Ashley Arcel is a freelance writer and student Midwife. She is interested in writing as a way to fully embrace and explore the human experience and to celebrate the unique moments of joy and sorrow that are a part of individual discovery. She lives in Bozeman, Montana. Visit her at The Girl in Long Shorts.
Forum Replies Created
February 20, 2015 at 9:29 am #73069
First of all, as someone who is hugely familliar with the pain of infidelity, my heart bleeds for you. I’m so sorry for what you are experiencing. Secondly, my advice to you is to move on. The lack of respect he has exhibited for you is reason enough and, if it happened once already, you can bet your buttons it’ll happen again. It’s up to you but I urge you to ask yourself whether this is something you can live with in a partner for the rest of your life.
AshleyFebruary 20, 2015 at 9:23 am #73068
My bet is that you know in your heart what’s right. The toughest part is learning to listen to it and, moreover, learning to TRUST and then act on it. It sounds like you’re both pretty young and, since men mature SO much slower than women, it’s very possible that this guy might rise up to meet you at some point. My boyfriend and I went through something sort of similar in terms of his relationship with his toxic, abusive father. He abandoned me time and time again, I felt like he damaged the love between us, I didn’t want to be intimate or close to him at all. I thought it was over and then, just recently actually, he’s begun to come around and if things stay like this I think we’ll make it. So…there’s hope. It took three years for us and it’s up to nobody but you whether you want to wait and see. There’s also a definite possibility that you’ll remain very different people and you would both be better served by going your separate ways. Nobody can make that decision but you. My advice is simply to spend some time alone, hang tight to your family and friends, listen to your heart and then go with your gut. It’s tough to go wrong like that. All my best to you.
AshleyFebruary 20, 2015 at 9:16 am #73067
Hi There Tsukushim,
First of all, I heartily disagree that you need to spend the next few decades of your life sacrificing your happiness because that’s “whats best for the kids”. That’s old wisdom that came from a much different time and doesn’t fully apply to life today. What kids need to see is love and cohesion, yes, but there are about a million ways to create that and, should you stay with this man and continue to feel the way that you do today, there’s going to come a time when they get a little older and go “Wow, our parents are in a loveless marriage.” I, for one, think that’s more damaging than just about anything else.
That said, it seems like you have a two options: you can leave right now or you can fight a little more for your space and see if that makes you feel any different. The fact that he is refusing you weekend trips and time alone is incredibly dangerous. Most likely, he is afraid of being abandoned and, because of that, he’s trying desperately to cling to you which, of course, only drives you further away. If there’s any part of you that believes this relationship is salvageable or even wants to salvage it in the first place, I’d recommend maybe going to counseling together and being really insistent about your need to spend some time alone doing things you love. You don’t have to go places your crush is going and I’m sure you could find a friend of family member to help him with the kids if he is uncomfortable with you taking them. In any event, he needs to release the death grip or he is going to poison just about everything between you two. On the other hand, you could leave right now and it does seem like there is a large part of you that wants to do that. If that’s the case, that’s an entirely valid decision and you should not feel ashamed or cowed about it. As long as you continue to model stability, love, grace, dignity and respect in your own life and keep things as civil as possible between you and him, they’ll grow up knowing what strength looks like, which is really a better example to set than teaching them to grow up believing that it’s healthy or acceptable to stay for years in a relationship that makes you unhappy. All the best to you. Please keep us posted.
AshleyFebruary 19, 2015 at 9:32 am #73001
Your situation sounds very much like one I dealt with with my partner’s father. His Dad abandoned him, his sister and his mother at a young age, married and had another family that he later abandoned as well. For the entirety of my partner’s life, his dad has been absent, abusive and incredibly cruel. When we first got together, his father got drunk and verbally attacked ME in a hugely inappropriate, sexually demeaning way. It was all downhill from there. Dad leveled blinding bouts of narcissistic rage while everyone in the family cowered and tried their best to appease him. All I wanted was for my partner to stand up a little bit and set some boundaries for the good of everyone involved but he couldn’t do that. I believe he was not only enmeshed in the fantasy of his father one day being a rational, loving human being but I also think he was suffering from some serious PTSD and, at the time, literally did not have the emotional or mental resources of self to do anything about any of it. That was about two years ago now and things have gotten better but it has been a LONG, slow uphill slog.
That said, I get what you’re going through. It’s gut-wrenching to be faced with having to leave someone because of the way they relate to their past and an overall lack of healthy boundaries. All you can really do is continue to care for yourself and, if the dysfunction is really getting so bad that it’s affecting you personally, it MAY be time to leave. If you’ve made it clear to your partner that his past and present with this woman is damaging your mental and emotional health and he still cannot set boundaries with her, then you need to do what’s right for you, whatever that may be. Rest assured that I know how painful this can be. Please keep us updated.
