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Feels like I'm still in it

cobalt99x posted 4/19/2021 09:57 AM

I want to start this off with some background. I also want to note in spite of my use of male pronouns, the AP is indeed actually technically female, everyone involved in this mess is female. This isn't a matter of my girlfriend being uncertain if she's gay or the like. Everyone involved is also in the range of 20-25. Also, the actual cheating elements were all virtual. In fact, my girlfriend only knows our friend through text and pictures[and in a way, that sort of makes it sting even more - that this happened with someone like that, meanwhile she has me, who sleeps next to her in bed every night, usually holding each other]

I have had these best friends for 4 years now. The one who is now my girlfriend, I will call her S, I knew about a month before we both met this mutual friend who I will call G. I used to be incredibly close to G - he was the main person I talked to while S was caught up in her previous, abusive relationship that ended the beginning of last year. Me and my girlfriend officially got together in august, after a while of mutual feelings that I tried to repress due to various insecurities. For many reasons though, I grew disillusioned with G more and more. She knows this well. And I've made it very clear I do not want to bring him into our relationship in a polyamorous relationship[that to be honest, my girlfriend can barely handle commitment to one person...to two, even the sweetest girl on the planet? I don't see that working out and she's caught in a fantasy idea of what that would be like and using it as a crutch. THIS is barely even working out]. This is a really brief synopsis

It's been like a month or so since the first time it happened. Apparently, for a few weeks before that, there was...questionable at best sexual conversations between G and my girlfriend stemming from whenever my girlfriend would. Then one night I passed out early due to health reasons and feeling sick, and I find out the next morning that in my sleep it turned into explicit things that both of it agree was cheating.

It gets worse though. About 3 weeks ago it happened again. And the details of it are much, much worse than that previous time when I passed out, but I don't really want to share them here

There's things now I realize - and that I knew, but was stupidly optimistic about, I guess, if I'm so hurt - have been wrong for months. That this is basically just an extreme manifestation of - the admittedly really unhealthy way she's reacted to boundaries[both her own, and others], her stubbornness, insistence on her personal issues just being "her," how this friend has for months welcomed and outright fed into going to him when I'm a "headache" and talking about things to spite me[for example, knowing I'm uncomfortable with smoking, but encouraging to her that they could go have "a fun night out" without me when they meet in person and he could get her super drunk and chain smoke with him], as well as me just knowing from personal experience of how close we used to be what a toxic person he can be that she doesn't seem to trust me on because of how "sweet" he talks to her, in spite of witnessing how he's now treating me, and the fact this even happened, and all those other things

I feel it all just crashing down on me now though and realizing "hey wait a minute, what?" and just how many issues we have to work on other than just those 2 events. As well as some other things that have been bothering me. To be honest, even if it wasn't the 2 events, part of me feels like the other things in between were sort of leaning on this territory, even if we're only calling those 2 times cheating outright... I'm certainly not comfortable with any of it.

I can't stop seeing the tipsy "I love you" she sent him that I oversaw literally the day after the worst time. I can't stop seeing the snip of it that I did see that last night either. It's all just burned into my brain and it flashes in my face every time I even think about the fact that he exists. She doesn't know that I saw any of those things. She's barely said "I love you" to me since she moved here when we used to be so affectionate....

Also, I want to say - even if we are so young, I do have external logical reasons to stay, other than just how bonded we had been since we met and how much I love her and other than literally everyone else also screwing me over somehow. Some I would rather not elaborate here for various personal reasons, though.

But it feels like it's still happening, even if it hasn't actually technically happened again

About a week or so ago, I told her I think we should distance from him. She's been responding like that's such an outrageous, unfair thing, to take away such a "close friend" that she "just recently got close to again"[they re-bonded over hurting me! what the hell!] and that it's unfair to "punish her" like this and that I "turned from normal to fucking Ophelia" after the most recent time

I'm not letting go of feeling like this is necessary though. she knows this, and the past couple of days we've both been talking to people on reddit and Facebook[her trying to find ways other than dropping him or distancing from him, but sort of getting torn to shreds and everyone affirming to both of us that this is the only way to even start to reconcile]

I feel sick every time I see them talk or that they've been talking
I hate it
They've been talking so much since that night and I hate it I hate it I hate it
Even when they're just talking about BoJack Horseman I feel so sick. Thinking about what happened, and in my gut, feeling like that alone is part of it and like it's still happening as long as he's around as stupid as that sounds....

