This topic contains 13 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Dyanne 5 months, 3 weeks ago.
February 13, 2020 at 8:19 pm #785362
Sorry this is looooong but to get the right advice i need to be honest about where i am at and how i got here.
So i separated from my husband in summer 18. My choice. I love him but like a brother. We had no sex life because the sex was terrible and he was very vanilla and selfish in bed. It is partially because he wasn’t very confident but he wouldn’t give or receive oral or try anything new and it was so rubbish i just stopped bothering and because he had no confidence he stopped trying. I got the ick and had zero attraction to him. I nearly died due to a serious illness and in the aftermath of that i realised i was wasting my best years in a relationship that was not fulfilling. I didn’t just give it up. We tried for over a year with counselling and marriage courses etc but it was too late and i ended it to give myself the opportunity to find love. We remain the best of friends. The break up was amicable and although he still loves me he knows i can’t go back.
So i started dating. I got burned early on when i realised that men aren’t just talking to and dating one woman at a time. It stung but it was a lesson learned. I threw myself into multi dating which i often found confusing and tiring… chatting to 5 plus men at a time date after date after date. I was all set to quit and then i had an amazing date in jan 19 and things went brilliantly- until i initiated the DTR 12 weeks in and he basically said i was a place holder. He wasn’t actively trying to meet someone else but he wasn’t sure what would happen if he did. That stung. I ended it. We back and forthed a bit until finally i had enough and declined his hook up invite.
I go back to dating. Loads of dates, some great, some mediocre. I learn the rules, some times i messed up and got too invested and clingy without meaning to, acted like a gf when i wasn’t. I learnt and i wised up.
I start dating a guy in oct 19 and it is awesome. So easy, no anxiety, exactly what it seems like it should be. He locked me down after 6 weeks and i was thrilled. I really liked him. Unfortunately, so did his wife. Once i found out he was married i was done and told him so. He tried to give excuses i didn’t listen.
Back on the dating wagon. My confidence is shot. I feel ugly and unworthy. I end up just having hook ups because i decided i didn’t need a bf and hook ups were fun. Then i met a guy that i connected with and my “im fine without a bf” went out the window. I over invested really quickly. Daily texts, 6 hour phone calls, future planning…. all just too .much in 3 weeks. He has a lot of life stress with his business and both his parents very unwell but he seemed genuinely into me. I was worried it was a long distance and that we both had said we aren’t looking for a relationship unless it just happens. He hadn’t dated for a year by choice because he felt he couldn’t invest with everything he had going on. So anyway, he goes quiet for 3 days. The last time we spoke he was exhausted and working through the night. He often did this and i knew he was super stressed so i left it and just shot him a message asking if he was ok. I also work a lot and very long hours my work is my passion and something men i usually date struggle with but we were alike so it didn’t matter much. Anyway, he came back to me and said he was sorry. He was stressed and had let things slide. He likes me but he is exhausted and just not good company right now. He kept saying sorry and saying a lot of negative things about himself (he was like that often – always negative about his appearance, his qualities as a person etc and I’d try and boost him) i said no need to keep apologising for being busy and maybe stop giving himself a hard time.
So that was that. I went on a couple of mediocre dates this weekend just gone but my heart wasn’t in it. I’ve felt low and very depressed the last 3 days just in bed with “flu” but i don’t have flu. I just wanted to check out for a bit. Its not so much to do with this man in particular although i am bummed it didn’t go anywhere. I had been enjoying dating without putting pressure on me or the men i was dating as i was chilled and not concerned about who text who, whether they dropped off, if i didn’t hear from them etc. It was fine until this guy happened.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t think dating is making me happy or doing my self esteem any good. I look back at the last 18 months or so and its just a car crash. I’ve spent far more time unhappy then happy or even just content. My friend keeps saying i need a significant period of time alone. I have resisted so far as i have a busy and fulfilled life outside of dating so didn’t see the dating and its disappointments as a problem because the last few months or so my attitude had been i don’t have a man shaped void in my life – I’m happy with what i have and a man is a bonus. But I’m wondering if that’s true? On paper its true but when i met a guy i actually liked and it didn’t work out suddenly there is a man shaped void and i don’t know why when i was chill before him.
So after all of that information I’m asking- what do i do? Should i enforce a 6 month dating ban as suggested? The fact i recoil from the idea of zero sex, intimacy or validation from men (i hate to admit that this is part of my issue but it is) suggests to me perhaps i need to just stop and live my life without that stuff and feel fulfilled- i love my life mostly and having a bf would actually be hard for me as i am used to doing what i please.
