September 6, 2023 at 8:07 am #421853
My boyfriend who I met on Hinge last year almost to the day… 9/9/22, broke up with me about two weeks ago. We were in a long distance relationship the entirety of this relationship with a distance of two hours apart from each other. To make matters even more difficult, we are both stuck living back home with family in bad financial positions. As you can imagine, intimacy was hard, we had to definitely book a few hotels here and there. We are both 31, I have been in several relationships, one of mine being 4 years. He has never had a real relationship/girlfriend until me, all his others were failed situationships and hookups. When we met on Hinge, HE asked me what my intentions were from the get go about 2-3 days into talking as he started flirting with me. The pacing felt right and I had never had a guy actually want to go ahead and address motives, intentions with me so he felt safe. I told him I was not looking for anything in particular other than a friend and if that turned into a love connection, then great. Also, that I am solely monogamous and can only focus on one person at a time, including in the early dating stage. I told him I would not be quick to have sex, that it would need to be in a committed relationship before that happens and was a very serious person about intimacy in general. He told me that he was pretty much looking for the same thing and agreed wholeheartedly about only being able to focus on one person at a time too. Thank goodness, someone normal for once. We met in person a couple weeks into talking daily from Hinge and then onto Instagram. We pretty much immediately defined and labeled our relationship from there. No funny business, and he even had me meet his parents and he met my family, his work friends, etc.
The only major red flag I saw in him was that he admitted about 5 months in that he had a very shameful f****boy past, that he actually had a female friend have to confront him to tell him that if he didn’t stop being a creep with women, he was never going to have a successful relationship. He took this seriously and started therapy. What exactly that behavior entailed? I don’t know. Also, his parents are both very successful and retired psychologists with PhDs. He said he was very proud of all the work he had done to improve himself and be a better person to women, and people in general and that he was so grateful I had met him after all this instead of before. He told me he was hesitant to tell me about all of it sooner because he didn’t want anyone to use his past against him or look at him in a different light. I’ll admit, it did make me worry a little because he often uses jokes ironically, but sometimes I can’t help but feel that there is some truth into them? But I totally appreciated his honesty and vulnerability with me. He expressed on many occasions how thankful he was and lucky to have me in his life because he had never before met someone so loving and accepting of him.
Over the span of this almost 12 month relationship, we only were able to meet about 1-2 (sometimes 3) times per month and always spent about 2 days together each time. We texted daily and I did have an issue with his lack of communication in between visits. I requested that we start FaceTiming at least once or twice a week, or just even a phone call. He expressed that he really just didn’t like being on the phone that way and that his ADHD and depression (which he has been professionally diagnosed with, I’ve also seen his meds) kind of mess with the passing of time to him and that he’d honestly just forget to check in with me. But that he knew it was important to me, so he’d do it any time I asked. Well, I appreciated that but I also hated having to always ask to be… thought of and missed. I tried to not take it personally. He is self-admittedly and self-loathingly addicted to World of Warcraft. (I know, I know). I am a nerd too, though and I understand that people need something to unwind with after work every evening. But it did get old that I never “won” over these distractions in front of him. I expressed on several more occasions that I really would like to have more communication over the phone with our voices or faces to bridge the gap in the distance issue. He always agreed that as time was progressing with us, he SHOULD be more active in doing that stuff with me. Well, it still just never happened. And yes, I would swallow my pride constantly and just ask him if we could talk. He always agreed, and unfortunately these times were usually me venting about my day or something he had done that was worrying me. Relationship check ins were happening probably too often. I have also been in therapy for 1-2 years a few years ago, and was told I am an anxious attachment type and codependent. I figured he seemed either secure or somewhat avoidant. But also, I didn’t want to diagnose stuff when we are still in year one here.
June happens and after a concert that night, the topic came up of snooping on your significant other’s social media stuff. He said, “you can look through my phone but you won’t find anything. The only thing that would probably upset you is that I sometimes compliment girls I’m friends with.” I said, “Like flirting??” He said no, and we dropped it because conveniently for him, we were looking for something and the topic passed. But I dwelled on that comment for weeks. July happens and the topic of liking girl’s Instagram thirst traps comes up. I tell him this is definitely one of my only boundaries I really have – I have had boyfriends in the past go all over social media and liking these bikini and sexy photos of girls, and it just really really hurts me. It’s a very difficult boundary for me to uphold, however because I do not like being controlled myself or monitored like a child so the last thing I want to do with my guy is be a parental figure. I can tell a guy all day it hurts my feelings and that their motives behind giving THESE types of photos attention is confusing to me when they are in a relationship already. But if I have to ask them, and they still WANT to do this? I feel like the boundary is then useless and I have to pick my battles. He asked me what I considered a thirst trap. I said, anything that is half-naked, bikini photo, lingerie, etc. He said, “okay so what about just a nice photo of them going out?” I sighed and said, “I GUESS… I just don’t really see the point when you have a girlfriend. But I understand you are allowed to have platonic women friends. I don’t want to be toxic.” He said, “I don’t need to do those things because I have a girlfriend anyway.” But I told him that back in June, he told me he knew I would be upset about that stuff. He said, “No I was referring to the past messages.” He even let me go through his phone to his Direct Messages from a girl he matched with on Tinder awhile back from Australia. Apparently, they still talk off and on but he assured me the last message was from right when we started talking, about a couple weeks in and the message didn’t look sketchy to me. I let it go since we had not even met in person at that point. Also, for him to be openly showing me all this stuff to reassure me? I really appreciated it.
Back up to probably April of this year? We had only had sex probably 10 or 11 times at this point and after sex one afternoon, he tells me he wants me to try getting aggressive with him and slapping him, also kind of yelling at him that he’s a loser, etc. Basically a shame kink situation. I was floored. Never had he had such a serious look on his face before this. He was DEAD serious about this and I just didn’t know what to make of it. We had discussed sexual preferences early on, I told him I was vanilla and not into BDSM or anything too kinky. I love to dress up in costumes and roleplay. We had fun with that stuff, and I’m always open to hear someone out but this particular request just kind of offended me. Why? Because we were only seeing each other in person once or twice a month, and had only had sex so many times so far, and I just felt like that level of kink should be reserved for… further into the relationship? It made me worry he was already getting bored with me. I also worried about his ADHD and depression meds because he told me they KILLED his libido. Not only that, but he barely every finished with me. He only finished with me like 5 or 6 times this entire relationship, as condoms made it even worse for him. So I always felt pressure to have him have a good time. He assured me SO MANY TIMES that sex wasn’t so important to him, that he just really appreciated that we could be comfortable and have fun in the bedroom, that he enjoyed being with me like that, that the end goal didn’t matter to him and he got more satisfaction knowing he was pleasing me. Nice sentiments, I believed them. But I also wasn’t born yesterday and I knew we may run into problems or that he wasn’t being entirely honest with me despite him probably wanting to believe himself that he was okay. I sat on this request for two days. I talked to friends about it and they made me feel validated in thinking it was a bit too soon for this type of “fun” especially with someone so hesitant as me. I FaceTimed him and told him I was uncomfortable with hitting him, that I loved him and I can’t express my sexuality like this with him. He told me he was disappointed just because he thought it could just be fun, but that he respected my boundary. I asked him if he was needing more from me or dissatisfied in any way. He assured me absolutely not. This made me feel better so I told him that I COULD be open to this kink… I just needed some more time. The request just hit me harder (no pun intended) too because he vented to me OFTEN about feeling inadequate being the only one in his family with no college degree. All his siblings have masters! He is a tradesman though and I told him he had his own unique talents. He scoffed. He really has a lot of shame around not measuring up to them and I know he struggles.
Three weeks ago, he was working on the weekend and I asked him how his day had gone. He told me it was actually pretty good because he got the opportunity to work with a newer coworker he hadn’t had the chance to work with yet. He referred to the coworker as “they” and said “they are pretty cool and have a lot of followers on Tik Tok.” I remembered he had briefly mentioned a new employee a month or so ago at this job of his and that they were trans. Something immediately felt off about this comment though, the Tik Tok comment. For one, he often scoffs at Tik Tok. He’s pretty anti-social media anyway. He’s pretty against the vanity of it. He barely posts, if at all. I wondered why he cared? I tried to brush it off.
Two weeks ago, he asked if he could come and visit me that weekend. I had to work until 3 pm on that Saturday, but he didn’t care, he said he couldn’t wait to see me and wanted to make it happen. He had a long weekend from working overtime at his job previously and said we should get a hotel in my neighboring town and really do it up right. I was so excited so I booked our hotel that he gladly wanted to pay for. Friday night happens. He hadn’t spoken much to me that night, again not out of the ordinary. While we were dating, he sometimes went 12 hours without speaking to me. I tried to accept it since I genuinely thought this guy was awesome. I did not assume he was cheating or doing anything shady. He is a total homebody and gets so distracted by his video games and lounging around sleeping when he can. Anyway, Friday night – mind you mere hours until our weekend big date – he sends me a video around 11:30 pm of an inch worm crawling on a wooden post at a restaurant. I could see the parking lot in the background and immediately placed the location as the Mexican restaurant we had eaten at two weeks prior. When I listened to the video, I heard a voice VERY close to him.
