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My ex and I still love each other, but can’t be together

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  • #385749
    Candice88
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

    That’s actually something he has said he does – saying things that he doesn’t mean just to get me to lighten up, because he thinks “easing the tension fixed our relationship”. Even though the lies show up further down the road and make everything worse. To me this is very simple to understand, AND he and I have had this conversation countless times with no changes in his honesty or communication skills.

     

    I agree about what I should do when I doubt myself. But I’m at the point where I do feel like I won’t find a person for me, and it’s all very scary.

     

    On top of that my love for my ex has grown, despite my efforts to stay busy, and I have dreams almost every night that my “parallel universe” wish comes true – that he and I meet up again for a weekend just to hang out for me to see if the he is actually someone I should/could give a second chance and to rekindle our relationship. It’s very disorienting to wake up and find out that the truth couldn’t be further from these dreams I keep unwillingly experiencing.

    #385755
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Candice88,

    That’s actually something he has said he does – saying things that he doesn’t mean just to get me to lighten up, because he thinks “easing the tension fixed our relationship”. Even though the lies show up further down the road and make everything worse. To me this is very simple to understand, AND he and I have had this conversation countless times with no changes in his honesty or communication skills.

    Right. It’s a childish behavior on his part – just make something up to make “mommy” less upset. It’s manipulative and shows he doesn’t really want to change. What has transpired at your last couple’s therapy session, if you don’t mind sharing?

    I agree about what I should do when I doubt myself. But I’m at the point where I do feel like I won’t find a person for me, and it’s all very scary.

    You believe so because the relationship with him is falling apart and is likely not going to work, and the previous one fell apart too. But you went into both of those relationships with lots of baggage, lots of childhood trauma, and it definitely impacted both the choice of partners and the outcome.

    With M, you’ll be better off without him, and I believe you see that too. He doesn’t really want to give you anything, he wants you to tolerate his lousy behavior, and then when you get pissed, he tells you something to calm you down – which he doesn’t mean and is a lie. I don’t see any potential for a healthy, mutually respectful relationship there.

    With S, your old trauma was triggered when he cheated on you. After that, he didn’t have any empathy for you and kept torturing you with his partying and refusing to tell you when he gets home. He put all the blame on you, when in fact, had he loved you, he would have understood where you’re coming from and made that little gesture of sending a text. This only increased your anxiety and panic attacks, and led you to be desperate and anxious – which eventually led to him pulling away.

    In the relationship with S, you were both responsible for things not having worked out, while in the relationship with M, I think you’re doing everything you can, and yet he is unwilling to do his part.

    It seems to me that now you are much more self-aware, you’re going to therapy (and I encourage you to work on your childhood trauma, if you aren’t already), and are in a better place mentally and emotionally. You’re working on your healing and there is no reason why you wouldn’t find a partner – someone who would love and respect you and also have empathy for you. You had 2 bad relationships, but it doesn’t mean all your options are exhausted. In fact, if you work on your issues and heal your trauma, you have a much greater chance to find a good guy and have a healthy relationship.

    On top of that my love for my ex has grown, despite my efforts to stay busy, and I have dreams almost every night that my “parallel universe” wish comes true – that he and I meet up again for a weekend just to hang out for me to see if the he is actually someone I should/could give a second chance and to rekindle our relationship.

    It’s no wonder you are feeling love for S, because he seems to have grown and understood his mistakes, so he seems like someone you could be happy with. But I still think that a lot of your day (and night) dreaming has to do with the infatuation that your inner child feels towards S, because he feels like a perfect parent. He, unlike your mother, finally realized that he was wrong and that he’s hurt you with his behavior. You sought closure, both from him and your mother, and unlike your mother, he gave you the most perfect closure possible. This is what I wrote to you on July 25:

    When you sought closure, you might have wanted something similar: for your mother to understand you, to admit her mistakes, and remove the barrier between the two of you, so you could have a loving relationship with her again. But it didn’t happen, and it rarely does, unless the parent is working on themselves too.

    With S, you sought the same: that he would finally understand what he did to you… And lo and behold: it seems S does understand you and has admitted his mistake, which leaves (at least in theory) the door open for a loving relationship. S did what your mother couldn’t do: he admitted his mistake and even expressed that he loves you.

    No wonder you are fantasizing about him. I don’t know if it’s meant for you to be together, but I am sure he is not the only person who could truly love you. You need to keep repeating yourself that you’re lovable and deserve proper love, not manipulation and breadcrumbs. Two failed relationships don’t mean that there is no future for you. You’re only beginning, you’re only starting to blossom now. Give yourself patience and time, and things will get better, I promise you.

