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Relationship addiction

Old 08-15-2015, 11:39 PM
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Relationship addiction

So, many of you know that I am in a new relationship with a man since April now. Things are moving along beautifully. He's respectful, kind, gives me the physical attention I need, and I am extremely attracted to him. I know I am falling in love. Oh, that sounds so cute and so quaint and so 'white picket fence'. Unfortunately, I have to take myself into every relationship I have with humans, and I'm struggling with my codependency. This man has his faults and there are things that aren't necessarily red flags to me, but they are warning signs that my needs aren't being met or won't be met in the future. What I'm trying to decipher is: how much of this is codependency and my need to fill an empty void (which i though I had dealt with in therapy but I know is an ongoing process) and how much of this is an actual need that is going unmet? UGH

I just finished spending the day with him and his 2 girls (7 and 9 years old). The 7 year old accidentally called me mom when she wanted me to watch her cartwheel(she was very excited and we all overlooked her slip of the tongue) and when I read a book to the girls at bedtime, the 9 year old rested her head on my shoulder. I have been seeing the girls every so often now since the 4th of July. I feel very included in their lives to the point where I helped the 7 year old with her homework and when she asked dad to review it, he said, "Well, did Liz check it for you? If so, I don't need to do it."

There's a HUGE part of me that feels this is too much too soon. Yet, there's another part of me that sees the beauty of being included in another person's family, of being accepted by their children and being able to love them and view the parent/child relationship they have with their father with open eyes, so to speak. I am so torn between just wanting that physical relationship ONLY with my guy to actually wanting to develop relationships with his family and children, etc.

I also met his brother and the whole family (sister in law, nieces, their husbands, and kids) last weekend! And, we shared an experience (all of us) on a boat that we will talk about forever. We rescued a family from their boat when it caught on fire and we tended to these people while waiting for emergency crews to get to the lake. I held one of the children for 2 hours on my lap (she was 4 and grandpa threw her off the boat when the flame erupted) and she buried her head in my chest the whole time. The entire incident was in the news that night including the air evacuation to the burn unit, the sinking of the boat, etc. It was a crazy day last Saturday and something that I shared with his family, obviously.

After writing a whole book up there: here's my issues; I am facing serious codependency. I obsess over our relationship and when he will or won't call or if I should do it first. I watch the calendar and can't wait for the next day until we're both 'child free' and can sleep over/have sex/adult time, etc. And I wonder how much of this is normal early relationship obsessiveness or how much of it is codependency in disguise?

UGH! the guy I'm dating doesn't talk much about feelings either so that makes it harder for me to assess things with him. He's had me around his family, brought me into his life with his kids, and seems committed to me as he talks about things that we will do months down the road together. Yet, he's never asked me to be his girlfriend, never spoken about how he actually feels about me, and seems to be one of those guys who is just introverted and closed off from expressing himself. He's a good man and has so many qualities I love, but dang if it doesn't eat away at me that he can't just spit it out and tell me how he feels about me or about 'us'.

Anyway, I'm struggling here. Fighting codependency, facing who I am inside: the shame, guilt, fears, and insecurities that have gripped me since childhood. All rearing their ugly heads and I wonder if I will ever be healthy enough for a real adult relationship or if I'm living in la la land thinking that something like that even exists? I have contemplated ending my relationship with my new man despite the fact that we get along so well, have chemistry, and seem to have a real thing going here. Most of it is because I am FREAKIN' CRAZY codependent and I wonder if that's fair to him? At some point, my crazy is going to come out and he's probably going to run away anyway, right, LOL? Ok, maybe not. I'm quite a catch if you can get over the fact that I'm still partially "codependent crazy"(sounds like a good country song in the making, LOL).
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Old 08-16-2015, 03:00 AM
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Liz, how many times did you A tell you how he feels, what he would do to lose you, all the right words but never followed through with action? This guy seems to be showing you how he feels and wants. I get it you would love him to tell you but keep looking at his actions, I doubt if this guy didn't have feelings for you he would introduce his children and family to you.