There are several things wrong with this picture. 1. He never is out late and especially is never out with friends. His childhood friends are 6 hours away in another state from him. The town he lives in has a population of barely under 500 people, most are retired and in the 3 years he’s been living with his parents in this tiny town – he’s not met one peer or person remotely near his age. He’s literally friends with 70 year old women and housesits for them. I tried not to be weird. I know my triggers and paranoias and projections can become too much sometimes and I often told him how much I appreciated his patience with me. He always reassured me that we were a team and he wasn’t going anywhere.
I asked him what the person in the video said. It sounded like a female voice, and he said “Oh that’s my friend (name) lol.” It was the Tik Tok famous coworker he had gushed about the weekend prior. I just said, “Oh, what are you guys doing out?” He says, “we were just in town checking out the live music and we got some Mexican food.” I was immediately hurt because why was he out at almost midnight with someone getting food the weekend before we are supposed to be hanging out and we even had booked a hotel? I try VERY hard to be understanding but this was just acting out of his character. Something was off. So I panicked and went through his Instagram following list (which I never let myself do before. I tried to not look for issues but I couldn’t hold it in anymore). I couldn’t find this person in his list, but I did see a thirst trap profile pic of some girl he was following. I clicked on it and he had been liking all her bikini photos, photos of her with her mom, pets, etc. the entire time he had been dating me. I was once again absolutely SHOCKED because this went against what we talked about. The latest one had been from two days ago. One of the bikini butt photos he liked ON THE DAY HE WAS AT MY HOUSE. I was just SO hurt.
So I panicked and asked him if we could talk on video. He agreed. I told him that I was just confused about him being out so late with someone before our big weekend and he says, “That’s a dude.” Like deadpan, seemed like he was trying to level with me and say, “they are trans but…they are…a dude…” As in, “no worries it’s not ACTUALLY a girl I was with.” I am sorry to offend anyone here if those words seem disrespectful to pronouns, I am only trying to explain that I think my ex was trying to either cover himself with their pronouns, or maybe just be respectful of them. Well, I let it go because I had not even seen what this person even looked like. I was more upset about the thirst trap liking. He told me he messed up, he admitted and took accountability for letting me down and he felt a lot of shame and disappointment in himself. I told him I really didn’t want to reprimand him constantly but this one… this one was so painful and we had talked about it before. Then I asked him why he likes those types of photos and he tells me it’s a mindless reason. I said but liking them requires effort. Those types of photos are posted to elicit a sexual response, and you liking them gives them that kind of attention. He says, “well I guess I want to give them the attention they are asking for then.” I said, “But shouldn’t you be giving that attention to your girlfriend? Why do you feel the need to give these random women your attention like that??” He just admitted he has wandering eyes and is falling for these photos. That the distance is getting to him, that we barely see each other, that both of our problems just keep compounding. There was a lot of silence and finally he says, “well. I’ll always think your opinion of the final season of GoT was wrong.” I was STUNNED in shock. He was referring to our first Hinge conversation from a year ago. I said, “Umm. What? Are you breaking up with me?” He says, “Yeah, I guess so.” I couldn’t believe this had just ended everything. I tried to bargain with him for what felt like an hour. I asked him how long he had been feeling this way. He said maybe about a month. I asked him why. He said, “I don’t know, I just miss how things were and the fun it was, and I hate that your negativity has been getting to me and we can’t be there for each other to support each other and also what are we even doing?? We can’t afford to move, we both have no money. I just don’t see how this can go any further. You don’t want to leave your town, your job, your family—” I interjected and said, “SINCE WHEN HAVE I EVER SAID THAT??? ALL I’VE SAID TO YOU IS HOW I WANT TO MOVE OUT AND MOVE AWAY!!” He said all the times he joked about me moving there, I didn’t seem to take it seriously. I said, “I didn’t take it seriously because I didn’t think you took it seriously! I wasn’t trying to scare you. We are JUST hitting the year mark soon. I was going to touch base with you around that mark and try to see what we can do. I genuinely saw us moving in together in time, and heck maybe even marriage someday.” His face winced. I just kept asking what did it. Why just give up out of nowhere. He said that this conversation was just making him realize he can’t do it anymore, that we aren’t working anymore. I asked him if it would help if I could work on moving closer. He rejected it with frustration. I asked again what was the thing blocking us from just working on this instead of giving up out of nowhere. He said he was so upset with himself, that he had tried to tell himself and me this entirely time that he was fine and he wanted so badly for this to work for us and to prove to himself and me that he could finally have a real successful relationship with someone but that he was failing because of his unhappiness and commitment issues. Now did he mean commitment with me? Or commitment in general? Or was he talking about monogamy, or was he talking about future building commitment? Not sure because I was absolutely dead at this point in shock. We ended the phone call.
Two days later, after maybe 3 hours of sleep in total and no solid food, I couldn’t take it anymore and I reached out to him to apologize for all of the times my past trauma triggered me and I projected insecurities onto him. I took ownership for being too hard on him sometimes and felt a lot of shame about it. I then asked him if there were any chance to fix us if he even wanted to. He responded and apologized as well. He told me that he panicked and shut down and doesn’t deal with confrontation and shame well so he just abruptly ended it. That explained THAT part, at least. But to give up entirely? He told me that he didn’t see how we could ever get the chance to work on our issues and support each other if we couldn’t be together physically. I told him I wished he just would have felt comfortable telling me he was unhappy before it was too late. He said he had never been unhappy with me. But that apart from me, he was struggling. He said that his past issues that he thought he had truly worked out in therapy had been coming back and eating him alive and that he’s been falling apart for awhile over all of this. He told me he put up a failing tough persona for me because he didn’t want to worry me any more than I already was. (For context, July was one of the worst months of my life. I had nothing but extremely bad luck and financial struggles and bills, medical issues, repairs, etc. pop up and it was relentless). We both agreed our issues were triggering each other’s wounds and we were hitting a regressive period with our mental health. I told him I’d still like to be in his life if he were open to that. He agreed wholeheartedly and said he honestly didn’t know what he would do without me in his life and that I was his best friend. He thanked me so much for showing him he was capable and worthy of love and that he was eternally grateful for me for showing him all of this. That was nice… but it felt like a sting. I know what those words mean. He also told me that it was wrong of him to have not been thinking of the future for us. He said he figured our issues would inevitably end us so that he was trying to have the most fun and make me as happy as he could while we had the chance. I found this confusing considering all the times in the past he alluded to a future with me, even if it seemed light in nature.
A day later after some light conversation still here and there, he texted me that Sunday evening telling me he still felt a lot of shame and was really sad about what happened and that he was still so sorry but that a new week was starting and he wished me good luck for it, and that we were gonna get figure this out together… with a heart emoji. I responded hours later and thanked him and told him I still felt bad for hurting him too.
A day after this… I go looking for the Tik Tok person’s profile again. I find it easily as my ex only follows a handful of carefully chosen accounts. Sure enough, this person is big. They have a Patreon, they have a massive following on all platforms and… they are… female. Once again, I am sorry to offend anyone here about this but I felt kind of betrayed that he had assured me this person was someone he wasn’t going to find attractive or be a threat to me (he’s straight), but this really didn’t help. They identify as they and he but basically they are his walking fantasy. The cosplay get ups are off the charts, their talent is really impressive for their art and to know he’s working with this person full time daily now, and going out to eat with them and they have boobs and curves and are into all of the same things? Yeah, I’m threatened. Over the span of our relationship, he’s mentioned hundreds of times different sexual fantasies he has and they contradict what he usually claims about sex. He tells me he’s the most sexually fulfilled he’s ever been with me, then goes on to act as if he’s dying for an orgy or something. I am not shaming anyone’s kinks, I’m just not at all on board with a lot of stuff. He told me the last time we hung out that his darkest sexual fantasy was to bang a succubus. He also on several occasions has mentioned struggling with past “porn brain” and that he’s had to work through that and that it doesn’t control him anymore. I tried to trust him on this. He said he still struggles but that he just distracts himself with something else. He told me he thought porn was detrimental to women and men in the end by consuming too much of it. The Tik Tok coworker dresses as many of his sexual fantasies, including a succubus.
