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laelithia

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  • #372615
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita!

    Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful time with your partner. Although I didn’t get a chance to log on here, I thought of you. It was a very busy time with work (many clients seem to be struggling during the holidays, especially with the pandemic this last year) but I tried my best to stay positive and focus on the good advice you have given me over the years and I believe that helped me keep going. Once again, I’m so grateful for you!

    I’ll start by acknowledging your last post a month ago! I am always shocked by how much time goes by when I take some time away from this thread. I hope you don’t take that personally Anita, I think sometimes I just get overwhelmed and find basic functioning (work, family responsibilities, etc.) difficult, let alone coming on here. I do apologize though, I know you take a lot of time to reply to posts here, and I don’t want to come across as unappreciative at all, because I do appreciate you very much.

    To answer your question, my doctor did not formally diagnose me with BP2, although she agreed my symptoms seemed to align with the diagnosis. She was hesitant to provide a formal diagnosis as she believed it may hinder me in the future (i.e., life insurance premiums, treatment by medical professionals, etc.) so she said it would be best if we treat the symptomology without the diagnosis. She did not want to prescribe me with the typical antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, as she believed my symptoms could be managed by continuing to see her on a regular basis, as well as continuing with my current psychologist. I took this advice, and have been doing so since.

    I have been thinking a lot of what you said about the figurative whip and putting it down no matter what. It has been difficult, but I have been trying. Sometimes I am able to, and sometimes I am not. The last month or so I had a particularly difficult time not picking up that whip, but I was able to at least distract myself with work and other responsibilities. However, as I mentioned earlier, it was not always for the best as so many of my clients have been struggling and it has taken a lot for me to be grounded for them. We recently had to put my sister’s dog to sleep also, which was very difficult for me and I am trying my best to be kind to myself as similar feelings of blame regarding my dog’s last year resurfaced. That being said, I have a new development/update for you. Right before Christmas, I went on 3 socially distanced dates. This is rather surprising as I have been trying not to date in my current hometown as I aspired to move to the other city, as well as for deciding a couple of weeks prior that perhaps it was best to stop dating altogether. I was actually reopening the app to delete it, but when I saw the messages from the 3 men offering to go on a socially distanced date, I thought why not. The first one was fine, the gentleman seemed kind, but it didn’t seem to evolve into anything else. The second was a doctor, a respirologist actually (also very busy during the pandemic for obvious reasons!) was also quite nice, but I wonder if I had made myself too nervous before the date and he did not end up contacting me again afterwards. I suppose I didn’t feel much chemistry/attraction myself so maybe it was just that and not my nerves/being a little late for the date, but who knows. The third ended up developing into a relationship that I’d like to discuss with you.

    I’ll refer to him as B. He is kind, sweet, caring, and probably everything I could ask for in terms of a relationship partner. He is very affectionate, reassuring, thoughtful and wants to help me any way he can. Although I only met him on the 20th, he has fully committed to me and deleted all his dating apps and is not seeing anyone else. He decided this very early on, perhaps only after our second or third date. At the time, I was elated. In fact, I called my friend after our third or fourth date (they were close together so I can’t remember the exact number of dates!) and told her I may have met my future husband. I’m not even too sure why I said that then, but I did have a special feeling about him. I know my M.O. is to rush into dating someone very soon, but something about him felt different, right. Also, it was unique that for once the man was reciprocating my excitement/eagerness.

    Anyway, as you may have suspected, it might have moved too soon. We deleted my dating apps together, but I noticed afterwards that I felt odd about it. On one hand, I felt very relieved to be off these dating apps, on the other, I felt that it maybe was too soon and perhaps I might regret it. I also started taking the birth control pill around this time, so I wonder if my shift in mood/excitement with the new relationship was impacted by that also. Either way, I have recently found myself somewhat panicking about the prospect of this relationship. I waver from feeling very secure/happy/grateful for having this man in my life, to terrified/worried/scared that I jumped in too soon, and that I either a) may hurt this man deeply which would horrify me, and b) may have hurt myself by not giving myself enough time to stabilize moodwise before jumping into a relationship and may have not made the best choice of mate.

    To help you conceptualize B, I’ll tell you a little about him. He is 39 years old, I am 31 for reference. He is the new CEO of a renewable energy company, but it is a newer company run by 2 founders close to age with me. This is of note, as just the other day one of the owners lost his temper at B for being late on a deadline and even threatened his job. It made me realize that perhaps it is not the best working environment for him, and also that his priorities might not be focused enough on work but on me as the reason for his tardiness on the deadline was that he was talking with me that evening about my reservations on our current status (a couple already). He had mentioned to me that day he had some work to finish in the evening, but I totally forgot as we started discussing our relationship. It is also of note that B was brought up quite religiously and was married for 16 years. He has been divorced for about a year and is on very good terms with his ex-wife, but it something to think about. He told me that he rarely had his physical needs (including affection) met in the relationship and that they differed in their approach with finances. In fact, he personally guaranteed a business venture that did not go well and had to file a consumer proposal to reduce the debt. He is now debt-free, but his credit has taken a hit because of this. I believe that he is an industrious person and is gainfully employed now, so I’m sure it won’t hinder us as a couple too much down the road, but I suppose it is not the best situation either. My last concern I’m rather embarrassed to even admit, is I’m not sure we are extremely compatible sexually. That being said, he had minor hernia surgery right before Christmas so I’m sure that will get better as he is healing.

