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I want to start dating again, but...

Old 03-24-2012, 08:43 AM
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I want to start dating again, but...

Hi, guys. I'm so grateful you're here for me. Because I know many of you are either going through or have gone through the same feelings I am now. I love the anonymity. I can't even get this in my Al-anon group. You are my ipso facto "sponsor".

I'm gonna start first by saying that I developed a nasty habit of avoiding during my marriage. It started because I would hear him in the next room getting wasted, or come home to find him passed out, or know that he was out looking for drugs and so I would sit and try to make myself very small and very quiet so as not to attract attention. I'd watch movies on my computer because I couldn't write anymore - writing would require that I remain alert. If I needed to eat or go to the bathroom, I'd do so as quickly as possible and Hide, Hide, Hide.

I guess I must have done this as a child, too. My father was a pretty violent alcoholic as well.

I didn't choose my father, but I married my husband.

It's been a year and I remember writing to you guys in the first months after I left him and about five months after I left him when I felt the first glimmerings of my own attractiveness for a guy who rejected me (probably 'cause I was still a MESS).

Anyway, I feel attraction for another person now and I am SCARED! This is only the second person I've felt attraction for after my marriage and even though this person seems healthy, intelligent, funny, etc., I'm scared shitless because I feel like: "Well, this is how I felt about my husband. What if I make ANOTHER mistake."

So, my question is, how do we TRUST ourselves again to make GOOD DECISIONS?
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:05 AM
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how do we TRUST ourselves again to make GOOD DECISIONS?
I am still asking myself that question. I'm in a relationship with a man (post alcoholic marriage) that I've known for all of my adult life and a good chunk of my childhood. I feel that since we had been friends for eons, we basically knew everything there was to know about each other.

What I've found out is that being in a relationship, even after being friends for a very long time, changes things. We have taken it extremely slowly -- we both came out of bad relationships and had some healing to do and a lot of insecurities and a lot of suspicions.

Continuing working on my recovery has been key. But just as important has been total and complete honesty. Love isn't enough. Attraction sure as hell isn't. Because we've both learned that "hiding" behavior that you talk about, we have to actively listen to ourselves and pay attention to those little signals that say "something is making me uncomfortable/scared/suspicious" and then take the time to figure out what that is, and talk about it.

For example -- we've talked about moving in together. Something about it didn't sit right with me, but I ignored that because I could see so many positives about living together. He felt the same way, and brought it up, and was terrified of doing it because he thought I'd think that he wasn't interested anymore. So we talked about it, and found that he felt like he still needed time between his wrecked marriage and a new live-in relationship to figure out how he was, as a person, separate from a relationship. I figured out that because he's building his own business and his income is very unpredictable, that made me terrified of merging our lives and finances. Which made me realize that yes, I have some control issues to work on -- but I also have scars from a marriage where I didn't have enough money to feed the kids but there was always money for expensive liquor and fancy parties for his friends. And I was able to say that -- you know, show those sides of me and say "I know this ain't pretty, but it is what it is, and we need to get it out on the table if we care about each other and want to try to build a future together."

What I've found the hardest is that... it's very tempting to dive head-first into a new relationship and lose yourself in it and use those overwhelming infatuation feelings as an excuse to say "Look, I'm not that screwed up, all I needed was LOVE".... and THAT is dangerous...
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:09 AM
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Do a background check (cost 35 bucks online) and see if he has any court mandated rehab, DUI's, etc.

Remember, there's no need to rush into anything.....
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:25 AM
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but I also have scars from a marriage where I didn't have enough money to feed the kids but there was always money for expensive liquor and fancy parties for his friends.
Yes, I had this experience too, although I don't have children.
I am worried that with this person, I may feel attracted to him because I feel comfortable with him. And if I feel comfortable with him, is it because I feel not only will he be willing to accept my bad habits but also that he has secret dark habits hiding of his own?!?!?
I know this is a bit of paranoia... but this is what I am dealing with right now.

Anvilhead: How does the attraction feel? I'm not quite sure. Like I said, I've been working hard to build myself up lately. Feel good again, you know? It's not surprising that I get to have the wonder of attraction thrown into the mix - and it's only the 2nd time in a year! I've just met this person. He's very funny. I could see us working very well professionally together (I do freelance and his field of freelance is ripe for collaboration). I guess the attraction feels good. I'm still in the state though where I have to "allow" myself to enjoy it. Like, I can't enjoy it outright.

