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Thread: Limbo: EX-GF with Anxiety

  1. #41
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    It’s mainly just artifacts from tinder before my ex and I got together; and I also work in a heavily, heavily female-dominated field which is a bit of a cheat code in meeting younger women.

  2. #42
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Is a relationship with or dating a "younger" woman a goal of yours?

    Are you not attracted to women closer to your own age?

  3. #43
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    Well I’m 33, so I think in the scale of 22-65 year old women who are working age, the younger individuals on the spectrum already fall around my age.

    If we’re talking exactly my age, then my wife was a few years older than me; so I wouldn’t rule out anyone in the future due to their age if we form a good connection.

  4. #44
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    Interesting week.

    I cracked a little a few days ago. I asked for another chance. Things had been doing well, and I asked if the wall could come down and she could give me another chance. Trust me, being emotionally sober a few days later, I know this broke rules for strategy and was a mistake and illogical. She said she appreciated me asking and said "but I'm not giving out chances right now." I took her Christmas presents over to her house and told her this might be goodbye. She became distraught. She said she doesn't know why I have to disappear, and she thought things were going well. She cried as we opened out presents to one another, and she ended up holding me in her bed for a few hours as we talked. She showed just how vulnerable she is, where she told me she believes no one in the world cares about her as much I do. She said she does not want to break up again and getting back together right now would risk that because she hasn't helped herself and she's not ready. I told her I was being dramatic and I'm not going anywhere. We agreed the talk was necessary, and that it was a step toward getting past egg shells and being honest to one another. I told her that we can just keep hanging out, and let things happen naturally. She said that's what she thought we were doing, but she doesn't want me to hurt.

    We went on a date the next night and had a lot of fun. She's been sick lately, but she said I could kiss her at the end of the night. As the night neared to an end, she started getting really anxious and sort of shutting down. I made some jokes and she started feeling better, but I told her we didn't have to kiss or whatever and we could just call it a night. She seemed concerned but said okay. As she was about to travel for her family's house and stay for several days util Christmas Day, we wanted to see each other again one last time; and we spent yesterday morning and afternoon together, and she took me to breakfast and we had a good time. She said at the beginning of the morning that she can't talk about anything deep. I simply apologized for being sloppy the other night and told her I wanted to drop the three month timeline because it's pointless and just a point of pressure.

    Now I am contemplating ways to get a reset here. She will not go to therapy. She said she does not think she can right now, and that she knows she should but she can't. We've been agreeing this week that we need a reset. Somehow. Typically I ask her before outings and hangouts together about certain romantic gestures, and she will agree or disagree, and we will go from there with me excited to show her I can casually hear 'no' (though I did get emotional this week with her no to my request to get back together.) She admits she is so worried about the consequences of letting her walls down, where I will think we're getting back together or we're doomed forever depending on what she does or agrees to. I want desperately to get a reset from this.

    I am considering a month of no contact. I research so much about this, and it's typically used right at a breakup. My ex seemed surprised I would suggest this, but she agrees we need a reset, and she even said that while it would be so difficult and painful that she is leaning on me so heavily all the time that it could help her get on her feet. For me, I hope it would help me switch my mode of thinking where I am constantly trying to respark what was, and maybe I could get some space between the failed romantic relationship so I could lay tracks for a new one. I would also like to demonstrate my self control so that she could maybe suspend some of her guard if she trusts me to handle things slowly and responsibly. My fear is that she seems to think we've made some progress, though I am not feeling her romantic shield going down; and this seems like a rock right now that just will not budge. We share so much greatness, and we keep agreeing our connection is incredible and worth hanging onto; but it's been three months and I feel like I'm sitting frustrated at a locked door. She said one of the sources of defensiveness is that I am so certain that this is what I want, while she says she knows nothing and that the idea of even thinking about things makes her freeze because she is weighing her fears and her hard decisions to breakup against her feelings and connection to me.

    I know the consensus on here is often to simply let go and move on. I expect that, and I respect it. But I still have the goal of fully reconciling. I worry my no contact idea would defeat progress where so many people with this goal would really like to be in my spot with my ex, with constant communication and hangouts. I desperately want to melt away from of the reflexes her and I share toward egg shells and trying to mind read and see the future. If mutually agreed upon cold turkey for a set amount of time could help with that, it's something I want to consider.

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  6. #45
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I'll describe what I'm seeing, reading this thread. Take it or leave it, however you see fit.

    In the month since you started writing about this the situation has gone from bad to worse, at least in terms of it evolving as you initially wished. Where ostensibly you guys once bonded about various things, it seems that your main bonding point—the thing you're both obsessed with—is her fragility, fear of you, and a vaguely shared idea that those fears are fueled by an otherworldly connection in spite of the inability to connect in a genuine manner. So the role she now plays, fully, is the Frail One, since that has been validated on a 24/7 cycle for a few weeks, just as the role you now play is the Velvet Gloved One. This is who you are, together, label or not.

