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Crazy Mixed Signals Need Advice Please!

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Hi All


Ill try keep this short and precise.


I start dating a single mother of 2 in Janurary and we dated for about 4 -5 months and everything was gioing well. She introduced me to her kids and was really interested in me. She would call me regularly and ask me when is she going to see me next. In June things start to go pear shaped I stopped courting her became lazy and unsure of what I wanted and she picked up on this. she started to doubt that I cared about her and said things like, you just want to have sex with me you don't care about me. It's like the balance flipped she started acting flakey and cancelling dates and I started to pursue her. Eventually she canceled a date on me right at the last minute which she had done about 5 times. I got annoyed and told her she needs to respect me and let me know in more time. She ignored me and I decided not to contact her until she got back in contact with me.


About 3 weeks later she text me saying Hi, How are?. We sent a couple of texts back and forth and agreed to meet up. She tried to throw a few curve balls at me but I held my nerve and we agreed on a date. By the way to let everyone know I like this girl and I want to rekindle what we previously had. I was slightly nervous about our date and was'nt in the best frame of mind. We went out to dinner anyway and then to bar. We were chatting all night having fun catching back up but I noticed she was a bit distant from me not her usual self.


Anyway at the end of the night we went back to her place, she was a little hesitant at first saying I don't like my place and It's gonna be an early night for me. I stood my ground and so okay maybe another time but she then changed her mind and asked me to come to hers. I could tell all night she was testing me to see what way I would react.


We got back to her place listened to some music and had a few glasses of wine. Again she was distant and was more into the music singing along and we didn't talk as much . She told me I could stay the night. So at this point we hadn't kissed all night and she said okay time for bed. When we got into bed I expected like before that we would kiss and maybe sleep together but she seemed off. She immediately turned around and said okay good night.


I stayed strong and did'nt chase after her and said okay good night. A few seconds later she started to back her ass into me to get my attention I said I though you wanted to sleep and she laughed. So it was like she was doing all these things to test me. I could tell she was holding back and I said to her do you wanna tell me whats going on. She said no nothings wrong.


I new at this point I had obviously hurt her in the past and she was doubting if I was man enough to be with her so she was testing the F*** out of me. I wanted to know what was going on and how she felt so I told her tell me whats going on. I was playful and light hearted and pressed at her to tell me what was on her mind. She slowly started to tell me things she said she wanted a man who accepted her for who she was and that she had kids and she said to me that I don't understand and that I was immature and didn't care about her. To mention I'm a couple of years younger than her but I'm quite mature. So this went on for a while she would say there's nothing else to say and I kept playfully pulling the information out of her. I tried to let her know I was listening to her and tried to make a sincere apology. I told her that it was never just sex and that I did care about her. This apology seemed to go in one ear and out the other she didn't really care. We ended up kissing any and this is the really weird part. She told me I'm not having sex with you after the way things were but I'm going to use my sex toy on my self.


This seemed a little crazy to me she is kissing me then tells me she dosen't want to have sex but then begins to use her sex toy on herself and asks me to help her by giving her oral?


I was totally confused by this it was like yeah I don't want you but I want you to pleasure me.


At this point i took the sex toy off her and said your not getting it back until we talk and clear things up in a fun joking manner. We were having fun with each other she was acting like I annoyed her but I stood my ground and she would then laugh. I keep getting bits of information out of her about how she felt but It was hard work.


Eventually it went know where she wouldn't fully open herself up to me about how she was feeling and talk and I gave her, her toy back and we ended up going to sleep. Overall I think I was the one who done more perusing that night and there was times I probably should have backed off a bit but I didn't.


I left early the next day as I was in work and I decided not to contact her until she contacts me.


I feel like she has mixed feelings at the moment, like she is making sure I am worthy before she lets me back in. It's just such a strange situation. Can anyone offer some advice and their opinion on whats going on. Also do you think its a good idea to not contact her and let her come to me since she was the one who blew me off first and is still acting unsure. It's been a week since then and I haven't heard from her.

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Well Liverpoolboy you didn't keep it short and precise. If you are sleeping in the same bed as someone and she does not want sex that is a super red flag. I would watch out for her, I would even say just walk away as fast as you can. x

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So, your post is one of the racier ones I've seen here. Observation, not judgment.


From first read, it looks to me like both of you seem more comfortable connecting very lightly, with help from a little alcohol, and aren't comfortable holding to just discussions or conversations. The sex is central to your connection. If that's true, it's easy to see how she might experience the connection overall as just about sex. Even if it's not.


