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Still Grieving? Ready for new R?

Trapped123 posted 7/15/2020 10:19 AM

Hi all,
I haven't posted in years probably(with the exception of one drunk post that I don't even remember the topic).
I have been divorced for 2 full years as of a few days ago. Separated from the ex for 2.5, and 3.5 since the infidelity.

A few months ago I visited my hometown, and caught up with the ex while he got to spend some time with our two dogs(that I got in the D). He has been dating his girlfriend for over a year and a half and have recently bought a house together. This completely threw me back into the grieving process, especially anger. oh my, the livid effing anger...

I've moved from my hometown to a different state, I've survived on my own, I've picked up new hobbies, I have dated and experimented sexually. But seeing the ex buy a house with the new gf, I figured its time for me to actually start dating again. Every time I start to get interested in someone I get these panicked feelings. Ive tried relationships in the past couple years and I always run away in the opposite direction screaming.
I cant even say the words "I like you" to the guy Ive been seeing for a month now. I question if I am not actually ready to date - which would suck big time because this current date is an actual winner(stable in several ways, emotionally available, communicates very well, we like all the same activities, attractive: checks all my boxes). My therapist hesitated when I brought up " am I even ready to be dating?" because if I have panicked feelings and fear of commitment when he says "I like you" because I am scared of reciprocating AND hes a catch, what is so wrong with me that I want to run away?

My question is, its been 2.5 years since I thought I was moving on from the infidelity, but here it is still lingering... I want it to go away so that I can enjoy this current man or at least just move on in life! The therapist says it can take up to 5 years, but I want a companion!!!

How long did it take you to truly move on? What hard work did you do in therapy? Do you have any suggestions?

BearlyBreathing posted 7/15/2020 18:27 PM

Grief takes time. And it takes as long as it takes. I am working with my therapist to move through it- my feelings are tied to some other stuff, so weíre tackling full of it.

Also, you figured itís time- that seems arbitrary. Keep dating casually, go nc with the ex. And I suspect youíll be ready sooner . But donít push it, but be open to it, if that makes sense.

Hawke posted 7/16/2020 13:08 PM

I discovered the infidelity in spring of 2015. We decided by end of August that year that we would separate and he moved out in April of 2016. I feel like I turned a corner this year in terms of acceptance and moving on. It doesn't mean that I don't still get an occasional twinge of grief or resentment, but it's few and far between. For example, I was reading a story of infidelity earlier this week, and I found myself a bit triggered.

I can interact with ex and OW without feeling anything. It took a long time to get to this place, but here I am. My only therapy was some EMDR and a bit of talk therapy for about a year to get over some of the effects of trauma and make a bit of sense out of things.

I'm not dating anyone at this time. I dated someone for a few years, but I always kind of knew it would never go anywhere - maybe that's why I stayed in it? Our breakup was actually quite healing for me, as it was clean and honest and direct. I'm more interested building friendships these days and not really interested in dating. I don't really have time between kids, work and trying to establish and maintain friendships.

So, I guess I'm saying healing has taken a lot of time and isn't linear, and neither is the grief. I will say that it has become a million times less powerful.

Also, you've been seeing this guy for a month. Maybe you aren't ready to say "I like you" because you don't know him that well yet. Sure, he's superficially a winner, but you've been dating for just a month. I'd probably be reserving judgement at that point, too. I could say, "You're fun to be around", "You cook a mean salmon steak" or "I like your sense of humour", but maybe not "I like you" at that point.

twicefooled posted 7/16/2020 15:27 PM

I find that it ebbs and flows.

I, too, took 2 full years off of any sort of dating after I left the ex. It did me a world of good, as I got comfortable in my own skin and started to figure out what I wanted (and what I would never tolerate again).

I've had 2 actual relationships since then, and a dozen dates (or ONS, depended on my mood but I was always up front about if it was just a ONS or something more). The first relationship lasted a year. We didn't work out due to him wanting a wife and I had no interest in relocating my kids from here (he lived an hour away).

I'm 10 months into my second relationship. We still haven't said "I love you" because those words are reserved for when I know it's true. I may feel lovingly towards him but I don't know if I love him yet. Luckily he's just as slow about relationships as I am. Plus the pandemic hit us 6 months in so the last 4 months have been all about the virtual dates and long phone conversations (we haven't seen each other since March 14, we both take these precautions seriously to show our children that we need to care about others, not just ourselves, no matter how hard it is).

The biggest lesson that I've learned is to never again define myself by a relationship. I want to date a partner - I am self sufficient, raising my children entirely on my own and don't have time for anyone that can't take care of their own business. I don't want someone to rely on, or them to rely on me. I want an equal companion to spoil (and be spoiled in return).

Dating is more about discovering yourself than discovering a partner. Truth be told, every match will end one way or the other - you will stay together or you will move on. Preparing yourself for this realization actually protects your heart and your head.

Fablegirl posted 7/16/2020 15:28 PM

Dear Trapped,
Grief is a jackrabbit -- it zig zags and is not linear or chronological, at least in my experience. Make space for this grief and anger and that cluster of emotion as it happens. Sometimes by not resisting it becomes manageable. I did find that meditation helped a bit, if only by directing my attention to those emotions. Self-care may sound like a buzz word but it's essential to find a practice or ritual that brings comfort and peace to you.

Try to enjoy this current man but if you're not ready, then don't push yourself.

I am one year from divorce, three years since the infidelity and had the same set back when I saw photo on FB of my ex and AP (they are still together). Took me about a week to recover.

newlife03 posted 7/16/2020 15:44 PM

Divorced Oct. 2009. I saw someone off and on for about a year in 2008-2009, and it was the biggest mistake I made because I was NOT ready. I was very vulnerable and he knew it and took advantage of it. Once I realized that I deserved better I cut off ties with him and went on a few one-night meetings (lunch or dinner, no booty). About a year later I started I connected with someone who became a FWB for about 7 months or so. It was fun, but not very fulfilling and he wasn't interested in being a "public couple" so I knew in which direction things were going. We stayed friends and hooked up occasionally and I just learned to like myself and be ok with being just me. Enter current SO, we started as friends and spent time together but didn't start actively dating until his divorce was final. Nearly 9 years later and we are still hanging on :-)

CoderMom posted 7/31/2020 21:20 PM

You might have to let yourself take the risk. You might try giving yourself permission to enjoy life again.

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