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Can feel myself falling into a downward spiral - long

(23 Posts)
downwardspiral1 Wed 22-Jul-20 08:08:18

First of all I know that we are very lucky as we have not as yet been ill with the virus, or if we have, we have really had it asymptomatically or mildly. Also, we have a roof over our heads and even though we have less money than we would have had without the lockdown, we will be okay. And of course I know that many people are struggling both physically and emotionally with what is going on.

But I can feel myself spiralling and I am posting to reach out for advice or words that might help me get out of the hole I can feel myself falling into.

When lockdown happened I was working for an agency doing temporary admin work, and that dried up, so I haven’t had work throughout lockdown (I now have a permanent job that starts mid August so I am very lucky and grateful for that). I am a single parent to three teens, so we have all been at home together.

I have been on my own with my dc since April 2018 after going through a really horrible divorce (well the divorce came through later, but April 2018 is when my ex finally moved out after months and months of being estranged in the same house and going through the awful divorce). I divorced my ex due to the silent treatments he used to subject me to which used to last for weeks and weeks, the fact that I walked on eggshells around him to an extent, and that I was out of the loop completely in terms of large financial things – I felt I had no control over what was also my future and he refused to discuss things like this. Anything that he didn’t want to talk about he would get cross about, consequently by the end our relationship was completely dysfunctional and toxic. There had also been no affection for a very long time, and it is years and years since he was interested in sex – it would be me who initiated every 6 weeks, and by the end much less than that (maybe 2 or 3 times a year), and that was soul destroying as well.

For years I knew that we should separate but I was very scared, and also worried that all my dc might decide to go and live with him. What has happened has been the opposite however. For ages my ex lived somewhere not suitable for having people over, but now that he has moved, my dc still hardly go there. In normal non pandemic times my ex used to come to the house and be with them after school while I was at work, but obviously that hasn’t happened for ages. My youngest has been at his house probably 4 times in the last few months, and my eldest once. My middle dc suffers from anxiety and hasn’t left the house at all during lockdown.

My ex and I do not communicate at all. There might be the odd text that I send about something that he answers, but there are also others that he ignores completely (he used to ignore them all but it has got a little better). We haven’t spoken to each other face to face for years now, and we don’t cross paths or if we do from a distance, I can never bring myself to look at him (when I picked up my dd from his house for example and was parked up on the street outside when he came to the gate with her) or initiate any kind of hello for fear of what his reaction may or may not be or how I would feel. I guess there is a lot of hurt and anger there – he has been or is very resentful of the fact that I stayed in the family home (the settlement meant that the assets he got equal, more or less, the value of the house) and I guess that that never goes away. I feel strange as well and the house itself is a permanent reminder of the dysfunction and of everything that happened.

I think I am never really going to get over the family rupture and the dysfunction of it all, and even though I am in a much better place than I was, that grief is still there. I feel that we should all be together as a family, but then I remember the really difficult sides of my ex and I know it’s not possible.

Last November / December I signed up to a dating site and did eventually come across someone whose profile I really liked, and we went on 7 dates. I probably wasn’t ready for all this however as though I felt very happy when I was with him, between dates I was extremely anxious in terms of would there be another date etc… Anxious to the point that I even lost weight (put it all back on and more during lockdown!!). So when he said that an ex from a long time ago had got in touch with him, there had been a lot going on for him and that he wasn’t comfortable dating me, I was upset, but I had also reached the point where I thought that actually I couldn’t cope with the anxiety of it all. Despite that I felt really awful for about 4 weeks – even though we hadn’t got together as such – there had been a couple of very awkward kisses and that’s it. But I really liked him and it did feel like a kind of bereavement.

During lockdown we got back in touch and messaged quite a bit – especially during the more intense weeks when the death rate was really high and it was such a roller coaster. Some of those messages were very affectionate – kisses (but I do that with a lot of my friends), and I guess they were supportive of each other – he is definitely one of the people who helped me get through that part of the lockdown – there were about 4 or 5 people I was in touch with. With my ex date there was kind of a crescendo which culminated in a week during which we messaged a lot and there was one evening (he had had a drink he said so that might have been it) when he said there was a particular date that we went on when he should have kissed me, that I am very lovely and should be told that often, and that he could imagine sleeping with me. I mentioned the fact that we might see each other at some point and we both agreed that that would be nice. There had also been a message from him a couple of weeks before that when he had said that as soon as lockdown was over we would be able to see each other.

