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Is this emotional infidelity or a close friendship?


StillBreathing

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I'm terrified of doing the wrong thing here. I want this to work so badly. It's been a year since this fight and things have gotten better but I still don't have closure. I'm so afraid of sparking another huge fight by bringing it up yet again. I don't know if I can handle the stress of that again. I don't want to, I just want things to be wonderful like they normally are. I'm sorry for venting and losing it, I just don't know what to do and I don't have a real-life support system.

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What type of closure are you looking for if things have been going well for a year? Rehashing resolved stuff is not closure.

 

Because we had a fight earlier in the month (unrelated) and he reached out to her on that day by text. (I found out via social media as a comment was made about their conversation). I was not mentioned, and I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but it made me worry that "it's happening again".

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They never stopping being friends/confidants, did they? What is happening again?

 

Just that he's using her as a shoulder to cry on when he's mad at me. Maybe I'm just blowing this out of proportion. I'm sorry if I sound like an idiot, this stuff is just so damned hard for me to process clearly.

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If I noticed a pattern that every time I had an argument with my boyfriend, he ran to talk to some girl, I'd have one discussion making it undeniably clear that it's not okay and I will not tolerate it. If it happened again, I would leave.

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He should not be getting relationship advice from someone he used to sleep with no matter what type of friendship they have now. That is a slippery slope, not in terms of cheating but in terms of breaching trust and communication between the two of you. Why aren't these issues aired with you or in therapy?

Just that he's using her as a shoulder to cry on when he's mad at me
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He should not be getting relationship advice from someone he used to sleep with no matter what type of friendship they have now. That is a slippery slope, not in terms of cheating but in terms of breaching trust and communication between the two of you. Why aren't these issues aired with you or in therapy?

 

My previous therapist said (to paraphrase) that they are just friends and that it's okay for him to have friends that he vents to; that it doesn't make sense that he would vent to me so of course he needs someone else to vent; that he didn't leave after the fight initially happened so it doesn't make sense that he would leave later on when we have worked through the worst of it. I no longer see that counselor as I didnt feel she was helpful (we just sat there and chatted, it wasn't really useful therapy).

 

I only broached this topic with my current counselor once so far (that's why I'm freaking out about all of this and posting this question - the emotions and panic are overwhelming after having discussed this yesterday). She helped me break down my anxiety about it and said that it really sounds like this fear is rooted in me not believing that I'm good enough and me fearing abandonment and loss of my support system (i.e. "He doesn't love me" and "He's going to leave and I'll be alone and I won't know what to do"). She is beginning CBT and EDMR therapy with me to address these negative beliefs.

 

I did tell him that talking about relationship problems to her or our mutual friends was not okay with me ever, and to please not do it. I also asked him to never lie to me about anything ever again, and he said he would not. I don't think he understood how devastating all of this was for me until I said those things to him. I have trouble making myself clear and speaking my mind sometimes as I GREATLY fear negative fallout and fighting.

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you don't sound like an idiot. you sound like you understand what's happening very well. it's just hard to face it because what is happening is in no way fair and you're sick of injustice and getting hurt. and wish you could just tell yourself it's all in your "sick" head and he really isn't an unfair moron.

 

you don't have to discuss it with him. i'm all for open discourse, when it gets things solved. he doesn't want things solved because he doesn't want to give up an that relationship with her. it's why the arguments leave you so shell-shocked. when it comes to that point, there's no point in trying to talk through it with him.

 

look at the words sweety : he isn't really committed. or fair. that's not really love. you're not wrong or messed up or interpreting it through some miasma of disturbance. you're seeing it clearly. the thing with trauma, unlike most other forms of disturbance, is that it's based on reality. you're not upset over something imagined. this truth is upsetting.

 

talk it through in a safe therapeutic environment. in time, you will get enough strenght back to build a good supportive web and assertive skills to take care of you. until then, simply remind yourself he isn't fair, he isn't right, you aren't out of line. things won't change on his part, but when you recover a bit, you'll be able to make a good change for yourself.

 

you could google support groups in your area, local mental health communities and volunteer groups. many also serve as a temporary social web for unsupported people.

 

keep writing and expressing yourself. it is important that you can create your own narrative and have it confirmed because the narrative of someone who is primarily interested in fulfillment of their own selfish ends has the effect of gaslighting in a way, and certainly crazy making.

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of couse you have a fear of abandonment and react from a corresponding schema. but that doesn't automatically make the trigger a non-issue. one can be triggered by nothing more than their own projection. or by somthing they recognize as indicative of abandonment.

 

your trigger doesn't sound like a mere projection. he didn't act like a safe, trustwothy, reliable person.

 

one can talk to a proxy, but it doesn't mean they have to lie to their partner and go behind her back. or continuously disrespect her boundaries and disregard her feelings.

 

if he needs a counselor for your relationship problems, he would do better to choose an actual one. people whom one has a sexual past with and who they have to lie about and hide from their partner aren't generally considered a safe and neutral party.

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Do you actually think this or is his gossiping about your personal business to her or anyone simply annoying/hurtful? Because I see no connection between 'abandonment issues' and the real issue of boundaries and respecting the privacy of your relationship issues.

"He's going to leave and I'll be alone and I won't know what to do"
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Your boyfriend has shown you time and time again how he deals with relationship problems-he is lying, instead of communicating honestly. I cannot agree with j.man saying that yes, people normally lie before deciding to lose autonomy. Normal people discuss and compromise, they do not sneak, hide and lie.

 

I wouldn't trust such a man neither with my heart, nor with my money..Why did you buy a house with him, if you know that he is a liar? If i were you, i would find a way to take my money back from the house purchase and take distance from this man, until he is able to demonstrate healthy boundaries with other women, and most importantly he stops lying.

