Dr. Romance answers questions from a post-divorce single mother.
Dear Dr. Romance:
I'm a Middle Eastern single mother in my late twenties suffering from depression and stress. As a child, I always wanted extra care and attention from my parents. I was closer to my father than my mother. When I was molested by my uncle, I complained to my parents, but they did nothing. I used to cut myself and cry at night.
I met my ex husband online, a man from another mid-eastern country, and we fell in love and got married. We had a daughter, but the marriage didn't last long, and we divorced. When he didn't give me the attention and love I wanted, I threw temper tantrums, broke things, yelled and demanded a divorce. He was too much into his friends and work that he had no time for me and my daughter. I was living away from my home country, and I was homesick. I had no family or friends there. I fought to visit my family at home, and he didn't like it. He divorced me via email while I was visiting my family in my country. I tried to get him to rethink things, but he didn't listen me.
I've been divorced three years now. My four year old daughter lives with me. I am in school for a better future, but I feel abused and rejected. I get upset when he calls to talk to my daughter, and when he talks about hoping to marry someone else. He says I didn't truly love him and that I left him. I don't understand why he has a right to see his daughter every year and talk to her on the phone. I know it's unfair, but I want to get away from him. I still have feelings for him, although I know he doesn't care. When I try to get to know some other man, I compare him to my ex, find an excuse to end the relationship. I don't know what to do, please help me.
Your main problem is not with your ex husband, or other men, it's with yourself. I'm very glad you're studying to better your life. You have leftover issues from your childhood, and you need to work through those as soon as possible. Read "Comforting the Little Orphan Girl" and "Drama, Trauma and Time Travel" to begin your self-healing process. It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction will give you more in-depth help in healing.
As you develop emotional maturity, you will be able to handle your abandonment issues in a more effective way, instead of chasing other people away with your emotional outbursts. Unresolved abandonment issues will cause you to chase after people who do not care about you. Once they are resolved, you will be able to think more clearly and choose better people to be with.
If your ex is a good father and cares about his daughter, you should not let your jealousy stand in the way of their relationship. Your daughter should not be punished for what your parents did or did not do. Instead of desperately searching for another relationship, turn within and develop a good, healthy relationship with yourself. Let the neglected and abused little girl inside you know she is safe now, that you'll take care of her, and learn to do that.
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For More Divorce Advice From YourTango:
- How To Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
- The Top 5 Mistakes That Lead To Divorce
- How To Save Your Marriage When You Feel Hopeless