She's responsible for my highest highs and now my lowest lows. And I've been through a lot of really awful things growing up, so I feel like that says something
And yet, even if I'll always have some scarring, even if it takes a while, I still want this with her as long as she's willing to put in the work. I'm just so terrified she'll get so caught up in her own emotions that she doesn't.......
It feels like she's caught up in some fantasy and hurting our reality for it

Sorry if this is all over. I'm just a mess

Sceadugenga posted 4/19/2021 10:30 AM

I also want to note in spite of my use of male pronouns, the AP is indeed actually technically female, everyone involved in this mess is female.

Why are you using masculine pronouns while at the same time admitting the person is technically a woman? Are they trans and undergoing hormonal therapy or is there another factor at play? Perhaps it's not a crucial piece of information but, on the other hand, it could shed more light on the dubious dynamic between them and your partner.
as long as she's willing to put in the work.

At the moment, she doesn't look willing to put in any work.
I do have external logical reasons to stay

First, could you elaborate on those reasons? Second, you can't beat emotions with logic - you just can't.
It feels like she's caught up in some fantasy and hurting our reality for it.

Sorry to be blunt, but you also seem to be living in some fantasy and hurting your own reality for it. In more than one place you point out you've grown disillusioned with your partner. Besides, if two people bond over hurting you, why would you want to have anything to do with either of them?

cobalt99x posted 4/19/2021 10:56 AM

Why are you using masculine pronouns while at the same time admitting the person is technically a woman? Are they trans and undergoing hormonal therapy or is there another factor at play? Perhaps it's not a crucial piece of information but, on the other hand, it could shed more light on the dubious dynamic between them and your partner.

It's sort of complicated. Yes, he identifies as FtM, but he's physically staying mostly female and has expressed only wanting minimal hormones and also considers himself to be female due to his biology. Which tbh, with some medical conditions I have, is almost equal to how I just naturally am on a physical level

At the moment, she doesn't look willing to put in any work.

She has expressed wanting to, in words... we had a calmer discussion without her snapping at me yesterday and after the past few days of us both actually talking to people and I hope she's finally absorbing that this is going to take a lot, if it's what she really wants

I am right though in feeling like this "friend" needs to go, right? I feel it and I said I know it but I keep having doubts because of how hurt she seems by that but....

First, could you elaborate on those reasons?

For one, my economic and just general life situation is a mess due to disabilities; her moving 3000 miles out here to be with me has been helpful. And again...some other things that would feel sort of uncomfortable to list in public or that feel sort of identifying

Second, you can't beat emotions with logic - you just can't.

Oh yeah, I know - I've just had a lot of people say that due to my age there couldn't possibly be any logical or external reasons and that I'm being irrational or emotional to not just sending her to pack her bags right away, y'know?

Sorry to be blunt, but you also seem to be living in some fantasy and hurting your own reality for it. In more than one place you point out you've grown disillusioned with your partner. Besides, if two people bond over hurting you, why would you want to have anything to do with either of them?

Perhaps. I mean, I'm 100% willing to work out all of our problems, tbh. I do love her and still want that with her, and I know we both have a lot of mental health things going on. She's been my best friend and I know there's a lot overwhelming her right now too; I'm just sort of hurting and am sort of still processing all this. I just sort of feel like I'm at the edge of my rope right now and am sort of at a tipping point waiting to see if she actually will pull me back up. I'm thinking about setting a sort of time limit internally to see

Sceadugenga posted 4/19/2021 11:38 AM

Which tbh, with some medical conditions I have, is almost equal to how I just naturally am on a physical level.

This implies that you suffer from some kind of hormonal imbalance. Is this condition treatable? Are you willing to treat it or do you accept it as part of, say, your "natural constitution"?

She has expressed wanting to, in words [...] this is going to take a lot, if it's what she really wants.

