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  • #414109
    Lily
    Participant

    This is pretty long but I wanted to give some background;
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>My boyfriend and I are in our mid 30s and have been together for four years, minus a 6 month period where we broke up, I moved out and we had no contact. We would run into each other out at the bar and local places around our city. I remained no contact and acted as if he wasn’t around because that was how I was moving on from my heart break. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I wanted to work things out at the end of our relationship but he was done and gave me time alone to move everything out. He came back about a month and a half later asking to forgive him and that he made a mistake, we tried for a week or two and realized we shouldn’t, so we went back to no contact. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>While we were broken up he would get drunk and bother me if he saw me out/ text me late at night, after me asking for him to respect my boundaries and leave me alone to heal. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Fast forward to us eventually talking and deciding to get back together and try again, about a year ago now. We started off well but had a few bumps along the way but really wanted to make it work. We decided we would try to see a therapist together to help with our communication with one another. I suffer from anxiety and the fear that things are being hidden from me/ paranoia and that’s always been something hard for him to deal with, but he tried.</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Anyway, we have been back together for a year now. When we got back together we both asked each other if we saw anyone else or slept with anyone else while broken up. He had one hook up that I found out about through the grapevine, living in the same town where we know many of the same people. So locals told me about it. He confessed to that and swore there was no one else. I told him that I had not hooked up with anyone, I had other men try but I wasn’t ready and was hoping one day him and I could try to work it out again. A mutual friend of ours tried very hard to hook up with me and I declined out of respect for him (ex at the time).</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>About three/ four months ago we were talking about dating/ hook ups in general and I asked him again if he had anything go on with anyone else while we weren’t together because I just had a gut feeling. He couldn’t say no and just kept saying that “what happened when we weren’t together doesn’t matter”. So I knew he wasn’t telling the truth. I told him to tell me the truth or I would leave knowing that he lied to me. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>(Before this, during our therapy sessions, I expressed to him that I felt like he was hiding something from me, I just didn’t know what, but I had such a gut feeling. He was angry that I brought that up and got at me in the therapy office that he wasn’t hiding anything from me and I need to get over that feeling. He even told the therapist he wasn’t and that it’s hard for him to deal with me “accusing” him of hiding something.)</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>So, I told him that I would leave knowing that he lied if he didn’t just tell me. He had a hard time but he ended up telling me he drunkingly hooked up with a mutual friend/ neighbor of ours *two weeks* before we decided to start talking again. This mutual friend he couldn’t stand (when we were together) he would talk badly about her both mental and physical being, he would call her crazy and would be annoyed if she asked for anything a neighbor may ask for, etc. She lived near us and didn’t have many friends, so she would ask to smoke with us or just for advice etc, mainly to me, but once I moved out she asked to hang out with him too. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>When I moved out her and I kept in touch, she would text me often and I would run into her once in a while. She not once told me they slept together, nor did he until I made him. He told me it was a huge mistake and he hates himself for it, he was so drunk he barely remembers it and said he was so embarrassed. He said it was a night after a friend of ours told him that I wanted nothing to do with him and was moving on (at the time I was so fed up with him trying to talk to me while he was wasted at night). I asked how it happened and he said one night she asked to hang and smoke with him and he invited her over. I asked if he came onto her and he said it was a mutual thing it wasn’t just a one person initiated situation. He then told me it wasn’t fair that I made him tell me what happened by giving him an ultimatum and that it was immature. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I asked him why he didn’t initially tell me when we discussed if we had hooked up with anyone, also why he kept hiding it when the question came around again, and in therapy. He said he knew how much it would hurt me to know it was her, a friend of mine, and how he thought I’d never speak to him again, and he’d lose me again, and because of how embarrassed he was/ what a mistake it was. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>A few weeks after he told me I felt so upset that I asked him the exact date of when it happened, the date he gave me wasn’t two weeks before we started dating again but instead a week and two days. I decided to reach out to her and tell her I no longer was interested in her friendship because I felt betrayed by her as a friend since she slept with my ex and kept it from me the whole time. She said I should talk to him because “he came onto me”. I asked him about that and he said yes he did come onto her (which he lied about initially). I asked if he asked her not to tell me and he said he did ask her not to tell me. He said he told her he was wasted and it was a mistake. (Also, she doesn’t drink and wasn’t drunk).</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Since he told me this a few months ago I can not stop thinking about it. Every single day at least once a day I will think about it and just feel sick to my stomach. I feel betrayed that he never told me even though I gave him open opportunity too. I feel sick knowing they had this secret behind my back and both continued a relationship with me as if it never happened. I had asked that he stop contact with her and block her, I felt insecure, and he said okay but called me immature for it. He has since blocked her because she reached out to him about the situation and he said he can no longer be friends with her. I have blocked her too. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I’m just at a loss here because I feel betrayed, everything was going so well before I found out and it just hasn’t felt the same for me since he told me. I don’t know how to put that he hide it from me behind me, we’ve had a few times since he told me where I have gotten very upset and tried to talk about it with him, and I am able too just for a little until he tells me he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, tells me it was a mistake and we all make mistakes “this is some thing that happens in life.” </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>We got into a fight about it about a month ago and he said he no longer wants to talk about it anymore and won’t answer any more questions, he hates himself for it.</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I’m not sure what to do, I feel scared that he’s still hiding something from me, scared that maybe they hooked up when we were dating again. I’m having a hard time trusting him about this and want to ask to see when they texted to hang out. Is that wrong of me? </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I just want to be able to openly talk about it and get some more answers as to why he decided to hook up with her because he’s been vague and dismissive. He says it shouldn’t matter because we weren’t together, which I get but I hate that it was hidden and they both kept a relationship with me as if it never happened. This is so hard because I love him so much and we were on a path to getting engaged and married eventually, but I just can’t shake the upset betrayed feeling I get when I think about it, and how I feel there’s more that is being hidden.. I’m nervous and trying to sort out any jealousy/insecurity while figuring out exactly how I can feel better and secure with him moving forward… any advice? Thank you </span></p>
     

