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Relationship.........no. Friendship..... another story. At this time in your life, friends can be priceless
 

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I didn't grey rock her. I called her back this evening and we talked for a while and I told her I was not in a good place to be dating and that I probably wouldn't be calling her back again. I know that will disappoint all of you, but I can't do something when I feel like I'm faking it, and I would be faking it if I took her out again. It is not Viet Girl that I don't trust: I don't trust myself. I don't trust myself not to get prematurely attached to her. I don't need anymore attachments a this point in my life. I haven't gotten over Sarah yet and I don't need to bring that baggage into any friendship or relationship.
If you're not ready, you're not ready. I think a lot of us tried to push you in a certain direction. However, you know yourself best. :)
 

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I didn't grey rock her. I called her back this evening and we talked for a while and I told her I was not in a good place to be dating and that I probably wouldn't be calling her back again. I know that will disappoint all of you, but I can't do something when I feel like I'm faking it, and I would be faking it if I took her out again. It is not Viet Girl that I don't trust: I don't trust myself. I don't trust myself not to get prematurely attached to her. I don't need anymore attachments a this point in my life. I haven't gotten over Sarah yet and I don't need to bring that baggage into any friendship or relationship.
Nothing wring with that.
Take some time and get your s*** sorted.
Get mentally stronger and gird your loins.
Because the "Opera" osn't over for you yet, I'm afraid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #805 ·
Looking back I let myself fall in love with Sarah too quickly. We just had such great chemistry and we jelled so well that I put aside my usual precautions and let myself fall for her hook and sinker. I was so dazzled by everything about her that I overlooked things in her past that I should have paid more attention to. To those who say that a person's past should have no bearing on the present, or that it your partner's sexual or romantic past of none of your business... well they are obviously people who have never been jilted or two-timed. It does matter and it should be taken into account. Shoulda woulda coulda.
 

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Looking back I let myself fall in love with Sarah too quickly. We just had such great chemistry and we jelled so well that I put aside my usual precautions and let myself fall for her hook and sinker. I was so dazzled by everything about her that I overlooked things in her past that I should have paid more attention to. To those who say that a person's past should have no bearing on the present, or that it your partner's sexual or romantic past of none of your business... well they are obviously people who have never been jilted or two-timed. It does matter and it should be taken into account. Shoulda woulda coulda.
Don't beat yourself up too bad. Look at the positives. You met and befriended what sounds like a fine young man and helped him in a time of need. Would you have made that trip to Spain had all this not happened? And look at all the wonderful people you've met on TAM :) I'm sure you did have your share of fun with Sarah too. I bet there are other positives you can think of. Don't let this relationship make you bitter, maybe just a little wiser.
 

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Arthur, I had a horrid incident like you had with Sarah happen when I was a younger man. I used to go for walks and see her in every second woman's face. It was threatening to suck the good person right out of me.

Do humanity a big favor and spend fewer years in that dark space than I did. It did me no good as a person, and there were many wonderful women in my life afterwards, but I carried some of that cynicism with me through those relationships.

This song used to echo in my brain too


I'm sure you can relate.

There have been studies done on ptsd cases (I'm not saying this is ptsd) that showed that if the victim is distracted from the incident asap after it happens, it embeds itself into the brain much less deeply. I wish I would have known that, and done more to distract myself, like your trip to Spain for example. Use your own example there, and keep distracting yourself until time has a chance to heal the wound - at a faster rate than if you keep thinking about her.

I think you're doing great, all things considered - two thumbs up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #808 ·
It's not that I distrust women now. Not at all. It is myself I don't trust. I don't trust my instincts, if I ever had instincts to begin with. Thing is I thought I was at a point in my life where I had burned through decades of purely superficial dating relationships and was feeling like I had finally met the woman I was going to settle down and spend the rest of my dotage with. Thing is, little did I know she had other plans. She was using me as a placeholder, nothing more, and I didn't see it.

It is not cynicism or misanthropy. I have extreme self-distrust right now. I wouldn't trust myself to pick a decent toothpaste right now.
 