Don't listen to her words, watch her actions. They will tell you what she wants, even if she doesn't know it herself.

I am right though in feeling like this "friend" needs to go, right? I feel it and I said I know it but I keep having doubts because of how hurt she seems by that but....

This "friend" should have gone the moment you expressed concern about their presence in your and your partner's life. Apparently, your relationship has become (at least on the emotional level) a ménage à trois and your partner values her "friendship" more than your peace of mind.

For one, my economic and just general life situation is a mess due to disabilities; her moving 3000 miles out here to be with me has been helpful.

I strongly encourage you to look at this relationship more objectively (it's difficult, I know) and figure out if it isn't a "marriage of convenience" of sorts for both of you and whether the convenience aspect hasn't run its course.

I've just had a lot of people say that due to my age there couldn't possibly be any logical or external reasons and that I'm being irrational or emotional to not just sending her to pack her bags right away, y'know?

A lot of folks here will tell you the very same thing. It's painful for you, but it's relatively easy for them/us. The difference being, neither them, nor we are emotionally invested in your situation.

am sort of at a tipping point waiting to see if she actually will pull me back up

You absolutely mustn't do that. It's your job to pull yourself back up, with her or without. If she's willing (which she doesn't seem to be) she could help you along the way, but at the end of the day, one person cannot breathe for another, just like only one person cannot "breathe" for both parties involved in a relationship.

cobalt99x posted 4/19/2021 12:05 PM

This implies that you suffer from some kind of hormonal imbalance. Is this condition treatable? Are you willing to treat it or do you accept it as part of, say, your "natural constitution"?

When I was younger I was convinced to try treating it; I didn't feel any better and was having side effects, and the doctor thought that by then my body would have "learned" how to keep the hormones "right" anyways. It just went right back, but I'm honestly happier this way and the medical issues likely connected to it are far more imperative than the sex-hormone aspect[which doesn't seem to be truly treatable anyways and I'm completely fine with that as part of me]

Don't listen to her words, watch her actions. They will tell you what she wants, even if she doesn't know it herself.

You have a point here....


This "friend" should have gone the moment you expressed concern about their presence in your and your partner's life. Apparently, your relationship has become (at least on the emotional level) a ménage à trois and your partner values her "friendship" more than your peace of mind.

Yeah, that's really what it's like right now, tbh


I strongly encourage you to look at this relationship more objectively (it's difficult, I know) and figure out if it isn't a "marriage of convenience" of sorts for both of you and whether the convenience aspect hasn't run its course.

By this, do you mean considering both the emotional and practical aspects evenly?

Gonna be honest, I think she's having trouble doing this, too - when she was reading how people were talking to me as well as how they were talking to her on both reddit and Facebook about how she's acting with people saying what a mess this is, she started getting anxious and being like "they don't know me!" and seemed genuinely uncomfortable and scared. It felt almost like she was indirectly asking me if I agreed and she was really being that bad, and desperately trying to defend herself - not to me, but to herself - when she has plenty of times made even judgements against people like how she sounds - not in an overcompensatory way, just how she has reacted in the past to posts about people like us.
I know she deals with a lot, and in a way it almost feels like a way to try to deny how much she's hurt me due to not wanting to have[just due to her behavior patterns in the past, it wouldn't be out of character at all for this to be part of the case]....


A lot of folks here will tell you the very same thing. It's painful for you, but it's relatively easy for them/us. The difference being, neither them, nor we are emotionally invested in your situation.

Yeah. It makes sense


You absolutely mustn't do that. It's your job to pull yourself back up, with her or without. If she's willing (which she doesn't seem to be) she could help you along the way, but at the end of the day, one person cannot breathe for another, just like only one person cannot "breathe" for both parties involved in a relationship.

Oh yeah, I know. Perhaps I phrased that badly. I meant more of trying a bit more to see if she actually wants to, since I can't do it all myself, which is how it's felt like.

Bigger posted 4/19/2021 12:54 PM

Also, I want to say - even if we are so young, I do have external logical reasons to stay, other than just how bonded we had been since we met and how much I love her and other than literally everyone else also screwing me over somehow. Some I would rather not elaborate here for various personal reasons, though.

