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Valora

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  • #360926
    Valora
    Participant

    I think the BIGGEST thing you need to do for yourself is to stop being afraid of being alone. Being single is WONDERFUL sometimes. I went through a period of my life where I was single for 10 years, and now I’ve been single again for 2.5. There are just as many benefits to being single as there are to being in a relationship; the benefits are just different. So if you do end up alone again, just find the ways that being single really benefits you. Doing that takes a TON of pressure and anxiety off when it comes to relationships because you won’t care so much whether it works out or doesn’t because you know you’ll be absolutely fine either way.

    Other than that, over the next few days, just accept what is in the present and try not to worry about the future at the moment. I know, easier said than done. But just know that you deserve a GENUINE connection, and those can’t be forced. You’re also right that meeting online does take more work and more talking for that connection to develop and you deserve someone who will put in that effort before writing things off. This talk will help you both decide whether each of you is willing to put in that effort, and if one of you isn’t, well it wouldn’t have been a good match anyway.  Try to go into this meeting, ready to accept either outcome and know that you’ll be fine with either way… and know that the point of the meeting is to figure out whether you’re both on the same page about building something that will work well for both of your needs rather. The great thing about this is that doing this now will keep you both from wasting each other’s time if you AREN’T on the same page, and if you find out you are, you’ve got a wonderful starting point built on good communication. Win/win either way!

    #360778
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi SunnyDays! I’m going to quote some of your original post and response to Anita below with my responses:

    The issue and struggle was about him meeting that woman (who I didn’t know he was still in contact with) after we got back together officially i.e. he was already my boyfriend. He didn’t tell me it was the woman he essentially ‘left’ for me. Nor did I know they were still in contact.

    The fights and arguments were always about our conflicting points of view on the event. Me: he lied by omission. Him: he did nothing wrong by meeting her. Which, technically he didn’t but it’s the fact he didn’t see it as information to share is what got me. He apologised for not telling me or being aware it was something I’d want to know about. To be fair, if I had have known at the time, I wouldn’t have stopped him.

    Here’s the thing…. Yes, it definitely would’ve been better if your boyfriend had come to you first before meeting up with her, but you said nothing bad happened, so that means his intentions for meeting up with her weren’t bad. He didn’t tell you because he didn’t know that he should’ve shared that information at the time. Guys think differently than girls. He really probably saw it as no big deal, just tying up loose ends with the previous relationship so he could move on with you, right? Then, he finds out that it WAS a big deal to you and he SHOULD have talked to you about it beforehand. Now he knows how you feel, but he cannot go back in time and undo the situation. You admitted in the part I bolded above that “technically he did nothing wrong,” so you shouldn’t be treating him as if he did. You see, he does not have to agree with you that he lied by omission as long as he respects in the future that you want him to tell you of things like this before he does them so that you don’t feel hurt. That’s literally all he can do to make it up to you. Changed behavior.

    He does not have to change his opinion to make it up to you… he has to change the behavior…. so… has he?  If this behavior has changed and he hasn’t done this to you again, then you desperately need to let this go.

    You’ve understood my point of view, perfectly. To add to it, I do blame him for the pain of getting ghosted during 1.5 year period because he broke up with me in the first place, then came back again after realising he still missed me. And I am hurt he then caused more pain by not telling me he a) was still speaking to that woman (who still liked him) and b) not telling me he met up with her.

    He is not to blame for another man ghosting you and it’s unfair of you to blame him for this. He IS to blame for breaking up with you, but that is a separate issue and one that should’ve been resolved before you became boyfriend and girlfriend again. Are you still holding onto a grudge for him breaking up with you the first time after only 6 months, and if so, why? Especially since he hasn’t done it again after you’ve been together for 3 years?  I feel like this is an issue that would be great to work through in CBT, figuring out exactly why you’re holding a grudge over something that happened so long ago when it seems like he’s stuck by you ever since.

