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Perspective Needed - Am I Just Being Insecure?


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Hi folks. I'm a newbie - here because I need some outside perspectives with something I'm finding hard.

 

I was married a few years ago.. no kids or anything, so when we split it was a very clean break. He's out of my life permanently, and I stepped away from his family and some mutual friends in order to achieve this (which hurt, but it was the right thing for me). I'm free as a bird and although I had to make a few difficult choices along the way, I'm happy with my choices and the space it gives me to pursue something new.

 

I've now met a really lovely man who I adore - but his circumstances are pretty much the exact opposite of mine. This man still lives with his ex - not for financial reasons, or because they can't get out of a lease, or anything like that... It's because they're close, and enjoy living together. They have no plans to make any changes to their living arrangements.

 

They broke up earlier this year, and his ex started seeing someone new (a female) very soon after the split. There's no chance of them getting back together and he keeps reassuring me that I have nothing to worry about and he has no feelings for her... I believe him, but man I'm finding his living arrangements hard to cope with.

 

It's not just the living arrangements either... their lives are intertwined, so they still act like a couple. They'll spend the day out shopping together. He'll still do odd jobs for her, and help her with things. They holiday together. When they go grocery shopping they do it together. They'll meet other couple friends for dinner and sit there as a cozy foursome. She'll visit him at work and bring him a coffee. They still have the same social circle and everyone adores this girl, so there's no aspect of his life that she's not a part of.

 

Half of their friends/family don't know they've broken up. He gets weird about telling people given the sensitivity around her now being with a woman - he feels like it's not his news to share, which I do on some level understand. It just puts me in a really awkward, really uncomfortable position. Especially when we bump into someone he knows who still thinks he's in a relationship and doesn't understand why he's alone with a different girl. He doesn't correct them, and I've received some pretty dirty looks as a result, which hurts.

 

I feel like there's zero chance of me being able to integrate into his life while things are like this. I'd never ask him to step back from her - it's the kind of decision he needs to make for himself, not for me. I can't challenge their dynamic, because he considers this girl family, when all of his other family are overseas. It makes me feel like a jerk for being so insecure about things. How can I stop feeling like this girl is sitting in my seat? I don't know if it's that I'm being immature and needy that this bothers me so much, given his assurance that they're never getting back together... but it's really hard not to feel hurt, insecure, and like I don't fit anywhere. I feel like I'm his dirty side piece, even though I'm the one he's dating.

 

How would you feel in these circumstances? Am I being childish and petty and held back by my own insecurities, or is it fair to feel really really uncomfortable with all of this? I feel like I can't even ask him 'what did you get up to today?' without feeling hurt by the answer, because the answer almost always includes her name. He's a really great guy and the first person I've had feelings for in literal years... It feels like there's potential to have something so good. When it's just us things are really wonderful, it's just everything outside of the 'us' that sucks. Would you stick with it, or would you run for the hills? Help :(

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There’s no way to not get upset. She is occupying the space of partner, there’s no room for you here.

 

And you’re right you can’t give him an ultimatum but I do think when you end it you should flag it. Not to get him back but because as long as he holds her that close he’ll Never create space for someone new.

 

Could say something like ‘now that we’ve dated for a while and I’ve learned more about you I really like x, y and z but I’ve also learned that your life is so intertwined with your ex’s that there is no space for you to create a relationship with a new romantic partner and that doesn’t do it for me so I’m letting you go.’

 

This is one of those rare occasions where there is a reason given and he might argue against it. Tell him it doesn’t matter how broken up with her he feels in his heart, you’ve given dating him a go and you feel like a third wheel. Attraction killer. He might try and argue against your feelings but if he does that he’s a douche and you’ve dodged a bullet.

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No way in fresh hell would I date this man.

 

He hasn’t let go of her, and he’s living in Fantasy Land if he thinks any woman he dates is going to be okay with this arrangement. It has nothing to do with being insecure, and everything to do with a severe lack of boundaries between them and deep dose of denial for him.

