Question: Here is my situation.. I was in a 9 year relationship and got divorced in the summer of 2011. We were together from the time I was 17 until I was 26. He put me down a lot and we did not enjoy spending time together and wanted different things, he decided he did not want children, and so I decided it was time to move on. When I made that decision my mother decided that it was all my fault, I am a horrible person and my parents have not spoken to me in a year and a half. In the fall of 2011 I met a person I simply refer to as POS. the first 2 months were fine but then I started to find out things he had lied about. To make a long story short after about 4 months it all ended in a very dramatic week in which I was held hostage in my own home, threatened daily until he was arrested, my house searched, my car seized by the police as he had apparently been taking it on drugs runs and robberies. I found out he was lying about pretty much everything… His name, his past, his job, where he was what he was doing… Was there red flags? Hell yes. Was I am idiot and ignored them because I was depressed and wanted desperately to feel someone loved me? Hell yes.
I now suffer from PTSD and severe anxiety which has made dating difficult to say the least. I have moved across the country to try and get a fresh start. I am fine in a casual dating setting but in the 2 relationships I have attempted to take to a more serious level have ended in disaster. As soon as I begin to develop feelings I also begin with the panic attacks and anxiety. I become extremely needy, clingy, jealous and basically turn into a lunatic. I am aware of it. Aware I am driving them away. But it’s like I can’t control it by that point. I totally lose my confidence and happiness and become consumed with what this person is doing and thinking. I am convinced everything is a lie and they are using me.
I have begun counseling to deal with my issues but I love this website and the no nonsense approach so I wanted to see if there was another interpretation of my behavior and the way I now view relationships and if anyone has been in a similar situation what helped to get through it. I am planning on taking some time off of dating because I do not want to treat another person the way I treated the last person. Thanks for any feedback and advice!!
Well, I’m no therapist but you sound like you can’t be alone and are probably a bit co-dependent. You were divorced in the summer of 2011 and by fall of 2011 you’re already in a new relationship. Of course you ignored the red flags. You wanted the relationship to work because you didn’t want to be on your own.
It’s not enough to go, “Yup, I ignored the red flags.” The more pressing issue is why you ignored them. You knew the guy was a dirt bag but stayed with him anyway. That’s the real problem, not that you somehow got bamboozled by his lies, as you didn’t. That’s bullshit.
As I’ve said before, stable people don’t find themselves being held hostage in their own home by their drug dealer boyfriend. It doesn’t happen that way. Just like women with their shit together or an accurate perception of themselves don’t wind up dating some married man or con artist. Women who find themselves involved with men like this put themselves in those situations in one way or another. Either they place importance on qualities common in these smarmy and shady types or they enjoy the drama and self-victimization. Those results are merely outliers to the deeper issues. That’s just how the issues manifest. That situation, while obviously scarring in some way, isn’t why you get needy and clingy and anxious and drive men away. That behavior has been there all along and is part and parcel in why you get in the unhealthy relationships you get into.
Dating detoxes are swell and all, but they really serve no purpose other than to make you feel like you’re proactively trying to solve the problem. It’s a great thing to say, of course. It sounds like you’re making a healthy and rational decision. People say a lot of things to convince themselves and others that they’re trying to do the right thing. None of that matters. What matters is results. The true test is to take what you learn through therapy and apply it. That’s where the rubber hits the road.
I don’t really buy that you want to hear other people’s experiences. I think you’re more interested in commiserating. That’s typically why people take to the internet and crowd source their problems. They don’t really want answers. They want sympathy and attention. They want validation for how they handles things so they can feel a little less bad about themselves and their behavior. Harsh, I know.
But it’s true.