Singledom! (Massive post)

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Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby Tarantula » Tue May 11, 2010 9:04 pm

Hi everyone

I've been on this site since about the age of 15, firstly as Phoenix, then The Jammy Witch and now B_C. I changed the last time because a family member found me as TJW and started causing problems. Anyway.

Almost all of my problem posts have been about one of two things: my past (sexual abuse etc etc you know it) or relationships... Or I suppose both.

Many a time, at least one of you have suggested or implied that I simply stay single for a while, clear my head, re evaluate my standards etc. Well, finally, at 19, that time is now.

I'm on an exciting, horrifying and sometimes depressing journey of self discovery that started with my singlification a couple of months back. In that time I've gone on a couple of dates with one guy, but it didn't work out (which is probably for the best). I've also, for the first time in my life, had nsa sex with a guy I met in a club, twice. Then he blew me off with some excuse or other, but it's okay because I saw it comin' and totally get the underlying reasons for it; pre-empted the whole way. I didn't want a relationship, he didn't want a relationship, he's going travelling soon, I'm going to uni soon. The way I saw it, we were only going to be in eachother's life for a few more weeks, so self-preservation can take a hike. I came away with the massive ego boost of knowing I'm capable of attracting someone like that (he's very desirable indeed), and also the power rush of feeling in control of my sexuality, rather than a victim of my emotions. Let it be known that if I had been going for a real relationship with this person, I'd have waited it out. That's elementary! But as I say, it was a one-off and I don't regret it one bit; it's compelled me to truly assess where my bar is at.

I'm currently sitting my final exams at college. I'm fairly sure where I'll be going for university. In between, I will have the entire summer with no real plans.

Well I say no plans, what I mean is, I'm going to use that time to work on my 'inner game' as much as possible to avoid atrocities such as my previous relationships - most if not all of them - happening again. Like many women, I've simply re-lived through the same relationship time and time again, just with different people (of the same 'type'). Why is this? There is clearly something about my behaviour/some subliminal message that permeates my presence and attracts the same kind of male who's bound to let me down, because I've already inadvertently assured that that will be the case. Obviously this is a result of my severely dysfunctional upbringing.

Can anyone relate to what I'm saying here?

I bought a book the other day, and I wholly reccommend it: 'Women Who Love Too Much' by Robin Norwood. She teaches that women re-create the relationship that they had with their FATHER in their adult relationships with men. It makes sense to me! My father was (aside from a paedophile) a neglegent, emotionally unavailable parent who did not deserve to be my parent. My former boyfriends have always been, in some way or other, emotionally unavailable due to their own issues, and none of them ever really deserved me in the sense that I always did much more for the relationship than them - I always tried to fix things, make it better, conquer the inevitable - just like I always tried to get my dad to love me the way that fathers are MEANT to.

So by this stage I realise that I have been given massive amounts of faulty programming and information on how to relate. My views on what a relationship should be like are on some fundamental level, severely distorted. I don't think, looking back, that I've ever been in love. I just think I've been in NEED. I expect that need is a part of love, but really, I've just been obsessed. Sometimes when I've posted on here with the latest that some boyfriend or other has done and the absolute audacity of it, people have responded on the anti, telling me that I'm basically overreacting/that it's aaaaaaall screwed up! They were probably right. I'm never myself in relationships. As time goes on, I turn into this hideously critical and merciless control freak. All I want to do is fix it, not being able to know when to walk away. But what I end up doing is making him feel more inadequate than ever, and then at the worst times, I don't sleep or eat and I get quite depressed. Why can't they just be what I want them to be? I think to myself. I think, it's so simple. All I want them to do is.... (Insert list of, actually, very reasonable expectations, but I never realise at the time, that even if they DID magically overnight change for me [which is impossible], I'd lose interest!)

What a concept THAT is: that even if a boyfriend gave me what I require, I wouldn't be able to receive it because it's not what I expect or am used to. I'm used to 'love' equalling pain, as that's most of what I've got from either parent. Love, to me, is a struggle. A real, hardcore effort. A longterm investment that never pays off. Yet, I never could let go of the hope that someday it might. This is the mentality that keeps women in abusive relationships, and whilst I've never been abused by a boyfriend before, I have the same mindset to accept it, just to a far lesser degree - luckily. But you know, when you get posts from women who say that their partners batter them or whatever, and they can't just leave - I GET it! I understand! Although, I really would draw the line at that myself, however issued I may be.

I need to adjust the bits of my behaviour that mean that I continuously repeat the cycle, and I suppose one of the purposes of this post is to ask for your insight on how I may go about doing that.