 

I would end it without any hesitation. He isn’t ready for a new relationship in any way, shape, or form.

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If it looks like a duck....

 

Who cares if she is seeing someone else. Who cares if he uses reassuring words. His actions show that he is committed to her and she to him. For your purposes -meaning there is no room for you in this relationship other than as his piece on the side.

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Having been married yourself you should know that marriages are made up of several layers of different things.

This man may not be married on paper, he may or may not be sleeping with her, but he is still married to her in every other way.

They share a home, a life, a relationship, a history, mutual friends and so on. They are still attached and dependant on each other. For that matter their marriage is better than most!

Not sure where you fit in here and I can't imagine any one man is that fabulous that he deserves two woman. He might sleep with you but he goes home and plays house with her.

 

Believe you deserve more than being someone's secret.

No, your not being insecure. You're just taking the blame for not being able to tolerate something that's in reality, intolerable.

Before you walk away give him an ultimatum, just for geewhiz. My guess is you'll find out pretty quickly where you stand.

He's not so *lovely. People with integrity don't pull a new lover into a triangle. They do the right thing and wait until they are free of entanglements.

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I find your choice of words telling.. you can't challenge, how can you stop feeling how you feel, this is the first man you've had feelings for....

 

the latter is driving you towards the former two. and this is a problem. you have told yourself, how special this man is and therefore you are choosing his comfort over yours.

 

But this a mistake. this man, as lovely on the onset he may be, is fundamentally damaged and unavailable. He is in a codependent relationship with another person. That is his primary relationship.

 

You are allowing this person to "be in your seat". You feel horrible because this is horrible. you are making him your primary relationship, while you are secondary in his life.

 

you only hope is to dump this guy until he's ready to make you the primary... move out, holiday with you, celebrate with you, stop hiding you, start letting people know he and his lesbian ex wife are split up.

 

You are being treated horribly. No doubt about it. This man is completely selfish and wants both women to soothe and comfort him in his life. The ex probably doesn't care because she is the same. You're in a polygamous relationship whether you admit it or not.

 

Let me be clear... he has every right to set up his life to meet his needs. However, you have every right to say, "nope. not good enough for me"

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Good grief....another one of those does the ex know she is an ex things.

 

What he is telling you is that she is an ex.....oh but they just happen to live together as a couple with zero intentions of parting ways, present themselves to family, friends, at work, and to the world at large as a happy couple, present themselves on social media as a couple, they just happen to do all the things that couples normally do together...... and you are buying the bs that she is an ex?

 

Please tell me what kind of insane mental gymnastics are you putting yourself through to convince yourself that you believe this con artist? You are super insecure, just not in the way that you think. A secure woman would laugh at this level of bs and walk away instead of trying to convince herself that anything about this is real or that she isn't the side piece and that the liar is really a good man and whose bs you totally believe.

 

If I had a way to dump a cold bucket of water over your head I totally would. Wake up and get real and get away from this creep! If you think he is a nice man, you have some serious work you need to do on yourself and your understanding of what nice is....or even just what is basically acceptable or not. Your picker isn't just broken, it's wrecked.

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You worked so hard to get your life in order after your marriage ended and you've fallen for this guy? Are you divorced by the way or separated? The blurred lines might explain why you've made these exceptions to dating.

 

Anyway, please don't settle for so little. Where did you learn that this may remotely constitute "childish" or "petty"? Did he suggest that?

 

Don't let anyone minimize your concerns. Don't date for awhile after this has ended.

 

In my mind there is no coming back from this experience or further discussion. You made a mistake dating him, leave this and move forwards. He's made choices as have you. His choices are loud and clear. It's up to you to see them for what they are.

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I feel like I'm his dirty side piece, even though I'm the one he's dating.

 

How would you feel in these circumstances?

