Twice-divorced. Non-combat military vet. Graduate degree holder. Works for Uncle Sam. Still trying to figure out this life.
Forum Replies Created
February 1, 2022 at 6:35 am #392143
No need to apologize. I know how life can be busy and one must prioritize. I appreciate you replying…
It took some time to find a mental health counselor. The insurance website is grossly outdated and it was trial and error seeking a counselor who was both in-network and accepting new patients. However, I finally found someone and have my first appointment this afternoon. I have learned so much about myself and have given myself a year here to just focus on myself and counseling. I am optimistic that I can FINALLY make some real, positive change–especially when it comes to forming emotional attachments and being vulnerable.
I too fully expected (and respected) my ex’s decision to no longer communicate; however, that only lasted a day or two. She texts nearly every day. She is extremely depressed and not sleeping, which I of course harbor guilt for. She is trying to be supportive of my efforts to seriously improve my mental health, but she is not working to do the same for herself. I am trying to remain supportive of her, but grow frustrated as I feel both responsible and helpless. I’ve pleaded with her to find a counselor, go to the gym, or try going to bed earlier, but it all falls on deaf ears.
I did sign up at a gym here and plan to start next week. I did find a “Circle of Friends” group on the Meetup website and will work to start socializing/making contacts soon.
I am very committed to making a real, substantial change in my mental health, and I do appreciate having the support of you and the TB community, Teak.
RyanJanuary 19, 2022 at 1:05 pm #391613
I arrived in my new city last weekend and have slowly been getting my place set up. I have my intake appointment with the mental health clinic tomorrow morning, so I’m hoping to get an appointment in a week or two.
The woman I left behind is dealing with the aftermath of my departure as best she could. She laments that should never have pushed for more knowing I was leaving and couldn’t offer more due to circumstances, to wishing I had not wasted her time believing we’d have a future. I tried to explain that I need to focus solely on myself and deal with the “emotional neglect” and difficulty forming attachments, and while she tried to be understanding, she is upset–to say the least. She regrets “every stupid day.” It’s hard to explain my feelings when love and emotions are involved, but she does not want to speak to me ever again. I cannot do this to another woman, so I know that I must get help.
I feel the anxiety came from the move itself and my relocation to a new city. However, it was a successful move and I’ve tried to fight the darkness and stay productive preparing the inside of my home. I did enroll at a local gym here and signed up for a Meetup account. With any luck, I can make some friends soon…and be open with them.
RyanJanuary 5, 2022 at 9:03 am #390788
Thank you, Anita. I do appreciate it.
RyanJanuary 5, 2022 at 6:17 am #390773
Do you have any recommendations for managing anxiety? I’m relocating for the new job in the new city this weekend and my anxiety is growing. I fear that I’ll be in similar boat as Lauren when I arrive in the new city.
RyanJanuary 4, 2022 at 3:02 pm #390756
Thank you for this solid summation! I will certainly use this when I meet with a new counselor.
And, yes, I feel that you are spot-on: “Those who don’t want you, you crave for. Those who do want you, you don’t want.” The work colleague that I had a brief relationship with, there was a mystery about her that intrigued me. There was an obvious physical attraction, but the mystery was the larger attraction. The quest to learn more–and to knock down her walls–kept me pursuing her.
I haven’t written as much about the girl I’ve been seeing for most of 2021, but she has helped me to open up more than anyone has in some time. (The closest correlation would be the counselor I dated about 10-years ago who really forced me to open up–even though I wasn’t ready to at the time.) We’ve had some real “heart-to-hearts” these past few months, which has been therapeutic in a sense. Unfortunately, there is just something missing that hasn’t allowed me to stay here and try a long-term relationship with her–though she is willing to relocate if that’s what we both want in the future. We have had a breezy time together and have experienced some amazing road trips and adventures in 2021. Nevertheless, there is just something that prevents me from exploring something that perhaps could be amazing.
