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Everything posted by bluecastle

  1. I'm also curious for some more detail. You begin your post talking about the specifics of your husband's porn habits—how often he views, what he prefers, how he hides this—before moving onto something seemingly unrelated. Can you try to connect these dots, as you see them? How, exactly, does he hide this from you? Does his hiding of pornography make you think he is hiding something more? Are you accepting of him viewing porn, or is it a source of frustration?
  2. Sorry about all this. It's unclear to me, from your post, what kind of advice you're looking for. The situation, as you've described it, does not sound harmonious or spiritually sustainable. Are you hoping to find a way to improve it, or are you thinking of ending the marriage? Can I ask how long you were together before being married?
  3. What I mean is that I think your most authentic self here is a self that sees this for what it is: a chapter, now over, that needs to be fully released (rather than analyzed and judged) I or order for the next chapter to start. But there is another you that is still wanting to validate a narrative of fairness, justice, retribution, consequences. An understandable, and very human, response to pain. Just don’t think it’s one that allows for your full self to shine and find the peace and freedom you crave. The more you lean into the former and away from the latter, at least from my vantage point, the more you’ll get what you’re really seeking, since it will be more about inhabiting yourself.
  4. I see—best one can "see" on a pixilated forum—a strong attitude in you, and perhaps your most authentic attitude, going to battle with something else. The reason I brought up "womanizer" is because...well, I'm just not really one who thinks much good comes from such terms, regardless of how accurate they seem or what friends say behind someone's back. I'm not saying this, mind you, to encourage you to think more warmly of him, but for yourself. Past these labels, what's true here? He is a human being who no longer serves your own humanity. Didn't work. Frame it like that, and the edge softens, the machete becomes a butter knife—and, with that, the wound can heal a lot more easily. Or so I've found, here and there.
  5. You're on the path you need to be on, so keep walking it. There's another side to this, as there's another side to everything. You're getting there. Reading your posts, I'm curious to hear you articulate what is being served by assigning certain labels to him—namely, womanizer and reformed. Per some of the above, that feels a bit like gnawing on the bone, or potentially fueling the very narrative you're trying to distortable from. Just speaking from the outside, I can't help but think that framing him like that invariably gives him more power than he really has/had. This is just me, but when it comes to relationships that go sideways, be they romantic or platonic or in some murky purgatory between the two? I try to settle on a pretty simple story, or at least a simple framing of all the craggy complexity, which is that it did not work. Sometimes, during emotionally acute stretches, I have to repeat this to myself to drown out the other places my mind is tempted to go. But I find it helps to remove, or at least mute, the instinct to think in binary terms and to blame—blaming myself, blaming another, and instead just accepting the sour fact that something I thought worked, or once worked, or I really wanted to work, did not work. Not sure if that helps at all, but I'll share it in the hopes that it does.
  6. Sorry about all this. I think the thing to understand right now—and a very hard thing—is that relationships only really work if both people want them to. They can never be "saved" by the actions of one person. With that in mind? I think you do what you're doing—making it clear to her that you believe in her, in what you two have, and that this hard moment is one you want to work through, together. If she can't meet you there—if she remains murky and unclear—then it's on you to decide how long you can stand in the same place. Being honest, the fact that she has already decided to move out does not bode well. You said you hadn't realized how bad things had gotten, but I'm curious: Were you content to rarely have sex for six months? Do you get the sense that she is handling her own unhappiness in a productive manner? I ask these questions to encourage you to reflect on the big picture here. It's natural, when we feel someone pulling away, to respond by trying to pull them closer. But the motivation to be with someone has to be more than fear of losing them. What is it about her, and your dynamic, that makes you think you two work well together? Can I ask how old you guys are and how long you'd been together before moving in?
  7. My thoughts are that doing everything you just described, or doing something completely differently, or nothing at all, is absolutely fine at this stage. You'll feel yourself through this in whatever way works for you. What I'll encourage? Be very honest—with yourself—about how you feel deep inside. I'm not talking about how you feel about her, but how you feel around her, be it when she picks up things or, well, just thinking about her. We all have a wonderful little gauge that lets us know if our spirits are feeling nourished, stable, buoyant, or ragged and edgy, a little poisoned. Learning to listen to it is a lifelong lesson. From the outside? I still think you're just trying to cure your pain with the source of it, and are, at present, a little addicted to the emotional highs and lows you're experiencing right now. And I think a lot of what you're talking about—saying you took her for granted, sharing perspective, etc.—is aimed at getting her to do something that makes you feel better. It's worth noting that, in all your scheming here, you are not considering asking her how she is feeling and what she wants and listening, or considering just telling her, in a sentence, what you want. Why do you think that is? If it's because you're scared to ask that, or don't quite know at the moment exactly what you want, then you might consider this isn't the time to do anything. No judgement in those words. Been there, plenty. It's a process.
