January 26, 2021 at 2:45 pm #373539
Thank you once again for your thoughtful response. I took your advice and recommendations and spoke with him about my fears of the prospect of settling down, about how just weeks before meeting him I was committed to moving to the new city and how now it seems my life has shifted completely in its trajectory in staying here now after meeting him. He told me that he also loves the new city and would be happy to move there with me in a year so, maybe less depending on his career.
I did try (albeit not very strongly) to suggest that maybe we take a little more time to get to know one another, but he seemed hurt and scared at this prospect and so I think I pulled back (on the pulling back!) and now I feel as though I have shifted from being with someone that makes me happy, to being with someone to make them happy. The people-pleaser in me seems to have come back in full swing, and I find myself more concerned about his well-being than my own. He is in a very precarious work situation working for quite unprofessional (in my opinion) and young co-founders. They seem to attack him and his choices even though he is their appointed CEO, and it seems like their values are not compatible with his. I worry that soon he will either lose his position or will have to leave as he has told me he no longer feels happy there. I can’t stomach the thought of leaving him now, as he is very vulnerable and he has told me that he wants and needs me in his life, that I have become his rock and he loves me completely. He is so kind to me, helps me with my issues and stressors, and definitely adds to my life. He’s exceptionally organized and clean, very selfless with me, and very loving. He writes me sweet little notes for my lunch every day and cares for me in any way he can. He helped me purchase a new car (quite expensive, but he told me that I have worked so hard the last few years that I deserve to treat myself. I’m still not sure about this as it is a big expense and I’m not sure it’s the best choice financially, but I did love the car) and is helping me sell my old one. He is already working very hard to be a good partner to me, and in that aspect, I am happy with him.
All that being said, I still have concerns. The first being his employability and his financial situation. I’m worried that I may become the sole breadwinner, that the burden of financial responsibility will mostly fall on me. I worry that he is so sure and already so invested in me when I’m not sure I feel as strongly as he does. I seem to flip flop week to week, some weeks I feel completely head over heels for him, very attracted, and sometimes I have big doubts and find myself perseverating on his flaws. I am not sure now how to go backward or halt the pace of the relationship after I jumped in with both feet. For instance, this morning I shared with him some of my concerns, and later in the day when he came back to his place that I have been staying at most of the time to meet with his autobody repairman to look over my old car (we’re fixing it in order to sell it), he told me he almost broke down at work due to the pressor his bosses are putting on him, as well as the fear of potentially losing me.
I feel responsible for his wellbeing, which in turn I think triggers my phobias further. I think often about how just a month or so ago the only person I was responsible for was for myself and maybe my dog, and now it feels there is another. I worry that I’m not in touch with myself as much as I once was and I feel like I don’t trust myself in making decisions or even knowing how I feel about things and so I tend to outsource those decisions. A part of me longs to be able to run to the other city and start fresh, but I don’t know that I would really be happier there. It seems that I often have a strong case of the “grass is greener” mentality. When I am on my own and single, I long for a partner to spend time with and that can help me and I them in life, but then when I have that, I seem to miss the freedom and lack of responsibility for anyone else when I’m on my own. Or, perhaps it is not that and maybe I haven’t met the “right” person for me. I am really not sure, and to make matters worse, I feel the pressure of time and expectations of others to figure it out soon.
I apologize that I’ve rambled a bit on this post, but I wanted to share with you an update on how I’m feeling. I hope you’re doing well Anita!
LJanuary 26, 2021 at 2:59 pm #373540
You are welcome. I don’t have much time right now, so I didn’t read all of your post, and not as attentively as I would like to (will be back to your thread, re-read and reply Wed morning), but for now, the thought occurred to me that if you “Let (this) good guy go” (the title of your thread), I imagine your regret, being that you regretted letting go of the other “good guy” and the one before him.. But maybe this guy really is a good guy, maybe the best guy, and better not let him go.
anitaJanuary 27, 2021 at 12:36 pm #373583
1) A summary of your current relationship: you (31, single, working psychotherapist, looking to move to another city) met B (39, divorced after 16 years marriage, debt free, with credit that took a hit, currently employed “in a very precarious work situation” and may lose that employment anytime, willing to move after you to the other city, timing of move depends on his work situation) on Dec 20 2020, a month and a week ago.
On Jan 11 2021, twenty two days after meeting him for the first time, you wrote the following about him: “kind, sweet, caring, and probably everything I could as for in terms of a relationship partner.. very affectionate, reassuring, thoughtful and wants to help me any way he can.. he has fully committed to me”.
At first you felt elated, telling a friend that you may have met your future husband. You were excited that “for once the man was reciprocating my excitement/ eagerness”. But then, you started doubting yourself and panicking: “it maybe was too soon and perhaps I might regret it… terrified at the prospect of settling down long term… my commitment phobia rearing its ugly head”. You wavered “from feeling very secure/ happy/ grateful for having this man in my life, to terrified/ worried/ scared that I jumped in too soon… concerned about my past history of rushing into things and then losing interest”, scared that you may hurt him: “I will completely crush him and he is such a sweet man”, or hurt yourself, that you “may have not made the best choice of mate”, not knowing if you “can trust (your) judgement on if someone is a good potential mate for me or not”.
Later, you suggested to B to slow down, and “he seemed hurt and scared at this prospect”, so you gave up on the idea of slowing down, so to make him happy/ to please him: “The people-pleaser in me seems to have come back in full swing.. I find myself more concerned about his well-being than my own”.
By Jan 26, a month and a week after he met you for the first time, he told you “that he wants and needs me in his life, that I have become his rock and he loves me completely”. You added that he is “exceptionally organized and clean, very selfless with me, and very loving… working very hard to be a good partner to me”, that he helps you with your issues and stresses and that he “definitely adds to my life”. But you are concerned about “his employability and his financial situation”, worried that you will “become the sole breadwinner”, worried about the fact that you are still doubting the relationship, “flip flop(ping) week to week.. head over heels for him, very attracted”—> “big doubts.. perseverating on his flaws”.
Most recently he told you that “he almost broke down at work due to the pressure his bosses are putting on him, as well as the fear of potentially losing me”. You now feel burdened by feelings of responsibility for his wellbeing, and you long for the days when you were responsible only to yourself and to your dog, “A part of me longs to be able to run to the other city and start fresh”.
2) Quotes from 2017:
May 10-14, 2017, regarding another man, long ago: “I can’t help but feel like it was something (or a few things) that I did that made him change his mind about me being ‘the one’… somehow I keep thinking that.. something about how I acted last time I saw him changed his mind…the reason why he no longer saw value in being with me”.
June 16, 2017, same man: “I’m having such a hard time understanding that nothing I did or didn’t do could have kept this outcome from happening. Instead I keep replaying our times together, and wondering what would have happened if I behaved better? What if I paid more attention to my appearance? What if I played it cool and aloof… These questions seem to haunt me, and are destroying my current happiness”.
May 19, 2017, regarding your parents: “I longed so deeply to be seen by them, to be heard, to hear loving words of affirmation… my younger sister was born just 18 months after me and has always had a much better relationship with my mother than I ever did. I tried so hard to get her attention, I would clean the house as a child during the nights to surprise her, I would work so hard at school, I would try to engage with her. But she was emotionally aloof, and often deferred to spending time with my sister. Over the years I began to resent my sister, I did not treat her well, and this proved to worsen my relationship with my mother, and further my inner dialogue of feeling unworthy of her attention, and ultimately unlovable”.
