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Can this work out?


AntiNinja
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Hello everyone,

Here's my situation. I hope I can get some help from you. Also, general background, I tend to binge when I drink so you can assume for most of the following she or I or both of us are dealing with being at least somewhat intoxicated which I know is a big part of my problem for sure.

I am a man, early 50s, divorced 10 years, 1 adult daughter

She is a woman, early 50s, divorced 6 years, 1 teen son

We met on a dating site around 5 years ago. At the time we had a couple of good dates, but I did not feel like I wanted more than friends at the time. This sounds really weird in retrospect, but it was a stupid, superficial reason now that I think back. She bore a vague, passing resemblance to a woman at work whom I disliked. As I said, a weird reason but I guess I fell prey to first physical impressions.

(On top of that, I was getting out of a one-year relationship with a woman who had said she wanted kids, and at first I thought I could have another kid. But when I backed off from that, things fell apart. She and I had sexual chemistry, but it was never destined to become anything like a long-term relationship or marriage.)

She later told me (back to my current "she") she thought, "I don't need any more friends, but I appreciated your honesty so I agreed to be friends." We kept in touch loosely but went on with our parallel lives. Due to that one-year relationship that I mentioned, I honestly was not eager about dating anyone, and I gradually had been moving into a bachelor/hermit/barfly life. Not good, but the only reason I say that is that I have tried to tell her that my initial friendship thing was not a typical "friend zone." I really did enjoy her company and even told her that I could see it someday leading to more.

Fast forward again to 2019. I was at a bar watching sports with a friend, and he told me he saw a woman who kept looking at me. She was with a guy. When I finally peered into the dark bar atmosphere, I saw that it was HER. My friend told me to go over and say hi, but I said no, she's with a guy. However, as my friend and I left, I waved to her and she smiled and waved back. Later that night I texted her and we reconnected. Somewhere around that time she says she broke up with that other guy.

From that time until a month or so ago, she and I started meeting up more and more and texting more and more, including FaceTime when she was traveling for work. Finally, when we were at dinner one night, we had both had a bit too much to drink, and she leaned in and kissed me. I returned the kiss, it was great. I panicked and did not want to hurt either of us, so I kept being reluctant. It's painful to recall this because this was the point where I could have chosen a different path. And maybe talking to her about my money then would have allowed her to be supportive without pulling back.

But I kept vacillating on asking her to be my girlfriend, this time for a different reason. Due to the pandemic I gradually fell behind on rent and now I owe a lot, over $15,000, which I am trying to figure out how to pay off or negotiate some kind of exit from my lease. 

I bring up the rent because my vacillating ended around March of this year, before I told her about my money problems, but after I decided that my feelings for her had grown too much for me to keep saying I wanted to be just friends. The time we spent together had drawn me out of my loneliness and was of a completely better nature in terms of our sharing time together, sharing conversation time, mutual attraction, and on and on.

It got to the point that she was sending me so many sweet texts and GIFs that she was thinking about me. She invited me over to her apartment on several occasions. On one night she started feeling me up and took me to her bedroom and we made love. That happened one more time there, and then another three times at my apartment. We held hands, kissed, shared walks, day trips, she had me meet her sister and her kids and a few of her other friends (she was upset that I had not introduced her to my daughter though). I would usually take her home at the end of the night (more later) and we would kiss passionately before saying goodnight. Pet names, lovey-dovey GIFs, the whole nine yards, practically.

Then it changed.

First, she started talking more and more about traveling, and I kept trying to tell her that I did not have money to travel. Finally I had to admit my money situation. She was taken aback but was supportive at first, even offering me money to help pay. I refused, I didn't think that would be a good idea at all and she would either resent me or lose respect (she lost respect anyway, see below). 

Everything seemed to have stayed the same until the following weekend. First, we met up at my local bar, and she seemed tired. She said it was work, which was probably partly true. But then the bar manager asked if we could move from our table to the bar so they could seat a larger party at the table. We said sure and moved. At the bar was this weird guy whose talking style I couldn't follow. His friend came over, a guy I had randomly made friends with before over a football game. That latter guy is always glad-handing at the bar and struck up a conversation with her right next to me. Apparently they went to the same area Catholic grade schools. As they got into their conversation, her body language moved away from me (usually she was all over me). Then, he said he had to get her number to invite her to a party the next day and so they could catch up about school and the neighborhood. She gave him her number right in front of me.

