Dating, obsessing, and more...what is wrong with me
August 3, 2014 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Is there something wrong with me? I haven't steadily dated in the last fourteen years since my divorce (I'm 44)...found someone but I am ruining already.

I focused on raising my children and returning to college. I have horrible self esteem which means I hate my body and find my personality boring..contrary to what people tell me. Last week I met a guy through jury duty (sheriff) and we went out once, which was okay. Since then he texts me a few times a day to say hello and has called a few times to which I think is weird...I think he is older than me by 10 years, it's hard to say I didn't get a definitive answer, in fact I didn't even ask, then I wonder is there something wrong with him, is he a nerd or weirdo? He is an all around good guy it seems, he's obviously interested but I feel he wants to move too fast, he tried to kiss me on the first date. I find myself obsessing on the fact that he may be moving too fast, but people tell me I may be sabotaging myself, go out again and see what happens. I find myself obsessing that I am not good enough, what is wrong with him, I don't want to get intimate with someone because of my bad body image, etc... My kids are grown but I feel like I would be deserting them...I feel like I'm going nuts. So many times I wished I had someone to date but here it is and I am on the down low. What is wrong with me? Any advice?
posted by irish01 to Human Relations (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you're just not into this guy. Don't date him.

Beyond that, maybe you should sit down and think about what you do want out of dating and a partner, what your expectations and boundaries would be, and then think about how you'd pursue that. You're going to get a lot of "get therapy" answers. That sounds like it might be a good idea for you, you seem really hard on yourself and maybe you could use learning to be kinder to yourself.
posted by Andrhia at 5:40 PM on August 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

" people tell me... go out again and see what happens". That seems like good advice to me. If you don't like him, you can always end it later. He probably has insecurities of his own. People tend to think that everyone else has their act together more than they actually do.
posted by alex1965 at 5:45 PM on August 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

So… Do you actually like this person? Did you have a good time with him? Do YOU find him to be a nerd or a weirdo? Maybe you are so stopped up with thinking about how you don't measure up that you're not hearing your gut very well, because I don't think you are providing a very good read on what your instinctive response to this person was, and that's probably what should guide your next move.

In terms of is it weird to kiss someone at the end of a date, objectively speaking, is that seedy or a red flag, no, it is not. If you don't like it or aren't ready you should probably communicate that to him in some way (nicely, because it's reasonable for him to want to kiss you if you're dating).

You're not deserting your kids and your body is fine. If you decide to date, you kind of have to reckon with all that, your shit and baggage. We all have it to varying degrees. And it's hard. But yeah, basically you are asking, "Should I put my neuroses in the driver's seat here and NOT date someone because I'm too hung up on different things?" And basically the answer is no. If you are considering NOT dating him because you don't like him then that is a really great reason so call to the deepest place in your heart and ask, "Do I like this person?" and if so ask, "How can I make deal with my other stuff for today so it doesn't get in the way of this thing?" And if you DON'T like him, then know that there are lots of fish in the sea! And that if you want a boyfriend there is one swimming around out there for you! :-)
posted by mermily at 5:46 PM on August 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Slow down. Try no to link the body image/kid guilt/is he a weirdo/all the other stuff into one big scary ball. Therapy sure.

As far as a second date? I'd go for it. Keep it light- lunch or something. Going for a kiss on the first date isn't that strange, though it is perhaps overly optimistic. If you had a good time and can calm your mind a little, why not? At the very least it is a good practice date.

And what Alex1965 said there.
posted by vrakatar at 5:47 PM on August 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's nothing wrong with you -- but there's a lot wrong with your perception of yourself, your value, and your relationship to other people. Calling or texting someone after a date that you enjoyed is a normal, healthy way of expressing further interest. It's okay that such behavior makes you uncomfortable; you just need to evaluate why. Trying to kiss you on the first date is something that some people like and some people don't. It's okay and normal that you fall under the latter category. Your boundaries are yours and should be respected. Don't project onto him your insecurities though. He might be a nerd or a weirdo, but I don't think he sounds like he is.

To me it sounds like him trying to kiss you put you on the fast track to worrying about how you'll feel getting intimate with him when you don't know him, trust him, or feel like your body or who you are in general = worthy. That's your stuff to deal with, and you deserve to move past it, so I think finding someone to help you break through your negative self image and cognitive patterns would be the best present you could ever give yourself. I also think you should call this guy up, thank him for a nice first date, and let him know that you've determined that you're not up for moving forward with him and that you wish him well. You do not have to settle or feel grateful that someone (anyone) is interested in you. You deserve to love yourself, and you deserve to bring that to someone who you feel is what you want, not what others tell you you should want.

You need to put you first for what sounds like the first time in your life. Invest in yourself. Seek out opportunities to get to know you, to love you and your body and feel good about yourself. Dating will still be there. Good men will still be there. You've got this. Get yourself what you need to feel whole again.
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:21 PM on August 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

PS: The fact that you went back to college is freaking awesome. That to me shows that you have determination and tenacity -- personality traits that I admire greatly. Remind yourself of how awesome that accomplishment was and still is!
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:31 PM on August 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

Thank you all so much, you have no idea how much I appreciate the advice, thought I was going crazy for a bit.
posted by irish01 at 7:18 PM on August 3, 2014

Okie, a bit to unpack here. This is just my take on these things. First, I think you need to think about what you want to accomplish through dating in general and what pace is good for you. My following observations aren't criticism, they are things I think you should examine. I also think it would be helpful to talk to someone about your negative body image.

Since then he texts me a few times a day to say hello and has called a few times to which I think is weird...

