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Am I being paranoid? Could really use an objective opinion


Unsure2021

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I’m a divorced woman in her mid 30s. I’ve been on my own since late 2019 and am now dating a man in his late 40s. Initially I wasn’t planning on dating for a long time, as my ex-husband of 15 years, who I thought was my soulmate and best friend, turned out to be a serial cheater and liar and I left him. The man I’m currently seeing is a neighbour who lives across from me and who pursued me quite heavily. Given the proximity and covid loneliness, I have enjoyed talking to him, having dinner together, watching movies and eventually having sex with him, which is excellent.
 

The issue is that I’m extremely conflicted about the relationship and feel like I don’t trust him. He’s been exceedingly kind in helping me with manly tasks around the house, cooking for me every night, snow shovelling, taking my garbage out etc. He keeps telling me that he loves me and that I’m physically perfect and overall an exceptional woman and that he wants to take care of me. I can’t help but feel like he’s lying to me or somehow wanting to use me for money. I’m a career woman, which he’s never dated before, and he’s already suggested buying property together. He’s also employed and earns a bit more than me. He’s a bit rough looking with tattoos, and not terribly educated, which is usually unattractive to me. Also, when I first spoke with him, his ex called him almost ten times in a row. He initially told me it was his daughter but later I realized it was his ex. He still had pictures of her breasts on his computer. He also showed me pictures of his private parts which he had on his phone, which he has since deleted. The problem is that I keep having nightmares of him cheating on me which make me think I should leave the relationship but another part me likes his company and that he makes me feel loved and cared for, which my ex never did.
 

My problem is that I don’t know if my not trusting him is founded or if it’s just the fear of getting hurt again and expecting to be betrayed. He keeps reassuring me that he’s only interested in me, updated his Facebook status and talks about me to all his family and friends, while I ghosted him three times (once for lying, another for meeting up with his ex and another for not giving me enough space). He said he had to meet his ex to switch over the car in his name and he’s since given me more space. I just don’t want to get attached to another liar/cheater and after 3 months of seeing him I still don’t trust him but I can’t let him go either. I genuinely enjoy his company and generosity. Please help! I’m so confused and don’t know what to do. 

 

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If casual company works for you with covid, isolation etc., That's fine.

You need to stop dragging your hurt and anger about your ex husband around with you. It serves no purpose.

Make sure your physical and mental health are in good shape. Get evaluated by a physician and get a referral to a therapist to finally start unpacking all this divorce baggage.

In the meantime. Relax. Enjoy friends, family, neighbors, your work, interests, hobbies, etc.

You wanted company and casual sex and that's ok. But stop beating everyone up as if they're your cheating ex-husband.

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He seems to have poor boundaries. Why did he show you photos of his private parts? Why did he lie when she called that many times?  I met up with my ex so he could help me with computer stuff when I'd been with my boyfriend for months and seriously -told my boyfriend, he was fine with it, all was well.  He met up with his ex for business reasons too.  He told me, out in the open, all was well.  We've now been together 15 years, married for 12, never had any insecurities about cheating on either side and we both have friends who are the opposite sex, etc. 

So here's what I think is going on with you- you are understandably ultra sensitive about this sort of thing.  I get it.  Your person already has been untruthful (yes, if his ex called once and you asked a white lie "my daughter" would be ok if it were one and done but obviously that's not the case) and his values justify showing you photos of his private parts on his computer and somehow you knew about the photos of her private parts which is disturbing -not that he still had them - he may have forgotten to delete them -but that somehow you know about this?

I would not buy property with him and his bringing that up seems also like poor judgment/boundaries on his part.

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Unsure, is there any reason you have to take a decision in regards to this relationship, right now? It seems you are still in the fog of post-divorce trauma, covid is also playing a number on all of us, so how about you just enjoy this sweet rebound and do not occupy your thoughts with pronouncing a verdict on this relationship. Time has one excellent quality: it tends to reveal the true nature of things. So, if this guy is good for you or not : time will tell. My advice would be: give Time the time to do its work.