She too suffers from anxiety and depression and had an often dark childhood that she hasn’t been willing to share with me. Maybe that is part of the reason why we click so well? I leave for the new job this upcoming weekend, so we tried to make the most of our last weekend together. I know the distance will be hard on both of us, and she is a bit excited/jealous that I get to escape this town and work on a future in a new, larger city.
I’d like us to eventually find a way to transition to friends, but I know that will be extremely difficult. I do care deeply for her (love perhaps?), but I know she loves me deeply and this will be a messy time for the both of us. She knew I was not long for this town, but it doesn’t make my leaving any easier.
As you said, TeaK, I need to work on breaking this pattern I’ve been stuck in for so long.
RyanDecember 30, 2021 at 12:42 pm #390523
No, no. I just flew home to visit family for Christmas. I foolishly(?) signed a lease in early December because we were supposed to report to the office in Jan. However, that return was pushed back the week before Christmas, so now I’m on the hook since I’m in a contract. It is a very nice place, so in a sense, I’m glad that I found it. However, it would have been nice to save a bit more for a few months longer had waited a bit. (Omicron wasn’t a thing yet, so I had no way of knowing our return would be pushed back.)
The relationship has lately been stressful. It’s another “unrequited love story” for me. I do care for her deeply and our relationship is very easy, but I just do not feel for her with the same depth as she does for me. She wants me to “fight” for us. There just isn’t that longing within me to build a deeper relationship with her. I’ve tried but the feelings never come. Much to her disappointment and sadness. As you (or possibly Anita) hinted at before, she has some self-esteem issues and feels as though there is something wrong with her.
Well, I hate myself and disgust myself. Last night I couldn’t stop wondering what I was lacking to make you or anyone want me enough to fight for it.
I feel that I carry too many of my own issues to properly be the partner she needs and deserves. Which is unfortunate.
My mother is still quite reserved. I did some Christmas shopping with my father when I was home, and he told me that my mom is typically stressed and sad during the holidays. Likely due to her poor relationship with her parents. To your point, I certainly feel that my mother’s detachment and cool demeanor (at times) led me to believe that I’m not good enough for another. (My current relationship perhaps helps to bolster this idea?) The counselor I found last year specialized in hypnosis, and it was my hope that he could unlock some things from my childhood. Unfortunately, he did not think it necessary. I’m hoping to find another counselor next year to help me focus on this. It’s been a largely lonely road for me thus far and I do not want to end up alone in life.
RyanDecember 29, 2021 at 3:11 pm #390498
Thank you and happy holidays to you as well..
I’m hanging in there. I was able to fly home for the week before Christmas to see my parents, sister, and daughter. It was a busy week but a pleasant one. I’m moving here in about a week and a half, so I’m been prepping. The girl I’ve been seeing for much of the year would like me to move and return to stay with her since our return to the office was pushed back from Jan to possibly March or April. It is a source of stress for us both.
Thank you for checking on me. It is appreciated!
-RyanNovember 13, 2021 at 2:17 pm #388547
Thank you for the warm welcome. I have yet to move–the cost of living here is a fraction of what it will be where I’m going. However, we are mandated to return to the office in mid-January, so I’ll be moving shortly after the new year.
I am apprehensive about the job, as it is not truly that fulfilling. While there is an organizational/administrative aspect to it, there is not much of any room for “giving back.” However, I do realize there is a lot to learn, and it will be more beneficial to become proficient at the job as the years go on. And I am hopeful that living near a big city will present more opportunities for social and volunteer activities.
Regarding my parents, my father was and is very warm and generous. My sister is a direct recipient of that now as she recovers from her addictions. My mother was always a bit emotionally distant. She rarely spoke of her feelings or her emotions. We (my sister and I) did feel that things were often left undiscussed. What I mean is that if something we did upset her, we would talk about it but then that was it. She would speak her mind, and we could speak ours, but it never go too deep. (I know that I’m not articulating as best as I should be here.)
