The Return of the Avoidant Girlfriend, and Other Things

AA05EBD4-7773-49C7-8D9E-78D4AFF0A1D7

I haven’t written a post in over two months.  There’s a reason.

Yep, she is back.  In fact, I have been seeing my ex-girlfriend, who I had considered an avoidant personality, for over 2 months now and things are going well.  Although I still have questions…

I’m not going to expound a whole lot, other than to say that I probably made several assumptions regarding her being an avoidant that supported my own agenda.  At this point, I don’t believe she is “avoidant” in that she is FAR too affectionate and, at least for the last couple of months, doesn’t seem to like it when she isn’t physically with me.  Does she have some issues?  Most certainly, and that she ghosted me for a couple of months in the not too distant past DOES weigh on my mind.

1A95DB5D-0D90-4F2D-8524-1AB2CEC113C9

Where I seem to be struggling the most is that for whatever reason, I seem to be missing my narcissistic ex-wife a lot recently.  I have been considering why that is, and I suppose there are a lot of reasons, including it is spring and the lake is thawed, the boats are in the water, the baseball teams are playing, and things like that.  All those things that we enjoyed together are in full force.  On top of that, my girlfriend and I just got back from a Caribbean cruise, which was something that I have never done with anyone except for my narcissistic ex-wife, and we had done several.

I honestly did have a good time on the cruise, but I will also admit there were times where the thoughts tended to be overwhelming.  I did a pretty good job of keeping them in check, but they were still there, bumping and bouncing and trying to force their way to the forefront.  I will give myself credit for making it through another milestone, the cruise itself, something that I thought I would never be able to do with someone else.  I will also admit that it didn’t feel quite the same, lacking the level of “excitement” of doing the exact same thing with my narcissitic ex-wife.

910A00E4-33BA-4FB1-830F-CEA324E0FD11

I guess there are other things causing me to think about the ex-N too.  I continue to see her vehicle at work (always parked away from other vehicles like I asked her to do when I bought it for her – I’m still baffled that she does that).  I also got to be in a business meeting (for the first time) with her latest victim, I mean boyfriend (yes, he works at the same place that her and I do).  I will tell you that I sat there looking at him wondering what he had that I didn’t, until I remembered that isn’t what matters to a narcissist.  At some point, he too will find himself wondering what happened, how he ended up alone.  Poor bastard.  I also wonder if he ever considers that 3 of her 4 husbands have worked at that same place.  It has been months since I have run into or physically seen my ex-wife, so that is helpful at least, but there are too many reminders.

311D6738-B8E6-4096-99A6-419F2BA68A80

With how things have been going, I have determined that I am most certainly at a new point in my life, kind of an in-between place, although it is a place that is further away from the marriage to my ex-N (which has been over 3 years ago now).  I have learned how to be alone, have been able to be with other women, and even have someone who is fairly consistent in my life.  With that said, things simply do not “feel” like I want them to feel.  I am always considering how different, almost boring, things feel when compared to the years with my narcissistic ex-wife.  It is something that I really can’t explain, and I doubt that I ever will.  I just don’t look forward to things with others like I did with her.  It makes no sense, to say it, to hear it, and to feel it.  It is the one part of having been with her that I wish I could eradicate.  It tends to leave me always searching and longing for that feeling, and I can’t even explain what it is.

I will also add that I have sold the last boat that my ex and I bought together (another one of those magical feeling events and a story in itself).  What that means is that other than the house, I have replaced essentially everything that her and I experienced together.  Different furniture and artwork, totally different vehicles for me, different boats…  Regardless, she is still a part of me that will never be completely gone.  I guess that is okay in that I can say that I have never “loved” like that before and I am glad that I got too as it was a special time.  Sadly, the devastation that occurred upon her evil departure was equally as memorable (but at least that part is subsiding to the point that I don’t think about it much).

Quotes About Remembering Past Relationships 17 Best Images About Relationship Quotes On Pinterest

So, the not-so-avoidant girlfriend is back in my life, things are going well (although different than with my ex-wife and even different than things were with my girlfriend previously which is probably a good thing).  Additionally, thoughts of the narcissistic ex-wife tend to be pleasant, focusing on the good things versus her craziness, which is also a good thing.  Summer is approaching and there are lots of things to do, which is also a good thing.

I am making progress.  There were times where I never thought I would make progress.  If you are going through the departure of a narcissist, hang in there.   It will get better, even when it doesn’t seem that way.

Advertisements

The Saga of the Avoidant Girlfriend Continues…

EF414C29-6B4F-438F-95AF-D39A84D34137

As I noted in my last post, I had recently reached out to my avoidant ex-girlfriend that essentially ghosted me for the last 3 months.  Yes, I realize that I am a fool.  With that said, after I had sent her that drunken text which she briefly replied to, the texting floodgates opened two days later when she had to know what it meant that “I missed her, and that missing her isn’t a bad thing”.  Rather than send a text due to the potential length, I told her I would send an email, and I did.  After 3 days, I hadn’t heard a word.

As my angst grew, I sent another text that essentially said that I took her lack of response to mean that I should completely move on with my life (not that I should have given her a say in the first place).  Again, another barrage of texts begins with her providing all kinds of information, including that she “felt like she was underwater”, and that her mind was “broken”, etc.  I told her that, once again, she hadn’t responded to the original text about my moving on.  She then replied that she did care about me, she did miss me, and that she was still interested in me (or something to that effect).  I suggested that we get together to discuss some of the supposed issues, and she agreed.

This is where things “begin” to get wacky…  After suggesting we meet, she simply said “short” or “long”.  My evaluation of that led to the conclusion that short was simply for a drink or two, and long was for dinner, so I said long.  Remember, we hadn’t seen each other in 3 months and it had ended badly.  The response was not what I expected…

5741F492-F20A-4008-A8FE-443C6BBB42D8

She replies with “okay, we can go up north and stay at the cottage for the weekend, or I can come to your house and we can watch movies, or we can find some destination that we have never been to”.  I was both shocked and excited, while also thinking “this is not a rational person”.  I should have stuck with that thought.  I suggested that we go out to dinner before the weekend, and she agreed.