     

    #385805
    Candice88
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

     

    Precisely, it’s very immature. And it’s honestly maddening to be looking him in the eyes and tell him, for the twentieth time as calmly as possible “Don’t you remember last time we had this conversation, when you said you wouldn’t do that again and you agreed that it wasn’t helpful or healthy to do that?”.

    Yeah I’ll share what we talked about. We discussed some things M and I have learned about how someone with ADHD (M) and someone without (me) can get through relationship issues, and compromise was brought up. M said he does his fair share of compromise with me, and when prompted what that was he said “I listen to you talk and do nice things for you. Plus it’s hard to be creative and make music when there’s someone else in the apartment with me.” I told him it sounds like he doesn’t want a relationship right now, which he didn’t understand or agree with.

     
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I’ve had more than just the two 2 bad relationships, and I’m 28 now. I really don’t want to go back to being optimistic, hopeful, and open to another person, because I’ve always been let down pretty hard. Lately I’ve been softer and more vulnerable with M, like when we got together, because the therapist told me too in order to give M the opportunity to prove himself. But now when he doesn’t come to bed because he’s in his car on his phone for hours, or making music for hours, or in his garage until sunrise (all times he told me he’d come to bed “soon”), or late for anything, it just ends up hurting more since I’ve been forcing myself to be less calloused.</p>
     

    I have my lease for October, I’m moving out soon…but after that I’m not really expecting anything good to happen anymore. I’ve had many friends actually tell me “Maybe you have to come to terms that you’ll never find someone who deserves you.”. Which has been…hard to hear.

    #385811
    jennifer
    Participant

    Dear Candice88,

    Please forgive me when you are able, when I say anything too hurtful below.   I am so moved by your posts and pain, I had to respond.

    I am just coming out of a bad 5 year relationship with a narcissistic drug addict who constantly lied to me, never changed, and had me crazy – quitting my job & moving across the country to get away from his abuse – moving back, believing his lies that ‘things will be different’ – and now I’m moving yet again – doing what I really want.

    It has taken me many months of pain and crying, moving through denial, to get to this point today.  When my therapist asked me last Dec: what do you want for the next chapter of your life, I couldn’t answer or think about it – I was crying too hard and the pain was just overwhelming and all consuming.

    I’d like to say: it’s difficult to have a fulfilling relationship with anyone who lies, cheats, abuses, and continually disregards your feelings.  I am so glad you are moving out.  I know you are hurting; I know you are in love.  And broken hearts are, in my experience, the worst kind of pain; but move out, cry it out, and work on yourself with your therapist.

    You’ve already had amazing experiences in your young adult life – living in Japan for a year.  How cool is that?  And even with the trauma you are experiencing in your current relationship, you started graduate school!  Have you congratulated yourself on your strength lately?

    I tried to read all the posts and replies, and my sense is you’ve gone on at length about these 2 bum guys.  Have you asked yourself what it is you want, how you would like to be treated?  Putting aside these guys, what do you want in life?
    Constant anger and hurt are emotions that signal all is not well.  Controlling another person doesn’t work – they just end up resenting you.

    Don’t apologize for being too sensitive.  This is who you are as a person.  Forgive yourself when you beat yourself up inside.  It is your job to heal yourself.  When you make known to the world who you are and what you want, you will be able to attract a good man who is compatible with you!  Trust is earned.

    I know what you want right now – you want both or either of these men to change, so you can have a loving relationship where you are valued.  But change can only come from within, you cannot force it on another.  I know how you hurt!

    A therapist who specializes in betrayal/infidelity trauma has helped me, so has reading several books about codependency and destructive relationships, and Nar-Anon and Coda.  A website: whatiscodependency.  And giving myself time to cry, to heal, and think about what I want next in life.  I still hurt – the pain is deep and will be there for a long time – but at least I am safe, moving forward doing what I want, and out of an abusive situation that lasted far too long.

    Hugs and healing to you.

     

    #385815
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Candice88,

    it’s hard to be creative and make music when there’s someone else in the apartment with me.

    But now when he doesn’t come to bed because he’s in his car on his phone for hours, or making music for hours, or in his garage until sunrise (all times he told me he’d come to bed “soon”), or late for anything, it just ends up hurting more since I’ve been forcing myself to be less calloused.

    The only thing where I can understand him is that he wants to make music (because that’s his job and he likes it), and that he needs a private space (a garage) to do it. And perhaps also that he works best in the night because that’s when his inspiration comes. If he is a musician, these are usually the conditions, and I guess you can’t expect him to work 9-5 and then be home for the evening.

