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Second date?


Alex39
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Please own your own part in your adult relationship with your mother.  My mother is my North Star for many things.  Not for all.  But many.  My mom is incredibly wise, insightful, compassionate, caring and kept my dad alive for most of their 62 year marriage.  But she also prioritized my father over us, which meant she had to ignore our feelings if it meant saving his.  She wasn't perfect for sure.  I lived at home for college and grad school, didn't move out till I was 28! 

My mother barely dated as she was 16 when she met my father but she had really good dating advice.  Like "don't date a man who cancels a date because it's raining" and after an awful first date, "he said his mother did nothing at all when she was raising him? well, at least you know it can't get much worse than him" and she was very frank about telling me that a recovering drug/alcohol addict I introduced her to on our 4th date (because we all went to a movie where my name was in the credits), was very nice, very pleasant, eager to please them but.....seemed kind of with a lack of affect, deadened, and not the right match for me and not because of his prior drug use.  She was right on.  

But she also tried to convince me that my sister was better at committing -my sister married in her 20s, I was in my early 40s and my sister is 5 years older, so I married 23 years after she did. Turned out my sister who married a tall handsome guy less than a year after meeting him -she "just knew" she was "in love" she was ready for marriage, ready for the work of marriage - well she lied to herself.  Her glow her beaming was more about just getting to be a mom (which she would not do without marriage).

She knew pretty early on this was not a healthy relationship but she had 4 kids.  I was compared to her a lot as I was the runaway bride for years (but my mother says she did not do so -I remember quite differently).  I was ignored if my sister needed something especially if it involved her kids. So I know from this, I know it hurts to be "still single" and judged for somehow not finding the right person like your sibling did.  By your own mother, who then denies it.  So when I married my sister was divorced.  My parents were thrilled for us but by that time my mother was quite hands off. She loves my husband and always has but she saw that I was making my own adult decisions about him, and our future relationship and family plans.  

Here's the takeaway- good for you for the therapy.  Focus as much as possible on the fact that you are an adult.  Your mother did her best is what it sounds like - I bet she didn't even realize how judgy she was.  And if she didn't do her best -still a fact that you are an adult.  I make mistakes as a mom, just this morning my son didn't want to tell me something "because you'll be mad" -he told me, I reacted calmly and he said "that's good". 

A half hour later I was critical of him because he came up behind me suddenly in the kitchen to get something and I told him to be a lot more careful about that kind of thing as it could be scary or even dangerous to the person.  So I was critical of him, and he was upset. Was I too critical? Maybe -I reacted impulsively. I'm human.  So is your mother so please own your part plus if you can forgive even part of her mistakes that would be a good choice for your growth IMHO.

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11 hours ago, Alex39 said:

I've gone through a lot of therapy, working heavily on my relationship with my mother. Now, my mother is a kind, loving, dedicated mother. 

But I didn't realize how much influence she still had over my life, at 30, until a year ago, when I started talking to my therapist. 

I realized that I was putting so much emphasis on what she thought. I wasn't ever thinking for myself. I'd ask her about every aspect of my life, and when I couldn't, I'd think of what she'd want me to do. 

I had no mind of my own. I had no opinion. I was a shell of a person. 

I've made tremendous strides in doing what I want, and having my own voice. I'm still working on this every day, but being myself and having my own thoughts is freeing. I want to forge my own life. Grow my own family. I live in my own house already which is huge. 

I found my mother growing up, she was always so critical of what others would think or how others would see you. 

She doesn't even realize how critical she is. 

"Why did you do that?"

"Why did you say that?"

She always was trying to help me to not look stupid, but in turn it made me afraid to be myself. I never wanted to make a mistake. 

To the point, that as a young teen, I became a shell of a girl, so afraid to be myself and showcase my feelings, afraid to look dumb. That I became agreeable and uninteresting.

I've struggled ever since with relationships with men because I would hide my true feelings. They never were able to get too close. I was always uncomfortable sharing my true feelings to anyone. 

College helped a bit, living away from her. I was forced to make decisions.  But as time has gone on I've fallen back into that mindset with her. Again, therapy has helped tremendously.  I want my own life and I love who I am becoming. I am trying harder to be myself outwardly and not caring what she or anyone thinks. 

I think deep down, the whole wedding thing is a part of this old mindset that my mother instilled in me.  Having the wedding and impressing people is more important than the actual love. Because it's all about what others think. 

