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Everything posted by bluecastle

  1. Whether you respond or don't, whatever you say or don't say, is not going to move any needles at this stage. Not fun to consider, I know, although there is some freedom in understanding it, accepting it, no different than accepting that a 102 temperature means you are sick. All the damage you're looking to mitigate or prevent? It has already happened, is happening. A text will not change that one way or another. Do people get back together? Yes, sometimes. Do exes become friends? Yes, sometimes. Is the reason because of something that was texted, posted, responded to, or not, at the moment you two are in right now? No. I say all this not from some mountaintop of wisdom, but just from familiarity with the trenches you're in. These are the spins. I don't think there is any way to avoid them after a breakup. They are treatable—posting here, leaning on friends, taking a walk, cooking dinner and enjoying a glass of wine, doing a stint volunteering, whatever—but time is really what cures them. Remind yourself of that when your vision starts blurring. I'm not one for blocking, removing, all that, either. My personal rule with Instagram is that I remove it from my phone for a bit any time it starts feeling icky, be that ickiness triggered from a breakup or a potent political climate and pandemic-stirred righteousness. Something to think about, rather than thinking in terms of nobility, good terms, and staying strong. Taking care of yourself is noble, good, and it's something most human beings respect and understand. Sorry again for this moment.
  2. Just want to say, first, how very sorry I am for everything you're dealing with. I'm not sure I have much to add to the great advice here, save to encourage you, hard as it is, to accept that this moment is just going to be very hard and uncomfortable for a stretch. No way around that, no puzzle to solve, nothing you can do to alleviate the pain and confusion, and that is okay. If you broke your leg a few days ago you would be in pain, unable to walk, without judging it or yourself. Broken hearts deserve the same respect. Analyzing texts, IG posts, replaying the past in slow motion and looking for the missed reads: this is inevitable. There's some growth in it—it's clear you're seeing yourself from lots of new angles—and there's also some dizziness. Social media is only dizziness at this juncture. Nothing that happens there matters right now, but it might feel like it does. So when it feels that way? Try to remind yourself of what you know is true: a post, a story, at this stage, means nothing. You clearly have a lot of love and respect for her. Show yourself that same love and respect in treating your wounds. That healing, plus time, is what will answer all the questions you have right now. You'll get through this. Keep posting if it helps.
  3. Like Rose, I'm curious if these were his words: earning back trust, opening lines of communication. In terms of general advice? I would start with asking a simple question: Do you love him, believe in what you two have, want it to work, want to repair the damage of your infidelity? If so, and if he also thinks so, I would strongly advise that you enlist the services of a counselor to help you guys navigate this moment. Not quite as saucy, I know, but I suspect you'll both thank yourselves later for the choice. As for the sex stuff? That's kind of a different thing, in my opinion, that's been conflated with this thing. If you two want to explore BDSM—well, wonderful. You have talks about what sounds doable, what doesn't, as you would with anything sexual. But whether it's BDSM, or the most vanilla of sexual acts, it should be a celebration of love and connection and mutual exploration, not an act of atonement or punishment. That's turning something quite lovely—sex—into a transaction. Leaves an icky residue, that, and is far likelier, in my opinion, the widen the rift between you two than bridge it. My few cents, to spend how you see fit.
  4. What, exactly, is there to "fight" for here? I ask this earnestly. If you were writing about someone you'd had an ecstatic year or two with, and now things were kind of disconnected and fraught, I could understand the dilemma. But this is not that, from what you've described. Whatever his good qualities, he sounds like a really lousy boyfriend. He hardly sees you, seems to be immune to listening to you and considering your feelings, and has been very, very consistent in showing you that this is who he is. On that note, I say that you continue to fight for what you want and deserve—a man who treats you very nice inside a relationship, not just on the cusp of one—by letting this go so you can open the door to finding that. Best part? It won't feel like a fight, but just fun.
  5. Can you describe this most recent lie? There is a vagueness to your descriptions that makes it all a bit hard to follow. Was it about men, like those earlier ones? Or something else? I'm also curious to better understand how long you'd been together when these early lies happened. Were you completely exclusive then, or was it during that sometimes nebulous period when things are still gelling? Just trying not to jump to conclusions here, though it's pretty clear that neither or you much trust the other.