    However, being a musician doesn’t justify his other unreliable and immature behavior, such as promising and then forgetting to show up, or lying about things etc. And also, what is he doing in his car for hours? It seems like as a way to escape spending time with you…

    I’ve had more than just the two 2 bad relationships, and I’m 28 now. I really don’t want to go back to being optimistic, hopeful, and open to another person, because I’ve always been let down pretty hard. Lately I’ve been softer and more vulnerable with M, like when we got together, because the therapist told me too in order to give M the opportunity to prove himself.

    I guess you gave him the benefit of the doubt. You’ve been tolerating his neglectful and lousy behavior for quite a while, and tried to be as calm and understanding as possible (And it’s honestly maddening to be looking him in the eyes and tell him, for the twentieth time), with only occasional outbursts of anger. As a side note, the latter was the only thing that actually made him change his behavior – temporarily. But he’d do it reluctantly, resenting you and blaming you for not being tolerant enough.

    Anyway, you’ve been practicing empathy and understanding (a softer approach), as a way of self-development. And you’ve been doing pretty well. But now it’s time to stop practicing it with M, because with M, empathy and patience only means he’s going to continue treating you badly. And no amount of explaining or pleading or therapy seems to help change his behavior. Only your anger helps for a short while, but it’s not an honest change but a way to appease you and reduce tensions.

    Being more empathetic and patient is a good quality, but it won’t lead you anywhere with M. It will only lead to more abuse and neglect. That’s why you “end up hurting more since I’ve been forcing myself to be less calloused”.

    Soft, vulnerable, open, understanding, patient…. doesn’t work with M, it only hurts more. However, it is necessary for a healthy, committed intimate relationship. Those qualities are essential, but not to be practiced with people who don’t deserve it. With people whom you need to protect yourself from, rather than open up even more.

    I have my lease for October, I’m moving out soon…but after that I’m not really expecting anything good to happen anymore. I’ve had many friends actually tell me “Maybe you have to come to terms that you’ll never find someone who deserves you.”. Which has been…hard to hear.

    Those friends of yours aren’t helping you… maybe they don’t know what to say, and this is the easiest to say (besides “don’t worry, things will get better”). These 2 relationships, and those before them, helped you grow. You’ve grown a lot in the relationship with M. You’re only 28. You said you’d like to have children some day – well, you’ve got at least five more years to have your first child. You’ve got plenty of time to find a good guy. You aren’t late for anything and you’ve got plenty to hope for.

    In one month you’ll be out of the flat and out of the toxic relationship with him. That’s when you can close the door to old and abusive, and open the door to new and healthy. As I said, you’re just beginning…

     

    #385887
    Candice88
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

    I absolutely want him to pursue his passion of music, and I don’t want to get I’m the way of that. But if I didn’t say anything, he would make music 11pm-7am, then either pass out or get to work late for some other reason, come home late because of that, repeat. He has lost many jobs with these habits, and since he’s lied so much about his drug abuse it’s hard to tell what is healthy music making and what is meth induced obsession. We made a compromise last year that he would tell me ahead of time “hey, this is a music night so don’t expect me to be present”. I said I’d love half of the nights each week to share a bed with him. He has YET to use that system we agreed to, instead telling me he’s coming then never come. And after each fight he brings it up as if it’s a new idea he’s never heard of, confused when I say we’ve been talking about this system for a year, responding with “what’s in the past is in the past, you’re so negative”.

    In his car he is on his phone, smoking his cigarettes while texting people and watching videos. Before he would use his garage as a safe spot to go snort, so even if he’s working in his garage it is a stressful place for me.

     

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that – he only responds when I act like how his mother acts. Ask a million times calmly, with him ignoring me, then when I get mad is when he responds begrudgingly and dramatically.

     

    I appreciate everything you’ve said, truly.

     

    I have some news about S.

    My therapist told me that maybe an email explaining how I feel, making it clear that I don’t expect anything in response, would be helpful for closure. I did this, saying I meant to meet up last month for closure and that his confessions have confused me, bringing up old emotions. I also told him I wouldn’t be offended if he didn’t respond, that this was just an email for me, and that I miss many aspects of our relationship and previous friendship.

     

    He responded telling me to never contact him again. That he regrets “letting me in” (he was the one who sent me unrequited emails me for the years after our breakup, and my email to him was “I’m open to talk if you are, could we get a coffee?”) and has so much anxiety after seeing me last. He said it was disrespectful to his current gf (I had asked before if she knows, he said yes and that she’s okay with us meeting, and the same goes for M on my end). He said he is frustrated about my dependence on him (even though before this summer I never thought I would see him again and had accepted that).

