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Cheating (ex)Boyfriend – Save My Sanity

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  • #282343
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcloud:

    You asked earlier: “has no-one ever had a situation where you gave someone a second chance (or in his case many more) or felt drawn back to the very thing that burns you?”

    -yes, I have. I was drawn back to the very person that repeatedly burned me because I didn’t see that person correctly. I will explain myself as I refer to you and your story here:

    In your most recent post you wrote about Dan: “maybe he is just selfish, greedy and lacks empathy/ emotion to really ‘connect’ with anyone on anything more than a surface level”-

    It this is how you saw him when you first met him, you wouldn’t have been drawn to him. If this is how you saw him at any time throughout the relationship you would no longer be drawn to him. And if you saw him that way now, you wouldn’t still be drawn to him (“I still feel sad to let go”, original post).

    In traditional cartoons and many movies, there are good character and bad characters. The bad character is always bad, therefore the good character is not confused and stays away or fights the bad character.

    In real life every bad person used to be a good little boy or girl, and that good boy or girl is still there- you get to see glimpses of that boy, moments of seeing that boy loving, eager to please, tells his truth as it is and you fall in love with that boy. This is what draws us to a bad person (in addition to the physical/ sexual attraction to the man that he is).

    This is what is confusing about bad  people, that is, people who repeatedly lie to us, betray us, and harm us. Sometimes we get to see in them the good child inside them, locked in.

    Understanding this concept helps when evaluating a person as good for us, or bad for us and it helps when aiming at no longer being drawn to a person who is bad for us.

    One other thing, you wrote: “You can look at some of the most beautiful women in the world.. who I am sure are decent human beings“- better not assume, at least not regarding people you do meet in person, that they are decent. Learn and evaluate a person before you are sure he or she is a decent human being.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by anita.
    #282391
    lostcloud
    Participant

    Thanks Inky – you hit the nail on the head about being the “chosen one” or being “the only one” which is so true because that desire to WIN even when the prize is crap, is still there. Anita mentioned being driven by emotions and that, along with what you say, makes sense.

    And i take massive comfort in the fact he is already conscious of his receding hairline and expanding gut! I am not quite sure what it is that ‘hooks’ girls in as he is not clever with his deceit. His POF is there – bold as brass – there is no denying his gf’s friends could stumble across it. He doesnt have a super smooth personality, i actually dont know really what it is i really saw in him !   Is there any scenarios you know of you would be willing to share? I would feel relief in knowing others have been through this – warped as that sounds..

    #282393
    lostcloud
    Participant

    Anita – love the way you put your last person – it really resonated. I actually really disliked ‘Dan’ when i first met him. I said to my mum he is the type to be a ‘player’.  I then started to get to know him and the ‘glimpses ‘ came out and i assumed i’d misread a book by  the cover etc and pre-judged him. I didnt read my own red flags.  I think from thereon its been a mental fight between what i know (logic) and what i feel (emotion) and hoping that there was more ‘good’ in him that there was.  I think back to a 6 yr r’ship i had – which was beautiful and naturally ended – and there was never this ‘internal fight’. it was simple. with ‘dan’ it felt like a tug of war but i had many flags alerted to me during the time i just didnt want to see. I wanted him to be the good character he could be as opposed to the bad one he was…

    I like that anaology. I still feel though his childhood is somehow excusing the behaviour. I could even understand a one night stand more than a full – fledged emotional r’ship. That takes effort, if it was just the thrill of sex i could understand (not forgive) that more.  Just to build that romantic and emotional attachment with me, then with her, now with whoever – to not then ever ‘commit’ – mind boggling. Maybe i am looking through a tinted lense and he has a 6 month commitment level (after that, and little do you know…. he is on to the next ‘goal’ or triumph. hmm..

     

     

    #282395
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcloud:

    I think that the best way to get to know a man is to look for certain things first: is he telling me the truth or is he lying to me, does he keep his word or break it, does he behave respectfully  toward me or is he abusive toward me?