However, what has happened is not that – after the week with loads of messaging, there was less messaging, and I kind of assumed that that kind of intensity is difficult to maintain when there is no hope of being able to meet for who knows how long due to lockdown. Then the rules changed to being able to meet a friend in the park, and he did not say anything about meeting up, and hasn’t said anything about that since. I might do some volunteering for the charity he works for at some stage but to be honest I don’t know if that will happen. I don’t know what I am trying to say – I guess that part of me has been thinking that we might meet up at some stage, but he told me the other day that he has been to the pub twice, so I guess that if he wanted to see me, he would have asked me. Also, it tends to be me who initiates messages (though he has done it as well) and he did tell me when we were dating that he generally rarely gets in touch with friends so I guess that is part of who he is.

So now I feel kind of bereft all over again and it feels shit. We messaged a bit over the past couple of days, but when I answered his message last night there would have been the opportunity to take the conversation further if he had wanted to, but he didn’t. And suddenly it feels awful. How can it be that I have felt on a rollercoaster about this person on and off for the last six months. I get the impression that he might be the kind of person who falls in and out of infatuation quite easily – I know that when we were meeting up he told me about the 6 people he had been on dates with during summer 2019, two of whom he had got into really intense messaging with before even meeting (he called them affairs), but when they then met the connection wasn’t there. It wasn’t quite the same with us because there was an attraction between us and we did go on the 7 dates, but the messaging that happened during lockdown feels a bit like an infatuation which is over, but we didn’t even meet up and I feel very sad about all of it.

I think maybe love and physical attraction have a different currency for different people, but for me the interaction I had with my ex date was huge because I am, after my ex husband (who was my only relationship ever incidentally and that’s a large part of my story in a way) I am completely love and that kind of affection starved.

The other big thing that has happened recently is that I have told my youngest that she can’t go to an overnight party (a trip away) she has been invited to because there would be too many people there (in breach of current guidelines) and she has gone completely over the top in an effort to pressurise me to change my mind. The pressure on me is relentless and I feel terrible about that too because in normal times I would love her to go away with her friends, and I feel very sad for her. She is sleeping at the moment but when she wakes up it will start again.

And suddenly it is all too much – after months of holding it together during lockdown, I don’t know how to do it any more. It’s as if I tell myself things which protect my mental health and to keep me going – one of them will have been the thought that I might meet up with my ex date – but then you realise that it’s all a load of hot air and doesn’t actually exist, and I have come crashing down. In many ways I am lonely.

Like everyone else my normal support networks have been suspended – I go and stay with a relative every so often normally and that helps me, I had joined a group therapy group just before lockdown but that isn’t running at the moment of course – so though I have contact with a few friends and meet up with 2 or 3 of them quite regularly, I feel so alone some of the time. Again I know that many people do, and I can’t imagine how hard lockdown has been for people who are completely alone.

Once a week I volunteer in my local pop up food bank, and that has been great and I have also met some nice people there. At some stage that food bank is going to be stopped as it was a during lockdown thing (though the mutual aid group will carry on doing other things) and I am feeling really really bereft about that as well – it’s like a well of never ending sadness and grief. A lot of it linked, like for everyone, to the pandemic.

So I don’t know what I am even asking. How can I get out of the downward spiral I can feel myself falling into. Plus I so would like a real loving and affectionate relationship but I have spent so many years on my own (even while married as it was a very lonely place to be) I don’t know if that will ever happen. It is years since I have been physically close to a man (my ex husband) in an affectionate and loving way and I don’t know how to do it. That’s one of the things which happened with the person I dated in December and January – he interpreted my shyness as lack of interest and he himself was not very forthcoming so we never got past that.

How do I feel better about him and the interaction we had during lockdown which seems to be over (the intensity of that week and the affectionate exchanges, though we still message occasionally and he was lovely when I got my job for example). It didn’t really bother me because we like each others’ posts on Instagram and that feels like a connection (that’s a bit pie in the sky and teenage like but just telling it how it is!!) but after yesterday it suddenly really upsets me.

That’s the other thing – Instagram has kind of kept me going through lockdown – posting one photo a day of something really nice and I can see what a handful of friends are posting which is nice – but then you realise that that’s no substitute for a real relationship and real interaction.

