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Painful love addiction

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This topic contains 34 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #197091

    Talia
    Participant

    Posted here before about a “friendship” I had with a married coworker who I am now living several hours away from. I have done the affair thing in my past, was humiliated , got divorced, moved on and swore I would not go down that road again. And physically I have not, yet my heart is a mess. I miss seeing him every day at work. He still calls me but I start to get anxious when he doesn’t. I heard he is talking to more women and I am not surprised but I am so deeply hurt. I don’t know what I expected.

    Before I moved he asked me if I saw us together and I said no. I know we are at completely different places in our lives and it would be near impossible to make it work. And I know I wouldn’t be as happy as I could be. Still I cannot seem to let go of a fantasy. I even have a fantasy of him being my friend and in my life but I cannot even have that because he can’t have female friends. He told me several days ago he wanted to cut back contact which I assume is best for me, but it still hurt so much that I cried and he apologized. I can’t eat, sleep, or work on projects that I want to accomplish because this man occupies so much head space. I feel like I’m not good enough for him even though I know I didn’t want him in the first place in any way unless he had approached me while single. I feel ridiculous caring about his happiness while completely ignoring that I feel incomplete and unhappy.

    How on earth did I get myself in so deep when I know better?

    #197095

    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Talia

     

    Whatever you do, do not think about pink elephants.

    Your fixated thoughts may have nothing to do with the acknowledged fantasy you have created. So, the question is why has your attention become fixated on these thoughts? What in other words is the payoff for you? What hopes. desires and dreams are really behind this fantasy? Why are you attracted to unavailable men or men you know are not right for you?

    I used to love watching the Dog Whisper.  A common issue was a dog’s fixation on some object which the dog couldn’t look away and stop barking at. Part of the solution was a practice of a tug delivered with calm assertiveness (I prefer the term intention but the key is being calm about it) to divert the attention.

    There is a part of the mind that directs consensus as if it were dog like. We tend not to think about our consciousness as something that we direct so tend to let it run wild un-trained. The practice of mindfulness can, by calmly noticing when our attention has become fixated, redirect our attention elsewhere.

    #197097

    Talia
    Participant

    Thank you for your reply!

    I agree that the fantasy and thoughts are probably different. I had a fantasy of being with him before I really got to know him and When I did get to know him, I rationalized all the bad qualities and let myself open up very deeply to him while he has barely said anything about his home life except for maybe once saying he wasn’t happy.

    I really wanted him to be happy because we had gotten somewhat close but there are a lot of things that would make it wrong for me. But now that he is not confessing feelings for me any longer I feel worthless which I know is not true. He’s without a doubt the most attractive guy who has ever shown interest in me and acts perfect to everybody although he has this side to his life. Without our convos I just feel like I must have done something and that I’m not good enough. I would even be fine knowing it was just a friendship and not long for him but he is not allowed to call or text me from his cell phone, can’t email, and I’m not sure how I would ever see him again.

    A lot of it is that I dont understand that dynamic in his marriage and I want him to choose my friendship in real life over that rule imposed on him, but he is currently choosing that life.

    #197105

    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Talia

    Your creating a great deal of suffering for yourself. As you have had affairs in the past that did not work out and that this man is married something else is going on which has nothing to do with what this guy does or doesn’t do. Getting to the bottom of that before involving yourself any more may be helpful.

    I don’t mean to be cruel but you need to stop contacting married men. I don’t think  “just friends”works for you or that your ready for that.  You like the attention and validation you get from good looking guys however until you discover that such validation isn’t required for a strong sense of self your going to recreate the scenario repeatedly until you learn the lesson.

    You might want to create some space, with no men, and really look at what you want for yourself and what you want from a relationship.

    David Richo books on relationships might be helpful for you.

    #197107

    Talia
    Participant

    I agree it is much deeper than that. I definitely don’t want to be that person and I know it never ends well. Most of my interpersonal relationships. I have a lot of resentment towards my parents and I tend to pick female friends who don’t seem interested in my life. Im also in a new city so I feel incredibly lonely and wonder if I made a mistake moving. I have gone out with new coworkers but feel stressed with the new interactions. Sometimes I feel like he is actually my only friend, although there are a couple acuaintances I talk to.

    I definitely will not be the one to contact him and will see what to do when he contacts me. I don’t believe in ghosting but I am aware that it needs to end. My only regret would be what if we both were available at one point and I lost my chance but this experience does make me see that it would have soured a real relationship and I that I won’t want him once I am happy with myself. I love relationship books actually so I will look into that.

    #197165

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Talia:

    I read your posts, the one in your Dec thread and here. I believe that what you describe has very little to do with this man and a whole lot  to do with what  happened in your life early, way before you met this man.

    If you would like to share about that “lot of resentment towards my parents” that  you mentioned, please do and  I will reply  further.

    anita

    #197175

    Talia
    Participant

    Thank you, I feel like things were good while I was a child, although there was some distance with them. When I started to get older, my mom and dad became especially petty and condescending. If I made comments about a friend or boyfriend issue they would go on and on about what I could have done wrong and that it was my fault if another person treated me badly.

    When I left for college it was like I went from a smart girl that wanted a good job and good husband to acting completely different. I partied and drank a lot, fell in love constantly with everybody, neglected class to sleep or party, and I know it was my fault. My parents were paying but I felt like I was doing something I didn’t want to do and they didn’t listen to any of my cries for help. They would yell at me but I was solely focused on finding that one guy.

    Since then I have had some bad jobs and a failed marriage but I feel like I can get along okay with my parents now. I’m seeing now that I’m not necessarily in love with the man but he is representing something addictive and desirable to me.

