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Struggling with anger and hurt at reformed womanising friend


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19 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

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!

Wow

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8 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

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.  

Yep, I should have walked away and didn't because I believed something that turned out not be true. Did I 'bring it on myself' and 'choose' what happened, and basically 'ask for it'? And only have myself to blame and am now playing a victim? Believe that if you like. I didn't come here to be attacked. The advice I have asked for is clear. 

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No need to defend yourself, as it wasn't meant as an attack.  

But, recognizing your complicity in these types of situations is life changing, and it also prevents it from happening in the future.  As I said, I did the same as you, once I recognized my participation and the reasons, I made positive, lifelong change.   People with healthy boundaries and self esteem do not allow these types of relationships.  

I hope you will be open and not so defensive, so that you may move forward.     Good luck.

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I'm sorry for your pain. 

Can I ask, if you're open to it, for you to articulate what it is about certain responses that you find unnerving? It is a vulnerable thing to expose oneself, I know, even on an anonymous board like this as most of us know. But I ask because, just speaking for myself, I've often found some unexpected insights in exploring why something unsettles me. 

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2 minutes ago, bluecastle said:

I'm sorry for your pain. 

Can I ask, if you're open to it, for you to articulate what it is about certain responses that you find unnerving? It is a vulnerable thing to expose oneself, I know, even on an anonymous board like this as most of us know. But I ask because, just speaking for myself, I've often found some unexpected insights in exploring why something unsettles me. 

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Anything that sounds like "it was all in your head" or "you asked for it". This man was deep in denial about how he acts, and so his treatment was gaslighting. I didn't 'ask for it', or recognise it at the time, and words like this, in another context that people might be able to more quickly relate to, would be absolutely unacceptable. I haven't shared all his actions. As I have said, it's taken a long time to get to a place where I am not blaming myself and thinking I brought it on myself, that I was weak, and that I 'chose' to be deceived and manipulated by someone I trusted, believed in and cared for. 

When something happened between him and me, he blamed me, shamed me, and ostracised me. He said some terrible things which he later regretted, because they weren't true. But they were truly awful things to say. I am still recovering from that. 

 

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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 misunderstood bad boy who is a really good soul inside or that he is a reformed womanizer. NO. He is just who he is and has always been - cruel, abusive, manipulative, a liar, and a womanizer. You know what we call a womanizer who gets married? A cheater. Why? Because people do not get a personality transplant.

You have to learn to accept what you see as truth and facts. He is cruel because he is cruel and not because he is misunderstood. Not only will this help you heal and move on, it will stop you from investing in another abusive man.

Sociopaths exist. Narcissists exist. They are not misunderstood, they are born that way and they will die that way. Their brain operates completely differently from yours. When you come across these types of people and start projecting your kindness and empathy to them, you will get hurt as they will use that against you. Please become more aware of this so you don't repeat the past. There is a lot of info out there about this topic and perhaps it will help you understand better what happened and keep away.

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20 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

No need to defend yourself, as it wasn't meant as an attack.  

But, recognizing your complicity in these types of situations is life changing, and it also prevents it from happening in the future.  As I said, I did the same as you, once I recognized my participation and the reasons, I made positive, lifelong change.   People with healthy boundaries and self esteem do not allow these types of relationships.  

I hope you will be open and not so defensive, so that you may move forward.     Good luck.

I've been doing all those things. I can't change the past or the relationship I "allowed" in the past. I hit a roadblock in regards to the loss and pain that I feel, not the boundaries I have drawn or the work I am doing on my self worth - which I identified in my original post - and came here for support on that. What I lost, and grieving that loss, was important and that is the part I am working on at the moment, not the part where I tell myself it was my fault, or think about what I 'should have' done. 

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4 hours ago, elsewhereagain said:

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

Yes.. loss hurts.. it is awful 😞 

Will take time to work through all of this... But, I think you realize you need to get out of all of that now - because of the effects it has caused you - much deepened sorrow 😞 

So, you need to now move on to a new path.  A new beginning.. with different people, not his.

You can do this.

Through our life experiences, we learn.. through good & bad.  Is just sad this has dragged on for so long....

You need to get some prof help in order to work through these pains and recover/move on, for your own well-being.

You need more 'healthy' factors in your life.. Someone who does value you and appreciates you, for real!

And not have to experience such abuse.

It does take time.. but can be done.  I've been there.. and I spent abt 4 yrs in therapy to feel okay again.  I know my own self values.  I am doing okay now ... Believe you will too ❤️ .

Give it time... one day at a time.