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Arthur, maybe some IC to try and help you see what you ignored from Sarah initially that would maybe help you in your future relationships? If you don't trust yourself, you probably won't trust your own analysis of what went on, so maybe a 3rd party could help you do this?
 

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It's not that I distrust women now. Not at all. It is myself I don't trust. I don't trust my instincts, if I ever had instincts to begin with. Thing is I thought I was at a point in my life where I had burned through decades of purely superficial dating relationships and was feeling like I had finally met the woman I was going to settle down and spend the rest of my dotage with. Thing is, little did I know she had other plans. She was using me as a placeholder, nothing more, and I didn't see it.

It is not cynicism or misanthropy. I have extreme self-distrust right now. I wouldn't trust myself to pick a decent toothpaste right now.
I'm late to the party, but I'd light to weight in here.
You are mindreading. You don't know that you were a placeholder. It is very likely that Sarah was as into you as you thought she was. When her mil died, she and her ex had a kind of trauma bonding and she was swept back into a time past in their relationship, when they were family. It is very likely that their shared grief was like a magnet.
Based on what you've said, it doesn't sound like you're radar is messed up. No one could have seen this coming.
 

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I'm late to the party, but I'd light to weight in here.
You are mindreading. You don't know that you were a placeholder. It is very likely that Sarah was as into you as you thought she was. When her mil died, she and her ex had a kind of trauma bonding and she was swept back into a time past in their relationship, when they were family. It is very likely that their shared grief was like a magnet.
Based on what you've said, it doesn't sound like you're radar is messed up. No one could have seen this coming.
I actually had a very similar thought. I don't have the benefit of @ArthurGPym hind sight of the whole relationship, but from what is posted here I've thought that the death was the trigger. It doesn't make it right, but I also don't think she had this planned, even subconsciously. I think you are right on that this put her back in time due to feeling grief for the MIL and sympathy for her ExH.
 

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It's not that I distrust women now. Not at all. It is myself I don't trust. I don't trust my instincts, if I ever had instincts to begin with. Thing is I thought I was at a point in my life where I had burned through decades of purely superficial dating relationships and was feeling like I had finally met the woman I was going to settle down and spend the rest of my dotage with. Thing is, little did I know she had other plans. She was using me as a placeholder, nothing more, and I didn't see it.

It is not cynicism or misanthropy. I have extreme self-distrust right now. I wouldn't trust myself to pick a decent toothpaste right now.
I see.

Just remove the word 'cynicism' from my post then.

I'm actually heartened that you're not thinking Sarah's behavior is indicative of, well, general human behavior.

After reading this, I'm hoping you're not placing too much responsibility for this on yourself either though. Nobody's picker is 90% foolproof.
 

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To be clear, I don't condone her behavior towards you. Once she realized she had feeling for her ex, it seemed like she was trying to string you along while she made up her mind about what to do. I just don't think that her declarations of love and commitment towards you were lies to manipulate you. She seemed genuine until the death flipped that switch and she was back in the web of her former life.

I don't think you missed anything that was apparent early on. I don't think even Sarah knew that this was beneath the surface. Sometimes life is like this. There is way more beneath the surface than we can understand until something triggers a response that we weren't expecting.
 

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Please take it easy on yourself.

your ex put you through one of the worst types of hell I can imagine. It is only natural for you to still be dealing with this emotional turmoil and questioning everything about yourself.

deciding to begin dating again is a HUGE STEP! Be proud of yourself for even trying it!!!

so, ok, you tried it and realized you need some more time. There is nothing wrong with that. Many here are just concerned that you may go to the extreme and never be with another woman again. You will. But going through the dating process and then opening yourself up to another woman will be challenging. You are giving her the ability to hurt you like your ex hurt you. Giving someone that power requires a great deal of courage. But you will get there again, when you are ready and on your own timeline. What many are concerned with is that you will intentionally wall yourself off from the world, including women, because what your ex did to you. People here want to encourage you to not be afraid to take such a big step. But again, you will do it. You will ultimately take that huge step.

