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Can’t choose between my ex and a new guy

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  • #395837
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    I want to correct myself: the romantic ideas of soulmates, first love/ forever-love/ fairytale love (the endings of fairytales: “And they lived happily ever after”), is not a matter of teenage girls and women in their early 20s, like I suggested. There are women in their 50s and 60s that I know, with this kind of mindset. It’s just that I wish it was a matter of early age, something that women grow out of.

    Here is part of Wikipedia’s entry on “Romance (love)“, this part is titled “Relationship maintenance” which refers to “a variety of behaviors used by partners in an effort to stay togetherthe use of communication behaviors to keep a relationship strong and to ensure that each party continues to draw satisfaction from the relationship“.

    “Maintaining stability and quality in a relationship is the key to success in a romantic relationship… simply staying together is not sufficient; instead, the quality of the relationship is important. For researchers, this means examining behaviors that are linked to relational satisfaction and other indicators of quality… five great strategies based on maintaining quality… are to provide: Positivity: being joyful and optimistic, not criticizing each other. Assurances: proving one’s commitment and love. Openness: to be honest with one another according to what they want in the relationship. Social networks: efforts into involving friends and family in their activities. Sharing tasks: complementing each other’s needs based on daily work” –

    – the reason I added the above is that I am concerned that you maybe you are getting overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment, your emotions, his emotions, when what is important for the long-term satisfaction in a relationship is not the emotions of the moment, but the qualities listed above. And when you look at the history of your live-in relationship with your ex, it was not one that provided you with relational satisfaction, neither is it one that is likely to change in this regard.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by anita.
    #395840
    jess
    Participant

    Anita,

    “Please consider letting go of this teenage one love soulmate forevermore romantic idea. Be open to… no longer love him. You will be able to love another man, a better, healthier love.” – I completely agree, but the one main thing on my mind is that for some reason I have this feeling that everyone down the road is going to have the intention to mess around instead of wanting to marry, potentially cheat on me for someone else. My ex and I used to have a very strong trusting relationship and I knew he was never the guy to cheat, he is loyal and dates to marry. I am worried I won’t find a down to earth guy who I can trust.

    “Is this what you’re feeling, a mourning of this idea?” – Yes I am. Like I said above, we had a strong trusting relationship and it sucks to see that go down the drain when so many relationships these days focus on what’s new instead of trying to fix their relationship and take care of it. Say I didn’t communicate how I felt toward my ex and just cheated on him with that intention. Though I did end up leaving him for the better me because I was fed up with nothing changing… I just don’t want someone to give up on me like I did with my ex. Maybe I didn’t give up on him to be exact, I gave up on the belief that it could work someday but I cannot change someone who isn’t willing to put in the actual effort…

    – Jess

    #395853
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    Having read your most recent post, I learned something new about you- your Trust Issue is your main issue:

    One main thing on my mind is that for some reason I have this feeling that everyone down the road is going to have the intention to mess around instead of wanting to marry, potentially cheat on me for someone else. My ex and I used to have a very strong trusting relationship and I knew he was never the guy to cheat, he is loyal and dates to marry. I am worried I won’t find a down to earth guy who I can trust”.

    Back in your original post, you wrote: “I definitely feel like a shi*** person because how I hurt my ex with this a new guy which no one wants to happen to them” – I can now understand why you felt so badly for doing to the ex what you don’t want to happen to you, feeling guilty for focusing on what’s new instead of trying to fix your relationship with the ex (“it sucks to see that go down the drain when so many relationships these days focus on what’s new instead of trying to fix their relationship and take care of it“, in your recent post).

    You wrote earlier about the new guy: “The new guy can show me a healthy relationship and give me what I deserve physically and mentally“, but you were worried about him cheating on you: “Most of my friends are girls… sometimes I get the feeling that he might be TOO nice to where it worries me that I might get jealous cause I can’t tell if he’s trying to flirt or just be accommodating. I don’t want to get jealous that’s not me at all… Maybe he’s just super friendly overall“.

    This is what I now understand: your trust issue in men is major and your vision is focused on it, so you ignore everything else (the ex frequently drinking and ignoring you and being angry at the world etc., etc.) in favor of this one issue. I am guessing that your ex knew about this issue and repeatedly assured you that he will never do to you what you are so afraid of being done to you, you trusted him on this particular issue, and this is your main attraction to him and your main regret in regard to moving on, away from him.