I do recall one instance of her making fun of me in front of my friends. I was probably about 12-years-old and we were headed for a bike ride around the neighborhood. I had issues with my bike chain or something and I was getting upset because I couldn’t get it fixed. I recall my mother making fun of the pity party I was throwing for myself and my friends laughing. Other than being embarrassed and angry, not much more is clear. From what I recall, the bike chain was fixed and we all went for a ride. That is my most glaring memory of my mother treating me like a mother shouldn’t.
There are large parts of my childhood I simply do not remember. My sister and I will chat sometimes, and she will bring up something that happened when we were kids. Often I just do not remember the event at all. I have no idea why. I’ve brought these memory lapses up with counselors, and the response I most often get is it’s symptomatic of depression. This is why I was intrigued by the counselor who was also a hypnotist.
RyanNovember 13, 2021 at 9:48 am #388537
Apologies for the delay in replying… Anita’s reply truly shook me. I considered deleting this thread–out of privacy concerns for my ex’s–or just closing/deleting my TB account. It was never my intention to violate their privacy, as I thought that any chance of them finding this thread was slim to none since I did not use my normal email address when registering for this website. While I used an email created specifically for the TB forums, this site felt like a safe space free of judgement. Instead, I feel my writing here comes across, if not unauthentic, questionable and rife with lies. Doubts and suspicions of the authenticity of my posts here may be due to my inabilities as a writer to really explore myself beyond the analytical. If these texts from these women read similar, then that falls on me for dating perhaps the same type of woman. This isn’t braggadocio but just how it feels to me. I am not a serial dater. That’s never been a need or want from me. However, I think, perhaps, I allowed my loneliness to hold onto relationships far longer than I should have. My ex’s saw something in me they may have fallen love with when I did not see it myself.
I KNOW that I am the “problem” in relationships. I have dated some amazing women, who would gladly share their life with me. Who would be supportive, giving, loving, etc. Unfortunately, I rarely if ever feel that with anyone in my life. I have discussed my lack of empathy and lack of feelings of love in therapy; however, I have yet to find a counselor who can truly help guide me. The one I saw last year, I selected him specifically because he also does hypnotherapy. I hoped he could unlock some memories from my childhood that may be have hindered my emotional growth. Unfortunately, he decides that hypnotherapy was unnecessary, and while I have very few memories of childhood, that I needed to continue to work with the CBT/DBT I’ve had and essentially move on.
I do not believe that I have a “Delusional Disorder.” While I may come across as an egomaniac, I know what these woman felt for me. I have records in the form of emails and text messages, and the pain the expressed when it was over. I should not have entered into a serious relationship with them. I should not have allowed loneliness to push me to companionship when I was/am still too self-centered to truly love someone. I don’t think that I am “the best” man. I am selfish, unfulfilled, and empty, and having a partner only adds to my distress–even when they try so hard to help.
That “little boy” lives far away now. While his mother and I still text on occasion, I gave up trying to be a part of his life. I called and FaceTimes for about a year after he left, but his mother has become involved with someone new, so I was relegated to the back burner. I’ll always be a piece of his social network, but my importance has waned.
I know that, deep down, I am filled with sadness and pain. I have never found out why. 15 years have passed since I first walked into a therapists office, and while I’ve learned techniques to manage my depression, I’ve never been able to find it’s possible emotional roots. Nearly every day is a struggle for me and I do not have a lot of hope or trust that things will improve in the future.
RyanOctober 9, 2021 at 6:08 am #387186
Thank you again for writing… I agree with what you’ve written and will respond this weekend.
RyanOctober 7, 2021 at 3:04 pm #387153
As always, I appreciate your reply…
This is a sound theory and I feel it rings close to true. I tend to date women who have had poor relationships in their past. “Poor” meaning either abuse or infidelity. (Sadly, this seems to be the norm–at least for me.) At the same time, I tend to date accomplished, stable, college-educated women–nurses, law enforcement, Ph.D., etc. The Ph.D. was a mental health counselor who loved me deeply and tried like Hell to help discard my self-perceived inadequacies. And while she was immensely helpful, I simply did not see anything long-term with her. I just did not click with her.
