Forum Replies Created
February 21, 2023 at 2:40 am #415670
A very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! I thought of you during the holidays and hoped I would get a moment to myself to write to you, but I didn’t. How have you been? I am so sorry (again!) for my delay in getting back to you. I have been so busy this last while, I (literally) barely have time to sleep. I have been trying as usual to keep my head afloat between working and caring for my baby, as well as trying to keep my relationship somewhat healthy and unsurprisingly, unable to do so very well.
I’m sad to report that my mental and physical health has continued to decline this last year. I tried to keep ahead of it, but it seemed like instance after instance would occur that would knock me back professionally, financially, or emotionally. You predicted that if I continued my relationship with B, my health would continue to suffer and I would become sicker than I was. Unfortunately, I believe that has become the case. Around the summer of last year and the time my daughter turned one in the fall, my mental health was at a completely unstable point. I was having regular panic attacks, and I desperately needed a break from working I believe. B had finally secured a job working for my friend’s husband’s company and reporting to him, but it was commission-based and not dependable. As such, I continued to work as much as I could, to the detriment of my health I believe. Finally, at my absolute lowest point, I reached out to my doctor and began an SSRI, sertraline, which I am still taking now. To be honest, I’m not sure if it has truly been helping, but I continue to take it in case it is.
My relationship with B has all but crumbled. Not long after I posted last, B seemed to have given up on any attempt to improve our relationship and began treating me poorly. Gone was the person that was at least always polite and kind to me. Now, not only was he financially draining me, but he also was indifferent and sometimes cruel to me, often mocking or laughing (he called it being “exasperated”) at me when I was completely overwhelmed or emotional. I continued working with my therapist, who, surprisingly to me, recommended strongly that I end the relationship and labelled B a narcissist based on his actions. To this day, I’m not sure if that’s true or not. All I know is that I am so tired of fighting, so tired of trying to make a relationship work with someone so irresponsible, reckless and immature despite being almost 10 years my senior.
That being said, I am terrified of potentially missing out on my daughter’s life. I don’t want to “share” her if I’m completely honest. So I have stayed in the relationship, begged B to change and implored him to think about how changing would be in everyone’s best interest, including his. These conversations are met with verbal reassurances but rarely followed through with actions. In being ritually disappointed, saddened, and hurt by his actions (and often inactions), I have resorted to not being very kind to him at all. In fact, so much so that we mutually agreed to take some time apart while I visited my parents in the city I had almost moved to. I have been here now for a week, and B promised to finally organize and clean the house he had promised to do when we moved in about a year ago. Lo and behold, he was out with his friends at the bars and drinking rather than doing this, so I snapped. I was not very nice to him on the phone, and the next thing I knew, he had blocked me and I received a message from his sister-in-law that they (his parents included) had helped him move out.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this new development longer term. In the short term, I feel completely blindsided and betrayed by the lack of upfront communication, but on the other side, maybe it truly just is for the best and it doesn’t matter how it happens. But again, I can’t seem to get over the idea of sharing parenting and not seeing my daughter every single day. That side that worries so much about that is motivating me to try to mend things with B, perhaps finally try counselling together and see if perhaps most of our issues were some kind of misunderstanding, as he never really was able to communicate with me openly and calmly. He would shut down and stonewall me anytime I addressed something with him I wasn’t happy with. Including our financial situation. Part of me feels so sad and frustrated that he seemingly wouldn’t work on this, that if he did, we could have a true shot at happiness. Another side of me feels like a man in his 40s is unlikely to change. I just don’t know.
You mentioned in your last reply that I went along with fear when I didn’t move to this city. Am I going along with fear again? I really don’t know. Somehow I feel so out of touch with my emotions, my intuition, and my judgment. Perhaps it has to do with the medication that I am taking. I’m not sure. Either way, I find myself more lost than ever, but with a ticking time bomb on my shoulder based on a limited window of opportunity to work on things with B, who already mostly seems against continuing the relationship, although never even bothering to communicate this directly to me and having me instead painfully and awkwardly having to ask his SIL
As a side note, I did end up messaging G an apology. He surprisingly wrote back, and after a little back and forth, mentioned he would like to meet in either city. I told B about this, and he even encouraged me to go to gain closure with him, but out of loyalty and respect for B, I did not. Now, at seemingly the eleventh hour of my failing relationship with B, I wonder if my loyalty was misguided.
Once again, I’m so sorry I don’t have more positive news to write to you with. That being said, my daughter is lovely as ever. She is wicked smart, has a hilarious sense of humour, is incredibly kind, and is already talking and identifying over 200 words at under a year and a half old. I’m so proud of her and so glad she’s here. I just wish so badly I could provide a happy nuclear family for her. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but even with me and B seemingly separating, I still hold a tiny bit of hope that maybe some time apart and some maturing and perspective on his part will maybe allow for us to be a real family. Or, maybe I am just deluding myself and taking a page out of B’s book of defence mechanisms.
Thanks for checking on me always, Anita. I hope you are doing amazingly!
– LFebruary 21, 2023 at 2:36 am #415669
Thank you for your reply. I think you have a very good point, and I have explored this before. In fact, I do believe I have oscillated in the past from anxious to avoidant attachment, and it is definitely something I am working on with my therapist. It’s so hard to tell when a relationship just isn’t right, or if it is because of unhealthy attachment. That’s still an area of growth needed for me.
Thanks again for your reply!
– LFebruary 21, 2023 at 2:33 am #415667
<p class=”p1″>Hi Anita,</p>
<p class=”p1″>A very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! I thought of you during the holidays, and hoped I would get a moment to myself to write to you, but I didn’t. How have you been? I am so sorry (again!) for my delay in getting back to you. I have been so busy this last while, I (literally) barely have time to sleep. I have been trying as usual to keep my head afloat between working and caring for my baby, as well as trying to keep my relationship somewhat healthy and unsurprisingly, not able to do so very well.</p>
<p class=”p1″>I’m sad to report that my mental and physical health have continued to decline this last year. I tried to keep ahead of it, but it seemed like instance after instance would occur that would knock me back professionally, financially, or emotionally. You predicted that if I continued my relationship with B, my health would continue to suffer and I would become sicker than I was. Unfortunately, I believe that has become the case. Around the summer last year and the time my daughter turned one in the fall, my mental health was at a completely unstable point. I was having regular panic attacks, and I desperately needed a break from working I believe. B had finally secured a job working for my friend’s husband’s company and reporting to him, but it was commission-based and not dependable. As such, I continued to work as much as I could, to the detriment of my health I believe. Finally, at my absolute lowest point, I reached out to my doctor and began an SSRI, sertraline, which I am still taking now. To be honest, I’m not sure if it has truly been helping, but I continue to take it in case it is. </p>
<p class=”p1″>My relationship with B has all but crumbled. Not long after I posted last, B seemed to have given up on any attempt to improve our relationship, and began treating me poorly. Gone was the person that was at least always polite and kind to me. Now, not only was he financially draining me, he also was indifferent and sometimes cruel to me, often mocking or laughing (he called it being “exasperated”) at me when I was completely overwhelmed or emotional. I continued working with my therapist, who, surprisingly to me, recommended strongly that I end the relationship and labelled B a narcissist based on his actions. To this day, I’m not sure if that’s true or not. All I know, is that I am so tired of fighting, so tired of trying to make a relationship work with someone so irresponsible, reckless and immature despite being almost 10 years my senior. </p>
<p class=”p1″>That being said, I am terrified of potentially missing out on my daughter’s life. I don’t want to “share” her, if I’m completely honest. So I have stayed in the relationship, begged B to change and implored him to think about how changing would be in everyone’s best interest, including his. These conversations are met with verbal reassurances, but very rarely followed through with actions. In being ritually disappointed, saddened, and hurt by his actions (and often inactions), I have resorted to not being very kind to him at all. In fact, so much so that we mutually agreed to take some time apart while I visited my parents in the city I almost moved to. I have been here now for a week, and B promised to finally organize and clean the house he had promised to do when we moved in about a year ago. Low and behold, he was out with his friends at the bars and drinking rather than doing this, so I snapped. I was not very nice to him on the phone, and the next thing I knew, he had blocked me and I received a message from his sister-in-law that they (his parents included) had helped him move out. </p>