I didn't say anything in the moment except to say "hey, we're all adults" when he made some disclaimer about why he was asking her number. But when we left I told her I felt like a fool and why did she do that. I am not good in arguments, but verbally and via text I basically said how would you feel if I did that to you? She said:

"I'm still perplexed by what happened tonight. We can go back and forth, and I can continue to try to explain myself as to why your position is misplaced, but I think it we will go in circles. 
Thus, I will accept that your feeling were hurt some how despite the fact that I would never do such a thing intentionally. So I'm sorry because despite the fact that we are not committed and I have the right to explore, I am not that girl that would try to purposely make you jealous nor hurt your feelings. 
I did get upset at the end with your *** for tat suggestion, and Yes, I would get upset if you took some women's number. "

To me this sounded like (1) sorry if you're offended and (2) trying to have her cake and eat it too - specifically, "we are not committed," yes but we have done all those couple things I mentioned above, so doesn't that warrant a little respect about handing out our numbers to people in front of each other? Moreover, if "we are not committed," what right would SHE have to get upset if I took some woman's number?

Anyway, the next day we texted a bit more and then she invited me to a professional meetup party she was at. I should not have gone, but by this point I was getting more and more feelings for her and we had entered this odd dance of approach and avoidance. I drank at the party and struck up a conversation with a pretty woman there (which is funny because my "she" made a point of telling me I had done that) - she barely talked to me at the party, which I guess is ok because it was her party. Then we joined some of the people who left the party and went to a restaurant.

There, she was initially seated across from me but they moved her to the head of the table, where she went on a little speech about what she wanted in a man. A guy there started professing how if HE were with HER, he would give her all of those things. He raised a toast and she toasted back. When it was time for everyone to leave, I naturally assumed I would walk her home alone as I usually did. But that toasting guy suddenly decided that he and another guy should also "help" get her home. She agreed, at which point, hot blood ran up into my face and I excused myself abruptly and left all of them. I cried all the way home and when we FaceTimed about it, she retaliated with all the times she had cried about me when I said "just friends."

We met one more time in person before she went away on a trip with her son. We still argued over the whole friend/respect/jealousy thing. She accused me of "dating" my "other girlfried" (wait I thought we were not committed) - by which she was referring to a woman I went on 2 dates with over the course of 18 months and whom I did not want to be my girlfriend. We both left angry and she refused to let me walk her home.

At that point I spiraled into a deep funk. Although she texted a few times that gave me hope, I got drunk a few times and sent her streams of overly emotional texts starting in angry/demanding mode and devolving into begging/pleasing mode. This has happened to me twice before and both times the women blocked me. But she has not blocked me which I find strange because she would read my messages and not reply, but not block me either. Is she just torturing me?

Now we have reached a numb equilibrium. I wrote her a 4-page heartfelt letter where I pleaded my case. I know men are not supposed to do this, according to the dating sites and coaches. But I just wanted her to see what I was thinking. She has not even acknowledged that I sent it, nor said even one thing about it. She has repeatedly insisted that it is not about the money, but the timing seems way too coincidental and she also has gone silent about almost everything except switching to "we don't have the same interests or want the same things." So who knows.

She has sort of agreed to meet up and chat about this. But as I expected, she bailed out yesterday saying she is busy with work and she has plans for the weekend. I am now obsessed. I really don't want to know about her dating other men, but I also can't help wanting to be her man. So I am having awful intrusive thoughts about her going off for the weekend with some new guy she is with.

This is so painful. It's not just that I don't want to be alone, I have done that before. It is that we spent so much time doing things and going to places all around where I live and hang out, so EVERYTHING reminds me of her, and also because of my money problems, I feel worthless and that no woman would date me, while she is off probably collecting dates by the armful. She even told me she has already been on a couple of dates - less than a month after she said her desire for me was multiplying. I have spent time walking trying to burn off the anxiety and pain, but only recently have I been able to go more than 2 days without breaking down crying. Every time I want to turn around and share some meme or article or news I realize it's pointless, along with the hope of just seeing her and holding her again.

