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Originally Posted By: tnmom66
I am pretty shell shocked and have some work I need to do. I do want to continue to date, though...there is something I like about every man I go out with, I just haven't met one yet who really strikes me as being a potential good fit.


You know, I dated for almost 8 years before remarrying, and I met many women during that time. I have to tell you that the fact that some women had kids did not scare me at all, I actually found that that gave us something extra in common. What DID scare me were women who were out there dating but really were not ready for dating yet - the ones who talked about their ex's all the time, or had clear unresolved issues with the ex's, etc. I ran away from those as fast as I could. Personally, I think you should not be dating when you are, as you yourself have said, not ready for a relationship. I think you should get your house in order first, because I doubt you are going to meet quality men in that state, although you probably will meet lots of guys who know how to prey on vulnerable women.

And I agree with kay that by saying you don't want a stepparent for your 3 y.o., you are very likely depriving her of a good male role model in her life.

AGG


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Originally Posted By: kaycstamper


I don't know what you have against stepparents but don't you feel you're prejudging people who might be the best thing that happened to your children? My late husband was a wonderful stepparent to my kids, and they were age 17 and 19 when we married. It's nearly 7 years since he passed and they still miss him and wish he could have been a grandpa to their future children.


I think stepparents are great to have in some situations.

I hate divorce and I hate it when people who have kids don't do what it takes to keep the marriage healthy and well functioning, and then when the one or ones who are not committed to doing what it takes to keep the family together trade one spouse in for another....I think as far as moral absolutes go, that qualifies as something that is always really bad.

I know of a family situation where the woman had 2 teenagers with an absolute DOG of an ex-husband (not to insult dogs...I have 2 myself) and married a great man and they had a child together and he adopted the teenagers (that is how involved and interested the biological father was). The children I am sure are much happier and well-adjusted than they would have been without a positive father figure in their lives.

In my situation, my ex husband divorced me and 5 or so years later married another woman. She divorced him before 3 years were up. My daughter was so upset, she would hardly speak to her ex-stepmother (the ex-stepmother is still "seeing" my ex-husband on occasion and my kids both don't want to be over there if she is going to be there.

I have absolutely no problem with a man or woman remarrying when the children's other parent is dead. I have a stepmother myself, but I would rather have seen my father loving my mother, like he promised to. I think I was in my late 20's when they divorced. My mother has never remarried. SHE was the one who divorced my father, but the situation was so bad, it was either divorce or suicide.

I have my own opinions and my own values I live by and I know everyone has the right to their own opinions and must make their own choices. My views are subject to change and I always listen to other peoples opinions---I know I am not always "right". And my actions don't always follow my ideals. For example, I believe sex belongs within marriage, but since I have a child that was conceived (naturally) and born and is being raised out of wedlock, I obviously haven't always followed my own rules.But I can tell you that I am not the only person who has gone years at a time without sex because the person they married and expected to be a sex partner (among many other things for live) reneged on their promise.

I do not know what will happen to me, but I hope that at some point I do overcome my own intimacy issues and trust issues that have come out of my unpleasant marriage and relationship experiences.

I think I am quite well enough to date, I just would't make a very good wife right now, and I know it.

I think Susan Page's advice was to people who were READY for a relationship. It was from her book, "If I'm So Wonderful, Why and I Still Single?" I LOVE Susan Page. She wrote a lot about people with commitmentphobia and other intimacy issues in that book, too.




Last edited by tnmom66; 01/31/12 12:32 PM.
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Originally Posted By: AGoodGuy

What DID scare me were women who were out there dating but really were not ready for dating yet - the ones who talked about their ex's all the time, or had clear unresolved issues with the ex's, etc. I ran away from those as fast as I could. Personally, I think you should not be dating when you are, as you yourself have said, not ready for a relationship. I think you should get your house in order first, because I doubt you are going to meet quality men in that state, although you probably will meet lots of guys who know how to prey on vulnerable women.

