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SonicYouth

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  1. Hi all, I've come to the well here on a handful of occasions over the years and now I'm coming back. Long story short, I'm 34. My marriage to my college sweetheart fell apart two years ago. We have a six-year-old daughter. Since our separation, I've worked hard to rebuild my life as a single man. I got promoted to a supervisory role at work, in which I make more money that I ever have before. I have a very strong co-parenting relationship with my ex. I own my house. I'm paying off debt. I briefly dabbled in online dating before I was ready, but deleted all of my profiles around a year ago because I found I was happier when I didn't have to worry about it. Not long ago, with the encouragement of a friend, I re-downloaded Bumble. I didn't have high (or any) hopes. I'm not interested in the vast majority of women in my area, who proudly advertise that they smoke, drive pickup trucks, and drink cheap beer. It's not my scene. I like to read serious literature and play tennis. On my first night back on Bumble, I got one match, who happened to be a professor at a local college. We quickly hit it off. At least online, she checks all of the boxes: intelligent, eloquent, talented. People like that are so incredibly rare around here that we seemed like a really good match. I did not mention my daughter on my Bumble profile because there's no gray area when mentioning a child on a dating profile; the stereotype is that single dads are constantly bickering with their ex over who will raise their bratty child. That's simply not me. We have a rock-solid custody schedule, my relationship with my ex is very positive, and I have my life completely in order. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but my ex and I are both mature people. I put off dating for this very reason, so I wasn't bringing anyone into a tumultuous situation. Bumble also only offers two choices for kids: "Have and want more" or "Have and don't want more," with no option for "have, but would have more with the right person." I get that some of you may see this as deceptive, and that's fine. So, after chatting for a few days, I decided the time was approaching when I should suggest a meet-up. Ahead of this, however, I flatly told her that I have a daughter and explained my situation as best I could (which I had always planned on doing with matches anyway, given the above-mentioned gray area). She responded that she's trepidatious about dating single dads because of one negative experience that she had before with a child who didn't like her and a guy who was still squabbling with his ex, and cited some anxiety about not knowing to handle a child. I don't even consider myself a single dad; I would call myself a co-parent. The thing is, I get her concerns, but I feel very strongly that I can change her mind. I have to emphasize again that I'm NOT inclined to date. I'm an introvert. It's easier for me just to bail on all of it and enjoy my alone time. But after she opened up to me I feel even more strongly that we would be a good match. I guess I'm just looking for advice on how to approach this. I think explain that my situation is not like the one that she experienced before, tell her that I would love to meet her, and respectfully leave the ball in her court? Any thoughts?
  2. Hi all, thank you for the thoughtful responses. I should clarify that I don't think people are sitting around ruminating on my life. I mean I tend to overthink interactions. For example, post-separation, I've reconnected with a female friend from college (she's married). She'll send me pictures sometimes, or we'll talk about music or random articles. Of course she knows the details of my situation, but my tendency to see everything in a "worst-case" light leads me to believe that she's just interacting with me because she knows that I'm alone and takes pity on me. The fact is that I'm VERY happy alone (much more so than I ever was in my marriage) and I think my attitude and statements generally reflect that. But one of my worst fears is someone seeing me as just that pathetic divorced guy who they have to put up with occasionally. I feel like my life is basically the opposite of that. I own my house (which I keep tidy), I cook my own meals, I know what I love and actively pursue my passions. I am a great father to my daughter. If I could look at me from the outside, I'd probably say, "Wow, that guy is doing damn well considering what he's been through." But I'm way harder on myself than anyone else would be. To expand on it a bit further, I feel like a lot of this cognitive turmoil goes back to being gas lit toward the end of our marriage. I consider myself a fairly perceptive and intuitive person and I KNEW that something was wrong, specifically that my wife had feelings for someone at work. I spent many months trying to convince myself that I was crazy. I even told my therapist I thought I had OCD, because I could not get these thoughts out of my head. Eventually, I found out that I had been right all along and it was of course crushing. That's just the tail end of the gas lighting, but it had been going on for years. So now, it's harder for me to say, "Oh, you're just being silly...that's just a cognitive distortion talking. That could never happen," because something that I tried hard to believe WAS crazy turned out to be reality. Now there's always this tug of war between trusting myself and my intuitions vs. disregarding whatever crazy thoughts might pop up. Does this make sense? Although I've made a lot of progress, I'm still learning how to trust myself because my identity and reality was always so bound up with what my wife told me.
