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Old 11-07-17, 01:24 PM
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A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

I feel stupid for even writing this post, but it's really been bothering me lately and I have to get it off my chest. I don't go to other forums and I can't think of anyone in my life that would really understand, so I'm venting it here in case there's someone out there who understands. I have issues with vulnerability because of my past, so it’s really difficult to share, especially knowing a lot of people will judge me for it, but I just need to.

So, my husband and I have been married for almost 14 yrs. We got married when we were 20 and we really had no business getting married. Everyone around us saw how bad we were together, but we stupidly ignored them and all the warning signs. We were both two broken people, with issues from our childhood and undiagnosed disorders. I believe he was attracted to me because I was happy and had an upbeat personality, while he had depression. I didn't really take the depression seriously because, at the time, I had practically no knowledge of mental health issues and didn't even believe most of them existed (ha, joke's on me!). He said he had been seeing a therapist for depression, but he didn't need that anymore because he had me. HUGE red flag right there! I also catered to his needs and put them before my own (I now know I’m codependent and this is a sign of codependency).

But why was I attracted to him? He was moody and kind of withdrawn, the type most women avoided. I believe my low self-esteem from my history of having a verbally and emotionally abusive father, created codependency and led me to someone who also had issues. Codependency makes you try to "fix" someone. Also, my low self-esteem caused me to feel very uncomfortable whenever a guy treated me well. I didn't know how to handle it and didn't feel like I deserved it, so I ignored them and went after the moody reclusive guys.

Our marriage was one big roller coaster ride and I won't go into most of it because it's not really relevant. To sum it up, all of the issues we both unknowingly brought into the marriage wreaked havoc. We both tried to fix things, but things never got resolved because the underlying problems never got addressed. Let me be clear and say that I was not a completely innocent victim in the marriage. I said and did my share of bad things that I regret. But since I'm the one venting here, I'm going to say the main issue *I* had in the marriage. On my side, it was an extremely (I can't emphasize that word enough) lonely marriage. I felt completely alone and isolated most of the marriage. I won't go into the gritty details of everything he did and turn this into a husband bashing thread, but basically it was like there was a wall I could never get past with him. There was just no way to reach him, I tried the whole marriage, always thinking one day I would get through to him and I never did. He rarely wanted to spend time with me, talk to me, connect, etc. AT ALL. When I tried talking to him, there was just nothing there, no real understanding, no empathy, no interest. I think he tried, but he couldn’t. I don’t think he ever intended to hurt me, he never said anything to hurt me on purpose, never raised a hand to me or anything like that. He was just “emotionally unavailable”. It wasn’t even just with me, he has never really connected with the kids, either, and has never been very involved in raising them, never wanted to do things as a family or anything.

I'm convinced we had the most bizarre marriage on the planet. Why would we stay together so long? Well, from what I gathered from him, he didn't think things were all that bad, I just needed to show him more affection and everything would be a-ok. From my side, I had a lot of religious influence in my life that made me believe divorce was morally wrong and I kept hearing over and over, “You should not look to your partner for your happiness”. I took that to mean that I should just suck up my unhappiness and trudge on, hoping it would one day get better. I also thought divorce was the worst thing ever for kids. You don’t have to tell me I’m stupid, I’ve already told myself that for many years. I know it doesn’t make sense to ignore the good guys, go after the messed-up guys and then wonder why they’re not acting like you think they should. I can’t explain it, except I’m messed up myself. It seems like for the most part, healthy people attract healthy people and damaged people attract damaged people.

At the very end of our marriage, when we gave a last-ditch effort to save things and we were reading a book about ADHD and marriage, we had both read the same exact chapter. I asked him if he now understood some of the pain and resentment I had built up over the years. I told him that it had been so painful and lonely, that I had reached the point where one night I had a major anxiety attack and wanted to die. I still can't believe it, but this is what he told me. He said, "Yes, but that's in the past and you just have to move on. Now when can we get to the chapter about intimacy?" I kid you not, those were almost his exact words. That was when I realized he was not capable of empathy or any type of real connection, that he wasn't even capable of loving me.

