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is this how a normal girlfriend behaves? have i lost my mind?

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i was married to my ex wife for 15 years - but after the birth of our second child she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. i took care of her and loved her very much, until she went off her medicine and refused further treatments - it ended with a judge ordering her to leave our house. i spent three years in intense pain over the loss and am still suffering anxiety over both the loss and issues that i dealt with taking care of her for so long... i suppose it changed me as a person.

fast forward three years post divorce and i met an amazing girl... well, we fell completely in love... but it has been kinda rocky, well, a lot rocky. i moved abroad and am living in Russia and i have been talking to this girl for over a year now - from our first conversation we really hit it off and as it turns out it is beyond the scope of my ability to imagine how well suited we are for each other - or at least it feels like that often. that being said we are both an emotional wreck.

we share so much in common! she is stunning beautiful, never been married, has no children... she grew up on a farm and had a difficult childhood, yet reminisces a simple life in the village - i, also, have been trying to move in this direction. her education is unbelievable, having read nearly all Russian classical literature before even entering high school. but she moved to moscow for university and works there now, and herself dreams of returning to village life. we are both orthodox, have the same value system, like the same things, have the same sense of humor and can talk all night about the Russian soul and philosophy. she is extremely educated. basically she is my dream girl.

however! too good to be true... haha! it certainly seems as fate would yet deal another impossibly difficult situation that i must navigate myself through.

to begin with she is rather childish and loves to "provoke" (her own words) - this coupled with her sarcasm is hard for my wounded heart to deal with. not to mention that i am American and a very straight forward person - yes is yes, no is no. she rather likes to tease, and holds an extreme perspective of old world roles of men and women. in her mind, it is the responsibility of the man to win the girl over, to read her mind, to be teased... it is the responsibility of a man to understand that she means "yes" when she says "no"... furthermore, her idea is that words don't really matter - that i should preform in actions and see from her actions the reality that she loves me.

ok ok... kinda simple and manageable, kinda, but it gets crazy...

to make a long story short, 6 months into our relationship she told me that she was married. granted, it was an unhappy marriage and she did not even live with her husband anymore - but they remained married and hung out sometimes... when i found this out i told her that i was done, final, that is it! i even blocked her. but but but, she found a way to contact me, and she begged, said she could not live without me, that she has never met anyone like me before... and on, and on... and she actually divorced her husband - for me. she told him about me and they went and signed the divorce (in Russia it is very easy). so... i began again, and gave her a chance, but trust was nearly ruined, if not demolished... hope still remains i suppose...

but... it get crazier...

let me spell out the issues i am having - bearing in mind that i am somewhat traumatized from my first wife which was consumed with a chaotic mental illness.

tell me if i should run or that maybe i have met the love of my life. also, i should mention that all my pain disappeared with this girl - she is truly a dream to me. but its fire and gasoline at the same time - lots of pain, but a beautiful display as well. i am going to spell out the details of the problems i am having, but i should mention that there is an equal amount of "amazing" between us - its on or off, hot or cold, up or down, but never normal and never the middle path.

Everything based upon a lie – she was married and did not tell me. She compares me to her ex… She seems to crave attention from other men and she gets it, easy. I cannot begin to tell you the stories of other men who obsess over her. taxi drivers will call the taxi company after giving her a lift, just to get her number. All her ex boyfriends are completely obsessed with her, and she seems to like this... She lets me know about the other men who are interested in her. And and and, it seems like all her former relationships (four main ones) ended with her cheating. i met her on a dating site - while she was married!

I fear that she would cheat, that she would become bored with me, that my life would be too difficult for her. After all she is 14 years younger than me and i have three children... and she has this history of cheating...

I feel like i am either the enemy or the best thing that ever happened to her - no middle ground, no normal. She is very critical of me, she turns my complements into insults somehow. She has a great memory, but totally gaslights me and makes me begin to question my own sanity. Today she told me that despite how much she loves me that she could never marry me if i did not want to have children - yet i have talked to her for six months about how i so much want to have more children. She is excessively critical and i feel like nothing is ever good enough despite my efforts.

I guess it is due to the trust being so betrayed, but i never can tell if she is lying or being honest. It does not help that i commonly catch her in lies, and often about the smallest and most insignificant things. Everything that we build together in closeness can quickly and easily be discarded - its so hard to build a foundation of trust. she will lie about things that she knows i know to be a lie.