Anyway, I always try to write short posts but they always end up too long. I hope someone reads through this and can offer me some advice. I know the drinking is an issue, she used it as another reason why I was crossing her boundaries when she had respected mine as a friend (she is right about that part). Some days I want to block her and remove all traces from my devices. But then I get really sad and can't go through with it.

Thanks for any help.

 

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7 minutes ago, AntiNinja said:

I wrote her a 4-page heartfelt letter where I pleaded my case.  She has not even acknowledged that I sent it, nor said even one thing about it. 

She has sort of agreed to meet up and chat about this. But as I expected, she bailed out yesterday saying she is busy with work and she has plans for the weekend.

 

It sounds like you would be better off getting to detox/rehab, ongoing sobriety support and seeing a physician about all the associated health problems, (ED, depression, mood swings, etc.) as well as seeing a therapist one on one for ongoing support.

 No woman is attracted to maudlin self-pity and letters outlining all your woes. Therapist are there for that, so is AA , rehab and other help. You just need to want it.

Leave this woman alone before she gets a restraining order. It's your, not her job to get yourself together.

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OK thank you, Wiseman2. I suppose I was confused because she wanted to be more than friends first, and if she really is close to getting a restraining order, I imagine she would not still be replying with news about how she had dinner with her family last night, or saying anything really, or just blocking me.

But I get your point. I have enough problems regardless of whether or how she is responding.

Thanks again.

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I am sorry for all you going through. it sounds rough.  I think you are dealing with so many internal issues, you're really not a good partner.

It is confusing when you act one way (like you're in a relationship) but then want to keep your options open.

So you both sound like you want your cake and eat it, too. Her, maybe because she is insecure. Based on you rejected her in the past and the only time you value her is when you see other men giving her attention. 

You probably should take a step back and work on yourself.  because it sounds to me like your feelings for her are not true feelings. they are more like the feelings you need to receive because you're down in yourself. 

Fix your drinking problem, get a plan in place for the financial problem and work on yourself. 

Maybe apologize to her for being a mess and the mixed signals. And ask if it would ok to reach out again once you are in a better place.

 

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I would leave it alone. You were not commited, OK. But man, you started talking to her again while she had somebody and she left that guy for you. Gave her number to a guy while she was out with you. Her colleague started flirting with her and she agreed for them to take her home. If she does that in front of you, God knows what she does when you are not around. Its obvious she gets some kind of kick at least from flirting part, and that would never change. She already told you she has "the right to explore". That means she wants to have fun and would never commit. If you ultimate goal is to find somebody who will, get away from her, you will never get that from somebody who is like that. You also have your fair share of mistakes. But dont really think this relationship would work even if you did better.

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Figure out how much you're spending on alcohol and how much better shape you'd be in as far as your unpaid rent goes if you had that extra money.

Perhaps it will help incentivize you to get the help you sorely need to quit drinking.

 

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She sounds vindictive and needs attention. This is not very attractive, unfortunately. You're feeling low about your financial situation so start focusing on that problem and leave this one in the dust. She's a non-issue if you ask me (go nowhere relationship, disrespectful and not interesting).

Work on the alcohol/drinking issue and get back on track financially and you will feel so much better about yourself and spend less time on women like this. 

Move forwards from now on. You don't need this.

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I think you jumped to conclusions about her old school pal.  I think hubs and I exchange numbers with friends we've lost touch with. And instead of saying, "what should I wear to the party tomorrow?", you accuse her of being a ***.  Then, as a retaliation from your assumption that she sucks as a human being, you purposely flirt with a stranger.

All because you feel you aren't good enough, and finding a way to self sabotage.

I'd give her some time.  And yourself some time.  You have some things you need to work through on yourself.

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I'd like to add that you have friend- zoned her, but expected her to act as if she was yours. She probably wanted more (she should've communicated that) and you didn't do your move- despite both of your actions saying "I want you". Hence, she cried on why you were friends. The man in front of her won't ask her to be his gf, but gets jealous when she's approached. And vice-versa. I agree with @Lambert. Overall, this isn't a healthy dynamic. A break for you guys to figure out why you both want would help. But if she doesn't reach out anymore, let her go and work on being your better self.

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Especially since you are also parents I agree with those who said that given your drinking problem please focus on getting help for that, perhaps that will help your financial issues and in being a present parent - yes even though she is an adult.  I would not be involved with her especially since you two are toxic together especially since you choose to drink so much around her or communicate with her after you choose to get drunk.  Good luck getting your house in order!