June 16 & July 1, 2017, about the man/men and about your mother (what I believe to be your emotional experience of childhood, how you felt as a child and onward): “All my life I have longed for a love I did not feel I received… I have a hole, a deep longing that never seems to go away… I feel so stuck, so damaged, and hopeless… I can’t seem to find that connection.. it was not real love.. that emptiness inside of me… I wake up every morning missing… regressed back to wondering what would have happened if I had behaved myself better”.
On July 31 2017, I asked you: “will you share more about how it felt to you, how the experience felt, cleaning the home at night so to surprise your mother; working hard at school so to get her attention while she directed her attention instead to your sister?”
You answered: “I remember how painfully it hurt to feel like my genuine, authentic self wasn’t enough to garner the love and attention I desired, so I needed to constantly try to be the perfect daughter, then the perfect friend, the perfect student, the perfect therapist, and the perfect girlfriend. I realize now that I mold myself into whatever I think the other person wants, and in the end it doesn’t work, and I lose myself. This process validates the internal script that I have carried with me too long, that there is something wrong with me and I need to hide/cover it up. There were times, with my mother and others, that this seemed to work, which I think further validated the process of trying to be someone other than myself. However, as I look back, it never did remain effective long term…
“I felt above all else, scared. Scared that I wouldn’t be cared for like I needed to, helpless. I also felt sad, lonely, neglected, unloved, jealous, wrong, grotesque. Like something was definitely wrong with me, not her or anyone else. I felt guilty, for not being ‘right’ and ‘good’ naturally. I also felt confused, that I didn’t know why things were this way, and angry about it”.
3) A quote from yesterday, Jan 26, 2021, and my thoughts today regarding the recent quote:
“When I am on my own and single, I long for a partner to spend time with and that can help me and I them in life, but then when I have that, I seem to miss the freedom and lack of responsibility for anyone else when I am on my own… Or, perhaps it is not that and maybe I haven’t met the ‘right’ person for me. I am really not sure”-
– my thoughts: sometimes when you are on your own and single, you get to feel relative freedom from how you felt so often as a child, you get to enjoy freedom from overly observing yourself and looking for what you may be doing wrong, free from that excruciating day-after-day, year-after-year self-criticism and self-doubt about whether you chose right (and caused your mother to attend to you positively), or chose wrong (and cause your mother to ignore/ criticize/ reject you).
Single and on your own, you are free from that distress.. but you get lonely, so you get together with a man, but after an initial elation, your relationship dynamics with your mother plays out in the context of your relationship with the man, but with an added twist: you didn’t have to choose your mother, so you didn’t have that stress of making the right or wrong choice of a mother. On the other hand, with a man, you have the added stress of making the right or wrong choice choosing a man.
If you want to, when you do- you can take it from here.
anitaMarch 10, 2021 at 2:01 pm #375887
I am nervous to write to you today. I look back on our thread, and I can’t help but feel like I did not listen to your advice throughout the years thoroughly enough to avoid the current predicament I am in. I feel disappointed in myself and sad that I am at this current juncture, but you have been with me for so long through my journey, it feels wrong not to be open and honest with you now.
A few weeks ago, I found out that I am unexpectedly pregnant. This was extremely shocking to me, as I have never had this happen to me before, and historically was very careful to ensure that it didn’t, specifically without it being planned and wanted. I think about how this happened, and I think there are many factors that played out that it did. Firstly, I took a break from medical birth control as I felt my body needed a break. I noticed (somewhat minor) improvements in mood, and definitely fewer mood swings. I was pleased by this, and at the time it was alright as I wasn’t dating anyone. However, as I began to date the man I wrote last about, I realized I should have another option. We tracked my period, and this seemed to work. That being said, my doctor did prescribe me a new birth control that would hopefully have fewer side effects with mood, but after discussing it with a friend, she strongly recommended that I did not take it, as she believed it was very unhealthy for women. I think about my decision now to agree with this advice, knowing that it might lead to the current situation I am in. I wonder if I subconsciously wanted this to happen, or if I was at the time alright if it did? I cannot fully remember. I suppose I thought since I had been on medical birth control for so long, there was a low chance of me getting pregnant, even if I wanted that. But then I also think about how my doctor explicitly told me that tracking wasn’t likely a fully sufficient method of birth control and yet I proceeded that way anyway.
Either way, I am where I am now. The main reasons why I feel quite distraught with this situation are that 1) I am not sure that the partner that I am with now, is whom I want to be with for the rest of my life, 2) I am not fully sure I really wanted to have a child, let alone at this current time of my life, despite turning 32 later this month, and 3) I never wanted to have this experience be unplanned and in such a short time of meeting someone. I am very scared at this point of what to do. I am terrified with my tendency to regret and focus on the past, that I will be unhappy in the future with whatever decision I make. I have talked to my parents, and a couple of close friends about my situation as well as my therapist, but in the end, the truth is I need to decide for myself what to do. And yet, I feel incapable of doing so. I’m terrified at the prospect of being unhappy one way or another, as well as the impact on those around me. I also am not certain I am able to fully go through the option of not keeping the baby, even if I decided that would likely be the best option for me. I have always been pro-choice, but I also knew myself and I knew that I would not likely be able to go through with it if it ever happened to me. This is primarily why I am so upset with myself, on how I let this happen. I knew better, or so I thought.
I’m writing to you now Anita, because I feel I have been my most authentic, honest self to you. I feel you know me maybe better than those very close to me in my life, and I wondered if you had any insight or advice to share with me now. I’m so torn. I also feel a deep sense of urgency and pressure as I know I don’t have long to make this decision. I currently have an ultrasound scheduled for Friday, but I don’t know if I can proceed with that appointment if I decide not to keep the baby. There is a possibility of hearing the heartbeat at this appointment, and I am not sure if I can do that, and still proceed with not keeping it.
To provide a little more context to the situation, I was in the other city I had discussed possibly moving to last month with my current partner (B) when I found out about the pregnancy. Initially, my reaction was shock, but I was suprised that what followed wasn’t dread or unhappiness, but perhaps the hint of hopefulness. B’s reaction was also shock, but he was pleased with the news and noted that he felt more secure in our relationship now. Since then until now, he has remained supportive of whatever we decide. However, after I fully processed the news, came back to the city I am from and realized the gravity of the situation, I believe I started to panic. Specifically, about the purchase of the expensive vehicle that I felt B had somewhat pushed me into. I began to pull away from him, and I believe I started to feel resentful of the speed at which our relationship had progressed, the purchase of the vehicle, and the unplanned pregnancy. All the while knowing that the resentment I was feeling wasn’t entirely fair, because, in the end, I did not say explicitly no to any of it. I did not stand firm to my boundaries as you had so many times suggested. I have thought about this a lot now, and I believe my codependent tendencies probably had something to do with this, as well as once again focusing on making someone else happy and giving them what they want, rather than focusing on my happiness and doing what I wanted.
All that being said, I am where I am now and I must figure out how to move forward. Yet I am so scared of making the wrong decision for myself. I have been talking frequently to the previous partner of mine, D, who lives in another continent, and have been since I started dating B. I find myself longing for his personality traits that are rather opposite of B’s, his level-headedness, his practicality and his ability to be very financially stable. I also realize that he and I had a much more developed friendship and partnership after being with one another for 2 or so years (albeit mostly long-distance) and how it would have been more comfortable for me to be expecting a child with him, whom I feel safe and comfortable with than with B who feels in many ways, still a stranger to me. I know this isn’t very productive to compare, but I realized that this is likely the biggest issue I see in going through with the pregnancy, is that I don’t really know this person, not nearly as much as someone like D. I am upset with myself for allowing myself to be in such a difficult predicament, but I know I have to move forward and make a decision, soon. To make matters worse, when I told my Dad (primarily out of panic and wanting advice on what to do about the new expensive vehicle before he and my mom were to go to the other city for a month), he felt he needed to also tell my mother about the news. She then demanded that I tell my sister who is currently having difficulty with her new baby as she felt that it would lift her spirits. Despite wanting to keep the news private, I conceded to my mother’s wishes and told my sister. Now, my entire immediate family knows of the news of the pregnancy. I know it shouldn’t matter, but this adds another layer of complexity for me in that I find it extremely difficult to end the pregnancy now knowing that my immediate family is aware of the news. My father mentioned that I could tell them that I miscarried instead, but even still, I don’t know if I could do this.
