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Do you trust your gut the 2nd time around?

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Ozbetrayed posted 6/24/2019 23:14 PM

Hey All,

So I'm in a new relationship now and everything has been going well. She knows what I've been through.

Long story short, she had planned a trip to Europe with some of her girlfriends long before we met and had a 5 week holiday which she's just returned from.

I can't seem to shake my gut feeling that she was unfaithful whilst she was there...
There's a few little things that have made me feel uncomfortable, but nothing too solid.

I really don't want to be that guy who thinks that every partner he has is cheating on him (I didn't feel this way at all with the last one), however this is a feeling I can't shake.

I really don't know how to bring it up, or if I should.
I don't want to be in a relationship where I feel like I do right now, so I know something has to give, but I also don't want to "accuse" her or be overly suspicious...

I know I should have trusted my gut in my marriage and it took a long time for me to accept what I already knew, but am I tainted? - Am I making things up in my head, or is my gut likely telling me the truth..

How is the best way to raise how I'm feeling without accusing her or without having her worry that this is what a relationship with me is going to be....

Also, have people trusted their gut before, raised things and been wrong or have it backfire?

I'm a bit lost.

bookworm19 posted 6/25/2019 04:01 AM

Hey OzB!

You say

I can't seem to shake my gut feeling that she was unfaithful whilst she was there...
There's a few little things that have made me feel uncomfortable, but nothing too solid.

What are those little things? Maybe she thought what happens in Europe stays in Europe?

I can't tell you what to do, how to proceed with your GF, but if you are confident about your gut feeling you shouldn't ignore it.

I really don't know how to bring it up, or if I should. I don't want to be in a relationship where I feel like I do right now, so I know something has to give, but I also don't want to "accuse" her or be overly suspicious...

Yes, you should bring it up, because obviously,
can't live like that. I'm not sure how because I'm not very diplomatic and tend to blurt it out or bottle it up. I'm sure some more helpful members will be here soon.

All I can say is trust your gut.
I always had a strong gut reaction to people, so much so that others accused me to be prejudiced and judgemental, but I just knew in my gut. So, I tried to give people a second and third chance. It backfired in the worst possible way. So, when my gut tells me somethin, I listen carefully.
Maybe you are like me, I don't know.

[This message edited by bookworm19 at 4:02 AM, June 25th (Tuesday)]

burninghouse posted 6/25/2019 06:58 AM

Short answer: Trust your gut. It is your built-in guidance system. You are not tainted and it's not in your head although you could be triggering (which is maybe what you meant by tainted or in your head).

However my trigger response feels different than my gut response. When/if you have triggers where do you feel them in your body? Is it different or the same as the gut feelings? This may help you tell them apart, but everyone is different so you may feel them in the same area. For me, I often feel triggers in my chest, like a panic feeling or anxiety, so that gut feeling for me is very different than triggers. What were the little things that set you off? Were any of the little things associated with your EX in some way or with the betrayal? If so it could be you are triggering but do compare this with how you feel/experience your gut response.

The following thoughts come from a person who has not yet been in a new relationship, so these are just some thoughts and not based on any actual longer-term relationship experience since the betrayal. I'm sure more and better advice will come along.

Do you trust her and your relationship enough to bring it up? Trust is everything. If you bring it up, simply be straight-forward and honest about your feelings. This is important to you since you said you don't want to feel like this in a relationship. No need to beat around the bush - just be yourself and honest. Be true to yourself and try not to worry too much about how she may respond. This is about you and your safety. You seem like a considerate person, so you will probably do just fine in how you bring it up. She knows what you've been through so it seems like she should be understanding. Has she ever gone through betrayal? If so, then she would likely understand.

On the other hand, you could wait to bring it up and for now monitor the situation. When you ask her questions about her trip or she talks about it, how does your gut respond? Take note of any red flags/gut feelings. You could take a wait-and-see approach but for sure don't rug sweep anything. You can bring it up when you feel the time is right.

One thing I've learned is that when my gut speaks up it's right on the spot, especially so when I can't shake the feeling. I trusted my STBXH's word over my gut feelings. My gut never lied but he sure did!

[This message edited by burninghouse at 7:01 AM, June 25th (Tuesday)]

Superesse posted 6/25/2019 07:27 AM

Ozbetrayed, you sound completely sane and sensible to me. "Trust your gut" is said so often around here, it's almost a slogan.

