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Unable to shake off past

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Peter 4 days, 9 hours ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)
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  • #172707

    DP
    Participant

    I write this because I feel lost, frustrated and trapped and am desperate for any kind of solution that will make things better.

    I'm currently in a relationship that has lasted long (4+ years) and has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. When I started dating her, I was still recovering from a cheating ex and had a general baggage of my parent's failed relationship. As a result the relationship was toxic, mostly from my end and we also broke up a couple of times. After a few months of break we decided to get back together and leave our toxic pasts behind and really invest our time and effort into the relationship. Thereon we have been dating strong for the longest uninterrupted period now and things are good. No longer are there any fights, overly heated arguments and the cloud of negativity that hung over the relationship is gone.

    Everything is perfect but for the fact that in our break, she hooked up with a couple of guys and never told me about it when we decided to get back together and turn over a new leaf. It was hard for me to come to terms with the fact that she had been with other people and that combined with the fact that I have never been with anyone else in my life makes it really hard to move past. I've known this for over a year now and can't seem to shake it off. Apart from how miserable it makes me feel there's the additional regret of not having been with someone else myself, which I feel would've somehow made me cope with this better and I worry if this regret will become too much for me and ruin our relationship down the line. I love her and I want to be with her. I feel this is too small a reason to end the great relationship we've finally been able to build, specially after all the things we went through together. The fact that she was with someone else hurts and the fact that I haven't been with anyone else makes me feel inadequate. I just feel helpless and trapped.

    #172987

    DP
    Participant

    What I really want is to just get over this and possibly find a way to somehow help the situation. Something that would make me feel better and finally help me move beyond this and let it keeping from destroying our relationship! We've been through together so much and I don't want this to be the reason this whole thing comes unraveled. Please help!

    #173055

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DP:

    Did you consider that her past hook up experiences during the breakup may very well have been unsatisfactory to her, and that if you hooked up with a woman, that too could be unsatisfactory to you?

    I am thinking that you are focusing on an issue that was insignificant and would be insignificant to you if you experienced such (unlike the significance and value of your current relationship).

    Your thoughts?

    anita

    #173303

    DP
    Participant

    Anita,
    Thankyou for you reply. I agree that an experience for me may as well have been unsatisfactory for me. However it is not having had a chance to be able to experience it, unsatisfactory or not, is what worries me. I sometimes wonder if having been with just her all my life will affect our relationship down the line. Specially when it isn't the case for her.

    Is it wrong of me to think about it this way?

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by  DP.
    #173377

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DP:

    I don't think the issue is that she was with someone else when you were on a break and that you were not. If it was strictly that then the idea that if you had an unsatisfactory experience with another woman would have mattered in your consideration of having an experience.

    I think the issue is in that “toxic past” you mentioned.

    In your original post you wrote: “When I started dating her, I was still recovering from a cheating ex and had a general baggage of my parent’s failed relationship. As a result the relationship was toxic, mostly from my end and we also broke up a couple of times. After a few months of break we decided to get back together and leave our toxic pasts behind”-

    You left some of your toxic past behind, maybe, but not all of it. Would you like to share some about your parents' failed relationship, your thoughts and feelings about it as a child and now?

    anita

    #173397

    DP
    Participant

    My parents had a love marriage but for as long as I can remember, it was an unhappy one. My father was unfaithful and after a point it was more than clear that he wasn't invested in the relationship at all. Although he was never an abusive father, he's walked out on us quite a few times and disappeared for months together.

    As a kid I guess I was stronger in coping with this, because I saw my mother suffering and I guess I didn't want her to worry about me on top of all that she had going on in her life. But as I've grew older and started dating (and I believe my ex played a big role in triggering this) I grew paranoid of being cheated on and abandoned.

    Yet, the thing that nags me all the time in my head is that I've never been physically invested with any other girl before, and the fact that she has been with other people. I want to make it clear that I don't think she's promiscuous for having been with multiple people in her life or anything. I wasn't her first but she was mine and it never really bothered me before. It started bothering me after the aforementioned hookups she had.