When I had my major anxiety attack, it happened out of nowhere, when the realization hit me that he had never been capable of loving me and I had wasted all those years. I know I should have seen that much sooner, but I guess I was just in denial and caught up in confusion. When it hit me, it felt like a freight train and I was just completely incapacitated. I didn’t become suicidal, but I remember thinking over and over that I just wanted to be struck dead. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever felt. The stress caused physical symptoms that almost sent me to the doctor, but I managed it on my own. He was not interested in anything that was going on with me. I started seriously considering preparing to leave him. It was right after this incident, that I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child. I was so in denial, that I didn’t even take a test until I was almost in the 2nd semester, even though I knew. I felt so overwhelmed. At that time, I also had a 2 yr old in speech therapy and had just found out the two older kids have ADHD and Dyslexia, so my world was just falling apart. But I had to keep it together for my kids and try to maintain a healthy pregnancy for the baby. Please don’t take any of this to mean my kids are unloved and unwanted. It’s the opposite. Each of them are a precious blessing that has brought me so much joy, with purpose and a reason to be here, regardless of the circumstances that brought them here and their screw up parents.

About the time our youngest child turned 6 months old, the charade ended. I had had the final straw and in that moment, we both knew it was over. We talked about things a few times and decided to separate. That was about a year and a half ago. He mentioned filing for divorce several months ago, but still has not. I've been so busy and it just hasn't been high on my to-do list. I'm honestly scared and intimidated by the process. But I think if he doesn't file soon, I'm going to buckle up and get it over with, so I can move on.

I joined a codependent support group on FB and I hear so many women say separating from their spouse was so difficult and they still love them and miss them so much. I can't identify with that at all. All I feel is relief. I lost myself in that marriage. I couldn't be myself. He either wasn't interested in the things that made me *me* or he only had negative things to say about my interests. There was a lot of walking on eggshells because of his moodiness. I've been working on finding myself again and exploring my interests again. It's been so slow going, though, because of having young kids, plus I'm taking college classes now. My therapist asks me what I do for self-care and I give her a blank stare every time. I'm like, "I'm a single mom of four. I eat, shower, brush my teeth, and get a few hours’ sleep each night". She says I need to do more than that and pursue my interests. Well, I am trying. I'm trying to overcome my codependency and low self-esteem, I'm trying to be happy with myself. My mom also currently lives with me and it’s beneficial for both of us. I’m so thankful and I don’t know what I would do without her support.

All this time, I have not even considered or wanted to think about dating. Right after our separation, one of my friends asked if I was dating yet. I was kind of shocked. I told her first of all, I have four kids! Why on earth would anyone want anything to do with me? One or two, maybe, but four?! She herself, has three kids and also went through a divorce. I asked her how she met her current boyfriend and she said an online dating site! She made an account and practically the next day, met him and now they are so in love and he's so supportive of her, they love each other's kids, blah, blah, blah. I'm like, how do people do that? That really happens? Anyways, I was also surprised she asked because I'm still technically married. I know some people date when they're still married, but it just seems wrong to me. I also told her I needed to work on myself for awhile. She responded by telling me that there are great and caring guys out there and she decided she deserved to be happy and I do, too. I brushed all that off and went on with life.

