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Michelle

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  • #364759
    Michelle
    Participant

    Thanks Anita. I am trying to sit with it and for the past few days I have only texted with him briefly and he is definitely not reaching out to me during this time.

    I have asked if he’d like to get together as friends at the end of the month or in September at some point. He has said maybe and we will see. I know this is my way of ripping the bandaid off a little slower. I really do hope he is meant to be in my life in some other way, but I heed the warnings that you have suggested. I know that it will be tricky and I will have to be fully honest with myself about whether it is something I can handle without falling apart.

    It may very well fizzle out completely and we will no longer have any place in each other’s lives. It will be telling to see what ensues. I recently consulted with a psychic that I have used for years and she basically reiterated all that we have discussed here, just by what she picked up on from his photo. She says he is not a bad guy, but he really does need to sort himself out and that I should not put all of my eggs in his basket. She feels that he is overly concerned with getting hurt or hurting me and he is not ready for a serious relationship. She was adamant that she sees him in my life and that I would know further about where I stand with him next summer. I have been reading a lot of articles on emotionally unavailability and I have been really trying to see the relationship without the rose coloured glasses. I am now asking myself if he is someone I truly see myself with, as he is today. The answer to that will become more and more clear with time, but I know there are things that would be hard to come to terms with. How do you build a romantic connection when one person refuses to connect emotionally.

    I know that if he came back and told me he wanted to be with me, that it would feel really good. It does not mean that it would be right and I have been trying to really think that about how it would make me feel. I feel as though I’ve been chasing this hooded figure for so long, as he has yet to really turn around and show me his face. I have yet to consider his place in MY life. I’ve just gotten so caught up in following him.

    About a month ago, I did meet a guy at a coffee shop near me in town. I had the go ahead to date other men, and after a few visits this man did ask me out. We’ve seen each other infrequently because of all of this going on with the other guy, but he has proven himself to be patient and is quite willing to discuss his past and things he is looking for in the future. I want to take it reallly slow, but I am enjoying getting to know him. I know it will ultimately help me to see that there are other men who do not display the behaviours of the other. I just don’t want to jump into anything and want to take time for myself. I do think I ended this at the right time, as I have yet to go back to work, and have some time to deal with all of these emotions.

    I’m sure I will update you as time goes on, and I hope I can post more positive things on this forum in the future. Thank you.

    #364573
    Michelle
    Participant

    He just told me today that he is sorry he can’t return my feelings. I told him I know and that it was okay. I mean for whatever reason, he may just not have strong enough feelings. I may also just be looking for them to be returned in the wrong place.

    #364547
    Michelle
    Participant

    **Sorry I meant a fake relationship with me. All of the benefits without the commitment.

    #364546
    Michelle
    Participant

    I just don’t know to what extent he was being manipulative consciously to keep getting what he wanted, a relationship with me… vs the unconscious manipulation.. testing me to see if I would provide him with unconditional love.

    Seeing him yesterday I felt like he was trying to manipulate me to return. Pouting about how it had to be my way or the highway, even though I feel like I haven’t been given much choice in the situation. Stay in a self-destructive situation or try to save a part of myself and bow out early.

    #364543
    Michelle
    Participant

    I kind of wonder though. Have I just reaffirmed all of his greatest fears. Have I gone and done what he was worried I would do all along. Just as he thinks he’s getting closer to me I go and do what his mother did to him and pull it all out from under the rug, make it conditional. Just as he was doing to me, I went and did to him.

    People have asked if I waited all this time just so that I could do what he did to me. I don’t wish to punish him. I feel like I am trying to save some love for myself and whoever I may want to give it to in the future too. I felt like maybe I could deal with a right now but I think I was fooling myself.

    I just wonder if maybe people are right and he was testing me to see if I would stick around and now I’ve just abandoned him. Now I see that a lot of his operations were likely unconscious and that he may never have left me for someone else, but he wanted to always have that out. What do you think about that? Do you think that if I’d stayed that it would’ve shown him that someone would ultimately be there for him despite anything and soothed some of his inner child scabs? Or would he have kept pushing me away because a mother’s love is not a void that I can ever really fill. I’m pretty sure his mother has expressed love to him at some point, it just doesn’t seem to have been a consistent thing growing up?