<p class=”p1″>I honestly don’t know how I feel about this new development longer term. In the short-term, I feel completely blindsided and betrayed by the lack of upfront communication, but on the other side, maybe it truly just is for the best and it doesn’t matter how it happens. But again, I can’t seem to get over the idea of sharing parenting and not seeing my daughter every single day. That side that worries so much about that is motivating me to try to mend things with B, perhaps finally try counselling together and see if perhaps most of our issues were some kind of misunderstanding, as he never really was able to communicate with me openly and calmly. He would shut down and stonewall anytime I addressed something with him I wasn’t happy with. Including our financial situation. Part of me feels so sad and frustrated that he seemingly wouldn’t work on this, that if he did, we could have a true shot at happiness. Another side of me feels like a man in his 40s is unlikely to change. I just don’t know.</p>
<p class=”p1″>You mentioned in your last reply that I went along with fear, when I didn’t move to this city. Am I going along with fear again? I really don’t know. Somehow I feel so out of touch with my emotions, my intuition, my judgement. Perhaps it has to do with the medication that I am taking. I’m not sure. Either way, I find myself more lost than ever, but with a ticking time-bomb on my shoulder based on a limited window of opportunity to work on things with B, who already mostly seems against continuing the relationship, although never even nothing to communicate this directly to me and having me instead painfully and awkwardly having to ask his SIL.</p>
<p class=”p1″>As a side note, I did end up messaging G an apology. He surprisingly wrote back, and after a little back and forth, mentioned he would like to meet in either city. I told B about this, and he even encouraged me to go to gain closure with him, but out of loyalty and respect to B, I did not. Now, at seemingly the eleventh hour of my failing relationship with B, I wonder if my loyalty was misguided. </p>
<p class=”p1″>Once again, I’m so sorry I don’t have more positive news to write to you with. That being said, my daughter is lovely as ever. She is wicked smart, has a hilarious sense of humour, is incredibly kind, and is already talking and identifying over 200 words at under a year and a half old. I’m so proud of her, and so glad she’s here. I just wish so badly I could provide a happy nuclear family for her. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but even with me and B seemingly separating, I still hold a tiny bit of hope that maybe some time apart and some maturing and perspective on his part will maybe allow for us to be a real family. Or, maybe I am just deluding myself and taking a page out of B’s book of defence mechanisms.</p>
<p class=”p1″>Thanks for checking on me always, Anita. I hope you are doing amazingly!</p>
– LMarch 25, 2022 at 8:03 pm #396202
Thank you again as always for your thoughtful reply. I have missed conversing with you! I am sorry my return to my thread isn’t a more triumphant one. I was quite upset when I wrote my last post, I suppose I still am but more composed.
Thank you so much for your kind words about my daughter, she is absolute perfection.
I also wanted to mention that I did read the series you wrote in March 2021, albeit a few months after that. I cried reading it because it was so well-written, so accurate, and ultimately, so sad. I suppose if I were to sum up how I am feeling now, more than anything, it’s sad. I feel very, very Sad for myself.
As much as I would not like to admit it, I agree with your assessment of B. I do want to add the caveat that I do not feel he does this maliciously. I believe B has many great qualities (helpful when asked, good-natured/very polite, hard-working on tasks he is passionate about, hands-on with the baby, etc.), and I believe that he does not come by these problematic behaviours with ill intent. I believe he has much self-reflection to do, and that he would engage in negative coping mechanisms (denial, delusion, deflection and repression) to cope with traumas from his own life. That being said, looking back I feel I need to take responsibility for enabling much of his negative behaviours. From the beginning of our relationship, I covered expenses of his as I felt at the time I had an abundance in comparison. It’s very sad to me that now, only a year and a few months later, I am in a completely different financial situation than I was before. So much so, that I had to accept a great deal of monetary help from my parents to purchase this home I do not love in the city I have dreamed of escaping-the last thing I ever wanted to do. I am so sad to admit how far I feel I have fallen from where I was just before meeting B. I’d like to write to you about that experience. I wrote to you extensively about a man, S, whom I have long realized was never serious about me. And as such, I shouldn’t have been so serious about him. I find it very sad that I barely mentioned another man, G, whom I dated briefly after things with S fell through. I find it very sad in fact. Sad, because when I comb through my posts with you, I am almost exclusively writing about problematic relationships/men, and almost never mention the men that I have met and dated that are kind, relationship material, until, as is titled of this thread, it’s too late. I believe G was one such individual. He was extremely generous, handsome, thoughtful, and most importantly a gentleman. We dated from September 2020 until I began seeing B. Why do I bring this up now? I do because I am realizing now that I believe I have made a critical mistake in my happiness.
As you know, I think for a very long time, I’ve made life decisions based on what I thought others (mostly my parents) would want me to do, or what’s best for them. I’m saddened to see that I never updated you about this, but in September of 2020, I found my dream apartment in the city I wanted to move to. It was newly renovated, never lived in yet, close to the beach and exactly the location I wanted to be. I viewed the apartment with a close friend of mine, and she could not believe I had found such a great apartment. The landlord was an amazingly sweet lady, and I was so excited about beginning my move to the new city. My friend warned me even then, not to broach it by my parents. She had seen firsthand how many decisions I had made that were with their best interests in mind, rather than my own. So, I didn’t contact them to tell them of the development. Not initially. However, I feel as though once the sweet landlady offered me the apartment, I became afraid, and I told my parents. Of course, they came up with reasons why I should not take the apartment, and somehow against my better judgement, desires, and instincts, I turned the apartment down. A few weeks after that, my sweet dog passed away. And I think after that happened, I no longer believed I deserved to date someone like G. Someone who had their life together, someone who only wanted to be kind to me, someone who had invested in me and treated me for a change. And for reasons still confusing to me know, I began a relationship with B instead, that felt like obligation, guilt, and beholdenness. I suppose a relationship very similar to the one I have with my parents. I let B push my boundaries, and worst of all, I let him dictate to me that I was “his now” and I had to end things with G. And so I did, in a short and callous text, with no warning or indication there was reason to end our budding relationship. G responded: “Thank you for telling me. This is so hard. I do wish you the best, you are so perfect, smart and so sweet. It’s hard doing a long-distance relationship. So I get it.” I immediately felt horrible, I remember a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, it wasn’t how I would have wanted to do it, and worst of all, I knew I had hurt someone who had only treated me with the kindness and care I had always wanted. Someone who moved at a healthy pace in a relationship. Reflecting now, I think it was too foreign to me, that I had always been used to dating those requiring “fixing” or help. Relationships starting and moving at warp speed. I did not know how to be on the receiving end of such good treatment. At B’s request and my friend’s suggestion, I never even replied to that last message from G. And for that, I am so, so sad. I have thought about him periodically throughout my relationship with B. I have even missed him, but once I found out about my pregnancy, I tried to push these thoughts and feelings away. Although it has been a year now, I considered messaging an apology in how callously I handled the situation with no explanation. I wonder if this is more self-serving if anything, I’m not sure.
Looking back, I should have taken that apartment in the new city when I had the chance. At the time I could have easily afforded it, and I could have tried moving which is what I really wanted to do. I would have continued my relationship with G, and I believe it likely would have deepened in time. And even if it didn’t, I would have tried to be in a relationship where I was treated well from the beginning. But it’s complicated. I know deep in my heart I don’t regret having my daughter, because I love her more than anything. Yet if I’m really honest, I regret being with B. After our first couple of dates, he basically told me we were going to be together. I remember thinking it was too fast, I remember seeing some red flags and not being as interested in him as much as he was in me, and I remember him pushing my boundaries, especially physically.
The saddest thing is I actually was wanting to end things with B right before I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to message G again, to see if that could be repaired. I wrote to you around this time, because I didn’t know how I could end things after he had told me he didn’t want to lose me and if he did, he would be so upset he could lose his job. And the irony is he lost that job anyway. I feel like as soon as I met him, I had this huge obligation to take care of this person, emotionally, financially, physically. And it wasn’t that I wanted to, it was just that I felt I had to. I didn’t want to hurt him after he was already so wounded from his divorce. Yet I feel like I was still finding myself, I was still learning to speak up for myself, to put myself first. And then he came into my life and it became all about him. Now I find myself locked into a big mortgage in a house I don’t love, that is not new and shiny and warm like the apartment I turned down in the city I adore. I have such a drastically different life now than the year before. It is difficult for me. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do, Anita. It’s hard not to make the comparison between the two men. G was established in the city I loved, educated, kind, thoughtful. We had similar views and values. I feel it was a much more compatible match. I wish I had listened to my gut at the time, and if I’m honest, throughout our relationship I would think about this choice that I made and regret it. The choice that didn’t really feel like a choice in the first place. I wish I had just walked away from B after so many red flags. However again, it is so complicated because if I had done that, I wouldn’t have my daughter now.