This all kind of brings me to the point of this thread. I went from thinking about not dating ever again and just seeing if the “right” person somehow fell into my life, to having several nights where I cry because I feel lonely and just wish I had someone to talk to. Not someone like my friends and family, but someone on a much deeper level, like I had always wanted in my marriage, but never got. I don’t cry over missing my husband or anything from our marriage, I cry because I miss what I never got to experience and then I start to despair because I don’t think I will ever experience it. But when I think about trying to find that potential person, I feel stupid and guilty. What business does a mess like me have trying to suck someone else into my chaos? All my issues with low self-esteem come to the surface and I tell myself no one would ever want to be with me. I’m nothing like most of the women I know, who have everything together, don’t forget things, don’t do/say stupid things all the time. They seem so mature and “adult-ish”, to me. I sing and dance around to stupid songs, talk in funny voices and make a fool out of myself (all at home, of course) and basically act like the typical “goofy dad”, except it’s only acceptable when guys do it, but a huge turn off when women do it. Maybe it sounds silly to worry about stuff like that, but it really is a big concern of mine and I constantly beat myself up about it. I just feel so “different” compared to other women. Sometimes I think I can’t even blame all my “abnormality” on my ADD and anxiety. Sometimes I think I’m just weird, period. I don’t really even know how to explain it or put it into words, but I’m the opposite of what a guy would look for, so what business would I have even trying? It’s like three strikes, you’re out. I have a bunch of kids, strike one! My life is crazy, strike two! I have mental health issues, strike three!

And then there’s my more serious concerns. It recently dawned on me that I think my marriage was emotionally abusive. So basically, I’ve been emotionally abused all my life. How much emotional abuse can a person take before they become “emotionally unavailable” and too damaged? I wonder if I’m too damaged to ever be in a healthy relationship. What if I did to the poor guy what my husband did to me? What if *I’m* really the problem? What if I’m more messed up than I even know? Or what if I end up in another dysfunctional relationship with another moody person? I guess I should find someone who is also weird, has infinite patience, is not moody or too serious, likes to talk and connect, etc. But does such a guy exist and can I afford to be “picky” (if that’s even picky) with everything I have going against me? I’ve never really “dated” before, not the right way, anyways. And I don’t think the meds will completely mask my ADD and anxiety. I could just see how I would introduce myself, “Oh hey, I’ve got a bunch of crazy kids, a lifetime of abuse, more baggage than an airport, and a smorgasbord of mental health issues! I enjoy long drives to the therapist’s office, verbally abusing myself, making poor choices, and failing at adulthood. Want to date?”

Right now, I am seeing a therapist every few weeks, but we’re just getting started. I just got diagnosed with ADD and anxiety. I just started meds for both. I just started counseling, but we are mostly just addressing my anxiety right now. She mentioned she wanted to talk about my marriage issues at some point and that would be a good time to bring all this up. But what should I do in the meantime? Keep doing what I’m doing? Should I tell the therapist, “Hold up! I’m suddenly crying every night because of something I’ll probably never have and we need to talk about this now!” Or should I just ignore that for now and keep pressing on? The thing is, I can’t even imagine myself ever having a healthy view of myself. I can’t even imagine ever just being happy with myself and having confidence. I don’t even know if I’ll ever attain that. I can’t even imagine having someone around who treats me right and actually cares, I can’t even picture what that would look like. Does that mean I should just ignore my feelings and give up the idea of ever dating? I’m only 33, but I’m not getting any younger. All of this could take years, so at what point would I be “healthy enough” to start dating? I keep thinking I have to make my life perfect before I can date, but it will never be perfect.

Am I just stupid and wrong for even thinking about all this, for wanting this? You can be honest. I keep thinking that I love my kids and think they’re the most awesome people in the world, but they would drive someone else crazy. But then I think that that shouldn’t matter because people usually don’t meet each other’s kids for awhile anyways, and it’s not like they would immediately be jumping right into the middle of my crazy life. That would only happen if it got serious and by that time, maybe things would have calmed down some. But then I think they would be turned off that my mom lives with me, and I don’t know how long that will be for, but it will be for as long as she wants it to be because she comes first. I’m really jumping the gun, aren’t I? BTW, all this speculation about dating is stuff I’m thinking about for after I’m officially divorced, not right now. But I still can’t help what I feel. God, I feel so stupid writing all this, but I have to get it out there and purge it. Where else, but the World Wide Web for everyone to see and shake their heads in pity?