    I suppose what I’m concerned about now is if I can trust my judgement on if someone is a good potential mate for me or not. I’m also nervous that my past history of rushing into things and then losing interest is happening here now, or if my shift in feelings (I still like his company very much, but I find myself slamming on the breaks rather than pushing the gas like I usually do) has to do with momentarily taking hormonal birth control, or lastly because my logic really is telling me he may not be the best match. To make matters worse, I recently contacted the man I was seeing in the other city to let him know of this development, he wrote that he was heartbroken and gave me some very sweet compliments and lamented the difficulties of long-distance relationships. I was surprised by this, as I didn’t realize we were in an actual relationship, as he and I only texted here and there since I was back in my hometown for the last 2 months. I feel particularly guilty about this, and wonder if I made the right choice by ending that off, especially that way.

    Anyway, I’m writing to you now as I feel a bit stuck. I’m not sure what I should do moving forward, and I’m worried that if I continue to see B any longer and I decide not to be with him long term, I will completely crush him and he is such a sweet man. We have a lot of fun together, have many interests in common, but I find myself terrified at the prospect of settling down long term. I just don’t know if that is because he isn’t “the one” for me, or of my own commitment phobia rearing its ugly head. B is so kind and sweet, and it’s so rare to find someone serious about commitment (I suppose this is what I asked for, as on the dating app I wrote that I was looking for someone to have fun with and build a life with) I feel like I should think twice before parting with him. I just wish I knew if my feelings of uncertainty with him are grounded in reality, or just another way for me to self-sabotage.

    Any insight on your part will be very helpful. I hope you’re doing well!

     

    L

    #370683
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your positive reframe about how my diagnosis could be a positive aspect in my work, rather than a negative one. I thought about that in a session I had with a client last week with a Bipolar I diagnosis. I did not disclose to him my diagnosis of Bipolar II, but at the end of the session he thanked me and said he felt so heard and understood during the session and was so grateful for my help. It helps me to know that perhaps my painful experiences can somehow inform my ability to help others today. I wonder if that’s how you feel too, with your past experiences and being able to help so many here on this forum.

    I did my best the last week or so to apply empathy for myself when grieving the loss of my dog, and my past mistakes in general. It is not easy, but I feel slowly it is healing. I’ve spent many years rehashing my past mistakes, judging myself, hating myself for them, but I have seen (with your help!) how unhelpful this has been for me moving forward. It has only worked to keep me rooted in the past, which I do not want anymore. I know I must be brave and face the present/future rather than living in the past, but it is not easy for me.

    I have been taking my newly prescribed medication nightly as instructed, and it has at the very minimum, helped me sleep much better. For the last few years I averaged around 4-5 hours of sleep, maximum, but now I have been sleeping a full 8 hours, sometimes a little more. I think in time this alone will really help with my healing, but for now, it’s not so noticeable. I see my doctor again tomorrow to follow up, she is very caring and competenant.

    I wanted to update you as well on something new. Recently, the man I wrote this post about (https://tinybuddha.com/topic/he-doesnt-feel-a-spark/) has reached out to me and we have been in regular contact. To give him credit, he followed up with me after I made the original post, but as he was resolved in his decision not to pursue a romantic relationship with me, I didn’t feel it necessary to continue to post about him. He did mention that he missed me a lot as a friend and someone to talk to, so I accepted his apology for how he handled the situation with me (telling me he’d like to take a month off our ‘relationship’ at the time to see how he felt, when really he was beginning a new relationship with someone else), and agreed to being friends. He has been with the partner he started to see after me, and he told me now has a 6-month old baby. I am happy for him, and have enjoyed talking with him as we have always had great conversations, but I wonder now if it is counterproductive/unhealthy for me.

    I had a vivid, very realistic dream with him in it, and in my dream his partner was not comfortable with us speaking and yet he continued to anyway and we even started to become more romantic in nature with one another. I don’t foresee this happening at all in real life (I get the impression he is very happy in his current relationship and is honest about only missing me as a friend/someone to talk to), yet it made me wonder if maybe it’s creating a longing for me that is not healthy. Last night and today I have found myself thinking back to the past (I can’t believe that it’s been 3 years ago), on how my current diagnosis of Bipolar II probably impacted this past ‘relationship’ too. It’s hard not to wonder what could have been had I gotten the help that I needed sooner, but I’m trying to practice what we spoke about and using compassion and empathy for myself rather than beating myself up over what happened 3 years ago. I’m also trying to tell myself that it’s possible that it wasn’t my issues that stamped out this relationship from blossoming into something real, and perhaps he simply wasn’t that in to me even if I had behaved better. I’ve thought about asking him about this now that he’s so open to talking, but I wonder if a) it doesn’t really matter, b) he might not even know, and c) it might open up a topic that might be inappropriate.

    Also, I feel like it’s hard not to feel envious of him and his partner. His baby is adorable, and he told me that his partner is truly his best friend. It makes me sad that I’ve wanted that for as long as I can remember, yet it still seems so out of reach for me while I have watched most of my past partners, friends, and family members find what has been so elusive to me. I worry that now that I finally seem aware and able to pursue romantic relationships in a more healthy manner, that it is too late, that most of the good men are taken. That even years ago when I was in my 20’s it was hard to find good, interesting and reliable men and that it will only be harder in my 30’s. I’m finding it hard not to revert to old patterns of blaming myself for what transpired. It seems sort of evidence to me that if this man still enjoys talking to me 3 years after dating one another, that he probably was interested in me and it was my behaviour that drove him away.

    Anyway, I thought I’d keep you updated on that and see what your thoughts are. I hope you’ve had a good week that I’ve been away from this thread!

    -L

    #370104
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you, I hope you have a good rest tonight. Oddly enough, out of the blue an ex-partner of mine reached out to see how I’m doing. He’s now in a long term relationship (which started right after he and I ended) and has an adorable baby. We always had a great rapport, but maybe we have always been better as friends rather than lovers. The chemistry didn’t seem to be there in the past, but now I wonder how much of that was due to me pushing it at lightning speed, as I always did. We could talk for hours and both genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. There seemed to be passion in the beginning, but as I always did in the past, I got obsessed and irrational about the prospect of a relationship and I think I snuffed it out. I wish I could have seen it clearly back then, but all I remember at the time was trying to grasp so tightly to something that was seeping out of my fingertips. It makes me wonder what would have been if I had been more stable and let things develop or unfold organically.

