Sickandafraid (original poster member #72338) posted at 12:28 PM on Sunday, February 12th, 2023
I’m struggling. My XWH was a serial cheater and I stupidly put up with it for 14 years before divorcing.
I’ve been in a relationship with my current bf for 3 years now, and I’m struggling to feel safe from infidelity. I’m trying to determine how much of that is my trauma, and how much is from him.
We have a friend group we hang with regularly. There’s a girl in the group, my close friend…I’ll call her Kristen. Early on in our relationship, I could tell my bf got a kick out of Kristen. She’s got a good sense of humor and is usually the one acting wild. It’s entertaining for sure.
Last fall, we were all hanging out..a group inside and a group outside. I was inside, but decided to go socialize outside. I walked out to see my bf with his hand on Kristen’s shoulder massaging it and they were in conversation. I was livid. He initially acted like it was no big deal but eventually claimed to understand. He apologized and told me there’s nothing there for K, he just thinks she’s fun to hang out with like one of the guys.
Fast forward to a month ago, we’re all together in our big group and k was taking abt getting beads at Mardi gras back in the day. And my bf made the comment of wanting to see her boobs / would give her beads. I know he was trying to be funny but it obviously struck a nerve. Still, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to fight and I’m trying not to drag my past trauma into our relationship.
Then a few weeks later we were all together again. He and k spent a better part of the night sitting at the bar chatting about somewhat personal stuff, going into the history of their families, her lamenting abt how her father was an alcoholic, blah blah blah. This time a few other ppl in our group noticed and made comments abt it. I was pissed. We argued and he basically blew it off and acted like I was being ridiculous because clearly he has no interest in K…she’s just fun to hang out with like one of the guys.
Last night we were all out and k was bitching about her husband and being mean to him publicly for much of the night. Coincidentally, my bf also ended up mad at k’s husband for some stupid joke he made toward my bf, and was not trying to hide his anger. At this point I get pissed because it feels like he’s only mad because k was mad. So I ask him why he’s being so crabby. He gets pissed at me and says he was just mad at k’s husband for the rude comment he made (which wasn’t a big deal).. and then asks why I "came at him".
I love my bf and he claims to love me but I’m at a point now that I don’t know if this can work. In his head he doesn’t see the problem because it’s simply a friendship and we’re all friends together. He makes me feel like I’m being ridiculous and controlling, like not letting him be himself or socialize with who he wants to socialize with.
I feel so broken from my last relationship I can’t tell if I’m being reasonable or not. I don’t want to be some desperate jealous hypervigilent person the rest of my life. But that’s how I feel.
Worse, this whole k thing is in my head now… and unfortunately I’m not sure if it will ever go away. Help!
[This message edited by Sickandafraid at 12:49 PM, Sunday, February 12th]
Too many DD’s to list
Gracey ( member #79334) posted at 1:41 PM on Sunday, February 12th, 2023
Hi, just read your post. I would be the same as you and I think you should talk to Kristine. Explain how it makes you feel and that you value her friendship however this is upsetting you. Both your BF and her are minimising your feelings. I would also seek to socialise away from this group with your BF. If that is an issue for him then he needs to tell you why. Good luck
Together 33 years Married. 17 years
EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 4:44 PM on Sunday, February 12th, 2023
You're not overreacting because his behavior is 100% out of bounds. Does he act like this with any of the other women in this group of friends? He's clearly not demonstrating healthy boundaries, and when you're rightfully calling him out on that, he's minimizing and gaslighting your very valid concerns.
You're not crazy. I'd be pissed too.
Well truth, I'd be getting out of the relationship if I was in this position. After going through it once, anything that even slightly resembles wayward behavior is not something I would tolerate at all, nor is it something I would try to 'fix' ever again. I know myself well enough to know that I'd talk myself into ignoring the red flags and I've BTDT, got the Tshirt and the divorce decree to prove it.
The new motto for my life: if it costs me my peace, it's too expensive.