Any advice or wisdom is super welcome and sorry for the essay!!February 13, 2020 at 10:04 pm #785365
Ss,Listen to your friend & lose the dating apps..Someone worthy will come along,but allow him to find you..February 13, 2020 at 10:47 pm #785368
So you’re separated? But not divorced? What do people on this site always tell women about dating men who are separated but not divorced….”don’t do it”, right? Not trying to be harsh but there’s a reason people say that. What are your plans for divorce, have you filed the paperwork? I think that’s an important step to take (an official divorce) before you can seriously start dating.
How long were you with your husband? A year and a half of separation doesn’t seem nearly long enough to me to heal from a marriage that’s ended.
The fact that you are agonizing over this issue is significant. If you think you should take a break from dating, then you probably should. From the sound if it, you dove straight into dating immediately after your separation. But you don’t sound at peace with what you’re doing. Taking some time off and figuring out who you are and what your life is about on your own, without needing a man in the picture, would be a great opportunity for personal growth. Just my two cents! For change to happen in your life, YOU have to change what you’re doing.February 14, 2020 at 12:31 am #785370
Take time off from dating. You need to figure out who You are…February 14, 2020 at 12:57 am #785372
I agree. Summer 18 – it hasn’t even been two years since the separation. You’re not even divorced and you managed to “over invest”, as you put it, or have “brilliant” connections with three different men. This is really a very speedy pace. First divorce, then time to heal, then dating. You say you love your life, have your passion for a job – why this rush to find a men then?February 14, 2020 at 1:37 am #785373
I missed the being separated part..Got it now though..& may I add that I highly doubt that anyone with serious intentions would take a legally married woman or man serious..As the other ladies have said maybe you should take care of that first..Meaning divorce..February 14, 2020 at 8:24 am #785377
How long have you been single? You’ve covered a lot of dating territory for someone still in the process of divorce.
I’d take a break and put you first for a while. Find an identity without a man. If you need sex, find a regular hook up partner.February 14, 2020 at 9:31 am #785381
Thanks everyone. The break is on!
I did throw myself into dating. I was in therapy in the lead up to me ending my marriage and for a year afterwards. I processed that part of what was happening in my life and my decision making, a lot of which was very tied up in my nearly dying. I was very ill and it was very difficult for my husband and children. It changed a lot in my mind.
In terms of dating- there has been a lot. I’ve only mentioned the most significant events. I suppose it has felt like because i ended my marriage to do this i better get on with it and i felt like I’d processed the marriage stuff and was ready.
It’s interesting to read everyone’s take on this, especially the fact I’m not divorced which is not at all significant to me. The only reason we are not divorced is because you have to be separated for 2 years for a no fault divorce and because its not an issue to either of us really. I think it’s a bit of a red herring. Would anyone’s advice differ if the divorce had been finalised?
I’ve not had any guy I’ve dated seem concerned or ask if the divorce is in process. My ex has had a gf for nearly a year now and she is lovely, my ex is my son’s step father and he is very close to them and part of their lives. His gf is fine with that and my youngest (16) spends time with them both often. There is genuinely nothing between us aside from friendship from my perspective. I was sad our marriage failed and this wasn’t the way i saw my life as i enter my 40s but I’ve accepted it and life was feeling pretty good in general but the dating has taken its toll on me emotionally recently.
Anyway, that’s a long winded way of saying i hear you and I’m grateful for the unbiased advice.February 14, 2020 at 10:39 am #785383
Being alone and on a dating halt is often the best thing we can do for ourselves, so don’t be surprised that by the end it’s the six months you will wonder what exactly you were doing dating all these guys. It does sound like you were on a rebound and then didn’t get a chance to bring your self esteem back where it needs to be, when dating. The guys who didn’t care about your divorce being finalized, I doubt they were the best candidates as they may have been desperate and/ or not serious. With a high self esteem you will be extremely selective and protective of yourself, you will not put yourself in situations that will affect you in this profound way. Online dating especially is a minefield. If you’re going to be dating, then date in real life only.February 14, 2020 at 10:41 am #785384
It sounds like you’ve already decided a break is needed based on the responses you received but I want to add another resounding YES from the group!! Like you I had an epiphany in my 40s that I could not longer stay unhappy in my marriage for the rest of my life. And when I left I really was done and didn’t think I needed healing or self reflection or growth or whatever. I was just happy to have my freedom and do what I wanted after 25 years of marriage! But I had a really good friend who had been through a divorce who encouraged me to at a minimum take a year to find myself again and not date or pursue any romantic relationships. Just learn to be happy on my own and focus on my kids.
