It’s Not You, It’s Me

I know, I know, that sounds like a really cliche and totally terrible break-up line. But it’s not a break-up I’m thinking of, but instead the start of a new relationship.

After you have been in a relationship for such a long time (say, 15 years or so?) and then it’s gone, there’s still a lot of emotional baggage, and probably emotional damage, that goes along with that. There are so many insecuritites that go along with the end of a relationship because of an affair. There are insecrities that exist when it comes to trusting someone new. It’s hard to let go of the pain and the mistrust (no matter how hard you try, it’s like a bad penny that keeps turning up).

So this unfortunately becomes a burden on the new person who is entering into your life. It is an unfair situation becuase you (I) cannot freely love or trust as once before. I am apprehensive…just waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Because certainly nothing can be good forever, right?) I am afraid of telling people that I’ve even gone on one date, because I feel like as soon as I do – it’s over. Inevitably something goes wrong…so why should I tell my friends or family when it will only lead to disappointment?

Behaviors that the other person thinks nothing of mimick the behaviors of your former partner and become a trigger. It’s like living through that past relationship and rejection again. It’s easier to push someone away than to try to explain, because how could they understand? Little things, things that might seem so insignificant and miniscule to someone else become a spiral of emotion and doubt.

It is so easy to build up the wall of protection, but it is so much harder to take it back down – to be vulnerable again.

Even terms such as “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are terrifying becuase it means you are giving yourself to someone who then has the ability to hurt you. And isn’t the hurt exactly what we are trying to avoid again? How can that kind of pain and rejection be felt again after you so carefully put yourself back together again?

The self-doubt runs rampant through your mind. You don’t trust yourself to be good at caring for someone else again. The blame for the failed marriage was put on you and you internalized it no matter how illogical it seemed. There are moments where you don’t believe that you are worthy of someone to care for you so deeply, so all you see is mistrust. Why do they like you so much? I’m not that special. (I can’t be if I was rejected so easily before.) Certainly there’s someone better or more interesting for them out there…

So again, the person who wants to love you now is the one who suffers because of your (my) own insecurities. It’s another obstacle that must be overcome as you continue to move forward. Dating after divorce is hard – it’s a weird feeling of wanting someone with you, but being afraid at the same time. It’s part of this new beginning, a necessary step in building your new life.

So to the person who wants to be a part of my life, I’m sorry now – It’s not you, it’s me. I hope you will understand, but I hope too that you will be willing to work with me through this.

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