My last exam is the 21st May, and on the 24th May, I'm going into therapy. All arranged already. I'm going to do everything that I can to help myself: counselling, daily affirmations, raiding the self help section of Waterstones, yoga, volunteering in an Oxfam bookshop.... You name it, I'm doing it. You see, the book has convinced me that I have an addiction. She equates women like me to those with a real substance abuse problem - just that our addiction is to a person/type of person rather than a substance. I am relationally addictive. I need to be with someone to feel okay. I don't like admitting it, but I must. And I bet that I'm far from the only one on this site who would also benefit from such a revelation.

I have needed a boyfriend since 13 to use as an escape route from the mental torture that my father in particular was putting me through. And even when the abuse stopped, the need did not. I typically undercut myself so much when choosing a partner, because I feel that a partner on my level would surely leave/cheat on me/abandon me in some way, like my parents both did. So I go for someone far less attractive and far less of a self-actualised person than I am, because that way I know that they'll never leave me. But, the price I pay for that security is endless disappointment. I set myself up for it. I also, deep down, don't feel like I deserve to be happy. My parents never, ever put my needs first, so how can I? It's tough.

Does anyone else on here struggle to stay single? Does anyone else hate being alone because if you're left to your own devices for too long, with no one to 'fix', you'll get depressed as the real underlying issues emerge? Does anyone else need, more than they love, their partners?

Now that I've written this much, I'm seriously thinking about simply updating this post throughout my summer of self-awareness, as part of my recovery effort. I don't suggest that I'll be free from my addiction in three months, but it's a start and I'll take every lead I can - and if that means boring y'all senseless with the latest insights then I guess I'll do that too! :oops:

Some people get really depressed because they can't find anyone to be with. I get depressed because I can't find happiness in myself without the validation of being in a relationship.
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby rufio89 » Tue May 11, 2010 11:22 pm

Im gonna admit I didnt read your whole post (because Im sleepy and its very long)

but I thought I'd put on here:

I find it really hard to stay single. Ive not been single for more than 4 months since I was 14, I've not been properly single for more than a couple of weeks for 3 1/2 years. I split up with my ex (the long term one I posted about a lot on here), and within days I met some random guy to feed my attention on. The next weekend I went on a date with a different guy. I think in the 6 weeks after I split up with him, I went out with probably 5 different guys, and I settled on one about 2 months after we split up.

I get far too emotionally involved with people. I go on one date and feel like Im falling in love, they say something I dont like, and Im not interested anymore, or I get too clingy and they get bored. I have no doubt that I am damaged and this is unhealthy, but I think hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I've come to this realisation since I've been with my current boyfriend. This is the first boyfriend I've ever had that fits ANY of the criteria I'm looking for in a boyfriend, and he seems to fit nearly all of it, and I already find myself pushing him away because he's sort of too perfect? Im finding the more loving he is towards me, the more I get distant and push him away, and eventually he'll get a bit withdrawn and thats when I get super-affectionate. I know I need to sort this out, to the point where I have considered breaking up with him JUST so I can be single.

But I dont think I am ready to be single yet, I think depsite my best intentions now, I get very lonely and bored without a boyfriend, and I think if I split up with him, Id go straight on to the next one.

I know Im rambling now, but my point was: you;re not alone.
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby Bel Bel » Wed May 12, 2010 12:23 pm

Your post, as usual, is so well written and you already know what you have to try to do to help yourself
You have put all actions in place that you can from conseeling to volunteering. I am not sure what anyone else would be able to add to your comprehensive list
I think you should keep updating your "diary" of self and try to stick to the plan you have and hopefully that coupled with the conselling will provide you with some break throughs
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby Tarantula » Wed May 12, 2010 12:55 pm

Thanks Bel Bel! And thankyou Rufio also for your story, do I relate or DO I relate?? Learning to not be attracted to failing relationships is one thing, but I also need to learn how to simply accept a healthy one without getting bored or distant or weird - and I'm really worried about that. It's like, if the right hand don't get you... and all that.

I guess this isn't so much of an active problem as a stale, ongoing one. And I think I shall update on here as and when! I mean I realise that people probably won't have the time to read etc etc; it's mostly for my venting benefit.

Right I'm off to Waterstones. 8)
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby rufio89 » Wed May 12, 2010 1:52 pm

Im reading a book at the moment called 'The Happiness Trap'. Im not usually a fan of the self-helpy sort of books, but Im finding it useful in generally sorting out my head a bit. I would recommend it.
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby RagDoll » Wed May 12, 2010 1:54 pm

I would just like to add something here as food for thought:

My Dad is a wonderful man - as far as I am aware he's been nothing but a good husband to my Mum, and I know he's been a great Dad. He's a kind and gentle man and I think the World of him. Anyway, before you puke, my point is this... despite all of that, I've had many disfunctional relationships in the past, none of which can be related in any shape or form back to the relationship I have with my Dad.