At this point, the communication is still happening but it varies by the day. It has dropped dramatically. He goes from being very cold and one or two messages a day, to venting about work as if nothing has happened, to even sending me a few selfies and calling me cute. I have not entertained any of the confusing mixed signals. I’m trying to be respectful of his decision. I realize that I probably definitely need to cut off contact with him. I told myself to not make any moves until I know what I’m doing is solely for me and not to try to manipulate him into realizing what he’s lost or some nonsense. It has to be for me. I know this is just killing me and it kills me more to think that he may be giving me the ol’ “it’s not you, it’s me” routine to spare my feelings. I’m not sure if he realized with the distance issues, and his sexual issues that it’s not been working, or perhaps he lost attraction to me. I asked him on video that night if he just didn’t see me romantically. He said, “maybe, I don’t know.” When I asked him two days after that like I mentioned earlier, he claimed the strong feelings were there.”
Am I a clown? Seriously. I worry that this is very simple and this dude just lost attraction and got bored because he has a porn addiction he’s still struggling with and this would explain the push to have to up the ante early in our relationship by the slapping and shame kink request, and all the sexual fantasy talk. I wish I knew what exactly was ” the past issues eating him up from the inside and falling apart” over? I assumed it was the f***boy past and sexual frustration. He also was cheated on several times in a two month long situationship 2 months before meeting me. He told me when we first started dating that he was worried he couldn’t be 100 percent for me because he was still struggling with shame from being played so easily like that. But he seemed to move past it as we got more serious.
I know that despite what he feels, I should be focusing on what is true for me. But what is true for me is that despite all of this, I love him so much and this has been the best and I THOUGHT most open and mature relationship I’ve ever had. I thought he was such a good sport, so accommodating and I thought I was finally healing my insecure attachment with him being so supportive. Apparently I broke him, or maybe it had nothing to do with me. If I knew this guy was just leading me on this whole time and didn’t know how to end it out of guilt, I’d feel really dumb crying so hard over this.
TLDR: 31 year old girl who got broken up with (two weeks ago) almost a year into a long distance relationship by a 31 year old guy who claims they have commitment and issues with females/relationships/avoidance issues and doesn’t want to work on bridging the distance gap or work on getting back together. Do I give up all hope for the future of us? Or do I take these SEEMINGLY serious sexual issues to heart and not try to hold on?September 6, 2023 at 12:13 pm #421865
First, what you shared, second: my input:
You (31) shared that before your most recent relationship, you had several relationships, one that lasted 4 years. Your most recent boyfriend (31), or ex-boyfriend, “has never had a real relationship/girlfriend until me, all his others were failed relationships and hookups“. He had “a two months long situationship 2 months before meeting me“, one in which he was cheated on several times and “he admitted about 5 months in that he had a very shameful f****boy past“.
* “‘f***’ is a young man who sleeps with women without any intention of having a relationship with them or perhaps even walking them to the door post-sex. He’s a womanizer, an especially callous one, as well as kind of a loser.”(jezebel. com)
During your almost 1-year relationship, the two of you had jobs, but “both stuck living back home with family in bad financial positions“, living two hours apart. You met 1-3 times per month, spending a couple of days together each meeting.
He has been professionally diagnosed with ADHD and depression, on medications. He had therapy and so did you. You therapy, you were told that you have an Anxious Attachment Style and that you are codependent.
You were dissatisfied with the frequency of your phone/ online contact in between meetings, and with the fact that you initiated most of those. When on the phone, you usually vented about your day or about “something he had done that was worrying me. Relationship check ins were happening probably too often“.
Early in the relationship (about Aug 2022) you shared with him that you are monogamous and “vanilla and not into BDSM or anything too kinky“, but in April 2023, “he tells me he wants me to try getting aggressive with him and slapping him, also kind of yelling at him that he’s a loser, etc. Basically a shame kink situation“. You were afraid it meant that he was getting bored with you, but you declined his suggestion.
About 2 weeks ago, Aug 2023, you found out that he was out late with a co-worker at a restaurant and that during the entire time you dated him, (having discussed your very hurt feelings around a boyfriend liking girls in bikinis online, and him saying that he doesn’t do that), “he had been liking all her (the co-worker’s) bikini photos… the entire time he had been dating me”. He “told me he messed up, he admitted and took accountability for letting me down and he felt a lot of shame and disappointment in himself“, and he “admitted he has wandering eyes and is falling for these photos…“, and the two of you broke up (“I said, ‘Umm. What? Are you breaking up with me?’ He says, ‘Yeah, I guess so.‘). There has been a back and forth communication on the breakup matter. You tried to bargain with him (“I asked him if it would help if I could work on moving closer. He rejected it with frustration“).
Two days after the breakup, “after maybe 3 hours of sleep in total and no solid food, I couldn’t take it anymore and I reached out to him to apologize for all of the times my past trauma triggered me and I projected insecurities onto him. I took ownership for being too hard on him sometimes and felt a lot of shame about it. I then asked him if there were any chance to fix us if he even wanted to. He responded and apologized as well. He told me that he panicked and shut down and doesn’t deal with confrontation and shame well so he just abruptly ended it… We both agreed our issues were triggering each other’s wounds and we were hitting a regressive period with our mental health. I told him I’d still like to be in his life if he were open to that.
“He agreed wholeheartedly and said he honestly didn’t know what he would do without me in his life and that I was his best friend. He thanked me so much for showing him he was capable and worthy of love and that he was eternally grateful for me for showing him all of this…
“A day later after some light conversation still here and there, he texted me that Sunday evening telling me he still felt a lot of shame and was really sad about what happened and that he was still so sorry… Over the span of our relationship, he’s mentioned hundreds of times different sexual fantasies… He told me he thought porn was detrimental to women and men in the end by consuming too much of it. The Tik Tok coworker dresses as many of his sexual fantasies... At this point, the communication is still happening… I wish I knew what exactly was ‘the past issues eating him up from the inside and falling apart’ over?… He told me when we first started dating that he was worried he couldn’t be 100 percent for me because he was still struggling with shame…
“What is true for me is that despite all of this, I love him so much and this has been the best and I THOUGHT most open and mature relationship I’ve ever had… Apparently I broke him, or maybe it had nothing to do with me. If I knew this guy was just leading me on this whole time…. Do I give up all hope for the future of us? Or do I take these SEEMINGLY serious sexual issues to heart and not try to hold on?”
My input: I boldfaced the word shame and shameful because it is the theme of his story, as I read it. It is his dominant feeling perhaps. Seems to me that his sexual fantasy, what you called “a shame kink situation“, is about his need to deal with this shame that is ruling him: “he tells me he wants me to try getting aggressive with him and slapping him, also kind of yelling at him that he’s a loser, etc.“- he wants his shame to be dealt with and resolved via this sexual exchange dynamic.
Putting this shame kink situation into practice will not resolve his shame, of course, but the fantasy holds hope or promise, for him, that his shame will be resolved. Maybe he hopes that if a woman slaps him and yells at him, yelling shameful words, it will scare the shame away and out of him. A sort of.. shame exorcism
“Apparently I broke him“- no, I don’t believe that you broke him. I think that shame broke him: “He told me when we first started dating that he was worried he couldn’t be 100 percent for me because he was still struggling with shame“- he was struggling with shame way before he met you, and not just shame but a lot of shame (“he texted me.. telling me.. he still felt a lot of shame“).
“ I wish I knew what exactly was ‘the past issues eating him up from the inside and falling apart’ over?“- the past issue that is eating him up from the inside, seems to me, is a lot of shame, aka neurotic shame, or toxic shame that took hold in his childhood.
The late author John Bradshaw wrote a book titled Healing the shame that binds you. Here is a quote regarding the book from john bradshaw. com: “In it, he shows how unhealthy toxic shame is the core component of our compulsions including, codependency, lying, addiction, and the drive to super-achieve or underachieve. This toxic shame, most often experienced in childhood, results in the breakdown of our self-esteem.. (and) an inability to move forward and form lasting intimate relationships in our lives”.
There is much more that I can say after studying your thread for a few hours by now, but I am running out of time today. If you would like- and please let me know- we can have a conversation about all of this. I will be back to the computer by tomorrow (Thursday).
anitaSeptember 6, 2023 at 12:17 pm #421866
* I apologize, I meant Dear Stacy (I read your reply in Andrea’s thread and confused the names)September 6, 2023 at 9:10 pm #421875
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I totally agree that shame seems to be ruling and ruining his life. I didn’t mention it in my original post but before the kink shame request even happened, he was already joking with me and seemingly trying to get me to be mean to him in various other ways early on. He’d say, “be mean to me” or “I just like to be teased, I wish you would be mean to me.” I laughed it off at first but then worried that he was still dealing with being hung up on the girl who cheated on him before he got with me. When he first brought up his ex situationship, he told me he wasn’t necessarily hung up on her, it was the shame he felt from allowing himself to be played and cheated on. I tried to believe him but for the rest of our relationship, I couldn’t help but worry that every time he wanted me to “be mean” to him, he was trying to work out getting over her rejection in some way. I have worried this whole time that I was the rebound from that situation and he just played me to get back at her and prove to himself he can keep attention, even if he doesn’t even really love or like me. I have worried this whole time too that this could be a running theme with him as I also started slowly noticing that every time I would try to initiate sexting, flirting with him, hitting on him, or just telling him I’d give him a massage or something soon when he’d complain about his feet hurting him from work that he would either deflect my advances or flat out ignore them and change the subject. This is an extremely sore spot for me as men have done this to me in the past as they were losing interest. Therefore, I started expressing to him that I was worried about him not actually liking me anymore, if there were any issues he was having that was blocking intimacy for him, etc. He always reassured me so earnestly that he loved me and that we were a team and he was happy with me but that he was awkward with compliments and gestures. I didn’t fully believe this as he seemed opened to receive this kind of attention at the beginning.
