Sunday Edition #10: My Column in Yellow
So here’s my story. I left an unhappy marriage a couple of years ago and have not been into getting into a relationship again for the most part. I did meet one person who I like quite a bit. We dated and I kept f**king up when “commitment” came up. Twice thus far. Last time I ghosted her and met another woman who I’ve been hanging with since.
The new woman and I tend to argue a lot and I find myself missing the first woman a lot. I’m aware I’ve blown it with her but my mind keeps going back to missing her on a lot of levels. She was a great fit and we were good together I just couldn’t get it together to really commit (obviously). So now I feel like I’m in this other quasi relationship that’s difficult and I’m not that into it. I know I was a dick so part of me is “you made your bed...”. I apologized to the first woman but I’m wondering am I even emotionally available for anything? What should I do? Bail on everything? Suck it up? Try to get back with the woman I miss? Ugh what a mess.
One Man Shit Show
Mr. Shit Show, my gut reaction to all you’ve told me is… you aren’t ready.
Coming out of an unhappy marriage tends to bring along with it a residual fear of getting stuck again in another unhappy commitment. We no longer have an innocent eye and look skeptically at loving arms as they attempt to embrace us. We question intention and lose the ability to distinguish the difference between intuition and fear.
But the clock ticks (both biological and analog) so we force ourselves forward afraid of ending up alone forever. What happens next is what you describe in your letter. Confusion, fear, abandonment, more confusion, and regret sprinkled with a bit more confusion (AKA a shit show).
You ask if you should “suck it up” and I say absolutely not. Don’t stay with this new woman that you aren’t quite connecting with just because you’ve got nothing else better going on. If you do, you are reliving the past of staying in an unhappy situation. Also, you’ve already bailed on the first woman twice. She would be insane to give you a third go round and you’d be insane to try at this point because you haven’t done the work to resolve the cause of the first two ghostings. If you continue as you are, it will only walk you further into the deep end of the shit.
These women have become the collateral damage to your emotional unavailability.
Compatibility isn’t the only factor that determines relationship success. Timing can tear apart a perfectly matched union, so unless you are in the right mental space, you won’t find the happily ever after you are looking for.
What should you do? Give yourself more time to heal. Alone.
You already say getting into a relationship doesn’t interest you... then why are you getting yourself into relationships? I understand loneliness causes us to make rash decisions to fill the empty space around us but you are ultimately causing chaos which is taking valuable time away from doing the self work needed so you can support a healthy relationship in the future.
The hard part is determining when you’re in the right place to try again. Unfortunately, you won’t wake up one morning to the thought, “Wow. I’m ready to be in a relationship.” It does take a little trial and error. For me, I stayed mostly alone for years after my marriage ended with a few attempts at dipping my toe into the dating world. Each time I realized, “Nope. Not ready for this.” and ran to the hills of solitude.
I did break a few hearts on the path to my healing (including my own). Other people’s feelings are involved which makes all of this more challenging. No one wants to hurt others (and if you do, seek help immediately because that is not okay). So you need to do your best to be honest and respectful along the way. Therefore, stop “Ghosting.” If you are incapable of communicating to someone that you are no longer interested or are not in the right place to give them what they deserve, then you shouldn’t be dating.
Ghosting is disrespectful, immature and cruel. It is traumatic to the person left in the silence and can cause them to question their self worth, making them feel disposable and could greatly impact their ability to trust someone with their vulnerability again.
You aren’t racing time plus you seem content alone, so stop forcing yourself into a situation if it isn’t what you want right now. Moving forward as you currently are will bring along more self sabotage and you will suffocate in the shit building up around you. My best advice is to rediscover yourself alone. Solve your fear of commitment and get a better understanding of how you want your next attempt at companionship to be. When you are ready, it will happen easily and you won’t run away.
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My Life in Yellow is not a licensed psychologist or health care professional and the advice within this column does not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a health/medical professional. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.