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43 minutes ago, tattoobunnie said:

I think you jumped to conclusions about her old school pal.  I think hubs and I exchange numbers with friends we've lost touch with. And instead of saying, "what should I wear to the party tomorrow?", you accuse her of being a ***.  Then, as a retaliation from your assumption that she sucks as a human being, you purposely flirt with a stranger.

All because you feel you aren't good enough, and finding a way to self sabotage.

I'd give her some time.  And yourself some time.  You have some things you need to work through on yourself.

With all due respect, I don't think I jumped to conclusions. Read the non-apology text she sent me, as well as her double standard the she somehow had the right to be upset if I got a girl's number right in front of her, but I have no right to be upset at the same behavior. Of course, that doesn't excuse mistakes I made or make her responsible for my problems, but by the same token, my mistakes or problems don't give her the right to create a double-standard especially after she had previously been so willing to do so many things with me that romantic couples do. I think it would have been far better for her to say, sure go get girls' numbers as well since we are not committed. But that isn't what she said.

I think the other responses to my comment have been far more accurate and helpful than yours. Thanks.

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I think you were right from the get go that you were not ready for a relationship and were never in a good space for that and still aren't. Having a woman chase you might have been flattering in the moment, but ultimately you are still where you were before - not in a place for relationships of any kind.

So her walking away might not feel good and you might miss the attention, but really....it frees you to focus on what you need - yourself and getting your life back on track. Focusing on her is really a form of avoidance in terms of dealing with things you really need to deal with and it's not going to help you any, just drag you down more.

If I was facing imminent eviction due to $15K in rent money I don't have, I'd be working a second and even a third job rather than wasting my time in bars or worrying about dating. I don't care if I'm driving for Uber or working night shift at Taco Bell or both. If that seems beneath you, consider how it will be when your stuff is being tossed into a dumpster by your ex landlord, when you can't rent a decent place because you have an eviction on your record and so on. 

Forget dating, bars, and drinking. This is where your survival instincts need to start kicking in and you need to take care of you.

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Thanks, DancingFool you are 100 percent correct, and it did feel good to escape for a while with her in the hopes that everything would work out. Wishful thinking for sure. Scary because I am not sure what happened to my survival instinct after having made so many mistakes and feeling so worthless. It's like when I am so down in a chess game that I just resign.

But I will try. Thanks again.

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Sadly, she seems to be all over the place & enjoying the attention of men 😕 .

She's going too fast from the end of one onto another...

As for the 'friend' she met up with at the bar, should have been fine & acceptable, as nothing was mentioned that she had that kind of interest in him.. was a party invite.

 

You two are just NOT as compatible as you'd hoped.

She is giving you a string of excuses.  And was maybe best you did not get involved with her again.. Has caused you much turmoil . 😕 

So, I feel is best you respectfully back away totally and no more contact.  you give yourself a lot of time to work on accepting what is.

She was never good for you.  she's is just as unsettled.

1 hour ago, AntiNinja said:

the non-apology text she sent me, as well as her double standard the she somehow had the right to be upset if I got a girl's number right in front of her, but I have no right to be upset at the same behavior. Of course, that doesn't excuse mistakes I made or make her responsible for my problems, but by the same token, my mistakes or problems don't give her the right to create a double-standard especially after she had previously been so willing to do so many things with me that romantic couples do.

To me, is sounds like you were just someone to hang with... a good fwb situation.  Sex is the easy part... an actual relationship takes energy, expectations.

Either way, you two clash.  She is not for you.. and so often, second attempts will fail again, sorry 😕 .

Too much water under the bridge now... so, you need to take some down time... is fine to 'vent' with words.. Journal to 'release', but do not send her anything more.

You have said enough.

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14 minutes ago, AntiNinja said:

Thanks, DancingFool you are 100 percent correct, and it did feel good to escape for a while with her in the hopes that everything would work out. Wishful thinking for sure. Scary because I am not sure what happened to my survival instinct after having made so many mistakes and feeling so worthless. It's like when I am so down in a chess game that I just resign.

But I will try. Thanks again.

When you look at everything all at once, sure it will be paralyzing. So don't.

