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Could I get some coping tips?


SketchLu

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I was with my boyfriend for two years. We met before I graduated junior college and had similar interests. I'd known him for several months before we dated, and he supported and helped me while I ended an emotionally abusive relationship. He is nearly ten years older than me, battling cancer and living with his father in a trailer park. I was grateful for his kindness and quickly fell for his gentle personality. I wanted to support him no matter what and was proud of him for continuing his education and pursuing a career. A short while after we began dating, he began to express an interest in polyamorous relationships, which could not be farther from what I consider personally acceptable for myself. I quickly informed him that would not be an option while we were together. He said I was worth it.

 

I visited, I paid for meals, I made food, I planned dates. He'd contribute rarely. Neither of us had cars and the distance between us was significant. I acknowledged this and hoped that, as I continued my education, I'd earn enough to responsibly purchase a car.

 

Over a year and a half later, my boyfriend became interested in someone else (a girl I knew) around August. He changed his mind quickly and sent me flowers with an apology. I was was hurt and unconvinced, but valued our relationship enough to let him off with a warning that if it happened again, I would leave him. I told him I would appreciate more effort on his part - to visit, even if infrequently, and call. He did, for about a month.

 

He stopped visiting a few weeks before Christmas. I noticed that a few weeks into the new semester, he stopped responding to my texts during his six-hour break between classes.

 

On February 20th, I brought a surprise sushi lunch - his favorite - for him and I to share. I waited for him outside his classroom. The greeting I received was frigid. No smile, no hug, no kiss. He said he wasn't hungry. We eventually went to the cafeteria and I ate, hurt. Eventually I began to question him about why he had treated me so unkindly. Asked him if he was embarrassed of being seen with me, if there was somebody he did not want to see me, if he wanted me to leave, etc. He answered, "no," to all. He just sat there shame-faced and I became sick of the awkward silence. I raised raise my voice, "what... the heck IS GOING ON." He wanted to talk outside.

 

And so we talked outside. Rather, I talked, because he would not. I asked if there was someone else. He answered yes, but that he was not "seeing them", as if that was supposed to be a comfort for me. It's very likely someone else that I know and he said that they were more "on his page". I was angry. I asked why he'd wasted my time. Told him too loudly that no matter now little I asked of him, it was just too much work for him. That loving someone is more than just SAYING it, and that if he wanted to see other people, to be my guest, because I'd heard enough. I walked away.

 

It would've been a good time to cut off all communication, but I was in shock and still loved him. After a short while, I felt that I wanted him back. We talked on Facebook for about a week. I let out my feelings and he said he felt like he was being punished and that he had stayed with me because I treated him so well.

 

Unfortunately, I told him I would be present at his next doctor appointment. Since I agreed, I will do it. However, I told him that afterwords, I did not want to talk to him for at least a month. My family is not happy and his family is quite upset as well. I understand that we cannot control who we're attracted to, but I don't understand why treating someone who trusted you like that is considered acceptable.

 

I've been spending time with friends (the closest are, sadly, mutual) and focusing on my studies and self-improvement. But I'm worried I will allow another person to treat me disrespectfully again. When I am in a relationship, I give my all. Has anyone else had this experience? How did you handle it?

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Oh for heavens sakes, the man has cheated on you twice, didn't have the courtesy to tell you he wanted to end the relationship, and you did way more for him than he ever did for you. Why do you think you still "owe" him somehow by taking him to his doctor's appointment???? Let him take his own self there or get someone else to and be done with it. Stop being a doormat and stand up for yourself. No one is going to reward you for continuing to be his slave, and yes that's exactly how you're acting, by doing things for him when he won't and isn't doing anything for you. Except yeah, cheating on you and then just ignoring you until you show up and force him to tell you what's going on.

 

Right now is the perfect time to just go NC, block and delete him and move on with your life. Otherwise you'll take him to that doctor's appointment and in the future you'll look back on yourself and be really angry that you let someone use you like that. And yes, he's using you, because he should be so d***ed ashamed of himself right now that he's crawling into a hole, not trying to cry victim. For the love of peet, I want to smack the guy with a dead fish and I don't even know him. Seriously stand up for yourself, you don't owe him anything, but your silence. Find a guy who will appreciate and do things for you as well, that's what you deserve. Not this d-bag.

