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Am I being completely unrealistic?

(8 Posts)
WibblyBibble Thu 07-Jul-11 10:25:21

...To think I might be able to find someone who is a good person, and I am attracted to, who wants a relationship with me? I can't decide whether I am or not- my ex#2 thinks I am, I am not sure what my friends think.

I have two children, with different fathers. First was with my now ex-husband. He is a lovely guy, but we found it very hard to live together and were really too young for the relationship (21 when we got together, and just finishing university- dd1 was born about 6 months after graduation: we had to move around a lot for work, and were both clinically depressed at some times). Ex#2 I met 3 years after exh and I got divorced (amicably)- we were together for nearly a year; it was pretty intense, he said he was in love and wanted children and things, but then periodically used to throw tantrums about me already having a child, and was unfairly critical about a lot of trivial things, escalating them into huge drama e.g. that I didn't have any 'nice' kitchen knives (yes, I know, wtf?) The end of that was one night, I went to bed not feeling well, he stayed up using computer, then came in and got really annoyed because I'd not put his pyjamas to warm up (?!) and threw them at me. I suggested having a break from the relationship/counselling, he said no, but then dumped me over the phone a few days later. My friends have since said that his behaviour was emotionally abusive, though he says it wasn't and I am just 'fucked up' and too sensitive. He's now with a 21-year-old (he's 37) and that seems to be working out for them (I think because she obviously can't have any serious exes for him to be jealous about), so maybe he isn't and I was the problem, I don't know. We found out about pregnancy #2 about a month after the break up, and he was extremely horrible during the pregnancy, but now has contact with dd2 and seems to be good with her.

I've recently been seeing someone myself, who is quite a bit older. I was attracted to him a bit initially, but now not sure. I am thinking of ending the relationship for a number of reasons (not going to go into detail), and will probably have to do this anyway, but I don't know whether it's really stupid for me to think I might still have chance to meet someone I really feel a connection to, who also wants to be with me permanently. I am not super-attractive, but I'm ok looking, and pretty intelligent (finishing a PhD now), and I think I'm not a completely horrible person. I suppose a lot of men would see having two children (especially with different fathers) as offputting, but I kind of assumed that as people got to mid-30s+, they would realise a lot women they might date would have children or be divorced already? I'm on OkCupid and do get some interest, though not really much in the way of serious relationship potential (most of the men seem to be looking for casual things).

Has anyone been in a similar situation and met someone who they've had a stable relationship with after this kind of past? Sometimes I feel like the only hope would be if one of my exes wanted to get back together because no one new will want me, or if they do it will only be for casual stuff as they see me as 'slutty' due to past relationships, or something.

buzzsore Thu 07-Jul-11 10:32:51

I don't think there's a thing wrong with you. Your ex2 was an emotionally abusive asshole, however. Of course he's going to say it was all about you, that's how such people work. Maybe you should consider some counselling to deal with the fallout from this relationship.

You haven't a remotely 'slutty' past.

sunshineandbooks Thu 07-Jul-11 10:41:52

Your XP2 is talking crap. It sounds to me like you're having a crisis of confidence and your X is playing on that. [grr] Maybe he's the reason you're having this crisis in the first place. You are so quick to point out your own faults that I bet you are far more able to have a mature, healthy relationship that involves compromise and discussion than he is! You may have to work on your self-esteem and standing up for yourself more though.

There are no guarantees in life, you might not meet someone. But if you don't, it won't be because you have two children by two different fathers or because you're not 'super-attractive'.

Look around you. Are all the people in couples attractive? My guess is not. Long-term love goes far deeper than first attraction. And what is attractive anyway? IMO attractive simply means looking like you care about yourself - good grooming (hair, clean skin etc) and having the confidence to express your personality through your clothes. You don't have to be a supermodel to do that.

Most people have children. 82% of the population in fact. The older you get, the more likely this is. Among the single women out there now, a very large proportion of them will be single mothers. Anyone who judges you for having two kids by two different fathers is not someone you would want to have a relationship with.

The best thing you can do to meet someone is to work on making your life and yourself happy and fulfilled, through DC, your PhD, hobbies, friends, etc. This not only get you out there and more likely to meet people, but the confidence you'll develop from it makes you more attractive to the 'right' sort of man (whether that's in RL or online).