AGG


Well, I was very vulnerable when I met Mr. Can't Commit. I talked and cried ALL THE TIME (it seemed to me) about my ex-husband. He never said anything, he just held me and when I composed myself, we'd go do something fun like go for a walk or watch a movie or cook, or other stuff. He actually made me smile a lot. I didn't really cry that much, but I know it wasn't good to do that at ALL or talk about your ex. I was very vulnerable and desperately lonely, and I think he was a pretty decent guy, all things considered. I could have done SOOO much worse.

My therapist thinks I should be dating. I married my first boyfriend and I only had about 6 months between getting "emotionally" divorced from my ex-husband and getting pregnant with my FWB, Mr. Can't Commit. Actually, he has committed in a lot of ways, and I am thankful for that. He is very devoted to our child and I am glad he is there for her.

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Where we are:

You want a normal intimate relationship with a man.

CM (CommitmentPhobe Man) does not want to have a normal intimate relationship with you. That is okay, that is his choice.

CM (CommitmentPhobe Man) does not want you to have a normal intimate relationship with another man. That is not okay, that is not his choice.

But he seems to be making it his choice by threatening you with custody. So get custody legally taken care of so the threat is gone. When he is parenting the child, go on dates. When you are parenting the child, do not have men around until such time you have a solid relationship (like >6 months) and you won't have revolving men in the child's life.

You also seem to be letting the men you are involved with influence your opinion of yourself. You are worthy of happiness.

Yes, you deserve to try to find a normal relationship. Unfortunately it is not going to be with your Ex and CM.

Try to figure out why you picked out men that were not good for you...how can you avoid that?

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We already have a custody order. We worked it out before the baby was born. He wanted to pay the minimum amount of child support. I am the primary residential parent. He is entitled to 180 days and I have 185. He has never used his time, in fact she was 22 months old before he ever had her alone.

I told him no judge would change this arrangement...it couldn't be any more fair, besides, not judge would change custody because he doesn't like me dating other men. Also, she also needs to continue her relationship with my other daughter and son, which would be interrupted if he had "full custody." I know it is an empty threat, but it REALLY gets under my skin when he threatens me like that.

We went to counseling together--HIS therapist. I was encouraged to promise that I would not introduce any man to our little girl until he had met him and knew his background, etc. I said "NO WAY." His therapist said he thought it was reasonable. I told him my ex didn't introduce me to his new wife and stepson, and the therapist said he should have. I has said earlier that my social life was none of his business and the only time I intended to make him aware of anything is if he needs to change the name on the child support check. It really burns me up that he keeps harping about me taking my 3 year old on dates to meet men. I can't imagine where he got the idea that I would ever do such a thing. He never met my older kids until the baby was born and I don't remember if I ever even invited him to meet my kids in the 7 1/2 months I knew him, including the 4 1/2 months I was pregnant before he dumped me. It was weird for me to have to tell my kids I was pregnant with their new sibling by a man they had never met.

I can't really figure out why I picked out men who were not good for me. I was 20 when I married my ex, he was my first boyfriend and I was passionately in love with him. The CM was actually VERY good for me, until I got pregnant and we got stuck with each other. My ex and the CM have totally different personalities, but share similar positive qualities. I don't have a history of picking any particular type of man because I have only had these 2 relationships, with a "boyfriend" of a few weeks in between and I he was the first man I went out with after my ex got his new wife.

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I think you could work on boundaries with this man. As was stated, it's his decision not to commit, but it is NOT his decision if you date. I agree with the advice given you not to have men around your child until they've been in your life a while and you think it might be permanent, so it doesn't confuse them. A friend of mine was adopted, his parents then divorced, his mom married 7 times, his dad 5...he had more stepparents and stepsiblings than he could count, no one permanent. NOT good!


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I am exploring the information on this site. Things that make a good marriage relationship make a good parenting relationship.