Have you thought about why this is weird? My general observation is that older men don't tend to play games and are more likely to be upfront. He liked you. He wanted to contact you. I don't think it's weird. It's better than him being cold and aloof or acting like he can't "seem interested."

Now, that doesn't mean you HAVE to like him contacting you that much. But have you spoken to him or answered the calls? I think it could be resolved with a simple, "Ya know, I haven't dated in a while and I'm not used to all this contact." Maybe he texted or called more since he didn't get a response? He may be freaking out about you not getting back to him and having the same "oh no! I screwed it up!" thoughts. We're all just people, anyway.

I think he is older than me by 10 years, it's hard to say I didn't get a definitive answer, in fact I didn't even ask.

If you didn't ask, then how could you get an answer? Is the age difference a problem? It's fine if it is. I think a first date, not specifically talking about age is normal. Especially if you didn't meet online where people's ages are usually public. Did he ask your age?

On a first date, it's very basic-getting to know you stuff. It's fine if you didn't hit on age or things like that. It's also fine if you want to ask.

then I wonder is there something wrong with him, is he a nerd or weirdo? He is an all around good guy it seems.

What makes you think this? (Both the weirdo and good guy?) If you don't feel comfortable, or something is "off" then you don't have to date him again. However I think a second date would be nice and would at least dip your foot back into dating.

he's obviously interested but I feel he wants to move too fast, he tried to kiss me on the first date.

Again, that's not out of the realm of normal, and it's totally fine if that's too fast for you. However I don't think a guy wanting to kiss you means you're getting married tomorrow. It's totally perfect for you to say something like, "Ya know, I'd like to take things a bit slower, especially the physical aspects like kissing. Would that be okay?"

Finally, dating is a back and forth. It seems your post is filled with a lot of assumptions with very little communication or time with this person. I think you need to sit with yourself for a bit, and if you still feel okay with this guy then try another date. Keep it low-key and keep open communication. If you don't like him, then don't go out again.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:28 PM on August 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

You know, dating is supposed to be fun. If it isn't fun for you, you are quite within your rights to try to make it more fun (by communicating what it is you'd like to do on a date). You're also within your rights not to date.

I am in my mid-40s and I get nervous about stuff occasionally, although not as much as I used to. I would've had a lot more fun earlier in my life if I had not let my nervousness get in the way of fun.
posted by Mr. Justice at 8:36 PM on August 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure I'm reading this correctly, but when you said "what's wrong with him? is he a nerd or a weirdo?" I took that to mean that there must be something wrong with him if he's so interested in a person like you. Taking into account this and the other things you say about your self esteem, I actually don't think you should date him at this moment. It sounds like this is throwing you into a panic and that you're not ready to date, because him showing interest in typical ways (like sending some texts and calling you sometimes, or trying to kiss you) is scaring you so much.

I therefore suggest that you tell him you think he seems like a very nice guy, but you're finding you're not quite ready to date - just be really sincere about it and tell him that you're going to try to get some therapy and once you've figured out how to deal with it better, you'll be in touch. And then do get some therapy, because I think you could really use it to help you make your life more positive and less fearful.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:49 PM on August 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have horrible self esteem which means I hate my body and find my personality boring..

There is nothing wrong with you, but you need therapy and/or self-help to realize this. You are not currently qualified to date anyone at this time.

Forget about this guy. Repair your self-esteem. Fall in love yourself.
posted by Gray Skies at 9:17 PM on August 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't think you have to be a final-product version of yourself to jump into the dating pool. Everyone is evolving and carrying around some stuff and that is okay. It sounds like you have some seriously heavy issues you are are wrestling with. Therapy would be a great place to figure all this out and you might decide you WANT to put your love life on hold while you are figuring out the other pieces. I just think that that's your call to make and that it is not a clear cut case of being unqualified or unfit to date. You sound really really confused. But who knows, he might be a good guy with some patience for your situation. Or he might not.
posted by mermily at 9:43 PM on August 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

My kids are grown but I feel like I would be deserting them...

You've been devoted to them for all their lives, and that commitment has pulled you through tough times, so this is understandable. But, I'd bet money your kids would love to see you happy and enjoying yourself -- whether on your own, with this guy or someone else. It's good for you to focus more on yourself now. It doesn't take away from your love for your kids. It might mean change, and looking at aspects of yourself you might have felt like you had to set aside in order to be the kind of mom you wanted to be (maybe your body/body image is bound up with that?). I agree that therapy could help, and so could talking to other single parents who've done their best, as you have.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:57 PM on August 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Getting back in the saddle again after a long hiatus is fucking scary for some people. It's a catch 22 because the only way to assuage fears around intimacy and involvement is to eventaully try it again .. (well eventually have a positive, healing experience) but the fear, perhaps, that a part of history may be about to repeat itself can feel very powerful and make you want to run 500 miles. Oh how I get this!

You have focused on your kids and an education - what a strong woman you must be and I really mean that - I see many people who cannot be single, for me that can be a red flag.

There are other parts of life now.

Pacing.. yeah it's tough.. especially with new forms of communication.. I guess it's a negotiation and learning someones patterns.. and what you want your own to be.

I say he sounds worthy of another date.. mixed feeling are ok? meeting again can make them clearer, you don't know what you don't know.

Body image - and I can't talk about this from experience, just from listening to friends - it seems like a lot of women find exposing their post baby body to someone new can be a hurdle, I guess thats about framing it like it just changed a bit to do something awesome but I would recommend the body image workbook and I think you'll find it helpful.
posted by tanktop at 4:06 AM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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