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I had a very close, very deep connection with a friend for 15 years. I've never felt any other connection like it, I felt like he was my soulmate, or that we were kindred spirits. I believed in him and in the connection between us, and because I met him when I was barely 21, my belief in this formed a foundational part of my adult identity. It formed the basis for my sense of hope about myself and my life (I came from a difficult and unsupported home. He 'saw' me and 'knew' me, or at least, did things to make it seem that way).

A couple of years ago, things shifted between us. There was always an element of romance to our friendship, but it was not something at the forefront, and I often responded to suggestions of that with fear (it is very difficult for me to trust and be intimate with people and I think the depth of the connection I felt made me feel vulnerable). I suppose, for me, it was something deep within me that just 'knew' that one day we would, or should, be together, but that it would be in the future. Anyway, a couple of years ago, things shifted between us and it felt like something was going to happen. He treated me really badly during this stage. I felt loved by him, I felt like he loved me by the way that he looked at me, by the things that he said, and by the way that we were together. But - consistently - just when it felt like things were definitely moving in that direction, he'd start dating someone. He was a serial dater, constantly meeting women online, and breaking things off after a couple of months. And in between, there was this confusing, charged, 'stuff' between us. 

I went a bit crazy during this time, I hardly knew which way was up. Looking back, I realise how damaging and harmful his behaviour was, and how it was driven by denial, low self-esteem and an addiction to dating. He was a womaniser and he used and threw away so many women. I knew this about him, I felt him to be wounded, I saw the person underneath who had so much love and goodness, and who I felt so connected to, and I felt that he knew it, and felt it too. 

Eventually we kissed one night, but it did no go well. It produced further mixed messages and confusion, and dishonesty on his part. He told me he didn't want to be involved with me, but then treated me like he did, and made me feel, again, like he loved me, and that there was hope. Only to drop me or ignore me for weeks, and serial date. It made me question my sanity and my grasp on reality. This situation culminated in our spending the night together, when very drunk. Afterwards, he blamed me, shamed me, and broke contact with me, ostracising me from the social group we shared. (A group in which he has more power and influence than me). He told me some terrible, cruel things that I am still trying to recover from, 18 months on. After 6 months, we resumed contact and I told him how the whole situation had made me feel. I apologised for the actions on my part that had led to the breakdown in our friendship, (mainly, that I just wanted to know what the *&£& was going on and was unable to accept his treatment of me - which was basically to just erase me so that he could continue enjoying his life without having to deal with what had happened between us). I didn't get a real apology from him, although I could see just how sorry and guilty he felt. He struggles to apologise, although at a later date, he did partially do this (and it was a very emotional, authentic moment between us). 

We agreed to stay friends and to rebuild trust between us. He very much wanted this. But weeks in to that, he started letting me down again, dropping me and forgetting about me - not following up on things when he said he would. He has made me feel so worthless and forgettable, like I just don't matter. But he frequently has told me I do (without my prompting). 

When the pandemic happened, which was very soon after our initial reconciliation (curtailing our ability to reconnect properly as I no longer live nearby, although we have have talked online over this period). He totally crumbled. Complete manchild. He continued dating (meeting people in person, via online dating sites) all throughout lockdown and eventually met a girl who a few weeks in broke things off with him. This seemed to catalyse him into a period of growth. His extreme vulnerability due to lockdown allowed him to emotionally connect with this woman, and as a result, he continued to pursue her and they are now back together. He talks about her like she's the 'one', he told me, in great detail, about the great connection he has with her. How he imagined a future with her. It feels to me that the situation of the pandemic forced his wounded nature to grow and heal, and that this woman is now the beneficiary of that. He's reformed his womanising ways and is free to love and give - he's happy, in love, and going to have a future with her. Being forced in one place, and having fewer distractions and options to run, is deepening their bond and giving him the time and space to actually settle in to a real relationship. 

