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I know I'm co-dependent but can't seem to act
August 30, 2006
10:21 am
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wazz
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I have been struggling with a co-dependency problem for over five years now and despise myself for not being able to move on.

My boyfriend is now married - although he wasn't when I met him, however the wedding was already planned.

When we met, it was instant attraction and we seemed to meet each other's needs perfectly - I had been separated from my husband for four years and was not keen to enter into a full blown relationship (in fact, he was the first man I had even countenanced) - he was about to be married in five months' time, but his girlfriend fell short - I guess, in bed.

During the following five months, we saw each other more and more, eventually every day. In that time, I fell in love with him, but didn't tell him, as I had decided that I'd made my bed and must lie in it. He went away to be married, and I took it on the chin, thinking that would be an end of the relationship.

It wasn't. He phoned and texted me everyday he was away and when he came back six weeks later, I - despite my better judgment - fell into his arms. We carried on where we'd left off.

Then he got his wife pregnant and I tried really hard to leave him - to the point where I began dating another man. My boyfriend's jealousy was such that I ditched the other man and took him back. I was heartbroken when his son was born, but it seemed to make little difference to him. By then we had admitted that we were in love - he seemed to think I should have stopped him getting married - but I felt that was his responsibility, not mine.

I began binge drinking, to a point where it was upsetting my teenage son. This continued for about three years until I came to my senses and realised that the answer wasn't in the bottom of a bottle.

My boyfriend, however, is drinking more and more, every day, first thing in the morning and throughout the day. He is deeply unfulfilled in his marriage, spending every spare minute with me rather than his family. He cannot leave his son (now 4) as he has two daughters by two previous relationships, both of whom were taken from him as babies (one mother left for another man, the other wanted to go back to her family in Italy).

For both our sakes, we should end our relationship, which is both fiercely passionate and highly destructive. Again, it's going to have to be down to me, as I know he won't leave his son (he's told me he would leave his wife for me tomorrow). He is completely unable to take responsibility for his actions - but for me, it's like choosing between losing an arm or losing a leg - whatever I do is going to hurt.

There's so much more to this story, which I would be happy to share - but my basic question is a simple one: Where do I find the strength to do something that is going to hurt me so badly? Where does anyone?

August 30, 2006
10:42 am
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CAMER
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you know you need to end the relationship, the hardest thing is "doing it".....why not just distance yourself from this man and take the "separation" in baby steps if you cannot end the relationship completely.

You know the relationship isn't healthy, and the longer you stay in it the harder it will be to get out.

August 30, 2006
10:50 am
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southgoingzax
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wazz,

I am trying to do the same thing, after 4 years....I know I am addicted to him, that, even though the relationship doesn't make me feel good, I crave his attention. It hurts. I have stopped calling him, that was my first step. I am trying to find other things to do with my time than spend my weekends with him. I haven't spent any time with him since August 5th. I am also trying to make new friends, people who don't know him, so that I can have a social life and not be reminded of him all the time. I am trying to learn how to respect myself enough to know that the relationship is unhealthy, he can never give me the emotional commitment I want and deserve, so that eventually I will be able to let go.

So, what Camer said is right - if you can't do this all at once, do the best you can. Read books on codependency and unhealthy relationships and choices, get into counseling if you can, start trying to develop other meaningful things/activities/friends in your life. Once you can love and resppect yourself, then maybe it wont be so hard to let go.

At least, that's what I am hoping. Good luck,

zax

August 30, 2006
11:45 am
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StronginHim77
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wazz -

RUN -- do not walk -- to the nearest therapist. You need to find out WHY you have chosen to invest yourself in a dead-end relationship with an alcoholic who lacks morals, has serious commitment issues and is betraying his wife (i.e., he is an adulterer). The man has an integrity and character rating of ZERO. What would attract you to a ZERO? You need to find out, so that you can recover from your addiction to him.

- Strong

August 30, 2006
12:19 pm
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atalose
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Strong is so right, get yourself into therapy ASAP. You need to find out why you are willing to accept so little for yourself. With the help of a therapist you will be able to leave this man and become healthy for yourself. We all take the chance of being hurt by love, that hurt is something we all can and do survive.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

August 30, 2006
12:51 pm
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wazz
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To strong and atalose: I am in therapy already, which is how I discovered there was such a condition as co-dependency.

My therapist has led me to explore many issues from my childhood which has helped to explain my current low self-esteem - but as yet I can't come up with the solution.

It seems silly to say 'but I love him' as an excuse, but I do. Probably in the same way as those women who have been beaten by their husbands yet still stick around do - you forgive everything.

