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Why Can I Not Leave This Man?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 days, 16 hours ago.

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  • #302305

    Jo
    Participant

    I am a mature lady who was widowed young.  Although not looking for another partner, 3 years later I met a man whose company I enjoyed and eventually we got together. There were differences, he was much less educated than me, had no money and was in a low paid job.  As money has never been a deciding factor in anything in my life, I took the view that it was the way he made me feel, and I enjoyed being with him. I let him move in with me and the only thing I said was ‘Don’t Lie to Me’.  Unfortunately, a year after moving in, I found out he had lied about his finances.  He had a couple of debts that he was hiding from me. I was devastated.  I asked him to leave but he wouldn’t, and I felt sorry for him.  So we carried on, but the relationship was scarred.  I didn’t trust him, I looked on him differently.  He started getting aggressive.  He hit me on a few occasions and really hurt me on one occasion.  After this, I made him leave, and I think he was so frightened at what he had done, that he did leave, but only because I said I would still see him.

    Well, that was 5 years ago.  He has tried since then to get back together properly.  I have gone out with him, and gone on holidays, but I won’t let him move back in.  Although, I have been thinking about it this last year.  He has lost the aggressive way and is trying very hard to be what he thinks is a good partner.  However, I think the differences between us are showing up more now.  He doesn’t run his own life.  He lets life happen to him, and complains about it.  He doesn’t take responsibility for his own life.  He does think life happens to him.  It frustrates me.

    So why do I still have him in my life?  Why do I not try to meet someone more suitable for me?  He has a good heart.  He is extremely shy and has low self esteem.  When I first met him, I just thought he needed someone believing in him.  So I gave him lots of support and encouragement.  But it is a bottomless pit.  I can keep on giving love and support, and it’s never enough.  Sometimes, I would just like someone to support me.  I think he would like to be that person, but doesn’t know how.  I just cannot believe that I’ve been with this person for 13 years and was only happy for the first 3 of those years.  I just can’t seem to make a final break. I feel sorry for him; I’m frightened I’m making a mistake; what if it’s me?; he’s really trying, what if he can be a good partner?  I’m going around in circles, and the years are going on.  I feel I’ve wasted my life. If I give up on him now, 13 years are wasted,  But am I going to continue wasting years of my life, or can it come right?

    #302315

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jo:

    “When I first met him, I just thought he needed someone believing in him. So I gave him lots of support and encouragement. But it is a bottomless pit”-

    – when you met him he was a grown man, no longer a child, and that means his brain was already formed. Some call childhood years the Formative Years, because the brain is formed during those years. And it is during those years that the child is receptive to “someone believing in” them, receptive to support and encouragement.

    Clearly he didn’t receive those things in the years that mattered most.

    And now, there is a chance for him to become a responsible, more functional man, but only if he took  on a healing process of sorts, perhaps seeing a quality psychotherapist while in a relationship with you, and then,  working hard on becoming the man he wants to be.

    I think that whatever ways that he did improve during his relationship with you, is probably the best he can do without professional help and without his ability and willingness to take on the healing process required.

    Another point: when we invest in something or someone, we tend to continue to invest because it is too painful to accept the fact that we wasted so much of our lives, so we keep investing and keep wasting, hoping for a return of investment to finally take place and make sense of our efforts for so long.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  anita.
    #302325

    Mark
    Participant

    Jo,

    I gave him lots of support and encouragement. But it is a bottomless pit. I can keep on giving love and support, and it’s never enough

    Your situation reminds me of that quote that is attribued to Julia Roberts, “Women, you are not rehabilitation centers for badly raised men. It is not your job to fix him, change him, parent him. You want a partner, not a project.”

     

    You also said, If I give up on him now, 13 years are wasted.  Do you know about the behavior economic principle of Sunk Cost Fallacy, where Individuals commit the sunk cost fallacy when they continue a behavior or endeavor as a result of previously invested resources (time, money or effort). For example, individuals sometimes order too much food and then over-eat just to “get their money’s worth”. 

    Wrong logic.

    Look at yourself on why you cannot “make the final break.”  All of us here can give advice up the yin yang but ultimately it is up to you to follow your own advice and take action.   Re-read your post and pretend it was written by someone you care about.  What would you say to her?

    Mark

     

    #302351

    Peggy
    Participant

    Jo,

    You’ve learned a valuable lesson here.  The lesson of the bottomless pit.  You cannot change this man.  If he refuses to believe in himself nothing you can say or do will make any difference.  You are with him because you feel sorry for him.  He will never be able to offer you the support that you want.  He has lied to you, he has hit you and he has been aggressive/threatening.  He only moved out when you promised that you would continue to see him.  What kind of basis is that for a healthy loving relationship?  It isn’t you beyond the fact that your needs aren’t being met.  How important is that to you?

    Peggy

    #302441

    Peter
    Participant

    I wonder if we stay in relationships that aren’t healthy because its just easier.  We remain in conflict to avoid conflict.

    “One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.” ― <span class=”authorOrTitle”>Krishnamurti</span>

    “When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” ― <span class=”authorOrTitle”>Patrick Overton,</span>

    I personally go by the three strike rule – if after the third breakup – makeup attempt fails, that it. No more contact. Zero. If your going back time and time again, or worse keeping the door open, just so you can slam it shut again… it isn’t about Love.

