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Worried about repeating patterns.... could use some practical tips

762 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Dragonfly
Here is my pattern: I jump into a relationship with both feet, hit the ground running, don't look back for a few years. It finally ends (usually badly) and then I take some time "off" until I meet the next candidate. Lather, rinse, repeat. I have never simply "dated" someone, or multiple persons at the same time. It has always been nothing but serious from the word "go."

I don't want this again. For a number of reasons -- the first being that I'm still legally married. This would not necessarily preclude my dating.... my STBex is actively dating and he has said that he would be fine with my doing so, as well. It would, however, preclude my getting heavily involved with another person anytime soon... I just wouldn't feel right about it. Which is probably for the best, considering the second reason: I have an ex that I have never let go of (a definite factor in my failed marriage) and don't want to get deeply involved with another person until I work through those "issues". Third, I simply don't have time or energy to dedicate to another serious relationship. Between parenting ds and going to school, there is little free time (and what little there is I need to spend posting here :LOL).

With all of that said, I *would* like to experience male companionship, on occasion. And I think I'm putting out those vibes pretty heavily (though definitely not consciously) because I seem to keep ending up with phone numbers without asking for them. SO, can someone who has actually managed to date either one or multiple persons without getting heavily involved or having it lead to ugliness or hard feelings offer me some practical tips on how to have an enjoyable time but not get sucked into the next roller coaster? I know being direct from the beginning is, of course, essential. But my experience is that even when people profess understanding about the need to maintain some sort of distance, there is still that lingering hope and feelings get hurt. I know I've certainly been on that side of things.....

I guess what I'm wondering is how to handle people's feelings? Or maybe just looking for someone to tell me to just forget about it altogether? Bleah
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Okay. Before I met my dh, I was living with a nice roommate who owned many books. One of her books was JoAnne Loulan's Lesbian Passion. Loulan says, in the book, that many lesbians go right from the first date into a serious relationship. She advised her readers to go on five dates--five dates with no fooling around, with 5 different people, but romantic. I thought, "Hey, I date men and I have this problem, too! Only men don't respond well when I get serious. I'm going to try this." and so I did.

I went on five dates with five different people. It was a lot of fun. I did wind up fooling around with one, but not on the first date (nor I think the second, it was awhile ago!) This was a very fun project: it helped me let go of some fears and relax. I met my dh during this period but did not "date" him: we just decided, through mutual negotiation, to be together.

So that is my tip. I don't know if you really want to date before you are divorced, though. It could be confusing for the people you date. What your STBex-dh is doing is ill-considered, even dangerous. Take a breather for now and just relax!
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I think you have to resolve your relationship issues before you can probably do this.
Harville Hendrix's book (I think, "Getting the Love you Want") says whatever you don't heal from the previous relationship will be what you attract & bring forward to the next one.

If you really truly want "non-commitment" you have to look for guys that really don't want to commit. It could be your still "putting out a vibe" of wanting a certain closeness, so you attract men that are in it for the long haul, or will get their feelings hurt if you don't.

I think if you are really clear in your mind about what you want, you can attract it. There are lots of women out there (probably me in the past, included) that subconsciously chose men that were NOT looking for and not able to commit long term.
Thanks for the responses - and the book recommendations, too! I've been wanting to read Harville Hendrix's book, L.J., but always manage to forget about it.

It's true that I need to get my relationship stuff sorted out before getting involved with anyone. Not a big deal as I can't fathom getting involved - as I said: no time, no energy, and really no desire. I guess what I also don't want, though, is to deny myself an opportunity to get to know someone who might turn out to be a very interesting addition to my (very shallow) pool of friends. The men I've been approached by seem very kind and intelligent (I know them a little from casual interaction at the coffee shop that I frequent). I just honestly don't know how to get to know them in that context without getting involved seriously in the other -- I've never actually done that.

Originally posted by captain optimism

I don't know if you really want to date before you are divorced, though.
Part of me thinks I definitely don't want to date before we are divorced. If nothing else, it's really weird explaining to someone that I'm still legally married..... and I can sort of see how it could be confusing for other people, though I would think an explanation should take care of that. But, really, that would mean three more years without male companionship, and I don't know if I'm willing to go for that. Particularly as I am frequently in a place (at school and above referenced coffee shop) with people of common personality types and interests. I guess I just don't want to close myself off to possibilities (though I also don't want to get seriously involved). It would be one thing if this were a messy, emotional divorce. But our entire marriage has been pretty unattached so it feels as though this is just the natural progression... something we've been working toward for 3.5 years.

My problem is that I just don't know how to go about interacting (perhaps dating) men without jumping in. I don't know the proper words to say that would not hurt their feelings if they were headed in that direction. And I don't know how to stand firm in my resolve - strange, because I don't generally have that problem in other areas of life. Hmmm... guess I need to read the books

What your STBex-dh is doing is ill-considered, even dangerous.
Can you expand more on why you think this, captain O.? It actually rings true for me, mostly because of the way he is going about this (kind of like a dog in heat). Do you think that just the simple fact that he is dating is dangerous?

Thanks again. Guess I'll just settle in for awhile, try to sort through the emotional baggage that's been following me around (oddly enough, there's really none from my marriage
: ). In the meantime, maybe I'll have a t-shirt made that says, "Don't ask me out!"
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Well, I've done a good bit more thinking about this and determined that what I need is to develop friendships - and not with males. I have never been good at making or, once made, maintaining friendships with females and am really feeling that absence. I think perhaps I always have and this is one (not he only one, of course) of the reasons that I've jumped so quickly into relationships in the past.

Anyway, thanks for the input. I'm staying away from dating for a good long while. No need for all of that mess....
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