Last night, we went to dinner.  I picked her up at her house and, almost as expected, it was like nothing had ever happened.  She hugged me, kissed me, and we got in the car.  Dinner was like old times, talking about all kinds of things but nothing in particular or of any real substance.  The whole time, knowing what I now know about dismissive avoidant personality, I didn’t get touchy feely and made sure that I didn’t get clingy or possessive.  In the car I didn’t put my hand on her leg, and when we were walking, I didn’t hold her hand.  I thought that was appropriate.

On the drive home, an unexpected thing occurred, although I didn’t think much of it at the time.  A woman who I had gone on one date with a month ago (a normal date, not a physical one) sends a text, and her name shows up on my car radio screen.  I don’t react but rather slowly reach up and hit the ignore button.  I don’t know at the time if she sees it or not.  With that said, I take her home and walk her into the house.  Again, we have a really firm, touching embrace, we kiss twice, we agree we should go see a movie tomorrow, I say hello to her youngest daughter (who I really like), and I leave.  Overall, considering the circumstances, I feel pretty good and as though things couldn’t have gone much better.

21C4ED25-4E3E-46E1-98FC-434120452A6D

When I get home, I send the obligatory “I got home safe” text, along with what a good time that I had and a thank you, along with some pics of artwork that my daughter had drawn that she wanted to see.  The return text said this:

”I enjoyed spending time with you tonight and was happy that we had a chance to see each other again.  Everything seems to be going well for you.  It was obvious tonight that you are moving on and I’m happy for you.  I really need to do the same.  I wish you the best always.”

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???  I was devastated as clearly that was not even on my radar screen.  Sadly, knowing her history, while I was devastated, I was NOT surprised.  I did respond within a few minutes telling her that she was making huge assumptions that simply weren’t true.  I never heard another word.

5CC68B40-EA9A-4603-9913-7F5EBE9142C1

I didn’t sleep last night and instead laid in bed thinking of all the things that I could say to her.  With that said, I also evaluated my intent, and I realize now (as I have in the past) that I should NOT and actually CANNOT be with her.  However, I couldn’t let the previous text that I sent be the final text.  I sent one this morning that said I didn’t sleep at all, and that isn’t something that someone who is moving on does.  I also said that I could tell her with 100% confidence and truthfulness that in between our multiple breakups, that I have never had a physical relationship, and that she could NOT make the same claim.  I also said that our dysfunctions feed off one another and that her love avoidant personality was taking a toll on me (note – if she never heard of that before, she will certainly Google it.  Who knows what that might bring).  I said that I had accepted her, including all of her imperfections including her self-professed “broken mind”, that I certainly couldn’t fix her and can’t even fix myself.    I closed with that one day when she can’t find the perfection that she is clearly seeking, she would look back and recall that I was a pretty amazing companion, lover, and friend.  I closed with saying that she would never hear from me again.

I haven’t heard anything since sending the text, and I don’t think that I will… for a few months.  I really do need to move on yet again.  One of these days, I am going to get it right.  I believe it is going to have to be someone picking me, as I clearly am not good at picking them.  First, the narcissistic ex-wife, and now this.  I’m tired.

 

The Cycle Repeats Yet Again

D6CD6809-EB96-4F9F-98F5-F74FD4C6C85C

The last 4 years has been quite a learning experience, what with being married to a full-blown narcissist, entering the dating world, and simply being alone for the first time in my entire life.  I’ve reached another of those points where I am not very happy with my life, knowing at the same time that it is my own fault.  But the reminders are the worst, especially when they come unexpectedly from others…

The last couple of weeks have had some interesting yet typical turns of events.  I just can’t seem to escape from the nearby presence of my narcissistic ex-wife, if not in person, then through others.  The most recent reminder involved one of my co-workers looking at his phone and saying “come over here and check this out”.  He says something to the effect that “look at this hot woman” and on his phone there is a very small image of the backside of an attractive woman appearing to have jumped off a ledge and falling toward the water.  I ask what’s that, and he zooms in the shot and I can see it is my ex-wife in a very small, red bikini.  Also visible in the water is her latest boyfriend, waiting for her.  Apparently they were in Mexico on vacation, somewhere her and I used to frequent.  Imagine that.  Of course, my mind goes into the remembering mode where 30 seconds prior, it was just fine.

95F8A5D4-A895-44ED-973A-079A0D6B12D4

Oh, there’s more.  At an after-work event occurring closely after the above encounter, I’m sitting at a table with a close buddy of my ex’s current boyfriend, named Dave.  He’s a really nice guy that I have known for a lot of years, although we have never been what you would call close.  The above encounter with the phone pic comes up because my other buddy is there and everybody gets a big laugh out of it (again), and I laugh along (uncomfortably).  After the laughing stops, Dave says to me how sorry he was that things didn’t work out between her and I, and that after all the times that she and I were together, that after we got married, he was sure it was going to be great for us.  I was a bit shocked as I wasn’t even really aware that he followed what my ex and I had done.  It felt strange, but I could also sense that he was worried about his friend (her current boyfriend).  I didn’t really say anything else and just let it go.

218DFCB4-E1E1-4D13-9107-1308C9CEBEB4

I moved to another table after a few minutes and the fun (at my expense) continued. There were several high level company leaders there, including a corporate Vice President that I know fairly well, but only in the last couple of years, after my ex had left me.  Someone asks a joking question about how they can get a new BMW or Mercedes-Benz, knowing full well that I am still paying for my ex’s.  I jokingly say to marry me, I will buy them one, divorce me, and I will pay for it.  Again, it gets a good laugh out of the table and I say to one individual there that is fully aware of my situation with my ex “Mike, I know you know what I’m talking about”, and as if on cue, a number of people at the table say “we all know”, including the VP as they smile and nod at me.

It was enlightening that many people are aware of my situation, although not surprising given that her and I are still employed at the same place.  I also felt as though they were acknowledging that she is f’ing crazy, knowing that she is currently with the 5th boyfriend from the facility, and that she likely will be married for the 5th time.  Keep in mind this place employs over a thousand people, so it isn’t as if everyone knows everyone intimately.  The fact that I had quite a bit to drink by that time led me to feeling both nostalgic and a bit angry at the same time.

