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I need to learn to be single

(13 Posts)
gettingabitdesperatereally Tue 03-Nov-15 17:32:22

Am currently going through a divorce, h is EA and I decided to leave him at the beginning of this year and moved out with my dds (at the time aged 3 yrs and 18 mo). I immediately got involved with another man, fell for him and spent all my weekends when the dc were with their dad with this man, he gave me emotional support but was also very selfish and pretty messy himself. He then left and moved away (live overseas) and I found that very difficult but carried on long distance until the other day when he basically cut me off because I was too demanding/needy. I think I probably am too demanding and needy, insecure and jealous and generally emotionally weak.

Life is hard and I am proud of myself, I am working full time, single handedly financially supporting my children and living abroad in a hard place to live. However, I have spent pretty much the past 20 years (am now 34) going from relationship to relationship, never being alone and I'm pretty sure I really lack self respect/self esteem. I don't sleep around, I just get full on involved with men and feel like I've fallen for them and let things go on and drag out until they are awful and destructive.

Now I am actually really on my own. I have to learn to cope with this and to learn to love myself and my life by myself. My girls are everything and I know I don't need distractions like ridiculous relationships but I am struggling to get my head in the right place. I am hurting from the rejection of the last guy and I'm afraid he'll come back into my life and I won't have the strength to tell him to fuck off. And I am starting to look at other men as potential partners even though I know I need to be single. I am seeing a therapist and I plan to explore this with her but I am just seeking any advice from any stronger and wiser women out there. I can pretty much see where I'm going wrong and that I have been seeking validation from men for so long and it needs to STOP but I don't know how to put this into practice. I don't have much time to myself and I have some friends but not very good ones and to be honest I don't really feel I can trust anyone I know here. I have a good family but I live far away and don't want to be a constant drain on them.

gettingabitdesperatereally Tue 03-Nov-15 17:54:24

In addition to all this, I am basically trapped in a country I don't want to live in and I have no idea how long this will be the case. It all depends if my h will allow me to move back to the UK/abroad. So trying to stay positive through it all and being alone without support is difficult.

pallasathena Tue 03-Nov-15 19:46:12

You need the support of other women out there. Is there a British Embassy type social club that you could join? Or a PTA at the local school? Something that would give you access to other mums and the opportunity to make friends.
I'd make a decision if I were you to not be in a relationship for at least the next six months. You appear to get into unsuitable liaisons almost as a default position. Its habitual. Its also deeply damaging to your sense of self-esteem. Being independent, enjoying your work, your kids, your hobbies if you have them are what makes life interesting - not the drama of unsuitable relationships and the fall out when they go wrong.
Maybe you could think about reading up on why you are so needy. There's some good books on the subject on Amazon. Worth a browse. And can you move back to UK where presumably there would be more support?

gettingabitdesperatereally Wed 04-Nov-15 18:53:03

Thanks, I am part of some social clubs but I don't really have time to got to anything between work and the kids. I am making more effort to connect to the people I do know though.
I think that's a good idea to set myself a goal of not getting involved with anyone for 6 months so I will do that. My therapist said the same thing, it's a coping mechanism.
I will look for books. And I would like to move back to UK but I don't know if h will let me.

pallasathena Thu 05-Nov-15 10:24:19

You need to find out exactly what your ex would do if you were to return to the UK. If you're in a middle eastern country there are strict laws that prevent mothers leaving the country with their children if their husbands object. Are you in a country with these restrictions?
If so, there are ways and means and the embassy will advise you.

I'd spend the next six months focusing on planning your future. A future, for now, without a 'significant other,' clouding the landscape. If you channel your energies into creating a successful life for yourself instead of pouring your heart and soul into yet another doomed relationship, long term, you'll be building happiness rather than despair I'm sure. And confidence in your own ability to cope with life's slings and arrows.

RedMapleLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 12:08:49

Hi, I've been relearning how to be single this year after the end of my relationship. (I didn't want to rush straight in to a new relationship though, and still don't).

I've spent some time thinking about my concerns and how I can meet my own needs around these, rather than relying on someone else. For example, I really didn't like coming back to an empty, cold, dark house. So now before I leave I put things in place to make it a warm and welcoming place. By myself, for myself. So, hot water bottle ready by a filled kettle, slipper socks by the front door, make sure there's something nice to eat in the fridge etc.