 

And yes, I did do that when I was younger and all it ever got me was continuing to be used by selfish "me-firs" people. The way I stopped is I just stopped. I didn't do things for people after they betrayed or mistreated me, I showed them to the door. And if I did and do something really nice for someone and they don't ever reciprocate or even worse start acting like I owe it to them I break things off. Sure I've cried about it and I've wished things could be different, but the net result is the people in my life who stay are the ones who are worth staying. My current SO would never treat me like that and he does just as much for me as I do for him. And we aren't talking money or expensive gifts, we're talking the little things--he shows up at my place at 5:00 a.m. with coffee, so I don't have to fix it before I head out the door to tend to a sick horse OR he just calls me up and tells me he wants to hear my voice, he's having a rough day and needs something to make him smile. And I do the same. That's the relationship you want.

 

This is a good time to explore why you overgive to others, what you think you'll get out of it and what the reason for it is. If you can't do that on your own then a few sessions with a good counselor can help. Also you may want to read this article: link removed She really does say it all and her tips for stopping the cycle are excellent.

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Thanks for your response, Paulette. It really does help to hear some biting words on the matter, as all I've gotten so far are confused looks and, "sorry it didn't work out". The article hits the nail on the head.

 

I realize I allowed it to happen to me. Somehow I was convinced the first time that straying emotionally was not 'cheating'. Honestly, it seems so bizarre to me, because I could never tell if he was gentle and kind or just a wimp... So I just couldn't believe it when he acted so cruely. Or why he thinks he's such a catch now. After the first few months, he continuously put me on the back burner so he could focus on his career. Two years later and it has not gone anywhere. All the time I figured, if I just tried harder, it'd all work out in the end. I wasted time I could have been spending on MY career and money I could have spent on MY family and well-being.

 

It feels bizarre to cut him out entirely, as well as going back on an agreement. Neither of us had any idea what his life expectancy is, and I did get on with his family. I believe he's become accustomed to being treated like a china doll while never having to do anything for others.

 

I hope I will find someone like you have, it sounds amazing.

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You'll do just fine, just stop overgiving and letting people like him into your life. And no, that won't necessarily happen overnight, but it will happen if you want it to. Yes, it sounds like he's milking the sympathy card for all it's worth. It's something I've seen people do and it gets zero sympathy from me since I've seen other people 20x worse off who basically refuse to cash in on what shouldn't be cashed in on.

 

It does feel strange at first when you put your foot down, but remember he had no problems going back on his agreements and obligations to you. And while he's not obligated to be your BF he could at least have had the decency to not force you to come to him and beg before he'd tell you what's wrong. He tried to just get you to leave without a plausible explanation, remember? Sorry, as long as he's got people catering to him he'll keep doing that and it will not serve anyone, you included, well.

 

Yeah, text him and tell him he can get a family member to take him to his doctor's appointment, you aren't available, ever. Then block and delete him and if his family calls tell them you broke up, don't lie about why--he's seeing someone else and wasn't going to tell me until I found out--then wish them well and tell them they will have to take care of it for him or he will. Sorry, but my guess is they were probably a bit happy to have you do all the heavy lifting so to speak and again, that's not cool. Family should take care of each other, not push it off on to someone else.

 

So now put 100 percent on you and your family and let him and his deal with their own things. You'll feel so much better and getting some time and distance from all of this will bring clarity. You will likely go through a few periods of being sad and then angry then sad then angry again, but that does pass. It's usually just long suppressed feelings coming to the surface as you wake up to the fact it's okay to feel those emotions after all.

 

Push the bad ones out the door, so the good ones can find you.

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But I'm worried I will allow another person to treat me disrespectfully again. When I am in a relationship, I give my all. Has anyone else had this experience? How did you handle it?

 

And you will allow this again if you don't get therapy. You in your young age have two toxic relationships under your belt: one emotionally abusive, one with a cheater. You have to talk through why you were such a doormat and how you can learn to be more independent with men.