I see the pros and cons of both keeping the baby, and not. I see a possibility of happiness with B and the family I thought I always wanted, but I also see the possibility of feeling trapped, sad that I did not put myself first, resentful of this life. I also see the freedom of ending the pregnancy, maybe continuing the relationship with B and maybe not. But I also see the potential for future regret, guilt, and shame in ending the pregnancy now. I really don’t know what to do. I hope you can help me decide Anita, I trust you immensely. Thank you again for all that you have done for me. I hope you have been well!
LMarch 10, 2021 at 3:12 pm #375891
I understand the seriousness of your situation.
(1) Try to not be hard on yourself for this unplanned pregnancy event- there are many millions of women, single and married, who got pregnant when not planning it, and at younger ages than you. The fact that you got to be 32 before your first unplanned pregnancy is quite an accomplishment, so to speak.
(2) “I am terrified with my tendency to regret and focus on the past, that I will be unhappy in the future with whatever decision I make… I also see the potential for future regret, guilt, and shame in ending the pregnancy now”-
– I believe that you will indeed regret it if you maintain the pregnancy and if you end it; if you maintain the relationship with B, or if you end it- no matter what decisions you make, you will regret these decisions, not potentially, but surely. This means that (the certainty of) regret should not be a factor in your decision making. You will have to endure and manage regret no matter what you choose.
(3) Like you, I am pro-choice. I am not religious. My background is science. Abortion is a highly charged religious and political issue and many pro-lifers are very, very passionate on the matter. In a passionate pro-lifer’s mind, recommending an abortion (at any stage of pregnancy, no matter how early) is the same as recommending murder. If I recommend that you choose an abortion on a public forum, and a passionate pro-lifer reads my recommendation, it will be very, very unpleasant for me.
(4) Even a science oriented, non-religious person like me is still drawn to the “and they lived happily ever after” ending of stories, and part of me wants you to settle with B, have his child or children and live happily ever after.
(5) It is my experience, including reading many stories in these forums, that having a baby with a man does not resolve the woman’s (or man’s) emotional and relationship issues that existed before the pregnancy.
(6) Having communicated with you for as long as I have, and having gotten to know you- I don’t think that the relationship with B is likely to work out: you simply need freedom too desperately. If you live with him, you are likely to panic and want OUT ASAP- this is my prediction/ my understanding. In congruence with #5 above, having a baby with him and living with him will make no difference in what I predict to be your panic and desire to get out of the relationship quickly.
(7) Having your mental health on my mind, I think that you need to… (you tell me and I will give you my vote on what you think is the right thing for you to do).
anitaMarch 11, 2021 at 11:13 am #375915
Jan 26 2020: “He is so kind to me, helps me with my issues and stressors… He helped me purchase a new car (quite expensive, but he told me that I have worked so hard the last few years that I deserve to treat myself. I’m still not sure about this as it is a big expense and I’m not sure it’s the best choice financially”, March 10: “I started to panic. Specifically, about the purchase of the expensive vehicle that I felt B had somewhat pushed me into”-
– B did not help you with your stressors when he offered that you add a stressor into your life: a expensive car, using your money: he added a stressor into your life.
His generosity with your money is not really generosity unless he considers your money to be (or to soon be) his money, and your car to be his car.
His attitude is that purchasing an expensive car is treating oneself, but your attitude is that purchasing an expensive car is burdening oneself. Did he know of your attitude and ignored it in favor of his attitude?
When you told B that you are pregnant, “he was pleased with the news and noted that he felt more secure in our relationship now”- was that his first reaction, to tell you that he felt.. did he not first ask you how you felt about it?
By Jan 26, a month and a week after he met you for the first time, he told you “that he wants and needs me in his life, that I have become his rock and he loves me completely”- he liked the way you were into him, liked your submissive, people-pleasing ways?
anitaMarch 13, 2021 at 11:53 am #376007
I am concerned about you. I wish I read back from you. I don’t want to make this a long post, figuring you might be too anxious and busy to be reading a long post. But I gathered more of an understanding of your mind and heart and I want to present it to you, hoping it may help.
Sometime in July 2017, you wrote: “any time I have alone, I am reminded of the emptiness I have always felt, only now it is even larger without his affection”- it doesn’t matter what man you referred to at the time, what matters is the emptiness you felt without a man in your life. About that emptiness, you wrote in the summer of 2017: “All my life I have longed for a love I did not feel I received… I have a hole, a deep longing that never seems to go away”.
In August 3, 2020, you wrote: “I met someone… I felt somewhat alive again”- it doesn’t matter who that man was.
You started your first thread in May 2017 sharing about a man you met in person during the course of 13 days over the span on one month and you felt elated, “so close, so attached and safe with him.. so intimately connected”, but also upset and obsessive as you looked for him to reassure you, there were a few arguments and the speed of light relationship came crashing down. Your post break-up experience: “Nothing feels right anymore.. It all still feels so surreal… the feeling of shock when it seems to be such a drastic change so quickly…. such a painful shock”.
You brought up the possibility that you suffer from a bipolar disorder, which could explain the elation when with a man and the crashing down into depression. It is a possibility, but I want to point to the bigger picture and bring up something that I believe neither of us mentioned before: the term limerence.
Psychologist Dorothy Tennov coined the term limerence for her 1979 book Love and Limerence, limerence described as “an involuntary potentially inspiring state of adoration and attachment to a limerent object (LO) involving intrusive and obsessive thoughts, feelings and behaviors from euphoria to despair.. It can be experienced as intense joy, or extreme despair.. the state of being completely carried away by unreasonable passion or love… Limerence involves intrusive thinking about the limerent object” (Wikipedia)- all perfectly fits your experience.
Limerence is not a mental health diagnosis, but some therapists’ treatment plans are based on this term. Of course, lots of people fall in love and experience limerence to one extent or another, but you are on the extreme part of the limerence continuum. As I understand it, your childhood experience was of ongoing and distressing loneliness, trying to earn your mother’s love and failing to do so- that created the emptiness in you, a hole that you have been desperately trying to fill with this or that Limerent Object.
My further thoughts: a child is intimately connected to the mother, and when the mother rejects the child repeatedly, it creates a trauma and a painful emptiness. It is similar to having been in Heaven (intimately connected to the mother, feeling perfectly safe, cared for and protected) to being Exiled from Heaven and never again feeling safe. You have moments of elation with Limerent Objects, Heavenly moments, but only moments. I think that every child is exiled from Heaven, in this sense, but for some it is a way more painful exile than for others, for some it is a shocking Exile, where “nothing feels right anymore.. surreal… such a drastic change.. such a painful shock”.
You may want to look further into Limerence.
anitaMarch 28, 2021 at 10:00 am #376759
I hope that by this time, or as soon as possible, you receive high- quality, professional psychotherapy that will last long enough. You never had that experience yet, and you need it.