I want to be happy for him. But I am so desperately hurt and angry. He wounded so many women, for years, and he wounded me, and he's still so oblivious to it. My life, and my sense of self and identity was destroyed because of the careless and cruel way he treated me. But he gets to be happy. He gets to benefit from the pain he caused me by knowing not to treat someone else like that. These are all things he has basically said to me, in one way or another. And even though I know he feels guilt and sorrow at what happened between us, he hasn't really made real amends It's been me giving him all the opportunities, and every time it's mattered, he has let me down. 

He drops me or just entirely forgets about me and any communication we have had. He just forgets, like he has forgotten everything else he's done and said. Like it's nothing. I can't trust him or rely on him, but it is so hard to let go, to something I believed in for so long, and someone I cared for so deeply. 

I don't think there is a way forward for this friendship anymore. And I don't think there is any point in me telling him about how I feel. 

But I am struggling so much with the idea that he gets to be happy now, when I am still in so much pain. It doesn't seem fair, and I feel so helpless. I wasted so many years of hope and trust in someone who I still believe felt deeply for me, but who could only treat me cruelly. And then, to make it even worse, is now giving someone else everything I thought we would have - everything he made me believe was there between him and me. I didn't project...he either manipulated me (because of his desire to be loved by everyone) or really did feel something, but I know I didn't imagine it. 

I know I have to give up on salvaging anything; relegate him to the past and block him from my mind. But I don't know how to cope with the anguish that I feel that he is now reformed! That everything he did to me was a waste, that my love was a waste, and that there are no consequences for him. 

How do I do it?

 

Edited by elsewhereagain
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You have got to let go completely of this idea of reform. People like that can not reform anymore than a weed can turn into a rose. It doesn't work like that.  Also, it's not your job to wish him

I'd be careful about assigning yourself to victimhood. It can be self-fulfilling. Decide what your payoff is for doing this. Then figure out better ways to self soothe. It's not that life ha

I'm sorry for what you've been through and I hope you find some peace and are able to move on from this as soon as possible. One thing I'd recommend is that you stop telling yourself that he is a

9 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

He told me he didn't want to be involved with me, but then treated me like he did, and made me feel, again, like he loved me, and that there was hope.

- THIS is what you should have paid attention to... but sadly, you were too wrapped up in emotions with him.

 

11 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

Only to drop me or ignore me for weeks, and serial date. It made me question my sanity and my grasp on reality. This situation culminated in our spending the night together, when very drunk. Afterwards, he blamed me, shamed me, and broke contact with me, ostracising me from the social group we shared. (A group in which he has more power and influence than me). He told me some terrible, cruel things that I am still trying to recover from, 18 months on. After 6 months, we resumed contact and I told him how the whole situation had made me feel. I apologised for the actions on my part that had led to the breakdown in our friendship

- This showed exactly the kind of person he is.  How he'd lead you on, only to push you away again.

- His manipulation led you to applogise- what did you do?

 

12 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

We agreed to stay friends and to rebuild trust between us. He very much wanted this. But weeks in to that, he started letting me down again, dropping me and forgetting about me - not following up on things when he said he would

Sadly.. you see.. this 'fantasy' was all in your head. 😞

You were lost & led on and on.. stuck in this whirlwind.

 

14 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

He has made me feel so worthless and forgettable, like I just don't matter. But he frequently has told me I do (without my prompting). 

What they say and what they do is a big difference!

 

16 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

met a girl who a few weeks in broke things off with him. This seemed to catalyse him into a period of growth. His extreme vulnerability due to lockdown allowed him to emotionally connect with this woman, and as a result, he continued to pursue her and they are now back together. He talks about her like she's the 'one', he told me, in great detail, about the great connection he has with her. How he imagined a future with her. It feels to me that the situation of the pandemic forced his wounded nature to grow and heal, and that this woman is now the beneficiary of that.

No offence, but you talk like he is some God in a fantasy thriller :(.. This is so unhealthy.

He is damaged and YOU know this.... all along been toxic on YOU.

18 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

Being forced in one place, and having fewer distractions and options to run, is deepening their bond and giving him the time and space to actually settle in to a real relationship. 

Oh, I don't know... but fact with his track record is awful 😞  Could very well be that she pushed him away this time- and he reacted with a 'want this one back- the challenge'....

