January 29, 2024 at 7:52 am #427351
Hi, I hope whoever is reading this post is doing well. I’m writing this post to gain some clarity and some explanation about a relationship I had been in. I’m writing it in parts so that it is easy for whoever reading this to keep up with the topic. This would be a long one, thank you for your patience. And thank you to all the forum participants reading this in advance.
So I live in a society, where I have a group of childhood friends. I’m very close to them. In 2019 when I started my college I got into a relationship with a girl, let’s call her Sofi. It was never passionate with her and we weren’t that close. So when lockdown came, we broke up. One of my childhood friends let’s call her SK, she was going through a traumatic relationship with her then boyfriend who had Bipolar and PTSD. SK herself has financial issues at home and her father has Parkinson’s. She herself suffers from anxiety. SK and her boyfriend broke up around October 2020 and Sofi broke up with me in October 2020 and after 2 months in November 2020 I got together with SK. It was a very passionate and lovely relationship, from the start we were really close and stayed on the phone with each other the whole day. I was really insecure about myself at that time. I always felt ugly and insecure, I was not happy with myself. SK is really beautiful and I dreamt to get with her and we did.
As the first few months passed of our relationship, the first months were really awesome, I never experienced the physical intimacy of a relationship before SK. I think I also fell head over heels for her and ignored all the red flags. So after 3 months SK said she wasn’t comfortable with sex ( although she did have it in her previous relationship) and idk something triggered in me, I felt really rejected, it felt really unfair. She gave me some medical reasons and apart from them I think she was also not ready. This is when the relationship started going downhill.
I don’t remember some things after this, but I got into a dark phase, I was always bullied in school and told I was really ugly. I was also bullied by some teachers sometimes. I never processed these things. I also got into some kind of sexual activities with another boy when I was younger than 8 years old. I was also a victim of domestic violence when I was 15 years old and was blamed for it. My sister had some anger issues at that time and was also bullied by her sometimes. My mother was also always depressed and cried a lot at that time and the relationships in the family were never good. They are much better now, thank you God for that. So all these traumas I forgot about and they came back to me after the first few months of the relationship with SK. I suffered from retrospective jealousy and used to just think about SK and her past boyfriend. I read articles on Tiny Buddha, trying to pressure myself to change to accept the love she gave, the caring, but it did not happen. I tried everything, tried to change myself for her. A long time back when we were just friends, she had told me I would never find love. I got angry at her for saying that. But I still cared for her a lot. Always helped her with anything she needed. She had her own expectations of the relationship which I did not fulfill because my physical intimacy was not met.
I started taking therapy, but it did not help much. I lost quite a lot of weight. The relationship with SK got very codependent, she had her anxiety issues and always texted me and used to be on the phone. I got angry with her but ofc never on her because of the retrospective jealousy. I started maintaining some distance. I wanted to fall in love with her, but something kept stopping me. I love her and care so much about her. It got so codependent that she used to sleep on the phone with me, when I went on a trip with friends, she was on the phone a whole night. Slowly I got irritated with it. She never met me much, I was sexually frustrated but she tried online calls, but many times denied me to meet me physically because she had her studies. Which I understand now, I created pressure on her. I was really attracted to her. Then in June 2022, I broke up with her because I suffered my jealousy and was not happy with the relationship, my gut said something was wrong. But after that we did not stop talking and got into FWB. Sometime later I was really fed up with everything that was going on, I felt guilty, things at home were not good, inself harmed myself a few times. We went on a trip together in 2023, which was so lovely and great. I enjoyed with her but after that I again pulled myself away. I did this push and pull a lot with her. I destroyed her self worth, unconsciously.
After we got into FWB, it was all good. I was really happy. I did not feel pressured by her anxiety and it was great. I still had my feelings but did not have the tag. She met me much more when we were in FWB. I downloaded a dating app after few months we broke up, because I wanted to feel better about myself, I was still insecure. But did not go out with anyone. She said it broke her up, and she felt worthless. But we were not together at that time. I’m really sorry for making her feel that way. Then in October 2023 after a year of FWB, I took some space. I met a girl, with whom I wanted to explore a bit, it was not physical but emotional. I missed SK and was not over her. Thankfully the new girl I saw was long distance and it ended within 2 months for its own good reasons. That’s when I truly realised my feelings for SK truly. I tried to go back to her but she had started seeing someone, within a month she found someone to date.