I’m expecting to hear that I need all the therapy in the world and am crazy for thinking about all this, but then how do I focus only on myself and ignore these feelings of loneliness? Has anyone else dealt with something similar, where you know you need to focus on yourself and work on healing yourself, but then you reach the point where you are just desperate for a partner who knows you, understands you, accepts you and connects with you on that level? Someone you can just talk about *anything* with and they wouldn’t judge you? I’ve even thought that since my life is so crazy right now, I would just join some type of penpal site and see if there was someone I connected with and enjoyed talking with and maybe someday it could turn into something more. That’s pretty pathetic, isn’t it?

Well, this was a doozy of a post and it was all over the place, but I had to get it all out there because it’s really been bothering me lately. If anyone can relate or has any advice, I’m open to it. Thank you if you read all this.
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Old 11-07-17, 02:28 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

Well I may disappoint you ... and you may think I don't "get you," but I don't think you're crazy at all ... I don't think the mixed feelings and confusion you report here are crazy or bizarre or put you in some category of unique defectiveness.

In fact, I sense you are really insightful about yourself and very honest about yourself, and that is a great foundation for going forward.

You know: there have been times in my life when I felt confusion similar to the confusion you report here ... and I swore to myself, "I'm nuts. All these questions don't make sense."

I swear ... I absolutely swear this. After I have gotten through these periods and gotten more insight, I saw each time that the questions and conflicts I had ... and the confusion I had--all made perfect and reasonable sense.

A suggestion: a therapist meeting every few weeks ain't gonna do it. Definitely once a week ... when I hit one of my worst crises about ten years ago, I saw the therapist two times a week for about three months.

Get to the right therapist. Someone who you like (love!) spending time with ... someone you have a bond with ... and someone who is smart as heck about understanding you, someone whose insight blows you away ... Never grade a therapist on a curve. Evaluate them mercilessly, brutally or else you're wasting your time and their time. Might take visits to half a dozen folks before you find someone inspiring.

To answer your dating question, dating now could be quite healing for you ... even before you are "fixed" and have figured out your issues. Other people (the right other people) can often be enormously helpful and supportive. So yeah, wait for getting married. But I don't think you have to wait for dating. Just stay present and honest ... and you can get a lot out of dating. You might also just meet some people who turn out to be great friends.

Finally, part of feeling stuck ... as you feel right now ... is that it is impossible to imagine what your life would be like without the confusion you feel. That's a normal feeling, but it isn't the truth. It's just a feeling. Don't trust that feeling.

And yes, ADHD complicates all of these issues ... so get that treated aggressively ...

Good luck.

Tone
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Old 11-07-17, 04:25 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

huh, I imagined way wilder and far more dysfunctional than I read. More later, I only have a three hour lunch.
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Old 11-07-17, 07:46 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

I'm really impressed. With all the difficult experience in the recent past you are still able to sing and dance and laugh around. The fact that you are managing 4 kids on your own means that you are super mom!!

I think you judge yourself too harshly. I think a lot of us do. Maybe it's habit because when you have ADHD and keep screwing up there just seems to always be a lot to judge. Nothing in your post though sounded like it could be judged negatively. I love that you goof around with your kids. Wouldn't anyone like that? Why wouldn't men like that? All the things you mentioned, tge singing dancing, not being afraid of making a fool of yourself are desirable.ble. I think.

I agree with your therapist in the sense that it would be good to do.seyhing just got yourself. It doesn't have to be anything big just something that you can look forward to every day and that makes you feel Asif you are growing in some way...like. Learning a new skill. I think that might not only help with the self esteem issues a bit (not because you are picking up a skill but because you are giving yourself enough importance to do.someyhimggood for yourself on a regular basis) but it might also vesooyhing and help with stress.

I'd try online dating. Don't sell yourself short and do let other people decide for themselves what they think.of you. I doubt you'd be emotionally unavailable. I'm sure the past has left its mark but that doesn't necessarily mean that you are damaged or more importantly they you are permanently damaged.