74333E79-9F31-4ADE-BEE8-0744D0092263

Speaking of drinking, in a moment of loneliness this weekend, and after a lot of beer, I sent a text to my avoidant ex-girlfriend that I haven’t seen in nearly 3 months.  I have done very well in not reaching out to her, but in my weakened state (and probably considering all the recent discussion about my narcissistic ex), I sent a text that said nothing more than her name and a sad face.  Not unexpectedly, she responded almost immediately with my name.  I said that I missed her, and she replied with “you wouldn’t be if you were sleeping”, which she followed up with “are you doing okay otherwise”, and then “Goodnight”.  I replied that I was good and bad, repeated that I missed her, and to have a good night.  That was it, and I haven’t heard another peep since

That I haven’t heard anything else from her, in combination with her asking if I was okay otherwise tells me she is seeing someone else, although that is no surprise.  In my moment of stupidity, it also provides her with the opportunity to reach out to me when she figures out the new dude isn’t cutting it, which with her being avoidant, she will get nostalgic over me and want to come back.  I am really tired of “love”.  It isn’t supposed to be this freaking hard.

4873F531-6850-410C-9253-CAF2081A935B

Here’s what I am learning – I need to cut alcohol out of my life.  It seems to be the common denominator in many of the less than stellar things that have happened or are happening in my life.  Oh, and speaking of cycles, the online dating thing is in yet another valley where everything seems to have dried up.  I really am getting used to the new peaks and valleys in my life.  They have become fairly predictable.  I guess the only good thing right now is that since I am in a valley, another peak should be coming soon.

The Birthday… and the Avoidant Girlfriend

AAA95E1F-AC72-4FF7-978F-5ABC11193268

Yet another birthday, and this one came with a surprise.  I’ll get to that in a minute…

First, this is the fourth birthday that I have had since my narcissistic ex-wife left for the last time.  I can honestly say I have either overcome, or at least gotten used to, the emotions of being alone.  While I am not necessarily “happy” to be alone, I am not devastated by it either.  Sadly, it has gotten to the point where birthdays feel simply like another day, albeit one that is a bit more noticeable because I am indeed alone.

Speaking of the ex-wife, I did have the opportunity to come across her at work this last week, although luckily she was in her car (yes, the one that I am still paying for).  I was walking and she was clearly looking for a parking spot up close to the building since it was 18 degrees, cold and windy.  She started driving toward me directionally, although she was about 20 feet away.  As has become my routine since going full No Contact a couple of years ago, I paid her no attention, while at the same time I am certain that she noticed me.  I have talked in the past about asking her nicely when I purchased that car for her if she could park it away from other cars to keep it from getting dinged or scratched (as it is a “premium” luxury car – nothing but the best for my narcissist).  She reluctantly agreed at the time, as she is one of those that will drive in circles trying to get as close to the door as possible.  As I continud to walk after seeing her, I am wondering where I will find the car parked upon my return.  There was no doubt she was searching for a spot close to the door.

4A993074-4B65-4A11-AFF5-021DCCF09310

Upon my return, I can’t seem to find the car.  As I get to the far end of the lot, lo and behold, there it is, on the very END spot, parked over the line to be as far away from the car next to it as possible.  I honestly laughed out loud.  I still haven’t figured out if she does that just to mess with my mind or what.  She does NOT care about that car and it is now approaching 6 years old.  I guess I will likely never figure out the mindset causing that (and probably shouldn’t).

Lets get to the avoidant ex-girlfriend that I haven’t seen or heard from in exactly 8 weeks.  That is how long it has been since we had an unfortunate and unplanned “event” following a fun night of partying and hanging out with friends.  There was no physical altercation or sexual misconduct involved and it was purely something that shouldn’t have happened and was the result of us both drinking too much.  The following day, I immediately apologized for my role and also took responsibility for what occurred (even though it was shared).  I never heard a peep other than getting a request and a $10 bill in the mail to send her a coat that she had left at my house.  How strange that felt.

I did mail her coat to her, along with a “love letter” of sorts, telling her how much I adored and cared for her, along with another apology.  That was approximately 4-5 weeks ago.  Again, I received no response, not even an acknowledgement that she received the “package”.  8 weeks passed with absolutely NO contact from her. That ended yesterday…

C2828EAA-EDF8-4D0B-8540-4EB9A58CB8F9

About 9:50 PM, I get a text from her.  It starts out with “Hi John (a fake name I am inserting) I wanted to contact you sooner but I thought to be quiet until things made more sense.  It still doesn’t make sense c’est la vie.  I miss you John, but unfortunately I still haven’t figured out how to navigate with regards to us after that incident.  Albeit I appreciate the apology, the result was reoccurring nightmares which led me to the conclusion that my mind is still disheveled with regards to that mess.  I wish things were different.  I just wanted to say thanks for the apology, tell you that I hope you are well and I hope you have a great birthday.  Donna (again, a fake name I am using).

Again, I am baffled.  Reoccurring nightmares?  WTH?  Here’s the thing – I don’t know what happened after her and I parted ways that night since she NEVER told me.  We never spoke after that, so I have no idea why she is having reoccurring nightmares or what that even means.

D2C0E8CD-9C87-484A-AAFE-CC5238BFA064

What baffles me more is why, after not A WORD for 8 weeks, my birthday would mean anything to her.  To be absolutely honest, I wasn’t even sure if she knew when my birthday was.  No, I didn’t respond to her, and I don’t expect that I will.  I also wonder what she expects at this point.  Am I supposed to be glad or thankful that she sent me something, i.e. does she think she is taking the higher road?  This comes after “ghosting” me for 2 damn months, for not uttering a word for almost 60 days.  I didn’t really think I would hear from her again, so this is somewhat surprising, but then again, so what?  As weak as I am emotionally (and yes, I was/am incredibly attracted to her and care for her deeply), I can’t be with someone who is capable of simply disappearing for 8 weeks.  That is unacceptable, especially considering 2 formal apologies and several texts that went completely unanswered.