    And his final comment was that he had moved on. This is the comment that I took some time to process. You don’t tell someone you’re still in love with them, that it should be them you’re with, that you imagine getting back together years after the breakup…then a month later say “I’ve moved on”. I’ve had exes contact me while with S, and it didn’t give me anxiety. It was unpleasant, but not a major source of anxiety, because I was actually over them. I see S saying this as bit delusional. I think he is saying this to force himself to get over me, making me the instigator in this situation. When in reality I went into that meeting calm and reserved, while he came in with hugs and telling me he loves me still and tears. My distress was after we went our separate ways, after he had thoroughly stirred my pot.

    Additionally, he is friends with all of his exes and has his current gf be friends with them, as he did to me when I was with him, even though he knows it makes her uncomfortable. But why does seeing me once cause him so much stress? I see it as, once again, a sign that he’s not over me. And is scapegoating me as the antagonist in his life, as opposed to his own actions and emotions he needs to work through.

     

    Regardless, it was interesting. Hurtful, but interesting. It makes me feel like a major part of him didn’t change. He did this same thing when he had cheated…messing with my emotions and then blaming me for feeling the after effects, when in reality he couldn’t grapple with or accept his own guilt. In a way that’s closure for me, but it’s still hurtful and frustrating.

    #385914
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Candice88,

    I absolutely want him to pursue his passion of music, and I don’t want to get I’m the way of that. But if I didn’t say anything, he would make music 11pm-7am, then either pass out or get to work late for some other reason, come home late because of that, repeat. He has lost many jobs with these habits, and since he’s lied so much about his drug abuse it’s hard to tell what is healthy music making and what is meth induced obsession.

    I see… so he has a day job, and making music is his passion, which he does in his spare time. In that case, I see how him spending nights in the garage, “making music”, can be harmful to both his livelihood, his health, as well as your relationship.

    We made a compromise last year that he would tell me ahead of time “hey, this is a music night so don’t expect me to be present”. I said I’d love half of the nights each week to share a bed with him. He has YET to use that system we agreed to, instead telling me he’s coming then never come.

    Yes, that would make sense: 1) to organize his day so he can create music and yet not stay up the whole night, and 2) if he absolutely needs to stay up late, to limit it to one or two nights a week, e.g. Friday and Saturday night, when he doesn’t have to go to work. If he absolutely refuses to stick to any kind of agreement, and just does as he pleases (and causes harm to both of you in the process), it’s not a relationship because he totally disregards you.

    In his car he is on his phone, smoking his cigarettes while texting people and watching videos.

    He wants to stay away from your “criticism”, I guess. It’s like a teenage boy hiding in his room from his mother… Well, I think you stayed long enough with him, trying to work out a compromise, trying to be patient and understanding… but nothing worked. If you want good for yourself, you’ll stop trying and simply wait till October 1 to move out, and never look back…  A big lesson learned, hopefully not to be repeated…

     

    As for S, I think this is very true about him:

    It makes me feel like a major part of him didn’t change. He did this same thing when he had cheated…messing with my emotions and then blaming me for feeling the after effects, when in reality he couldn’t grapple with or accept his own guilt.

    Yes. He for some reason was super kind and loving to you when you met, he “admitted his mistakes” and professed he still loved you, but that he won’t act on it, since both of you are with other people. To his credit, though, he did email you afterwards, stating you can’t be together:

    Then he emailed me reinstating that we cannot be in each other’s lives at any capacity for the foreseeable future, which I know is the mature move.

    So he sort of gave you closure, he told you it’s not going to happen between the two of you. But I understand your drive to write him nevertheless and explain how you feel, specially since now you know that you’ll be leaving M, so things have changed on your side.

    Anyway, he seems to remember things differently now: he is claiming that it was you who pursued him, and you who made him behave disrespectfully towards his girlfriend. And you who caused him anxiety. As if he never opened the door for you, with these words:

    he told me he still loves me too. How we are both on each other’s minds, how we are each other’s “big ex”, the relationship we always wanted to work out. He said “it should be you with me”, and “I never thought I would see you again and NOT be with you”.

    When I first read these words, they sounded fake. This is what I wrote you back then: I am sorry but this doesn’t sound sincere to me. It’s like he is putting up a front of this mature, considerate guy and white-washing his past actions. And I still believe this to be true. He was faking his kindness and “love”, wanting to appear mature and not an a**hole like you remembered him. That’s probably why he insists on being friends with his exes:

    Additionally, he is friends with all of his exes and has his current gf be friends with them, as he did to me when I was with him, even though he knows it makes her uncomfortable.