You don’t have to go into any details about why you are so bonded you two are, but I will say this: If you trully believe that are externally logical reasons that prevent you from even considering ending this relationship then your tools are extremely limited.
In fact they are limited to waiting it out and hoping she tires of the OP or changing the foundation of your relationship so the emotional and sexual aspect is permanently changed. Be that by becoming polyamorous, having an open relationship or creating a brother/sister like bond.

Why do I say this? Well… she can refuse to end it with the OP. She could sext or whatever in the next room with your knowledge and other than physically stopping it there wouldn’t be anything you could do.
What is often the tipping point is when the betrayed spouse has the ability to decide to not be in infidelity. When you can tell her that the infidelity and interactions are diminishing your belief in this relationship.

Sceadugenga posted 4/19/2021 13:12 PM

It just went right back, but I'm honestly happier this way and the medical issues likely connected to it are far more imperative than the sex-hormone aspect[which doesn't seem to be truly treatable anyways and I'm completely fine with that as part of me]

The reason I kept raising the hormone problem (including sex hormones) is that hormone imbalance determines our emotional state; our emotional state affects our perception of reality and, finally, our perception of reality influences our reaction to it. I'm not saying that your current view of the situation is skewed (it most likely isn't) but I'm a tad concerned about the future. Suppose your partner has a "come to Jesus" moment, your health issues could still make both your and her healing difficult. For instance, you could be oversensitive to certain problems or distrustful of her efforts. Both reactions are natural and understandable in such circumstances, but could be exacerbated by the said hormonal issues and their ramifications. If I were you, I'd consult an endocrynologist and/or a psychiatrist to figure out to what extent your biological health could have a bearing on your mental/emotional state. Knowledge is power and self-knowledge is super power. A thorough assessment of your internal biochemistry could help you determine which areas you're able and willing improve and which areas you must accept for what they are.

she started getting anxious and being like "they don't know me!" and seemed genuinely uncomfortable and scared. It felt almost like she was indirectly asking me if I agreed and she was really being that bad, and desperately trying to defend herself - not to me, but to herself

No one enjoys being the villain in the story of their own life and people will go to great lengths to defend their self-image, even to themselves. But her reaction indicates two problem areas: first, she appears to be lacking in the introspection department, second, she has difficulty accepting other people's point of view as valid. If not held in check, both will spell doom and gloom for any relationship she finds herself in.

I know she deals with a lot, and in a way it almost feels like a way to try to deny how much she's hurt me due to not wanting to have[just due to her behavior patterns in the past, it wouldn't be out of character at all for this to be part of the case] ...

That's a feeble excuse. We sometimes inadvertently hurt those close to us on a daily basis. Some of those "slights" are indeed slight and they let it slide, other times they get upset and communicate it. A healthy reaction is to apologise, critically examine our own actions and do our best never to act that way again. "Your Honour, the defendant indeed murdered the victim, but they'd been through immense childhood trauma themselves" - it's obviously an exaggeration, but you see where it's going, right?
I meant more of trying a bit more to see if she actually wants to, since I can't do it all myself, which is how it's felt like.

She either wants to or she doesn't, there is no trying. The most painful aspect of any end of relationship is resigning oneself to the realisation that the other person doesn't want us the way we want them.

I'm thinking about setting a sort of time limit internally to see.

Be sure, however, not to sacrifice too much of your time and effort to a person who, for all intents and purposes, doesn't appear deserving of it.

cobalt99x posted 4/19/2021 13:52 PM

You don’t have to go into any details about why you are so bonded you two are, but I will say this: If you trully believe that are externally logical reasons that prevent you from even considering ending this relationship then your tools are extremely limited.
In fact they are limited to waiting it out and hoping she tires of the OP or changing the foundation of your relationship so the emotional and sexual aspect is permanently changed. Be that by becoming polyamorous, having an open relationship or creating a brother/sister like bond.

Why do I say this? Well… she can refuse to end it with the OP. She could sext or whatever in the next room with your knowledge and other than physically stopping it there wouldn’t be anything you could do.
What is often the tipping point is when the betrayed spouse has the ability to decide to not be in infidelity. When you can tell her that the infidelity and interactions are diminishing your belief in this relationship.


