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Any help would be welcome

Boat posted 3/13/2019 15:53 PM

So I am looking for any help or advice people can offer. I have been with my partner for 17 months, for the first 14 months of that I kept her a secret and cheated on her. The backstory to that was when we initially got together I was sleeping with somebody else that my friends knew about, and by the time I realised me and my partner would be together for a long time we were about 3 months in and I couldnít suddenly introduce her to my friends. We carried on our relationship without me telling anyone except my family and she moved in with me. After several months I ended up seeing another girl who I did introduce to my friends, as they thought I was single. Ultimately I was caught out, and the truth came out to everyone involved.

My other half has more or less stuck with me since the truth came out 4 months ago. I sought help from a therapist immediately after D-day and that has made me realise what a shit person I was. I was an alcoholic but I didnít accept it, and I had cheated in most previous relationships. I had surrounded myself with pretty questionable people who enabled shady cheating and drinking behaviour and normalised a lot of not ok stuff. The therapy has worked wonders in a pretty short period and I honestly am disgusted by the way I was. Iím still battling the drinking, but Iím trying my hardest to be there for my other half, who I want to spend the rest of my life with.

She is absolute perfection in a person, and obviously if I could take it all back I would. But we are trying to make do with the horrible situation Iíve created for us. Unfortunately as you can imagine she is struggling with issues of self esteem and believing that she is worthless because I kept her a secret. If anyone has any suggestions on what we could do to help her not feel so worthless they would be appreciated.

The way I see it I was a horrible person, but it is not a reflection on her.

northeasternarea posted 3/14/2019 08:08 AM

Your story sounds a little off. It sounds like you were already in a relationship and made your other half an unknowing side chick. And then compounded that by starting up with another girl.
Encourage her to seek counseling for herself. You have a long struggle ahead. And you need better friends.

hdybrh posted 3/14/2019 08:17 AM

Agreed that counseling for both of you individually would be in order to make sense of why you'd try to juggle all of this. As you work on yourself and getting sober, romantic relationships may be something to avoid until you can get yourself right. Wishing you strength

cocoplus5nuts posted 3/14/2019 08:44 AM

Individual counseling for both of you. Make her public now. It seems you have kept her put of most of your life. Time to bring her into it fully.

sisoon posted 3/14/2019 11:28 AM

I think you will get more help if you post in the Wayward Side forum, since you're what SI calls a Wayward Significant Other (WSo).

In this forum, you'll get some advice from the POV of what BSes (Betrayed Spouses/SOs) wanted, but you also may get unnecessary heat from others.

I recommend that you read

Of the recommendations in that article, which ones are you following? Which have you rejected?

SI Staff posted 3/14/2019 15:14 PM

   Moving to Wayward Side

lieshurt posted 3/14/2019 15:15 PM

BS's please note this thread is now in Wayward.

ElZorro posted 3/14/2019 16:08 PM

Hi Boat -

Sorry you're going through this, but you've definitely come to the right place.

It sounds like you've recognized some areas that need work, such as with your drinkings and using people. It also sounds like you're battling shame.

I'm going to echo what others have recommended and that is individual counseling for both you and your betrayed partner.

I also recommend the following books:
"Boundaries" by Townsend & Cloud
"Sex Addiction 101" by Weiss (with your addiction to alcohol and even using people, this will give you some great insight into how addiction overall works and really isn't just a one size fits all fix for it. That usually when you tackle one addiction another will pop right up.)

With your shame/guilt struggle I'm going to HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you watch Dr. Brene Brown's TED talks on YouTube in regards to shame and vulnerability. They're both about 20 mins each and worth that time in watching. If you're intrigued by then, then I recommend you dive into her books in the following order:

"The Gifts of Imperfection"
"I Thought It Was Just Me"
"Daring Greatly"
"Rising Strong"
"Braving The Wilderness"

They have all been life changers for me personally in how I live, work, parent, and hold friendships.

Lastly, if you haven't done so already, please look in an AA group and make as many meetings as you can. I'm a recovering alcoholic. The first time I tried to go sober on my own I failed and did more damage. In my 2nd go around AA has helped me with support, guides, and a group who understands what it's like to have an alcoholic mind.

Please keep coming back for the 2x4's, encouragement, curiosity and to keep us updated on your progress.

Wishing you and yours the best through this difficult journey.

HeartBreaker11 posted 3/14/2019 19:53 PM

Since D-day, one thing that I have really had to do is put myself in my BS shoes.

Think about it. Imagine you met a girl and thought she was awesome and fell in love with her. Imagine you are dating this woman and living with her for over a year and then suddenly finding out that she has been hiding you from her friends and family, that she slept with another man, and that this other man DID know her friends and family.

I would feel pretty inadequate. I would feel like, "why was I kept a secret and not her?" and I would wonder why my partner thought it would be preferable for his friends and family to think that he was single rather than introduce me.

I would recommend a lot of reassurance right now. Do you have a social media profile? Put pics of the two of you on it. Introduce her to friends and family- tell them what you did, and what an amazing partner you have. Be supportive of her. Answer all of her questions. Apologize regularly.

I was an alcoholic but I didnít accept it, and I had cheated in most previous relationships.

Alcoholism is a horrible disease and I am sorry you are struggling. Are you going to AA meetings? I would recommend doing so. Is your girlfriend going to Al-anon? She might find some support there.

One thing to note- you ARE an alcoholic. You will always be an alcoholic. Even if you are are still an alcoholic.