The explanation you gave about his shame kink was also something I considered. The night when we first FaceTimed about the slapping during sex suggestion, I told him I didn’t want to act it out with him sexually partially because I worried it was playing out his trauma. I even said I didn’t want to psychoanalyze him considering he’s lived his whole life with parents that do this, but that I worried it was because he wasn’t being fulfilled by me. He told me that wasn’t what it was, he just thought it could be something fun. I told him I could be open to it in the future, but apparently he couldn’t wait? I don’t know. Months later, we brought up his fantasies again and he said, “Okay so I have been thinking about why I like that.” (I always loved how self-aware he seemed and that he would ponder his behavior). He explained it’s not anything to do with shame kinks, that he doesn’t actually want me to call him stupid or a loser. He said it was more like the lowly pool boy scenario who somehow seduces the older rich woman into his sexual advances. It’s the thought of being a loser and being able to win someone better than you over sexually. I shook my head… as this sounded way too on the nose yet again with a callback to his feelings of inadequacy. Not only that, but all of his fantasies are never about women like me. I told him this. He said that he can be attracted to more than one type of woman, but it was still really was starting to wear on my confidence. I was born and am still poverty level, he was born upper middle class. I’m mostly loving and nice, but I tried to sprinkle in jokingly mean teases to please him. I forgot to mention that we talked about our sexual preferences early on, and there seemed to be no issues over our differences in sexual experience or preferences. I told him I was vanilla. He told me he wouldn’t call himself vanilla but that he had worked out and explored his sexuality in his 20’s. I believed him considering he had traveled the globe and admitted to casual hookups and even at least one orgy in another country I know of. I just feel perpetually insignificant to him with my lack of experience in all these areas. I have never traveled outside of my own state due to poverty issues. I have only been with a handful of men, and these were all serious and committed sexual relationships. I feel like a blip on his map of grand adventures. I know some of these things are chips on my shoulders from childhood insecurities playing out. I also worry that he’s experiencing FOMO through these Instagram girls… he’s getting distracted not only their bodies but also their lifestyles that he misses so much. The traveling Tinder girl from his past traveling the globe, and his new Tik Tok coworker traveling doing their cosplay. And he sees he will never have that kind of lifestyle with me because I am broke and have never traveled.
It’s interesting to me that you point out that this shame could be more from his childhood and less from the cheating ex or his f***boy past. He mentioned not only feeling inadequate to his family, but that he was also constantly trying to do better and prove to himself and people that he was a good person. He overextends himself a lot for people. “I just want to be a good employee” or “I just want to be a good person” and “I just want to be the best boyfriend I can for you” are all regular phrases I heard from him. The night he broke up with me, he said, “I wanted to believe it and prove to myself so hard that I could make this work. I know I SHOULD be happy but…” I took from that statement that perhaps he KNOWS he SHOULD want the stability of me at this age, that he knows he SHOULD be attracted to the love I am willing to give him but for whatever reason he is just not open to receive it still? Or perhaps he was referring to the fact that he SHOULD be attracted to me or feel romantically for me, but that he does not and feels guilty. I even asked him in late June in person why he didn’t seem to let me love him because he had seemed to reject some of my flirty advances that night. He said, “I am doing that!” referring the fact he had driven to meet me, just attended a concert together, and we were on the couch cuddling.
I just assumed when he told me, “my past issues I thought I had worked out in therapy are eating me alive” were referring to the past issues of him being a “creep/bad person” to women. I never knew what else he struggled with and worked on in therapy. It could be a plethora of other unrelated mental demons and I’m focusing too much on sexual issues that he may not even be struggling with! He also mentioned to me on several occasions that his best friend from his hometown was still in his f***boy stage at 31 that HE had grown out of and he was frustrated with his friend for not doing the work he had done. He told me he had to work so hard on himself to not be a piece of crap to others and he hated seeing his friend still stuck. He was also super frustrated that he couldn’t seem to get any reciprocity from these childhood friends, that he had to always drive up 6 hours north to them and they never wanted to come south to see him. Not only that, but that he was sick and tired of being shamed for wanting to vent and have conversations beyond surface level with them and they weren’t open to therapy or vulnerability with him. Right after this, he grabbed my hand, kissed it, and told me that was why he appreciated me and was so grateful for me… because I was the first person in his life as a peer to provide this sense of comfort to him. I felt so good about that and it was yet another reassurance that his past red flags were worked through.
I just wish I knew what what made him just permanently give up on this. I worry that the timing of the new coworker Tik Tok star in his life was a little too convenient. (Also I forgot to mention but in your summary of my original post, he actually was liking the photos of the girl he had matched with on Tinder before me. The person who he went out late with the night before our weekend together was the Tik Tok new coworker. But he has recently liked one of their posts too, one of them bent over with their shorts creating a wedgie up their crack and you can literally see genitalia). I worry that almost 12 months was a good enough effort for someone who has never even had a relationship before. Plus, he might have been freaked out to think his first girlfriend might be his last and he wasn’t willing to give up his freedom just yet? It’s just sad because I feel like most people work out these things through their 20’s. I don’t even know if fear of commitment WAS the issue, or if it was that he simply lost love and attraction to me over time through the distance or because of his supposed inability to stay focused on just one female, or perhaps he never even truly felt it in the first place. Maybe he realized there was too much incompatibility for him. He does smoke weed and I cannot be around it because it aggravates my allergies and asthma, plus I just think it looks and smells gross and I grew up in a drug filled home, he did not. So it’s a childhood trigger too for me. He asked me very early on if this was a dealbreaker because he wanted to work with me to make me feel more comfortable if I was willing to. I said unfortunately yes unless I could not have to ever see it, smell it, or be around it. He agreed with no problem and he never once pressured me or held it against me. We checked in a few times in the relationship to see if he was feeling judged or anything and I told him I greatly appreciated how he was handling it with me. However, we ran into a sticky situation in mid July. One of his other childhood buddies from 6 hours up north was getting married on July 29th and he invited me to be his wedding date. When the date got closer, he told me he just wanted to let me know that weed would be at the apartment. I thought it was just gonna be in a reception hall, but no they moved the wedding to basically a more casual setting and decided they were gonna have a smoke session back at his friend’s apartment that night. I went from thinking I was just gonna tolerate being around it at a big event hall to being essentially hot boxed in a small living room for hours with 6 other pot smokers. I told him I was gonna have to decline going knowing this because I wanted him to have a good time and not feel uncomfortable with me being uncomfortable there. He respected my boundary and told me his only concern was just how I was ever gonna be able to meet his friends then because every time they met, they were exclusively smoking pot the whole time. I asked him if we could EVER compromise just once, that maybe one time I could go meet them and he could opt out of smoking that day. He agreed with no issues. Turns out, the Tik Tok coworker he’s now hanging out with ALSO smokes pot. I’m afraid this is just really not working in my favor here. I have never wanted him to feel unaccepted because I told him I don’t mind he does it, I just don’t want to be around the smoke of it. I asked him if they could just do edibles as that would not bother my issues. He said that edibles hurt his stomach. Maybe he started sensing compatibility issues he was not willing to work through because that wedding did in fact happen almost a month prior to the day when he claimed he started feeling unhappy. Maybe they warned him I was controlling or judging him.
I’m just so confused because I saw a person who was so loving and expressed how much they appreciated our deep connection, something he said he never thought he could have. He was the first to say “I love you” to me, and he posted an Instagram story the next day exclaiming how he was head over heels in love with me, with a video of me singing from the night before. He told me at the beginning that he had so much love to give and was so ready to give it to someone and share his life with someone and finally make his life have meaning over hookups and surface level conversations. I don’t understand how someone can be so willing to lose their supposed biggest comfort and support system while they are at their lowest… why can’t we just work through our problems as a team as he’s always wanted before? I had hoped that my love and care would have been enough for him and we could help heal parts of each other. He was healing me by never shaming me for coming to him with insecurities. Until… he gave up.