So, here I sit, contemplating what is next, what is yet to come.  I have several dating possibilities underway that I am not really excited about (although maybe I should be).  I guess I have reached that point where I am starting to get used to being alone and actually seeing the benefits of it.  No, it doesn’t make me feel happy to be alone necessarily, but being with someone hasn’t ultimately resulted in being happy either.  Yes, I do expect to hear from her again.  As the memories of our “event” continue to fade and as summer and boating season approach, I believe her avoidant personality will seek what she gave up, convincing herself that she wants to be close to me again, although she will also flee yet again when she gets too close.  The real question is this – what will the improved and educated co-dependent, anxious attachment style me do about it?

D7A64C0B-CB6B-4AF7-AE35-0405BFA4BC20

Each birthday that goes by, I am a little smarter about my old co-dependent self, the one that is more secure in his wants and needs.  I’m pretty certain my ex-girlfriend isn’t trying to improve herself (or even feels a need to).  I think my answer is in there somewhere.

Seriously, Am I Really That Bad?

35EF082F-1C85-4EEC-81F3-5A573197712B

Is it ever possible to get past all of the mistakes?  We all go through different phases in our lives and in between those phases, we (at least I) have time to think.  I am in an entirely new phase for myself, and I am finding far too much time to think.  It leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable, and also asking myself, “am I really that bad?”.

Being in this phase has pluses and minuses.  I have been given (forced into…) the opportunity to reflect on where I have been, and also where I want to go.  I am desperately trying to be patient, to just let things happen instead of trying to force them like I have consistently done in the past.  With that newfound patience (or at least a semblance of patience), I am finding that essentially nothing is happening, that one day is simply bleeding into the next.  It is actually a bit painful.  No matter, I am taking the opportunity to read, to learn, and to reflect on where I have been and what I can do differently going forward.  Of course, the hope is that I am a better person as a result, with that change positively impacting any future relationships that I might (hopefully) have.

EEF15F48-10FD-472A-AD51-835CCEC3B3EF

At the same time, I reflect on so many different poor choices that I have made, although at the time they didn’t seem like such poor choices and in fact I was typically trying to do the “right” thing.  To make matters more destructive, I have had so much time to think that it seems as though almost anything that I see or read about, that I can make some kind of connection to someone significant in my past.  Case in point, I was just watching a documentary of a certain famous hotel, a structure, a building.  This immediately brought back vivid memories of the fact that I have been there with both of my ex-wives and also my recent girlfriend.  The hotel is still there, my colorful memories are still there, yet the women are all gone.  No matter, I will always have those incredible memories from that place with each of them and I don’t want to eliminate those memories just because they are painful at this point.  I can’t help but think, “what went wrong”, and will I ever be able to go there with someone and not simply add them to the list of memories?

In my past significant relationships, I didn’t start off with the intention of failing.  Despite the things that I have clearly done wrong, I had a deep underlying desire to meet the needs of my significant other, to go above and beyond what they were used to experiencing.  Yet, I have proof of my failures, given 2 ex-wives and a recent fairly important girlfriend that I didn’t really want to lose.  In every one of those relationships, I can honestly admit that I tried so hard to meet the needs of that person, to add to their happiness, to go above and beyond and make them feel special and loved.  I believe at times that I was successful.

8FAAEC53-2584-4997-94CE-F0A6A08E497D

What I was also successful at was losing myself in the process.  With the fairly recent discovery of my co-dependence following the discovery of wife #2’s narcissism, I have really focused on correcting (and have made pretty good progress) my neediness and my expectations for others.  I also recognize that I always expected something in return for my efforts.  Real love doesn’t expect something in return, and I know that now, but as a result of not receiving what I thought I should have gotten for my efforts, I would withdraw into myself, wondering what I was doing wrong and sulking because my hard work wasn’t being acknowledged.  Then the mistakes would really begin.

I can’t specifically put my finger on the things that I did that ultimately resulted in the failure of the relationships.  I am also certain that the relationship failures weren’t just because of me.  However, because I am the common denominator in all of them, I can’t help but place considerable responsibility on myself.  Again, my co-dependency wants to ensure everyone else is happy, thus, the blame for bad stuff must be mine to own.  No, I don’t totally believe that (now), but no matter what, it doesn’t change the fact that they are gone and I am here alone.

8727FFFA-D294-48E2-8A7C-8329838518BD

Being as sentimental as I am doesn’t help either.  I tend to focus on the positive memories in my life, and I have some vivid ones regarding that famous hotel noted above with all 3 of those significant women that I was there with.  Having either minimized or blocked many of the bad memories prior to the failure of my relationships only adds to my confusion over why I am alone.  If things were as great as I remember them to be, there would be no need for me to be writing this post?  Yes, I am aware that bad things did happen as much as I don’t want to remember them, but I clearly prefer to remember the good stuff.

It’s tough to provide your own point/counterpoint, but that is the hand I have been dealt recently.  I am alone for a reason and, as tough as it is, I need to learn what I need to learn.  The biggest lesson is how hard it is to be alone when you really haven’t been alone in your entire life.  The other tough lesson is acknowledging your past mistakes, forgiving yourself as well as those that were involved along with you, and figuring out how not to repeat those things.  Going forward, I will certainly consider my own needs in any new relationship in addition to the person that I will be involved with.  I’ll try to do that early on instead of focusing on how to win them over at my own expense.

