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I thought he was my forever til the end

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  • #368486
    Katie
    Participant

    This is my first post; I’ll try to keep it short.  I’m 58; my boyfriend is 59.  We went to school together as kids, 6th – high school seniors.  He claims he’s loved me since 6th grade.  I knew him back then, but we weren’t friends or anything.  We both went on with life and got married; both of our long-term marriages ended in divorce (25+ years).  He friended me on FB, and our friendship turned into a relationship that I had never experienced before. Our connection so deep; we felt we were soulmates, best friends, and should have been together way back in high school.  Mind you, I didn’t know him, but he said he was very attracted to me but felt I was out of his league.  We are now taking a break in our relationship because he is now jealous of people I was with in high school.  Yep…high school.  Simply because he wanted to be with me, he wanted to be my first, etc.  But, the past is the past and there’s nothing to do about that now.  Now though, it has affected our future.  At a time when we should  be looking forward to retirement and life together, he’s dwelling on high school, to the point where he’s become verbally abusive.  This has all peaked this past year, and I couldn’t take it any more.  He’s in therapy, but I’m not sure where we stand…limbo.  I’m not sure how to go on without him.  We were constantly holding hands…while sleeping, grocery shopping, you name it. Our hands naturally found each other.  He is passive aggressive and has OCD; he plays mental movies of me with others I’ve dated.  Anyone else out there ever deal with this type of situation?  I love him and am so hopeful.  Thank you for your ear!

    #368530
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    “He is passive aggressive and has OCD; he plays mental movies of me with others I’ve dated”, “Anyone else out there ever deal with this type of situation?”-I have suffered from OCD since early childhood, and later in life, I played mental movies of men with other women in their pasts. I know the suffering involved  in playing those mental movies. I didn’t understand the difference between then  past and the present, not beyond the dry-intellectual understanding. Those images and movies felt real and present, as if they were happening in-the-now.

    At the time of my extreme obsession on the matter, I made an appointment with a psychiatrist for the expressed purpose of stopping these tormenting obsessions. It was the first time that I was prescribed with an SSRI anti-depressant, Zoloft, which is often prescribed for OCD. The drug worked for me, it cut off the thoughts/mental movies as if it was a pair of scissors, so the images were cut off before developing into a movie.

    Unfortunately, I needed much more than a psychiatric drug and I didn’t receive the psychotherapy I needed. Although I felt better not obsessing, I was still too unwell to  carry on a healthy relationship, not until I finally received quality therapy, a couple of decades later.

    You mentioned that he is attending psychotherapy. Maybe he can also go on an SSRI that will work for him and provide him with the relief that he desperately needs, a relief that will make it possible for him, in combination with psychotherapy,  to have a healthy relationship with you?

    anita

     

    #368531
    Katie
    Participant

    Hi Anita.

    He is currently taking cymbalta, originally for back pain, but I’m not sure if it’s the right choice for his OCD.  It was prescribed by his GP and not a psychiatrist.  In the past I encouraged him to see a psychiatrist thinking perhaps it was not the right medication for him.

    He is in therapy, but I do not attend sessions with him.  I am in therapy also, have been for years, but would like to see his therapist at least once.  I would think she would want to meet with me, but do understand he probably has a lot that he needs to talk about.

    I have such a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he wanted to be with me when he was 13 but was too shy to say anything, but now is/was with me, but jealousy of the past has ruined our future together.

    I’ve been down a lot because we’re in limbo.  Him trying to work out his issues. Me not knowing when or if it’s time to move on.  We seemed perfect for each other.  We were happy to just be sitting next to each other on the sofa holding hands.  Just simple, easy things.  I wish I could break out of this sadness that has just taken over my world.

    Katie

    #368533
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    According to Wikipedia, OCD is NOT listed as one of the disorders/ illnesses that Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is  prescribed for. On the other hand, I was prescribed Zoloft for the treatment of OCD, and if you look at Wikipedia’s entry on Zoloft, OCD as one of the disorders that Zoloft is prescribed for.

    * At a later time, I was prescribed another SSRI, Luvox (Flovoxamine), “which is used primarily for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder”, Wikipedia.

    “I have such a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he wanted to be with me when he was 13 but was too shy to say anything, but now is/ was with me, but jealousy of the past has ruined our future”- his OCD and anger (the anger behind him being passive-aggressive, which you mentioned) is not the result of him wanting to be with you when he was 13. It is most likely about his childhood experience before he was 13, an experience that has nothing to do with you.

    In my case, my obsession-related anger was about the fact that as a child I was not preferred by my mother; it was about her looking up to others as valuable, while looking down at me as lacking value. It was a very painful experience for me, and the cause for a lot of rage in me, rage that kept playing out in relationships.

    He may have had a similar childhood experience to mine (?)