I’m so sorry for always writing such similar regrets to you. But I feel like I have to tell someone these realizations to keep myself accountable. I have actually shared all of these thoughts (some very difficult to speak of, but I believe I owed it to B and to myself to once and for all be completely honest and speak up for myself ) to B and he has surprisingly willingly listened and suggested that I take more time to myself to figure out what I really want. In a very ironic turn, he was also offered a very lucrative position from, believe it or not, a former executive client of mine from 5 years ago. It’s a small world, I suppose. This development leaves me feeling somewhat hopeful, yet I still find myself thinking about all that I have written here about my past. I know my particular vice seems to be Regret and Rumination, but I truly am very sad that I let my parents talk me out of that apartment, which in turn led me back to my home city where I met and became entangled with B. I can’t help but think now of the life I wanted, that I was so close to having. I am upset with many people, but worst of all, I am disappointed in myself that after I had promised myself and you many times, I still let my parents make a major life decision for me, one that ended up having very serious consequences. I’m not sure how to get past all of this, and more importantly, how and what direction to move forward.
Thank you again a million times over for your unwavering support for me and now my daughter, Anita. You are appreciated more than you will ever know.
March 23, 2022 at 5:09 am #395948
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by laelithia.
I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve last visited this thread, and more importantly, wrote to you Anita. I hope you have been doing well. I have thought of you often, I have resisted the forum a few times to read, but have not found much time in the last year to reply. I have very little alone time these days. I know you will likely be so kind to say that I don’t need to, but I do deeply apologize for being away for so long and not replying to your thoughtful posts. Hopefully, you will understand once I update you on how I’ve been.
Firstly, I am now a mother to a beautiful, sweet, intelligent (she’s only 6 months, but I, I’m sure with bias, believe I can tell!) lovely baby girl. She is the light of my life. Interestingly, the moment I had her, I understood my mother and her treatment of me even less. I would do anything for my daughter, to save her any discomfort or pain, and I have tried. Oh, how I’ve tried. Looking back, I think I tried even before she was born. I tried by trying to make the relationship with her father work, despite having obvious concerns which I shared with you. Unfortunately, most of those concerns and worries came to fruition. He lost his job in May of last year, and to say that it has been stressful since is beyond an understatement. He ended up then moving in with me, I became the sole breadwinner as I worried would happen, and unfortunately, that has not changed really since then.
Shortly after this, I unsurprisingly felt extremely unhappy. Having B move in with me, in my small apartment, was not an enjoyable experience. Not to mention the pandemic and quarantine continued on in my country, meaning we were both very isolated from others but around each other all the time. B was quite happy with this, but I was not. I think my resentment towards him, to him not considering my feelings early on in the relationship, to becoming pregnant, to me knowing I was in a relationship with someone I didn’t want to be with yet ended up with anyway, to financially having to support us both, it all became too much. Unfortunately, I believe the stress wore on me, and I developed a serious medical condition in pregnancy called pre-eclampsia. I suffered from headaches, nausea, exaggerated swelling in the limbs, numbness in my arms, etc. To say the pregnancy became uncomfortable is an understatement. To make matters worse, rather than being able to take some time off work and slowly reduce my caseload, I had to continue on, as B did not find employment, as I had worried would be the case. I worked literally until I had to go into surgery to have an emergency c-section once my blood pressure was too high and I was at risk of stroke.
In order to have some income while I was not working after I had my baby, we worked on expanding my practice and I hired several therapists to replace me with my clients. Two of those therapists have ended up working well, but the third did not. I still have very many sad memories of that, as I genuinely liked the therapist, a middle-aged lady with children of her own, but somehow the professional relationship deteriorated with miscommunication (I assume, I am still not sure), and we ended up having to let this therapist go. It was horrible on me, and I am still sad about it now. That being said, I now have 4 therapists working for my practice, and it seems to be going alright. My take-home pay with these therapists is not as high as it was when I was working full-time, but it is enough to get us by each month. I have also continued to work reduced hours myself, to bring extra money in. That being said, it has been very difficult on both me and the baby, as she doesn’t like to be away from me for hours on end and has trouble taking a bottle and cries often while I’m working since she is hungry. I wish she didn’t have to go through that. B assures me he will find a good job again, but I simply don’t know if that will ever happen. To give him credit, he does help out in areas that he can. He cooks and cleans, he does the laundry, cares for the baby while I’m working, he helps my ailing parents often. I believe he tries to make up for his lack of help financially as much as he can. He speaks kindly to me. There’s at least that.
A few months ago, after my parents told me they were worried about me, about how sad I looked, I told them that I was suffering in the small apartment with the new baby and my partner. Yet, with B not able to contribute financially, I had no ability to move either by renting or buying a home while still providing for the now 3 of us. They took pity on me and helped me enormously financially to buy a home. A home that we started moving into yesterday. Sadly, this was not a good day for me. I had no excitement at the idea of moving into a larger space with B. To make matters and my anxiety worse, B was offered a job via email, and he immediately declined it, claiming it wasn’t a fit as his resume demanded higher pay. I was hurt and devastated by this. I couldn’t believe he would turn down any work, let alone without running it past me.
That all being said, I still believe it was the right choice to move as the small apartment and being cooped up with B and the baby was not good for my mental health, but I am so sad that I am not happy there with my “new little family”, as my mother calls it. I am sad that it is not The Garden of Eden, that I wished it could be. I love my daughter with my whole heart, but it is complicated in my mind. It is hard for me to not look back and regret the choices that led me to be with B and being now how my worries were mostly valid. I can’t help but think back on how before dating B, I dated a sweet man in the city I wanted to move to. I think back on how I let B dictate to me that I had to end things with that man to be with him. That I did it, just as he says, that I didn’t follow my heart once more. Looking back, I honestly cannot even remember why I met B in the first place, why I was dating again in my home city, a place I had written to you many times about not wanting to live anymore. I don’t recall fully why I would do this, why I would end a healthy relationship with a kind and generous man in the city I wanted to move to, other than I didn’t 1) feel I deserved such a man, and 2) didn’t feel comfortable with the slower pace of a healthy relationship and instead preferred the lightning speed one.
I feel sorry to think about and write all of this to you, Anita. I desperately wanted to be able to write to you about how happy I was, how I was finally living the life I always wanted to. But instead, I feel this idyllic dream-life I have tried to create with this situation has become a nightmare. I feel like I am now moving into a home that I don’t particularly love, yet B does (although truthfully there weren’t many other options as the housing market in this city is much more a sellers market than buyers), living with a partner that I am not sure I will ever feel that I truly love, that I will be left to pay for the mortgage on this house, that I am now fully rooted in a city that I desperately wanted to leave. The hardest part about all of this is that I feel very alone. I have not told most friends and family how I really feel about B, as I believed maybe it was still possible to create that dream life with him. I tried so, so hard. I tried to help him keep his CEO role, I tried to help him in his job search after he lost that role, but it hasn’t panned out positively. That being said, in the summer while I was still pregnant, he was offered a decent job in the city I wanted to move to. He declined the position as he believed it was lower than what he should be paid. Looking back, it was a good offer (since he has had no formal other salaried offers since), and it would have given us the chance to move to the city I wanted to. That being said, perhaps I wouldn’t have anyway, given having a new baby and being away from family and support. I suppose we will never know.
