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Divorcing, in love, and feeling emotionally stupid...

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I apologize in advance as this is a long post:


I separated from my wife of 16 years back in November. I was the one who initiated it. I've been with her for 21 years. I just started the process of filing for divorce. We have no kids and no real estate so there's at least that. I still love her on some level, but she's had mental health issues that really interfered with our marriage. I've only loved one other girl in my life and that was in high school. That lasted a week and when she dumped me it ripped my guts out! I couldn't stop crying! I'm not sure if that one counts as I was a teenager at the time. I mention it as it's my only other experience with this type of emotional roller-coaster that I'm feeling right now.


Well... I met this amazing woman at work. She works at my company but I don't work directly with her. We started hanging out with each other and other coworkers at group activities outside of work.


To begin with, I should mention that I'm suffering from ***mild***, long-term, low-grade, situational depression which does not require medication. I think it has to do with how unhappy my marriage made me. I'm seeing a shrink to deal with it. I've been doing really well and it's been fully under control until right now. I'm having crazy mood swings. I cry in the shower. I'm normally a very logical person but now I'm in love with everything. When it's bad it's bad. But when it's good, it's so, so wonderful.


I didn't even know how to recognize what I was going through until I described it to my shrink. I told her about this woman and how she's the last thing on my mind when I go to bed and the first thing I think about when waking up. I've even been waking up in the middle of the night with her *instantly* on my mind. It's not like my thoughts drifted from another topic to her. I don't think I was looking for this experience, but let me tell you... It hit me like a MACK TRUCK! I'm usually fairly guarded about my emotions. It's like she leapt over whatever emotional wall I had, snuck into my garden, into the temple where I stored the jewel of my heart, and stole away with it like a thief in the night! My shrink was the one who confirmed it: I'm not going crazy... ***I'm in love***! She does *not* know it at this time.


The woman I met has been up front from the beginning by saying that she's not interesting in dating right now, due to her own recent breakup. She said her situation was very similar to mine, just without a divorce involved. In fact, the timeframe was almost identical! The length of the relationship was the same and the time of breakup was about the same. Spooky... After asking her some more probing questions, I uncovered that in fact, she's been sort-of "dating" right from the first moment of her breakup as an "exception" to her "rule". I think she told me that those dates were friendly (non-lover-type), one-on-one dates with another divorced man that I know. In fact, she told me that she went a little nuts during that period and is surprised that they're still friends. When I told her I was filing for divorce, she wisely counseled me to wait a while until dating again. I didn't understand that at the time, but I did some research about rebounds. I would never do that to myself or another. Therefore, I've decided to wait a while. I told her and she was very happy about that! I have to wonder though, did I get "friend-zoned" or can I safely take what she said at face value?


So far, I've done nothing stupid to jeapordize my chances with this girl. We seem to get along great and share a really nice (albeit shallow at this point) emotional connection. My only intention is to spend one-on-one, in-person time with her if I can, just to chat and get to know each other (is that dating?). My shrink gave me gold stars for my approach and strongly advised that I don't do anything stupid with this (i.e. Confess my undying love). Essentially, she says that this is a growth experience that I just need to suffer through. Actually, she advised me to try to get my mind off of it and just let it be. I totally agree with her, but I can't shake it. Look, I'm a grown man. I know what love feels like. This is not just some feeling I have about her. Everything I've learned about her so far I really like. She's smart, funny, a great mom, has a strong desire to learn to be independent, and is really articulate. I feel connected with her. When it happens, I feel her pain.


I'm not sure what I'm asking for here. Maybe some sympathy. Maybe some understanding. Maybe some advice. I wasn't trying to date her and then WHAM, it hit me. Is there anything I can do? Is there anything I should do? I've been playing it as cool as I can and I think it's been paying off. Did I just fall in love with my own divorce-inspired neediness? If I could have a woman one half as amazing as this one, I'd be so, so lucky. I know this relationship stuff is all driven by the woman's interest level. Unfortunately, when it comes to this romance stuff, I feel emotionally retarded (er... ignorant). I miss stuff all the time. Maybe she is showing interest. Maybe she's just being friendly. Maybe being friendly is enough for now. Maybe I'm stuck in a sort of masked "friend-zone." I just can't tell and it's driving me nuts. I do see how just letting it go will be a great experience in learning resiliency. I guess I just haven't had other relationships to learn from yet to teach me to more easily let go in situations where I'm not in control (such as relationships). I do know that my situation with my wife is completely over and has been for a very long time. Doesn't my almost year-long separation count for anything? Am I ready to date? So much confusion...


All I know is... When she's near... My heart... Sings.



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Maybe it'd be a good idea to put yourself out there around other women so that maybe you will get attracted to some other potentially datable women to get your mind off being focused on this one, because it seems like she has you in her friend zone. Distraction would be good. I wouldn't advise being her friend, because that is only going to hurt and frustrate you.

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