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Old 11-07-17, 09:29 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToneTone View Post
Well I may disappoint you ... and you may think I don't "get you," but I don't think you're crazy at all ... I don't think the mixed feelings and confusion you report here are crazy or bizarre or put you in some category of unique defectiveness.

In fact, I sense you are really insightful about yourself and very honest about yourself, and that is a great foundation for going forward.

You know: there have been times in my life when I felt confusion similar to the confusion you report here ... and I swore to myself, "I'm nuts. All these questions don't make sense."

I swear ... I absolutely swear this. After I have gotten through these periods and gotten more insight, I saw each time that the questions and conflicts I had ... and the confusion I had--all made perfect and reasonable sense.

A suggestion: a therapist meeting every few weeks ain't gonna do it. Definitely once a week ... when I hit one of my worst crises about ten years ago, I saw the therapist two times a week for about three months.

Get to the right therapist. Someone who you like (love!) spending time with ... someone you have a bond with ... and someone who is smart as heck about understanding you, someone whose insight blows you away ... Never grade a therapist on a curve. Evaluate them mercilessly, brutally or else you're wasting your time and their time. Might take visits to half a dozen folks before you find someone inspiring.

To answer your dating question, dating now could be quite healing for you ... even before you are "fixed" and have figured out your issues. Other people (the right other people) can often be enormously helpful and supportive. So yeah, wait for getting married. But I don't think you have to wait for dating. Just stay present and honest ... and you can get a lot out of dating. You might also just meet some people who turn out to be great friends.

Finally, part of feeling stuck ... as you feel right now ... is that it is impossible to imagine what your life would be like without the confusion you feel. That's a normal feeling, but it isn't the truth. It's just a feeling. Don't trust that feeling.

And yes, ADHD complicates all of these issues ... so get that treated aggressively ...

Good luck.

Tone
Thank you! Maybe a big part of it is that dating just scares the hell out of me. I'm awkward, not good at conversation, and just feel I have nothing to offer except problems. All the problems I ever had with my very few brief "dating" experiences, will all come back to haunt me when I realize I still can't be normal.

And you're right, I can't imagine anything different than what has always been. I will try to push past that feeling, though.
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Old 11-07-17, 09:31 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

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Originally Posted by Little Missy View Post
huh, I imagined way wilder and far more dysfunctional than I read. More later, I only have a three hour lunch.
Sorry to disappoint you, lol! Maybe I didn't do a good enough job explaining things because it feels pretty wild and dysfunctional from this side!
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Old 11-07-17, 09:39 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

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I'm really impressed. With all the difficult experience in the recent past you are still able to sing and dance and laugh around. The fact that you are managing 4 kids on your own means that you are super mom!!

I think you judge yourself too harshly. I think a lot of us do. Maybe it's habit because when you have ADHD and keep screwing up there just seems to always be a lot to judge. Nothing in your post though sounded like it could be judged negatively. I love that you goof around with your kids. Wouldn't anyone like that? Why wouldn't men like that? All the things you mentioned, tge singing dancing, not being afraid of making a fool of yourself are desirable.ble. I think.
I might not mind it so much if I did either of those things well, but I don't so it's really embarrassing. Sometimes I do it on purpose for the benefit of my kids, but other times I don't even realize I'm doing it until my kids get the "Mom's gone mad again" look on their faces. I often think, "Why am I such an idiot?!" I can't imagine any of the mature women I know doing it and it makes me feel so immature.
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Old 11-07-17, 11:08 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

that's quite the novella

i confess, i skimmed a good chunk of it, but i think i got the main points. at least i hope i did. x

your question about who would want you...

i don't have three kids, but i do have serious mental health issues. i have three diagnoses. and one of them is really bad.

i'm married. i've found people who wanted to date me. and my husband has zero diagnoses...legitimately. maybe some social anxiety in large groups...but nothing unhandleable by him.