  3. As a brief history, I'm 33 years old and until April 2019 had been with my wife since we were both 18. We've been separated since then. We have a five-year-old daughter together and at this point have worked out most details of our future co-parenting lives together. We are not acrimonious, don't have lawyers, have come to a reasonable custody arrangement. We are basically just waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to pass so we can make our divorce official. I'm posting in this forum because I'm mainly concerned with my own personal "feelings" and "healing" process. My wife was mean to me. There is no other way to say it. She is a good person and a good mother but was highly critical of me. She made me feel like I was not a "real man" and that I could never measure up. She couched a lot of her meanness in jokes, but made me feel like no one else could ever want me, that I was lucky she chose me. I had never known adult life without her, so I came to believe her. I lost touch with a lot of my passions and forgot who I was. I was sad and beaten down. Looking back, I've come to see our relationship as an emotionally abusive one. It's hard to admit that as a "man." I've been told by multiple people that they're glad I've gotten out of the marriage. They tell me to "spread my wings" and find out who I really am when I'm not stuck in a bad relationship. I've done that in large part. I've reconnected with my interests and discovered a lot about myself, both as a parent and a single adult. I've made a few new friends and gotten in touch with old ones. I just can't shake the feeling, though, that people are nice to me and encouraging because they feel sorry for me. That they feel I'm a pathetic wreck and they'll throw me a bone so I don't jump off a bridge. Typing that out, I realize how ridiculous it sounds. People have told me that I have emotional depth, that I'm creative and intelligent, that I deserve a woman who can really appreciate me and make me happy. But still, there's that little voice saying, "No one really likes you. You're not good enough." It was loud enough that I went on one date with a woman who turned out to REALLY like me and I cut it off, because I was scared to move forward. I know my therapist would call these thoughts cognitive distortions. There is no reason to believe that people would lie to me just to make me feel good. But I can't shake it. I've found these forums very helpful over the years. Does anyone have any thoughts?
  4. You all are quite right. I know in my heart I’m not ready, but I felt pressured by those pesky external expectations. I messaged her and said “it’s not you, it’s me” in so many words. I appreciate your advice. I’m still learning. Like I said, I’m 33 years old and have not dated since I was a teenager. I deleted the dating apps and will be looking to meet people IRL and let something develop naturally.
  5. A little background: I am 33 and soon to be divorced. My wife and I have been separated for around nine months and we have a four-year-old daughter. We were each other's first and only relationships. We had been together since age 19. Our marriage ended when I found out she was cheating on me, but I don't harbor any significant bitterness. Before this happened, we moved to a new town where I don't know anybody. It was scary when we decided to separate, but I've since come to relish the time alone. I am a very introverted, even shy, person, but I have what I feel are sufficient friend and family connections. Just not necessarily where we live now. That's what compelled me to start looking through dating apps. I didn't have a ton of success, largely because this is not a major city and it's hard to find people with whom I have much in common. I love reading, writing, listening to music. I'm an artistic soul. I like to be alone and create. I feel like there is a lot left for me to accomplish as a single person. But there is still that nagging voice saying, "You need to get out there. You need to make connections." Last week, I matched with a woman who had the same obscure music taste as me. She said on her profile that she was "looking for someone to start as friends and then maybe become something more." That's what gave me the courage to actually suggest meeting up. We did, and it went fairly well. Like I said, we have quite a bit in common, although she is younger and I feel at a different life stage. It was obvious that it was a "date," although I wasn't sure that's what it would be going in. I thought I'd probably be willing to meet up with her again, on very casual terms. Then today she texted me a picture of a hike she'd gone on this weekend, and asked if I wanted to come over to her house for dinner. I can't anyway, but even if I could, the answer would be a definitive "no." I'm not ready for that at all. I countered by suggesting we go to a board game place next weekend, which seems like much more of a "friend" activity. But I am not sure if I'm just leading her on by suggesting that. I am torn because it's not easy for me to meet people, especially people with whom I have things in common. But if I look back at the prior weeks and months, the answer is that I have been so much happier as a single person than I ever was in a relationship. It's obvious that she likes me, which is flattering but also scary. I have literally not dated since I was a teenager, so I don't know how trust my gut on this. Am I just scared? Should I push myself out of my comfort zone and see if this can become something? Or should I listen to instincts and cut this off now? I am a nice person. I do not want to hurt her, and that's what has me agonizing. Other people aren't experiments, and I feel as though I owe it to her to be up front with these feelings. So that's where I am. I frankly don't know if I'll EVER feel ready to date, given my personality. But by the same token, I don't necessarily want to be alone forever. Just not sure what to do here. I appreciate any advice.