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1 minute ago, DancingFool said:

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 misunderstood bad boy who is a really good soul inside or that he is a reformed womanizer. NO. He is just who he is and has always been - cruel, abusive, manipulative, a liar, and a womanizer. You know what we call a womanizer who gets married? A cheater. Why? Because people do not get a personality transplant.

You have to learn to accept what you see as truth and facts. He is cruel because he is cruel and not because he is misunderstood. Not only will this help you heal and move on, it will stop you from investing in another abusive man.

Sociopaths exist. Narcissists exist. They are not misunderstood, they are born that way and they will die that way. Their brain operates completely differently from yours. When you come across these types of people and start projecting your kindness and empathy to them, you will get hurt as they will use that against you. Please become more aware of this so you don't repeat the past. There is a lot of info out there about this topic and perhaps it will help you understand better what happened and keep away.

Quote

Thank you. This is the loss. I hope along the way I can also be in a place to wish him well, and be glad when/if he IS reformed. It's just not this week!

 

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41 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

Yes.. loss hurts.. it is awful 😞 

Will take time to work through all of this... But, I think you realize you need to get out of all of that now - because of the effects it has caused you - much deepened sorrow 😞 

So, you need to now move on to a new path.  A new beginning.. with different people, not his.

You can do this.

Through our life experiences, we learn.. through good & bad.  Is just sad this has dragged on for so long....

You need to get some prof help in order to work through these pains and recover/move on, for your own well-being.

You need more 'healthy' factors in your life.. Someone who does value you and appreciates you, for real!

And not have to experience such abuse.

It does take time.. but can be done.  I've been there.. and I spent abt 4 yrs in therapy to feel okay again.  I know my own self values.  I am doing okay now ... Believe you will too ❤️ .

Give it time... one day at a time.

But there won't be growth or as much growth if she makes excuses like "my heart had to catch up with my head" or that she was "blinded" by love.  Certainly if someone lies and deceives the person who is lied to and deceived is a victim. 

I was a victim -luckily not as bad as it could have been -by a charming, articulate, smooth talking moderator on my one of my Facebook groups - BUT because I have reasonably healthy self esteem a pinkish-red flag went up the first time she asked me a favor - to write a sworn affidavit for her custody battle about what kind of mother she is to her son.  But, I'd never met her son, never seen her mother anyone.  Had only met her once and was underwhelmed by something tacky she did - and wondered- why is she asking me? So I did a very neutral affidavit to "help". 

She didn't tell me she was on probation for white collar crime which yes I would have wanted to know before vouching for her character.  She didn't tell members of our huge Facebook mom group -thousands -that the fundraising event she planned a year or so later was a scam.  Luckily I didn't contribute.  Many did.  She served time again for that. 

My point though is this -she was so charming, so lovely, had such a sob story of her past (maybe that part was true -cheated on, cancer survivor, racial discrimination too) - and I am someone who loves to be there for people -to help.  BUT because I had reasonable self esteem I was able to keep my distance at least enough not to be damaged by her lies and deceit from  her position of power as a moderator of our group.  I feel awful for those who gave $ to the fundraising -they are victims and they don't lack in self esteem or anything -but I was the one who had very personal interactions with her at a time when I was trying to meet new friends in my new city.  So I get it.  The lure of charming people, vulnerability to their charms -even though platonic. 

But I chose not to be "blinded" by my need for approval, to make new friends, to be part of the group, to please the moderator of our group.  I chose to check in with myself, to talk to my husband about what she'd asked me to do with the affidavit, to stick to my values and not do all she wanted.  That's what I mean -you're taking what I wrote as "it's all your fault."  It's not.  I am asking you to not blame it on some passive notion of your head needing to catch up with your heart.  If you want to evolve from this and not keep up with your pattern of unavailable men you need to get to that place.  IMHO.

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1 hour ago, elsewhereagain said:

 

Stop focusing on him, work on yourself.  Don't you think that enough of your energy has gone towards this guy.  Time to step away.  Please seek counseling. 

Edited by Hollyj
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52 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

Thank you. This is the loss. I hope along the way I can also be in a place to wish him well, and be glad when/if he IS reformed. It's just not this week!

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 well. You job right now is to disconnect from him completely and permanently and that includes any shared social circles or mutual friends. You need to step away because the entire situation has been toxic to you for years and years - 15 years of your life. Only way out is cold turkey quitting and working hard to find new friends, new interests.

I'd also urge you to get some counseling with a therapist who specializes in trauma bonding and abuse. Don't just go to some random one who won't have a clue. Take your time and be kind to yourself - unpacking what happened and how you got so caught up in all of that is going to take some time and a lot of work but it will be worth it in the end as you will feel stronger and better for it. It's a journey and one I wish you lots of success with.