i also have one small girl. she's 2.67 now. i commend you for being able to take care of four children.

i think what makes you date-able and lovable is, as fuzzy points out, the fact that you can handle having four kids...i mean, that's huge. and the fact that you're goofy with them--i'm super goofy with mine and i don't give a **** if another person doesn't like it; she loves it it's also whether you value yourself. at times i've been perplexed as to why my partner stays with me through all of my ****...and he's sincerely perplexed that i would question it. when i'm less unwell, i don't have such confidence issues. i think you need to see value in yourself. and you rightfully should; i think you're valuable, and i'm certain i'm not alone in that.

i do want you to know, though, that having mental health issues is only a deal breaker if someone isn't up to accepting you as you come and respecting that you're working on yourself and you're (like all of us) a work in progress. i don't think that damaged people must only be with other damaged people. despite my issues, i don't think i'm necessarily "damaged goods"...though...it takes a certain kind of person to see me at times through my mental illness.

i guess what i'm saying here is that i'm no walk in the park, and i've been not just hospitalised, but involuntarily so, like, literally, dozens of times. and i've done some really regrettable **** when i've been unwell. but my husband is the most stable person i know. he sees my contributions to the world even when i cannot. and he's not some ogre or desperate or something

i don't know the first thing about dating. everyone who's been my boyfriend it either just happened suddenly or we were friends for quite a while first. i've not done internet dating either because i met my husband when we were both in central africa. we wrote letters to one another. it's a long story. point being: i don't know **** about dating, much less online dating. that said i think it's the thing to do now. so, you know, maybe give it a shot. or maybe take a cooking class or join the sierra club or something and see if you meet someone of interest that way.

just know that you're not damaged goods simply because you have mental health issues.

hope that helps and best wishes to you,
xx
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Old 11-08-17, 02:51 AM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

Well, I have a confession to make. I hate online dating sites, based on everything I've heard about them, but I created an account just out of curiosity of what they're like. I can't believe I already got a bunch of messages and I started hyperventilating. I ignored most of them because they're crap, but one person is a good looking single father of 4 and has the same interests as I do. If we got together, we could be the freaking Brady Bunch! And I messaged him back.

Anyways, WTH? I was not expecting that and now I'm panicking. I should not have done that. How long do people talk on these things before meeting, cause the thought of meeting someone makes me want to run for the hills. And everything is so wrong, I'm still technically married, I haven't even FILED yet! I'm a horrible person.
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Old 11-08-17, 05:26 AM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

White owl, I was touched by your post. It was written so well and it was so in touch and gut level honest, I commend and thank you for writing it. I am glad you are getting divorced. The whole time I was reading it I had to sit on my hands to keep myself from typing up a reply about how you deserve better. You are right, you do deserve better. You deserve to be loved. And I think trying the dating thing could be good for you. One thing though. Please do not intoduce your kids to the men you date for a long time. It can be very confusing to kids and you do not want to put them through the revolving door of them liking someone and then you deciding not to date them anymore or anything like that. If you meet Mr right then the time will come for meeting your kids but not for awhile.

Pay attention ton red flags. Not just the ones you are already familiar with because of your marriage. If it sets off alarm bells then think about it. Do not rush into or get swept away too easily. Its tempting because you want companionship but be cautious.
If you date a guy a few times do not feel pressured to be his girlfriend until you are ready. Remember in the old days people would date and then go steady? well you can still do that today. No one says that after 5 dates you have to be in a relationship if you are not ready.
Be mindful of con artists. They look for people that are new to the scene to take advantage of them. Do not disclose your mental health stuff immeditately, you want to give your date the chance to get to know you.

Your story is amazing. I have been married for 22 years and I am very lucky to have what I have, I dont know what I would do if I had to date. But I do believe everyone deserves to have the kind of love I am blessed with because I believe ALL life is precious.