  6. For those of you keeping score, my marriage is effectively over. We had a long car ride home from our daughter's birthday party today, and my wife does not want to be married to me anymore, full stop. She does not want to try and heal the marriage. I, foolishly in retrospect, basically begged her to reconsider and give it one more shot. I just couldn't take the pain of believing that our family was actually breaking up. It's surreal to me. I still love her and feel like we can heal from this, but she is not on board. Yes, I realize that it's denial, but there is a shred of me that believes with some time apart the person I fell in love with will come back and realize that we still need to be a family. I do not believe she's being honest about the other man. I think she wants to be with him more than she is admitting, possibly even to herself. I don't believe this would be happening if he hadn't come into the picture. She claims that he made her realize how unhappy she actually was in our marriage. I can hold my chin high because I have the moral high ground. She can harp on my anxiety, but nothing is as clear-cut as cheating, and she did that. I don't know if she will be honest with her family, but they will be devastated and not understand why she's doing this. She will have to carry that shame for the rest of her life. But yes, gaslighting could not be more dead on: "They lie and keep secrets, and if/when their partner catches on and confronts them, they deny, make excuses, tell more lies, and do whatever else they can do to convince their partner that she (or he) is the issue, that her (or his) emotional and psychological reactions are the cause of rather than the result of problems in the relationship. Basically, the cheater wants the betrayed partner question her (or his) perception of reality and to accept blame for any problems." I was right all along. I knew in my gut all along that there was something going on. She knows I have a history of anxiety and she used that against me, making me believe that it was my overactive, anxious imagination; that it was my fault she was drifting away from me, when all along there was someone else. In any case, I really can't ruminate on this stuff anymore. She's gone, and I have to figure out how I'm going to rebuild my life, on my own for the first time ever. I have never lived as an adult without her. The first step is to get away. Thankfully I can work wherever my laptop is, so I as I said above I'm taking my daughter to my mother's house and staying there for the rest of the week, hopefully gaining some clarity on my next steps. I am not looking at attorneys yet. I'm treating this as though someone died. It came that suddenly. I can only think of the next 3 or 4 days right now, and that's helping me feel a little better. I still feel like I'm in a bad dream that I'm going to wake up from, but in a way , I feel relieved knowing that this is in the open and I can start the rest of my life. Does anyone have any thoughts/advice/kind words?
  7. Thank you, and yes, I will keep coming back to this thread. It’s been a huge help already. Divorce has never been an option for me. I meant my vows, unlike my wife, apparently. I am committed to seeing this through, and the thought of taking my daughter away from her is agonizing. They have a tight bond and this is not her fault. She would not understand why she can’t see mommy every day.
  8. Katrina, I appreciate your straightforward advice, but I’m not ready to give up on this. I’m taking my daughter to my mom’s house and spending the week there. We’ll see what happens, but I can’t let this go without fighting for it.
  9. Yes, aside from a brief break in college, we have been together since we were 18. You very well may be right, but that doesn’t lessen the pain. I have given everything to my family. I married the woman who I thought was my soul mate at 26, and wholly dedicated myself to building our life together. Apparently I just didn’t do it right? Didn’t do enough? Why does she get a pass on this? She owes me a chance to work through this together. I believe that she is gaslighting me, and it’s nakedly cruel, because she knows that’s my greatest vulnerability. She’s using it to extricate herself from me, absolve herself, and make me feel like it’s my fault. How is this in any way right? I am not some meek supplicant waiting for bread crumbs from her. I’ve grown, too, into a father and what I though was a better husband. This isn’t fair.
