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Global Guide to Divorce

Jack Jack the Cat

Dating Dilemmas

When A Relationship Ends Abruptly – What To Do

One can go into full-blown shock when the other person abruptly ends your relationship. Even if there were a few hints something was amiss, it is still a shock. Hard to believe this is happening. As far as the other person is concerned, there is not much you can do. If they made up their mind to break it off, it is done.

Harder when the decision was made and you were not notified. You see then at work, a social event, their musical gig, whatever and find out at the same time as everyone else. They may take great pains to ignore you. Maybe are dramatic and turn their back if you get nearby. Not cool when done publicly at a gathering.

Of course, you would like an explanation and not be playing guessing games in your head. This may never happen. It is difficult when there are loose threads.  In both cases – whether you got an explanation or were ghosted – closure is needed. Easier to move on when there is a clear-cut ending in your mind.

Accept what happened is final.  Wishing for a reunion keeps you attached to them and is it not going to happen. You are wasting time and energy on this fantasy. This mental connection prevents one from moving on.

The big thing about an abrupt ending is not having closure. Since there is no communication, you cannot be sure if it was something you did or if got dropped for a new love interest. One is left hanging.  If someone is upset that should be discussed. If a boundary was crossed into a no-go area, then at least you would understand why there is an ending.   It is childish for them to do silence.

Emotionally getting through this situation

Spend a day really feeling your grief. Cry, wail, scream, curse or whatever else you feel needs expressing. You are experiencing a loss, a death of a relationship. Concentrate on dealing with it being over. Later as time moves on, you can appreciate the fun times.  You got some life lessons from this episode.

Rally your support system around you. Call or go out with friends. Talk it out with them. Have some fun. Try a new café.

Get out in nature. Take walks in leafy areas. Exercise releases pent up energy and anxiety. One feels better after a run when the endorphins are increased. Getting a physical work out calms nerves and helps one be able to deal with this situation.

What to do or not do

Do not contact them no matter how tempting it is to text or call. This is giving them power to reject you again.

If they call, do not answer it. Go ahead and listen to their message later, if you want. If a text is sent, do not respond. If you cannot resist, then say “I accept that you ended our relationship. I am moving on now.”

They may beg for a second chance and promise to change. That would be short-lived and the disrespect would creep back in again. If they were really into you, this would not have happened in the first place.

There is a void – empty space inside of you from their departure. Fill it up. When one removes a dead tree, they do not leave a big hole. It is filled in with a plant or something else. Plant something else inside of you. Take up a new activity. Join a MeetUp.com group and expand your social network.

Getting into a new environment can help. You are not running into them or dealing with as many triggers.  Travel to an enticing destination on your bucket list. The point is not to allow them to dwell in your head.

Ending a relationship abruptly is disrespectful and not valuing you. Do you really want a relationship where you are not cherished and it is all about them? No!! You deserve much more. Move on to someone who will appreciate you.

 

 

Situationship – Being In The Middle Ground When Dating

Do you feel you are neither in the friend zone or in the romantic one? Confused about what is happening in your relationship – or even if you are in one?  You are caught in the middle ground which is called situationship.

What are the signs of situationship?

 Lack of commitment 

It is being in a relationship without commitment. People go out together – even exclusively – and there does not seem to be a future.  Spontaneity is fun. Great to do things on the spur of the moment. It keeps life exciting, unless this is how it is always. These people usually do not make plans ahead of time. Cannot commit to a date next week.  When plans are made for a later time, they often bow out. The future is not mentioned. It is one thing to live in the moment, another to be stuck there., They use the word “sometime.”   “Would you like to go dancing/hiking (whatever) sometime?”  You answer with an enthusiastic “Yes” and nothing is planned.  The future is not discussed.

In regular dating relationships, there is forward movement. Although one person may go at a slower pace, the relationship still progresses. In situationship – it is on standstill.

Lack of commitment shows up in other areas.  It may seem like you both are getting closer: talking in depth about your pasts, career goals and so forth. When you start intimating more contact, they step backwards. It is a dance which they want to lead.  People in situationship do not want to be pinned down. They crave their freedom, yet still have someone they can call when feel like going out. It is a way to avoid closeness which can lead (in their minds) to dating drama.

Inconsistency

What is frustrating is the inconsistency – you may go out several times in one week, and nearly a month, goes by before the next date.  There is no agenda or routine schedule. There is little or no contact between dates. These individuals rarely initiate a text. They can be good at responding., which is easier than generating one. They may answer in minutes and later take days to respond.

You are doing most of the work in this relationship. Phone calls may only be when they have not heard from you in a while and are asking you out at the last minute.  Tone of texts can be flirty or almost rude. Hard to figure out where you stand in this relationship.

