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Unstable thoughts about a new lady friend


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Hi there,
 

Six months ago, I parted from my girlfriend of two years who I believe was mentally unstable. There was verbal abuse from her which was very difficult.

It’s been a rough road for the last six months, But I have been trying hard to move on and heal… And I have now began dating someone new. I am in my early 60s, and I was pretty much resigned to the notion that I might be single for the long-haul.

Here’s my trouble.  I am having very negative almost delusional thoughts about this new lady.  She’s really good to me. Very sweet. Clearly wants me for the future. It kind of scares the crap out of me.

I go from white to black thinking. There are times that I look at her and think she is the sweetest most decent girl on the planet, but then I’ll see her next time, and my brain has all of these negative thoughts… Like: she’s not right for me. She’s not this. She’s not that. I almost begin to see her as unattractive and not good enough for me. I feel really shallow.

I suspect a lot of this may be the result of a sort of post traumatic response from my last girlfriend, and other trauma in my life, but I can’t really tell.

I feel a lot of shame, because I’m judging this girl so harshly… We all have our deficiencies, and she has her’s, and I seem to put those flaws under a microscope and magnify them to the largest degree.  I feel so cheap and judgmental, but I can’t help it.

there is a lot of depth as to where the thoughts likely come from, and I may get into them another time… So I’m not really sure what my point is for this post, except for maybe to get some other perspectives from people that may have experienced similar kind of black-and-white thinking?

it goes back-and-forth so profoundly, it’s almost like I can’t tell what is real and what is imagined… I can see myself being with her and loving her at one moment, to having her over later in the day and feeling such a disconnect and lack of attraction that I feel like I need to break up with her.  I just can’t get my thoughts straight.

Any words of wisdom?

thank you so much for any of your thoughts.

 

 

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What's real is that you're not that into her and trying to convince yourself you are.  She's a "girl?" Is she a teenager? I don't think you're being judgmental -you want to be with someone who you feel reasonably sure about and who you're reasonably excited to be with - where any doubts are fleeting/easily resolved, or momentary jitters, etc.  You're trying to force a spark, force feelings, etc. and it's resulting in a level of anxiety.  I unfortunately went back and  forth for years in this situation where I wasn't sure, then I was, rinse, repeat.  I actually did love him but I wasn't in love/sparked enough for him to be my forever person.  I wish I'd ended things and stayed away much sooner.  It wasn't fair to him either even though it wasn't my intention to hurt him.  

I'd end things. 

Why is being single for the long haul something to be "resigned" to -what's wrong with being on your own? Is that why you latched onto to this "girl" this Ms. Right on Paper?

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I don't think there's anything delusional or unstable about your thoughts. You're overcomplicating things. 

It reads as though you are just not that into her, but you feel guilty because you know she really likes you and she is a good woman - but she isn't the one for you. It's not the sign of a serious problem in your thought patterns. 

It's just you not really listening to your gut that she is not the right person for you. 

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Thank you guys for your thoughts.

I wish it felt as simple as it just me being not that into her. In many ways, she represents almost all of the things that I value…

I think I have a hugely avoidant personality in relationships… I have felt this kind of black-and-white thinking with almost every girl I’ve ever dated. 

It’s not as extreme as, say, someone with a borderline or narcissistic personality disorder, since I don’t get nasty… I just start seeing the other person as being flawed, even inferior, and it takes my attraction right out of the equation.

Other times, my heart is feeling open, and I can feel extreme attraction and love, almost profoundly. It’s almost like I go from one pole to the other.

is it true that I could someday meet someone that checks all the boxes… I suppose, but it hasn’t happened in my almost 61 years on the planet, and I don’t really feel a lot of hope that it will.

This lady is a sweetheart, and she doesn’t deserve to be hurt, and I feel like my constant splitting black/white on her is going to be a hard ride for her. Just don’t know where to go with it.

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10 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

Where you go from here is to a psychiatrist for an evaluation and diagnosis and then on to therapy as appropriate. What you don't do is keep dating this or any woman while you sort yourself out. You are old enough to know this.

Yeah, I have been under the care of mental health professionals, and they think this is a very positive step for me.