    It made me think about it, and as far as I can remember (as you have pointed out in the past), all of my romantic breakups in the past 6-7 years since my long term relationship have stemmed from periods of hypomania. You wrote once that my “blunders are significant, so they are in the way of you forming a healthy relationship with a suitable man.” and you were right. I know it’s unhelpful, but I can’t help thinking about what could have been had I realized all of this sooner, if I had gotten help from the right therapist and likely the right medication years ago. I don’t know if I would still have been with this man I’ve mentioned or any of the others in my past, but I think for sure the last few years would have been far less tumultuous and painful.

    On a positive note, since discussing this new revelation with you, I have felt somewhat sad thinking about my past and what could have been, but I don’t feel completely obsessed, distraught and hopeless like I often used to when thinking about my past. I think this clarity is helping me process everything more rationally, and I feel a little bit of hope. I’ve had some awful experiences in the last few years and dated some less than great men, but I’ve also had positive experiences and dated some very kind men. I wish I would have been able to tell the difference back then as I seem to be able to know, but I guess life doesn’t always go as we would have wanted it to. I really hope that it’s not too late for me, but even my therapist admits that at my age, it is less likely to find kind, stable, suitable men to date as those with such qualities are likely already taken. But I suppose I just need one. That being said, I have resigned myself that no matter how badly I wanted to rush this, it simply can’t be, and I probably need quite some time on my own to properly heal before I venture out again into the world of dating.

    L

    #370097
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I’m so touched (as always) by the time you take to formulate your replies to me, and all the members here. It must take a long time and a lot of energy to do this, and I know I’ve said it before, but I am so grateful to you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    I read your reply this morning, and I have been thinking about it and processing it all day I believe. I feel so many things are clicking for me, and the more research I do on Bipolar II, the more I feel it is likely the right diagnosis for me. I am somewhat shocked I didn’t realize it sooner, but most of my experience with clients and research in the past was on Bipolar I, which I didn’t feel I ever met the diagnostic criteria for, and so I left it at that. Maybe part of me also didn’t want to have a formal diagnosis of any kind related to mental health either, despite being in this field myself. Maybe especially for that reason. Either way, I am trying my best to face this head-on, so I can really move forward with my life.

    Now to reply specifically to your posts. You’re right, I have heard the sentiment of guilt often from others when losing a pet. I know this is normal, yet I am still disappointed in myself. I don’t remember if I posted about this or not, but around the beginning of the pandemic, I met an individual that was clearly not suitable for me to date, for many reasons. I continued to see him, and later his “friend”, simply because I was lonely and I rationalized it by telling myself that it was just during the pandemic and I would end it once it was over. However, that individual (the friend of the original unsuitable man) became a horrible disruptive force in my life. He stole money from me, used my vehicle without my permission on several occasions and racked up several expensive speeding tickets I now have to pay, and worst of all, involvement with him led to my dog being attacked. Looking back, I imagine I was experiencing hypomania at the time, and simply was not thinking or behaving rationally. I have made peace with my consequences from this horrible involvement, such as the lost money, but I am not able to make peace with how it affected my poor sweet dog. I knew that man’s dog was not well trained and might be aggressive, but for some ridiculous reason, I thought my dog would be alright and that if they got along, I could bring him more around when I was with this worthless man. Thinking back on this now, I am appalled at myself. I wish I could go back in time so desperately to ensure this never happened, and to spend more time with my sweet boy. He deserved much better from me. His whole life I was there for him and cared for him, it hurts deeply that in the end is when I failed to do so. Do you recommend any strategies to deal with this form of guilt?

    Thank you for your strategy with J and S. Miraculously J does not come to mind as much anymore, but S still does. I will do my best to replace the thoughts with Just Say No to Shame if either does. I think it did help today. When you wrote about “the wonderful was the mood state, the hypomania.. not the man, not the relationship. The stuck, damaged, hopeless- is the depression following the hypomania. When depressed, you terribly miss the hypomania, the gap between hypomania and depression, and the fall into depression is devastating.”, it really, really made sense to me. Just like that, the glimmer and appeal of S started to fade away, and what I was left with was a clear picture of a man that I barely knew, who, in the end, was not anything like the image I projected onto him. It also made sense why in the past so many of my friends and family could not understand why I was so enamoured with certain individuals who seemed at best nothing special to them, and at worst, very low-caliber individuals.

    Thank you for your support in this Anita, and your confirmation that it is likely the right diagnosis for me. I should mention that it is somewhat ironic that it was my mother of all people that suggested the diagnosis. She suggested it as her mother was diagnosed Bipolar many years ago, I’m not sure which type, and she believes her inability to find the right treatment damaged their relationship beyond repair and caused my mother a great deal of pain. I realized that even if there was only a small possibility of me meeting this criteria, I must seek it out. I do not want to do harm to those I care about, especially if I ever were to have children one day. I briefly spoke with my family doctor prior to our appointment on Monday, and she mentioned she usually treats Bipolar with a combination of mood stabilizers and antidepressants. I thought about it, and with my experience of taking antidepressants and it not being helpful to me, I believe the mood stabilizer might have better effectiveness. I see now that most of my depressive periods follow a seemingly hypomanic period, so I believe if the hypomania is in check, then it is less likely that I will fall into depressive periods. I hope, anyway.