I’ve had CBT off and on for over a decade. In 2017, I paid for a psychological evaluation that included the MMPI, CDS, TSI-2, SCS, and a diagnostic interview. The doctor’s findings corresponded with those of my counselors: That I needed to learn and implement coping skills to deal with depression and anxiety. What is pertinent to this post is this clause from the report: “[His] behaviors of closing himself off from the world has protected him and hindering him at the same time. Caution should be taken when addressing [his] emotional vulnerability since he cannot tolerate a lot of emotional risk, confrontation, or risk letting anyone see his true self.”
I find that parts of me I aim to keep hidden begin to bleed into relationships after a time. The depression, self-doubts, transient feelings of worthiness, lack of a “true purpose,” etc. I’m not settled in my own soul and cannot feel settled with another. There’s always the feeling that there has to be something more (or better) than this. All the while the years float by.
Unfortunately, for those women I let into my life on a romantic level, it never ends well. The guilt and feelings of emptiness and loss stick with me. Even with the nurse now, I knew I’d hurt her in the end and still I used her in a sense. And the use was essentially just enjoying her east company on the weekends. And now she’s heartbroken: “I don’t want to imagine my small world without you in it,” she texted last night.
I always thought I’d get a grasp on things in my life, and then I’d meet that one person who was right for me. And maybe I will but my patience wears thin at times. I always feel like I need to get myself right before I meet another, but I hold onto hope that the next girl will be different. And they may be but it’s me who is the same.
RyanOctober 6, 2021 at 12:20 pm #387121
I appreciate your reply and I agree with your thoughts…
I have not been in a long-term relationship since my second divorce 15-years ago. (She also attempted suicide after we separated but did not pin her attempt on me.) I read back over an online journal I’d kept then, and see where I often mentioned feeling quite inadequate. It is possible that my relationship with her not added to my lingering feelings of inadequacy, but added to them, and I’ve spent my time since in temporary, short-term relationships. Never remarried and nothing that lasted longer than 6-8 months.
With the nurse, I do feel a fondness and closeness with her, but I too fear getting close and letting her in. Since I told her that I was leaving on Monday night, she continues to text/call and asks me to essentially ask me to continue the relationship.
“Help is what people do for each other when they care and are in a relationship. It seems you don’t understand that it’s reciprocated. I’ve leaned on your support and thrived in it. I would have liked to give some of that back but you don’t want it. I honestly think it’s because you have feelings for me and you don’t really know how to process them or what to do with them. Unfortunately it’s pushing me away.”
Again, thank you for taking the time to reply, TeaK. I don’t expect you to reply to this, as I don’t know what else you can say. Nevertheless, I appreciate you trusting in me and making time to engage.
RyanOctober 5, 2021 at 3:03 pm #387103
I understand what you’re saying and appreciate it… And my response may be better suited for another Tiny Buddha forum.
I don’t think that I’m leaving before the nurse sees my inadequacies. I really enjoyed her company, but at the same time, I realize that I used her as an escape in a sense. My weekends here largely consisted of grocery shopping and the occasional weekend getaway, but it was nice to include someone else in my life. Obviously, it made for less lonely times for the both of us, but I knew it would come to an end. (Thought I’d end up relocating sooner than I plan to.)
The thing is, I think she would accept me for my who I am, with all (self-perceived) flaws. But to be honest, I don’t think I could do the same for her. She is intelligent, fun, and a good person, but there are things about her appearance that I do not care for and her politics are 180 degrees from mine. I fear that both would weigh on me as time went on.
And I convinced myself that leaving Appalachia and taking a job with a bigger organization was the right path for me. I set that path in motion last year and ended up getting the job in late March 2021. I’ve just been dragging my feet on my move since the cost of living here is significantly cheaper and we were teleworking for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, my mental health these past few years has not been grand. Even with counseling and SSRIs for a time, I continue to suffer from an inability to concentrate and focus, decreased retention, and general malaise. The fear of failure comes from not living up to the stellar employee I used to be in previous careers. There are metrics that have to be met in federal employment, and I have been “pulled aside” a few times for a pep talk about meeting expectations. Now, I’ll be leaving for a new city soon for a job that really isn’t that different than the one I left. Having served in the military, received my graduate degree, and working a “good job,” people see me as successful and drive. All the while, I feel very subpar and average these past few years.