I felt really hurt, cried in front of her. Told her I really love her, part of reason I took space because I was burned out by her codependency. Told her everything truthfully. I’m filled with regrets and I really miss her. I know we can’t get together right now and it’s for the better I guess. But I still want another chance with her sometime in the future. I was insecure that she met her new bf and got physical with him so soon. I feel like I won’t get another girl as beautiful and caring like her. Maybe I miss the codependency. I really care about her, she wants to stay friends, saying she lost her closest friend, she does not have good friends in our society. SK was very arrogant and rarely said sorry, may times she made the relationship about her. I still really care about her and I love her but I’m scared to be with her but I really do want to be with her in the end. I thought I would end up marrying her.
The questions I had
1. What should I do about the situation?
2. Should I keep in touch with her?
3. How should I move on?
4. Any clarity regarding this relationshipJanuary 29, 2024 at 12:08 pm #427379
Dear Going Through Life:
You shared that you had a troubled home life growing up and that you were bullied in school and told that you were really ugly, and as a result, “I always felt ugly and insecure, I was not happy with myself“.
You got into a relationship with Sofi back in 2019, when you started college, and broke up during the Oct 2020 lockdown. SK, your childhood friend, broke up with her boyfriend at about the same time, and in November 2020, you got together with SK. Unlike the relationship with Sofi, with SK, for a few months, it was “a very passionate and lovely relationship, from the start we were really close“.
Three months into the relationship, SK told you that “she wasn’t comfortable with sex“. That troubled you a whole lot, and you suffered “retrospective jealousy“, thinking about her having had sex with her previous boyfriend. In June 2022, you broke up with SK because of your retrospective jealousy and unhappiness with the relationship.
A few months later, you got into a FWB relationship with SK, and you “did this push and pull a lot with her“. In October 2023 after a year of FWB with SK, you met a girl and had a 2-month long-distance relationship with her. You then tried to get back together with SK, but by that time, she was seeing someone new. She wants to stay friends with you, but you want another chance with her as a boyfriend sometime in the future
“The questions I had… 4. Any clarity regarding this relationship“- reading your story, I was thinking of the saying hurt people hurt people. it would have been very nice if hurt people coming together would help each other instead of hurting each other. But more often than not, this is not the case because hurt people are also scared people, scared of getting hurt yet again. Scared, we take things too personally, seeing offense where there is, and where there isn’t, getting angry and withdrawing, then getting desperate and approaching… over and over again.
“I love her but I’m scared to be with her”- scared to be with her, scared of the object of your love.
“I wanted to fall in love with her, but something kept stopping me”- that something is fear. And anger, as the two are closely linked: first we are scared, next, we are angry. The anger is about protecting us from what we are afraid of.
I assume that SK experiences the same thing: a combo of love and fear.
“1. What should I do about the situation? 2. Should I keep in touch with her?“- I wouldn’t keep in touch with her because of your jealousy and attachment to her, given the fact that she is in a relationship with another man
“3. How should I move on?“- back to the quote in my first paragraph of this reply: “I always felt ugly and insecure, I was not happy with myself“- time to get comfortable within your own skin, time to be okay with.. you. Time to see your own beauty. I see your beauty in the very way you started your original post: “Hi, I hope whoever is reading this post is doing well…. This would be a long one, thank you for your patience. And thank you to all the forum participants reading this in advance“.
“SK is really beautiful and I dreamt to get with her and we did….I still really care about her and I love her but I’m scared to be with her but I really do want to be with her in the end. I thought I would end up marrying her“- can you tell me more about what made her so special to you, about her beauty?
And about your beauty within the relationship with her?
anitaJanuary 29, 2024 at 7:06 pm #427408
Hi Anita, thanks for your thoughtful reply.
1. She was always arrogant during the relationship, we did not maturely clear our misunderstandings and fights. She also failed to make time for dates when we were together. She was sometimes a little disrespectful towards me and kind of made me buy her gifts sometimes, which I did out of love and do not regret.