Go figure.

Truth be told, I don’t know if I will ever sort all of this out with any woman.  I have to wonder if this is just what I have as my lot in life with women. So far, that’s been the case.

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24 minutes ago, Whirling D said:

I wish it felt as simple as it just me being not that into her. In many ways, she represents almost all of the things that I value…

I think I have a hugely avoidant personality in relationships… I have felt this kind of black-and-white thinking with almost every girl I’ve ever dated. 

Right so you have to become the right person to find the right person.  It doesn't matter if she is Ms. Right on Paper or Ms. Right For Now - she is not your person at this time and it is that simple.  You're getting in your own way and my sense is you're probably attracted to unavailable women because then it's safer - you don't have to be vulnerable or open because you can just worship/put on a pedestal from a distance. 

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26 minutes ago, Whirling D said:

Other times, my heart is feeling open, and I can feel extreme attraction and love, almost profoundly. It’s almost like I go from one pole to the other.

But a healthful relationship is not about extremes - certainly feelings can intensify at times -but -this is crucial to me -at bottom there has to be a strong foundation of security -of feeling like you are at home with this person and feeling like even if your feelings wane or strengthen it will not at all rock you -the foundation -to the core -it won't make you question everything or want to break up. 

I get irritated with my husband (thank you pandemic/too much togetherness), I get frustrated when I feel he is being stubborn, I've noticed his covid weight gain, noticed the unending clutter from teleworking, and cannot stand when he is too soft on our son (IMO). 

I can feel all those feelings, I can feel less or more attracted to him depending on how the wind blows really - but it's like blips on the radar because in my heart I love him, in a fierce, committed way, in my heart and head he is my person, he is my match, and I know for sure that these annoyances/irritations, waning of attraction at times -even when I'm really upset with him - even when I see the excess weight - these are just a part of married life, of being with one person, of the outside stresses - they do not shake me to the core. 

I never regret marrying him or being with him (the opposite -I count my blessings that I did/thank my lucky stars)- and I really can't imagine anything that could other than you know, cheating/abuse like that.  I don't worry that I'll wake up tomorrow and feel panicky that I don't love him or love him enough, or panicky that he might not be the one even though the day before I was so into him. 

For me, this is essential - technically it's not true. Meaning there are no guarantees -I "could" wake up tomorrow and not want him anymore, or he, me - obviously -but I feel secure that that is highly unlikely to happen just like it's highly unlikely the sky will fall in. 

And that's a reason I married him -because prior to him I didn't feel this sense of security.  And -even with him I didn't since we'd been engaged in the distant past.  Yup. Even with him.  I tortured myself back then as you are doing -how could this be since he was so "perfect" etc. 

Thank goodness I ended things and it's just amazing we came back together years later -never would have happened if I did what you are doing -trying to convince yourself to be the right person to be in love with this person.

Good luck. (I'm 55 by the way). 

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29 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

 You're getting in your own way and my sense is you're probably attracted to unavailable women because then it's safer - you don't have to be vulnerable or open because you can just worship/put on a pedestal from a distance. 
 

Interesting thoughts, thank you.

I do find myself attracted to women from afar, but have never had the confidence to approach them, let alone ask anyone out.  The times that I did, I pretty much got laughed at. Hence, my lack of belief that I will be partnered with this “high on a pedestal“ kind of girl.

I also believe that I often romanticize these kinds of women, and for not the right reasons. Not because they are necessarily a good fit for me, but because they check all the boxes, and they are bit like trophies… I know, I can’t help that feeling of being shallow.

I think this girl is likely good for me for a lot of the right reasons. She does feel safe, and easy. And she adores me for her own reasons.  She’s not a trophy, though, and I think that’s what I have to get past.  I’m getting too young to want or need someone that validates me because of how they appear to others. I’m being quite vulnerable with you here, because I’m not proud that there’s a deep dark part of me that feels a need to convince others that I know that I can snag a real catch. That feeling kind of sucks.  
 

if anything, I think this lady terrifies me because I know that she represents somebody “real“ with real world shortcomings, and that perhaps I have to confront my own insecurities in order to value her for the decent loving woman that she is. That’s a tall order for someone that has the kind of wounds that I obviously have. 