"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger
"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park
leafields ( Guide #63517) posted at 9:15 PM on Sunday, February 12th, 2023
If he were talking to Bob (or other male friend's name here), would your BF be doing a neck massage? If he is a massage therapist, maybe...but there are other red flags there.
[This message edited by leafields at 2:10 AM, Friday, March 10th]
BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21
grubs ( member #77165) posted at 11:35 PM on Sunday, February 12th, 2023
We do carry betrayal trauma into future relationships, but we also carry a heightened dislike of even minor boundary crossings which can be a good thing. What you describe I don't see as minor. There's enough smoke there to point to a nascent EA at least. He has a thing for Kristen. That's not in itself a bad thing but he's acting on it by actively flirting with her even in your presence. They are bonding. That's not ok.
TLDR; just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they are out to get you.
The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 12:24 AM on Monday, February 13th, 2023
The two of them spend long amounts of time talking. Just the two of them from the larger crowd 🚩
Others have noticed 🚩
Your BF is mad at her H for an innocuous comment 🚩
But most of all you’ve spoken to him about it and he blows you off and keeps on doing the sane thing.
So sorry for you. It’s at least an emotional affair
Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.
JasonCh ( member #80102) posted at 6:37 AM on Monday, February 13th, 2023
Agreeing with everyone else that his behavior is out of bounds.
I too struggle with what i am carrying forward. The largest one in my thoughts and heart right now is trust / vulnerability. I am fairly certain that those things are a casualty of the affair. I am not sure i but the line of thought that i was too trusting to begin with *or* that you should never trust anyone that much. There are enough people that make it all the way with that in their back pocket.
Since i will carry some of it forward that in a way does make me damaged goods as i am already going into it knowing 'Santa is not real'. In that case it seems like i am not being honest and that is just icing on the cake.
also -- Kristen does not sound like a close friend to me.
grubs ( member #77165) posted at 3:38 PM on Monday, February 13th, 2023
As a follow up, BS have scars which make certain behaviors in potential partners deal breakers going forward. For Example, harmless flirts would tend to be toxic to a BS even if the flirting really was just flirting. Regardless of the extent of your BFs relationship with Kristen, that he continues this behavior even after you've brought it up makes him unsuitable for you. I would suggest it is time for you to move on. You deserve better. You need to demand better. I would also warn Kristen's husband that you are moving on and that Kristen and your BFs interactions played a major role in that.
Sickandafraid (original poster member #72338) posted at 5:18 PM on Monday, February 13th, 2023
Thank you all for your replies. It’s just so frustrating and exhausting. Why is it that damn hard for people to put boundaries up in relationships??
What is he really thinking by acting this way? How can he just throw our relationship away over something so ridiculous. What is he really going to get out of it?
I’ve obviously learned enough through my history to know the answers to these questions don’t matter. And likely many of these questions have no answers. He acts like it because he enjoys it. And he enjoys enough to continue doing it.
Which I guess is all I really need to know. But dammit. I’m exhausted by it all. Truly.
I think the hardest part for me is that he doesn’t validate my feelings on it. He just acts like I’m being ridiculous, so then I start questioning myself and my feelings.
Too many DD’s to list
Superesse ( member #60731) posted at 7:08 PM on Monday, February 13th, 2023
I am so sorry that you have spent 3 years in this relationship, and only now he shows you how he handles your feelings!? Never saw this red flag, before, I presume.
When I first read this I wondered: how much do you suppose alcohol factors in to the crowd's behaviors? It reminded me of a former place I worked where the gang all met for beers after hours most every Friday. Things got a little out of hand and ultimately led to a couple people getting divorced, due to their high school-like behaviors, as everyone let their guard down with more beers.
BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 2:10 AM on Tuesday, February 14th, 2023
I actually think you're underreacting. Your BF massaging another woman's arm during conversation and commenting about wanting to see her boobs are dealbreakers, in my opinion. If this is how he behaves when you're around, I can only imagine what he's like when you're not. For every cockroach you see, there are a 100 hiding in the walls.
If there is any trauma that you're bringing into this relationship that you shouldn't, it's your high tolerance for being gaslit and manipulated.
