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I'm a mess....no flames please

Old 08-06-2017, 08:12 PM
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I'm a mess....no flames please

I'll try to make this brief(haha, probably not!).
My bf is a good guy. Not to bore with details but he's the kind of guy who actually makes an effort, who knows it's important for us to have time alone and make our relationship a priority despite the fact that we have his 2 school aged kids and my son going off to college, etc.

My point being: the man is a good guy albeit sometimes we butt heads because we're both controlling and can be bossy pains in the neck.

I love him. I am VERY attracted to him after 2.5 years together and I enjoy his company. He's thoughtful, kind, has helped me start my career and supported me no matter what setback I've experienced along the way.

Now, for the ' please no flames' part....

I have an old friend, whom I worked with 20 plus years ago who keeps reaching out to me every few months, to re-engage and express his interest in me and to remind me of how he's wanted me for the past 25 years. Last week, he started just asking a few basic questions about my job and so I answered.
Then, out of the blue, he claims, "I still think we'll be together some day."

So, here's the problem. I like this man's words. I like the fact that he wants me. I let him engage me because I haven't told him to back off. He's offered to back off more times than I can count, but I haven't been able to do it. I keep allowing him in. I have found myself fantasizing about his life and/or life with him(he has the single successful CEO penthouse lifestyle)....YES, knowing full well that the grass is NEVER greener over there. I know that, I'm not stupid. I'm know I'm in the wrong. I just can't get out of the cycle. I've officially deleted all the texted messages from my phone. Thankfully, the guy is 2500 miles away.

I don't get it. I do love my man and am often overtaken with positive feelings towards him where all I want to do is hug the crap out of him!

The only time I have doubts is when his youngest child is acting like a spoiled rotten brat and being mean to everyone, especially me. I often wonder if I can handle this child once she hits 12, 13, etc.......I truly want to stay committed to my man but I let doubt set in.

I admittedly have fear. I fear abandonment. I fear getting too attached and then having him find out the truth about who I am and what an awful person I am. Honestly, I would lose him if he knew I was letting this other guy communicate with me. What is wrong with me?????? Why do I not have the guts to tell the other guy to back off? I've hinted, I've told him to find a girl near him, etc. His response has always been, "Yeah, there are lots of women I find attractive, but they're not you. I want you." Last convo had him basically saying, "I've wanted you for 25 years." And, then he goes on to tell me about all the reasons why I'm a catch, how my drive and my perserverance, and my ability to overcome is a big part of my attractiveness. He has all the words that my bf doesn't express. My bf shows his caring and love with his actions, but rarely tells me why he loves me.

And, I go back to: WTF is wrong with me???
I am considering counseling. I'm working with my sponsor and trying to dig deeper to figure out why I'm such a terrible girlfriend!
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:32 PM
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We addict types are above all addicted to the fantasy that something on the outside can fix us on the inside. I've been through the utterly stupid fantasy flirt thing and I look back in horror at everything I could have destroyed if I hadn't ended it before it went any farther.

Ask yourself how you would feel if the positions were reversed and it was your boyfriend flirting with someone else?

Ask yourself how you would feel if you had to look at the hurt and pain on your boyfriend's face?

Ask yourself if you want to be a person of integrity or do you want to blow everything up for a guy who's flirting with someone who's committed to someone else?

There's every possibility that a guy like that is only interested in the chase, anyway. Once he caught you? He might well dump you and move on.

Get a grip, sweetie, yes? You know you know better.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:56 PM
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Liz, I can't answer your question one way or the other. I can just tell you to think about how you grew up. I think I remember that it didn't feel loving. Then your marriage, which pretty much didn't feel like a marriage. Then this boyfriend, you have been here saying that you needed more emotionally.

I'm just going to say to think about what you have, or think if you may need more.

I just know how starved I felt for love and affection when I was married, and sometimes what I wanted was a fantasy, or maybe it wasn't.

It's hard to say one thing or the other in this situation. I don't know either of them. you say he is 2500 miles away, does that mean if you decide new guy, that you move to the East Coast,? where is your son going to college? Not that this should really matter in your decision.

I think it really comes down to, this is your life. Do you think that you are trying to make up for the lack of affection that you have felt most of your life?

((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:00 PM
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I had one more thing to add.

A friend of mine once told me that he messed up his marriage. He told me that when he was growing up he lacked affection and attention from his family. That when he got married he expected his wife to replace all that he never had, but that he realized she couldn't do that, because that wasn't the person that he was missing it from. He pushed her away and they divorced.

Just think very carefully

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Old 08-06-2017, 09:44 PM
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It sounds like you actually have the situation pretty well in hand. You know that what this other man represents is just a fantasy. You know that you have a great man in your real life. It feels good to know that fantasy dude sees you as an awesome woman but you don't want to throw everything away for a fantasy dude (who hits on women in relationships).

