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Free Moon, what you’re saying about your boyfriend is very heartening – if he is not concerned about spending less time with her and not getting mad at you, that is a good thing! Here is what I would say – you don’t have to figure out exactly why she makes you uncomfortable, but you should just try to accept that you feel that way. It is okay to feel uncomfortable and it is also okay to not know why. That’s allowed. I would free yourself of trying to psychoanalyze your feelings like crazy and just accept that she makes you uncomfortable and that’s it. I would talk with your boyfriend and come up with some specific guidelines for how you would like them to interact. He is not to meet her alone, he should text or call you if he is going to spend an extended amount of time with her at work or whatever. He can let you know when he is texting her – whatever. You decide what the rules are – pick things which are going to make you feel more secure when they are spending time together or which limit their time together. Worry more about will make you feel most comfortable and worry less about what is “reasonable”. Reasonable is different things to different people, it is not one solid thing. You are allowed to ask for what you want. Just give your boyfriend some space in the conversation to amend things or make his own suggestions – this will make sure what you ask is “reasonable”. And then once you are both satisfied, just try to put it aside. It sounds like his intentions are good, so let him show that to you. And then you can reassure yourself that things are happening in a way you are okay with and he is making a real effort to make you comfortable and happy. And then… try not to worry about it so much! Don’t sit around and remind him to text her on her birthday lol. Let him decide what is appropriate within the boundaries of what you have decided together. Hopefully he will be able to stick to the rules you have made together, or at least he will be able to have a conversation with you if something comes up so you two can resolve it together. If you find that he is lying to you or keeps sneaking around the rules, that is another matter entirely – but don’t worry about that unless it happens!
I agree with what creative cat has said! I think you are in a pickle here and need to figure out a game plan for yourself going forward. I think you should absolutely consider going to counseling even if you just go by yourself. Going by yourself is still incredibly helpful and important, you can learn a lot about how to consider your own reactions and emotions and what you want.
I would also suggest that you try to think constructively about a way to communicate how you are feeling with your husband. Clearly you guys are not able to resolve this issue the way you have been dealing with it. I would try something new. Maybe ask him to sit down with you and have a structured conversation, with some rules – you get to talk first, he just listens. When you finish, he paraphrases what you’ve said back to you and then he talks and you listen. Something like that.
Or you could try emailing him or writing a letter! I know people think this is weird but I actually find I can think much better when I do this. Then can he read it when he isnt with you and have the time he needs to respond emotionally and think about it before he gets back to you.
I think what you should focus on is
1. telling him WHY him spending time with this woman bothers you – that its the intimate things they do together, go shopping, spend all night together, etc. Tell him that what upsets you is not that the two of them are friends, but it is that you feel like he is emotionally close with HER and not with YOU! What you want, I’m guessing, is not for them to not be friends or to control his friendships, but for the two of YOU to feel close again, and you feel like she is distracting him from that. He is right now investing all his emotional energy into her, and not you. The goal is for the two of you to feel good about one another again. If you both feel happy with your relationship, then perhaps you might not even feel threatened by their friendship, and he frankly may not even be as interested in spending so much time with her.
2. Asking for some modifications about his behavior. If he has to keep working with her because of this work project, then not seeing her anymore isnt an option. But he can probably text you a few times through the night to say hello while he is with her. Or call you to say hi. You could ask him to spend less walks and coffee breaks together. If he still wants to be in your marriage, it is very reasonable for him to make some accommodations so that you don’t feel so uncomfortable with his behavior. Try to come up with a few reasonable things you can ask him that wouldn’t be too hard for him to agree to.
3. You should try to think of constructive ways the two of you can spend time together. Ask him to go for walks with you (and your daughter! That might be nice) and go to the store with you. You can also be creative if you guys are always fighting when you are together – you can play a board game together so you have something to talk about, or make a rule that you wont’ talk about his work or her. Think about it like putting coins in a piggy bank – every good evening or time spent together is one coin dropped in a bank of affection and trust.