One thing I struggled with in the past was trying to be happy in a relationship that was a huge mismatch between two people's schedules. Maybe others can thrive in long-distance relationships, where they can suddenly, with little advance notice, disappear out of each others' lives for days, weeks or even a month at a time, but my experience in that kind of relationship proved I am not one of them! Maybe you are the same?

One of the things that surprised me about the culture your side of the world when I married a kiwi (huge mistake, by the way!) was this idea that people expect to go on extended, expensive overseas visits. It seems to be a common thing, so that, for example, every time my in-laws are involved, we are either expected to visit or host for weeks, maybe a month, which is way too costly for my liking and I'd feel the same way, even if it were my own family.

So, is this 5 week holiday likely to be her normal pattern? Because if it is, I'd understand your not even wanting to go on seeing her, when you'll periodically be expected to sit on the shelf for a month, while she globetrots!

Yeah, no.

Mizzbak posted 6/25/2019 07:33 AM

If we are real people with any living experience at all, we have "baggage". This isn't being tainted, it just that our experiences are part of what makes us, us. If you've been open with your new girlfriend about what happened in your marriage ... then how that made and makes you feel, is also part of that. Your experience of infidelity has shaped you - maybe it has challenged your expectations, has changed how you approach relationships? None of this is bad. It just is.

You said that you didn't feel this with an earlier relationship. Is this one perhaps more serious to you? Do you have stronger feelings for her? No one really cares if a boat leaks a little if you're not going far from shore. But if you're thinking about a longer journey, then knowing that your relationship is seaworthy becomes far more critical.

Yes, you should trust your gut. And I agree with burninghouse that trigger and gut responses are different. And that we can tell which is which if we focus on how we experience them. I also tend to think that honesty, softly spoken, can be an incredibly intimate gift. So either way, I'd encourage you to speak with her. Not at her, with her. Tell her how you feel ... And if your gut is shouting loudly based on her responses to your openness, then it is time for a different conversation.

[This message edited by Mizzbak at 10:27 PM, June 25th (Tuesday)]

LoveTKO posted 6/25/2019 13:11 PM

Hi Oz,

I'm in a relationship after a 30 year marriage and my "gut" has told me to always be honest. If I were you, in a gentle way I would tell her that you can't help but wonder about cheating given your history. You could say you know it's not fair but it's a trigger for you. If she truly cares about you, she'll understand and give you an honest answer.

I've learned to talk things out. We went through some "old girlfriend" stuff in the beginning of our relationship and I was honest about boundaries I expected. I was fully prepared to end things if my expectations weren't met.

IMHO - The last thing you need is a dishonest relationship. Just communicate and know that it's OK to have these feelings.

Ozbetrayed posted 6/25/2019 23:04 PM

I think in part there are some triggers and in part some other little things I've noticed.

She's only 31, never married and went with girlfriends who were in their late 20s.

Kontiki tour, Greek Islands and Croatia...

I realise that this was always going to be a partying trip...
I was not comfortable/happy with that, but at the end of the day, it was a trip organised before I came on the scene and is her right to have some fun...

So, naturally I was triggered with her off partying, dancing, drinking and playing drinking games. I felt super uncomfortable about all of that... But it is what it is, I was never going to ask her not to do that stuff. I also didn't want to tell her that I wasn't comfortable as I don't want to be that guy and it's only a new relationship.

The things that made me question what happened are as follows:

1) Originally said that she only danced with her girlfriends, to later say that some guy was hitting on her, she said that she had a boyfriend and he said that was ok, but he could still dance with her right? - so she did...

- Obviously the change in story is super concerning, but also, I don't really feel comfortable her dancing with another guy full stop... Like are his hands all over her? - It'd be easy for that to cross a line...
It's fine if it's in a group, but 1:1 is a bit much in my opinion.

2) She then got so drunk one night that she doesn't remember the night - obviously a trigger, but then also fairly concerning...
She then goes on to tell me that one of the other girls (not her friends) on the tour made up a rumour that she hooked up with this guy (dancing guy).

Now, I'm no idiot... People don't just make up stuff like that for no reason... Certainly not adults.

3) After the night of point 2, she says that she had regrets... - Indicating it was the hangover/drinking, but I felt like there was more to her regrets...

