I googled to find this forum because I need experienced advice. My doc can help with my own personal woe's. Our MC can help with communicating and getting along. Friends make great shoulders to cry on. But in the end, none of them have been through what we have and right now, I'm losing a grip on what's up vs down.
We're not married, but we've been together since August 2004. We were both just "casual dating" then. Players if you will. In April 2005 I said I needed us to be committed, and he agreed. Over the next few years, we struggled with time. I wanted more, he still wanted his "private life" and his own personal time. Last June, he finally agreed to move in with me.
Last July, two days before my birthday, I found out from a cousin that he was on a date with another woman. I confronted him and he made up an elaborate story about how it was only drinks, nothing happened, only knew each other a few weeks, etc. Worse experience I have ever had in my life, as I'm sure is the case with many.
We went on a break for several months. I messed around briefly during that time and got caught. He was furious and spent the next few months feeding the guilt I already felt. April of this year, I found out he had been cheating on me the entire time we've been together. Not just with one women, but multiple. To the point where we don't even know how many. Essentially he never stopped being a player.
This took several days of trickling lies to reveal. I was devastated (again). The weekends he was supposedly with his daughter, he was with "them" or "her" depending what year it was. Times when I couldn't reach him, it's because he was busy with his other life. I gave him an ultimatum. If he wanted even a CHANCE that we would TRY to work things out, he had to break it off with her, on speaker phone and tell her the whole truth. She had no idea I existed or that we lived together. She was hurt and attempted to text after the call ended, to which he did not respond. To this day, there is supposedly no contact. He has been attentive, honest, and does everything he can to always be by my side. Opens his email, phone, everything. Anything I ask for, he is willing to work with me on. He says he is committed to making it work and leaving that life behind and he walks the talk.
But is it too late? Has too much damage been done? I have down days and my doc calls them growing pains of me learning to become independent of our bond. He says that as I have less stress, I am given more time to process what happened in order to move on.
My doc says that when I am in a blissful place with him, I tend to forget the bad sides of him. And when we're in a heated fight, I tend to forget the good inside of him. So last night I asked for an emotional break. Neither of us is brave enough to do an actual break again. So to save us from the potential heartache, we are civil, but there is no affection, no friendship, and no fights.
So my question is, where am I supposed to be? Should I be better than I am, since I've been going through this roller coaster since July of last year? Or does April of this year start the clock all over again? I am trying so hard to maintain, but I feel like I'm slowly losing this war and that too much damage has been done. Is this really someone I want to be with or can people really change so drastically?? Again, I am sooo sorry this is such a long post. I want nothing more than to stop the horrible feelings I feel... will leaving do that or just leave me not only with horrid feelings but alone as well? I commend you all for the strength you show. Just reading the various posts has helped to give me hope.
Should I be better than I am, since I've been going through this roller coaster since July of last year?
I think that's a very personal question that only you hold the answer to. Everyone is different and how we process pain and shock is unique to each of us.
There is a lot of damage that's been done and the biggest red flag that jumped out to me...is your SO willing to make the core changes that need to be done to get a functioning and healthy relationship with you?
It's good to have you here
My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.
1. You say you messed round while you were 'on a break'. Was the break a break-up followed by getting back together, or was it a hiatus in which you maintained an exclusive commitment to each other?
If it was a real break up, why do you feel guilty for messing around. You were a free agent, with no commitment to him.
2) He fed your guilt while he was cheating? A person who would do that doesn't sound like partner material at all. I can see liking the guy. I can see being really turned on sexually by the guy. I just can't see thinking he could be a good long term partner, because I see him using his double standards to hold you to commitments while he violates them. That sounds like a lousy life.
when I am in a blissful place with him, I tend to forget the bad sides of him. And when we're in a heated fight, I tend to forget the good inside of him
My sense is that you're focused on him, when you should be focused on yourself. What do you want to do? What do you want to accept from other people? What are your reasons for accepting double standards from him?
I'm not a therapist, but I used therapists several ties in my life, and I think my folks would be asking me those kinds of questions. Even if your BF is batshit crazy, my therapists would have been focusing on my part of the relationship, since that's the only part I can change.
This was commonly posted when I was new here. I think it's brilliant, but I don't know who devised it:
Oh, yeah - you may be stronger than you think.
Is this who want to be? Is this the life we want to have? What are we capable of? What are our goals in life? Is our partner, right now the way they are, THE partner we want for this life? Are WE the kind of partner they need and deserve?