    I just don’t know.. If love requires pain, some self sacrifice? Seeing more than the other person can and staying because they need you? Friends would tell me how **** it was that he could tell me he would eventually be with someone else, and how could I put myself through that. But should I have had the insight to see that that was all just a ruse he was using to push me away and test the boundaries of my love?

    I wrote him when I got home last night. Shared a letter with him that I’d written months ago in anticipation of this time. A time where I might have the strength to not go on operating like we have been. I told him that he was the love of my life thus far and how he has taught me so much, and that he will always be loved by me and that I will always be in his corner. That I want him to have felicity, no matter who it may be with. I’ve written him letters that I never sent since we met, as a way to sort through my feelings. They remained fervent and rather unchanged since the beginning, they just became a little less optimistic with time.

    I reiterated that I was leaving the situation behind and not him and that I will continue to want him in my life when we are ready. I think there is another chapter for us, in a different way I said. I told him that I believed he was saving parts of himself for someone else and ultimately we could never go as deep as we could’ve because of that. And that is something that I need, and I feel like I need to consider myself at least a little bit. I wanted us to have a love that had no limits and ultimately it was stifled in many ways. It felt as though there were parts we just weren’t exploring.

    I just don’t know if I have a pattern of seeking emotionally unavailable people because maybe I too, am emotionally unavailable people. My mother was anxious avoidant in childhood and this was due to her upbringing. She sought out love from her children to fill her voids. My grandmother was very harsh but loving in her older age. Now my mom shares her love with me any chance she can get. My dad was very loving with me but passed in my early 20s. He was also a highly depressed/OCD sufferer. And I have sought out men like him for some time… I am slowly trying to accept love freely, but I am still probably more comfortable giving it. I will be working on this and trying to add more awareness to the patterns that I live out. I have been in therapy before as well. Did I mention that both me and this man have degrees in Psychology. We both wanted to be therapists at one point. It’s really hard for me to see him as a therapist because he seems so entirely uncomfortable with emotions.

    So amazing that you’ve used this as an outlet to learn more and that you’ve been brave enough to do the work in therapy on your own. I mean really you don’t have to be an expert in a field to help someone else, to give them that little nugget of wisdom that they remember and take with them. I’m sure there is a lot of thanks to go around.

    #364514
    Michelle
    Participant

    Anita, thank you so much for the kind words, I feel like you’ve seen me through a lot of this and it helps to have the extra insight. Are you a therapist by trade or just wise?

    He comes from a very traditional European family (did not fully grow up in Canada) with a sort of cold mother, and a warm but seemingly distant father. They are both gracious people, but the father is a drinker now and I feel these issues have subsisted through most of his life. I did ask if he was able to express emotions as a child and he said that was not encouraged or accepted. It seems that they taught him that church, school and work and marriage would lead to happiness in life and he questioned these teachings. He did not feel understood and still seems quite distant and annoyed with them. He said that in his 20s, while he was travelling that they did not reach out to him much in 3 years to see how he was doing. Not a great dynamic there. I do think that he feels that he has disappointed them in life, with his choice of work and his lack of a marriage and providing grandchildren. He has stated as much and when I came to Christmas dinner last year his father seemed to express extreme happiness for him, having a new girl in his life and welcoming me into the family. He seems to care what they think as in the beginning I would leave from the house late and would walk out to my car on the street at night. Apparently his parents were quite upset with his and ever since then he has always walked me to my car. They also expressed that they wished we would eat with them more, and he mentioned this to me at some point so we tried to do that more. He still seemed to feel that their marriage was not something to aspire to, less than perfect and riddled with bickering and discontent. I see other sides to that and there are genuine moments of care and affection that I have witnessed.