I really felt convicted reading up about the "Love Busters" and I apologized this morning to my little one's father for my part in killing the "good will". I have been guilty of "disrespectful judgements" as I shame him for not marrying me and in this relationship he seems to want the rights and privileges (and authority) of being a husband without me having the rights and privileges of eing a wife. I have also been guilty of "Angry Outbursts" which I tend to blame him for and not take responibilty for. I apologized for that, too. I think he is guilty of "selfish demands" and he has always withheld "Honesty and Openness" which makes things difficulty and unbalanced, since I am open and honest almost to a fault.

He is going to join me with MY therapist on Saturday to address his concerns and we will have a private meeting, just he and me, following. I have tried for 3 years to get him to have a "family meeting" with me on a regular basis just for building a rapport and a even if we didn't have any "business" to discuss, I thought we should be "friendly" and feel safe with each other . I think he has wanted to avoid any one-on-one time because his goal in life is to avoid intimacy and he, rightly so, sees time spent alone with each other in a relaxed environment is something that is conducive to building intimacy. That is one reason I would get upset if my husband had lunch with female co-workers. Even for the long periods of time (as much as 10-11 months) over the past 3 years that I had NO attraction or desire to marry this man, I still wanted a good "working" relationship and I wanted a spirit of mutual respect and co-operation. I have no desire to marry this man at this point and I don't think I ever will again, so maybe if I can make him understand that, he will be more comfortable. He did say a few days ago that he thought I was right for us to have "family meetings" and he was wrong and wants to start implementing that as a tool to keep our parenting relationship friendly and cooperative.

I have so much yet to work on.

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I guess I don't understand having "family meetings" if you aren't a family. My XH (my kids' dad) and I were always cordial but we kept discussions to what was necessary (about the kids) and in a spirit of cooperation regarding passing on info required by our State law: school grades, doctor visits, etc. We didn't get have family get togethers that might make it difficult to move on. Now our children are grown and we have funerals and weddings, etc. to be at at the same time and he and I have no problem with that but his new wife seems to...I figure she knew he'd been married with kids before she took up with him so that's hers to deal with. The kids are first and foremost in my mind and it remains that way.


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I am debating about "family meetings" myself...I do very much consider him and his family to be my family---not by choice, but through my daughter. I still consider my XH family to be family. My X still occasionally invites me to do stuff with him and the kids and I am glad to go if I have time.

I just hate this situation.

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Originally Posted By: tnmom66
I do very much consider him and his family to be my family..... I still consider my XH family to be family.


Why?

I was married to my XH for 25+ years and we have five children together. It has been less than a year since our divorce was final. Even so, I do not consider XH or any of his family to be MY family. I consider a couple of his cousins to be friends of mine and they are my children's family, but they are not MY family.

I think one reason you are having such a hard time with this is because you feel an unwarranted attachment to these people. Sometimes you have to let go of the old to have room for new connections.


Me: BS 51
Himself: WH 53, EA/PA w/ RunnerSlut his "running buddy."
Buncha' kids. The two youngest are still minors.
Separated: 08/13/09 after 25 years of marriage
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Agreed.

I was married to my kids' dad for 23 years and extremely close to his family, I still am although I consider them to be HIS and my KIDS' family, not mine and I don't intrude on their get togethers. I visited his dad in assisted living every week until he passed away, and he appreciated it...as the old man said, we divorced, he didn't. smile I have been very careful to not be around when my XH or his wife are present. I think the remark about letting go of the old to make room for the new is apropos, although I don't have "new" and don't intend to. smile


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Originally Posted By: Kirby
Originally Posted By: tnmom66
I do very much consider him and his family to be my family..... I still consider my XH family to be family.


Why?

I was married to my XH for 25+ years and we have five children together. It has been less than a year since our divorce was final. Even so, I do not consider XH or any of his family to be MY family. I consider a couple of his cousins to be friends of mine and they are my children's family, but they are not MY family.

I think one reason you are having such a hard time with this is because you feel an unwarranted attachment to these people. Sometimes you have to let go of the old to have room for new connections.