For my friends to feel like he’s simply boiled down to a creepy player addicted to porn and “deviant” kinks who doesn’t care about women and just used me greatly confuses me. I saw a completely different side to him this entire relationship and not at all what the definition from Jezebel states. My friends think he has a porn addiction, or is struggling with himself over a sexual addiction and is not being honest with himself as to how much it is still controlling him considering he has alluded at least three times to my memory of having struggled with “porn brain” in the past or watching too much porn as a teenager. He said he was past it though! I truly believed him. Once again, I don’t even know if this issue is the main issue he’s battling or not. The stuff that this Tik Tok coworker posts is definitely too sexual and dark for me. I worry that’s what he’s ACTUALLY into and he just was afraid to express that to me. I worry I wasn’t enough to keep him from straying away.September 7, 2023 at 3:19 am #421886HelcatParticipant
I’m sorry to hear about the breakup. How are you feeling? How are you coping with it?
So it seems like there were a lot of issues that were going on. His mental health issues and porn addiction. You both experience financial hardship and live with family. You are 2 hours away from each other and only got to see each other mostly 2-4 days a month, occasionally 6 days a month and he never put in the effort to communicate from a distance. And you experienced anxiety about the relationship. No wonder.
One issue is that you have been treat so poorly in the past that you thought this relationship was healthy. I’ve been there too…
His actions never matched his words. He agreed that he should communicate more but never tried to. He said that you being vanilla was okay and that he was over his previous exploits, but he tried repeatedly to get you involved in things that you were uncomfortable with and he clearly wasn’t over. He agreed not to like sexy pictures on social media and then did it anyway. Lying to you about the attractive trans person he was spending time with. He talked about a future throughout the relationship, then tried to gaslight you at the end saying it was you that didn’t want a future with him while HE was ending things with you.
It honestly doesn’t sound like he’s in a place where he’s capable of having a healthy relationship. It sounds like he was telling you what you wanted to hear, keeping you around until you both got fed up. Because his lying would always result in you being upset and he was unwilling to change his actions.
One mistake you made was the stalking of his social media. But at the same time, I think you were using this to try and understand if your concerns were valid, which they were. But in a healthy relationship you don’t have to get to this point. Because the way someone treats you matches their words, so you don’t suffer from that anxiety. That anxiety you felt throughout the relationship was a warning sign that this relationship is unhealthy.
You honestly deserve better! So much better!
Wishing you all the best! 🙏September 7, 2023 at 5:30 am #421890
You are welcome. Having read all that you shared about him, I have this visual: he has been caught in between the Dark Side and the Light Side (Star Wars). Being that you are from the light side (you are definitely a good person), you brought light into his mind and heart, encouraging the part of him that wanted to be a good person (“He overextends himself a lot for people. ‘I just want to be a good employee’ or ‘I just want to be a good person’ and ‘I just want to be the best boyfriend I can for you’ are all regular phrases I heard from him.“).
But the dark side kept calling him and pulling him away from the light/ from you and back into the dark side: porn, sexual obsessions and compulsions, the Tik Tok posts (“The stuff that this Tik Tok coworker posts is definitely too sexual and dark for me“).
“I worry I wasn’t enough to keep him from straying away“- you don’t have enough power to keep him from straying away into the dark side.
“I totally agree that shame seems to be ruling and ruining his life“- if he was committed to the light side, to being and becoming a good person, he would confront his shame, figure out what it’s about, and change the behaviors that he himself considers shameful. But if his shame is too great or too vague, he keeps doing what is shaming him, experiencing a mix of joy and shame, both.
“I saw a completely different side to him this entire relationship“- you saw the light side in him.. or am I getting carried away with the visual?
anitaSeptember 7, 2023 at 12:03 pm #421897
I hope that you are okay this Thursday afternoon. My thoughts below are for you to evaluate as true to you (and/ or him), or untrue, thoughts for you to accept or reject:
“He has never had a real relationship/girlfriend until me, all his others were failed situationships and hookups“- you were, or hoped you were, a FIRST in his life, someone SPECIAL. That was something you needed to feel, something you didn’t feel growing up. A craving of an unloved child.
“He expressed on many occasions how thankful he was and lucky to have me in his life because he had never before met someone so loving and accepting of him“- you felt positively special in his life, a first, and what made you special? being “so loving and accepting of him“- something that you did not experience growing up; something he didn’t either.
You were invested in accepting him just the way he is, lovingly- almost unconditionally- so to maintain your specialness in his life. When that feeling was taken away from you (when he kind-of broke up with you), you felt very badly and you were willing to fight to get this feeling back. You chased him for it: “Two days later, after maybe 3 hours of sleep in total and no solid food, I couldn’t take it anymore and I reached out to him to apologize… I then asked him if there were any chance to fix us… I told him I’d still like to be in his life if he were open to that“.
And he did (temporarily) give you that feeling back when he “said he honestly didn’t know what he would do without me in his life and that I was his best friend“- Special: not only a friend, a good friend, but BEST friend.
Continued quote from above: “He thanked me so much for showing him he was capable and worthy of love and that he was eternally grateful for me for showing him all of this“- a little girl’s dream, when growing up unloved, is to make her parents capable of loving her, to make herself worthy of their love. He made your dream come true by proxy (him being a substitute for an unloving parent)- although temporarily.
2nd post: “I’m just so confused because I saw a person who… appreciated our deep connection, something he said he never thought he could have“- as I read this, I “hear” a little girl Stacy saying something like: I thought that I was finally Special enough/ worthy enough for someone to have a deep connection with me.
Continued from above: “He told me at the beginning that he had so much love to give and was so ready to give it to someone (who’d) finally make his life have meaning over hookups and surface level conversations“- I hear a little girl Stacy saying something like: I didn’t give meaning to my parents’ lives, therefore, they didn’t have love to give me, only surface level interactions.
Continued: “I had hoped that my love and care would have been enough for him and we could help heal parts of each other. He was healing me by never shaming me for coming to him with insecurities. Until… he gave up“- little girl Stacy did her best to love and care for her parents, hoping that they will love her back. But they didn’t. And maybe they shamed her. Little girl Stacy saw herself in this boyfriend, seeing the same need he had to be deeply loved for the first time.
“His parents are both very successful and retired psychologists with PhDs… I was born and am still poverty level, he was born upper middle class“- reads like you were both born into emotionally poverty… a lower-class type of (non) love.
“I feel like a blip on his map of grand adventures. I know some of these things are chips on my shoulders from childhood insecurities playing out“- growing up un-special, a blip on your parents’ map..?
“I grew up in a drug filled home“- drug filled, not love filled.
Back to your recent experience: “A day after this… I go looking for the Tik Tok person’s profile again…. Sure enough, this person is big. They have (this one person has) a Patreon, they have a massive following on all platforms.. they are his walking fantasy.. their talent is really impressive.. Yeah, I’m threatened“- this one person, special on Tik Tok, kinky on Tik Tok, threatened to take your Special away. And you were willing to compete with her, to fight for your Special: “I told him that I COULD be open to this kink… I just needed some more time“.
“What is true for me is that despite all of this, I love him so much and this has been the best and I THOUGHT most open and mature relationship I’ve ever had“- I think that in this relationship you projected yourself into him (seeing yourself in him) more than in previous relationships, and therefore, at times, you felt Special more than ever before…?
“Apparently I broke him, or maybe it had nothing to do with me“- you definitely did not break him. His brokenness- as yours- (as mine) happened before you came into his life, way before.
“If I knew this guy was just leading me on this whole time“- I do not believe that he was leading you on the whole time. Sometimes he did, but often he didn’t. What led you on, I believe, is that he told you at times just what you desperately needed to hear for a long, long time: that you are uniquely special in his life and that he is ready to love the one special person in his life.
“Do I give up all hope for the future of us? Or do I take these SEEMINGLY serious sexual issues to heart and not try to hold on?“- If I was you, the way I understand you, him and the situation, I would undo my projection into him. I’d grow to understand that with all the similarities considered, he is not even close to being like you.
You are both thirsty for love but you went about trying to quench that thirst directly by loving him thoroughly, unconditionally, and exclusively, the way you wished that you would be loved. His way has been mostly to distract himself from this thirst for love via kinky sexual fantasies, porn and thirst traps. He is trying to quench his sexual fantasies, not his quench for love. The way I see it, if you try to quench his sexual fantasies, you would be part of his distraction, that would be all.
What do you think/ feel?
anitaSeptember 9, 2023 at 9:53 am #421941
Thank you, Helcat and Anita for your responses. Sorry for the delay.