  6. I'm sorry you're hurting. Just to offer a different perspective, I don't think peace is going to come from swinging from one pole (you being too shy, not pretty enough) to another (him being another sexual opportunist, etc.). Both of those are just extensions of very human insecurities. Fanning them rarely brings down the pulse. Two negative charges do not combine to create positivity. Most people you date and connect with will not lead to much. This is just the fact of dating—the sour edge of what makes the sweetness (sustained connection) so special. So whether he got a little spooked by that earlier exchange, ended up meeting someone else, is dealing with some life stuff that you don't know about, or whatever—well, it's really not important, certainly not a verdict on you. Just the way it sometimes goes. Sorry again. You are awesome. This guy, and this disappointing moment, does not alter that fact. Challenge yourself to meet your negative thoughts with thoughts like that and, who knows, you may find yourself able to let go of this moment without too much strife.
  7. Lost! Just want to belatedly join the chorus in saying congrats, congrats, congrats. These transitional moments in life are often when we get to taste some new and richer flavors, or so I've found. In terms of your questions? I come at this from a curious angle, in that my professional life is pretty unorthodox. Long stretches without work, lots of time roaming the house in a robe, to the point where an alien observer might think I've been retired for a while. As much as I want to talk here about routine—I have one, or ones, and am always carving out little micro routines to stay centered or find my way back to center—I really think it's a great moment to just be open to not quite knowing how to fill time. Let itches surface, scratch them. I know I've found a lot of value in being able to sit for long stretches with "I don't know" the dominant theme in my head, without reacting too intensely. Going from your posting here, you've got something special in your core. It's going to let you know what you need, as you adjust. In short, maybe right this second the thing to embrace is the wind, and being in it. You've earned that. But selfishly? I think you need a computer to stay tethered to this community. Wink emoji.
  8. Sorry you're navigating some spins. For what it's worth? I've kind of come to think of "imposter syndrome" as a synonym for "adulthood." The great secret we never quite understand as children, after all, is that all those adults around us—our parents, their friends, famous people on television, rocket scientists, Picasso, Homer, and so on—were just waking up every day trying to figure it all out. Some days the sense of stability and confidence were genuine, others more illusory, sand through fingers. The human condition, in short. So, who knows? Perhaps if you can just think of this as okay, rather than a condition, you'll find it loses its traction, mentally. Works for me, at times.
  9. I agree with this read, potentially. Another read, and one that's floated into my mind, goes like this: Most everyone walks around with some unprocessed shame, some chapter of their past that they're still reckoning with. And when we meet someone new? It's that chapter—or, really, the shame surrounding it—that we're worried (maybe not consciously) is going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back. As such, we're kind of both eager to keep this thing to ourselves and reveal it, the latter so we can see, in essence, if there's a chance of being seen. So, the generous view might be: since he has yet to fully accept this chapter himself, he reveals it seeking a touch of help in getting there, in closing that door of the past. Which, hey, can be one of those sweet little things between people. Then again, some things are really best processed in the vacuum of ourselves, so as not to sour burgeoning sweetness. Past relationships, for instance. And, for most, a formative adolescent dalliance with a sex worker might fall into that category. All in all, I'd give the same advice here that I'd give anyone at this stage in courtship, dating: keep observing, listening to the person and, most importantly, listening to your gut.
  10. Only you can determine if it's a red flag, and how deep that color is. Sure, paying for sex is common. "Oldest profession in the world," and so forth. Also common? A phase of recreational cocaine use, to pick another vice-centric example that one person would be totally fine with, another would be running for the hills, and still another would be somewhere in between. So I'd just be honest, with yourself, about how this is landing. You can ask him more questions, or not. You can decide to keep exploring and observing, or not. Two to three months is generally the time we get a little more information about someone new, and it's pretty common that not all that information lands like a warm embrace. For whatever it's worth, just speaking for myself? Shame is a big red flag for me, meaning I get edgy around people who carry around a lot of unprocessed shame. That's probably where I'd be hiccuping, in your shoes, and I'd want some assurance (likely gained through observation) that he wasn't too hung up on a choice he made as a teenager. Our hangups have a way of becoming us, after all, sometimes in ways that are unbecoming.
  11. How are you feeling about this? What questions do you have, for him? I think those are the questions to be focusing on right now, rather than wondering if a random internet dude like me has paid for sex or not, and how that information lands with random dudettes. How'd this come up, anyhow? Were you asking about his sexual history? Or did he feel he needed to tell you this about himself?
