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Is this where the real pain starts? Hand-holding needed....(long)

(6 Posts)
marzipanmaggie Sat 21-Nov-15 20:42:10

I checked out of my abusive marriage a few months ago. After agonising about whether to do it for several years, once I did it I immediately knew I'd done the right thing and felt much better about myself. In part this was because a weight had been lifted, I knew I was free and was living my life and bringing up my child on my terms, without his constant bullying, financial abuse, lack of consideration for me and alcohol abuse. I was shocked by how easy it was to split up with him. In part, if I'm honest, it was also because of the distracting attention of someone in my life and I was riding high on the serotonin from the flirting with this other guy.

To be clear, nothing happened until after my H left the house and nothing much has happened since. It's been a low-level, no commitment situation where it was totally clear from the outset that it had no future, for multiple reasons which I can't really go into for fear of outing myself. It was pie in the sky.

Initially it was a bit of a laugh. I then started to develop feelings for this person and inevitably let it go a bit further than it should have done. I thought it was manageable and that it would probably just peter out into a friendship as I thought we were, above all, friends.

This person has now just done a couple of pretty shitty things to me in the past couple of weeks which have made it clear not only that the "relationship" (if that's what it is) has to end, but that he is not going to be any kind of a friend either, now or in the future. And its impossible for me to go NC with him.

I am really really low this weekend and feel very sorry for myself, but I am a big girl and will get over this. But I'm worried I've been staving off grieving over the end of my marriage through this fling and that it will now all hit me like a ton of bricks and I will be grieving the loss of two undeserving losers people at the same time. I know you need to spend time on your own to heal after the end of a serious relationship, I didn't intend to get involved with anyone so soon after the end of my marriage, it kind of crept up on me but I thought it was just a benign distraction. Now, if anything, I feel more heartbroken about this than I did the breakdown of my marriage and am quite taken aback at how much its affected me.

The whole thing has made me really worry about my emotional wellbeing... why am I so gutted at the loss of something I knew had no future when I've been able to more or less walk away from a marriage without a scratch? Am I a complete f-up? And have I got a lot more pain coming my way? I am talking to a counsellor about this at the moment, but for financial reasons can't afford to go very often and I am feeling so awful about it.

lalalonglegs Sat 21-Nov-15 20:55:40

Seeing a counsellor is a brilliant move and you sound self-aware enough no to need endless therapy so occasional visits may not be disastrous. The new man has done you a favour - spend some time on your own enjoying your independence and your child. Of course you're going to question your judgment but that's a really normal part of coming out of any relationship let alone ones in which you have been treated badly. I suppose the reason you feel bad about the loss of a relationship which you knew wasn't going anywhere was that you thought you understood the basis of it - he was a nice guy and you had a strong friendship beneath the attraction. It turns out you got that wrong but don't beat yourself up about it, it could well be he was portraying himself as something he wasn't - your guard was down, you were used to being with someone who wasn't nice to you, you didn't look too closely.

marzipanmaggie Sat 21-Nov-15 21:26:24

lala that's it -- I had accepted the fact that this was not going to have a future as a romantic relationship but I think I thought it could be a sustaining friendship, which in retrospect was naive. It was quite a confusing situation as it was primarily based on physical attraction but from my perspective -- and possibly this was just him posturing -- there were points of real emotional intimacy as well and now this has been very abruptly withdrawn I feel really quite raw.

I think because my marriage was quite bad for quite a long time I had really gone past the point where my H had the capacity to hurt me any more and its a stark reminder that you can have your heart broken by someone you hardly know.

lalalonglegs Sat 21-Nov-15 21:51:47

That is really sad. The usual advice - be kind to yourself, don't let this man's behaviour colour your feelings about yourself - applies. You say that your husband had lost the capacity to hurt you but his behaviour must be partly to blame for you becoming invested in this new relationship quite quickly. I'm sure you know what the next step is... take a relationship sabbatical until you're less vulnerable. flowers wine

marzipanmaggie Sat 21-Nov-15 22:36:19

Well this in part takes me back to why I posted -- I do need to take a relationship sabbatical. But I'm also wondering if my strength in the aftermath of the split from my H -- which lots of people said they were really struck by -- was built on sand and actually mainly based around the fact that I'd transferred my sense of self worth to this new man.

By the way, I've never been the type of person to go straight from one relationship into another -- have been on my own for quite long periods and am generally pretty comfortable on my own. But, like most people, I get a self-esteem boost when someone finds me attractive and this guy's attention did probably inflate me a bit.

lalalonglegs Sat 21-Nov-15 22:48:33

You probably were strong when you were getting out of your marriage - you had a lot to gain by getting rid of your abusive ex. The new man has pulled the rug from under you because - although not a serious commitment - it seemed so much better. It was that relationship that was built on sand rather than your strength.

As you said in your OP, however, it did provide "distracting attention" from the worst bits of the process of separating so perhaps you can just see it as a helpful stage in getting away from your ex rather than a shitty relationship in itself?

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