    If the answers to these questions are: he lies and/or he doesn’t keep his word, and/or he is abusive- then end the beginning relationship quickly, before it gets physically intimate. This way you don’t get confused by the glimpses of the child locked inside him.

    Every cruel person has that child locked inside, including murderers in prisons. Scary, isn’t it?

    Of course one’s childhood doesn’t excuse lying, breaking one’s word, disrespecting another, etc. This is why I suggest- end contact once you notice these behaviors.

    My point is, distinguish between the two: the man he has become and the child locked in. Most of the time the child who  is locked in, is locked in for the rest of the person’s life. You can’t save that child and you can’t redo a person’s life so that he doesn’t become the man he has become.

    I don’t know if I am explaining myself adequately, am I?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by anita.
    #282441
    lostcloud
    Participant

    That’s a really good tip – as you say, you can then exit without too much emotional consequence if the person isnt right because you can identify with the ‘child’ and could start to confuse that with who they now are.

    I do absolutely think i get you – i also think the lack of actual effort he has put in to changing any of his known behaviours is next to nothing. If you really want to change, you will…. but he says he has ‘demons in his head’ that ‘he deserves’ and that he ‘f*cked everything up’ – but without a desire to change, that translates into more than just mild contemplation…. the cycle will repeat.

    I am going to use your three tips below to help me with some further self-development, so thank you! you really have been a shining star in the dark
    <div class=”bbp-reply-content”>

    1) is he telling me the truth or is he lying to me
    2) does he keep his word or break it?
    3) does he behave respectfully toward me or is he abusive toward me?

    </div>

    #282439
    little bee
    Participant

    Lostcloud – It is so strange that I should have happened upon your post this evening given what I was searching for.

    I had the near-on exact same experience to you. Reading your story was like reading my own, give or take a few differences. So many things resonate and reading it has helped make more sense of my own story in a way that trying to understand my own hasn’t, for which I thank you.

    So, in return, if it’s any help to you, here’s my two penny’s worth (which is also a pep talk to myself!):

    Find strategies to stop your thoughts turning to him – and in turn bringing all your emotions up. It’s for him to figure out why he is the way he is, and for his current gf to find out herself that he’s a no good piece of crap. None of that serves you or helps you move on.

    Believe me, I know it’s easier said than done. You have been wronged and hurt on a big scale and it’s difficult to move past that when your thoughts and emotions keep taking you back there, raking through the past and planting imaginary conversations and stories in your head.  I have said and felt the same things as you about my ex and his current gf (now wife! – whom I know he cheated on because there’s online evidence) and I’ve been trying to get him out of my head for more than a year now. And I feel like I’m finally making headway! I noticed how many times my thoughts take me back to him and it is literally 100s of times a day. Not of wanting him back (though even now there is still a tiny emotional pull that hopes he has finally realised that I am THE one) but reassessing what happened, imagining scenarios where we bump into each other, imagining how he’s now cheating on his wife – or how he’s not and maybe he’s finally changed his ways (and the emotional trauma of ‘why couldn’t he have figured that out for me’). When I notice this, I drown it out with one thought, repeated again and again until it stops. Mine is ‘I love myself’ – something else that I’ve figured out that I need learn to do following this whole episode.

    Be prepared for him to keep trying to reenter your life – and have strategies that keep you strong so that you don’t cave because, your emotions will want you to and if he calls you in a weak moment then you’ll spend another few months getting back to where you are now. Last year my ex contacted me and asked if I wanted him back, in the next breath he told me he was getting married. Classic manipulative behaviour, trying to see if he could still pull me in. And tonight, the reason I came upon your story, he called me out of the blue for the first time in 6 months. I didn’t answer but still he is able to kick start my anxiety. I don’t want to spend the whole weekend wondering ‘what does he want’ and playing all the possible scenarios out in my mind. So I was looking on TinyBuddha for tools or advice that would help me delve into the anxiety and deal with it once and for all.

