Dear Miss Dinna –
I’m a 42 year old woman going through a divorce with two pre-teen children. The husband and I have been separated for a couple of years now, I just haven’t been able to actually afford the divorce. The lies and cheating that occurred in the relationship left me pretty messed up but I really want to move on.
I’ve been talking with an old friend for some time now. We used to date years ago, and the recent flirtation has become stronger and stronger. He is a bit of a workaholic and he has a history of a lot of push and pull and commitment issues. Anyway, recently we finally slept together again and then a couple of more times. I felt like we had finally crossed over from flirtation to something more serious….but then he started to pull away again.
He pulled a serious MIA quite recently and when we spoke, he just completely flipped the script on me. Kind of made me feel small, like a desperate stalker, told me I had imagined feelings between us etc. etc. He criticized me, told me he thought about us and realized we could never be, that my circumstances were restricting and almost seemed like viciously angry through the whole conversation. I left the conversation feeling crushed, tiny, disappointed as I never expected this from him – a man I’ve known for so many years and really trusted – and kind of right back to where I started years ago at the beginning of my separation….just totally crushed.
I feel like I am not happy with my job, I am not happy with the quality of my life, and I really was holding a lot of happiness in the potential with this guy and then POOF it’s gone, and I am left looking at the desolation that is my life. I feel truly depressed and lost and I am not sure how to get back up from this one. Any advice or insight would help.
Lonely and Small
Dear Lonely and Small –
Interestingly enough, this is probably the third story such as this that I have heard from clients in the past week….not sure what’s going on the world, but let’s try to unravel this mystery for you.
There are some glaring clues that you have dropped here that I think are important to look at:
1) “he is a bit of a workaholic, history of a lot of push and pull, commitment issues.” This is your quote L&S….so these are things you already knew about him and still chose to move forward with him and hope for something different.
2) “I feel like I am not happy with my job, the quality of my life, was holding a lot of happiness in the potential with this guy….” Again, these are your words L&S, meaning you are quite clear that you were escaping an unhappy reality through the “potential” of what could be with this man, even though (back to #1) you knew there was a very little chance of any potential with this man.
It makes perfect sense that in the dismay of your divorce that you would seek out the comfort of someone who you have known for years, hoping that you could trust him based on the history of your relationship. In the same breath, I do think we often survive or escape our realities (when we are not content with them) through seeking highs, either through drugs, alcohol, sex or the best…..love or crushes.
It’s a distraction, and I know that you see that clearly now. But just like all the other vices, the distraction or the high can only last so long, and the crash into a reality you were trying to escape from is all the more intense.
The loss and pain you experienced from your marriage falling apart is still there L&S and nobody or situation can really take that away. Attaching yourself to a clearly unavailable man lets me know that there was some unconscious secondary gain for you in that: maybe to force yourself to work through the pain of your divorce more, or maybe because some part of you is truly not ready or available for a relationship at this time yourself.
Whatever it may be, and how ever hurtful, this is clearly a time you need to pay attention to your life and not lose yourself in someone else. What would it mean to you to take all the energy and thought you put into this crush and transfer it into taking control and changing your life for the better – one where you feel happy and whole with or with out a partner.
As far as this man’s hurtful words towards you – sounds like a typical (almost teen-age like) response to a fear of becoming close. He sounds, just like you said, unavailable and afraid of commitment. He has aggressively convinced himself of the reasons he can’t be with you (probably because you invoked strong attachment emotions in him that created anxiety for him) and in turn felt a need to aggressively convince you and push you away.
Well… job well done and good riddance I say – because honestly, who has time for that. We are all too grown and too much of a fabulous life ahead to live to hold someone’s hand through learning how to love and trust.
I highly suggest you do NOT take on that project.
Wishing you healing from the toes up!
Ask Miss Dinna a question — any question– regarding relationships, sex and sexuality by emailing her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: “Ask Miss Dinna.” She may answer your question personally or in a future column (your name will be kept anonymous).
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