Nice Cutting People Out Of Your Life Quotes rid of bad friends quotes pinterest i am my

I also need to acknowledge that I am not “bad”, but rather that I am simply human, with things that I can do better.  With that said, in order to live a positive life, I need to remove the negativity, and removing it from myself is a good place to start.  Here it goes…

The Realization That I am NOT in Control

94F66E58-3556-4973-8CE8-78CDDE16673D

It has taken several years, but I have finally reached the conclusion that I am not in control of my life.  Yes, there are certain things I can control, like choosing what channel to watch on the TV, or what I am going to have for dinner, but not the big things, the important things.  For instance…

I have been divorced from my narcissistic ex-wife for nearly 3 years now, and she has been gone for 3.5 years.  This is NOT something that I wanted to happen.  Yes, there were certain aspects of the marriage that were less than ideal, but for the most part, I was living the dream.  I can still feel the “special” way that things seemed to be when I was with her.  I never experienced it before, and haven’t experienced it since (yes, there is learning in knowing that and how her narcissism impacted the special feeling).  It lasted several years before things really started to become bizarre and go downhill rapidly, and even to this day, I wish the “her” that I knew and the life we had built still existed, but it does not.  As much as I thought I did, I had NO control over what was and would occur.  She was going to leave and nothing that I could have done would have prevented it.

AEE1700D-2167-4D3A-ABE5-E71EE514C09F

That departure was only the beginning.  Since that time, I have dated far too much.  This much later, I do realize that my insecurity and adverse reaction to rejection simply fueled my need to quickly find someone else.  I did absolutely learn about my own co-dependence as a result of learning about my ex’s narcissism, so that’s good at least.  Of course, the brutal manner in which my narcissistic ex departed didn’t help things.  Regardless, I have went out with many different women, determining almost immediately (sadly, within seconds in some cases) with each one whether there was any chance of something meaningful.  That I met so many and walked away from so many again caused me to question whether any of it was under my control.  What I mean by that is, there seemed to be so many possibilities… until we met in person, at which time I would realize what I thought I was seeing wasn’t really what I was seeing. I had no control in equating the cyber-world to the real world and how that would turn out.

BA8405DF-076E-4A9F-93C7-6AC709C8CDDF

There were a few that I went out with several times, but the fire that I was hoping for, that feeling, it just never materialized.  Suddenly, my now ex-girlfriend came into the picture, and I mean that figuratively.  I can still remember seeing her approaching for the first time, begging “please, please, please, let that be my date”.  Things took off quickly and lasted several months.  With that said, while we experienced a lot of different things, enjoyed each other’s company, and made a lot of memories, that magical “feeling” that I had been searching for still was not there, but it was closer than it had been for a couple of years.  If you have read my last few posts, you will be familiar with the fact that my girlfriend and I had an “incident” in mid-December 2017, and I haven’t heard a word from her since then.  That is, other than a piece of snail-mail asking me to send her coat back to her, which I did and, no, there has been no acknowledgement that she ever received it or the letter that I sent along with it.  Again, I had NO control whatsoever in something that appeared to be going fairly well.  This was sudden and unexpected.  NO control.

Since the breakup, I have been out with 4 different women.  Again, no special feeling and nothing that I wish to pursue.  Worse than that, it is almost as if the prospects are drying up, i.e. there aren’t even any that I consider to be attractive opportunities.  Yes, there was one that I found particularly appealing and we had done the emailing, the texting, even the phone calls.  All that was left was to meet and schedules were being looked at.  I haven’t heard from her in 2 days now.  Again, NO control.

D4C20924-B447-44B8-8CEE-EDC2D1703AD7

With the literally billions of single women in the world, you have to ask yourself, how can things be this barren?  Is it that I am not supposed to be with anyone?  Yes, I have and continue to have that thought over and over.  Unlike shortly after the departure of my narcissistic ex, I am no longer despondent when alone, although it certainly isn’t my first choice either, to be alone.  But that the possibilities have become so seemingly non-existent begs the question, are my circumstances being dictated for me, and for a purpose?

I do believe in God, and I do believe He want’s what’s best for me.  Maybe He is tired of watching me make the same stupid mistakes over and over and is pulling back on the reins a little bit, as if to say “you can’t seem to get this right no matter how I have tried to help you, so I am going to help you a little more”.  Now THAT would be the ultimate experience of having NO control, and that is essentially how I am feeling right now.  It is quite possible that I have been moving at such a rapid pace that I am not seeing what I need to see and not learning what I am really supposed to learn.  Instead, I am soothing my ego, nursing my loneliness, and simply staying busy to avoid having to confront the things that I need to change about myself.

98DFA51D-93C8-49F2-98CD-2E537BAB09F8

No control.  I am certainly feeling it right now.  Despite that, I do still have complete confidence that the “right” person for me is out there somewhere and it is only a matter of time before I come across them (or they come across me).  I would prefer a divine intervention rather than my forcing of the issue to find someone.  The chances of the relationship surviving would certainly be better than my repeatedly failing approach.  No matter, it is still incredibly difficult to give up any level of control (even knowing that I really have none).  I need to admit that my sense of control has borne no fruit, that I really have nothing to show for it other than a divorce followed by a pile of dinner receipts and some historical photos.

Control is defined as “determine the behavior or supervise the running of” and also as the “power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events”.  I have definitely failed to “control” many of the events of my own life.  I need to try a new approach.  I will let you know how that turns out.

The Finale of the Avoidant Girlfriend

7866238D-0792-4CE1-9230-1A934C21E66F

Well, I believe the final nail has been placed in the coffin.  It has been a bit of a disturbing week, surprising, yet not surprising.

Four weeks ago, my girlfriend of 6 months suddenly decided to stop communicating with me after “we” experienced an issue in our relationship, one that was created by both of us during an evening that started out extremely fun, but that also entailed too much alcohol for both of us.  No, there was no physical altercation or sexual misconduct.  It was just a stupid thing that shouldn’t have occurred.

Upon sobering up, I immediately apologized (via email with a text backing up the email as face-to-face communication was not appropriate at the time).  It was an extremely sincere and heartfelt apology taking responsibility for the event (even though it was not all mine to take).  I made up my mind at that point that I would not reach out any further, that the ball was in her court.  I honesty did not expect to hear anything, and for four weeks I didn’t.  One day this week however…

2EA29CDD-F4E5-4264-85F1-BCB39EE8DB45Let me preface what happens next with the fact that my GF had mistakenly left a coat at my house.  I knew it was here, but I wasn’t sure that she did.  Regardless, I figured I would use it as a conduit to communication if I needed to.  In addition to telling myself that I wouldn’t reach out to her, I also semi-convinced myself that, no matter what, I was not going to allow her back into my life.  I have had too many recent experiences where I allowed my recovering and improving co-dependent self to reenter into relationships that I should not have resumed.  I had myself 99% convinced that this was over no matter what she did.