For many hours, after my most recent post to you, I re-read and re-studied all your posts, to see if I can add anything of value to you. I trust that if you are receiving that quality therapy you need, and that if it was suggested to you that you avoid distractions to the therapy, such as returning to your thread (or if you believe this is best), that you respect that suggestion, and therefore you may not read this post, or stop reading it right now.
At this point, 18 days after your most recent post, there were developments, I am sure, regarding the pregnancy and relationship with B, and with your family, but I am sure things are not settled on all these fronts. I want to expand on the following topics in this post: (1) your limerence experience, a term which you are familiar with, having written in Feb 19, 2019: “I did some research, and there is a psychologist that calls this obsessive overthinking of an ex ‘limerence’. I suppose I have this”, (2) your people pleasing and codependent behaviors, of which you are also aware (“my codependent tendencies”, March 10, 2021), and the anger that accompanies these tendencies, (3) the grass is greener on the other side mentality, and the motivation behind it
(1) Your limerence experience: you described it well (without the term) in May-June 2017 regarding a relationship that constituted spending only 13 days together over the span of one month, with a man who was “not very educated, has a decent job but doesn’t take it too seriously, does drugs for fun, etc.”, while you were “28, attractive, have a professional career, master’s education, financially secure”: “it was wonderful.. never felt so strongly for someone so quickly.. I was truly falling for this man.. so smitten… my perfect man.. intense infatuation.. so close, so attached and safe with him.. I’ve never felt so safe with someone… He told me he loved every part of me, that he felt that we were always meant to be… when we were together, I would trust him with my life… He told me.. that we would always be together.. it felt like pure love.. that I had never had before… I was completely myself with (him) and.. felt accepted and adored”-
– my note: what you described here is the emotional experience of a young child, a sort of The Garden of Eden (not “heaven” as I suggested in my March 13 post to you) experience: feeling intimately attached to the mother/ caretaker, completely safe in her arms, perfectly taken care of, trusting her completely. The young child does not yet perceive of rejection, betrayal, neglect, abuse, sickness and death.
Back to your May-June 2017 posts, describing the figurative exile from The Garden of Eden: the final and devastating departure from complete safety and trust, and the consequent calm and euphoria to => rejection, betrayal and danger, and the consequent anxiety and distress:
“I feel lost and confused… Nothing feels right anymore… deep disappointment that all the wonderful things he promised me are not going to come true.. shock.. such a drastic change so quickly.. a painful shock… I gave my heart, body, and soul to someone that is not real.. none of what I experienced from him was ‘real’… I still long for that person to come back… I want HIM, this perfect version of this man… he holds the key to that part of me, and it feels ‘wrong’ that things are no longer that way… the man of my dreams.. I would have done anything for him, that past version of him, and I believe he would have done anything for me… I wanted so desperately for what he said and promised me to be true, that even now when confronted with evidence that he was never going to stay forever, it’s difficult to let go of that dream… I see a picture of his face, and I’m transported back to all the wonderful emotions I felt with him, then horribly sadness and pain that it is no longer… He was so beautiful, this perfect man of mine, I feel inconsolable that he’s now gone… finally believing that it was possible for me to be loved.. and then just as quickly it was all gone… it all ‘disappears… I feel stuck… my fairytale dream/ fantasy turned into a dark and miserable nightmare that I wish to escape”-
-In your mind, this man was god (alike a perfect, all powerful, trustworthy, loving parent, in the mind and heart of a young child), in charge of The Garden of Eden. This god promised you eternal love and life in the garden, but pushed you out into Exile. It felt sudden, wrong and devastating, and you desperately wanted back to the Garden.
You wrote a note to the man in June 2017: “Dear J.. the way you attended to me made me feel so special, loved, and ultimately, yours. In the time since that went away, I’ve felt the opposite. Alone, unloved, discarded and unworthy. I keep dreaming (literally many nights) that the you I knew came back to me. This version of you is caring, attentive, loving, and most of all, mine.. He loved me, he was always there for me, always making sure I was okay. He thought I was special… That dream still brings a tear to my eye… My heart longs for that ‘love’ again, to feel special, to have so much hope for the future… I’ll never really understand why that dram will never happen, yet my mind longs to understand”-
– At one time, as a young child, you felt special and loved, cared for, attended to by a mother who loved you, who was always there for you, always making sure you were okay. And then, she rejected you, making you feel not-special, not-loved, not cared for, not attended to= that’s the Exile.
Let’s look at what you shared in Jan-Feb 2019 about your personal Exile childhood experience, “her” indicates your mother: “I felt Wrong as a child, a problem, a burden… it was more of a negative feeling I got from her, that I was causing her distress. She would often shake her head or sigh at me, while simultaneously being so cheerful and encouraging to my younger sister. .. told me I was more like the girls that bullied her in school.. I remember her and my dad being quite stressed with their business and making ends meet”, “my mother is extremely emotionally unavailable.. she has built a wall… she would simply shut down.. she would dismiss or ignore me.. I felt abandoned”, “I tried very hard in my younger years to rectify this with my mother by helping her with chores, caring for my siblings, anything I could do to make her happy. But after several years of realizing this wasn’t working, I became an extremely angry and sad teenager.. I still am that angry and sad girl”.
– Your Garden of Eden experience took place before your favored sister came along, before you were aware of your parents being stressed, before your mother shook her head and sighed at you, before you were angry and sad, before you knew of a wall between you and her, before she shut down the gate between you and The Garden. For many years, you tried to return to The Garden, by trying to make your mother (the one holding the key to The Garden) happy, so that she opens the door and lets you back in. But she didn’t and so, you finally gave up on opening that gate for you. Fast forward, this man, J, became the one holding the key to the gate back to The Garden.
Jan-Feb 2019, regarding your mother: “I don’t think I seek comfort in her company, advice or approval anymore. I think I stopped doing this when I was young… when we do speak, she has begun to apologize for the specific hurts she has caused me, but it doesn’t seem to matter in the sense that I don’t feel any different whether she does or doesn’t apologize.. there is nothing that can be undone”- as a teenager and an adult, you no longer looked up to her as one holding the key: you no longer found comfort in her, she didn’t have that power anymore. You gave up on her and shifted your hopes and dreams to this man, J.
“I have a hole, a deep longing that never seems to go away. I feel I must be an easy target for men like him, who come on strongly for whatever reason, and am even more empty when the leave… I find myself absolutely crushed, that for the very first time in my 28 years of life, I finally felt satiated, that I had the love I always wanted, and just as quick as it came, it was gone… it’s the ‘virtual’ him I miss.. It’s the dream I miss”-
– the dream is that it is possible for a person to return to a mental/ emotional state of complete safety and trust, forever uninterrupted and eternal union with another person- after having experienced danger and betrayal. Reality is, that we can never return to that state. The more betrayal experienced, the more rejection, the stronger the desire to return to that pre-betrayal time.
July 2017: “almost 2.5 months after and still I wake up every morning missing how things were… I am reminded of the emptiness I have always felt.. I miss him and his warmth”- you missed being a baby, a young child, satiated (not empty), in your mother’s arms, feeling her warmth.
I will continue this study later and post again.
anitaMarch 28, 2021 at 11:52 am #376760
Dear Laelithia, continued:
The limerent experience is far from being an ongoing Garden of Eden experience cut short by a breakup/ Exile. The euphoric experience is interrupted repeatedly by anxiety, suspicion and anger. Within the one month relationship with J, in 2017, before the breakup, there was anxiety and anger: “we did have a few silly arguments.. I noticed his contact was far less than before. I pointed this out… he reassured me so many times.. “- during the one month, you needed and asked him so many times to reassure you that he will be with you forever because you were anxious, suspicious so many times.