If it absolutely comes down to it, it's not 100% necessary. It's just seriously much better off if we can make it work

Though I do want to note that truly healthy polyamory is very hard to accomplish and definitely wouldn't be a fix for our situation - it just adds even more boundaries and communication that need to be taken care of and even more work for everyone to be comfortable. Though I have seen many try to use it as an excuse or quick fix. Especially in our current state, I really don't feel like we could make that work out, and definitely not with the AP

But yeah. I get what you're saying...and I know even if she does decide to grow up and fix things, I know that worry will be in the back of my head for a while

but I'm a tad concerned about the future. Suppose your partner has a "come to Jesus" moment, your health issues could still make both your and her healing difficult.

I hear what you're saying; however, tbh, the hormones are very far from the tip of the iceberg on my health. It's very well established with her and everyone I know, and I grew up as a disabled, medically fragile child and will stay a disabled, medically fragile adult throughout the rest of my life and do have a close monitor on my health. Likewise, I suspect it to be part of why things are going the way they are with gf, tbh; she went into this knowing well of my health issues, and I gave her months to think about it first, but I'm not sure if she's truly sure about it or if she's dealing with anxiety over it; my health will 100% be a big thing to deal with in my life, as well as that of whoever I make my life with.

No one enjoys being the villain in the story of their own life and people will go to great lengths to defend their self-image, even to themselves. But her reaction indicates two problem areas: first, she appears to be lacking in the introspection department, second, she has difficulty accepting other people's point of view as valid. If not held in check, both will spell doom and gloom for any relationship she finds herself in.

Oh, I completely agree. While she's never cheated before, these things have been a pattern in her personal relationships for as long as I've known her, all the meanwhile she's incredibly insecure and regularly trashes on herself[not to others or in a way looking for sympathy, but in a more low-key way than that]. She has a therapist every 2 weeks[I personally feel she needs more than that], but her own fears of talking about herself prevent there from really seeming like much point to it *facepalm*


That's a feeble excuse. We sometimes inadvertently hurt those close to us on a daily basis. Some of those "slights" are indeed slight and they let it slide, other times they get upset and communicate it. A healthy reaction is to apologise, critically examine our own actions and do our best never to act that way again. "Your Honour, the defendant indeed murdered the victim, but they'd been through immense childhood trauma themselves" - it's obviously an exaggeration, but you see where it's going, right?
She either wants to or she doesn't, there is no trying. The most painful aspect of any end of relationship is resigning oneself to the realisation that the other person doesn't want us the way we want them.

Be sure, however, not to sacrifice too much of your time and effort to a person who, for all intents and purposes, doesn't appear deserving of it.

Yeah...I feel like I keep saying it, but you're really not wrong about any of that. She does have extensive trauma specifically around communication though[and on top of it, we are both autistic and have extra complications with understanding people and communicating, and I myself am absolutely notoriously bad at getting in touch with what I feel] - not mentioning it as an excuse, just as part of a reason I have this desire to be patient a little bit longer, if that makes sense?

Also, thank you for talking with me about this. I've been feeling really overwhelmed and the various places I've been talking about this have been really helpful so far in getting me to calm down a bit, think, and stop myself from just getting angry or worrying that I'm being irrational with the things I've been feeling about this "friend" or anything of the sort...I've had basically no where to talk about this other than with her and no friends now that I would be able to trust on or want to tell about the subject.

Also...is it fair of me to feel like something bad is still happening with this attachment itself now after those events, even if there isn't still outright explicitly sexual things now?

[This message edited by cobalt99x at 1:53 PM, April 19th (Monday)]

Sceadugenga posted 4/19/2021 14:36 PM

Also...is it fair of me to feel like something bad is still happening with this attachment itself now after those events, even if there isn't still outright explicitly sexual things now?

Emotional cheating is definitely a thing. How it's defined differs probably from person to person or from relationship to relationship, but there's no doubt it exists. My working definition of it is any emotional bond developed outside the primary relationship which is detrimental to said relationship and the emotional security of the other party. So yes, there's nothing wrong with the way you feel even if no sex was involved.

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