With that said, sometime last week, I decided to write a letter that essentially memorialized all of the things that I did actually like about her and our relationship. The letter was more for my own satisfaction than anything else, and it contained a partial list of the things we had done, the experiences that we had lived, the places we had been too, etc.  It was only a partial list because we had done so many things in such a short period of time that I likely couldn’t even remember all that we had done.  It was therapeutic for me in that there were some really enjoyable experiences and, right up until the end, things had been quite fun and entertaining.  While typing the letter up, the fact that my GF had an avoidant personality was always in the back of my head, reminding me of how hard I had to work (and it did seem like work quite often) to keep her engaged and to observe any closeness and positivity from her.  I’ll come back to this letter in a moment…

8BC4B6BD-7E25-4DE9-8A1E-6DAC59A55DAC

It had been four weeks with no contact whatsoever (and yes, I was pretty proud of myself).  No texts or phone calls or engagement of any kind.  One day this week, I retrieved my mail from the mailbox, finding the typical three or four envelopes.  It appeared to be normal junk mail, with one of them having a hand written address with no return address like they do nowadays to fool you into thinking it isn’t junk mail.  I nearly threw it away, but for some reason decided to open it.  The first thing I noticed was a $10 bill and then a short handwritten note on a cut piece of stationary that said “John, please return my coat.  Mary” (and I inserted fake names there).  It also had one of those address sticky’s with her name and address on it affixed to the note.  Seriously?

9BAEF046-9EA3-42DF-AAF4-967D8492B8CE

I was pissed!!!  First of all, does she really think that I don’t know her name and address.  Honestly, I have sent flowers to her address at least 10 times in that 6 months we were together.  I have been to her house over and over.  I couldn’t help but wonder what the significance the sticking of an address label on the INSIDE of the envelope was supposed to signify.  There was NO discussion or acceptance of my apology, there was no apology on her part, and it was as if I was receiving a bill or a late notice telling me to send something to a business.  I wasn’t surprised, but yet I was.  I expected to be asked for the coat, but I figured it would be in a few more weeks or even months via text or phone call, not via regular mail.  I guess I apparently don’t rate any type of regular communication, that I don’t even garner that much value or sentiment.

At first, I wasn’t going to do anything with the coat and was just going to ignore the whole thing.  After further consideration, I decided that I really didn’t want the coat here and also had a couple of other things of hers that she had either forgotten about or was going to wait until later to re-engage me about, giving her an excuse to reach out to me later, which I am almost certain she would do.  So I boxed all of her things up and took them to the post office yesterday.  She will receive them next Tuesday.

60D9B6EF-E3ED-4B71-B4DD-725215795C4D

Here’s the thing – I also included a copy of the letter.  My reasoning is that, even with her avoidant attachment style, she seemed very sentimental.  She had kept things that I had forgotten about and she would show them to me occasionally.  I am not even sure how many momento’s she has retained.  She may not even read the letter when she opens the box, but eventually she will.  While I don’t want her back, I want her to remember all the things that we did and that I DO have feelings for her (“did” have feelings by the time she gets around to responding, if ever) and that she really allowed something to slip through her fingers.  Her angry need for independence and isolation due to this event, which occurred after she had started to open up and allow herself to get just a little close (based on her avoidance of intimacy), cost her a pretty good relationship.

No matter what, I know that she did have feelings for me despite her attachment style.  If nothing else, maybe she can fondly look back at some point and think things weren’t so bad, that we did have some good times (because we certainly did).  Maybe I am just experimenting, I don’t know.  Regardless, I don’t want her back and feel that with my learnings over the last few years, that I am getting my co-dependence firmly under control and have made vast improvements in my anxious attachment style.  All because I had been married to a narcissist for 5 years, a narcissist that brutally left me, causing me to evaluate what was happening in my life and to improve myself.

BD5FBEC8-4BB7-41BD-B210-D127A7B46A83

I know myself a lot better now.  While I am not necessarily happy about what has happened, I am better equipped to deal with it.  At this point, I am certainly curious about what will happen next week when she gets the package.  I highly suspect nothing will occur, and that come spring, she will begin to reminisce and long for what she had.  That is when the real test will come.  I must stand firm, and fight the urge to remove the nail from the coffin.  I am confident.

Moving On. Again.

220539E1-F2FF-43BD-8019-E865B090D883

In the world of relationships, I find myself here again, and maybe it’s a good thing.  Nope, it’s not necessarily where I want to be, but it appears to be where I am supposed to be.

The real question at this point is, what do I do differently so the result isn’t the same?  The answer to that question needs to be my focus and is something that I need to take seriously.  This is the third serious relationship that I have had in the last few years that has ended.  As recently posed to me by a fellow blogger Zombiedrew2, I need to look at these not as failures, but rather as relationships that have run their course.  I like that, although I am really hopeful that one day I can find one where the course lasts a little longer.

In trying to move on from my recent girlfriend breakup, I listed out the positives and the negatives associated with the relationship, including her personal attributes.  Whether it was me just wanting to find fault or whether it was an accurate listing, a quick review indicates the relationship was doomed to failure as there were a LOT more things in the negative column than in the positive column.

The results of that list caused me to do a little more research on relationships and I did come across something that I found extremely interesting and something that is apparently a particular problem for me.  The subject that I came across is called the “attraction rating scale” (different names in different places – this was just one).  This scale tends to explain how important various features of our mate, companion, spouse, etc. measure up.  It looks at things like physical attractiveness, personality, intellect, character, and a few other attributes that factor into our selections.

05BC3D21-B744-4136-9CB8-28BB1F720557

Not surprisingly, I have consistently been drawn to women that are over-the-top beautiful or physically attractive.  Yes, I believe I am a fairly attractive man, I’m in good physical shape, I have a full head of hair, blah blah blah, but I tend to reach well above my means even knowing that I am far from perfect.  That’s where I run into a snag, and where the results of my relationships seem to make sense.  If a beautiful woman has ALL of the attributes that the ideal man desires, then why would she still be available?  I have already indicated that I am not the perfect physical specimen, so why would the perfect or near perfect female specimen want to be with me?

