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I feel the same as you Rae, I'm glad things ended with my relationship and wouldn't consider going back.

Chlor, it took me a long time to find my own closure.  Had he been honest with me it might have sped it up, but they seldom give closure, we find our own by working through it and realizing they were insufficient for what we need in our life.  We don't deserve to be shortchanged.

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Chlor, I can feel you nursing this open wound, this void, that you'll eventually have to patch up yourself.  I feel for you so much.  I know how raw it all feels.  It's been almost 6 months for me.  I was in a really rough place the first 4 months.  The heartache, anger, and confusion was all-consuming.  I'd find myself sitting at work staring blankly at my computer screen for hours, just replaying memories of the relationship endlessly.  Waking up every morning was the worst, always reaching out for someone who was no longer there.  I was also kind of untethered from basic reality.  I used to fantasize that one day I'd come home and my ex would be waiting for me, showering me with apologies and kisses.  I wanted to rewind life so badly, because the truth hurt so much.  But she was gone.  She's been gone for a long time.  Love can make fools of us.  I didn't know how to fix "me" until I essentially forgave myself.  Like kayc and Rae said, I had to reach that point where I realized: no more of this.  There was nothing for me to regret.  I loved her and I made her happy when we were together.  I did what I could for her but in the end she didn't need it or want it.  And that's not my fault.

It's not an easy path, and I'm sorry you have to go through all of this along with your marriage situation  But I'm beginning to finally see the light, like the song says.  Eventually, you will, too.

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Hi Vandal,

Thsnks for chiming in so compassionately. This is a club of kind hearted people that you never want to join. You hit the nail on the head. I have more light each day but waking up in the morning still sucks.

On 5/7/2019 at 6:15 PM, Vandal said:

 I loved her and I made her happy when we were together.  I did what I could for her but in the end she didn't need it or want it.  

You can replay the past and it seems so sweet until you realize that its based on a sham. No matter how they acted toward us previously, their behavior shows that we didnt mske them that happy and they didnt actually love us as much as they claimed, certainly not as much as we love them.  Because if they did, they would want to be with us, pure and simple.

On 5/7/2019 at 6:15 PM, Vandal said:

Love can make fools of us.  

Have you heard from your ex at all in 6 months?  I got one apologetic text message 2 weeks after he retreated, then nothing. I still cant wrap my head and heart around how they can just drop someone they claimed to love so much, someone they waited their whole lives for, without even looking back. 

Their behavior may not be our fault, but we allowed ourselves to believe and invest our hearts in a sham.  At least thats what I keep telling myself. Because theres no other way for me to understand this. Yes, there were red flags during the relationship. But we seemed to get past them and so I trusted him with my heart. Obviously, it is not worth anything to him. I know I need to respect and value myself first  but Im afraid I will never trust again. 

 

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Chlor,

My daughter's trust has been destroyed by her husband.  We accepted him into our family and have loved him for 18 years and he does this?!!  He left her two years ago, after the loss of their baby, their second loss.  She was born to be a mother but now she won't know what it is to BE a mom.  :(  A year ago Christmas he came back under the pretext of "taking care of her" (she had the flu), without doing any of the work she wanted him to do before reuniting, and guess what, it was all a sham.  His real reason for coming back was to steal her apartment from her.  It's about $500/month less than comparable apartments.  She can't afford to move, yet he's making her life a living hell!  He's alcoholic, something she hadn't known when she married him because he didn't drink then!

I say all this to you to get to this:  She said she wouldn't believe in guys again if not for one thing...her brother.  He has impeccable character and is one of the best people I've ever known, my SON!  Because of him she has to keep in mind that all men are not the same, that there are others that exist that would not treat her this way.  It wasn't like she missed red flags, he adored her early on, the first umpteen years.  What changed is he started drinking and I swear to God it changed his brain.  He's not the same person.  The old Don is gone.

When my fiance broke up with me when his mom was dying, it blindsided me.  I never expected it.  Were there red flags I missed?  I think so.  We'd been engaged a year.  We hadn't set a date and maybe we never would have gotten married, I don't know, but I never expected he'd break up with me!  He seemed happy with our life, he'd come every weekend, we always had a good time.  No I didn't expect this.  It felt like it came out of nowhere.  Years later he told me he thought things would have turned out different had his mom not died.  Me, I don't think so.  He showed me how he handled things and I feel it would have happened sooner or later.  Into each of our lives, unexpected hardship occurs, we were no different.  A certain segment of people react this way in grief, but not everyone does.  When my husband died 14 years ago, I WANTED my friends/family, unfortunately the friends all left.  I don't get that either.  Shows what kind of friends they were!