Hi Curious Soul, I might suggest that you try to see a counselor or therapist! I think with a professional you might be able to delve into your feelings for this man who is your friend and see what exactly that relationship is offering you that is so interesting that you aren’t getting with your husband. I think that might help you work through your feelings and see what it is that you want to do! It’s also possible that if you are able to deepen your connection with your husband and feel more closely bonded together than you might not feel so intensely for your friend.
Hi Free Moon,
So I think I’ve been in a very similar situation as you are in, with my ex. He also had a female friend who made me uncomfortable in a lot of the same ways, and I struggled with what I should do about my feelings. Anyway, I tried to just put them aside and not worry about it too much. I talked to him a little bit and he reassured me everything was fine and that he’d stop letting her be so flirty with him. Anyway, fast forward a few months and they end up hooking up together and like having a whole… emotional affair while I’m abroad. Yeah. Lots of fun.
Anyway, your boyfriend is not my ex and obviously none of us here can predict what is going to happen in the future. All you can do is decide how you want to proceed with these feelings that you have, and I think you looking for feedback here is really good! What I would say, though, is don’t ignore your gut. If something consistently feels off when she’s around, then I wouldn’t ignore it. I think talking to your boyfriend is a good step and honestly, I would be a little less afraid to tell him how you feel. I don’t think you’re at risk of being the Crazy Girlfriend and trying to get him to have no female friends. You definitely have a right to tell him how you’re feeling and make reasonable requests of him – having him stop doing the pet name thing is a totally reasonable request. You can also request that he let you know if/when they’re spending alone time together. “Like, hi Free Moon, I just wanted to let you know that Sarah and I are going out for a quick drink after work today to catch up. I’ll give you a call this evening when I’m heading home.” That’s totally reasonable. And then he can give you a call later and you can ask how it went and he’ll let you know. And just keep in mind, these aren’t demands of him – you’re asking him to do things that are relatively easy for him to do that will make you feel more comfy and happy. If he wants you to feel that way, which he should, then he won’t mind.
The other thing you can do, if you want to, is talk to her. Now this obviously is a little more nerve-wracking and it depends on the kind of relationship you guys have and what kind of a person you think she is. I would have been very nervous to tell my ex’s friend anything because I knew she just wouldn’t care. But maybe this girl would, if she actually considers you a friend, I don’t know. But anyway, it is totally not unreasonable to tell her that the way that she interacts with your BF makes you feel kind of weird. And it’s not for any particular reason and it’s not her fault or anything. You can let her know very clearly what you’ve told us, which is that you respect their friendship a lot and you don’t want to infringe on that. But you can ask her to like tone down the flirtyness, especially in front of you. Again, it’s a request – you can say that you just think you would feel more comfortable if you weren’t quite so flirty (or physical, whatever) with one another when you are there. And then, hopefully, she would probably be like oh yeah, I totally get it, I just do that because that’s kind of the way we’ve always expressed our friendship, but yeah I can definitely tone that down a little bit.
I say this only because I actually am also currently on the “friend” side of this equation – one of my best friends is a guy I dated for like a month in high school, and he’s always been very huggy and cuddly and physical with me, we had this running joke where he called me his wife, etc. Zero romantic interest, just a lot of platonic love. Anyway, he just got a more serious girlfriend and I’ve been like hmm, I hope she’s okay with him like picking me up off the ground with hugs…! But anyway, if it were bothering her, I would want her to tell me.
Oh Blhlh, I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I don’t think I have any more wisdom than what the other people here have already posted. Please seek help from professionals who will be able to help you with your situation. If you have friends or family who you think will support you unconditionally, talk to them. I think Sara’s point is wise and I hope you consider it.
The only thing I might add here is that, I don’t know what religion you are, but in my hear at least, there is no God who would prefer you stay in a marriage where you are afraid for yourself and for your future children. I know many people believe marriage is a sacred vow, and it is, but sometimes we have to realize that our own selves are more sacred and valuable to God than a vow we made even with our best intentions. I hope that you would agree with me that any God in the world would prefer to see you shine your bright light of happiness and joy and love into a place where it can spread and multiply to others, not suffer alone with someone who is not interested in receiving it.