To circle back, I guess I cannot expect anyone to see and accept my flaws when I truly cannot accept them myself.October 5, 2021 at 7:33 am #387093
Good morning TeaK,
Last night hurt (and continues to hurt) more than I anticipated. After I told her that I was taking a job and leaving, she cried and said that she needed to go for a drive. We spoke on the phone later, and she confided in me that she is more upset that I didn’t give her the option of possibly going with me and seeing where the relationship went. However, I did not confide in her that I’d done that before and it did not work and it would not be fair to her. She wanted to know why I did not want to maintain the relationship: “Is it my dogs? My looks? I’m too needy? Not fun? My politics? Or you just want to check out the dating pool there? Just why you don’t want a relationship?” I did not respond, because I simply do not know. And she is vulnerable and any criticism I would have offered would have stuck and she would carry it on to future relationships.
She continues to text this morning: “I’m so torn…my head says I should just start hyper dating a bunch of losers and try to get over you and move on but my heart says I should take whatever time we have and make the most of it. That’s what I want. Time is so short & who knows what tomorrow will bring and why quit something that makes me happy? P.S. don’t respond. I’m just getting stuff out.” She warned me early on that she didn’t want to fall for me and wanted to keep me at arm’s length, and there is some anger inside her that I didn’t do a better job at keeping some distance. I could have been honest about leaving here from the start and possibly saved her some heartache, so that weighs on me.
To answer your questions, TeaK… Been diagnosed with dysthymia, major depressive disorder, anxiety, and I suffer at times from anhedonia. Had severe self-esteem issues as a child, and others have suspected some traumas experienced as a child that I do not recall. I did not date growing up, and being married with a child at 20–then divorced a few years later–after braces and a better diet and exercise, I began to “grow” into myself. I dated several women with emotional issues–one attempted suicide and another, sadly, was successful. Married the girl who had attempted suicide near the end of our marriage. After her, I tried to be more…selective, which may have contributed to my unwillingness to connect on a deeper level with them. This likely fed into the belief that there may be someone better just around the corner.
I do see the immense value in a companion (or lifelong partner). I could say that I’ve been too focused on myself to put in the work necessary to build a deep, lasting relationship. I am highly self-critical–and critical in general, though I try to keep the criticisms to myself. I find when a relationship runs into trouble, I perhaps do not value it enough to put the work in to fix it. A romantic relationship means being wholly vulnerable and open, which is something I’ve been unwilling to do. There’s a commitment and an intimacy that I cannot seem to maintain.
I keep waiting for the “one” or the person I feel a deep connection with, and maybe I don’t give it time to develop. There is so much about myself that I feel needs work, but I continue to date and ultimately hurt them in the end. All the while, time flies by and I move closer and closer to 50.
I am seeking fulfillment in someone else, but all the while, I’ve never truly found it inside myself. I grow impatient and frustrated and meet someone who soothes those feelings for a time. Meanwhile, I am filled with feelings that I’m not stable enough for this world and feeling that I’m always a step away from failing at work. I’m simply not happy and fear this job and the move will not make me any happier.
My apologies as this response was all over the place.
RyanOctober 4, 2021 at 1:31 pm #387075
Thank you, TeaK. I would like that…
While it stung to read it, I can understand Anita’s suspicions. I did not realize how similar their comments were. Obviously, I do not include all the text messages. And while it may be odd, or at least not the normal here, I include comments here as I feel it paints a better picture than the one-sided picture I could paint alone. I do wish that my writing here did not give a false impression, but all I can say is that I wouldn’t be pouring out so much here if it were false.
As I said with Anita, I would understand if you decided to no longer communicate with me here.