    As others have said, use this as an opportunity to look into yourself. I’ve been seeing a counsellor for sometime now and I’m discovering so many things about myself that have provided a lot of insight into why I stayed in such an emotionally abusive relationship for so long and allowed someone to treat me so badly. I hate to say it, but yes, some of it does stem from my childhood and I also had a very happy and secure upbringing. It has also helped me by showing me that my ex was a symptom of that, which helps push back the importance or impact of him on my life, if that makes sense (?) I can’t think of a better way to describe it just now.  Counselling has also highlighted my lack of self-esteem and self-love, which was compounded by my experience with my ex. By building my self-esteem and self-love, I’m starting to put clear boundaries in place that will make sure no-one is ever able to treat me like he did again.

    You are not stupid. As others have said, emotions lead us into situations we would never normally have dreamed we’d accept, especially when our emotions are manipulated. My ex had two children with two different women while we were ‘on breaks’, one of whom he was seeing behind my back for quite some time. Of course, I didn’t find out about them until later, but when I did, I still stayed (can you believe!!). Yeah, I haven’t quite managed to stop feeling like a prize idiot on that one yet but I am starting to forgive myself. After all, as I’m now learning, I didn’t really have the tools, self-esteem or emotional strength to see it for what it was at the time. And even if (and I know this having gone back many many times), this isn’t the last time you walk away from ‘Dan’, don’t beat yourself up too much. Sometimes life just keeps banging you on the head harder and harder until you take notice or have the strength to.

    Anyway, sorry, that’s a little longer than I intended. Thank you. This has been really cathartic for me. I hope it’s useful in some way for you. While you never wish the same pain you have felt on others, it is always reassuring you aren’t alone.

    LBx

    #282447
    anita
    Participant

    Dear loststar:

    You are welcome. This is an excellent sentence: “without a desire to change, that translates into (not) more than just mild contemplation.. the cycle will repeat”-

    It takes a whole lot than mild contemplation to confront one’s demons (“he says he has ‘demons in his head’ that ‘he deserves'”). It takes a whole lot of courage and persistent work over a long time, willingness to endure distress and keep at it, keep working.

    anita

     

    #282449
    lostcloud
    Participant

    Thanks Little Bee! I am glad we have comradeship in our pain together and it is amazing how an absolute strangers opinion helps so much on such complicated issues. (Some would say not complicated and i for one, would have never thought i would have EVER entertained a cheater!). That said, i also didnt think i would be bothered by redundancy and it really upset me. What we think we would do and what we do do, are sometimes different.

    I am glad my story helped you in some way to understand your own situation. As you said – we’d never wish it on people but knowing you are not alone, that people ‘get’ it, adds a bit of comfort.

    I agree with your comment “It’s for him to figure out why he is the way he is, and for his current gf to find out herself that he’s a no good piece of crap. None of that serves you or helps you move on.” I have spent so much time thinking about this but now i know he is now intending to (further) and in fact already has (with me – last year) cheated on her… it actually kind of makes it easier. Thinking she was his ‘golden goose’ was horrendous – she is younger and thinner than me – given he wore me down so much, this was hard to accept. But now i know he could have the most beautiful person inside or out and he doesn’t value it – kind of helps me to accept it. I am sorry that your ex went on to marry but that said – he still cheated – so what did she get out of it? Either an unhappy marriage or one based on lies!

    You mention “raking through the past and planting imaginary conversations and stories in your head” – i have been there so many times. Questioning times, when he said he loved me – was that a lie? Was he really having a good time when we did this, that the other..   Likewise that “tiny emotional pull that hopes he has finally realised that I am THE one)” is still there for me but actually why do we want validation from someone so damaged and disrespectful?? Its crazy isnt it!! Like Inky said above, its almost about ‘winning’ or being ‘the one’ because probably for a while, to us, they were “Our one” that we would have done anything for.  I can see, with hindsight, that i did ignore the signs, but at the time i felt i was giving him a chance – only for him to ruin it not once but twice, three, four times. Its almost like (visualising) being run over – but then the person reverses back over you, then runs over you again (rinse and repeat x 10.)