It looks like the two of you find comfort in companionship and doing things together, but not really in talking together about the ways you feel and what you want or plan to do in your lives. Not that it is superficial or wrong or anything like that, but just that the verbal aspect of relationship appears to be awkward or avoided. Someone has to open the dialogue and maybe lead it, or be the caretaker of dialogues. Someone has to foster the conversation and make sure it stays open, and goes deeper into intimacy. Not sex, but rather, who each of you is and what you dream of and value in your life.


I don't mean that you don't already do this, just that I don't see it in your post. So it's possible that if a woman is telling you she thinks you are in it only for sex, she may really be saying she wants you to open and lead a dialogue with her, ask her deeper questions about who she is, and what her life or dreams for her life are, and to love and admire her unique answers. She may be less accusing you of "in it for sex" than really saying "I want to feel more connected to you". Because although I am the first to admit that sex can be a sure-fire and straight shot to feeling connected, there's only so much intimacy and understanding and connection it can provide. Because it's only physical, and we are not just physical. We are all creatures of mind and the desire to tell our stories, concerns, dreams, and needs, and know they have been heard.


If verbal intimacy is lacking (and I understand it might not be, but it's my guess from first read), the "36 questions" are an intriguing way to open richer dialogue almost immediately. If possible, spend time together knowing each other without alcohol help, and without defaulting to sex. For its many pleasures and benefits, sex plays some havoc neurochemically and can masquerade as real connection when -- if a couple doesn't have shared values or much knowledge of each other -- it just *isn't* that. It's only a mask and at its most basic, it's only an animal comfort. Again this is not judgment, just observation, food for thought.


A single mom may or may not have more complex things going on than someone who isn't a parent, so make room for that. Depending on her children's ages, and also on how long she has been parenting on her own, it can be challenging enough that she may run hot and cold about her feelings or relationship with you, and/or wonder whether she even has the bandwidth or stamina required to keep it all together. So if you are intent on continuing to be a solid person in her life, maybe indicate that to her. But know that you may be asked in some way to prove it, repeatedly nor at least consistently, for the first long while. You are in an early part of relationship, and she has responsibility to two children, and to herself. It means that when you have her time, you need to step up and give, somehow. Not sexually, because she has made plain to you that she can take care of that life aspect herself.


Does this make sense to you? None of it is judgment. But I think you are in kind of a special situation, because this person has a complex set of circumstances and obligations, and probably a real need of connection and intimate support. You just need to find what she is telling you she really needs, because sex is easy and it's clouding the potential for real connection. I don't mean don't have it; just dial the verbal connections a little higher.

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Well Liverpoolboy you didn't keep it short and precise. If you are sleeping in the same bed as someone and she does not want sex that is a super red flag. I would watch out for her, I would even say just walk away as fast as you can. x


Depending on her children's ages, she probably has kids in the bed often enough that it is not just an adult or sexual space. Parents often have different boundaries, needs, and expectations about what happens in bed.


Just food for thought.

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WOW. You are amazing you've just opened my eyes. Thank you for taking the time to write that detailed response.


Your right the verbal intimacy was there initially. She would open up to me and tell me about her past and what happened and told me some deep stuff etc. I was such a good listener at the time I would listen without judging and she started to fall for me at the start she even told me that. I wasn't available and I waited for her to come to me. That level of intimacy started to slowly disappear and I noticed she wasn't as open with me as she first was in the begining. I then lost my and didn't handle things right when they went bad.


Can you offer any advice on how i got about opening her back up because at the moment she is obviously closed down to me emotionally. I haven't spoke to her in a week and I'm trying the no contact rule that I read about online.


I really tried the other night to open her up and I even started to get somewhere but she then started to get annoyed with me and closed back down.

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So, one of the things that is happening here is just a natural course of relationship and partnering physiology and neurochemistry. You've been together since January and that's about six months, and we only get so much of the "honeymoon" time. The first three months are often the most sublime, and by all means, that can continue in whatever degree through up to about two years, and then the brain and body of each partner have pretty well adjusted (or sometimes not) for the long haul, at which point the relationship may then become a matter of course or kind of "business as usual". As we go along in time together, it becomes easier and more natural to relax, ease off a bit in our gratitude and appreciation and admiration of each other, and maybe take the other or the relationship for granted somewhat, become inconsistent in our affections, or even stop making a good effort altogether. Even if we love that person most dearly, every single day.


Sometimes this is us showing our full "true" selves, and sometimes it happens that our true selves have some unresolved baggage or error/wound that shows up and needs address. For some people it might mean a bout with therapy, but sometimes it can be gracefully worked through a patient and trusting couplehood, maybe just in the container of the partnership, or also with support from family/friends (if open and trustworthy) or pastoral support or prayer support from a home church (if that is part of your couplehood's support system). Many times if the couplehood can't or for some reason won't work it through, if they instead break up, this is where you hear that someone was crazy, a psycho, had baggage, went mental, is bipolar/borderline/a narcissist/sociopath, etc. And sometimes that is completely true. Sometimes that is an actual clinical fact.