    And why, really, would that ever change? Yeah, both of you kind of hate those roles, but in playing that role she gets a doting man who is perhaps more into her than he ever was when there was a label, an actual relationship. Case in point: When you were momentarily sincere, vulnerable, and honest—about wanting to be with her—all she had to do was cry and become distraught for you to revert back to handling her like plutonium. Do note, as you outline the next chapter in your head, that you are literally measuring "progress" in being pushed away, becoming only more interested the further you get from what you proclaim to want. That is the story of the past month, an orgy on eggshells without the actual sex.

    At this point I'm not really sure if you want to be with her, to be completely honest, and I do wonder if she suspects this as well, in her bones if not quite the brainstem. I think you like the game, the drama, the performative Murakami-like surrealism of it all. As a relationship between two people, it's all pretty thin, after all, becoming thinner every day as you white knuckle the reed of it all. But as a story? Well, it's a good story, and I think you like being both author and character; be it conscious or otherwise, you are choosing the pleasure of being The Thing She Is Scared Of over the pleasure of open, expanding, mature connection, the story of what could be over what is. If you truly wanted more than a story? Well, you'd be bored to tears and starved for genuine connection, genuine vulnerability. Some huff oxygen, others paint thinner. It is, in the end, a choice.

    The one month reset plan? Sure, give it a go. Maybe it will work, or maybe it will feel like banging your head against a new locked door—but, hey, at least it'll be a new door, a new story, perhaps even the reality of what happens when heads bang against doors: the reality of bruises and boredom that can eclipse fantasy. Maybe it leads you to a third plan, where you decide you're ready to walk through doors instead of examine the woodwork of the thresholds and frames. And if that can't be with her? So be it.

    Thing is? You've got to chill with this idea that everything has to be "mutual." Doesn't work that way. You are allowed to have your wants, your needs, your beliefs, and to act on them. You guys do not want the same thing right now, at all, so nothing here is mutual. Mutual ended months ago, replaced by the hope of mutual, and the illusion of it.

    In other words, she will likely not want to go a month without talking to you, because she likes things just as they are, where every tantrum is rewarded with compassion. Can't say I blame her. She sneezes and becomes the sickest girl in the ward, sheds a tear and is the most vulnerable damsel in the meadow. If you want to see if something can change, if things can go deeper, you're going to have to find the faith and self-respect to move your own two feel in that direction, regardless of hers.

    I hope that doesn't sound too harsh. I've wallowed here and there, so I get it. In ways. I've never quite had this level of lust for snowflake-y stuff—the caveman in me needs more flesh and the intellectual in me needs more interesting ideas to chew on than another person's tender psychology—but I've been twisted up in love and lust, and in trying to will stories into reality by using others as projection screens. Still, just going to call it like I see it, to plant some words in your back pocket. Maybe they resonate now, or maybe in a few months. All good.

    Last thing to remind yourself of from time to time: past all the thoughts and feelings in your mind, this is your actual life being lived. How we spend are time becomes us, and time is not infinite.

  7. #46
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    Everything you say is very true. Things have become highly warped, and it is not getting closer to what I want in the end, and I'll say it honestly but don't dare say it anymore to her---I want to marry her and take care of her forever. I do. I know most people would rather jump into a woodchipper than put up with someone capable of this level of labyrinthine self-loathing for even a short while let alone forever; but if she can give me just the commitment and we can return to regular intimacy, then I am all hers. And I am not getting that right now. I just am not. I try to tell myself well this is what she is and in a weird way I am still getting her "all", but it's not enough and it's kept me so frustratingly paranoid I barely even remember my own name.

    I know your reference likely emanates from my username, and I appreciate it a ton either way lol; but the other day when I asked her if self-harm was possible and whether or not I should be concerned, there is this girl who is so complicated but charming, but who is so obsessed with sadness and unavailability; and she is just the archetypical love interest of a Murakami protagonist who either is dead or doomed no matter what the man does. In my head I have told myself that I was a hopeless nihilist throughout my twenties and now maybe seem some light at the end of the tunnel where I am more involved in a career and more motivated to have a family and build a life with someone I love. I feel like maybe her and I could discover it together, meaning a reason to experience life, but it is so painful anymore.

    The month might empower me. As intelligent and strong as I find her to be, she also might be spoiled so incredibly much that she is delusional in how just utterly and completely she takes me for granted. I lived in a delusion before, and when I was forced to wake up from it with my divorce, I had to make peace with being a real life Earthling and so I did. If I could seize some of the power in this tragic, painstaking mess, and then perhaps she might be forced to leave her castle and come to me. I dunno. Thank you for your attention, though. I mean it.

  8. #47
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Did you mention having a kid in an earlier post? Just curious, given your talk of family and life-building with this woman.

    About that? Last thing I ever want to be is a buzzkill, but how do I say this? Can only go the direct route, which goes something like: Marriage? Really? I just find that interesting. Here's a woman who is quite young, hardly able to deal with the basics of life, is not remotely interested in you romantically in any genuine manner, and who has offered you very little substance to hang a hat on. And all that adds up to what you want to commit your life to living alongside?