    Once again, thank you so much for your continued support Anita. In my darkest moments, when I post here and read your replies, I always feel a little better and more hopfefull. I think this is a gift you have, and we are all very lucky to have you on this forum and part of this community. I hope you have a great evening!

    L

    #370058
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your kind words. Inexplicably a couple of weeks ago I was admitted into the hospital in the middle of the night with excruciating abdominal pains. Originally it was thought it was my appendix, then gallbladder, and now it seems it is my liver. I’ve done more tests, but it seems like the one incident is isolated, I haven’t had that severe pain since but my doctor is concerned with some of the liver enzyme levels. Thankfully she is a very competent and caring doctor, so I’m sure it will be sorted out. I’m not as concerned with my physical health as I am with my mental health.

    To add to my last post, I have noticed that with both J and now S, I experience an overall feeling of shame. Shame over my behaviour, shame over how I must be perceived, and shame in the rejection, and the pitiful attempts on my part to win them back. Once again I think about what would be my ideal scenario, and similarly the only answer that comes to mind is to go back in time, not have these events unfold the way they did, and not feel the way I am feeling now. The more I think about it, the more I feel like neither would have been a good long term partner for me, yet these turn of events seem to matter so much to me. Yet when rationally I look at it, the fact that they weren’t great long term partners should be enough to just simply let it go.

    I’m really upset with myself (nothing new, I know…) that because of my choices in the last few months, my grief about my dog is completely intertwined with S. I just wish I could forget about him, recognize that it was simply a Fantasy I was in and not reality, rather than what intrudes my thoughts, that somehow all of this is my fault and undoing. Not only that, but I have felt so much responsibility regarding the last year of my dog’s life being less than ideal. I simply could have done better. To put a long story short, it was my fault he was attacked by another dog and was bit and required surgery. Had I not have gotten involved with a completely unsuitable man, who’s dog did the attacking, it never would have happened. I know I should not dwell on the past, but it is so hard not to when I feel I make so many mistakes.

    I will try my best to try to relax this evening nonetheless. I hope you do as well Anita!

    -L

    #370045
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I can’t believe how quickly time has passed since I last posted here. I have come back to this thread a couple of times to reread what we’ve discussed, and to try to reply, but for whatever reason, I felt I didn’t have the energy to reply, even though I wanted to. After my last post, I stayed in the other city for a little while but had to come back home as it was clear my dog wasn’t doing well. Sadly, he passed away last month. I miss him so, so much. Looking back on this thread, I deeply regret the obsessive thoughts I had about this man. And, that despite the futility of it at the time, decided to go back to his city to try to “fix” things with him when it was clear for weeks before that, that as you say, the ship had sailed. However, I went anyway and wasted precious time I could have been spending with my dog. I’ve talked to a few friends about this, and they have all assured me that there is no point for me to feel guilty about this, but I still do. I’m angry at myself, at this man, at the situation. But maybe most of all, I’m just hurt and sad. I knew it would be a horrible experience for me to lose my lovely dog, but it has been magnified by the loneliness and isolation I have felt with the pandemic. I have been trying to focus on the positive aspects of my life, but I have been so depressed. To make matters more complicated, I have had my own health issues in the last few weeks that put me in the hospital. I’m currently on the mend with more tests being done, but it’s clear I am far from my best right now, emotionally or physically.

    I feel in the past weeks since I updated you, I have fleeting moments of clarity regarding my situation, but then obsessive thoughts take over and I become exhausted and drained and depressive periods follow. I’ve given a lot of thought over what you have written last to me, about how I seemed to be hooked on rejection. It seems to be true. To me, this is so sad. I so desperately want to be “normal”, healthy, or integrate the child and woman aspects of me as you say. I find it rather pathetic that I have been suffering like this for years. On the outside, it must look to others that I am not trying, just making the same errors over and over. And yet, for me, it feels like a constant battle that I have tried not to give up on. Since we last spoke, I have transitioned to a new therapist. She seems to be helfpul, but I have only had a handful of sessions so far. I’m also meeting with my family doctor next week to go over the possibility of me meeting the diagnostic criteria for Bipolar II disorder. I have always known this was a possibility for me, yet I had hoped my mental issues were not so severe to meet the criteria for a full diagnosis. However, over the last year, it became very clear to me that I had several periods that would meet the criteria of hypomania. I have also had enough feedback from romantic partners in the the last few years to recognize that I go through periods of time that indicate hypomania. I guess I just didn’t want to accept this diagnosis. That being said, we will see what my doctor says and I will keep you updated.

    For whatever reason, this past week has been one of the worst I have experienced in terms of mood in a long, long time. It hit me especially hard, as the week prior, I was feeling relatively good. I had thought I was on the mend, but now I wonder if it was possibly a hypomanic period for me and maybe that’s why this week has been so unbearable, the dreaded depression that follows mania. Either way, I have found myself once again obsessing over thoughts about what happened with S. I don’t even know why compeltely. I can’t say that it’s that I want him back in my life, I don’t even think from the progression of what happened, that he’s a very good person. He knew the situation with my family and dog’s health, and yet it feels to me that he strung me along for weeks after seemingly ending things with me when he had no intention of reconciling, He would message me regularly, suggest to meet, and then go silent. I find this particularly cruel behaviour, as he knew how much I was hurting over the health of my family and dog. However, after I told him I was back in his city and to let me know when he would like to get together again, he never did. After weeks of asking to meet again. What worse, is I did nothing about it. I acted like it was completely fine, and continued to communicate with him warmly when looking back, I should not have. I should have just stopped all communication, or at the very least told him I was displeased with his behaviour. I try to tell myself it doesn’t matter anymore, but for some reason, it really does to me, and it bothers me deeply that he has no idea what he has cost me. Perhaps I am just looking for someone to blame for the loss of my dog, I don’t know. I catch myself fantasizing about when things were good between S and I, and how maybe that could have continued. And I wouldn’t have wasted the last months of my dog’s life feeling so upset over him and the situation. I feel embarrassed about all of it, and I am so afraid that S will become the new J, and I will be stuck with these thoughts and feelings for years. And that itself deeply upsets me, because how can I on one hand rationally not think very highly of S, and then on the other pine for things to have been different. It’s so confusing.