2. I was really infatuated with her in the beginning. What made our relationship beautiful was the trust, care and closeness. We shared almost everything with each other about our lives. During FWB I was always trying to calm her down during anxiety attacks.
3. During the retrospective jealousy phase I went through depression and she was always there for me. What made me scared to love her was that I won’t get to explore more. She was my first intimate relationship. I tried to break up several times stating I want a more casual relationship, but she never understood and I did not have the guts to break up.
4. I care deeply about her, she does too but I regret a lot and feel guilty of but trying harder. I did what I could. During FWB phase I pulled away bit by bit which I regret.
5. SK had suicidal thoughts sometimes, and was anxious almost all the time, she was also very negative. I tried to pay for therapy for her but she didn’t accept, I was burning out I told her.
6. I think my childhood affects my relationship, which I want to work upon. I loved SK and still care deeply, but she says it’s over romantically. I’m always anxious when I wake up and miss her and our relationship. I have downloaded dating apps to move forward with life and focusing more on my studies. BTW I’m 23.January 29, 2024 at 7:09 pm #427409
And sometimes I feel I wouldn’t find someone as beautiful and caring as her.January 29, 2024 at 7:27 pm #427410
Dear Going Through Life: I will read and reply to you in abut 12 hours from now.
anitaJanuary 30, 2024 at 2:02 am #427421RobertaParticipant
Dear Going Through Life
That certainly was a topsy turvey relationship for you both.
I guess you need to take time to ask your self ” what are my core values & how can I live my life in ways that support these values?” in other words How do you want to live your life?
These are mine borrowed from Thich Nat Han
May I keep sentient beings safe
May I be mild of thought speech & manner
May everything I need be given to me freely
May I have integrity in all my relationships
May I keep my judgement clear
Of course I am still a journey and often get sidetracked , when I get lost I have remorse (not guilt) . My list is there to help me and not to be used as something to beat myself up with and my latest bedtime reading has been really helpful ‘Not about being good – a practical guide to buddhist ethics by Subhadramati.
RobertaJanuary 30, 2024 at 2:39 am #427422
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Thank you for the reply and guidence Roberta. I think I do not fully know my core values at the moment and what do with my life. I will try to get in more touch with them. And if possible I will surely check out that book.</p>
If possible can you please elaborate on how you found your own core values and how did you stick to them so as to not let anyone change them.January 30, 2024 at 7:46 am #427423
Hi again, I had some thoughts to add to the posts above. It may seem I may be rambling on, but it makes me comfortable, thank you for sticking.
1. I’m filled with regrets and guilt on how I should have been in the relationship. I should have been more tune with my feelings.
2. From the starting of the relationship I thought there is something wrong but I couldn’t place my finger on it. And I got into overthinking about what was wrong. I forgot to enjoy the moment and that things will clear up with time. The relationship was always filled with anxiety and negative feelings. Is it bad that I can’t accept someone for who they are, to tell them to improve?
3. I’m still in touch with SK, and I have apologized to her for treating her badly and also told her what went wrong from her side. She is very caring in this aspect. As to answer her attachment style. I think she has anxious attachment. That’s why she’s always in a rush to get into a relationship with someone. She has no real friends and is very lonely I think. So sometimes I think she’s still talking to me because she’s scared of being alone, but she has a bf now. Why is she still answering to my texts?
4. Sometime back I got a thought that when you can’t wish good for people, it’s better not to wish anything for them at all, rather than wishing them bad things. I’m trying to do the same for SK at the moment. In my imagination I’m sending her all the love from my heart, because I feel my capacity to love is unlimited. I’m doing this get her away from my life and give her the love she deserved, maybe this is out of guilt. But thinking about her and the relationship just hurts me and fills with resentment and memories. I thought this is a better way to move on.
5. I still feel a bond with her, which is now fading away I think, I’m scared to let her go. I removed all the heart and caring chords with her. I don’t know what lies in the future, I’m not hoping for her to come back. Is it okay for me to stop caring her even though she has no real friends? Today I sat with myself and read my gut feeling which said she’s not the one. Maybe in the future you’ll meet again ( but this thought makes my throat a little tight)
Please do share your thoughts on the above.January 30, 2024 at 9:49 am #427424
Dear Going Through Life:
What I am getting in touch with this morning in regard to your relationship with SK is how conflicted you were about her and the relationship from the starting of the relationship and always (or almost always), as you said yourself in your most recent post: “From the starting of the relationship I thought there is something wrong but I couldn’t place my finger on it. And I got into overthinking about what was wrong… The relationship was always filled with anxiety and negative feelings“.