Just feel so bereft and all over the place and I don’t know how to get out of this frame of mind or how to keep going. Sad about my ex husband, sad about the family home which he is not in and I am and the guilt about that, sad about the guy I dated and the not knowing what happened there, sad about losing touch with the people from the pop up food bank and losing that closeness due to the fact we were all working towards a common lockdown goal, sad about my daughter not being able to go on her trip, sad that she is going to spend all of today pressuring me, sad that my kids are in this weird limbo, sad for my middle dd who has OCD, sad that so much of life is still out of bounds due to lockdown rules, sad that I might never meet anyone, sad that the pandemic happened (understatement), sad and worried about the upcoming recession.

So yes, if you have managed to read this far thank you very much, and if you have any insight or thoughts I would really appreciate it. I have the same anxious bereft feeling I had when my 7 dates ended, and I don’t want to feel like this. It's as if I don't know what to think of all of this to make it feel better, and my mind is bouncing around the place desperately looking for something to hold on to.

OP’s posts: |
downwardspiral1 Wed 22-Jul-20 09:26:16

Just bumping my own thread though I appreciate that it’s very long blush. Also to say that I guess what I have been doing for the past few months is finding things to hold on to in my head, and now it feels like there is nothing left to hold on to, and it feels very bleak.

OP’s posts: |
Onacleardayyoucansee Wed 22-Jul-20 09:43:06

With the ex, you made the right decision there. In time things may change, but for now there is still healing to do around that.

With the man who was hot and cold, that's hard work.
This is not a suitable relationship type for you at the moment, you need something much more reassuring, secure and nurturing.

With the children, they are going through changes too and they will have been affected by their environment, the ambience of walking on eggshells, and may also be in their hurt places.

If your conscience is telling you that your teen can't go, stick with it.
It's time to start listening to that inner voice, and trusting it.
Say you are sorry, and you do understand, but feel it's best that you all stick to guidance.

You say you have nothing to hold on to.
Hold on to you.
Externals are never a, long term fix, but if we have a good relationship to self, it can not be removed. I think that looking for something to hold on to is your inner voice, looking for connection with you. Don't ignore you, what do you need right now?

In our area we can get access to telephone/online talking therapies via self referral on NHS, investigate that.

Look at you tubes for self development stuff, new routines, and working on loving/relating to yourself.

It doesn't help but I think a lot of people have this antsy feeling around lock down, and you have been through a lot my dear. Take it easy and look after you.

MizMoonshine Wed 22-Jul-20 09:51:14

Hi OP. It sounds like you could benefit from some sort of talk therapy. I understand that money is tight at the moment and it might be a little out of reach, but when things start to balance and disposable income is a reality, you should invest it into yourself.

You are not ready to date. It's that simple.

You need to deal with the grief of your failed marriage. Treat it as a death in the family. It's not something you get up and walk away from unharmed. It's going to keep cropping up and you need to actually deal with it, talk therapy will help with this.
If you're feeling as though you should all be together as a family, I get the feeling you're shouldering some guilt regarding the split. You need to let go of this in order to move forward.

When it comes to the guy you had been on a number of dates with, it sounds as though, unfortunately, you have fallen victim to the boredom of lockdown. It forced a lot of fuckboys™ back out of the woodwork. Many men (and women) reverted to engaging with people they had had a previous interaction with in order to feel close to someone during a very isolating time.

It sounds as if, on a whole, your confidence is on the floor. You are volunteering and a mother. You're looking after others. Are you looking after yourself?
Spend some time reflecting on what you want for yourself personally. Your upcoming job role is probably going to have a positive impact on your confidence but there are other things you can do too. Small things like painting your toenails or a bedroom wall, so you have something to privately enjoy or more emotionally fulfilling activities like listening to self help podcasts and taking on board lessons there.

You also need to focus on the positives surrounding you. You started off by listing the ways in which you are lucky. Expand on that list. Write down things you are grateful for. Do it every day, every hour, whenever something inspires you. Take that Instagram joy and run with it. Write something positive to go alongside the pictures that make you happy.

It's been a hard time for everyone, OP. A lot of people are spiralling and you aren't alone. You can walk up a slide. Its a lot easier to walk up a ladder, but it's not impossible. You've got this, OP.

MusicSchool Wed 22-Jul-20 10:29:29

OP, the man running cold and hot, it's called bread crumbing. He is keeping you when he is bored or lonely. Get rid of him and block.