Could you apply some Al Anon wisdom and let your actions lead your feelings? In other words, cut off contact with fantasy dude, even though you don't really completely want to, and let your feelings of appreciation and love for the real man in your life grow in the space that you've opened up by ditching the fantasy?

I can sympathize a bit because I had my own version of this situation when I was married - old friend on another continent who decided I was pretty awesome and generally found me a lot more fascinating than my then-husband did. We exchanged a long series of flirty emails before it dawned on me that I was doing the kind of thing that would turn me into someone I didn't want to be. I also knew that fantasy dude was a player who had a history of hitting on lots of people (generally pretty straightforwardly- he just liked sex and romance a lot). There was definitely a connection, electricity, whatever you want to call it, and it was fun, but not fun enough to do something stupid and sleazy like screw up my marriage (this was when I was still blissfully ignorant of how much my husband was drinking).

So - acknowledge the situation for what it is - fantasy, a bit of an escape from reality, a nice boost of validation, but not really a option. Cut off contact with the dude. Your heart and mind will follow. It's good that you're talking about this with your sponsor - hopefully she will act as your voice of reason in this situation.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by amy55 View Post
I had one more thing to add.

A friend of mine once told me that he messed up his marriage. He told me that when he was growing up he lacked affection and attention from his family. That when he got married he expected his wife to replace all that he never had, but that he realized she couldn't do that, because that wasn't the person that he was missing it from. He pushed her away and they divorced.

Just think very carefully

((((((((hugs)))))))
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Amy, you are so right!

You know, when I was 13 my sister was diagnosed with leukemia. Our lives became all about saving her. I was shipped off to one relative's house after another or else I was at the hospital for days on end.
I remember thinking that I was invisible. But, I never resented it as a child. As I got older, I know that my sister's illness was the beginning of my dad's spiral into alcoholism and it was also the point in which I started to feel like I wasn't a part of anything. My family's perspective was, "Liz is good, she's not complaining, she's got her life in control and her grades are good, so we'll just continue to ignore her...." I never asked my family for anything. I allowed them to neglect me and, as a child, I never knew any better.

I was always striving to get my dad (and my mom too) to see me, to recognize me, to praise me.......He was too distracted by his addiction, by my sister's illness, by the bills, etc. But, again, I didn't see any of this until I was much older. My XAH wasn't good at compliments but he talked about his 'feelings' way too much actually. All he talked about was his freaking feelings so my bf is actually quite refreshing.

And, yes, my bf isn't very verbally expressive and I oftentimes have to drag it out of him, lol. But, I can 'feel' how he feels, if that makes sense. It bothers me every once in a while, but I do feel that I know him, I know where I stand with him, and I know he's my biggest cheerleader. I've heard him singing my praises to others and I know he values me and my contribution to his life.

It's funny, but his sister in law, yes his ex's sister told us recently, "Liz. Thank you. Thank you for being a better mother to the girls than my sister can be right now......." It was a sweet and honest conversation where she basically exposed to us that even his ex's family appreciates what I bring to this family.
And, yes, I realize that I don't have to stay just because of this.....

And, yes, I have thought about how I would feel if I found out my bf was doing the same....I'd be devastated.

Also, I'm not lacking of affection from my bf. We hold hands often, we hug all the time, we have a very healthy sex life, we curl up with each other in the AMs before we get going for the day and enjoy the quiet time. So, it's mostly about the verbal that's missing obviously. What's funny is that I've studied up on love languages and verbal affirmation is NOT top of my list. This is about an emptiness inside of me. Not saying my bf is perfectly meeting my needs, but I think I am often expecting him to be something he's not and I need to either find acceptance or I need to figure out if it's my own voids that I am trying to fill. And, this all ties back to the disease of addiction and what it's done to me all my 47 years! UGH
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:55 PM
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Liz....I can share my thought on this if that is what you want. (I am not totally sure what you are asking us).....
I think that amy might be on to something, in one sense...I suspect, that deep down...way down, where you don't really directly talk about...because you may be even scared to fully admit it to yourself...your current guy may not be meeting some essential needs that you have. I get the thing about how attractive he is and how he fit certain things that you find domestically desirable....(wanted to settle and "nest", etc...). He is financially stable and successful in his field-he is settled and my represent a certain amount of safety and security...and he doesn't abuse you,
etc...and, I know that means something to you. And, I think that is fine as far as it goes.....(I am not aiming to criticize or judge)...
But, as I see it, that may not be enough for you. As I recall...you bonded with him and moved in with him fairly soon after your split with your EX. This, obviously happened during the initial attraction period...when the attractive things loom big. It takes a couple of years to get to know the deeper layers of another person---beyond the initial white hot attraction, that is...lol....
You have, between the lines, indicated some ambivalence about your comfort with the current guy....and, seem to always come to the conclusion that it is something about you....and, that you just need to try harder to "adjust" to him...
I am suggesting that it may not be you....and, it may not be him....It may be that the two of you are not as completely compatible as you thought at first....