All the best,
AshleyFebruary 18, 2015 at 10:10 am #72950
My mother is going through the same thing. 6 months ago she was laid off from her job of ten years and since then she’s sent out hundreds of resumes, attended dozens of interviews, gone to job fairs, learned new computer skills, etc, etc. and still no luck. I know it can be difficult to be in that situation but the best you can do is keep your head up and keep plugging. Use the newfound free time to do something you enjoy and take on side gigs for money, if needed. Something will turn up sooner or later.
AshleyFebruary 18, 2015 at 9:50 am #72948
It’s never easy to move past verbal abuse like that and I’m sorry you had this experience. The most important thing to remember is that people who lash out at other people that way are hurting and probably don’t know how else to interact with the world. That certainly doesn’t make their actions acceptable, but it does underline the fact that you have the option to take the high road knowing that they are small-minded people with holes in their hearts. Have compassion for them from afar and then move on and make it a point to avoid treating anyone else the way they treated you. They say living well is the best revenge. All my best,
AshleyFebruary 9, 2015 at 9:51 am #72539
Once upon a time, I met a man I quickly developed feelings for. He was tall, handsome, witty, capable and fun to be around. We began a relationship and it quickly blossomed. We spent all of our free time together and things got heated pretty quickly. About four months after we met (we kept our horses at the same barn) I heard a friend of his mentioning his wife and….wait for it….child. I was within earshot and, although he abruptly switched topics, he knew I had heard the conversation. Later, I confronted him about it and he said that he hadn’t told me because he cared about me and didn’t want to scare me off…etc.etc. and that it was no big deal because they were in the process of getting divorced. Their baby was five months old at this point (which obviously means we had gotten together immediately after its birth) and both the wife and child were across the country. I was horrified but, since I liked him, I continued the relationship with him, trusting that what he was telling me was true and that all would be well.
I was wrong. I spent about a year with him and over the course of that year, he slept with numerous other women (his wife included), he lied in ways I didn’t realize were humanly possible, he raged at me for asking questions, and he effectively banged my heart up and made it really difficult to have a normal relationship for several years after that. I stayed with him because he told me what I wanted to hear — that he loved me and that I was “the one” (for what it’s worth, he got back together with his wife and had two more children with her) and that things would work out between us if I could only be patient. Because I was young and ill-equipped and struck dumb by the absurdity of the situation, I stayed and I waited and I put myself entirely on the back burner in order to make an impossible relationship work. I blew off my family and my friends. I treated myself and my life terribly and, in the end, all the pain was redoubled because I hadn’t just walked away when I first heard about that wife and that baby girl. If I have one major regret in life…it is that relationship.
So…here’s my advice to you. Run away and do it now. I know that you have feelings for this man but there is no good that can come of this. Relationships (the good ones) are built on honor, integrity, trust and mutual respect. Not only has this man shown you none of these things but I doubt whether he is actually capable of showing ANYONE these things. The fact that two other women have divorced him is evidence enough of this. In deference to yourself, your self-respect and the state of your heart, hit the road and do it fast. You’ll look back later and be grateful.
Also, please reach out to me if you want to talk about these things. I know where you’re at and I know how difficult it is. You have my thoughts and my support as well as my staunch urging…leave. Now.
AshleyFebruary 9, 2015 at 8:59 am #72537
Thanks for your post! I admire your ability to be open and honest about what is troubling you. It seems to me that a good portion of what you are going through is simply developing into an adult and sort of shifting out of the last phase of your life. It’s an uncomfortable time and it’s made more uncomfortable, in your situation, due to your relative isolation. Does it appeal to you at all to join a group of some type (you mentioned video games so maybe you would enjoy the gaming community?) in order to sort of get out of your own head and meet new people? During difficult times in my life, I’ve found this to be one of the most difficult but one of the most rewarding things. Every issue is magnified when we are entirely alone with it and, although you certainly don’t need to tell this new group about what you’ve been experiencing if that makes you uncomfortable, I do believe it would be helpful and uplifting for you to shake up your routine a bit.
I also agree with what Inky said about your diet – don’t deprive yourself of TOO much. A healthy diet doesn’t always mean cutting out gluten, dairy and sugars but rather, eating them in moderation and in whole, unrefined forms. Get a license and enjoy the independence that provides and touch base again to let us know how you are doing. All my best,
AshleyFebruary 9, 2015 at 8:46 am #72536
First of all – have you ever considered talking to a therapist about this? I used to struggle with major anxiety issues (and, to some extent, I still do) and after several years I found a very sweet therapist who was able to give me some great tools to handle my anxiety.
