I have always said I didn’t want any of my healing to happen in the context of a new relationship and when I told people the story of how I survived my marriage falling apart and everything my ex did that another man would not be a part of a the narrative that saved me. I always wanted to save myself. (But really like myself and my family and friends since there is no way I could be doing all of this on my own.)
So I have been dating someone for 9 months- and it’s really great. He is the nicest man and we spend hours talking, so much so that whenever we spend time together we never end doing what we said we would because we just chat, and he is so fun and understanding and kind. He is wonderful with my kids and a really amazing father to his own kids who seem wonderful too.
But it’s been so overwhelming to me how much I am learning about my marriage from this relationship. In comparison now I see how it was supposed to feel. My current boyfriend is the first person I have ever dated who I never felt like I had to convince to commit to me, and I have never worried about his feelings towards me at all. He is just nice and sometimes that’s shocking to me and I realize how awful my ex was to me.
My ex and I had a horrible sex life. He cheated early on in our relationship and looking back I think that was a dealbreaker for me and it killed those feelings on my behalf. And he was so mean about it all. He told me I would never be enough and no amount of sex would fulfil him and that he would rather we just not have sex than like a couple of times a week because being rejected by not having sex multiple times a day was too hard for him.
I had three kids and was either nursing or pregnant or both from like 9 months into our marriage until after he cheated. I was the solo parent at night and I was exhausted. He expected that I could do everything for the kids and turn around do it all for him too. I remember once he was repeatedly calling me as I was taking our kids on a bike ride and walking our new puppy at a park that no one would ever love me and I had serious issues around sex and no man would ever be okay with that. Etc. and I believed that. I thought there was something broken in me around sex and intimacy, but turns out I actually really want to have sex with someone when they don’t treat me like complete garbage. And it’s been really wonderful and healing.
My ex also spend 16 years telling me how controlling I was. And I thought that was true. I tried soooo hard to not be controlling and again turns out that I’m not controlling. I just, understandably, didn’t trust him after he repeatedly lied to me.
I guess I’m just finding out that all these things that I thought were my fault were actually really a result of being in a marriage with an abusive alcoholic. And it’s sad to me to look back and think of how I allowed myself to be treated. I can’t believe that I ever thought it was okay.
My sweet boyfriend has to deal with a lot of tears when he is nice to me sometimes because I’m just overwhelmed. It’s hard for me to understand why someone is so nice to me just because he loves me. My therapist even had to help me work on making a list of ways he shows me that he loves me so that when I start telling myself that it’s all fake and he is manipulating me that I can look back and be like no here so the truth.
I guess this is just random thoughts but it’s just interesting to me how being in a relationship with someone kind has really shaken up some memories and i am having to re understand them in the context of my new relationship and who I know that I am in a relationship. It’s maybe revealing things about me that I think I knew but I never thought any man would be able to see as well.