  8. Do you think, right now, you are thinking straight? Are you, right now, your strongest self? If you think back to the headspace you were in when you started this thread, to where you are now, do you feel like you have done more spiraling than healing? Think on that. If the answer to the first two questions is "no," and the latter is "spiraling," or any variation including those, this is the time to stand still and not react. You know this, I think, deep down. That's your strong self, your straight self, trying to make contact. For whatever it's worth? I stumbled upon this thread in a similar state, as this is a state I tend to go toward, hard, when my heart gets licked. I so badly wanted someone, anyone to tell me that, if I held the prism at just the right angle, the nuclear bonfire I was stuck in would turn into a meadow and, presto, we'd be back together. No dice. Just speaking for myself? I think I knew that, since my day to day actions were no contact, doing healthy things to heal, traveling around, blah blah. But it was very nice to hear—if stinging—and it's my gratitude for those kind, firm strangers that keeps me on this forum. I share that to say that, in my case, when the smoke cleared? When I began to reinhabit myself? It was so clear to me that we were not two people meant to reconcile, to the point where it was nearly comical that I once thought that (but, alas, the drugs!). You may, in time, come to a different conclusion about the two of you. Fine. But the key words there are in time. The history of humanity has proven, many times over, that literally nothing good comes from impulsive choices and reactions made in a state of terror by those who fear time passing.
  9. Agree with everything Batya said. The flirting? At least from where I sit, your dwelling on that is likely linked to depression—you searching for ways to punish yourself, to validate a story that you are unworthy of...well, of something. Her. Love. Happiness. Not for me to say, but it really seems in that case that you're building a phantom transgression. The edibles, the booze? Yes, tell her, as you've told us. How often are you doing this? Aside from this, what else are you doing to treat depression?
  10. Other people have answered this, but since you were responding to my post I'll jump in. The part I bolded? That is your friend. That is your truth. You have no idea, right now, about anything, save for the fact that you are hurting. Be right there. I said 30 days just to give you some bracket to commit to, a little forced space so you can start doing that: being where you are, fully. What comes next? Once again, you have no idea. Own that, rather than micromanaging and trying to control the future and another human being. There is, literally, nothing more spiritually exhausting than trying to control what can't be controlled. It amplifies the pain of breakups and destroys relationships. The instinct is understandable—it's the natural response to being a species with a gigantic brain in an uncertain world—but you can stand down to it, just like one can opt not to have 5 beers in the middle of a stressful work day, even when doing so sounds kind of sensible, for a split second. All this learning you're doing right now? It's awesome stuff, truly. But it is also drugs. It's being in the desert, high on something, and coming up with a way to get to Mars. You don't actually get there until you build the rocket, which takes time, focus, sobriety, humility, patience. Which is to say these lessons won't stick until learn the lesson you are breaking your brain to avoid: the lesson of sitting through this kind of pain. It is that classroom door, sadly, that you need to walk through, and be in for a bit. Book suggestion? "When Things Fall Apart," by Pema Chodron. It's short, wise, compassionate, non-prescriptive, and articulates the freedom and growth—and healing—that comes from learning to get intimate with pain rather than trying to avoid it. Opened my eyes a bit, and has been a balm to my heart in moments of turmoil, so I'll share it in the hopes that it can be part of your learning, your healing.
  11. You are, right now, in the vortex. It's a bit like being on drugs, so indulge me a metaphor. When people are on drugs? They have all sorts of wild ideas and notions. And, hey, sometimes some of those ideas aren't so harebrained! But most? They are chemical madness. Only way to sort out the ones that make sense from the ones that don't? It's to sober up. So, on that note, consider this idea, to maybe have some perspective: nothing you do for the next 30 days—nothing—is going to have any effect on, really, anything when it comes to this. Or this one: If there was something you could do, right now, that would illicit the exact reaction you're hoping for? That would just be because you are both so emotionally zonked, too high on loss and pain to know up from down. Conclusion? The only way to have any idea about anything—even a shred more strength and perspective than you have right now—is to let the next 30 days pass. Rehab. That doesn't mean going dark here—keep riffing, wondering, asking, reflecting—but it means challenging yourself to let go of this idea that you have the power to sway her, and this, one way or another. Because that? It's a very dangerous way to view people, and connections to people. You're slipping in some language here—"I could still be working her"—that is not the language of stable, loving romances, or even kind human connection. Now, that's okay—you are in the fire—but see it and acknowledge it, so it's not steering your wheel. 30 days. Commit to it. I feel for you, friend. I'm reliving some moments in my own past here, and can recall the pain. There is another side to it—there always is—and who you are on that other side, whatever the circumstances, be it back together or not? Your choices right now shape that. Think on that a bit, asking less about what you can do to get her to feel x, y, or z, but the question that is always most important: Who do you want to be? What version of yourself do you want someone to be with?