It’s so sad and hard for me to admit my regrets, yet as you accurately pointed out previously, I know I would regret no matter what. Yet, it is so complicated. Because I cannot fully regret meeting and being with B, as he at the very least, gave me my daughter. She is so, so sweet. I will keep trying to make the best of my situation for her, I will do whatever it takes. Yet on late nights like today, I cannot help but find my mind wandering to what if. What if I continued to slowly date the man I met in the city I wanted to move to right before I met B. What If I was living a comfortable life (that man was financially well off, generous, albeit somewhat emotionally closed off, but I suppose how open should someone be after only 3 months of dating-mostly long distance?) and truly happy? The last year has been the most difficult I have ever been through, and I found myself retreating socially to hide my unhappiness in my relationship. It was my birthday recently, and I noticed very few people reached out to wish me a happy one. I believe this is in direct result of me retreating socially to hid my embarrassment and sadness. I think I did this from this forum, as well. It feels somewhat permanent, that there isn’t really a way of this situation improving, so I felt there was no point in sharing, in being so negative. But today, I find myself wanting support again, wanting to continue to try to be hopeful in some way, I believe I owe that to my daughter.
Once again Anita, even though I have not written frequently, I am so grateful for your continued support. I hope you are doing very well!March 10, 2021 at 2:01 pm #375887
I am nervous to write to you today. I look back on our thread, and I can’t help but feel like I did not listen to your advice throughout the years thoroughly enough to avoid the current predicament I am in. I feel disappointed in myself and sad that I am at this current juncture, but you have been with me for so long through my journey, it feels wrong not to be open and honest with you now.
A few weeks ago, I found out that I am unexpectedly pregnant. This was extremely shocking to me, as I have never had this happen to me before, and historically was very careful to ensure that it didn’t, specifically without it being planned and wanted. I think about how this happened, and I think there are many factors that played out that it did. Firstly, I took a break from medical birth control as I felt my body needed a break. I noticed (somewhat minor) improvements in mood, and definitely fewer mood swings. I was pleased by this, and at the time it was alright as I wasn’t dating anyone. However, as I began to date the man I wrote last about, I realized I should have another option. We tracked my period, and this seemed to work. That being said, my doctor did prescribe me a new birth control that would hopefully have fewer side effects with mood, but after discussing it with a friend, she strongly recommended that I did not take it, as she believed it was very unhealthy for women. I think about my decision now to agree with this advice, knowing that it might lead to the current situation I am in. I wonder if I subconsciously wanted this to happen, or if I was at the time alright if it did? I cannot fully remember. I suppose I thought since I had been on medical birth control for so long, there was a low chance of me getting pregnant, even if I wanted that. But then I also think about how my doctor explicitly told me that tracking wasn’t likely a fully sufficient method of birth control and yet I proceeded that way anyway.
Either way, I am where I am now. The main reasons why I feel quite distraught with this situation are that 1) I am not sure that the partner that I am with now, is whom I want to be with for the rest of my life, 2) I am not fully sure I really wanted to have a child, let alone at this current time of my life, despite turning 32 later this month, and 3) I never wanted to have this experience be unplanned and in such a short time of meeting someone. I am very scared at this point of what to do. I am terrified with my tendency to regret and focus on the past, that I will be unhappy in the future with whatever decision I make. I have talked to my parents, and a couple of close friends about my situation as well as my therapist, but in the end, the truth is I need to decide for myself what to do. And yet, I feel incapable of doing so. I’m terrified at the prospect of being unhappy one way or another, as well as the impact on those around me. I also am not certain I am able to fully go through the option of not keeping the baby, even if I decided that would likely be the best option for me. I have always been pro-choice, but I also knew myself and I knew that I would not likely be able to go through with it if it ever happened to me. This is primarily why I am so upset with myself, on how I let this happen. I knew better, or so I thought.
I’m writing to you now Anita, because I feel I have been my most authentic, honest self to you. I feel you know me maybe better than those very close to me in my life, and I wondered if you had any insight or advice to share with me now. I’m so torn. I also feel a deep sense of urgency and pressure as I know I don’t have long to make this decision. I currently have an ultrasound scheduled for Friday, but I don’t know if I can proceed with that appointment if I decide not to keep the baby. There is a possibility of hearing the heartbeat at this appointment, and I am not sure if I can do that, and still proceed with not keeping it.
To provide a little more context to the situation, I was in the other city I had discussed possibly moving to last month with my current partner (B) when I found out about the pregnancy. Initially, my reaction was shock, but I was suprised that what followed wasn’t dread or unhappiness, but perhaps the hint of hopefulness. B’s reaction was also shock, but he was pleased with the news and noted that he felt more secure in our relationship now. Since then until now, he has remained supportive of whatever we decide. However, after I fully processed the news, came back to the city I am from and realized the gravity of the situation, I believe I started to panic. Specifically, about the purchase of the expensive vehicle that I felt B had somewhat pushed me into. I began to pull away from him, and I believe I started to feel resentful of the speed at which our relationship had progressed, the purchase of the vehicle, and the unplanned pregnancy. All the while knowing that the resentment I was feeling wasn’t entirely fair, because, in the end, I did not say explicitly no to any of it. I did not stand firm to my boundaries as you had so many times suggested. I have thought about this a lot now, and I believe my codependent tendencies probably had something to do with this, as well as once again focusing on making someone else happy and giving them what they want, rather than focusing on my happiness and doing what I wanted.
All that being said, I am where I am now and I must figure out how to move forward. Yet I am so scared of making the wrong decision for myself. I have been talking frequently to the previous partner of mine, D, who lives in another continent, and have been since I started dating B. I find myself longing for his personality traits that are rather opposite of B’s, his level-headedness, his practicality and his ability to be very financially stable. I also realize that he and I had a much more developed friendship and partnership after being with one another for 2 or so years (albeit mostly long-distance) and how it would have been more comfortable for me to be expecting a child with him, whom I feel safe and comfortable with than with B who feels in many ways, still a stranger to me. I know this isn’t very productive to compare, but I realized that this is likely the biggest issue I see in going through with the pregnancy, is that I don’t really know this person, not nearly as much as someone like D. I am upset with myself for allowing myself to be in such a difficult predicament, but I know I have to move forward and make a decision, soon. To make matters worse, when I told my Dad (primarily out of panic and wanting advice on what to do about the new expensive vehicle before he and my mom were to go to the other city for a month), he felt he needed to also tell my mother about the news. She then demanded that I tell my sister who is currently having difficulty with her new baby as she felt that it would lift her spirits. Despite wanting to keep the news private, I conceded to my mother’s wishes and told my sister. Now, my entire immediate family knows of the news of the pregnancy. I know it shouldn’t matter, but this adds another layer of complexity for me in that I find it extremely difficult to end the pregnancy now knowing that my immediate family is aware of the news. My father mentioned that I could tell them that I miscarried instead, but even still, I don’t know if I could do this.
I see the pros and cons of both keeping the baby, and not. I see a possibility of happiness with B and the family I thought I always wanted, but I also see the possibility of feeling trapped, sad that I did not put myself first, resentful of this life. I also see the freedom of ending the pregnancy, maybe continuing the relationship with B and maybe not. But I also see the potential for future regret, guilt, and shame in ending the pregnancy now. I really don’t know what to do. I hope you can help me decide Anita, I trust you immensely. Thank you again for all that you have done for me. I hope you have been well!
LJanuary 26, 2021 at 2:45 pm #373539
Thank you once again for your thoughtful response. I took your advice and recommendations and spoke with him about my fears of the prospect of settling down, about how just weeks before meeting him I was committed to moving to the new city and how now it seems my life has shifted completely in its trajectory in staying here now after meeting him. He told me that he also loves the new city and would be happy to move there with me in a year so, maybe less depending on his career.
I did try (albeit not very strongly) to suggest that maybe we take a little more time to get to know one another, but he seemed hurt and scared at this prospect and so I think I pulled back (on the pulling back!) and now I feel as though I have shifted from being with someone that makes me happy, to being with someone to make them happy. The people-pleaser in me seems to have come back in full swing, and I find myself more concerned about his well-being than my own. He is in a very precarious work situation working for quite unprofessional (in my opinion) and young co-founders. They seem to attack him and his choices even though he is their appointed CEO, and it seems like their values are not compatible with his. I worry that soon he will either lose his position or will have to leave as he has told me he no longer feels happy there. I can’t stomach the thought of leaving him now, as he is very vulnerable and he has told me that he wants and needs me in his life, that I have become his rock and he loves me completely. He is so kind to me, helps me with my issues and stressors, and definitely adds to my life. He’s exceptionally organized and clean, very selfless with me, and very loving. He writes me sweet little notes for my lunch every day and cares for me in any way he can. He helped me purchase a new car (quite expensive, but he told me that I have worked so hard the last few years that I deserve to treat myself. I’m still not sure about this as it is a big expense and I’m not sure it’s the best choice financially, but I did love the car) and is helping me sell my old one. He is already working very hard to be a good partner to me, and in that aspect, I am happy with him.
