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Reconciling the Good and Bad


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I'm easily able to see and appreciate my ex husband's good qualities because we are still in daily contact, he's good to our daughter and generally helps me out with various things that I really appreciate (removing dead bugs from the basement being first and foremost- LOL!) He was a **ck of a husband but I've long ago made my peace with our fallout and divorce because it all turned out okay and I'm happy to not be in a miserable marriage. Even though he cheated on me from the minute our daughter was born, I truly left the marriage not jaded or thinking that "all men suck".

However....my rebound/guy I dated afterwards was a little shady...a womanizer who had a generally low opinion of women that came out here and there. He reallllly pursued me and I found him super sexy after my divorce. He was super masculine, confident (arrogant, really), very handsome, smart, had a great job, and treated me way beyond my expectations in the beginning. As time went on he would cancel plans but tell me how much I meant to him...he gave me the most thoughtful gift I've ever gotten for my birthday and would tell me he really held me in high regard, could see himself with me, etc. His words didn't match up with his actions, though and he seemed to keep one foot in the bachelor life throughout our relationship.

In the end I could see he wasn't the guy for me or my daughter. He was lazy, over-indulgent, spoke poorly of his exes/women, didn't have a good relationship with his own child and overall I knew we didn't value the same things at all. I suggested seeing other people and he immediately called up some girl he hit on while we were together and started sleeping with her. When I found out, I was really hurt...not so much that he had met someone else or that he was sleeping with her or even that we ended things for good...but that he wasn't upfront from the start that he wasn't really that into me at all at any point (having hit on someone and gotten their number while we were together).

I can't reconcile the good things I experienced with him with knowing that he treated me the same way my ex husband did ....like I was just a game piece and they were happy to waste my time while they did whatever they wanted.

I'm able to see my ex husband for the good and the bad. He's not a good match as a husband but I can see that he's not evil.

My rebound/ex bf is a different story and has left me much more jaded than my marriage did. Part of me doesn't want to hate him b/c it just makes me angry and bitter...nobody wants that for themselves. Part of me is like "why do you care? You didn't even really want to be with him anyway!". Its mostly that he didn't treat me with any integrity....and I blame myself or feel not good enough in some way. I imagine he kept right on dating and sleeping with anyone who would have him after our experience and while I don't envy his shallow existence or want that for myself, I'm having a hard time letting go of the feeling that I wasn't "worth" treating with integrity and respect.

Even when I had my doubts about him and didn't see things working out for the long haul, I was kind, honest, up front, didn't feed him any lines, gave it my best shot, included him in my plans and introduced him to family/friends.

The week before I found out he was sleeping with someone else he told me he was "convinced I'm the woman for him" and wanted to go to therapy to be a better man/bring us closer together/address some of his issues that get in the way of his relationships. I feel like an IDIOT for not seeing it coming (that there was someone else).

I don't get why anyone would lie.....if you're into someone else, don't tell me I'm "the woman for you" and you want to pursue a future with me.

I reallllly am truly happy in my life and want to find a best friend and partner one day. I don't want to enter the new year bitter or jaded about this situation that ended months ago.

Any tips on letting go of the part that feels like "not good enough/men can't be faithful/I can't trust anyone"?? He told me in the end that of all the women he's ever met, I deserved his BS the least and that I'm a really genuine, high quality woman and he did start going to therapy (with MY therapist-grrr) to address some of his issues although I don't care or know how that's turned out for him. I'd like to think he had some remorse about not treating me honestly and for saying things that were deliberately misleading. He said he meant the things he said and could have indeed seen himself with me but also doesn't see himself really settling down probably ever...like he's torn between single life and having a quality woman in his life. So I see a part of him that's deliberately misleading and untruthful and another part of him that's a little lost, has some crappy relationship habits that consistently get in his way and I've seen his soft side which seemed very real at the time(s) that I saw it. I just can't put it together in a satisfactory way. Did I mean nothing to him? That's so painful. When I think of the lost, confused, self-sabotaging part of him it feels easier to let go of and be forgiving of. When I think about how he purposefully told me things that weren't true I get so angry and feel so hurt.

There are things I remember that I can't believe he "faked". He went with me several states away to meet my family more than once and we were planning another trip. I really thought he was into me. Not like he was gonna marry me "into me"...but into me enough to not be meeting people on the side.

I don't get it. It makes me sad and I don't want to feel sad.

Thanks, my ENA friends!

And Happy New Year!!

xo

Sav

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Some people just aren't monogamous. So it's not about you, or being good enough or whatever, it's their makeup. What you should maybe take a good look at is that both of these men have certain qualities that attract you and those qualities come with quite the downside for you. If you can identify what they are, then maybe you can make better choices going forward in terms of avoiding men who are not really monogamous at their core. I mean you really got involved with two men who are maybe different in some ways, but ultimately the same at the core.