     

     

    #303013

    Raju
    Participant

    Jo

    “However, I think the differences between us are showing up more now.  He doesn’t run his own life.  He lets life happen to him, and complains about it.  He doesn’t take responsibility for his own life.”- 

    It is evident in your own words that he is irresponsible towards life, rather he complains the way life is moving and moreover differences are there between you and him.   Firstly, habit really dies hard and it’s really true in most of the cases.  Secondly, when a person cannot take his own responsibility how do you expect him that he will be taking care of you and your responsibility.  According to you he has a good heart,  but if he really had a good loving heart then he would not have lied to you about his debts and indulged in assault etc.

    You are looking only on the one side since you are attached emotionally with him….!

    Raju

     

    #303137

    Jo
    Participant

    Thank you so much for your replies. I’m sorry I’ve only just seen them. I thought my post was waiting for moderation. I mustn’t have ticked the box to notify me. Sorry.

    Anita, this is what I have said, and thought, for a long time – he’s past his formative years. Having met his family, I can see how he has low self-esteem. This actually makes it harder to leave, because I feel that it’s not his fault he is the way he is, and I would feel that I too were abandoning him. If I had known more at the beginning of the relationship I would have left then, but I feel that it’s harder now. He has recognised the problems he has and why he has them, and is trying his best to address them.  Your final paragraph is exactly the problem. I keep going around in circles saying to myself ‘I should have gone at the beginning, I’ve wasted all these years. I’ll just give it till Christmas, then I’ll make the decision.’ But then I give it another chance.

    Mark, I love your quote. Again, I’ve said that many times – ‘I don’t want to be your Mother’. I want an equal partner. Thank you for explaining the Sunk Cost Fallacy so clearly – so true. I did read over my post again, objectively, and yes, I would tell me to leave the relationship, invest in myself, It’s not my job to fix him. This is my problem, I know the answers when I think with my head. It’s when I think with my heart, and feelings come in. I don’t know if I could live with myself.

    Peggy, I have recognised that my needs are not being met. Surprisingly, I’ve only recently realised that properly. I knew I wasn’t happy, and things weren’t right, but I’ve never really factored my needs into the equation; A problem with my own upbringing; I always put others’ needs before mine.  I’m only just confronting this.

    Peter – I value your insight to conflict. Sometimes it is easier to just stay where you are. I do think fear is a factor

    Ragu, That’s my worry, that he is not capable of looking after me if needs be.

    I am grateful for your replies. It has helped me see that my thoughts and worries are valid, and has given me some insights. I’m not very strong at putting my needs first, or even in the mix. I keep telling myself that there’s two sides to every story. I keep worrying that I maybe haven’t handled things right. I think, maybe, instead of helping every time (doing things for him) I should leave him to sort it out himself.  It’s getting harder now to keep my patience. I then chastise myself for losing my patience.  I also tell myself that everyone has their faults, what if I get worse faults next time. I know he is not a malicious liar, it’s just easier for him to not confront the situation (and hope it goes away). Re the debt, he was trying to get rid of it before I found out!!!  His aggression was due to him not being able to cope with the situation and not feeling good enough. This is how it goes , I keep looking at both sides of the story and don’t know what to do

    I need to read these replies again and think again.

    #303141

    Mark
    Participant

    Jo,

    I respect your caring compassion for this guy for not wanting to “abandon” him.  Here’s another perspective: You don’t respect him enough to allow him to take care of himself.  You are dis-empowering him and treating him as a helpless invalid. You are staying with him out of pity or at best, out of obligation rather than love.  If I had known more at the beginning of the relationship I would have left then…I’ve wasted all these years.  This is being a self sacrificing martyr where you are putting yourself last.

    Harsh words I know but I’m doing so to give you another perspective rather than, “I have to stay with him because he cannot take care of himself and nobody else can do it except for me.”

    Mark

    #303155

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jo:

    I was wondering, if I may take you back in time, when you were a child, you had a parent who was… like a child, weak, needing help.. and you focused on that parent’s well being, that was your number one priority. Was that the case?

    * I will check to see if you answer in a few hours before I will be away from the computer and back in about 48 hours from now.

    anita

    #303165

    Jo
    Participant

    Hi Mark, I have, most certainly, lost respect and trust. I agree with what you are saying. The only thing is that in the past when I’ve left him to do things himself he makes a mess of things and it’s harder to put right. I’m generalising there, it’s not every time, but enough to make me wary. I think that as a couple, what he does, reflects on me, so I don’t want people to think that I would do things so poorly. I have been trying to adopt the perspective you highlight, trying to maybe just give him advice (when asked) and then leave him to it. This does require a lot of patience, which as I said before I seem to be running out of. Thank you for your words, I like this perspective, it’s comforting to not feel so responsible.

    Anita, no I didn’t care for a parent, but I was the eldest child and was expected to be in charge. If anything went wrong it was my fault. Consequently, I tried to make sure nothing went wrong.

    Jo

    #303167

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jo:

    “I was the eldest child and was expected to be in charge. If anything went wrong it was my fault”, you wrote about your role in your home of origin. If your younger siblings misbehaved or made mistakes, it reflected on you, not doing a good job being in charge of them, that is, your parents would think poorly of you, correct?

    Fast forward, decades later, in your home with this man, you wrote: “what he does, reflects on me, so I don’t want people to think hat I would do things poorly”-

    – reads to me that this man is like one of your younger siblings, you being in charge of him, his behavior or misbehavior reflects on how  well or how poorly you perform your job in the eyes of .. people whose approval you need (“people” are an expansion of the two most important people in your young life, your parents).

    I will be back to the computer in about 45 hours from now.

    anita

     

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