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I don’t know who I am anymore and I’m unsure if I ever truly knew myself.

I first married at 21 to a man 12 years my senior thinking he must be more mature then men my age. He turned out to be abusive and serial cheater, after 7 years and 3 children I finally had a support system of friends and was able to leave him.

I was more cautious the second time dating/engaged for 2 years before getting married. He was my age and seemed to a responsible adult and father. Turned out he wanted someone to mother him and also a cheater. Having to raise his children for the last 9 years because he and his ex-wife were more concerned with their needs. Then the final straw was that he and our 15 year old foster daughter having a relationship.

The police said they couldn’t do anything without evidence or a statement from my daughter but I got her away from him immediately as well as informing his ex-wife about what had happened.

I moved over a 1,000 miles away so I could start over without all of the toxicity being brought up daily. I’m trying to figure who I am now and what my goals are for the future. I’m still a mother to all 6 of my children regardless of the distance we talk daily.

Beyond being a mother who am I?
Do I even dare date again?
How do you build self-esteem and self-confidence after it’s been ripped to shreds?
Will I ever trust anyone enough to have sex after all this?
 

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I don’t know who I am anymore and I’m unsure if I ever truly knew myself.

I first married at 21 to a man 12 years my senior thinking he must be more mature then men my age. He turned out to be abusive and serial cheater, after 7 years and 3 children I finally had a support system of friends and was able to leave him.

I was more cautious the second time dating/engaged for 2 years before getting married. He was my age and seemed to a responsible adult and father. Turned out he wanted someone to mother him and also a cheater. Having to raise his children for the last 9 years because he and his ex-wife were more concerned with their needs. Then the final straw was that he and our 15 year old foster daughter having a relationship.

The police said they couldn’t do anything without evidence or a statement from my daughter but I got her away from him immediately as well as informing his ex-wife about what had happened.

I moved over a 1,000 miles away so I could start over without all of the toxicity being brought up daily. I’m trying to figure who I am now and what my goals are for the future. I’m still a mother to all 6 of my children regardless of the distance we talk daily.

Beyond being a mother who am I?
Do I even dare date again?
How do you build self-esteem and self-confidence after it’s been ripped to shreds?
Will I ever trust anyone enough to have sex after all this?
You take it easy and you evaluate what it is you look for in men. Not what you want to look for, but what you have, that ended up getting you two men who were not trustworthy. There may be clues there, or there may not. It is as possible that you would not have been able to tell, even with 20/20 hindsight. Either way, do it with a therapist or someone trained in relationships.

How old are the children, especially the ones that still live with you? If they are near graduating and being on their own, it might be advantageous to wait a while, before trying to seriously date again. Now depending on your view of dating and sex and such, that doesn't mean that you can't date around for the enjoyment of company or even find men to bed. Just be up front with them if that is the case. Such casual dating should help with the self-esteem and confidence.

Talk to a therapist in general, and get help in learning who you are. Figure out what you like to do and then do it. For example, my spouses and I love board games. In fact that's how we met as couples. I met my legal wife engaging in sci-fi/fantasy fandom. In both cases, there was no searching for love or connection. Take this time to go be you, and do what you want. You don't need a mate to enjoy life. Get yourself to a point where you can be happy without someone. Then when (and not if) you do stumble upon that someone special, you are confident in your self, and can hold your own. That by far will do more to finding a mate who will be more towards what you actually want.
 

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Beyond being a mother who am I?
Do I even dare date again?
How do you build self-esteem and self-confidence after it’s been ripped to shreds?
Will I ever trust anyone enough to have sex after all this?
Get therapy. You need somebody to help you answer some of those Qs. Read books about self esteem & finding happiness. I get a lot of strength, wisdom & insight from my faith so consider getting re-involved in your religion. I read a lot of books on the subject of faith which has really helped to balance me.

In time you should re-learn to trust & maybe for the 1st time adjust your "picker" to avoid the cheaters but in the short term (next 2 years) don't date. You need to figure out yourself 1st. You have a clean slate 1,000 miles away from your old life. Use it.
 