Incongruity between body language and words

In situationship where you are is undefined. The verbal may be incongruent with the non-verbal (actions).  Warm kisses on the lips, or even sex, do not go with their behaviour.  They do not go out regularly with you and are silent between dates.  They snuggle with you in booths, give plenty of hugs and kisses and throw in some complements.  This can be refereed to as crumbs. Enough to keep you interested, but not a main course.  They are treating you romantically while saying you are “Just Friends.”

It is confusing when their friends seem to think you are a couple or ask you how long the two of you have been dating.  Hard to answer when not really knowing if this is considered dating. Perhaps you like their friends and are part of the other’s inner circle.

What to do

Have a discussion of your needs and expectations. Express what you are feeling, “I’m into you – very attracted.”  Let them respond, pause as long as it takes to get an answer. In one case, the man’s reply was “I am not ready to take this further.” Yes, vague, but something. She is not sure if that means for this entire decade or for the next few months.  Communication is important in situationship.

When being told you are “just friends” for many months, consider dating again when an opportunity arises. This can help you become less fixated on the situationship which is going nowhere.

Questions to ask yourself

Are you getting anything out of it?

Are you better with or without them?

The answers help determine if you want to enjoy the relationship for what it is or if it is time to move on.  People’s self-worth can be negatively affected, particularly if they feel there is a flaw within themselves. People coming out of a toxic marriage may feel they are not worthy of anything more and accept what is happening. Be aware of your mental health, and if feeling depressed or anxious, think about making an exit. Keep  in mind, you are in a situationship because of the other person, not you. They are fearful, have a traumatic history, attachment disorder, or whatever it is.

One example where it does work out is this. A woman in a situationship with a musician, realized she enjoys going to his gigs and dancing. She has fun going out for pizza periodically in-between times.  She decided to stay with the man, but start dating again. She has had several dates so far, and life is fun and fulfilling for her.  There is no right or wrong answer, it is what ever is best for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips For Making A Long-Distance Dating Relationship Work

Long-distance dating relationships can be challenging. Easier to keep the passion high when you can call up your partner and say “Hey, come right over.”  Long-distance requires planning, not spontaneity.  Many people who have been through these types of relationships, say it was worth the separation. Being sure of each other’s commitment got them through this period.

Long-distance take extra effort to keep them alive. One person might be doing more in the reaching out and this can become frustrating. Logistics have to be factored in, who is travelling and who is not. It is one thing when in the same locale, to decide who pays. Quite another when getting together requires serious money.  An example is Harry, who moved and had a six-year long-distance relationship. He resented paying 100% of transportation costs for them both. No give and take financially. Eventually Harry thought about how in other areas of their relationship he was his doing most of the work. Although relationships are rarely 50-50, there has to be somewhat of a balance.

People in long-distance relationships mention how getting together in short bursts is more like being in Disneyland. Fantasy vs reality. It is like being on a holiday, doing fun activities. While this may be fine for some, others want a relationship on a deeper level.

People brought up that they missed or ignored red flags in a long-distance relationship. They concentrated on having fun instead. They dealt with the cracks when these could no longer be ignored.  A local relationship could have been patched up or ended sooner. Nip problems in the bud before they get huge. Your partner is not a mind reader, so bring them up.

The Pros

Distance allows commitment to be gradual. One is more conscious of it and makes a choice instead of falling into it. You decide to be a couple and less likely to take the other person for granted. When dating in town, one can fall into a pattern. On Friday night we do this, on Sunday we go out for brunch. When living in different locales, one is not in a predictable schedule or rut.

Being apart forces one to build a stable foundation. The relationship may be moving at a slower pace. One man said there are less triggers to get to him in his long-distance relationship as are in past local ones.  He also said that they met on different levels before initiating physical intimacy.  One was getting to know each other spiritually. They did not jump into bed right away, as what happens when dating locally. He feels they really got to know each other first before having sex.

Tips for making it work

Communication is imperative. Be conscious of word choice. Are they expressing your intention and exact emotion?  Easier to give a more ambiguous communication when not done in person. Emails and texting can seem blunt without vocal quality.

Be aware of your own emotions

Other emotions can come through subconsciously with communication such as hostility or resentment.  If you are angry, disappointed, then express them using “I” statements. “I feel hurt when you take several days to answer a text.”  Be direct and not sarcastic.

Keep in touch, even if a quick text “Thinking of you. Hope your day is great.”

If becoming serious, discuss where to live together. A US man with a girlfriend in Norway, advises finding neutral territory to settle. They are looking for a city which fits both of their needs. Others may want to move to a place where one of them lives, especially if that person has children. Some couples live in different loculations indefinitely and spend time blocks together. One couple does six weeks together and six weeks apart. This is working fine. Discuss if there is a time table for when living together. Or, if commuting is desirable for you both.