    Since your ex was your “first real relationship“, at 16, I am guessing that your major trust issue came about as a result of one of your parents cheating on the other (or betraying you in some way). Maybe you witnessed your mother being in so much pain over your father finding someone new and you felt so much empathy for her, that it felt as if the betrayal was done to you personally.

    If my guess above is correct, then your vision is a tunnel vision which is in your way of making the right choice or choices for yourself in regard to a relationship with a man and future marriage etc., because making the right choices require that you see the big picture, instead of just a corner of it, aka having tunnel vision.

    Here is what the big picture looks to me: (1) you have no real assurance that the ex will never cheat on you. He is only 20 or 21, very young. You have no assurance really that any man will never cheat on you, regardless of age, (2) It is possible that your ex, knowing your major issue with trust, recently mentioned to you that he is interested in a new woman manipulatively, so to motivate you to go back to a relationship with him, (3) You have to resolve your trust issue born in childhood, and move on from that experience… so that you are able to see the big picture and experience some peace of mind and heart in regard to your choices next.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by anita.
    #395862
    jess
    Participant

    Anita,

    “I am guessing that your ex knew about this issue and repeatedly assured you that he will never do to you what you are so afraid of being done to you, you trusted him on this particular issue, and this is your main attraction to him and your main regret in regard to moving on away from him.” Exactly.

    I have seen my mom move on from my dad, now move on from my stepdad because she wasn’t getting what she deserved from the relationship, and sadly that did end up with her cheating in both situations. For me I think it’s because I’ve seen so many of my friends get with a guy who just wants something more exciting in a girl and leaves after they’ve started something between them. Before my ex, I was with a few guys but we never dated for more than a year, and this same thing happened to me because these men were “boys” and never stuck around. I finally saw a real “man” within my ex because his morals were so genuine. We’ve had conversations of people doing horrible things in a relationship (some situations between me and the passed boyfriends), and he did assure me that he’s not that type and would never want to do something so low to hurt someone he loves. He is a stand up guy. The reason me seeing him as my future husband for the longest time. Maybe I have trust issues and insecurities within my self that make me feel like a guy would leave me. I don’t want to be like that though, if someone doesn’t want to be with me then it’s their loss.

    I agree, I don’t know for sure that my ex would never cheat on me or any guy from this point on. My ex is now 24, yes still young so I’m sure things will change within his character. I do tend to focus on little details and not the whole picture. I am very affected by one thing because it is important to me. I want to have eyes for only one person and vice versa. I do feel guilty because of what I did to my ex, because I would’ve never thought I would do something like this, I thought I would try to fix it and keep holding strong to keep that long lasting relationship. I feel like I lost something really important which is the trust that we built up for so many years. That’s what hurts me the most I guess – I didn’t know for sure if he would leave me or cheat, but I had such a strong feeling and belief in our trust.

    – Jess

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by jess.
    #395866
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    I have seen my mom move on from my dad, now move on from my stepdad because she wasn’t getting what she deserved from the relationship, and sadly that did end up with her cheating in both situations” – do you mean that your mother cheated on your dad and then she cheated on your stepdad? And …you don’t want to be like her?

    Is it that you feel sorry for your dad and stepdad because they were cheated on?

    anita

    #395961
    jess
    Participant

    Correct, I don’t want to be like that. And yes I feel bad for both my dad and step dad. I also feel bad for my mom because I wonder if she is happy.

    #395964
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    Yesterday, you shared that you had some personal experience, and you witnessed your friends’ experience with guys who left, “never stuck around… doing horrible things in a relationship“. But your boyfriend, now 24, he is “a real ‘man’… a stand-up guy“, and the reason you saw him as your future husband for the longest time.

    You shared, as I understand it, that the issue of loyalty to one partner, is very important to you: “I want to have eyes for only one person and vice versa“.

    Although your experience as a teenager and onward, with guys, the ones you were involved with and those you witnessed your friends being involved with, although this experience is meaningful, the most meaningful experience by far, in a person’s life, is one’s childhood experience. It is so because as children we feel most intensely, particularly about our parents. And it is then that our core beliefs are formed.