I feel like when all this happened with Jim, it was for the best that I found out, thank God we hadn't married and THEN he'd dumped me!  

It's his loss.  He may or may not ever see that.  I haven't dated since and it's been almost nine years.  If I was younger I might have, but with what I've been through, I just don't feel like it.  If I met someone I might reconsider but I haven't so I reckon I'll stay alone.

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On 5/9/2019 at 9:53 AM, kayc said:

When my fiance broke up with me when his mom was dying, it blindsided me.  I never expected it.  Were there red flags I missed?  I think so.  We'd been engaged a year.  We hadn't set a date and maybe we never would have gotten married, I don't know, but I never expected he'd break up with me!  He seemed happy with our life, he'd come every weekend, we always had a good time.  No I didn't expect this.  It felt like it came out of nowhere.  Years later he told me he thought things would have turned out different had his mom not died.  Me, I don't think so.  He showed me how he handled things and I feel it would have happened sooner or later.  Into each of our lives, unexpected hardship occurs, we were no different.  A certain segment of people react this way in grief, but not everyone does.  When my husband died 14 years ago, I WANTED my friends/family, unfortunately the friends all left.  I don't get that either.  Shows what kind of friends they were!

I feel like when all this happened with Jim, it was for the best that I found out, thank God we hadn't married and THEN he'd dumped me!  

It's his loss.  He may or may not ever see that.  I haven't dated since and it's been almost nine years.  If I was younger I might have, but with what I've been through, I just don't feel like it.  If I met someone I might reconsider but I haven't so I reckon I'll stay alone.

I was blindsided as well, by both Joe and Tim. Joe and I had been together 7 years and were engaged and planning a wedding with no date set, too. Were there red flags I shouldn't have ignored or been able to see? Of course. But he railroaded me with the cheating, lying and seemingly overnight revelation that he wasn't in love with me anymore, had felt differently for months and "loved me, but liked her.." I was also blinded by love, and only being 21 at the time I hadn't ever been in a relationship prior so I didn't know what to look for. I am just thankful we didn't actually get married or have children because it became glaringly obvious we were not right for each other anymore. I was a sophomore in college with hopes, dreams and career aspirations, and he is an unmotivated, arrogant and lazy person who does little more than bare minimum, who didn't even want me going to school after we planned to have kids. He is still the same now as he was then, and I am so thankful things ended because my life would have been over. His bare minimum love and standards were not good enough for me as an adult. It'd have been like marrying an adult child.

I like to believe I did make Tim happy, because he told me I did, but who knows. We were together 14 months before his dad died and he told me the exact same thing that KayC was told, that if his dad hadn't died, we'd still be together. I don't think that's true, because he had a pattern of this behavior in previous relationships. If I hadn't made the choice to walk away, he'd have done the same eventually. But I am glad things didn't work out with Tim either because leaving the town we both lived in for a job was the best thing I could've done for myself, and I know we would've broken up then anyways because he would not have moved with me. Looking back I realized that he may have been jealous of my career, travel and goal plans because he would talk down to me when I mentioned them or scoff as though they were unrealistic, he also tried to 'one up' me with his stories and his job, as though it was a competition. Like Joe, he was in real life unmotivated to do anything but be a workaholic at a job he was given for free by a family member. He wouldn't travel anywhere with me that was more than a couple hours by car away, but didn't want me going anywhere alone. Ugh. I didn't realize at the time these were definite signs of incompatibility (and his being deeply insecure and emotionally unavailable) because we seemed compatible on many other levels, but those were mostly just hobbies and common interests. Surface level compatibility, really.