4) She returns home, we were talking about the Simpsons episode where Homer and Mindy (I think) went on a business trip and they were in the elevator together and Homer was thinking "think un-sexy thoughts, think un-sexy thoughts" - She then mentioned that she had to do that a few times overseas...
Cue a massive trigger for me... I don't ever have to think that for 2 reasons... 1) I'm not interested in anyone else other than my partner and 2) I would never put myself in such a situation...
So, the question begs, why is she thinking that. Obviously she's interested in sleeping with someone and is trying to stop... So how far has it gone up until that point?

5) There's a few times where she's been looking at me with a face that I can only describe as sad/guilty - usually when I'm doing something "above and beyond" or super nice...
It sets me off, because I think that she's thinking about what she did and feels bad about it...

6) Although we talked every day whilst she was away, she really hasn't spoken much about her trip since she got back... I feel like she's avoiding bringing it up for her guilt and also so that she doesn't get to a situation where she kinda has to tell me something

7) I did have a bit of a melt-down whilst she was away after I had a really bad trigger... After the (too drunk to remember night) she said she wouldn't drink again (not a promise to me, but more for herself) - yet a few days later, she's back on it and got really drunk... This totally set me off because obviously my ex said lots of things that she wasn't going to do (after the affair was discovered) and continually went back on her word... I now don't believe anything anybody says, I always just watch actions... So here I am, seeing the actions, but what set me off is that her actions and words didn't align..
I had a real hard day that day (3 hours on my kitchen floor without moving)
When we face-timed each other later she could tell that I was really upset and off, she asked numerous times what was wrong, but I told her I'd tell her when she was back (I didn't want to be a downer on her trip or discuss issues like that over face-time)
She pushed a bit, but I didn't tell her and she said she'd discuss it with me when she's back then...
Anyway, she hasn't brought it up at all... It's like she's scared of the conversation... I feel like when she sees me upset and understands how I'm feeling that she won't be able to hold back her guilt, so she's just completing avoiding the conversation.

So all of these things combined make me feel like she definitely crossed the line...

I'm not sure how bad, but I know I wouldn't be happy about it...

I feel like I don't want to bring it up because I don't want to know, but I 100% know that I have to discuss it, I just don't really want to.

Carissima posted 6/26/2019 00:31 AM

Ok I'm older and don't do these trips but the people I know that do go on them plaster every minute on social media except when drinking, then it's every second. Honestly, it's like they can't help themselves.

Did you ever check your girlfriend and friends SM accounts? Was there a group account made up for the tour? Any suspicious posts or does it look like there may be missing posts?

Just a thought.

bookworm19 posted 6/26/2019 00:36 AM

Hey OzB!

Thanks for your clarification. Well, for me it looks your gut feeling is not really necessary with all the red flags. Sorry, but there are so many things that are not right in my eyes, I really have to say maybe you should step back a bit and look at the whole picture.
What concerns me is her drinking, because, alcohol lowers the inhibition, if you pair that with the 'Simpson remark', well, sorry mate.

In the beginning of the relationship, when you are just beginning to fall in love or you are already madly in love, there is no "think un-sexy thoughts, think un-sexy thoughts" about others.

You say she is 'only' 31. You are not much older, I understand, you are probably more of an adult then she is, bus still, 31-year old doing drinking games with 20-smothings, this is just immature.
You are showing greatness and trying to be understanding, your last paragraph says it all about you:

I feel like I don't want to bring it up because I don't want to know, but I 100% know that I have to discuss it, I just don't really want to.

I really get your thinking process. Of course it bothers you and in the end you will have to say something, but still, it sucks that you should even bring it up.

I'm sorry I can't be more positive, but I really think you should reconsider this relationship.

sparkysable posted 6/26/2019 10:21 AM

You aren't overreacting. There are red flags all over, frantically waving.

burninghouse posted 6/26/2019 12:02 PM

Sorry you are dealing with this painful stuff, Oz. There are reg flags in her behavior. You are right to pay attention to them and also trust your gut, which I think is telling you something.

I feel like I don't want to bring it up because I don't want to know, but I 100% know that I have to discuss it, I just don't really want to.

It sounds like nobody wants to bring it up, not you and not her. But there's this elephant in the room and both of you know it. Can help to remind yourself that a healthy relationship is about honest, open communication. It's about having the difficult conversations.

I don't think you mentioned how long you have been dating (sorry if I missed that) but with all these red flags so early in a relationship, please carefully consider what you ultimately want in a relationship. Also, Are you two exclusive? Have you had that talk already?

Now could be a good time to get in touch with your values and what you desire in a relationship. Also, we all have our baggage, so choosing a partner who is mindful and respectful of your previous hurts is important.