    I can understand my parents relationship leaving me anxious about being cheated on, but I don't see how it could be driving my main concern here..

    #173405

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DP:

    When your father “disappeared for months together” and you were left with your suffering mother, day in and day out, did she express to you how he was having fun being away, maybe with girlfriends, while she was left alone, suffering?

    Did you wonder at the time how his life was like, away, free perhaps from the suffering you were left with?

    anita

    #173413

    DP
    Participant

    Not really, no. My mother made sure we were protected from whatever was going on in their relationship. I had a fair idea of what's going on but she never really made a show of what she was going through.

     

    Thankyou so much for the back and forth on this by the way!

    #173415

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DP:

    You are welcome. In your post before last you wrote: “I saw my mother suffering”. What is it that you saw that indicated that she was suffering? How did you know she was suffering?

    anita

    #173421

    DP
    Participant

    Well it was obvious she wasn't happy. But by ‘see her suffer' I don't mean that she was always sad and crying. And it's not like she talked about how my dad's life must be going as you suggested. Like I said, she kept her children protected from all of this the best she could.

    #173425

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DP:

    My questions, my inquiry is not about pointing to your mother as a culprit, a bad person. It is about figuring out why you are “Unable to shake off past” (title of your thread). It is not about whether your mother tried to protect you from her relationship trouble. It is about her obvious failure to do so. Not that success could have been possible, but failure it was because you did see her suffer and I believe seeing your mother suffering is a very difficult experience for a child.

    You wrote in one paragraph the following: ” I saw my mother suffering and… I grew paranoid of being cheated on and abandoned”-

    Did you feel great empathy for your mother, empathy for her being “cheated and abandoned”- do you remember how it felt, what your thoughts were at the time, perhaps angry at your father?

    anita

    #173449

    DP
    Participant

    I felt empathy for my mother and have grown up to be closer to her than to my father. Needless to say my relationship with my father is a bit strained. I was angry and still feel angry sometimes even today.

    However, I feel have been misleading with my title. I am unable to shake off her past. The impact my parent's relationship created on my life and relationships is a separate issue i guess

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 4 hours ago by  DP.
    #173459

    Peter
    Participant

    I am unable to shake off her past

    “In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle.”- Garth Stein

    The practice is learning how to direct one’s consciousness and pull it back to the ‘still point’ when it becomes fixated on some thought or memory… especially those connected to fear and uncertainty.

    If you want the relationship to continue then let the past go and focus your awareness on gratitude for the relationship you have now. It really is that straight forward.  There is no try only do… no need to torture yourself our you partner.

    Recommend the book: When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships Paperback – by David Richo

     

    We all have a tendency to transfer potent feelings, needs, expectations, and beliefs from childhood or from former relationships onto the people in our daily lives, whether they are our intimate partners, friends, or acquaintances.

    #173495

    DP
    Participant

    Peter,

    I have been practicing meditation for a few months now, something I started to specifically help me do this – “The practice is learning how to direct one’s consciousness and pull it back to the ‘still point’”.

    This has been bothering me for a little under two years now and although its not there all the time, sometimes they take over my thought process completely leaving me with borderline panic attacks and unable to function. I really did try to focus my attention away from this and just move past it because I really want the relationship to work, but it's been two years now and I can't seem to which is why I'm reaching out for any other possible solutions.

    #173513

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DP:

    I know you intended the title to be about her past, not yours.

    Clearly, the “simple solution” is for you to hook up with a couple of girls, to match her hook ups, correct?

    But the problem is more complicated than what such a simple solution can resolve, I believe. Re-read your own descriptions of how much her past bothers you, so much so that you feel “lost, frustrated and trapped and am desperate …. with borderline panic attacks and unable to function”- when you are this bothered, this distressed over another person's past, it is about your past, not hers. But I will abandon this inquiry regarding your past for now and ask:

    What distressed you before her hook ups with the couple of guys, causing the relationship to be  “nothing short of a rollercoaster… the relationship was toxic, mostly from my end”?

    anita

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