20 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

I am so desperately hurt and angry. He wounded so many women, for years, and he wounded me, and he's still so oblivious to it.

Nah, people are well aware of their behaviour.. Like I said, what they say & what they do means everything!

He led you on & on because YOU accepted it over & over - he knew this (is like trauma bonding)... in the process you are so messed up- with some guy you knew was a player 😞 

22 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

But he gets to be happy. He gets to benefit from the pain he caused me by knowing not to treat someone else like that.

He is a mess... has been for a good while.... He treated you and many others the same.

24 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

I don't think there is a way forward for this friendship anymore. And I don't think there is any point in me telling him about how I feel. 

You're right!  It's time to work on accepting & healing.. and NO.  You cannot be 'friends' with someone you have such emotions for... you need to stay away forever- no contact.. Nothing!  In order to work on getting over this whole mess you have accepted time & time again .  

I highly suggest YOU get yourself set up for some prof help... talk to your doctor about a therapist.. Because you really need some help in healing over this- and not on your own.

You need to realize you deserve better and leave this nasty man behind you. 😞 

One step at a time.. one day at a time is what it takes..

BUT in order to get ahead anything about him needs to stop!

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Sorry this happened. Focus on your own life, happiness, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, interests and hobbies.

Unrequited love is painful and as in this case becomes a central focus in your life.

With the same breath there's scorn and contempt for his defectiveness and an obsessional love.

All this time you may have been afraid to date and this impossible situation kept you safe from real intimacy with anyone.

His perceived satyriasis is a way to deal with this dichotomy of feelings in a sour grapes sort of way.

Step away from this and find yourself in the absence of background noise from him.

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8 hours ago, SooSad33 said:
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No offence, but you talk like he is some God in a fantasy thriller :(.. This is so unhealthy.

 

I just mean that he has finally had to confront his own issues, which has given him a way out of his toxic behaviour...for his new relationship. I should be happy about this 'growth' but I am struggling with the fact that he treated me so badly, it's too late for anything to be retrieved for us (friendship or other) and I am so damaged by what happened... but there are no consequences for him - he's happy and everything has gone well for him. 

 

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8 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

 I am so damaged by what happened... but there are no consequences for him - he's happy and everything has gone well for him. 

He is happy dating casually. It's not a disease. 

He didn't damage you. You never dated. 

The "damages" come from yourself and your overinvesting in him and trying to fix what's not broken.

Focus only on fixing yourself.

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8 hours ago, SooSad33 said:
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I highly suggest YOU get yourself set up for some prof help... talk to your doctor about a therapist.. Because you really need some help in healing over this- and not on your own.

Thank you, it is really helpful to hear this.

 

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You need to realize you deserve better and leave this nasty man behind you. 😞 

I have finally got there. My head knew this for a long time, but it is only now that my heart has properly caught up, due to the sheer amount of times he has let me down while we've been trying to repair the friendship (not romantic aspect, but the 15 year friendship). During the period of time where things were confusing and charged between us, I told myself so many times that I had to take his inconsistent words and actions at face value, but at the time when I was emotionally involved and invested in him, it just wasn't possible to walk away. I spent so much time seeing things from his point of view. Since our friendship broke down I have been grieving the loss of a love and a 15 year belief that never was and never happened. I know I deserve better than the way he treated me and I am finally able to walk away from the entire friendship (as hard as that is). But while I am still recovering from it, he is now 'reformed'. No karma for him. It's a real kick in the gut that I just can't put to rest. 

 

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2 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:
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With the same breath there's scorn and contempt for his defectiveness and an obsessional love.

This was background context. I don't love him anymore, which is what has allowed me to see rationally how badly he treated me. I am still recovering from the effects of his behaviour and his treatment, which included gaslighting and narcissistic traits. 

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His perceived satyriasis is a way to deal with this dichotomy of feelings in a sour grapes sort of way.