I wish for the best for you.
Thank you so much, Matt and Carrie.
Matt, your compassion and thoughtfulness for someone you’ve never met amazes me. Thank you so much, honestly.
I definitely connected to your words. When I first wrote to him asking for a real break to consider this, I said that I would use the time as best I could to make myself the stronger and more independent person I want to be. I’ve been realizing over the last few days that I should be doing that not just for his sake, but for myself, too. And that if I want him to believe me when I say I’ve used this time to try to make myself a better person and not just to try to win you back somehow, I’ll have to believe it too. I feel like that’s probably the strongest chance I have to find myself back with him, is if I can honestly feel like I want him in my life because I like him that much, not because I need him or I’ll collapse and die (even if I kind of feel that way right now).
I’ve also realized something else. One of my biggest fears is that he is not taking this break seriously and is just doing it because I suggested it, to appease me, and will just come to me again in two weeks and tell me over and over again that he doesn’t want to be with me. After a friend pointed it out to me, I guess I kind of realized that if he’s the guy I know and love, that’s pretty unlikely. If he’s the guy I know him to be, he’ll give me a listen. And if he doesn’t, then maybe he’s not the guy I thought he was.
I feel more in control and happier when I’m working on something for myself. I’ve been doing a written mindfulness exercise someone had linked to on this site, and I ordered Pema Chodron’s book from the library, so it should be coming in a few days.
When I think about him or try to analyze what he might be thinking I feel very lost and afraid. I have sent him two short messages since our real email exchange, just trying to get a sense of whether or not we will be exclusive during this time period, and every time I get a response I feel very startled and out of control, really no matter what he has said. He is being very formal (I had been being formal in my first email, so he is probably just following that) but it makes me feel very afraid because I hardly feel like I am talking to the man I know so well.
I guess I have two questions.
1. What are some other things I can do for myself? I ordered the Chodron book and a book on Buddhism from my library so I’ll read them when they come in. I have started meditating, just a few minutes, and doing this writing mindfulness exercise, but I still feel like I could use more things to do that will center myself. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am trying to hang out with some friends, my family, etc. But anything else I can do on my own that will feel like a productive thing for me to do for myself, that might help center me a little bit? Time is not really an object, haha.
2. This is just the beginning of our break and because we didn’t really talk it through in person it’s a little bit vague. I am looking at this break as an opportunity to 1. learn about myself and reflect on my feelings. 2. try to break myself free from ‘needing’ him and get to a place where i want to be with him because i love him (or not, even, and try to honestly think about it) 3. spend some time catching up on things i have not done and friends i have not seen 4. reflect on how i still feel about him, hopefully minus a lot of neediness and 5. maybe try going on a date or something, just because it might be fun. My goal is to be able to come to him in two weeks with my mind open and ready to hear him and really listen to how he’s feeling, not hear just what I want to hear, or freak out when I hear something I didn’t want to hear. I hope that we can both honestly air our feelings and see if there’s any common ground we can find together. The problem is is that I have no idea how he’s viewing this break, really. We didn’t get much of a chance to talk about it. When he replied to my email he simply said that he thought it was a really mature and good idea and that it would be good to be able to have this conversation from a more objective standpoint. In a text message, he said that he felt it was important we both got a breath of real fresh air (not synthesized air, ie not making rules for each other during this time).
I am debating if I ought to send him an email and ask him how he is viewing this time and/or tell him how I am viewing it. I worry that he might be solely taking the time to back up all his arguments against me, or just hope that I come to the same conclusion as him, that we shouldn’t be together. Should I try to inquire, or tell him how I feel? Or should I just let him do whatever he is doing and hope that he’s taking this seriously?
He replied to my email this morning. I won’t post the whole thing because somehow that feels disrespectful, but it was a very polite and sincere email. He wrote in the first paragraph that although he really respected me and the time we’d spent together, and then “With all of that in mind, I just don’t feel like we should keep going.”.