As others have mentioned, the drinking is a concern. Add together the drinking, the comments about having regrets, the truth surfacing about the dance partner, the rumors, the Homer Simpson comment, and above all your GUT - all should tell you a great deal. In and of themselves these are red flags, cheating or no cheating. There is a saying here on SI that people often quote: When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

You are a considerate person and the fact you didn't want to protest about her pre-planned trip says a lot about you. You obviously want to trust your partner and give her freedom by not being "that guy". But the line needs to be drawn somewhere. You can be considerate and forthcoming at the same time. You clearly already know this.

Your feelings are completely normal and understandable. This is tough stuff. You have it in you to have the hard talk and to ultimately do what's right for you.

[This message edited by burninghouse at 12:12 PM, June 26th (Wednesday)]

NoMorDeceit posted 6/27/2019 14:42 PM

You have been through this. Your tolerance level for even a whiff of any of this BS should be less than zero.

Yes. You trust your gut.

My advice might be different from many other people here. I said end the relationship. Period.

Somebody who knows your history, knows what you have been through and does and says the things she has said, does not love you. She doesn't have any interest in keeping you safe, in keeping you from triggering and is showing zero respect towards you.

I don't think you need to investigate anything. Anyone in a relationship who needs to say "Think unsexy thoughts" to themselves around a member of the opposite sex is not a safe partner.

No mental gymnastics needed here. No twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to make it work.

In case no one has told you. You deserve better.

DevastatedDee posted 6/27/2019 17:21 PM

I feel like once I re-enter the dating world, my preferences, standards and boundaries are going to be pretty different from what they used to be. Not that I'm expecting to be handled with kid gloves, mind you. I just know that I am forever ruined for relationships that involve the guy going off and drinking and partying on a cruise ship without me. I'm ruined for the work out of town guys too. Is it fair? No. There are just a lot of things that I'm not going to be comfortable with anymore, and I expect that applies to you too.

Now I think that she probably crossed lines that she shouldn't have on her vacation and that you're surrounded by red flags. I also think that even without those red flags, it's likely that this scenario would have made you uncomfortable. She doesn't sound like a suitable partner for someone who has been through what you have.

It's like being a strict probably aren't going to want to date someone who butchers cows. We aren't compatible with the same kinds of people anymore and that's okay.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 6/27/2019 21:48 PM

I posted this the other day over in the Spouses of SA, but it's pretty relevant to you here as well. Not sure who that quote is from, but it's all over the internet:

Many people don't have trust issues, they have "I've seen this pattern of behavior before and I'll be damned if I go through this shit again" issues.

Trust your gut. The red flags are waving.

Ozbetrayed posted 6/28/2019 03:01 AM

Well an update.

Today she brought up the 'melt down' conversation.
She said that she was waiting for me to bring it up as she thought I didn't want to talk about it.

She thought something else had happened and had no idea why I was upset.

I explained it to her and she understood. I did re-iterate that it's about me and not her, it's just that what she did triggered me.

I still got the feeling of guilt sensation/look and she had been a bit quiet ever since.

I've asked a few times if she's ok or what she's thinking and I get nothing.

I suspect she's feeling really guilty and wanting to get it off her chest, but she knows that the moment she does that, the relationship is over.

So I'm just going to keep chipping away over the next few days to see if she'll tell me something, and if not, I'll just have to ask her directly and gauge her reaction.

Her face is super expressive, so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to tell straight away.

Bobbi_sue posted 6/28/2019 05:36 AM

I don't really get the huge emphasis on "trust your gut." I don't trust mine. I should not have when it told me many times that my ex-H and then later, my H were NOT cheating when they were. What is to trust the second, third or more times around?

What I really got out of this is that I trust no human being 100%, ever again. And I have vowed to do better, myself in investigating situations that seem off that might mean I'm being betrayed (and I'm talking about other things in life, not just infidelity).

It is one thing to not trust others, but I want to be able to trust myself not to blind myself to things that I really don't want to face, but need to.

bookworm19 posted 6/28/2019 07:00 AM

Thank you for the update, I was thinking about you and your situation a lot and checking for some news from you.
It's actually not what I expected, but that's my problem.

I'm afraid all the chipping away and gauging her reaction won't change the very probable cheating or at least inappropriate behavior at the time in your relationship when there should be butterflies and birds singing.
Sorry mate, I still think you should run. You really deserve better.