Your doing so well managing your insecurities, me I let the craziness come out right at the beginning and the guy ran, your letting this guy get to know the real you and that's great, you should be proud of yourself.

I have to ask why would you think about ending something that is making you happy? What needs do you think he won't be able to meet in the future?
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Old 08-16-2015, 05:11 AM
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(((Liz)))

What does your recovery program and support network look like? How much are you using those?

What I have consistently been reminded of lately is this is a disease ("dis-ease", if that helps) of perceptions and proportions. When I can't trust what my brain is telling me, I can tell it: "I don't think that way anymore. I used to think that way, but I handle things differently now." Acknowleding the thought and then moving forward with a new action; maybe doing laundry, chopping vegetables (therapeutic for me & I've seen it in on lists of instant mood-lifting techniques,), calling someone who's already been through this, changing the oil in the car, etc.

Maybe it'd be helpful to read your past threads? One mentioned something about your brain wanting to create drama. Or something along those lines... mine does the same. And it also wants me to isolate myself. And to feel shamed.

As for the relationship, more will be revealed. Clarity will come, one day at a time.
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:11 AM
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Thank you for this post as I am nearly the same way with relationships. I, too, have finally realized those feelings are borderline obsessive and I try to focus on the bigger plan that God has for me. It's extremely difficult at times. Even though my wife and I are separated I befriended a coworker who was in the same situation as myself (SO drinks, addictive behavior). Her and I struck up an immediate friendship and I almost immediately began the same old ways of overthinking relationships. Her and I never did anything but talk but I felt a connection as we made light of our lives and had alot of fun despite our situation. One day at a time I say. Keep doing what you're doing there is progress in your story.
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:49 AM
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I agree with Pebbles. You need to take one day at a time, not a week, month or a year from now. Just like living with an addict. Work that day, enjoy it and maybe there will be another. Things will happen the way they are suppose to, if we want it to or not.

Stop over analyzing and enjoy the moment.

I am happy for you Liz, I hope he will become your "everything" if there is such a person!! Hugs my friend!!!
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:02 AM
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Liz.....the one word that I would say to you is....TIME....TIme....time....

I don't know if patience is one of your strong suits....and I know you want the security of knowing, right now, if it is the "perfect" relationship for you or not...but, you will have much more information on this in another 18months or so.

Above all....you have to feel free to be your authentic self....both now and in the future.....

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Old 08-16-2015, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
Liz, how many times did you A tell you how he feels, what he would do to lose you, all the right words but never followed through with action? This guy seems to be showing you how he feels and wants. I get it you would love him to tell you but keep looking at his actions, I doubt if this guy didn't have feelings for you he would introduce his children and family to you.

Your doing so well managing your insecurities, me I let the craziness come out right at the beginning and the guy ran, your letting this guy get to know the real you and that's great, you should be proud of yourself.

I have to ask why would you think about ending something that is making you happy? What needs do you think he won't be able to meet in the future?
Thank you for the praise. I do work really hard to manage my insecurities, which actually aren't as bad as I thought they were. I have a lot of single male friends who have helped me see that they think this guy is lucky to have me and they've actually helped me find a lot of self confidence as I've moved into the single mom realm.

As for why I would end things. The biggest issue I have with him is that he still has his online dating profile up and still goes on and checks messages there, etc. We've never talked about it (in other words, I've let the issue slide because I wasn't sure in the beginning if I was ready to commit to a relationship with him anyway) nor have I confronted him about it but I find that it confuses me. Why bring me into your life, let me spend quality time with your kids, introduce me to your trusted circle of friends, and even crazy family too, if you're still keeping your options open or still 'advertising yourself' as available and single online?

My sister pointed out the fact that he has tons of pictures of his exwife up on his old FB albums, too (not sure why she was checking him out on FB, LOL). And, yes, I had asked him about that one and he said, "You know, I really need to take the time to get them off of there and download them to my computer so the girls can have the pics as I don't have them saved anywhere else." He's been divorced almost 3 years now!!! He also has 6000+ emails not deleted off his phone and has paper scattered all over his office and his car. His personality is what I'd categorize as the introverted thinking absent minded intellectual type. Always thinking, always working a plan for his business, but never looking around him at his details and other things that need managing. He has admitted to me that he sees big pictures but doesn't look at the details and that he relies on his administrative assistant for a lot of that stuff where work is concerned.