    He probably hates to be seen as a bad guy, as the guilty party, so he tries his best to smear over his past actions with some syrupy stuff. And that’s what he did when he met you too. His words were syrupy and fake: We are both on each other’s minds.  We are each other’s “big ex”. It should be you with me. I never thought I would see you again and NOT be with you.

    I believe he wanted to create an image of himself as this kind, loving, wonderful guy, but didn’t think you would fall for it. That’s why he is now “frustrated about your dependence on him.” He didn’t want you to fall in love with him and start demanding things from him – he only wanted you to see him in a positive light. He only wanted to white-wash his image.

    But why does seeing me once cause him so much stress? I see it as, once again, a sign that he’s not over me. And is scapegoating me as the antagonist in his life, as opposed to his own actions and emotions he needs to work through.

    You cause him distress because you want things from him, which he cannot and doesn’t want to give you. He is scapegoating you because he doesn’t want to admit that his sleazy and lying words caused you to start having hopes about him again. His strategy backfired. It’s exactly what you said:

    It makes me feel like a major part of him didn’t change. He did this same thing when he had cheated…messing with my emotions and then blaming me for feeling the after effects, when in reality he couldn’t grapple with or accept his own guilt.

    He messed up with your emotions again, being insincere and lying about his feelings, having no intention to be with you, but only to white-wash his image. This is my impression of him.

     

    #385931
    Candice88
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

     

    Everything you said about S was spot on. I was interested in your interpretation that he tries to retroactively paint himself to be a better person to “clean up” his mistakes and change the narrative gong forward. He absolutely does this. Judging from one of his favourite past times from when we were together – reading books on how to control the room, how to get people to follow you, how to be a boss in any scenario – he seems to enjoy controlling what people can and can’t think or feel of him, with him being at the center regardless. I do see a streak of narcissism in his approach. He had been watching the new Netflix Ted Bundy documentary the night he broke up with me, and he said he feels very similar to Bundy (a worrying statement) – that he loves entering rooms and getting people to notice and care about him, being smiley while judging everyone and trying to figure out how he can get them to do what he wants.

    I see this as an extension of that. He feels guilty about the way he acted when we were together, so maybe he gushed all of those emotions at me to make me crack and tell him it’s okay, that he’s clean in my books (which I didn’t do). He makes me the villain because I can’t directly serve him anymore but instead am entering his life in ways he doesn’t want – so he’s writing the story as I’M the threat to his current girlfriend, not his own actions. Very interesting. (Side note, instead of being jealous of her, I’m actually concerned. He is 30 and she is 22, which isn’t the biggest difference…but definitely a more naïve age for a girl than 28). And that is a good comment about him staying friends with his exes – his exes never had feelings for him, really. They were all one night stands or a week of sex with female friends as they took breaks from their boyfriends. And those all ended with the girls saying “that was fun, let’s go back to just friendship now, don’t take it personally”. And I’m the one who actually dated him long term and had a proper relationship with him. That supports your theory that he doesn’t want someone to want anything from him.

     

    Regarding M, him being in the car is definitely similar to a teenager avoiding their parents in their room. And just for more information, the computer to make his music isn’t in his garage, it’s in the living room. So he just goes out to his garage to do….things (previously meth). For hours. Then comes in to start his music hours after he said he would, usually after midnight, and spends the whole night at the computer. That clarification isn’t too important, but it does explain why the garage is a place of stress for me when he disappears there for such a long time.

    You have been so supportive, and offered me so much solid advice and comforting words. After M, I worry about the lasting effects. I worry that I will miss red flags, and withhold love for a new partner (very much not my style) in fear that a year down the road I will discover they have been lying either through denial/lack of self awareness or manipulation. The last 7 years of my life have been coloured by 3 men like this, 2 of which have drastically affected my life and mental health.

     

    #385954
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Candice88,

    He feels guilty about the way he acted when we were together, so maybe he gushed all of those emotions at me to make me crack and tell him it’s okay, that he’s clean in my books (which I didn’t do).

    Well, based on what you said about him in your latest post, perhaps he doesn’t even feel guilty for how he treated you back then, but was rather worried about his image, about your and other people’s opinion of him, and that’s why he now sold you the story that you mean to him much more than you actually do. I mention other people’s opinions too, because you said that he talked with a mutual friend and that she told him he messed up:

    A mutual friend confirmed that he regretted the break up months after it happened, and that she told him how he messed up.

    His ego couldn’t handle that people think badly of him. So he tried to change this. He told you how he regrets his actions not because he truly regrets them, but so that you would change your opinion of him. That you would see him in a better light. Which means he is a manipulator.

    And that is a good comment about him staying friends with his exes – his exes never had feelings for him, really. They were all one night stands or a week of sex with female friends as they took breaks from their boyfriends. And those all ended with the girls saying “that was fun, let’s go back to just friendship now, don’t take it personally”.

