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New beginnings, old hangups.

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Twinsmom posted 7/17/2020 23:06 PM

You hit home with me when you talk about the things that make you feel like you will always embrace the victim mentality. Sometimes when I am doing things around the house that my ex always did I "hate" him again. Taking out the trash, or cleaning the litter box or negotiating with the fence guy about a repair. I am honestly not sure that ever goes away. I have forgiven my ex for what he did but it doesn't take away the fact that he did it and the repercussions show up in my life every day. I don't know that a new person would fix this. Sorry that I am no help! I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone in these thoughts!!

unspecified posted 7/20/2020 17:34 PM

Chili, your comments are really appreciated and resonate with me. It can simply be about putting new pages between yourself and the sad bits. Maybe “getting over” or “getting past” is the wrong language entirely.

My ex just texted yesterday - 19 months after separation, 19 months into so much legal nonsense - to say that she needed to tell me she still loves me and that if I ever wanted to try again she would be there. Then she got on a plane and went to the island where we honeymooned, and just now sent me a picture of the cider we drank together. I left her. She wanted R. It was so hard to do. But this is coming out of the blue.

I don’t want this - not because I’m angry, but because I’ve moved on and my head is elsewhere. I like who I am now much more than who I was then. I don’t blame her for who I was then, but I don’t want to go back there either. Not even for the kids. Not even if I thought it could work.

There’s no satisfaction at all in this. I experience it as sadness. I must not have a very thick skin (scratch that, I know this as a fact), because the sadness of the affair and the end of our marriage and the impact on my kids and the family is always right there for me. Now it’s mingling with the sadness (guilt?) of the more recent breakup, having left someone largely because of how they were managing their own mental health. We broke up while she was in crisis. I thought months earlier it would go that way - there would always be another crisis! - but it was also f$&%ing hard.

And yet, my life is good, most of the time. Just picked up some photo prints and frames, chronicling our adventures of the past year, and will be putting these together tonight with the boys. Not “getting over,” but new pages for sure.

Chili posted 7/20/2020 20:37 PM

she needed to tell me she still loves me and that if I ever wanted to try again she would be there.

From someone who got similar words months and months later, let me try and fill in the unspoken bits here for you.

She needed to tell you something. (Her: I need to say something that will make myself feel better. See - I still love him - it's all ok. I'm not that bad).

If you wanted to try - (Her: If you are the one to do all the heavy lifting or fix yourself or you decide. What is this try thing you're supposed to do?)

She would be there - (Where is she going to be? Waiting on the other side of some healthy she finally decided to get? Is she there at the place where you own up to your destruction? Is there an expiration date on this *there* place? It's so passive and nonsensical).

And the recent picture sharing is really pretty immature drama-queen. To go to the place you spent your honeymoon and do things like order up the cider you shared? Kind of creepy and melodramatic. If she needed to have a little grieving moment, she could have done it quietly.

I’ve moved on and my head is elsewhere. I like who I am now much more than who I was then.

This is so huge unspecified. That's when you know you're on the pathway to healing. Sometimes these relationships with our cheaters used to define us so much - you give tons of mental and emotional energy to *the relationship.* When that relationship literally no longer exists, you really start to feel lighter. And I think that guilt/sadness thing you're feeling is a natural result of standing up for yourself. You are saying "I am more important than this unhealthy (or fill in the blank) relationship." Most of us aren't used to doing that (I certainly didn't have a lot of practice).

I think you're going to be more than just fine. Have fun with those pictures - something new to walk by and make you smile.

unspecified posted 8/2/2020 11:39 AM

Thanks Chili.

I have another poorly formed thought to bounce off of anyone out there if you don't mind. You're all so kind with your time.

I had another post recently about red flags in new partners after divorce. You all gave some good feedback. It did end before things got even worse on her end and I'm relieved. I've been on a few dates since with two people, called it off after the second date with the first woman, and seeing where it goes with the second. My mind goes back to the same places:

Date 1: Is there some basic chemistry to warrant spending some time together?
Date 2: I think I could really like this person.
Date 3: We have a great time but then something becomes evident that just feels vaguely like a red flag to me on some level.

In this case it's that she lives alone with a < 2 year old dog and I sense some serious stress and misgivings about how tied down she feels, almost like she can ruminate on it and it thereby becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. On one of our dates when the dog was admittedly being a pain, I had the sense it threw her evening entirely. As someone with children, being tied down is a universal feeling, and what matters to me is how one handles that feeling. (She also likes country music but that's another issue entirely. )

That sounds fairly minor, right? Especially because I impulse-bought a puppy in 2019 and ended up rehoming her 6 months later, partially because of this exact issue. Pets can really muck up your social life.

But the problem is I'm acutely worried about ignoring my own instincts, either out of some kind of fear, or my habit of managing the other person's emotions and subjugating my own, or just blind love/lust/stupidity, and ending up in another dead-end relationship that dragged on past its shelf life.

Maybe the best way to put it is that I would rather not be ending a relationship in 1 year or 5 years or 10 and think "yeah, I did see that coming, and should have acted sooner." I *really* felt that way about my marriage - misgivings I had around the time of our marriage but suppressed in the excitement of getting married came to bite me a decade later.

So, sometimes I waver and think, "many fish in the sea, I'll move on." Obviously though there needs to be some flexibility and compromise, people's lives are fluid and we all have problems, and I don't have the complete picture on anything this early on. Set the redflagometer too high and I could just as well end up bitter, uncompromising and lonely.

My plan for now is this: since I've identified something I'm concerned about as far as the long-term goes, but I still enjoy spending time with her, I'll just watch these items and see how they unfold over time. Does that make sense? When does that become "leading someone on"? I want to take my time exploring a relationship but sometimes it feels like people can see that as wasting their time if it doesn't work out later (eg. I've had a woman tell me on a date that "at this age you should really know whether you're looking to have another kid, otherwise you're wasting people's time." ). I'm looking to take my time and figure things out on my own terms without hurting people unnecessarily in the process. Any thoughts on how to approach all of that?

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