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Considering going celibate - anyone tried this?!

(17 Posts)
LonesomeTonight Fri 26-Dec-14 20:37:30

Hello, name changed for this one as feeling a bit wretched...

I'm just pondering the last year, and my messed up attitude towards relationships, and wondering whether a self-imposed period of celibacy might help me. And whether anyone has tried it for a set period of time?

I'm divorced (5 yrs) from a sexless marriage, which left me with a whole host of issues around sex and rejection, which I've carried forward into my attempts at dating. And also a significant relationship which has been on-off even though he has kids, mortgage and girlfriend. Because the sex was so good I allow myself to be dragged back into a situation which is always going to end badly (& recently did - two morning after pills and an emergency coil in the space of a month).

Basically I over-invest in sex and place way too much emphasis on its importance. I can't separate out love and sex in my head, and feel devastating rejection if I have, eg, a one night stand and they don't ring afterwards. Even if I don't like them that much!

I think the happiest time I've had since my husband left was for about 3 months this year when I decided not to bother with online dating, or looking for love. I just concentrated on DD, friends, family and work. Hence thinking I need to try celibacy - maybe for a year, or at least until I can stop investing too much emotional energy into sex, as I'm not building healthy relationships and am attracted to bad boys and unhealthy behaviours.

Any advice/insight on how to sort my head (& heart) out appreciated...

IdeasBox Fri 26-Dec-14 21:24:00

Dear LonesomeTonight

Here is an excellent website - lots of good ideas on relationships and family and...it helped me anyway.

Happy Boxing Day!

www.drjamesdobson.org/

LonesomeTonight Fri 26-Dec-14 23:34:24

Thanks, but I don't think this website is for me. I am not considering celibacy with any religious connotations at all; I am a devout humanist. I'm just thinking about it as a way to reconnect with myself and try to work out what I need in life.

TooMuchCantBreathe Sat 27-Dec-14 00:21:24

I haven't decided to become celibate however I have decided to forget relationships in any form for the good of my mental health. The celibacy I guess is a by product of that but crucially the problem isn't sex it's relationships, make sure you focus on the right thing. (I.e. you are capable of having sex it's the relationship around that which causes you [and me] problems)

Anyway, after I divorced I decided to forget relationships for a while. After a few months I started to really enjoy being alone, I enjoyed not having the pressure of "needing" to meet someone, I enjoyed my family and friends far more than before. Then I began to see things about myself far more clearly. I realised that I was insecure and needy in a relationship (which I'm not in other areas) I recognised that I tended to get into codependant relationships and friendships. I wanted to be the fixer but I resented the constant calls on my time and the added stress. I realised things like I am actually quite selfish, not nastily but in that I find it difficult to adapt my way of doing things which creates even more stress.

Once I'd realised those things I settled into being single properly. I started to address the things I didn't like about my life and about me personally. My confidence grew, my stress fell and I became far happier and self fulfilled.

The journey took time and I can honestly say I'm not ready for a relationship yet - 7 years later - not because of all the old reasons, they are long gone, but because I am happy as I am with family and friends. The difference is that now, if I met someone, I know I'd be able to have a proper grown up relationship without the angst and drama that ruled my life before. I have the confidence that I don't need it and the knowledge that I could if I wanted to. It's quite a powerful position to be in and I'm looking forward to that chapter of my life starting - when the time is right.

I genuinely think, if you are the sort of person who tends to bounce from one relationship drama to another, making the decision to stop for a while is healthy. Time alone gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself, your needs and wants, what matters to you. It's important stuff and we often forget it in the race to find the perfect (or any in my case) partner.

TrousersRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sat 27-Dec-14 00:29:02

Thank you TooMuch that was really helpful to read.

Tutt Sat 27-Dec-14 00:49:56

I did and was celibate for 5 1/2 years.
In that time I worked on me, loving, respecting and 'fixing' me, I didn't even date!! Went to therapy, changed my life.
I knew when to change and start dating etc again because my body/mind told me what I 'need'
It has done me the world of good and I am in the best happiest place that I have ever been.

LiviaDruscillaAugusta Sat 27-Dec-14 00:52:00

I'm 14 years into a life of total celibacy - haven't had any emotional or physical relationship since I was 30. Best thing I ever did!