    I like your idea of repeating a mantra – anything to stop the noise of thoughts that are unhelpful. I think mine will be ‘i am ok, i am strong’.

    I think he will try to reconnect again… because he wants adoration or a back up plan. I definitely cant be going backwards emotionally. Seeing him cheating on his now GF (in my mind – still ‘my place’ – MUST stop thinking that) with someone else – as he no doubt intends to – its somehow made me realise just how low he is.

    Stay strong with your ex calling. I think you know what he wants- to play the power / ego game. To see if he is still on the xmas list kind of thing. Don’t wonder about him, if you can just tell yourself that was his moment of weakness but you will not break. You will not undo all of your good work so far.  Promise yourself to drown out the “possible scenarios out in your mind”..

    Unlike my ex, i am not going to enter into any relationship / quick fling / bunk up just now. I have had counselling too and see that as part of working on my lack of self-esteem and self-love. I wish to also set clear boundaries to make sure no-one is ever able to treat me like he did again.

    You cant beat yourself up about the past… the kids he had behind your back… you can’t and could not control him. But you can control yourself, the choices you make and whether they’ll serve you or hurt you.  Don’t look back – you’re not going in that direction as my mum says.

    I think fate has tried to tell me for a long time about ‘Dan”s behaviour – it was a sliding doors moment when i caught him in the supermarket (warning 1 of many), then to see the countless other suspicious things..  then fate was thinking “god i need to show this girl something more concrete – something she really cant ignore”).  So when it twigged the girl at the event was his ‘other gf’ – i was not even shocked. Just more disappointed.  I didnt cry as she burst into tears at the news, i was almost numb to it by that point.  My god have i cried since though. Tears wasted on such a waste of a man.

    I feel like i have rambled but it was great to hear your thoughts, do come back and chat some more if you need to – it is helpful in ways i never thought possible. The internet can be a wonderful thing (as opposed to the instrument he uses to feed his cheating ways).  I long for the day when i have a partner that loves and respects me and these types of issues are not even on my radar… x

    #282453
    lostcloud
    Participant

    Thanks Anita – i guess we are not all wired to change or to even recognise self-development – especially when it is emotional or mental rather than just improving a particular and measurable skill.

    i remembered something that you might have an opinion on. My ex – since he was 8 (now actually 39!), has played a professional sport for which he is well regarded. Nothing famous lol but he does received adoration from local ‘fans’ etc. Now this will soon be coming to an end (he is deemed old in his field), this surely must have an impact. I could actually predict this a long time ago.  He isnt being ‘fought over’ by clubs, offered exclusive deals or being touted as the next ‘big thing’. More just a delapidated old-timer. He hangs his hat on his sport and his prowess on the ‘pitch’ so to speak. This must also have some bearing on him seeking extra validation through women.

    Oh and did i mention he is being made redundant in a job he has been in for 10 years… the same job… because he cant be ar*ed to put in any effort to move. (But curses anyone who ever makes a success of themselves in his chosen day job field…)  xx

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by lostcloud.
    #282457
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcloud:

    Most likely it impacts him, being deemed too told for the sport, as well as being redundant. It lowers his already low self esteem. Is that the opinion you wanted?

    anita

     

    #282459
    lostcloud
    Participant

    If you believe that Anita… then it’s helpful. You have a lot of wisdom about childhood and I wondered about present challenges and how / if they influenced someone’s behaviour – from your  perspective x

    #282461
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcloud:

    Do you want to understand him better, now, at this point, that is understand what motivated him all along, what motivates him now?

    If you do- I had a thought a little while ago: seems like he didn’t value you and he doesn’t value his current girlfriend. I think that he is looking for something in a woman that he can’t find. That he will not be able to find, therefore he dismisses the women in his life, does not commit, is not content, and he keeps looking. Sure, the mating instinct plays a part, but there is something else, beyond the need or want to have sex.

