we met in person and have spent weekends together). However, she isnít necessarily tied down and she even brought up moving and even started looking for jobs in my area. Nevertheless, it would be a major life event change for her and perhaps she realized that maybe we were kind of moving fast. Being long distance does make this even more difficult because we canít see each other whenever we want.

It just all felt so odd because our relationship changed so much just over a few days. We text a lot (due to the distance) and I noticed one day she stopped being as responsive. Her messages got shorter, she stopped flirting and using emojis (that sounds silly, but it mattered because itís how we communicated before). I finally asked her what was up and thatís when she told me she wasnít ready. She just put up a wall. Iím still just holding on to hope because she said she still wants to see me and see where it goes but it bothers me that she could just turn off all the emotions that she once showed.

seeker16 posted 12/4/2019 12:15 PM

Thank you Okokok and Fablegirl. I will definitely read about "avoidant attachment style"!

seeker16 posted 12/4/2019 12:23 PM

Just read about the "avoidant attachment style" and it sounds almost spot on.

This line stood out to me.
"They may sabotage their blossoming romances out of nowhere, because they are scared their new partner will leave them ó so they get in there first."
She has brought up being hurt by her ex and other past relationships several times and mentioned she did not want to relive that.
I also believe that I fall into the "anxious attachment style" category.

Rustylife posted 12/4/2019 13:53 PM

It sucks but don't try to force something that is not there. Give yourself time and don't project your strong fellings onto this woman. Your gut is telling you about the nature of her attachment to you. Try to listen to it.

I think taking it slow is the best approach. Don't be the chaser and give her space as she said. Worst case is you push for a serious relationship and then 5 years down the line she says that she never felt that strongly about you. I've seen it happen.

Dismayed2012 posted 12/4/2019 15:48 PM

Don't overthink what's happening seeker. Mirror her communication. You're making the same mistake she made; jumping in quickly with both feet. Take her lead and back off a bit. Be responsive but ease off any initiation of communication. Cut it back to about half of what you're doing. You'll start looking needy if you push in too much. Let her set the pace and get your emotions in check. Don't allow your need for a relationship sabotage your current love interest. This might be a good time to evaluate yourself also. Why did you move so deep so fast? Is that emotionally healthy and are you an emotionally healthy partner? Some of what you've written indicates that you may still have unresolved emotional issues too. Not judging; just saying. I wish the best for you.

seeker16 posted 12/5/2019 13:45 PM

Thanks all. I have definitely backed off a lot and have been trying to follow her lead despite how badly I want to initiate communication, see her etc.

If I don't message her for a period of time, she almost always will initiate it, which makes me happy lol. However, recently she brought up the fact that it was apparent that I had backed off a lot and she told me it felt like I was giving up which made her want to put up more of a wall lol. I think she wants me to chase her...and I can't decide if this is a good or bad thing. Again, I'm trying my best to follow her lead. It's just frustrating because what I felt from her previously and was so sure about, just seemed to dissappear. Despite all the red flags I don't want to give up because I feel so strongly about her.

Dismayed2012, I see what you are saying and honestly I didn't choose to move so deep so fast. Prior to falling for her I had told myself that I did not want a relationship. In fact, I had broken it off with two other women (not at the same time) that did want a relationship. I had great chemistry with both of them but I just didn't feel anything. I know I do still have some unresolved issues, one being insecurity which I've struggled with since my marital problems and now again with her.

ShatteredSakura posted 12/5/2019 14:43 PM

However, recently she brought up the fact that it was apparent that I had backed off a lot and she told me it felt like I was giving up which made her want to put up more of a wall lol. I think she wants me to chase her...and I can't decide if this is a good or bad thing.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Sounds like she wants to play games.

MamaDragon posted 12/6/2019 09:58 AM

Ask her out to dinner and lay it all out on the table - be completely honest and ask her to do the same.

If she is playing games she will balk. If she is honestly still interested she won't...

seeker16 posted 1/2/2020 00:12 AM

It's been about a month and thought I'd share an update. Ultimately, I think we are probably finished but I honestly don't know. She finally told me that she's just not emotionally ready to date again even though she thought she was. She claimed she started being triggered by certain things because of the resentment she still holds against her ex and was taking it out on me for no reason. She went on to say she still has feelings for me and wants to keep talking on a regular basis but needs more time to heal before committing to a serious and intimate relationship because she can't give me her heart right now.

Being long distance makes it so much worse and of course, my insecurities from my D have me convinced she's just into someone else. Regardless, I respect her decision and I've decided I'm not putting my life on hold for her any longer. However, I'm still crazy in love with her and I'm in a pretty bad place emotionally right now. I'm practically drowning in self-pity and I hate myself for it. I can't enjoy anything, I'm being a terrible father right now, and I have no energy. I did not want to start 2020 in depression but here I am. I'm considering getting back into therapy.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 1/3/2020 07:07 AM

Just read about the "avoidant attachment style" and it sounds almost spot on.

If you read more about avoidant attachment style it normally (or often) correlates to either high levels of narcissism (not necessarily NPD - in fact not likely - but high) or falls to the other side of the spectrum in the what is frequently thought of as co-dependent. Unfortunately I have way too much knowledge about avoidant attachment (my WH IS a classic avoidant) and knowing what I know about it now, I would run away from an avoidant like the wind...but I know that is not helpful to you right now.

I think you have to just focus on yourself, as much as that sucks, and let whatever happens happen. Be careful not to throw yourself out there too much. I am always worried about people who are scared of "giving themselves" as I wonder wtf they are waiting for...you only have one life...and I have a hard time relating. At any rate, do some of your own pulling back, and try to breathe - relax as much as you can, and stop the focus on your love interest for now.

Superesse posted 1/3/2020 09:54 AM

Seeker, I think the same thing as what Shattered wrote: you were getting a lot of confusing and yet negative messages from this woman, so I wonder if her explanations were just a way of "letting you down easy," KWIM?

It's interesting that when you "finally talked," she mentioned her triggering about "resentments." Maybe there is one thing about you she noticed that triggered her memories? Something like different habits, for example. (I had the tendency to feel instant disgust about anything that would remind me too closely of my XH, like "His shoe size is the same...dump him!" Seriously!) Or, it could have been she started getting some kind of attention from another new guy, nearer where she lives. Or even the XH? Because no matter who you are, long distance sucks; you are at a disadvantage.

But the best advice yet is to study attachment styles, as you've already noticed you operate with the anxious attachment style, and unfortunately, did you notice, there seems to be a pull to attach anxious to avoidants!? (Why do we do this to ourselves? I am the anxious style and I've repeatedly ended up with avoidants!)

What would be nicest, is to heal our own wounds so that we can have a more securely attached style, like it is thought the majority of people have or at least used to have. Or if we can't change our style, at least find someone to date with a secure attachment style, if that's possible.

Isn't it interesting also that you have met other women you "had great chemistry with" with but you felt "nothing?" Maybe the feeling you were looking for, is what is driving this? Nothing wrong with the other women, other than they were moving too fast for you?

twicefooled posted 1/5/2020 19:12 PM

I'm sorry you are having a tough time of it. Love after divorce and infidelity is really hard.

However, it shouldn't be as hard as she's making it. You are worth someone not looking to play games - even if she isn't consciously trying to do that, no one that is healthy needs to be chased like that. Sounds exhausting.

Remind yourself that your children are forever, these women aren't. Focus on yourself and them. No dating relationship is worth harming your relationship with your children by sending you into a depression.

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