In this post, I want to investigate the sources of your anxiety and negative feelings in regard to the relationship with SK.
In your original post, you wrote: “I read articles on Tiny Buddha, trying to pressure myself to change to accept the love she gave, the caring, but it did not happen“- this sentence means that she gave you love but you had trouble accepting her love.
“SK got very codependent, she had her anxiety issues and always texted me and used to be on the phone. I got angry with her… It got so codependent that she used to sleep on the phone with me, when I went on a trip with friends, she was on the phone a whole night. Slowly I got irritated with it“- her codependence on you, her excessive need for you to be attentive to her bothered you, it made you angry.
“I started maintaining some distance. I wanted to fall in love with her, but something kept stopping me“- could be that her excessive need for your attention stopped you from falling in love with her. Could be that a combination of her excessive need for you and your childhood emotional trauma and still troubled home life (“things at home were not good, I self harmed myself a few times“) kept stopping you.
“She never met me much.. many times denied me to meet me physically because she had her studies. Which I understand now, I created pressure on her“- here, it seems like your need for her was greater than her need for you: you pressured her to see you, not the other way around.
“SK was very arrogant and rarely said sorry, may times she made the relationship about her“- this does not fit with the idea that SK is codependent: a codependent person is eager to please and makes the relationship about the other person, that’s in the definition of codependence.
In your 2nd post, you wrote: “She also failed to make time for dates when we were together“- again, this doesn’t fit the behavior of a codependent person.
“What made me scared to love her was that I won’t get to explore more. She was my first intimate relationship. I tried to break up several times stating I want a more casual relationship“- part of you did not want to be with her.
“SK had suicidal thoughts sometimes, and was anxious almost all the time… I’m always anxious when I wake up and miss her and our relationship“- you are both anxious individuals.
Back to your most recent post: “Is it bad that I can’t accept someone for who they are, to tell them to improve?“- can’t accept means that you rejected SK as the person she was.
“I think she has anxious attachment. That’s why she’s always in a rush to get into a relationship with someone“- it seems like you fit an anxious-avoidant attachment style and that she may fit the anxious, (or a disorganized) attachment style.
From psychology today (I am adding the boldface feature to the quote): “People with an anxious attachment style and those with an avoidant attachment style are often attracted to each other… People with an anxious attachment style tend to fear abandonment and seek closeness and reassurance from their partners. They may feel anxious and insecure when their partner is unavailable or distant, often seeking constant validation and reassurance…
“People with an avoidant attachment style are often uncomfortable with emotional closeness and may value their independence and autonomy. They may feel uncomfortable with intimacy and may tend to distance themselves emotionally or physically when relationships become too close or demanding…
“The dynamics between anxious and avoidant attachment styles can create a push-pull relationship dynamic. People with an anxious attachment style may pursue closeness and reassurance from their partner. People with an avoidant attachment style may feel overwhelmed by what they perceive as neediness or demands for intimacy.
“This difference between the two attachment styles can lead to a cycle of pursuing and distancing behaviors in which no one gets their needs met in the relationship…. The push-pull dynamic between an anxious and avoidant partner can be challenging and lead to a cycle of frustration and dissatisfaction. The anxious partner may constantly feel on edge and insecure due to the avoidant partner’s emotional distance. In contrast, the avoidant partner may feel overwhelmed and pressured by the anxious partner’s need for closeness. This dynamic can result in a cycle of emotional distancing and re-engagement, causing stress and instability in the relationship“.
I boldfaced above what seems to fit your experience of the relationship with SK, including the strong attraction to her (“It was a very passionate and lovely relationship… I was really attracted to her”), and the strong push and pull element, on your part (“I broke up with her.. got into FWB… I again pulled myself away. I did this push and pull a lot with her“).