In Jan-Feb 2019, you shared about an earlier relationship, an earlier limerent experience, one with a man you met in 2016 when you were 27: “I have never met someone before or since him that I found physically, emotionally, and intellectually attractive”, and yet, the relationship was “full of extreme highs and devastating lows”.
He was not committed to you, so, perhaps the lows were a result of his lack of commitment, but only two days after he committed to you (“He assured me that he would date me exclusively”), you went out on a date with him and “got into an argument.. and I exploded into an angry tirade”, not because he retracted his exclusive commitment to you, but because he wanted to spend the evening out, with you and your friends, instead of having alone time with you at home.
“I was so happy every time we were together, it was only when we were apart that my mind would play tricks on me and make me believe he didn’t care about me.. I tested him constantly, started arguments just so that I could witness him trying to win me back… My subconscious simply couldn’t allow me to believe that someone could truly love me, stay with me, want me. So I constantly was looking for evidence to support this idea”-
– this 2016 limerent experience was far from being an ongoing, uninterrupted euphoric, “so happy” experience, not while spending time physically together, and not in between meeting. The Exile of childhood, the rejection, betrayal and neglect experienced then seeped into this romantic relationship, interrupting the euphoria, making a Return to The Garden Impossible.
You wrote regarding that man of 2016: “When I remember being with (him), I remember being happy, fulfilled, understood, attracted to someone, and content”- that was a selective memory, you forgot the anxiety, suspicion and anger in between the moments of euphoria.
“I was afraid to let someone in and become attached to them or fear they might leave me”- while desiring a return to The Garden, you also feared being Exiled again. You didn’t know you don’t yet know that the Exile of childhood was final, and is final for every person. A Return is impossible.
In January 2019, you shared about another man, one who lived in Europe and who was way less of a limerent experience for you. But when you felt rejected by him, he became a bit of a limerent object: “when I felt he was rejecting or abandoning me.. I desperately want another chance.. why could I not see how wonderful he was before? Why was I so focused on being miserable”?
When he gave you another chance, you thought about the man you were infatuated with before him, comparing the current man unfavorably to the previous limerent object. Being with the European man “feels ‘wrong’ in a way. Not like I wanted to be with the others”.
In May 2019, after a breakup with the European man, you wrote: “I dread the idea of my life without him in it.. I’m just terrified… I feel lonelier than ever, and I feel like I let him down by talking about my past all the time.. It feels surreal that just a couple of days ago, we were planning my trip to see him next month”-
– you formed an emotional attachment not him, only a lesser one than to the stronger limerent objects in your life.
– to be continued later.
anitaMarch 29, 2021 at 1:59 pm #376800
Dear Laelithia, continued:
Another man, another hopeful return to The Garden of Eden, August 2020: at the time you were about to move to a new city, far away from your parents: “I met someone… I felt somewhat alive again!… became physically intimate early on.. a kind, sweet, caring, and probably everything I could ask for…I was elated. In fact, I called my friend after our third or fourth date (they were close together so I can’t remember the exact number of dates!) and told her I may have met my future husband… I know my M.O. is to rush into dating someone very soon, but something about him felt different, right”.
But the positive excitement was mixed with fear, because once Exiled, there is fear and there is no Return to no-fear, no-worries, perfect safety and calm: “This both excited and frightened me… I have recently found myself somewhat panicking about the prospect of this relationship. I waver from feeling very secure/ happy.. to terrified/ worried/ scared”.
When we are scared (of a potential danger, another Exile), we often get angry (ready to fight the potential danger), and so, you “became short and cold to him.. and ended up sending some really odd texts that I now regret.. I lashed out at him”, and the potential relationship ended.
At the very beginning of this very short, almost- relationship, he said that maybe you can run your psychotherapy business from his home- that was a major attraction to him, “not only did I see him as my typical Fantasy man, but also as my way to move to the new city… I do not need to be ‘rescued’… But I supposed it would have been easier”-
– I think that you were anxious about moving far from your parents, and even though you were a professional capable of having your own home far from your parents, like a little girl, you needed a substitute parent to make a place home for you.
– to be continued.
anitaMarch 30, 2021 at 9:34 am #376831
Dear Laelithia (last post in this study):
In January 11 this year, 2021, you shared about yet another man, another very rushed relationship. You met a man for the first time on December 20, 2020. Twenty two days later, on January 11, you have already determined that he is “everything I could ask for in terms of a relationship partner”, and within these 22 days, he fully committed to you: “Although I only met him on the 20th, he has fully committed to me”. By January 26, a month and a week since he met you for the first time, he told you that “he wants and needs me in his life, that I have become his rock and he loves me completely”.
At first, you were elated, told a friend within a week of meeting him, that you may have met your future husband, excited that “for once the man was reciprocating my excitement/ eagerness”. Next, you started doubting yourself and panicking: “it may be too soon… terrified at the prospect of settling down long term”, and you wavered “from feeling very secure/ happy/ grateful.. to terrified/ worried scared that I jumped too soon… concerned about my past history of rushing into things and then losing interest”. At first, you felt “completely head over heels for him, very attracted”, but then, “I have big doubts and find myself perseverating in his flaws”.
In doubt and afraid, you suggested to him to slow down the pace of the speed-of-light relationship, but unlike previous men, he was rushing man, and at your suggestion to slow down, he appeared “hurt and scared at this prospect”. He told you a bit later that “he almost broke down at work due to.. the fear of potentially losing me”. As a result of his reactions, you felt guilty for hurting him and you withdrew your suggestion to slow down, focusing on his well-being, not on yours.
By March 10, not yet three months since you met him for the first time, you were unexpectedly pregnant by him. You were mostly terrified but he was “pleased with the news and noted that he felt more secure in our relationship now”-
– When you expressed to him your fear about the relationship going too fast, a valid concern, he did not attend to your fear; he attended to his fear of losing you. When you told him that you were pregnant and that you were afraid, again- he did not attend to your fear, but to his own, telling you that he is less afraid/ feeling more secure.
He told you that you have become his rock, a month and a week after meeting you for the first time. If he meant it, then he must have been very desperate and in need of a rock, any rock that appeared good to him.
He pushed you to buy an expensive new car even though you were uncomfortable doing so- again he did not attend to your fear (regarding the unnecessary expense); he attended to what he felt like should be done with your money.
You wrote: “I started to feel resentful… knowing that the resentment I was feeling wasn’t entirely fair, because, in the end, I did not say explicitly no to any of it. I did not stand firm to my boundaries”- your resentment is fair because you expressed your fear to him and he ignored it. A loved person does not have to stand firm and insist on one’s boundaries because the one loving you will respect your first No instead of pressuring you to change your No to a Yes.
As I see it, marrying B is the wrong choice for you. If you decide to keep the baby, I imagine that you will be raising a child as a single mother, having no choice but to have the child’s father in your life for at least until you are 50 years old, being that you turned 32 this month.
The main problem all along has been your Emptiness which you’ve been temporarily and unsatisfactorily filling in with the elation, excitement and euphoria on new and rushed relationships with men you don’t know (not having had the time, nor the mental objectivity needed to get to know a person).
Your Emptiness is this emotional experience: “I.. felt Wrong as a child, a problem, a burden”, “I was causing her distress”, her= your mother (Jan 2019). Repeatedly disapproved by your mother, you felt very sad and at times, very angry. During the elation part of a rushed relationship, you get to feel Right (not Wrong), a solution (not a problem), an asset (not a burden). But the elation is interrupted by the same sadness and anger that accompanied your childhood, when you were “an extremely angry and sad teenager”. In Jan 2019, you wrote: “emotionally I still am that angry and sad girl”.