Instead focus on one small thing you can do today, right now, to start heading in the right direction. Sign up for Uber and go through those steps. Once you are on, go do that first ride, first customer. Then just keep going. Start looking for jobs and again, adjust your resume and apply and keep applying and adjust things if you are not getting results. 

Focus on that one task in front of you and each day, you'll get closer to pulling yourself out of the problems.

Not saying it's easy, but it's doable if you just take it one task at a time and get it done. 

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4 hours ago, AntiNinja said:

specifically, "we are not committed," yes but we have done all those couple things I mentioned above

You misunderstood what she was really trying to get at here. This was her passive-aggressive attempt to remind you that you set the goalposts by not wanting to make her your girlfriend, so it was by your own doing (in her mind) that she was free to meet other men. I read this comment a lot more like, "Welp, you don't want me, so what did you expect?!"

It was an immature way for her to handle things, of course. But it sounds to me like she was hoping you would sieze that opporunity to "claim" her.

Having said all of that, it is also clear that you were indeed not ready for a relationship. As such, you were right not to go there. Her mistake was hanging on when you couldn't offer her more. Focus on getting yourself to a better place before you attempt dating again. 

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29 minutes ago, AntiNinja said:

Thanks, DancingFool you are 100 percent correct, and it did feel good to escape for a while with her in the hopes that everything would work out. Wishful thinking for sure. Scary because I am not sure what happened to my survival instinct after having made so many mistakes and feeling so worthless. It's like when I am so down in a chess game that I just resign.

But I will try. Thanks again.

Nope, never give up. Even if you feel like it, just don't. As mentioned, return and redirect all that energy back to your own self and what you need to do to right your situation, whatever that might be. When you start to feel good about yourself, you won't let anyone or anything get in the way of that again. 

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I think it's good that you decided to not jump into a relationship with this woman. From what I can tell she doesn't have integrity and if you were to continue with her it would just cause more headaches and waste your time.

Yes, it sucks when you like someone and she has no integrity, I have been there myself.

Actually, I remember many many years ago I randomly met this Czech girl at a bar in Prague through friends. We'd meet up and she was all over me pretty much, but one time we were out and similar situation to you, some guy approached our group of friends and tried to be this good "friend" with a common interest / background and asked for her number. She gave it to him right in front of me...

Right after she tried putting her hand on my leg under the table and I just ignored. She wasn't worth my time anymore...5 minutes later she ended up getting up and crying and running out...AND...that guy ended up becoming her boyfriend...weird.

Anyways, at least you are able to attract women and for sure you will find another that will treat you better no problem.

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37 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

You misunderstood what she was really trying to get at here. This was her passive-aggressive attempt to remind you that you set the goalposts by not wanting to make her your girlfriend, so it was by your own doing (in her mind) that she was free to meet other men. I read this comment a lot more like, "Welp, you don't want me, so what did you expect?!"

It was an immature way for her to handle things, of course. But it sounds to me like she was hoping you would sieze that opporunity to "claim" her.

Having said all of that, it is also clear that you were indeed not ready for a relationship. As such, you were right not to go there. Her mistake was hanging on when you couldn't offer her more. Focus on getting yourself to a better place before you attempt dating again. 

I agree.

I was in a "relationship" with someone who would say I was his "bestest friend" if he met a woman he was interested in sleeping with but if any men came around us he was all over me. He wanted me to be exclusively his but didn't want to be exclusively mine.

Now, I didn't read that you were doing any of that passive aggressive, self serving ownership behavior but you did react to her actions by getting drunk and flirting with another woman in front of her.

So, neither of you behaved in a stellar way.

I would let this one go and focus on what's important, as others have said. Instead of spending money on alcohol and drinks in bars and restaurants (expensive), focus on saving as much as possible to pay your back rent and look into additional means of income.

Good luck.

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It feels like focusing on this woman and your relationship with her is a distraction from the real problem of this massive debt, an uncertain living and employment situation and your drinking problem. Instead of tackling the hard, heavy stuff, it’s so much easier to distract ourselves with other people and their problems. I know I’ve done that and while it may work for a while, we always have to pay the piper at some point, usually in the form of poor health, poor finances and poor self-esteem. Taking responsibility for ourselves and taking steps to improve our situation is hard but infinitely more rewarding than trying to decode some else’s dysfunctional behaviour and being willfully blind to our own. 