Good luck. smile

kaluki Thu 07-Jul-11 11:19:09

""I am not super-attractive, but I'm ok looking, and pretty intelligent (finishing a PhD now), and I think I'm not a completely horrible person."
I think that sentence is the reason you aren't meeting anyone. You are putting yourself down. I bet you are attractive and you sound to me like a warm, intelligent, genuine person. Its not about having dc - there are lots of single Mums out there who
If you are happy with yourself then you are more likely to meet someone who is worthy of you. I used to be grateful for any male attention, because deep down I didn't really think I deserved it, which is why I always attracted losers.
I only met DP after I had sworn off men and been single for over a year and actually started to like myself, faults and all. I didn't need a man (still don't) and was totally indpendent which he liked!!
Its all about the vibes you give off!

HerHissyness Thu 07-Jul-11 14:00:08

X2 was abusive. Without doubt. Thank god you are free of him.

You probably are still affected by his negativity and will need to do some work on your negativity.

I know you didn't want to go into the reasons for wanting to dump current boyfriend, but could you say if it's related? does he try to control you too?

The worry is that once you get into a negative relationship, unless you work hard to right the wrongs inflicted upon you, it can send a beacon signal out to other 'losers'.

Look after yourself, love yourself and the rest really will follow!

WibblyBibble Fri 08-Jul-11 22:22:32

Sorry, I lost the thread (literally) for a while, hence not replying.

Buzzsore: I was having CBT but it's now stopped- I've applied for other counselling, so hoping I hear back from them soon. I have had more than 2 partners altogether, so my past may be more slutty than is obvious from the post!

Sunshineandbooks: Thank you too. It's true that I know lots of people who aren't attractive etc. but have relationships- but a lot of the people I know in relationships don't have ones that I think of as very healthy. I'd say only two of my close friends have really stable, non-destructive relationships, maybe my sister too, but my mother certainly doesn't have relationships I'd like to emulate (she is still with her partner who has been with her since sister and I were teenagers, and he was really pretty awful to us then [couldn't deal with her having children], and has isolated her from a lot of people she used to be friends with and dumped her a couple of times but then came back- I'd rather have no relationship than one like that!). So I'm not really asking for just a relationship, iyswim, I'm worried that I won't be able to have one that isn't destructive. Sorry, that's not very clear- I'm not sure exactly how to explain it.

Kaluki: heh. I like to think of it as realism rather than negativity. I know people (mostly men, tbh) who overestimate how attractive they are and end up looking a bit silly when they expect people to be all over them. See, I'm not really that nice! ;) I know everyone is supposed to think they are beautiful and all that, and I do try (though it's a struggle), but in terms of objective attractiveness, I'd put myself somewhere round the middle really. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, though it probably means I don't get as much male interest as some women who are exceptionally attractive (physically or mentally or emotionally).

Herhissyness: I think I probably do need to work on my negativity, but I've had depression for quite a while (though treated and I'm not 'clinically depressed' any more according to the CBT counsellor I was seeing) and it's quite tricky! Also yes I do need to get over the fallout from the relationship with ex2. Reasons for wanting to break up with current guy: there are quite a few- partly that he's quite a lot older, and I don't feel like I can deal with that in the long term; partly that his life is a bit chaotic, and although theoretically I think what he is doing is good, I am not sure I can cope with the instability; partly, yes, he has been slightly controlling earlier on in relationship (though I had this out with him and he mostly stopped- also he does not expect me to 'look after' him in the way ex2 did, I suppose); and partly that I just don't feel very 'connected' with him, both sexually and emotionally (though he is supportive and kind, generally, I just feel that he sometimes doesn't notice things that I notice, or fails to listen properly to what I've said when we're talking). I know these are not great reasons, but I have not been seeing him for that long and I feel that perhaps it's best to give up sooner rather than keep trying and then decide it's not working in a year or so. I am very confused in general, as you can no doubt see!

buzzsore Fri 08-Jul-11 23:40:31

If it's not working for you and you have these doubts, those are good enough reasons to break it off with him.

You don't owe anybody a relationship, if it's not right now in the early days, if you've found him controlling (especially with your past relationship - as someone says on here, don't accept a level 8 abuser cos he seems better than the previous level 10 one - the only level of abuse/control that is acceptable is none), then don't carry on. A relationship shouldn't be hard work.

You don't need to have big dramatic reasons to end it. If it's not right, it's not right.

HerHissyness Sat 09-Jul-11 18:57:20

That relationship sounds healthier than the last OP, but agreed, it could be a lower level controller, and that is undesirable.

In any case, it's not working for you is it? That's all you need to focus on. Trust your instinct, believe in yourself. You are well now, so BE WELL! grin

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