People change like the weather, and there's nothing we can do about that because we're only human. People aren't going to tell you they're just using you, or be honest about their real intentions or tell you that they're going to leave you when their parent dies or blame you when they get laid off, these are not things we can predict, and we can't blame ourselves for taking a chance at love. After all, you can't find love or a job, or anything if you don't take chances. The only thing we can do is be diligent about our standards and looking for cautionary things (orange flags), red flags that are deal breakers and be firm that we will not tolerate them. But even then, they may still fool us. Tim fooled me, he was well-behaved, mannered, looked great on paper and our relationship progressed naturally, but it still ended like it did and orange/red flags came up that I didn't see or ignored. But I am only human, we're allowed to make mistakes. You can't say you've lived and never taken a chance at something, staying comfortable in your routine, simply surviving and never going beyond your comfort zone is a surefire way to end up with a lifetime of misery and regret on your deathbed. I don't want to live like that and call it a 'life.'

 Maybe they did love us and we made them happy for a time, but these instances made them rethink their lives and relationships, it happens to everyone at some point in their lives and it isn't unique to grief or a certain person.

--Rae :)

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On 5/9/2019 at 5:05 AM, Chlor said:

Have you heard from your ex at all in 6 months?

Chlor, I never heard from her, but it's fine now.  Was it excruciating to go through?  Yes, very.  Getting dumped and ghosted essentially overnight is brutal.  But I'm glad it turned out this way.  No contact, cold turkey was the way to go.  Neither of us use social media or have online presences, which also helps greatly.  I honestly wouldn't want any contact from her now.  I wouldn't have anything to say.

On 5/9/2019 at 5:05 AM, Chlor said:

Their behavior may not be our fault, but we allowed ourselves to believe and invest our hearts in a sham.  At least thats what I keep telling myself. Because theres no other way for me to understand this.

I can understand why you're thinking this.  The truth, I think, lies somewhere in between.  Life is complicated and messy.  I think my ex needed that escape of being in love and accepting love from me to help mend (or suppress) her underlying pain and sadness.  She, like a lot of women, had been hurt a lot (emotionally, physically) by those closest to her and she was detached and unemotional when we first met.  She was not a happy person when I met her.  I don't doubt that she loved me.  I think being with me made her feel (mostly) normal, and she needed to feel that.  I get it now that this was never a good foundation for a solid relationship.  Red flags galore.  And we were different because I was able to show all of my cards at the table, but she wasn't.  Or wasn't ready to.  She had massive, unresolved trust and abandonment issues that she never actually dealt or sought help with.  Her grief probably stirred up a lot of what she'd been ignoring and hiding for years.  And in the end, she felt it was better to retreat back into herself than to stick it out with me.

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2 hours ago, Vandal said:

Chlor, I never heard from her, but it's fine now.  Was it excruciating to go through?  Yes, very.  Getting dumped and ghosted essentially overnight is brutal.  But I'm glad it turned out this way.  No contact, cold turkey was the way to go.  Neither of us use social media or have online presences, which also helps greatly.  I honestly wouldn't want any contact from her now.  I wouldn't have anything to say.

My thoughts too, Vandal. I haven't spoken to Tim in 3 years, and I am glad. I wouldn't have had anything to say to him after the first few months went by, and by now I am grateful we broke up. When he ghosted me the first time and came back, I already wasn't sure what to say, after the second time and that very same day, the last time we talked he told me he loved me, yeah, nothing left to say. Done.

2 hours ago, Vandal said:

I can understand why you're thinking this.  The truth, I think, lies somewhere in between.  Life is complicated and messy.  I think my ex needed that escape of being in love and accepting love from me to help mend (or suppress) her underlying pain and sadness.  She, like a lot of women, had been hurt a lot (emotionally, physically) by those closest to her and she was detached and unemotional when we first met.  She was not a happy person when I met her.  I don't doubt that she loved me.  I think being with me made her feel (mostly) normal, and she needed to feel that.  I get it now that this was never a good foundation for a solid relationship.  Red flags galore.  And we were different because I was able to show all of my cards at the table, but she wasn't.  Or wasn't ready to.  She had massive, unresolved trust and abandonment issues that she never actually dealt or sought help with.  Her grief probably stirred up a lot of what she'd been ignoring and hiding for years.  And in the end, she felt it was better to retreat back into herself than to stick it out with me.

EXACTLY! Tim needed this escape too. I don't doubt that he loved me either, but it became obvious he had emotional problems later on. He wanted to feel normal too, and being in relationships gave him that. I think it lied in his abusive parents and his weird relationship with them, insecurity from being picked on growing up, and being rejected by his first girlfriend and multiple women after that. He had problems with trust, emotional maturity and women in general because of his abusive mother. And it manifested in all his romantic relationships.