She has a fundamentally different concept of how relationships work than I do. She expects for me to “win” her in the face of constant criticism and rejection. She expects me to read her mind… No matter how hard I try she tells me that I don’t try… I am set to loose no matter what. Whatever I do is not enough, whatever I say is not right, and I simply cannot win. I feel like she will argue anything just for the sake of being right. Well, and i am stubborn too, yup... and a philosophy major, so...

I feel controlled by her, like being held in the corner and with a taste for punishment. I have never had anyone treat me like this… She will say things like, “if you don’t buy four waters I will never talk to you again.” I have never felt so insignificant in a relationship as I often do when she begins her incessant demands of me. I begin to feel like i am not allowed to think for myself. And if she does not get her way she can be very manipulative. She thinks she knows what is best for my children, she tells me how to run my business, she throws away things of mine that she does not like (without asking)... I feel that in arguments she knows she is wrong, but still argues because the core issue is control over me...

She has no problems willfully doing things to punish me, desiring to inflict pain, and remaining cold and calculating as she watches me suffer. And then, she can also be very empathetic... But its either delight in me suffering, or she wants to console me with kindness in an extreme way - back and forth.

Our conversations are often strained… We often do not have this natural rhythm in our relationship and it causes me to loose hope of finding a maintainable and normal way to enjoy life with her. This is especially true when we are talking on the phone. It is so hard to “get it right” in our conversation, despite my sincere attempts. And then, sometimes it is the easiest thing in the world...

She has no perspective of money. Her emotional stability and desires take precedent over the responsibility of work – and she also demands this of me. It does not seem grounded in reality and responsibility, and it is certainly not my way of being.

Because we cannot make it one single day without arguing, she always becomes greatly offended in some way. We break up all the time. She gets upset and makes absolute statements over the smallest details of something she does not like. But... if i do break up with her then she freaks out, begs, cries, and every time wiggles her way back...

Her fear of germs seems obsessive to me and likely would result in future problems… It would certainly be an issue with my daughters. She tells me that I am the crazy one, but I have never known anyone in all my life with such an obsessive fear of germs… And it does not even make sense, because she lets your dog walk everywhere in her flat, but I cannot even sit on the couch in clean pants… And i feel controlled with all the “wash your hands, don’t sit there, don’t touch that...” - as though she enjoys having this control.

She finds fault with everything that I do… The flowers are not enough, I never pay for anything (which i certainly do), my house is so dirty, I don’t do this right, I say the wrong things, I laugh too much, and on and on… I feel like I am only capable of turning in the wrong direction in her eyes… I am always expecting to hear how I messed up again… I have never had anyone complain about me in the things which she finds to be "too much".

She is back and forth between loving and hating me, because I am either the best or the worst in her eyes – never normal existence, only extremes. If I tell her that I cannot continue, that we need to stop, that I don’t see how we can have any future – then she will love bomb me, tell me I am the best, that I am perfect, that she cannot live without me, and on and on… She will not stop until she has me back. But… As soon as I am back it is a short time before she begins with disapproval.

She has left me in a foreign city, threatened me, made me to beg, slapped me in public, cussed me in public, make a scene, and seems to have no issue embarrassing me and showing to others that she has control.

She tells me that i am the most greedy and selfish person that she knows and that she despises people like me... but, she will also tell me that i am irresistible and the most intelligent person she has ever me, that she has never met anyone like me and cannot live without me.

Not to mention that my entire life has been turned upside down, I have become completely irresponsible and find myself constantly consumed with trying to maintain our relationship.

so... these are some of the issues i am having - i am sure there are more that i am forgetting haha. i don't know guys - it is hard for me to gauge having been a caretaker to someone with schizophrenia for ten years, and so maybe i don't know what normal is anymore.

this girl wants to get married by the way, and as previously stated she left her husband for me. its all so crazy. and the truth is that i love her, i have never ever ever met anyone like her - that is for sure... and i know i certainly have many faults - after all i am a product of the selfish entitled west... and an extrovert, and certainly too prideful... well, i understand that there is plenty for her to complain about...

goodness, if i am honest, i love this girl - the good is amazing, like nothing i have ever experienced... my daughters love her - and they were so against every other woman i dated after i lost my wife. should i stick it out, should i face my own demons and try to change the wretchedness of myself through self sacrifice and humility? or is she totally nuts and i am only setting myself up for a theatrical and painful ending which i may never recover from?

thanks for your consideration and kindness in taking the time to read my self obsessed attempt to beg for help.