The answer is because other than physical beauty, the women I am choosing tend to rate low in those other areas of desirability.  For the most part, they have tended to have character flaws that my desire to ignore, that my attempts to gloss over by providing undying love to them, can only cover up for so long.  I am so busy looking AT THEM that I fail to look IN THEM.  Only after some period of time do those other attributes begin negatively impacting the relationship.

12274EA8-58B6-4FD1-BFD7-349B7473E1B0

Everything is new and fun and exciting in the beginning.  A lot of imperfections can be overlooked or simply ignored in the beginning.  There are too many distractions, fun and exciting things to keep one from focusing on any potential issues.  But over time, the newness wears off and the underlying, permanent, unchangeable traits start to rise to the top.  This can result in the woman realizing that she can do better physically than what she has in me.  When the fun starts wearing off, her underlying emotional baggage pushes it’s way to the surface, causing her to see things in me that she has seen in her previous failed relationships.  The downhill slide begins.

Something else that can occur is I begin to feel ripped off, that I am putting far more effort into the relationship than she is, just so I can be seen with someone who causes others to go “wow, look at that lucky guy?”, or “what is she doing with that?”.  Even with my preoccupation with physical beauty, things seem to eventually head toward that place seen on posters depicting or having a photograph of a beautiful woman with the caption at the bottom that says “Somewhere, someone is sick and tired of taking her shxx”.  Honestly, I don’t get to that point very often, at least not consciously, but I can see how it would impact the relationship.

ABFE2F45-8236-4532-9B3D-7A0C089AAEA7

The bottom line is that I am consistently putting physical beauty at the top of my priorities, with the ultimate result of the relationship being just as consistent.  I have to figure out how to stop doing that.  Just considering it makes me cringe as I simply don’t know any other way at this point.  It is something that I have always done and thinking about not being with a beautiful woman makes me not want to even try.  Yes, that is vanity and selfishness at it’s best right there, maybe even a little bit of narcissism mixed in.  Of course, it is possible that maybe, just once, I might get lucky, hit the jackpot and find a beautiful woman who does have all of the other positive qualities without the baggage.  It could happen.

No matter what, I need to do something differently.  This moving on thing is getting old, and so am I.  That doesn’t help my chances.

If Patience is a Virtue, What is the Lack of Patience?

D814672D-E774-4C42-8D49-057769C835BC

What a trying and reflective week or so that I have had.  With the recent, sudden, and unexpected departure of my girlfriend of nearly 6 months (departure followed by complete ghosting, which I never would have expected), I have been forced to take yet another look at myself, who I am, and what I am doing.  My fairly new found knowledge following the departure of my narcissistic ex-wife 3 years ago, including my issues with co-dependence and my ongoing fixes, is paying dividends.

Having been quite busy over the last 6 months, the sudden reversal in activity is quite noticeable, and quite deafening.  That I didn’t expect to be in this place again so soon just adds a little something extra to it.  Luckily (maybe gratefully), having learned so much about human behavior, narcissism, and co-dependence in the last couple of years, I am much better able to process what is happening, recognize what my emotions want me to do versus what I should do, and essentially not overreact.

So far, I have not reached out to her and in fact, I haven’t really had any desire to.  Rather than freak out and force some kind of communication, any kind of communication, I have been able to reason that her reaction to an event resulting in her ghosting is simply wrong and tells me a lot about her.   Sadly, it simply confirms some suspicions that I had for several months, and puts an end to something that I probably should have terminated on my own.  With that said, we did have a lot of fun over the summer and it certainly helped to move me along, to help me to get to where I am now.

46292D8A-E038-4496-A89F-E5DF3AB48389

That tomorrow is going to be the start of a new year is not lost on me.  It leads to all the normal banter about starting anew, having another chance, and all that other crap.  I get it and, yes, I am certainly going to continue to move forward (with the occasional step or two back), but I would prefer that stuff like this stop happening for a while.  I can’t help but wonder what the ex-girlfriend is doing tonight.  Clearly, I am doing nothing but writing a blog post.  I don’t think she is doing the same.  At this point it doesn’t matter and I am not going to ask, but thoughts like that are something I would rather not deal with or be forced to suppress.

Something that I am doing that I do need to deal with better is attempting to move on too quickly.  In the last few days, I have revisited my good old friend called online dating, and it is causing more stress than it is relieving.  I suppose it is a multi-faceted corrective approach, trying to prove I am desirable and also eliminate the quiet and loneliness all at the same time.  I have already been on one date (which went well) and have another different date scheduled for tomorrow.  That I didn’t expect to be doing this at all and then to be doing it with such alarming quickness is something I need to evaluate a bit more.

Patience Is A Virtue Quote Be Patient Quotes Like Success

That brings me to the subject of patience.  While I am much better at controlling my emotions and not panicking or overreacting, I am clearly still reacting in a not so positive way.  While dating isn’t necessarily bad, my reasons certainly are not the best.  That my thinking isn’t yet very clear, that I am still questioning what has happened, and that I am still trying to recover from the loss, dating is a selfish thing for me to be doing.  Yes, there’s part of me that has the thought that just maybe I will fall into the “right” person given the circumstances, but after this long, I have concluded that is a long shot and not likely to happen.

I have proven to myself that I am worthwhile to others just based on the interactions I have had this week.  The real dilemma is this – why can’t I accept that I am worthwhile, i.e. why can’t I seem to accept that I have value?  Why do I need those outside of me to prove that, to validate that I have desirable attributes and qualities.  Clearly, rather than be alone with myself and figure that out, it is easier (is it really?) to engage in busyness and distract myself by seeing what kind of attention I can get.

Being off work all week has only made the silence and lack of activities that much more obvious.  That it is 5 degrees Farenheit outside (has been and is continuing to be) has also played a role.  But more than anything, being rejected once again has left me feeling a bit needy and has set me back a few months.  At least now, I am able to recognize that and deal with it to a certain extent without engaging in trying to determine WHY this is happening and how to undo it.