I am not questioning your reasoning btw B_C, just pointing out that that rationale cannot be universally applied. I've been out with people that were pretty much the opposite of my Dad - dishonest, sly, nasty etc. and repeated that pattern over and over. I think how we are is sometimes nothing to do with an external forces, but simply something to do with how we are as people, at that time in our lives. We learn as we go along, that's a fact of life. You don't necessarily do things because on some subconcious level you've been taught that that's right by your parents. People make mistakes because of who THEY are.
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby snail » Wed May 12, 2010 6:07 pm

Feel free to vent as much as you want, BC :D (but keep the language clean :wink: ).

I'll just say a couple of things: firstly, don't get too caught up with the intellectual side - working out that you're this, or you're that, or you're the other - damaged, addicted, controlling, or whatever. Listen to your heart (or your gut if you prefer that term - it's all the same thing) not your head. Just keep asking yourself "What do I want? What do I need? Is this right for me?". The answers to those questions will get you further than any intellectual analysis, and keep you safer too.

Secondly, go easy on yourself! You're only 19, you don't have to have all the answers - you have the next 60 years to do that 8)
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby Tarantula » Wed May 12, 2010 9:26 pm

Thanks for your replies! I will sniff out the Happiness Trap, after devouring my most recent investment: The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck.

Ragdoll, I totally acknowledge your point of view. I probably should point out that the other parent plays a part too - obviously - and that I personally reckon around 80% of everyone's personal poop can be traced back to their upbringing. But that still leaves the 20% of idiosyncratic poop gained from our non-parental experience. Oh, and then there's genes too, they play a part. It's all very complicated. My own experience definitely parallels with my relationship experience, though.

I get what you're saying Snail. I'm not going to berate myself and try and unnaturally force myself to change in a way that screams that I don't accept myself the way I currently am. It's a specific area of my behaviour that I'm targeting, rather than my entire being. As for following my heart/emotions... If I did that, I'd still be with my ex, trying to make an unhealthy relationship work. My emotional layout is such that I feel it's okay to be in a one sided relationship, and THAT'S what needs to change.

Yeah I am only 19, which gives me much hope because time is still very much on my side. A lot of people go through their entire lives not understanding themselves or why they keep getting into the same situations; I've been lucky enough to identify my problems now, far before any real bad mojo with marriage or kids gets involved.
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby neonlullaby » Mon May 17, 2010 10:59 pm

you might find the book Families and how to survive them quite interesting- it goes into about how your early relationships with your parents can shape you.

i admire your resolve and determination. therapy won't be easy, some days you might feel it is not worth the effort and hard work but it is worth it good luck xx
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby Tarantula » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:29 pm

Well, a few weeks on, and several interesting developments.

In taking initial steps to tackle my relation addiction, I've started proper counselling, and I must say, it's better than expected. The ones I'd had before were school counsellors, whereas now it's independent, and not government funded.

I've been dating like a demon. A guy I met in a pub when I was doing karaoke a few weeks back took me out for dinner, and I ended up sleeping with him a good few times. It felt great, I was in control; not getting wallowy and self-evaluating about it. I haven't heard from him in a week now, so assume that we've had our moment, and I feel fine about that. I don't think he's bad for doing the vanishing, because I accept full responsibility in knowing that it would probably end up that way if I slept with him straightaway, which I did. I have no regrets.

However, saying that, there does seem to be some emotional hangover from such intimate encounters. I can't quite explain it: the sex IS good, but then when they at some stage simply stop contacting me, even though I knew it was gonna happen, there's something not quite pleasant about it. As I said I have no regrets 'cos it's all an experience, but... I dunno. Maybe I'm just not quite self-actualised enough to be able to sleep with someone more than once and feel nothing about them afterwards. Or maybe women just aren't wired to be able to do that? But then what about porn stars? Perhaps it's just my need issues playing up again, so that on some deep level, I still have that need for security in the 'relationship' even if on every intellectual level, I know it's just sex.

I'm currently seeing two guys. One I met online, and have gone on two dates with. I'm pleased to say that his online profile doesn't do him justice, and he's very.... Normal. Quite hot. We went out for dinner last night and he took care of the bill, but as with before, there was no physical contact. I mean we held hands very briefly. He comes across as a confident manly man, bit of a lad - so I don't know what that's about. I'd like to see him again though.

Then there's the guy I met on Saturday, who I'm going on a first date with tomorrow night. I am so nervous. No one has ever had such an incredible first impression on me, we just 'clicked'. It was like talking to my reflection, I came away feeling like I'd met someone who's going to be important to me. Which is worrying, because I'm going away for uni soon.

I think my policy now is to hold back on sleeping with the guys I date. Just a little. What other girls do is their journey; but for me, I just have greater peace of mind if I don't go for it straightaway, even though a committed relationship is out of the question at this point in my life. I've still got the whole summer, I can afford to be chaste for a little while!