    I want to move forward Anita, I really do. I am so tired of feeling stuck, of ruminating over events that really in the grand scheme of things don’t matter. But I have felt so stuck, so down, so hopeless. I am afraid I won’t be able to move past these issues I have. I’m afraid I will never have my person, never have a family of my own. I am afraid of feeling stuck while everyone around me moves forward with their lives while I stand still. I’m afraid of not understanding myself. I don’t feel sure about moving to the new city anymore, I feel my life has dulled again. And this time maybe the worst of all, as I don’t have my lovely dog anymore as my companion. I have watched all of my friends and family move forward with partners and families of their own during this pandemic, and yet I am so stuck. I feel like I have so much work still to do on myself, yet so little energy to do it. I’m so sorry I don’t have a better update for you, I was hoping if I gave myself more time, I would. But after so many weeks, it’s clear that wasn’t going to be the case.

    I hope you’re doing well Anita and staying safe. Thank you again for your continued support.

    – L

     

     

     

    #366831
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I apologize for the late reply, I can’t believe 3 weeks have already flown by! I’ve been very busy with work and clients especially during the pandemic and dealing with family health issues but it seems like things are stabilizing a little bit in that area so that’s good! I hope you’ve been doing well.

    To reply to your questions:

    1.  When I speak about “my damage”, I am referring to the issues that you and I have discussed from my past that have led to these significant blunders I make in dating. I was discussing this with a very good friend of mine and she brought up the point that I was so sheltered by my mother in my childhood (not allowed to socialize or date until I was upwards of 16 with anyone that was not family) that I am experiencing these things later in life. Such as being “boy crazy” and having crushes and things that are usually associated with behaviour of school-aged girls. It reminded me of comments you have made in the past about how I should practice engaging my inner child.

    2. I’m a little torn with this one. I have two trains of thought when it comes to this. The first is that rather than it is about trying to earn or win these men back, that it is more that I value them higher/are more interested in them because of their emotional unavailability/elusiveness which feels safer to me. Safe because they are not pushing me for commitment/coming on “too strong” and therefore I do not have to face my own fears of commitment and the idea of potentially “settling”. The man that I wrote this post about was great in so many ways, but I think I simply was not ready for the commitment he was searching for (and if I’m honest, the commitment I was saying I was looking for that turned out not to be true). I notice this phenomenon because as soon as someone is showing true interest in being with me seriously romantically, I start to notice their flaws more and wonder if I can do better with someone else. However, as soon as that same person pulls away, I suddenly see them as this great catch that I took for granted and should try to get them back. But even still, once they do come back, I have the same initial reaction thinking I can do better and should not commit to them. I wonder if this has to do with the seriousness of my very first relationship (who happened to also be my very first date!) that lasted for many years and was very difficult emotionally, physically, and financially to separate. I wonder if that experience was more substantial than I have made it seem, and that I still have fear driving me to ensure that I don’t ever have to do that again.

    The second train of thought that I have in regards to this issue I have, is that maybe it is simply about subconsciously pushing men away and then making it my mission to earn them back to prove my worthiness. Or, maybe it is both trains that are correct, I’m not sure. Anyway, when I am attempting to win them back, it feels very difficult and a challenge and I find this is usually when I become my “best” self in certain ways, such as physically. I’ll find that this is when I am able to lose some weight, organize my home, work on getting anxious thoughts out of my head. It seems that this period of “earning” someone back is when I actually work on improving myself and usually have success. I remember with J (who the current man I have been lamenting over reminds me of in many ways), I did this several times. I would push him away, earn him back, lose interest/wonder if there was better for me out there, push him away again, and earn him back again. However, the final instance of pushing him away was permanent and no matter what I tried to do to earn him back, it did not work as he had moved on to someone else.

    I have been giving this a lot of thought over the past weeks. Especially since more and more S (the most recent man I dated in the other city) reminds me of J. Or at least the scenario, my mindset, obsession, etc. reminds me of him. With both men, the relationship moved extremely quickly, with both men they met my parameters in terms of physical “type”, with both men I became physical with them quickly due to the intensity of lust I was feeling, and with both men, I quickly began to build a fantasy in my head about a future with them. Also, both men showed emotional unavailability red flags in the beginning, showed inconsistencies in words and actions, and both men are very good at romancing women. With both men, the act of losing them and trying to earn them back was constantly on my thoughts. Even now, as I am currently in the other city for a while, I cannot stop thinking about S and wanting to reach out to him, even though I know it is not a good idea and that even if he did show interest in meeting with me, we are not compatible long term. That being said, there is a chronic frustration with his lack of contact, as just last week or so ago he mentioned wanting to meet for a drink when I was back. I know this should not matter at all and that men say whatever they want in the moment, but it bothers me that he spoke at lengths about his values being honesty, integrity, and loyalty yet does not exhibit those traits with me.

    Either way, I am trying my best to process these emotions I’m feeling without it affecting my behaviour, but I still struggle to ascertain what is a good choice in actions and what isn’t. I am leaning towards not saying anything to this man and just deleting his contact and all connections on social media, but part of me feels like sending a final goodbye. I will think more about it.

    Thanks again Anita so much for your continued help and support!

    L

    #365480
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I ended up waiting and not replying to his text (yes, a text after midnight saying good evening. Mind you, he is one hour behind, so it was technically 11:30pm for him).