    “I’ve been down a lot because we’re in limbo. Him trying to work out his issues. Me now knowing when or if it’s time to move on.. I wish I could break out of this sadness that has just taken over my world”- seems to me that he should consider an SSRI that is prescribed for the treatment of OCD while continuing his psychotherapy. The drug can give him the fast relief that therapy cannot give him.

    I believe that you should see his therapist, or a different couple therapist so to guide the two of you into what is next.

    anita

     

    #368535
    Katie
    Participant

    Thank you Anita,

    My therapist did say that what my boyfriend is experiencing goes back to his childhood.  My boyfriend mentioned a trauma from catholic school that he never could talk about. I never pried.  But this he says has come up in his therapy.  I know he was and has witnessed abuse by the nuns.

    He is reluctant to try new drug therapy; he says he has tried other meds in the past and complained of side effects.

    I’ll  mention to him a visit with his therapist, but he’s not really on board with this. I think she should see me and know who he is talking about.  We try not to contact each other too much. His therapist didn’t recommend it because she said he’s too angry with me (hence the verbal abuse)

    I’m still hopeful but am exhausted emotionally.

    #368536
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    You are welcome. The fact that he is reluctant to try new drugs- including drugs prescribed for OCD- is discouraging. Also discouraging is that he told you, if I understand correctly, that his therapist said that he is too angry with you to allow for her to see you with him- this suggests to me that he is not yet aware that his anger has nothing to do with you, and therefore, his therapy is at its very beginning. I don’t know if his therapist is competent/ good at what she does, therefore he may  not advance in therapy.

    anita

    #368538
    Katie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    His therapist said that he should not see me for awhile and not contact me too often because he is so angry with me.  He never mentioned anything to her about seeing me in therapy with him.  I’m not sure how qualified she is. He wanted to see her because he said he felt comfortable with her because he saw her for couples therapy with his ex wife when they were having issues, which ended up as him seeing her by himself.  There was no hope with the marriage.

    He and I actually texted each other yesterday and he said he trying very hard to not contact me but he misses me terribly.  He talked about how he misses our time together, fishing, holding hands, etc.  It was a good conversation and was the first time he did not touch on the past.  Then in the evening he texted me goodnight.

    He can at times get very angry about my past, asking the same questions about relationships over and over, and expecting me to provide more and more info, which I refused to do.  It doesn’t make anything better.

    Hopefully this therapist will guide him to a good place.

    Thank you.  Just venting all this helps.

    Katie

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by Katie.
    #368543
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    You are welcome to vent anytime, right here on your thread. I am not focused enough, it being later in the day. I will be back to your thread in the morning, which is in about 15 hours from now, to re-read your existing posts and any that you may add before I return to you, and reply further.

    anita

    #368573
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    About him: 59, divorced. He takes Cymbalta prescribed by his GP, originally prescribed for his back pain. (Cymbalta is also prescribed to treat major depressive disorder, but doctors prefer the newer SSRI anti-depressants. The drug is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder as well. Common side effects  include feeling tired and feeling agitated. The drug is not prescribed for OCD, Wikipedia).

    He attended Catholic School as a child and experienced some trauma there, perhaps he suffered abuse by the nuns, and/ or witnessed abuse there.

    He became aware of you when he was about 13, in 6th grade and attended the same school as you through high school. You “knew him back then, but.. weren’t friends or anything… didn’t know him”.

    Sometime after high school, he got married. At some point, “they were having issues”, and the two attended couple psychotherapy. The marriage did not survive those issues (“There was no hope with the marriage”), and they got divorced after over 25 years of marriage.

    Almost four decades later after high school, and some time after the endings of your respective marriages, the two of you started a Facebook friendship that developed into a relationship. He told you about how it was for him more than 40 years earlier: he loved you and was was very attracted to you you since 6th grade; he felt that you were “out of his league“, and that he wanted to be with you when he was 13, but was too shy to say anything.

    For a while, within  the relationship with you, he was very affectionate and attentive. The two of you felt like you “were soulmates, best friends, and should have been together way back in high school”, “we were constantly holding hands.. while sleeping, grocery shopping, you name it. Our hands naturally found each other… We seemed perfect for each other. We were happy to just be sitting next to each other on the sofa holding hands. Just simple, easy things”.

    But not long into the relationship, he started expressing an obsessive jealousy, an anger, at times it was abusive anger toward you: “He is now jealous of people I was with in high school.. because he wanted to be with me, he wanted to be my first… he’s dwelling on high school, to the point where he’s become verbally abusive… He is passive aggressive and has OCD; he plays mental movies of me with others I’ve dated… He can at times get very angry about my past, asking the same questions about relationships over and over, and expecting me to provide more and more info”.