You shared: “My mother was also always depressed and cried a lot“- was your mother sort of codependent on you? Were you overwhelmed by her emotional neediness?
anitaJanuary 30, 2024 at 10:38 am #427428RobertaParticipant
Dear Going Through Life
Thoughts & emotions arise & if not fed pass away fairly quickly. So it will be natural for your mind to turn to SK in a variety of ways over the coming months. The trick is discern which ones are helpful and be aware that they can change to unhelpful if pondering/ daydreaming continues for an extended period, if you have seen the film Gremlins, where the characters are cute & cuddly but change into vicious beasties under certain conditions.
At the start of our meditations we say 3 phrases May all beings be happy. May all beings be free from suffering. May they abide in equanimity. this is a shortened simplified version of a traditional Buddhist version. Would you want SK to be still with you even if she was unhappy in the relationship and conversely would you still want to be in a relationship with SK and you be unhappy?
As for my core values by my mid 30,s I was single, 2 children had employment & a roof over my head and that was when I asked that question of myself How do I want to live my life? I wrote something flowery like I want to walk gently upon this earth. If I have the choice between doing right and wrong, choose right. If there is choice is between neutral and right choose right. If the choice is between doing wrong & neutral choose neutral. May I treat everyone like a family member. Whizz on a number of years a came across a book on buddhisim and the penny dropped Oh that’s what I am. I had found my home, this has given me a framework – Study /Contemplation, Meditation & Ethical conduct.
Taking inspiration form the Muslims of stopping through the day at regular intervals for prayers, doing similar gives me a chance to review my conduct/mind of the previous few hours and then making amends etc. and re -centres me in my core values this way I am less likely to be swayed from them.
I hope this has answered some of your questions
Kind regards RobertaJanuary 30, 2024 at 11:36 am #427429
Dear Anita, thank you again for your time and inputs. I went through your thoughts in a hurry, and I agree with the fearful avoidant attachment style.
Dear Roberta, thank you again for your time and inputs. I went through your post in a hurry. Thank you for sharing the prayer, those phrases hold a lot of weight.
It’s midnight where I live and I will surely go through both the posts thoroughly to give you both a more constructive reply.
And I think as much I want to make it work with SK, there’s too much between us that it wouldn’t be okay to pursue her at the moment. Sometime later in future if we both are single (low chances) I will try for sure.January 30, 2024 at 11:51 am #427430
Dear Going Through Life: You are welcome. I hope that you are sleeping restfully, and that you will reply further tomorrow!
anitaJanuary 30, 2024 at 8:35 pm #427444
Dear Anita, I had a restful sleep. Thank you
In this post, I want to investigate the sources of your anxiety and negative feelings in regard to the relationship with SK.
this sentence means that she gave you love but you had trouble accepting her love.
Yes, I agree, she did give me the love and I had trouble accepting it. Even now when i think someone will love me I will end up pushing them away. I’m scared of that deep comittement. I was not scared when i started it with SK, but with time I guess the thought of settling down made me scared. I regret alot not accepting her love.
her codependence on you, her excessive need for you to be attentive to her bothered you, it made you angry.
It did not make me angry, but it did irritate me sometimes and made me drain out. I also made her drain out of energy when I was in my depression stage.
Could be that her excessive need for your attention stopped you from falling in love with her. Could be that a combination of her excessive need for you and your childhood emotional trauma and still troubled home life
I really don’t know to be true. I could just feel in my gut that something was wrong
here, it seems like your need for her was greater than her need for you: you pressured her to see you, not the other way around
Sometimes now I think about it my both our needs were greater than others at some point. I love more through physical touch, whether it be through physical intimacy or by a hug.
this does not fit with the idea that SK is codependent: a codependent person is eager to please and makes the relationship about the other person, that’s in the definition of codependence
Sometimes she did not my needs fully. which ik is selfish of me. But we were very emotionally dependant on each other.
can’t accept means that you rejected SK as the person she was.
Maybe that’s true, but isnt it selfish to not accept someone for how they are, if you really care about them.
was your mother sort of codependent on you? Were you overwhelmed by her emotional neediness?
No she was never dependant on me, at that time I was young and I did not process those feelings ever, I just ignored feeling anything, usually i went numb. My mother was never dependamt emotionally on anyone, but i did see her cry a lot. She went through depression and PTSD after 2014. But i do remember me and my mother used to hug a lot. I think thats why I really like physical touch.