2 hours ago, Vandal said:

And we were different because I was able to show all of my cards at the table, but she wasn't.  Or wasn't ready to.  She had massive, unresolved trust and abandonment issues that she never actually dealt or sought help with.  Her grief probably stirred up a lot of what she'd been ignoring and hiding for years.  And in the end, she felt it was better to retreat back into herself than to stick it out with me.

This is Tim, only in a female form.

You see, Chlor, none of this is unique, a lot of people behave the same way that all our exes did. They thrust their unresolved problems unto others, or ignore them, then when they are forced to face them, retreat, act out or go deeper down their spiral of ignoring their problems, pushing loved ones away and everything around them gets worse because we are now left to deal with the fallout from the wounds they inflicted onto us.

Hurt people, hurt people. One of the truest statements I have ever heard. It isn't us, it was them all along.

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I do have contact with Jim, as a friend.  He's a valuable person but not relationship material.  I'm glad for the things all of us have learned, but don't be quick to blame yourselves, it's all a learning experience and we can't know what we're not told.  

Rae, you and I both had red flags but either didn't see it at the time or suppressed it.  IMO, people shouldn't control each other and if they're insecure, they're not ready for a relationship.  It really does help to bring your healthy self to a relationship and not carry baggage into the next one, it helps to take a break and learn from our experiences so we don't keep repeating what didn't work.  Good to keep the eye out for a HEALTHY  partner!

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You guys are amazing, sharing yourselves so freely and caring about me. On one level, it's comforting to know that this experience counts as normal. But on the other hand, the sadness that you all share is gut wrenching. How could it be that there are so many people out there who suddenly do this cruel sort of thing to those they claim to love!

Originally, I came to this board hoping to find happy ending stories where the griever comes around so that I could learn more effective ways to support my beloved. But there is not even one. Instead, I learned that  I need to let go, stop second guessing myself and thinking about whether or not he went back to his ex.  In other words, I need to let go of hope. I need to move on.  I know you guys are right and the faster I do this, the better it will be for me. Not being a quitter, this does not come easily at all. I love and miss him so much. My brain tells me that, obviously, he does not feel the same way about me because if he did he would be with me today. My brain tells me that this behavior proves that hes not good for me, that he would have run back to the ex eventually anyway. But my broken heart just wants to erase this chapter, chalk it up to his grief, find a way to forgive him and fulfill the plans we had together.  My heart doesnt want to give up. I realize its not reasonable, but thats the struggle.

The question now is how to get heart and head on the same page?  Grieving the end of this relationship in some ways seems more complicated than grieving a physical death, which is finite. With physical death, you are challenged to accept the unacceptable. Society acknowledges the loss with support and rituals of mourning. There are stages to go through but it's definitely over. You are not left wondering what happened and whether there is still a chance for a future together. Your friends don't give reassurances that its not necessarily over. You are not telling yourself, if I handle this the right way, he will realize his mistake and come back feeling stronger than before.

Kayc, thank you for pointing out that some men dont act this way. You may be right but I wonder how much of that is because of who they are versus how we relate to them.  In my case, I do find my beloved to be emotionally open and caring. What is it about me that ultimately made me less valuable in his eyes than his ex? 

23 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

People aren't going to tell you they're just using you, or be honest about their real intentions or tell you that they're going to leave you when their parent dies or blame you when they get laid off, these are not things we can predict, and we can't blame ourselves for taking a chance at love. After all, you can't find love or a job, or anything if you don't take chances. The only thing we can do is be diligent about our standards and looking for cautionary things (orange flags), red flags that are deal breakers and be firm that we will not tolerate

You can't say you've lived and never taken a chance at something, staying comfortable in your routine, simply surviving and never going beyond your comfort zone is a surefire way to end up with a lifetime of misery and regret on your deathbed. I don't want to live like that and call it a 'life.'

 Maybe they did love us and we made them happy for a time, but these instances made them rethink their lives and relationships, it happens to everyone at some point in their lives and it isn't unique to grief or a certain person.