All that being said, I still have concerns. The first being his employability and his financial situation. I’m worried that I may become the sole breadwinner, that the burden of financial responsibility will mostly fall on me. I worry that he is so sure and already so invested in me when I’m not sure I feel as strongly as he does. I seem to flip flop week to week, some weeks I feel completely head over heels for him, very attracted, and sometimes I have big doubts and find myself perseverating on his flaws. I am not sure now how to go backward or halt the pace of the relationship after I jumped in with both feet. For instance, this morning I shared with him some of my concerns, and later in the day when he came back to his place that I have been staying at most of the time to meet with his autobody repairman to look over my old car (we’re fixing it in order to sell it), he told me he almost broke down at work due to the pressor his bosses are putting on him, as well as the fear of potentially losing me.
I feel responsible for his wellbeing, which in turn I think triggers my phobias further. I think often about how just a month or so ago the only person I was responsible for was for myself and maybe my dog, and now it feels there is another. I worry that I’m not in touch with myself as much as I once was and I feel like I don’t trust myself in making decisions or even knowing how I feel about things and so I tend to outsource those decisions. A part of me longs to be able to run to the other city and start fresh, but I don’t know that I would really be happier there. It seems that I often have a strong case of the “grass is greener” mentality. When I am on my own and single, I long for a partner to spend time with and that can help me and I them in life, but then when I have that, I seem to miss the freedom and lack of responsibility for anyone else when I’m on my own. Or, perhaps it is not that and maybe I haven’t met the “right” person for me. I am really not sure, and to make matters worse, I feel the pressure of time and expectations of others to figure it out soon.
I apologize that I’ve rambled a bit on this post, but I wanted to share with you an update on how I’m feeling. I hope you’re doing well Anita!
LJanuary 11, 2021 at 1:29 pm #372615
Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful time with your partner. Although I didn’t get a chance to log on here, I thought of you. It was a very busy time with work (many clients seem to be struggling during the holidays, especially with the pandemic this last year) but I tried my best to stay positive and focus on the good advice you have given me over the years and I believe that helped me keep going. Once again, I’m so grateful for you!
I’ll start by acknowledging your last post a month ago! I am always shocked by how much time goes by when I take some time away from this thread. I hope you don’t take that personally Anita, I think sometimes I just get overwhelmed and find basic functioning (work, family responsibilities, etc.) difficult, let alone coming on here. I do apologize though, I know you take a lot of time to reply to posts here, and I don’t want to come across as unappreciative at all, because I do appreciate you very much.
To answer your question, my doctor did not formally diagnose me with BP2, although she agreed my symptoms seemed to align with the diagnosis. She was hesitant to provide a formal diagnosis as she believed it may hinder me in the future (i.e., life insurance premiums, treatment by medical professionals, etc.) so she said it would be best if we treat the symptomology without the diagnosis. She did not want to prescribe me with the typical antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, as she believed my symptoms could be managed by continuing to see her on a regular basis, as well as continuing with my current psychologist. I took this advice, and have been doing so since.
I have been thinking a lot of what you said about the figurative whip and putting it down no matter what. It has been difficult, but I have been trying. Sometimes I am able to, and sometimes I am not. The last month or so I had a particularly difficult time not picking up that whip, but I was able to at least distract myself with work and other responsibilities. However, as I mentioned earlier, it was not always for the best as so many of my clients have been struggling and it has taken a lot for me to be grounded for them. We recently had to put my sister’s dog to sleep also, which was very difficult for me and I am trying my best to be kind to myself as similar feelings of blame regarding my dog’s last year resurfaced. That being said, I have a new development/update for you. Right before Christmas, I went on 3 socially distanced dates. This is rather surprising as I have been trying not to date in my current hometown as I aspired to move to the other city, as well as for deciding a couple of weeks prior that perhaps it was best to stop dating altogether. I was actually reopening the app to delete it, but when I saw the messages from the 3 men offering to go on a socially distanced date, I thought why not. The first one was fine, the gentleman seemed kind, but it didn’t seem to evolve into anything else. The second was a doctor, a respirologist actually (also very busy during the pandemic for obvious reasons!) was also quite nice, but I wonder if I had made myself too nervous before the date and he did not end up contacting me again afterwards. I suppose I didn’t feel much chemistry/attraction myself so maybe it was just that and not my nerves/being a little late for the date, but who knows. The third ended up developing into a relationship that I’d like to discuss with you.
I’ll refer to him as B. He is kind, sweet, caring, and probably everything I could ask for in terms of a relationship partner. He is very affectionate, reassuring, thoughtful and wants to help me any way he can. Although I only met him on the 20th, he has fully committed to me and deleted all his dating apps and is not seeing anyone else. He decided this very early on, perhaps only after our second or third date. At the time, I was elated. In fact, I called my friend after our third or fourth date (they were close together so I can’t remember the exact number of dates!) and told her I may have met my future husband. I’m not even too sure why I said that then, but I did have a special feeling about him. I know my M.O. is to rush into dating someone very soon, but something about him felt different, right. Also, it was unique that for once the man was reciprocating my excitement/eagerness.
Anyway, as you may have suspected, it might have moved too soon. We deleted my dating apps together, but I noticed afterwards that I felt odd about it. On one hand, I felt very relieved to be off these dating apps, on the other, I felt that it maybe was too soon and perhaps I might regret it. I also started taking the birth control pill around this time, so I wonder if my shift in mood/excitement with the new relationship was impacted by that also. Either way, I have recently found myself somewhat panicking about the prospect of this relationship. I waver from feeling very secure/happy/grateful for having this man in my life, to terrified/worried/scared that I jumped in too soon, and that I either a) may hurt this man deeply which would horrify me, and b) may have hurt myself by not giving myself enough time to stabilize moodwise before jumping into a relationship and may have not made the best choice of mate.
To help you conceptualize B, I’ll tell you a little about him. He is 39 years old, I am 31 for reference. He is the new CEO of a renewable energy company, but it is a newer company run by 2 founders close to age with me. This is of note, as just the other day one of the owners lost his temper at B for being late on a deadline and even threatened his job. It made me realize that perhaps it is not the best working environment for him, and also that his priorities might not be focused enough on work but on me as the reason for his tardiness on the deadline was that he was talking with me that evening about my reservations on our current status (a couple already). He had mentioned to me that day he had some work to finish in the evening, but I totally forgot as we started discussing our relationship. It is also of note that B was brought up quite religiously and was married for 16 years. He has been divorced for about a year and is on very good terms with his ex-wife, but it something to think about. He told me that he rarely had his physical needs (including affection) met in the relationship and that they differed in their approach with finances. In fact, he personally guaranteed a business venture that did not go well and had to file a consumer proposal to reduce the debt. He is now debt-free, but his credit has taken a hit because of this. I believe that he is an industrious person and is gainfully employed now, so I’m sure it won’t hinder us as a couple too much down the road, but I suppose it is not the best situation either. My last concern I’m rather embarrassed to even admit, is I’m not sure we are extremely compatible sexually. That being said, he had minor hernia surgery right before Christmas so I’m sure that will get better as he is healing.
I suppose what I’m concerned about now is if I can trust my judgement on if someone is a good potential mate for me or not. I’m also nervous that my past history of rushing into things and then losing interest is happening here now, or if my shift in feelings (I still like his company very much, but I find myself slamming on the breaks rather than pushing the gas like I usually do) has to do with momentarily taking hormonal birth control, or lastly because my logic really is telling me he may not be the best match. To make matters worse, I recently contacted the man I was seeing in the other city to let him know of this development, he wrote that he was heartbroken and gave me some very sweet compliments and lamented the difficulties of long-distance relationships. I was surprised by this, as I didn’t realize we were in an actual relationship, as he and I only texted here and there since I was back in my hometown for the last 2 months. I feel particularly guilty about this, and wonder if I made the right choice by ending that off, especially that way.
