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Posts Tagged ‘Divorced and Dating’

Ever felt strong emotions or a strong attachment to someone you probably shouldn’t?  I’m there.

I’m inexplicably drawn to a man who stirs up emotions I have never felt before.  It sounds wonderful until I say that he is not emotionally available.  I think sometimes he wants to be, but then other times I think it’s a game of cat and mouse that he likes to plays.

It’s the worst game of back and forth with poor communication mixed in.  Riding this ride is a natural wreck for me.  It triggers
feelings of not being good enough and wondering what I did wrong – only I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

I’m not sure how to get this guy out of my head, out of my heart and out of my system.  There’s always this small nagging pull.  It’s even worse when he randomly reaches out.  I can logically tell myself that his random texts asking how I am doing have no substance, but they are enough to cloudy my mind.

So it’s even more important for me to remind myself of my basic must-haves and that a loving relationship should be just that … loving.

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I’ve been emotionally unavailable. I thought I was in a position where I could open up and love a potential life partner, but I wasn’t. I was able to develop deep feelings and perhaps love that person, but I wasn’t able to open up and let go of my defenses. I think I just might be ready now.

I can’t blame the guys I was dating for the relationships not working out – many shouldn’t have worked out! Some were amazing experiences I think I was supposed to have in life. Others were a testament to what I have learned since my divorce about myself … how early experiences shaped my thinking and behaviors; how family dynamics created learned dysfunction; how I created barriers that led to repeated experiences and how I have to take chances in order to live a fulfilling life.

I have the power in my life to create a healthy life with a healthy relationship. The first step is knowing I deserve it! The second step is allowing myself to take chances – emotional chances where I open up and don’t create an invisible safety net. I won’t lose myself in the people I date and I know I can survive if the relationship doesn’t work.

Now I need to make a decision; do I stay in the city I live in now or do I move elsewhere. I can’t open myself up to a relationship before I answer this question. I have a small network of incredible people I call friends and that will be difficult, not impossible, to recreate elsewhere.

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I’m finding myself in a sad place right now. As I have worked to learn new coping skills, I have also worked to purge negative relationships from my life. I haven’t let down my defenses, so I haven’t developed new healthier relationships. This leaves me in a state of loneliness.

I realize that my previous relationships were based upon being needed rather than wanted. This is the enabler role I learned as a child. Now that I don’t want to start a relationship off with a “need”, I am finding that I feel neither needed nor wanted. That’s a pretty lonely place to be in. Ironically, I rediscovered the tidbits below.

  • If there is one thing about which you are not in control, it’s who loves you, stays with you, gets ill, or leaves you.
  • When a heart is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, it holds nothing back. And sometimes it gets broken.
  • If our hearts are closed because we don’t want to suffer, they won’t be open enough to recognize the joy as it flies by.

My heart is broken, for a number of reasons, and I don’t quite know how to put it back together.

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This is a brief post where I rant about flakey behavior. I’m not a needy person and I’m not demanding either, but I do think you should treat people with respect and consideration. I get that things happen and “life” can get in the way sometimes. Sometimes plans have to be changed because you just can’t make them. It isn’t a big deal until there’s a strong recurring pattern of not showing up and making excuses.

I used to accept a string of excuses and explain away flakey behavior. (Notice the past tense there?) No more. We all deserve equal consideration. There is no one out there that is so great that their needs always trump everyone else’s.

So, to the self-absorbed, self-important, self-centered or those who are simply unaware, we’re not a match. I don’t want to waste my time waiting when I could be spending it laughing and making great memories with people I care about and who care about me.

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I’m trying to take stock of the dating lessons I have learned over the last year. I can honestly say I am not the same person I was 12 months ago. I have had a lot of positive personal growth and still have more to do. (Personal growth should never stop in my opinion.)

Consistency is a big lesson I have learned. For me consistency builds trust. When behavior and availability is consistent, I trust more and can open up more. Inconsistent behavior and availability makes me think a person is flakey and can’t be depended upon. I don’t go into jealous girlfriend mode and wonder about cheating or who the guy I am dating with is spending his time, but I do wonder about his interest and sincerity.

Not all consistency is good either. There were two guys who would always text late at night. With one it made sense because he worked evenings, but with the other it didn’t make much sense. Instead, I began to wonder about his actual motives and finally decided it was more physical than emotional. (I don’t think I am ready to get married tomorrow, but I know I am not interested in a purely sexual relationship.)

Making excuses is something I don’t always realize I am doing when I am doing it. My awareness is improving, but it remains a challenge. I tend to make excuses for the person I am dating. This ranges from instances when my feelings get hurt to when they are not responsive. My self-appreciation is increasing and I am starting to realize I deserve to be treated with consideration, respect and eventually love.

Passion isn’t an indicator of love or genuine interest. Again, there’s a difference between physical attraction and compatibility and an emotional connection. Just think of how many hook-ups are alcohol induced! These are mostly physical connections with no real depth to them.

I don’t think strong passion is something that is always present in a relationship. Attraction and passion ebbs with high and low periods. That’s where other elements kick-in that make you want to invest the effort to keep the relationship going. This is when it takes both people investing effort to keep the relationship going and alive.