Believe me, I'm not deluded - I can see that this is completely wrong - but I think it's going to take years of therapy before I can find a way to deal with it.

There was an 'old me' that was a very successful advertising copywriter, combined motherhood with my career, and probably was perceived to have it all. (Sadly I was in a static marriage, with a husband whom I did not love or particularly respect any more.) That 'old me' would never have put up with a situation like my current one.

IS THERAPY THE ONLY ANSWER?

August 30, 2006
1:00 pm
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wazz -

Yes. Therapy. Reading all that you can on the subject. CODA meetings. Prayer. (LOTS of prayer.) And the willingness to endure some pain, in order to recover and have a better quality of life.

I think you might need to take a moral inventory, as well. Doesn't having an adulterous affair trouble your conscience? Imagine how his wife would feel? She is the true victim here and you are a knowing acomplice to his betrayal of his wedding vows. If he has made a "mistake," then integrity would dictate that he seek a divorce, THEN take up with another woman. To do otherwise is deceitful, weak and lacking character.

August 30, 2006
1:21 pm
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wazz
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strong

Of course I have studied my own morals in this case. I feel deeply torn by my love for this man and guilt about his wife and child. His wife knows about the relationship (she reads his texts and has followed him to my house in the past) and seems to accept it. Of course, that doesn't make it right.

I am very much aware that he is weak, deceitful, etc. I am weak, too, in this instance, and yes, I am aiding his deception indirectly.

There is a part of me that tells me I deserve this pain because of that.

You have put your finger on my dilemma where you have highlighted the willingness to endure some pain etc. I am scared of any more.

I will investigate CODA meetings in my area - I think they could be very useful, as AA has worked for me.

August 30, 2006
1:41 pm
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I can completely relate. After my separation from my husband, I fell into a passionate affair with a man who is not relationship material. I thought it was exactly what I wanted – after the ending of my marriage, but I wasn’t being emotionally honest with myself in thinking that I didn’t want more from him – affection, attention, validation.

I have never felt this sort of physical attraction with anyone else before and so, it’s overwhelming for me, but if you read Erica Jong (who has quite a bit of this sort of experience!), she finally gave up her addiction to what she called “instant orgasm” for something more profound. I think I have to try to have faith that there is something better - and it may be fear that there isn't that may prevents us from leaving behind what is already failing us and tearing us apart spiritually ...

I wish you luck on your journey.

August 30, 2006
1:43 pm
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atalose
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(((Sadly I was in a static marriage))) you are in a static relationship now as well. You are repeating the same pattern again. I would find a CODA meeting in your area and buy some books on the subject.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

August 30, 2006
3:21 pm
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wazz
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new moon

you write about your post-marriage relationship as if it's in the present.

i have read early Erica Jong (Fear of Flying, How to save your own life, parachutes and kisses) - what are the books to which you're referring?

i didn't enter into this relationship the minute my marriage ended, i waited 4 years in the belief that life was simply easier without a man.

i think it was partly that which freed me up to enjoy myself sexually with my current involvement - it felt like Erica's classic zipless fuck - no strings. how we delude ourselves.

i am under no delusions now, seeing this affair for exactly what it is. i would love to believe that there is something better, but right now it feels that the best that could be is if we could somehow be together. i get so angry with myself for enabling this relationship to be, but it's a constant battle between my head and my heart always.

if i was hearing all this from one of my friends, i would advise her to end the relationship and move on - to get a life - but i can't take my own good advice myself. if only there was a magic wand...

i put in a lot of hard work to cure my self of the problems with alcohol that i succumbed to when he went off to get married etc., and I'm not afraid to put in the same hard work to sort this problem out - it's just that i will find it much harder to be without him than a bottle of wine.

as I write, i can see the solution - i'm just plain scared...

August 30, 2006
4:26 pm
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dear wazz -

This is such a tough situation and yes, my story is different - I rushed into something - and definitely experienced a sexual liberation. That being said - I'm not emotionally ready and I know that, but still...

Yes, it *is* scary! But you are not alone. We all have monsters under our beds. If you were hearing this from one of your friends, as you say, you would give wise advice. And I bet you would also be very understanding and compassionate. You deserve that, too - 🙂

August 30, 2006
5:20 pm
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wazz
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dear newmoon

thanks for your understanding message.

it's very easy for others to judge a situation like this. i never intended to be a married man's mistress - if i had been that predatory, i would have gone for the gold card and a flat in knightsbridge - (joke!).

he wasn't married when i met him, and i think somewhere inside, i didn't believe he would go through with it.

i did a bit of cosmic ordering before his wedding and asked the universe to give him to me. it did. unfortunately, i didn't word my request very well.

be careful what you wish for - it may just come true.

i hope you are coping better than i am at the moment. xx

August 30, 2006
8:55 pm
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wazz -

Now that you KNOW...now that he is MARRIED and has a child whose life could be destroyed by losing its father - couldn't you do the Right Thing and step back?