Another problem I feel is that I am very passive about this situation when this calls for me to be more active. I feel with everything I've gone through, I don't want to approach anybody. If someone has an attraction to me, I feel like they ought to do the work. Since I am a woman, I guess that's acceptable, though I was never like this before and I'm not sure that's the way to go.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:53 AM
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I needed to respond to this, because the way that you described your marriage, was my life also. Only difference was that he took the living room, I had the den. I was afraid to move in there. Didn't want to make a noise because that would let him know that I was there. Then he would come into my room, and my only escape then was to hide out in the garage, and at times lock myself in the car.

I am now away from him for 3 years, divorced one year. I still hide and isolate myself, but there comes times that I need to socialize. I have made many friends, and I still can't figure out why. But I still hide. Why? I don't know. Probably still afraid to open myself up to another person. Afraid to "trust" again.

I want to "trust" again, just can't at this moment. I was married for 27 years.

So I sit in my house and isolate myself. Was thinking this morning that maybe I should start going out, see what happens, I am a likeable person. Everyone that I meet do seem to like me, but still afraid.

But that is why I needed to respond here

I think that as long as you are "good" with yourself, and you know what you want and what you need, and are willing to say so, then try it. If not, then don't. I don't "trust" myself yet, to make a decision like that. I know that.

I also agree with "if someone has an attraction to me, that they can do the work".

Also remember that a date is not a lifelong commitment. You always have choices. Watch for any red flags. Go thru the four seasons, many times if needed.

Sorry, for the disconnected jabbering. Just wanted you to know that you aren't the only person who "hid".
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:55 AM
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I may feel attracted to him because I feel comfortable with him. And if I feel comfortable with him, is it because I feel not only will he be willing to accept my bad habits but also that he has secret dark habits hiding of his own?!?!?
I know this is a bit of paranoia... but this is what I am dealing with right now.
Paranoia is a funny thing. I have it as well. I think it's wise to heed it but not let it run my life, if that makes sense? Like "trust but verify"?

If I had met someone completely new, like in your situation, I would probably start out trying to pursue a work project together, just to get to know him better. Attraction is not a good way to judge someone's personality.

And honestly? I think everyone comes with baggage. It's just a question about how they are dealing with their baggage and if their baggage is something that stays on the right side of your boundaries. For example, the man I'm involved with has a lot of insecurities related to career/position, because his exwife would give or withhold affection based on how high in the hierarchy he climbed. So when his company downsized and he was laid off, she said she had no respect for him. That's something I can live with, him working through the feeling that he's not worthy if he doesn't have a fancy title.

I think caution is good. I know that I probably wouldn't be dating a guy who was having a couple of beers every Friday even if he wasn't an alcoholic. That's still a big trigger for me. This guy has had maybe... oh, three drinks in the past year.

So we'll be looking at different things. Different triggers.

As for the "I don't want to approach anybody" -- is that fear of rejection, or the feeling that... if you take the first step, and then end up not liking him, it's harder to back out because you were the one who initiated it?
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:56 AM
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Since I am a woman, I guess that's acceptable, though I was never like this before and I'm not sure that's the way to go.
If you weren't passive before this, why start now? Assertive is good.
Assertiveness would help with making boundaries. Hmmm.
I believe I just gave myself something to work on!

Beth
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:04 AM
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As for the "I don't want to approach anybody" -- is that fear of rejection, or the feeling that... if you take the first step, and then end up not liking him, it's harder to back out because you were the one who initiated it?
Actually, it's neither. It's more like self-righteousness. You know, saying to myself: "In my marriage, I had to do EVERYTHING. When is someone gonna do something for me?!"
Hey, I didn't say it was a HEALTHY feeling, just how I feel. And you know, it's true. I DO want a bit of kid-glove treatment. Is that SO bad?
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:11 AM
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I also wanted to take a minute to respond to Amy, 'cause, girlfriend, you and I know a bit about self-isolation and BOY is it dangerous!

I just wanted to tell you that I had actually tried to date before (around November, online dating) but found the whole situation so nerve-wracking and so anxiety-producing that I locked myself in until just a few weeks ago. I have to make conscious efforts to remain social. My Al-anon meeting is very useful for this. I have a book which puts exercises in place so that my nearly crushing low self-worth is held at bay (Creative Visualization by ****** Gawain). I am also lucky because I have a part-time job teaching English to foreigners and lately I have been using my students as practice, going out with them. Somehow I don't feel as bad when speaking pigeon English all night!