    We have messaged a little back and forth, but nothing really of substance, and when I tried to call him last night instead of texting, he didn’t answer and only said “sorry I missed u, busy night”. I haven’t replied, I suppose there doesn’t seem to be a point anymore. He has shown in many ways that I am no longer a priority for him, I almost find it more upsetting that he bothers to contact me at all anymore when it’s clear I mean so little to him. I don’t know why men (and I guess some women too) do this. I feel it puts me in an uncomfortable position. I don’t know if it’s right or not that I haven’t replied to his last message or not. Part of me wanted to ask if he was seeing someone else so that I could finally “get over” him and forget him, but I feel like this would probably just hurt me in the end, I don’t know. I also thought about asking if he was still planning on taking me on a boat ride when I got back, but again, I suppose what’s the point.

    I agree with all you have said about the Specific Relationship Rules I am to follow moving forward. I’m feeling quite deflated as of late, this silly dalliance (can’t even call it a relationship!) and its aftermath has had a significant negative impact on me, and I don’t feel very hopeful about dating and relationships right now. That being said, I do feel lonely and the odd man out in my friend group and family as everyone seems to be moving on with their partners and own families and I feel very stuck in this department. It’s a little sad, I’ve now had several groups of single female friends move on and find long term partners while I have not. I’m trying not to think and feel like this, but there are times that I really do think it will never happen for me, that my damage is too significant to work through at this stage of my life.

    I also feel quite trapped in my own taste in men, in that I supremely value men that have discarded me, and I disvalue those that show interest. Occasionally there are men like the ones that I have written about that I do value while they show interest in me, but it seems like soon enough my blunders occur and then their interest is gone, and I seem to value them more or want to earn or win them back. I suppose that’s what is happening with this current man. Last night I couldn’t sleep (was woken up several times in the night thinking about him and what happened) and I am so disappointed in myself, that I have wasted so much mental energy and time thinking about someone that barely held any significance in my life. I really wish I could forget him and move forward with my lessons, but for whatever reason, I can’t seem to. Perhaps it’s because he still contacts me from time to time (for what purpose I have no idea!), but I’m not sure.

    I was aware of the definition of OCD, and perhaps one small sign of my own self-awareness is that I could identify my behaviours within relationships as OCD related. I think RROCD you have coined is quite accurate for me and I will keep this in mind for when I feel hopeful of dating, but I just don’t feel up to it now. I hope this passes. Thanks again, Anita.

    L

    #365104
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your response and explanation about the dates. That makes sense and as usual, very helpful.

    Ironically, he just messaged me “Good evening miss L, how has your return to hq going, I hope you’re doing well. Just checking in.”

    I accidentally opened the message so now he knows I’ve read it unfortunately. But I don’t know what to say… I hope it’s okay I leave it for the night since it’s late and I have an early appointment. But the people pleaser in me feels panicked that I should reply something since it’s rude to have read the message and not reply right away. Although I suppose he’s done that to me before, so maybe it’s okay if I do? I hope he doesn’t take it as passive aggressive that I don’t answer right away. Even as I type this though, I feel I am probably overthinking it…

     

    L

    #365098
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Ah, once again I am totally impressed with your skills of observation and deduction. I hadn’t considered this, and I believe you’re right. It makes more sense too, as I didn’t think he struck me as the type to be dishonest. He told me this friend saw him on a dating app, but he didn’t say when and it does seem that he considered this date more of a meet/hang out than a “date” date. I should have listened closer and not let my obsessive thoughts carry me away.

    I wholeheartedly agree that this is not suitable for me. I think I let the “norm” or what my friends do make it seem okay for me, but you’re absolutely right, I cannot manage early physical intimacy and then stay objective. I suppose in the beginning I justified sleeping with this man early on as at the time I didn’t see him as relationship potential, and I figured as long as we were safe it would be alright. That being said, I now know that it is never a good idea for me, relationship material or not. I was proud of myself for a few weeks, as I did not drink with him or while I was seeing him, and even though we had sex early on, I did not feel pressure or anxiety to rush the relationship for quite a few weeks. I think unfortunately the act of disclosing to my friend about him and the situation (even though I didn’t want to, but felt the need to give her the information she was asking of me) triggered my obsessive thinking and compulsion to rush the relationship. In the past, my parents fit the role of my friend and caused the same pattern. Therefore I will add this to my list of lessons, not to divulge my private dating life to anyone in the beginning. I had thought of posting here and speaking to you about him, but I (stupidly) thought I might “jinx” it by posting (so far I only seem to post about men and relationships that don’t go well). I see now the lack of logic in this thinking!

    It does sadly seem like the ship has sailed. But even as I type “sadly” I am conflicted. Maybe it isn’t so sad, maybe it is for the best. I doubt that you can answer this for me, but do you believe that this man was possibly relationship quality and my blunders caused a good ship to sail, or do you think it might not have been a good match/he wasn’t ready anyway?

    The last we spoke, after I thanked him for lunch and told him not to work too hard while I was away, he wrote to me “Thank you Sweety, keep in touch. Let me know when you’re back”. Also the day before, he said “Hey, I’m heading to (friend’s), you’re still on the schedule for a boat ride tho” when I asked how since I was leaving the next day, he said, “when you return, flexible schedule”. I suppose this makes me feel somewhat inclined to let him know when I was back since I said I would, but at the same time as you mention, just because he said these things a week ago, it doesn’t mean they still hold weight.

    I like your metaphor of the corner of the picture vs. the whole picture. I also think you are correct in that waiting to slowly get to know that man rather than rushing into things physically and emotionally will help with this. I will take your advice and I will never sleep with a man prior to 4 dates, I promise! Out of curiosity, how did you decide on it being 4 dates as opposed to another number of dates?

    Thanks again so much Anita, you are really helping me.