Don't waste any time trying to figure out why he is the way he is, analyzing his thought processes, or teaching him boundaries. You put up with enough shit for 14 years.
[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 2:11 AM, Tuesday, February 14th]
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried
I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.
BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 2:17 AM on Tuesday, February 14th, 2023
I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is to try to be vulnerable and trust again after going through a terrible betrayal, and I'm sorry that your needs aren't being met in this new relationship.
I think there are are series of smaller red flags and that you need to trust your gut. My ex's best friend was a good friend of mine as well, and he's one of those touchy feeling easy-to-talk to people. But he was that way with everyone. And if he touched me or rubbed my shoulders, it was in front of my then-husband, not off in a corner or in another room.
I think the hardest part for me is that he doesn’t validate my feelings on it.
Feelings are always valid, so he's really not getting it. Have you tried discussing it with him using talking boundaries? In case you aren't familiar with them:
When I saw you ______ with Kristen, I made up ___________, and about that I feel _____ In the future I would prefer if you ________.
The first blank is sensory data,
- when I saw
-when I heard.
The second blank is you thought, always spoken from the I position.
-What I make up about that is
-What I believe about that is
-What that triggered from my past is
The third blank is your emotion:
-and about that I am feeling
and the final blank you place your vulnerable future request
-What I would like/prefer is
Here are some examples:
"When I saw you massage Kristen's shoulders in the other room, what it triggered from my past is my ex-husband's physical intimacy with other women outside our marriage, and that made me feel that insecure. In the future, I'd ask that you not have physical contact with her unless it's in my presence.
When you have lengthy intimate personal conversations with Kristen, what I made up about it is that the line between friend and confidant is being blurred, and that made me feel like your relationship is threatened, so in the future, I'd appreciate it if you could have stronger boundaries with Kristen in which you treat her like you treat your male friends.
Because you are expressing a fact, and a feeling and a request, there's nothing open to debate. And, since you are clearly and logically telling him what you need, if he doesn't alter his behavior, then that speaks volumes about him and his ability to have a safe relationship with you.
JanaGreen ( member #29341) posted at 4:48 PM on Thursday, February 16th, 2023
I don't think you are overreacting. I think he's demonstrating crap boundaries and a lack of regard for your feelings, and that's an optimistic interpretation. This isn't you, this is him.
gracelesslady ( member #21550) posted at 3:56 PM on Wednesday, March 8th, 2023
Perhaps it is not so much that you are are carrying past trauma to a new relationship, but that behavior of your BF is rightly causing new trauma.
You would likely see the red flags even if you hadn't been cheated on before. Red flags are red flags. And gas lighting is gas lighting.
BW (me) 63XWH 59OW#1 28MOW#2 35OW#3 38DDay #1 Aug 2008DDay #2 Oct 2008DDay #3 Apr 2015S since Apr 2015D final Jun 2017
Catwoman ( member #1330) posted at 9:12 PM on Wednesday, March 8th, 2023
His boundaries are like the colander sitting in my kitchen sink.
He doesn't validate your feelings or try to see things from your perspective.
At no time ever would I speak to the woman who is cozying up to him. That is a recipe for disaster--you don't want that.
Simply let him know that you find this behavior unacceptable and you are ending the relationship because you're not going to put up with it. He's made the choice to have bad boundaries and to not respect your feelings in this matter. When they choose the behavior, they choose the consequences.
I'm sorry it's come to this, but I don't think standing up for your boundaries is a bad thing. Ever. We teach people how to treat us, and it looks like he's not learning the lessons you need for him to learn.
FBS: Married 20 years, 2 daughters 27 and 24. Divorced by the grace of GOD.
D-Days: 2/23/93; 10/11/97; 3/5/03
Ex & OW Broke up 12-10
"An erection does not count as personal growth."
Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 10:39 AM on Thursday, March 9th, 2023
I usually don’t post in this forum but the title of your thread got my attention.
