I'm not sure how well I can articulate this without over-simplifying but here goes. I've been struggling with feeling unable to trust myself to resist a new romantic relationship.
I've been married three times and had 4 committed long-term relationships - two were cheaters, one was an abusive narc and the good one was a self-centered misogynist. All of the trauma in my life has come from relationships. I've made the decision to stay single from here on out, yet, in the post dday years (almost 3), I've met a couple of men, who have turned my head. I realized in those moments that my commitment to single life is only as strong as some new man is interesting and available. Luckily none of these attractions went anywhere, but if the right man put the full court press on at the right moment, I worry I'd abandon my promise to myself and go for it, and that is deeply unsettling.
It's like a war between my intellect and my heart. They want opposite things. I have no idea which would win out, and it feels really frightening.
12 comments posted: Monday, June 13th, 2022
Does anyone still have questions?
My D was final almost a year ago and I'm happy to report I'm doing well. I no long have any feelings for my XWH, other than fear and loathing. I can see clearly what a sociopath he truly is and I want no part of him.
However, every so often a burning curiosity eats at me - not sure what the hell even triggers it. It's to do with whether or not he hooked up with a casual friend/acquaintance of mine when we were dating monogamously, though not yet married. I don't take her for the kind of woman to do that, so if it happened perhaps he lied to her about our status. However, she knew we were dating - so even if he told her we were not serious or poly - seems weird that she wouldn't have talked to me.
I liked her a lot and we'd talked about getting to know each other better prior to this. She invited me to social gatherings at her home regularly, but that stopped (before covid and after this incident).
Why is this haunting me?? Does anyone else experience this?
btw - I'm not going to ask her. My pride won't allow it but I wish I could stop this curiosity.
9 comments posted: Sunday, December 19th, 2021
Is this a red flag?
Hey wise ones,
Since I changed my FB profile pic from my dog to my face, random men are friending and messaging me. One guy is local, attractive and has interests I share. We've messaged a few times and he seems normal enough.
Is this normal for folks to message randoms on FB to date? We do have one shared friend, but that's about it. Just to be clear - I'm not on the fb dating app.
I'm not on any dating apps and don't have a huge interest in dating at the moment, but he likes to do outdoorsy things, so it might be fun - not sure if I should dismiss just because of how he contacted me.
14 comments posted: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Don't whack me too hard with those 2x4s
My XWH was doing a little stalking a few weeks back. I decided to speak to him because given his mental illness, I fear NC is causing too much escalation and it's scaring me. Maybe if he feels he has access to me occasionally he'll be less inclined to park outside of my house, etc.
I met up with him in person once - that was draining and unproductive. He texts me every several days. Recently one of his idiot friends was arrested for leaving his toddler home alone - the child wandered out of the house and was found in an alley. The guy is a horrible serial cheater with three children from various affairs in addition to the three he has with his wife of over 20 years. My XWH seemed to have an epiphany when this arrest happened. He's been talking a lot with the guy's wife and urging her to talk to me, has promised he will never blame me again for his actions and claims he finally gets what he did to me.
Naturally, this was all music to my ears, very validating, though I take it with a huge grain of salt. He's had smaller epiphanies and none of them lasted. He always reverts to asshole.
Recently, he's asked me to meet his daughter - they had been estranged for all of her life until after he and I split. She wants to meet me supposedly. I'm on the fence as to whether I should do this. Part of me wants to and part of me doesn't.
It feels incredibly demeaning to be in any kind of friendly, public scenario with a man who traumatized me like he did. So, I don't get why I'm having a hard time saying "No" to him? I don't want to hurt his daughter's feelings I suppose, but maybe it's also to do with still having a void in my life. I'm just not sure. I simply don't understand myself. I suppose NC is not entirely in line with my values - it feels harsh to disown someone I was married to. He's clearly mentally ill and even though it manifests itself in abuse and manipulative behavior I still feel some empathy. Thoughts?
