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Don't know how to feel about this


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I've been in a relationship for 2 years. I met him 3 months after his divorce from a 20 year marriage, I had been divorced for 5 years. He pursued an exclusive relationship with me and assured me he was ready even tho it was only 3 months after his divorce. The first year was mostly bliss, we got along perfectly, have so much in common and strong connection. We were great together, after a while we bought a house, are working on starting a business and live like we are married. On a day to day basis he is loving and sweet, supportive and generous; the best relationship I have ever had. Beginning of 2nd year I discovered that he had concealed prolific cheating while married, a secret email account he kept to communicate with a woman he had an affair with, (and then gaslighted me about this), and other behaviors that me uncomfortable. We have spent the last year trying to work thru these issues, but it has  been difficult for me because these behaviors have come up repeatedly. We have done a lot of talking, he says he loves me and these were old habits from his past and he is trying to change. He says he will never cheat on me and I don't believe he has, but I have become hyper vigilant due to the repeated nature of his behavior plus issues in my past. Also in this 2nd year, my business pretty much crumbled due to covid; I feel less autonomous, less powerful, more dependent due to reduced income level and loss of identity. I am scared about the future and struggling to find a way to make a living. So that's some background that adds to the anxiety I have surrounding the issue I am writing about....

During the 3 months between his divorce and when we met, my partner made plans for a trip with his dad to walk the Camino de Santiago. They were supposed to go in 2020 but covid came and they canceled and again in 2021 they canceled. I found out through a FB post that they are planning to go in May 2022. When the plans were made he was a single guy living in an apartment, no house, no yard, no relationship, no business, no dog, no responsibilities. Then he willingly acquired all these things. Even tho we have had conversations specifically about the need to discuss important decisions that affect both of us, my partner never talks to me about these plans. This is not a normal trip, it will be 7 weeks, almost two months, in Spain walking through beautiful countryside, meeting people and staying in co-ed hostels, with no work and no responsibilities, no deadlines, no agenda. During this time I will be left carrying the full weight of our shared responsibilities, bills, house maintenance, yard work, a highly energetic dog that requires lots of exercise, our business, my two businesses, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and dealing with the logistics of my teenager. So at a time when I am already struggling with being overwhelmed and depressed, he is dumping all this extra work on me so he can go off and live his dream. He has never, not once, asked me how I feel about this trip, asked for my support, asked if I was willing and or able to take on the extra burden, acknowledged that his absence will be difficult for me, which is just common courtesy. He has never once invited me to join for even part of this trip or expressed a wish that I could go, rather he has scheduled it during a time when I can't go. On top of that, he has scheduled it so he is away the whole month of my birthday, so I will be left alone for that too.

I feel insulted. I feel unimportant. I feel left out, and left behind. He knows how much I am struggling with life, how stuck I feel, how much I hate being in this city, he knows it will make my life difficult. Yet he is choosing to have this epic positive exciting experience for himself regardless of how negative it will be for me. That is a statement about what is important to him and its not me. On the one hand I feel like, if its that important to him, I should be the supportive partner that loves unconditionally who supports the partner's dreams. I want to be that person. I don't know if I can. I feel like that support should go both ways. I would never in a million years do this to him if the situation were reversed. I would care so much more about sparing him more misery than about living my dream.  I would feel torn up about being away from him so long, I would want him with me because he has become part of my dreams. That is obviously not the case for him. But I feel like if I express any objection that causes him to change his plans, I will forever be the jealous petty girlfriend that killed his once in a life time chance to live this epic dream with his dad and he will resent me. If I don't speak up I will end up resenting him and if I do, I will never know if he would have sought out my opinion on his own which to me is what matters.

I've been trying to not think about it and telling myself I should be supportive, but last night he was offended when I didn't invite him to join me on my 30 min exercise walk and I thought maybe my feelings about this are valid.  Am I out of the norm for having a problem with this? I am looking for some perspective and how other people might feel in this situation. Thanks for reading this far.

 

Edited by Twistedinknots
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2 hours ago, Twistedinknots said:

we bought a house, are working on starting a business and live like we are married.

I found out through a FB post that they are planning to go in May 2022. . During this time I will be left carrying the full weight of our shared responsibilities, bills, house maintenance, yard work, a highly energetic dog that requires lots of exercise, our business, my two businesses, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and dealing with the logistics of my teenager

Sorry this is happening. Unfortunately, way too much too soon. 

Where is your child's father? Does he pay child support and have visitation? How is the co-parenting? Your teen is your and her father's responsibility either way, not your BF's.

Does he know you know about his plans and your angst about it?

He is completely responsible for half the bills. Get a landscaping crew and bill it to him. If house maintenance arises, hire someone and bill it to him. What makes you think it will be solely your responsibility? 

 The only people you have to "cook and clean and shop" for are yourself and your child while he's away. Who's dog is it? Can your teen help or hire a dog walker or if it's his dog ask him to board it with friends. Stop talking at him. Tell him this is the deal.

As far as his business, he'll have to make arrangements to hire help or have his people take over. Only worry about yours.

The fuss over household stuff is not really the issue because your child is your responsibility anyway and all the other stuff he has to prearrange to pay for and have taken care of.. It's that you don't trust him because of his history of cheating.