    To answer your question, yes, I do think there are anxiety-related behaviours that I need to keep in check. I have low self esteem and get jealous quite easily (youngest child syndrome who was spoilt) which is a work in progress. The issue is that even when I think I’m doing better my partner refuses to see it. He has basically said he’s no longer putting in any effort until he sees a reason to – i.e. sees me changing my behaviour. Unfortunately, lockdown happened so we’ve been in each other’s pockets for a good 4 months, and life isn’t normal so the situation doesn’t exactly lend itself to him naturally seeing my changed behaviour play out.

    I am a youngest child who was very spoiled, and to be honest, I don’t think jealousy or low self-esteem has anything to do with those things (that’s usually a middle child problem). I think there’s something else causing it and it’s up to you to work through it and figure out the root issue so that you can heal it. It might be hard for your partner to see any changed behavior at first because he is probably feeling some resentment, and that can be hard to look past. SO, if you truly want to fix things for him, you’re going to have to stop being so critical of him. Just work on you. And look up some of the work by John Gottman. He’s done lectures on YouTube that are fantastic as far as relationships go, and his research has shown that partners being critical of each other is a relationship death sentence.  Another thing to look into would be the love languages. Figure out what both of yours are. When you figure out yours, you can tell him some specific things that you love and that’s a concrete thing he can do to make you feel good (which guys’ logical, instruction-oriented brains love), and when you learn of his, you will both see things that you can do for him that will make him feel loved AND you’ll start to notice some of the different things he’s done that has shown love to you (because people tend to show love in their own love languages).

    Otherwise, if you keep going down the path you two are on, you might as well separate. So my advice if you’d really like to work things out is for you to let all of that stuff in the past go. Start fresh. Show love to him and stop being critical. You make that move to turn toward him in love and he will likely start turning back toward you again too, but if you constantly remind him that he’s not doing things right, it’s going to just push him further away at this point.

    #355806
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Tom,

    One big question I have before I weigh in…. did she sleep with her ex while you two were together or only during the time that you were broken up?

     

    #355524
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Veronica!  Do you feel comfortable talking to your boyfriend about his anger outbursts? It’s possible it might seem normal to him, but it’s not really acceptable behavior. I think that when people react to things this way, there is usually something deeper going on, like suppressed emotions and possibly depression/sadness… basically he either has some things he needs to work through or he might see this as normal, acceptable behavior if he grew up with a father who punched walls or friends who do and think it’s fine.

    I think the first step, if you feel comfortable doing so, would be to talk to him and ask him why he does this. Let him know it scares you.  If you don’t feel comfortable talking to him about it or become afraid of him or how he will react, then it might be better to just leave the relationship and find a man who can control his anger.  I would certainly be worried about or scared by this behavior, too, and I have never seen either of my parents or loved ones punch anyone.

    #352534
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Cass,

    I’m sort of the opposite of Anita here. I don’t believe in luck and do believe everything happens for a reason and that there is a higher power.

    I think when bad or undesirable things happen to us, it’s just providing a lesson that we need to learn. Sometimes those lessons are really, really painful, but if you learn the lesson when these things happen and grow from it, they’re not likely to repeat. You seem to be putting blame on yourself here where it isn’t due, like this happened because you’re not lucky in love or did something wrong, but really the reason doesn’t seem to be anything to do with you… it’s that this man is depressed. When people fall into a state of depression, especially when they’re in new relationships, the relationship is often the first thing to go… even in long-term relationships. There comes a point where they just don’t want to deal with anything else at all because they’re having a hard enough time dealing with themselves so they just cut everything else loose. Or they hate the way their life is so they suddenly need to change EVERYTHING and they “throw the baby out with the bath water.” In this case, he probably knows he wasn’t living up to the standard that he should be as your boyfriend (the standard he would set for himself) and it was putting pressure on him… not that you were putting pressure on him but he was putting it on himself and that was creating more anxiety in him… one more thing he was worrying about.

    Would it have been better not to argue about his change in affection? Maybe, but you didn’t know that at the time, and even if you hadn’t argued, it wouldn’t have guaranteed a different outcome. He may have cut the relationship off anyway because one side effect of depression is not feeling anything at all (which is often why there is a loss of affection) and, weirdly, that can be accompanied by an increase in anxiety because they know there’s something wrong but they can’t fix it and have no desire to fix it.

