Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut
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Life After Divorce Divorce is complicated, and change is never easy to cope with. Use this section for help and advice on living life after a divorce.

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Old 07-30-2012, 10:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

My first relationship since my marriage and I'm trying to figure out why I feel the way I do.

Well, I've given online dating a shot and it's been easy while my kids are away for visitation. So far, I've met a few girls.

One brought up issues about her EX on the first date and I could tell there's issues. No thanks.

Second girl very much liked to be "in control". No way.

The third girl I met is really cool. She the same age as me, divorced with a son who is going away to college. She's fairly attractive even though she doesn't fit my normal criteria (she's small in stature and I was really looking for a woman in her early 30's; shallow on my part, huh?). She is not pushy. She is in a profession that my daughter loves. She just appears mentally stable (from what I can tell).

The thing is she likes me.. A LOT! And I can tell that I am holding back emotionally. We get along great, but so far it's been mostly talking at a friends-like level and uh...sex. Our last several dates she has been initiating it which is a first for me. Usually, it's the other way around. She fits the bill in nearly every category, but I'm not head over heels for her.
So what's wrong with this?

Normally, when I really like a woman I will do lots of romantic things. I haven't really opened up the romance with her. Not even close. I'm worried that my feelings for her may never develop over time because any relationship I've been in that I've fallen for the girl, my feelings/love develop usually pretty fast. With this one, so far almost nothing. I like her, but that's it . I'm also wondering if maybe I'm just not ready for a serious relationship? That while I'm single I should enjoy meeting many women. I've heard that for once at this stage in my life, I am finally in the drivers seat when it comes to dating??

I'm concerned at two fronts:
1. I've learned my relationships in the past with girls that are emotionally stable, sweet, etc. are usually the ones I dump/break up with. Girls who are "mysterious", may be broken, etc. are ones I fall for.
2. I've been divorced for only a month. I haven't determined if I am protecting my heart from being broken (if so it could be unconsciously) or if I still have underlying feelings/attachment with my EX. And I hate to lose such a cool girl because I'm not ready to get serious. Grrrr...
I'm trying to work on my two concerns to determine why I am holding back. Does anyone understand or can relate what I'm going through? Any advice?
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

I think it is good that you are being reserved right now. You need time to learn/re-learn exactly who you are.

It's okay to go slow.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

so you let loose and she breaks your heart

NEXT!!

it's what dating is

stop being afraid, you have to take the bad with the good

it's not like you're jumping into a an automatic LTR either, if it happens, it happens naturally.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

Just because you're divorced doesn't mean you should start dating. For you, I suspect there's some healing and self awareness that should be your focus first. Like for a year. Otherwise, as you've identified, you'll revert back to your favored unhealthy "type".

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Old 07-30-2012, 10:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

Sounds like a catch-22. Your finally single, you meet someone you like and apparently really likes you back, but your worried about getting into another long term relationship so quickly. It's like you got what you wanted, but do you want what you got?

It's completely normal to want to hold back I think. It could take months or years to get over being divorced. Most importantly you should communicate this to your new girlfriend. Let her know that your still kind of fragile and it might take a while before you can really open your heart up to someone.

Did it make you uncomfortable when she started initiating sex? That would be a complete reversal for me also. I'm used to being in charge of starting things. Have you talked about being exclusive as far as physical relationships go?
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

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Originally Posted by Houstondad View Post
...any relationship I've been in that I've fallen for the girl, my feelings/love develop usually pretty fast.

I'm concerned at two fronts:
1. I've learned my relationships in the past with girls that are emotionally stable, sweet, etc. are usually the ones I dump/break up with. Girls who are "mysterious", may be broken, etc. are ones I fall for.
How have the old patterns worked out for you in the past?

Remember-you are DATING, and relearning a lot of stuff that you haven't had to deal with for a long time. Relax. There is no law that says after 10 dates or one month you have to get married to her.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

Yeah everything you are feeling is pretty normal.

