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Thread: Is reconciliation possible in this scenario?

  1. #11
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    Originally Posted by ninjabib
    Thank you for the clarification.

    It sounds like you are both constantly scared almost of upsetting the other or fearing saying something the other person won't like. That is not a good thing at all in a relationship. Chances are that if you got back together this would resume sooner rather than later. It should be a natural thing to happen but for some reason, despite the clear love you have/had for each other, it's not there. This suggests something deep rooted and problematic with either or both of you.

    Regarding the episode why did you not allow her to get drunk aorund you again. It sounds like she's learnt her lesson there. She probably does resent you. If you will not allow her to relax and let her hair down she probably feels shes being constantly judged by you and again out of fear she's changing something about her. OK, she should not get absolutely hammered but controlled drinking is usually ok.

    It's good that you have seen some of the issues you have within and now you can work on fixing them and improving yourself. As things stand now i'm sorry to say that if you got back together as things are i don't think they would last long.
    It was a stubborn choice on my part, but I just felt it wasn't a healthy environment and I let that reaction stick too long.

    As far as "resuming the same old behavior" a lot of people on boards like these share that same opinion. It depends on the kind of person you're talking about. I'm committed to making changes - the question is whether she'll be around for them.

  2. #12
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    I'll be more blunt than usual in my assessment.

    You're 40, she's 30. The fabric of her life, thus far, is not fabric you can lean into with any genuine comfort. You know this, and probably knew it right from the start. Yet you're still torn, which is human, but that conflict really has little to do with her and more to do with you—some knots you need to address and untangle, because I think a not insignificant portion of you (dad stuff here, more stuff there) is pulling the strings in ways that don't really serve you. You're a bit more drawn to the project of this person than her personhood, which generally means you'd be better off tinkering with yourself than with the sharp pieces of another.

    I mean, you are 100 percent allowed to "judge" someone who opts to deal with life through smoking weed as someone who doesn't work for you. Wouldn't work for me, and I've got a super lax attitude about that stuff. Still, throw me a curveball and I'm not lighting up or pouring a drink; no, that's when I get tall in the trenches, pouring the wine after the battle. I need a similar approach from anyone I commit to. I've tried other modes—pulled here and there by my own knots. Didn't work. At this point in my life—we're the same age—I'm more interested in things that work than in trying to work through that which I spiritually understand is unworkable.

    Keep exploring those "non-committal" ways and "safe" distances. If there's a lesson from these five months, it might be that "safe" is not really safe, but dangerous. Here you are, after all, hung up on someone you know is dangerous. You don't quite trust that she can handle the business of living. Maybe she figures that out, maybe not. That's not your job as a partner. Sympathy and love are not the same things, you know?
    Handling the business of living was the perfect way to coin it and you are giving some of the most raw advice I've gotten from anyone. But I do feel a lot of guilt about judging it and struggle with the idea that it outweighed my underlying feelings for her. I can't even begin to understand what she experiences on a day-to-day basis and of course my mind keeps wandering to her insistence that all it took was for me to spend more time with her.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TimeToGrowUp
    But I do feel a lot of guilt about judging it and struggle with the idea that it outweighed my underlying feelings for her.
    Where do you think that guilt comes from? Stabbing in the dark, I’d at least ask yourself how much your feelings for her are connected to her difficulty handling the business of living, rather than think of those two things as opposing forces. That one thing she offers you is someone to “help” and “support”—and, by extension, make the business of being you a bit more palatable, in some ways, and that your guilt may be connected to that paradigm.

    A paradigm, alas, that never quite worked anyway. Your core you was hesitant, because the broken-winged bird, while compelling and a trigger for compelling feelings, can only fly so far—and you can only fly so high by attaching your wings to broken wings. Are you scared to flying high? Do you not think you are “worthy” of such flight? Questions worth asking.

    My ex was a lot younger than me, and her favorite form of therapy and self-work tended to be rolled in papers, lit on fire, and inhaled—just to give you a sense of where any of this raw advice may be coming from. That relationship was important to me—helped nudge the compass in a new direction, toward those who can handle the business of living without me rather than those who “needed” me to (i.e. to spend “just a little more time”) to handle it.