    Earlier you said he made you stay friends with his exes:

    Additionally, he is friends with all of his exes and has his current gf be friends with them, as he did to me when I was with him, even though he knows it makes her uncomfortable.

    Does it mean he made you be friends with his one-night stands and his friends with benefits? How did that function?

    I must say, the more I read about the guy, the less I like him. You are much better off that he isn’t reciprocating your feelings and doesn’t want you in his life. How are you feeling about it?

    Regarding M, him being in the car is definitely similar to a teenager avoiding their parents in their room. And just for more information, the computer to make his music isn’t in his garage, it’s in the living room. So he just goes out to his garage to do….things (previously meth). For hours. Then comes in to start his music hours after he said he would, usually after midnight, and spends the whole night at the computer. That clarification isn’t too important, but it does explain why the garage is a place of stress for me when he disappears there for such a long time.

    It is important, because I thought he was making music in his garage… but if he does it on the computer in the living room, then when he disappears to the garage, no wonder you freak out… Do you think he might be still using, when he disappears to his car or garage, or he is clean now?

    You have been so supportive, and offered me so much solid advice and comforting words.

    You are very welcome, Candice, I am glad it helped you.

    After M, I worry about the lasting effects. I worry that I will miss red flags, and withhold love for a new partner (very much not my style) in fear that a year down the road I will discover they have been lying either through denial/lack of self awareness or manipulation. The last 7 years of my life have been coloured by 3 men like this, 2 of which have drastically affected my life and mental health.

    I understand your trepidation. Perhaps if you could list those red flags, which you are aware of now, but weren’t at the time – it would help you get clarity on what to pay attention to. Now looking back, what were the behaviors that were fishy to you and you didn’t like about them, and it later turned out you were right because the guy was a liar or a manipulator?

     

    #386437
    Candice88
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

     

    My feelings about S have been completely resolved since that email. No good, not worth my time.

    However, things have take a cruel turn regarding M.

     

    On Monday I found 3 meth pipes in his drawer. He told me previously that he has been sober since July. Shocked and completely shattered from the complete disrespect of trust, I decided to look at his Facebook messages (something I’ve never done before). There I saw him and his friends (all meth addicts) talking poorly about all their girlfriends, how “these bitches need to calm down”, along with meeting times (which coincide with him being gone in the middle of the night) to meet to use.

     

    When he got home that night I pulled out the pipes, spoke calmly, and told him I’m moving out NOW, not October 6th when my apartment will be ready. He admitted that he’s never quit, he doesn’t want to quit, and he doesn’t think it’s a big deal. I spent the night alone crying and packing my entire life up. The next day I worked alone to get all of my belongings into my dad’s basement, next to a sleeping mat on the floor.

     

    We still had couples therapy on Thursday, and I wanted that to happen for me to hear what he would say to someone else. The therapist was working on the premise that M was sober, so of course he said all of the work I was putting in would be worthless. I mentioned how I had been sending M messages the last couple days, and when prompted by the therapist why he hasn’t responded M said “I’ve been too busy to worry about all that.” This broke my heart. When M said “if she didn’t stress me out so much I wouldn’t have used as often”, to which the therapist shut him down and said in the end using is his decision. The session ended with the therapist telling M goodbye, and wanting a few moments alone with me to tell me I did all I could and that I made the right decision to leave.

    That night we were officially broken up.

     

    Even though I’m staying at my dad’s, I’ve been going to the old apartment to check on my cats (who can’t live in the basement with me due to family allergies, so until October 6th they have to stay there). M has been very bad about feeding them at regular intervals, sleeping in or staying out. Today (Saturday) I knew he would be gone until the late afternoon because he mentioned a while ago that he had a party Friday night. So as I was giving them some exercise with fetch, I went on his computer to pass the time. I pulled up Instagram (my phone was charging in a different room) and he was already logged in. I saw messages from a girl who said “is this M from Grindr?”, and where he told her he would like to have sex with her, or get coffee and go for walk.

     

    The timestamps of these messages were from the minute he left to his car angry after I found his bongs Monday night. And he had been messaging her all week.

     

    He came home shortly after this, and I told him he really didn’t even wait for it to be official that we were both single, and that my body was barely cold. My belongings were still in the apartment when he did this.

     

    I made him be honest with me.

     

    He said he had been going on Grindr on/off for more than a year due to tension. Basically, me calling him out for his meth use and being more assertive with boundaries regarding his disrespectful behaviour aligned exactly with when he decided to habitually cheat on me. He said it was only ever sexting, but that he would have made it physical if it had happened. Instead he settled for sending dick pics back and forth. He told me that he didn’t tell me because he didn’t know how I would react if he said he was also interested in trans girls.