If you know you aren't into Girl 3 as much as she's into you, do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT string her along. Be very clear about what you want and don't want. Tell her you're not read if you aren't. But don't drag it out.

It's generally not a good idea to date if you aren't over your ex. 1 month out from divorce isn't long at all.

There's no Rule Book that says you need to be dating everyone/anyone right now. Maybe some time out just being single and flirting with some women and getting to know yourself better as a single man is just what you need.

You said "And I hate to lose such a cool girl because I'm not ready to get serious."

If you're not ready, you're not ready. It's as simple as that. Sometimes we really do meet great people at the wrong time.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

One thing that I seem to see a lot here and among my friends is that when people start dating again after a divorce or long-term breakup, they seem to have the mindset that dating = falling desperately in love and having a long term committed relationship. And I get that feeling is a huge comfort zone after years in a marriage. But the reality is that at its best, dating is a numbers game. It's about getting out in the world, meeting new people and having fun. It's appreciating the "click" even if it only lasts a couple of dates.

Now obviously things change once you bring sex into it. That's a different level of exclusivity (generally) and communication. But it sounds like you're moving way to fast. You're not comfortable with the pace, clearly and all kinds of red flags are popping up for you.

It sounds like you could probably do better with some time to get your head back on straight after the last year or so you've had. But you also have some time to just do what you want without worrying about the kids. So why don't you just focus on getting back out into the world? Cultivating friendships and interests instead of focusing on searching out your next One True Love? It sounds like that's more what would bring some balance into your life and be more manageable to maintain once your kids are back home....
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

I would have never considered a relationship that recent after the split.. seriously, I would feel terrible for the poor sob that got suckered into that mine field. oi.

Even now, its a year and a half later, I'm still proceeding with caution and not jumping into anything or after anyone. I enjoy that I'm sort of seeing someone, but that its not uber serious, I'm not being shoved into "OMFG I LOVE YOU!" or anything along those lines what so ever, we spend time together.

if it's uncomfortable, back off and make it comfortable.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

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Sounds like a catch-22.

Did it make you uncomfortable when she started initiating sex? That would be a complete reversal for me also. I'm used to being in charge of starting things. Have you talked about being exclusive as far as physical relationships go?
The sex and her inititating it hasn't made me uncomfortable. Quite the opposite!
But I also don't want to lead her on into thinking that if we have sex, that our relationship should be more serious. I haven't got that impression from her, but I know most women don't have sex a la "Friends with Benefits".
We haven't discussed exclusiveness regarding our relationship.

Tonight, she sent me a text telling me that she hopes she could spend some time together this week and that, " I do really like you...hope the feeling is mutual". I took it as that she likes me a lot, but is not in love with me. Man, I hope I'm deciphering her text correctly!
I responded that yes, the feeling is mutual(from my interpretation of her text). That's the truth. But I do want to tell her that I've been single for only a short period of time and I'm not ready for a serious relationship at this moment.

Having said this, there is something more serious I am facing:

And I've given more thought as to why my heart remains closed. I can't determine if I am fearful of being broken-hearted again. It's probably at an "unconscious" level.
But what's more obvious to me is:
My emotions/feelings are still struggling with the loss of my EX. I would consider it more of a death of the person I knew long ago, but no longer exists. I am trying to let go as much as I can. Why is it so hard when you know what the right thing to do is? I would never take her back at this point in my life. I know the old her is gone, and the new her is a total turn off.

So why do I still miss the old her at times even though the old her is dead? Emotions like this SUCKS.I want to whine that she's apparently over me so quickly. She's already in another relationship and living with some new BF. How was it easy for her to get over me?
Wow. There I go again.
Are feelings like this normal? They say we go through periods of anger, resentment, feelings of loss, etc. and not in any particular order. And it looks like a few of those feelings have popped up again. Grrrr..
I plan to have a "funeral" next week to help with the closure. And dating other girls has been fun and this new girl makes some things exciting. But I keep forgetting about ME. I need to work on improving myself and getting stronger. And I need to finally be over my previous marriage.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

Tonight, she sent me a text telling me that she hopes she could spend some time together this week and that, " I do really like you...hope the feeling is mutual". I took it as that she likes me a lot, but is not in love with me. Man, I hope I'm deciphering her text correctly!
I responded that yes, the feeling is mutual(from my interpretation of her text). That's the truth. But I do want to tell her that I've been single for only a short period of time and I'm not ready for a serious relationship at this moment.