You mention your mind wandering “like a runaway train” which sounds VERY familiar 😉 I’ve been there! And one of the greatest tricks I learned back then is this: start thinking of your thoughts as cars zipping past on a busy highway while you stand on the shoulder. You don’t have to attach yourself to every single one. Our minds are inherently busy places and learning to observe our thoughts as they appear and as they pass ultimately leads us to a greater peace of mind. The motive isn’t to stop having these thoughts entirely, only to stop getting drug around by them, which is what we achieve when we learn to let them go. I found this particularly helpful when working through a time of immense anger in my life. Every single day, I would find myself being drug off by feelings of resentment, anger, hurt and indignation and every single day, for months, I let these feelings land me in a really uncomfortable emotional place. When I finally learned to see them and then let them go I was able to experience those same feelings of anger but, instead of getting all indignant and upset, I could simply say “I feel angry”, accept it for what it was, and then let it go.
I think the same might help you when you feel anxious. Please keep us posted on your progress and all my best to you.
AshleyFebruary 5, 2015 at 8:47 am #72411
Your post stood out to me because I recently went through something very similar to this. I completed an undergraduate degree and, being largely uncomfortable with the notion of stillness, jumped directly into a graduate program within which I was studying Midwifery. There were many things I loved about the program – I loved working with women, I loved the babies, I loved the births…but it was HARD, too, and eventually I began to think that my heart wanted to go in a different direction.
It took about four months of constant angst and deep thought (how could i abandon something I had spent so much time, effort and money on??) but eventually I did leave that program (and I wrote an article about it for Tiny Buddha: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/moving-on-isnt-failure-5-lessons-on-changing-paths/). The moment I left that program, it was like a 10,000 lb weight had been lifted from my chest. I finally felt like I was honoring myself and my true direction.
It’s hard to walk away from something that you’ve devoted resources to, I get that, but it’s about 50 thousand times harder to stay in a career that you dislike all of your life simply because you feel obligated. Give yourself permission to pursue a different path and the world will open up in ways you never thought possible. I promise you. Your heart knows what it needs.
All my best, please keep us updated.
February 5, 2015 at 8:40 am #72410
- This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by tinybuddha.
First of all – oof…what a blow to the heart. It’s tough to embed a portion of your happiness in trusting someone only to have them sort of yank the rug out from under you. The bottom line is that it will either work or it wont and only 50% of it is up to you. Do the work you feel compelled to do to fight for your relationship, by all means, but also be aware that it may not be the right time for him. You can be beautiful, loving, expansive, generous and patient and, regardless of what he chooses to do in the end, you will be better for your efforts.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in my life it is that we cannot force other people to be where we are. We cannot force other people into the relationships we believe they are capable of having.
If I may recommend some reading…go find “This is Not the Story you Think it is: A season of unlikely happiness”. My dear friend Laura wrote this book about a very similar period of uncertainty in her marriage (Husband of 20+ years comes home one day and tells her he doesn’t love her anymore) and how she learned to cope with it by creating beauty, caring for herself and trying her best to detach from the outcome.
All my best to you, friend. Please keep us posted.
AshleyFebruary 3, 2015 at 2:39 pm #72322
I must ay that it takes a lot of courage to open up about your personal life so accurately.
It is absolutely normal to have conflicting emotions so early in your life. I totally applaud your step to go back to person B to close the loop (which was open since 3 years), but remember the trigger that you went to person B after all.
From my point of view, since you also clicked with person C and opened up with him so much that you discussed your previous relationships with him I would only find it fair that person C actually loves you more than B.
I can only give you a perspective of what I would probably do if we switched sides.
Hope this helps.
AshleyFebruary 3, 2015 at 8:21 am #72300
I can imagine your pain and i understand that it can be difficult to let go of something so easily.
I am pretty sure that you would be able to overcome this pain in yourself, try your best to get yourself detached to him and the first step certainly would be to not be around those things that remind you of him.
I believe small steps like these can be a huge difference and I hope it makes a difference to you too. 🙂February 3, 2015 at 8:08 am #72299
I agree with Yue here.
I would certainly repeat the recommendation that you need to identify and narrow down on a place you want to move so that you can plan better, save and move there. Once you have narrowed on the place even look for jobs out there (maybe you would want to check out the job opportunities online already!).
Life can be difficult sometimes, but it is important to pick up only those pieces which you like and leave those which you dont and move forward. Remember, you control your life, not others! once you realize this, all these problems will disappear!
Hope this helps!
AshleyFebruary 3, 2015 at 7:46 am #72298
You story looks interesting.
If a girl teased you saying that she loves you, then even if she was not serious , she must have had some soft corner for you. Else she would not have teased you like that.
Now that even you like her, go ahead and text her and be friends with her first. You must give a try before assuming that you dont deserve her.