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Thank you so much East4. That’s true, I’m psyching myself out as I’m scared to get attached to another potential dud, but I guess that’s the risk we all take in intimate relationships. I will make an effort to enjoy the moment and not project into the future too much, as much as he may want to go there. Hard to regain trust in myself after being blind for so long in my previous relationship. Thank you all for your input!

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I think that you need to actually honor your intuition and red flags slapping you in the face.

He didn't need to lie about his ex, but he did. That is telling you something about his character...or lack thereof and it's not something that you should try to write off and bury or rationalize. At any rate, you can't because it is bothering you and rightfully so.

Just to give you an example, I was on a second date with a guy when his ex started to blow up his phone. At first he tried to ignore it, but she was calling and texting so much, he had to address it. He didn't lie or hide who she is or what's going on. Instead he informed me who is trying to reach him and it was me who prompted him to answer the phone and deal with it. His honesty opened a conversation between us about ex's, how we see and treat those relationships and what is and isn't appropriate. Turns out we saw eye to eye on that. We went on to date for quite a few years and broke up over unrelated reasons.

If there is one thing you should have learned from being cheated on is that honesty matters and when someone is being dishonest about big things, you should probably walk away. Also, beware of someone trying force himself into your life. It may seem flattering....buuuut....it usually isn't a good thing. It's usually a manipulative thing.

I kind of have to echo another poster who pointed out that you are not ready to date. You need to fix your picker first...and learn to listen to your intuition which is screaming at you here.

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I agree with you DancingFool. I wouldn’t be dating him if it weren’t for covid and I think he knows it. While I may entertain him for now, a big part of me knows this guy isn’t the one and it’s making me want to break up with him, except for how attentive he is. I guess time will tell and I’m certainly in no rush.

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15 minutes ago, Unsure2021 said:

I agree with you DancingFool. I wouldn’t be dating him if it weren’t for covid and I think he knows it. While I may entertain him for now, a big part of me knows this guy isn’t the one and it’s making me want to break up with him, except for how attentive he is. I guess time will tell and I’m certainly in no rush.

Please don't use or lead someone on just because they are useful or because you are lonely due to covid..... 

Consider also that this is exactly how people end up in toxic relationships -> lonely = vulnerable. When you are vulnerable, you end up tolerating and making excuses for the wrong kinds of people and the longer you do that, the more you get attached, which makes it increasingly hard to end things and get out. Think about the toxic pattern here because you are in the driver's seat. The moment you don't feel comfortable or safe, you shouldn't be dating....and it doesn't matter how often he shovels your driveway. That's not what relationships are built on anyway.

I think you need to work hard on fixing your picker before you date.

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Agreed DancingFool, which is why I broke things off with him three times, but I still keep going back. It’s all very confusing, as I truly enjoy his company but a part of me doesn’t really want to be in a relationship yet enjoys being in one nonetheless. I know it’s messed up and I feel really badly but still can’t stop as I’m really excited to see him everyday and can’t avoid him for long, as much as I try 😞

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You seem able to pinpoint what bothers you very well so I think that's half the battle won over already. If being taken advantage of financially or being uncertain about his ex are the two top things that bother you, take the relationship slowly and wait for him to show himself for the person he is. Don't jump to anything or any commitments. 

I agree with the comments that he has poor boundaries regarding those naked photos (showing them to you) and his ex. Her calling him ten times for personal reasons not having to do with their child on one outting with you is unfair to you and obvious to any third party that neither of them have a clear understanding of moving on or that their relationship is over. If this type of interaction has stopped with his ex, that's fine. I'd be wary of this going forward. 

If you like his company enough to be committed in some way (monogamously dating) then see whether he feels the same. Just because you've been scarred in the past doesn't mean it gives another person a free ticket to behave poorly around you or lack boundaries either. 