Stevesn posted 6/28/2019 20:24 PM

Hi Oz

If it were me I would be even more honest with her. Honesty to me is the only path forward especially after you have already been betrayed before by your ex.

Iíd present something like this below to her:

You know what I have been through with my ex. At this point I am only looking for a relationship where my partner makes me feel safe and not leave me wondering what possibly could be happening.

You did not do that on this trip.

Iíve been down this road before and from all you have said and what your friends have said I am fairly sure you are not telling me everything that happened and that in fact you cheated on me.

I cannot be in a relationship where my partner is not honest with me. And I am pretty sure I cannot be in a relationship with someone who gets drunk on multiple occasions and is touched by other men either thru dancing or other moments of physical contact.

I have no right to dictate to you what you can and cannot do or want to do with your life. But I can decide if I think I can be with someone who behaves like this.

I need to feel like I am my partners one and only for the rest of our lives. I can not force you to feel that way about me. But your actions on your trip show me that you really donít feel that way about me.

And I donít want to keep you from what makes you happy. I care about you and if being able to go on wild Times with your friends is important to you then you deserve to be able to do that.

But i also know if thatís the case I cannot be in a serious relationship with you.

Going forward if you want to be with me you need to make me feel safe in the relationship. That means telling me the truth about what happened and also forming a plan that makes me sure I wonít ever be left wondering again. I understand if you canít do that, but if thatís the case, please just be honest with me about that so we both donít end up hurting each other.

I care about you and love you, but if that is not enough, letís decide to move On. However if you think differently let me know and we can discuss it further.

At this point I think you need to say exactly what you need to be in this relationship. Quite honestly if she thinks itís important that she go drinking and dancing with other men, either around town with her friends or on a trip with them, then sheís probably not the girl for you and you should let her go.

Approach her like this and let her respond. Having an honest discussion about what you need is, in my opinion, the only way to go.

[This message edited by Stevesn at 8:28 PM, June 28th (Friday)]

babypuke posted 7/4/2019 07:12 AM

Many girls on a holiday use dating apps to find local guys to show them around and to have fun with (he was so nice and just a friend!, it just happened!, yeah right), the other day I overheard a conversation between two girls wanting to go to a bar but who were broke and their solution was to just find some guys who would buy them drinks for free, and I have many more stories that illustrate that many many people (women & men) are users, egoists, and shitty, so yeah you better be careful and watch out for red flags or you will get burned (again).

I now have this rule; I do not need proof or "the truth" anymore and am not going to bother anymore, if she makes me feel uncomfortable about her and other guys in any way, I will dump her.

Works fine.

phmh posted 7/4/2019 12:38 PM

Trusting your gut is incredibly important. (The book "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin deBecker goes into many reasons why you should.) We evolved and our ancestors survived because of trusting their gut. The problem comes in when you either don't know how to listen to your gut after overriding it for so many years, or when a person employs wishful thinking to override their gut, but convinces themselves they haven't. But I'm not sure that's the major issue here.

Her behavior sounds atrocious, and someone with whom you are not compatible. After the rose-colored glasses came off after D-Day, I was discussing everything with a friend and he said something like "at this point, the cheating is the least of your concerns" as I'd realized the emotional abuse and his anti-social personality disorder. I didn't quite get it at the time, but the comment stuck with me and it's so clear now that even if WXH had never cheated again, he still wasn't a good partner for me.

That's what kept going through my head when I read your posts. Who cares whether or not she cheated? I think so often for BSs, that's the litmus test, but there are so many ways that someone can be a bad partner and also be faithful. Even if she didn't cheat, is she someone you'd want to be with based on her behavior?

And I say this as a lady that goes on several vacations without my SO every year. (I'm running a marathon in every state, so go on long weekend vacations with running friends; SO and I go to some states/marathons together, but he has no interest in doing all of them.) There tends to be a fair amount of drinking post-race, but I give SO no reason to have any doubts about me.

Your gut is screaming at you for a reason. It may or may not be because she cheated, but I suspect it's because your gut is trying to tell you that the two of you are incompatible long term, but your mind (or other organs...) are trying to override that, focusing only on whether or not she cheated and not on her behavior.

Another book recommendation - "The Science of Happily Ever After" - I wish it were required reading for all people entering (or reentering) the dating world. You can probably get it at your library, which is what I did. This really helped me to make good decisions and find an incredible and compatible SO.

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