You are NOT: stupid, lazy, crazy, awful, terrible, unworthy, useless, unloveable, evil, worthless, horrid,dumb, imperfect, flawed,defective,damaged goods or insignificant.
You are human,
you have flaws,
you have gifts.
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I carried a watermelon?

I've always been one of a kind. It just hasnt always been positive.
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Old 11-08-17, 05:32 AM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteOwl View Post
Well, I have a confession to make. I hate online dating sites, based on everything I've heard about them, but I created an account just out of curiosity of what they're like. I can't believe I already got a bunch of messages and I started hyperventilating. I ignored most of them because they're crap, but one person is a good looking single father of 4 and has the same interests as I do. If we got together, we could be the freaking Brady Bunch! And I messaged him back.

Anyways, WTH? I was not expecting that and now I'm panicking. I should not have done that. How long do people talk on these things before meeting, cause the thought of meeting someone makes me want to run for the hills. And everything is so wrong, I'm still technically married, I haven't even FILED yet! I'm a horrible person.
Congrats. I think you've done well to make an account. It's a first step to do something good for yourself.

You are not a horrible person at all. That much is clear from your posts including the one above.

I've never really done any online dating so I could be totally wrong but I'd keep chatting online till you are comfortable meeting that person. I'd chat about everything but meeting..maybe the way you'd chat with a long distance friend. If the other person insists about meeting right away after just one chat just tell him to stuff it.

That's the great thing about onkine dating I guess. If you don't like someone or have concerns you never need to see them again.
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Old 11-08-17, 07:18 AM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

Before I say anything else I have to say it was really brave of you to open up completely like this despite having a difficult time being vulnerable and thinking everyone would judge you. You should give yourself a big pat on the back for doing something so scary! Go you!!

I also wanted to say most of what sarahsweets pointed out in her post. When coming out of a long relationship and feeling lonely you are particularly vulnerable to con artists, so pay good attention to what your gut says about the other person. Take your time and get to know the other person well before getting the kids involved. You most definitely can afford being picky! That said, I hope everything works out with this guy!!

As for your goofiness, I personally view that as a major plus (if not a requirement) in both friends and people whom I date. It shows that you know how to enjoy life, that you're not judgmental and don't take everything too seriously. Life is far too short for the kind of faux maturity often expected from soccer moms and suburbanites. How much time a person spends trying to appease an unwritten and entirely superficial standard in an effort to impress others ultimately says a lot about that person's actual self-esteem. In my experience they are directly inversely correlated. So keep being goofy and own it, you'll have fun and your kids will love it!

I also want to second what Fuzzy12 said in her post: from the posts of yours that I have read as well as from talking with you you, I can say that you are certainly not a horrible person at all!

As for online dating, I have done it a few times. Usually I talk to someone for anything between a few days to a few months before meeting up, it depends on how soon both parties feel comfortable. Also, before meeting up I suggest laying out some base expectations of what you expect from the date. Will it be coffee for half an hour and that's it or something more? I personally make it very clear that sex isn't even on the table (nor anywhere else ) for the first several dates, which usually weeds out people who aren't looking for anything serious.

I hope I didn't miss anything but I just wanted to say that you're awesome and deserve happiness. I also want to second everyone who says you're a super mom for handling four kids!! (Well, five if we count your husband by the sound of it.) That alone makes you super impressive!