  12. I'm so sorry about all this. I've highlighted the above because I find it telling. I mean, of course "this" happens in every relationship he gets into. When you are friends with people like this—selfish, mean, disrespectful, as toxic as Chernobyl—you will find it very hard to sustain relationships. That he has not been able to do that math—well, I'm sorry, but that's kind of reflective of what seems to be the real issue here: not her, but him, and his severe lack of emotional intelligence, his prioritizing corrosive attention at the expense of anything like depth. I understand that you're in a whirl of emotion right now, given everything you've just gone through, but I have to ask: If you take a deep breath, and get really honest, are you sincerely capable of respecting your boyfriend knowing that maintaining this "friendship" is so important to him? I'd give that question some real thought, as approaching from that angle might be more empowering than trying to analyze a set of behaviors that really don't merit it. Just as he makes the choice, every day, to reward this woman's behavior by making her a huge part of his life, you can make the choice to reward him by continuing to make him a huge part of yours—or not. While I'd imagine the thought of ending it is painful, as it always is, in this case it's very hard to see how staying with him would result in anything but a greater pain.
  13. Yeah, you just outlined a lot of moments that are going to torque you emotionally, which is different than being torqued by the prospect of it all, as you are at present. No salve to all that torquing, sadly, no antidote or anesthetic. That you yourself are observing that you may be trying to dodge that in this new relationship—well, I think you need to start being a bit more honest about that, which is to say that love may not be the only intoxicant working through your system right now. There is another side to all this, and it will be wonderful. But you've got to get there.
  14. Sounds like a good plan. When I hear someone using the phrase "I can tell she uses sex as part of her love language," I can't help but hear someone who is in the delirium of romantic transition. This is not a permanent state, but, like grief or hurricanes, a temporary one. Try to remember that, so you can create some human space for you, for her, for whatever this thing that is you plus her to be...whatever it will be. And if creating that space proves impossible, triggers more hyperventilating, or a stubbornness between the legs? Well, rather than see that as another 'loss," I'd see it as a gain. It's just the universe tapping you on the shoulder and reminding you that sometimes it's best to finish one thing (like a divorce) before starting up another. Where are you going to live? What's the co-parenting arrangement look like? Financial arrangements? That's the stuff that should be kind of front and center on the mind right now. Not sexy, I know, but I think you'll be surprised how much sorting that out will translate to greater fluency in what, let's remember, is the "love language" we all speak.
  15. I read this and the first thing I want to say is: time to take a few thousand deep breaths. Like, for real. Give it a go. One, two, three... Okay, that out of the way, I think you got to the nuts and bolts yourself in that, yes, this is normal. It's normal to be kind of jittery with a new person. Normal to be extra jittery when you're with your first new person after a long marriage. Normal to be extra extra jittery when you are still married, in the earliest stages of untangling that knot, and already trying to tie a new knot. Normal to be extra extra extra jittery when you're having sex with a toddler down the hall and an infant at the foot of the... I'm just going to stop there. Easy solution here? Well, I'd start with a cold shower, for both of you. You are grownups. And while I get you've got all sorts of grownup needs that can reduce you to a feral adolescent state, what are you doing trying to do it (or anything) when her kids are around? Not cool, that. In fact, I'd say this is one of those rare cases where the head between your legs is trying to knock some sense (softly, if you get my drift) into the head above your shoulders. So, moving forward: first the cold shower, where you establish some basic parameters of romance so the kids don't have a front row seat, literally and figuratively, to this rabid transitional moment in their parents' lives. Then, with those adult-only times carved out, go about the glorious, fumbling business of adulthood. I mean, here you just threw shade at a four year old for having iffy boundaries, while you're doing what what? And if you want to stir some Viagra into all that—no shame. If you want to just move a little slower—ditto. Certainly seems like the latter is a good place to start, as you're giving the impression of someone driving around with his foot pinned to the gas pedal, wondering why he keeps skidding out. My few cents, to spend how you see fit.
  16. Sorry about all this. I agree with Wiseman that what you're describing is incompatibility, and that you're both likely to find the peace of mind you're looking for in accepting that rather than fighting it, fighting with each other, and coming up with all sorts of passive aggressive transactions that, I'm sorry to say, don't really make much sense. If you want to talk about what is "fair"—well, it's completely fair to want to experiment with drugs, or an open relationship. Unfair would be to expect someone else to do either of those things if they don't want to, or to expect that trying either means the other person now has to try something you're into. I mean, would you be all about tripping on shrooms, or totally cool with him doing it, if you were having sex with a few men that are not him? I highly doubt it, so why even bother tightening this curious knot that's making it hard for both of you to breathe?
  17. Great questions from Lost. And talking about the nitty-gritty with your friend? Well, I think that would really help you—you both—understand the seriousness of what you're both considering. I say all that in part because I can't help but be a bit unnerved at the idea that you feel this needs to happen "fast," before he matches with and gets involved with someone who isn't enthusiastic about him fathering a child with a friend. If you think he'd be that quick to change his view—well, how can you really trust that he wants to actually be a parent in some capacity? Just going from what you're writing here, he sounds much more impulsive than intentional. Of course, none of that may have to factor into things if you're okay with the idea that his truest commitment to this begins and ends with being donor. If you were my friend considering this, I'd probably say do so if, and only if, you wouldn't be crushed if he ultimately has little to no relationship with the child.