Anyway, I’m writing to you now as I feel a bit stuck. I’m not sure what I should do moving forward, and I’m worried that if I continue to see B any longer and I decide not to be with him long term, I will completely crush him and he is such a sweet man. We have a lot of fun together, have many interests in common, but I find myself terrified at the prospect of settling down long term. I just don’t know if that is because he isn’t “the one” for me, or of my own commitment phobia rearing its ugly head. B is so kind and sweet, and it’s so rare to find someone serious about commitment (I suppose this is what I asked for, as on the dating app I wrote that I was looking for someone to have fun with and build a life with) I feel like I should think twice before parting with him. I just wish I knew if my feelings of uncertainty with him are grounded in reality, or just another way for me to self-sabotage.
Any insight on your part will be very helpful. I hope you’re doing well!
LDecember 8, 2020 at 9:33 am #370683
Thank you for your positive reframe about how my diagnosis could be a positive aspect in my work, rather than a negative one. I thought about that in a session I had with a client last week with a Bipolar I diagnosis. I did not disclose to him my diagnosis of Bipolar II, but at the end of the session he thanked me and said he felt so heard and understood during the session and was so grateful for my help. It helps me to know that perhaps my painful experiences can somehow inform my ability to help others today. I wonder if that’s how you feel too, with your past experiences and being able to help so many here on this forum.
I did my best the last week or so to apply empathy for myself when grieving the loss of my dog, and my past mistakes in general. It is not easy, but I feel slowly it is healing. I’ve spent many years rehashing my past mistakes, judging myself, hating myself for them, but I have seen (with your help!) how unhelpful this has been for me moving forward. It has only worked to keep me rooted in the past, which I do not want anymore. I know I must be brave and face the present/future rather than living in the past, but it is not easy for me.
I have been taking my newly prescribed medication nightly as instructed, and it has at the very minimum, helped me sleep much better. For the last few years I averaged around 4-5 hours of sleep, maximum, but now I have been sleeping a full 8 hours, sometimes a little more. I think in time this alone will really help with my healing, but for now, it’s not so noticeable. I see my doctor again tomorrow to follow up, she is very caring and competenant.
I wanted to update you as well on something new. Recently, the man I wrote this post about (https://tinybuddha.com/topic/he-doesnt-feel-a-spark/) has reached out to me and we have been in regular contact. To give him credit, he followed up with me after I made the original post, but as he was resolved in his decision not to pursue a romantic relationship with me, I didn’t feel it necessary to continue to post about him. He did mention that he missed me a lot as a friend and someone to talk to, so I accepted his apology for how he handled the situation with me (telling me he’d like to take a month off our ‘relationship’ at the time to see how he felt, when really he was beginning a new relationship with someone else), and agreed to being friends. He has been with the partner he started to see after me, and he told me now has a 6-month old baby. I am happy for him, and have enjoyed talking with him as we have always had great conversations, but I wonder now if it is counterproductive/unhealthy for me.
I had a vivid, very realistic dream with him in it, and in my dream his partner was not comfortable with us speaking and yet he continued to anyway and we even started to become more romantic in nature with one another. I don’t foresee this happening at all in real life (I get the impression he is very happy in his current relationship and is honest about only missing me as a friend/someone to talk to), yet it made me wonder if maybe it’s creating a longing for me that is not healthy. Last night and today I have found myself thinking back to the past (I can’t believe that it’s been 3 years ago), on how my current diagnosis of Bipolar II probably impacted this past ‘relationship’ too. It’s hard not to wonder what could have been had I gotten the help that I needed sooner, but I’m trying to practice what we spoke about and using compassion and empathy for myself rather than beating myself up over what happened 3 years ago. I’m also trying to tell myself that it’s possible that it wasn’t my issues that stamped out this relationship from blossoming into something real, and perhaps he simply wasn’t that in to me even if I had behaved better. I’ve thought about asking him about this now that he’s so open to talking, but I wonder if a) it doesn’t really matter, b) he might not even know, and c) it might open up a topic that might be inappropriate.
Also, I feel like it’s hard not to feel envious of him and his partner. His baby is adorable, and he told me that his partner is truly his best friend. It makes me sad that I’ve wanted that for as long as I can remember, yet it still seems so out of reach for me while I have watched most of my past partners, friends, and family members find what has been so elusive to me. I worry that now that I finally seem aware and able to pursue romantic relationships in a more healthy manner, that it is too late, that most of the good men are taken. That even years ago when I was in my 20’s it was hard to find good, interesting and reliable men and that it will only be harder in my 30’s. I’m finding it hard not to revert to old patterns of blaming myself for what transpired. It seems sort of evidence to me that if this man still enjoys talking to me 3 years after dating one another, that he probably was interested in me and it was my behaviour that drove him away.
Anyway, I thought I’d keep you updated on that and see what your thoughts are. I hope you’ve had a good week that I’ve been away from this thread!
-LNovember 28, 2020 at 9:57 pm #370104
Thank you, I hope you have a good rest tonight. Oddly enough, out of the blue an ex-partner of mine reached out to see how I’m doing. He’s now in a long term relationship (which started right after he and I ended) and has an adorable baby. We always had a great rapport, but maybe we have always been better as friends rather than lovers. The chemistry didn’t seem to be there in the past, but now I wonder how much of that was due to me pushing it at lightning speed, as I always did. We could talk for hours and both genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. There seemed to be passion in the beginning, but as I always did in the past, I got obsessed and irrational about the prospect of a relationship and I think I snuffed it out. I wish I could have seen it clearly back then, but all I remember at the time was trying to grasp so tightly to something that was seeping out of my fingertips. It makes me wonder what would have been if I had been more stable and let things develop or unfold organically.
It made me think about it, and as far as I can remember (as you have pointed out in the past), all of my romantic breakups in the past 6-7 years since my long term relationship have stemmed from periods of hypomania. You wrote once that my “blunders are significant, so they are in the way of you forming a healthy relationship with a suitable man.” and you were right. I know it’s unhelpful, but I can’t help thinking about what could have been had I realized all of this sooner, if I had gotten help from the right therapist and likely the right medication years ago. I don’t know if I would still have been with this man I’ve mentioned or any of the others in my past, but I think for sure the last few years would have been far less tumultuous and painful.
On a positive note, since discussing this new revelation with you, I have felt somewhat sad thinking about my past and what could have been, but I don’t feel completely obsessed, distraught and hopeless like I often used to when thinking about my past. I think this clarity is helping me process everything more rationally, and I feel a little bit of hope. I’ve had some awful experiences in the last few years and dated some less than great men, but I’ve also had positive experiences and dated some very kind men. I wish I would have been able to tell the difference back then as I seem to be able to know, but I guess life doesn’t always go as we would have wanted it to. I really hope that it’s not too late for me, but even my therapist admits that at my age, it is less likely to find kind, stable, suitable men to date as those with such qualities are likely already taken. But I suppose I just need one. That being said, I have resigned myself that no matter how badly I wanted to rush this, it simply can’t be, and I probably need quite some time on my own to properly heal before I venture out again into the world of dating.
LNovember 28, 2020 at 4:48 pm #370097
I’m so touched (as always) by the time you take to formulate your replies to me, and all the members here. It must take a long time and a lot of energy to do this, and I know I’ve said it before, but I am so grateful to you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
I read your reply this morning, and I have been thinking about it and processing it all day I believe. I feel so many things are clicking for me, and the more research I do on Bipolar II, the more I feel it is likely the right diagnosis for me. I am somewhat shocked I didn’t realize it sooner, but most of my experience with clients and research in the past was on Bipolar I, which I didn’t feel I ever met the diagnostic criteria for, and so I left it at that. Maybe part of me also didn’t want to have a formal diagnosis of any kind related to mental health either, despite being in this field myself. Maybe especially for that reason. Either way, I am trying my best to face this head-on, so I can really move forward with my life.