  12. I know these questions feel super urgent right now, as if everything hinges on how you handle these moments. But I hope you can find some sense of peace, if of the jagged variety, by understanding that these are not the do-or-die moments you think they are. Take a deep breath, in a week, and ask yourself if you'd like to be there, or not. Let the answer come from your emotional core, not the edgy part of your mind that is still playing chess here. You're not there yet—it takes time—but at some point you are going to genuinely understand that "NC" is not a tactic, but just a way to heal, like a sling for a broken arm.
  13. I'm sorry for your pain. Can I ask, if you're open to it, for you to articulate what it is about certain responses that you find unnerving? It is a vulnerable thing to expose oneself, I know, even on an anonymous board like this as most of us know. But I ask because, just speaking for myself, I've often found some unexpected insights in exploring why something unsettles me.
  14. Again, I'm going to caution you from continuing to walk out on this ledge. Imagine, for a moment, a scenario in which we replace this man at work with, I don't know, a solo trip she was considering taking without telling you. She researched the trip, imagined herself alone on the beach, saved some money to make it happen, talked to some friends about this over text: that she thinks a trip might be good for her, that she's worried about you two. And as that's happening? She voices to you her feelings, her concerns, makes it so clear, in words and actions, that she is stepping away from the relationship that you two end up breaking up. Would you feel, if you learned about the trip afterward, that she was lying, cheating? Perhaps in the heat of the moment, but then... I'm not saying all this to defend her—she has some places where she really needs to grow, and those places where she hadn't have caused you hurt. I'm saying this to protect your own heart, to give you a platform for healing that is not poisonous, that does not reward and enflame your own wrath and bitterness. She is not with him. She did not leave you for him. These are facts. I get how this would almost be easier if that was the case, since it would give you a very specific bullseye in which to aim all your emotional darts, along with a black and white paradigm in which she is bad and you are good. But part of the turmoil you presently feel, the deep inner discomfort and churn? It's because, somewhere, you know it's not this simple. You know that you are two pretty decent people, who shared a lot of history, much of it wonderful, and reached a point where all that failed to allow for more history to be made. How did it get here? It doesn't actually matter because, any way you slice it, this is where you are. It's devastating. It is always, always devastating. Hugs. All that said? Feel whatever you need to feel, right now. The tricky part is feeling yourself through those feelings, without needing to fling them back to her, for a response or reaction. It's awful, I know, but it's critical. This is how you began to validate yourself, and find your own strength, rather than need the mirror of another to feel validated. You've got this. One day, one minute, at a time.
  15. This, in a nutshell. I think, deep down, you know she's a bit of an emotional live wire—since, well, that's why you broke up and because, even at her most chill, like this last hang, that live wire was hitting the puddle and throwing up little sparks of drama. In your shoes? I'd be putting some very real distance between the two of you. I get wanting things to be smooth, amicable, and that you don't want to appear in her eyes as some kind of cold-hearted dude. Thing is? At your warmest what did she see? A guy about to cheat on her, a guy who didn't care, so trying to appease whatever that is inside of her has already proven to be a black hole. Tough stuff, always. But let her know that you need some more time to heal, that you wish her only the best. If there's a genuine friendship to be had here, it's not going to come from these sorts of interactions.
  16. Sorry about all this. I think, reading your post, that you've answered your own question. If what you want is to be in a committed relationship, and if you define casual romance with someone who isn't not interested in that as a waste of time, then what you are doing with this man is a waste of your time. I can't help but get the feeling that part of the reason you may be putting up with this is because, many lives ago, you cheated on him and, for all your growth and work, you may, when it comes to him, feel underserving of the full spectrum. Could it be, do you think, that some part of you believes that making this work, or happen, would be some kind of further healing? Could it be that, if you look a little closer, more healing would come from letting this chapter go so you can find what you really want?
  17. What you're describing, in a word? It's guilt. He feels guilty for what he did, feels he's undeserving of forgiveness, and so he is projecting that guilt onto his girlfriend. Very common, always corrosive.
