June 16, 2021 at 12:21 pm #381542
I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years yesterday not because he is bad but because i am. Here’s the thing, i met him while we were at college he was the shy one sooner than later i started noticing he had hearing problems until he confirmed this to me and i didnt care a bit i loved him and his pain was my pain it broke me when he was struggling and it made me the happiest person when he got a new pair of hearing aid. We helped each other, sure sometimes it felt like im his mom which i guess i had no problem with at first but then i hated it and i communicated that to him , he understood and tried to prove things otherwise with a change of behaviour because he is the most empathetic person ever. What you need to know about me is that im a workaholic (there’s a reason behind this, i wont get into it here) but finding a job or holding a position was a struggle for the entire 3 years so what happened is that i used to be so mesmerised by anyone successful i used to worship them so i met this woman who is 15 years older than me and had a great reputation in the industry, i had doubts about my sexuality so i ended up cheating with her on my boyfriend and to make matters worse i was physically and emotionally abused by her multiple times ( a time span of 2 months)which traumatised me till now. When i cheated i immediately confronted my boyfriend, my mom , my sister and my best friend , i wanted those closest to me to know how ugly i can be as a human. When it comes to my boyfriend when he knew about it he was forgiving and kinda ok with it but i refused his reaction i wanted him to feel angry at me i wanted him to feel all these emotions and let them out i talked to him about it multiple times, i went to therapy, i updated him on everything i even told him i dont think u understand how ugly my actions were and I repeated what i had done to him with complete honesty multiple times and yet he was like I forgive you, i know your core and this doesn’t define you lets put this behind us , so we did or so I thought. We started doing long distance as we both held new jobs in different countries then two months in he loses his dad and refuses to open up about the pain, begged him to just ramble his feelings to me without me commenting and yet he strictly refused which I understand, all of us process pain differently. I wont say i was the best cause i had my moods but despite all of this i tried to tell him i feel and care for your pain indirectly whether through a prayer, an article or a picture.. but i started noticing us having arguments everytime we talk because he keeps on bringing a subject about moving back home while i, for the current situation, my path looks far away from home, i tried to persue jobs to transfer eventually to be with him far away from home and yet now he cant make up his mind and that lead to l heated arguments several times with a lot of breaks in between until yesterday (8 months after me confessing to him about the cheating) he opens up by saying that he had it up until the end with me and that “ anyone else besides him would have left me for what i have done” and that i cause him stress by not being sure if i want to go back home if he wants that and that because he forgave me and stood by me when i did him wrong, the least i could do is sacrifice and accept his decision.
He wanted to take a break to process all his negative emotions- as he said he didnt mean this – but i asked to break up cause 1- i cant stay with a person who looks at me like a burden even though he said otherwise and I honestly did everything i can to prove to him that I regret this hurt and wont happen ever again
2- he is lost and cant make up his mind about where he wants to live and treats me like a burden that will affect his decision- so i let go to let him decide freely without any external pressure.
but i feel guilty i feel like i need my soul to get out of my body as i am the cause that ruined this relationship or at least that’s how i see it. Im scared , i lost my job as well and i feel like I deserve all of this.. was it the right decision? Do people reconcile ever again? If not, will this hell ever end .. im tired, terribly sorry, scared of everything and everyone and i love him to bits and pieces yet i didnt know how else to approach this situation.. what would you do if you werein my shoes ?
thank youJune 16, 2021 at 2:09 pm #381552
From my first reading of your original post, it looks like you cheated on your boyfriend with a woman, and in your mind and heart it was the worst thing you could do. But in his mind and heart, it was not a big deal, or at least, it was way less of a big deal than it was for you.
Fast forward 8 months, he wants to move back to the home country, and he wants you to move back there as well. You don’t want to, so he uses the past cheating as a negotiation tool: I did this for you (forgave you), now you do this for me (move back home).
Did I understand correctly?
anitaJune 16, 2021 at 2:22 pm #381553PeterParticipant
This close to the experience it may be difficult to detach the emotions from the analysis of the experience and learn from it. Detachment here does not mean not feeling the emotions you have only that you avoid attaching your sense of self to them. We have emotions we are not our emotions. We have experience’s we are not our experiences. (That can be a hard one to grasp, as its all to easy to define ourselves and or be defined by a single experience. )
You are not a ‘bad’ person because you feel bad or have done hurtful things to others. We all struggle and we all hurt the ones we care about most sometimes. Relationships are a crucible which will revel our best and worst qualities. Shadow work (often projected onto the other) and mindfulness can help us separate the things that belong to us and the things that belong to our partner. Forgiveness, accountability, responsibility… are all tools that help us develop the ability to learn better, and learning better do better.
Sadly its a reality that it is often the pain of a relationship ending the pushes us to do the work that might have saved the relationship.
