Prior to my EXWW's A, I was a relationship person. Upon my decision to D, I foolishly jumped back into a relationship with a woman I met. Looking back I think I was driven by a desire for some type of validation, proving I wasn't worthless and a desire to recreate what I lost, at least in some form. My new relationship proved to be tumultuous and unhealthy for me. We broke up twice and with each ending, I was further damaged.
I tried OLD, usually for a few days every 6-8 months. Sometimes I would stay on it for a whole week. It is a cesspool of unrealistic expectations, with the same faces cycling through on various sites. It made me sad to see where I had ended up. Yes, I know we care all lonely, but OLD, due to the very format, tends to make people dismiss axwidecrange of potential matches, that had they met IRL,might have connected.
I had about a dozen or so first dates with two developing into multiple dates. But I noticed a pattern after almost 3 years. I would be the one to not want a follow-up date in every case. With the women I dated more than once, I developed serious anxiety, suffering from panic attacks and night sweats. I was shaking and in a constant state of terror. In each case, I spoke to them about my situation and told them that my body was telling me something, and I had to listen to it.
So now I have chosen to go my own way, quietly living my life. I have my career and my daughters. I've closed myself off to relationships as I've come to accept that there may be some permanent consequences of the A, and until thosecare addressed, I cannot subject someone to my baggage. I'm trying to look at the next phase of my life in a positive way, trying to focus on potential and possibilities. I still have 20-25 years left, statistically speaking, and the likelihood of finding a partner is diminishing daily as I age, so I've decided to focus on what I have rather than what I have lost.
The one real challenge is navigating life solo, not because of me, but because of how the world seems to be built. Everything is built on multiples of two: tables for two, double occupancy, etc. I still get sad looks when I take myself out for dinner and tell them I am dining alone. Luckily, I have found some more comfortable places where the staff know me and I am welcomed. Hell, there is one bar that I can call ahead to and the bartender will reserve a single seat along the bar for me. I like it because it is a lone seat and makes me feel like I'm not trying too hard. Plus there is no empty seat beside me so I don't have to meet anyone. Did I mention I was closed to relationship? Haha.
There are some real upsides to being single. The greatest are a sense of peace and personal autonomy. My youngest graduates this year and so my responsibilities will be reduced. This will allow for more weekends away. I've even toyed with the idea of getting a camper and just taking off every weekend. I can bring my work with me, fish during the warmer months and cross-country ski in the winter. Or I could travel, who knows? The point is, I don't have to discuss or negotiate this with anyone. I don't have to try and make anyone happy. Just me. So in the end, not a bad deal I guess.