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Baggage from childhood ruining ability to relax in new relationships(8 Posts)
Hi there all
I am a long time lurker. Sorry this is long and ahem, expressive.
I'm recently divorced, with relatively little drama, from what was an unsatisfying marriage to a rather socially lazy, mean and financially controlling man who was really my first serious boyfriend. We have one son. It's been a year. I gave myself space and stayed away from dating to prioritise my son's needs and focus on growing a new life as a single woman. I found an equilibrium. I was a bit lonely but had crucially, peace of mind on most nights! :-). I realised I married the wrong man. I believed I could learn from this and ultimately find happiness.
MY ISSUES!! Fast forward and I've recently entered what is a very casual and so far unclear sort of 'arrangement' with someone I have known for a while as a friend. I guess normal for an early interaction. I am/was fine with it being occasional, fine with keeping it all a bit real and sensible and not messaging day in day out. It has to be said my ex was extremely full on, intense and attentive during our early days and as such yes, my mind and memory is annoying me by comparing and equating this more hands off start to things with a loss of interest in the other person.
This comparison has in turn has triggered an intrusive and highly destructive pattern of thoughts which I need to get a grip over but I am struggling. It's making me feel sick, destabilised and I've lost that year of beautiful 'self care' I put in just after the divorce. I am so pissed off with myself.
I have enough presence of mind to have done some thinking as to what is going on. I realise that I am 1) in an arrangement with a rather troubled and confused person who likely struggles to communicate and is prone to awkwardness. Probably, ultimately, when you read the below, a challenging match given my issues. I like this person though, and would want to try and give things a go despite this.
2)My father treated my mum like a goddess. Even when she was highly unreasonable and selfish (As she often was) he put her first without question and argued that she came before anything, even us kids. He also wished for the same behaviour in my partners and right from childhood, encouraged us to give up/go no contact/ditch friends and eventually boyfriends who were less than 150% perfect, committed, responsive. I now realise that means you ditch the entire human race. So I am struggling with that expectation and trying desperately to dull the voice of 'LTB' which surfaces after maybe a day or so of limited contact, or slightly 'pedestrian' contact. Both of which i realise are totally normal.
3) My mother, since I was a baby, has always treated me as an annoyance and an oddity (despite being a high achieving, model child, kind, sensible, independent adult). Unless I have good news she gets impatient with me, always did, and struggled ever to really show affection or be pleased for me, or put me as a priority occasionally. She disapproved of most things I did, and do. This means I grew up feeling like a nuisance and in the wrong. My 'script' is that I am a pain and not someone you would want to prioritise and that I must try not to 'annoy'. So I never ask for anything, never trigger a difficult convo, never make any demands, and accept the status quo.
So, of course in this arrangement, I'd like to have a bit of a chat about one element of the 'awkwardness' which I find a bit difficult to manage and would like to understand how best to do so. I believe resolving this would help me deal with at least point 1 and 2 above more successfully. However, due to 3) I feel absolutely unable to express a need, make a request for a chat, and or initiate some feedback which might lead to pissing this guy off, and in my mind, instantly triggering a rejection. Because when i expressed need to my mother it resulted in annoyance or frustration....
I recognise that to at least somehow bring a silver lining to the pain I caused to myself and my son by breaking up the marriage, that I must solve these issues once and for all, to get to the end goal of experiencing a more satisfying relationship based on normal expectations, imperfection and expressed needs which are ultimately met by both sides. In the short term these issues are there destroying what is a fun casual fling which initially made me feel great and confident. I can't bear this rollercoaster in my head.
Has anyone successfully managed to exorcise their past, or at least compartmentalise it and move forwards with a bit less pain from the past and a bit more self love.....
I'd be so grateful for words of advice. Thanks in advance.
I read all your post and I can't work out what the appeal of your new partner is. It's not clear. I actually think having him in your life is just not good for you.
Posted too soon.
I don't know what you want to achieve from moving things forward with a troubled soul who finds communication difficult and has made you feel this dreadful and undone the past year of hard work.
I appreciate you have your own past at play, but the fact you took a year out and were happy, then only now feel this way with this person suggests this isn't a good person for you. why are you drawn to him? What do you want from him? Is he actually able to give this to you?
When people say 'relationships should not be this much hard work' it is true. There is an element of work in a healthy relationship but not hard, grinding unhappiness.
Counselling is the way forward, I am a big believer in it. It enabled me to leave behind some pretty huge issues around bereavement and rejection. Fortnightly sessions can help to keep the costs down.
In all honesty, this arrangement is not right for you. There are dozens of men who would like a no-strings sex arrangement - find another one. You don't have to make this one work.
The worst bullies you will ever encounter in your life are your own thoughts
Thanks everyone for even reading and getting this far. I realise it was a total essay. Noego Correct - I feel bullied by them, always have, and now finally given what I've done (ie left a bad marriage) need to manage them and put them to bed once and for all. MaybeDoctor and BumDNC I needed to hear that. Why? because I cannot answer you. You're right. Thank you so much for taking the time to advise me.
I too am a single mum with childhood baggage and have a casual arrangement with a guy. It was exciting at first, my confidence went through the roof..but then we hit a slight blip, it was the communication too. I felt like it was me always initiating the hook ups and the insecurity of just being a last option started sneaking up on me, combined with his terrible communication basically took the excitement away and replaced it with anxiety. I can't remember how many times I told myself, and him - to walk away but I guess the sex was so good (and honestly the validation) that I just couldn't quit it.
I ended up just having a really honest conversation with him, basically said if he wants the arrangement to continue then I would appreciate straight forward honest communication. He had no idea that it was an issue but since then it's gone back to exciting and worry free. We basically don't contact each other day to day, no small talk, no catching up. He knows when Iam free and I know when he is, we'll message on the day and arrange if it suits.
What is it about your guy that you want? Is it just about the sex or do you hope for something more? I find casual relationships often work best where the potential for a long-term/commitment is slim. Like my 'friend' is working here for now but due to leave in the summer so logically I know that even if I wanted it to it wouldn't work out.
Oh also, are you dating? Maybe having a few dates with others/keeping your options open may be a good distraction instead of focusing just on one guy.
Thanks blueshoess there are similarities and yes it's gone from flattering, exciting, even a bit romantic to pure anxiety for me. Rationally I know it's the last thing I need but as I've known this person as a friend for some time I am loath to just not at least try and have a final conversation and be open. I've always been open with him when we were just friends so am really struggling with what, on my side, has turned into very controlled and over thought out Communications....due to the fears I describe and the issues I have....
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