    #414124
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    First, I will extract the main sentence in your post: “I suffer from anxiety and the fear that things are being hidden from me/ paranoia“. This is a condition of yours, a pre-existing condition to meeting him. So, let’s keep that in mind.

    This pre-existing condition includes a strong obsessive element: it’s like a (mental) itch that you can’t ignore, isn’t it? It keeps itching you and you think that if only you scratch it this one time (i.e. receive an answer from him to this one question), it will stop itching. But when you receive an answer.. sooner than later, the itch returns, and you are compelled to ask yet another question, and another..

    Before I continue, I need to ask: is the above how it feels to you?

    anita

    #414125
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    I want to add your words (the boldface and italicized features are my addition) to indicate what I refer to as you asking him questions being like a mental itch= obsession:

    “When we got back together we both asked each other if we saw anyone else or slept with anyone else while broken up… About three/ four months ago..  I asked him again if he had anything go on with anyone else while we weren’t together.. I told him to tell me the truth or I would leave knowing that he lied to me… he ended up telling me he drunkenly hooked up with a mutual friend… I asked how it happened..  I asked if he came onto her and he said it was a mutual thing… I asked him why he didn’t initially tell me... A few weeks after he told me I felt so upset that I asked him the exact date of when it happened..  I asked him about that and he said yes he did come onto her (which he lied about initially). I asked if he asked her not to tell me… Since he told me this a few months ago I cannot stop thinking about it… he tells me he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, tells me it was a mistake and we all make mistakes.. We got into a fight about it about a month ago and he said he no longer wants to talk about it anymore and won’t answer any more questions… I’m not sure what to do, I feel scared that he’s still hiding something from me.. (I) want to ask to see when they texted to hang out…”.

    anita

    #414129
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Lily

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling with this.

    I’m curious why you both broke up the first time? Was it a surprise to you?

    Do you trust your partner? I think there’s a difference between him seeing other people when you’re broken up and him cheating on you. Are you worried that he’s cheated on you?

    Why do you need the details of who he slept with when you weren’t in a relationship at the time?

    #414134
    Lily
    Participant

    Anita;
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Thank you for replying! I think so, I do usually want to know more yes, I think I want to know more and more because I do not get a consistent answer from him, and I get dismissed very quickly because he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore… so it makes me believe something more is being hidden. I feel like if I am able to get the honest answers and even possibly proof? Or a in depth conversation, then I can move on and that “itch” would go away…</span></p>

    #414135
    Lily
    Participant

    I’m not sure why there is a lot of html that shows up in my posts, sorry for that

    #414136
    Lily
    Participant

    Helcat;

    thank you for replying, I do have a hard time trusting my partner when it comes to this situation, I sometimes have the fear that it happened after we had already started to date again, but he has said it didn’t. I have debated with myself why I want to know about something that went on when we were apart as well so thank you for asking that. I want to know because when we got back together we both discussed if we had seen anyone, and I lost trust when he continued to lie to me about who he had seen. He had seen someone else too, before her, that didn’t bother me. What bothers me is that it was a friend of mine, and they both chose to actively hide it from me. I feel betrayed. I feel I would have been fine with it if it was just out in the open from the beginning.