    You tried to help him/ the relationship, encouraged him to see a psychiatrist and try a new drug therapy, but he was reluctant, complaining of side effects of “other meds in the past”, psychiatric medications that he had taken in the past. He is currently attending individual psychotherapy with his former couple therapist. She told him to not see you for awhile, and not contact you too often because “he is so angry” with you.

    The day before yesterday, the two of you texted, and he said that he misses you terribly, that he misses your time together, and that is trying very hard to not contact you. It “was the first time he did not touch on the past”.

    About you: 58, divorced after a marriage that lasted more than 25 years. You’ve been seeing a therapist for years: “I am in therapy also, have been for years”. This relationship with the current man, now on a break, meant so much to you: “a relationship that I had never experienced before. Our connection so deep; we felt we were soulmates, best friends”.

    You still love him very much and are hopeful, but also frustrated that he has been ruining the relationship because of a long-gone past that you can do nothing about. You are “exhausted emotionally”, “in limbo. Him trying to work out his issues. Me not knowing when or if it’s time to move on”.

    My thoughts this morning: it seems to me that he shared so little with you about things that matter a lot, and therefore, you don’t know enough about the man you referred to as your soulmate and best friend. “My boyfriend mentioned a trauma from Catholic school that he never could talk about. I never pried”.

    I don’t think that he elaborated on his OCD history and how it played into his marriage and divorce, nor did he elaborate on what led him to try “other meds in the past”, other psychiatric meds, did he?

    You never attended couple therapy with him, so what he tells her- you don’t know.

    It may be that the reason that the two of you enjoyed “Just simple, easy things”, is because the difficult things were not addressed.

    It is possible that the two of you were “happy to just be sitting next to each other on the sofa holding hands” because you didn’t talk while sitting on the sofa, not about things that matted a lot.

    From what you shared, you have some issues for which you are still attending therapy and have been attending it for years, and he has some serious issues that he has suffered from since his childhood. He is currently, and has been for a long time, cognitively and emotionally stuck in the past. Even if it was possible for you to change your past, he would still be stuck in the past, because it is his past that he is trapped in.

    What is it in his past that traps him, I don’t know and neither do you. I wonder if he knows, or more accurately, I wonder if he is aware of what it is in his past that traps him. He may have an inkling, but his awareness may be too limited to make a difference.

    What happened in Catholic school, and what happened at home when he returned from a day in Catholic school, traumatized- did his parents notice, did he tell them, did they turn him away, blaming him.. ? I don’t know.

    I think that what felt like a soulmate and a best friend was conditional on .. a kind of a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy between the two of you, perhaps. A strategy of.. if we don’t talk about it, it will go away.

    Is any of this true to you?

    anita

    #368578
    Katie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    The issues in his previous marriage were that the marriage was arranged, and he didn’t love his ex.  His ex was only 18 at the time and turned into a party girl and drinker, which she never grew out of.  She cheated on him as well.  There was no respect, obviously, and one thing he brought up in therapy was that she smoked in the car which made him feel ill. He asked her to stop but she would not. The therapist told her to stop doing that in the car, but she never did listen.  He then decided to have therapy on his own. He didn’t get divorced for religious reasons, but found a loop hole in the bible.

    I’ve been in therapy about 10 years because of my marriage.  My ex was an abusive alcoholic.  I continued therapy after the divorce, and was going occasionally because I believe that mental health checkups are just as important as physical health checkups.  Of course now I’m going every 2 weeks because of what is happening in my relationship.

    My boyfriend’s jealousy about my past has been over this past year since around last summer.  It’s almost as if his OCD ramped up when he thought I was sexually involved in high school with someone he hated in high school (who actually died 20 years ago), but my memory of this person is very cloudy.  I believe I was molested/raped by this person and my mind blocked it out.  And, it was 40 years ago.  But my boyfriend kept prying and memories started coming back that I didn’t want to talk about.  But he wanted answers, which I couldn’t give. I can’t even remember how I met the guy that molested me.

    When we are together we talk all the time, not just small talk but good conversations and we could talk on the phone for hours (we saw eachother only on weekends because we live 1.5 hours away from eachother).  We even have cemetery plots together.

    I believe he feels that he wants to talk about my past trauma and has said I can’t sweep it under the rug.  But how to talk about something that I don’t remember?  And what benefit is it to him?  My memory came back as “I think we dated for 3 months maybe” then, “I don’t think we dated.” I can’t remember how I met this guy; I recall bits and pieces of the encounter which makes me uncomfortable.  I could have been drugged. I’m not sure.  But I want to leave this alone and don’t want to be badgered about it.  I think this is the main issue with him about my past, but he really just can’t stand the thought of me with anyone.  The only guy he has no issue with is my ex, who died long before my boyfriend and I started our relationship.

    I have no issue with his past.  I would rather focus on the present and future. I’m so sad about this.

    Thanks Anita,

    Katie

    #368581
    Katie
    Participant

    Also, in addition to my post above, he and I have been together for almost 6 years.

