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Catfish that turned into something long lasting (and I am conflicted)

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  • #364729
    Joe
    Participant

    About 10 years ago, I met a woman named “A” on WordPress. I kept a personal blog there and somehow stumbled on her blog one day. I reached out and soon we began emailing back and forth before we moved on to instant messaging. We lost touch for a few years but ended up reconnecting via email. Soon the emails turned to calls and we were on the phone for hours every night. We exchanged photos, texts, stories, and talked about almost everything. We seemed to be wired similar sexually, so that seemed to strengthen the connection between us. In just a few weeks after reconnecting, we talked of meeting but then her father passed. He was the love of her life. For selfish reasons I did not want our initial meet to be at a funeral. I should have as it would have been the polite thing to do but I did not want to spend our first time together grieving her father. Also I had my doubts about her. Something was nagging at me.

    She ended up tanking after her father’s passing and I eventually made a surprise visit. She was not pleased and refused to see me for days. Eventually we did meet but she was nothing like her pictures. She looked older and bloated, which I equated to her mourning and taking Oxy to cope. We spent one fully clothed night together before I travelled back home.

    It is obvious not that I had strong suspicions that she was not who she claimed to be. However, I believed in this connection we felt and I overlooked the red flags. Even though we both had iPhone, we never FaceTimed. We continued to talk every night and text throughout the day. It seemed we were both lonely and there did exist this magnetic connection. But this is where things get weird.

    We both have very strong libidos and we would engage in phone sex nearly every night. We spoke of fantasies and our sexual history. We are both bisexual so our sexual history is a bit more complex. I have always accepted and embraced “A’s” sexuality as she has my own. Our foray into a possible “open” relationship started out by discussing allowing A to date other girls while we were together. I embraced her sexuality and would not want to stifle it. We agreed that she could date other girls, and so she did a few times. But she never did FaceTime or Skype with me and only sent picture once in a while.

    Backtrack to about 8 years before “A” and I connected, she hired a math tutor to help her in her college calculus class. He asked her out often during the semester but she always kept it professional. After the semester was over, “A” relented and they had a summer/fall fling before he wanted to get more serious. Being about 15 years older than him she did not want that so she ended things. She spoke fondly of him when “A” discussed him with me and regretted the way things ended so harshly for him. Since this calls were late at night, and often turned to sex, she relayed to me that he was rather large where it counts and had a lot of stamina since he was in his early 20s. He was rather unexperienced and she “trained” him in the seven months they were together. As the conversations continued, I encouraged her to reach out to him to reconnect. Well she eventually did and the have been friends-with-benefits for a few years now. The road to opening up our relationship was not one we had anticipated or initially sought out. “A” and I still talked every night and I would keep my distance when they would go out or spend the night. It did not bother me but instead excited me. This led to us pursuing another couple and this led to her meeting up with them. They sent photos the first time and then “A” FaceTimed me to let me watch her pleasure the man. While she only met the couple a handful of times, her friends with benefits relationship continues with her ex tutor. I find their escapades very arousing even though I only can listen. And now I am departing my home to visit them on the long Labor Day weekend.

    I have never told anyone this. Not even my therapist. I feel a lot of shame and humiliation writing this out, but I do not have the strength to talk to my friends or family about it. This sounds insane now that I have written it out but I do not know what to do. I feel like a sexual deviant but what should look and feel so dirty feels just normal to me. I feel as though I am torn between two worlds. One where I just have a normal relationship with a woman and maybe have children, while at the same time I want to explore all avenues of my sexuality. Still a part of me feels like I have serious mental and sexual issues. I feel like I should walk away from “A” but still feel that I should spend the long weekend with them first.

    I know this appears insane to anyone who reads this. But it does not feel that weird to me most of the time. Yet I still battle it mentally and it is wearing me down. I do not know if I can have a normal relationship in my mid 30s. It feels like my libido is running my life. I juggle feeling like a freak while longing for what society sees as a normal relationship. I think that I have lost a part of me in this relationship whatever it is. I am basically a cuck or a third party in this relationship but “A” always talks about being in a relationship with me once I figure everything out. This relationship has been anything but normal but I don’t even know what normal is anymore.

    #364731
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    You shared very little about yourself: you are a man, in your mid 30s with “serious mental and sexual issues”. You shared (too much) about your sexual issues and nothing about your mental issues outside the sexual issues. You also didn’t share anything about your life: do you work, do you live alone, how do you spend your time, etc.