    #197183

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Talia:

    You wrote about your parents: “They didn’t listen to any of my cries for help”. This is a very powerful statement. I think it happened before you got older because you wrote: “while I was a child… there was some distance with them”- a child does not naturally distances herself from her parents. Distance happens when parents hurt the child.

    When your parents yelled at you and when they  went on and on about how it was your fault that another person treated you badly, they were treating you badly as they themselves blamed you for another’s misbehavior. They did the misbehavior which .. was not your fault.

    You wrote that this man is “representing something addictive and desirable” to you. Can you elaborate on what that may be?

    anita

    #197185

    Talia
    Participant

    I think in their minds they were not hurting me. I was given strict rules but still with a bit of freedom. But when I got older they had the attitude of it not being their problem. And I had the attitude that I was going to party no matter what. Even if I didn’t listen to them I feel they still could have said something. I feel like most parents would try to boost their child’s self worth.

    I am trying to think about what he represents to me. He is 10 years older with teenage children which makes me think he’s a loving and caring person. He has been with his wife since they were 20 which is cute and I’m jealous because I always wanted the high school or college sweetheart. He supports his whole family even though we were working low paying jobs at a manufacturing facility. He has a cute house that they have been working on together for years.

    Since I have gotten older I am actually more interested in going a non traditional route without kids and letting go of that marriage fantasy but I still can’t seem to shake my fantasy of a life with him even though he has a completely different life than me. He indulged me talking about my interests and dreams to work a better job and take time for hobbies and it seemed like he wanted to do these things too. I felt like I could help him get out of the house and do things as he never got a chance to and didn’t have much leftover money. As I mentioned before he talked about his kids but only one thing about being unhappy at home.

    It’s kind of odd now thinking about how I thought something could work out with us. I don’t feel like I could ever be a step parent and there is this side to him where I know he pursues other women. I honestly don’t know I am seeing him differently than what is really there?

    #197191

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Talia:

    Regarding your first sentence in your recent post: when your parents yelled at you, they felt anger at you. Anger is what fueled their yelling as well as the going on an on about things being your fault. When people (and other animals) are angry, they are motivated to hurt the one they are angry at. Anger in nature motivates an animal to fight, that is, to hurt another animal. And so, unfortunately, your parents meant to hurt you, in their own minds and hearts.

    Regarding the man: is it possible that, however unrealistic it is, you wish you were this man’s teenage daughter, living in his home, which you imagine to be a loving, supportive home, safe and removed from the one you had?

    anita

    #197195

    Talia
    Participant

    That definitely shocks me to think about although I have wondered it before. There was a very strong sexual attraction on both ends, but there is probably some truth to that. I actually found my self visiting her social media pages and looking at her pictures, because his wife doesn’t have one. I figured I would possibly be able to compare myself to the wife that way but I did find my self oddly jealous of the daughter too. It was weird, seeing her look happy and having fun when her parents supposedly had a tumultuous relationship. I am closer in age to the wife but I often wonder if he compared me more to the daughter by being at a different place in life. However he is not very mature emotionally so I don’t know whether my emotions would be a turn off for him or not. He did tell me he was searching for someone to love him the way he loved me, but I don’t know if that was even true or just a way to try to get me to sleep with him.

    I also felt like when we were working together I was trying to seek approval and impress him as well as talking about what was bothering me. There definitely was a hint of a parent child thing going on. I have had other older friends though with children and did not feel this way. I have completely idolized this ones looks and personality even though I know I would not be happy long term.

    I have been trying not to look at the pictures now because that is kind of creepy but I did feel some jealously that she does seem happy and cute and the wife must be the same. I still care about why I’m not good enough to be somewhere in the picture I guess. I would be fine if he had never approached me or I had turned him down from the start but he continued this chase and got under my skin.

    #197199

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Talia:

    I think that what got under your skin (the last four words in your recent post) is the exhilarating, intoxicating feeling of being approved of, being good enough and therefore belonging in a safe and loving family setting.

    Because your home of origin has not been that kind of setting, you kind of… want to borrow or steal that setting from a place where it does exist.

    What do you think?

    anita

    #197207

    Talia
    Participant

    I agree. The whole thing was intoxicating, I was pretty much in that constant state of excitement for over a year. I have endlessly daydreamed about all the ways I could be in his life, from being friends with the wife or even the daughter. It does seem extremely odd now. However when I learned he could not have female friends, the attraction to him as a partner grew to be very intense. Luckily though I have reminded myself that I would not want him to leave his family. I know logically I do not need his approval or admiration to live my life but it seems impossible to get to the other side.

    #197219

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Talia:

    Not odd to me. The need of a child to be safe, to be approved of, to be part of a loving family is so intense, that when not satisfied in childhood, it persists through life. This need is so strong that the imagining of it satisfied is indeed intoxicating. We will do anything for it to happen, no matter illogical, no matter what.

    Is this man the place for you to actually experience what you need- very unlikely. But it feels to you that he is that place. Something about him, about how he talks to you, the words he uses, maybe his voice, his looks, maybe the sexual attraction you mentioned intensifies that childhood need, as in one need intensifies another.

    Did you attend psychotherapy so far, in your life?

    anita

    #197223

    Talia
    Participant

    I have seen therapists but never for a long period of time, usually just addressing the issues of a current relationship. Although I do want the family, I make bad relationship choices. I pick a lot of avoidant men who make me clingy, or I pick the needy ones who make me lose interest and I search for the affair or laying the groundwork for a new relationship. I don’t think I’ve had one that was completely healthy. The married man did tell me I reminded him of his mom who had depression so maybe we both see something in the other. I did not see that as a good thing. I wanted to be the cool girl with him but eventually I let him know some of my darker thoughts and experiences.
    Everything that you mentioned draws me to him and it does feel like all the needs are coming together. I know now though I’m not really that special because he is probably pursing other women even though he wants to stay in my life to some degree.

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