 

The only doctor's appointment you need to attend is one with a counselor, not with your ex. Ditch that and him forever. I wish you luck!

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Oh I did also provide a link to one more article on Baggage Reclaim (I love that site and the book, they saved my life so to speak) that will give you a good strong outline of the things you should and shouldn't do by way of boundaries to keep you from falling back into another relationship like the one you just got out of.

 

Read and enjoy and apply. These are vital boundaries that everyone should be taught in first grade as far as I'm concerned. We'd all be so much better off if we were. link removed

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The relationship has run its course. It is done and any attempt to remain a vital part of his life will only end up in resentment. He is like a dog that you are holding that doesnt want to be held so he wiggles and you hug tighter, he growls and you hold him tighter until he bites then you let go and wonder why he bit you.

He wants his space from the romantic side of you and doesnt want to feel obligated or devoted to you. He is working on other prospects.

Dont go to his next doctors appointment even tho you promised. He wants space from you so give it to him.

 

I understand that you wanted to be the one who saved him, you wanted to be the kind, good hearted person that is there for someone and you did an excellent job at being there for him and Im sure he is greatful for what you did. Also at the same time we teach people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. If you dont want someone to treat you like trash, dont accept it. You eliminate those people from your life. You have a big wonderful loving heart and you should find someone who is already happy and not looking for someone to make happy.

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Thanks to all of you. I left his sister and a close friend of his a note that I would be removing them so that I could more easily move on. They not only understood perfectly, but praised me. I informed him I would not be present for his appointment or anything else that involved him. He ignored my message, which is all the better for me.

 

I was raised in a very sheltered home. Homeschooled until I graduated high school. I had no chance of making friends until I began college, and by that time, just being in a social setting seemed magical and panic-inducing. That had its own set of issues, and I did go to therapy for a few months to clear up my frustration with my lack of coping skills.

 

I realize I asked for things even at the beginning of the relationship that I should not have had to ask for, and it was confusing for me. But I was excited and high on life. It was the first relationship I'd been in that I didn't consider long-distance. I loved my job, I loved my college, and having someone to share that with just completed it. There were so many things and places he hadn't experienced that I wanted to show him and it felt great to see him happy. We had a lot of fun together, truly. I enjoy being challenged a little in relationships, but eventually it became downright exhausting to be the only one making the effort as I climbed the ladder and he stagnated.

 

For a while, I really did think things would get better. I figured we were both working toward our own careers and making life better for ourselves. I still had a stable family to help me and I figured he just needed more time to focus, and that was why he did not put more thought into "us". He always chalked it up to not knowing how much time he had left. Neither of us had much money, but somehow I always made it down to see him after I graduated. Most of the time I felt it was worth it. I associated him with the joy I had before I graduated... Even if he did only return the favor a grand total of three times.

 

I fully realize I'm still learning about people. That will never end, but my knowledge is clearly less than average. All I know are my own thoughts and feelings. I made a big mistake, even if I did have fun. I'd resent it more, except I had a good time until these past six months. I know I'll eventually be able to experience that happiness with someone else, but not right now.

 

I understand that you wanted to be the one who saved him, you wanted to be the kind, good hearted person that is there for someone and you did an excellent job at being there for him and Im sure he is greatful for what you did.

Not sure about 'save'. He held onto some baggage from high school when a girl cheated on him. Regardless of how long ago it was, it made sense to me that he'd appreciate a faithful relationship. Instead, he played the same card on me. Granted, I did want to feel good about myself. I don't like leaving situations without the knowledge that I tried my best. However, what I consider my "best" is actually far too much.

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You will learn about people your whole life, that is a never ending journey. This was good for you, you got to learn about red flags and see that those that dont want help can be helped. I dont know if I would say you are naive however you might not be as jaded as those that have been burned or taken advantage of...yet..

You will find happiness again no doubt...

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I'm angry and sad as well. I feel robbed of the companion I thought I had. But I'm eager, because at least I had the good times to realize how nice it feels to really value someone that much, regardless of the holes that I have yet to fill in my own life.