I sit here, thinking of true love. And how true love isn't about anyone but me and the right man for me. And how true love isn't a wedding, or a dress, or a bouquet. I want true love. And if it so happens maybe a wedding will go on too. 

But what I truly want is the right man for me who can't picture his life without me. And I him. That's what I truly want. Not just a wedding party. If it's true love, we won't care if we get married on a beach alone. 

I've never let any guy get too close, but I don't want that anymore. I want to let someone in, to share my deepest thoughts and feelings, to forge a real connection.  

 

Terrific post, Alex, and great job! You are making great strides.

I grew through the same stages with my well-meaning Mom. She's a beautiful woman, but she had no filter on her own critical thinking, and I wasn't raised to recognize how unhealthy and demoralizing that is.

In the middle of one night at age 26 I sat bolt upright in my bed and said, "My mother really does NOT know everything!" And she certainly didn't know much about me--except for what I'd tell her, and then she'd find the thing to criticize about that.

My Aunt challenged me on this, "So why did you tell her that? You keep seeking her approval, but maybe it's time for you to learn discretion and stop feeding her ammunition."

It was a lot to unpack, and a lot of work to retrain myself, even while still loving Mom and keeping my relationship in tact with her.

I've learned the art of small and gentle reframing with her when she's critical. It's not about disrespectful 'correction,' but rather coaxing her to come along with me on a case-by-case basis as I've softened my own views of myself, the world and the people in it.

And yes, you can see how trapped you've been in viewing 'the wedding' through a critical lens of measurement and performance rather than a private symbol of love being shared with your most valued supporters.

Drop the idea that your loved ones will be done with weddings by the time you'll celebrate. You may not even have the same friends by then, OR, they may be beyond the throes of their own divorce proceedings... (Hah! See? It still comes out of me now and then.)

Point is, each celebration is for its own sake, and just because a majority of friends are having theirs in a cluster, this has zero to do with how happy your loved ones will be for you someday--AND you'll be mature enough to enjoy this time through a perspective you can't yet fathom.

Head high, and trust your growth in your own time.

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15 hours ago, Alex39 said:

I've gone through a lot of therapy, working heavily on my relationship with my mother. Now, my mother is a kind, loving, dedicated mother. 

But I didn't realize how much influence she still had over my life, at 30, until a year ago, when I started talking to my therapist. 

I realized that I was putting so much emphasis on what she thought. I wasn't ever thinking for myself. I'd ask her about every aspect of my life, and when I couldn't, I'd think of what she'd want me to do. 

I had no mind of my own. I had no opinion. I was a shell of a person. 

I've made tremendous strides in doing what I want, and having my own voice. I'm still working on this every day, but being myself and having my own thoughts is freeing. I want to forge my own life. Grow my own family. I live in my own house already which is huge. 

I found my mother growing up, she was always so critical of what others would think or how others would see you. 

She doesn't even realize how critical she is. 

"Why did you do that?"

"Why did you say that?"

She always was trying to help me to not look stupid, but in turn it made me afraid to be myself. I never wanted to make a mistake. 

To the point, that as a young teen, I became a shell of a girl, so afraid to be myself and showcase my feelings, afraid to look dumb. That I became agreeable and uninteresting.

I've struggled ever since with relationships with men because I would hide my true feelings. They never were able to get too close. I was always uncomfortable sharing my true feelings to anyone. 

College helped a bit, living away from her. I was forced to make decisions.  But as time has gone on I've fallen back into that mindset with her. Again, therapy has helped tremendously.  I want my own life and I love who I am becoming. I am trying harder to be myself outwardly and not caring what she or anyone thinks. 

I think deep down, the whole wedding thing is a part of this old mindset that my mother instilled in me.  Having the wedding and impressing people is more important than the actual love. Because it's all about what others think. 

I sit here, thinking of true love. And how true love isn't about anyone but me and the right man for me. And how true love isn't a wedding, or a dress, or a bouquet. I want true love. And if it so happens maybe a wedding will go on too. 

But what I truly want is the right man for me who can't picture his life without me. And I him. That's what I truly want. Not just a wedding party. If it's true love, we won't care if we get married on a beach alone. 

I've never let any guy get too close, but I don't want that anymore. I want to let someone in, to share my deepest thoughts and feelings, to forge a real connection.  

 

Well. Being married and divorced and the whole shebang, it’s both sweet and troublesome. I agree with you it’s better to focus on a good match. ❤️

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