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Committed a HUGE 2022 Sin - but now have questions and need help


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Okay, so I messed up, big time.  Let me give you a little backstory...

My girlfriend and I were having a discussion one night about the status of us.  We were both excited about our progress and how much we care about each other.  She decided for some reason to share with me a message on her phone she sent in a Messenger group chat she has with girlfriends.  I am 51 and she is 47, so we both have histories, although both of us somewhat limited in the number of previous relationships. In the chat with friends she referred to me as the American version (she's from the Philippines but living in the US for 20~ years) of the love of her life, someone she ended a relationship with at 27-28 because it was forced by her mother to end. She had never really gotten over him until me she claims.  She says being with me made her forget about him.

Anyway, that night she brought up this message, I was a bit caught off guard and a little hurt to be compared to this other man.  I wanted to stand on my own as a love in her life. She saw the message differently, as a very good thing and something I should have been happy about.  That is not what this thread is about.  What it's about is as she tried to pull up this message to show it to me to explain, she searched "American version of ______ (his name)" and it pulled up a different message, but she got called to another room by her son and walked out, leaving the phone on and open for me to view the message.  This one was describing the guy she dated before me as the American version of this love of her life, but sexually.

This brings me to the sin I committed.  With the phone left open and seeing this message talking about how the guy before me was amazing sexually, it got my attention and I did a little digging in her phone.  I know - this is terrible and a breach of her trust. I regret doing that, but I was already a bit insecure about the guy before me because it was kind of a known thing between us that she found him to be super attractive physically but didn't like him. I was told though that of the 4 men in her life, only her ex-husband (arranged marriage) and I were the ones to have had sex with her.  So seeing a message that compared the love of her life (supposedly no sex) to the guy before me in sexual terms got my attention.

So when I looked, the messages talked about sex with the guy before me and her friends asking how good it was. This confused me because both he and the guy he was being compared to supposedly did not ever have actual sex with her.  When I dug further, the day after our first date, and some time after she ended things with the guy before me, she told one of her friends she was not physically attracted to me.  The friend, who had seen photos of both me and the guy before me, referred to the guy before me as rougher looking than I am, not as classy she said, kind of blue collar.  My girlfriend replied to that message with, "I guess I want blue collar then."

So, even though I dug into messages I should not have, I wound up very hurt and confused.  I was confused about the statement about not being attracted to me because we have always had a very strong chemistry. I could not help myself and brought all of this up to her about 6 weeks later when I had time to process it more.  Obviously she was upset with me for digging, but also shaken by what I had found.  I questioned her on what I perceived as a lie to me about not having had sex with the others.  She went on to tell me that she never did have actual intercourse with them, but oral at most, but I am struggling to believe this is true. I don't know why she and her friends would refer to it as "sex" if there had not been intercourse, and it seems very odd to me that they did. She insisted there are different types of sex and that is what she meant. 

I also seriously struggle with the "not physically attracted to (me)" message, and then saying she wants the other guy.  Now, this all happened months ago - right at the beginning of our relationship.  Our love for each other has grown a ton and I want to move on from this.  But I am seriously struggling with how to put this out of my mind and behind me.  There is probably more to share on this where my feelings are concerned, but maybe this is a good enough start to avoid making this post too long.

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4 minutes ago, robhsdca said:

I dug further, the day after our first date. I could not help myself and brought all of this up to her about 6 weeks later when I had time to process it more. 

How long have you been dating? There's already distrust and hurt. 

Cut your losses. There is nothing sincere or real about this. 

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We have been together for 6 months, and I do love her.  I am certain of that.  This is not something I am necessarily prepared to just "cut my losses" because I do love her, but I agree there is some lack of trust and hurt, but not sure it's insurmountable.  I was more looking for a path for me to get over this and move forward.

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4 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

Can you pinpoint please what you’re upset about exactly? She’s with you so she is attracted to you.

I am glad you asked this in this manner because I think the issues here may be entirely mine.  I am struggling with knowing that after our first date she said she wanted the other guy and is not attracted to me.  Since then we have a very strong chemistry and things have been good.  Had I never known she said this, I would not be bothered at all. But knowing she did, and knowing I think she has lied (she apologized for lying) I am stuck feeling a bit off about everything and just want to find a path past it.

Also, please know, I don't care if she had sex with the guy before me - I would expect that to be a strong possibility and would never hold that against her. I am just stuck on the lie, albeit it an understandable one if that is the case.

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3 minutes ago, robhsdca said:

I am glad you asked this in this manner because I think the issues here may be entirely mine.  I am struggling with knowing that after our first date she said she wanted the other guy and is not attracted to me.  Since then we have a very strong chemistry and things have been good.  Had I never known she said this, I would not be bothered at all. But knowing she did, and knowing I think she has lied (she apologized for lying) I am stuck feeling a bit off about everything and just want to find a path past it.