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I wish to truly think the folks who have responded on here, thus far.

I know I probably deserve a verbal thrashing on here for obviously being quite shallow and judgmental about who I would like to date, but you have to understand… Trauma history can wreak havoc on how we perceive things, and how we perceive others. It’s a work in progress, for me, for sure.

 

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3 hours ago, Whirling D said:

It’s not as extreme as, say, someone with a borderline or narcissistic personality disorder, since I don’t get nasty… I just start seeing the other person as being flawed, even inferior, and it takes my attraction right out of the equation.

Other times, my heart is feeling open, and I can feel extreme attraction and love, almost profoundly. It’s almost like I go from one pole to the other.

Yeah, this isn't so good 😕 .  Really puts unnecessary stress on the one's involved.

 

3 hours ago, Whirling D said:

This lady is a sweetheart, and she doesn’t deserve to be hurt, and I feel like my constant splitting black/white on her is going to be a hard ride for her. Just don’t know where to go with it.

I agree.  So, causing unnecessary stress on her is no good.

 

2 hours ago, Whirling D said:

I think this lady terrifies me because I know that she represents somebody “real“ with real world shortcomings, and that perhaps I have to confront my own insecurities in order to value her for the decent loving woman that she is. That’s a tall order for someone that has the kind of wounds that I obviously have. 

Right, so you need to focus on this - that you have some deep wounds to deal with. - No reason to try & prove yourself to anyone re: who you date.

 

Also, you've only been out of a relationship a few months.  Why feel the need to run into something new so soon?

I don't feel you are quite as comfortable with yourself or dating, as you should be. Then how about you bow out of this for now.  No reason to feel you have to be involved, to be happy.. As it seems, that's not working for you.

Keep up with your therapy on working your stuff out.

 

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I don't think it's shallow or judgmental at all to want to date someone you're consistently attracted to and have good chemistry with.

I think it is shallow when a person insists a partner look a certain way because he or she wants arm candy or a trophy, or makes assumptions that all people with blonde hair must be dumb, etc.  That's very different from what you're referring to.

Edited by Batya33
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Well, becoming “ready” to date or be in a relationship seems to be a little daunting, and evasive. How does one actually do that and accomplish being ready?

No therapist or friend has really had the magical formula of what to do to become ready.

Not sure I was any more ready to move forward than before the relationship I had that started two years ago, and look where that went. There were red flags, but nothing to give me an idea of what was to come over the next two years.

So… I guess I have a choice. Try to proceed cautiously and learn on the fly, or spend my later years by myself, which doesn’t seem too appealing. I don’t have the answer to that one.

 

In some ways,

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1 hour ago, Whirling D said:

Well, becoming “ready” to date or be in a relationship seems to be a little daunting, and evasive. How does one actually do that and accomplish being ready?

No therapist or friend has really had the magical formula of what to do to become ready.

Not sure I was any more ready to move forward than before the relationship I had that started two years ago, and look where that went. There were red flags, but nothing to give me an idea of what was to come over the next two years.

So… I guess I have a choice. Try to proceed cautiously and learn on the fly, or spend my later years by myself, which doesn’t seem too appealing. I don’t have the answer to that one.

 

In some ways,

To me you're ready when you're happy and fulfilled in your own life and hope to meet someone who can complement, not make, your life.  You're ready when you know you won't settle for less than someone who has compatible values and goals and standards, or settle for someone you are not attracted to. 

You're ready when you admit that no you don't want to be on your own forever but you're also not desperate in the least.  Be honest that being single is not your ultimate happiness goal and yet you enjoy your own company, enjoy your friends, family, activities.  

You're ready when you know your worth and when the thought of the thrill of the chase and the thrill of winning over someone who is emotionally unavailable or committed elsehwere.... is not a thought that excites you.  Feeling at home with someone you love, feel passion for -friendship caught on fire - who loves you back -that's exciting to you.  

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On 2/7/2022 at 8:02 PM, Whirling D said:

I wish to truly think the folks who have responded on here, thus far.