    His OCD seems to surround cleanliness, order and symmetry. When he first came over to my house he stayed over and remarked that my kettle had disgusting limescale buildup and how could I be so slovenly. He found many other disgusting things wrong with my housekeeping skills. His mother keeps a very clean house and it seems that he must have been ordered to follow suit as a child. When we go on day trips he packs the trunk with a very specific order and he will not tolerate food in his car. Mostly his life is orderly and well kept, so that he is able to feel in control. He does seem to suffer from depression as well. Compulsions are learned behaviours, which become repetitive and habitual when they are associated with relief from anxiety. I imagine he would experience relief if he cleaned his room and wasn’t nagged about it by his mother as child. This must have led to compulsions which became habitual.

    I believe the obsessive thinking comes about with his relationships with others. It seems he actually put a lot of thought into our future, but mainly the reasons it wouldn’t work out, which seemed to do with shortcomings about me.

    I really didn’t think I had any expectations left for us, but his behaviour really led me to believe that he might be trying to seek closeness, and he played the role of boyfriend so well that I thought he might be opening up. Each time he had me fooled, or he had himself fooled, I’m not quite sure.

    I went to visit him briefly this evening before I spent time with friends and family. He lives in the same neighbourhood as all of them. I wanted to talk a little in person, and I do feel for how he is doing. He has not be taking our separation well. He said he has been using work to keep as busy as possible, but when I saw him he looked utterly beside himself and depressed. He would barely look me in the eye. He told me he’s been having terrible sleep. He gave me a late birthday present and we talked a little about his work schedule. He didn’t really ask how I am doing. I told him that I’d like to see him when he’s ready and some time has passed for me as well and I really do want him in my life if he felt that way too and it could be healthy.

    He started to walk away to go back inside and said sarcastically “yeah, if you’d want to see me..”I had just told him I did so I asked what he meant by that. He said “well you want to move on, if I can’t do things the way that you want, then you don’t want any of this at all”. He said “you don’t want to keep getting closer.” I found it very strange for him to say that as it felt like he was admitting that we were indeed getting close and that he was almost enjoying that and had been optimistic about it. It was kind of like seeing a pouty child talk about how he wasn’t getting his way. I explained to him that I did want to keep seeing him but not in a romantic way, because he had made it quite clear that eventually he would leave me for someone else and did not see a future with me. I asked him “don’t you understand that this would break my heart and hurt me greatly”. I asked him if he could see himself leaving me for someone else and he shrugged and said “well…” as if it may never happen. Then he said “yes we should take some time…” and walked away. I told him I’d love for nothing more than for us to keep getting closer in a real way, as we had been doing, but not if it meant that he wouldn’t acknowledge what had been going on, and that he would seek out better opportunities for himself. I mean I have also been confused and sort of playing along in this as well, letting him believe that it might go on forever, but I need to consider reality and how it makes me feel terribly at least some of the time.

    The whole interaction left me feeling guilty, manipulated, but also sad for him as I am not sure if he can see his part in any of this.. I don’t know if he truly can see if he’s being selfish. I also don’t know if he was trying to say that he was almost getting to a point where he could dive in. I felt like he admitted to that a little, but now I was ruining that by giving him an ultimatum in his eyes.

    I don’t know, should I have waited to see if he would have gone with another girl, or if he eventually would’ve been happy with me. The one thing it did make me see was what an effect I really did have on his life and how happy I really did seem to make him. He just seemed so lost and miserable today; like any colour he did have before had been sucked out of him.

    I feel an even greater need to tell him how loved he truly is, now more than ever. I know I give the most to people who give the least in return.

    #364471
    Michelle
    Participant

    Thank you for you reply Anita. It really helps to have a unique insight into all of this especially because you’ve been reading about it since January and you recapped the history quite well. I feel like most of my friends and family think I will go back to him and they do think that I should’ve left the situation a long time ago. So basically they blame me for going back and think that I will continue to have zero self respect. I thought for sure you would say shame on me too.