All I'm trying to say is that I have to fight against a desire to ISOLATE and HIDE. Every time I do I feel more alive and more like myself and it gets easier to avoid.

You know what the cure for leprosy is? ...Sunshine!
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RECF View Post
I also wanted to take a minute to respond to Amy, 'cause, girlfriend, you and I know a bit about self-isolation and BOY is it dangerous!

I just wanted to tell you that I had actually tried to date before (around November, online dating) but found the whole situation so nerve-wracking and so anxiety-producing that I locked myself in until just a few weeks ago. I have to make conscious efforts to remain social. My Al-anon meeting is very useful for this. I have a book which puts exercises in place so that my nearly crushing low self-worth is held at bay (Creative Visualization by ****** Gawain). I am also lucky because I have a part-time job teaching English to foreigners and lately I have been using my students as practice, going out with them. Somehow I don't feel as bad when speaking pigeon English all night!

All I'm trying to say is that I have to fight against a desire to ISOLATE and HIDE. Every time I do I feel more alive and more like myself and it gets easier to avoid.

You know what the cure for leprosy is? ...Sunshine!

Thanks for that, it seems that you are helping me, more than I am helping you.

I even "hide" here, even though I am here all the time. I just don't log in.

I also tried the "online dating" thing. I was living with friends at the time, after I left my marriage. Guy was trying to talk me into moving about 200 miles away with him. When I told him that I found a house, and that I was going to buy it, he refused any communications with me. He was p!ssed that I didn't do what he wanted. Just happy that it was online, and not face to face, I might have folded. That's why I don't "trust me".

In a way, I envy you. I get a pension, and good alimony. I don't have to go out to work. But in a way, that is to my detriment. I don't have to go out. I can isolate and hide.

Life is out there. I know that. Just need to go out and "grab it".

When I left my H, I moved in with really good friends. They bought a house in another state, where they eventually did reside in. Their father was ill, so I took care of him for over a year, they would come up on weekends, they always appreciated what I was doing for them, also, painted entire house for them, inside and out, they would never take money from me. They still won't. Got my own house, started isolating again.

Why am I saying this?

In a way I guess to say that there are choices out there, and you always have a choice.

As long as you can "trust" yourself, and know yourself, then go for it !!!!!!!!!

One of these days I will "trust" myself.

But you go girl. Get back out there. You're way ahead of me. But someday, I will be as far along as you are.

Something my mom said to me-----------you only have one life, enjoy it !!!! Don't let fear keep you back, you might be missing the best thing that can happen.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:55 AM
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I guess what I am saying, is that the way I am now, is your past. You now have a future. Go for it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:13 AM
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So, my question is, how do we TRUST ourselves again to make GOOD DECISIONS?
Thank you for posting this. It is at the heart of my codependency. I don't want to keep picking the same person over and over. What I've learned is there's a big difference between love and need. The person that I was will be attracted to a drunk so it was me who has to change.

When going out with someone the first time I learned to keep my mouth shut and listen to the other person talk. Pay attention. If/when a red flag goes up know that if I'm still attracted that it's my disease in charge. It's not about what the other person thinks, it's about what YOU think. Doing this gave me self-confidence. I love doing it.

I certainly won't go out with alcoholics no matter how long they've been sober. I won't go out with anyone who endured alcoholic parents.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:18 AM
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Ha Ha, I wish Amy! But thanks for the vote of confidence. But yeah, I guess the anxiety is a little less. Honestly, super grateful to my part-time job for keeping me in the loop, though it took me a year to start using my students for social opportunities. It's safe 'cause they look at me as just a way to practice English and they know they are going back to their "Real" life as soon as the course is over.
But the point is that I am DOING something!

I try not to stress outside of that fact!

I've lost potential friends, too due to isolation, people who coulda really helped me, too. One fellow in my neighborhood, if I had just returned his e-mails, coulda helped me get back into school. Too much isolation... I guess I just couldn't get it together for that, though. I'll just have to try again.
That's one thing that drives me back in, too. You know, when I **** up oppotunities because I can't respond soon enough (or at all). Then I feel bad and rather than trying MORE, sometimes, I just STOP.

That's why I shared that quote about leprosy. Sometimes I have to repeat it to myself when I'm too nervous or whatever.