 

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16 hours ago, DancingFool said:
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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. 

Quote

Also, it's not your job to wish him well. You job right now is to disconnect from him completely and permanently and that includes any shared social circles or mutual friends. You need to step away because the entire situation has been toxic to you for years and years - 15 years of your life. Only way out is cold turkey quitting and working hard to find new friends, new interests.

Yeah perhaps so,  it's not like I'm trying to reform or 'fix' him or have it in my head that I could have or can. At present, especially at the time of writing the post, when I was looking for support to cope with an emotional, natural, grief-related setback after a long year of hard work that included therapy and inner work, the difficulty was actually getting round to the idea that he has grown and is now able to engage in relationships in a way that he wasn't before. It's more comforting to believe that he'll 'never change'. That's why I want to be in a place to wish him well. I think it's unrealistic to think that I'll be able to erase him entirely from my mind, that things about him won't come up, that things won't trigger memories. My hope is in the future, that when such things happen, I'll be able to let the memory pass through me without bitterness, and to bear him no ill will. It's an aim for the future, not a fixation. 

Yes, I agree, that at this moment, dealing with the conflicting anger and pain at the idea of his 'reformation' is best done by not getting or looking for any information about him or from him. I very much agree with that. Making new friends is pretty difficult at the moment in a pandemic, in the UK where we have been staying home with no social contact for the last few months, and to a wider degree the last whole year.  That's partly why I came on this forum, for encouragement and connection with others. 

 

16 hours ago, DancingFool said:

 

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I'd also urge you to get some counseling with a therapist who specializes in trauma bonding and abuse. Don't just go to some random one who won't have a clue. Take your time and be kind to yourself - unpacking what happened and how you got so caught up in all of that is going to take some time and a lot of work but it will be worth it in the end as you will feel stronger and better for it. It's a journey and one I wish you lots of success with.

Thanks, yes I've been doing all that. I think the point of my post has been misinterpreted, I'm sure it was to do with the way that I wrote it. 

 

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16 hours ago, Hollyj said:

Stop focusing on him, work on yourself.  Don't you think that enough of your energy has gone towards this guy.  Time to step away.  Please seek counseling. 

Yep, I do indeed. I think the point of my post has been misinterpreted. I'm sure it's to do with the way I wrote it. 

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16 hours ago, DancingFool said:
Quote

I'd also urge you to get some counseling with a therapist who specializes in trauma bonding and abuse. Don't just go to some random one who won't have a clue. Take your time and be kind to yourself - unpacking what happened and how you got so caught up in all of that is going to take some time and a lot of work but it will be worth it in the end as you will feel stronger and better for it. It's a journey and one I wish you lots of success with.

 

Also should say, very much agree about finding a trauma focused counsellor. Very hard to find the right one, and then you have to build up trust, rapport, etc. It takes time. Unfortunately I can't afford it at the moment, but I did find a good trauma specialist at the beginning of last year who helped me through the height of my distress, when a lot of trauma wounds were being triggered. I'm currently on a waiting list for trauma-informed CBT (CBT is  a big thing over here in the UK). I'm hoping that the structure and focus on compartmentalising and processing the past couple of years will be helpful in reducing the emotional setbacks I'm encountering, which aren't helped of course by lockdown. 

I've come a long way and I'm glad to read, based on all the comments people have been making, that I've been doing the right things. 

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Batya33 said:
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But there won't be growth or as much growth if she makes excuses like "my heart had to catch up with my head" or that she was "blinded" by love.  Certainly if someone lies and deceives the person who is lied to and deceived is a victim. 

I never said I was "blinded by love" so not sure why that's quoted. Maybe someone wrote it about me. Or maybe you read that into what I was saying. Either way, I feel like you are projecting a little here and making very confident assumptions about what I am "blaming" and my "passive" head. These things seem like quite unkind and self-assured things to say to someone you don't know, and whose story, personality, life and situation you don't know.   

I'm not a fan of the idea of 'victims' and I'm not making excuses for myself, or my feelings. I have been practicing detaching from him, the situation, the memories and the details of it, more and more. I think I've done a good job. I'm just not over the hill yet. I've appreciated the encouragement from people in this group. 

 

 

Edited by elsewhereagain
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1 hour ago, elsewhereagain said:

 

You wrote that your head had to catch up with your heart.  I replied above -pages above- why I thought that was too passive an approach on your part.I actually think I'm being kind in the right way - reminding you to grieve and also see your role, your choices, your responsibility.  Not that your head had to catch up with your heart.  Your words.  Rather that you had to choose to react to your feelings in ways that are consistent with treating yourself with respect and distancing yourself from him.