He's also really terrible about making eye contact which I picked up on from date number 1, lol. He can talk to you and then look away at something else while he's still talking. It drives me crazy. I have to literally get in his field of vision if I want to keep a conversation going with him if I feel it's important. Again, I just chalked that up to something that's not that important in the grand scheme of things and it doesn't bother me as much now as it did in the beginning. The man definitely lives in his head but we can sit and talk for 2-3 hours at a time when we spend quality time together.

Sooooo, there you have it. Good guy, has his quirks, but also has some failed relationships and a failed marriage behind him. We all have baggage, right. And, with all this said, my codependent crazies kick in and start creating scenarios and drama where there probably needn't be any. I'm truly trying to learn to live one day at a time and to take care of myself, to work my program (yes I work it harder now than when I was married to the alcoholic), to keep contact with program friends, and to make sure that I never lose myself in another relationship ever again.
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:23 AM
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He and his family sound pretty great. I forget, Liz, do you see a therapist on your own? If not, that might be helpful in terms of sorting out your feelings and your fears.

And I agree with dandylion, take your time. It's fine to be excited about seeing him, and enjoying your time together, but take your time about moving in with him or marrying him. If the subject comes up, you can just remind him you JUST ended a marriage and you want to be sure you're on your own two feet before you jump with both of them into a new one. I think 18 months actually sounds about right. There shouldn't be any rush about it.
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:28 AM
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I just read your other post. He probably has fears of his own. Maybe he's afraid that if he takes down the dating profile too soon it will somehow jinx the relationship. Men have insecurities, too. It sounds as if you're spending all your time together, so he's not seeing anyone else.

What does he say about the dating profile, or have you asked?

I wouldn't worry about the old FB pics, his ex is the kids' mom and she was part of his life for a very long time.
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:44 AM
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Liz.....I know what you mean about the eye-contact thing. Looking away at something else and having to literally get into his field of vision......
That is a major feature of someone who has issues of focus...I have seen that many times with people who have adult adhd. They also can hyperfocus...for long periods of time when they are excited about something that they are very interested in. They can seem to live in their "own world" a lot of the time. that and lack of attention to detail...which they find too frustrating to their racing and easily distracted mind.
Now....just because I have said this doesn't mean that I am "right".

If this strikes a note with you....I would suggest that y ou read the book: "Is It You, Me, or ADD?". This most excellent book on the subject will, for sure, let you know.....

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Old 08-16-2015, 07:48 AM
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Liz, I just have to say that I have been in that situation of dating someone who still has their dating profile up and it really drove me nuts. It does lead to obsessive thinking--I would check to see if they were still going on, wonder who they were talking to, whether they were going out on dates, etc. I'm impressed that you've been able to resist asking him about it this long! But I think you would be TOTALLY JUSTIFIED at this point in asking him whether he considers your relationship exclusive, and if so why he still has his dating profile up. "I will not get serious with someone who has a dating profile up and active" is a totally reasonable boundary IMHO. And he is definitely asking you to do serious-girlfriend-things. Interacting with his kids is nice, but you're right, it is also a big step! Why not just ask if he can meet your needs on this?

The FB pics of the ex I see a little differently. Those are clearly in the past, and they are of his children's mother. It sounds like they are pretty clearly broken up.
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:49 AM
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Liz,
I have never removed my pictures of my X off of my FB either. That is my past. My family with my kids and X husband. I guess I kind of feel why??? That my marriage never existed? It did happen and I am proud of my past. I don't want it to disappear. I earned every gray hair and line on my face. But I had a lot of happy memories in those pictures. That is what has made me who I am today. I believe everything is a stepping stone to where I am going. As painful as it has been, I wouldn't have changed anything. It was Gods plan and will of me. It just took me a lot longer then expected to grasp it.