I suspect that this other fellow may look so attractive to you because his attention is addressing something that you are missing. I don't think that when someone is satisfied in their relationship, that they are so susceptible to the fruits of another....Yes, it may be flattering, but it is not something that nags at the insides and keeps one up at night (or writing on a forum...lol)...
And, I do agree with you, that I can see the foreshadowing of difficulty when the daughter gets to the preteen/teen years....and the issues may linger for years to come.....That, alone, is a lot of pressure in a solid rock relationship...and can deep six one that may have some rocky underpinnings....

This other guy.....I will be very candid with you, Liz...I can hear the hiss of rattlers in the background. You may not be able to hear that, because the onslaught of the feel good hormones can make any one of us unable to be critically objective. I think that he is treading on your boundaries...trying to invade your space. he shouldn't need you to tell him to back off (even if you should), because he should respect your current commitment. He is thinking of his own needs at the expense of you. In my opinion, that is a red flag. He hasn't lived with you and he doesn't know what that reality would be...he has worked with you. Those are two different things. He seems to know just the flattering things to say that cause you to reach your right buttons...
When a person has emotional needs that are not being met....that stuff is as powerful as heroine. You know the surface of him...and, vice versa....
the current guy may not be the one for you...but, there is no evidence that the long distance guy is either....(I realize that that possibility may scare the wee willies out of you)....But, I think that it is, at least, something to consider.....
Gosh, you aren't even with him...and you are feeling distressed....

I want to say that you need to be true to yourself. It is o.k. if you don't settle for either one of them....Being honest with your self...deep down...because these things don't go away if you just sweep them under the rug....
lol....I realize that I will be the one lone voice, here, who is not so convinced that your current relationship is rock solid....but, I feel that I should be honest with you as to how I see it, if I am sharing my thoughts with you.....

I am glad that you came here and laid the cards on the table. That is a vulnerable thing to do...and takes some bravery.

Liz these are my candid thoughts based on what you have described here, and in the past.....
I submit them for you consideration....
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:56 PM
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I can tell you this...

I had an ex who cheated on me--repeatedly. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. If you love your boyfriend the way you say you do, don't do put him through that. Just imagine how that would feel--for him, the emotional and physical pain of betrayal, and for you, the guilt and self-loathing.

You're better than that.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:14 PM
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ok, Liz, perhaps we should talk about the emptiness that you feel inside yourself. Your childhood wasn't the greatest. You were pushed from one place to another so that they could care for your sister. You weren't being told that they love you, and even if they told you that, how could you believe that, when they were placing you with relatives.

I know how it feels being ignored, like I didn't exist, and I know how it feels trying to prove to everyone that I was worthwhile. It kinda makes you crave the words, because you aren't feeling the feelings. Does that make any sense?

I do know that you think deeply about every response to you, that's why I'm going to ask you this. Do you think you crave the words so much because you didn't hear them, and you want someone to take away that pain that you have? Did you ever feel closure from your childhood? Do really think that someone else can say the words that you didn't get, to make up for the person that you didn't get them from?

See, the person that I was talking to, had a deep hole inside of him from his childhood. He found the love of his life, and she found the love of her life. (I know this for a fact, because I am still friends with both of them.) She gave and she gave, but she could never fill the hole that he had inside himself, because she was not the one that put it there. He realized that a lot too late.

((((((((hugs)))))))
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:07 PM
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I have another question for you Liz. Did you ever get any validation for your feelings during that period of time in your childhood, or did you always feel guilty expecting your parents to see how good you were doing in school? Every child needs acceptance, and praise. and of course validation. I don't think you were getting that.

I'm very sorry to hear about your sister and leukemia. Is she OK or in remission?

amy
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:05 AM
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I've not much to add to the very good feedback you've been getting. And I think you already know what the answer is.

I hope you can find it in yourself to bite the bullet and tell fantasy guy you don't want any further contact with him. You can tell him you're flattered by the attention, but that you are very satisfied with your relationship and life right now, and that the continued correspondence is inappropriate for you.

It always feels good to have a mental "out" for when things get tough, but that doesn't mean it's healthy for you. Deal with your present relationship--the good and the bad--on its own terms. Comparing it to fantasy will not help you.