  18. What you're doing right now is creating stories to avoid the actual story. This is almost unavoidable—it's what we do when faced with a void, often switching from apocalyptic stories to optimistic one—but it's good to at least be aware of it. Stories are just that: stories, not fact. Less abstractly? She did not "go for" this guy, at least from what I can see. For a brief second, sure, he maybe represented something to her. But the only reason for that? It's because she was unhappy with her life station, including her relationship with you. That is why you are not together right now, and the nuances of her discontent are unknowable, probably even to her, and that is the major pain source. He's just a symptom. So, yeah, you can blame him, blame yourself, blame her, make it all a "competition," and spin around those poles. It's one way. But it's a bit like digging hole in an attempt to move forward: the more you dig, the deeper you get, the darker it gets, the harder to move. You're very clearly a tender dude, insightful, with a natural bend toward light and growth and, best I can tell, acceptance. I'm sorry that she stopped seeing all that, and that you are hurting so much. But try to lean into those qualities in yourself, right now, because they predate her and will postdate her. They are what will get you to where you want to be.
  19. Continuing on a theme, I think you'd really benefit by cutting yourself some slack. If your definition of "help" right now is "feeling pure clarity and no pain," you are unlikely to find that anything helps. On the other hand, if you can think of healing as a process, and accept that you are, right now, in the first millisecond of that process, maybe you can feel more settled and receptive. One therapy session is not going to change someone's mental landscape any more than one pushup is going to change someone's body. You get nowhere unless you commit to the process. Just as I can't write anything here to change the way you feel right now, there is nothing you can do, or say, that is going to change your circumstances with her. The sooner you can accept that, the closer you'll be to feeling a touch more freedom and peace than you do right now. Something that has helped me, when I've been in your shoes, is a simple phrase: It stopped working. Whenever my wounded heart or swollen ego went into the kind of overdrive you're describing, I'd fall back to that phase: It stopped working. Because whatever other facts were swirling? That was as undeniable as saying the ground is wet when it rains. It's the fact that makes the other ones less relevant. So maybe give that a try. Say to yourself: It stopped working. And then? Do something, anything, that does not involve this. Ask a friend how they're doing. Read a thread here and offer some advice, or just some condolences. Walk around the block and force yourself to notice one thing you've never noticed. Eat a brownie. Scream into a pillow. Rinse and repeat, for a bit, and see what happens. You would not be a human being if you didn't feel everything you're feeling right now.
  20. Here's a thought, if you'll bear with me: What if you judge everything you just wrote above as...okay? Even more radical, what if you judge everything as exactly what you're supposed to be feeling, right now? Not something to shove away, not something to quell with some woman from the gym or an impulsive tirade, but just a sharp and awful swirl of feeling to feel? We're not all Buddhists—I'm not!—so I'm not suggesting this is all you do right now. I'm just trying to get you to see all this, and yourself, from a gentler, wider lens. A few days with iffy sleep is not the end of the world. If you're eating enough to get through the days—well, that can be enough, for now. You are as alive, right this second, as you were a week ago, two months ago. That is a hard fact worth remembering. And finding a way to celebrate. So I'll join bolt in asking: What else are you doing, for you? For real, make a list. Ever try yoga? Maybe this is a good moment to start, certainly a good moment for trying things out. Got me through a breakup a decade ago, and became a lifelong practice, a paradigm shift, so I'm biased. But what else? Pottery, a drive to a town you've never been to, volunteering at a soup kitchen, indulging in something indulgent (but responsibly!), and so on and so forth. Sounds pretty forced and awkward, I'd imagine, and that's because it is. At first, no different than how it feels very awkward to have to walk with walker or cane after breaking a leg. You don't go from surgery to marathon, but if a marathon is the goal? You start with tiny steps. When it comes to emotional pain, those tiny steps are about feeling what you feel and then doing something to augment that feeling—not to drown it, but to compliment it. Yin to yang. You live for a bit with the void, and the void softens. Try to annihilate it, on the other hand, and it widens, consumes. Hugs, my friend. You will get through this. You are getting through this. These are the hardest days.
  21. More deep breaths. They can really help. Stepping back is not blowing it. I don't want to speak for others, but my impression in the posts here is that everyone is trying to get you to see this moment from a slightly wider lens, knowing how very hard that is. You're not here because of where you came up short as a partner, or because of some co-worker, and wherever this all goes? Last night is not going to be as relevant as you think, right now. Relationships, like people, are more mysterious than that, more complex. This moment, with all the specifics? Try to think of it as the moment right after a bomb goes off. It's chaos, despair, destruction, dust and debris. That's it. Trying to rebuild, this second? Not possible, not now. People are hurting, buildings are still on fire. This is triage, healing. There is tremendous strength—and freedom—in accepting when we need to sit down and heal. That strength is in you, right now, asking for you to see it.