    I agree in that there are a lot of psychological undercurrents to the situation. I mean I am aware of some of my own and am working on those. With him though, there is just this extreme emotional availability and I never really thought of the extent that it could be rooted in his skewed lens from childhood and living with his parents again. It does make sense though as he says that marriage would only ever happen under basically unattainable conditions. I don’t know if you remember but he did live with a friend prior to meeting me and it went very sour very fast. He describes the friend as having been a complete slob, never paying rent etc. So he sees any kind of partnership as one where he is likely to get burned. It’s partly why he says he won’t move out right now, as single apartments are very expensive and he won’t live with anyone right now. He does have OCD and I do wonder if he has a form of ROCD.

    All of these issues are not things that I can fix and it may take years of losing before he is tired of that and ready to risk. I just wonder if it’s possible if he truly just didn’t love me enough. That I just didn’t stir enough feeling in him, but at the same time I feel that he is depressed and it would take a tidal wave to really stir anything grand in him. He keeps saying that loves me, in a way, but I am not his one and only. He says it so robotically that I don’t know how to believe it but I am trying to take it at face value. I do feel like we’ve come a long way in the year that we’ve been doing this, but it still all felt false because he couldn’t concede to any of it. It’s kind of insane that he’s been calling me his gf behind my back and I didn’t even know about it until the friend did. But it makes sense what you said, that by telling me I was it would make it unsafe again for him. He did tell me he just told his friend because it was easier that way. That’s what I meant by him playing me, because I feel like he was just doing what suited him best, because he didn’t want to have to explain why he couldn’t commit.

    I just didn’t have enough faith in it to continue and believe that I wasn’t throwing my own self worth completely under the bus for it. I would like to remain in each other’s lives in the future and hope that the romantic love can transcend to something platonic. I will need to stop blaming myself and things I didn’t or didn’t do before I can do that.

    Do you think he will ever realize what he lost?

    #344844
    Michelle
    Participant

    It sounds like you have paid your dues. How long have you known about this drinking problem? If you’ve been with him for three years and he’s been drinking for three years, you’ve put in your time, you’ve given him enough time to value the relationship he has with you more than the drinking.

    For a lack of a better saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”. In this case you’ve tried to lead him away, but he keeps going back to the drink.

    I was with someone for three years who was a closet alcoholic. Never drank heavily in front of anyone else but me. I hateeeeed his behaviour when he drank and he wasn’t violent at all. We finally ended things last year. It never would have worked. I also have a history of alcoholics in my family. He still doesn’t see that his drinking was a problem, or that he could have changed. He is still probably drinking. There were many other issues that came about from the drinking and I imagine that they will for you too. Time will tell, but it sounds like you are already out. It’s so hard, because you love the person they are when they don’t drink.

    #335496
    Michelle
    Participant

    Hi Valora and Anita. Thank you both for your responses.

    Valora, yes he did admit that he believes people get sick of each other in long term relationships and he thinks our differences with small things would eventually add up and we’d drive each other crazy. He seems to have a big need for control in his own way and wants his relationships to be perfect in many ways. He definitely does have an ideal in mind and I was not likely to change it or become it. He might find someone that better suits that idea, but it seems like so far no one has measured up. One of my friends did suggest that perhaps he has proposed to someone in the past and they turned him down. This could account for some of his hostility towards marriage. Also it could simply be that someone hurt him greatly and thus he is resigned to thinking he will never find anyone as good and ultimately compares anyone new to this person, or idea in his head of what they were like.

    He seemed so enthusiastic about our relationship throughout that it is still hard to see that he felt this way the whole time.

    Anita, I do agree he is depressed and I feel that a lot of that is clouding his thinking about this relationship with me. I do not agree that more patience and time might’ve changed the outcome. Despite what you may believe, I didn’t initiate this conversation and didn’t interrogate him, just asked him questions gently as he seemed to feel guilt and wanted to express the things he was feeling about us and a long-term potential. I did not go into a crying fit, I tried not to cry at all but it streamed out silently and slowly. In the end I don’t think he knew what to say so he left, and I became a little angry and sarcastic, because I was hurt, but I didn’t have the conversation hoping to end the relationship, I just liked that we were getting some truths out in the open.

