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Pain and confusion over current relationship -- abusive?
February 19, 2003
10:36 am
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I have so much inner turmoil regarding a new relationship, and I have no idea where to begin. I guess I should at least give some background first...

Just over 2 years ago, I left an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. It was extremely hard for me to break away from him, and I honestly believed I would never be attracted to anyone ever again. I was certain nobody would ever love me, and I was so in love with my abuser that I swore I would never be able to find anyone else. I was wrong. After 2 years of being single (I went on 2 or 3 dates in that time, and none of them ever progressed to more than a first or second date), I've finally decided (and truly felt) that I am ready to enter a relationship again...should the right guy come along.

Currently, I am seeing someone, and I have a really bad feeling about it. I don't know if this is the after effects of being in an abusive relationship, or if I'm just in denial, but something feels very wrong to me. It makes me cringe to type these words, and I do it regretfully because I just wish everything would feel 'right' to me. I know we need to sit down and talk about it, but I also know that as soon as we do that, I will lose him. This is what perplexes me the most. If I'm so unhappy about things, why would I care if I lost him?

I feel like things started off on the wrong foot between us. He was fresh out of a relationship (one in which HE was the dumpee), and he desperately wanted his ex-girlfriend back. However, when I showed my interest in him, he decided he wanted to start seeing me. I was thrilled because I'd had a crush on him all year, and I couldn't believe my luck when he and his girl finally broke up. Anyway, the morning after a particularly good night together, he sent me an email informing me that he wasn't over his ex yet -- that he still thinks of her -- and he wanted to "slow things down" with us and end the physical aspect of our relationship because it "wasn't fair [to me]" that he still had those feelings for her. I was genuinely hurt by this -- and I didn't appreciate the way in which he addressed the issue. I felt we should have talked in person, and I told him so -- and then I gave him 3 weeks of the silent treatment while I processed my thoughts and feelings. During this time, he says he made a "last ditch effort" at getting his ex back by writing a 22 page letter listing all the things he loved about her. When she didn't respond, he decided she was a "bit#h" and somehow "turned a corner" where his feelings for me were concerned. He told me that I might not believe him, but he's through with letting his past run his present and future -- and he claimed he didn't want to ruin his chances to pursue other avenues (namely ME). I guess my 3 weeks of silence made him realize how much he wanted to be with me -- or am I just completely the rebound gal?

Aside from that thought eating me up inside, he's a sarcastic person who says things that anger me -- and he simply thinks he's just being funny. For example, I showed up 15 minutes early to a movie we saw the other night mistakenly thinking it started earlier than it did. When I called him to see why he was running 'late', his reply was "No, Doofus...the movie doesn't start until such and such time." Doofus. I'm sorry, but he might do that with his friends, but someone you're dating...? He also has a habit of calling people "dumb" or he'll say "If you say dumb stuff, expect a dumb answer." He always pads his comments with a smile. I don't find him to be so funny. I've even told him so in the past. It hasn't stopped him from doing it. I'm tired of his sarcasm.

So what exactly am I getting from this man that makes me sad at the prospect of losing him? Honestly, it's the physical benefits. We're very very good together where that's concerned, and I don't want to lose that. It's stupid, I know, but very true. Secondly, he makes me feel desireable -- something I can't understand because I have very low self-esteem. Thirdly, after leaving my abuser, I had to cut ties with my old friends so that jerk wouldn't find me. The guy I'm dating now is in my only social circle. As a matter of fact, we are both best friends with the same person (who happens to be a guy), and I don't want to split up our social circle by not being with him anymore. In order for me to get over him, I would need to adopt a 'no contact' policy -- and that would be nearly impossible considering our social circle. After basically being friendless for so long, I'm not eager to lose the only group of friends I have right now. Besides, I'm so close with everyone else in our group -- we're just alike -- and I don't want to stop hanging out with them just because of him.

*sigh* I'm truly torn by this. I have a list of things that bother me about him, yet I feel I can't afford to lose him. I feel so screwed up right now.

Oh- and another thing -- (sorry, but I have no one to vent to) -- he just makes these snide remarks about me that really hurt. I was sick for 2 weeks...very sick...and he made a comment about how I'm "always sick and have a bad immune system" -- just rude things like that. And he'll say it right after telling me he's happy I'm feeling better.