Flexibility is a plus in a long-distance relationship

Here is an example with a happy ending. Matthew and Elizabeth became a couple when they attended university. Matthew went on to law school and Elizabeth studied to be an ophthalmologist in different cities. She had internships in various places during the summer months when Matthew did not have law school. He stayed with her during that time for three years. Elizabeth managed to get one in Matthew’s hometown. They got together at other times during the year.  The long-distance part of their relationship for lasted three years. They are blissfully married with two children. When a couple is committed to make it work, it can.

 

Relationship PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Portrait Of Young Shy Couple Sitting On Sofa At Home

Trauma from past relationships affects a current one.  The person may do the hot/cold dance – wanting to get closer, yet afraid of being burned again. Not only is relationship PTSD traumatic for the individual, but also to the other in the relationship. The person with PTSD can be afraid to acknowledge even to themselves, deep feelings – as this has led to heartbreak previously.

UK ‘s National Health Service (NHS) defines PTSD as an “anxiety disorder caused by very stressful or distressing events.” People with PTSD have high levels of stress hormones. When danger is perceived, the body produces adrenaline to trigger the fight or flight reaction. “People with PTSD have been found to continue to produce high amounts of fight or flight hormones even when there is no danger.”

 

How PTSD Manifests

 

In relationships, the person may bolt when things are getting serious. They are okay at the beginning – the Getting To Know You stage. When simple requests/demands are voiced by their dating partner, it can be overwhelming. “Do I stay and face a risk of rejection (whatever the trigger is)?”  This person dances into a relationship, then dances right out again.  Or keeps the partner at an arm’s length.  You might be kept in the friend zone or friends with benefits one without a commitment.

The individual with relationship PTSD can be self-medicating with either drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or all three. This is to numb themselves and tamp down emotions. It feels more comfortable to put up an emotional blockade around themselves. If they are like a zombie, then there is no opening for trauma to sneak in. This is a faulty protection mechanism which is harmful to relationships.  Insomnia is another problem for those with this PTSD. Some get flashbacks whether or not in a new relationship.

A person with dating PTSD is trying to avoid being hurt again. Also tries to avoid repeating patterns which led to the trauma -being left behind and heartbreak. The Lehigh Center for Clinical Research in Allentown, PA, USA states “Avoidance is a common symptom of PTSD. If you avoid communicating with your partner about important matters such as your feelings, because building a wall to protect yourself is easier, then you may be suffering from PTSD from your last toxic relationship.”

One man, Peter, had three traumatic dating relationships in a row and developed PTSD, complete with flashbacks. He opted not to date for 10 years.  He became an alcoholic trying to deal with this trauma. Attending AA meetings gave him support dealing with his life.  Now he is living with a fabulous woman.

 

What to do when dating a survivor of PTSD

  • Go Slowly.
  • Be Patient
  • Learn when to pull back. They may crawl into their cave when the relationship is getting too intense.
  • Give them space.  They not initiate contact for a few weeks.
  • Allow time to build a firm foundation. Then they can begin to trust you bit by bit.

It is a delicate balancing act

Pushing to get closer scares them away. Too little leaves them guessing if you are about to do a runner, which may have led to PTSD from previous relationship. Consider sending a short, to the point text “How is your day going?” or when something notable occurs. “I didn’t get the job” or “My short story won a prize.”  Responding is easier than generating a text.

 

Have a full life

When you are busy, your mind is focused on these activities and less likely to be dwelling on the frustration of this dating relationship. You are more interesting and enticing when you do get together.  They can laugh and wonder what antics/classes/events you are up to next. Your full life gives fuel for conversations.  Taking improv acting classes, having fun at karaoke an d so forth, helps you seem different from previous dating partners where trauma occurred,

You may have to accept their pattern of being there and then backing away. No one can change another person. One can express needs with “I” statements. “I need you to text or call at least once a week.” “I want to get together at least every other week.”

 

Questions to ask yourself

  • Are you getting frustrated with the dance backwards and forwards?
  • Are you getting something out of the relationship?
  • Are the good times outweighing the disappearing act?
  • Are you feeling secure in the relationship?
  • Are you both able to discuss personal history, problems, worries, etc?
  • Are they focused on you when you are speaking?
  • How strongly do you feel about them? In love? Or is it lust or merely a fascination?

Your dating partner is operating from fear. Fear is their reality. They are looking for indications that they may be mistreated again.  You may be able to slowly build trust and have a successful relationship. Communication is imperative.  Give it your all, and then if you need to bail, you know you did everything that you could. There is hope that after a bumpy start, your relationship can be successful.