 

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12 hours ago, Unsure2021 said:

He keeps telling me that he loves me and that I’m physically perfect and overall an exceptional woman and that he wants to take care of me. I can’t help but feel like he’s lying to me or somehow wanting to use me for money. I’m a career woman, which he’s never dated before, and he’s already suggested buying property together. He’s also employed and earns a bit more than me. He’s a bit rough looking with tattoos, and not terribly educated, which is usually unattractive to me.

Ohh wow.. All of this.. in just 3 months?

Yeah, I'd be concerned.. this is just not right 😞 

Way too much- he's OVER doing it.. plus changing his status?  Men do not usually even touch that.

I wonder.. If he's using you - to try & get over his ex or something?

He does not 'love' you.. maybe lust.

Buy property?  Nope, lol

Be careful with this guy!  I feel he see's you as vulnerable.. do NOT take all of this stuff as 'real'.  ( I don't feel he is..)

 

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56 minutes ago, Unsure2021 said:

which is why I broke things off with him three times, but I still keep going back. It’s all very confusing, as I truly enjoy his company but a part of me doesn’t really want to be in a relationship yet enjoys being in one nonetheless. I know it’s messed up and I feel really badly but still can’t stop as I’m really excited to see him everyday and can’t avoid him for long, as much as I try

-Signs right there... pulling away says you are not certain ( mind games. negative impacts).

- You are not all comfortable with him, then don't lead him on.. AND looks like you're starting to enjoy some of this... Is heading down a rough road.

I highly suggest you don't do this to yourself or him.

As mentioned, you still sound damaged from your last long term.. then Maybe don't go there.

If you cannot Trust, causes nothing but problems.. Don;t put yourself through all of this.  Can equal some hard feelings 😞 

For your own sanity.

 

Lonely?  take up a hobby/craft. .. can you not visit a friend for coffee on occasion?  Not this weird neighbour... who is pushing it.

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13 hours ago, Unsure2021 said:

 I’m extremely conflicted about the relationship and feel like I don’t trust him. 

I say go with your gut feeling.   If something is not feeling right then you should not ignore it.  It's a red flag waving at you.  Take heed.  And yes, he shows poor boundaries.  Rather yuck. Another red flag. 

I think you need more time to yourself to heal from your divorce.  This new guy ....... be careful.  I'd give him a wide berth, but that's just me.

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10 hours ago, Unsure2021 said:

. I wouldn’t be dating him if it weren’t for covid and I think he knows it. While I may entertain him for now, a big part of me knows this guy isn’t the one and it’s making me want to break up with him, except for how attentive he is.

Ok, it seems like a FWB situation for now. It serves a purpose.

Just two adults hanging out filling needs. The only battle is with yourself. You're mistaking a casual FWB situation for a relationship.

There's nothing to worry about here. It's not going anywhere you don't want it to.

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On 2/5/2021 at 3:57 AM, Unsure2021 said:

I ghosted him three times (once for lying ...

Speaking only for myself, dishonesty sets the tone for all else--so in my case, there could not BE anything else.

That said, that's just me. I set my trust meter to a neutral 5 on a 1-10 scale with new people, then I observe and let them show me whether to invest more trust or withdraw it. 

Lying tells me all I really need to know, and once I withdraw trust, that's pretty much IT for me.

That's not some moral finger-wag. Some people can detach better than me and use such a person to meet certain desires without investing in them emotionally. If you want to try pulling that off, then go for it.

I just know mySelf well enough to know that when I can't trust someone, it makes no sense for me to be sexual with them--because I bond when I'm sexual. So why would I WANT to bond with someone who I've already learned is un-trust-worthy?

In this time of Covid, we're all just doing the best we know how at any give moment. If you want to mess around with someone who lies to you, nobody here is your judge or jury. I'd just consider whether potential consequences of that are worth it to me, and I'd tread carefully.

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