Hang in there. From my perspective, you are doing just fine. It takes time to get over the trauma your ex inflicted on you. And please remember, when the dark thoughts, self-doubt, and negative feelings come at you, you had NOTHING to do with this! This is all the result of a selfish, broken, and greatly flawed individual! And you could have been the PERFECT partner and did EVERYTHING right, and that selfish, broken, and greatly flawed person still would have done EXACTLY what she did.

Stay strong. I promise you will get through this. It will just be one step at a time.
 

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It's not that I distrust women now. Not at all. It is myself I don't trust. I don't trust my instincts, if I ever had instincts to begin with. Thing is I thought I was at a point in my life where I had burned through decades of purely superficial dating relationships and was feeling like I had finally met the woman I was going to settle down and spend the rest of my dotage with. Thing is, little did I know she had other plans. She was using me as a placeholder, nothing more, and I didn't see it.

It is not cynicism or misanthropy. I have extreme self-distrust right now. I wouldn't trust myself to pick a decent toothpaste right now.
Have you thought about just dating extremely casually in the meantime? Go for the slow burn?
 

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Dating can be difficult, especially if you are not great at it. That was my dilemma after my divorce. There is nothing much more disappointing than to go on a series of one-time dates where expectations seemed to always exceed reality no matter how hard I tried to manage them. I eventually dropped out of the dating world by casually dating someone for over a decade. That was not the answer. It numbed the pain of loneliness on Saturday nights, but just barely. My brother helped get me out of my malaise and soon thereafter I met my life partner.

I suspect that if your last date knocked your socks off, you would feel differently. But, alas, it seldom happens that way. At least that is my experience.

You seem to be someone who doesn't have difficulty meeting women. Consequently, you are better off than many single men. Clearly, you have been around and have dated quite a bit since your divorce so I am not going to give you advice on what to do other than to try and manage expectations. Also, from reading your story, you don't strike me as someone who intends on being a monk.

So, you really have no choice. You will get back out there. You must also knock Sarah off her pedestal once and for all. I failed to do that with my first serious girlfriend after my divorce. I wasted way too many years trying to replace her with someone just like her including her name. When I look back, I realize that I dodged a bullet. Things that endeared me to her many years ago, turn me off today.
 

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@ArthurGPym I know many people who would just use others to get over an ex. The fact that you are so honest with yourself, and considerate of her becoming a "victim of your uncertainties" speaks volumes about your character. You are among the very few with class.

As for distrusting women or men, no one should be trusted unless that trust is built over time. My guess is you're just not in the best place right now. I have no doubt that your principals will guide you well through this. You just need more time.

And lastly, of course a person's past matters. True measure of character is how one acts and not what one says. A good predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Can people change? Sure, but I'm not going to take that gamble on a relationship.

Lastly, my only advice is keep your friendship alive with the Viet girl as much as possible. Text her whenever you have a better day. Perhaps a good friendship can come out of it. All the best to you.
 

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It's not that I distrust women now. Not at all. It is myself I don't trust. I don't trust my instincts, if I ever had instincts to begin with. Thing is I thought I was at a point in my life where I had burned through decades of purely superficial dating relationships and was feeling like I had finally met the woman I was going to settle down and spend the rest of my dotage with. Thing is, little did I know she had other plans. She was using me as a placeholder, nothing more, and I didn't see it.

It is not cynicism or misanthropy. I have extreme self-distrust right now. I wouldn't trust myself to pick a decent toothpaste right now.
basically, you're acting like those people that "almost" drowned and were saved just in the nick of time, and because of it never get close to the waters again. FEAR. You can't let fear dictate your life.
 

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basically, you're acting like those people that "almost" drowned and were saved just in the nick of time, and because of it never get close to the waters again. FEAR. You can't let fear dictate your life.
My wife was damn near killed while road cycling with me, hit from behind by a distracted driver doing 60. She’ll most likely never get on a bike again and I can’t blame her for that. Giving up relationships altogether is obviously more extreme than refusing to get back in the saddle but I can understand AGP’s reluctance to dive back in just yet….
 

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I wonder if, with more time and distance, you will look back and see some red flags. Maybe not. But, indo and ot buy for a minute that her X MIL's death was some sort of trigger. Just seems too trite.
 
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