    #414137
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Lily

    It’s tricky since your partner has a habit of withholding the truth. You can either drop it and accept that he didn’t divulge because he was afraid of hurting you and losing the relationship or continue to ask him about it hoping he will reveal more hidden truths later on or speak to the mutual friend in question.

    I can understand your partner hiding that would  making you feel nervous because it could mean any number of things.

    I can also understand why he felt like sharing that would hurt you and chose to hide it. I’m not excusing it, because lying by omission is wrong.

    He tried to get back together with you for months. Shortly before you agreed he slept with a mutual friend. I can definitely see how sharing this might put your newly reestablished relationship at risk, which could be the reason why he waited until things were more settled to tell you. Or it could be that he got tired of the asking and thought being honest would put an end to it.

    Can I ask how your relationship is outside of this issue?

    The difficulty with pursuing this issue further is that it’s causing arguments. Is it worth putting the relationship at risk?

    There may also be a 4th option. You could mention to your partner when you are having these anxious thoughts. But accept his boundaries. Don’t ask him anymore questions and take care to phrase things in a less direct way.

    For example: “I’m feeling insecure. My anxiety is acting up and fears about what happened with our mutual friend are popping up again”.

    I found that my partner is more receptive to my anxious thoughts when he doesn’t feel blamed in any way.

    What are your thoughts about all of this?

    #414140
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily: I will reply to you Fri morning, in about 11 hours from now.

    anita

    #414157
    Lily
    Participant

    Okay Anita, thank you!

    #414158
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You are welcome. If my reply to you this morning would be of the good-guy/ bad-guy type (saying something like: Lily, you did not hook up with a mutual friend while separated from your boyfriend, but he did hook up with a mutual friend; therefore, you are the good-guy and he is the bad-guy and he deserves to suffer for it), would that make you feel better?

    In the reply that follows, I will not go the good-guy/ bad guy route. Instead, I acknowledge that neither one of you is perfect (no person is perfect) and look at the reality of the situation, best I can, quoting from you and commenting. Before I start, I want to say: I understand how badly you’ve been feeling, “Conflicted” (the title of your thread) and so very troubled by the events that happened- or may have happened- during the time you were broken up from your boyfriend and beyond. I hope that this unnecessary suffering that you’ve been experiencing will come to an end sooner than later, and that you will experience calm and contentment instead.

    I suffer from anxiety and the fear that things are being hidden from me/ paranoia… during our therapy sessions, I expressed to him that I felt like he was hiding something from me, I just didn’t know what, but I had such a gut feelingI feel scared that he’s still hiding something from me… I’m having a hard time trusting himI just can’t shake the upset betrayed feeling I get when I think about it, and how I feel there’s more that is being hidden.. About three/ four months ago we were talking about dating/ hook ups in general and I asked him again if he had anything go on with anyone else while we weren’t together because I just had a gut feeling“-

    – You shared that you suffer from fear that things are being hidden from you; from a paranoia (your word).  Paranoia, Merriam Webster definition: “a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others“, Wikipedia: “Paranoia is an instinct or thought process that is believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of delusion and irrationality“. Healthline: “Paranoia is a thought process that causes you to have an irrational suspicion or mistrust of others… Mistrust of others and constant anxiety can make relationships and interactions with others difficult, causing problems with employment and personal relationships”.<sup id=”cite_ref-1″ class=”reference”></sup>

    Suffering from paranoia does not mean, of course, that everyone you meet is trustworthy, but since you are aware that you suffer from paranoia (you stated that you do): at the least, give serious consideration to the possibility  that your suspiciousness and distrust of your boyfriend may be irrational, part of your experience of paranoia. You used the term “gut feeling” twice, in regard to your suspiciousness of your boyfriend, a term that refers to a feeling that is true to reality… but paranoid suspicion, although it feels to be true… is not true to reality. Let’s look at the reality of his behavior in the past and present time:

    I moved out and we had no contact. We would run into each other out at the bar and local places around our city. I remained no contact and acted as if he wasn’t around because that was how I was moving on from my heart break“- on your part, you ignored him when you ran into him because you wanted to heal your broken heart; on his part, being ignored by you probably hurt him and troubled him a lot.

    While we were broken up he would get drunk and bother me if he saw me out/ text me late at night, after me asking for him to respect my boundaries and leave me alone to heal“- on your part, you were angry at him for not respecting your boundaries; on his part, seems to me, he felt desperate for contact with you, and when drunk and his inhibitions lowered, he contacted you.