I can't deal with his lack of support and I can't bear the thought of being a time-filler for him. I don't want to be the woman he settled for because he couldn't get the woman he TRULY wanted, and yet how do I trust that maybe he really *does* like me?

God...I'm just really hurting today. : (

February 19, 2003
10:44 am
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I guess the only hope of finding out if he really does care about you is to sit him down and lay out what you just did here. I know I have said things that hurt others in the past, thinking I was just being a wiseass and making others laugh. Without thinking sometimes you can cut really deeply. Like his comment about your immune system -- to me, that's not a rude comment. I could see me saying that to someone , meaning, maybe you should take extra vitamins or something, since a low immune system may very well be the problem! I guess, trying to be helpful could be interpreted as rude here, if you took it personally. I think you are probably gun shy because of your last relationship. (Which I don't blame you!!) The doofus comment, to me doofus is a loving mushy nickname. I can think of lots worse! HOWEVER, what is important here is that you are uncomfortable. If you don't say anything, how will he know this bothers you? If he cares, he will feel bad, explain to you how he meant things, and work on his wordings. I am leaning toward this being the case, I hope for you. 🙂 Good luck and have a great day!

February 19, 2003
10:50 am
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It's not that I'm oversensitive and freaking out about "doofus"...it's the way he says it that comes off so entirely rude and ignorant. He talks down to people constantly.

You're right. I need to just talk to him. Thanks.

February 19, 2003
10:50 am
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You've done your work, you've taken time for yourself to work things through, and this guy has not. Yes, you are the rebound girl. No, it has nothing to do with you. Someone rebounding has nothing to do with the person being bounced to. It's all about them, not you. This guy is going through a lot of pain over the breakup, and his behavior is understandable, but I don't think it's something you want (or need, or deserve) to put up with. If he needs a woman to get him over his ex, OK, fine. But there is no law anywhere that says that you have to be that woman.

Let's suppose that this guy couldn't have sex, that he is physically impotent. Would you still be in turmoil over getting rid of him? Sure, the sex is great, of course it's going to be great! How long has it been since your last relationship? 2 Years? And since that last guy was abusive, it's probably been a lot longer since you felt physically appreciated by a man. That's a powerful feeling, and I can't discount that. But. Assuming that you have sex with someone for an hour a day, every day, and are awake for 16 hours a day, that's stil 15 hours a day that this guy isn't worth your time.

He told you that he isn't ready. His ex sure doesn't want him, even after a 22 page letter. Shouldn't that tell you something? If you want to date him and love him expecting that he is going to change, become less sarcastic, become someone that he is not, you are setting yourself up for a fall. He is not going to change into who you hope he is. He is showing you and telling you who he is. Is this someone you want? Just because you are now ready for a relationship doesn't mean that the very next Joe who comes along is going to be right for you. Keep interviewing, keep dating, just because you go on a date or three doesn't mean Relationship City.

Go chill out and get a cup of coffee (or herbal tea or what have you). Then come back and read your post with a fresh pair of eyes. What's it telling you?

Your gut is telling you that something is not right here. Honor that intuition, it is *rarely* wrong.

February 19, 2003
11:06 am
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I agree with Gingerleigh. This guy really needs time to heal from his last relationship. When I read your post my heart immediately went out to you. I can feel the pain that you are dealing with right now. You have to trust your gut on this though. It is not worth the physical satisfaction to put yourself through the emotional and mental turmoil that you are experiencing. It doesn't mean that you have to stop socializing with him in the group setting or completely break off from contact with him. But you have to respect yourself enough to trust your judgement on this.

February 19, 2003
11:33 am
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Hi mckenzie,
Your new here?

My advice to you is this...Focus on you. You can't change anyone but yourself.

Tell yourself how special you are. Tell yourself you love yourself.
Tell yourself that you respect your judgement and will heed your tuitions.
Tell yourself that you Respect yourself.
Self love is essential to finding a healthy relationship.
Don't settle for anyone out of fear of not being loved ever again.
Start with learning to love and respect yourself and then you will be ready to have boundaries and healed wounds from past experiences so that you don't have to be abused again and again....and again. 🙂
Hugs to You and Welcome!