Thank you for this, Rae.  It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. As for the orange and red flags, I was aware of his attachment to his ex. This past year, he has been very reassuring of his feelings for and commitment to me. I believed him when he told me he was all in with me and I did not have to worry that he would leave me for her. His words and behavior suggested this was true, until it all changed and it wasnt true anymore.  Lesson learned. In the future, I will trust my gut and not tolerate that sort of dynamic again. 

Vandal, Im so glad you were able to maintain no contact and seem to have found peace after 6 months. It does seem like you helped her in life but ultimately her unresolved issues had to be handled on her own. In my case, unfortunately, my beloved's unresolved issues seem to be with his ex. I dont know if they got back together or not. But I do know that this has been going on for many years before he met me. I think that for a while our relationship may have given him a sense of resolve and hope for happier future.  But I cant know for sure because that all that changed once the ex started coming around when he was vulnerable. I do know that I cant help him resolve his feelings for her and the whole dynamic is toxic for me. 

I grew up in a family where my sister was and still is preferred over me.  Of course the family, my mother in particular, always denied this. They would say "we love you both the same" and I would feel guilty for thinking otherwise and for the resentment I felt. It is easy to lie to a child. As I grew up, the dynamics became much more obvious in extremely hurtful ways that everyone else in my family could see. I wont go into detail about this but I will say that the silver lining in seeing the truth is knowing that my childhood pain was based in reality and not in my jealous imagination.

To bring it back to the issue at hand, I see now that, whether they got back together or not, being suddenly ghosted for another woman totally plays into my unresolved family issue. But Im not sure that this kind of trauma can ever be resolved. We just go on living. I do maintain a relationship with my family of origin but it has boundaries. We are not close. As I write this out, Im sure this is a big part of why Im having so much trouble letting go. Once again, I am the girl who is not chosen.  He loves me but I am not the one. Blah blah blah. 

The child inside me still desperately wants to rewrite the ending with this guy. But I think we all know it would not be different . The best I can do is recognize this trigger as a giant red flag and run when I see it, with this guy and in the future. 

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2 hours ago, Chlor said:

I grew up in a family where my sister was and still is preferred over me.  Of course the family, my mother in particular, always denied this. They would say "we love you both the same" and I would feel guilty for thinking otherwise and for the resentment I felt. It is easy to lie to a child. As I grew up, the dynamics became much more obvious in extremely hurtful ways that everyone else in my family could see. I wont go into detail about this but I will say that the silver lining in seeing the truth is knowing that my childhood pain was based in reality and not in my jealous imagination.

To bring it back to the issue at hand, I see now that, whether they got back together or not, being suddenly ghosted for another woman totally plays into my unresolved family issue. But Im not sure that this kind of trauma can ever be resolved. We just go on living. I do maintain a relationship with my family of origin but it has boundaries. We are not close. As I write this out, Im sure this is a big part of why Im having so much trouble letting go. Once again, I am the girl who is not chosen.  He loves me but I am not the one. Blah blah blah. 

The child inside me still desperately wants to rewrite the ending with this guy. But I think we all know it would not be different . The best I can do is recognize this trigger as a giant red flag and run when I see it, with this guy and in the future. 

I grew up in this same situation. For some reason, my father has favored our older sister our entire lives, we don't know why. Now it's just straight enabling, shes 32, a dropout and has a child, still lives with our dad and never has a job longer than a few months. He gives her money, buys her cars (shes crashed 4 of them already) and never, ever makes her face any consequences for how she behaves. The rest of us are well-adjusted and normal people with jobs and lives, but their relationship is just purely enabling one another's bad habits. She goes through boyfriends and jobs the way my dad goes through cars, a different one every few months or year, and they've done this for years. Then my dad gets married and she competes with this woman for attention and affection from my dad, it is utterly nonsensical and ridiculous.