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Some people just aren't monogamous. So it's not about you, or being good enough or whatever, it's their makeup. What you should maybe take a good look at is that both of these men have certain qualities that attract you and those qualities come with quite the downside for you. If you can identify what they are, then maybe you can make better choices going forward in terms of avoiding men who are not really monogamous at their core. I mean you really got involved with two men who are maybe different in some ways, but ultimately the same at the core.

 

You are right...they were very different on the surface and very similar at the core (selfish, put their own needs/wants above anyone else, speak poorly about other people in their life and aren't close to their families). Definitely a good observation and something to give more thought to...thank you!! Some new red flags to keep an eye out for with regards to the person's personal history and family connections.

Thanks again!

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sorry don't mean to hijack the thread but how can you find monogamous men? How do you recognise them? I thought my ex was, but it was just a case of a long honeymoon phase before the disaster

 

I think its a matter of integrity. The guy (or woman) has to hold themselves to that standard...not feel like they're trapped or doing you a favor. By the time I realized these guys had no integrity, it was too late. Something I'm better at recognizing now in hindsight.

Both of them also really played the victim and felt entitled to things for no apparent reason.

You girls are getting me to think even more about the red flags I ignored (I made a whole thread about the red flags I saw and chose not to give a lot of weight to at the time).

Good food for thought!!

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not feel like they're trapped or doing you a favor. By the time I realized these guys had no integrity, it was too late. Something I'm better at recognizing now in hindsight.

Both of them also really played the victim and felt entitled to things for no apparent reason.

 

I am reading a couple of books called Why men love b**es and What men really want, it is a really interesting read, there was something along the line that their freedom is very important for males and most of them are scared to be in a relationship since with it they a losing their freedom. I just feel like women are more monogamous than men, so I feel a bit jaded too. My ex is already talking/meeting someone a month after BU, he met towards the end of the relationship. And I can't even feel like talking to any male. Ugh. It has nothing to do with your or your worth. they simply lack integrity like you said.

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You are right...they were very different on the surface and very similar at the core (selfish, put their own needs/wants above anyone else, speak poorly about other people in their life and aren't close to their families). Definitely a good observation and something to give more thought to...thank you!! Some new red flags to keep an eye out for with regards to the person's personal history and family connections.

Thanks again!

 

Right, but now think about the flip side. What do they both have in common that attracted you? It's not just looking for red flags, it's getting a full grasp on both sides of the equation. It's kind of about becoming aware of what pulls you in and being aware of what the down qualities typically are associated with what pulls you in and consciously weeding out for the down qualities until you find that one with a twist where he has most of what attracts you without the really bad down sides.

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I posted on some other thread that in order to change who you attract, you must analyze what you are attracted to in them...as it is what is missing in yourself. In my case...I sought the man/child because I had suffocated my inner child. I wanted a man who shared my values and commitment... but I sought the ones who were "fun".

 

So I went in search of my inner child...found her and let her develop. When "we" were done catching up...my bf showed up. And one of the things he later told me that attracted him...was that I just seemed to be enjoying life and so happy.

 

Time for you to break the pattern and do a bit of analysis!!

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I am reading a couple of books called Why men love b**es and What men really want, it is a really interesting read, there was something along the line that their freedom is very important for males and most of them are scared to be in a relationship since with it they a losing their freedom. I just feel like women are more monogamous than men, so I feel a bit jaded too. My ex is already talking/meeting someone a month after BU, he met towards the end of the relationship. And I can't even feel like talking to any male. Ugh. It has nothing to do with your or your worth. they simply lack integrity like you said.

 

Bull. If that were really true then there would be no relationships or marriage in our society. After all it takes two to want that, not just one. For all these freedom loving claims, men sure do an awful lot of the chasing and working at finding a woman to be with. At least that's my real life mileage. Don't even have to go far - look around these boards on how many guys posting about hanging on to a relationship, how to get her back, being totally devastated things ended, how to find a woman, etc. Really flies in the face of the societal stereotypes that all men really want is just to get laid and move on and be free.

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Thanks, DancingFool and mhowe. If I'm being honest I would say that both of them were attractive and seemed way into me so early on that instead of it being a red flag right away, I was flattered because they were so good looking and charming and seemed to think I was sooooo great without me doing anything to really warrant that. (Yes, of course that's a total red flag, but I didn't see it at the time).

With regards to not being close to their families, that kind of "worked" for me because I'm close to mine and felt like I could fill the void for them with my own parents and siblings...like they'd get to feel like they now have the family they always wanted (or something like that).