    L

    #365006
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    It does seem confusing but I can promise you I am not rewriting history. I think it’s confusing because it seems at one point or another, he was dishonest. I just don’t know which time this was. On Tuesday night he told me he did not have any dates scheduled, but he did tell me he would let me know if he did. On Wednesday night (the day he was to meet my brother) he told me he had the date with a “friend” scheduled a week ago, which means either he was dishonest about this, or he was dishonest earlier when he said he didn’t have a date scheduled. I regret not confronting him regarding this inconsistency but I suppose I didn’t want to make the situation worse.

    I will try to refrain from speaking about it all being my fault. That being said, do you have any suggestions on if I should contact him when I am back in his city or not? I am leaning towards not, but I am also feeling inclined to contact him to discuss certain things (i.e. his dishonesty, etc.) but I suppose it shouldn’t matter. I’m bothered though, as we had discussed honesty and integrity early on, and I truly thought at his age (39) and his life experience, he would have been more upfront, honest, and respectful in our interaction.

    I hope you have a good night too!

    L

    #364990
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I’m not sure if this small correction changes anything, but when I had uninvited him to meet my brother, he had not yet said he was wanting to go on other dates or that he had one planned, he simply said he would let me know if he did. It was later that night (when I had dinner with my brother) that he mentioned that he had a date scheduled the following day. I have no idea if that plan was made before or after I got upset with him.

    You are right though, either way, after being intimate with me he still was planning on going on other dates. I have no idea if he did or not in the end.

    Yes, I do see how toxic the relationship with my mother was, I have definitely been angry with her. So much so, that it has strained my relationship with my father, which really is disappointing. Thankfully I do not do as my other asks without question, in fact, she does not ask me to do or not do anything anymore, since I had a discussion with her about boundaries about a year or so ago. I have to give her credit, she has stuck to this. That being said, we don’t have much of a relationship now at all, just exchanging niceties here and there when I speak with my dad.

    As an update, I’m embarrassed to say that this “relationship” and it’s ending has been very destabilizing for me. I keep myself busy most of the day with work and social engagements or exercise, but unfortunately, I find myself plagued with thoughts of this person and what happened at night, so much so that I’ve dreamt of the situation almost every night the past week.

    I’m beyond frustrated with myself about this. I find this so ridiculous, I barely knew this person. But that in itself is what I’m so upset about, I feel like somehow it is completely my fault for a) pushing/wanting too much too soon and b) drinking and lashing out rather than staying calm, that caused this interaction to end prematurely. I feel like if I had behaved myself, I would have the peace of mind that it wasn’t meant to be, rather than now, which is that I don’t know if this could have been a good person to be with or not. I’ve been watching dating videos online, and they recommend that if a man is 6 months out of a serious relationship, you should not push him at all for any sort of commitment, and should take things slow. I didn’t do this once again, and I’m so disappointed in myself for it.

    If he had behaved the way he did in the end if I had still behaved in a way I was proud of, at least I would know there wasn’t a true loss. As it is, I have no idea. I haven’t heard from him now in over a week (the longest we’ve gone without speaking) and my gut is that he is with someone else. I saw on facebook he added a new woman as a friend, who happens to look a little like me, but who knows. Maybe I’m just making things up in my head. He did say last time we spoke at lunch that he was very overwhelmed with work and other responsibilities, so who knows. Either way, I have not reached out to him even though I might be going to his city next week. I don’t know if I should reach out to at least say hi or see where we stand, or wait until I am back in his city and let him know then like I said I would, or not at all. I just wish I wasn’t thinking about him at all, and a part of me is angry at him for coming on quite strong and doing “boyfriend”-like things like calling me daily and checking in about the health of my family only to abruptly stop like this and leave things open-ended. If he met someone else, I wish he would have said that.

    L

    #364659
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    You are so very insightful, as always. I honestly had never thought about this before. The Fantasy doesn’t exist, it doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do to ensure it’s survival. I suppose I’m slowly getting used to the idea of coming back down to Earth, to reality, instead of floating away in the clouds of Fantasy.

    I think even my grief that I feel now, is grief for the Fantasy, not for this person, not for reality. In reality, there was nothing there to grieve. Just a fling.

    That being said, I’m finding today a particularly hard day not to be angry with myself nonetheless. I am SO angry at myself for what happened with that “friend” of mine. I remember vividly that day that I didn’t want to speak with her, that I was busy with work and deciding what I was going to do with S at the time, but she kept texting me “call me, call me right now” and like an obedient child, I complied. Not only that, but I also let her talk at me on the phone for 2 hours, and promise her that I would report back to her what I did with S, basically that I take her advice only and uninvite him to meet me brother and to come over to fix up my bike (which was a very thoughtful thing for him to want to do!). Even now, since I have been back home, she has been calling and messaging me even when I say I am busy at work and can’t respond. It’s hard for me to believe I didn’t see what I see now in hindsight, how toxic this person is in my life.

    It’s a painful lesson to learn. Perhaps (and more than likely) this relationship with this man would have bombed anyway, but it is a particularly bitter pill to swallow that I will never know. That I allowed old people-pleasing behaviour to destroy something good in my life. I’m not sure how to let go of this, to forgive myself for this. I just keep rereading all my messages and how I so clearly betrayed myself to make someone else happy. It’s really quite sad.

    I now see parallels between this friend and my mother. Like my mother, I felt with her I had to do exactly as she said, no questions asked. That I wasn’t allowed to have privacy or boundaries. I am so upset with myself that I didn’t see the parallels sooner. That being said, if I had allowed myself to follow my gut and be honest about my feelings, I would have been able to consciously identify my discomfort with this “friend”. But I didn’t, and now I am here wishing and imagining a reality in which I did.