 

I wouldn't be in these circumstances since I don't date men who are in another relationship. And if I somehow found out after the fact, it would end right there.

 

The reason you are feeling like the side piece is because you in actuality are the side piece. You would do better to focus on finding someone who is available. This man is not.

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Thanks all for your replies.

 

I was genuinely expecting a 50/50 split on the responses, between 'yeah you're right to feel uncomfortable' and 'chill lady, so many people are friends with the ex'. I haven't seen anyone lobbying for that second option yet, which I guess tells me all I need to know.

 

Nothing you've said is news to me - it's actually reassuring to see the things I've felt and thought myself bounced back at me from other people, even though some of the comments sting a little to read.

 

I struggle with putting myself first, but that's probably clear in my original post. The marriage I left was an abusive one - physically and emotionally. I was gaslighted for years, and as a result I'm now pretty terrible at trusting my own instincts. I second guess myself a lot. I'm someone that will accept a lot of bad for a little bit of good, and it's now pretty obvious to me that I might be creeping back to those old habits and accepting less than I should.

 

He genuinely is a good guy, I think he's just oblivious to the fact that this stuff can be hurtful. He doesn't invalidate my feelings and the 'am I being childish' thing hasn't come from him, it's all me. He honestly feels like he's doing nothing wrong, so I think it's a lack of emotional intelligence rather than ill intent. In his mind he's single and totally free to pursue something new, but his life doesn't reflect that and he just can't see it. It's probably just a case of his breakup being too fresh, and not handled the right way by either of them. I do actually feel a little sorry for his ex's new partner as well, as she's in the same situation as me.

 

Anyway - thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm addressing my issues with him and seeing what happens. It will probably end with me walking away. It hurts because I like the guy, but just because something hurts doesn't mean it's the wrong decision. I need to get better at prioritising my own feelings and my own well being.

 

Further insight and opinions are very welcome, as I'm still chewing on this. It's all a learning curve - I haven't really dated since I was 23 (now 38), and navigating a potential new relationship scares the crap out of me after my marriage having been such a horror.

 

Thanks again, all.

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Thanks all for your replies.

 

I was genuinely expecting a 50/50 split on the responses, between 'yeah you're right to feel uncomfortable' and 'chill lady, so many people are friends with the ex'. I haven't seen anyone lobbying for that second option yet, which I guess tells me all I need to know.

 

Nothing you've said is news to me - it's actually reassuring to see the things I've felt and thought myself bounced back at me from other people, even though some of the comments sting a little to read.

 

I struggle with putting myself first, but that's probably clear in my original post. The marriage I left was an abusive one - physically and emotionally. I was gaslighted for years, and as a result I'm now pretty terrible at trusting my own instincts. I second guess myself a lot. I'm someone that will accept a lot of bad for a little bit of good, and it's now pretty obvious to me that I might be creeping back to those old habits and accepting less than I should.

 

He genuinely is a good guy, I think he's just oblivious to the fact that this stuff can be hurtful. He doesn't invalidate my feelings and the 'am I being childish' thing hasn't come from him, it's all me. He honestly feels like he's doing nothing wrong, so I think it's a lack of emotional intelligence rather than ill intent. In his mind he's single and totally free to pursue something new, but his life doesn't reflect that and he just can't see it. It's probably just a case of his breakup being too fresh, and not handled the right way by either of them. I do actually feel a little sorry for his ex's new partner as well, as she's in the same situation as me.

 

Anyway - thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm addressing my issues with him and seeing what happens. It will probably end with me walking away. It hurts because I like the guy, but just because something hurts doesn't mean it's the wrong decision. I need to get better at prioritising my own feelings and my own well being.

 

Further insight and opinions are very welcome, as I'm still chewing on this. It's all a learning curve - I haven't really dated since I was 23 (now 38), and navigating a potential new relationship scares the crap out of me after my marriage having been such a horror.

 

Thanks again, all.