I'm not sure what you mean by "perceived satyriasis". That's not something I perceived or said. I said he was a womaniser and that he was driven by getting people to love him. He would emotionally connect with a woman, make her feel special, make her feel 'heard' and 'seen' in a way that suggested serious feelings, and then when they questioned the status of their relationship after a few months, he'd discard them. This may have been for sexual motive but who is to say except him, and I don't care, because there is no paint dwelling on it. Like I say above, I was giving background context.  What I care about is how to heal from what happened. Like I said in my post, I already know that I have to relegate him to the past and block him from my mind. I am actively doing this. But what is blocking me is what I said in my last paragraph and what is the title of my post. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:
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He is happy dating casually. It's not a disease. 

He wasn't happy casually dating. He was using and hurting people and getting away with it. His entire group of friends thought the way he treated women was terrible, but he's the kind of person who no-one ever directly confronts. Casually dating isn't a disease but living in denial and addiction is, which is what he was doing.

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He didn't damage you. You never dated. 

Wow.

 

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The "damages" come from yourself and your overinvesting in him and trying to fix what's not broken.

I am not going to accept this. It's taken a really long time to get to a point of not blaming myself, and thinking that it was me that was the problem.  Yes, I overinvested, and I am recovering from that. I don't need to be told that it was my fault and that I created the situation. I was there and I know what he did - it has taken a long time to accept that he treated me so badly. I WANTED to believe it was my fault, and my responsibility to fix. My question is about how to continue moving on, when I am beset by the hurt and anger that has risen from his 'reformed' personality (which I should be happy for him about, but can't be). 

 

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From what you've written I'm getting the sense that you didn't receive enough support while growing up (your words 'unsupported home') and stuck to this person, put him on a pedestal of sorts and really venerated him both as a type of parent, older brother, lover, all in one. What you needed was someone who could provide unconditional friendship and love (like a parent or older sibling) but instead he is just a regular guy doing his thing. You may have shared good times and bad as friends but it didn't quite go beyond that and he was not ever in love with you. I'm very sorry you're hurt. 

What to do now with all that hurt and anger.. recognize you can't change the way anyone is. They are who they are. Second, it's not your job to parent them either or try to ensure that there's retribution. Those things come back to haunt you later because it's just not your business. Focus on healing and moving forwards but turning your energy to yourself (with lots of love!). All that love you gave to this guy needs to now go to you, change the direction of that outpouring.

You're seeking for someone to give to you and also to give to someone else. Change that for now while you heal and only seek to give to yourself for now. Things that help you do that: remove him from your social media feeds and request privacy and space (this means don't contact each other and either mute him as a contact on your phone or block him), work on your hobbies and interests (no more ruminating on his life or why he's living the good life- that is none of your business). Be kind to yourself, also be stern with yourself. Grieve and be gentle with all the parts of you that didn't have that supportive home or all that support you were looking for but tell yourself that that you are your best guide and support going forward. Don't bring anything into your life that takes and devalues you or your time. Give back to you. 

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27 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:
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You're seeking for someone to give to you and also to give to someone else. Change that for now while you heal and only seek to give to yourself for now. Things that help you do that: remove him from your social media feeds and request privacy and space (this means don't contact each other and either mute him as a contact on your phone or block him), work on your hobbies and interests (no more ruminating on his life or why he's living the good life- that is none of your business). Be kind to yourself, also be stern with yourself. Grieve and be gentle with all the parts of you that didn't have that supportive home or all that support you were looking for but tell yourself that that you are your best guide and support going forward. Don't bring anything into your life that takes and devalues you or your time. Give back to you. 

Thank you, yes, I agree with this, and these are useful words. These are things I know and am trying to stick to - but I keep getting sucked back in to the pain. Especially late at night when I can't sleep. It's one thing to know something and another to feel it, and I don't want to repress or dismiss the pain I feel. It is good to hear and read clear words that remind me of what I already know when I feel weak. Thanks!