    Would you like to share about your life, outside the “libido running my life” theme? And about your mental issues, would you like to elaborate?

    anita

    #364733
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Joe, it does sound like you have a lot of shame and anxiety about this relationship with A. I wonder if the inner voice you hear is telling you that you are the third wheel. It sounds like scapegoating when you write that A says you have to figure everything out before she can be with just you. Maybe your role is something different with this woman than you assume it to be. Normal is not necessarily a real thing but it sounds like you long for true intimacy. While you talk with this woman on the phone, your emotional tank does not get filled in this relationship because there is this side in which you watch or listen to her with other men. To me, I hear that it negates your self image and self esteem. I could be wrong but it doesn’t sound healthy to me. And I mean healthy in the emotional sense, forget about the sexual sense. What you like you like but you don’t sound happy about the entire thing. That you are made or forced to watch A pleasure another man seems highly manipulative to me, especially since you have uncomfortable and unhappy feelings about it. Insane is a loaded word and a bad label. It doesn’t sound insane to me in the way you use that word, but it sounds like you feel hurt by this relationship and can’t figure out why. What if this is the relationship A wants to have? How much longer can you be her second or third or always not good enough to her? A normal relationship is a partnership and hopefully physical and emotional intimacy. This just doesn’t sound like that is what you have with A. It is like you are her pet monkey, not her one true love, and not even her best friend because it sounds like you feel devalued and demeaned with how this all feels. Of course, it feels okay some of the time, it might be like a drug. As long as you are in what you consider a dysfunctional relationship, your mind is not free and clear to find someone else, someone who can offer you a real partnership and total intimacy. Perhaps sitting down and writing out how you feel, list the words with no judgement. Just write. Figure out how you do feel. Examine the things you say to yourself or if you put yourself down. Sometimes we think the current bad relationship is all we deserve or all we will ever find. These are fallacies and not true.

    #364734
    Joe
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    I should have written more but I was not sure if this would be accepted here. I have a full time job and I have graduated from college but I really do not do anything. I think “A” and I found each other in a lonely time in our lives and I feel our conversations let do a deep connection. But when I found out the original pictures were fake I don’t know if I ever accepted her excuse of being scared to share pictures of herself.

    I have been depressed for a longtime but I have tried counseling and antidepressants. I have also dated a few women while I was talking to “A”. But you can guess that they did not end well.

    I do not really have any friends and I do not have any hobbies. I am kind of surviving and 2020 made things worse I guess.

    #364735
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    You wrote in your original post: “I feel as though I am torn between two worlds. One where I just have a normal relationship with a woman.. while at the same time  I want to explore all avenues of my sexuality”-

    Your personal world currently is very empty: “I really do not do anything.. I do not really have any friends and I do not have any hobbies”-

    – within this emptiness, it is not a good idea to aim at an extreme, such as to “explore all avenues of my sexuality”. Maybe better that you aim at a more  modest goal, such as to “have a normal relationship with a woman”. Did you ever have a normal relationship with a woman?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #364737
    Joe
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    Thank you for making the time to engage with me. I have had a few normal relationships with women. I think all of them have been except for “A”. Women wants more of me than I am willing to give and then eventually get tired of me and things end poorly. I never feel that strong connection with any one I have dated and I never really commit. The last girlfriend I was with for two years, I cheated on her twice but never told her. She told me that she saw the writing on the wall that I was never going to commit and see where the relationship went. I kept this relationship a secret from “A'” too so that was mentally draining for me. And it was unfair to my ex-gf.

    I have been single for two years now and that is why I felt like it was time to finally spend some time with “A” and her bf or whatever he is. She wants more of me and maybe I can either see if there is something there or get her out of my system.

    #364739
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    You are welcome. I will be back to your thread and reply further when I am back to the computer, in about 11 hours from now. If you would like to share about your childhood experience before I return, please do. It will help me understand your situation better.

    anita

    #364744
    Joe
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    I think my childhood was normal. My parents are still married even though they separated for a short spell when I was 12. Only for a year I think. My parents are very warm people but I do not feel as close to them as I guess I should be. I have always kept them at a distance. I have a younger brother who I wasn’t close with growing up because he is 6 years younger than me. We are closer now. I was very shy as a child and socially awkward and I probably did not come out of my skin until my mid 20s. I did not really have too many really close friends growing up. I had a best friend for years but then lost him when I lost my virginity to his ex-gf.

    I am sorry if I did not say enough here. I can write more later.

    #364756
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    First, I will summarize some of what you shared so far and then I will offer you my input.

    You are currently in your mid 30s, a college graduate working full time. You met a woman online 10 years ago. The two of you emailed back and forth, instant messaged, and talked on the phone (“talked about almost everything”), exchanging photos and engaged “in phone sex nearly every night” for a long while .

    The two of you met in-person only once, “but she was nothing like her pictures. She looked older and bloated”, and you spent “one fully clothed night together”.

    Online and on the phone, you encouraged her to have sex with other women, with a young man, 15 years her junior, and with a couple (“I find their escapades very arousing even though I only can listen”). Your plan at this point, is to travel and meet the woman and the couple next month.

    You “feel a lot of shame and humiliation” sharing all this. You “feel like a sexual deviant”, “a freak”, but you also feel okay about it most of the time. You want to meet the woman and the couple next month, three weeks from now, but you are conflicted: “I still battle it mentally and it is wearing me down”, you wrote.