I have always believed we need to make the decisions which we will NOT regret in 60 years.

August 31, 2006
4:27 am
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wazz
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strong

i am sorry you feel the need to be judgmental here.

i have been entirely honest about my feelings and situation, and 'holier than thou' is not helpful.

as i'm sure you appreciate, it is difficult to give up the person you love, despite circumstances.

i am trying very hard to 'do the right thing' - why do you think i asked this website for help in the first place?

wazz

August 31, 2006
6:27 am
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alycia
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I dont believe strong is being judgemental, you are getting honest replies and i know the truth hurts.

He is married and he does have a child and in having a child myself, i would see the other woman as evil (if there was one) especially when she knows he is taken and anyone will view the other woman as evil, even you...

For 4 and a half yrs you have been the other woman, i feel saddened that you have wasted all those years on someone who admitted he will never leave his wife for you.

I question the integrity and the substance of a person who has kids here there and everywhere, honestly ..

My ex has 4 kids to three different women and that does truly say alot about someone, that mere small fact...

My input was merely to defend strong, she is a helpful caring lady who steers noone in the wrong direction, you asked for help and you got truthful responses, i am sorry noone replied saying, i am sorry darling, you are doing a great job.....

Yes its hard to leave, but its going to be hard to keep this going still when he is sitting along side his wife at the retirement home ....

You can get the sex somewhere else, i am quoting you saying its passionate... Don't do this to his wife and child anymore......

August 31, 2006
7:07 am
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Hi Wazz. I know how hard this is despite all the morals and judgments passed on to you. It probably makes things much worse for you than being really helpful. Im not going to say right or wrong here just that, by putting this in the past and learn from this mistake will be the biggest lesson in life. You cannot help who you fall in love for, wasnt in your plans. What you must deal with is today and how you can get to a better way of life. Unfortunately the only real cure from this destructive love is time and healing for yourself and that is probably going to mean keeping your lover distant and out of sight. Pining hopes and whatever he says to you to keep you to stay you know is not going to happen despite the wishful thinking. If he really wanted to be with you as passionate as you describe this relationship, he would have been with you at the start, he would not have gotten married, he would not have had a child, etc. He would be with you today, right now and he is not. He is not dealing with the hard stuff like you are. Im not doubting his feelings at all. You say you are not blind to any of this. You are dealing with a man who will say things to keep you on the side, he will tell you what you want to hear. Nevermind the guilt trip laid to you by others here, just put yourself aside and think of yourself. I feel you can do this and find someone who can do better for you. The longer you stay in this the worse it will become. Like I said we cannot help who we fall for and love but we can't always keep it or make it work. I think letting go of this is the answer but it will take a lot of hard work, growing and mostly just time. You will heal.

August 31, 2006
8:42 am
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wazz
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taj 64 is right, the morals and judgments are making things much worse, especially when people (alycia) begin to resort to sarcasm.

believe it or not, i have a similar moral code, alycia, but i would not condemn someone who simply fell in love with the wrong person as 'evil', just sad. i did not deliberately set out to wreck a marriage. i have never asked him to leave his wife for me. i wish i had never met him - but i did, and i'm trying to deal with it in the best way i can...and if you think i was looking for a medal, you couldn't be more wrong.

i am and have always been my harshest critic, so the fact that he has a wife and child is against everything i stand for...i was married myself for 14 years and have a teenage son - yes, alycia, what an example i must be setting. there was no infidelity in my marriage whatsoever, my ex has happily remarried and lives on the other side of the world. this is the only time in my life that i've been involved in anything like this and i am very clear what has to be done. all i have been trying to find here is the strength to do it.

thank you taj for not taking the moral high ground. that's an easy shot.

August 31, 2006
8:58 am
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These are the words I live by:

"Doing what's right, isn't always what's easy". (this is not sarcasm)

We only get out of life what we settle for. And sometimes, it's more difficult to do what's best for ourselves. But well worth it in the end.

Best wishes...

August 31, 2006
9:40 am
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Dear Wazz:

From my experience, I think that I endured the pain of an emotionally abusive relationship because of self-esteem issues. Subconsciously, I believed that I couldn't do better and had to settle for very little, which was not true.

You wrote that [I] "despise myself for not being able to move on." It also seems that you have medicated your emotional pain in different ways. These are issues that you can address and which will help you to heal.

