A second post today…..I have so much going on inside me. I want to write about an online relationship that has been going on for about two months that became very intense very quickly….and to process some of what has happened..to help sort it out for myself and to perhaps help others who may be in similar situations…
I wrote earlier today about “catfishing”….and the possibility that this has happened to me. I am not certain about whether it has happened to me or not (although several friends seem to feel certain that it has), but I need to look at my part in an interaction that I had yesterday with this man online that caused this relationship to end suddenly. When this man shared that he was having some financial issues, I immediately became frightened that this was what the relationship may have been leading up to all along, as we hear about older women being “catfished” all the time….others pretending to be someone that they are not….or looking to use someone. I once heard an acquaintance say that older women had to be careful about being sought after to be “a nurse or a purse”. Clearly, in this case I was older (by 14 years) and would not be the nurse, but did get afraid of men looking for a purse….someone to help them financially. So, I reacted and wrote a text that, looking back, was harsher than it needed to be and did come across as accusatory (without having even given him a chance to even ask for anything…I just bulldozed ahead with my text about having been afraid of this pattern since the beginning of the relationship and that I would not give any money… ) I regret the haste and tone of the text. I also had included some other things that I had been a bit worried about but had not shared up to this point, as I was taking my time to see how things developed. That was also unfair of me, to add on all these extra concerns in one text – I was scared and my adrenaline was flowing. When he received the text, he was, understandably, very hurt and angry and ended our relationship, such as it was. He went on to say that I was not the good person that he thought that I was, that I had broken his heart and that he was so very disappointed. And that I could keep my “sorry” to myself, that he had no time for games. I can understand his anger and hurt, and I tried to say that. He would not accept my apology, which is his right and choice.
So here I sit struggling with more feelings than I know what to do with or how to handle. I did indeed come across too strongly, harshly, and with things that had been inside me for a bit, but that I had not shared. So of course this must have felt like an attack and overwhelming to him. I understand that, and I feel badly about that. It was a mistake on my part. But, here is an interesting additional dynamic that I can see – I also noticed, in the midst of my extreme guilt and self recrimination and shame, that this was really no way to handle a conflict….that there was no room to talk about it, to work through it, to process it, to at least be able to talk about what may have been going on for both of us. And that, separate from the other issues, would be a major concern in any ongoing relationship. Can I really be in a relationship where there is no chance to take responsibility, apologize, talk about things, and possibly work through them or at least have both sides feel heard? The case was closed and I was shut out.
I am told that this can also be a part of the scamming dynamic….a type of manipulation. Possibly so….
What I want to pay attention to for myself and my own growth and learning is –
1.Think and breathe before I react – take time to really think about what I want to say and how it may feel to receive what I say before I write or say anything.
2. Speak clearly and take responsibility for my mistakes, own up to what I have done wrong, and apologize when this is needed and appropriate – apologize for what I did, not for who I am……
3. Watch out for the shame and self recrimination that comes up and tells me to beat myself up for my mistakes and punish myself and refuse to take on my mistakes as a sign that I am a mistake
4. Allow myself to move forward, learn from what I have done, speak my truth as best as I can, and….this is the hard part….to forgive myself. It’s painful if someone else cannot forgive me, but I cannot control that. But, to not allow myself to forgive myself….that is a severe and ongoing judgment and punishment …and keeps me in a cycle of self recrimination, self doubt, shame and guilt…. which does no good….
5. Keep working on growing and learning and trying to do better, all the while realizing that I am oh, so human, and I will make more mistakes. Not intentionally, but they will be made. And some of them may cause others pain. I will work to try and reduce this as much as possible.
6. Speak my truth early about any issues or things bothering me in a relationship and not store it up so that someone feels blasted all at once with things that they may have had no clue about…
7. Breathe and carry on. Live, relate, love, forgive, ask for forgiveness, allow self forgiveness, and carry on…
Was this a scam? I don’t really know. Did I make mistakes? Yes. Did I intend to hurt him? Not that I am aware of…I got really really scared. Do I allow myself to keep punishing myself? Do I allow his definition of me not being a good person to define how I think of myself? Do I refuse to forgive myself? Do I turn my back on myself and shut myself out from my own feelings and pain? Or do I try to understand what is going on inside me and have compassion and try to learn and grow….and be grateful for yet another lesson learned. I think that is what I will try, although it may be a bit of a struggle for a while. I seem to have a pattern of punishing myself for a while…Old patterns die hard. But….I can still learn, I can still grow, I can still, hopefully, learn to love better….I am still here, still alive…..still able to live and learn and love…..and to keep learning that love also includes loving ourselves.
5 thoughts on “More lessons learned…the hard way….Relationship challenges….”
Trusting your intuition and yourself is always a good thing. If you felt uncomfortable or that it could be a scam, I think it is okay to step away and honor those feelings.
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Thank you. I appreciate your words…. It’s challenging to see what we can get hooked into or addicted to in relationships and to break free…..I hope to learn to tune in better and honor myself with more grace (in how I do that) and more love toward the other. Thank you again for taking the time to connect and comment.
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josaiawrites, sounds like you helped yourself to be more aware of yourself and feelings. You are a strong woman. Feel good about yourself. I loved the part about a “purse or a nurse!” You are going to be fine. What you did was wise. Thanks for writing about this because it may help other women or men in similar situations.
Thank you! I agree that we need to share and name things so that others can perhaps relate and know that they’re not alone….. And that we can get through this…. Together.
Yes!! We’re all in this together!