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Let me start by telling a bit about my story.

I was married for almost 8 years. It was a very difficult marriage and somehow along this period I fell out of love of my ex (sometimes I even wonder if I ever loved him!). I thought marriage was for life, so when I realized I didn’t have feelings for him I felt like a failure, to myself, to my family to everything I knew until then. I felt miserable for a couple of years but never had the courage to end it, instead I was a coward and did the worst thing I could do and cheated on him. This was against all my principles and I couldn’t bear the guilt, so I told him and asked for a divorce.

At the time I was so eager for love and to be happy that i just wanted to meet someone new and feel good again.

I met a few good guys, some not that good that lied to get what they wanted. Obviously that messed me up a bit and I just decided to take it slow.

I then met someone online and started a virtual relationship. This guy was everything I thought it didn’t exist and made me feel alive, happy and I trusted him with everything. I could talk to him as I never could with anyone else. I was always smiling and felt like I was living a dream. I think that I was truly happy. He challenged me to be a better person and I loved the way I was then. I fell for him badly and asked if we could meet up. This was the end of it! He said that he felt the same way about me but couldn’t pursue more than virtual. Obviously he had something to hide and I could never found out what it was.

After that, I felt that I couldn’t trust my instincts and everything I did was wrong so I closed myself in my little bubble, my little world. My friends always tried to take me out of that bubble and I “pretended” that everything was ok. They wanted me to go out again and take risks. I knew they were right, but I just didn’t trust myself and I was really hurt.

I then met a guy (online again), and told myself that I had to do something if I wanted to find love and, decided that i should listen to my friends. I decided that I should give it a chance. The problem was that I found myself comparing the way I felt before and the way I felt then, and it wasn’t enough. Since then it’s never enough! Because I decided to take a chance, I ended up hurting someone I started to consider as my friend! L That wasn’t fair!

I stopped seeking for love and just carried on with my life. Again I felt I couldn’t trust my feelings, myself and I had no right to hurt other people because of my insecurities.

This year something changed in my mind (don’t know exactly when or why), but I refused to think there is no such thing as true love. It has to be someone out there for me, right? Wrong again!

I went on vacation with some friends and started talking a bit more with my friend’s brother. My hopeful mind thought that “this is it”, “this is meant to be”. So I took a chance again. We have been going out since July. Our relationship was never going to be easy because its long distance and, we would be together like once a month. But he is such a nice, good guy and really cares about me.

Because he doesn’t have that much experience with women, he gets a bit anxious when we are together and loses erection whenever we try to have sex. In the beginning that was fine with me and I understood, but because we are away from each other all the time, and because the intimacy between us is “broken”, every time we are together my insecurities come out.

He went to the doctor a few days ago and he told him that this is just anxiety and he gave him some pills to help him relax and to give him the confidence he needs. He is doing everything he can to keep us together, but I started thinking that this is not enough and that I should end this before I break his heart.

But I also think that I’m giving up too easy and this is just my insecurities talking. That I need to keep this relationship going and find out that it was just a step that I needed to overcome.

But then again, I’m afraid that I might not love him the way he does me and I might hurt him. I’m afraid that I might stay in this relationship because I just don’t want to hurt him or because I just don’t want to fail again. I’m afraid of losing faith in love. I’m afraid to not believe love can happen and I’m afraid of not being able to love again!

If I did love him, would I have all these doubts?

Can someone help me to make sense of my feelings? I really need to sort my head, my heart, my life... I don’t want to hurt someone I care for again.... I also don’t want to settle because I’m afraid...

I’m 34 years old. I’m not a child any more but I feel that I can’t trust any decision I make...

(I apologise in advance for the long essay)

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Dear ConfusedWoman

I believe your problems stem back to your time when married (did you actually get divorced?). There are some things you say (and don't say) that maybe could point to a way forward. Very often when thing go astray, you have to go back to that point of departure to address those issues before you can go forward. I think there are a number of unresolved issues you need to face. So let me just (kindly) challenge some of these aspects, which I hope will help you progress.

"I was married for almost 8 years. It was a very difficult marriage". You didn't say anything about what was difficult. Why didn't you? Those difficulties need to be examined, not glossed over. To what extent did you contribute to those difficulties? Whatever contribution you might have made needs to be addressed, or you take that 'facility' with you wherever you go.

"somehow along this period I fell out of love of my ex". You don't 'somehow' fall out of love. Firstly, 'love' is not something you fall into or out of, despite the popular expression. You have responsibility for your loving, and you control it. "I didn’t have feelings for him" is not 'out of love'. Love is not a feeling, it is an action. Secondly, 'somehow' is avoiding thinking about what happened. You need to look back at when you stopped loving, and find out why you decided to do so.

"sometimes I even wonder if I ever loved him!"... and presumably sometimes you don't. So you did.