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I'm sorry that you're going through this. It sounds like it's been pretty tough.

It's sort of bad luck that you fell for someone like her. As Kwothe pointed out, she's got a pattern. You didn't see it coming, probably because you are the one who initially rejected her. On some level, you probably assumed you had the upper hand. And boy, was she glad to show you your error!

She's pretty vindictive.... and what's with that double standard of hers?

I don't know, I think this parting of ways is probably for the best. I know it's painful right now, and I'm sure it doesn't help that you're overwhelmed with everything else that's gone sideways in your life. But put one foot in front of the other and go forward. Things will get better.

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17 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

You misunderstood what she was really trying to get at here. This was her passive-aggressive attempt to remind you that you set the goalposts by not wanting to make her your girlfriend, so it was by your own doing (in her mind) that she was free to meet other men. I read this comment a lot more like, "Welp, you don't want me, so what did you expect?!"

It was an immature way for her to handle things, of course. But it sounds to me like she was hoping you would sieze that opporunity to "claim" her.

Having said all of that, it is also clear that you were indeed not ready for a relationship. As such, you were right not to go there. Her mistake was hanging on when you couldn't offer her more. Focus on getting yourself to a better place before you attempt dating again. 

I still don't think I misunderstood her, sorry. For two reasons. One, I explained how many couple things she and I had done before this moment. If she really thought I had set the goalposts, it was self-serving of her to initiate the kissing and the sex - which she did almost every time including the first time. And she regularly sent me couple-like texts like GIFs saying I'm thinking of you and calling me pet names. I clearly reciprocated those GIFs and texts, so basically the "Welp" logic means she was sort of holding a grudge in the back of her mind waiting to spring it on me despite her ostensible loving and couple behavior. In other words, I was clearly moving the goalposts but apparently not as fast as she wanted. 

And two, the "Welp" reasoning does not explain why SHE said SHE would be upset if I did the same and exchanged numbers with a woman in front of her. That is a clear, self-serving double-standard. The only explanation I can think of is that she was constantly working from a punitive standpoint. No matter how close I was growing to her and showing her my feelings and time were going to her - I repeatedly told her I was unsure about a relationship but I had deleted my other dating apps and was no longer dating anyone else. But she still somehow thought she had the right to be jealous of my behavior and I had no right to be jealous of her for the same behavior. That is, her idea of "goalposts" seemed to be I have to go 100 yards to score a touchdown, but she has to go only 50 yards. Double-standard.

Yes, the drinking and the money probably were going to drive her away eventually. But in that moment at the bar I don't see any way to see her behavior as anything other than rude and self-serving. 

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17 hours ago, boltnrun said:

I agree.

I was in a "relationship" with someone who would say I was his "bestest friend" if he met a woman he was interested in sleeping with but if any men came around us he was all over me. He wanted me to be exclusively his but didn't want to be exclusively mine.

Now, I didn't read that you were doing any of that passive aggressive, self serving ownership behavior but you did react to her actions by getting drunk and flirting with another woman in front of her.

So, neither of you behaved in a stellar way.

I would let this one go and focus on what's important, as others have said. Instead of spending money on alcohol and drinks in bars and restaurants (expensive), focus on saving as much as possible to pay your back rent and look into additional means of income.

Good luck.

"but you did react to her actions by getting drunk and flirting with another woman in front of her." Sorry, where did I say I did flirted with another woman in front of her? All I did was literally talk with this woman at the professional meetup party. I did not flirt with her or ask for her number or accept any number from her. 

I do admit that I should have just said nothing about what she did instead of acting whiny and jealous. That is true.

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17 hours ago, Unsure2021 said:

It feels like focusing on this woman and your relationship with her is a distraction from the real problem of this massive debt, an uncertain living and employment situation and your drinking problem. Instead of tackling the hard, heavy stuff, it’s so much easier to distract ourselves with other people and their problems. I know I’ve done that and while it may work for a while, we always have to pay the piper at some point, usually in the form of poor health, poor finances and poor self-esteem. Taking responsibility for ourselves and taking steps to improve our situation is hard but infinitely more rewarding than trying to decode some else’s dysfunctional behaviour and being willfully blind to our own. 

Yes, this is true. I have had to come to terms with this after seeing everyone's replies here. Thanks.

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