But it can also be just the partner's time of life, or something critical they are facing in family, employment, financial, or physical health systems. In your case, or rather your partner's, it can be related to divorce (or if not previously married to her children's father, then the ending and loss of that relationship for her), or the troubles inherent in continued coparenting or shared decision-making (and therefore possibly court-ordered but unwanted continued contact) with her children's dad. It can also be completely about the children and also whether she feels she is doing enough for them as a mother. It can be about their health, or learning, or whether they have enough friends in school -- and how her own childhood was, and what happened to her in her own experience of being a child and being parented, protected, and provided for well (or sometimes not).


There's so much that comes up as we shepherd our children through their youngest and most vulnerable years. As a bonus person and their mother's partner, you may find that these things come up for you as well. The best way I know on either side of the couplehood is to listen when the parent partner is volunteering this self-review, and to let it be all about them, unless it seems they need assurance or example that shows they are not crazy/not alone in having experienced something/not worthless because of it. Present positives, but also know where your own experiences truly dovetail with theirs and can make a difference.


In this way, we are allowing the other to be center stage, not to perform but to be understood and assured and healed, and we are allowing them also to both have their full say and potentially to arrive at their own solutions without us bossing in.


It's not exactly doormat behavior. It can be a thin line, but on the face of it, it is just basic human respect. And for any guys (or even women, because relationship is equal opportunity) who are reading this and are concerned about such perceptions, it is also actually alpha behavior. It's the mark of a partner who is secure enough in itself that it's both natural and humanly acceptable to give the other the room and audience for full self expression, and to give them the gift of being fully heard.


What I get from reading and maybe projecting about your partner is that she might be concerned (because of whatever happened to cause discord and end of relationship with the children's father) that she is being used or misled, and not fully seen, heard, understood, or valued. I've read your earlier thread and it sounds like you did quite a lot to show and prove you are fully present for her, and that you like the relationship and her and the children. I want to say though that if the children's dad is giving her grief or ever any power struggle, that wears on the spirit and soul, weighs heavy on the heart, and can trash one's self esteem, all of which affects her presentation and ability to cope or keep up in your couplehood. As well on her ability to parent to her own standards, which amplifies the wear. You can't really prevent or resolve this, if that's what's happening, and she may not always tell you about it, either because it is too confusing or overwhelming, or because she respects and likes or loves you, and doesn't want the situation to run you off. Sometimes partnering with a parent, if you aren't one (and even or especially if you are), is a lesson in or practice of self restraint. Remember that the coparenting contract between the original parents, is their contract. You are called upon to be a partner to only the one; a triangle won't work.


One thing also is that as a parent, and especially a single one of multiple children, she is going to feel mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually tired a lot. This doesn't mean that you swoop in and do everything for her, because part of the benefit of the single parenting path is learning that it is ok and possible to be self sufficient. And you want that growth lesson for her. But it does mean definitely please don't take her sexual "no" very personally. Understand that your partner's parent self, partner self, employment self, and basic human adult self (and any child self) all are residing in the same physical body, same mind. There will be times and phases where she literally has no energy for the sexual approach or even reception, even if she wants that connection and release. Sometimes there is literally that much energy expense in the course of a day, enough that she might not even know how she managed to get through it all.


If the children are young yet, this does lessen as they grow older and less dependent. I'll spare you all that detail but will say, as the kids come into their own, there can be more time for the enjoyments of just the couplehood. It's all kind of a marathon.


I had mentioned animal comfort in the earlier response. To carry that over, I think when we are dealing with a single parent or a divorced person, sometimes it's best to approach it the way you would a wild deer. Gentle, receptive, slowly, and with patience and respect for the reasons and reality of possible sudden flight. Not to say that any such partner is wild or fragile or vulnerable, except that many of them are. Relationships in these circumstances merit being honored as something like a wild gift. Maybe all love relationships do. The trust tasks might be more numerous than in other partnerings, but if you succeed in become part of a family circle, that's a rich blessing.


I realize I'm responding at length about the depths of it and these are not really action items. Regarding NC it sounds like the two of you are not exactly broken up, so think of right now as just a patience and regrouping time. With whatever understanding you need, once you've arrived at it, there isn't a rule about who should break NC. Once you feel comfortable with your intentions and understanding, it is ok for you to bridge the gap, and she may want you to.

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