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How to get back to where we were..

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  • #363870
    mmm__
    Participant

    This going to be quite long and maybe a little confusing, so if you’re willing to read and help.. thank you.

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for five years now. In the beginning of our relationship he was still with his ex-girlfriend for the first four months of our relationship (unbenounced to me). I met him when I was 19 and he was 21 at the time. The relationship with his previous ex-girlfriend was not good due to family not approving yet they stay together for about six years. Throughout these last five years things have been very good but also some bad too. He’s had an issue with lying about where he is whether he’s with friends or what he’s doing, it’s never been with another girl since the beginning of the relationship. I had always said that lying is the biggest problem for me because that’s a trust issue and I must be able to trust him. Time and time again he said he would work on it, and if I caught him in a lie .. he would say he was afraid of my reaction. Now, to be honest, I am quite the “quick to react” person rather than actually listen to him and give him a chance to explain before I shout and react.

    Since last November (2019) he and I have danced around the topic of getting engaged. When we were shopping for Christmas gifts, I had tried on engagement rings just for fun in front of him. We went on vacation in December with his parents and we had stopped by a jewlery shop for his mother to look.. and he had asked me what I liked (while looking at the rings). In my perspective, he was on board with getting engaged.

    In January a few weeks after vacation, I saw Tinder was on his phone. I freaked out on him and he begged me to listen to him and understand. He said that when were fighting towards the end of 2019, he got drunk while away from work one night and downloaded tinder, he swiped a few times but never used it because he realized it was stupid and went to bed but never deleted it. I made him show me it was deleted and said that if something like this ever happened again, I’d be gone.

    Fast forward to last month (July 2020).. I woke up in the middle of the night at his house and noticed his phone was right next to me. (We have had fights on and off since May about work for both of us, I’m in nursing school and he travels for work, me wanting more attention from him and then not getting it) So something pulled at me and I went through his phone. I found tinder on his subscriptions in the App Store. Yes, I know if I had to go through his phone then there was an issue to begin with- I’m well aware. SO I downloaded tinder since my fingerprint is in his phone (he told me to do that) and I saw that there was an active account. He had been messaging random girls the same pick up line. There wasn’t much conversation after he sent it. Now this was right after we celebrated our 5 years. So I woke him up, at 330 AM and pretty much chewed him out about it. I told him I was leaving (and I meant it as much as it killed me) and I asked him so many questions, yelled so much.. it was quite the emotional night. He put himself on the floor to sleep so I could sleep in his bed alone and I cried myself to sleep. So once I was finally able to sleep, he got up from the floor and came to me crying..sobbing. I dont think I’ve ever seen this man cry so hard. He profusely apologized. Begged me to not leave and to stay. We spent time talking about it, me asking him why.. I really just wanted answers. I wanted to know what I did to deserve this, why he did it. After long talks, he finally opened up to me that he has been panicking about me wanting to get engaged, not sure if we should be right now.. him not being ready. I explained to him that I was having those same exact feelings, but I was dealing with them in therapy every week. He said that he went on tinder just to see if he had it in him to get a girl’s attention, he wanted an ego boost and never met up with anyone or had any intention too. From the first time he cheated on me, he said he saw how much it hurt me that he would never do that ever again and if he wanted to be with someone he would just leave me.

    After questioning things with him I made him open up about his feelings since he’s been internalizing them for 6+ months. He explained that his issue with lying which I just found out is due to not wanting to upset or disappoint anyone. He recently disclosed that growing up, he never thought that he could do anything right so rather than show people his mistakes or seem upset, he would choose a self destructive behavior and lie. He didn’t want to tell me he wasn’t sure about me wanting to marry him because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. so instead of talking about it, he chose to go to tinder to deal with it. After this conversation, I told him that we should take a break and maybe see other people.. or just not talk for a while. Right after saying this, his lip trembles and starts crying again, begging me not to leave.. telling me that he knows he wants to be with me now and that “he just made the biggest mistake of his life” I left his house that day not knowing what I was going to do. My texts flooded with messages about how he’s realized how stupid he’s been and how I deserve to be treated so much better than he has been. Later in the week when I asked him how he knows now suddenly that he wants to be with me, he said that sometimes you need to be knocked around and hit hard to learn a lesson.. seeing you want to walk away from me made me realize I was letting go the best thing I’ve ever had.

    Fast forward to today (August 2020) we are still together but I warned him that it was going to take time for me to get over it. For the last 3 weeks I’ve just shut down. When we are together, I’m happy.. he’s so much more attentive and loving than he has ever been. If this whole situation never happened, I would be adamant that this man loves me 100%. But I’m still struggling to let things go. I love him, and I know that he loves me. But I cant help but question everything he says. I know it’s only been a few weeks since everything has happened and it takes time to heal.. but I’ve been having nightmares about this, I’m constantly wavering back and forth whether this will or can work. When I talk to my close friend or my therapist, I’m back to being confident and happy. I know my anxiety is a huge contributor to my racing thoughts and my fear of divorce or being in an unhappy marriage (my parent’s pretty much just live together at this point) also adds to this stress. I do want to make things work, especially if things stay this way. If I can move past this barrier, I see myself being so happy and in love again. But right now I cant seem to get past what he did.. and I immediately put a wall up that I can’t seem to tear down. Each day I spend with him, I truly do just feel so in love. But once I go to my own home and am away from him for a few days.. the questions and fear race back in. Since he isnt traveling due to COVID.. I really want to be able to work on things before my School semester starts, I won’t have time to put as much thought and effort into it. Which, may be a good thing because then I’m not overthinking and letting this consume my mind.