    Let’s look at our first exchange in regard to your childhood and the issue that is so important to you: loyalty to one partner (I am re-arranging it a bit):

    Jess: “I have seen my mom move on from my dad, now move on from my stepdad because she wasn’t getting what she deserved from the relationship, and sadly that did end up with her cheating in both situations“.

    anita: “do you mean that your mother cheated on your dad and then she cheated on your stepdad? And …you don’t want to be like her?”

    Jess: “Correct, I don’t want to be like that“.

    anita: “Is it that you feel sorry for your dad and stepdad because they were cheated on?”

    Jess:  “yes, I feel bad for both my dad and stepdad. I also feel bad for my mom because I wonder if she is happy“.

    What this exchange means to me, in the context of your recent/ still ongoing emotional conflict, is that you’ve been conflicted for a long time, ever since you were a child: on one hand you have felt empathy for your dad (and later, for your stepdad) for being cheated on and getting deeply hurt in this way; you believed, or partly believed, that your mother wronged them, you therefore felt angry at her, and you made the decision early on, that you will not be like her, that you will not do what she has done!, but on the other hand, you partly believe that your dad (and later, your stepdad) wronged your mother by not giving her what she deserved from the relationship, and as a result (through no fault of her own), she cheated on them.

    From my life experience at this point, I believe that since you were a child, and into your 20s, you have been carrying with you a partial, incomplete understanding of your mother’s romantic relationships and what motivated her to cheat on the two men in her life. Your understanding is so incomplete that it amounts to a misunderstanding. I believe that your confusion in regard to your own romantic relationships are the result of that early-life misunderstanding.

    You are currently trying to make the right choices for yourself (in regard to romantic relationships) based on the wrong understanding of the romantic relationships that affected you most: your mother’s.

    You wrote yesterday: “I do feel guilty because of what I did to my ex, because I would’ve never thought I would do something like this, I thought I would try to fix it and keep holding strong to keep that long lasting relationship” – part of you have felt for a very long time, that what your mother did (cheat, instead on fixing the relationship with your dad, and later, with your stepdad) was wrong, and therefore you feel guilty for doing the same… except that what you did was not the same as what she he did.

    I feel like I lost something really important which is the trust that we built up for so many years. That’s what hurts me the most I guess… I had such a strong feeling and belief in our trust” – it is the trust in your (wrong) understanding in regard to your mother’s romantic relationships that needs to be broken and a new, correct understanding needs to replace it. With correct understanding, your confusion and guilt will be replaced with clarity and freedom from guilt.

    You are welcome to pursue the correct understanding here, on your thread, and/ or in the context of psychotherapy.

    anita

     

    #396009
    jess
    Participant

    Anita,

    “You are currently trying to make the right choices for yourself, based on the wrong understanding of the romantic relationships that affected you the most: your mothers.”  – Makes sense. My mom did leave my dad because it was kind of similar to my situation, she tried so hard to make it work but he was always angry and an alcoholic as well. I kind of resemble my ex to my dad a little bit here.

    “…therefore you feel guilty for doing the same… except that what you did was not the same as what he did.” – Are you saying that what I did to my ex doesn’t compare to what he put me through? Or are you saying what “he did” as in my fathers?

    Thank you again for listening and actually taking the time to help me through this. You’ve really guided me to fully understand the whole situation and my feelings behind it. I will think about making another post later on

    #396090
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    I read your recent post but am not focused enough to process it, will be back to you in about 10 hours from now,

    anita

    #396113
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    I wrote to you in my previous longer post: “part of you have felt for a very long time, that what your mother did… was wrong, and therefore you feel guilty for doing the same… except that what you did was not the same as what she he did”– there’s a typo mistake there, a “he” that shouldn’t be there. Correction: “not the same as what she did”

    Or are you saying what ‘he did’ as in my fathers?” – it’s what “she did”, not what “he did”.

    Are you saying that what I did to my ex doesn’t compare to what he put me through?” – I didn’t mean to say this in the quote with which I started this post, but now that you mention it, I don’t think that you did anything at all that was wrong in regard to meeting the new guy and the results of that meeting. Restated: it is not that what you did to your ex doesn’t compare to what he put you through, it’s that … you did nothing wrong to your ex.

    Was your behavior perfect? No, but there is no such thing as perfect behavior long-term. To be imperfect is to be human; no human is perfect. Some imperfections are wrongdoings, but lots of imperfections are just imperfections (not Wrongdoings). For example, it would have been perfect if you ended the relationship with your ex before you met the new guy, but real life does not follow a perfect, neat and tidy script… life in its nature is quite messy. So, meeting the new guy in the circumstances of your life at the time was imperfect, but it was not a wrongdoing.

