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Limiting beliefs about meeting someone new

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  • #151784
    Milly
    Participant

    Hello,

    my ex and I ended our relationship a few months ago and I have been having a bit of a hard time ever since.

    He pretty much talked me into breaking up, saying that we couldn’t be ourselves around each other, that there were problems we couldn’t work out, and we should just go back to being friends, like we had been before.
    Towards the end of our relationship he had been neglecting me a lot, never made an effort to see me or even contact me, and I felt like he didn’t care about me at all, a feeling that I never got when we were friends or first started dating. That’s why I eventually agreed and also convinced myself that a break up was for the better, if we wanted to save our friendship.
    But then only a few days after we broke up, I found out that he was already dating someone else – his co-worker, whom I had also met a few times before. I was devastated, because I actually believed that the reason he wanted to break up was to save our friendship, and not that he had fallen for someone else while we had still been together. He also stopped contacting me (after which I also deleted him from all social networks and blocked him), telling our mutual friends that he felt sorry for me because he had found someone so soon after we broke up and didn’t have the guts to talk to me after that. Most of our mutual friends actually also cut their ties with him after what he did to me and keep telling me I was way too good for him and deserve a guy who truly loves me and is as invested in the relationship as I am.

    I also know that I should move on and find someone else, but I am still very much shocked and hurt by what happened. Also, it was my first relationship at the age of 26, which makes it even harder for me to believe that I can find a new love that easily.

    I absolutely want to experience love again. I have worked on myself a lot, I enjoy spending time with myself, traveled to foreign countries on my own, think I have a lot to offer in a relationship, and I believe that I deserve to be loved and meet a great guy who truly appreciates me. I also know exactly what I want and need in a relationship, now that I found out what went wrong in my first one.

    However, because I have never had any relationships throughout all of high school and college up until now, I still feel like meeting someone and starting a relationship is a very difficult thing for me. I still have all of these limiting beliefs, such as “all good guys are taken”, “I never meet any guys”, “I will never find someone who can live up to my ex”(during our good days), “only unattractive guys ever like me” etc.

    I wonder what I can do to change these thoughts. I have tried to use affirmations and some of them worked, like for example I started to see more attractive guys around me these days, but apart from that nothing has changed yet. Is it because I am still too attached to my ex? I rationally know that I am better off without him, but the fact that it was my first relationship at an already not so young age and that it only lasted for 3 months really makes me feel like relationships are not for me… Or is it really because of some subconscious blocks or self-doubts, although I feel like I have worked them out?

    Any tips on how I could get over these limiting beliefs would be very much appreciated!
    Thanks in advance and have a good day to whoever reads this 🙂

    #151816
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Milly:

    To change limiting beliefs, repeating affirmations can help short term, but not long term. It takes examining the existing beliefs, their origin, the feelings behind them,  considering new, accurate beliefs to replace inaccurate, old beliefs,  and then, experimenting with new behaviors fitting the accurate beliefs. It is only after we experience success with new behaviors, that we grow to believe, truly believe the… accurate, new beliefs.

    If you would like to examine this one and only relationship you had for better understanding, will you answer the following:

    1. You wrote that he told you that the two of you “couldn’t be ourselves around each other, that there were problems we couldn’t work out”- what did he mean by him not being able to be himself in a relationship with you, do you know? And what problems was he referring to?

    2. You wrote: “I also know exactly what I want and need in a relationship, now that I found out what went wrong in my first one.”- what went wrong in the three month relationship?

    anita

    #151820
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Milly,

    You don’t have to get into a new relationship right away. Even though you’re 26. Even though your fist real relationship only lasted three months. Even though he found someone new so soon.

    First of all, he isn’t your friend. At least, not anymore.

    When you are ready (and it may be later this year), put yourself out there. But not in a desperate way. More in a “I’m going to go to this party/event/place and see what happens”. And go where all the men are. And let people know you are looking for someone.