I would like to suggest a few volumes that have helped me to recognize my own issues, have given me insight into what I must do to be better for me, and have guided me into making changes in my life.

The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships by Patrick J. Carnes. This book addresses trauma, addiction (including love and sex) and recovery. If you don't read anything else, read this and work through the excercises.

Women Who Love to Much by Robin Norwood.

Women, Sex & Addiction by Charlotte Davis Kasl

The Six-Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden.

Please be compassionate and kind to yourself. Work on you. With greater self-appreciation you will move on to a better life for yourself.

Warm regards and best wishes,

Moon & Stars

August 31, 2006
9:58 am
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I believe you are trying to do what you feel is right. And I also believe you have strength but just need understanding. As a woman it is often other women that do the condemning. And it is the woman that takes the heat. Evil is a description of person who has no conscience, that is evil. I have done my share to condemn believe me, and when I have realize what I have done, I learned. I try to be better. You're not out to hurt anyone at least not intentionally. And you seem like you know what is going on and you know the answer already but finding it hard to move on because your heart and feelings are hurt. I also understand that his wife is aware and knows where you live and she knows what she is in for. She is not a true victim because she can control what has happened to her. She has a choice just like you do only she chooses to not exercise because of her feelings too. so Im not really seeing a victim anymore than you are victim or even your boyfriend. What it boils down to is two woman loving the same man and he is caught in the middle. If you let this go, he will have choices and most likely he will choose to stay home. Actually as much as it hurts, he already has made his choice. And since he is telling you something, it could very well be totally different than what you are perceiving it to be or what he is portraying to be because if his marriage is all that bad, he could just leave. It is all about choice and making good choices. You would not be struggling so much if you know in your heart if this was a good choice. And this experience will teach for next time to make a better choice, one that is good for you. The fact that both your boyfriend and his wife live this way in denial and not dealing with their own relationship, and making choices to stay stuck, is a pretty good indication of how it would end up being for you, only you would be the one ending up checking and driving around. A victim is someone who cannot control what is happening to them and nobody is a victim in this threesome. You've got strength, you just have to exercise it more. If you truly want to move on, get out now before it does get worse. Do what is best for you to clear a path for something better, not this. Your son is very smart, even though he is young, and sometimes they know what is best for us even if at the time we think we do.

August 31, 2006
10:28 am
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wazz
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Jenni and Moon - thank you. I've just ordered 'The Betrayal Bond' on Amazon.

Taj - you've SO got it. Of course his marriage can't be that bad - of course he would leave if it was.

In the four-year gap between my ex-husband leaving and this man appearing in my life, I was truly content to be on my own...I want to find that place again. I don't ever want to feel like a victim.

You say 'get out before it gets worse' - I don't see how it can get any worse. I hit rock bottom when I was trying to drink the pain away - and I'm long over that stage. I just don't want to drift along like this.

All I have wanted in the past few years is to be able to share simple pleasures with the man I love - shopping for groceries together, reading the Sundays in bed, etc. If that's so evil - then I guess Alycia is right.

My son IS very smart - he is blessed with enormous compassion - he not only knows what's best for me, he is what's best for me.

I will use all my (rusty) resources to try to reconstruct my life. It's not just the relationship that's the issue, I have to rebuild my career and try to move house as well. Those must be my priorities now, not just for myself, but for my amazing son.

Thank you for such insight. You sound like an amazing person too.

August 31, 2006
10:39 am
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See you so strong even if you don't feel it, others can. It sounds as if you want something really nice but trying to get this with a man who cannot possibly be available to give you. It is hard to see and think of dreams and then have a person come into your life and mess with your heart. You didnt mean for it to happen this way, but it did. It could easily get worse, trust me, just when you think it cannot, it can but this is the part that you can control. Having control is having strength. Nobody said it would be easy but worth it in the long run. To keep me going I think long term. I think a year or two from now, this will be behind me. I will be in totally different place and setting. But if you choose to keep it going the way it is now, that is exactly how it will be a year from now. Self esteem has a lot to do with it. All three of you lack this. And once you build up your self esteem, you won't want this man, and you will see him in a different way. Just keep hanging in there and focus on your own world and remember the past as a lesson. You cannot change it but you can learn from it. I keep repeating myself but it is what you do to learn something, repeat (even if a mistake and takes a few times!). You're doing fine for today.

August 31, 2006
12:44 pm
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wazz
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thank you taj. xx

August 31, 2006
5:08 pm
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cloud nine
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it is really hard to step back from a relationship that is unhealthy and destructive , I feel for you ,

im trying to step back from relationships that make me unhappy and have no future ,

today i contacted two of my exes after a bottle of wine, So stupid is just beyond belief
I forgive myself , I do .

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