THen he wrote:
“If you want to opportunity to meet up and talk about it, I’d be more than willing to have that conversation. I’m not going to make any promises about thr outcome, nor do I want this to turn into a long-winded attempt of logicing at each other about why we feel the emotions that we do.”
He said that he thought the break was a really mature and good idea and that “I think that it would be best to do so” and that he would make time to meet me when I wanted.
My heart was pounding and I almost cried when I read the first part of it. After reading again a few more times, I guess I can see that he’s willing to postpone any final decisions until then, that he thinks some time would be good.
My head is just absolutely filled with fear and pain. I can’t believe that after two days of not talking, he doesn’t miss me badly enough to want to change this. And now I am in a panic that he is just doing this break to appease me, so I can accept what he;s saying.
I have been spending the last two days trying to really pick myself up and not just sit around being a mess. I’ve been much calmer than I’ve been in other breakups and I feel like I have learned more about myself in the last two days than I have in the last two years. I have been trying to tell myself that all of these improvements need to be done for myself, but of course every time I realize something, I just want to call him and tell him how much I am going to change. I didn’t want our relationship the way it was going either, and if I am changing so much, it can only be better now!
I hardly know what to do with myself.
Any thoughts or wisdom? I could use some…
Hi Fysh – I am also dating a guy who watches a lot of porn (well, hopefully still dating, check ‘relationship break?’). I’m 22. For various reasons, my libido had been low for 2 out of our three years of dating. He, on the other hand, had a very strong sex drive. I don’t know if this will help you at all, but from what I am reading, it doesn’t sound like he has a problem watching porn. I agree with Matt, it sounds as if you are the one who is having the problem. If he has a good social life and is generally happy, I doubt his interest in porn is anywhere near an addiction. I don’t mean to make you upset. My boyfriend watched porn probably at least once a day, and that had never bothered me. It just meant that he was horny and wanted to do something about it, and I (the obvious first choice) wasn’t around.
Is your boyfriend sexually attracted to you? Do you feel like he thinks you’re beautiful, that you’re sexy? If so, then you have nothing to worry about from any girls in porn…
The only thing I can compare it to is have you ever read any books with steamy scenes that you like? I don’t mean like real erotica, but like even regular novels with steamy scenes that got you going. That’s something that I have always enjoyed, and just because I think one of the characters I am reading about is totally sexy and hot and I would love to be in that gal’s place, doesn’t really affect my feelings for my boyfriend at all. Just another way to think about it.
As for the humiliating vs. awesome thing… I think the majority of popular porn is made for the male gaze and can perpetuate male dominance, etc. However. I also think a lot of popular music is like that, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying a good song. Porn is a great way for people to get turned on and have a good time. It also totally perpetuates the male hierarchy. I think you just kind of have to accept it for what it is. You don’t have to like it!
My thought is that you should really sit down with your boyfriend and try to talk honestly. He seems like he is interested in obliging you, even if he’s not exactly doing what you want. Sit down and talk to him. Ask him why he watches porn, what it means to him. Ask him if he feels like you aren’t enough for him. Does he think you’re sexy and beautiful? Does he compare you to those girls? Try to listen really honestly and understand how he feels. My personal experience with guys is that most guys I know rely on porn as a way to curb their sexual appetite. I think it would be hard to get him to stop doing it. Since you’re the one who feels confused about it, try to listen honestly from his perspective. Who knows – hopefully, he will tell you how he feels about it and you might be able to see it as just something he does rather than a form of cheating on you.
Hi Kim – I am not anywhere close to having been married, but I have been in three serious relationships, two of which has ended (one of which might be ending?? I’m here for advice too, my page is ‘relationship break?’).
All I can say is that some of the best advice I have been given is that often there is not going to be any closure. (From my dad, who did go through a divorce). We somehow think if we understand all the things that went wrong and why the other person did what they did then it will help us move on. But it really doesn’t. Just because we understand why something happen, is that realistically going to make it any easier for us to accept it? From reading this, it just seems very clear to me that this guy is not ready to commit to a real relationship. He’s got a daughter to worry about and probably his own feelings to work through from his divorce. If he’s not ready to be serious, then he’s not ready.