I really miss SK, although I am talking to other girls and when i dated someone else for 2 months, i realised i did not move on from SK. SK says its over romantically, but its hard imagining a life without her and to imagine her with someone else. I was never guided when I was young and was bullied several times in school. These factors add to my push and pull. I just want to get better and never hurt someone who i really care about and love.
Looking forward to hearing from you AnitaJanuary 30, 2024 at 8:52 pm #427445
Dear Roberta, hope you’re doing well
Would you want SK to be still with you even if she was unhappy in the relationship and conversely would you still want to be in a relationship with SK and you be unhappy?
No, I dont think it would have good for either of us. But my parents have always been unhappy with each other and they rarely interact even after living in the same house. The thing which concerns me is that I was not able to love her fully because of my push and pull.
Thank you for sharing your experience of finding your core value and how you found your framework to stick your core values. Maybe i’ll try the same technique, and will let you know about how it goes.January 31, 2024 at 10:01 am #427451
Dear Going Through Life:
You are welcome. (I am adding the boldface feature to the quotes): “Yes, I agree, she did give me the love and I had trouble accepting it. Even now when I think someone will love me I will end up pushing them away. I’m scared of that deep commitment”-
– love and hurt got associated/ connected in your brain (as it happens to so many of us). We are all afraid of pain (of emotional pain, as in feeling hurt, and of physical pain), and when pain is associated with love, we are afraid of love. So, we push away that which we are afraid of.
“I regret a lot not accepting her love“- I understand. But you do know, don’t you, that it was not your choice to not accept her love. It was a natural, physiological reaction to fear.
“Both our needs were greater than (the) other’s at some point“- very good point, insightful! Sometimes she needed you more than you needed her, and at other times, you needed her more than she needed you.
“I love more through physical touch, whether it be through physical intimacy or by a hug“- another good point: you needed love that’s expressed through physical touch/ intimacy. You shared that she didn’t want physical intimacy (sex) with you at some point, that she was not invested in setting physical dates with you, and that she kept you on the phone for hours- this makes me think that she needed love that’s expressed through words and non-physical attention.
“It (SK’s anxiety) did irritate me sometimes and made me drain out. I also made her drain out of energy when I was in my depression stage… Sometimes she did not (meet) my needs fully“- it is important for a healthy relationship to (1) control or regulate one’s emotions enough so to not drain the other person: to still express one’s emotions, but in a limited, responsible capacity. (2) not to expect the other person to meet all your needs. It is impossible to meet the needs of an adult whose needs were not met in childhood because needs that were unmet for so long, are very intense needs.
“She (mother) was never dependent on me, at that time… I just ignored feeling anything, usually I went numb“- you went numb as a reaction to strong feelings of hurt and fear. This is how it happens that children go numb. Going numb make the child feel less hurt and less fear.
Your numbed hurt and fear woke up in the context of the relationship with SK. (Numbed emotions are still there, they are not dead or gone).
“My mother was never dependent emotionally on anyone“- no human being is never dependent emotionally on anyone, and you were definitely emotionally dependent on your mother, as all children are.
“But I did see her cry a lot. She went through depression and PTSD after 2014″- you were 13 back then. What does a 13-year-old boy think and feel when he sees his mother cry a lot?
“But I do remember me and my mother used to hug a lot“- do you remember the circumstances of those hugs: did you hug her when she cried a lot, to make her feel better, and/ or did she hug you when you were upset, to make you feel better?
“My parents have always been unhappy with each other and they rarely interact even after living in the same house“- is this partly the reason why your mother hugged you a lot? Did she or your father turn to you- or to a sibling of yours- for the attention and interactions that they were lacking in their marriage?
“I think that’s why I really like physical touch“- I think that all humans really like physical touch until we associate physical touch with something negative. Maybe it happened to SK before she met you that she was touched sexually when all she wanted was to be touched affectionally, and … maybe that’s what was behind her rejecting you sexually at one point?
“Isn’t it selfish to not accept someone for how they are, if you really care about them”- (I may be asking too many questions..): do you feel that you did not accept SK for who she is and/ or that she did not accept you for who you are?
“I just want to get better and never hurt someone who I really care about and love“- this is the goal of a good person, good to read this!