My own mother now recognizes that my dad clearly favors her over the rest of us, and has for decades, and we've never been able to figure out why. He loves her unconditionally (literally), but with the rest of us, we've always felt we had to earn his love. It makes you angry, sad, confused and it breaks your heart all at the same time, and it is a monster to deal with because you don't understand why your parents, the people who you are conditioned to trust, don't want you. That's why I spent a year and half in therapy and how I began recognizing that a lot of my emotional issues, anger, confusion, low self-esteem etc came from growing up with inconsistent and emotionally unavailable parents. My brothers refuse therapy and they need it badly, they're still both angry at my parents. I have settled my anger because it got so, SO tiring constantly being angry, sad and running after guys who behaved like my dad did. It became a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies. I would date guys like Joe and Tim, then wonder why they rejected me, behaved terribly or left me for someone else because I wasn't good enough for them. It's not that I wasn't good enough for them, simply that we were fundamentally incompatible and they have their own unresolved issues and we were drawn to the wounds in one another because it was familiar and comfortable. I stopped being attracted to men like Joe and Tim when I decided that instead of just being angry all the time and repeating the same mistakes over and over, I am going to heal my own wounds.

It's not that you're not good enough, its that they are drawn to you because you possess things they lack: self-esteem, confidence, happiness, money, freedom etc. And, they're using you as a place-filler to get the things they lack until what they want can be found elsewhere. They need relationships to thrive and make themselves feel worthy and normal. I behaved this way for a while because I was unhappy with my life and convinced a relationship was the one thing that would fix how I felt. My sister behaves this way, many of my friends behave this way and it's tiring constantly consoling them and giving them advice they don't listen to, and my dad STILL behaves this way. While Joe may not have used me as a place-filler for our entire relationship, for the last year he did, until he was sure he had another person to go to. Tim may have loved me, but he used me to get things he lacked: comfort, confidence, love, a feeling of worthiness after being rejected by the women he most desired etc. In your case, your ex may have cared for you, but it was under the pretense of him not leaving you as long as she wasn't available to him, and you remained unavailable to a degree because of your pending divorce. The second what he was lacking was available to him again, he ran back to it.

When you go through your life with a sense of lack, you're always going to feel like you're not enough and that others may not be enough to fulfill you because you will always be unfilled and lacking until you learn to fill that space yourself. You will never be enough for an unfulfilled person because they expect you to heal their wounds and fill their voids, and that's not your job.

Funny enough, back in 2016 right before I was leaving town for my new job and about 6 months after Tim and I ended, Joe and I went to dinner. Joe apologized to me for how he treated me, and told me that he still had feelings for me (I highly doubt he'd have said this if his girlfriend hadn't left him), and that he couldn't marry me back then because he "had to get 'it' out of his system" but that he was open to trying again. I said No. But that we can be friends on Facebook and chat occasionally, and that's all it is now. He's not a bad person, and he was my best friend for 9 years, but I don't see him that way anymore.

Stick to your boundaries. You're worth more than being a man's back-up plan or second choice. Be glad he showed you who he was before you made life-altering decisions later on down the line for the sake of what he wants. ALWAYS CHOOSE YOURSELF.

One of the hardest things in life we will ever have to do, is a grieve a person who is still alive.

https://youtu.be/P3fIZuW9P_M

https://youtu.be/jmUayKnHWWM

Watch these TED Talks, they explain in a more condensed way than I can.

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Hi Rae,

Thank you for responding. Im sorry that you also grew up with the pain of parental rejection and also glad that you have siblings who could share and validate rhe experience. In my case, its just me and my sister, who is still cared for by my mother and has some similar traits to yiur sister.  After our father died, my mothers willingness to throw me under the bus for my sister became so extreme and egregious that it became undeniable. Even though she still lies about it to this day.

The stuff you wrote about him using me as a placemarker until he could get what he really wants was really hard to read. I dont want to believe thats true. And yet he he's done nothing to disabuse me of this notion in almost a month and so I need  to accept this painful reality and do what it takes to learn from the experience qnd move on. 

22 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

Stick to your boundaries. You're worth more than being a man's back-up plan or second choice. Be glad he showed you who he was before you made life-altering decisions later on down the line for the sake of what he wants. ALWAYS CHOOSE YOURSELF.

Thank you for this enciuragement. It really helps. And for the TedX videos. If what he wants is his ex, I know youre right that Im lucky things didnt go farther than they did before that became impossible to deny. And that hes not trying to string me along with breadcrumb contact.

As you can see,  I have been second choice my whole life. I get that if I am ever to be in a happy relationshop with someone who is truly devoted to me  I need to learn to choose myself first.  The problem is that I dont think its a coicindence that I have repeatedly been shut out or left behind by people who I love deatly and who claim to love me in favor of someone or something else that is somehow existentially more appealing than I am.  I really dont want to spend the rest of my life alone and loving myself.