"I thought marriage was for life", and so it should be. But you made the decision to end it. I know you said you "asked for a divorce", but you initiated it because you "couldn’t bear the guilt". But you still have that guilt! That has not been dealt with. Divorce does not deal with guilt, it adds to it.

"When I realized I didn’t have feelings for him I felt like a failure", but you didn't do anything about your feeling like a failure. Why didn't you? In fact you need to realise the difference between 'you failed' (you did!) and 'you are a failure' (you are not!).

"a failure ... to everything I knew until then" what was the 'everything you knew'? 'until then' indicates you know something else now. Wis that? How does that alter things?

No wonder you 'felt miserable for a couple of years'. The guilt was eating you. "the courage to end it" was not necessarily 'courage'! You knew you shouldn't. You went against your conscience.

"I was a coward and did the worst thing I could do and cheated on him". It was cowardly in at least, butRealising it was 'the worst thing you could do', you have not done anything to deal with the wrong. It is still an unresolved issue, unless you have asked for and received forgiveness.

"This was against all my principles" This is possibly the greatest issue you need to face. What are (were) those principles? Can you detail them? Do they stem from religious conviction? Is you behaviour since then in conformity to, or in conflict with, those principles and convictions?

"I told him" That was not a loving thing to do, but rather selfish. It was only because you "couldn’t bear the guilt", with no concern for his feelings. In fact, you have not related his responses at all.

"I told him and asked for a divorce" sounds like a determination, leaving him little option.

All these unresolved issues are still hanging over you, and impact on every aspect of your life.

May I suggest you think about these things and answer the questions (you will have actually answered them honestly to yourself first anyway, even if you argue against those answers subsequently!), though not necessarily expressed publicly. Maybe see a suitable counsellor who is in tune with your real principles.

I hope this helps.

 

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I really appreciate you taking the time to reply for challenging me to think. I can tell you that I have done nothing but thinking about everything that has happened in my life and trying to figure out if there was anything I could’ve done differently. I also know that you have to be responsible for the choices you make and bear the consequences. After the fact, we can only accept, learn and try to improve for future. I wouldn’t be here if I thought I was doing a good job in learning and moving on, for that reason, if telling my about my marriage helps me with that, I can also discuss it.

My ex had a business partnership with his father and brother. By the time we got married, the company started having finance difficulties, but they decided to do what they could to keep the business running. They’ve requested several loans from different banks to pay up debts and be able to keep working. We also invested all the money we had saved in the company and part of my salary (which was the only income we had back then) was to pay company expenses. I always supported my ex’s decisions and trusted his judgment, until we found out that the money from the loans was never used to pay debts or suppliers. His brother was the person responsible for finance and used the money for his own benefit. I know this was his brother we were talking about, but he was jeopardizing the future of our family and didn’t show any remorse or any intent of doing anything to pay back the money he took. His brother’s actions were going to have repercussions, and debts had to be paid. The company was bankrupt but they insisted in keeping it going. I finally managed to convince my ex to give up the company and start thinking about our future. He finally agreed that it was the best thing to do and decided to open a business of his own. He opened a café (which was his long time dream). He also tried to convince his father to give up as well, but he decided to keep the business and thought he could make his son come to his senses.

He worked really hard and long hours and I helped him as much as I could after leaving my own work. Because I would normally go home alone, we decided to move to my parent’s house, which was near the café and would allow me to be near him and not be alone in the evenings.

The fact is that this new business changed our lives and our couple routine. I tried my best to help him with his dream, but everything I did was never good enough and was always wrong. I started doubting myself and my capabilities and we would argue about everything and nothing. He became very aggressive towards me and very jealous, abusive and controlling. I completely lost my self-esteem.

After a fight, he would get home and try to have sex with me as if nothing has happened, and I simply couldn’t. If he approached me differently and tried to talk things through, I would probably consider it, but he was rude and aggressive, I couldn’t bear the idea of having him touching me.

I tried to tell him that I wasn’t happy, I was depressive and cried myself to sleep every night. But he simply didn’t listen and just kept on being like that. During this period we split up several times. He would go to his parents and I would stay with mine.

Because I was also having a stressful period at my work, I thought that I was probably the problem, that I wasn’t being patient or supportive enough. So I decided to take a break from my career and dedicate myself to our marriage. In the beginning I saw glimpses of improvement and we were finally talking again about our future together, about getting a place of our own, about children, etc. But things started getting worse again. We didn’t spend enough time as a couple because he worked long hours and instead of making the effort, he did the opposite. He started going out after work with his friends and coming home early morning (sometimes drunk). I resented him for this and we started arguing again.

The break point for me was when on one of our fights he lifted his hand to hit me (he didn’t though), but I saw then in his eyes a person I didn’t know before. I told him that I couldn’t take it anymore, asked him to move out and that I wanted a divorce.