Now to reply specifically to your posts. You’re right, I have heard the sentiment of guilt often from others when losing a pet. I know this is normal, yet I am still disappointed in myself. I don’t remember if I posted about this or not, but around the beginning of the pandemic, I met an individual that was clearly not suitable for me to date, for many reasons. I continued to see him, and later his “friend”, simply because I was lonely and I rationalized it by telling myself that it was just during the pandemic and I would end it once it was over. However, that individual (the friend of the original unsuitable man) became a horrible disruptive force in my life. He stole money from me, used my vehicle without my permission on several occasions and racked up several expensive speeding tickets I now have to pay, and worst of all, involvement with him led to my dog being attacked. Looking back, I imagine I was experiencing hypomania at the time, and simply was not thinking or behaving rationally. I have made peace with my consequences from this horrible involvement, such as the lost money, but I am not able to make peace with how it affected my poor sweet dog. I knew that man’s dog was not well trained and might be aggressive, but for some ridiculous reason, I thought my dog would be alright and that if they got along, I could bring him more around when I was with this worthless man. Thinking back on this now, I am appalled at myself. I wish I could go back in time so desperately to ensure this never happened, and to spend more time with my sweet boy. He deserved much better from me. His whole life I was there for him and cared for him, it hurts deeply that in the end is when I failed to do so. Do you recommend any strategies to deal with this form of guilt?
Thank you for your strategy with J and S. Miraculously J does not come to mind as much anymore, but S still does. I will do my best to replace the thoughts with Just Say No to Shame if either does. I think it did help today. When you wrote about “the wonderful was the mood state, the hypomania.. not the man, not the relationship. The stuck, damaged, hopeless- is the depression following the hypomania. When depressed, you terribly miss the hypomania, the gap between hypomania and depression, and the fall into depression is devastating.”, it really, really made sense to me. Just like that, the glimmer and appeal of S started to fade away, and what I was left with was a clear picture of a man that I barely knew, who, in the end, was not anything like the image I projected onto him. It also made sense why in the past so many of my friends and family could not understand why I was so enamoured with certain individuals who seemed at best nothing special to them, and at worst, very low-caliber individuals.
Thank you for your support in this Anita, and your confirmation that it is likely the right diagnosis for me. I should mention that it is somewhat ironic that it was my mother of all people that suggested the diagnosis. She suggested it as her mother was diagnosed Bipolar many years ago, I’m not sure which type, and she believes her inability to find the right treatment damaged their relationship beyond repair and caused my mother a great deal of pain. I realized that even if there was only a small possibility of me meeting this criteria, I must seek it out. I do not want to do harm to those I care about, especially if I ever were to have children one day. I briefly spoke with my family doctor prior to our appointment on Monday, and she mentioned she usually treats Bipolar with a combination of mood stabilizers and antidepressants. I thought about it, and with my experience of taking antidepressants and it not being helpful to me, I believe the mood stabilizer might have better effectiveness. I see now that most of my depressive periods follow a seemingly hypomanic period, so I believe if the hypomania is in check, then it is less likely that I will fall into depressive periods. I hope, anyway.
Once again, thank you so much for your continued support Anita. In my darkest moments, when I post here and read your replies, I always feel a little better and more hopfefull. I think this is a gift you have, and we are all very lucky to have you on this forum and part of this community. I hope you have a great evening!
LNovember 27, 2020 at 4:26 pm #370058
Thank you for your kind words. Inexplicably a couple of weeks ago I was admitted into the hospital in the middle of the night with excruciating abdominal pains. Originally it was thought it was my appendix, then gallbladder, and now it seems it is my liver. I’ve done more tests, but it seems like the one incident is isolated, I haven’t had that severe pain since but my doctor is concerned with some of the liver enzyme levels. Thankfully she is a very competent and caring doctor, so I’m sure it will be sorted out. I’m not as concerned with my physical health as I am with my mental health.
To add to my last post, I have noticed that with both J and now S, I experience an overall feeling of shame. Shame over my behaviour, shame over how I must be perceived, and shame in the rejection, and the pitiful attempts on my part to win them back. Once again I think about what would be my ideal scenario, and similarly the only answer that comes to mind is to go back in time, not have these events unfold the way they did, and not feel the way I am feeling now. The more I think about it, the more I feel like neither would have been a good long term partner for me, yet these turn of events seem to matter so much to me. Yet when rationally I look at it, the fact that they weren’t great long term partners should be enough to just simply let it go.
I’m really upset with myself (nothing new, I know…) that because of my choices in the last few months, my grief about my dog is completely intertwined with S. I just wish I could forget about him, recognize that it was simply a Fantasy I was in and not reality, rather than what intrudes my thoughts, that somehow all of this is my fault and undoing. Not only that, but I have felt so much responsibility regarding the last year of my dog’s life being less than ideal. I simply could have done better. To put a long story short, it was my fault he was attacked by another dog and was bit and required surgery. Had I not have gotten involved with a completely unsuitable man, who’s dog did the attacking, it never would have happened. I know I should not dwell on the past, but it is so hard not to when I feel I make so many mistakes.
I will try my best to try to relax this evening nonetheless. I hope you do as well Anita!
-LNovember 27, 2020 at 2:02 pm #370045
I can’t believe how quickly time has passed since I last posted here. I have come back to this thread a couple of times to reread what we’ve discussed, and to try to reply, but for whatever reason, I felt I didn’t have the energy to reply, even though I wanted to. After my last post, I stayed in the other city for a little while but had to come back home as it was clear my dog wasn’t doing well. Sadly, he passed away last month. I miss him so, so much. Looking back on this thread, I deeply regret the obsessive thoughts I had about this man. And, that despite the futility of it at the time, decided to go back to his city to try to “fix” things with him when it was clear for weeks before that, that as you say, the ship had sailed. However, I went anyway and wasted precious time I could have been spending with my dog. I’ve talked to a few friends about this, and they have all assured me that there is no point for me to feel guilty about this, but I still do. I’m angry at myself, at this man, at the situation. But maybe most of all, I’m just hurt and sad. I knew it would be a horrible experience for me to lose my lovely dog, but it has been magnified by the loneliness and isolation I have felt with the pandemic. I have been trying to focus on the positive aspects of my life, but I have been so depressed. To make matters more complicated, I have had my own health issues in the last few weeks that put me in the hospital. I’m currently on the mend with more tests being done, but it’s clear I am far from my best right now, emotionally or physically.
I feel in the past weeks since I updated you, I have fleeting moments of clarity regarding my situation, but then obsessive thoughts take over and I become exhausted and drained and depressive periods follow. I’ve given a lot of thought over what you have written last to me, about how I seemed to be hooked on rejection. It seems to be true. To me, this is so sad. I so desperately want to be “normal”, healthy, or integrate the child and woman aspects of me as you say. I find it rather pathetic that I have been suffering like this for years. On the outside, it must look to others that I am not trying, just making the same errors over and over. And yet, for me, it feels like a constant battle that I have tried not to give up on. Since we last spoke, I have transitioned to a new therapist. She seems to be helfpul, but I have only had a handful of sessions so far. I’m also meeting with my family doctor next week to go over the possibility of me meeting the diagnostic criteria for Bipolar II disorder. I have always known this was a possibility for me, yet I had hoped my mental issues were not so severe to meet the criteria for a full diagnosis. However, over the last year, it became very clear to me that I had several periods that would meet the criteria of hypomania. I have also had enough feedback from romantic partners in the the last few years to recognize that I go through periods of time that indicate hypomania. I guess I just didn’t want to accept this diagnosis. That being said, we will see what my doctor says and I will keep you updated.
For whatever reason, this past week has been one of the worst I have experienced in terms of mood in a long, long time. It hit me especially hard, as the week prior, I was feeling relatively good. I had thought I was on the mend, but now I wonder if it was possibly a hypomanic period for me and maybe that’s why this week has been so unbearable, the dreaded depression that follows mania. Either way, I have found myself once again obsessing over thoughts about what happened with S. I don’t even know why compeltely. I can’t say that it’s that I want him back in my life, I don’t even think from the progression of what happened, that he’s a very good person. He knew the situation with my family and dog’s health, and yet it feels to me that he strung me along for weeks after seemingly ending things with me when he had no intention of reconciling, He would message me regularly, suggest to meet, and then go silent. I find this particularly cruel behaviour, as he knew how much I was hurting over the health of my family and dog. However, after I told him I was back in his city and to let me know when he would like to get together again, he never did. After weeks of asking to meet again. What worse, is I did nothing about it. I acted like it was completely fine, and continued to communicate with him warmly when looking back, I should not have. I should have just stopped all communication, or at the very least told him I was displeased with his behaviour. I try to tell myself it doesn’t matter anymore, but for some reason, it really does to me, and it bothers me deeply that he has no idea what he has cost me. Perhaps I am just looking for someone to blame for the loss of my dog, I don’t know. I catch myself fantasizing about when things were good between S and I, and how maybe that could have continued. And I wouldn’t have wasted the last months of my dog’s life feeling so upset over him and the situation. I feel embarrassed about all of it, and I am so afraid that S will become the new J, and I will be stuck with these thoughts and feelings for years. And that itself deeply upsets me, because how can I on one hand rationally not think very highly of S, and then on the other pine for things to have been different. It’s so confusing.