You can give yourself the closure you need. What is he going to give you, more excuses? Even if he gave you an honest explanation of what he had felt, it wouldn’t change where you guys are right now.
Give yourself the closure you need and tell yourself that this guy is not ready for me, he is not ready for the love I am willing to commit and give. And if he’s not ready, then he’s not the right person for me, and I can and will find someone who is.
I can tell just from what you have written here that you are a strong person who cares deeply about the people in her life… don’t despair. =] Anyone would be lucky to have you.
Hi Barbs – it sounds like you guys are in a real rut. You really want to be able to sit down with him and have an honest conversation, try to start things anew. Right now, it doesn’t seem like he wants that. I don’t think there’s any point trying to understand what that means, other than that it’s not what he wants right now. If he’s not interested in coming to the table and putting his cards down with you, then you can’t make him.
It sounds like you both need a little time to cool down and look to yourselves. Give him some space and then ask him if he wants to meet with you, and that you want to have an honest conversation with him about your relationship. If that sounds frightening, you can assure him that you have no motive for the conversation other than to be honest with each other.
Also – if he stays not interested and doesn’t seem like this is what he wants, then maybe try to gracefully move on. It doesn’t have to be a big flaming fireworks ordeal, but start focusing more on yourself and less on him. If he decides he wants to talk to you again, then you can decide if you want to talk to him, or if maybe this guy’s not really the right one for you. And that’s his fault, not yours!
Hey – I’m new to this forum and battling my own relationship problems >< but to me it just sounds like this was a conversation that just went way, way wrong. It seems like he indicated he didnt want to have the conversation at that moment so he wasn’t really ready for you trying to be open and honest and new with him. This sounds to me like an argument with tempers flaring, not necessarily the end of a relationship or the harbringer of doom.
Maybe try giving him some time to cool off, and more importantly, give yourself time too!! At least a few days, I guess, and tell him you want to meet to talk about your situation, not in a bad way, just in a way that’s honest.
Also – you are not an asshole!!! You care about this guy an awful lot and you want to be able to make yourself and him happy too. Or you wouldn’t have come to the net for advice from strangers =] Take some of your time to love yourself, too, and remember that this guy would be a lucky duck to be with you!
Also I am going to try meditating. Tried today and will do it again tomorrow. Thank you so much for your advice.
Thank you both so much… I don’t think I’ve ever had such thoughtful, caring responses to my problems from people I don’t even know! Thank you so much!
I agree with what both of you have said. I have been doing a lot of thinking today and I am going to do my best to not sit around and wallow in my sadness and try to use this time to do some good for myself and reflect.
The problem right now is that I am completely panicked because he has not responded to my email, even though I wrote in it that I wanted him to let me know what he thought. I tried to be as mature and unselfish as I could and basically just wrote that I think, given the length and amount we have both committed to this, that we ought to really give ourselves time to consider what he want.
I am paralyzed with fear that he won’t reply to the email and/or won’t consider taking the break and will just break up with me. Today I realized again that I have been being incredibly selfish and hypocritical to him for the past six or seven months and I sobbed outside my house when I realized what I had been doing. I had been needing him to fix my own problems and asking him to change himself to give me what I needed. And I had thought the whole time that I was doing all the right things and trying to move our relationship forward. No wonder he doesn’t feel like we’re clicking any more. I’m so upset with myself that I was doing this to the person I love most and I just desperately want him to give me a chance to find myself and give him the love he deserves. And hopefully he can do the same..
I don’t think he’s very sure about what he wants, because during our last conversation when this happened, he was changing his mind every ten minutes. Every other time he has mentioned breaking up, I talked him out of it and he always was happy that I had. I have a hard time believing that it’s permanent this time but the fear that it is and that this will end is killing me. I love him so much and I know that we have a lot that connects us.