    To get there I had to spend some time with myself. Had to let go of some misshapen self-conception that I struggled with the business of living, and learn to look in the mirror and see someone whose approach to life I respected.

    Not sure if any of that rings any bells, but I’ll toss it out there in the hopes it does.

  4. #14
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    Originally Posted by TimeToGrowUp
    It was a stubborn choice on my part, but I just felt it wasn't a healthy environment and I let that reaction stick too long.

    As far as "resuming the same old behavior" a lot of people on boards like these share that same opinion. It depends on the kind of person you're talking about. I'm committed to making changes - the question is whether she'll be around for them.
    That's good to hear. Even if nothing comes out of trying to get back together you can use this kind of experience to better yourself - always.

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  6. #15
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Where do you think that guilt comes from? Stabbing in the dark, I’d at least ask yourself how much your feelings for her are connected to her difficulty handling the business of living, rather than think of those two things as opposing forces. That one thing she offers you is someone to “help” and “support”—and, by extension, make the business of being you a bit more palatable, in some ways, and that your guilt may be connected to that paradigm.

    A paradigm, alas, that never quite worked anyway. Your core you was hesitant, because the broken-winged bird, while compelling and a trigger for compelling feelings, can only fly so far—and you can only fly so high by attaching your wings to broken wings. Are you scared to flying high? Do you not think you are “worthy” of such flight? Questions worth asking.

    My ex was a lot younger than me, and her favorite form of therapy and self-work tended to be rolled in papers, lit on fire, and inhaled—just to give you a sense of where any of this raw advice may be coming from. That relationship was important to me—helped nudge the compass in a new direction, toward those who can handle the business of living without me rather than those who “needed” me to (i.e. to spend “just a little more time”) to handle it.

    To get there I had to spend some time with myself. Had to let go of some misshapen self-conception that I struggled with the business of living, and learn to look in the mirror and see someone whose approach to life I respected.

    Not sure if any of that rings any bells, but I’ll toss it out there in the hopes it does.
    Sounds like your experience parallels mine, so you understand what I'm going thru - whereas everyone else's experience are so different they don't quite understand.

    It's not so much help/support. She truly was my best friend, as well as someone I was romantically into and it's not easy to find both. Mind you my life has been void of a best friend (long story behind that). I still remember the first time we bonded over our stories about caring for our terminally ill pets. It was like I was staring into the eyes of someone I've known for years. Initially I had never been so dialed into someone and focused.

    The guilt I feel stems from the idea I didn't give her a real chance. I left her feeling very vulnerable, like she was throwing herself at me. I mean think about all she went thru and yet she was willing to put it out there with me. The times she'd hint to me that she gets lonely living alone and I didn't run with it as an opportunity to spend more time. I mean sure we saw each other all day long at work and we hung out once a weekend - but that's not enough to progress. Instead I worried more about what would happen with the work dynamic if it went south so I took it really slowly. Mind you I already had a target on my back to begin with when a jealous female co-worked filed a phony HR complaint against me because of my affections. Then after our first month and a half some of the warts started showing - my palm then extended outward pressed deliberately against her forehead. I wasn't ready to feel another let down, especially after the feelings I was developing.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I hear you. Step back far enough and this is a story of bad timing, even just a bad match. An old story, a bitter story, but a very true, universal, and human one.

    What I hope you can come to see is that you did give it a "real" chance. You both did. You brought to the table the best versions of yourselves, tried to make a meal. That's all you ever get. Sometimes the meal isn't filling enough, because sometimes the best version another brings out in us is not quite our best, and/or vise versa.

    This meal sounds like it was never quite filling or nourishing enough for either of you—and, frankly, the person you are describing does not sound "full" enough on her own to be anything but insatiable to be filled up from another. That can be a compelling energy to feed off, if also a feral one. Maybe you held back a bit, which is allowed, but it's also hard for me not to see you "giving all" and her still saying, directly or indirectly, "not enough." That's kind of where she is, right now, in life, from what you've offered.

