I’m 37. I was married to my ex for 6 years, and dated her for a total of 10 years. D day #1 was 2 years ago, when she moved out to “work on herself” and then proceed to see her ex-boyfriend multiple times behind my back. She claimed that they never got physical. Somehow, I was able to over looked that (I know I had really poor boundaries) and was really happy when she moved back. Needless to say, I pick me danced for the next few years, while she continued to talk/text him behind my back. We even went to see counseling (her idea) because we weren’t getting along. I do feel that a big reason was because she was not fully emotionally invested. Of course, she claims that it was because of me. (She kept saying that I was emotionally stunted). Earlier last year, she rented an apartment again, but never actually spent any time there. I wasn’t happy, but said nothing to keep the peace. Looking back, I was a doormat.
Fast forward to D day #2 five months ago. She had met some another guy, fell in love with him, talked to him for hours behind my back and hid everything from me for a couple months. I found the phone record, confronted her, and she was not sorry. She moved out, said ILYBNILWY, then asked for a month to decide. I finally saw the light and filed, at which point she proposed the “open marriage” to which I said no. I started reading your book, your blog, and I see that I was in a toxic relationship and everything became clearer. Divorcing her was the only logical option, so I pushed it through with the help of a good lawyer and a palatable property settlement.
The problem, of course, is my heart. We have been divorced for 2 months, and I have been in completely NC with her except for financial matters. She tried to meet me a couple times, but I denied her the opportunity. The problem is, after the initial period of relief and happiness, I’m starting to really miss her! I don’t want her back as a partner, but I miss her the way somebody would miss a cute toddler that they have been taking care of for years. I obviously want an equal loving partner that I can build a family with, but the longing for this cute toddler is growing, not subsiding. Please don’t worry, I’m not getting back with her. But is this normal? And does this mean that I’m doomed to pick a bad partner in the future because I like taking care of another person too much???
I am trying to transfer this energy/attention to myself. I’ve picked up cycling and karate (I lift weights regularly already). I’m getting back into electronics and fish keeping. Work is going well. I hang out with friends, I go to meetups, and when I’m not doing those things, I try to get comfortable being alone. Yet the longing to love somebody, to care for somebody, has only grown. I don’t have a problem with self esteem that I know of. Is there something wrong with me????
I know it’s too early for me to date….so….
what can I do to feel better and move on from this failed marriage? And more importantly what can I do to pick a better partner next ime?
Thanks so much for your time!
PS. Funny fact, she said I was a narcissist, and that I over-reacted to her affair with a divorce because of a narcissistic injury.
Your last D-Day was 5 months ago and your divorce was 2 months ago. And you’ve been mindfucked for 16 years. Give it some time, dude. It takes awhile to heal.
Let’s take that P.S. first — total projection. Her actions say she wanted cake (which is totally narcissistic). You accommodated cake with the pick me dance for YEARS (which is totally chumpy). You’re not a narcissist, you just need to un-chump. The condition is totally curable. Her? Not so much.
I’m starting to really miss her! I don’t want her back as a partner, but I miss her the way somebody would miss a cute toddler that they have been taking care of for years.
Dan, you’re a guy who wants an equal, loving partner to raise a family with. You are a stock that trades VERY HIGHLY. Never forget this. I’m sure there are a gazillion women who would fit the bill. Your ex is not one of them. You don’t miss her, you miss the idea of her. You miss the future that she represented, the life you thought you were going to have. I’m sure your ex had a few fine qualities — which are utterly eclipsed by her cheating, deception, and disrespect of you.
Pouty little cute face? ILYBNILWY. Those great Sunday brunches? She had met some another guy, fell in love with him, talked to him for hours behind my back and hid everything from me for a couple months. Sex? She moved out to “work on herself” and then proceed to see her ex-boyfriend multiple times behind my back.
Get the picture? Nothing here to miss. She’s a cheater. Move on!
Someday you’ll have an actual toddler to take care of. They’re kind of cute in chaotic, sticky-fingered, shrieking sort of way. But these aren’t qualities you want in a partner. Equal partners take care of themselves and they don’t poop behind the sofa.
It’s okay to want to take care of someone. But caretaking should be RECIPROCAL. You have value beyond being of use to someone. You’ll need to learn to TAKE and be taken care of too. And you should expect a fully operational, responsible adult as a partner. NOT a toddler. Explore that dynamic before you get involved again. Check out all those codependency books.
I obviously want an equal loving partner that I can build a family with, but the longing for this cute toddler is growing, not subsiding. Please don’t worry, I’m not getting back with her. But is this normal? And does this mean that I’m doomed to pick a bad partner in the future because I like taking care of another person too much???
It’s normal to miss what you thought you had. Stay no contact. It subsides. Focus on building a new life. The more you do that, the less attractive the dysfunctional old life will appear. But what good is a new life if you invite all the old crap dynamics back into it?
I like taking care of another person too much is spackle for “I make my needs really small.” In fact, I make them invisible and have no boundaries, and will pick me dance endlessly to demonstrate my value to a jerk because I don’t believe in my own intrinsic value first.
Ouch. I know. I was this person once too. All of us chumps were. It’s okay to bond, it’s not okay to sublimate yourself and accept abuse. Real love never asks you to humiliate yourself.
When you figure out the difference (read! stick around here! get some shrinkage!), then you’ll be ready for release into the big, dating world, where I suspect you’ll be snarfed up immediately. Just wait and make sure it’s someone worthy of you.