I know I probably deserve a verbal thrashing on here for obviously being quite shallow and judgmental about who I would like to date, but you have to understand… Trauma history can wreak havoc on how we perceive things, and how we perceive others. It’s a work in progress, for me, for sure.

 

You are being too harsh on yourself.  I don't think you are being shallow or judgemental.  As has already been said, you are overthinking things.  Quite simply, she just isn't the one.  

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Anyone can tick off all our boxes and still not feel right. It goes deeper than good looks, nice personality, they treat us well. It should also include how comfortable and confident you feel when you are with them, and when in your thoughts when you are apart. That's why the forums are full of complains. It's because they don't feel comfortable, something feels off, and they are worried/anxious. Some have legit reasons, some don't to feel this way but the only real advice that stands out is to end the relationship because they are not the right one for them. 

Edited by smackie9
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On 2/7/2022 at 10:30 AM, Whirling D said:

feeling such a disconnect and lack of attraction that I feel like I need to break up with her.  I just can’t get my thoughts straight.

Are you physically attracted to her?  I sense that you feeling shallow is about her outer appearance.

If so, I can share a story.    I once dated a woman for 3 or 4 weeks that checked off every single box, we laughed all throughout our entire dates and had such a fun time.  We had the exact same sense of humour which was a rare find for me.  She was smart, witty, caring, optimistic, pleasant and full of life and fun.
The only problem was her hygiene was bad (B.O. on every date) she was unattractive, and her home was really unkept.  Smelled really bad of cat urine.
I felt like a shallow piece of s___ thinking that way, but I learned decades ago, there has to be at least some sexual chemistry beyond good friends.  
It was a hard decision, but ultimately I broke it off and wanted to keep looking.

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Sounds to me like you are dealing with a classic case of perfect on paper, but that essential chemistry/click is completely missing. Since she "should be" good for you, you are trying hard to force it to work, but unfortunately, we don't control genuine attraction. So, it's not working out and you are feeling confused/over thinking things.

Sad fact is that you need to end things with her and keep on looking for a better match. Someone who has her good qualities, but also, more - that essential chemistry.

Don't use her just because she is really nice while deep down trying not to choke on the actual repulsion you are feeling. It doesn't make you a bad person, just someone who is not compatible where it  really matters. Better to admit it and move on so you can both meet better matches.

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You're ready when you can sit by yourself and lack nothing.  You are whole, complete, happy (as others above have indicated).  If you present yourself as open or vulnerable to a lovely lass and she rejects you, you are still fine!  You are still you!  That rejection is about her and her needs, not YOU.  You cannot be everyone's cup of tea.  But... being the best tea you can be for YOU often attracts people who like your brand of tea and nothing else will do!  Isn't that a great feeling... yah let's create that.

As for mental health, please don't overlook the massive toolbox available to us in modern day.  No shame in therapy, exploration, inner child regression therapy, etc.  I've been doing some of this stuff myself lately and cannot believe the power to transform my life.

❤️

 

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On 2/7/2022 at 6:48 PM, Whirling D said:

So… I guess I have a choice. Try to proceed cautiously and learn on the fly, or spend my later years by myself, which doesn’t seem too appealing.

Perfect example of the black/white all-or-nothing thinking you've identified.

Why 'must' not dating THIS woman equate to a whole future of being alone?

That makes no sense.

Most people are not our match. That's natural odds. So this idea of settling for anyone who comes along as though it's 'her or nobody' speaks of your own insecurities rather than any reflection on her.

Most people are lovely. There are at least some redeeming if not fabulous qualities to everyone, and I could probably enjoy hanging out with just about anyone. So why do I synch better with one friend over another? Why would I not want to keep dating someone who is fun to be around but who envisions a romantic future with me--yet I can't envision anything beyond the next date with him?

We all want and deserve 'simpatico'. That's the intangible quality that makes a good lover, a good friend, a potentially good life partner--all else aligning, such as goals and values. This is the RARE person who can see you through the right lens and who 'gets you,' and the feeling is mutual.

Hold out for that. You are 60, not 90.

Head high, and stop acting like you are in a nursing home holding onto a therapy aid. You will thank yourself later.

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