  22. Deep breaths, my friend. Seriously: take about five before reading on. You back? Okay, feel what you need to feel—anger, confusion, all of it—but please try not to go down the road of "exposing" her. That is a road to nowhere, and one that takes a long time to exit the further down you go. If a few texts from a prosecutor are enough to nosedive a relationship, the relationship was already losing altitude. Make sense? This is the hardest part right now, the thing you're struggling to accept: the plane you two were flying hit the ground because it wasn't built to fly higher, not now. Everything else is extraneous, noise, or what they call drama. The high ground is your friend right now. If this changes your thoughts about wanting to be back together, okay. Let those simmer. Let it all simmer. That is better—for you, your heart, your spirit—than turning the dial to boil.
  23. Have you made it crystal clear to her that you want to be with her? Here's a story, for what it's worth. When my last long relationship ended? I was in a version of your shoes. Won't bore you with the details, but there was a lot of the exhausting push/pull and hot/cold stuff toward the end, which led me to end it, though it felt almost like I was just doing what she wanted. Anyhow, in the first week or two, we had these sorts of dizzying back-and-forths that really mean nothing except for two hurt people playing tennis with a ball woven from pain. I ended up sending her a note, friendly but firm, explaining that the only communication I could have would be about us getting back together and committing, together, to work through whatever we needed to work through. Anything else, I explained, did not work for me: too painful, didn't allow for the emotional healing I needed. It was very freeing, saying that, since it was my truth at the time—a truth that quickly proved absurd, but that's another story—and created a very firm boundary built on nothing but my own vulnerability. Did she respect it? Not really. There were more pokes, nebulous texts, as happens. But they very quickly stopped registering as anything more than noise, confirming nothing more than her inability to listen to me and, big picture, our inability to connect with any sort of grace. I share that to say: If you are at all concerned that you have not been clear, now is a good moment to be very clear while owning your level. She can meet you there, or not, and will show this very quickly. Given all you've written, it sounds highly doubtful that she is where you want her to be, but I'm offering this for your own healing and clarity, not as some kind of chess move. Speaking only for myself, that was the moment when I really began my own journey of healing, letting go, growing, and all that. A hard one, at first, but very soon a transformative one.
  24. Sorry about this. What I'd focus on, right now, is what you know is genuine: the empty feeling you get every time you leave his place. That there is your gut telling you that you need more than you're getting. Since you've already expressed this clearly, given it time to see if things could improve, at this point I'd say the healthy move is to accept that what he has to give and what you need don't line up. Big picture, this is a much healthier way to go about dating than wondering about someone else's deepest feelings, intentions, and getting caught up in ideas of being used or played. What he wants from romance right now is not what you want. That is allowed, not his fault or yours, but just a sign to move on.
  25. Sorry about all this. I'm curious to know how long you've been together, as that kind of context might help this get contextualized from the bleacher seats. Related: Do you live together? Going from what you just wrote? I'd be less inclined to turn to diagnostic language—co-dependent, avoidant, etc.—and more inclined to consider that there may be a compatibility gap here, one that has reared its head over time and stirred some behavior (in both of you) that isn't super authentic. So the question becomes: Is this a gap that can be addressed, together, or not? And I think that's probably something you need to address first in your own mind. The "putting first" business? I can see both sides. Personally, I hate that kind of language. Just feels childish to me, or imprecise, and I'd be cringing and hyperventilating in your shoes. At the same time, it seems he's trying to voice something pretty vulnerable, a fear that you're pulling away from him—which, well, you admit you are. So, in ways, you're both using a proxy—a theoretical conversation about relationships that gets heavy quick—to talk about a very real thorn you're both feeling. Might help to address that more directly. I'm also curious to know if you've addressed with him your observation that he no longer engages in many things he once did. He clearly wants to make you happy—which, big picture, is a nice quality—so I just wonder how he'd respond if he understood how happy you'd be to see him reengaging with those pursuits. Might lead to him being less focused on your baths, your sauces, your daughter, and so on, at least if his nature is genuinely independent and secure. Finally, have you talked to him about how his talking about babies makes you feel uncomfortable, concerned? Anyhow, I'll leave it there, for now. Big picture, it seems you're both addressing issues passively, and sideways. That generally will just lead to more friction, more pulling away from you and spastic responses from him. If you believe the connection still has some juice, and room to stabilize, I think you'd benefit from finding away to address things more directly. Might not smooth all the wrinkles you need smoothed, but it would likely help you see things more clearly. On the other hand, if you're just looking for a reason to keep pulling away—well, you actually never really need a reason, in this or any relationship. Sometimes people just start growing in opposite directions, a sad fact that can be very hard to accept.
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