I wrote above- a couple of times now - but I think you chose to ignore -of course he didn't treat you properly.  It takes two.  I hope you are feeling much better.  I also wrote that I was very sorry you were panicking to which you simply responded "wow" -so if you're going to cherry pick from my posts I'm just not sure how else to convey both that I meant you need to take responsibility, he acted like a jerk, and I am sorry you are hurting.  There -now it's all in one place, again.  All the best to you.

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3 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

You wrote that your head had to catch up with your heart.  I replied above -pages above- why I thought that was too passive an approach on your part.I actually think I'm being kind in the right way - reminding you to grieve and also see your role, your choices, your responsibility.  Not that your head had to catch up with your heart.  Your words. 

I think you misunderstood what I was saying about that. Thanks for engaging with my posts and taking the time to share your views, it has helped. Best to you too. 

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2 minutes ago, elsewhereagain said:

I think you misunderstood what I was saying about that. Thanks for engaging with my posts and taking the time to share your views, it has helped. Best to you too. 

No I don't think I did because other things you wrote suggested the same mindset and others responded in the same vein I did.  I'm glad if I'm wrong though - great that you are taking responsibility for hanging around with him and hanging on to him as long as you did.  I am so glad I could help.  I started trying to conceive at almost 41 years old -not sure if you have or want kids -but one reason it took me so long to be the right person to find the right person is I wasted time on certain unavailable men.  I hate to see people wasting time like that especially if they want marriage and especially if a woman is getting older and wants kids.  I have a couple of friends who are unhappily childless and it's partly because of choices they made.

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On 3/5/2021 at 9:05 AM, 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. 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. 

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 has assigned him happiness and you misery. You've assigned that to yourself, and you've gnawed that bone for a long time. And you're right, you will NOT heal from holding onto this mindset as though it's a fact.

The reason he's happy today and you are not is because he was not the one holding a singular focus on one other unattainable person only to feel continually jilted and ripped off.

The guy showed you who he was a long time ago.

You get to decide whether you'll surprise yourself by adopting resilience and thanking yourself for finally grasping that moving FORward is your gift to yourself, and your future is as bright as you intend to make it, OR, whether you will keep gnawing the same bone and drilling yourself into a deeper hole to climb out of.

It's a decision, and there is no magic formula for it, other than to choose wisely.

This will only be as difficult or as simple as you opt to make it. Choose well there, too.

Head high, and consider living well as your best revenge.

 

Edited by catfeeder
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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, catfeeder said:
Quote

 

Quote

 

The guy showed you who he was a long time ago.

You get to decide whether you'll surprise yourself by adopting resilience and thanking yourself for finally grasping that moving FORward is your gift to yourself, and your future is as bright as you intend to make it, OR, whether you will keep gnawing the same bone and drilling yourself into a deeper hole to climb out of.

It's a decision, and there is no magic formula for it, other than to choose wisely.

This will only be as difficult or as simple as you opt to make it. Choose well there, too.

Head high, and consider living well as your best revenge.

 

 

Thanks for your comment. Yep, yep, agree with all this. Making the decision is/was hard, but not as hard as practicing the decision, day in, day out, during a pandemic when structural, empirical change in my life cannot occur. I made the decision but every now and then, I am confronted by something that sets me back. This is usually the idea that while I have so much work to do, he's had such a destructive effect on so many people, including me, with absolutely no consequence. I think that's a pretty normal feeling of frustration for anyone to have, and doesn't mean I want to be or consider myself as a victim. You are right though, about the gnawing at a bone. Once that idea gets back into my mind, it's like a worm working away at me, and the part of grief that is rage, sadness and hopelessness rears its ugly head. THIS is what I have been asking for help on. How to get OUT of that hole when I fall back in to it. Making the decision isn't enough, it's the practice, too. 

At the moment, I am trying to identify and write down any repeated 'thoughts' or negative thinking themes that come up when I end up back here, and then trying to write a 'truth' or objective (and positive!) thought next to it. I'm hoping this will help reprogram some of those thoughts. 

The best thing I can do is have no contact with him and remove any way of finding or being exposed to info about him. It has been helpful when people have said this to me here. I know it already, but it is so helpful to have that decision validated. It's easy to doubt myself. 