    Most people get married or find themselves in relationships one day. So instead of asking, “Why me?” have your default background thought setting be “Why NOT me?” View relationships as something people stumble into almost by accident.

    Good Luck!

    Inky

    #151834
    Milly
    Participant

    Thank you for your replies, Anita and Inky.

    Regarding the questions you asked, Anita:
    1. I feel like he said these things just to convince me to break up with him. He was being himself all the time, but must have felt bothered by me asking him for more attention and to spend more time with me. In other words, because I started to make “demands”, I wasn’t comfortable enough for him anymore. I asked him why he never asked me how I was or what I was doing, and he just replied he would feel stressed if he had to ask me all the time. When we were friends I never complained or asked him to care more about me, and was very much invested in making him feel comfortable around me. He said that this easy-going, open, and uncomplicated me was the girl he had fallen in love with, and not the sad girl who felt lonely all the time and asked him for more care. He accused me of having tricked him and that the girl he fell in love with didn’t exist after all and I had just been playing a role. That hit me very hard 🙁
    The main problem he referred to was me not telling him immediately that I felt lonely and withdrew myself, expecting him to make a step towards me instead. I apologized for this and told him it was a bad habit of mine that I wanted to fix and would surely be able to get over it. But he just said “judging by my experience the same thing is only going to happen again and again. this is not something that can be fixed”. Apart from that, my biggest issue with him was that I was never his priority and like I already wrote several times, that he made me feel lonely a lot.

    2. my biggest mistake was definitely putting my ex on a pedestal. I literally did anything for him and always put my own interests behind his. I gave him all of my love and care and was always there for him. When I was hurt or sad, I hid my feelings from him, worried that he might get upset and stop liking me. I was very careful around him and worried a lot about what he thought about me in general. I definitely lacked self-esteem and confidence and whatever I did, I always thought about my ex before I even thought of myself. I really loved him more than myself and I realize now that was a huge mistake. So in my future relationships, I know that I need to put my needs at least on the same level as my partner’s, and also I need a partner who regularly shows me that he cares about me and makes me his priority.


    @Inky

    I will definitely give the “Why NOT me?” method a try! Thanks for the good tip 🙂 I rationally know that I don’t need to get into a new relationship and I truly think my life is wonderful and amazing without a partner, too. However, since I don’t have any big career goals or other aspirations and my priority in life has always been friendships and relationships with other people, the only real goal I have is to experience a warm, stable, and loving relationship with a wonderful guy.
    I guess I just want to experience true love and know what it feels like to be loved back. Right now my ex might still be on my mind too much, but as soon as I feel ready for it, I will follow your advice and put myself out there, not expecting anything and just see what happens 🙂 thank you so much!

    #151866
    John
    Participant

    I am in a similar situation and this is what works for me to stop letting my past experiences (or lack thereof) keep me down and prevent me from having a good relationship in the future. So your track record is having love once in 26 years.  Instead of seeing love as something that happens to other people all the time, but to you only once every 26 years (that sounds pretty hopeless) I try to look at it as a skill that is learned. Three months ago you had zero skill and you cannot be blamed for that. You had no experience. Now no matter how much or little you have learned through this experience you have INFINITELY more skill. Any skill is better than none and this will serve you in the future if you let it.

    #152002
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Milly:

    You wrote: “He said that this easy-going, open, and uncomplicated me was the girl he had fallen in love with, and not the sad girl who felt lonely all the time and asked him for more care. He accused me of having tricked him and that the girl he fell in love with didn’t exist after all and I had just been playing a role. That hit me very hard.”

