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  1. not an academic question

    I am concerned that my question is coming across as theoretical. It is, however, a real and very important issue for me now. I am confused about myself, the person I was with and about the experience itself, which was way too strange for what I would expect at this stage of life.

    Again, I am a mature person. I was recently divorced after a very long marriage and since then (it's been 2 years; longer since the separation) have really not allowed anyone near. This was the first "relationship" I was in and it was very confusing.

    I am trying to figure out here what happened, who it is that I have run into, and where I am at in my recovery from the divorce.

    1) Part of it is that I am buying into the notion that we attract, or manage to recreate the situations, “traumas”, that we need to work through. Is that assumption even correct or is it nonsense?
    2) I also feel that I no longer trust my instincts, and have no confidence that I can judge people and situations adequately and react to them appropriately.
    3) Finally, I am not even sure that I am not playing mind games with myself, sabotaging relationships, or distorting reality by projecting from my past.

    I know that we can sometimes “suppress” our feelings almost consciously; we can also hide them from ourselves. I think I have done both in the past. We can also mix up emotional needs, lust, infatuation, wounded egos, and “safe distance” …. with real love.

    I have done a few of these in my life time. Still, I have no reference for what happened here, what this was. This was not someone who attracted me at once. For a long time, I did not think about him much when not with him, but I would see him and feel the attraction, take pleasure in his company, enjoy pretty much everything about us together.

    Yet, I never really trusted him and there are things I never understood. There is a lot that went into that, probably too long to post here. The thing is that I saw mixed signals coming from him, about commitment, openness, and I was concerned whether he was capable of love altogether. He said he loved three times (all three unrequited loves, one in teens, 2 post-divorce). Tried to love his wife, but couldn’t because of her behavior. There is confidence, honoring his word and promises, then hints of lack of confidence, or manipulation (not sure which). Insistence of breaking into my world, my home territory, but protection of his. Hints of happiness when he makes progress in physical intimacy (seems to take it as signs of my liking), and frustration, annoyance when I am out of reach. Reluctance to tell me what he wants out of dating, then eventually tells me (very close to breaking up) that he would like to be loved by ……(list of superlative qualities in a woman). I suspected him of all kinds of things (married, player, on a power trip, commitment phobe….)

    We went through a confusing break up that I started and he finished. He spoke, but I realized that he could have been speaking for both of us. The things he said were the same ones he was telling me all along (with some twist) and the conclusion,” but I do not love you and by now I should have”. Then, he does not leave it there, but seems to want some response from me, still seems to work on showing me that my accusations that he does not care are wrong, touches me, holds me, wants to kiss me, says he has affection for me, tries to turn me on, reminisces about the good timers we shared and looks at me intensely all the time, holds my hand on the way home, leans over for a Good night kiss.

    I don’t know what to make of any of it. And I need to. My confusion, depression, self-doubt, anxiety are worse then before. I am in pain, too, miss him. Don't know what to make of it either.

    I called recently and asked if we could talk because I need to straighten myself up, and he agreed.

    I am not even sure what to ask, what to look for to make sense of any of it, but I do need to gain some clarity and direct my life in a positive way. I am aware of my issues with trust, intimacy, and commitment. I think I was aware of them all along and was warning him too (that I may bolt if he gets too close too soon, that I cannot commit to anything in life at this point, that I am not ready for a relationship). Don't iknow what elsle to ask to gain some insight.

    I would really appreciate your insight and advice.

    P.s. Sorry for th e length of the post.

  2. #2

    not an academic question

    blownaway, I don't think your question comes across as theoretical at all (and I didn't think that of your previous post either).

    However, there is so much here that it's difficult to know what to say that might be helpful, especially when what one can say in a forum is rather limited. Do you think you could try to schedule an appointment soon with a face-to-face relationships counsellor to help sort this out? In a one hour session, one can ask a lot of questions and get a lot of information which would enable someone to at least point you in the right direction but you have laid out a lot of variables here -- your own issues with trust and intimacy, etc., plus issues that he may have himself, plus the mixed messages in his behavior toward you (for example, is this him or you creating the ambivalence or ambiguity in his behavior?)...

  3. Thank you

    Thank you,
    I was thinking about that. How does one choose a counselor? There are all kinds of counselors differrent fields, different approaches.
    How does one know who is good?

  4. #4

    not an academic question

    Sometimes that can be difficult -- your family doctor might be able to recommend one... Or you might ask a few questions on the phone when you call to make an appointment so you can get an idea of the person's approach and general style... ask about years of experience, how long s/he's been in practice, whether s/he has specific experience in working with couples and relationships issues... that sort of thing.

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