I find sometimes asking the right questions can sometimes be difficult but if you answer them truthfully without any fog or denial, I think we will know what we need to do.
Hugs your way.
True love is harder to come by than soul mates. True love requires work.
Ignorance can be cured with knowledge. There is no cure for being an idiot.
sisoon, thank you for the logical perspective. That is usually my strength, except when it comes to myself, unfortunately. Yes, technically we were committed to each other during our break. I went on a couple dates and kissed someone else. And yes, he continued to pull double standards on me, as he had in several situations throughout our relationship. Granted, although I didn't express any of the positives in our relationship, they were most certainly there.
Sorry, to clarify, my therapist made the statement in order to help give me perspective and not see him only for what he was in the moment, but as a whole, in the overall effort to ensure I was in love with the yin and the yang, and not just one or the other.
The help I've been getting from my doc has mostly been how to get through the turmoil and over the shock and to focus on loving myself. So no, no more double standards for me. But no matter how much I try to come up with reasons to break it off with him, the only ones I have are what he did for all those years... but never what he's doing today and for the past few months.
Simple, your questions are intriguing. I guess I never tried to take such a high level, back to basics view of things. Despite my fear of what happened, he is doing and being all I want and more. But now, at the littlest sign of resistance (snide tone, rolling his eyes, heavy sigh) I start to believe all is lost. I guess I'm so gun-shy now, that I just doubt him and myself on a regular basis, no matter how great things appear to be on the surface.
The various perspectives on this site are invaluable.
[This message edited by FragileStrength at 6:03 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]
I guess the questions that I'm asking myself is whether I can marry someone who disappointed me so much. Whether I can walk down the aisle to a man that I know slept with two other women. Whether I can trust him again to not cheat. I think about how hard marriage is, and I think about what happens when I get pregnant or I'm busy at work. Will he do it again? Will I trust him to not do it again?
Right now I feel this constant pressure in my chest of always being afraid. It's a hard thing to live with, if you're feeling the same way.
How do you want to live your life? Are his good qualities worth the risk of him doing it again? Is it worth the pain and hurt that you feel?
I think the perspective of a married couple going through this stuff is different than a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. The dating phase is supposed to be the easy phase. It's supposed to be the time where you're happy and don't have problems. If it's so hard now dating, I wonder what marriage will be like. What happens when he goes through a mid life crisis?
Those are just many of the thoughts going through my own head. Sorry you're going through this.
The emotional break has been fruitful. Sure I miss him and want to just throw myself into his arms, but on the other hand I know that I need to be able to sort out my thoughts without emotional barriers.
I am so sorry you are going through and feeling the pain as well. :(
Finding out this past April was devastating, discovering it had been our entire relationship. But finding out last July that he even just supposedly went on a date was even more shocking to me. I think by the 2nd dday, I was already somewhat numb and albeit tragic, it wasn't as shocking since my world was already upside down still. So being just a few months from your first (and hopefully only) dday, I can only imagine the heartache you must feel. :(
Being on here has renewed my hope that things can get better. I hope the same for you.
[This message edited by FragileStrength at 12:14 AM, September 12th (Thursday)]
Hmmmm. Well, he sounds like a cake eater, at least up until now. He also sounds like he was commitment phobic. He really didn't want to lose you but still wanted his "private life" and probably felt like he really wasn't cheating since you were not married.
On the other hand, he sounds like a truly remorseful spouse and yes, sometimes the revelation of infidelity, the aftermath (your pain), and the possibility of losing you can knock some sense into a cheater. I wouldn't beat yourself too bad for kissing someone (necking). You didn't have an affair. You just acted like a fallible human for a minute and then felt bad about it.
Sounds like there is hope, but just keep you eyes open and trust your gut. If you love him and he really loves you, the relationship can survive. It will just take a lot of work and a long time to reestablish trust.
Keep posting. You will get great advice here. Your counsellor sounds smart, so keep going. Hugs and good luck.
I've slowed down going to my counselor. That frustrates my bf quite a bit. I feel like I've gotten as much as I could out of him and the rest is as he said, growing pains and needing to truly see things for the way they are and letting that guide me into my future with or without my bf.
Again, thank you all so very much for all the wonderful perspectives! It's refreshing indeed. My next search on the site is going to be on triggers... Being that he had cheated on me the entire course of our 8+ year relationship, there are a LOT of them... his old house, things he brought over when he moved in, his current car, clothes he wears, even things that I do myself that remind me of the past... it's hard when I have no memories of our past that weren't tainted with the A's. :(