I did that. I read all kinds of books and articles about divorce and healing especially from abusive relationships. And I waited a year to dive into the dating pool. But even after a year I had no clue how to date. I was trying to create instant relationships, trying to rush things, started buying the guy I was dating favorite food and drinks to keep at my place, buying him gifts, etc. I look back now and realize how crazy and overboard I was!! I was trying to replace the intimacy I had from a 25 year relationship with a guy I just met!!
Kind of like you were saying…I thought I could just fill the man shaped void in my life with another man! Like the puzzle pieces were the same shape and interchangeable! Boy was I wrong. It was a learning process as you have already experienced and the website helped me TONS! Which is why I’m still here giving advice after being happily remarried for years now!! Just take your time, take a break from dating and hang around here and read the advice. I promise it will help!! Good luck!February 14, 2020 at 12:12 pm #785388
To answer your question: I understand the divorce factor isn’t significant to YOU. But it’s significant to other people, especially to men who are serious about being in a relationship. Most men who are looking for a serious long-term relationship would not consider a married/separated woman as a good choice for a partner. I know I would not consider a man to be separated but not divorced a good prospect for a serious relationship. There’s too much crap you have to wade through to get divorced. I understand your relationship with your ex is amicable but the fact is most divorces are not. So I would shy away from a guy who still has not finished his divorce process. Does that make sense? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen sometimes (like in the case of your ex) but I think most of the time, relationship-minded people shy away from married/separated folks. So it may very well be that the guys you’re attracting are not emotionally available or relationship-ready.February 14, 2020 at 2:42 pm #785397
I’m so glad i asked this question as it hadn’t even entered my mind that not being divorced yet could be an issue. To make it worse my ex actually lives with my mother too!
We can start divorce proceedings in June for a no fault divorce, sooner if we cited infidelity but thats not what happened so neither of us want that on record.
The timetable for our divorce fits well with a dating break so I guess that’s my plan now. I’ve been avoiding having a break and I’m not really sure why. All i can think is that i don’t want to miss out on meeting someone good and that perhaps less positively, i like male attention and company. Thats an issue i spoke a lot about in therapy as despite saying I’d quite like a partner i am so scared of getting it wrong again and i am reluctant to give up my freedom but i miss the intimacy of a relationship. I think possibly I’m attracting and i am attracted to emotionally unavailable men, because i am kind of emotionally unavailable.
My friend who suggested a break is actually a guy i briefly dated- there is nothing there romantically for either of us and we have set boundaries in our friendship – but he did say he felt i gave mixed signals when we dated. He has knowledge of all my dating exploits and says i back off from good men who like me and pursue men who have issues instead. He likened it to fair ground rides. My ex was a pleasant merry go round and my dating life is full of rollercoasters. I guess i need an inbetween- a waltzer maybe :-)
I feel better I’ve made a good decision. Thanks everyone xxFebruary 14, 2020 at 4:22 pm #785399
Best wishes to you Ss!..🌹February 14, 2020 at 5:39 pm #785405
I’ve been on a 2 year break, and it was the best decision I ever made. It was after a 5 year relationship and initially, like you, I dove right back in the game and got really burnt. The last guy was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Right now I am very thankful for him entering my life, because I wouldn’t be here otherwise. But back then it was hell on earth.
I realized during this time that I’ve been attracting unavailable guys because I myself was emotionally unavailable. So I decided to just do me for a while, changed careers, rebuilt my life and in the process I learned to love and accept myself, light and shadow. Yoga, meditation and therapy helped a lot.
Right now I am available for the right guy. I live my life as I please, follow my passion and build a business out of it and have an amazing group of friends as support system. I still struggle because I’m very hard on myself and right now I’m facing some crippling anxiety attacks, but overall my life is better than ever. If I look back at 2018, I know that if I got through that I can handle anything. So I take it one day at a time and let life unfold.
I wish you luck in this hard but wonderful journey you’re starting! Hang in there through the bad times because the good ones will make it all worth it. And the more you grow, the better those times will be.