I read something that resonated with me that said something along the lines of ...if you have low self esteem you find someone who would have to break all of their patterns to be with you and you feel like by them doing that, your value is increased. But when they don't, you feel even worse than before. That really sounded like part of it....although I don't consider myself to have a particularly low esteem. But I was definitely trying to "save" them so to speak and I can see that easily in hindsight as well. I liked that they were a little wounded because it felt familiar and like we "got each other". In the end I "got" them but they didn't really care about who I was.

I joked around with my sister and said "I guess I just need to start dating fat, white, bald guys" and she said "Hey, you stay away from my husband!" ;-)

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sorry don't mean to hijack the thread but how can you find monogamous men? How do you recognise them? I thought my ex was, but it was just a case of a long honeymoon phase before the disaster

 

*Raises hand* How to recognize us? Good question...I guess that other than asking and trusting, there is no real way...

 

It's funny tho, my friends all say I have a "mental disorder" because of that haha Guess we're a rare kind.

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I don't mean it on that simplistic level of men only wanting to get laid. At least in my situation what I said holds true because me and my ex are very young. Maybe as they get older, they do want a stable relationship with a one woman. Depend on their personality too. I still don't believe males are as monogamous as women, because it seems they will always enjoy that annoying female friend or any other woman massaging his ego. Basically, if a woman decided to get your guy, chances are he won't be able to resist her on some level (is he finds her attractive).

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*Raises hand* How to recognize us? Good question...I guess that other than asking and trusting, there is no real way...

 

It's funny tho, my friends all say I have a "mental disorder" because of that haha Guess we're a rare kind.

 

That's the thing...I did ask...I ask a ton of questions when I get to know someone. No guy is gonna be like "I'm actually quite a d-bag". I HIGHLY doubt my ex husband goes on dates and says he cheated on his wife while she was home with an infant. He lies. No doubt. So, how do you know? you have to look at the whole picture. I'm getting better at it.

Twidom, let me know if you have any good guy friends in my neck of the woods ;-)

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Heh...when I got serious about finding a good relationship, I kept asking myself two questions:

 

1) Does he need fixing or changing? If yes, no more dates.

2) Would a normal, mentally and emotionally balanced guy do this? You might have to really ponder this one because being swept off your feet feels good and it's exciting and so on, BUT.... the answer is no, so no more dates.

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That's the thing...I did ask...I ask a ton of questions when I get to know someone. No guy is gonna be like "I'm actually quite a d-bag". I HIGHLY doubt my ex husband goes on dates and says he cheated on his wife while she was home with an infant. He lies. No doubt. So, how do you know? you have to look at the whole picture. I'm getting better at it.

Twidom, let me know if you have any good guy friends in my neck of the woods ;-)

 

Sigh Yeah that's the point...People are complicated...Actually in my head most people are liars and things like that but that's just me.

Whenever I get dumped one of my main concerns is: "Will I find another person who's like me?" And by that I mean someone who has absolutely no need of being with more than one person at a time. Sadly in my 23 years I've never met another guy like me Sorry haha.

 

I guess there is no real way to tell. Try to know the person as much as you can, and trust them. My mom used to say "To love someone is to take a leap of faith."

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Heh...when I got serious about finding a good relationship, I kept asking myself two questions:

 

1) Does he need fixing or changing? If yes, no more dates.

2) Would a normal, mentally and emotionally balanced guy do this? You might have to really ponder this one because being swept off your feet feels good and it's exciting and so on, BUT.... the answer is no, so no more dates.

 

YES to these!

Both of them I though "needed fixing" and both of them I though "a normal, mentally and emotionally balanced guy would not do this".

I'm going to keep those in mind next time I start dating. I can see how quickly the years might pass if I stay in this mindset so I'd like to get out of it asap!!

I really find it very empowering to think about all of this and believe/know that I'm responsible for where I end up, how I think and how I feel.

Thank you!

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Responding to your original post, Happy New Year Sav, and I'm glad some of the other members were able to help you feel more empowered and better about your situation as a whole.

 

I'm really sorry about your situation with your "rebound ex bf" but you should certainly approach 2014 and the years to come with your goals and self unchanged (i.e. not bitter in any way). I give you a lot of credit for undergoing a divorce in which infidelity was an issue and for getting yourself past it successfully and maybe you need to return to that mindset. That doesn't mean to necessarily jump into anything but just that mindset of keeping the faith in men and also treating yourself with enough respect to know when its best to walk away, rather than question the actions of someone who may not have your best interests in mind. Think of it as a learning experience, and as you mention, also a way for you to gain appreciation for the better qualities your ex husband does have while he remains in your life. Just as there were guys worse than him (your ex husband), there will also be guys who are (I avoid saying 'better' since people shouldn't be rated, per se) better matches for you.

