This is a regular reader but first time writer. She is not from Adelaide, so it’s good to also get a different perspective from a different location. This is a very personal story & I am thankful that readers trust me enough to share with me but also trust me to share with you too. It’s always good for me to hear stories from other readers & also from people in very different places in their dating life than me.
Recovery and Reflection – An Introduction
Break ups hard, everyone has an opinion on your situation and love to tell you them; but here’s the thing, relationships are only really felt by the two that are in them, and even then, I have come to realise that each person’s perspective can be very different. For example, looking back on my marriage, all I remember is feeling scared and being completely owned by him, however if you were to ask him his memory would, and I am guessing, that he worked long and hard hours in mines every day to afford me the freedom to stay home to raise our children, and that I took that for granted. Which I did, to a certain extent, however his idea of how the house and the children were to be kept was very old school. Think 1950’s ideals, as in he was king and the rest of us were privileged to be around him. His mother said many a crazy thing to me, but one was that I should put myself together a bit for when he gets home, a bit of lipstick and everything! I was shocked at the time, but now, as an older woman, I understand that that would have gave him a sense of appreciation and that he wasn’t just a pay check. I wish I knew then what I know now!
I don’t want to claim that I was always a victim, I wasn’t, I thought I was all that when I met my husband, admittedly I was very young and had no idea just how stupid I really was. Shortly after our meeting we were at a social event and someone I grew up with approached me to tell me that she had heard he was very violent and that he had choked a previous girlfriend. I being all that, bounced straight up there and hit with the hard question of whether or not that was true, in his defence he admitted it straight away, making no attempts at hiding the truth. I took this as acknowledgement that he knew it was wrong and wouldn’t do it again, on reflection though what he gave me was a list of excuses on why he did what he did, and I stupidly felt sorry for HIM, and sympathised with HIM, he had just admitted to me readily that he was someone who laid his hands on a woman and I SYMPATHISED WITH HIM! How stupid are 21 years olds? Fair Dinkum!
Anyway, our relationship progressed rather quickly, becoming pregnant unexpectedly followed by an engagement. I was so happy when things were going well, so full of myself, look at me with this handsome man, and he wants me to have his baby and marry him! But then there were the times when they were not great, like, I would be crouched on the floor, crying and scared for my safety. He started by threatening my closest friend, my best mate, being a male, was a major threat in his mind, and he had to get rid of him as soon as he could. He used to threaten to hurt him so bad, and I was filled with guilt that if he got hurt, the blame would rest solely on my shoulders. I did leave a couple of times, before the pregnancy, I made conscious decisions that he wasn’t good for me, but that was the game to him, he would send gift and messages and promise the world and apologise until I once again let my guard down.
The emotional side of living like this took so much out of me, living in a war zone is tough. So now, being 12 years since I walked out of this relationship I am still trying to heal. Yes, you read that correctly, 12 years later. I have only just realised, this last week, upon heavy corona induced reflection that I am now scared to be attracted to the men I am attracted to. He has made me too scared to trust myself in any way with the opposite sex, and I have only just realised! Talk about slow! But yes, I like manly rough and tough men, alpha’s if you will, but the last alpha I was with destroyed me, but then also gave me two gorgeous kids.
Dating after divorce is tough on everyone, we all have the scars after building a life and having shared a dream with someone. I actually decided, at some stage, that a happy marriage shouldn’t be based on love and lust, that it had to be a sensible decision that you make consciously, and I went on to waste years of time with someone that I just really wasn’t into. Yep, what a knob! Everyone will be shocked to learn that this relationship, also ended! I can hear the gasps now! Haha! But I was so desperate to have another baby, and I had passed the horrible 30 year mark and the ticking and the tocking of that damn clock rang loud in my ears. I picked an ok bloke, he was ok, boring and in 5 years I never met a person that he was friends with, yep, he seriously had no friends. There were so many signs that this relationship should have been a one night stand, but me trying to prove to myself that I was a good partner and good wife just hung on in there. We went on to have that baby that I was desperate for, and I did so in a very grown up business like way this time, planned, talked about, full control. That was honestly my main focus though.
So after growing a set, and realising I can not actually live like that I’m back out in the dating world, very different these days, and with a few kids in tow. Living in a small town makes it even worse, plus how do you measure chemistry online? Seriously, good texters are no indication of whether you will like them in real life, there’s a shock! But meeting people organically doesn’t even seem to happen anymore, my life revolves around children and their activities and are generally including all the happily married couples, you know the types, #soblessed! Haha! I went through a bitter stage where the happily married types drove me nuts, and I was always looking for holes in their relationships, nasty I know, I’m glad I have stopped that. I actually am more defensive of marriage now then ever before. I would never want someone I loved to have to go through a divorce like I did. It’s painful and you miss your children and you feel resentful for the broken promises.
That’s how I know now that I still have so much healing to do, my emotional fluctuations, wanting to be a other half to someone, and realising that I cant just live with someone for the sake of it, that would be worse than another volatile relationship, a relationship where I just settled. There has to be some sort of passion involved, to be in the arms of someone you love is the most amazing feeling in the world, even in the middle of a fight I want a strong man who can come and wrap me up in his arms. But in order to get to that place I need to be able to let myself go and get out of my head. Trust myself that if someone shows the signs that my ex husband did that I know enough now to get out of that situation. It’s a funny thing, being savagely independent yet craving the type of relationship where you can trust your partner to take care of you.
So onto Tinder I went, I have had some great experiences, some not so great, but all in all, allot of chances to learn about myself and grow and change. Cause here’s a shock, I contributed to all the dating disasters in my life! I know, I wasn’t expecting that either, I mean, come on, I’m a catch haha!
I had it in my head that Tinder was casual, ok, I only want casual right now, I need an easy relationship with no pressure. I am the queen of pressure, if I’m not under some, I quickly create some… so I started chatting, I’m a talker, it comes easy to me, and my interests are diverse, I can find things in common with just about everyone. But I started referring to myself as casual, trying to convince myself that I could be, and needed to be casual. The day of my first date arrived, my palms were sweating like you would have never seen before, and the guy was travelling to meet me, not a quick trip either, a good 4 hour drive in outback Qld! I know, how trusting was he! I could have been a complete nut case! But I was so lucky, I mean, I met the nicest guy you could ever hope for, he arrived, we had coffee, went out for dinner and of course had sex. I was being casual after all!
Problems quickly arise, in the form that I am not a casual person, in the slightest, I soon fell in love. I’ll be completely honest, the sex was the best I had ever had in my life, and he never made me feel intimated, because he was not someone I would usually go for, in a social situation, I probably wouldn’t have noticed him, but I’m so glad this was my first tinder experience. I needed the gently landing he gave me.
Obviously, this relationship wasn’t to be, but it kept us both hooked for close to a year. I think the sex was just so mind blowing it was hard for either of us to walk away from. Tough lesson that one, it was all in the timing, and I wasn’t ready, either was he, not to mention the distance! But I’ll go into details in future posts, if anyone is interested in reading my story.
Thank you to this reader for sharing her story. I do love reading your stories & hope this reader continues to write for us!