Depression and dating

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Post by Datelessman on Mon May 06, 2019 11:18 pm

ReploidArmada wrote:I had hoped this would be different. It wasn't different.

Natasha sent me a text tonight that read: "I have been thinking about what I want in life and I right now don't think that you and I are a good match. You are a sweet guy and I know you will find someone incredible Heart." I'm now, once again, out of a relationship - once again, for no adequately explainable reason. At least this one lasted for a full 11 days or so longer than my previous one? */sigh*

Where do I go now? I've had my heart broken twice now in the span of 3 months, if not less. I'm losing hope that I will ever find true love. At this rate, all I'll ever hope to do is bounce back and forth between month long "relationships" that are as fleeting as a one night stand, only with more loss and heartache.

As much as I don't want to always parrot DNL, but he'd probably say that there was an "adequately explainable reason" for the breakup. Natasha just wasn't into you anymore. Not to make light of the situation or deny your emotional pain, but relationships aren't contractual obligations (at least until marriage and even half of those end early). If one side just isn't feeling it anymore, that's enough of a legitimate reason. As much as it hurts, at the very least Natasha (and your last beau) chose to make a clean break with you, rather than "string you along" for months or even years even though they'd emotionally checked out.

Not saying it doesn't hurt or shouldn't hurt. It does, and you need to own it. It's okay if you want to mourn for a bit, cry your eyes out and eat ice scream and watch wrestling, or anime, or whatever your comfort media is. Don't bury it out of a need to "be a man" and maybe don't be in a rush to date again beforehand. Maybe spending 3 months to collect yourself and emotionally heal wouldn't be a bad idea.

The sad fact is most relationships are "fleeting." Whether romantic, friendly, or even with family, most times they're over before you know it. But the quest for true love amid what seem like fleeting opportunities is a noble one, and I don't want you to forget the progress you have made. You went out there and have tried, many times. That alone is more than I, or many others, ever did. You have bucked yourself up more than once and dated again, even after difficulties and heartbreak. Being strong isn't being immune to emotional pain, but by overcoming it. You're building on your successes. And you have learned that you are capable of being attractive to multiple women, and it isn't a fluke.

There're few shortcuts over the quest towards finding "the one," or even something more long term. At least you know you want something long term; for a lot of people, a month or two is about their speed for lovers. The only common denominator is you and there's a place to maybe analyze what you're doing and how you're approaching, and seeing how or what you could do to improve. But the long and short of it is that many relationships are fleeting, and they hurt when they end. Why do you think 75% of all music is about that? I think you're on the right track and am impressed by how you've changed in the last year or so. Feel your feels, mourn the loss, and don't start again until you feel you're ready.
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Post by ReploidArmada on Tue May 07, 2019 3:58 am

I asked Natasha what her thoughts were on, one, what I could do differently for the next woman, and two, what happened between her and I that caused her to break up with me. She reiterated that it was entirely her side that "went wrong," as it were, but that she wasn't sure why she wasn't feeling it anymore - only that she wasn't. I think I believe her on the first part, but not necessarily the second. I didn't notice anything amiss when I was interacting with her, the five times that I was able to see her in person, and she was always interested and happy to be in physical proximity and contact with me... At least, until she broke up with me.

Anyway, regardless of whether I'll be able to get a reason for her breaking up with me, the fact of the matter is that she did. I... I loved her with my whole heart, and now... my heart's been shattered once again. It hurts so much right now, but more than that, I'm beginning to wonder whether it's actually worthwhile to pick up the pieces again, or if I should just leave my heart in pieces forever. I want to be in love... I want to feel loved, and wanted, and sexy... But, if this is all that awaits me down the road, then what should I do?

For the record, I'm reading what you're saying about the progress I've made and the successes I've found, but I don't believe it. My mind *doesn't allow me to.* In my head, I'm just as unlovable, undesirable, and un-somethingelse-able now, at this very moment, as I was during the last several years of my life, where I was only really capable of dating and courtship in my dreams. This breakup is just reinforcing those old feelings of romantic and sexual worthlessness.

Suffice to say... If I have to wait until I "feel (I'm) ready" to continue dating, then I feel like I'll be waiting until the end of my life.

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Post by Enail on Tue May 07, 2019 2:08 pm

I'm sorry you're hurting so much and that you're struggling to hold onto any feeling of the improvements you've made. It sucks, and I hope the pain eases soon.

But a lot of what you're talking about is a problem that you've got to deal with within yourself. You're looking to fall in love, and it doesn't matter with who, or how long you've spent building it with the other person, it doesn't matter what they tell you or what you do together, because you're not looking for a relationship, you're looking for someone to give your life meaning and fix your sense of self-worth. That's not something someone else can give you.

I think the evidence shows that you can be desired and that you'll be able to find other partners in the future, but if you want to really feel lovable and be able to appreciate your successes and progress and to feel okay within yourself, I think that's something that you're only going to be able to feel, solidly feel, in a steady way that you can hold onto in spite of life's up and downs, when you stop clinging to this idea that you know is unhealthy by pinning all your hopes on a relationship that can't really fix what you're looking to it to fix. That doesn't mean you can't date until you reach some kind of state of perfect readiness, but you've got to face yourself, too, not let dating be a distraction from the real issue.
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Post by ReploidArmada on Tue May 07, 2019 9:17 pm

...Okay. But how should I start to change that? How should I start finding meaning and self-worth in myself? I just don't know, Enail. I guess first step would be to focus on myself for a while, but I don't know how - or, even, if - I can start fixing those unhealthy thoughts and mindsets. Maybe I should switch therapists? My current one doesn't seem that interested in getting to the root of the issues I'm dealing with.