     

    I told him I don’t care who he is attracted to, so long as he was monogamous with me. Which we both established was what we wanted in a relationship (and what constituted as cheating) on our first date. All those nights he was out and not coming to bed, not only was he on meth and going to meet friends to do it. He was also going to sext trans girls alone in his car and masturbate to their pictures. And never coming to bed, where I was waiting sometimes explicitly saying I wanted to have sex that night (he blamed me for not making him feel wanted sexually sometimes, even though he was never present to be sexual with). He also said he thinks he might be polyamorous – I said polyamory doesn’t mean cheating. Poly people also have rules and respect in their relationships, not cheating.

     

    As he was telling me this, and I was having a break down and telling him how horrible he is, he was also falling asleep from his body shutting down after three days of meth.

     

    I don’t believe he kept it to just sexting, so I am getting an STD test as soon as I can.

     

    I told him he clocked out of the relationship the second he cheated, that the second I showed any resistance to his meth use he wanted me gone but wasn’t mature enough to break up with me. So he just used and abused me as he cheated and did meth for 1.5 years out of our 2.5 years together, telling me that I was stressing him out and making him do it while also lying about both.

    He says he loves me but he had demons he needed to sort through before meeting me. I said he doesn’t know himself, he’s been addicted to some substance ever since he was 17 (28 now), so he’s just causing destruction everywhere he turns.

     

    I am shattered. Destroyed.

     

    I am oscillating between hating him and being disgusted and horrified at how awfully I have been treated, to hating myself and thinking that I really must be trash to not be worth it. Only ever having men hurt me. As I type this I really do feel like I’m doomed for men who will trick me and manipulate me, then throw me in the trash after they had fun. I don’t think there are good men out there.

     

     

    Before I learned about the cheating, I felt more balanced – that if he gets sober long term maybe we can try again if I feel like it could work. But I was breaking up with him not promising myself that that would happen, to not rely on that.

     

    Now, I am absolutely traumatized. And this is the first time I’ve lived in the same town as an ex. He is 10 minutes away from me. I don’t trust that I will be strong enough to stay away, as everyone keeps telling me to do.

    I hate myself for still loving him. I feel like trash for still having feelings for someone who treated me like trash.

     

    I don’t know what to do.

     

    #386440
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Candice88,

    I am really sorry that things took a turn for worse with M. But to be honest, it was to be expected, since M’s habits and lifestyle could easily allow him to keep using. This is what you wrote just recently:

    I’m still going to bed and waking up alone 6/7 nights a week, I make dinner for when he says he will be home and I eat alone, then go to bed alone,

    But now when he doesn’t come to bed because he’s in his car on his phone for hours, or making music for hours, or in his garage until sunrise (all times he told me he’d come to bed “soon”), or late for anything, it just ends up hurting more since I’ve been forcing myself to be less calloused.

    He was spending nights away from home, and hours and hours in his car, away from you. That’s very suspicious. Have you ever checked on him when he was in his car btw?

    You said a couple of times that he lies often:

    I didn’t believe him (he lies often)

    he’s lied so much about his drug abuse

    You knew about his propensity to lie, but you wanted to believe that this time, he’s not lying – even if everything suggested that he was. You wanted to believe that this time it would be different, and that he’d finally give you the love you craved.

    That’s your inner child, Candice. The child hopes against all hope that the parent will finally change and give them the love they long for. You’ve stopped hoping to get love from your mother, instead you’re hoping to get it from your boyfriends. And so far, you’ve been attracted to people who are unlikely to be able to give you proper love. You’ve been attracted to cheaters and addicts. You wanted to “save” M, so he can finally love you. It’s the same dynamic as with your mother.

    Don’t beat yourself up for this, Candice, but just be aware of it. Your childhood wound is what makes you attracted to these  lousy men who are unable to love you. You are hoping and trying, believing their lies, believing it’s your fault that they can’t love you…  because that’s what the little girl in you believes: that it’s her fault that her mother doesn’t love her. That she isn’t worthy enough, that she is trash.

    I hate myself for still loving him. I feel like trash for still having feelings for someone who treated me like trash.

    Let’s rephrase this: The little girl in you still has the need to be loved, and she is willing to do anything to get love from someone who reminds her of her mother. Don’t blame her for loving him, rather – heal her. Instead of helping this unworthy men “heal”, you’d need heal her first.

    He is 10 minutes away from me. I don’t trust that I will be strong enough to stay away, as everyone keeps telling me to do.