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13 minutes ago, jchristopher said:

She has left me in a foreign city, threatened me, made me to beg, slapped me in public, cussed me in public, make a scene, and seems to have no issue embarrassing me and showing to others that she has control.

You're an adult, so if you wanted to be a masochist and be emotionally and physically abused, that would be your choice. But the fact that you have children, then that would be called child abuse to have them around a psychopath. To have a mother who is schizophrenic, they've already been dealt a difficult blow in life. But to have a father choosing an extremely toxic partner--well, heaven help them. They can't catch a break.

Be alone and concentrate on being a good father. Get therapy and don't date until you can make intelligent decisions about who you allow into your life.

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Andrina, thank you - i am trying, good advice.  i am grateful.  i just want to make sure that i am not crazy and missing the point that women are in general more emotional than men... yeah, i have to end this relationship.

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18 minutes ago, jchristopher said:

women are in general more emotional than men..

The behavior you describe has nothing to do with this stereotype. You just have a history of being involved with mentally ill women.

You may be addicted to the adrenaline rush of never knowing what you're going to get with this woman. You may find her actions exciting and thrilling. You're used to dealing with an unstable woman. You may find sane, well adjusted women "boring" or "unchallenging". Maybe you'd find yourself getting complacent with a steady, secure love relationship. Is any of this sounding like you?

I promise, there are sane, mentally healthy women in the world. But if you prefer the roller coaster you'll never have the chance to experience one. 

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9 minutes ago, jchristopher said:

no no, i want normal!! this is a tricky situation - maybe an addiction... we connect mentally, emotionally, and well... the physical is hard to walk away from...

You do know that sane, mentally stable women can be fantastic in bed too, right?

And what part of her abuse do you 'connect' with?

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Oof, where to even start?

Are you by any chance "wealthy"? Foreigner in Russia, finds 14 year younger girlfriend that is demanding. You are literally a walking episode of "90 Days Fiance", USA TV show where those kind of women find an American to marry them for green card. Now you did move to Russia but you can see why I am asking. Because those women who land those foreigners, they are exactly like your girlfriend. Pretty, outspoken, demanding. For example didnt you found it weird that she broke up her marriage to be with you? Or you were too blinded and thought she did that because "she loves you so much"?

You are being played there. Big time. Please dont marry and have a kid with somebody like that. In addition to that she is downright crazy. And you indulge her in that crazyness which tells me that you seek drama and equate that to some kind of "love". No, that is not love. If you have to say "But wait, there is more" after every problem you had with her, that is something very unsustainable. Get away from there while you still can.

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thank you guys for all your input... to be honest it has been a real challenge for me and hard being a single father... and i need help - especially not being a native of russia and still struggling with the language.

i am not wealthy at all - in fact i put most of my money into starting a business here and it failed...

this girl also has so much which is so great, but i am getting very tired to be honest.  she is not trying to marry me to move to the states, i feel confident about this - she is very much a lover of russia and a slavophile... 

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Just now, jchristopher said:

this girl also has so much which is so great,

But the negatives outweigh the sex she provides and whatever else you believe is "so great" about her.

Nice women are great in bed, treat you well and have "so much" without the abuse. But question is, do you want nice? Or do you prefer "exciting" drama?

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maybe she is borderline - does anyone have experience with this?  does this behavior seem indicative of this illness?

yeah, i don't know why i attract unstable women... sometimes i wonder if it is me, and perhaps i am the crazy one...  but i can assure you that all i want is a simple life, and i used to live very simple, but everything has been turned upside down with this girl...

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No one can diagnose her with a personality disorder based on what you've written. I CAN say she treats you very poorly and what you describe sounds like abuse. And even if she does have a personality disorder, in your mind does that give you "permission" to remain in this relationship? 

You don't "attract" unstable women.  You are attracted to unstable women. It's familiar and therefore comforting to you. But as you see, there are some serious downsides to choosing these kind of women. You could choose to leave this toxic relationship but you instead choose to remain. That means you're getting something you want out of it. Sex? Excitement? Maybe a fetish for being verbally assaulted? 