 

Best of luck and a very happy new year to you and your daughter.

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sorry don't mean to hijack the thread but how can you find monogamous men? How do you recognise them? I thought my ex was, but it was just a case of a long honeymoon phase before the disaster

 

I've came to the conclusion that both for men and woman they need to be:

 

- Very confident and strong people.

- Have core values.

 

You can be confident and sure of yourself but if you don't have the core values you will cheat. You can have the core values but if you're not confident and high self esteem you'll cheat.

 

Anyhow I'm done thinking that I'll find someone like that. I realise that I'll probably be cheated and disapointed again in the future. That's relationship business nowdays. Just won't take it personally. It's like war, cancer etc it will always be present in our world and there's nothing we can do to control them.

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I think it's not so much that he never valued you or wanted to be with you and just lied whole cloth about everything. I think it's more that the guy is probably impulsive and rather desperate to have what other people have, but knows deep down it isn't something he can do. As he himself has told you.

He said he meant the things he said and could have indeed seen himself with me but also doesn't see himself really settling down probably ever...like he's torn between single life and having a quality woman in his life.

 

So he tried really hard to convince himself and you that everything he said he meant and it would all work out just fine. He's deceptive and lies, because he's not honest first and foremost with himself and he won't admit whatever his true nature is to himself. It isn't anything to do with you, the issues are all on his side and it's something he will or won't work out in much the same way an alcoholic or abusive person has to. I think he loved you, but I also think if he were really truly honest with himself he'd have to admit he's not the monogamous relationship kind of guy and that he probably doesn't actually get the emotions that drive most other people. So he fakes it hoping he can somehow make it and unfortunately you got caught in the cross-hairs of him trying very badly to fix his own issues. Obviously you are something and someone special and he knew that, so hoped some of your magic would rub off on him and it would all be okay. But until the day he's fully honest with himself he can't be honest with anyone else.

 

You get past the bitterness and so forth by journaling, working on yourself, letting you heal and make peace with what happened. That can take time, so just let it happen and remember the holidays have a way of amplifying the negative as well as the positive in relationships sometimes. This breakup is still fairly fresh in time and to some degree the more hopes we sometimes have for a relationship the more it hurts when we find those hopes dashed. At least that's how I came to view it with my ex, which really was the hardest relationship and breakup I ever went through. You will be fine, give yourself time and permission to heal and if need be go to the gym and beat the crap out of a punching bag. It really helps. Then go home and do something fun with your lovely daughter.

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HOLY MOLEY...what a fantastic conversation that ensued from the OP. Too many things I could comment on!

 

The wisdom of experience combined with mature minds. Priceless to anyone in the right frame of mind that reads and absorbs what has been offered here.

 

Savignon. xoxoxo! 2014: Your daughter is your world, your ex husband is a good father, your ex partner still has a lot to learn.

 

You however, have learnt a lot in in the past year. Welcome that knowledge. January 1st is the start of the best year of your life

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HOLY MOLEY...what a fantastic conversation that ensued from the OP. Too many things I could comment on!

 

The wisdom of experience combined with mature minds. Priceless to anyone in the right frame of mind that reads and absorbs what has been offered here.

 

Savignon. xoxoxo! 2014: Your daughter is your world, your ex husband is a good father, your ex partner still has a lot to learn.

 

You however, have learnt a lot in in the past year. Welcome that knowledge. January 1st is the start of the best year of your life

 

Thanks- I hope so!! I'm truly relieved in every moment not to be in my miserable marriage anymore. We work sooo much better as co-parents/ex's than as a married couple and I'm glad I went into 2013 as a divorced woman. Its funny that we sometimes can get hung up on silly things when we know exactly why they worked out the way they did...with my rebound/ex, I knew early on he wasn't the guy for me (made threads about it even)...but yet even with knowing that and not having been satisfied in the relationship I still feel so rejected. Objectively, it doesn't make sense.

I can only say it was still painful nonetheless. Even when I've not been sure about someone or outright knew we didn't have a future, I treated them with kindness, integrity and respect. Always.

Its harder and harder to meet people the older I get and especially with a toddler. Its not on my priority list for now but I definitely feel a little fearful that I could end up alone and that once my little one doesn't "need" me anymore the way she does now I'll suddenly feel the sting of being alone and without a sense of purpose (even though that wont' be true, I know myself well enough to know its a feeling I might have in a few years).

Ah, well....its a new year with new beginnings....time will tell.

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