    You shared that you had “a few normal relationships with women” in the past. “Women want more of me than I am willing to give and then eventually get tired of me and things end poorly. I never feel the strong connection with any one I have dated and I never really commit”.

    About your childhood you wrote that it “was normal”, that you were “very shy as a child and socially awkward”, that you always kept your parents at a distance (“I don’t feel as close to them.. have always kept them at a distance”). You weren’t close to your younger brother either,  and you “did not really have too many really close friends growing up”.

    More quotes from you and my input: you wrote, “My parents are very warm people but I do not feel as close to them as I guess I should be”- maybe they are warm people now, but in the ways that matter to a child, they were not warm people with you, when you were a child.

    If they were warm people with you when you were a child, you wouldn’t grow up very shy, socially awkward and distant and disconnected from the people in your young life.

    As a young child, it was not you who “always kept (your parents) at a distance”- a young child never keeps his parent or parents at a distance. The distance is always created by the parent.

    I believe that the reason you have not felt a strong connection to any girlfriend you had in real life is that your parents rejected you early on, in ways that hurt you a lot. The reason you did not commit to girlfriends, I believe, is that you don’t trust them, just as you understandably didn’t trust your parents growing up.

    But you do trust sexual feelings, you can depend on those to feel good again and again, so you pursue sex, but without the human connection.

    In other words, you trust sex but you don’t trust people. You want to connect with sexual feelings, but not with the people involved.

    “I feel as though I am torn between two worlds. One where I just have a normal relationship with a woman.. while at the same time I want to explore all avenues of my sexuality”-

    – part of you still wants the human connection, the deep, warm connection you are yet to experience.

    You used the word normal twice: you wrote that your childhood was normal (“my childhood was normal”), and that your adult relationships with women were normal (“I have had a few normal relationships with women”)-

    – I think that the normal in your childhood was social isolation, disconnection from others, awkwardness with others. Fast forward, this is still your normal.

    If you want, let me know what you think at this point, and we can  continue to communicate.

    anita

    #364803
    Joe
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    Thanks for writing so much about my issues. I think you maybe on to something. But I got off of work late and it is late. I will write more in the morning.

    Joe

    #364804
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Joe. Thank you for the note, take your time and I will be looking forward to read from you.

    anita

    #364886
    Joe
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    I called my brother last night and he confirmed much of what I said here about our parents. Or mainly my mother. He called it “emotional neglect”. Which I am sure he got from a counselor. He said that our mother was unable to connect with us on a deep level. Guess she has gotten emotional with him sometimes and apologizes for not “being the mother she should have been”. Our mother had a very cold relationship with her father (my grandfather) and I remember she would often cry after my grandparents would leave from a visit. My brother did say that my parents have rarely visited my niece even though they only live 20 minutes away. Instead they send cards.

    I am 100% certain you are correct about my childhood affecting my relationships. Especially my poor relationships with women. I just wish that I could fix or cope with these things so I do not spend the rest of my life alone or in relationships that are bound to fail thanks to me.

    Joe

    #364887
    Joe
    Participant

    Dear Rose:

    Thank you for replying too.

    Yes I feel a lot of shame and anxiety in almost all of my relationships. I do not know if I am the “third wheel” in this relationship with “A” because she has said many times that she is waiting for me to realize that I want to spend a life with her. And we talked about me watching her with the other guy. I think that I asked? We both pursued another person for her because we wanted to not have a normal relationship.

    But I will write like you said.

    Joe

    #364889
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    Three days ago, you wrote: “My parents are very warm people but I do not feel as close to them as I guess I should be. I have always kept them at a distance”.

    Three days later, you wrote: “I called my brother last night and he confirmed much of what I said here about my parents. Or mainly my mother. He called it ’emotional neglect’.. said that our mother was unable to connect with us… had a very cold relationship with her father… my parents rarely visited my niece even though they only live 20 minutes away”.

    I am confused: you wrote today that your brother “confirmed much of what I said here about my parents”- but he didn’t confirm what you said:

    You said that your parents are “very warm people”, and he said that they were emotionally neglected others, that your mother was unable to connect, that she “had a very cold relationship” with her father and distant relationship with her niece. What your brother said is the opposite of what you said. I don’t understand. Can you explain this to me?

    anita

     

    #364893
    Joe
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    Oh I can understand your confusion. Let me try to explain.

    They are very warm now that we are adults but they always felt warm as children because I did not know any better. My father grew up in a large family and they all adored his mother (my grandmother). We would visit her a few weekends every month as a family. My brother and I found my father more warm than my mother and feel that he tried to make up for her lack of warmth and closeness. Like I said, my mother apologized to my little brother  for “not being the mother she should have been”.

    I think what I meant to say is that my brother confirmed what you were saying and what I have felt about my mother keeping us at am emotional distance.

    I hope this helps to explain things.

    Thank you.

    Joe

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