I know I'm worth more than the life I am living. I am the only agent who can change that, though.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:24 AM
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To NYCdoglover:
I won't go out with anyone who endured alcoholic parents.
Not going out with A's I can understand, or recovering A's I can mostly understand... But I am a child of an alcoholic and I wouldn't be able to deny someone with the same history as myself. Can I ask why you say this?
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:34 AM
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"In my marriage, I had to do EVERYTHING. When is someone gonna do something for me?!"
Hey, I didn't say it was a HEALTHY feeling, just how I feel. And you know, it's true. I DO want a bit of kid-glove treatment. Is that SO bad?
I get that. And actually, I don't think there's a thing wrong about that feeling. In a normal healthy relationship, you do do things for each other. I think that's a healthy feeling. Not if it means you expect to lay on the couch while your new beau tends to your every need every second of the day -- but I see nothing wrong with wanting to make sure your next man wants to do that sometimes, when you really need it -- as long as you're ready to give him the same treatment when he needs it.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:40 AM
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Not if it means you expect to lay on the couch while your new beau tends to your every need every second of the day
Awww, really?!? But I was hoping that he would fan me with palm fronds and feed me grapes from the vine, too...
Ha!
Anyway... as per my discussion with Amy. This is my inside day, but I still have responsibilities. I have to take my dog out and then I am going to do more exercises from my book. Though I'd really love to watch movies all day, I don't want to be in this state forever!
Still got more thinking to do on this subject. Will check in later if anybody has anymore ideas...
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:41 AM
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' How do you trust yourself to make a good decision?' I think the first answer to that is don't make it a snap decision, maybe you just need to relax and test the water-it's not like there needs to be any pressure-sounds like it will do you a lot of good just to get out and keep things fairly light and superficial to begin with.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:42 AM
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Not if it means you expect to lay on the couch while your new beau tends to your every need every second of the day
Awww, really?!? But I was hoping that he would fan me with palm fronds and feed me grapes from the vine, too...
Ha!
Anyway... as per my discussion with Amy. This is my inside day, but I still have responsibilities. I have to take my dog out and then I am going to do more exercises from my book. Though I'd really love to watch movies all day, I don't want to be in this state forever!
Still got more thinking to do on this subject. Will check in later if anybody has anymore ideas...
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:29 PM
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OMG, you got me to come outta my shell, 3 x's today. Think that's a record.

What got me to this forum?

When I was married, I belonged to an abuse forum. Started to shy away from that bc they would talk about things, like h disappearing for 1 or 2 days. That wasn't my case, mine would disappear for weeks to months at a time.

When he was home, he just looked for anything to go at me with. I would actually enjoy when he sat in his room to drink, hoped he would fall asleep. Afraid to even sneeze in my room, that might wake him up.

Got to be too afraid to even post on an abuse forum about what I was going thru, no one would believe me.

Finally left.

Still read on the abuse forum, but still afraid, I came here, bc I couldn't stop drinking, just wanted to wash everything away, wanted to go to sleep and not get up.

So, in a way, I have advanced. I quit drinking 8/2/2011. But since I came here I also realized that my ex was also an alcoholic. I was never really worried about that. I was worried about the temper, the way he would look, when I knew that he didn't even see me, just saw an enemy.

Yes, I think in addition to being an alcoholic, that he also had or has a mental illness, and was also abusive.

This is why I hide. Can't, don't want to go thru anything like this again.

Don't know why I am saying all of this, but when you described the hiding and isolation, it just felt so similar.

Also, was just thinking of getting a dog, this way it will force me to go outside. Was also thinking of a cat, this way I don't need to go outside.

It's really hard to determine when you can let another person into your life. I want someone in my life. I think about it all the time. Do I think that I can do it, at times, yes I do. Other times I just want to lock the world away. Don't ever want to feel that pain again, the pain of feeling rejected, no matter what you do, just forgotten, left behind, and nothing matters, and thinking to myself, yes, I am a person.

And since you asked, and since you are wondering about it, I say "go for it", it is the same advice that I would give myself.

Allow yourself to open up again. Give time for the trust, you don't need to give that immediately. Live your life. If this doesn't work out, at least now you opened that door.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:59 PM
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It's a bit of a corny read, but have you read "Temptations of the Single Girl"? A friend of mine lent it to me and I'm finding some very interesting nuggets of wisdom in there about most of my previous relationships, and the mistakes I repeated over and over....
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