Great first date: but crashed hard after
I am need to know if this has happened to you, and if so, what did you do about it?
Yesterday I went on a first date IRL with someone who seems really, really nice. We had lunch together and then went for a two hour walk, sat on a bench, kept talking, got home and then watched a movie together (each at our own house) and texted each other all the way through it. We are going to see each other again in a couple of weeks (after some already scheduled obligations). Zero red flags so far, super considerate and lots in common, plus I think he's cute!
So, on the way home (it was a bit of a drive because we don't live in the same town) I crashed hard emotionally. I felt so, so sad. I missed the Imaginary X (not the real one, obvs). I was NOT expecting this. It really hit me hard - and I had no idea that such a visceral reaction would come up - even though I really liked the Date Guy and I had fun on the date. It was kind of like my deep brain said: "date = X" and my core self couldn't move past that to "date = this nice person I'm with."
Not only that, but it suddenly occurred to me: if it's this hard for me to start dating someone I actually am interested in, because X is still (apparently) so powerfully in my psyche, then it just KILLS ME how EASY it was for X to date other women all the time for 20 years. I had not thought about it that way before. What a gut-punch. How little I mattered, and still how hard it is for me to fully let go of Imaginary X, even 18 months later and with a really nice guy.
I know I'll get there - but today I'm still sad and depressed. I don't think it's that I'm "not ready" to date again. I really had fun and am looking forward to seeing him again. But that doesn't change the feeling of being shattered again. And I suspect this would happen even five years from now if I just waited longer to date again.
I'm curious - anyone else have this? If so, what helped? What happened? How did you move past it?
Thanks y'all. I continue to be so grateful for your presence and support. Couldn't manage without this forum!
16 comments posted: Monday, May 24th, 2021
Missing the mirage
I was flipping through the options on Bumble this morning, rejecting every single person almost immediately. None seemed even remotely appealing. Suddenly I realized: I'm looking for my X. I mean, I'm wistful for the person I thought he was, the mirage. I miss the mirage person I was in love with. It has been more than 30 years since I actively dated, and my deep imprint is for who I thought he was. That mirage is like a date archetype to my deep psyche.
Does that happen to you? Do you miss the mirage?
And how have you helped nudge yourself past that archetype so you can see other options?
12 comments posted: Sunday, March 7th, 2021
Just told the adult kids the whole story
Our divorce was final back in August, and at that time the X asked again for my help in smoothing things with two of our three adult kids who were still barely talking to him. I said I thought the best way for him to rebuild with them was to be honest, and tell them the whole story of how many affairs he had had.
Backstory: when we decided to reconcile after D-Day 1 we agreed to only tell the family about the A I had just discovered, not all the previous ones he also admitted. Because we figured it would be harder to reconcile if everyone knew - that people would discourage me from staying (RIGHT?!). So we kept that secret (READ: protected HIM).
So in August he said, "no thanks" to my suggestion. I said, Okay, but I'm not going to lie anymore. And I told all my friends and my own extended family. Just not the kids. My plan was if it came up naturally in conversation, I would not lie, but I wasn't going to just call them up and tell them he had all those other affairs.
In September it came up with one of the kids, and I told that one. Last weekend it came up with another one, and I told that one. They and I agreed that it was not okay for the third one to be the only one who didn't know, so just now I called him up and told him. They all expressed that they wished they had known the whole story back in 2013 and were glad they know now.
I just can't believe how relieved I feel. I had not realized at all that I had been carrying this secret for eight years - through the entire divorce process. He was a serial cheater and no one knew. It should not be a surprise that I feel relieved, and it's a sign of how much I was duped by the whole thing that I am surprised.
And the other frighteningly disturbing thing is that I also noticed I was feeling afraid of what his reaction will be when he finds out I've told the kids. If past experience serves, he will be angry, accusing me of sabotaging him, demanding to know why I did it, and acting like it's my fault the kids are upset because I told them.
BUT - I am ready. I owe him NOTHING. Not even an explanation. I told the kids because I wasn't going to lie anymore. Period.