23 comments posted: Thursday, April 15th, 2021
I know many have opinions about plastic surgery and I totally get the argument to age gracefully etc, but I've given the best years of my life to crappy men and now I want to reclaim a few lost years. I'm not doing this to snag a guy. I'm still plenty attractive and men want to date me - I'm not sure I want them actually. I really just want to look refreshed and a bit younger- for me. I want to rewind to before infidelity and emotional abuse and PTSD and at least look like I looked before this train wreck of a man demolished me.
Any folks out there who've done facelifts? Any thoughts, tips, suggestions?
17 comments posted: Wednesday, February 24th, 2021
The widower saga continues
Ok - just to be clear, I'm not dating this guy and I've told him that explicitly. He went away for awhile but just sent a random couple of texts.
In one text he referenced a book he apparently read because I said I liked the author. His reference was related to someone in the book "getting head." It's literature by the way, not smut, although there may be sex scenes. I honestly don't remember, because I read this particular book like 25 years ago. He said nothing about the writing style, if he liked the book, the story etc.
Is this normal or appropriate? Do people who don't know each other well talk to each other like this?? Am I hopelessly out of date to find this offensive? I'm clearly a progressive, hip kind of person but that doesn't mean I want men I barely know to speak to me like this. I just don't get it.
I also find it transparent - clearly the man wants sex. I just ignored him after that.
32 comments posted: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021
So, I just found out a few days ago that my D was actually finalized on January 7. It came as quite a shock as it was months earlier than the clerk of courts told me it would be. I find myself regressing in terms of grieving or maybe it's grieving on another level.
My STBX was an unrepentant cluster B, SA, not in recovery. After dday he raged, blamed and gaslit, although pre dday all he did was sing my praises and say it was the happiest he'd ever been.
When I divorced my son's father 17-years ago - it was an immediate relief - he was a full blown narc (not a cheater) and absolutely miserable to live with. My recovery process was long and painful but there were clear immediate benefits - no more eggshell walking around his moods, no more dealing with his temper and sadistic head games, etc. Me and the kids were all freer and more relaxed at home.
After that marriage I had a long term boyfriend, who cheated. He was always disappearing, unreachable, suspect stories and increasingly drinking more and more. Losing him was not terrible for me - being with him was. I was in a constant state of anxiety around his infidelities - I caught him numerous times - he was always convincingly contrite and vowed to stop and round and round we went. It as a relief to step off that ride. Sad, but a relief.
Conversely, my recent ex was pleasant before dday. He was usually in a good mood, happy, cuddly and often fun. He had a dynamic job and our union made us a hot couple to invite to things around town - we were very popular. My son enjoyed him and they did regular "guys" stuff together. He was always home by dinner time. He squeezed all of his cheating in between 9-5, when one of us was out of town or I was out with friends or something. He cheated a lot and made use of every opportunity he had alone but was careful not to cut into family time. He was reliable.
I don't want to romanticize it - I also lived with a low level dissonance that was eating at me, certain topics were impossible to bring up. He was very good at shutting me down with just a small threat of irritation (I'm super conflict avoidant). My "jealousy" became an issue - it was infrequent but he insisted it was baggage from my ex-bf and that shamed me into silence. I was growing more depressed, but I've had lifelong issues with depression so it was easy to blame myself and not look at anything he was doing. I went from extremely happy pre-relationship to increasingly unhappy - nothing dramatic but a noticiable loss of my prior joy and confidence. He would often urge me to go back to yoga or meditate more - "Where's the boss I married?" he'd ask, which made me feel worse. The boss-me was gone and I had no idea how to get her back (still don't). In hindsight, I knew on some level that all signs pointed to infidelity, but I didn't want to face it because otherwise our M had so many perks and he was constantly telling me and everyone else how madly in love he was, how amazing I was, etc. It felt good to be so adored.
Sadly, I don't see any immediate improvement in my quality of life since we split. I'm still not that "boss" nor do I see a path back to her. It's like the path washed out in a mudslide. I'm more depressed than I've ever been. Add to that, terrible anxiety and PTSD. I'm triggered watching tv shows where there's infidelity, but also even dating - it's like a horror movie to me - "Don't do it. Don't enter that relationship - you're going to get hurt!