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Post by Enail on Tue May 07, 2019 9:28 pm

It seems like you've been frustrated with your current therapist for a while, have you tried talking to him about how he's seeing your big-picture treatment plan and what you want to be working on? You could also look into cognitive behavioural therapy, see if it might have some techniques you can practice on your own to help with thought patterns, if you think your therapist is helpful otherwise.
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Post by ReploidArmada on Wed May 08, 2019 4:13 am

You're right. I have been somewhat frustrated with my therapist for a while. I feel like his therapy style consists less of working with me to diagnose and fix my head and more of getting me to do activities in the hopes that it will fix my head for me. That is something I take umbrage with, as I believe what I need more is help and assistance in reprogramming my mind into moving past those negative thought patterns we all know I deal with, not help with getting out and doing things. The latter used to be a problem for me, but isn't right now.

I haven't brought up what I'd specifically like to work on for a while, but one of two things usually happens during my therapy sessions: Either one, I forget to bring up my overall treatment goals and what I'd like to work on, or two, I don't really get the opportunity to bring it up. I just saw him yesterday, so I won't have another scheduled appointment until next Monday, but I will try to bring this up next time I see him.

In the meantime... I guess I'll be better served just ignoring my desire to find love until I can get out of the idea that love will fix what's broken with me, as much as it literally pains me to do so. But that leaves the question: If love - which is something I've spent well over a decade pining and hoping for - can't change me, then how am I supposed to change myself in its absence?

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Post by ReploidArmada on Fri May 17, 2019 2:21 am

I saw my therapist a few days ago, and during the appointment, I brought up my desire to work on the mental piece of my depression more. Specifically, I brought up that I want to start working through the mental roadblocks I have between me and a healthy relationship, like that I'm putting too much pressure on my dates to basically validate my life.

His response? He started saying that he wants to help with the mental piece, but that I'm "not letting him in" or something like that. He brought up numerous times that he keeps asking me what I think I could do differently, but that I keep saying "I don't know" what I think about it. While he was talking, I felt like my opinions weren't really valued by him, and that he doesn't really care what I feel like I need help with. I specifically mentioned that I need help working through that validation piece, and he seemed to ignore that and, almost, started ranting at me.

Maybe I do need a new therapist...

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Post by ReploidArmada on Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:53 am

A lot's happened since May 16. I have a new job, for starters, which pays me full-time (still at minimum wage, which to be fair in Seattle, where I live, is $15/hr). Unfortunately, I had to lose my low-income health insurance, because the federal limit for such things is based off of the federal minimum wage and poverty lines, not the state ones. I'm now paying an additional $330 or so a month for medical, plus whatever else my therapy appointments will cost - when, of course, the clinic I go to starts accepting private medical. Apparently they will soon, but as of right now, they do not.

I also got back in touch with Natasha, a good two months after the break-up. I told her about my recent inability to find anyone on OLD willing to meet up with me, and in response, she said she missed me. She offered, not to start again from where we were originally, but to start again from the beginning. I said yes. So far I've seen her once since then. I've been trying to find additional times in her schedule where she'd be open to meeting up with me again, but she's been very busy with work and family things lately.

However, I also think I noticed something about my current drive to find a girlfriend / relationship. I feel like, right now, I'm trying in vain to mix the "have fun and fool around" phase people usually go through with the "settle down and find a relationship" phase. The main reason that I'm trying to do so, of course, is that people usually go through the former in their early twenties or earlier. I, however, didn't start dating until one, maybe two years ago? And, I didn't lose my virginity until very recently, all things considered. As someone who has a relatively high sexual appetite, there's only so much I can do "by myself", as it were. I want, nay need, to have someone in my life who I can explore that side with. Ideally, that would come in the form of a stable, long-term, romantic relationship with a woman with whom I end up boinking like rabbits. However, as time continues to pass, I've tried to find FWBs and ONSs with no success. I'm starting to feel like the one sexual encounter I had was a fluke, and that there's no reason to hold out hope for another...

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Post by Datelessman on Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:00 pm

I am glad you're keeping up with therapy, even if you believe you need a new therapist. That means you're engaged in your mental health and want to grow and change, and that's great!

Interesting that Natasha wanted to get back with you, and while I hope it goes well, it may be worth remembering what DNL says about reuniting with an ex. Unless the fundamental reasons why you broke up have changed, the pattern may repeat itself and it may be worse the second time around. On the other hand, you two at least know each other and if expectations aren't sky high it could work out.

I totally get that dynamic you mention about looking for both a LTR and a FWB/ONS, which you believe is related in part to losing your virginity late. It could be a desire to "want to make up for lost time" and that's not uncommon in men who were late bloomers (even if not as late as you or I, even). Ideally people go thru a dating evolution as they grow, going from casual flings to figuring out what they want long term, but it isn't universal. Some people go thru life dating the same way, for better or worse. Some people married their high school sweetheart and it worked out. Heck, even in my own neighborhood I know two dudes who started a LTR with maybe their first or second lover as teenagers and by the time they got married a decade or so later it was really just to cement what was already obvious. And I'm hardly living in "the sticks."

Don't treat your successes in dating as flukes. Treat them as goals, or at least as examples that the impossible is indeed possible. I think the worst thing you can do is steal your own victories from yourself when times get rough.
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