Just remember to take it slow with this new guy and hey, worst case scenario if it doesn't work out, you now know there are plenty guys interested in women with four kids and you get some free dating experience out of it! You got this!
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Old 11-08-17, 04:31 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
White owl, I was touched by your post. It was written so well and it was so in touch and gut level honest, I commend and thank you for writing it. I am glad you are getting divorced. The whole time I was reading it I had to sit on my hands to keep myself from typing up a reply about how you deserve better. You are right, you do deserve better. You deserve to be loved. And I think trying the dating thing could be good for you. One thing though. Please do not intoduce your kids to the men you date for a long time. It can be very confusing to kids and you do not want to put them through the revolving door of them liking someone and then you deciding not to date them anymore or anything like that. If you meet Mr right then the time will come for meeting your kids but not for awhile.
Thank you! Yes, I agree about him not meeting the kids for awhile. I wouldn't want them getting attached or him getting scared away by my crazy kids!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets
Pay attention ton red flags. Not just the ones you are already familiar with because of your marriage. If it sets off alarm bells then think about it. Do not rush into or get swept away too easily. Its tempting because you want companionship but be cautious.
If you date a guy a few times do not feel pressured to be his girlfriend until you are ready. Remember in the old days people would date and then go steady? well you can still do that today. No one says that after 5 dates you have to be in a relationship if you are not ready.
Be mindful of con artists. They look for people that are new to the scene to take advantage of them. Do not disclose your mental health stuff immeditately, you want to give your date the chance to get to know you.
This is all great advice, thank you! I've been wondering when the right time is to talk about mental health stuff, not just with me, but the kids, too. It's one of the things that worries me the most because there is still so much misunderstanding out there about mental health.
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Old 11-08-17, 05:40 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

People can't really tell--and don't really care--how nervous you are on a first meeting. The human processing system ironically doesn't focus on nervousness.

I have taught public speaking classes and after a student would speak, I would ask them how nervous they were. They would say ... you know 9 out of 10 ... terrified. There would always be a chuckle from the class. People NEVER thought the person was as nervous as the person said they were.

Even in relationships with immediate hot chemistry, both people are nervous. Nervousness and fear are part of the dopamine high.

On mental health, you don't need to disclose that at the beginning.

A therapist one explained it to me this way. Imagine you were to meet someone with a really messy room/house ... and imagine you go see this messy room at the start of the date, before you talk to them and get to know them a little. You'll freak. It's a reflex, may be biological. But let's imagine you get to know someone a least a little bit, and you like them ... and THEN you see their messy space. You'll have much more perspective to not freak out at the messy space.

Set up a 30-minute coffee when meeting someone online for the first time. You just want to meet them enough to know if you want to meet them again. Period.

And keep going. I once read about a woman who would schedule like 5 or 6 coffee dates on a Saturday ... almost back to back. She knew she needed to meet a lot of people before she found someone she connected with.

Meeting someone you like and who likes you is really a numbers game. It's just that in the non-online world, we forget how many people we meet through the normal course of our lives before we become friends or lovers with a particular person.

Tone
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Old 11-08-17, 10:20 PM
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Re: A very long vent about marriage and dating (read if you dare)

WhiteOwl, I read your whole post, some parts more than once, and I want you to know that you are not alone. I understand you. I understand the need to vent, to be heard. I understand feeling vulnerable. I understand the fear of being judged. I understand wanting to have deep connection with the one you choose to share your life. I understand what it's like to be a codependent. I understand having a low self-esteem. I understand feeling like you are weird, different, or "abnormal". You are not alone.

Honestly, I believe everyone will have these kinds of thoughts, experience these kinds of feelings, have similar needs, wants, or desires, at different times in their lives. You are not stupid. Far from it. You are simply human.

My advice is to keep going to therapy. Not because I think you are crazy, but because the therapist can help guide you as you work toward a better understanding of yourself. Keep pressing on with working toward your goals and seeking improvement. I would not ignore things that are bothering you though. Address your concerns and worries head on. Allow your therapist to help you work through each of them. Otherwise they will just eat away at you and hinder your overall progress.

As far as dating goes, I agree with all of what Sarah wrote. Pay attention to your instincts. Be aware of those red flags. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to find a soulmate. You are still young. Take your time and have some fun.

It's hard not to compare ourselves to others, but to me everyone's "normal" is different so we should do what makes us happy and feels right to us. Remember to focus on your strengths. Learn to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. The only time we truly fail, is when we don't try at all. And you, my dear, are succeeding in more ways than you realize!
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