I wish I could say - now, me and the kids can watch whatever we want on tv or eat chips for dinner or ???? But we could do all that before. He wasn't an across the board ogre. Even though I was depressed during the marriage, I was functional. It was nothing on this level. I sometimes feel like I made a mistake - like I should've stayed with my head in the sand, enjoyed the perks and ignored the infidelity. I mean if I'm not going to be happy either way...
9 comments posted: Sunday, January 31st, 2021
Expanding one's life mid-pandemic?
Hey brilliant people,
Any ideas on how to expand my world during a pandemic?
I've revisited old hobbies, walk and hike more, play online monopoly with friends and have a little covid pod I do a minimal amount of socializing with but I need something more. How do you meet new people and do more adventurous activities safely?
I definitely don't want to date.
7 comments posted: Friday, January 29th, 2021
This is dumb but...
So, the widower across the street hit on me. I've known him for about ten years. He's my age. Seems like a cool guy, but I don't know him super well. His wife died a few years ago and recently he's been a little extra friendly. Recently, he full on asked me out. I told him I wasn't ready to date but I'd be okay having a beer or something. So, we went for a beer and he asked to hold my hand - I just went along with it but hated it.
I really didn't know what to do - we were mid conversation, everything was relaxed and comfortable and then he just interjects and grabs my hand and it all happened too quickly for me to process and formulate a response. Now, he's right across the street and I'm freaked out. I would prefer to be friends without physical interaction. I'm no where near ready for that and may never be. He's already texting me today. WTF. I was happy to just have a friend.
32 comments posted: Sunday, January 17th, 2021
Tired of this rollercoaster. Some days I feel hopeful, energetic, happy, dare I say. Other days I wake up with anxiety so intense I can't function other than to watch tv and cruise social media. And just when I think I get it, I've processed the reality of who he is and know that who I loved wasn't even fucking real, I'm weepy over that phantom.
I feel flat lately - nothing bringing joy or hope and nothing terrible happening either. I want to be content with things as they are because nothing may change radically in my life at this point, at least I hope it doesn't (don't want a major move, new relationship or huge career shift). I just don't seem to be able to find happiness in what I have. It's terribly ungrateful - I have more than most, except no family outside of my kids. I miss having a best friend and/or other adults I trust and can count on. I've always found that having good people around me makes even the worst of times bearable.
I do mostly enjoy my young adult son. He's disabled and needs a lot of ongoing parenting but he's a love and good company. Other times, I just want to isolate and I can't because he needs me. My dog is my best buddy, but I feel guilty that my depression gets in the way of giving him regular walks.
I 'm also so troubled by the fact that my STBX is still very much in my head. He's just a constant hovering thought lurking in the shadows. It's like my head space is suffused with him. Doesn't help that he manages to insert himself into my actual life with some regularity.
This really sucks sometimes.
4 comments posted: Saturday, January 16th, 2021
Still in disbelief
So, I'm close to being divorced, really don't like this person and wish I'd never met him, etc.
One thing that I'm stuck on is disbelief that this happened, confusion as to how it happened and who he is. When does that end?
I can't even fully accept that human beings like him exist, let alone that I married one. He might as well have been a unicorn or an alien.
I somehow got to nearly sixty years old without crossing paths with anyone so evil, and now that I have it's continually surreal.
20 comments posted: Saturday, December 12th, 2020
Recovery from SA infidelity and abuse
I've got terrible PTSD, debilitating anxiety and depression as a result of being married to a sex addict.
I go into freeze mode, where getting out of bed is near impossible unless I have to be somewhere. I've done meds and IC and I'll do more of course but I know they only do so much.
Longterm can I expect to be normal again? Will I always be fighting anxiety?
How long did it take folks to feel normal again? And any suggestions for recovery - I know exercise, eating healthy, getting good sleep are important - is there any other therapy that really helped like EMDR or Somatic Experiencing or ??
19 comments posted: Thursday, August 27th, 2020