 

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2 hours ago, elsewhereagain said:

 

Yes it was possible. No your heart didn't have to "catch up" - you are in control, at all times, of your reactions to your romantic feelings.  Yes, sometimes we are not in control of our reactions - like running from fear from a fire, or screaming if someone scares you on a dark jogging path.  But you always were in control and you made unhealthful choices.  You can't use the excuse that you had to "wait" passively till you no longer felt loving feelings to see things clearly.  You have to take care of you -that means having your head and heart involved in all relationships -not just romantic.  That means coming to a relationship from a position of reasonable confidence and security.  Not all confident or all secure -reasonably so.  It's terrible to tell yourself that you're going to make unhealthy choices because of somehow being "blinded by love".  Nope.  Take responsibility.  Enjoy the blindness, enjoy the feelings, the emotions and CHOOSE reactions and behaviors that are consistent with taking care of you.

I made a terrible choice 18 years ago - I told a guy I was head over heels with and exclusively dating that - yes -if I got accidentally pregnant I'd consider abortion.  That was a lie to myself. No I wouldn't have aborted just because it was accidental.  What the heck was I thinking??  I wasn't.  Fortunately I did not get pregnant.  I was using one form of BC instead of two.  But looking back -wow.  It was a wake up call.  I also broke my rule of having sex with someone who wasn't in love with me.  I went against my own standards.  I ended up fine.  But I played with fire and I am not going to make the excuse that I was head over heels.  I just made a really dumb choice and disregarded my sense of self respect and integrity. 

Oh and he was a reformed womaniser too. His definition of himself "player".  He was 40 at the time, I was 36.  He met his lovely future wife a couple of months later.  I think they're happy. He contacted me while he was engaged and married and made some mildly inappropriate comments which, had I followed up, I'm sure he would have crossed boundaries.  But I didn't.  Please own what your role was in this because it will help you so much in future relationships.  It did for me.  Good luck.

 

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30 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:
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put him on a pedestal of sorts and really venerated him both as a type of parent, older brother, lover, all in one. What you needed was someone who could provide unconditional friendship and love (like a parent or older sibling) but instead he is just a regular guy doing his thing. You may have shared good times and bad as friends but it didn't quite go beyond that and he was not ever in love with you.

This is partially true but I never saw him as perfect or as able to meet all my needs and ideals. It was a very human, imperfect connection, on both sides, but one I really believed in and trusted, for 15 years. That's a long time,  a lot of history to lose, especially when it was a fundamental part of my belief system. He initiated and encouraged these things. I really cannot emphasise enough how much and how often he treated me, and looked at me, like he loved me, and then acted like it never happened. I was absolutely more vulnerable to this because of my past, but he knew this, and had his own past problems too, which we shared with each other. 

I understand the psychological pattern you are describing above, but I really want to state that his actions, behaviour and manipulations/denial mechanisms were not 'regular' or healthy, and they eventually made me question my reality and my self. I questioned my reality and self because I felt like I was doing what you are describing above. But I wasn't. I want to flag this because it has taken a lot of time to heal from that and I really don't want everyone to dwell on telling me that I imagined it, wanted too much, idealised him, created the situation for myself, created a fantasy, etc.

I want to move forward, I don't want to question what was real and what was in my head, I devoted enough time and tears to that already. I've excused him, enabled him and forgiven him enough. I know I am justified in the hurt and anger I feel towards him for his actions, regardless of how it sounds based on the outline I have given (which is a focus on my experience). I am struggling to move on from the real loss and from the perceived injustice, and the feeling of worthlessness. I am getting there, but struggling afresh at the moment, and felt the need to reach out to a forum, in the absence of having people to talk to.

The majority of my friendship group was one I shared with him. All they ever say is "he's a womaniser, you know what he's like, he uses women, he forgets and moves on in minutes, he's terrible with women" etc etc. The loss I feel of the 15 year friendship, the emotional and foundational loss of trust and belief in someone I loved and who I believed loved me (in whatever form that might eventually take), and who still - the last time I let this happen at any rate - discards me moments after saying how important I am to him, how special things are between us, how sorry he is...is reduced by these mutual friends to me simply being one of his 'victims' by them, one of his discards. The betrayal runs much deeper than that.  

