Friday, September 21, 2012

Dating and Healthy Relationships


So, it has been a week and the online dating things is not going very well.  I wrote a good profile.  I lied about my weight (just kidding) and posted a picture that I have been told is "adorable".  I even paid for a membership at Match.com.  I can see that people are reading my profile, or at least clicking on it. but so far the only one who has written is a 65 year old man who was wishing me luck in finding someone special.  

I have written to a crapload of people.  I even took the time to write individual messages tailored to include elements from their profile so it seemed more personal.  So far, only one person wrote me back and I can already tell that it going no where.

And this is only the first week.

(T, on the other hand, put up a profile on another site and his mailbox is packed with men who want to hang out with him...)

------------------------------------------------

On another note, I have been thinking a lot about, my feelings for T and our situation.  I had a long talk with K about it.  She thinks it's a good thing that T and I have broken up.  Not that she dislikes T, but she knows I was getting frustrated, there was no improvement in sight and she wants to see me happy.  

During the course of the conversation we got to the fact that I really have no friends.  I have her and the kids and I have T.  That's pretty much it.  I have never had a lot of friends, but I have never has his few.  I am taking steps to fix that, but that's another blog post.

As a partner, T is PERFECT for me.  He really is on so many levels, except for one thing.  It's a big thing, but other than that, he's perfect.  I have no doubt that I would be happy with him forever.  

So accepting that premise and accepting that we were (and still are) deeply in love with each other, I asked the question, "If I had a more healthy circle of friends, would I have been better able to deal with the situation between T and I?"

I mean if all I have is K, the kids, and T, that is not healthy.  Normal people have lots of friends.  People they can call and chit chat about stuff.  Grab a beer of shoot pool.  Someone to call when you need to bring your car to the shop or move a couch.  I don't have that.  So what did my life look like?  

Work (mostly alone).
Hang out with the kids and K.  
Go visit with T.  
Sleep alone.

That's it.  Is it any wonder that I was lonely all the time.  Is there any wonder why the thought of him not being able to live with me for years if ever, was so upsetting.  I have no other relationships.

I tend to be introverted, but with friends I am extroverted (seems weird, but that's how I am).  I need to have people in my life.  I need to have interaction with people.  I thrive on it.  If 
I don't have it and it is stressful.

So then I come back to T.  If I had more friends, could I tolerate his situation better?  Could I better wait the time it would take for his family to come around and accept me?  And when I felt the most stress, did I change something in my life that was good, because I did not see that another part of my life was more badly broken than I thought.  Did I break up with T because I don't have many friends?

I really do love T with all my heart.  It has been 2 weeks and I am just as much in love with him as I was before.  I don't know if going back to that relationship is smart.  I don't know if he would take me back anyway.  We have broken up several times.  I am sure he would feel jerked around.  I would.

I hope I did not let go of a man who truly loves me for the wrong reason.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Friend,
I feel your pain. I have often felt that many men don't have many friends that they can count on to help out with chores, watch tv together, just chat and keep in touch. When you've been a shy loner all your life wrapped up in your children's activities, there often isn't much time left to cultivate friends. I'm working on that problem, too.
So, I wish you luck as you try to network to other people besides T. To answer your question, YES, you might have been able to cope with the time away from T better if you had had a few friends to fill in the lonely days and empty spaces.
Keep making friends wherever you can.
Brother Bear

TwoLives said...

You didn't really say this, so I know I'm putting words in your mouth, but if you're thinking of getting back with T AND THEN working on finding new friends, I wouldn't advise it. When I say that, I'm projecting my own habits on to you.

At heart, I'm a monogamist. I want and need one important relationship around which the rest of my world revolves. Friends are great but a partner is so much more. I think you're a monogamist too. The reason you don't have other friends is because you haven't really had the need or desire to make them. You've been happy with T, K, and your family. This means that if you get back with T, you'll face the same irresistible desire to be with him as much as possible. Even though you know you SHOULD have more friends you'll have a very hard time being motivated to find them because most of your thoughts will be focused on T and your family. So really, to find more friends, you need to be highly motivated and that means NOT being in a relationship. That's not a position I would want to be in so I can understand why you would want to avoid it. And if I'm being honest, I'd be in the same position.