    When you wrote that it hit you very hard, do you mean that you agree with any of his input? Do you  think it is possible that once the friendship became a relationship (your first) that you abandoned a role?

    anita

    #152068
    Milly
    Participant

    @John: that is a really nice way of looking at it. I also feel like I learned a lot through my past experience, so I feel like it is the truth when I tell myself it is a skill that is learned and I have more experience now than I did before. Thank you for the tip 🙂


    @anita
    : I won’t deny that I changed my behavior after a while into the relationship, but the reason for that was definitely my ex, who had changed his behavior as well. When we first started dating, he showered me with love, spent every free minute with me, and constantly talked about our future together, including a wedding and kids. But then after around one and a half months into the relationship, he was always busy working, or with his hobbies, and never made time for me anymore. It made me feel like everything else was suddenly more important to him than I was, and so I started to withdraw a bit, I guess. I tried to distract myself by meeting friends more and also told him about how I felt at one point. After that he made an effort to contact me and see me more often again, but I felt like he was only doing so because I had asked him to, not because that was what he actually wanted. And after about 2 weeks, those efforts also stopped again. As a result, I felt like he really didn’t care about me at all and only worried a lot about losing him all the time. Again I withdrew a bit from him, but he didn’t seem to mind that at all. And that made me even sadder and caused me to withdraw even more, because I felt like telling him would only push him away even more. And then one day we got into a small argument which ended with us not talking for almost one week, until he messaged me saying he had thought a lot about our relationship during those days and he wanted to meet me to talk about it. And when we finally met, he was so determined to break up with me, no matter what I said or did to explain myself and ask him for another chance, he just refused it and turned my own words against me. I was so incredibly hurt by his behavior on that day, that I eventually gave in and agreed that a break up would be better for both of us, although it wasn’t what I actually wanted. 🙁

    #152084
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Milly:

    I re-read and studied your posts on this thread. The following quotes are from your three posts here.

    First part of my post:

    Your high priority goal is “to experience a warm, stable, and loving relationship with a wonderful guy… to experience true love and know what it feels like to be loved back.”

    You wrote: “I literally did anything for him and always put my own interests behind his… When I was hurt or sad, I hid my feelings from him, worried that he might get upset and stop liking me…I was very careful around him and worried a lot about what he thought about me in general.”

    You identified these as your mistakes and concluded, “in my future relationships, I know that I need to put my needs at least on the same level as my partner’s”- I agree with your conclusion and I know, from experience, that it will not be easy to behave differently next time you are in a relationship: the tendencies will still be to hide your feelings, to be careful, to worry a lot, and to put your needs on hold while attending to his needs.

    It will require ongoing attention on your part, willingness to practice a new behavior even though there is distress inherent in such practice; forming the intent again and again to behave differently, expecting to not perform as well as you would like to, patience… and it will also take an honest, willing and capable man and an ongoing, honest, clear communication between the two of you, one based on Empathy, Assertiveness and Respect (EAR).

    Second part of my post  (includes questions, and if you would like to answer them, please do. My purpose is to understand better so to be helpful with your high priority goal, stated above):

    1. You wrote: “He pretty much talked me into breaking up… That’s why I eventually agreed (to the breakup)…he said these things just to convince me to break up with him…I eventually gave in and agreed that a break up”-

    I was wondering, as this is unclear to me: do you believe that you had to be” talked.. into” breaking up, that you had to “agree” to it before a breakup would take effect, to be “convinced first… seems to me that all it takes is one party in a relationship to choose a breakup, not two.

    2. You wrote: “Most of our mutual friends actually also cut their ties with him after what he did to me… I am still very much shocked and hurt by what happened.” It is unclear to me what is it that he did to you, didn’t read to me that he mistreated you. Is his getting involved with another woman AFTER the breakup shocking…and a reason for his friends to cut ties with him?

    Third part of my post, more comments:

    You wrote: “After that (telling him he was inattentive to you) he made an effort to contact me and see me more often again, but I felt like he was only doing so because I had asked him to, not because that was what he actually wanted. And after about 2 weeks, those efforts also stopped again.” It reads to me that you discouraged his renewed attentiveness to you and that your expectations for how attentive and the motives behind a man’s attentiveness may be exaggerated, unrealistic.

    anita

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by anita.
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