He stayed away for a week or so, and came back to apologize and to say that he would be a better husband if I would take him back. He said that he wanted to spend more time with me and make the effort. I didn’t see him with the same eyes as I did before but I thought I had to do everything I could to keep our marriage and our life together, so I did.

A few months later he said that the café was not profitable enough and it was time to sell it. He had several work proposals, but the one he decided to accept was to work for his brother (which was by then the major partner of his old company). We both knew that he was still living the same life (which was spending more than he won and not paying his suppliers and employees). I didn’t agree with his decision, told him about it, but I let things go, because I was tired of fighting.

By then we were looking for our own place and would need all the money we could get, so I also went back to work.
We finally signed the contract of our own house and we were just waiting for it to be ready to move in, when my ex decided to inform me that he “lent” the money that we had saved from selling the café and which was supposed to be invested in our house, to his brother. Useless is to say that I also didn’t agree to this and was really upset that he had done that without asking me first. I saw this as a lack of respect and as a betrayal to our future and our marriage. But once again, I let another thing go, for sake of our marriage.

A few months after that, everything that his brother was doing came out. We were now receiving our mail at our new place and received letters from the bank and from the state foreclosing his parent’s house and our piece of land due to miss payments (these properties were given as guarantees to the bank for the loans taken years ago). The loans were done under the company’s name, but because my ex was a partner at the time he was also responsible for them (me too being married to him). The only reason we didn’t know about miss payments before was because all the letters were being sent to the official company address and his brother was not passing them to us. We confronted him about this and they got into a huge fight and stopped talking for a while. He also stopped working for him and accepted a job abroad.

At this stage, I was in the marriage just because I didn’t want to disappoint my family or myself and believed that I should always do the effort because marriage should be forever.

Once he moved abroad I realized that I didn’t miss him at all. I didn’t feel the urge to speak or know how he was or tell him about how I was. He did the same. I knew then that I didn’t love him and that I didn’t want to keep this life of deception, hurt and sadness, but I didn’t do anything. I just let time pass by as if I wasn’t living.

I had a work colleague that was having some personal problems and he trusted me, so I helped him overcome his issues. We got closer together and I end up cheating on my husband. This person had no meaning to me, besides being a friend, and the only reason I did what I did was because he made me feel like I was worth something, which I didn’t feel for a long time. I know I was weak, coward and selfish and this made me re-thing my values and my character and I didn’t like the person I was becoming or the choices I was making. I really regretted what I did and didn’t want to hurt my ex. But also didn’t want to keep living in denial either. I told him that I wanted a divorce and that I didn’t love him anymore. I told him that I cheated. He eventually told me that he cheated on me as well, when he had the café and asked if we could try again, but I simply couldn’t do it. I went to far, I did things I never thought I would do, and I broke my principles, just because I wasn’t true to myself.

We signed divorce papers 2 months later.

I don’t regret getting a divorce, I regret not doing it when I thought it was time to move on.

When I said I didn’t know if I ever loved him I was being completely honest, because I really don’t know. I don’t know if the person I married to, which was loving, caring and family orientated ever existed. How could he? The only person I saw at the end of our marriage was someone who still defended his brother even knowing that he hit is mother because she questioned his life options! Or the person who put his brother first on top of our future! The person who lied to me and his family to protect him. I could only see the rude, aggressive and possessive man that he became. That wasn’t the men I fell in love with!?

A lot of other things happened in-between… like I had to move abroad because my salary was being distained by the state, and I wasn’t able to pay my mortgage. His brother was killed by his own father in law because he destroyed their lives as well. Etc etc etc .. I do have a lot of baggage and I’m still paying for my decisions.

I think I answered all your questions, however If I didn’t or if you think my line of reasoning is completely wrong, please kindly tell me so.

Thanks you.
CondusedWoman
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Dear CW

I appreciate you writing that so fully. I wasn't expecting you to answer the questions in public, but rather to use them as a focal point to put your more recent experiences into some sort of framework. I hope that having written about your experiences has helped. The account you have written presents a different picture from your short synopsis (that's not a criticism; just an observation). "Trying to figure out if there was anything [you] could’ve done differently" is only really useful if you can not only "accept, learn and try to improve for future", but also resolve the situation in your mind. There are very often things we "could’ve done differently", but hindsight is always acquired too late!

You recognise that you "do have a lot of baggage", and that is what I mean about "resolving the situation in your mind". Coming to terms with the past and taking it with you as experience rather than baggage is the goal.

By saying "I’m still paying for my decisions" you are making baggage. If you could say "I’m having to progress in the light of my decisions" you would be using experience.

Give me time to read again your outpouring, please, so that I can respond more fully later. But I wanted to acknowledge your posting, and let you know I am thinking about you still.

I hope to be in touch again. (It's bed-time - 23:00 - here in UK!)

 

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