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Archive for March, 2010

I had an odd experience this weekend I am still trying to process and understand but will admit to being bothered and concerned about it.

Let me start with my past … I’ve written about my divorce, but not one of the biggest reasons behind it. I discovered my husband at the time was having a long-term affair. The discovery was devastating and him blaming me cut deeply, but overall, the discovery was freeing. It was the catalyst I needed to decide the marriage was over.

It took me a long time to resolve my feelings of not being worthy enough and it takes a conscious effort to not judge other men by my ex-husband’s actions. Unfortunately, in limiting my emotional exposure over the past few years while attempting to date, I found myself involved with men where the above pattern was repeated. It was as if I surrounded myself with men who wouldn’t value me so I wouldn’t be as hurt when they didn’t because I expected it. I finally reached a point where I know I deserve more. There’s risk in believing and trusting in someone, but I don’t want to miss out on the wonderful experiences because I’m hindering my emotions.

The man I am now dating has a similar history with his ex-wife where she was involved in a long-term affair. He too has struggled with leaving his past behind him and had some deep wounds to heal. I thought those wounds were healed until this weekend.

My date got drunk, not intentionally, but he was definitely drunk and regressed into an insecure and scared place in his head. He asked an indelicate question during an intimate moment. Essentially, he asked if I would have the same feelings if I was intimate with someone else.

I was shocked, hurt, sympathetic and worried by his question and need to hear me validate my feelings for him. The next day I brought up his question and my concerns, and although he said he only has a small insecurity or fear I don’t know that I believe him.

I’m worried he needs me to emotionally invest in him – not want, but need. Needing someone to emotionally invest and reassure you of their intentions or their feelings for you isn’t healthy. Although he hasn’t expressed jealousy, I know I can’t be with someone who is jealous or doesn’t believe in my words or displays of affection.

This is a big red flag for me and I am trying to not over-react or disengage just yet. I haven’t processed it all and really don’t know what to think.

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Ever have the experience where you’re dating someone and are enjoying it only to hit a plateau and wonder what the hell you are doing and why? I typically hit this point three weeks into a relationship … typically. I’m dating someone who lives a few hours from me and I think the distance between us, and the limited time spent together, delayed the blah.

For those who don’t know or understand what the blah is, it is a pivotal phase where I figure out if the effort invested in dating someone is worth it. I will do pro and con comparisons and even look for issues and characteristics I don’t like. (Sometimes the thought process is much less logical.) It’s almost as though I am looking for a reason to not like the person.

The blah doesn’t last long as the relationship fizzles or I decide to suck it up and continue in the relationship. Continuing in the relationship doesn’t mean I resolve to become highly involved with the other person or enter a committed relationship. Instead, it’s knowing what my needs/wants are and recognizing there’ good and bad associated with dating anyone.

This leads me to another question I struggle with … when are you settling versus recognizing when a behavior, characteristic or whatever isn’t as important as you thought it was?

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First, let me explain what the “relationship thing” is. I am exclusively dating a wonderful man, Tim, and I love him, but I feel a bit caged and uncomfortable. I’m not sure if these are normal feelings or experiences and have tons of thoughts and “what ifs” running through my head.

Tim has casually brought up the topic of him dating with his two children to gauge their reaction. Surprisingly, the kids have been amazingly open, interested and supportive. In fact, last week they asked my name and a bunch of other questions including when we will all meet. This blew my mind. While Tim and I talked about me meeting his children as a future to-do, I’m not sure I am ready to meet his children. How do you know when the time is right?

I’m not sure I am ready to be in a committed relationship. I care very deeply for this man, but feel he cares more than I do. I know one of my coping mechanisms is to pull back or disengage and so this is one reason my emotions aren’t on par with his. What I can’t say is if this is the only reason.

I’m scared he sees me as someone I am not and am worried if I can live up to this ideal. I’m also worried about meeting his children and then us breaking up. I know it’s his responsibility to protect his children, but I don’t want to be the person to hurt them.
Is it typical for one person in a relationship to love the other more? Is this a bad thing regardless? Maybe it’s just a difference in defining emotions and love.

There’s also the finance worries. My ex wasn’t financially responsible and I know this is an issue for me. I was reminded about how irresponsible my ex was just a few weeks ago when a collection agency called me about his student loan. Anyways, financial responsibility is huge for me. I have a good job and make a good salary, and I don’t want to support someone financially because they can’t manage their money.

I think Tim is financially responsible, but am not sure. He only has one-month of emergency savings and this bothers me a lot! There are several reasons why this may be the case, but I don’t really know the details. I do know he bought a home recently and remodeled much of it. (This wasn’t just a cosmetic remodel and involved quite a bit of work.) He could very well consider his home his emergency fund or retirement plan although this is a risky assumption.

We’ve talked about finances a bit, but there’s obviously a lot more we need to talk about. How deeply do you dive into these topics and then when in a relationship? I honestly don’t know. I didn’t have these conversations with my ex (a good indication why he’s an ex) and don’t know what’s appropriate when.

These are just a few struggles. Trust me, there are more. My boundaries are definitely being tested.

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I’ve found myself exclusively dating a wonderful man, Tim. How wonderful is he? Well, for starters I haven’t given him an alias or nickname and I have introduced him to friends. Both of these are significant as I tend to use nicknames when talking about men I am dating and keep them compartmentalized in my life. Yes, a therapist would have a lot to say on both of these, but it is what it is or was what it was.

It’s been hard to write a new blog posting because I don’t know exactly how to process and talk about the relationship I find myself in. I don’t want to be the constantly “chipper and happy I’m dating someone cliché.” The thought makes me cringe.
I’m not one who gets swooped up in love and romance, but here I am swooped up.

I’ve had my moments of panic and I’ve had moments of disconnect. I’m testing personal boundaries and am scared, but I realize I have to take some chances, believe in my judgment and believe in Tim.

ARGHHHHH! There are so many thoughts swirling in my head and I don’t know how to write them out. I’ll try to sort some of them out and make a post in a few days.

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