There's a lot of fixation in this group about being or playing a victim etc. I'm trying to rebuild my life after someone I cared about for 15 years turned in to someone else (and who now appears to be 'reformed' back). If he was always that person, I don't know and can't say. But the fact is that I didn't 'know' he was a womaniser and that he manipulated women until after I developed real romantic feelings for him, which happened as a result of a shift in circumstances which brought us closer together. I had over a decade of beliefs structured round him which were already part of my understanding of reality,  and that meant that I already trusted him and cared for him before any of the other stuff happened. A lot of the advice I'm getting has been conflated to the idea that I knowingly pranced in to an illusory idea of someone and got hurt. The situation is so much more complex than that, and I ended up very vulnerable, questioning my own reality and my own eyes. The bond I had with him was historical and deep, and I am now grieving it instead of fighting for it, because I have accepted that it has gone forever. I am also grieving that version of myself too, which was so tied up in my beliefs about his place in my life - which I recognise already is my own stupid fault. 

I don't see myself as a victim. I don't think that I am not responsible, or to 'blame' for ending up here.  I see myself as someone trying to rebuild myself from a loss that has changed my life, my view of the world, my memories, and my view of myself.  Sometimes, in terms of the emotions associated with this, I go back a few steps. 

I just want some people to tell me to keep going and that I can get there. And to give me any encouragement or tips - HOW to do it, for when things go off course. Therapy, of course, is a key thing and I look forward to when I can go back to it. 

Thanks for your comments and for engaging with my post. 

Edited by elsewhereagain
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You're on the path you need to be on, so keep walking it. There's another side to this, as there's another side to everything. You're getting there. 

Reading your posts, I'm curious to hear you articulate what is being served by assigning certain labels to him—namely, womanizer and reformed. Per some of the above, that feels a bit like gnawing on the bone, or potentially fueling the very narrative you're trying to distortable from. Just speaking from the outside, I can't help but think that framing him like that invariably gives him more power than he really has/had.

This is just me, but when it comes to relationships that go sideways, be they romantic or platonic or in some murky purgatory between the two? I try to settle on a pretty simple story, or at least a simple framing of all the craggy complexity, which is that it did not work.

Sometimes, during emotionally acute stretches, I have to repeat this to myself to drown out the other places my mind is tempted to go. But I find it helps to remove, or at least mute, the instinct to think in binary terms and to blame—blaming myself, blaming another, and instead just accepting the sour fact that something I thought worked, or once worked, or I really wanted to work, did not work.

Not sure if that helps at all, but I'll share it in the hopes that it does. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, bluecastle said:

You're on the path you need to be on, so keep walking it. There's another side to this, as there's another side to everything. You're getting there. 

Reading your posts, I'm curious to hear you articulate what is being served by assigning certain labels to him—namely, womanizer and reformed. Per some of the above, that feels a bit like gnawing on the bone, or potentially fueling the very narrative you're trying to distortable from. Just speaking from the outside, I can't help but think that framing him like that invariably gives him more power than he really has/had.

This is just me, but when it comes to relationships that go sideways, be they romantic or platonic or in some murky purgatory between the two? I try to settle on a pretty simple story, or at least a simple framing of all the craggy complexity, which is that it did not work.

Sometimes, during emotionally acute stretches, I have to repeat this to myself to drown out the other places my mind is tempted to go. But I find it helps to remove, or at least mute, the instinct to think in binary terms and to blame—blaming myself, blaming another, and instead just accepting the sour fact that something I thought worked, or once worked, or I really wanted to work, did not work.

Not sure if that helps at all, but I'll share it in the hopes that it does. 

 

 

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It does help. Thank you. 

You are right. It just did not work. 

I just need to get better at the muting. Especially at muting the part that, when emotionally acute (to steal your phrase) reacts to "it did not work" with "BUT IT'S SO UNFAIR, WHY NOT" 😉 

I guess 'womaniser' is just a shorthand way of describing, on this forum, the kind of person I mean. Some of his friends have even called him a 'predator'! (Not to his face, of course. That's the sort of toxic environment it ended up being around him...) 

I want to believe that when there are fewer social restrictions in the UK (I currently live in quite a remote area), I'll be able to make some new friends, renew some old (different) ones, build new experiences and make connections and support systems with others that will lessen the social gap this loss has left. I'm sure that will help too. 

 

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I see—best one can "see" on a pixilated forum—a strong attitude in you, and perhaps your most authentic attitude, going to battle with something else. 

The reason I brought up "womanizer" is because...well, I'm just not really one who thinks much good comes from such terms, regardless of how accurate they seem or what friends say behind someone's back.

I'm not saying this, mind you, to encourage you to think more warmly of him, but for yourself. Past these labels, what's true here? He is a human being who no longer serves your own humanity. Didn't work. Frame it like that, and the edge softens, the machete becomes a butter knife—and, with that, the wound can heal a lot more easily. 

Or so I've found, here and there. 

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