I agree. I was married for 26 years. I do not consider my former inlaws 'family'. I have my niece (in law) on FB. Other than that, I have no contact with them.

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How do you know when you are really ready to date?

I am fine to date casually. Just not ready for anything serious.

I am so angry and a little bitter about not having any relationships to work out well.

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Originally Posted By: tnmom66
How do you know when you are really ready to date?

I am fine to date casually. Just not ready for anything serious.

I am so angry and a little bitter about not having any relationships to work out well.

Well, I can only tell you my opinion, based on my experience.

I have never been a casual dater. I find dating an intimidating experience (see my thread on this forum if you want to read more about my experiences). Like you, I sometimes feel "wounded" or "damaged" by my experiences, and often think I haven't the proper skills or insight to choose suitable dating partners.

Many here will say that dating is like interviewing for marriage. All I know is that dating is a must if one is going to get to know someone better.

So, when are you ready? I don't think there's a formula that can tell you. The time is right when it's the right time, that's all I can imagine.

It's kind of like alcoholics who have recovered. Many I've heard say they don't remember when, but it just seems that after a while of not drinking, they just forgot to think about it.

As for me, I'm going back to waiting for Ms. Right to parachute out of the sky and land on my doorstep. wink


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Originally Posted By: Fred_in_VA

It's kind of like alcoholics who have recovered. Many I've heard say they don't remember when, but it just seems that after a while of not drinking, they just forgot to think about it.

As for me, I'm going back to waiting for Ms. Right to parachute out of the sky and land on my doorstep. wink
[quote=Fred_in_VA]?

If it was only so easy...like the stork brings you a special delivery??? (Scene from "Dumbo"). And then there is the problem of dealing with my sexual needs in the meantime.. (sigh)

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Originally Posted By: tnmom66
How do you know when you are really ready to date?

I am fine to date casually. Just not ready for anything serious.

I am so angry and a little bitter about not having any relationships to work out well.





Here's a Quiz: Are You Ready to Start Dating Again?


Me: BS 51
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Buncha' kids. The two youngest are still minors.
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Originally Posted By: tnmom66
[quote=Fred_in_VA]
It's kind of like alcoholics who have recovered. Many I've heard say they don't remember when, but it just seems that after a while of not drinking, they just forgot to think about it.

As for me, I'm going back to waiting for Ms. Right to parachute out of the sky and land on my doorstep. wink
Originally Posted By: Fred_in_VA
?

If it was only so easy...like the stork brings you a special delivery??? (Scene from "Dumbo"). And then there is the problem of dealing with my sexual needs in the meantime.. (sigh)


Outside of marriage sex is not a need. It is a desire. You already have one messed up situation due to having sex while not married.

I do not know why you would want to date before you are ready to marry...especially since you indicate you WANT to be married. However, if you are going to date I highly suggest you define what that means to you. To many people 'date' automatically includes sex, or at least the possibility of sex if you 'feel' like it. Stop operating on 'feelings'. Begin to be intellectual about this. You want to be married someday? Ok,...step by step...

Decide if you are ready to even BE dating.

Make yourself a list of what you want in a mate. (great article on this site about compatibility...I highly recommend it) Do not share your list with anyone. But continue to be 'aware' of what is on it at all times.

Do not even consider a date with any man that fails your personal compatibility test. Some of these won't be evident immediately. However, once a trait or situation manifests itself that rules him out....stop dating him. This does not mean he will be a 'bad' man, or unsuitable for someone else...but if he is not compatibile for YOU long term, stop dating him.

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I really disagree with you on the sex JUST being a "desire". If it is an emotional need in a married person, why do you think it would not be a need for a single person? In fact, before sex was so freely available OUTSIDE of marriage, the sexual needs were a pretty strong impetus for people to get married and stay married.

Sure, it isn't an "urgent" need. I have a friend who is a 42 year old virgin. So, lack of sex won't kill you, but I think the health benefits are very evident.

