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nekorb posted 5/2/2014 20:53 PM

I was discussing with my IC how you shift in your mind to be able to "look" at other people as potential romantic interests.

I've always been very strict about that with my own self. I do not look at men that way, I'm married.

Hopefully in a few months I won't be married anymore (so sad to hear myself say that.... )....I think it's going to take actual EFFORT to allow myself to think of other men that way without feeling like I'm cheating or doing something wrong. I haven't been available to do that in 25 years!

Are there baby steps involved in this process? Is it easier than I think?

I have no interest in a relationship right now AT ALL, but I figure when I'm officially divorced, I need to start somewhere.

Advice please?

little turtle posted 5/2/2014 21:08 PM

I wasn't married very long, but I struggled with this. I didn't even look at other guys while I was in a committed relationship. It was very strange at first, but after awhile it became more normal.

Some baby steps:
-observe who's in the room or around you.
-make eye contact with new people, especially men.
-maybe even say "Hi!" or smile.
-something that I still have a hard time with... look around when you're sitting at a red light. check out who's next to you.

Maybe it was easier for me because I wasn't married long, but those are some things that I did to become more comfortable with the idea of "checking out" other guys.

Amazonia posted 5/2/2014 22:22 PM

Eye contact and smiling was my first step. I remember that feeling, very, very well, because I remember thinking that XH obviously hadn't experienced drawing that line and treating people differently, while I had.

So I started making eye contact and giving a very faint smile when I was on the train and caught looking in someone's direction while they were looking in mine, instead of turning away as I was accustomed to. It was enough to break my own mental ice and start to bring those walls down.

norabird posted 5/2/2014 22:32 PM

I think once you're further along in healing, out of the actual thick of it, this will come back as you find your new normal. There's no rush! It's good you are looking ahead and thinking about it but I wouldn't worry too much--once you have gotten out of the thick of the D and started adjusting, this will follow.

inconnu posted 5/2/2014 22:44 PM

I was in a long-term marriage. I very clearly had the "I'm married, don't bother" look about me. Shields up, so to speak.

It took me a while to lose that. But I did, and it happened before I was ready to look at men again. I remember posting about it here in NB, freaking out because I had realized the guy at the store was saying hi to me not just to be nice, but to try to start a conversation.

Then a while after that, I noticed a guy in one of my classes was good looking. It was like "hallelujah, I'm not dead!" But I still didn't have any desire to date.

When I first starting chatting with my SO, I was sure it was because I just wanted to be friends with him. He was smart and witty, well-spoken. His intelligence was obvious. I honestly didn't recognize how interested I was in him, as something more than friends.

Don't overthink it. It's okay to take baby steps. It's okay to move at your own pace. Once you're divorced, the place to start is with yourself. Create the life you want for you, and if the right guy comes along, he'll fit into that life. And you won't feel like you're cheating.

Caretaker1 posted 5/3/2014 10:19 AM

We are normal, we take our time and realize healing is needed while we balance the unknown. I recently met someone. I'm attracted to her but know I'm not ready. I am making this up ad I go along. The Stbx is planning on marrying her AP no remorse, no regret. Over 20 years cone I don't have that attitude?

[This message edited by Caretaker1 at 11:32 AM, May 3rd (Saturday)]

nowiknow23 posted 5/3/2014 20:38 PM

nekorb - I can SO relate to this. I was married for 24 years. The first time someone flirted with me, I didn't recognize it. My friend had to point it out to me afterwards. And then I came here and posted in a panic because I was SO not ready for flirting!!!

It has been a process to start lowering those "I'm married" walls. I remember the exact minute when I realized I wasn't dead or married any more.

I've been divorced 2 years now. Still not ready to date, but I'm opening up to people more. Smiling. Chatting. The walls are coming down brick by brick. I'm probably slower than others with this stuff, but I'm still moving forward. You will, too.

homewrecked2011 posted 5/3/2014 21:00 PM

Dday was 2 years and 4 months ago for me. Divorce was final 1 year 6 months ago. I'm still not ready either. I have started to notice men now and 2 men I work with think I am really funny and a joy to be around. That has really helped me remember who I was before I met my SAXWH. That is the path that I will be on as a start to think about letting a man near me. I'm hoping to leave the memory of XWS in the dust and that on my journey I will meet a really nice guy.

Sidenote: I DO believe there are really great guys out there -- many of them are on SI under "I can relate --- betrayed men". So,,, I'm going to believe that rather than most guys are like my XH,, I choose to believe most are NOT like my XH.

marlie2014 posted 5/3/2014 22:12 PM

It's funny how controlled some of you seem. For me, it's more like my logical mind tells me "don't rush into it, take your time, it isn't smart to start dating immediately after a divorce." And yet at the same time my hormones have suddenly kicked into overdrive and I want to respond automatically to them when I know I shouldn't yet!

The whole "I'm not dead, wow!" thing has already happened to me, and it kind of scares me because while I've never thought I was very attractive, I live in a foreign country where my racial "type" is considered something of a commodity, exotic and special, so even while married I always attracted a lot of attention here. Now, with the finalization of my divorce only days away, it's kinda scary to realize that it will be like open season (like deer, you know?) once I take off the wedding ring. I may find it hard NOT to date at first, just from temptation and opportunity.

All the same, I know that the word "rebound" exists for a reason and it would not be kind to do that to someone, so I should wait and hope also that my silly hormones calm down a bit. It's like I'm stinking 13 years old again...

LovelyDaffodils posted 5/4/2014 17:23 PM

I haven't been single for any significant amount of time in my adult life. Can't even imagine looking... Not D yet either, but it's coming, so I've been giving it some thought as well.

Actually what started me thinking was how WH was able to do all that flirty texting so easily. I don't even have any concept of that!! Don't think I have ever been a flirt in my life.

I know I won't want to jump into anything any time soon. But wonder if I will even know how to act if someone shows interest. Yup, I've been in the M mode forever and not sure if I will ever not give off that "taken" vibe.

nekorb posted 5/4/2014 20:35 PM

Thanks everyone.

It's definitely a scary thought for me. I've always been so thankful that I was married and didn't have to worry about dating in this day and age.

Thanks a lot you colossal asshat.

I've already been hit on by someone half my age when I started bawling when he asked me how long we had been married. I was LIke...dude...NO. That's clearly the abbreviated version of the story.

But it was like, shit, really? Is this is what my life is going to be? Guys half my age hitting on me while they are working in my home?

norabird posted 5/5/2014 00:15 AM

While there may be demoralizing aspects, I also think there will be some great ones. The chance to meet someone who doesn't for instance make your sex life uncomfortable but who you can connect with will take time to get there, but once you do, how wonderful.

trumanshow posted 5/5/2014 08:48 AM

For 25 years men weren't on my radar. It took a while to not feel married in my head and heart. Def takes time

better4me posted 5/5/2014 09:24 AM

For me the thought went from "don't even care" when I was married, to "I hate the opposite sex" when I was first in recovery from XH's A, to "oh, look, Menz!" And it was that discovering of an interest in men that signified the really being ready to face the fear and get out there and date stage for me.

It didn't really take effort for me, it took acceptance and forgiveness and facing of the fear. I think it is a process, like everything else in this journey, and it happens when it is "supposed" to happen, you just have to realize it will be okay when it does. You get to decide how to act on that realization.

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