    With that said, I wouldn’t write this relationship off quite yet. It’s possible that once the pandemic has calmed down and everyone can get back to their routines, he may call you up and want to try again. Before you get back with him though, I would make sure that he has something in place to help him when he feels depressed again, such as a therapist, so that he doesn’t try to push you away again later on.  And if you do get back together, you will know now that when he starts to act different or is less affectionate, it’s a sign he needs help… not from you (because you can’t be his therapist, even if you WERE a therapist, they advise them to not provide therapy to loved ones) but from a therapist or perhaps medication from a doctor. This was a good learning experience for you, and that, in my opinion, is the whole point of these bad things that happen.

    So no, I don’t think you’re unlucky in love. You’re just still learning and maybe haven’t met your match yet (or you both need to grow before you can be together if this guy is your match). A loss of a relationship doesn’t say anything about you as long as you were caring, loving, and respectful for the most part in that relationship, which it sounds like you were. Sometimes the end of a relationship is about what the other person might be dealing with. Sometimes it’s just that you aren’t compatible with each other for one reason or another. There are lots of reasons, so it’s important that you don’t put any measure of your self-worth into that and try not to be embarrassed. All relationships end at some point.

    #352026
    Valora
    Participant

    To me, it sounds like you’re setting healthy boundaries. Putting your mental needs first isn’t selfish, it’s self-care. There’s a very big difference. Selfishness is putting wants first. Self-care is putting needs first, and self-care is even more important for you when you’re already suffering from depression and anxiety. It’s ultra-important, actually, so no, not at all selfish. Like you said, you are not his therapist, you cannot be his therapist… and him treating you like a therapist will only drag you down.

    It sounds to me like his actions are toxic to both of you. He doesn’t want to eat much, which is very, very unhealthy and is only contributing to his depression, and as someone who loves and cares about him, it’s hard to stand by and watch him not taking care of himself, not caring to take care of himself, and even worse, constantly complaining about how he feels while he’s not taking care of himself.  I understand how completely frustrating that situation is, as I’ve been there myself.

    You mention that he feels guilty spending money on food, etc. Is he low income? Are you in the US? If the answer is yes to both of those questions, he can probably get counseling services for free if he qualifies for Medicaid in your state. That might be something to look into. It sounds like he could really benefit from therapy.  If not, he needs to implement self-care, especially a healthier diet and exercise. Not eating enough will absolutely wreck a person AND their mood. Eating enough food is way more important than saving money.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Valora.
    #351468
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Liss,

    It sort of sounds to me like the relationship he left you for didn’t end up panning out, so now he’s back with his tail between his legs, seeking the last person who found him desirable and didn’t reject him. He may be contacting you because he misses you and has regrets OR it may be because he wants to use you as a Band-Aid to cover his pain from the most recent right now so he’s telling you what he knows you’ll want to hear… especially if the breakup just happened. If you know you don’t want him back, you should probably just not respond. If you do respond (as I would because I have a hard time NOT responding), just keep your guard up and don’t fall for any sweet words. It’s possible he’s only saying them because of the emotional state he’s currently in due to rejection, and if he does mean them, he needs to prove them with action over time before he will deserve another chance (if you should decide you want to give him one).

    #348182
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Janemarple.

    I’ve got sort of a different opinion here, I think, given that I’ve always had a lot of guy friends. It sounds to me like he likes women to be conservative in real life, but he enjoys looking at pictures of scantily clad women as a fantasy, and he probably uses those sites sometimes to… make himself feel good. Men are visual creatures. This type of thing is very common among them, even conservative ones, and even ones who are very much in love with their ladies. They just try to hide it from their women, because they are very much aware that most women aren’t going to be okay with it. It’s understandable that the women are upset when they find out though, because it does feel like a bit of a betrayal and like they have wandering eyes, but again… that’s why the men hide it, because THEY don’t see it that way.  (Hence: “It’s just like looking at magazines!”)