A big lesson learned is that actions should match words. I’m included in this bucket too. If I review my past, there are definite times when I just went with the flow of a relationship because it was easier than breaking up or because I felt guilty. Wrong move! You can’t force emotions.

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I recently broke up with a wonderful man. Why, because the timing just wasn’t right and there were some differences that were too great to overlook. I refuse to be a person or part of a couple that breaks ups and gets back together over and over again. That’s drama I am not willing to jump into, but I do wonder if we might get back together in the future. It’s probably not a good idea to entertain these thoughts, but it’s what’s rolling around in my head and my heart.

So, when is it a good idea to get back together with an ex?

I’ve come to realize that after a break-up it seems like the bad memories and reasons for the break-up fade away. (Let me say that these bad memories do not include any violence or cheating. Deep physical and emotional pains take time to heal and I am not dismissing those pains, but they were not a part of this relationship.) I’m trying to remain realistic and remind myself of why we broke up without harping on the past. There weren’t any actions that require us to attempt to forgive the other. Our problems were a combination of communication issues and personal issues we both need to work on. It wasn’t a bad relationship; it just wasn’t the right relationship at the time.

Commitment is something I am scared of and he was pushing hard for a commitment I just couldn’t make. Our communication was also off a bit, but both of these can be improved over time and with effort. We both need to grow a bit as individuals before we should consider coming back together as a couple.

It’s interesting in that neither of us blame the other for the break-up. We both played a part in it and our conversations since have been emotional, but healthy and positive. We are actually sharing more information about our feelings and frustrations.

We’ve both admitted to missing the other and expressed a desire to work on building a friendship in the future. Essentially, emotions are too raw to attempt to be close friends, but we both value the other person. It’s possible we aren’t the right partner for one another, but I do see him as a valuable friend with positive influence.

I miss him and not just the relationship. Don’t get me wrong, it feels wonderful to be held in the arms of a man you care about and to know he cares deeply for you, but I want more than a physical connection. I need to trust the person I am with and trust is difficult for me. I don’t worry about my partner cheating, but I don’t always have faith that they will be there when I need them emotionally. So, yes, I am lonely, but I don’t want to jump into a relationship so that I don’t feel lonely.

Before I can even consider getting back together, I need to know that I have changed; I need to know he has changed. It won’t work if everything is the same.

So, for now, the plan is to take it one day at a time. If, in a few months, we still have feelings for the other we can talk about getting back together. If that happens, we need to move slowly to make sure we are not repeating the past. It may be that we are meant to be friends. If that’s the case, I will be lucky to consider him a friend.

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I still have a long way to go in terms of dating, but I am seeing progress and the application of lessons learned!!!

Remember Guy #4 from one of my earlier posts this month?  Yeah, well he is still a flake.

I don’t think a guy has to call, text or IM a girl every day.  In all honesty, while flattering, it’s a bit too much –but that’s a new and separate lessoned learned.  I do think that when you make this a pattern and suddenly become sporadic, the person is distracted or not interested.  Perhaps both.  That’s what has happened here.

Guy #4 randomly IM’d me and we began talking again.  He began IM’ing me every day along with sending texts and calling me.  Again, I was flattered at first and then I wondered what the urgency was.  I just broke up with my boyfriend so I didn’t want to jump into anything right away and wanted to take things slow.  Oddly, given all this “attention”, he never asked me to go out other than an initial invite to go to his place for dinner which he would cook.

I think dinner is an intimate gesture and at the time I didn’t feel comfortable with going to his place.  Dinner leads to drinking a glass of wine which leads to sitting on the couch talking which leads to kissing which leads to …

Anyway, although this guy continued to invest a lot of effort for us to connect online or with phone calls, that was it.  Then he started texting later and later.  This can seem innocent enough if you truly live different schedules, but I think there’s an element of lost respect and expectations when you begin texting someone after midnight asking what they are up to or if they awake.  This was warning flag #1.5.  (The .5 warning flag comes from the high-level of attention he was paying me initially.)

After a pretty intense and personal conversation, where he revealed a lot of past personal hurt, the tone of our texts changed and his calls were non-existent.  I decided it was better to call whatever this was between us off than end with one disliking the other.  After expressing my concerns, he expressed his continued interested in me and said we would connect during the next work day.  There was no IM, text or call.  Warning flag #2.5 … no need to go to #3.

In an earlier conversation I mentioned to him that flakiness is not something I accept and I think it just makes a person appear unreliable and immature.  He agreed and said he knew he can be flakey at times.  So while he is aware he can be flakey, he is either unaware or uses flakey behavior either to avoid awkward situations.  The reason isn’t really important.  The fact that I recognize his flakiness and am saying I deserve better is HUGE!!!!  I’m not into casual relationships or friends with benefits.  I don’t have a crazy biological clock or an urge to get married.  I simply want a real relationship without immature behaviors – mine or his.  I’m not going to compromise myself because I know what I am asking isn’t too much or hard – and I deserve it.

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