    He told me..  he was so drunk he barely remembers it…  He said… I asked how it happened and he said… She said… I asked him about that and he said yes he did come onto her (which he lied about initially)“-

    – it may really be that he was so drunk, like he said he was, that he really was not able to recall what happened: it is common that people forget what happened when they were drunk. Also, when a person is interrogated (repeatedly asked the same questions over and over again, or repeatedly asked questions on the same theme), a common reaction by the interrogated is to eventually say whatever it is that will make the interrogator stop asking questions. Interrogations do not promote honesty!

    I told him that I had not hooked up with anyone… A mutual friend of ours tried very hard to hook up with me and I declined out of respect for him (ex at the time)… he ended up telling me he drunkingly hooked up with a mutual friend/ neighbor of ours *two weeks* before we decided to start talking again“- you indicate perhaps a moral superiority over him, and in the context of hooking up with a mutual friend while on a break from the relationship, you were indeed morally superior to him… but in regard to interrogating a partner, and as part of the interrogation, threatening him (“I told him that I would leave knowing that he lied if he didn’t just tell me”), he has been morally superior to you, assuming he did not interrogate and threaten you.

    He even told the therapist he wasn’t and that it’s hard for him to deal with me ‘accusing’ him of hiding something… We got into a fight about it about a month ago and he said he no longer wants to talk about it anymore and won’t answer any more questions“- it is very difficult to be in a relationship with an interrogator, with a person who suffers from paranoia (“I suffer from.. paranoia“).

    Everything was going so well before I found out and it just hasn’t felt the same for me since he told me“- everything was going so well for a while, but when a person suffers from paranoia, the going-so-well doesn’t last long. If it isn’t one thing that triggers the suspiciousness, it’s another.

    This is so hard because I love him so much“- love him enough to stop interrogating him and instead, do all you can- in the context of quality therapy- to heal from and manage your anxiety and paranoia?

    I think I want to know more and more because I do not get a consistent answer from him, and I get dismissed very quickly because he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.. so it makes me believe something more is being hidden“- the more you interrogate a person, the more he/ she will lie to make you stop the interrogation. Interrogating a person does not promote honest, consistent answers.

    I feel like if I am able to get the honest answers and even possibly proof? Or a in depth conversation, then I can move on and that ‘itch’ would go away“- From personal experience with “itches”: no answer, no proof and no in-depth conversation with “the suspect” can take the itch away for good.

    I have debated with myself why I want to know about something that went on when we were apart… I feel betrayed. I feel I would have been fine with it if it was just out in the open from the beginning“- I am guessing that “from the beginning“, that is, when you were a child, you really were betrayed, that important things really were hidden from you (“the fear that things are being hidden from me“), and that emotionally, you keep re-experiencing that early life betrayal in the context of your relationship with your boyfriend.

    We can communicate further if you’d like. Please let me know.

    anita

     

    #414159
    Lily
    Participant

    Helcat, I am trying to fully accept that he didn’t tell me so he wouldn’t lose me / hurt me. But I am an open and honest person and if roles were reversed I would have told him when he asked the first time. He had no plans to tell me, I basically gave him an ultimatum because I knew he was not telling me the truth, and that’s when he told me. Our relationship before this had come out was going great, I trusted him. I agree with your advice, to try and approach him with a less direct approach, he has told me he does not want to speak about it anymore and will not answer anymore questions. This makes me scared he’s still hiding something and that’s why he is being so dismissive. I just want to believe that this wouldn’t lead to more lies in future, and that I can eventually get over it and move on. I just don’t know how to quiet my mind and feel like talking to him is the only way but I just feel like I can’t, without a fight starting. I appreciate your example and when I do talk to him I am going to use that approach, thank you! I just feel like the only way I can move on from this is to talk it through with him eventually.

    #414161
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily: I submitted a post 2 minutes before you submitted your most recent post (double posting), so you may not be aware of my post (above your most recent).

    anita

    #414172
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Lily

    I’m glad that you’re going to do your best to respect his boundaries. It really is the only healthy way things move forward in your relationship. It’s equally important that your feelings are still acknowledged and heard.

    Have you had any bad experiences where people have lied to you in the past?

    I’m sorry that your partner lied and it took an ultimatum for your partner to be honest with you. As someone who values honesty, do you feel like that is more hurtful than what happened while you were both on a break?

    In a perfect world. How would you want your partner to respond to you about this issue? What would actually help you rebuild trust and recover from this?

     

    #414325
    anita
    Participant

    How are you, Lily?

    anita

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