In response to Helcat’s post: I am not doing well at all. Today is the official one year anniversary of the day we met on Hinge last year. To rub salt in the wound, this is also the week his parents are out of town in Italy and he had invited me months ago to take a week off of work with him this week to finally get some substantial time together and enjoy our first anniversary together. Not only that but I’ve been trying so hard to decide to go no contact with him and was going to try to do it soon but he told me yesterday that his dad had a heart attack two days into their trip to Italy and that he was hospitalized for a bit. I may be looking for excuses to prolong the disconnection, but I really just don’t think NOW is the best time to tell him I can’t talk to him anymore. But I am also a bit bitter that he’s still reaching out to me for support when he cut me out of his life and his parent’s life who loved me. I understand that a friend can support someone but it just hurts that I feel bad for his dad and I care about him only for me to know I’ll never even see his family that I was really welcome with again anyway. I told myself that I had to go no contact within the next week or so because my expectations for what this transition into friendship was going to be are not what I thought they were gonna be. He made it out to seem like he couldn’t live without me and we were best friends and he said he wanted us to figure things out together and support each other after the breakup. I understand the code change is hard and he has no obligation to me now and that sending too many messages would be mixed messages, but I’ve been reduced to like one reel or meme a day now… this isn’t what I thought the “friendship” was gonna entail and all this is doing is torturing me knowing that I have that pit in my stomach daily to check his social media and obsess over his following count going up (which it has by one). Or him posting a photo or story, or him untagging himself in our photos on his profile, I would be further crushed. The only way I’ve been trying to cope with it is by just going to work as usual to distract myself, but it’s not helped. I’ve just been a basket case and crying at work every day. When I am this down, literally nothing helps me.
I just feel like I pushed him too far and he gave up because he felt like his best he was capable of wasn’t good enough for me and he was tired of being FaceTimed regularly to talk about something that was worrying me about us, or my health anxiety or negativity got too much for him and he lost passion in me. Literally the night before he dumped me, he told me on FaceTime when I was asking him about if he was okay (because he seemed a little off with me), he said, “no it’s okay. I understand that every time we go a couple weeks without seeing each other, you just need that reassurance from me that everything is okay and it is.” Why would someone care so much and then just give up the next day? Not only that, but I worry a lot that the July wedding trip really affected him because he really wanted me to go and when I didn’t because of the weed situation, he had a moment of realization there that he was not gonna be able to go much further with me having this level of incompatibility. I realize weed bothers me on a physical level I can’t help, but it’s also really making me feel guilty for not picking my battles here. I feel like I may have lost someone really special because of a lifestyle difference. I also feel bad for being so upset and jealous over the liking of other women’s sexy photos. He felt boxed in and like he couldn’t have friends. But that one girl he liked thirst traps over was an old Tinder connection so it’s hard to not be jealous. A lot of women wouldn’t even tolerate a guy still talking to an old Tinder match. Or maybe they wouldn’t care? I just feel like this is a lot of my fault now though. Also, I don’t even know if he has a porn addiction, or if that if him being sexually unsatisfied was the main reason for leaving me. Or the sexual incompatibility that I wasn’t made aware of. The only time he ever even asked for me to do something I was uncomfortable with was the slapping thing and he asked that calmly and respected my boundary when I told him I didn’t want to perpetuate his childhood wounds during sex (which he didn’t agree was the reason for his interest in it). And the thing about the trans friend he was out late with, he’s super liberal and it tracks for him to protect a pronoun and not disrespect someone behind their back. The future talk, he never formally brought it up but the last time I was there I told him to please not joke about me moving there (because he did) unless he was serious. And he said he was. I just smiled because it made me feel good but I didn’t press the matter once again because I wasn’t wanting to make him uncomfortable. I just CANNOT wrap my head around this guy being purposely deceitful to me. Uncomfortable and avoidant? Yes, I can see that being a reason for not being honest, but with that, I don’t see a villain either.
I’m worried that my finding of the trans person’s social media has made me connect dots and assumptions that are not even there or the problem. The timing of their hire at his workplace, the fact they express themselves pretty much exactly like his fantasies and are extremely dominant and sexual, they smoke weed, etc., and he was hanging out with them the night before our big weekend, though is very ironic. Perhaps it would be easier to let him go if I knew that he really just dumped his first serious and committed relationship over sexual preferences. I understand every human has different priorities but to throw me away over that feels cheap to me.
And again about him lying about not liking photos, he admitted to me on the breakup night that he didn’t want to set himself up for failure by saying he won’t ever do that again because how is he supposed to know what is going to trigger me? I told him the obviously half-naked photos/thirst traps, but he has a point – even at this point, a harmless selfie of a pretty girl is going to send me over the edge in hurt. I worry I am the problem because of this. I don’t know if I am warranted in being so hurt over him liking photos. I can’t be sure and if he was lying, and he actually does have a bigger appetite for sex that got even more tested with the new super sexually liberated coworker he went out with and it trumps the love and comfort of me, I can’t change that he fell out of love with me over it.September 9, 2023 at 10:22 am #421942
Also in response to Anita’s post:
Where you said, “I “hear” a little girl Stacy saying something like: I thought that I was finally Special enough/ worthy enough for someone to have a deep connection with me.” I definitely agree with the entirety of your post connecting that this relationship made me feel seen and special, and it was what I desperately wanted from my parents. However, I have had many guys try to give me attention and tell me I’m special/I’m worthy, etc. but I wasn’t attracted to them or in love with them. I’ve dated many guys and have never felt such safety as I did in this one. For me to get those unmet needs fulfilled finally by a guy I was genuinely attracted to and who claimed it was completely mutual and they seemed so self-aware and emotionally safe as a person because they were always willing to talk things out and take accountability AND be so calm and understanding to me? I just can’t shake the loss and it does seem like it was a once in a lifetime type of connection. And that I sabotaged it by being too paranoid and projecting trust issues on him. And by being really negative about my life in July.
But that’s IF the breakup was even due to him being annoyed by my self-sabotaging or negative behavior. If it was truly reduced down to sexual incompatibility, that’s even more humiliating. After the slapping request, nothing ever felt the same because deep down I started worrying he wasn’t being fulfilled. The moments where he started mentioning how something was sexy about a woman or a sexual scenario made me worry I wasn’t measuring up and keeping him interested. Most of the time, he would mention those scenarios and then say I would be hot as that person, or it would be hot for us to do this or that, and THAT didn’t bother me. I was flattered to be included in these fantasies. But some of the fantasies are not my cup of tea and I worried like you said earlier, that his dark side was coming out. I will say this and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here before or not but the last time we hung out and he said his deepest sexual fantasy was to bang a succubus, he said, “I don’t know what that says about me as a person” and laughed. I try to not judge because everyone has their preferences, and I just replied, “Well humans can have animalistic urges sometimes and I understand that it’s nothing personal against me” He responded with, “I just blame my past porn brain for that.” And I said, “well it’s only when these things AREN’T lined up with me and it makes me still worry.” And he said, “No I get it. You aren’t into that stuff because you’re a good girl. And that’s fine, I’m a good boy.” It was just incredibly weird to me for him to say that. Like I said, with the frequent seemingly harmless and light teasing about how he wished I were mean to him, and how I was a good girl/goodie two shoes, it’s hard to not take that personally and start dissecting if he really WAS bothered by me not being more “deviant” because then he’d turn around and acknowledge how much he likes me. Why did he say “I’m a good boy” after that, that day? Like you mentioned earlier, I do worry that he was perhaps always dealing with conflicting appetites here. I guess now he is free to have all the emotionally bankrupt sex he wants to have. If that’s what this boils down to. And I hate that I can’t hate him for that because I understand some people are much more sexually driven that I am. I don’t even really ever think about sex and that’s probably part of my problem. Connection comes first to me, sex is at the bottom of my priority list.
His ADHD was a big struggle for him and I’ve heard from others with ADHD that it’s truly an object permanence issue sometimes and if we are long distance, I can see him falling out of love due to this.
Also where you said that I may feel insignificant to him as a blip on his map like I was on my parent’s map? I do agree that I did not feel special to my parents, only in moments here and there. I know they loved me but I also don’t feel like I was a blip on their maps. What I was referring toSeptember 9, 2023 at 10:27 am #421944
Sorry, I accidentally posted before I could finish it.
… What I was referring to about the “blip on the map” thing with him in all those countries and sexual and social explorations, I just feel really inexperienced and not good enough for him. For someone who has lived so hard and continues to do so, I worry that my loss is less significant that for someone like myself who lives very slowly in comparison. I feel left out in the dust. He has too many amazing experiences and has too many people that matter to him for him to worry about losing me, he keeps himself constantly distracted and onto the next thing. I truly feel like a blip on his map! Not only that, but there is jealousy there for myself and my parents that we haven’t gotten to travel or have the opportunities his family has had. And I get that part of me is ENTIRELY projecting and has nothing to do with him.September 9, 2023 at 11:10 am #421945
You are welcome and I am sorry that you are not doing well at all.
“When I am this down, literally nothing helps me“- I wish there was something I- a stranger on the internet- could say to make you feel better.
Reading your posts today, I can see how much you are suffering these days, feeling unseen and un- special, a blip on his map, thinking and overthinking about all your imagined- or real- mistakes in the relationship, feeling guilty for the breakup, feeling that you are not good enough for him.