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Yes it was possible. No your heart didn't have to "catch up" - you are in control, at all times, of your reactions to your romantic feelings.  Yes, sometimes we are not in control of our reactions - like running from fear from a fire, or screaming if someone scares you on a dark jogging path.  But you always were in control and you made unhealthful choices.  You can't use the excuse that you had to "wait" passively till you no longer felt loving feelings to see things clearly.  You have to take care of you -that means having your head and heart involved in all relationships -not just romantic.  That means coming to a relationship from a position of reasonable confidence and security.  Not all confident or all secure -reasonably so.  It's terrible to tell yourself that you're going to make unhealthy choices because of somehow being "blinded by love".  Nope.  Take responsibility.  Enjoy the blindness, enjoy the feelings, the emotions and CHOOSE reactions and behaviors that are consistent with taking care of you.

I made a terrible choice 18 years ago - I told a guy I was head over heels with and exclusively dating that - yes -if I got accidentally pregnant I'd consider abortion.  That was a lie to myself. No I wouldn't have aborted just because it was accidental.  What the heck was I thinking??  I wasn't.  Fortunately I did not get pregnant.  I was using one form of BC instead of two.  But looking back -wow.  It was a wake up call.  I also broke my rule of having sex with someone who wasn't in love with me.  I went against my own standards.  I ended up fine.  But I played with fire and I am not going to make the excuse that I was head over heels.  I just made a really dumb choice and disregarded my sense of self respect and integrity. 

Oh and he was a reformed womaniser too. His definition of himself "player".  He was 40 at the time, I was 36.  He met his lovely future wife a couple of months later.  I think they're happy. He contacted me while he was engaged and married and made some mildly inappropriate comments which, had I followed up, I'm sure he would have crossed boundaries.  But I didn't.  Please own what your role was in this because it will help you so much in future relationships.  It did for me.  Good luck.

 

This guy is 40 too and I'm pretty sure he has now met his future wife. I appreciate your comments. I feel that I have owned the parts that were my responsibility, and I've definitely learnt a lot about what I will do in the future. I've learnt a lot about setting boundaries. For me, it wasn't a switch I could just switch off. It's been a long, slow acceptance that how he treated me was not ok, and that I am worth more, and that I let myself stay in a situation that caused me harm for far, far too long. At the time, I chose compassion for him because I thought it was the right thing to do and I believed in the bond between us, but I see now that this was at the expense of myself, and my reality. The bond I felt to be between us was something that developed over 15 years, and it was deep. I am about a year in to the grieving process. Sometimes I feel that it is too late for me to apply any of what I've learnt, that there won't be any future relationships, and that something has been taken away from me that I'll never get back. But it's not too late for him, and look at him now. That is a real block that I am trying to work through at the moment. 

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13 hours ago, elsewhereagain said:

it is very difficult for me to trust and be intimate with people

Everyone I know has a cross to bear in life. But you're an adult now, and can transform into a person who chooses not to carry around emotional baggage that will sabotage your life. Therapy. Self help books. You cannot be a good partner to anyone as long as you're putting up barriers. The fact that you spent 15 years in a romantic haze that never went to the next stage makes one wonder if you thought that was a safe space, and didn't feel ready for more.

27 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

Sometimes I feel that it is too late for me to apply any of what I've learnt, that there won't be any future relationships, and that something has been taken away from me that I'll never get back.

You have oodles of negative talk--negative self-fulfilling prophecies. This is not practicing self-love. And your bitterness about him will eat you away like a cancer. You're giving him power over your state of mind.

One book that taught me about positive self-talk and how to get what I want from the universe is: The Key by Rhonda Byrne. I suggest reading books and articles on how to let go of the negative and reach for the positive. Therapy would be great to invest in. Most male/female friendships like this have a very short shelf life, and usually end in ones early twenties. Because yes, many people eventually get into a serious relationship and the friendship becomes inappropriate. This went on way too long. When you get self help, let go of your bitterness, and learn to be a happy person without barriers, you will be ready to date. Nobody wants to jump through hoops and leap over tall buildings to get to your heart. Every relationship is a risk, but you can choose someone who seems like a good risk. And always tell yourself, "I'll be okay no matter what happens." Good luck.