I do acknowledge that sex OUTSIDE of marriage is WRONG and, to me is not "worth it". I did not go looking for sex outside of marriage, I just wasn't prepared for the environment I found myself in and I was so desperate for intimacy, I was willing to give sex to get some quality time and affection. I probably should not have been dating... I had married my first boyfriend and hadn't dated anyone else. I did not know that men would try to have sex early on and the first time I met a guy for a "first date" and I realized he wanted to have sex, I literally ran away in tears. After I thought about it a while, I realized how nice it was to have a man to find me sexually appealing, since my husband had for years told how unappealing I was to him.

But I know that sex outside of marriage causes all kinds of problems, and most importantly God said don't do it. I don't have any intentions of doing it again, but I know I have to take "extreme precaution" to avoid it.

Sex still is, to me, a need and I wish I knew how to not feel like I'm a walking bundle of sexual frustration. I don't read sexy romance novels or watch sexy movies. I stay extremely busy. I don't even THINK about sex much. My body just is so often primed and ready.

I have been about 4 years without being sexually active (BY CHOICE-I know I could easily find a man who just wanted to go to bed with me), something I never dreamed I would do after I got married at the age of 20. But it causes me a lot of stress. Having sex outside of marriage would cause MORE stress, but who wants to get married, just for sex???

Life gets complicated when people divorce. How to deal with sexual NEEDS suddenly becomes an issue. I have talked to other people who are single because their spouses chose to leave the marriage. Like I said,a person's sexual need doesn't switch off just because they aren't married anymore. Of course, some people don't have a very high sex drive, other people are depressed or on antidepressant medication that helps keep their libido from being an issue.

I don't see MY "dating" as having sex, I see it as enjoying the company of someone else and getting to know him better.

I want to date because my therapist said it is good for me. I don't know if I believe him. The only man I am enjoying dating is a guy recently divorced who isn't looking to get serious, just needing someone to keep him from feeling crushed by loneliness. I need the same, too. My time with him is truly "stress free" and I think it is for him, too. I went out for several weeks with different men and really felt like it was almost too exhausting to be worth the trouble. And I hate telling men that they aren't right for me. I don't mind getting rejected as much as I hate rejecting other men.

I think I should be dating for practice. I want to know what is "out there". I want to be open and available to meet the one who is right for me.

I really do hate the dating process, but I do enjoy spending time with a man who enjoys spending time with me.

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Originally Posted By: tnmom66
I really disagree with you on the sex JUST being a "desire". If it is an emotional need in a married person, why do you think it would not be a need for a single person? In fact, before sex was so freely available OUTSIDE of marriage, the sexual needs were a pretty strong impetus for people to get married and stay married.

Sure, it isn't an "urgent" need. I have a friend who is a 42 year old virgin. So, lack of sex won't kill you, but I think the health benefits are very evident.

But I know that sex outside of marriage causes all kinds of problems, and most importantly God said don't do it.


And this is your big clue that it is not a 'need'. God would not tell us to refrain from something that we 'need'. If you keep thinking of it as a 'need', a 'right' all humans have, then you will continue to feel frustrated and confused. Many many people have remained celibate their entire lifes---not all remained single by CHOICE, but determined to remain celibate until married.


Originally Posted By: tnmom66
Like I said,a person's sexual need doesn't switch off just because they aren't married anymore. Of course, some people don't have a very high sex drive, other people are depressed or on antidepressant medication that helps keep their libido from being an issue.


Not all celibate people are depressed or on anti depressant meds. Again, replace 'need' with 'desire' or 'want' and you can see that it is something you can do without....think of yourself like a diabetic who wants sugar.

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Originally Posted By: tnmom66
I really disagree with you on the sex JUST being a "desire". If it is an emotional need in a married person, why do you think it would not be a need for a single person?


And the answer to this question is because they are single.

None of the 'emotional needs' identified by Dr. Harley are actual 'needs' of any human...they are required for a satisfying marriage.

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