    How do I say this gently? What you are describing as wildly complex circumstances of her life strike me as pretty basic: marriages fail, roommates get weird, we end up dating weirdos for a bit. That is not Nagasaki, but adulthood: things adults deal with, in a variety of ways, from getting stoned to getting rich to falling in love left and right.

    But that part is her story, not yours. I'm not saying don't sympathize with it, but that there are real limitations to building romantic partnership through sympathy. Where there are less limitations? Building through respect, which means investing in people who are in place in life that you basically have no option but to respect. You respect them in the same way you like the shape of their body: it just is, not a mental exercise.

    I mean, let's say you bit at every I'm-lonely "opportunity." Well, then you would have cast yourself in the role as loneliness-abater, her in the role of Ms. Lonely, validating some pretty weird shades of yourselves, turning yourselves into thin slivers, and creating a strained dynamic. In trying to avoid that, probably instinctually and intuitively, another form of strain occurred. Bad timing, bad match: that sad, old story. If it was all workable—well, then it would be working and you wouldn't be reading this.

    I'd take a moment to figure out what you want, for real. Do you want someone who is so lonely that they need you to tend to them? Or do you want someone who can stand on her own two feet in a way you admire, and can stand alongside?

    Yes, I've had to ask those questions. I've had to ask them because, in the past, I've said one thing (two feet!) while ending up in another (so lonely!). Asking those questions, for me, was a worthwhile journey. I think I came to stand a little taller in my own shoes, and suddenly found myself chasing something else—truly—in romance. The things that didn't work were easier to let go of, because I wanted something that would work rather than something to work on.

  8. #17
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    Hey everyone, I figured I'd take a moment to update this.

    She stood me up on Saturday (our first planned hangout in nearly 2 months), but during the call later that night when I demanded explanation - the gravity of the situation finally revealed itself. She had been going through horrific PTSD the entire day. On the call it was as if I was taken to the original moment of the trauma inflicted by her ex-boyfriend. The pain, the tears, the self-hate all revealed themselves. This girl is broken, alone, and doesn't know what to do with her anger. I've honestly never experienced anything quite like that with anyone.

    I look back at everything I wrote and realize it was stated through the wrong optics. I wasn't dating a regular girl. I was dating a survivor of a horrific sexual assault. This isn't about No Contact rules or ex-back strategies. I spent nearly five months being naive about her experience and treating her red flags as though it was just some girl acting a fool. I had no understanding of her triggers or just how bad her PTSD really was. My own avoidance became a trigger because of how much she hoped I was going to be a difference maker in her life after all she had been through. It's a reminder that I've been living my life distant and selfish.

    But I can't be too hard on myself. I've never dated anyone who's experienced what she has and I definitely can't save her. She let me know on Monday that she needs to work on herself right now and heal the toxic anger ruining her life. I let her know that deep down as much as I want a relationship with her I'm not asking for one and that right now I'm here to support her in any way she needs it. I think those words finally made her see who I really am at my core, no matter how distant I was when we dated. I've begun educating myself on survivors of sexual assault to gain an even greater understanding and will continue to do so. In the process I feel like a real healing is taking place for both of us and our interactions have never felt more sincere.

    This is just who I am as a person - doesn't matter if we're dating - I can't turn my back on her after what I heard on that frantic call. I would hope she would do the same for me if the shoe were on the other foot.
    Last edited by TimeToGrowUp; 10-23-2019 at 06:38 PM.

  9. #18
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    Unless I've missed something and you are professionally trained you won't be able to help her.

    I have PTSD and it needs specialist treatment. No one could help me even the people who tried. I would keep my distance and let her get through this with the proper care her condition deserves and that's from direct experience.

  10. #19
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    Originally Posted by ninjabib
    Unless I've missed something and you are professionally trained you won't be able to help her.

    I have PTSD and it needs specialist treatment. No one could help me even the people who tried. I would keep my distance and let her get through this with the proper care her condition deserves and that's from direct experience.
    My support of her has nothing to do with helping/saving her. That's simply not possible. But her loneliness is clearly part of her triggers right now and she needs to know that there are people who support her.

  11. #20
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    Very well. My misunderstanding.

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