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9 minutes ago, Andrina said:
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Everyone I know has a cross to bear in life. But you're an adult now, and can transform into a person who chooses not to carry around emotional baggage that will sabotage your life. Therapy. Self help books. You cannot be a good partner to anyone as long as you're putting up barriers. The fact that you spent 15 years in a romantic haze that never went to the next stage makes one wonder if you thought that was a safe space, and didn't feel ready for more.

Actually, I think that might be what it was for him. What really set things off on a different course for us was when, once things had begun to get more romantic-feeling between us, he quite suggestively and meaningfully suggested I (and he) 'take a leap of faith'. I did. I took a risk in letting my guard down, and believe something could progress with us, because he knowingly encouraged me to. He knew what he was saying and doing (and I do believe he feels guilty for that now).  I think it's always been a safe fantasy for him, but it wasn't for me the moment he invited me to take a 'leap of faith'.  He also once told me, much later, that he wasn't 'ready'. We were talking about something else, but the meaning was clear. It's easy to brush these things off as misunderstandings, but distance has actually helped me see that I didn't misunderstand or make it up (something I didn't expect, I thought I was having to come round to the illusion). Looks like he finally is 'ready' in general now, but the chance for us is gone, and the loss of that, and recognition that the hope that was there, and the potential, is all gone, it hurts, I don't think that it's wrong or unnatural that this hurts. Everything you say above is something that I believed too. And I've been doing therapy (when I could afford it) and self-help books (audio, it's been too hard to read). I'm much further down the road than people are giving me credit for on here. I'm just in pain. 

 

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Pain is fine if it's managed. There has to be some progress too so if you say that you are making progress, good for you. Keep stepping out, further and further away from that memory. People take different amounts of time overcoming hardship or bad memories, abuse, lack of support or guidance and not everyone is made the same.

Try, try harder to get out of that spiral of negative self-talk as Andrina mentioned and keep focusing on things that bring you joy. You need to really eliminate any types of info you're getting about this person and if you see him in similar social circles keep a distance. Don't partake in gossip or hearsay or tidbits or more info on his life or ask friends about him. Keep practicing the things you already know. Time will do the rest. 

Keep finding more positive things for you. 

 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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13 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

Pain is fine if it's managed. There has to be some progress too so if you say that you are making progress, good for you. Keep stepping out, further and further away from that memory. People take different amounts of time overcoming hardship or bad memories, abuse, lack of support or guidance and not everyone is made the same.

Try, try harder to get out of that spiral of negative self-talk as Andrina mentioned and keep focusing on things that bring you joy. You need to really eliminate any types of info you're getting about this person and if you see him in similar social circles keep a distance. Don't partake in gossip or hearsay or tidbits or more info on his life or ask friends about him. Keep practicing the things you already know. Time will do the rest. 

Keep finding more positive things for you. 

 

Thank you. It is getting easier to eliminate him. And then there are attacks of panic, and loss and fear, which is where I was when I wrote this post and where I'll probably return to over the next couple of days. I'll keep trying. It is so helpful to have somewhere like this forum to return to when those moments happen. It's something I'm going through alone. I can return to advice like this and feel a little calmer. Thank you. 

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I strongly suggest therapy and self help books.  You have wasted 15 years of your life in a fantasy with this guy, you knew what type of man he was- no prize.  I believe that you continued with this as it was safe-you knew he was not capable of anything-and would not have to let down your guard and get get into a real relationship.  

You deserve happiness.   Work on your past, then you will open to choosing a good guy that wants to share a future with you.  

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6 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

I strongly suggest therapy and self help books.  You have wasted 15 years of your life in a fantasy with this guy, you knew what type of man he was- no prize.  I believe that you continued with this as it was safe-you knew he was not capable of anything-and would not have to let down your guard and get get into a real relationship.  

You deserve happiness.   Work on your past, then you will open to choosing a good guy that wants to share a future with you.  