    If anything waiting longer would have likely ended in the same result and i would’ve been more hurt. He was already not having feelings for me and I couldn’t have changed that with time.

    #331979
    Michelle
    Participant

    Thanks Anita. I agree. I feel that the friend thing is more my issue than his. He probably does see them as a nice reprieve from everyone else, where he can be completely himself.

    Regarding him not being vocal about what he wants… Part of of it has a lot to do with him living with his parents and seeing it as a real step backward. On New Year’s Eve we discussed the highlights of 2019 and he said his had its ups and downs. He didn’t foresee moving back home, but he also met me, so overall it felt good. I think he may feel more decisive when he is not living in limbo. I think career changes are also on his mind. I always seem to find men who aren’t exactly settled and feel the need to be settled before they can offer me things. That being said he has been more consistent and forward in action then anyone I’ve ever been with. He’s surprised me with quite a few events, and I never had to guess whether he was going to still be interested in seeing me after a date. Very early on he was the one to be asking for repeated dates and saying that it felt like a while since we’d seen each other (yet it had only been a few days in between meetings). He still contacts me every morning and throughout the day and is always concerned if I am sick or have another issue. He is expressive in those ways. In time, in service and occasionally in gifts. His love language is not words, and that is why I am the one to be more expressive in that way.

    I feel that I am different than other women he’s been with, because to say that any particular holiday has been the best ever compared to all other holidays like it in the past, feels quite expressive to me. He’s not always wordy in the ways I’d like, but he surprised me with nice things he says nonetheless.

    My dilemma Anita, is how long should I be waiting to be authentic? I am a social studies grad, so I am constantly reading about relationship stats. Most people fall in love between 4-6 months in, and declare such love to their partner. Should I be patient because I am waiting for him to be more verbally expressive about how he feels and where he wants things to go? What if he is never able to do that unless I declare first, but he continues to show his love in other ways? I mean obviously I wouldn’t be the one proposing, but is there really a right time or wrong time to tell someone you love them? I don’t think I’m looking for the worst to happen sooner rather than later, I think I am looking to be truthful and see what is reflected back at me. I find it hard to have surface relationships, I like to go deep. A lot of my qualms in my past long-term relationship surrounded the fact that I wasn’t being true to myself and my needs. I was just allowing someone to decide what they needed with no real concern about me, or meeting me half way. Basically I want to be able to be me, without fear of breaking dating rules, or scaring someone off with my emotions.

    Is there an amount of time that you would feel is an appropriate time to wait to express my love? Does he really need to do so first? I already know he’s going to have trouble expressing it back, or at all on his own. But it doesn’t mean I don’t feel it, and want him to know. One of my best friend’s told her now husband at about 6 months in, and it took him months after that to return the sentiment. She said she loved him so she just kept saying it and didn’t care that she was waiting. Sorry I’m not directing these questions at your pointedly, I’m just trying to figure it all out.

    #331777
    Michelle
    Participant

    I want to hear from anyone who might want to play devil’s advocate and argue why I should tell him hah.

    #331775
    Michelle
    Participant

    Hi Inky, I was looking for some honest feedback because sometimes others can see more about a situation than we can. I agree, I’d like to meet his friends and I don’t completely understand the reluctance there, but there are some reasons why your suggestion won’t work. There isn’t really anywhere to have his friends over too, because he is briefly living at home, so we would need to go out with them or visit them. Since I’ve discussed it with him and he seemed receptive to my feelings, I don’t believe he is actively looking to avoid it. He was even considering inviting me the last time he went, but his reasoning was that it would be too intimate of an event for an introduction. It was his best friend’s birthday and his friend’s family was there and their closest friends. It didn’t seem like an appropriate time to throw me into the mix. Honestly, we’ve spent A LOT of time together and when he goes to see his friends, which is infrequently, I think he enjoys it as a chance to have some time apart. The anxious side of me sees it as a red flag, but usually when a guy isn’t interested in inviting me into his life, he is reluctant in a lot of other ways, and inviting me to Christmas with his family would not be a part of that. I dated a guy I now call “the napper” for a month, who consistently couldn’t make it out to see me because he was “napping” after work. It got to the point where the napping just took over.. and it was too hard to ignore the lies. That guy was all happy to introduce me to his friends though.