In Jan 2019, you also wrote: “I have spoken to my mother in adulthood.. her account of my childhood is totally different.. she is not able to provide me with the validation I so desperately have sought”-
-no, she is able, but she is not willing. She really did disapprove of you, she remembers that, but she doesn’t want to admit it because it will make her look like a bad mother. So she prefers to lie to you.
In Jan 2019, you wrote: “Believe it or not, my current relationship with my mother is a lot better. I think in me talking with her about my feelings and my account of the past (and although she doesn’t agree with it), she has become more sensitive to me and my feelings. I can tell she is trying”.
In January 2021, you wrote: “I’m concerned about now if I can trust my judgement on if someone is a good potential mate for me or not… I don’t trust myself in making decisions or even knowing how I feel about things and so I tend to outsource those decisions”-
– your mother, by disagreeing with what really happened in your childhood, by denying what you correctly perceived, created and has been fueling your doubts and distrust in your own perceptions and ability to evaluate people and situations.
Back to Jan 2019: “she is trying. She usually now verbalizes her dissatisfaction more with confusion and sadness at my state of mind, as she.. is utterly perplexed that I focus on the past and doubt myself and my decisions so much. She is the type of person that can immediately forget and move on from the past and never ruminates”-
– when she expresses confusion and being utterly perplexed about your state of mind, she is sending you the message that there is something utterly Wrong with you, the same message she sent you when you were a child. And it is not that she forgets the past, it is that she denies it to accommodate herself, at your expense.
“As to her account, she has simply said over and over that no one in the world has loved their children more than she has, and she would always go to the end of the world for them. She has said in the past anything I remember about her not loving me or liking me is crazy, because of how much she loves me”-
-again, she is sending you the message that there is something Wrong/ crazy about you. As her adult child, I bet it feels good to hear your mother say that she always loved you so much.. but it is not true. She didn’t love you as a child when she sent you the message that you are Wrong, and she doesn’t love you as an adult when she sends you the same message.
The proof is in the pudding: if you were a loved child, like your mother falsely claims, you wouldn’t have “a hole, a deep longing that never seems to go away”- that hole, that emptiness is not about love, it is about the lack of love in your childhood. You’ve been rushing so desperately to fill this emptiness in relationships with strange men, just so to have a moment here and there of of feeling loved.
If she loved you as a child, you wouldn’t be having that Emptiness, and if she loved you now, she wouldn’t be denying the truth to accommodate herself, at the expense of your emotional/ mental health.
Right here is what your therapy should focus on. Your mental health depends on you seeing the truth, and no longer accommodating your mother’s lies.
I will close with the metaphor of The Garden of Eden (followed by your words in June- Sept 2020): we can’t go back there, all of us humans are Exiled from the early life illusion of eternal safety, love and calm, all good feelings forevermore. No man can get you back to The Garden. Trying to get back to a place that does not exist brings at best a short-term elation followed by great disappointment and suffering. We all need to endure this reality, that there is no such place. There is pain in this understanding, but there is also hope because when you know there is no Garden, you can fully attend to reality, to life as is and make the best of it.
“they provided some sort of high. They distracted me from the Emptiness… the Emptiness is not good at evaluating men. Often, it chose the worst of them to pick as the partner… it picks and chooses such minute and often superficial details of a person to make a picture that doesn’t exist… It’s still hard for me to.. not crave the Fantasy and want that euphoric feeling to wash over me… Despite trying so hard not to, I have this silly belief that one day when I meet my ‘Prince Charming’ I will be so fulfilled, I will be so happy, and I will live ‘happily ever after’… I’m afraid that one day.. I might find that in reality.. life will still have its challenges, that I will never have that perfect idyllic Fantasy life I have been yearning for so long”.
December 26, 2021 at 9:23 am #390285
- This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by anita.
In late February you got pregnant. Forward nine months and you may be a mother now. I don’t assume that you follow this old thread, or that you will be getting a notification, but if you do, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year!
How are you???
anitaMarch 23, 2022 at 5:09 am #395948
I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve last visited this thread, and more importantly, wrote to you Anita. I hope you have been doing well. I have thought of you often, I have resisted the forum a few times to read, but have not found much time in the last year to reply. I have very little alone time these days. I know you will likely be so kind to say that I don’t need to, but I do deeply apologize for being away for so long and not replying to your thoughtful posts. Hopefully, you will understand once I update you on how I’ve been.
Firstly, I am now a mother to a beautiful, sweet, intelligent (she’s only 6 months, but I, I’m sure with bias, believe I can tell!) lovely baby girl. She is the light of my life. Interestingly, the moment I had her, I understood my mother and her treatment of me even less. I would do anything for my daughter, to save her any discomfort or pain, and I have tried. Oh, how I’ve tried. Looking back, I think I tried even before she was born. I tried by trying to make the relationship with her father work, despite having obvious concerns which I shared with you. Unfortunately, most of those concerns and worries came to fruition. He lost his job in May of last year, and to say that it has been stressful since is beyond an understatement. He ended up then moving in with me, I became the sole breadwinner as I worried would happen, and unfortunately, that has not changed really since then.
Shortly after this, I unsurprisingly felt extremely unhappy. Having B move in with me, in my small apartment, was not an enjoyable experience. Not to mention the pandemic and quarantine continued on in my country, meaning we were both very isolated from others but around each other all the time. B was quite happy with this, but I was not. I think my resentment towards him, to him not considering my feelings early on in the relationship, to becoming pregnant, to me knowing I was in a relationship with someone I didn’t want to be with yet ended up with anyway, to financially having to support us both, it all became too much. Unfortunately, I believe the stress wore on me, and I developed a serious medical condition in pregnancy called pre-eclampsia. I suffered from headaches, nausea, exaggerated swelling in the limbs, numbness in my arms, etc. To say the pregnancy became uncomfortable is an understatement. To make matters worse, rather than being able to take some time off work and slowly reduce my caseload, I had to continue on, as B did not find employment, as I had worried would be the case. I worked literally until I had to go into surgery to have an emergency c-section once my blood pressure was too high and I was at risk of stroke.
In order to have some income while I was not working after I had my baby, we worked on expanding my practice and I hired several therapists to replace me with my clients. Two of those therapists have ended up working well, but the third did not. I still have very many sad memories of that, as I genuinely liked the therapist, a middle-aged lady with children of her own, but somehow the professional relationship deteriorated with miscommunication (I assume, I am still not sure), and we ended up having to let this therapist go. It was horrible on me, and I am still sad about it now. That being said, I now have 4 therapists working for my practice, and it seems to be going alright. My take-home pay with these therapists is not as high as it was when I was working full-time, but it is enough to get us by each month. I have also continued to work reduced hours myself, to bring extra money in. That being said, it has been very difficult on both me and the baby, as she doesn’t like to be away from me for hours on end and has trouble taking a bottle and cries often while I’m working since she is hungry. I wish she didn’t have to go through that. B assures me he will find a good job again, but I simply don’t know if that will ever happen. To give him credit, he does help out in areas that he can. He cooks and cleans, he does the laundry, cares for the baby while I’m working, he helps my ailing parents often. I believe he tries to make up for his lack of help financially as much as he can. He speaks kindly to me. There’s at least that.