So, my advice is to make a list of things you don't like about being single and then address these one at a time.

gettingabitdesperatereally Thu 05-Nov-15 16:45:33

Thanks for the replies. I am not in a middle eastern country but once we are divorced I will need his permission to move abroad even if I get sole custody. I can take it to court though and my lawyer thinks I have a good chance of being allowed to go as can offer the kids a better life in UK. That said, it would be better if I could stay here because my life here is much easier than it would be in the UK in many ways, i.e. I can afford a nanny/cleaner, have enough money to live comfortably, kids will go to international school, I have every other weekend to myself. The biggest downsides are that I am very unlikely to meet another partner here as would never get involved with another local and foreigners are usually either married or out to enjoy the local women. Also I will not get career development/progression here which is an important consideration when I am going to be the main breadwinner forever.

I think for me, being single on a day to day level is not a big problem. I actually don't much like living with a man though I guess sometimes it'd be nice to have a break and let someone else take over. Generally though I think it'd be more hassle than it's worth. What I do miss is the emotional and physical side...I like to be loved and cared about. A friend said to me recently though when talking about this, that I am looking for a man to reflect myself back at me in a way that I like what I see. I think this is true. I suppose the long distance thing suited me up to a point as I got the feeling of being loved by someone and making plans and meeting up for fun weekends in different countries (though so far that didn't happen much) without the day to day crap to deal with. However, when it comes to it, he's not there when I need him and he was too unstable and changeable. I did have genuine feelings for him though so I'm disappointed it couldn't work.

RedMapleLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 17:48:29

So what does "learning to be single" mean for you?

gettingabitdesperatereally Thu 05-Nov-15 20:01:42

I guess being emotionally independent. I am pretty independent in other ways but I feel like I need someone else to feel like I'm worth something. I guess I am also afraid about the future, growing older alone etc. I suppose I'm quite cynical about relationships now after my marriage and the following experience. I have a tendency to give everything and throw myself heart and soul into relationships too soon. I need to be more cautious and less...desperate I guess.

Shouldknowbetter2015 Thu 05-Nov-15 20:17:59

I'm going down this road myself OP. I was married for 11 yrs, divorced & 18 months after got involved with another man. He promised me the world, swept me off my feet etc. Cutting a long story short, he manipulated me, was EA, took over my life & then started verbally abusing me in my own house, while my kids slept. It was the thought of him hurting my kids that made me finish it. But like you, i find it so hard to be on my own. I started looking at every man with a view to suitability for partnership. Terrible i know. Anyway, I'm so lucky to have such amazing kids. We had a fab summer together & gradually I'm adjusting to being on my own. I wouldn't say I'm enjoying it, but its certainly better than walking on eggshells all the time, listening to his snoring & his disgusting fart/burps! I finally realized me& my kids are worth FAR MORE than some random, shit bloke. Enjoy your children, they will bring you far more joy than some random shit bloke!

RedMapleLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 21:02:33

I guess being emotionally independent.

I'm trying to understand what this means smile

As I said, like you, I'm learning to be single again, but I don't feel the same desire, let alone 'need' to be with someone else quickly. I'm not saying that to be smug, I just can't imagine feeling like that yet. I have a desire to be open to love and trust; I feel that there's a danger to becoming hard or even bitter and I don't want that to happen. But I guess I feel 'safe' in not being ready for another relationship yet.

gettingabitdesperatereally Thu 05-Nov-15 21:08:40

You're so right. I get such pleasure from my kids and I know that the more I give to them the more our relationship will flourish...and that's real, not like these stupid relationships with men. I also see that by being a good strong role model to them I am giving them a wonderful gift for their future. Because I never want them to compromise themselves for a man or to think they don't deserve the best kind of treatment and I don't want them to think they can't be happy on their own. So I guess it's my duty to learn to be happy on my own! And by and large I am...just need to be less easily swayed by the promise of romance.

Shouldknowbetter2015 Thu 05-Nov-15 21:13:47

Exactly! Though it IS hard, especially when the rest of the world is loved up... But you are not opening yourself up to abuse & you are giving your DC the chance of a happy childhood away from instability. Of course , I have heard (from many wise MN posters!) that once you stop looking, love sometimes finds you. Just take it really slowly next time. I know I will smile

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