February 19, 2003
3:05 pm
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I agree with everyone that your feeling of unease is probably some type(s) of red flag. The relationship was started on a rocky foundation and you don't feel comfortable now.

You don't have to jump through hoops right at this very moment. You certainly can initiate a conversation with him, so that you have an idea where he is coming from. But most important, you need to make sure what YOU want is what you are getting. If not, you need to cool the relationship down, expand your social circle (if you can) and take your interest away from this possible dead-end relationship.

Try to figure out why you are so uncomfortable. Names in themselves don't constitute verbal abuse. This seems to be the phrase of the decade, for some reason. Anyone can say something brash and stupid. Abusive behavior is intentional and repetitive. If in doubt, read 'The Verbally Abusive Relationship' by Patricia Evans.

Good luck!

Jenny

February 19, 2003
5:42 pm
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McKenzie PLEASE read the "Men who hate women, and the women who love them" There are SOME HUGE RED FLAGS HERE. YOUR GUT is telling YOU!!! YOu have been through one lousy relationship, don;t "force" this is to work...LEARN about it...READ the book, you will see somethings in there!!!
(((hugs))) I know how it hurts.

February 20, 2003
4:37 am
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I wish that I had found this site when I was in the "new" stages of my relationship, I had all those "little nagging" kind of prickly feelings of emotional "ouches". Thought I was being "too sensitive", because I had abusive relationships. My pattern?
Funny how you "want" to trust and believe in that lusty romantic fix.
Any excuse - I need to love someone to have sex - lust great - get some girl. Just keep you yours, and his his, go slow - watch the need to trade hurt feelings for good sex -
be selfish and enjoy - but be slippery. I don't want my feathers even lightly breathed on any more, let alone ruffled - my face is still healing. Trust in your mistrust.
be well...be wise mckenzie

February 20, 2003
10:29 am
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Thank you so much for the many wonderfully insightful responses! I truly appreciate the time everyone has taken to reply to me. It has been so helpful when it comes to organizing my thoughts -- and I have received so much validation. I have to admit that I have a hard time learning to trust my intuition. I doubt myself and my decisions very easily where dating relationships are concerned.

I think sometimes I get so caught up in the flattery -- the self-esteem boost I get when someone is attracted to me and compliments me -- and I think that's a dangerous facet of my personality. I have a way of basing my self-worth and attractiveness to others on what my current guy is saying to me or showing me by his actions and words. I don't know where it comes from. I've always been praised beyond belief and told I was beautiful by my parents/family, and my home life as a child was nothing but loving, accepting, nuturing -- maybe I've just learned to believe that life would always be like that. If a guy I'm dating goes several days without calling, I start to tear myself apart physically (i.e., I start to think, "Oh God, he must not have liked my hair the other night" or "I bet he noticed that blemish on my chin, and now he doesn't want to be around me because I wasn't looking my best.") I don't know what my problem is, and maybe I'm not truly ready for dating right now. I have an awful lot of baggage and damage from my last relationship, and I don't think I've taken the time to deal with that. I went to a counselor a few times to talk about other aspects of my past relationship -- and how it has been affecting parts of my life -- but when we got down to the part where I really start to heal myself, I stopped going because I felt like I was healed. I think I was very wrong. Three years of abuse cannot be cured through 4 or 5 sessions with a therapist. I think this is the experience I need to make an appointment again. I desperately want to get better -- and I'm willing to put in any amount of work to do that for myself.

I also had a chance to talk to one of our mutual guy friends. He's someone I can trust, and I know it's OK to talk to him about my apprehension and concerns. His feedback was that he noticed the way my guy was treating me -- and he said it infuriates him. He said that my guy has been acting "very self-serving" and if he were in my shoes, he wouldn't want to be treated that way. He never told me what to do or forced his opinions on me, he simply shared his observations from his objective point of view. His thoughts, accompanied with everyone's posts here, have shown me that I'm flying blindly through this relationship -- and what I DO see is merely just what I WANT to see. This isn't healthy.

I've decided to just stop my usual emails and/or phone calls, and I know that he wanted to go on a date with me this weekend. It's just a matter of time before he contacts me, and I haven't yet decided how to handle that. My stomach kind of churns though when I think of the idea.

It's been a very long road so far. I don't need someone else to make it even longer for me.

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