A few months ago, after my parents told me they were worried about me, about how sad I looked, I told them that I was suffering in the small apartment with the new baby and my partner. Yet, with B not able to contribute financially, I had no ability to move either by renting or buying a home while still providing for the now 3 of us. They took pity on me and helped me enormously financially to buy a home. A home that we started moving into yesterday. Sadly, this was not a good day for me. I had no excitement at the idea of moving into a larger space with B. To make matters and my anxiety worse, B was offered a job via email, and he immediately declined it, claiming it wasn’t a fit as his resume demanded higher pay. I was hurt and devastated by this. I couldn’t believe he would turn down any work, let alone without running it past me.
That all being said, I still believe it was the right choice to move as the small apartment and being cooped up with B and the baby was not good for my mental health, but I am so sad that I am not happy there with my “new little family”, as my mother calls it. I am sad that it is not The Garden of Eden, that I wished it could be. I love my daughter with my whole heart, but it is complicated in my mind. It is hard for me to not look back and regret the choices that led me to be with B and being now how my worries were mostly valid. I can’t help but think back on how before dating B, I dated a sweet man in the city I wanted to move to. I think back on how I let B dictate to me that I had to end things with that man to be with him. That I did it, just as he says, that I didn’t follow my heart once more. Looking back, I honestly cannot even remember why I met B in the first place, why I was dating again in my home city, a place I had written to you many times about not wanting to live anymore. I don’t recall fully why I would do this, why I would end a healthy relationship with a kind and generous man in the city I wanted to move to, other than I didn’t 1) feel I deserved such a man, and 2) didn’t feel comfortable with the slower pace of a healthy relationship and instead preferred the lightning speed one.
I feel sorry to think about and write all of this to you, Anita. I desperately wanted to be able to write to you about how happy I was, how I was finally living the life I always wanted to. But instead, I feel this idyllic dream-life I have tried to create with this situation has become a nightmare. I feel like I am now moving into a home that I don’t particularly love, yet B does (although truthfully there weren’t many other options as the housing market in this city is much more a sellers market than buyers), living with a partner that I am not sure I will ever feel that I truly love, that I will be left to pay for the mortgage on this house, that I am now fully rooted in a city that I desperately wanted to leave. The hardest part about all of this is that I feel very alone. I have not told most friends and family how I really feel about B, as I believed maybe it was still possible to create that dream life with him. I tried so, so hard. I tried to help him keep his CEO role, I tried to help him in his job search after he lost that role, but it hasn’t panned out positively. That being said, in the summer while I was still pregnant, he was offered a decent job in the city I wanted to move to. He declined the position as he believed it was lower than what he should be paid. Looking back, it was a good offer (since he has had no formal other salaried offers since), and it would have given us the chance to move to the city I wanted to. That being said, perhaps I wouldn’t have anyway, given having a new baby and being away from family and support. I suppose we will never know.
It’s so sad and hard for me to admit my regrets, yet as you accurately pointed out previously, I know I would regret no matter what. Yet, it is so complicated. Because I cannot fully regret meeting and being with B, as he at the very least, gave me my daughter. She is so, so sweet. I will keep trying to make the best of my situation for her, I will do whatever it takes. Yet on late nights like today, I cannot help but find my mind wandering to what if. What if I continued to slowly date the man I met in the city I wanted to move to right before I met B. What If I was living a comfortable life (that man was financially well off, generous, albeit somewhat emotionally closed off, but I suppose how open should someone be after only 3 months of dating-mostly long distance?) and truly happy? The last year has been the most difficult I have ever been through, and I found myself retreating socially to hide my unhappiness in my relationship. It was my birthday recently, and I noticed very few people reached out to wish me a happy one. I believe this is in direct result of me retreating socially to hid my embarrassment and sadness. I think I did this from this forum, as well. It feels somewhat permanent, that there isn’t really a way of this situation improving, so I felt there was no point in sharing, in being so negative. But today, I find myself wanting support again, wanting to continue to try to be hopeful in some way, I believe I owe that to my daughter.
Once again Anita, even though I have not written frequently, I am so grateful for your continued support. I hope you are doing very well!March 23, 2022 at 1:32 pm #395966
I couldn’t believe my eyes earlier today when I saw that you posted. I wanted to take the time before reading most of your new post, so to re-read and study your last post of March 10, 2021 (1 year and 12 days before your most recent) and my series of posts to you in March 2021. I did that and then read all of your recent post. It took me a few hours before starting to type this reply.
First, congratulations for a beautiful, sweet, intelligent baby girl, and for being the loving, caring and dedicated mother that you are!
I will not repeat most of what I wrote to you in the March 2021 series of posts, there is no need to do that because the posts are right above.
I’ll get right to the most important part of your recent post: “I will keep trying to make the best of my situation for her, I will do whatever it takes” – let’s talk about what is right for your baby and what it takes. Clearly to me, what’s right for her is to have a caretaker (or caretakers) who is as healthy and as happy as possible, lovingly attentive to her.
Let’s look at one of her caretakers: “He lost his job in May of last year…. B was offered a job via email, and he immediately declined it, claiming it wasn’t a fit as his resume demanded higher pay… without running it past me….in the summer while I was still pregnant, he was offered a decent job in the city I wanted to move to. He declined the position as he believed it was lower than what he should be paid” – reads like he is content to stay home while you financially supported by you, content living in a home purchased by your parents, free from financial obligations. I don’t see him being motivated to find a job and bring money in. Your role as the sole breadwinner is very stressful for you, but fine and dandy with him.
Your experience living with him after he lost his job and since he moved in with you: “stressful… extremely unhappy… I think my resentment towards him… became too much… the stress wore on me, and I developed a serious medical condition in pregnancy called pre-eclampsia… I worked literally until I had to go into surgery to have an emergency c-section once my blood pressure was too high and I was at risk of stroke… I had no excitement at the idea of moving into a larger space with B… I feel this idyllic dreamlife I have tried to create with this situation has become a nightmare” –
– having him live with you has been good for him and bad for your health, a dream come true for him, a nightmare for you. He is happy, you are extremely unhappy (“I unsurprisingly felt extremely unhappy… B was quite happy with this, but I was not…I feel like I am now moving into a home that I don’t particularly love, yet B does“).
Your relationship and living arrangement with B = a Win- Lose situation: Win for him, Lose for you. The more the situation continues, the sicker you are likely to get while… he is quite happy.
Back to my first quote in this post: “I will keep trying to make the best of my situation for her, I will do whatever it takes” – as I see it, if this relationship and living situation continue, your health is likely to continue to suffer, and sicker than now, the only caretaker available to your daughter would be B and/ or your parents.
If you become too sick, mentally and physically, to financially provide for B and for your daughter, I am guessing that your parents will pick up the slack? It seems to me that he will be content with that.
What is better for your daughter then: to have a healthier you as her primary caretaker or to have B/ your parents as her primary caretakers while you are sick?
“I have not told most friends and family how I really feel about B… The last year has been the most difficult I have ever been through, and I found myself retreating socially to hide my unhappiness in my relationship… to hide my embarrassment and sadness. I think I did this from this forum, as well… But today, I find myself wanting support again, wanting to continue to try to be hopeful in some way, I believe I owe that to my daughter” –
– Welcome back to your thread, good to have you back here! For your health, it’s good for you to connect to supportive people and I would like to think of me as one, so please, don’t hide your unhappiness in the relationship, your embarrassment and sadness, not anymore. Express it here and I will respond to you with kindness and patience. Even though I don’t know your daughter personally, I owe it to her- to emotionally support her mother with kindness and patience!
anitaMarch 25, 2022 at 8:03 pm #396202
Thank you again as always for your thoughtful reply. I have missed conversing with you! I am sorry my return to my thread isn’t a more triumphant one. I was quite upset when I wrote my last post, I suppose I still am but more composed.