 

I stopped seeing a future with him. Were I ever to become pregnant, I knew I couldn't count on him to be a good father. He was not interested in marriage or children, but I didn't think either were necessary for me to be in a happy, devoted relationship. But that obviously was not his mindset. I just knew I could not rely on him should I really need his help.

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You're learning about life and people and who can and can't be trusted. Everyone goes through that to one degree or another when they leave home and go out into the world. I went to a very rough high school with all guy friends and a family who loved and supported me--I still ended up with an emotional abuser and drug dealer who eventually hit me as my first relationship. The good news is I walked after he hit me and I found out he was dealing drugs and I never looked back. Even so yeah, I've had to learn a lot of life and people skills that just aren't taught to anyone, you learn by experience and as you go.

 

You had good times with this guy and it sounds like to a point it was good and then you outgrew him. And that happens too, people change and grow apart or want different things than they had when they first got together. So don't really regret it, take it as a learning experience and realize there's nothing wrong with you. You're learning as you go.

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Come to think of it, he did tell me the day that we broke up that I'd "changed". That I used to be "more fun". It really stung, because there were so many fun things I'd half-planned and still wanted to do together. I'm practicing to be an animator, for heaven's sake. At my core, fun is what I DO. I don't really understand how a 22-year-old can outgrow a 31-year-old... I mean, I see it... but it's hard to believe it. He wanted us to still be friends. Said we could still do fun things together. I told him I had no interest in being his buddy, that it felt wrong.

 

I loved his playfulness, it was a huge reason we got along so well in the first place. But I realized eventually that it translated into a negative and childish attitude in other aspects of his behavior. It often seemed like he'd never progressed past his high school years. For me, it was embarrassing at times - for some reason I thought that I'd just get over it, felt I ought to accept him as he was. After all, he'd accepted my weirdnesses.

 

He had a pet project that he told me from the beginning was extremely dear to him and clearly stated that nobody could make him stop working on it. I had no intention of ever asking him to abandon any of his projects. I suppose in the end, he felt I was not useful when it came accomplishing what he wanted. Thus why he sought out people more 'on his page'. Never did a day go by in our relationship that I did not play second fiddle to that pet project.

 

We rarely argued and never shouted at each other until I found out he was looking for other women. I honestly miss him at lot. I miss the give-and-take of verbal support in education and career. I miss the butterflies I'd still get when I went to visit. I miss having someone to hold and making him laugh. It's worse at night - and I never even lived with him or stayed the night.

 

I wanted things to work out so badly until I caved in on myself that last day. I understand the meaning of 'bend until you break' now, but I didn't realize I'd sink into periods of literally feeling broken afterwords.

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He was a jerk. His face gave away that he knew it as well, even if he wouldn't admit it.

 

I'm not currently going to a therapist, but did about half a year ago for my frustration with life at home. My therapist was fabulous. The first day I saw her, I broke down and sobbed that I didn't want to be there (even though it had been my choice). Silly. Since then, I've settled in and become more self-confident and outgoing. I get on better with my family, which is a huge advantage right now. I'm coping better than I thought I would, even if I am still grieving a bit.

 

Now that I've had the chance to talk it over here, I do feel it's obvious that I didn't want to lose the relationship because I thought that things could be fixed, and that it would eventually bring me joy again. Regardless of the blood, sweat and tears I put into my previous failed long-distance relationship, I did consider this one to be my 'first', mostly because we could physically be together and experience so much more.

 

Not going to assume I have deep-seated issues with over giving. I did the same when I first had the opportunity to make friends, and it did NO good in building lasting friendships. I learned my lesson when it came to friends and am doing well. Now, I enjoy giving gifts. But I also tend to learn my lessons the hard way - to me, seeing is believing. That, and I ignore my internal Bull Meter™ at all the wrong times. I suppose because I feel like it allows me to remain blissful for just a little while longer.

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I packed up the gifts he gave me to return to him next week. I don't want to see them around the house, but I'd rather know he's got them than donate them, and he agreed before we went No-Contact. The things only have sentimental value, and the best was the one that cost nothing.

 

It's hard to stay angry, it's too draining. But I don't want to be in a relationship with him again.

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