 

If I may mention this seems to be you developing your own emotional intelligence too and learning to gauge how to make your happiness a reality. It's never too late to start.

 

I suspect you're also giving him a little too much credit in the clueless department. A person doesn't marry, end a marriage, start a new relationship and juggle multiple relationships so deftly while being as clueless as he is.

 

You seem naive to me and this is not a bad thing, compared to bitter, judgmental or constantly expecting the worst out of someone.

 

You can take your lovely self and all your experiences and still transcribe them to a new, much healthier relationship founded on respect and more accountability.

 

New beginnings if you like.

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To clarify, they were never married. I probably should have mentioned that they have been long-term friends and the relationship came after the friendship had already been in place for a good few years. When they split it's likely why they transitioned back to friendship so easily. I'm not sure if that changes anyone's opinion.

 

I understand his side of things, but the fact remains that this isn't a good place for me if things stay this way.

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Sorry to hear what you have been through. An interesting key point you made was "in his mind he's single".

 

The important thing for you is he's not single in reality and an intimate relationship with someone living with his partner is short changing yourself.

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I was gaslighted for years, and as a result I'm now pretty terrible at trusting my own instincts.

 

So you walk straight into another gaslighter. (He who's doing nothing wrong, right?)

 

I'd skip that. You'll thank yourself later.

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He is not oblivious.

 

He knows exactly what he's doing, but he's hoping you will buy the "shucks, I'm just too dumb to know better!"-act. Why? He isn't ready to end this relationship yet. He hasn't come to terms with it yet.

 

He wouldn't be hiding the break-up from anyone, otherwise. If they're not comfortable telling people it's because she's with a woman now, there are plenty of other plausible reasons they could cite. They're opting not to, which is a serious red flag.

 

My honest take? He's holding out hope that she will realize she doesn't like women that much, and will return to him. And she's not sure if she's ready to come out, so to speak, so is fine keeping him on the backburner until she decides she's comfortable doing so.

 

In any case, this isn't in the same realm of exes remaining friends. These are two people who have not even clearly ended their relationship, for all intents and purposes. You're filling in the gaps while they figure out if they are going to wind up back together, I fear.

 

This guy is a very long way from being a candidate to date.

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So you walk straight into another gaslighter. (He who's doing nothing wrong, right?)

 

I'd skip that. You'll thank yourself later.

 

OP,

I know it stings and disheartening as it is. You've been through a lot and want to be in a good relationship.... I get it. But I think your past and this current situation highlights where you have some cracks to work on.

 

No knight in shining armour is coming to love you enough to fix the insecurities and lack of love you have for yourself.

 

I'm not saying become bitter or swear off men... Just be an observer... Don't give your heart away like this. Work on a better relationship with yourself. So you can stop repeating similar scenarios.

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To clarify, they were never married. I probably should have mentioned that they have been long-term friends and the relationship came after the friendship had already been in place for a good few years. When they split it's likely why they transitioned back to friendship so easily. I'm not sure if that changes anyone's opinion.

 

I understand his side of things, but the fact remains that this isn't a good place for me if things stay this way.

 

They are a couple in a romantic relationship who live together. He is legally single, so is she. Who cares? So it would be ok with you if you were engaged if your fiancee lived with another woman he'd been in a romantic relationship with because he wasn't married to you or to her? As you wrote -they are close and enjoy living together. They want to keep living together. Do you think that is consistent with either of them being in an exclusive committed relationship with anyone else?

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You already seem to know what to do and are heartsore with this realization:

 

"The marriage I left was an abusive one - physically and emotionally. I was gaslighted for years, and as a result I'm now pretty terrible at trusting my own instincts. I second guess myself a lot. I'm someone that will accept a lot of bad for a little bit of good, and it's now pretty obvious to me that I might be creeping back to those old habits and accepting less than I should."

 

I think you are on the right track if you continue reflecting on this. Not easy, I'm sure.

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