My experience and observations is that their is a tipping point when the past of a relationship becomes so heavy that only those where both those involved have truly learned to know themselves AND a have developed the art of Forgiveness AND have above, above average ability to communicate can over come. (Depending on those factors (and others) every relationship has a different tipping point that love, as understood in that experience, cannot over come. ) Love pushes towards life and growth, when the tipping point has been reached, LOVE may require a relationship to end if only to push us.
Their is a lot to unpack in your post, a lot that you might learn from. Keep writing. Keep a look out for your victim and villain story’s. These types of stories can shine a light on our own projections and fears, areas that might require work.
Other questions you might ask. Where in the relationship did you feel safe? Did you react or respond to you partner when you felt unsafe? How so? How did your partner respond or react to you when they felt unsafe? Where your boundaries healthy ones? How many of your boundaries were defined by fear and how many maintained by love? (Using the energy of fear and anger to maintain boundaries may be easier then using the energy of love. At least that has been my experience. )
I wish you well on your journey. Its sounds so odd… but LOVE opens the door to being able to be grateful for the very things you wished never happened.
From a interview of Stephen Colbert
“…he is the youngest of eleven kids and … his father and two of his brothers, Peter and Paul, the two closest to him in age, were killed in a plane crash when he was 10.”
“I learned to love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of G_d are not gifts?’ ”
Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of G_d are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
He was 35, he said, before he could really feel the truth of that. He was walking down the street, and it “stopped me dead. I went, ‘Oh, I’m grateful. Oh, I feel terrible. I felt so guilty to be grateful’. But I knew it was true.
“It’s not the same thing as wanting it to have happened,” he said. “But you can’t change everything about the world. You certainly can’t change things that have already happened.”
Consider that this is coming from a man who millions of people will soon watch on their televisions every night—if only there were a way to measure the virality of this, which he’ll never say on TV, I imagine, but which, as far as I can tell, he practices every waking minute of his life.
The next thing he said I wrote on a slip of paper in his office and have carried it around with me since. It’s our choice, whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. “At every moment, we are volunteers.”June 16, 2021 at 10:41 pm #381580
you got that correctly. Plus after 8 months he opens up saying no one would have stayed with you after what you did- which is something back when I revealed my wrong doing i fully realised and accepted and i asked him to leave me yet he insisted that he is ok with it as it doesnt define who i am and that he understood everything, read more about it and its in the past. But here we are …June 16, 2021 at 10:52 pm #381581
you are right i have done and still doing alot of shadow work especially after me cheating-i never knew about the concept before. Im writing but the guilt and the voices of “ its all yoir fault” things have come to an end are killing me , I literally dont see any self worth…
thank you for that piece , this hits the heart “It’s our choice, whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. “At every moment, we are volunteers.”June 17, 2021 at 2:47 am #381586
I am sorry you’re going through such a hard time. Although you did cheat on your boyfriend, it seems to me that you’re treating yourself very harshly, believing that you are bad, “ugly as a human”, that your actions are ugly and that you deserve all of this:
I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years yesterday not because he is bad but because i am.
When i cheated i immediately confronted my boyfriend, my mom , my sister and my best friend , i wanted those closest to me to know how ugly i can be as a human.
i updated him on everything i even told him i dont think u understand how ugly my actions were and I repeated what i had done to him with complete honesty multiple times
Im scared , i lost my job as well and i feel like I deserve all of this
This tells me you have a very negative core belief about yourself: “I am bad”. You say “I literally dont see any self worth”. Are you aware when this belief started? Was it only after this affair, or even earlier?
In the situation with your boyfriend, you apologized for cheating and promised never to do it again. He was very supportive and in fact forgave you much more easily than you could forgive yourself. You couldn’t understand how he could be so forgiving. You wanted him to be angry at you and feel all those emotions and let them out, but he didn’t. He said: “I forgive you, i know your core and this doesn’t define you, lets put this behind us.”
I believe he was honest, he wasn’t suppressing his anger, and wasn’t feigning forgiveness.
But now, it seems he wants more commitment from you. He is considering moving back home, now that his father passed away. And you don’t want to, you have career plans abroad. I believe he probably sees it as a lack of commitment on your part, a lack of a deep desire to be with him, and even to sacrifice some things for him. It seems to me that he’s saying something like: “I love you enough to forgive you for what you did. Why can’t you love me enough to move back home with me if I ask you?” He feels his love is strong enough, but yours isn’t.
