Q. I am divorced with two kids. Last May, I began dating a woman who was also divorced with two kids. We connected instantly and we both agreed that we had finally found “the one.”
After about two months of dating, her child had a relapse of a disease, and she told me we could only be friends. I understood and told her that I wanted to stand by her and help her through it, but she did not want that.
When her child’s health began improving, we reconnected. It was like we had never stopped dating, and we were in love. Our kids met and things were great, and I spent Christmas with her family. In January, she met my parents and friends, and everything was wonderful. Or so I thought. After meeting my parents and friends, things went downhill very quickly. Her attitude toward me completely changed. She dumped me two weeks later. I tried to fight it but she wanted no part of me.
We talked off and on over the next few months, and she blamed the breakup on many issues: me, her job, her past, selling her house, and her child’s illness. I made it very clear that I wanted to go through everything with her but again she pushed me away. She admitted she wasn’t being fair but offered no real reason why she didn’t want me in her life anymore and doesn’t want to speak to me. It has now been six months since the breakup and I think about her every day and am struggling to let go. My heart just can’t quit. I’ve tried online dating again but all I do is compare every woman to her. I am angry that one day she wanted to meet my family and kids and the next she wanted no part of them. Where do I go from here?
A. I wish I could tell you why she introduced you to everyone in her life and then pushed you out of it. I wish I could explain why she was in love with you and then shut the whole thing down. If there’s a magic answer here, I don’t have it. All I know is that you shouldn’t want to be with someone who is this comfortable walking away.
The good news: you’re angry. That means you’re on your way to seeing her not as the great object of your affection, but as the person who caused you pain. It gets easier to see the potential in new people when you compare them to someone who didn’t stick around.
Right now, you’re focused on a highlight reel of the relationship — all of the good stuff and your dreams for the future. Force yourself to remember everything that happened, including the moments she didn’t let you in. If you revisit those memories enough, your heart should be able to quit the whole thing.
You got dumped. Get over it, THEN date. Don’t date to get over it.
Love that forms instantly often vanishes in the same manner.
From your own letter (probably written in a light most favorable to you), you sound like someone who couldn’t accept no, pressed to move things forward too quickly, and who really didn’t spend much time dating her (two months before the first break up, probably only a couple months before the second break up). You need to slow that roll. You have kids; they need stability, and trying to create an instant Brady Bunch is not stability. Take your time, start dating again when you’re ready, and really get to know someone before committing again.
The more you stop allowing yourself to make comparisons, the easier it gets. I used to compare and I realized I was missing out on who the new people in my life really were because I spent so much time thinking about who they weren’t in comparison to my ex. It takes practice of telling yourself to stop doing it and then over time it happens less and less.
Words of wisdom, Gretch, well said.