And… I will freely admit that my initial thoughts about a response are not the same as the response I’m writing now…
My initial response was along these lines:
I left an infidelity relationship. Some time later I met my present (and hopefully only) wife and we started the whole process of spending life together. About 15 years into our relationship we were at a very hard place emotionally. I was 100% certain she was cheating. This is about the time I found sites like this one, and when I posted for advice nearly every response was that yes, 100% cheating.
She worked a lot = cheating. She went to the gym = cheating. Changed her hairstyle = cheating. We argued = cheating.
I did a lot of the stuff recommended (and stuff I too recommend today…) like GPS in her vehicle and VAR. When that didn’t reveal anything the only "logical" deduction was that she was cheating, but good at it…
Of course there were other more reasonable voices too, but the ones that got my attention were the definite this-is-what-she-is-doing.
There were other issues disturbing me too. PTSD issues directly related to events I experienced as a police officer. Eventually I had a minute of clarity, and contacted an IC to help me cope. The IC took two sessions to confidently tell me that I had PTSD. Not only that, but stated that if he could scale the levels of PTSD then the events I experienced as a cop might rate 2-4 out of 10, but infidelity at 8. He then gave me some coping exercises and in the next 2-3 sessions we worked on them. I managed to rid myself of the PTSD triggers – mostly. I still get an occasional trigger in certain very rare situations, but when that happens I fall back to the coping methods.
Turns out my wife was never cheating. There were issues in our marriage, but they weren’t helped by my doubts and defense by pushing her away. My change – my dealing with the PTSD of infidelity – made me a better partner. From that we could work towards a better marriage.
So my initial response was intended to be the above story, along with a suggestion that your past relationship might have left you with some residue you want to get rid of. That maybe your thoughts are PTSD of some sort or level.
However… Although I learned not to judge every relationship on the actions of my ex fiancé, I don’t think my shrink expected me to forget everything that relationship taught me…
Reading your post… your BF has issues. His actions are such that the above advice/story on it’s own would be bad. Would be like expecting me to see my wife making out with another man, and me attributing it to my PTSD…
If this is his "only" fault and otherwise you want to invest more in this relationship then maybe request you two do couples counseling. Make 100% certain he knows where you are coming from – understands the abuse your ex put you through – and if he really loves you he will change. If not… well… that should tell you that no matter how committed you are he is not at the same level.
"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus
sillyoldsod ( member #43649) posted at 12:29 PM on Friday, March 10th, 2023
In his head he doesn’t see the problem because it’s simply a friendship and we’re all friends together. He makes me feel like I’m being ridiculous and controlling, like not letting him be himself or socialize with who he wants to socialize with.
Is he able to have that degree of empathy towards you and change his behaviour accordingly? Looking at it as an outsider, albeit as an ex BS, I don't think what you're asking of him is unreasonable at all but he has to show how strong his commitment is to you and to the relationship.
Make 100% certain he knows where you are coming from – understands the abuse your ex put you through – and if he really loves you he will change. If not… well… that should tell you that no matter how committed you are he is not at the same level.
Good luck SAA.
I've never met a sociopath I didn't like.
nekorb ( member #40306) posted at 6:48 PM on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023
As others have said, your bf’s behavior is wildly inappropriate. My ex also did not see the issues with some of his behaviors and lack of boundaries.
My life partner (G5 ) would never lay his hands on another woman nor would he be that friendly with another woman out of RESPECT for me. Ever.
Ex constantly did things that made me uncomfortable and blamed me for being insecure. Reality is he had no appropriate boundaries and this was setting off my internal alarm bells.
G5 literally never says or does anything about or with other women that makes me uncomfortable. It’s crystal clear where his attention is.
It’s also crystal clear where your bf’s attentions are. I know it’s hard, but this is a take care of you moment. I’d end things if I were you. You deserve better.
Me: BS 44; Him: WH 47 M - 22 Years
D-day: 7/2013; D filed 7/2014; Divorced 7-27-16
...the WS affair starts off in a dreamland where everything is all Golly, Wow! and Meant To Be! and Soul Mates drop from the trees to frolic in the mist. -devotedman