The other issue is you are Not married, you are not "living like married", so stop assuming that role. You are roommates. He plans things and continues to act single and act unilaterally.

Edited by Wiseman2
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2 hours ago, Twistedinknots said:

I  On the one hand I feel like, if its that important to him, I should be the supportive partner that loves unconditionally who supports the partner's dreams. 

 

There is no such thing as unconditional support or love in a marriage.

Marriage is a willing agreement of mutual respect & compromise.  And a genuine commitment and desire to support each other's growth and happiness.

When things are grossly lopsided, this is what happens.

I don't need to beat you up here, but there is an unwritten theory that it takes half the duration of the length of a failed marriage to heal from it's ending.  Getting involved with someone 3 months out of a 20 marriage likely makes you not much more than a space filler.

Divorces typically leave one emotionally depleted.  It's only after they've processed all that comes with it that they have something to offer someone.  At 3 months he was more than likely emotionally bankrupt and had nothing to offer emotionally.  And as you are now looking in the rear view mirror, he's just taken from you and given not much in return.

Post divorce, most people can't handle that painful void that someone else filled and run from processing it and taking responsibility from all the damage that transpired.  His actions prove he learned nothing from it.  So, they indiscriminately fill it up with the next available person.  There is the naive fantasy of new love being the very thing that heals them.  But as you have learned it's short lived and your beginning wasn't based on a healthy mature love, but more or less a band-aid. . .at your expense.

The cheating past or present, the unilateral decisions, the lack of any concern about your wellbeing is a breach of contract - at it's best. 

I personally suss out a relationship timeline with someone I meet.  If they haven't been out of a relationship for a period of time, no matter how cute they are. . .I pass.

Edited by reinventmyself
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Personally, I think that you need to rethink this relationship and by that, I mean get out of it.

Unfortunately you jumped with way too much too soon and before you really knew him. The proverbial other shoe fell when you discovered his true character and now you can't unsee it and it is eating at you more than you are willing to admit.

It's a lot of stress, strain, and energy wasted to be constantly on guard about a cheater. Policing and patrolling his behavior while simultaneously trying to convince yourself that this is all fine when your gut is screaming at you otherwise. It's no wonder you are stressed and struggling about everything.

His trip and lack of communication goes hand in hand with the above. Cheating is all about an extremely selfish personality and that doesn't change. You know good and well that a large part of your angst about his trip is who he might be meeting and banging while you are slaving away holding down the fort. If your relationship was different and with a healthy person, this wouldn't be such an issue.

Bottom line though is that Wiseman is correct that you need to start asserting better boundaries and stop acting like a wife, housemaid, free labor and so on. If he wants to travel, that's fine but what he needs to do about his business is his problem to solve, not yours. You need to focus on your own business and finances.

Things like house, dog, child, cooking - these would be there regardless of whether he is there or not. Also, a teen should be more than capable of helping you with a lot things - cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, exercising the dog, etc. Don't be the beast of burden, teach and delegate. That even includes whatever tasks your bf is normally responsible for. For example, if he does yardwork, then he needs to hire someone to step in for the time he is gone to do that for you. Still, I suspect that you are focusing on these things that can be easily taken care of and taken off your plate, because you don't want to face the real problem - you can't trust him.

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I agree he should have told you.  And of course he should go.  I agree with Wiseman about your responsibilities.  What do you mean when he was a single adult he had no responsibilities? Did he work? Did he have to pay bills? Does he have kids from a previous marriage? Does he do stuff for his parents?

Single adults of course have responsibilities - does he have more now? Sort of.  He was irresponsible in not sharing his plans with you once he made them.  But the "relationship" responsibilities he has are not the sort that he should have to accommodate you.  Your son is your son.  You can delegate the dog related work.  He will have to do whatever it takes for his share of the business related work or work.  You're not his wife and there's a reason for that -because one of you or both doesn't want to get married.  And in this situation it does make a difference IMO as far as his home related responsibilities and him going on a long trip.  I'm sorry he didn't tell you.  

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4 hours ago, Twistedinknots said:

He says he will never cheat on me and I don't believe he has, but I have become hyper vigilant due to the repeated nature of his behavior plus issues in my past.

I don't see how you can overlook information like this. It may have been a shock to the system but don't try to explain it away or tell yourself you have to accept it in a partner if you wouldn't ordinarily do so had you known early on. You both have no kids together and only a house.

What was the intention of co-owning? Were you planning on marrying him? Or do you genuinely have the desire to live with someone like you are married without getting married? Your comment above wasn't clear. I think knowing your intentions are always a good idea. You can recall them and reconsider if things aren't working out. This beats going through life in la la land or come what may.

Decide whether you want to be with him. If the answer is no, work on more autonomy and getting back up on your feet again. Ignore the white noise (travel plans) and his business demands. Frankly where he goes doesn't matter if you're not interested in the relationship or find him distasteful and untrustworthy.

You don't seem to have the leverage or ability to feel financially confident to walk away if you choose to. It's adding to your frustration feeling dependent or trapped.

I seemed to feel some envy also in your tone because he's able to travel without responsibilities. You have work to do so only see to it that you do the work related to your income and business. Let that envy go. In the end, he will have to live his life and you will need to live yours. Your only concern is ensuring that your life isn't miserable. 

 

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