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I don’t know who I am anymore and I’m unsure if I ever truly knew myself.

I first married at 21 to a man 12 years my senior thinking he must be more mature then men my age. He turned out to be abusive and serial cheater, after 7 years and 3 children I finally had a support system of friends and was able to leave him.

I was more cautious the second time dating/engaged for 2 years before getting married. He was my age and seemed to a responsible adult and father. Turned out he wanted someone to mother him and also a cheater. Having to raise his children for the last 9 years because he and his ex-wife were more concerned with their needs. Then the final straw was that he and our 15 year old foster daughter having a relationship.

The police said they couldn’t do anything without evidence or a statement from my daughter but I got her away from him immediately as well as informing his ex-wife about what had happened.

I moved over a 1,000 miles away so I could start over without all of the toxicity being brought up daily. I’m trying to figure who I am now and what my goals are for the future. I’m still a mother to all 6 of my children regardless of the distance we talk daily.

Beyond being a mother who am I?
Do I even dare date again?
How do you build self-esteem and self-confidence after it’s been ripped to shreds?
Will I ever trust anyone enough to have sex after all this?
I'm in a similar situation to you, my second marriage is pretty much all butt over at this point. I was accused of abuse by my first ex wife and she kidnapped our children all while my STBX was living with me and the kids. She knew the situation, my first ex was committed and I couldn't serve her (according to my lawyer) until she got out a year later.

Fast forward to now, my STBX left town on what is supposed to be a business trip with my youngest (our lone child together). She left with another guy, they're living together, and she's telling her friends (and god knows who else) I was abusive to her and raped her. Neither of which happened, and after she saw how that almost killed me when my ex did this, she's now doing the same thing. Yes, I understand it's not a good thing to have this happen again, but believe she's going to use this as a reason to falsely leave town with our child and hide out in another part of the country. I'm working on what to do, because I'm concerned for my youngest son's safety.

I'm in no rush to date, but admit I'm going to miss the comfort of having a caring person lay next to me, and have that to go to sleep and wake up to. My children have been through a lot and don't think I could introduce another person to them that could just bail in 5 years. I don't know what that means for me down the road, but for now, dating isn't a concern. I have a ton to fix but I'm sure down the road I'll at least test the waters. I'm sorry to hear about your situation, I can directly empathize with the feelings of self confidence being ripped to shreds. I'm devastated, but carrying on for my oldest 3 kids. For now, I'm working on the issues I know I carry. My damaged ego and the hurt I carried from my first ex and what happened got in the way of my 2nd marriage. At this point, I need to move on from that before I can even consider being in a relationship, because it's not the person's job to fix me, or put up with me as a damaged, low self esteem having partner.
 

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Then the final straw was that he and our 15 year old foster daughter having a relationship.

The police said they couldn’t do anything without evidence or a statement from my daughter but I got her away from him immediately as well as informing his ex-wife about what had happened.
There's got to be more that story. What is the age of majority in your state.
 

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You entered into both marriages with faith that this was the right decision for you and I would assume you felt you could trust both me. It is not always easy to see the warning signs at first and sometimes when we see them we think it is minor and it will pass so don't be hard on yourself. Looking back now, what can see that perhaps you missed before?

My own situation is somewhat similar to your own....married high school sweetheart who I was head over heels in love with. Just a year into our marriage he wanted to start wife swapping and when I would not he started cheating. Marriage ended after 7 years when he had an affair with a lady he thought he wanted to marry. I then thought I was making a safe choice with my second husband and the reason I thought he was safe was because he was a single dad with custody of his children and had not dating in 3 years. Turns out that he would have obsessions with women from a distance and was a porn addict and could not develop relationships with women.

I spent 5 years in counseling understanding it all which really started in my own childhood which I will not go into but it really takes understanding yourself and what you allow in your life. It is very possible to move forward and be happier than you ever thought was possible. You have to understand that you are worthy of being treated well and you deserve to be with a person who knows how to treat you.
 
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