WildBillfemale Sat 27-Dec-14 06:56:40

You've noticed a pattern in your behaviour that has been repeated and left you unhappy. This self awareness is halfway to 'fixing' the issue.

I think you need a break from looking for all relationship/men for a while.

Put energy into other areas of your life, nurture your friends and family whilst really thinking about what you want in a relationship and develop strong boundaries that filter out those who aren't going to give you what you want.
Learn to read the signs of peoples intentions better, learn to recognise when someone isn't going to deliver what you need and filter them out - EARLY ON.

sakura Sat 27-Dec-14 07:26:57

I'm planning to be celibate too, for the same reasons as you.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 27-Dec-14 08:41:10

I was celibate and single like Tutt, for around 5 years, then started having some happy sex with a friend or two then found my OH who has been with me for the last decade.

Do it, You almost forget those patterns that screw you up and enable you to comcentrate on who you are not on how others need to see you.

Isetan Sat 27-Dec-14 09:06:25

Celibacy doesn't sound like the answer because it's not the act itself that bothers you.

It sounds like you may need a break from "looking for love", whilst seeking support from a therapist to help you break the corrosive thoughts and destructive behaviour that you associate with sex.

something2say Sat 27-Dec-14 09:21:53

I did I once. A very happy year ensued. Good luck!

wifeontherun Sat 27-Dec-14 10:24:32

Therapy rather than celibacy would be a better way to put it. As TooMuch said its a relational issue rather than sex. By all means put dating and sex on hold, concentrate on yourself (and all the better with the aid of a counsellor/therapist)and explore these destructive patterns and start learning other ways of being in relationships. But simply denying yourself sex, on its own, will not always bring you the clarity you need. Good luck, recognising the difficulty and beginning to make the connections is half the journey I think. xx

ChristmasTimeName Sat 27-Dec-14 10:24:39

Post from TooMuch echoed with me.

Have been out of arelationship for 2 years. Initially tried OD - lots of dates but no one who was right for me. Felt much happier when I stopped OD - too much drama and uncertainty for my liking.

Now I find genuine joy in family and friends and have joined many new groups and I'm busy and fit and healthy. I'm celibate too, but not out of choice, but I'm okay with it. I feel confident that when someone comes along I'll be able to make the right choices, and not behave like an idiot, as I may have done if I'd launched myself into another relationship or sexual encounter earlier. I guess a period of celebacy has given me time to get my act together.

3mum Sat 27-Dec-14 10:44:23

Yes, divorced a couple of years ago and absolutely no desire for a new relationship of any kind. Much happier this way.

I agree with a PP though that it is not the sex you should be focussing on, but the relationship aspect. Sex is not currency to buy your way into a relationship and that is how you seem to be viewing it.

I agree that spending time not looking for relationships (sexual or otherwise) and focussing on you and what you want out of life is absolutely the best way to go. Look after yourself and value yourself. A bad relationship leaves damage for a long time afterwards whether you realise it or not. If you want a time frame I'd suggest you plan to make 2015 your year. The year you focus on yourself, your family, learning new skills, eating well, getting fit and broadening your friendship circle. Far more inspiring and much better for you than yet another draining relationship!

In a year you can take stock and see where you are. I suspect you will be in a completely different place.

LonesomeTonight Sat 27-Dec-14 10:55:54

Thanks for the replies and positive comments, everyone. I think you're all completely right - I need a period of abstaining from looking for a relationship. This is actually what I meant by referring to celibacy - which, in itself, shows how I inextricably link one with the other! I'm definitely going to follow your collective advice and make 2015 about looking after myself and learning to view myself as a whole, not a fraction of a person waiting for someone else to 'complete me' (yuck, hate that phrase, but you get what I mean!)

It would be good to hear more from people who've been through this about the small - and big - steps they took to set themselves on the right path.

Big Christmassy love fsmile

TooMuchCantBreathe Sat 27-Dec-14 12:59:46

Good luck smile

It definitely helps to make the distinction between sex and relationships. Regardless of anything else you do getting that straight in your head is a massive step ime!

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