  18. Sorry about all this. Have you guys tried or considered talking this out with the help of a therapist? Just seems that you are overdue—like, way overdue—to either put this chapter behind you or accept that it can't be fully processed, together. From what you've offered, it sounds like you've been in something of atonement mode for almost a decade. That's no way to live—not for either of you. You made a bad choice. It happens, happened. But it's important for him to accept that he has made the choice to reconcile, which is not the same thing as punishing someone for eternity and weaponizing the past. Shaming another human being is, all in all, the opposite of loving them. I admit I can't help but be unnerved by your mentioning that he "kept" you from seeing your family. What was that about? Has he expressed any remorse or understanding about his own behavior, way back when?
  19. How do you feel about all this? What's your gut response? That's really the important question. I can totally understand being thrown by this, in your shoes, as it inevitably triggers some questions, maybe some doubts and insecurities. I can also understand her position, as people don't arrive on the threshold of our lives in neatly wrapped packages, often have some loose threads that need to be handled in the early months, and can be a bit clumsy in the handling. My generous read would be something like: her ex poked at her, and she felt like she owed it to him and herself to meet up and hear each other out, to close the door. Very human, that. Yeah, it would have been nice if she'd been more forthcoming about it, but I think her telling you is a good sign. Means she doesn't want secrets and would rather you proceed with her—or not—with all this information. So, in your shoes, assuming I had a good feeling about her and her general character prior to this, I'd give it an understanding pass. Have a little chat about wanting to be more forthcoming in the future, along with what kind of boundaries you'd like with this ex and exes in general, and then continue to enjoy and observe, seeing how it all settles.
  20. I think one mark of compatibility is that compromises don't really feel so compromising. Sure, we all make them in relationships, but ideally they don't leave you feeling like you've compromised some core personal truth. That, I'd say, is a pretty good marker of the "line" you're trying to find here.
  21. My sense is that you are overthinking this, perhaps to avoid what all this makes you think and feel on a deeper level. Threesome? It's actually pretty simple. You do it if you want to do it, like any sexual experimentation. Your motivations can be personal curiosity, a desire to please a partner, or, ideally, some combination therein. It really shouldn't be all that heady. If it is super heady? Best to not proceed. So, why is this heady? Seems you're trying to figure out what this "means" in terms of how your boyfriend feels about you—how deep his feelings are, how deep his monogamous commitment is. Not a good road to spend a long time on, that one, especially when it's set off by your boyfriend wanting to have sex with someone who isn't you. "I kind of worried about how serious he/she was about me until he/she explained why we should have a threesome," said no one ever. I say all that with nothing against threesomes—or, really, any sexual act between consenting adults. But all in all I don't really think that sexual preferences, be it a certain position or inviting a third party into the bedroom, are ever reflections of anything but what someone is into sexually. Once someone has shared a preference, it's on us to be honest about whether it jibes or doesn't with our own desires.
  22. Great points. I'd put most of the shift on fear, rather than smartphones—though of course the "news" feeds of smartphones certainly feed those fears. When I was young (80s and 90s) we kids would tell our parents we were going out, and then we'd meet up: at the park, in the woods, whatever, with the deal being we'd be home before it got dark. There were certain roads we weren't allowed to cross until certain ages, but all in all a tremendous amount of trust was put in us by the adults. This way of being was celebrated in pop culture: Goonies, E.T., and so on. Flash forward to today. I read an article not long ago about the town I grew up in, and how two kids were playing in a park two blocks from their house. Police were called. Rather than take the kids two blocks to their home, the kids were taken into Child Protective Services, the parents charged with neglect. Sounds like a pretty traumatic episode—for the kids, who found themselves at the mercy of the Adult Anxiety Complex in a way that might leave a deeper mark than anything YouTube has offer.
  23. Agree that you’re overthinking things. To nimbly skirt the specifics here, I think this is the kind of headspace a person drifts toward when he or she is leaping from one long relationship and into another and, as such, has yet to live firmly where we all actually live: in the present tense. I mean, you’re already thinking about being a widower for five years thirty years from now? That’s a bit extreme, no? Romantic as the idea is to “grow old and die” together, outside of suicide pacts people tend to die when they die, and they do it alone. Just something to remember. My personal observation has been that the happiest couples, regardless of the nitty gritty of their back story, are those who don’t really care about where it’s all going because they’re on the same page and enjoying the process of writing more together. What that story amounts to only time knows.
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