You said you’re a workaholic and that professional success is very important to you, so I can imagine you’d have a hard time sacrificing your job in order to be with him. It seems to me he’s asking you to do that, or at least to show willingness to do it, i.e. to put him first before your job. At least this is how I am understanding what is happening between the two of you.June 17, 2021 at 4:13 am #381589
actually my sense of self worth started after the affair. i was always a confident vibrant person but now its gone.
i hear your point of view on how is demanding more commitment, yet that what i was trying to do all along, i chose companies that could help transfer abroad with where he is staying now as our initial plan was for both of us to live abroad together. Now after his father’s death he is having doubts and leaning more towards going back home, i would go back home too but the thing is there arent any companies within the industry i am working at (Private equity) while his job (auditor) is found back home and elsewhere. Im just struggling with the fact that was it wrong that i let go of him cause i am scared this behaviour ( you made a mistake so you need to do X in return everytime because of it and because i was there for you) ? Was it wrong and naive that i let go because i felt that im adding pressure and stressing him out when it comes to his decision about going back home or staying abroad? What would you do if you were in this situation.. my mind is running a 1000 miles/ hour with guilt , fear and confusionJune 17, 2021 at 7:22 am #381592
first, try to relax a little if you can – do some deep, slow breathing, with super long exhales – that should help you relax.
So your main question is whether you made a mistake breaking up with him. You reasons for breaking up were: 1) you didn’t like that he’s bringing up your affair again, guilt tripping you, when you apologized already multiple times and asked for forgiveness, and he too said he’s forgiven you. You don’t want that he’d use your past transgression as a weapon against you and a means of emotional blackmail.
2) You didn’t want to be a burden for him, preventing him from doing what he wants – which might be moving back home. You say he is still unsure, and you don’t want him to stay abroad just because of you. You don’t want him to make a decision at his own detriment, i.e. to sacrifice for you.
Am I understanding this right?
If so, it doesn’t necessarily mean you made a wrong decision, but you made a decision from a place of hurt. I think the first thing you’d need to do is forgive yourself for the affair. Truly forgive yourself. Then decide if you want to be with this man in the long run. Is he the one for you? When he told you he’s forgiven you and knows that at your core you’re a good person – do you think he really did forgive you, or he suppressed his anger? If he’s forgiven you, and you forgive yourself too – that’s the precondition for continuing the relationship.
You asked me what I would do in your place… so first, I’d forgive myself, and then I’d talk to him. Find out why he wants to move back home, what motivates him, what his concerns are etc. Maybe he has a mother who is now living alone, and he’s worried about her… it can be any number of reasons. Anyway, I’d try to hear him out. And then if I were you, I’d share my reasons for staying, my concerns, my hopes and dreams, both around your career and around your relationship. So I’d try to talk, completely honestly. And hopefully, he too would talk openly. And then you may come up with a compromise solution, where you’d both feel seen and respected by the other. At least, that would be the ideal scenario.
But the main question, I believe, is whether he has truly forgiven you, and whether you can forgive yourself.
June 17, 2021 at 7:29 am #381594
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by TeaK.
“I am scared this behaviour (you made a mistake so you need to do X in return..”-
– your mistake was traumatizing for you because you felt very badly about having cheated on him, and because you were abused (“I was physically and emotionally abused by her multiple times. which traumatised me till now”). Your sense of self-worth took a dive and you felt “bad… ugly.. as a human”. You felt very ashamed and guilty. You told him everything about the cheating, repeatedly expressed massive regret, and therefore, he knew how badly you felt about your mistake. He comforted you at the time, but eight months later, when he wanted to motivate you to give up your job and move back home, he chose to revive your pain, your shame and guilt, and use it for his advantage. To say that this is not a loving behavior is an understatement. This behavior is unethical, dishonest and mean.
“8 months after me confessing to him about the cheating.. he opens up by saying.. that ‘anyone else besides him would have left me for what I have done'”- First, he lied: he has to know that it happened before, in the history of mankind, that men have stayed in relationships after knowing that their girlfriends/ wives have cheated. Second, he sent you the message that you OWE him, you have a great debt to him.
Question is, for how long do you owe him for his .. unique generosity for having stayed in the relationship with you. This sets a bad precedence where whenever he wants you to do something that you don’t want to do, he tells you: you owe me!
Perhaps this behavior on his part is a first, maybe a result of him being extremely distressed- in which case, I imagine that he would regret it when he calms down, and sincerely apologize to you. At that point, you may be generous enough to forgive him. But if he doesn’t apologize, if he doesn’t regret it.. then he may not be the man you thought he was.
June 18, 2021 at 1:32 am #381633
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
Dear Anita & TeaK,
Thank you both so much for knocking some sense into me.. i needed to go through all your words carefully and it let me to revise alot as well… if i ever ended up talking to him again i will make sure to hear everything he has to say and make sure that i need to be as clear as possible… wish you both good health and happiness.
thank you for all that you do,
natieJune 18, 2021 at 6:03 am #381636
You are welcome, natie. And you are welcome to post again here, or in a new thread (on any topic that comes up), and I will be glad to reply to you.
anitaJune 18, 2021 at 6:19 am #381637
you’re very welcome. Thank you for your good wishes, I wish you all the best too moving forward, and a lot of open and honest communication – if you choose to talk to him again. All the best to you, and post whenever you feel the need!