8E11E832-7D57-481A-A986-FB4CCF26412F

The bottom line is that I am alone again and I have accepted that.  I don’t like it, but I also am at least aware that I didn’t deserve what my ex-GF has done and I am refusing to engage her.  That is a major accomplishment.  Now, I need to refocus on being patient and knowing there are better times ahead.  I have learned a lot, and clearly I have more to learn.

Here’s to 2018 being better, and to learning more.  Oh, and maybe, just maybe, to finding the right person, at the right time, leading to the right outcome.

Another Disorder! Is Anyone “Normal”?

0FA33D8F-69DE-43EE-B959-27DD4CFB5FCD

Well, I am surprised, but I’m not surprised.  While trying to understand the quick, recent, and apparently final departure of my girlfriend of just shy of 6 months, I came across some interesting data that explains many things.  At the same time, it makes me wonder 1) If I will ever find anyone, and 2) If I will be with them a year or more later.  Let me explain…

Having gone through a painful divorce from my narcissistic ex-wife almost 3 years ago, I learned a lot about narcissism.  I didn’t even know such a thing existed until she left for the fourth and final time.  It also allowed me to determine that I displayed co-dependent tendencies.  As a result, I have worked on eliminating the co-dependency issues from my life over the last couple of years.  I thought I had figured out what I needed to know to move on and be successful.  Not so much.

 

My girlfriends unexpected “ghosting” a little over a week ago caused me to do some more research, as things just didn’t seem to add up.  The internet is an amazing thing, and I came across something that I do NOT recall seeing during all of my research on narcissism (and I did a LOT).  Apparently we all have an “attachment style” with the main 3 being (and I am summarizing – there’s lots of data available by searching):

  1. Secure – This is the most desirable style where all is pretty much good
  2. Anxious – This isn’t so good and can be seen as needy or clingy, desperately seeking intimacy and needing validation from a partner
  3. Avoidant – This isn’t so good either and is seen as being independent and not really needing anyone.  In fact, the avoidant fears intimacy and will do almost anything to escape it

B9BCACB3-A353-4EFA-B41D-3E008275127E

Being a recovering co-dependent, I recognized my underlying style as “anxious”, although with the work I have done to curb my co-dependency, I am sliding into the secure style.  I proved this to myself during the recent breakup by sincerely apologizing to my girlfriend once, and then not calling or texting again.  It has been 10 days.  There’s been no pleading, no begging, no “just one more chance”.  I feel a bit helpless, but I know its the right thing to do (or not do in this case).

Here’s the thing – Once I started researching the Avoidant style, I determined that it fit almost all of the attributes of my girlfriend.  Some of the attributes include:

  • Refusal or inability to acknowledge your feelings
  • Secrecy
  • Emotional stinginess
  • Constant emotional highs and lows

A18BDE43-61C8-4017-8030-C75AC3C264DB

I have been keeping a journal ever since the crap with my narcissistic ex began several years ago, and I have kept one while dating this woman too.  It is fraught with confusion and questions.  First off, she never acknowledged or indicated that she loved me and, in fact, never even acknowledged that she even really liked me.  Yes, most of the time she acted like she did, but she essentially refused to communicate it.  She clearly knew how I felt about her as I would tell her how I felt, how she looked, what I loved about her, but she would just look at me.  Hmmm…

 

432D3B12-425F-4FD8-9AA9-B65D7D9EDC53

In hindsight, I knew little about her.  Yes, I met all of her family (father, sisters, brother, her kids, friends, etc.), but I knew little about her past, other than her hatred and contempt for her ex-husband.  She simply didn’t say much, and pressing her for data would be met with either silence, changing the subject, or an indication she didn’t want to talk about it.  I figured eventually she would talk about it.  Knowing what I know now, probably not.

We already talked about her inability to share her feelings and thoughts.  It goes further.  She would never compliment me, whether it was on how I looked, something I had done, some little success that I had that I shared.  Actually, once in a awhile she would give me a tidbit, but you could tell it was hard for her to do.  On top of that, I used to massage her and rub her and touch her all the time.  I always wondered why she didn’t return the favor (and we are talking months and that I was touching her constantly).  Now, knowing they cannot be intimate as it challenges their independence and their need to not let anyone get too close, I can understand.  Touching someone in that way is a sign of intimacy.  Strangely, she loved for me to do that to her, but there was never any reciprocation.

I am sad and almost embarrassed to say that I simply got used to the emotional highs and lows.  I never quite knew who I was going to get on a given day.  She would sometimes go on a rant about some subject that I had broached (God for example), and I would just sit there wondering what just happened.  A few minutes later, it was as if it never happened.

1F9BD51C-751F-44EF-8189-0E886B3D3F76

Sadly, most of the data on attachment styles say that a relationship with an avoidant is not likely to survive more than a few months as they start to feel things getting too close and simply jump ship.  Research also indicates a good majority of potential online dates are avoidant, as “secure” types are already in good relationships, and that avoidant’s simply continue the “find and dump” process, resulting in them repeatedly ending up in the dating pool.  Isn’t that great news?

Right now, I am at a loss.  I do not really know what to do differently.  The silence in my life (once again) is deafening.  No, I am not as needy as I used to be and I am able to control my urges to engage when I know that I shouldn’t.  No matter, being with someone for 6 months pretty much non-stop only to have them disappear due to a mutual mistake that we both made is hard to understand and even harder to overcome. Sadly, I now know that this relationship was destined for doom before it even started.  Even sadder is knowing my now ex-girlfriend is likely to repeat this over and over as I do care for her a great deal.  I miss her and I certainly didn’t see this coming.

F3E8C9B7-7673-4508-9C33-297414B88D5A

I think I am going to stop researching things now.  It gives all the indications that my chances for success in a relationship are getting smaller and smaller.  Yes, I still believe there is someone out there, and I am also getting smarter about recognizing what may and what may not work, but I really wish it wasn’t this hard.  Stupid disorders.