Some information can be found here
www.mydomaine.com/what-is-breadcrumbing#:~:text=%22Breadcrumbing%22%20is%20the%20act%20of,words%2C%20it%27s%20leading%20someone%20on.

Iiketoreadeveryday Wed 22-Jul-20 10:39:56

My advice is keep it short and distance with the ex partner
Sometimes distancing yourself is what you need.
How he treated you wasn't right and be pleased you have that out of your life.
You are Lucky to have a new job to start and focus on.
Good on you for having some satisfying volunteer work I think it is good on a lot of levels, focus on others being one.
Life's forever changing.
Dating! I myself date or have recently
My experience/ opinion is over lockdown many used it to entertain themselves.. usually why it is best to meet asap to see if it is a genuine match not a text addiction or ego stroke.
Dating seems to lead to many damaged men or unable to commit.
I think it is good to continue to date but not to invest to much and meet people in person.
It is difficult to date while working with family but allow yourself to have social times going to places you like in case it is a flop.
Better yet ask friends or your volunteer group to do stuff together and make it fun.
I know your lockdowns different to ours but make plans.
Read the advice the other pp and do something of not plenty of something for yourself.
And do not let one man ruin your hope of dating and meeting someone nice

downwardspiral1 Wed 22-Jul-20 14:17:36

Thanks a lot for the messages, I really appreciate them.

you need something much more reassuring, secure and nurturing.,

yes I agree. He's nice though, I like lots of things about him, his way of thinking, being, and what he does for a living (in terms of it being interesting and in a helping profession). I am annoyed that having felt bereft about him back in early February, I now have to feel bereft about him again sadsad.

I think that looking for something to hold on to is your inner voice, looking for connection with you. Don't ignore you, what do you need right now?

- yes I am not sure. A really tidy and decluttered house, to get my paperwork in order, to feel fitter and lose weight, but more than that love, affection and acceptance. Living this half life that I have been living for years is hard, and lockdown makes it difficult to try and change things. I just want a life in which I can do lots of social things, and share a lot of love and affection with other people. Lots of connection basically. I feel continually stifled or closed off and it's not how I want to be. I know lockdown makes that worse for everyone but I also felt like that before to an extent, except that it was tempered by working and the busyness of life.

You need to deal with the grief of your failed marriage. Treat it as a death in the family. It's not something you get up and walk away from unharmed. It's going to keep cropping up and you need to actually deal with it, talk therapy will help with this.
If you're feeling as though you should all be together as a family, I get the feeling you're shouldering some guilt regarding the split. You need to let go of this in order to move forward.

Yes I don't know how to let go of the guilt. The emotionally abusive stuff was definitely my ex, but I can think of things I did or said in the marriage which looking back were damaging and sometimes just stupid and immature. So I was sometimes part of the toxic dance. The months long silent treatments were real though, as well as the kind of being scared of being shouted at etc.. (not all the time), so maybe I should just focus on that and remember that there is a very good reason we are no longer married.

It's been a hard time for everyone, OP. A lot of people are spiralling and you aren't alone.

yes I know sad. The weirdness and shock of the last few months and the continuing anxiety are taking a massive toll on all of us.

Spend some time reflecting on what you want for yourself personally. Your upcoming job role is probably going to have a positive impact on your confidence but there are other things you can do too. Small things like painting your toenails or a bedroom wall, so you have something to privately enjoy or more emotionally fulfilling activities like listening to self help podcasts and taking on board lessons there.

Yes, small things, I will try to think of new things like that.

My advice is keep it short and distance with the ex partner

we don't speak, ever. It's as if the other one doesn't exist, and we very rarely cross paths (and even then only from a non talkable to distance). This is partly what makes things so strange as we were together for 22 years give or take.

I recognise the breadcrumbing thing to an extent. Or maybe he (the man I dated, not my ex husband) got carried away and then realised that he couldn't actually live up to what he was saying for whatever reason. When we were dating he said that his last serious 5 year relationship ended partly due to the fact that both he and his girlfriend would go off radar every so often. I can see that he would do that, and I know that I wouldn't be able to have a relationship like that, so it's not a bad thing that we didn't get together. He is kind however. I also don't know if we would have worked as a couple or even if we were supposed to be together, I just knew that I was very happy when I was with him, and I wanted to get to know him better and to spend more time with him.