    #368585
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    You are welcome. You wrote: “I’ve been in therapy about 10 years because of my marriage. My ex was an abusive alcoholic… The only guy he (current boyfriend) has no issue with is my ex, who died long before my boyfriend and I started our relationship”.

    If I understand correctly, your current boyfriend (on break) does not have an issue with a man who was in your life for over 25 years and has hurt you, but he does have an issue, and a very big issue, with a guy who has hurt you perhaps 40 years ago, for maybe 3 months.

    This confirms to me that his obsessive interest in the guy from 40 years ago, is all about your boyfriend, and nothing to do with you. What motivates him in wanting to talk about your possible trauma from over 40 years ago, is not to help you heal from it, but to help him heal from whatever ails him.

    If he cared about your healing, in regard to this man of 40 years ago, he wouldn’t be badgering you about it (“I.. don’t want to be badgered about it”); he would suggest that you talk about it with a professional instead of pressuring you to talk about it to an angry, at times verbally abusive man (himself).

    It is he who needs to talk to his therapist about his trauma, he needs not badger you about a possible trauma that may or may not happened to you 40 years earlier- it is not fair to you.

    Seems to me that he is angry at you for possibly having had sex with the guy 40 years ago, willingly or not. Maybe it is his anger at his ex-wife who “cheated on him” repeatedly for a quarter of a century, having sex with other men while being married to him, that he is projecting into you retroactively- substituting, in his OCD-mind, her cheating on him, with you possibly having had sex with a guy 40 years ago for a few months.

    What do you think?

    anita

    #368593
    Katie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    It always puzzled me that he had no real issue with my ex.  I thought it was because he was dead, but the guy from 40 years ago is also dead.  I would tell my boyfriend that I cannot even go back to high school, that my real trauma is my 25 year marriage that I needed to heal from with therapy.

    I do agree that his obsession is more of what happened to him with this guy from 40 year ago.  Whatever happened between me and the high school guy is irrelevant.  I would try to explain that I did not know him (boyfriend) in high school and whatever his issues are with this guy are not related to me.  But he created this triangle of the three of us.  And the thought of me and this guy having sex is tormenting him.  It’s his own made up image.  What saddens me is it isn’t what happened but he’s simply sticking to the story or movie that’s in his OCD mind.

    I never really thought about the ex wife cheating being projected onto me.  That’s interesting.

    I do agree that he needs to work on his own issues of his past, not my past.  And, that he cannot be the one to try to make me remember what happened to me.  Because maybe I don’t want to remember.  After all, that was 40 years ago and if I want to pick at the scab, I should be the one to do it, not him.

    I hope his therapist is a good one.  He definitely does need the help.  To have our relationship end over high school stuff when we’re in our late 50’s seems just plain dumb.

    Thank you, Katie

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by Katie.
    #368599
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    “Whatever happened between me and the high school guy is irrelevant”- it is also not his business, not your boyfriend’s business. You were not his girlfriend at the time, you had no relationship with him at the time- what happened with another guy is none of his business and he should stay away from it.

    “the thought of me and this guy having sex is tormenting to him”- he should not proceed and torment you with what is tormenting him. His torment is not your fault, not your doing, not your responsibility- it is not right that you should suffer for it.

    Like I wrote to you earlier, I suffered from decades of OCD, and from my experience later in life, I managed to experience an obsession (the O of the OCD) and not proceed with the compulsion (the C of the OCD). It is possible for him too, or should become possible: to experience an Obsession + the urge to perform a compulsion (in his case is- to asking you questions on the topic of his obsession), and then, to resist the urge and say nothing/ ask no questions.

    He needs to practice doing this, he owes this to you. it’s the decent thing to do.

    anita

    #368637
    Katie
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I have told him before that my past is none of his business and is not his to own.  I’ve told him at times that he needs to deal with the issues that he has with this high school  guy.  He has even gone as far as to look up where this guy is buried and wants to go spit on his grave.  I know… sounds crazy.  His anger directed toward this guy with regard to me should be that this guy hurt me, not that, in his OCD mind, this guy and I had this amazing sexual experience.  But regardless, my boyfriend and I did not know eachother so it shouldn’t even matter.

    I’m hopeful that he can get his OCD under control.  He does have his rituals before he leaves the house…checks the lights, toaster, doors (a few circles around), and will at times get out of the car to make certain he locked the front door.  This I’ve known about him.  And he does need to get things under control.

    I’ve always taken very good care of him.  I’ve been kind, considerate, respectful.  I believe in talking about issues (here’s where all my therapy comes in to play) and coming to a compromise or solution.  He at times, because he is passive aggressive, will shut down….silent treatment.  Who knows, this could be learned from his previous marriage, as his ex was a yeller, quite the opposite of me.

    Thank you for your insight.

    Katie

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