    I guess I’m just looking for help as in, do you think I can make this work? How do I let go and truly move on? I want to move on from everything in the past and be happy. I’m just having a tough time trusting that this will work.

    #363916
    anita
    Participant

    Dear mmm_:

    You shared that you, 24,  are currently in nursing school, awaiting a new semester to start, and your boyfriend of five years is 26, traveled for work before Covid. For the first 4 months of the relationship, he was still with his now ex-girlfriend of six years, but you didn’t know that at the time. He has a habit of “lying about where he is whether he’s with friends or what he’s doing”. You told him that it is very important to you that he will not lie to you, but he kept lying to you at times, saying that he lied to you because he was afraid of your reaction. You admit that you are indeed quick to react, instead of “listen to him and give him a chance to explain before I shout and react”.

    At the end of last year the two of you “danced around the topic of getting engaged” but you also fought. In January this year you saw that he had tinder on his phone. He told you that during one of those fights in December, he got drunk and downloaded tinder but never used it. You then made him show you that the account was deleted, and you told him that “if something like this ever happened again, I’d be gone”.

    You and him fought on and off since May this year because you want more attention from him. July this year, right after you celebrated the 5 year anniversary of your relationship, while at his house, you  went through his phone and found an active tinder account on his phone, he “had been messaging random girls the same pick up line”. You then woke him up at 3:30 am “and pretty much chewed him out about it.. asked him so many questions, yelled so much”, and cried yourself to sleep as he lay on the floor. He later got up from the floor and cried and sobbed, profusely apologized and begged you to not leave him.

    You asked him why he did what he did and “he finally opened up to me that he has been panicking about me wanting to get engaged, not sure if we should be right now.. him not being ready”, and that “he went on tinder just to see if he had it in him to get a girl’s attention, he wanted an ego boost”.

    He went on to explain to you that “his issue with lying.. is due to not wanting to upset or disappoint anyone.. growing up, he never thought that he could do anything right so rather than show people his mistakes or seem upset, he would.. lie”. Next, you suggested that the two of you take a break from each other, and “his lip trembles and starts crying again, begging me not to leave.. telling me that he knows he wants to be with me now and that ‘he just  made the biggest mistake of his life'”. He flooded your phone with texts about how stupid he’s been etc. When you asked him why the change of heart regarding wanting to be with you, he said that “sometimes you need to be knocked around and hit hard to learn a lesson”.

    A few weeks later, he’s been “much more attentive and loving than he has ever been”, but you “can’t help but question everything he says.. I can’t seem to get past what he did”, you feel happy at times, but “once I go to my own home.. the questions and fear race back in”.

    You asked: “do you think I can make this work? How do I let go and truly move on? I want to move on from everything in the past and be happy”-

    My input/ answer: If you noticed, in my first paragraph to you I used the word habit, saying that he has a habit of lying. Habits are very difficult to break. Even though he feels strongly about you, that love that he feels for you is not strong enough to break such a deep habits of many years. He told you that “sometimes you need to be knocked around and hit hard to learn a lesson”- but lots and lots of gamblers, drug addicts, other addicts get knocked around and hit hard many times (lose all their money, get DUI’s, get arrested, spend months or years in jail, etc.) and still they don’t change their ways, still gamble, still use drugs etc.. and lose their money again, and get arrested again, etc. etc. Habits are very hard to break, some habits more than others.

    It does happen that one of those “rock bottom” events results in breaking a habit, but you don’t know if what happened a few weeks ago was that one rock bottom event or it was one of the events leading to a possible future rock bottom event that will lead to him breaking the habit.

    Let’s take a closer look at his habit of lying. He told you that “his issue with lying.. is due to not wanting to upset or disappoint anyone.. growing up, he never thought that he could do anything right so rather than show people his mistakes or seem upset, he would.. lie”. Reads to me that there is a motivation for him to lie that he didn’t express to you, and that is anger.

    This is what I think that motivation may be about: as a child, growing up, his parent or parents got upset with him and expressed their disappointment in him when he made mistakes. As a result, he felt anxious, hurt but also angry at the parent who hurt him so badly. His lying was not just a way to prevent the parent from being upset, but  also a way to.. get back at the parent, to take revenge, and that’s where his pleasure is  in lying.

    The intense and persistent anger a child feels for a parent doesn’t disappear when the child becomes an adult, and it is not limited to the context of the relationship with the parent, it extends to romantic relationships. At any one time, he may feel angry at you (projecting his parent into you, or otherwise), and when angry.. he is in the habit of taking his revenge, his way of feeling that he has power in an otherwise powerless situation (his parent getting upset at him). There is pleasure in that feeling of power, and habits motivated by intense pleasure are very difficult to break.

    I hope I made sense to you. Did I?

    anita

     

    #364612
    mmm__
    Participant

    Anita,

    You definitely did make sense.. I see exactly what you mean. I’m not sure if this rock bottom definitely has moved him, I hope it has. I know no relationship is perfect, but I’m also worried of being hurt.

    #364615
    anita
    Participant

    Dear mmm_:

    It is  not a good idea to be in a relationship with a person who habitually lies. It is a bad thing for a nation to have a leader who habitually lies: it costs people their health, their lives and livelihoods. And it is bad for you to be involved with a habitual liar. I am guessing one more lie on his part, and he is out of your life?

    anita

    #364822
    mmm__
    Participant

    For sure.

    #364825
    anita
    Participant

    Dear mmm_:

    You read very confident about it. Good thing. Post again anytime you want to post, and I will be glad to read from you and reply.

    anita

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