Second Best and Depressed

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    I really enjoy Tiny Buddha and find the community here to be extremely positive and uplifting. I’ve been reading lots of articles on here hoping that I can help myself. I’ve never reached out on a public forum, but I’m finding that I don’t have many friends who I can speak openly about my relationship with.

    I’m 24 and have been dating a man that is several years older than me for the past two years. He’s kept many secrets from me in this time and I’ve hardly kept any. I don’t have a particulary nice family and have worked very hard to not become a product of my upbringing. My mother was in prison when I was a child and is an alcoholic and addict. She’s still an alcoholic and bipolar. My grandmother is controlling at at times emotionally abusive. I do not know my father at all and so my only family is my mother and her parents. I often feel quite alone in the world and long for a stable and loving family life.

    When I met and moved with my boyfriend, I thought I found someone I could love and who would just love me back. I did initially try to make my family seem better than what they were because my boyfriend made his family seem so wonderful. Ultimately we learned that neither of our families are that great. I moved with him and have learned over the past two years that he is a bit controlling. Over the course of these two years, from moving to several different cities, we’ve managed to get into a bit of debt. I work in nonprofit and barely make enough to get by. My boyfriend did a couple of things that made me insecure throughout the first year of our relationship. I felt like he never wanted any of his female friends to know that he had a girlfriend. He’s slept with tons of girls and I’ve slept with less than 5 people. He’s gone out all night with female friends that he’s slept with and hasn’t introduced me and he’s made me feel crazy, like I was being insecure and childish. I’ve tried so hard to move past this and not think anything of it and to trust him.

    As it turns out, he seriously dated a girl in high school and a few years after. From what he’s said, it wasn’t a healthy relationship. I’ve known about his relationship with her and two years ago, he chose me over her. I’ve recently seen messages that he’s sent her telling her how beautiful she is and how he thinks about her all the time and how the smell of her perfume makes he stop and wish he could see her. This perfume is the same kind he bought me for Christmas. He’s told her how he thinks about her every night and that he knows she’s doing well because she’s amazing and so beautiful.

    It’s like he’s pining for her and I feel like such a fool. He doesn’t know I know about the messages because I shouldn’t have looked and seen them. I’ve asked him if he regrets moving with me instead of her and if he’s cheating or seeing her and he says no. These messages are consuming me though. I can’t quit thinking that in his mind, he’s missing her. When I bring it up, he makes me feel like I’m childish and insecure. I’m in debt and in a relationship with someone who’s pining for someone else and only with me because I’m here and she doesn’t want him. My heart is breaking and I just don’t know what do. I don’t feel like my love is safe with anyone in my life and it’s beginning to affect my work. And I feel like I can’t leave and start a fight because I’m in so much debt and I’m don’t make enough to cover all my bills without his help.

    I feel like I’ve beat so many odds by going to college and getting a degree and working to help people and volunteering and being a kind person and getting away from my family’s darkness, and now I’m with someone who makes me feel like I’m second best and I feel so trapped. How do I overcome this? How do I keep myself from falling apart?


    Dear Shay,
    I am so sorry to hear you are feeling depressed, and btw..rightly so. First of all, you are so mature and responsible to acknowledge that you have worked so hard to not become a product of your upbringing!! Brava!!! Do you have any friends or acquaintences you can talk with beside your family? You might want to think about talking to a social worker or someone from a church.

    You are not alone..there are SO many people with the similar backgrounds like you and I applaud you for being so open and wanting to take action.

    Your boyfriend does NOT deserve you. He is the one that is childlish and insecure. You are only going to make your self feel worse for remaining in this relationship.
    I know your heart is breaking and its not easy. We have all been there in one time of our lives, but time heals all wounds and Time wounds all HEALS…which I think is an appropriate adjective for him.

    He is making you feel like the one who has issues. Not true. You have the rest of your life to find someone who will care for you the way you ought to be treated….you are only 24 years old. You might be in love, but its better to move on from this now and put it behind you while he is disrespecting you.He is also quite older than you, so he has been around the block a few times.

    Yous should be SO proud of yourself for going to college and getting a degree. You seem to be a lovely person, but too nice to this man.
    I would try and talk with someone who can guide you to best way to leaving this relationship. Dont start a fight, but stay as sweet as you are by starting to save a little money each week and plan on what you need to do to move out. Are your debts his debts?? Sounds like you have gone into debt together.

    You said you dont feel like your love is safe with anyone right now. Your LOVE is safe with YOU, and that is all you need right now to get you through. YOu are stronger than you think.
    Is your Mom getting any help at all from her addictions?
    I pray that you will find the strength to leave this relationship in a mature way. You will be better for it in the long run.
    Please keep me posted.


    Dearest Shay
    I agree totally with everything Lisa said. Please, please leave this man. He is lying to you, behaving very badly and making out it is your fault. It is NOT YOUR FAULT. You are a wonderful, kind, intelligent and strong person. You do not need this man in your life. Trust me, the situation will only get worse. I know. I have been someone similar to this for 8 years. There are organizations that can advise you on debts – please talk to someone in confidence and make plans to leave, soon. Don’t waste any more of your precious life on this man – he is not worthy of you.
    With love

    Matt Turner

    Dear Shay,

    I would like to thank you wholeheartedly for having the courage to share your pain here. I’m glad you feel this is a safe space for you to do so 🙂 Reading your words, there is so much positive light in the midst of your struggle.

    The most important thing is you are SO aware! Being aware of one’s situation is half the battle. Sadly, there are millions of people out there in the world suffering from childhood & family trauma just like yours. You are not alone. However, many of us are simply not aware of this and become angry as we try to figure out what’s going on. You clearly understand what’s going on in your life and the reasons why. You come across as intelligent, articulate, brave, soulful and wise. These are qualities that are obviously in you and will always be there – use them!

    Maybe this is time to have a conversation with YOU. Take your relationship completely off the table. Make it irrelevant for a while and make the focus of your healing solely about you. Ask yourself some powerful questions. Here’s some to get you started:

    * What’s going on with me?
    * If my relationship didn’t exist, what would my life look like?
    * What would I be experiencing?
    * What’s possible for me?
    * What can’t I do right now?
    * Why can’t I do this?
    * What’s in the way?
    * What do I need to get by?
    * What’s my ideal life look like?
    * What’s missing right now?
    * What am I frightened of?
    * What’s true about this fear?
    * How do I know what’s true?
    * What’s the best that can happen?

    Hopefully some of these may get you thinking a little differently and kick-start your movement into another direction.

    You are a wonderful woman, Shay. Appreciate what you have, what you are capable of and what’s possible for you. It’s a whole lot more than you possibly think right now.

    I wish you love, peace and wellness. You deserve it!


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