Also, please know, I don't care if she had sex with the guy before me - I would expect that to be a strong possibility and would never hold that against her. I am just stuck on the lie, albeit it an understandable one if that is the case.

That’s kind of sad. I see what you’re saying. She was hung up about her ex when she met you and there’s nothing you can do about that. It’s water under the bridge, so to speak. She seems emotionally immature if she’s making constant comparisons about you in relation to him. This is just basic dating 101. She missed the memo. 

You’re going to have to accept she’s not very emotionally intelligent if you’re picking her as your partner or find someone else. Continuing to nitpick or worse, harass her about this is really counterproductive to any future you see together.

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21 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

That’s kind of sad. I see what you’re saying. She was hung up about her ex when she met you and there’s nothing you can do about that. It’s water under the bridge, so to speak. She seems emotionally immature if she’s making constant comparisons about you in relation to him. This is just basic dating 101. She missed the memo. 

You’re going to have to accept she’s not very emotionally intelligent if you’re picking her as your partner or find someone else. Continuing to nitpick or worse, harass her about this is really counterproductive to any future you see together.

Thanks - I appreciate this insight.  It's odd because she is very emotionally intelligent and mature in every other aspect of her life.  She's an amazing mother, and she's an MD who has a brilliant career.  But, she does have limited relationship experience and it does show I guess.  When we first got together her friends told her they thought she needed to date a lot of people to get this foundation.  I even told her that I didn't disagree, but was transparent in saying I could not promise I would still be available if that was the route she felt she needed to go.  I said I would understand, but I have a life and feelings too.  So we decided to stick it out, and maybe these are just growing pains.

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1 hour ago, robhsdca said:

Thanks - I appreciate this insight.  It's odd because she is very emotionally intelligent and mature in every other aspect of her life.  She's an amazing mother, and she's an MD who has a brilliant career.  But, she does have limited relationship experience and it does show I guess.  When we first got together her friends told her they thought she needed to date a lot of people to get this foundation.  I even told her that I didn't disagree, but was transparent in saying I could not promise I would still be available if that was the route she felt she needed to go.  I said I would understand, but I have a life and feelings too.  So we decided to stick it out, and maybe these are just growing pains.

I’d be wary and careful about chatter like this as it’s overall destructive and totally not useful at all when getting to know someone. You doubt her relationship experience and she thought you weren’t as hot as her ex or had to live up to him. You both sound like teenagers in a high school parking lot. I say this to put it in perspective as you both I’m sure have very busy lives and a lot more on your plate than dating one another. 

When you feel overwhelmed or like you’re not good enough think back on what you do have and practice gratitude. Someone else is fighting for their life in hospital and you’re picking each other apart. Six months is not long so see whether there’s anything substantial in the long run. 

It doesn’t matter how many Ds someone has behind their name if they can’t get it together or aren’t treating you well. Take care of yourself and take care of one another.

Edited by Rose Mosse
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1 hour ago, robhsdca said:

When we first got together her friends told her they thought she needed to date a lot of people to get this foundation. I could not promise I would still be available if that was the route she felt she needed to go.

How long have you been dating? Your timeline is quite blurry as to when you came across these conversations and when they were written and where you are now.

Confronting her about her private conversations is sort of controlling. It seems you want to be the only one she has or has ever had eyes for.

 Anyway her friends warned her and it seems her attraction is low.

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Ya it's a bit of an ego buster but remember there will always be someone that is better than you in some ways, just like there will be someone better than her or anyone else. Not every relationship starts out like gangbusters, the end all be all. Ignore and live in the moment.

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46 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

How long have you been dating? Your timeline is quite blurry as to when you came across these conversations and when they were written and where you are now.

Confronting her about her private conversations is sort of controlling. It seems you want to be the only one she has or has ever had eyes for.

 Anyway her friends warned her and it seems her attraction is low.

Those conversations she had were months ago, at the very beginning of our dating which is 6 months old now, so the conversations are about the same.  I don't consider it controlling, because she was sharing these private conversations with me when she had to walk away and I looked further.  

I do want to be the only one she has - that seems normal.  I don't think it's realistic to be the only one she has ever had eyes for, but I don't want to think she's pining away over the ones behind her either.

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I'm 55, married mom.  For background.  How did you meet? Are you Fillipino and/or do you typically date women outside your culture (nothing wrong or right just might inform the context of this).  She seems awfully focused on physical type -at least in the texting.  Also how is it that she has little relationship experience and yet is a mother?