Dating seems to lead to many damaged men or unable to commit.

yes and it begs the question where do middle aged people meet partners who are stable and loving, and who don't play games for whatever reason?

I agree with needing more counselling - I was in one to one counselling as well as the group (which had just started) before lockdown, but the one to one sessions were nice but not really getting me anywhere. I suppose it would be something around finding out why I accepted so little from my ex, and trying to understand and forgive my part in the whole car crash of a non marriage.

My daughter who wanted to go on the overnight trip with her friends is now not talking to me sad.

OP’s posts: |
downwardspiral1 Wed 22-Jul-20 19:02:02

Just re bumping my thread in case anyone else has any more words of wisdom as I have had a hard day feeling sad and anxious, and I would really appreciate any more different perspectives that anyone has, that might not feel so bleak.

Also, with the trauma caused by my marriage and divorce, is there a situation in which I might never actually get over that? It's hard not to feel sad about the dysfunction and the wasted time.

OP’s posts: |
downwardspiral1 Wed 22-Jul-20 19:07:43

With the guy who chatted during lockdown but who seems to have lost interest, is that in some way my fault? We are not completely out of touch, it’s just much less and different.

OP’s posts: |
keepingtheplantsalive Wed 22-Jul-20 19:22:16

Hi,

You've had a lot to deal with over the last few years, so don't underestimate the cumulative effect on how you are feeling now.

Really, you want to be at a place where you get attached in a way that is reflective of the relationship and honestly you are probably attaching too easily, which at this time is understandable, but not helpful to you in the long run.

I'm probably in a similar situation, but have just recently decided to create and embrace the void in my life. I find for me its times like this that enable me to really examine what is important to me and where I want to direct my life, something I only do when I have a void. It also gives me the space to start working on moving in that direction. But, I was getting down with it before I reminded myself that this is a part of the process.

So, think the guy is probably a distraction rather than a real cause.

Coincidentally, headspace app is free for unemployed people at the moment so you could try that too. 🙂

MizMoonshine Wed 22-Jul-20 19:49:17

downwardspiral1

With the guy who chatted during lockdown but who seems to have lost interest, is that in some way my fault? We are not completely out of touch, it’s just much less and different.

No, it's not your fault. It's been the case for so many people over lockdown to rekindle someone's interest in them to combat loneliness/boredom. It's not you, it's him.

downwardspiral1 Wed 22-Jul-20 20:49:11

You've had a lot to deal with over the last few years, so don't underestimate the cumulative effect on how you are feeling now.

Yes sometimes it hits me all at once.

It also gives me the space to start working on moving in that direction.

What are you doing or what changes are you making @keepingtheplantsalive?

It's not you, it's him.

Thing is, I wasn’t really upset until I found out he had been to the pub twice because for some reason I was imagining that we would eventually meet up and that was kind of keeping me going. That and Instagram, but then you realise that these things are not real and what I crave is real love and connection.

Feeling bereft this evening because I realise I am not going to have those messages from him again sharing songs and podcasts etc as we have somehow moved beyond that to erm, much less if anything. Likes and the odd comment on Instagram.

But if I can’t handle this and have got too attached, how am I actually ever going to form a relationship with anyone?

I know that lockdown makes everything different. In my case I am in a quiet house with my teens permanently upstairs, one of whom is not speaking to me. I kind of feel half human and today has been really bleak.

OP’s posts: |
keepingtheplantsalive Wed 22-Jul-20 22:11:05

Hi, I am also a single parent who had a bitter divorce and has 3 teenage children and has also had my work dry up. I do my best to give the children and myself what we need, but it is a struggle, which is not only not appreciated, but actively denigrated by my ex and my (normal) teenagers. I know the children don't really realise and I'm happy they have adjusted enough to feel comfortable doing so, but its still hard being the one standing firm and consistent, with all the responsibilities on my shoulders and also trying to protect my children.

I too met someone, we did have a relationship, but he left in a very callous and cold way, which has made me question myself and my judgement.

I think I was looking for some relief, but wasn't really discerning enough because I desperately wanted it to work.

I don't know about you, but because of my situation I tend to be a doer, I think there is a gap so I will fill it, I'm so used to solving things myself now, that I just propel forward and take people with me, and that probably isn't the best way for a relationship to grow. I also just tend to think of solutions rather than really addressing the issues, especially as I already feel like I'm behind every one else in life so I need to catch up.