I want to move forward Anita, I really do. I am so tired of feeling stuck, of ruminating over events that really in the grand scheme of things don’t matter. But I have felt so stuck, so down, so hopeless. I am afraid I won’t be able to move past these issues I have. I’m afraid I will never have my person, never have a family of my own. I am afraid of feeling stuck while everyone around me moves forward with their lives while I stand still. I’m afraid of not understanding myself. I don’t feel sure about moving to the new city anymore, I feel my life has dulled again. And this time maybe the worst of all, as I don’t have my lovely dog anymore as my companion. I have watched all of my friends and family move forward with partners and families of their own during this pandemic, and yet I am so stuck. I feel like I have so much work still to do on myself, yet so little energy to do it. I’m so sorry I don’t have a better update for you, I was hoping if I gave myself more time, I would. But after so many weeks, it’s clear that wasn’t going to be the case.
I hope you’re doing well Anita and staying safe. Thank you again for your continued support.
– LSeptember 16, 2020 at 2:48 pm #366831
I apologize for the late reply, I can’t believe 3 weeks have already flown by! I’ve been very busy with work and clients especially during the pandemic and dealing with family health issues but it seems like things are stabilizing a little bit in that area so that’s good! I hope you’ve been doing well.
To reply to your questions:
1. When I speak about “my damage”, I am referring to the issues that you and I have discussed from my past that have led to these significant blunders I make in dating. I was discussing this with a very good friend of mine and she brought up the point that I was so sheltered by my mother in my childhood (not allowed to socialize or date until I was upwards of 16 with anyone that was not family) that I am experiencing these things later in life. Such as being “boy crazy” and having crushes and things that are usually associated with behaviour of school-aged girls. It reminded me of comments you have made in the past about how I should practice engaging my inner child.
2. I’m a little torn with this one. I have two trains of thought when it comes to this. The first is that rather than it is about trying to earn or win these men back, that it is more that I value them higher/are more interested in them because of their emotional unavailability/elusiveness which feels safer to me. Safe because they are not pushing me for commitment/coming on “too strong” and therefore I do not have to face my own fears of commitment and the idea of potentially “settling”. The man that I wrote this post about was great in so many ways, but I think I simply was not ready for the commitment he was searching for (and if I’m honest, the commitment I was saying I was looking for that turned out not to be true). I notice this phenomenon because as soon as someone is showing true interest in being with me seriously romantically, I start to notice their flaws more and wonder if I can do better with someone else. However, as soon as that same person pulls away, I suddenly see them as this great catch that I took for granted and should try to get them back. But even still, once they do come back, I have the same initial reaction thinking I can do better and should not commit to them. I wonder if this has to do with the seriousness of my very first relationship (who happened to also be my very first date!) that lasted for many years and was very difficult emotionally, physically, and financially to separate. I wonder if that experience was more substantial than I have made it seem, and that I still have fear driving me to ensure that I don’t ever have to do that again.
The second train of thought that I have in regards to this issue I have, is that maybe it is simply about subconsciously pushing men away and then making it my mission to earn them back to prove my worthiness. Or, maybe it is both trains that are correct, I’m not sure. Anyway, when I am attempting to win them back, it feels very difficult and a challenge and I find this is usually when I become my “best” self in certain ways, such as physically. I’ll find that this is when I am able to lose some weight, organize my home, work on getting anxious thoughts out of my head. It seems that this period of “earning” someone back is when I actually work on improving myself and usually have success. I remember with J (who the current man I have been lamenting over reminds me of in many ways), I did this several times. I would push him away, earn him back, lose interest/wonder if there was better for me out there, push him away again, and earn him back again. However, the final instance of pushing him away was permanent and no matter what I tried to do to earn him back, it did not work as he had moved on to someone else.
I have been giving this a lot of thought over the past weeks. Especially since more and more S (the most recent man I dated in the other city) reminds me of J. Or at least the scenario, my mindset, obsession, etc. reminds me of him. With both men, the relationship moved extremely quickly, with both men they met my parameters in terms of physical “type”, with both men I became physical with them quickly due to the intensity of lust I was feeling, and with both men, I quickly began to build a fantasy in my head about a future with them. Also, both men showed emotional unavailability red flags in the beginning, showed inconsistencies in words and actions, and both men are very good at romancing women. With both men, the act of losing them and trying to earn them back was constantly on my thoughts. Even now, as I am currently in the other city for a while, I cannot stop thinking about S and wanting to reach out to him, even though I know it is not a good idea and that even if he did show interest in meeting with me, we are not compatible long term. That being said, there is a chronic frustration with his lack of contact, as just last week or so ago he mentioned wanting to meet for a drink when I was back. I know this should not matter at all and that men say whatever they want in the moment, but it bothers me that he spoke at lengths about his values being honesty, integrity, and loyalty yet does not exhibit those traits with me.
Either way, I am trying my best to process these emotions I’m feeling without it affecting my behaviour, but I still struggle to ascertain what is a good choice in actions and what isn’t. I am leaning towards not saying anything to this man and just deleting his contact and all connections on social media, but part of me feels like sending a final goodbye. I will think more about it.
Thanks again Anita so much for your continued help and support!
LAugust 24, 2020 at 5:11 pm #365480
I ended up waiting and not replying to his text (yes, a text after midnight saying good evening. Mind you, he is one hour behind, so it was technically 11:30pm for him).
We have messaged a little back and forth, but nothing really of substance, and when I tried to call him last night instead of texting, he didn’t answer and only said “sorry I missed u, busy night”. I haven’t replied, I suppose there doesn’t seem to be a point anymore. He has shown in many ways that I am no longer a priority for him, I almost find it more upsetting that he bothers to contact me at all anymore when it’s clear I mean so little to him. I don’t know why men (and I guess some women too) do this. I feel it puts me in an uncomfortable position. I don’t know if it’s right or not that I haven’t replied to his last message or not. Part of me wanted to ask if he was seeing someone else so that I could finally “get over” him and forget him, but I feel like this would probably just hurt me in the end, I don’t know. I also thought about asking if he was still planning on taking me on a boat ride when I got back, but again, I suppose what’s the point.
I agree with all you have said about the Specific Relationship Rules I am to follow moving forward. I’m feeling quite deflated as of late, this silly dalliance (can’t even call it a relationship!) and its aftermath has had a significant negative impact on me, and I don’t feel very hopeful about dating and relationships right now. That being said, I do feel lonely and the odd man out in my friend group and family as everyone seems to be moving on with their partners and own families and I feel very stuck in this department. It’s a little sad, I’ve now had several groups of single female friends move on and find long term partners while I have not. I’m trying not to think and feel like this, but there are times that I really do think it will never happen for me, that my damage is too significant to work through at this stage of my life.
I also feel quite trapped in my own taste in men, in that I supremely value men that have discarded me, and I disvalue those that show interest. Occasionally there are men like the ones that I have written about that I do value while they show interest in me, but it seems like soon enough my blunders occur and then their interest is gone, and I seem to value them more or want to earn or win them back. I suppose that’s what is happening with this current man. Last night I couldn’t sleep (was woken up several times in the night thinking about him and what happened) and I am so disappointed in myself, that I have wasted so much mental energy and time thinking about someone that barely held any significance in my life. I really wish I could forget him and move forward with my lessons, but for whatever reason, I can’t seem to. Perhaps it’s because he still contacts me from time to time (for what purpose I have no idea!), but I’m not sure.
I was aware of the definition of OCD, and perhaps one small sign of my own self-awareness is that I could identify my behaviours within relationships as OCD related. I think RROCD you have coined is quite accurate for me and I will keep this in mind for when I feel hopeful of dating, but I just don’t feel up to it now. I hope this passes. Thanks again, Anita.