If you want to forget dating and start focusing on friendships, that might be a good move. But I think for you and me, friendships and relationships don't mix that well. Relationships are just too much of a focus for us.

Victor said...

I understand so much of this post completely. I do not have "friends" like you explained either. I never have. I have been fortunate at some points to be able to borrow the friends of my sisters, or my high school girlfriend. But they were never my friends, and I could never just call anyone up to go shoot pool. So, I really do understand these insights you're having.

The distinction between friendships and your relationship is a big one. Look at me for example. I have the perfect relationship. I have just gotten married. I love Chris with all my hear, and our relationship is more than I ever dreamed possible.

And as much as that part of my life is completely perfect, the fact remains that outside of him and my family, I can count on one hand all of my friends in the world including the ones I've made online. And that's kinda sad. That's still a part of my life that is hard for me, and makes me lonely. It's why I'm online trying so hard to connect to people; I don't have the luxury of walking into a cafe or bar and just striking up a conversation. So I'm even more limited than you are in this respect, trying to make friends.

The person that said many men are in that situation, not having friends they can count on or hang out with, is right. You're not alone in this at all.

My point here is that this goes both ways. If you had some great friendships, yeah it would probably be easier to handle a relationship that falls way-short. But that won't ever make the relationship a good one.

And, if you had a great relationship like I do, you'd deal with the lack of friendships a little better. But again - being better equipped to deal with a loneliness from lack of friends doesn't make that loneliness go away. It's still there, it's still a problem, and it still sucks.

The commenter above that says it may be a great idea if you focus on building friendships right now instead of looking for a relationship, is right. Actually, that's how I found Chris. I had a profile out there saying I was just looking for friends.

I think you're doing a lot of very hard work right now. It's courageous to do the things you've done, and I applaud you. Best to you always.

RB said...

Again, if two people are really in love, it's unbelievable to me that this problem cannot be solved. It seems that T would be willing to compromise and make some changes that would work for both of you. Have you even discussed possible solutions?

Regarding the friends thing, I was reading recently that MANY middle aged men have this problem. No real friends. Not sure why. Second, most people tend to over estimate the number of friends that everyone else has.

Sunne said...

Dear Jim,
you say T is the perfect partner for you. Well, exception is his refusal to move in together, live a life as a couple. So – no, he is not the perfect partner for you (sorry, T, no criticism here) because you actually crave exactly this.

This is nothing that can be fixed with you having more friends and therefore feeling not so alone when he is with his family. It would only help you to feel better during the time he’s not with you. And as far as I understood it – his situation with his family is not something that he will solve in the next few years. So..you would always be the not really acknowledged half secret at the side.
I’ve said it before – give yourself some time, don’t start dating now. You are not in the right mindset for it. Start building a life for yourself that you would feel comfortable with even if you’d stay alone. Start loving yourself. Find a hobby, go to a gym, make friends playing ball in a group, get a dog and go for walks (maybe help in a shelter), volunteer at the closest LGBT center, I don’t know what would interest you but whatever it is (besides dating) – you can do it. Find out about yourself what you like. You have lived a long time as part of a couple and you want to still do it but at the moment you aren’t. Get to know yourself as single person, find out what could make you at least content as a single person. Then you can go back to dating…..and you’ll be more confident about yourself and you’ll have lightened the pressure on yourself.
And I’m still saying it – I agree with K, staying in contact with T is not good for you. You are still secretly wishing, hoping, wondering if there isn’t a way. This post has proven it.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Dating takes time and finding a partner should not be an instant thing. I agree with previous comments that you should make the break with T, give yourself some time to sort your thoughts, find yourself, make some new friends, find the confidence to be who you are, stop panicking about not being hit on Match.com. I once went two years without a single message on Match.com.

Don't sell yourself short. If you have a weight problem then take this time to focus on that. It's not just about your appearance. It's also about your health.

Get to know yourself as a single person. Find the inner confidence that will make you a better partner and content with yourself.

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments assume that T should make changes. But since you have given the kids to K, why not move to his city and both of you make big changes?

Or could you get custody and take the kids with you? These just add some extra options to the discussion.