Anyhow, I have decided to leave my life a bit empty and not try to find a solution, but to explore the areas that are causing me anxiety and see what comes to me and where my interest lie, probably a bit waffley and wouldn't work for a lot of people, but I find for me it centres me and after a bit of boredom, I start to focus on a direction and I find that really helpful.

Onacleardayyoucansee Wed 22-Jul-20 22:16:28

Can you focus on forming a relationship with yourself?

Look at NHS access to talking therapies your area

PP has mentioned headspace app.

Look at stuff on you tube for healing ideas and talks, find speakers you like, podcasts etc for you, to grow you, to develop you, because you want to feel better.
When we place others in charge of our esteem or happiness and they withdraw, we can crumble.
You can develop the inner resources so that this can't happen again.

Iiketoreadeveryday Thu 23-Jul-20 04:16:53

Oneacleardayyoucansee
we place others in charge of our esteem or happiness and they withdraw, we can crumble.
You can develop the inner resources so that this can't happen again.
That's brilliant advice,, I'll be keeping that on a Note!

vikingwife Thu 23-Jul-20 06:27:05

I am going to be blunt - you need to stop using the term “bereft” right now - your dramatic language & internal dialogue is not helping you here. You’re not devastated - at least, you should not be. You’re disappointed. You liked someone & they liked you back but either timing wasn’t right, or circumstances like he got back with his ex, or just that he didn’t like you enough to make this an exclusive relationship. You mention going on dates & only kissed a few times. You didn’t even sleep together.

Being disappointed is to be expected when you date someone & they aren’t as into it as you are. It is disappointing when someone you like suggests to meet up & they don’t follow through. But this should not cause you to be “bereft” - and labelling it so suggests that you’re starved of love & feeding off the drama of the disappointment. It is giving you something to focus on, rather than focusing on the person you need to be - yourself.

Of course lockdown has interrupted the romantic lives of many. Some people it means they have been unable to date, for others it put a spotlight on relationships & they have either gotten serious more quickly or fizzled out due to the pressures of lockdown.

You are obviously inexperienced at dating & need to develop a thicker skin. I’m sorry to say but if your husband was your first relationship & this bloke was your only other main dating experience, getting into a relationship with the 2nd person who comes your way is not a healthy approach to dating.

You sound needy & insecure - as though you’re desperate for love & affection. In this mindset you will unconsciously have a “that’ll do” approach to your love life. It means you will gravitate towards & develop attachments to people who are not a good fit for you, or who you haven’t even formed a proper relationship with because you have a hole which you want to be filled inside yourself.

The fact you have repeatedly mentioned being sad & guilty you’re ex isn’t still living in the house - straight up you need to get over this guilt. You’re prioritising thinking about your ex, “bereft” about this bloke you casually dated off & on, this is not a healthy place to be. You sound like someone who should not be in a relationship for awhile.

You’ve put your foot down about your daughter not going to this sleepover but it’s obvious her ignoring you is hurting you on this deeper level than it should - a teenager having a strop will get over it. You’re taking things to heart because you sound lonely & depressed.

I think you need to overhaul your whole life & put dating + men aside for 2020. Make a commitment to be your own best friend & give yourself the love & affection you need. It is nobody else’s responsibility to love & care for you more than you do yourself, you’re expecting someone to fall for you but you don’t really like yourself it sounds like to me. Nobody who is this insecure can really like themselves or be content in their own company.

I hope that you haven’t found this post too harsh, but after reading the word “bereft” repeatedly in your posts it was really grating & annoying, so this annoyance may have been expressed in my response.

I just can’t fathom someone only having one relationship which resulted in a marriage & then wanting to make it official with literally the next person they date when they are still pining with guilt & missing the presence of their ex in their home.

If you feel so guilty then let your ex have the house & you move! But you don’t want that really do you? So then stop feeling guilty & accept that you are happy you got the house & he had to leave. Unfounded guilt is a useless emotion.

downwardspiral1 Thu 23-Jul-20 08:31:44

Thanks @keepingtheplantsalive - our situations do sound similar, though while I go through periods of doing loads, I also go through others where I kind of sink, ruminate too much and procrastinate. I am sorry your ex is denigrating, that must be difficult.

When we place others in charge of our esteem or happiness and they withdraw, we can crumble. You can develop the inner resources so that this can't happen again.

