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(Cherry Hill, NJ USA)
I am very young to be divorced...I am 24 years old and was married for 19 months. Although my ex is almost 30 and we were together for a total of about four years, I never really 'knew' him. I thought I knew everything about the love of my life and did everything I could to prove my love and devotion to him. I was a home body (always have been) but I would also compromise to his desire for a nightlife and social life which ended up being more important to him than our marriage.
I found out later that he was having an affair with someone at his work and he lied to me about two months into our marriage. But, I am the type of person that does not give up easily...so, I tried very hard to work it out between us as I believe marriage is a life-long commitment and promise. I tried communicating with him, marriage therapy etc. and finally he insisted that he did not want to be married by any means.
Since he owned our condo, I was forced to move out and obtained a lawyer to file for divorce.
Since my marriage, I have been very angry with not only him, but any other guy that comes in to my life. I always have the mind set that the guy I am talking to is out to hurt me; thus, I have my wall up and a lot of guys take this as either mean, snobby or too complicated. This is before I have the opportunity to really even "date" them for a decent amount of time...meaning, they do not have the opportunity to get to know me because they are scared off.
It is hard because I really felt that I trusted my ex-husband and I loved him so very much and wanted to work it out. I did not have a good childhood with male figures and this makes it even harder for me to trust. Just when I thought I could trust someone, so much, I find out that I am being lied to and taken advantage of...making me look like a fool!
This is affecting my personal friendships and any possible relationships to the point that I feel I need to fix it or I will lose my friends and turn away any guy that comes my way. The initial attraction is always there as I am a good looking girl, but when the guy sees I am very cautious, they are gone in the blink of an eye.
Please offer advice...Thanks!
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello T, and thank you for telling your story here. You are apparently a very smart young woman, and you have everything it takes to manage your anger and take charge of your emotions. Also, you can get into a better position for choosing a healthy mate in the future.
You are wise to reflect on your childhood and the lack of healthy male role models. I suggest you do the journaling exercises on this page, and in your "Trauma Writing," focus on any painful or disappointing experiences you had with men, from your childhood unto present day. Continue down that page, and do the other two journaling exercises as well. This will really help you.
Then, I strongly suggest that you use these imagery processes for emotional healing, in order to bring about positive changes at a subconscious level.
Then, begin imagining the kind of man you want to be with. Think of all of the best men you've known, in history, literature, movies and real life, and "put together" the ideal man for you. Keep this image in your focus, and don't accept anything less than what you want.
It might also help you to work on releasing your parents emotionally. Here is an exercise to help with that:
1) Write down all of the ways in which you are like your mom and your dad. Look at that list and ask yourself if there's any of those qualities or behaviors you want to keep. In other words, choose what you like from the list.
2) Then write down all of the ways you are different from your mom and dad. These are the things that make you unique as an individual. Look at this list, and choose what you like from it.
3) Make a third list, that includes only those things you like from the above two lists.
4) Next, picture both of your parents in front of you. Thank them both for all of the good things they've done for you, leaving nothing out. Then tell them both about the things you didn't like. Get it all out, and write it down--but picture their faces while you're writing. Now tell them, "I'm not your child any more. I'm a grown woman, and I take total responsibility for myself. It is time for me to take charge of my life and make my own decisions, without your influence." Then, when you feel a sigh of relief in your body, say "Goodbye" to them and let their images fade.
I do not suggest you say these things directly to your parents, unless that absolutely feels like the right thing to do. This is just for you.
Believe in yourself. You get to choose, moment by moment what kind of person you're going to be, and these exercises will help you make the right choices, again and again until it becomes second nature--because it is your first nature.
My very best to you,
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