I am so grateful for this summer of self discovery; in the last few months I've dated men of calibres higher than I ever imagined I could possibly attract. My sense of self worth is on steroids, and you know, I think I actually deserve it! What I'm learning through all of this is that I deserve men who are both decent and attractive - I don't need to compromise - and also, equally important, that there are so many such men out there that I don't need to assume that any one in particular is so unique that I must hang on to them. Nah, out with the old and in with the new I say. Some days I just stay in and read my books and watch my dvds and enjoy my own company. That's good too.

I am so nervous about tomorrow's date. I just got a feeling. Definitely gonna hold out with this one!
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby Bel Bel » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:59 am

Glad you have gone for conselling and your starting to feel better
I do think most women get more emotionally involved than a lot of men do, as you say it's just how we are wired
You right not to sleep with guys straight away expecially if you have had self esteem issues as it is very likely just to impact those and make it worse
Generally (but not always) a lot of guys will sleep with a girl the first time but then will not consider her g/f material
As you say yourself you feel a real connection with this latest guy, it would be a shame to let that opportunity go by becasue you can't wait a few weeks for sex
I hope it all goes ok, let us know :D
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby snail » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:41 pm

Whether women are or aren't wired differently to men is a matter of debate, but to be honest dwelling on things like that will only distract you. It's back to intellectualising everything - this is a very tempting thing to do if you're naturally intellectual and also sensitive, because classifying things is often easier than facing your feelings. It's hard to say "When I sleep with men I develop an emotional attachment to them. When they stop calling it hurts". It's much easier to say "When I sleep with men and they don't call I don't like it. It must be because I'm a woman, I'm wired to feel like that". Generalisations about what men or women do or don't do might be useful in some situations, but when you apply them to your own relationships - "He's done that because men are like that" " I feel like that because I'm a woman" all they will do is prevent you from getting to grips with what you really feel.

If you've experienced intimacy with a person, you'll miss them when they leave your life. It doesn't matter what that intimacy was - it could be a conversation, or it could be sex, or anything that creates a deep connection. The act doesn't matter. That's why porn stars don't develop attachments to their co-stars, because there's no intimacy. Likewise, counsellors and similar people develop deep intimacy with their clients, just by talking and sharing things, without ever touching. Most people (in fact almost all) find sexual acts intimate, and most people who engage in them are looking for an intimate moment with another person (if all they wanted was a good orgasm, that could be achieved much more quickly, safely and cheaply on their own, at least these days). So you were looking for intimacy, and you found it, and when it disappears again then there's a loss, that's inevitable. You probably also feel rejected (naturally) and given how your parents treated you, rejection will be an issue for you. None of these things mean you want the man back, just that you're human.

Hope the date went well. Make sure you take care of yourself.
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby Tarantula » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:22 am

Thanks Snail, you've raised some interesting food for... Thought. And feeling!

You're right, it IS easier to compartmentalise my feelings based on gender or any other label, than to just put my hands in the air and say 'they stopped calling, I'm a leetle bit bummed about it'.

The date went superbly. I'd like to see him again.

Although this does make me worry already about, you know, the FUTURE - I'm going to uni, and I'm not taking any 'relationship' with me. So emotional attachment (which to a point has already been formed because he's brilliant) is bad news. But then it's also an experience, so I'm gonna live for today and go with the flow; maybe even stop second guessing my own human nature.

Maybe. :D
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby rufio89 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:37 am

ahh Broken_Chord, you remind me so much of me. If you find a miracle fix for how you feel about the world and how you attach to people, let me know!
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Re: Singledom! (Massive post)

Postby Tarantula » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:08 pm

Oh man. It's been 24 hours since my date, and I've barely stopped thinking about it and him! This is baaaaaad. He text me earlier - we were texting all evening in fact. Just having a normal conversation. He didn't bring up another meeting and niether did I. I'm not going to, I mean he should, he's the bloke, right? I am nothing if not a traditionalist.

I've just been totally blown away, and I'm worried about being too keen, or too boring. He said he rarely dates because he finds most girls boring as people, but that I'm witty and interesting. Aaaah! This means I've set the pace and now have to keep up to it, what do I do, do I put on a grass skirt and do the hula? Go wild? Whut??

I really hope I see him again and he doesn't just go off me.

...... Right, now to get all intellectual about this.

I am single. SINGLE. I shouldn't care! Right? How can I shift the focus back onto me? Ok, I didn't do much today, I stayed in and watched Jeremy Kyle. But still. I don't wanna think about him all the time, because that's how I end up making someone else more important than me.

I'll be quite bummed if he doesn't wan' see me again. I mean he said he did last night, but does that mean he will? Ooooooh and just like that, I'm back into giving power over my feelings away to someone else.

Dammit!
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