    I wonder what it is that he is looking for. Do you know?

    anita

    #282463
    lostcloud
    Participant

    I feel like I shouldn’t want to know because it seems like I am wasting energy on him – even more than I have already. But I am intrigued..

    i don’t know what he’s looking for but he mentions on his POF that he hasn’t found the right person… I don’t think even he knows what he wants!

    #282467
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcloud:

    Learning about people is not wasted time, the more we learn about others the more we understand ourselves. I will be away from the computer for about ten hours. If you want to learn more about him, you can tell me anything and everything that he told you about his mother, about his father, about his childhood at home and at school,  having been bullied and so forth.

    What his mother told you doesn’t matter, it is likely to distort understanding of what really happened. All that matters is what he told you and what you observed when spending time in his home: who said/did what, as objectively as you can.

    anita

    #282485
    GL
    Participant

    Dear lostcloud,

    You’ve been burnt badly by someone who you thought would never hurt you, regardless of the red flags, so your reality took a nosedive. From tentatively, possibly good romantic relationship to the worst case scenario of lies and your (ex)boyfriend cheating on you. That would shake anyone’s world and it is extremely difficult to wrap your head around it because he was your boyfriend, someone you believe wouldn’t have the desire to hurt you. And it probably wasn’t the image he painted for you at the beginning of your dating phase. But gradually, those who has the itch to cheat will eventually show their true colors by actually cheating.

    Bad news though? Cheaters tend to be incredibly charming. So charming, in fact, that they’ll be able to convince you to stay with them because they need you, they love you, you’re their world, they can’t live without you, etc. And they do a good job of acting out the ‘woe is me, the world is sucking the soul of me’ and you might be the only person to understand them, etc. Those kind of acts and words tend to compel you to stay because he knows what button to push that will get into your head. What words to say to convince you that you’re the only one for him. Actions that will keep you hook onto the relationship. So he’ll keep acting and acting until he finally convinces you that everything is okay, he still loves you and want to continue your relationship. The act goes on and on until he gaslighted you so much that you stay stuck in a relationship that makes you do really unhealthy things, like checking the messages in his phone when he’s not looking. But you do it because you want to ascertain that he love you as he proclaim. So yeah, he was really good at gaslighting you; spinning stories that convinces that bad isn’t so bad. Until it really is.

    Now that you’ve broken up, you want justice for the pain he inflicted you on. That’s why you keep thinking about him, you want him to face the consequences of his actions. And that’s totally normal, because he had hurt you by choosing to cheat on you and now label you a psycho path with his charming ability to tell good stories. Yes, he is very good at charming people to be his allies. He had told lies about you, which you really want to correct because it’s untrue. You’re feeling vindictive about the affair because you were hurt by someone you were intimate with and it’s difficult to move on from that. So now you want closure. But closure is a myth in that your ex will one day wake up and see how his past actions has hurt people and will now try to make amends to those people. The world does not work that way, regardless of what you want. People who are selfish will continue to be selfish until they met with epiphany that they are a jerk, but whether that compels them to change their attitude is another different matter. Even when a person know they are selfish, doesn’t mean they won’t relish in their selfish behavior. You can’t change that and when you do try to change someone, it’s an exercise in futility. People change when they choose to change, no sooner.

    Now, it was not your fault that your ex cheated. He chose to hurt you by cheating because that is how he chose to operate, not because you were a bad person or anything. He was simply that kind of person, his choice had nothing to do with you. So let yourself feel all the rage and disappointment and pain from that betrayal. Let yourself grieve for a loss relationship. No matter how bad, a loss is a loss, it’ll hurt no matter who is was. Then you surround yourself with people who does care about your well being, let yourself be reminded that there are people who will hold your hands to remind you of human warmth. That not all relationship must be broken, that you have caring relationships with other people.

    Then you keep going, one step at a time. It’s not easy, but if you keep holding yourself up while taking care of yourself, you might be able to laugh about this one day in the future.

    Take care of yourself.

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