I had surrounded myself with pretty questionable people who enabled shady cheating and drinking behaviour and normalised a lot of not ok stuff.

There are definitely people that you can surround yourself with that are negative influences, but no. You need to take ownership for your behavior. You didn't do this because of your friends. You aren't an alcoholic because of your friends.

You are doing good work, but you need to continue to dig deeper to figure out why you cheated and lied.

Best of luck to you!

Boat posted 3/22/2019 06:05 AM

Thanks for the amazing responses, thereís been some really great advice here, and I will be taking all of it away to think about.

One of the major issues at the moment is distance, as my girlfriend has had to move temporarily to Canada for visa reasons, while I am in the UK. Hopefully this wonít be for much longer and we are planning to move to Ireland together.

The distance is really hard, although it is manageable with lots and lots of video calls etc. But one big issue is that I canít just introduce her to my friends. And the attitude my last couple of friends are taking isnít helping the situation. As far as theyíre concerned this whole situation is awful and drama filled and they want nothing to do with it. Theyíve basically said so long as we are happy then theyíre happy but they donít want to know. But this is having a bad effect on my girlfriend because she understandably feels like this means she doesnít matter. Iím not really sure what to do to make that situation better.

Part of the issue is the different backgrounds between us, in my girlfriends world everyone cares about each other and wants to see the best for everyone. Whereas my friends very much take the attitude ďthis is your mess go deal with itĒ.

To be honest Iím really keen to just move to Ireland with her and start a new life. I feel like Iím drowning in all the negativity of the past and a new start together is whatís needed.

Anyway thanks again for all your supportive posts!

Zugzwang posted 3/22/2019 09:20 AM

Did your girlfriend know you were in a previous relationship when you started seeing her. Did she know then, why you kept her secret?

Boat posted 3/23/2019 18:53 PM

When me and my other half got together I wasnít in a relationship as such, I was sleeping with my flatmate. But no she didnít know, and I was worried if she met my friends she would find out.

Maia posted 3/25/2019 12:53 PM

hey Boat,

a lot if times the Betrayed will find it helpful if you write out the details of what happened. It helps you too. Tell the whole truth, all of it. It helps you to see it in black and white and to keep you from hedging. Lying. Minimizing.

A vow to be honest in all things, even minor things is needed.

tell her the truth, you're going to be a work in progress.

I'm old fashioned. I believe in marriage. I think living together is wrong and it will hurt you both. So... I'm not sure where you fall on this idea or why you're not married? but that might be something to explore.

I know I dated my H for 3 years before we got married and the delay in marriage was as much a source of anger and insecurity as anything else. I might be off base here and it might not matter to you both at all but it's worth a look while you're digging for the problems to fix.

EvolvingSoul posted 3/25/2019 20:05 PM

Hi there Boat,

This statement

To be honest Iím really keen to just move to Ireland with her and start a new life. I feel like Iím drowning in all the negativity of the past and a new start together is whatís needed.
really stood out to me.

It seems to me that you don't have a location problem. You have an authenticity problem. You have spent a lot of time splitting yourself between different realities and when those realities collide it creates a lot of difficult feelings for everyone. The urge to just move someplace far away and have a "new start" is trying solve the problem not by reconciling your different by realities but by eliminating all but one of them.

And that could work in the short term, but in the longer term the brain wiring that we used to avoid difficult feelings, get the outcomes we wanted and avoid the outcomes we didn't by lying to people and creating these split realities, that wiring follows us where ever we go. That is why people tend to recreate the same problems over and over until they actually are willing to dig in, figure out what those thought processes are, and then work to change them. Often time it's one of these worlds-colliding train wrecks like infidelity that become the catalyst for people to start that process. It was for me, for sure, but still it has taken a pretty long time.

Don't sell that work short. Whether you move to a land far far away with your BGF or not, you should definitely figure your shit out so that you can begin to live with integrity, authenticity and in a manner that is aligned with your core values, once you figure out what those are. Doing that work will give you a true fresh start that you take with you where ever you go.

Proceed with conviction and valor.

BraveSirRobin posted 3/25/2019 21:49 PM

^^^This. It's not necessarily a bad idea to start over in a new place, but it will become just like the old place if you don't do the work.

ErinHa posted 3/26/2019 12:04 PM

I'm sorry you are both suffering, there is hope and being out in the open will help.

It sounds like she is struggling pretty hard, I would highly recommend going to Co-dependant meetings or getting IC with that as a possibly. With your previous alcoholism Co-dependency is a common outcome.

Live in truth, live in love and do your best to not make the same mistakes again, it's always a struggle and no one here has it all figured out. Be patient and kind to each other.

I hope that helps Boat

Boat posted 4/6/2019 09:27 AM

Thank you for your replies everyone, sorry I havenít posted back sooner. Itís been a rough couple of weeks.

In terms of marriage, itís definitely something I would want one day. I can fully see that happening. But for now we are just trying to make it through each week.

Thank you Evolvingsoul for that reply, I think your absolutely right. They do say you can never run away from your problems, but I think you explained really well why.

Iíve been trying to sort out the seperate strands of my life into a cohesive whole. I sat down with my best friend on Thursday and had a massive talk with him about it and made it clear to him how great this girl is and how none of this is her fault. I made a Facebook post too for our one and a half year anniversary, to make sure everyone I know is aware that Iím with her.

Iím going to try and make sure I sort out every issue we have here in Scotland, so Iím not just doing a runner from my problems to Ireland.

Thanks again for the thoughtful replies everyone

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