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OK, so in a way these fears and doubts eating away at you is your punishment for snooping into what is none of your business. You essentially stumbled into the female version of locker room talk that was never meant for your eyes or ears and likely has nothing to do with the way she actually feels about you. After all, she chose to date you and is still with 6 months later. Nobody is forcing her to be with you. If she wasn't into you, you'd be long gone history.

That said, no, I don't think she is very emotionally intelligent or mature when it comes to relationships. Please don't conflate education and career success with emotional intelligence specifically, as they are not related. Incredibly smart people can be incredibly emotionally dense. Perhaps that's one of those downsides of a person you either can learn to live with or you can't. You've got to decide for yourself how much of a problem that aspect of her personality is for you.

So focusing on today and the past 6 months - is there something missing in your actual real time relationship with her? Do you have a healthy sex life? So you feel desired and appreciated as a person? Do you feel connected? Is there something missing between you? If there is something missing in your current relationship, then maybe focus on that and explore/address that.

Is there something going in the relationship with her that is currently making you feel unsafe OR is it just your own insecurities sabotaging you?

 

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1 hour ago, smackie9 said:

Ya it's a bit of an ego buster but remember there will always be someone that is better than you in some ways, just like there will be someone better than her or anyone else. Not every relationship starts out like gangbusters, the end all be all. Ignore and live in the moment.

I appreciate this advice, and it's honestly what I have been trying to do.

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She "settled" for you. Wanted other guy but ended up with you. It happens sometimes. But the real question is can you handle that? And also if the other side feels it settled for you, will it be just as easy to leave you when other opportunities presented or is the other side there to stay?

Also, have you thought about the possibility that she just lied the other guy? Not really flattering for her but people often use "Who that guy/girl? He/she means nothing to me baby, I am all yours" when they want somebody else. Again, not really a great situation for you and your ego but I dont believe she would be with you if she doesnt like you so there is that.

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17 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I'm 55, married mom.  For background.  How did you meet? Are you Fillipino and/or do you typically date women outside your culture (nothing wrong or right just might inform the context of this).  She seems awfully focused on physical type -at least in the texting.  Also how is it that she has little relationship experience and yet is a mother?

I am a white American. She is Chinese but grew up in the Philippines, and her marriage tore away a relationship she really wanted.  Her mom forbade her from seeing a Filipino man any longer, after 9 years together, and arranged a marriage to a Chinese man here in the States, thus the kids.

She claims that the love that built for me over time overcame the physical aspects of things she was hung up on when she was exploring with the only other guy she dated between her ex-husband and me (4 men in total her whole life). So maybe that exploring made things more about the physical and learning about herself. I don't know - but maybe this gives you a little more context.  Thanks for your response.

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1 minute ago, Kwothe28 said:

She "settled" for you. Wanted other guy but ended up with you. It happens sometimes. But the real question is can you handle that? And also if the other side feels it settled for you, will it be just as easy to leave you when other opportunities presented or is the other side there to stay?

Also, have you thought about the possibility that she just lied the other guy? Not really flattering for her but people often use "Who that guy/girl? He/she means nothing to me baby, I am all yours" when they want somebody else. Again, not really a great situation for you and your ego but I dont believe she would be with you if she doesnt like you so there is that.

Thank you for this.  To answer your question, at the moment it hurts to feel settled on, but if over time I am able to see that there is real love and chemistry maybe that will overcome it - not sure, and not sure how to get to there.

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12 minutes ago, tattoobunnie said:

You've been dating for 6 months.  Little much to expect to be the love of her life.  You haven't even experienced 4 seasons together.  Your insecurity, snooping, won't add to it.

Fair enough.

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3 hours ago, robhsdca said:

I am a white American. She is Chinese but grew up in the Philippines, and her marriage tore away a relationship she really wanted.  Her mom forbade her from seeing a Filipino man any longer, after 9 years together, and arranged a marriage to a Chinese man here in the States, thus the kids.

She claims that the love that built for me over time overcame the physical aspects of things she was hung up on when she was exploring with the only other guy she dated between her ex-husband and me (4 men in total her whole life). So maybe that exploring made things more about the physical and learning about herself. I don't know - but maybe this gives you a little more context.  Thanks for your response.

Built over time? How much time? You've only been dating 6 months! I don't think it matters she only dated 4 men.  That's true of a number of my friends and my mom who married young and it didn't affect their devotion or commitment.  I don't get this whole having to overcome "the physical aspects of things" - get really basic.  There is no "physical aspect of things" - there's a relationship with a person.  You're not sliced and diced into aspects.  A romantic relationship includes romance (I know shocking).  Romance includes sexual attraction and desire -whether or not acted on.  "Physical" aspects of a person can but does not always affect attraction.  Depends on the person.  If she has to "overcome" what you look like I mean who needs that?  She doesn't have to learn about herself or about men or about relationships to know if she desires to kiss you, if she finds you attractive no matter what your "physical aspects" are. 