Thank you so much for your kind words about my daughter, she is absolute perfection.
I also wanted to mention that I did read the series you wrote in March 2021, albeit a few months after that. I cried reading it because it was so well-written, so accurate, and ultimately, so sad. I suppose if I were to sum up how I am feeling now, more than anything, it’s sad. I feel very, very Sad for myself.
As much as I would not like to admit it, I agree with your assessment of B. I do want to add the caveat that I do not feel he does this maliciously. I believe B has many great qualities (helpful when asked, good-natured/very polite, hard-working on tasks he is passionate about, hands-on with the baby, etc.), and I believe that he does not come by these problematic behaviours with ill intent. I believe he has much self-reflection to do, and that he would engage in negative coping mechanisms (denial, delusion, deflection and repression) to cope with traumas from his own life. That being said, looking back I feel I need to take responsibility for enabling much of his negative behaviours. From the beginning of our relationship, I covered expenses of his as I felt at the time I had an abundance in comparison. It’s very sad to me that now, only a year and a few months later, I am in a completely different financial situation than I was before. So much so, that I had to accept a great deal of monetary help from my parents to purchase this home I do not love in the city I have dreamed of escaping-the last thing I ever wanted to do. I am so sad to admit how far I feel I have fallen from where I was just before meeting B. I’d like to write to you about that experience. I wrote to you extensively about a man, S, whom I have long realized was never serious about me. And as such, I shouldn’t have been so serious about him. I find it very sad that I barely mentioned another man, G, whom I dated briefly after things with S fell through. I find it very sad in fact. Sad, because when I comb through my posts with you, I am almost exclusively writing about problematic relationships/men, and almost never mention the men that I have met and dated that are kind, relationship material, until, as is titled of this thread, it’s too late. I believe G was one such individual. He was extremely generous, handsome, thoughtful, and most importantly a gentleman. We dated from September 2020 until I began seeing B. Why do I bring this up now? I do because I am realizing now that I believe I have made a critical mistake in my happiness.
As you know, I think for a very long time, I’ve made life decisions based on what I thought others (mostly my parents) would want me to do, or what’s best for them. I’m saddened to see that I never updated you about this, but in September of 2020, I found my dream apartment in the city I wanted to move to. It was newly renovated, never lived in yet, close to the beach and exactly the location I wanted to be. I viewed the apartment with a close friend of mine, and she could not believe I had found such a great apartment. The landlord was an amazingly sweet lady, and I was so excited about beginning my move to the new city. My friend warned me even then, not to broach it by my parents. She had seen firsthand how many decisions I had made that were with their best interests in mind, rather than my own. So, I didn’t contact them to tell them of the development. Not initially. However, I feel as though once the sweet landlady offered me the apartment, I became afraid, and I told my parents. Of course, they came up with reasons why I should not take the apartment, and somehow against my better judgement, desires, and instincts, I turned the apartment down. A few weeks after that, my sweet dog passed away. And I think after that happened, I no longer believed I deserved to date someone like G. Someone who had their life together, someone who only wanted to be kind to me, someone who had invested in me and treated me for a change. And for reasons still confusing to me know, I began a relationship with B instead, that felt like obligation, guilt, and beholdenness. I suppose a relationship very similar to the one I have with my parents. I let B push my boundaries, and worst of all, I let him dictate to me that I was “his now” and I had to end things with G. And so I did, in a short and callous text, with no warning or indication there was reason to end our budding relationship. G responded: “Thank you for telling me. This is so hard. I do wish you the best, you are so perfect, smart and so sweet. It’s hard doing a long-distance relationship. So I get it.” I immediately felt horrible, I remember a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, it wasn’t how I would have wanted to do it, and worst of all, I knew I had hurt someone who had only treated me with the kindness and care I had always wanted. Someone who moved at a healthy pace in a relationship. Reflecting now, I think it was too foreign to me, that I had always been used to dating those requiring “fixing” or help. Relationships starting and moving at warp speed. I did not know how to be on the receiving end of such good treatment. At B’s request and my friend’s suggestion, I never even replied to that last message from G. And for that, I am so, so sad. I have thought about him periodically throughout my relationship with B. I have even missed him, but once I found out about my pregnancy, I tried to push these thoughts and feelings away. Although it has been a year now, I considered messaging an apology in how callously I handled the situation with no explanation. I wonder if this is more self-serving if anything, I’m not sure.
Looking back, I should have taken that apartment in the new city when I had the chance. At the time I could have easily afforded it, and I could have tried moving which is what I really wanted to do. I would have continued my relationship with G, and I believe it likely would have deepened in time. And even if it didn’t, I would have tried to be in a relationship where I was treated well from the beginning. But it’s complicated. I know deep in my heart I don’t regret having my daughter, because I love her more than anything. Yet if I’m really honest, I regret being with B. After our first couple of dates, he basically told me we were going to be together. I remember thinking it was too fast, I remember seeing some red flags and not being as interested in him as much as he was in me, and I remember him pushing my boundaries, especially physically.
The saddest thing is I actually was wanting to end things with B right before I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to message G again, to see if that could be repaired. I wrote to you around this time, because I didn’t know how I could end things after he had told me he didn’t want to lose me and if he did, he would be so upset he could lose his job. And the irony is he lost that job anyway. I feel like as soon as I met him, I had this huge obligation to take care of this person, emotionally, financially, physically. And it wasn’t that I wanted to, it was just that I felt I had to. I didn’t want to hurt him after he was already so wounded from his divorce. Yet I feel like I was still finding myself, I was still learning to speak up for myself, to put myself first. And then he came into my life and it became all about him. Now I find myself locked into a big mortgage in a house I don’t love, that is not new and shiny and warm like the apartment I turned down in the city I adore. I have such a drastically different life now than the year before. It is difficult for me. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do, Anita. It’s hard not to make the comparison between the two men. G was established in the city I loved, educated, kind, thoughtful. We had similar views and values. I feel it was a much more compatible match. I wish I had listened to my gut at the time, and if I’m honest, throughout our relationship I would think about this choice that I made and regret it. The choice that didn’t really feel like a choice in the first place. I wish I had just walked away from B after so many red flags. However again, it is so complicated because if I had done that, I wouldn’t have my daughter now.
I’m so sorry for always writing such similar regrets to you. But I feel like I have to tell someone these realizations to keep myself accountable. I have actually shared all of these thoughts (some very difficult to speak of, but I believe I owed it to B and to myself to once and for all be completely honest and speak up for myself ) to B and he has surprisingly willingly listened and suggested that I take more time to myself to figure out what I really want. In a very ironic turn, he was also offered a very lucrative position from, believe it or not, a former executive client of mine from 5 years ago. It’s a small world, I suppose. This development leaves me feeling somewhat hopeful, yet I still find myself thinking about all that I have written here about my past. I know my particular vice seems to be Regret and Rumination, but I truly am very sad that I let my parents talk me out of that apartment, which in turn led me back to my home city where I met and became entangled with B. I can’t help but think now of the life I wanted, that I was so close to having. I am upset with many people, but worst of all, I am disappointed in myself that after I had promised myself and you many times, I still let my parents make a major life decision for me, one that ended up having very serious consequences. I’m not sure how to get past all of this, and more importantly, how and what direction to move forward.
Thank you again a million times over for your unwavering support for me and now my daughter, Anita. You are appreciated more than you will ever know.
- This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by laelithia.