“What I was referring to about the ‘blip on the map’ thing with him in all those countries and sexual and social explorations, I just feel really inexperienced and not good enough for him… He has too many amazing experiences and has too many people that matter to him for him to worry about losing me, he keeps himself constantly distracted and onto the next thing. I truly feel like a blip on his map! Not only that, but there is jealousy there for myself and my parents that we haven’t gotten to travel or have the opportunities his family has had. And I get that part of me is ENTIRELY projecting and has nothing to do with him.“-
– I too experienced a deep, painful low self-esteem and lots of guilt, and I suffered for so long. I felt guilty and responsible for all bad things happening in my life. I felt that life is passing me by, and that other people are having so much fun while I was stuck in misery. Growing up, my mother worked cleaning the offices and homes of the rich, and she complained about her hands bleeding from the detergents she used cleaning their toilets and such, and her whole body hurting, and how unlucky she was working for those lucky people. I was so very upset that she was not one of the lucky, rich people she worked for. I wanted to make her rich so that she can finally be on the lucky side of life (I tried hard, and I failed).
It is only recently that my self-esteem significantly improved.. what a slow process this has been. And I know that once you feel better about yourself (I hope that it happens quicker than it happened for me), once your unearned guilt is resolved (once you figure out what you are truly responsible for and what you are not responsible for), you will feel so much better, breakup or not.
I used to imagine that the lucky people (rich people able to travel the world and live in luxury) were happy go-lucky people, as the saying goes. But when my self-esteem significantly improved, once I was no longer tortured by guilt and self-doubt, I found out (to my surprise!) that those lucky people were not happy-go-lucky at all, and that every person experiences the pain I thought belonged only to me/ my mother.
From what you shared about him, he is not a happy-go-lucky person, it’s just that he is able to easily (compared to you) distract himself from what’s troubling him, while you get stuck in what’s troubling you, kind of sinking in it… ?
anitaSeptember 9, 2023 at 3:09 pm #421951
Thank you for your kind words. I feel for you that you had that kind of struggle in childhood too with your mother. I have had this feeling since I was old enough to start seeing people around me having more than me. It follows me everywhere and at 31, almost 32 soon… I am scared I cannot heal from this. I don’t know what I can do to brush off these feelings. It doesn’t help that being poverty level makes it feel like every man with even a middle class upbringing does not understand you at your core. I thought that being with a man who finally understands and acknowledges privilege and doesn’t throw up the fact that I’m “not doing enough to better myself” and shaming my family for being poor was a great sign he was a safe partner. I hate I lost that.
I am so glad that you have been able to work through it and I hope someday to be where you are at in your healing. I don’t know how to heal from a relationship that felt genuine and reciprocal and transparent until the moment I was dumped. The trust issues I brought into this relationship that inevitably might have partially ruined it for him are nothing compared to the new trust issues I have now. I just wish we could have communicated more and he wouldn’t have bailed the moment life and our situation got to be too much for him. I know avoidants will end things to protect themselves, but I can’t help but feel like if the love was truly mutual, he wouldn’t have been able to do this to me/us. And what I hate is that this guy knows not one bit of how much I am hurting.
I’ve been worried the whole time that as soon as I started showing him love and acceptance, I lost value and worthiness to him because he thinks someone who sees him as worthy is not a high value person. This would explain why he never embraced my compliments and even admitted at the beginning that he was hung up on being cheated on and rejected. I always worried he had that girl on a pedestal because he only believes what she confirms to be true for himself. I can’t win with someone like this if this is true. He even would say, “why do you like me? Why are you with me?” Jokingly. I always chalked it up to him not feeling good enough for me, but maybe it was that he felt too good for me.
You are probably right about him being able to distract himself constantly from his troubles. He self-admittedly told me at the beginning of our relationship when we had to weed discussion that he respected anyone who can “raw dog life” (referring to me because I told him I didn’t use any drugs or prescription drugs for my mental struggles). And he can easily go from one thing to another basically just from getting distracted easily in general with his ADHD. I am absolutely stuck and drowning in my sorrows right now. I’ve cried all day. He hasn’t reached out to me today yet, which has been his standard since the breakup. He usually messages me later in the evening but with it being Saturday, my mind is racing that he’s already numbing himself with someone else. He told me last night that he would give me an update about his dad’s heart attack today when he got the info together. I go back and forth so hard trying to figure out if I should go no contact and when and how. I know that I need to at least not see his stuff on social media anymore and we really can’t talk because getting any updates about his life I’m no longer a part of is torture. But I also don’t want to cut it off either because I know deep down he’ll never reach back out to me after this. I will probably never hear from him again and I can’t face that thought right now.September 9, 2023 at 3:18 pm #421952
*I meant to explain that he may feel unworthy, so when someone confirms this belief for him by rejecting him, he believes he has to prove himself to this person and because they pull away, it’s an addictive fixation and chase in a way for them. But with someone like me who accepted him and wanted to love him, he didn’t believe that about himself, so he lost interest and maybe even admiration and respect for me because he wasn’t having to prove anything to me. Which feels unnatural to him. If I was just a rebound or this whole time he really didn’t actually feel attraction or real feelings of love and closeness for me, I will never recover from this. It makes me physically ill to have been played this hard. Like how he felt when his cheating ex played him,September 10, 2023 at 9:38 am #421962
You are very welcome and thank you for your empathy and kindness!
“I was born and am still poverty level, he was born upper middle class… I have had this feeling since I was old enough to start seeing people around me having more than me. It follows me everywhere and at 31, almost 32 soon… I am scared I cannot heal from this. I don’t know what I can do to brush off these feelings… I thought that being with a man who finally understands and acknowledges privilege and doesn’t throw up the fact that I’m ‘not doing enough to better myself’ and shaming my family for being poor was a great sign he was a safe partner. I hate I lost that.“-
– this is what I understand: very early in your life, you observed that people shamed your parents for being poor/ financially disadvantaged (and for using drugs, I assume: “I grew up in a drug filled home“), throwing it up to their faces (hitting your face as well) that they were not doing enough to better themselves. You observed your parents hurt and ashamed (A child is very empathetic to her parents, taking on their feelings as her own, or feeling what she imagines that they are feeling). Perhaps you felt ashamed of them yourself, while also loving them very much.
The societal judgment against your parents was a judgment against the young girl that you were because a young child does not distinguish between herself and her parents: she didn’t yet go through the so called separation-individuation development stage of childhood. Perhaps you were personally shamed as well for being poor, by school peers and such.
When a girl grows up without enough safety and love, she never separates from her parents emotionally, still feeling their feelings, or what she imagines that they feel, still evaluating life according to their thoughts and feelings, not yet re-evaluating life according to her own thoughts, not enough in any case (which if she did, she may think the same, similar or very differently from her parents’).
Every time she sees other people having more money and things bought with money, she feels that shame.
“His parents are both very successful and retired psychologists with PhDs… this relationship made me feel seen and special… there is jealousy there for myself and my parents that we haven’t gotten to travel or have the opportunities his family has had… I thought that being with a man who finally understands and acknowledges privilege and doesn’t throw up the fact that I’m ‘not doing enough to better myself’ and shaming my family for being poor was a great sign he was a safe partner. I hate I lost that”-
– with this man, you felt, at times, safe from societal judgment. In other words, with this man you felt temporarily free from shame, and with the breakup, you lost that temporary relief and the hope that you can live shame-free. With this man, perhaps you felt that it is possible for you to finally belong to the financially/ educationally privileged world into which you always wanted to belong. This is what the breakup means to you.. is it?
“I did not feel special to my parents, only in moments here and there“- a girl needs to feel special. She needs to feel that her parents (rich or poor) think that she is special: she needs to feel that she is making her parents’ lives better, that she brings a smile to their faces, at least once a day.
When she feels un-special, she looks for the fault within herself and she blames herself: “The trust issues I brought into this relationship that inevitably might have partially ruined it for him“, “I reached out to him to apologize for all of the times my past trauma triggered me and I projected insecurities onto him… I sabotaged.. “). This self-blame adds much pain to the breakup, making it feel much worse than if you didn’t blame yourself so much.
Of course you made mistakes, everyone makes mistakes in relationships, every single person, but reading and re-reading your story, I figure that even if you were perfect (which would be impossible), it wouldn’t have been enough for a man who suffers from (and was diagnosed with) depression and ADHD, a man who at 31 did not have a single long-term relationship with a woman, a man who spends his time not in attending psychotherapy and immersing himself in mental/ emotional healing, but instead, he spends his time in pornography and sexual fantasies.. to have his first long-term relationship.
“He has too many amazing experiences“- no experience is as amazing as feeling right about oneself, feeling good enough (a healthy self-esteem), not even close.
“it being Saturday, my mind is racing that he’s already numbing himself with someone else“- no one numbs themselves because they have an amazing life.