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21 hours ago, Chlor said:

Thank you for this enciuragement. As you can see,  I have been second choice my whole life. I get that if I am ever to be in a happy relationshop with someone who is truly devoted to me  I need to learn to choose myself first.  The problem is that I dont think its a coicindence that I have repeatedly been shut out or left behind by people who I love deatly and who claim to love me in favor of someone or something else that is somehow existentially more appealing than I am.  I really dont want to spend the rest of my life alone and loving myself.

Everyone has these fears. That they'll always get passed over for others and end up alone. I mean, look at Charlize Theron, she made a statement some time ago about how she's been single for 10 years and that she's tired of being called "intimidating" and that guys need to grow a pair and start asking women like her out. She's right. But it doesn't make dating any easier for her.

Tracy's TEDx talk is the one I think most applies to you, she had to learn to sit by her own bed side and hold her own hand. She had to learn to choose and love herself, but she's aware that loving yourself is not synonymous with being alone forever, and that's not what she's encouraging anyone to do. She's telling us to heal our own wounds and love ourselves the way we want others to love us, and the way we want to love them. Having self-esteem and love for one's self is not synonymous with being alone. You can be an individual person, and also be part of a couple. I'd argue that being your own person and choosing to be open to love after hurt and welcoming another person to share life with you is the only way to have a successful relationship. And no, a 'successful' relationship doesn't always mean marriage, children and 30 years together. A successful relationship is two happy people loving one another for who they are, not one person giving up who they are for the other. If it lasts, wonderful, if not, be glad you got to experience that love, learn from it, and move forward. We don't own people, and we can't change people. We simply get to share experiences and life with them. Look at Terry and Steve Irwin, they loved one another to pieces and we're inseparable, but now that Steve has died, people questioned her as to why she hasn't dated since. She said "because I already had my love story. Even though it was cut short far too soon, I'm happy that we got to share a lifetime of experiences, our children and do what we both loved, and I plan to continue it. I know Steve would encourage me to love again, and I him, but I am loved, and I am happy with the way that things are now. I wish he could still be here, but my life didn't stop when his did, it's just different now." Terri could date, she just doesn't need to because she feels her life is what she wants it to be, even without Steve. If she does date again, good for her, if not, oh well.

If you continue to operate from the belief you will forever be second to others and "forever alone," you will only continue to entertain men who treat you as such and then abandon you because it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and in a way it already has. Instead of relying on others to give you permission to put you first and waiting for them to put you first, do it yourself. That way, if a man comes into your life and makes you a second thought, you won't hesitate to walk away. On the flip side, when you meet a man who not only encourages you to love yourself, but also loves you, himself and makes you a priority in his life, you won't be compelled to search for his approval by making your life about him.

You're looking for relationships to heal your wounds, save you and validate your existence because you're terrified of being alone. It's not healthy, and it's something we've all done, and many still do because we're sold the belief that romantic love, relationships and external validation is a cure-all. It isn't. But it is a hard mindset to unlearn. 

I won't be alone forever, and neither will you. But for now, don't focus on that. Focus on moving forward, not moving on, just forward. Tiny wins are still wins. One step at a time.

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In regards to dealing with your mother and sister, you need to learn to set boundaries within your relationships with them. You cannot allow yourself to continue tolerating their disrespect and picking at your self-esteem for the sake of them being family and your unresolved fears of abandonment that stem from their abuse of you. That's not healthy or fair to you, and you should seriously consider talking to a therapist because its obvious these are deep seated issues from your childhood that you need to work on if you ever want to get better.

 I know how it feels, my sister used to pick on me relentlessly growing up (we think its purely jealousy). She would steal my clothes, my belongings, would use my photos to catfish men on the internet, "sell" me to her "friends" in exchange for things, and even tried to date one of my ex boyfriends. In my teens and early 20s I didn't understand why she acted this way and because shes my sister and I wanted her approval, I gave her things, but all she ever did was take from me and then flip out when I said no. She'd borrow money and when I said no, she'd attempt to steal it. She constantly spent all her money on alcohol, was chronically unemployed and to this day is a willfully un-medicated bipolar who we think is also a sociopath. After a particularly crappy fight one afternoon and her trying to take my debit card, I just blocked her number after sending my parents the screenshots of what she said so they could finally understand that she has been gas-lighting, stealing from and torturing her siblings for years. To this day, my dad still refuses to believe she acts this way. Back then my dad was the one who always said "well she's your sister, at least try getting along." And for years I listened to that, even though he'd flat out deny her behavior. I don't anymore and now our relationship is on my terms. I didn't realize this needed to stop until one day it occurred to me that I was being gaslit by my own dad regarding how she behaved.