    Now, I don’t think the sites where there is actual interaction between the men and the women are okay at all, but I’ve learned to just kind of shrug off the sexy photos, as long as they’re not looked at excessively.  His reaction when you were questioning him about it was likely due to embarrassment, especially since he’s conservative. He might not have realized that people could see what he was following.

    So I guess the question is… are you SURE he’s only been looking at this stuff for the past year?

    At any rate, this has understandably changed your opinion of him. If it’s something that you can’t get over, I think you did the right thing by breaking up with him. Just because it’s common, that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. It just means the men that truly don’t ever look are few and far between. I also want you to know that him looking at those photos doesn’t say anything about you or how he feels about you. I doubt he saw doing that as a betrayal toward you as it’s usually just a fantasy. It’s the equivalent of women reading 50 Shades of Gray or some romance novel and dreaming about the guy in the book. Looking at those photos is the guys’ way of enjoying fantasy in the visual sense the way that women enjoy fantasy in the storybook/imagination sense. Again… doesn’t mean you have to be okay with that… it just is what it is.

    #348166
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Rose,

    Have you met or spent any amount of time with his ex? I ask because perhaps she’s not as abusive as he’s saying and he’s projecting his own actions/behavior onto her. He seems pretty possessive and potentially abusive himself, from what you’ve said, especially the part where he blew up on you and then ignored you for asking him to stop bashing her in front of you and again when you asked about the keepsake boxes. I think it’s okay for people to keep mementos of past relationships, but I think the fact that he was looking at them recently suggests he’s probably not entirely over her, and that’s maybe also why he can’t stop bashing her and keeps overreacting when you question him regarding her.

    I also think it’s inappropriate for him to be messaging guys that hit on you or like your photos. I remember a boyfriend I had once when I was younger. He was really jealous and possessive in this way. He would question everything, would get mad if a guy friend stopped by my house, and I once told him someone hit on me but I shut the guy down, and he yelled at ME for getting hit on. lol.  Turns out that guy was cheating me a whole lot and with at least 8 different women that I know of. So that’s something you might need to think about, too. I think people who are THAT possessive/jealous are often that way because they’re afraid the significant other is going to cheat because they, themselves, are cheating.

    #347184
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Tee!

    It’s great that you have found someone who balances you out! I’ve had that kind of fire/water balance before, too (I’m also like fire), and it was the best relationship I’ve ever had. Those kinds of relationships are hard to come by! I think if you read up on the 5 love languages, it might help you to spot some of the things he does that shows he cares. There are lots of blogs and things written about them, and it’s really interesting!

    He seems like someone who is patient, and I think it’s great that you can voice your concerns to him without him taking it the wrong way. I don’t think you sound like a hot mess compared to him though, maybe just more emotional or high-strung (not bad things, I am emotional and high-strung, too. haha), but it sounds like that’s exactly why he’s good for you. His calm nature helps to balance out your high-strung one, right?

    I do hope you’re able to feel better and are able to connect even better with each other with some new understanding 🙂

    #347162
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Tee,

    I think it’s really, really important to sort of “run your own race” when it comes to relationships and not pay any attention to what other couples are doing or what their relationships are like, because everyone has different situations. It might be easier for those couples to get together. Perhaps some of them live together. Maybe some have lighter schedules or schedules that match up well enough that they can hang out more often. There are just so many variables that no two couples will have the same relationship.

    If you can sort of get to the point where you’re more understanding of who your boyfriend is and how he responds to things and manages feelings and shows love, and if that understanding can make you feel better overall, then it doesn’t even matter what’s “normal” with other relationships, because understanding can make happiness normal in your own relationship, even if it appears different from others.

    I think it’s also important that you continue to share with him how you feel or tell him the things you would like him to do, but just don’t have any expectations about how he will or should respond when you tell him those things. It’s also okay to decide that this situation isn’t for you and you’d rather find someone who can interact with you more, but just understand that you may end up in the same situation with someone less compatible because a lot of guys aren’t big texters or phone talkers, and I really think this might just be sort of a bump you two have to get over until you’re able to live together and interact in person every day.