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Thank you, I understand this narrative but I don't feel that it was me who wanted to stay in the fantasy. I wanted something real and believed in something real, but you are right, before that, it was something safe, a dream.  I am coming to accept that he didn't want anything beyond that, and that fantasy is all that I was for him. But it doesn't excuse the way he treated me. He is a complex person - yes, I knew the kind of man he is, or was. And I knew the man trapped underneath that. That's the man that he is finally becoming. I should be happy about that, but, selfishly, I am hurt that he got to hurt me so deeply and still benefit at the end of it.  I know that's not healthy, but it's an honest account of the feelings I am struggling with and the whole point of me writing this was to find a supportive way to get through it, rather than constantly blaming myself. That's something I learned in self-help books and therapy. 

 

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3 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

 

  Your fantasy was thinking that it would actually go anywhere. He was a player, lead you along, and also treated you with great disrespect.  He was especially awful  in the end, yet you wanted to continue on. 

Edited by Hollyj
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He treated you this way, because you allowed it.   Once you see your place in this, you will start to move on.  Don't ever see yourself as a victim, as you were complicit in this non relationship.  Time to take all the focus off of him, and try to understand the loss of 15 years of your life. 

Edited by Hollyj
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9 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

He treated you this way, because you allowed it.   Once you see your place in this, you will start to move on.  Don't ever see yourself as a victim, as you were complicit in this non relationship.  Time to take all the focus off of him, and try to understand the loss of 15 years of your life. 

It's the loss of a couple of years in terms of what happened between us. The 15 years is the friendship, the trust, and the memories of a person who has now vanished, and who was extremely dear to me. I had a life outside of him, I wasn't governed by this for 15 years. "Just" 2. Those 2 were enough!

I have taken ownership and I am doing those things. Some days it is harder than others. Just because it was a non relationship, and that I let it happen, doesn't mean I was in the same position of equality or power as him. Please don't assume and project these things on to what I have written, just because I haven't given every detail. Not every story is the same.  Please read the things I have written above. I have explained why I do not find comments like this helpful or supportive. 

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7 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

It's the loss of a couple of years in terms of what happened between us. The 15 years is the friendship, the trust, and the memories of a person who has now vanished, and who was extremely dear to me. I had a life outside of him, I wasn't governed by this for 15 years. "Just" 2. Those 2 were enough!

I have taken ownership and I am doing those things. Some days it is harder than others. Just because it was a non relationship, and that I let it happen, doesn't mean I was in the same position of equality or power as him. Please don't assume and project these things on to what I have written, just because I haven't given every detail. Not every story is the same.  Please read the things I have written above. I have explained why I do not find comments like this helpful or supportive. 

I really don't relate to this -what in the world does this have to do with equality or power?  did he force himself on you? What notion of "equality" are you referring to in the way you chose to interact with this person?  Of course the one who loves more has less power - that makes it unhealthy but it doesn't make it unfair -you chose to hang out and hook up with him.  I'm sorry you feel panicky!

Edited by Batya33
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20 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

It's the loss of a couple of years in terms of what happened between us. The 15 years is the friendship, the trust, and the memories of a person who has now vanished, and who was extremely dear to me. I had a life outside of him, I wasn't governed by this for 15 years. "Just" 2. Those 2 were enough!

I have taken ownership and I am doing those things. Some days it is harder than others. Just because it was a non relationship, and that I let it happen, doesn't mean I was in the same position of equality or power as him. Please don't assume and project these things on to what I have written, just because I haven't given every detail. Not every story is the same.  Please read the things I have written above. I have explained why I do not find comments like this helpful or supportive. 

I did respond in that manner, this is why I said what I said.   

I don't understand how he could have "power" over you?  

" I wasted so many years of hope and trust in someone who I still believe felt deeply for me, but who could only treat me cruelly. And then, to make it even worse, is now giving someone else everything I thought we would have - everything he made me believe was there between him and me. I didn't project...he either manipulated me (because of his desire to be loved by everyone) or really did feel something, but I know I didn't imagine it. "   

Please remove yourself from place of victim, as it makes it worse-I have been there.  

Edited by Hollyj
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