I have no anger towards my X. He is a sick man with a terrible disease. I pray for him to get well. So don't judge your new guy for not removing those, it shouldn't make you insecure.

Hugs my friend and enjoy today!!!
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Old 08-16-2015, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I just read your other post. He probably has fears of his own. Maybe he's afraid that if he takes down the dating profile too soon it will somehow jinx the relationship. Men have insecurities, too. It sounds as if you're spending all your time together, so he's not seeing anyone else.

What does he say about the dating profile, or have you asked?

I wouldn't worry about the old FB pics, his ex is the kids' mom and she was part of his life for a very long time.
I think this is a BIG part of it. He dated someone right after his own marriage ended and he was with her for a year before he realized he couldn't commit and didn't want to continue as he still had to recover from his divorce. He has mentioned that he analyzes me sometimes to see where I'm at since I just came out of a 20 year marriage. He told me that the reason he waited 5 dates to even kiss me was because he was watching me go through the transition of filing for divorce, getting job, managing a new life, etc and he didn't know what he might be signing up for.
He has also made a few comments like, "Hey you can buy me that for Christmas....unless you break up with me before then." So, I keep thinking that he's wondering where I'm at just as much as I am wondering where he's at. I may complain about the fact that he doesn't talk about feelings....but neither do I. I've been pretty tight lipped. Communication is a two way street, I know, and I need to start thinking about communicating on my side, too.

Oh, and I don't care about the FB pics, doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's the dating website that I sometimes obsess over. I may need to bring it up soon, just trying to turn it over to God right now and let things be.

Funny but the guy just texted me now and asked me to go to a nice lunch in Scottsdale with he and the girls today. We spend a LOT of time together (5 days in a row last weekend) so I don't question his faithfulness or his intentions. Actually, I have to say that I trust him way more than I ever trusted my X. And, I know he trusts me as he gave me a key to his house last weekend. What's funny is that I've never been tempted to go through his cabinets, open doors that he keeps closed, go through drawers, or check his phone, etc. NEVER. It's like it never occurs to me to snoop even though I did that with my X when I was looking for bottles and booze.
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:37 AM
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I dunno, Liz, I think you might have found a REALLY good guy, here. I think the fact that you are both being cautious is a good thing. Obviously, at some point the barriers need to come down a bit more, but it sounds like things are overall appropriate, given all of the circumstances. Let things unfold, but a conversation about your respective expectations concerning exclusivity might put both of your minds at ease.
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Old 08-16-2015, 10:16 AM
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The part that he still has his dating profile active and has never openly communicated where he stands in the relationship and the eye contact thing is making my hinky meter go off a bit, Liz. I fell hard for the first guy I hooked up with (also had online dating profile) after my divorce. He would also not talk about where he stood in our relationship but would blurt things out like "I'll bet we will be a fine looking couple together when we're old!" He also remained active online and I even uncovered, once he did take his profile down, that he had others up elsewhere under different alias' and sites. Be careful he's not looking for a woman caretaker for both him and his kids (I don't need to look at your homework if Liz already has). What's the story behind his previous marriage dissolving? Is his mother still alive? What is his relationship with his mother? From what I learned from "first guy", my first thing with new men was to see how they treat(ed) and felt about their mothers - THAT is they key IMO!
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:28 AM
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I don't think you're being Codie here--we tend to beat ourselves up for having basic security needs in relationships. I'm with Refiner- in my experience, if something feels off, it likely is. In healthy relationships, I've never had that doubt...but every time I did have it, I later realized I wasn't getting a great relationship and commitment...just those darn crumbs we get used to. I would trust your gut and watch it unfold.
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Old 08-16-2015, 12:49 PM
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my codependent crazies kick in and start creating scenarios and drama where there probably needn't be any.
This is what I would focus in in recovery. Sounds like you're looking for problems since overall he seems like a good guy. It helped me to stop projecting and stop second-guessing other people. Do you trust and respect him? Does he treat you with respect? My therapist had good advice: "everyone has problems, it just depends on which we can live with, which we can't."
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:21 PM
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I try to create catastrophes where there are none. I also try to normalize things that are not healthy for me.