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Look, venting relationship issues, aka badmouthing your SO, to friends that you two mutually hang out with is simply terrible behavior, a complete and utter lack of healthy boundaries and MOST people would feel betrayed by that, as you do too and that makes you normal. It's not just about him and his need to vent, it's also about him making you look bad to people you also hang out with. That is very very very wrong of him and you are correctly upset about it. It would be abnormal if you weren't bothered by this.

 

Frankly, venting relationship problems is a very very tricky and touchy subject and most couples actually do try to keep the dirty laundry in house or if they do vent, they'll be careful about who to and how. Venting to people in a close common group of friends is normally taboo because it is very disrespectful to the relationship and the SO and can be destructive too. How your bf is acting is simply not OK. This girl playing hot and cold to you is also not OK. Either she needs to be good to you or she needs to step away from this friendship. You, for your own sanity need to cool off toward her too. Be civil and friendly, but don't seek to be close.

 

As another poster said, opposite sex friendships can be tricky. I have a handful of really good guy friends, however if their SO is uncomfortable with us being friends, I'll walk away instantly out of respect for my friend's relationship and his personal happiness. In addition to that, I personally preempt anything that would make me feel uncomfortable if I was the gf even though I know nothing is going on. It's all about boundaries and how things look. There is simply no reason to ever create a situation where things are suspect and those two are actively engaging in inappropriate behavior that's damaging to your relationship.

 

I think you need to believe in yourself more, have a serious conversation about boundaries with your bf. Let him know that if he can't maintain proper boundaries with this girl, then she needs to go and if she doesn't go, then you will and actually stand firm on that and mean it. Do not back off and do not try to tell yourself that this is just you having issues. Your instincts here are actually correct - trust them. It's not trusting your instincts that gets you in trouble.

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Of course your BF should have someone to vent to, but not someone he has a history with (even if the majority of time spent was platonic), and even if that were the case, there should be TOTAL transparency of their 'friendship.'

 

The lines are very blurred here. If I were in your shoes, I would wonder if, should something happen to me, would Boyfriend turn to Female Friend and continue where they left off? Would I feel comfortable if the 3 of us had been drinking and I walked to the other room to sleep, leaving them alone? In your situation, I wouldn't.

 

Someone made a good point earlier when they suggested that what you're seeing when you snoop may not be an accurate representation of what really goes on or what they talk about. Mentioning that they've slept together - even in jest - is inappropriate!

 

I don't think this is a relationship you can thrive in, particularly while you're striving to overcome your PTSD. He is pouring salt on your wounds.

 

I get that, in your eyes, there are moments when he appears to be 'trying' -- but objectively, you are struggling unnecessarily. He is not good for you, my dear.

 

Everyone has a different limit when it comes to the 'Supposedly Platonic Female Friend.' For me, if the guy I was dating had a girl friend like that, I'd stop seeing him, because personally, I desire to date one man, not a man and his girlfriend-who-is-platonic-but-he-has-slept-with-a-couple-times. BTW, the fact that they have known each other 15+ years just makes it worse in my eyes, because it's as if they share a connection in which you don't fit.

 

Like I said, some women can handle it just fine and totally be okay with it, but I am not one of them, and you, especially with the issues you are bravely trying to overcome, aren't either.

 

Good luck to you.

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I'm not really going to chime in about the boyfriend and his female friend, because honestly I see a far larger problem, which is your fear and anxiety. All I am going to advise you to do at this moment is work on that, maybe ask your therapist for some exercises on how to deal with or switch off panic mode thoughts, and focus on healing.

 

Part of that in addition to the therapy should be things like do you make sure you eat well and get enough sleep, do you take walks, do you do yoga or meditation or other relaxation strategies.And I ask that, because I am by nature someone anxious. My mind can very easily leap to worst case scenario if I don't maintain control of the anxiety, so I use all of that. It may not seem like such a big thing, but if you're tired or hungry, eating poorly, sit and ruminate in your head instead of getting out and walking, it can make things even worse.

 

In the midst of all of this, you need to find a calm space and things you can call your own, not his, not anyone's, yours. You need to focus on building yourself up, and on gaining confidence in yourself.

 

You're like a deer who doesn't know which way to run or even if she should run, and no in those circumstances it's going to be very hard to sort fact from fiction. So just focus on facts, and focus on yourself. Your boyfriend will or will not be there, I cannot help you with that, no one can make a person stay with you if they want to go, but what I can tell you to do is to learn to find the calm within the storm. To go there, to be able to take a deep breath, even if it's just you going out and walking for five minutes to focus on the world outside of yourself.

 

BTW excellent suggestions from your therapist, this sounds good. Keep doing that.

 

If you can find something you really enjoy doing, get a hobby or activity that pulls you out of your head, no matter how briefly. I took up art, not because I'm particularly good at it, but because I found if the anxiety was taking over the simple act of laying out my brushes, preparing my inks and paints, the brush strokes are a sort of meditation for me. It took some time to get there, but that simple act pulled me out of my head long enough to gain some space and breath.

 

Just some suggestions there for you. I empathize with why you're having such a difficult time, so I'm not going to give you the usual advice I'd give most since I'm not sure you're to that stage yet. Go over this with your therapist, but don't lose sight of why you're going to therapy. It isn't to keep your boyfriend, it's so you can learn to trust yourself, rely on yourself, live life and breathe. And that happens regardless of who is or isn't in your life.

 

Take those steps, I have a suspicion the other might become clearer. The person you need to learn to trust most is you.

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