It could be she is a person for whom attraction is tied to physical type.  And if you are not her type then she has to "overcome" it.  Or she views someone's looks as adding to their worth, value, status -kind of like arm candy.

I don't think her back story is relevant to the extent you say. She's in her 40s, she's a parent, she made choices and was in situations that were not ideal.  Kinda like all of us.  As an adult she gets now to choose you.  Or not. If she believes she still has to "learn about herself" and that this learning means she doesn't desire to be romantic with you then let her go and figure it all out.  Don't settle. You'll resent that she is having to "overcome" -i.e. settle -for someone who doesn't float her boat.

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On 3/22/2022 at 12:24 PM, Kwothe28 said:

She "settled" for you. Wanted other guy but ended up with you. It happens sometimes.

I disagree. I believed that my attraction was limited to a certain 'type' for years. I was blinded to the value of anyone who fell outside of that type, and worse, I wasted time on guys who were otherwise not very fulfilling beyond my physical attraction.

It wasn't until I experienced true simpatico with someone after getting to know him somewhat that I realized, THIS is REAL attraction.

OP, it's likely that this is what your GF found with you.

Up until that time, however, she remained stuck on her 'type,' and it sounds as though that's all she really missed about that guy.

Sure, the girl locker room talk was juvenile, but when I look at my own messages, I've sunk to the basement at times. Total regression into giggles and stupid stuff.

Lastly, consider my Dad's bachelor friend who attended each of our events with a different tall blonde woman on his arm. We made small talk with each of them but never got attached because we knew she'd be replaced by another soon. One time he showed with a petite brunette, and I KNEW that we would be seeing more of her. They remain happily married today.

When it comes to chemistry, we don't know what we don't know until we meet and interact with the RIGHt one.

EnjOy your relationship.

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8 hours ago, catfeeder said:

I disagree. I believed that my attraction was limited to a certain 'type' for years. I was blinded to the value of anyone who fell outside of that type, and worse, I wasted time on guys who were otherwise not very fulfilling beyond my physical attraction.

It wasn't until I experienced true simpatico with someone after getting to know him somewhat that I realized, THIS is REAL attraction.

OP, it's likely that this is what your GF found with you.

Up until that time, however, she remained stuck on her 'type,' and it sounds as though that's all she really missed about that guy.

Sure, the girl locker room talk was juvenile, but when I look at my own messages, I've sunk to the basement at times. Total regression into giggles and stupid stuff.

Lastly, consider my Dad's bachelor friend who attended each of our events with a different tall blonde woman on his arm. We made small talk with each of them but never got attached because we knew she'd be replaced by another soon. One time he showed with a petite brunette, and I KNEW that we would be seeing more of her. They remain happily married today.

When it comes to chemistry, we don't know what we don't know until we meet and interact with the RIGHt one.

EnjOy your relationship.

This post is most in line with what she has told me she feels and how her attraction for me has developed.  Until seeing her message to her friend, the physical attraction between the two of us was undeniable, even through physical behavior that could not be faked.  I appreciate your take here because in some ways it is what I was hoping to hear, but it also confirms what she has been telling me is how she feels could actually be real.  Thank you.

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what stood out to me is that you seem to know every intimate detail of her previous relationships, all the down to which sex acts she did or did not participate in.  I can't help but in what context does a couple have these types of full disclosure discussions?

It's just a guess that she didn't volunteer these things over coffee.   I could be wrong here, but it sets the scene for me to question why you were helping yourself to her phone.

It paints a bigger picture and puts the focus back on you 

Edited by reinventmyself
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3 hours ago, reinventmyself said:

what stood out to me is that you seem to know every intimate detail of her previous relationships, all the down to which sex acts she did or did not participate in.  I can't help but in what context does a couple have these types of full disclosure discussions?

It's just a guess that she didn't volunteer these things over coffee.   I could be wrong here, but it sets the scene for me to question why you were helping yourself to her phone.

It paints a bigger picture and puts the focus back on you 

You're right - I am the bad guy.

That was said facetiously.  I don't have the time right now while at work to dive into the details of why all of this was shared, but please suffice it to say that I do NOT know every detail as you put it, and the phone was shared at first because of a message she was wanting to show me. She stepped out of the room with me supposed to be reading a message she thought it was, but it was something different.  Because of that (and if you read the title of this thread you'll know) I committed a bit of a sin and looked a bit further, not a lot, just into one more text thread to see what I did.  I was mortified and I quit looking.

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