    The little girl most probably won’t be strong enough. That’s why you, the adult Candice, should help her and reassure her. You’d need to give her love, so that she isn’t craving it from unworthy men.

    How does this sound to you?

    I just want to add – good that you’re getting tested for STD.

    And I am also glad your feelings for S have mostly resolved, and that you’ve realized you don’t need him in your life.

     

    #386441
    Candice88
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

     

    I would try to check on him, but he was usually gone if he was in car and awake. Driven to a safe spot to do those things, probably. Sometimes if his car was parked home and he was awake, I could see some quick motions like he was scrambling, but it would be hard to tell. And I didn’t want to be “that girlfriend” that is always accusing.

     

    What you said sounds most right. Except 3/4 of my boyfriends presented as stable, put together, healed. I was never attracted to someone who needed to be fixed, yet they eventually showed themselves as people who don’t know themselves. Or know how to lie and what people want to hear. I always felt fooled when their toxicity reared up after a slow reveal.

     

     

     

     

    #386444
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Candice88,

    Except 3/4 of my boyfriends presented as stable, put together, healed. I was never attracted to someone who needed to be fixed, yet they eventually showed themselves as people who don’t know themselves. Or know how to lie and what people want to hear. I always felt fooled when their toxicity reared up after a slow reveal.

    Right. Your initial attraction might have been to men that seemed put together and healed. But when you realized they are not, you still stayed with them. At least that’s what happened with M. He was treating you poorly, he’s been promising things and never kept his word, he told you he quit using in April but his behavior hardly changed. And yet, you kept hoping that he isn’t lying, that he’d change eventually. And even now, when you’ve found out he is still using, you believed that perhaps there is a way to get together again, once he gets sober:

    Before I learned about the cheating, I felt more balanced – that if he gets sober long term maybe we can try again if I feel like it could work.

    You wanted desperately to be with him, even though you knew what he was like. You’d rather not see the warning signs (even when they were out in plain sight) than accept that this guy will never be able to truly love you and respect you, and that he doesn’t deserve your love. Do you see that?

    It’s not about the initial attraction, it’s about the inability to let go of a toxic person when their toxicity becomes obvious. This inability to let go of toxic love is due to the little girl unable to let go of her need for her mother. It’s very natural that the girl wouldn’t want to let go, because staying attached is a survival need. This same need was active with M: the little girl would do anything to stay attached (i.e. save the relationship). She’d even look away and pretend she doesn’t see things. And she’d convince herself that it’s her fault that he can’t love her properly. She wasn’t willing to let go of him, even if he was treating you like trash.

    So the real challenge is not in the beginning of the relationship, but when the troubles start (and the lies and manipulations) – what do you do then? Do you try saving the relationship at all costs, allowing yourself to be manipulated and disrespected, or you say – farewell, I am not tolerating this, I deserve better. And you step away, without looking back.

     

     

    #386448
    Candice88
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

    That’s a good point. Another thing to point out is how the toxicity wasn’t let out of the bag all at once. M minimized it and curated what parts I knew, always pushing only a little bit more so that it was a less bitter pill for me to swallow. I was the one that noticed that it was addiction – he never admitted to that before the last 6 months. It was like he tempered the experience for me raise the chances of me adapting to the changes as they progressively got worse. Until one day I found myself in a pit.

     

    I completely understand that the addiction has nothing to do with me. Before yesterday I was upset but at peace with the ball being in his court and never expecting to hear that he got sober in the end.

     

    But the cheating is what is tearing me apart. The cheating is what is telling me that I’m not good enough. And that something is inherently wrong with me.

    #386524
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Candice88,

    Another thing to point out is how the toxicity wasn’t let out of the bag all at once. … I was the one that noticed that it was addiction – he never admitted to that before the last 6 months.

    When did he start behaving suspiciously? When did you suspect first that something is off and that he might be hiding something?

    I completely understand that the addiction has nothing to do with me. Before yesterday I was upset but at peace with the ball being in his court and never expecting to hear that he got sober in the end.

    But the cheating is what is tearing me apart. The cheating is what is telling me that I’m not good enough. And that something is inherently wrong with me.

    Right. So you attributed all of his bad behavior to his being an addict, and not because you’ve deserved any of it. So you didn’t feel bad about yourself. But once you’ve found out that he cheated on you, you suddenly felt it was because of some failure in you. That you’re not good enough or desirable enough. You didn’t think that his cheating (and being attracted to trans girls) is also contributed by his drug addiction? And if it were, would you feel better about yourself?

    Or, as an option B, that his cheating is caused by him being a lousy person in general, regardless of his drug use or not. And again, that it has nothing to do with you?

     

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