I cut contact with her for 3 years. I just went dark on her because I was tired of her nonsense and it was making my life miserable. DO NOT ever allow yourself to tolerate disrespect and cruelty from someone just because you are related. That does not give them the right to mistreat you. You wouldn't let your children, spouse, friends or boss treat you that way, your family doesn't get a pass either. Toxic people aren't just lovers, sometimes they're parents, siblings and children too.

You've referenced your sister and mothers cruelty towards you multiple times in this thread, and its obvious it has had seriously negative effects on your life and mental health. Now I am not saying never contact them again. What I am saying is: Stop seeking their approval, every time you tolerate their cruelty and react to what they do in a positive way, it reinforces their belief that they're allowed to treat you that way and that what they say about you is true. It isn't true. I understand that they're the only family you have left and that you don't want to lose that relationship, totally get it, been there. But what you do need to do is learn to stop reacting to what they say to you and believing it. Don't respond to their nasty texts, and when they call you and start berating you, hang up the phone. When you're around them and they start berating you, leave. Tell them you won't tolerate it anymore and establish boundaries. They keep crossing these boundaries because you've allowed them to get comfortable disrespecting you. Go to therapy, talk to your friends, but do seek help and dig into why you feel this way.

As I said before, these issues are monsters to deal with because these relationships are ones you've had since the day you were born, and its hard and stigmatized to disconnect from toxic family members, and its easier to just tolerate it than deal with it. But over time, ignoring these things will just erode you and your mental health into nothing and you will become a void of self-hatred.

These days, now that we don't live in the same city it's gotten easier. She isn't allowed in my apartment, we are not connected on any social media and most of our contact is mediated to our get together's at our mothers house with her child in tow. We text from time to time, but if she starts in on her nonsense, I just say "okay, do you" and mute the conversation then delete the messages.

It takes time and work to get to the point I am at, but it's healthier for me and that's all I care about. I can love her from afar, but not want her in my house (mental space), because the last time I gave her a key, she (metaphorically) attempted to burn it down. I cannot make her seek therapy, take medication or treat her family with respect, but I can control our interaction, and I do.

You can too.

-- Rae :)

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On 5/11/2019 at 9:47 AM, Rae1991 said:

they're using you as a place-filler to get the things they lack until what they want can be found elsewhere.

OMG, this hits the nail on the head!  So true!

22 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

A successful relationship is two happy people loving one another for who they are, not one person giving up who they are for the other.

Amen!

4 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

But what you do need to do is learn to stop reacting to what they say to you and believing it. Don't respond to their nasty texts, and when they call you and start berating you, hang up the phone.

Interesting, I have been working at the church this morning and the pastor and I were talking with someone who'd just experienced a lot of drama and we told her this exact same thing!

22 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

Instead of relying on others to give you permission to put you first and waiting for them to put you first, do it yourself.

Wow. this is what I have learned in the last nine years!

 

4 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

you need to learn to set boundaries within your relationships

I learned that with regards to my dysfunctional, controlling, abusive mother...four books changed my life forever, they are:
Emotional Blackmail
Toxic Parents
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Boundaries

I highly recommend them and they can be found on Amazon.  I bought copies for my sisters who grappled with the same issues as myself.

22 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

You're looking for relationships to heal your wounds, save you and validate your existence because you're terrified of being alone.

Been there, I've learned also to value myself and I don't HAVE to have someone in my life, it'd be nice (if it's someone right for me) but it's definitely not a must!

Rae, you've learned these thing in your 20's, it's took me my 40s and 50s to learn these things.  Life is so much better having learned what I've learned, regardless of whether I'm single or married...maybe I'll meet another person right for me someday, maybe I won't, but I'm okay however it turns out.  And that's a liberating feeling!

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