    #347154
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Tee,

    I agree with what Anita has said. I also want to point out how I think sometimes, without thinking about it, we sort of expect people to respond how we would respond or how we would want them to respond, and when they don’t, that becomes an unmet expectation, which feels like a big let down. That’s probably why you feel so disappointed by his lack of reaction and not warm and safe. One way to fix this is to realize that he isn’t you. He’s also not female. Men and women respond to things differently in general. Men are fixers and less emotional/empathetic in general. This can makes them good listeners, though. He’s shown this by listening to your story about your family, but he likely didn’t offer advice or consolation because he may just not have known what to say or do.

    So in other words, get your expectations in check. He’s going to respond to things how he responds to things, and from the sounds of it, he responds to things in the way a majority of guys I know also do.

    Also, everyone shows love differently. Have you read about the 5 love languages? You two may have different types, and it may be good to read up on those so you can understand how he shows you he loves you. You are looking for him to show you he loves you in YOUR love language, not his, while he’s been showing you in his own language, not yours. It’s basically just a miscommunication. So learn to communicate in that way, and it will likely help a lot.

    Also, 2 hours of dedicated time is way too long. People are busy and Anita’s right about that taking a lot of energy. I’d have to turn that down if I were dating someone that asked that of me, too, because I have neither the time in the day nor the energy. I think you also shouldn’t assume that he doesn’t miss you in the way that you do. He could miss you just as much or more and just not show it. A lot of men aren’t very vocal about their feelings. They tend to internalize them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. So I bet he’s right… if he shows how he feels in the 3D world, it likely WOULD be better if you lived together, and it might be worth seeing your relationship through for it to get to that point, as long as he treats you well and you’re compatible overall.

    Anyway, seeing a therapist will likely help a lot. I’ve seen one regularly for the past couple years and have been able to heal a lot of pain from my past and it’s helped me through situations in the past couple years that I might not have handled well if I hadn’t had the help. Talking to someone really helps you gain a lot of perspective. I would recommend it to anyone. The key is to find a therapist that you connect with and really feel good about talking to, so don’t be afraid to switch if you don’t find the right one at first.

    #346932
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Caz,

    It sounds to me like you did absolutely the right thing by leaving him, but it feels wrong probably because you’re used to being around him, so not being around him doesn’t feel normal or right, even after 6 weeks. You really have been broken up for a short amount of time, though, especially compared to the amount of time you were together, so I say just give yourself some more time.  I think it’s normal to feel the way you’re feeling because you’re sort of trying to establish a new normal, and that rarely feels right at first.  As time passes, though, you’ll get used to not seeing or talking to him and it’ll likely feel more like you did the right thing, especially once you’re over the relationship and can find someone else who treats you more respectfully.

    #346464
    Valora
    Participant

    Anita, thank you so much! I’ve been very busy lately with my kids home from school and I’ve been taking the opportunity to deep clean my house 🙂 I hope you and all who you love are doing well, too!

     

    Anna, I’m so glad you’re finding our comments helpful. Please feel free to post here any time you aren’t sure on something. Oftentimes our gut feelings are right, as long as they are lead by intuition (a calm “knowing”) rather than fear or anxiety.

    #346270
    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Melanie:

    This guy sounds like he was abusive and by blocking him, you showed that you will not tolerate abuse. This doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a smart person. You care about how you’re treated, and that’s so important. You likely feel horrible because blocking someone cold turkey under normal circumstances is seen as rude, but in circumstances of abuse, it’s actually healthy. By blocking without explanation, you are not allowing someone to abuse you any further, and giving someone an explanation might give them a chance to verbally abuse you one more time.

    I say let the blocking be your closure. However, I also don’t think it would hurt to list his behaviors for him, like Anita mentioned, unless you think that would give him cause for him to pull you back in by promising to be different. If you think he would learn from what you say, it’s worth telling him, but if you think he’d brush it off and insult you further, I say just let this one go. Our minds think we need “closure” from other people in order to move on and feel better, but we really don’t. Blocking him was closing a door, and leaving it closed is closure. If you have things you want to say but you don’t want to speak to him, just hand write a letter on paper and then burn it… it can be a cathartic way to release feelings without having to speak to the other person.

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