    My mom did leave my dad because it was kind of similar to my situation, she tried so hard to make it work but he was always angry and an alcoholic” – was your stepdad also an alcoholic, and/ or always angry, and did she try so hard to make it work with him too before she cheated on him as well?

    Back to the opening quote, corrected: “part of you has felt for a very long time, that what your mother did… was wrong, and therefore you feel guilty for doing the same… except that what you did was not the same as what she did” –

    – even though there is a little bit of similarity between your relationship with your ex and your mom’s relationship with your dad (“I kind of resemble my ex to my dad a little bit here“), I am sure that there is plenty that was different. This is why I asked the question right above. I think that finding out the differences will help you resolve the guilty feeling that you are experiencing in regard to your ex, a feeling that does not indicate a wrongdoing, according to my understanding.

    I will give you an example of what I mean, and it is only an example (I don’t mean to suggest that the following really happened): let’s say that when you were a child, your mom used to complain to you about how angry your dad was, how she wasn’t getting what she needed out of the relationship and how hard she was trying, but what you witnessed with your own eyes and ears was that although your dad was angry sometimes, your mom was often angry, that your dad did try, that he tried hard, and it was your mother who rejected his efforts and then cheated on him.

    Let’s say that’s what happened. As a result, you grow up confused, not knowing what really happened in your family, who was responsible for what, who did wrong to whom. Fast forward, as an adult, you are confused about the same things in regard to your own romantic relationship: what really happened? Who is responsible for what? Who did wrong to whom? And you end up too confused to “choose between my ex and a new guy“, (from the title of your thread).

    anita

    #396360
    jess
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you for explaining that I really needed to hear it. I understand now what I did wasn’t “perfect” but that doesn’t mean I did the wrong thing either.

    My step dad wasn’t an alcoholic, but my mom would drink some beers weekly and on the weekend. This is when she would feel more comfortable opening up about her feelings towards her relationship. When she would do this, my step dad thought she was “delusional” and just being emotionally drunk, but in reality it was her way of being honest. I don’t know if she ever talked to him about their relationship when sober; you’re right I only know so little about my parents relationships.

    I don’t know exactly why they split up and who made “imperfect” decisions that affected the overall relationship. I might have to open up to my mom about it so I can be more clear about my own feelings.

     

    – Jess

    #396363
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    You are welcome, I am glad that you understand that being imperfect is not the same as doing wrong. We are all imperfect, and we can’t be perfect long-term no matter how hard we may try. And so, if it is not possible for us to be perfect (beyond a moment, or an hour, or maybe a day), then we are not guilty of being imperfect.

    My mom would drink some beers weekly and on the weekend. This is when she would feel more comfortable opening up about her feelings towards her relationship. When she would do this, my stepdad thought she was ‘delusional’ and just being emotionally drunk, but in reality, it was her way of being honest” –

    – I have no doubt that she was honest when drinking and talking, but she may have been honest about her childhood experience, incorrectly projecting it into her marriage to your stepdad. For example, let’s say that your mom was severely emotionally neglected as a child. Fast forward, your stepdad gives her attention and care (although imperfectly), but your mother focuses on the imperfections and imagines that he neglects her as severely as her parents did. When drinking, her feelings are raw and very honest… only she is talking (without being aware of it) about her childhood.

    And so, even though she was honest about how she felt, your stepdad could still have been correct when saying that she was delusional and emotionally drunk.

    I don’t know exactly why they split up and who made ‘imperfect’ decisions that affected the overall relationship. I might have to open up to my mom about it so I can be more clear about my own feelings” – your mom may still be confused, inaccurately projecting her childhood into her adult life (it is very, very common to do that), so if you talk with her, she may confuse you further instead of helping you gain clarity.

    Maybe your stepdad, since he wasn’t the one in the marriage drinking, maybe he can help you gain clarity?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by anita.
    #396510
    jess
    Participant

    Anita,

    Yes, that’s a good idea. I will plan on talking to my step dad about it to gain some more clarity.

     

    Thanks again for all your help, I’m starting to feel much better.

    #396511
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    You are very welcome! Post again whenever you want to, and I’ll be glad to read from you and reply.

    anita

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