@Onacleardayyoucansee - yes this is the point I would like to get to, though I guess we can't ever completely shield ourselves from hurt?

Thanks for your post @vikingwife. I just can’t fathom someone only having one relationship which resulted in a marriage & then wanting to make it official with literally the next person they date - I didn't want to make it official or even necessarily have a relationship with him - I didn't know where it might be headed, but I would have given it longer to find out.

I think what happened is that, apart from the fact that he is/was nice in many ways, having those kinds of feelings after being "on ice" for so long was really big for me, even though objectively, someone with more experience of dating would have treated it differently. So I am worried that the same thing will happen with the next person I might date, it might be too intense (for me) and I will get attached very quickly again.

After our lockdown exchange of messages which has become a lot less, I have this slightly humiliated/rejected all over again feeling, even though it's probably not that, and the exchange of affection during the scariest part of lockdown probably helped both of us in different ways. What's difficult is not knowing what he thinks, because I am not going to ask that.

I take your point that in my sort of parched insecure state I might accept something that isn't right for me, and that I need to focus on me. I am genuinely going to try to do that.

With the word bereft, I know it's not a bereavement, I think I was trying to express how I felt (yesterday in particular), not dissimilar to how I felt when the dates ended, with an anxious empty feeling in my stomach which is hard to bear. Maybe misplaced, I don't know.

I think in terms of my divorce, the awful things my ex said and thought about me have kind of not left me. I suppose I could suggest to him that he sell what he owns and buy the house from me, but it wouldn't really make sense to do that, I don't think he would agree, and we aren't able to communicate in any meaningful way. When my dc have finished at their secondary school I am going to move.

Thanks for your message vikingwife as it's helpful and I appreciate it.

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downwardspiral1 Thu 23-Jul-20 08:39:44

Also, I think you are right about the internal dialogue being unhelpful - it's about knowing how to change that I suppose.

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Onacleardayyoucansee Thu 23-Jul-20 23:12:18

Regards the internal dialogue, ask yourself, is it true?
Befeft- is it true?
No.
Then look for what is true and speak that instead.
Choose a few words that are appropriate.
Look up "emotional literacy" on you tube.

Start meditating!
Connect to your body, to the moment, stop living in your head, your life is passing you by.
You have a home, your children, you have probably thousands of things to feel grateful for.
Start looking at what you do have, instead of what you don't.

Chip away at the words, ideas, people, concepts, that do not belong in the healthy new life you are creating for yourself.

If it's not serving you, chuck it away!

You are free to do anything you want, think how you want, be how you want.
Isn't that exciting?
New job to look forward to, free of abuse...

I'm reminded of this meme, where there's some guy, beating himself up, and he says to his head "you are supposed to be on my side!"

Get on your side.

downwardspiral1 Fri 24-Jul-20 07:38:42

You are free to do anything you want, think how you want, be how you want.
Isn't that exciting?

Yes it really is and sometimes it dawns on me - that’s what I want really, a whole new happy and open way of being.

Thanks for your lovely post @Onacleardayyoucansee, all of it is helpful and I will be referring back to it. I think you’re right, my life is passing me by, and I don’t want that to happen.

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Tinamou Fri 24-Jul-20 07:58:23

You sound like a very compassionate person OP, with your voluntary work and your concern for other people. Make sure that you put yourself first sometimes too!

Don't worry about the thing with the ex date that didn't work out. When you come out of a long, unhappy relationship (like your marriage), it's really common for the first attempt at a relationship to be a bit weird and intense and flawed because you are still carrying lots of emotional baggage that will fade over time.

I think that starting your new job in August could be a great thing for you - something to focus on and help you to stop being lonely.

Are you sure you can't reconsider about your DD? The risk of transmission is really low right now.

Sisterwives Fri 24-Jul-20 08:07:35

You seem like a massive over-thinker and over-analyser which is reflected in your epic posts!

Seek some counselling to go through what happened in your marriage and to build some resilience.

downwardspiral1 Sat 25-Jul-20 06:47:31

Thanks for the messages @Tinamou and @Sisterwives - yes maybe I over analyse stuff - too much time and silence around me!

Don't worry about the thing with the ex date that didn't work out. - yes I won’t - a bit annoyed with myself, but also with him for saying things which made me think we would be meeting up after lockdown 🙄. But I think this is what he does - gets intense by message and then nothing happens. More fool me for not realising, because now I feel as if I have been rejected all over again.

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