  10. Holly, yes, I am working. I have a very demanding editing job that keeps me in front of a computer 9-10 hours per day that I consider very respectable work. It paid her way through nursing school. I take a lot of pride in what I do, because I’m respected at work in many ways I feel I’m not at home. I feel a bit stuck in terms of personal growth. I read, I listen to music, I work out, but yes I am limited in what I can do. I take my daughter to school at 7 am, work all day, pick her up, make dinner for her and my wife, and then maybe go to the gym and read or listen to music before bed. My wife works some weekends, too, so I have my daughter for 13+ hours on those days. I don’t see how say I’m supposed to join a tennis league or something with this schedule. That is why this stings so deeply. My reliability and sacrifice has allowed my wife to develop her career, her friendships, and hence this affair. I feel as though my treatment and self-care is working, but my wife’s general feeling seems to be “too little, too late.” She claims that I cannot be there for her when she is upset or has had a bad day. I don’t believe this would be surfacing so significantly now if she hadn’t found another option. I think she’s infatuated and doesn’t realize what I provide for her, including in terms of emotional support. We broke up briefly in college for similar reasons, and she came back to me. I don’t know why she expects another person to love her more. In terms of counseling, I am going to bring her to my next appointment with my therapist, who also does couples counseling. I want the whole truth to come out, because I have been telling my therapist that this affair was all in my head and was working with her on ways to cope with obsessive negative thoughts. My “worst case scenario” as I described to the therapist was that my wife was having an affair and would leave me. That was seen as preposterous just a few weeks ago. The biggest source of my anxiety by far (since around Xmas) was this relationship with the doctor that I had to convince myself was not real. Now I feel like my wife is using my anxiety that stemmed from her lies as an excuse to get away. How is that right? Also, how is this supposed to improve my anxiety? My worst case scenario turned out to be absolutely true. My trust in my wife has been absolutely rocked. If she genuinely wanted me to improve and save our marriage, she wouldn’t have lied to me about something that was emotionally tormenting me for weeks and cruelly used my mental illness against me. Still, we can connect. We have so much fun together when the air is clear (before this). What absolutely stuns me is I begged her to give me a ”chance” to improve two months ago, when I discovered this budding relationship and she assured me that it was all in my head. I can’t actually move forward if my therapy is based entirely on lies.
  11. My wife and I are 32. We met in the first week of college and have been together for 14 years. We have a 3-year-old daughter, who is my entire purpose. My wife finished nursing school where we lived, in my hometown, and she took a job in a city about 3 hours away. I agreed to move with her to support her career, even though it meant leaving my family and my entire support network behind. I was excited about starting a new life together, building our own legacy. I work from home, and she works 12-hour shifts at the hospital. I clean, cook, so the majority of child care. I want her to be able to relax when she is at home. A few months ago, I found some overly friendly texts she’d been exchanging with a doctor. I brushed it off, but I couldn’t change my gut feeling something was off. I told myself it was OK to have male friends. I was almost past it. I thought I was the problem. I have a lifelong history of anxiety and obsessive thoughts and blamed it on this, and she did too. Encourage me to go to therapy, change my meds, knowing all along she had feelings for him. Flat-out lying to me. Last week, she went out with her friends and was out till 1 am. She said she ended up at a bar with just one of her girlfriends. I later found out the doctor was there too, and they ended up kissing. She lied to me for over a week, pretending everything was normal. She has blamed my mental problems on driving a wedge between us. She says I can’t fulfill her needs because my anxiety does not allow me to be an equal partner to her. Yes, I struggle with some mental health issues, but I actively work on them. I take medication, go to therapy, exercise. My family is my life. My identity is being a husband and a dad. I cannot envision a future where we are not a family. Worse still, in the new city that she moved us to, I have no friends, no support network because I am 100% dedicated to supporting her and my daughter. But this is where my daughter’s school, friends, life is. Without her, I have no reason to stay here. But I can’t leave her. I want badly to repair this, but I’m not sure she does. I know we at the bottom of our marriage, but there is still love between us. I am afraid that she is so smitten with this new shiny object that she will ruin lives over it. I don’t know what to do.
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