If there are things you think are red flags, they certainly may be. Direct eye contact and being involved with kids and others are important things to me. It sounds like you're taking a lot of really good steps within your program and this may be an uncomfortable phase of recovery. Stay spiritually, mentally and physically fit & balanced. If there is a possible issue and you're open to it, you'll be able to deal with it if the need arises.

No need to force solutions or fix a problem. All is as it is and your viewpoint on this will likely shift a bit if you give things time. You have and are developing good instincts.

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Old 08-16-2015, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
This is what I would focus in in recovery. Sounds like you're looking for problems since overall he seems like a good guy. It helped me to stop projecting and stop second-guessing other people. Do you trust and respect him? Does he treat you with respect? My therapist had good advice: "everyone has problems, it just depends on which we can live with, which we can't."
Yes, he respects me greatly. I mean the guy will wake up at 5:30AM with me and make me breakfast and bring me tea in bed, when he doesn't have to be up until 7. He serves me....all the time. Won't let me lift a finger unless I make it clear I can do it myself. He cooks for me, is romantic (at times), etc. When I had a headache 2 weeks ago and needed to lie down, he came over and stroked my hair, and said, "What can I do for you to help make this better?"
The eye contact thing I noticed he is like that with everyone so I don't take it personal. It's just weird and different. When we do lock eyes and I have his full attention I never feel off. I just feel like sometimes his mind is elsewhere and he's admitted he struggles with being present.

Honestly, when we're together, I never feel that things are off or hinky. He has made it clear that he's a one woman kind of guy and his friends have pretty much told me he's boring and accuse him of being too stable and responsible. I think I pick apart every little thing with a fine tooth comb looking to find the problem, the red flag, the issue, the other shoe dropping, the whatever that will make me say, "See, I knew it. I knew it couldn't be that good."

Yes, there are quirks and weird stuff, but I have my quirks and weird stuff, too. Believe me, he gets on my case about my stubborn streak and my constant need to be busy and doing things, etc. He has to nearly force me to just lay and relax with him. It drives him crazy that I don't rest and just enjoy quiet times.

The previous marriage dissolved because she told him she didn't feel loved by him and she was having a sexting affair with her personal trainer. She wasn't getting her needs met. According to him, she's a bit of a narcissist, comes from money, and thought she was better than everybody else and it bled into some marriage issues for them.

We did talk exclusivity early on in the relationship but it was only about sexual exclusivity. Other than that, we don't really talk about us but honestly, I haven't been ready for that conversation myself anyway.

As for being a surrogate mom to the kids, I know I won't step into that role. He talked about that once and made it clear that I'm only the second woman he's dated who he's let around his children. He protects them and does a great job of being dad and balancing his single fatherhood. I don't think he's looking to pass off responsibilities as he's not a lazy father. He's active and engaged with his kids 100%, just as I am when I have my son with me.

Praying mentioned below to trust my gut. Well, most of the time my gut tells me things are great and too good to be true when I'm in his presence. When we're apart is when I catastrophize everything and pick apart stuff. And, so, I stop trusting my gut because it feels like my intuition is being torn between my codependent crazy side and the side of me that says, "Relax, more will be revealed. Take it one day a time and just enjoy what is good and what is really working well for right now." It's like I have rational and irrational Liz battling it out when I'm not in his presence but when I'm in his presence, I'm relaxed and I enjoy our time together without questioning his motives, picking apart his character, or feeling like I have unmet needs.

UGH.....I thought this dating stuff would be easy, LOL. BWWAAHHHAHAHAH! NOT!
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:05 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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I think it is time to put yourself back in the center of your life.

Focus on what you need, who you are, how you feel.

You get to be what you want and need to be for yourself whether or not there is a man in your life.

Get your own center, plant your feet firmly where you need to be, and just enjoy this great guy, take it as it comes. You are future tripping big time, and right now there is caring and healing to be done in this relationship as it exists at this moment.

ShootingStar1
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