Ok, as a woman, I need to school you on something:

What you texted her back-- to her, she is going to think it means you are just as into her as she's into you.

And you're not.

Well, you may like her but you said yourself you don't want anything serious so you REALLY need to talk to her and tell her you're "not ready for a serious relationship at this moment." Just as you wrote here.

That way you are both on the same page. And either she will be into dating you casually or she won't.

But you really really need to tell her where you are coming from truthfully.

It's ONLY fair.

Also, yes your heart is probably not ready because 1. i'ts mourning your ex wife and 2. it's fearful of being heart broken. That is because you haven't dealt with the end of your marriage yet. You are not ready.

There's nothing wrong with being single and getting to date yourself this time. Do not rush into any relationship because you will be hurting not just the other person, but youself too, if you are not ready.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:08 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

What you are feeling is totally normal. As long as you are open and honest with this woman, I think it's ok to date her. But you both need to be on the same page as far as how serious you are about her, and she about you.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

Geez. You're right. She may not be in love with me, but her level/status of like is different than mine. It's not black and white like I'm seeing it.
I will be telling her how I feel about us and where I am in my life. I do not want to lead her on.
She texted me that she is glad the feeling is mutual. I definitely need to clarify so she understands that it's probably not mutual if she's really in to me.
As for my EX and closure, what have you guys and girls done that seemed to help let go? I know "time" is on my side and will help. But if there are things I can add to help bring this needed closure sooner, I am all ears. Here are the things I feel will help. Correct me if I'm wrong or if there's things I can add, let me know.

1. Funeral ( Farewell letter, belongings she left behind, photos, that I will burn).
2. Try to find new hobbies
3. Meet new friends.
4. Road trip alone
5. Casual dating
6. Focus on being a better father
7. Changing myself (habits/behavior) : I am reading No more Mr. Nice Guy.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:08 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

8. Relax.
9. Withdraw from deep reflections on past hurt, leave the "whys" by the side of the road.
10. Dont stress the helll out of yourself trying to advance "perfectly".
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Finally dating again but I feel my heart's staying shut

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Originally Posted by Houstondad View Post
I will be telling her how I feel about us and where I am in my life. I do not want to lead her on.
Good. This is the best thing. That way you aren't stringing her along and/or giving her false hope (the worst thing you can do to someone). I would tell her point blank tat you are still trying to get over your divorce and your ex and therefore know you aren't ready for anything serious.

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Originally Posted by Houstondad View Post
As for my EX and closure, what have you guys and girls done that seemed to help let go? I know "time" is on my side and will help.
There is no magic pill. Time is really of the essence and the only thing that has really helped me. You can try all o the things that you mentioned if you like, but be advised, time is the big one. With each day, it ges a little easier. you ae only 1 month out from Divorceville. That is still so new and raw. 1 month after my divorce, there was No Way In Hell I was ready to date and especially sleep with someone. Just no. I took a long time off even entertaining the idea so I could heal me. Best decision ever.

As for "closure"-- know that te "closure" you seek may never come. If you accept that from the beginning, you will probably feel better. The answers you seek, you may never get. The ending you wanted, will not happen as you want. The dreams and future you had planned for your marriage will not happen now. That part of your life is over. So you start anew.

For a long time I was searching for "closure" and realized one day, what I sought, he was never goin to give me (my ex).

Take care of yourself. Treat youself right. Treat yourself to something. Exercise. Get sunlight. Buy a new shirt or cologne. Be kind to others and laugh. Go somewhere new. Smile.
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