    Because that is what you actually have. Focusing on what it theoretically could be? That's choosing stories over reality, and it's dangerous. Or, as the kids say, kinda #basic. You even framed it as a classic if/then hypothesis: if she could give you the commitment, if you could return to regular intimacy, then you will be all hers. Romantic to write, I know, since you get to feel like Romeo under the balcony or Bukowski at the bar. But it's also delusional.

    I could say the same thing about Emma Stone or Penelope Cruz, after all: if either of those women decided to be awesome partners to me then, yeah, I could see us really going the distance. Alas, those women exist on screens and billboards and in magazines, offering me very little in reality. Your quasi-ex is really not so different, if you allow some humility and open yourself up to examining why you are so drawn to something that doesn't seem to exist.

    I don't know your history, who you are. But I can't help but feel that you see in her some kind of vessel to atone for past sins, to rewrite a past story (marriage, kids?) with a different ending. Drop that storyline and I think you'll see that you are splashing around in a puddle while trying to convince yourself its an ocean. She's just not that deep, I'm sorry. At 30 she'll probably just chuckle at the drama queen she was, mixed up with a dramatic guy for a bit, a weird purgatory of sorts that she had to play around in before deciding to grow up. And when that decision strikes? She is going to shed the things that reminded her of that strange time—you, likely.

    At some point—sooner than later, I hope, for your sake—you're going to have to remove her from the petri dish and take a hard look at yourself. She could wallow around in this playground stuff for another few years and still be in her twenties. I'm 40 today, was 33 five minutes ago, so take my word (or don't) that you're going to be my age in a few blinks. What shape do you want to be growing into as that moment dawns? Do you feel yourself on the road to that right now, or do you feel yourself growing backwards, into a state you've been in before, back when you were her age?

    Time is relentless, and only moves in one direction. We can fight that, but it's a fight we all lose.

  9. #48
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    I would add to that, do you want to get to age 40 and still be waiting for this woman to decide if she wants you or not?

  10. #49
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    I definitely don't to be here when I'm 40. The marriage thing was from her, up until the breakup. Rings. Locales. Decorations. Whatever. The continued proximity and time together puts my emotions and logic at odds, obviously, where my dreams and attachments just haven't faded as quickly as would likely be more freeing to me regardless of this outcome. I don't talk about marriage at this point with her, as I'd look like a desperate fool to her. She had just shown me glimpses of a peaceful direction in life where I can cash in my chips and settle down with someone I adore. Cold water's been poured on that, but because we still are in this whatever, things just linger on. I have to let that die. I have to step back from being her caretaker. And I have to just be me and quit playing this game of hand-and-foot bandaid and accept that we're eventually going to either agree to move forward together or apart.

    Our whole relationship has happened at her pace. We circled one another a few months before she finally used a birthday present to drop a major hint for me to finally make a move on her. After that it was still a few months before we called it "official." Since then we've traveled the world and been each other's everything for a year and a half. It took her a few months to be comfortable coming to my place. Fast forward six months later, she slept here everyday for weeks at a time. This week during my little thing where I asked for another chance, she said "you've always struggled with me being slow, and I don't want to say yes too soon before I'm ready because it could ruin it. Then we'll have even more pieces to put back together." So I don't know. I am used to waiting for her and just deciding for all the great things we've shared, she is different and does things her own way. I've let myself believe this is just another example of her taking her time and being her own way. Maybe she never wanted me and would be at another guy's feet instantaneously because she actually wants him. And I just lie to myself. I dunno, but I appreciate everyone's perspective a bunch. Thank you guys.

  11. #50
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    I decided to take time. I told her I didn’t want to pretend we were resetting anymore when she pours cold water on us every time we start getting somewhere. She was gone for the holidays and I’d drifted into some pessimism. I left her a short thing on text saying if she wanted to work on things she knows I’m around.

    She reacted with more emotion than she’s shown since the breakup. She asked why should she give us another chance if I make her cry so much. Why should she put down the walls if every time she feels like we might have a chance, she ends up crying. She hasn’t talked about second chances once before now, and I was taken by surprise. We had gone on a date before she left for the holidays and we had a very sweet time but I felt the force field and let it make me melancholy days later. She said we’d had the date but now I’m talking about leaving, and talking about these things makes her so stressed, and why can’t we just chill and go slow and stop analyzing everything constantly. “No one needs to leave. There’s no reason. I thought we were resetting. You act like I don’t want you. You act like you’re at the bottom of some list. There is no F’ing list.”

    I told her the force field is screwing with me and our interactions feel sabotaged. And it’s obvious I repulse her. She said it’s ridiculous and she is being responsible so we don’t rush and mess things up. I said I don’t think this works with the defenses up so high. I told her I’ll tell her if I’m done and won’t ever ghost her and we’d talk later if she wants. She said we could see each other first day she gets home if I want. I said okay.

    The day came and it was the most perfect day since the breakup. She quickly hugged me and wouldn’t let me go. We went and got some guilty pleasure food and brought it home and she took our food and ice cream we got and climbed into my bed and bundled up and held me all night and we watched movies and made love together. I realize she gave it a try for once without the force field and is wanting to see how I react.
    Last edited by MrWindupBird; 01-02-2020 at 11:10 PM.

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