This whole second year - the first year after the divorce - it's hard. I'm finally able to go through some grief, pain and mourning that I couldn't do while I was actively getting divorced. I'm discovering trauma I didn't know was there. And of course, like all of us, on top of COVID and other national upheavals.
And no more lies.
Thanks all of you SI compatriots, for once again being a place to share this process.
12 comments posted: Monday, February 1st, 2021
How are you handling family photos?
Because I wanted it done right, I agreed to take on the job of duplicating the framed photos of our kids so that we can each have a copy. So far so good.
But here's my question: how have you chosen to handle family portraits that the X is in? I am trying to decide if I want a copy or not. On the one hand, they are photos that are part of my kids' history and are sometimes really lovely portraits - one was professionally done for my mother-in-law as a gift. On the other hand, I look at them now and just want to draw on his forehead the number of affairs he had had by the time this or that photo was taken. I could just give all those to him - he would never know whether or not I had made myself a copy.
Also my bridal portrait - it's a beautiful photo and it's one of the photos I really like of myself. I do not want to display it but just keeping it in a box seems dumb too. I'm trying to do a better job of not just keeping a bunch of stuff in boxes that someone else will have to deal with years from now. What to do?
I am curious what you all have decided or any suggestions you have.
15 comments posted: Friday, October 16th, 2020
Up a house and down a spouse!
My dear fellow travelers,
I am so happy, so grateful and so calm. Tonight is my third night back in MY HOUSE! My EX (yes, the divorce was final six weeks ago) moved out on Monday and I moved back in on Tuesday.
He left the place a mess (of course he did). I mean, food in the fridge, dust bunnies on the floor, food scraps in the sink, stray items everywhere. But I had a professional cleaner in Tuesday morning and the neighbor teenager helped me move my stuff back in from the garage that afternoon.
I was out of the house for about nine months while we worked out the settlement, and I was wondering what it would feel like to be back, finally. I had been feeling so displaced - my stuff in the garage and me on the road staying with family and working from home. I couldn't wait to get back but was worried too. Well it took exactly one hour to feel right back at home. Knowing where things are without looking - reaching for the light switch just where it is. AND, I didn't even put all the stuff back where it had been - I rearranged the kitchen and the living room! Today I treated myself to a couple of new things to help redecorate, and tonight I'm cooking dinner in my own kitchen.
I was feeling so happy and grateful for how this all worked out, I just wanted to share with you. I never thought I'd be able to end up WITH the house and WITHOUT the spouse. Hooray! And almost exactly a year to the day (minus two weeks) from D-Day #2.
So, in 50 weeks time I managed to kick him out, get the settlement solved, get the divorce finalized, and get back home. Ha!
To those who are still on harder parts of this journey, my thoughts are with you. Hang in there. I am going to enjoy this moment and some day you will too.
10 comments posted: Thursday, October 8th, 2020
Meeting a new person
Hey y'all I just want to share a bit of validation I had today from a very nice fellow I met on Bumble. STBXH and I divided our finances at the end of March, so I decided to take a step and paid for one month of Bumble. Since we're in shelter-in-place it felt extra safe - could maybe get to know someone and take it really slow. So, I've been having lovely conversations with a very nice person for more than a week now, and today we briefly exchanged a sort of dusting of information about our spousal situations (he is also divorcing). I said that I had been separated since October, that I had kicked him out as a result of serial cheating. Kindly, but without missing a beat, the nice person said, "Oh, it's so hard to deal with narcissists." He immediately apologized for saying that - saying of course he doesn't know my ex and so on. But the thing is, he was spot on! It felt incredibly validating to have someone just go there immediately. He said that in his experience, every time he has found out that someone was a serial cheater, that person was also a narcisssist.
I don't know where this will go - we've only been in touch for about a week and of course we can't really act on anything right now. But that's okay! He's smart, and kind, and a good conversationalist - and he can recognize a narcissist! It's just about where I want to be.
(This comes a few days after STBHX sent me an email asking if I would reconsider the divorce and how much he loves me and blah, blah, blah, to which I responded, "I am no longer available.")
5 comments posted: Sunday, April 19th, 2020