    Another thing I guess I forgot to mention is that my ex was an alcoholic and my new guy knows about this. I have discussed how hard this was for me, especially because I had an aunt who died recently from alcoholism. When he goes out with his friends he will often partake in more drinking than usual. I believe he is trying to be respectful of me and not introduce me to that side of him so soon or too often, because of my past. He is not a big drinker at all, but on a few occasions he does throw a few back with the friends. So this might be another reason I haven’t been invited out yet. He is very willing to come to my family events and he has met my friends like I said. I feel like my new guy is a little more cautious and it may actually be a good thing.

    I was mostly kind of mulling over it because I would hope that we could share time with different people, and I hope that he thinks I will be a welcome to addition to his group eventually. Really I’m also curious to see a side of him that I do not see because he has a long history with a few of these friends. It would be nice to get to know some of that, and to see the kind of company he chooses to keep beyond me. I think because he is one of the few single friends among this married group it’s a bit of a declaration to bring a new relationship into it. There will be questions, especially if I disappear and I get the feeling that that has happened to girls he’s dated in the past.

    I sound like I’m being defensive, but I think I’ve made more peace with the not-meeting-his-friends-thing. It will start to bother me only if it goes on for a long time. As long as he continues to put effort into his relationship with me that matters a little more for now. He has turned down a few weekend outings with said friends to go on trips with me and such. As we’ve been settling into our relationship a little more, a few weekends ago he said he really needed a boys night. I could tell he didn’t want me to be upset about it. I’m happy he wants to do those things because my last ex didn’t have any friends. Also, when he gets his own place again there will be more of a common ground for us to hang out with various people together.

    I do agree that maybe I will wait a month or so to see if Valentine’s Day does reveal any extra feelings on his part.

    Anita, I also appreciate your input. I’ve come to realize that part of my being cautious about revealing my feelings has to do with not knowing how exactly I should express it. Part of that is because I realize the choice to be together is not mine. I have made up my mind. Declaring that he loves me will mean far more than me declaring that I love him. Not that my love is any less, but it has always been easier for me to give. I’m brave that way. Still I may declare it, to allow him to have all the information he may need. I will do this once I am comfortable with all the anxiety of the unknown of whether it will be returned. I am already programmed to expect the worst most of the time, so I can’t even picture a reciprocal scenario really.. I guess I’m always prepared.

    Occasionally I get these flashes of intuition about our future. I’ve been trying to ignore them, because they’re good. It’s so hard for me to believe that good could come for me. My life hasn’t played out that way.

    #331263
    Michelle
    Participant

    Hi Daniel. I have felt these feelings of rejection in the past too, as I believe many of us have. They can feel immeasurably great and permanent and yet impermanence is something we can always rely on. The brain acts as if it is withdrawing from hard drugs when we are rejected, and thus explains some of the relative severity of your emotions.

    Watch the thoughts and feelings as you have them, feel them as great as you wish to, but realize that they are not your entirety. They will lose momentum and things will get easier. Attachment to ideas, people etc. causes us great pain. This is momentary attachment that will lessen with time and awareness.

    Also trust that there are many people who will wish to give you affection, share their time with you and become involved in your life. This girl has a general regard for your feelings as a human being, but she acted cowardly. Someone with real regard for you will likely act differently. There is nothing wrong with you being brave enough to give her attention and kindness and voice your feelings. Being able to give is a gift in and of itself. We just don’t always get to receive in return. I do believe the universe has ebbs and flows as mysterious as the tide that eventually cause a surplus of seashells to wash up on the beach. Gifts will be bestowed upon you. This too shall pass.

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