“with someone like me who accepted him and wanted to love him, he didn’t believe that about himself, so he lost interest and maybe even admiration and respect for me“- I agree that this is a very likely possibility. When a child is unloved/ not appreciated by a parent, as an adult, he often looks for a romantic partner who also does not appreciate him. The (very common) compulsion is about changing an unappreciative parent into an appreciating parent by proxy of the romantic partner.
“I am absolutely stuck and drowning in my sorrows right now. I’ve cried all day… I will never recover from this. It makes me physically ill to have been played this hard“- I feel sad that you are suffering. And I figure that much of your suffering about this breakup and otherwise- will be gone if you re-evaluated your story, his story, and eliminated assumptions and core beliefs that are simply not true. I will be glad to share with you, if and when you are willing, how I did such re-evaluation and how it changed how I feel.
You submitted the two posts above about 18 hours ago. How are you feeling now???
anitaSeptember 10, 2023 at 11:12 am #421965
I am doing very badly, much the same as the last time we talked. Yesterday marked our one year anniversary and also the first day since knowing him that he did not message me. He told me Friday night he would send me updates about his dad on Saturday, but nothing. I thought that maybe it’s just a lot of stressful stuff going on for him but it is NOT LIKE him to ever do this. I cannot process that a whole day passed and he didn’t speak to me. I know he is no longer obligated to reach out daily, even weekly, but it’s incredibly painful. I worry he may ghost me. I was going to try to work up the nerve to stop the communication myself, but it looks like he may be doing that first.
I am sick to think that the reason for him leaving me was because he devalued me as soon as I valued him as I mentioned earlier. You said you think I’m onto something with this, and unfortunately it makes sense and hurts a lot to wonder WHEN he decided I wasn’t special to him after this realization. The chase was over for him to prove his worth to me after I accepted him, and it’s like the rest of the relationship was him being bored/unchallenged with me. I mentioned earlier about him often trying to get me to be more mean to him/tease him more, and how his sexual fantasies revolved around him being shamed. I realized at a certain point how all of these things seemed too closely related and I was getting hurt by all of this because I am not a mean person and it was looking like I wasn’t satisfying this ongoing pattern/need for him. I would flat out tell him, “But I am not a mean person! I am nice and you should accept me for who I am without trying to change me.” He would laugh it off and say, “I’m not trying to change you, I just think it would be funny to see you do that sometimes.” But get this – it started turning into him even saying stuff like, “You’re too easy.” He would say that in reference to the fact that I let him go down on me on our first date. I would scoff at this and say, “Pardon me for having been that into you and not having sex in two years until that night.” We even joked when we first met that we were both touch and love starved and appreciated how open and safe we felt with each other and how irresistible we were to each other. (But I still made us wait 3 months before we had sex because I wasn’t ready for that yet). Anyway, for him to joke that I was “too easy” to win over was insulting even though it SEEMED like he was joking. He’d also say it in context to me laughing at all of his jokes and thinking everything he does is awesome. Forgive me for being massively attracted to someone who was reciprocating for once? That offended me too because it made me worry he was actually put off by me being so into him. But he was dating me and seemed into me… until it was over. Even on our second date he was joking about me laughing at everything he said and he said it was great because finally a girl finds his sense of humor attractive but it seems like he grew to be bored by it. Last night, I think I also just realized that him harping on the “you’re too easy” assessment of me could be him literally saying, “You’re too easy for me to chase. I got you too easily so I don’t respect you now. I need to feel like I have to prove my worth to someone and I am resentful that you accepted me too easily.” I bet this also accounted for the boredom he started to feel with me. This is the most painful realization if I’m anywhere close to being right.
Or that he gave up because it was easier to not have someone making him accountable for things he didn’t want to deal with. That’s the blame I definitely carry because he has actually been in therapy for his problems and he loves therapy. He thinks it’s a great tool and is an advocate for it because of his parents. He previously spoke about being disappointed in his friend for NOT wanting therapy. I thought it was safe for him to discuss himself. Plus, that growing up in a much more emotionally and mentally stable home than me was safe by default. But who am I to stand here and tell him what he’s doing wrong? He never did that to me and my trust and paranoia issues definitely wore on him, I’m sure. I feel sick over it. He never threw my therapy issues in my face until the night of the breakup. I know I have to have boundaries and I was trying to use what I’ve been taught in therapy – to finally stand up and speak when something bothers me. I think a part of the guilt in me is also STILL NOT KNOWING if me being offended by these thirst trap photos and him being out late with the trans person was actually warranted, or wrong of him. Did he flat out lie about their gender solely to look less guilty or was he truly protecting pronouns? It’s so confusing to me. He has to know I would have eventually found their social media. It was easy when he was only following a handful of people. I don’t want to be controlling and he can do what he wants, but I guess once you’re in a seemingly committed relationship, where does the discernment start and end? Was I being too overbearing with those boundaries?
I do believe you’re absolutely correct about taking on my parents’ shame. When I was in therapy, I learned that I had feelings of inadequacy because of this, so I have been made aware of it but it is INCREDIBLY hard to break out of. You’re right – my parents used alcohol when I was a child and my neighbor best friend’s mom almost threatened to call the cops on my parents a time or two for the loud music they were playing late at night while partying. I was always so embarrassed of my parents but also felt terrible for them and wanted to defend them. At school, I would find myself covering for them and lying about how they parent me and behave so my friends wouldn’t think badly of them. I had a boy once tell me I smelled like an ashtray because my parents smoked. One of my best friends also told me in kindergarten that my parents smoking would kill them and I was shocked to quickly learn that a lot of other parents in my grade were not smokers, and they had office jobs and were much younger than my parents. My dad was a sheetmetal worker and my mom was stay at home. My brother is also special needs/autistic and can’t speak, and when he was living with us before moving into a group home, we lived in fear because he ripped up our carpet and toilet from the floor, busted a hole in our bathtub, pulled out and smashed the drawers in my kitchen, etc. I had to go hide in cabinets or lock my bedroom door with my sister when he’d have an episode. So just going to a friend’s house and seeing carpet or a kitchen drawer was enough to make me jealous. A bathtub with no hole in it that has been covered with sheetmetal because we can’t afford any repairs? Absolute bitterness. I understand other people have had it MUCH harder than me though so I try very hard to not wallow. It’s hard though to date someone with an upbringing and life experiences from another galaxy.
I know logically I must remove myself from my parents’ shame because that is not mine to hold. But it doesn’t help when my dad passed away when I was 20 JUST as he was finally getting financial compensation for his injuries from being in combat. I am mad that he didn’t get to enjoy his youth and have anything, and that my mom was widowed and every single day I can see her completely crippled still by the loss of him. She doesn’t go out, she has no friends, no family she wants to connect with, she depends fully on my sister and I for everything she needs. She doesn’t want to do any hobbies, her only hobbies are working in the garden and decorating and these require physical mobility and money. And we help her out of love but also because we are indebted to her – she has graciously let us live with her while we also financially struggle. I try to remove myself from my mom’s issues when she vents and tell myself she keeps herself stuck. But I also see that she is physically and financially incapable of a lot of things she wants to do and it suffocates me. It makes me feel hopeless for her and for me. My therapist said years ago that I do indeed struggle with family enmeshment and I try to work through this but living here I think hinders me from separating at all.
And you’re right, I absolutely think that I found refuge in my ex, and even his parents when they met me and accepted and loved me. It’s not as simple as, “oh I want to marry into this rich family.” It’s, “Oh this rich family accepts me and thinks I’m good enough for them, and this guy from this impressive upbringing and who has had a really impressive life with a ton of experiences with travel and other people, who claims to love me so much thinks I’M impressive? Then I’ve won. As soon as he dumped me and I found those tagged photos of him from other countries and having all these other experiences without me, I felt like I was just abandoned not only by him but by someone saying I’m not good enough for them to do those adventures with.
The negative self-talk is definitely an issue too. I can’t help but blame myself for nagging him so much. He had tried to work this stuff out in therapy and I was still bringing stuff up and accusing him constantly. About two months ago, we had a day where he was ignoring me and I kind of took it out on him by saying that he’d eventually leave me because he was gonna get sick of me. He usually responded with love and joking but that time in particular, he snapped and confronted me. He said, “Look, I love you but it’s not fair to me for you to put these hypothetical scenarios and stuff onto me.” I told him I was so sorry and that I hated to make him feel that way because he was a very good person to me and it was stuff I struggled with in therapy from feeling that I was too much. I then asked him if he was feeling like this often. He said, “No, it hardly ever happens and it doesn’t really bother me much but sometimes I just worry that you think I’m inherently this bad guy with bad intentions. My intentions are good and I never want to hurt you.” I don’t see how he could go from that and reassuring me that we were still a team to two months or so later telling me he is struggling with other stuff.