If you truly do want a secure and loving relationship you'll need to leave this one and look into getting insight as to why you believe you "love" a woman who treats you this way. 

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my girls are doing better than they were when my wife will still living with us, for sure.  their situation is better now than it was in the states.  we have tried to reduce stress and put ourselves in a more calm and civil situation - part of our reason for moving overseas... they are great, and my joy - and extremely responsible for their ages.

of course no one could diagnose bpd here, but i wondered if anyone may have experience and see similarity in my situation.  i only ask because i know this disorder is rather serious and i am greatly afraid of being in any situation with mental illness again... 

i can assure you that i am not attracted to unstable women at all.  in fact, this girl seemed to be the most stable ever, but what once was my perception has changed to quite the opposite... as she herself has changed drastically from what she sold herself to be in the beginning... 

furthermore, this girl lives in moscow and i am two hours away - we see each other only about once a week... apart from some trips we have taken together.  granted, she cannot seem to hold to any more long distance development and wants to move to where i am or us move to moscow... its all "i cannot live without you" and endless phone calls, and texting all day... and i am maybe kinda confused, in part, due to the inability to trust her after finding out she was married and the slow transition from a serious and sweet, very endearing woman, to what she has now shown herself to be... 

the most confusing part is that i cannot spell out my problems / concerns to her - there is no longer room for discussion... it has just turned into her massive and debilitating mood swings - angry in a flash.  at first, for the first six months at least i felt as though i could do no wrong... it was even embarrasing to be honest - to the degree that she seemed to idolize me - and not for being from the states, she does not even like americans actually... it was more about Russia, philosophy, Dostoevsky, history, life goals, etc... and through the real development of a close relationship and friendship it changed into something that i realize i cannot be part of any longer... but it breaks my heart to be honest.

and i will admit - this has turned into something like an addiction... 

ugh, wishing i could catch a break - both for myself and for my girls.


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4 minutes ago, jchristopher said:

can assure you that i am not attracted to unstable women at all.  in fact, this girl seemed to be the most stable ever, but what once was my perception has changed to quite the opposite... 

But the fact that you say you love her and that you "connect" with her despite all of her toxic, abusive behaviors shows you ARE attracted to unstable women. Or at least this one particular unstable woman.

I can understand that she didn't act that way in the beginning because she needed to attract you to her before she could start abusing you. Most men wouldn't stick around if she acted like her true self from day one. No self respecting man would buy flowers and gifts for a woman who behaved like an ungrateful shrew. She was smart and calculating enough to get you emotionally attached before she let her true colors fly.

If you choose to continue despite knowing her true character, THEN you would be proving that you do in fact enjoy her abuse and that you are indeed attracted to instability. 

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thank you boltnrun - that is what i need to hear... i was strong enough to not be demolished by loosing my wife to mental illness, picking up the pieces and trying to rebuild a stable better life for my girls - i am certainly strong enough to end this current relationship.  i really wrote because i find myself so confused, and i needed to hear that her treatment was abusive and not simply the emotions of a woman... haha.  i just found that i myself was beginning to question reality... 

and besides, i have given her absolute ultimatums - and i am a rather strong and stubborn personality myself, so... i have explained clearly that if you behave like this there is no future.  its gets complicated though because it is almost like she is two different people - one very loving and sweet, very intelligent, very industrious, extremely helpful,  but then she can flip... and then... well, she is not so great to be around.

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2 minutes ago, jchristopher said:

and besides, i only really listed the negative parts of our relationship - there are actually more positives than negatives... but these things i listed feel like they would become all consuming with time.

Of course she acts nice sometimes. All abusers do. Otherwise no one would stick around. It gets your hopes up when she acts nice, doesn't it? It makes you believe the "nice" her is the "real" her when the opposite is true. 

Ultimatums don't work. She knows you give them because you want to stay with her. If you were truly done with her toxic BS you wouldn't bother with ultimatums. BTW, ultimatums aren't being "strong". They actually show the person how badly you want to be with them and how much you're willing to tolerate just to keep them. 

I hope you do end this. Otherwise you're right, she will escalate until you are so mixed up you won't be able to even imagine what a peaceful, calm life is like. 

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