    Anyway, sorry about the continued ranting! I suppose there is still a lot for me to process. I hope you have a great day ahead Anita!

    L

    #364485
    laelithia
    Participant

    Dearest Anita,

    I’ve read your last reply over and over, and I am truly in awe of your gift of observation and insight. I am so sorry that my gratitude for your time, energy and patience was not always apparent. It’s hard to believe that it has been 3 years since I began speaking with you here. You have become the only person I can fully be honest and unfiltered with and that is such a special thing to me, thank you so very much. I hope one day I can help you in some way.

    I believe everything you have written here is spot on. When you lay it out as you have, it shocks me that I did not come to the same conclusions, at least not as precisely. It is somewhat frightening how similar my posts are, and yet each time these situations arise in my life, they feel so unique to me.

    You are completely right though, in that these patterns continue, unfortunately. I do completely lose my senses (even my friends and family are shocked at the shift in my priorities when I do this!) and I put this “budding relationship” to the top of my list. I suppose it has to do with that Fantasy you spoke about before. Despite trying so hard not to, I have this silly belief that one day when I meet my “Prince Charming” I will be so fulfilled, I will be so happy, and I will live “happily ever after”. Cognitively I understand how silly a notion this is, but it is so tantalizing to me that I expend all resources at that moment to ensure the budding relationship continues when in reality, I feel this is the behaviour that probably turns men off and destroys my little fantasy. Which in turn, fuels my negative core belief of being unloveable or unworthy.

    I’ve been thinking for the last few days about this. I think if I am truly honest, I think I am afraid of “attaining” my fairytale ending. I think I’m afraid that one day if I finally catch what I’ve been so desperately seeking, I might find that in reality, it is not that I will “happily ever after”. That life will still have its challenges, that I will never have that perfect idyllic Fantasy life I have been yearning for so long. So perhaps, I subconsciously sabotage each “budding relationship” so that I can at least hold on to this hope, this Fantasy, knowing that it will never be disproven. But by this logic, it will never be proven, either.

    I think this recent experience hit me harder than it should have, because not only did I see him as my typical Fantasy man, but also as my way to move to the new city in one fell swoop. When I think about it this way, I’m quite disappointed with myself. I do not need to be “rescued” by some prince to be able to move to this new city. But I suppose it would have been easier, especially since he had already purchased the property and begun building it and when he alluded to me moving right into that idyllic property and storybook romance, I lapped it up. I don’t know if he said this in the heat of the moment (it was over the phone, not during or after sex though) or if he intentionally misled me, but either way, I lost all my logic. I simply ran with this fairytale idea, even if I knew deep down it was not rational, not this soon.

    It’s interesting that you point out that for some men it is a turn on to be placed on a pedestal, and for others, it is not. He actually mentioned during our last lunch together before I left that it made him uncomfortable when some people are too “over the top” with their compliments and warmth too early on. We were speaking in the context of a new friend I had made that was like this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt this way in romantic relationships as well.

    Thank you so, so much for your concrete suggestions. I have read them over and over, I have saved them on my phone as well. I will make sure to review them daily so that I can keep myself accountable for these changes. I have added a step prior to these suggestions, where I will work on myself and improving my life. This includes getting into better shape physically (and mentally for that matter!), organizing my life and reducing clutter, and focusing on my friendships and relationships with my family. I will also focus on spending time with my dog, and I will honestly do my best to forget about this recent man. Although he has messaged me a small amount since I have been home, I have felt a huge shift from the attention and affection he was showing me before. He told me at our lunch that he wasn’t sure he really wanted a girlfriend right now and was just “taking it easy”. He made sure to tell me he wasn’t going on any other dates though and to keep in touch and let him know when I am back in the city so we can go on that boat ride after all, but I think I have lost faith in his words and as you say, are likely things just said in the moment.

    I think once I truly heal from my childhood wounds, and continue to love and care for myself, I won’t be so taken away by these men. That being said, I think I will always require a man that can communicate openly with me and will be able to be patient with me. I suppose time will tell, but I will not rush it.

    Thank you again so much Anita. I hope you’re doing well!

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by laelithia.
    #363974
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you again for your kind words 🙂

    And again, thank you so much for your thoughtful response to even review my past posts to find similarities. I didn’t really make the connection, but you’re right, I would say that my current life mirrors that of my childhood in that I am educated, well-dressed and not at all lacking anything material and yet full of relational distress.

    I am closing than I ever have to moving away, which is so alluring and exciting to me. I think that is one of the reasons I was so quickly attached to the man I made the recent post about, as he so readily mentioned how well it would fit for me to move in with him in his new home and run my practice virtually there. I think for any other woman this would have been a big red flag, but for me, it was a beautiful green light.

    Surprisingly, he called me yesterday and last night and we have been communicating again. I am meeting him for lunch tomorrow, but we will see how it goes. I am determined no matter what to slow down the pace of whatever may come from this relationship, which will not be so difficult as I must go back home tomorrow night for a while anyway while I tend to my dog and help my father with what I can. I will keep you updated on how this meeting goes.

    You wrote: “I don’t think that you happen to meet man after man after man who is dishonest and uninterested from the start. I think that what happens may be that your core belief expresses itself in behaviors that turn men off to you, sooner than later.” This really hit home for me. I have always felt in my gut that this was true, but at the same time unable to clearly point out what behaviours in particular my core beliefs cause to happen, but I think I am slowly learning. I think slowing down the pace of these relationships will help a great deal to start with.

    I think you are right about the psychotherapy I have been receiving may not be to the level for which I need to reintegrate the little girl and the woman together. I am going to begin searching for another therapist, as the appointment I had the other day was helpful in illuminating certain areas requiring growth, but was not overly helpful in tools or strategies to begin/continue this growth.

    Thanks again Anita!

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