Hugs,
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:09 AM
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Actions first, feelings follow.

No contact. Slam the door shut. This isn't fantasy, this is playing with fire. Fantasy is whatever plays out in your imagination without entering the "real" world.

There is absolutely no reason to beat yourself up about any of this. You're asking great questions, you realize you want something different than this. Those are HUGE steps.

Pray. Immersion into prayer and meditation can transform simple actions by transforming that space inside of us. So, whatever other actions you take, first take action in prayer.

btw- the "slam the door shut" analogy one day became very vivid to me after prayer. I was learning how to shut toxic people out of my life. They often look nice, say beautiful things and psychologically mess me up because they actually are very toxic. HP leads me to doing things that are beyond my own capabilities. Then looking back later I see how beautifully life flowed together.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:20 AM
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How sunflowers follow the lights path

Keep turning towards the light. Darkness dissipates when light is shown on it.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:25 AM
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I can only speak for myself, but I kept chasing that high of being demonstrably wanted--despite being in relationships with good people who were good for me--until I realized that I could not be satisfied with an external relationship until my relationship with myself was solid and unwavering, and until I did the work to have that. I needed to be on my own to have and do that, and to stop wasting other people's time and energy while I got my act together.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:30 AM
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Another thought directly about this man who's been contacting you....

6 Reasons It's Easy to Be Fooled by a Narcissist
No joke: They are very good at what they do.


I came across this article yesterday.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by SaveHer View Post
I can tell you this...

I had an ex who cheated on me--repeatedly. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. If you love your boyfriend the way you say you do, don't do put him through that. Just imagine how that would feel--for him, the emotional and physical pain of betrayal, and for you, the guilt and self-loathing.

You're better than that.
His ex did this to him. She left the marriage because she said she didn't feel loved by him and she went searching for validation elsewhere. She didn't physically cheat, but she was close. And, yes, I imagine all of that and more.....
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I've not much to add to the very good feedback you've been getting. And I think you already know what the answer is.

I hope you can find it in yourself to bite the bullet and tell fantasy guy you don't want any further contact with him. You can tell him you're flattered by the attention, but that you are very satisfied with your relationship and life right now, and that the continued correspondence is inappropriate for you.

It always feels good to have a mental "out" for when things get tough, but that doesn't mean it's healthy for you. Deal with your present relationship--the good and the bad--on its own terms. Comparing it to fantasy will not help you.

Hugs,
Thanks Lexie. I know I'm not satisfied with ANY relationship honestly. I am always looking to run away, trying to have a plan B in the wings, etc. I know it and I know it's part of my internal drama that resulted from my childhood and FOO. I know where it comes from, I can identify the hole inside of me, and I know I have to work on my own to fill it.

SparkleKitty, as always, makes some great points. I need to get MY act together. My bf recently told me there were 'many' reasons he loved me. It's not fair of me to bring this side of myself into our relationship. The man has been true to his word, he's never been something else other than what he has verbally told me or shown me.

My concerns about my bf's kids weighs on me a lot. His 11 year old is already showing us what the teen years will hold, lol. The 9 year old is worse, because she's mean and sarcastic one minute but then cute and loving the next! My head often is spinning when I have to deal with her too much. I had to leave the house last week one day, told my bf that I needed to go for a drive. He nods, gives me a smile, knowing full well why I needed out. He lets me do me. He always has.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
Thanks Lexie. I know I'm not satisfied with ANY relationship honestly. I am always looking to run away, trying to have a plan B in the wings, etc.
I'm not suggesting that isn't the case. I'm talking about what you TELL this guy. If you explain your chronic "dissatisfaction," he will seize on that as an in to convince you that he can do the impossible.

Whether you stay with b/f or not, I think you would be wise to cut this other guy off at the pass.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I'm not suggesting that isn't the case. I'm talking about what you TELL this guy. If you explain your chronic "dissatisfaction," he will seize on that as an in to convince you that he can do the impossible.

Whether you stay with b/f or not, I think you would be wise to cut this other guy off at the pass.
I actually tell the other guy that things are good with my bf. He will insist that someday he will have a chance and often claims it will be 3,5, or 10 years from now.
And, I do have to think about the fact that this man keeps probing knowing full well that I'm in a good relationship, that I'm building a new career here, and that I have a son to send off to college who has serious learning disabilities and issues. If he is doing this with me, who else might he be doing this with? Speaks volumes about his character. The fact that I respond speaks volumes about mine....to me.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:41 AM
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LOL Liz....how easily do your really "run away"? If I remember correctly? You bonded with and married your Ex when you were about 20yrs. old and stayed in the toxicity of that relationship for over 20yrs.....
That just doesn't ring true, to me, of someone who jumps and runs.....
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