Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married

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atticusfinch

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Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« on: March 15, 2016, 05:16:42 PM »
Some of you may be familiar with the fact that I dated a guy soon after my separation (2 months or so) for about 9 months.  He was incredibly kind and supportive for quite a while and it was healing to have a man treat me well.  But then as I started to heal I realized that I needed to eventually date around (I was really worried about making another mistake, and the deeper into the relationship we got, the more I stressed about it, and worried I wasn't being smart) and I saw some red flags that concerned me, like for example the fact that he'd express concern when I went for a weekend alone somewhere that I'd "sleep around" (even though I hadn't even slept with him).  Every time I tried to break up with him he'd cry or say he'd had to take all this anxiety medication, then he'd act as if we hadn't broken up and would tell me he loved me, talk about marriage, etc.  My therapist didn't see these as red flags but rather that he just hadn't had a relationship before.  He also would have a friend of his who is a girl call me or text me about getting over my trust issues, etc.  She had been in a PD relationship and I thought it was odd.  At some point I suspected that maybe the reason she was pushing me so hard to hang onto him is because she secretly liked him herself.  I stopped having contact with him in the summer because I just couldn't handle the marriage talk when I was going through such a difficult divorce (which put a huge bad taste in my mouth for marriage honestly and I have major trust issues now).  It was stressing me out so much.   

So I've been dating now off and on for a few months and I have to say it's been pretty discouraging overall.  I'm terrified of what men are hiding.  It's hard to find someone who matches me in the things that I want in a person.  I am reasonably educated and I try to keep myself attractive, I think I'm a good mom, etc-- part of me knows I'm a good catch but part of me is also still filled with self deprecating thoughts about myself.  Some guys run the other way when I tell them I have five kids, and one ran the other way recently when I admitted I had concerns about my ex stalking me.  I have periodically thought back to this guy I dated and realized that it was pretty lucky that he matched up to many things I wanted in a guy-- he has a good job, he treated me well (except for the end part), he is smart and funny, and fairly attractive.  I keep wondering if I made a mistake!   The thing is, though, that I know I need more time to work on myself-- still-- and eventually date around some more, before I'm ready.  He was also just more ready that I was.  As for the girl he married, they're probably perfect for each other.  I'm happy for them but it's also surprisingly painful!  Another thing I'm finding out is that it just seems that men have much more pick of the women than they did when I was younger.  The kind of men I used to date just mostly don't seem interested in me anymore, and I tend to get a bunch of creepy or weird or just boring men online.  I've quit for now and going to take a break, but I'm just feeling kind of discouraged and sad.  Please tell me I made the right choice?

[and let me also add that I noticed as I got stronger that sometimes he would talk to me almost in a fatherly way, giving advice, etc and I realized that we'd started our relationship with me in a really vulnerable/needy place, with him being the helper/rescuer, and once I didn't need that as much, and he'd try to "help" me-- because that became the norm for our relationship early on-- it felt condescending and reminded me eerily of my ex, who in many, many ways "parented" me in aggressive ways, and I HATED it...ultimately I want to be an equal, you know?!]
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 05:22:07 PM by atticusfinch »

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Hikercymru

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2016, 06:15:15 PM »
This is so very well written and brings up so many pertinent points.
Yes, I remember your story.
I guess that there is such a thing as bad timing. You realised you were not ready for all that and marriage. I would be the same.
I haven't tried dating yet, it's been 4 months. Wanted to dip my toes in a couple of weeks ago and signed up for a dating website,  only to find my ex on there. I deleted my profile straight away.
I think it takes quite a bit longer than a few months to get back to normal.
I would feel the same as you,  I would be quite a good catch,  but you know, that means we are absolutely fine on our own, too.  :)
It has crossed my mind to look for a woman instead of a man. But not seriously.  Just an idea.
So, I am going to wait and live my life freely.
Thank you for such a nice post.
Hugs

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Hopeful

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2016, 06:47:06 PM »
I know you said your therapist didn't consider those to be red flags, but I respectfully disagree. Those were some pretty big red flags, and I don't think that person would have made a good partner. Being worried that you'd "sleep around" is both a sign of deep-seated insecurity in him, and the fact that he would say that to you and use those terms is highly disrespectful to you. Also, any time you need to use the phrase "every time I tried to break up with him..." it is bad, bad news. You should not need to "try" to break up with someone. A respectful person will take you at your word the first time that you want to be done with the relationship. Also, he must not have much self-respect if he wanted to push himself back into a relationship where he was not wanted. Sending a flying monkey (the friend) to talk to you about YOUR issues is a huge red flag, too. If/when he heard about that, any respectful boyfriend would be furious with that friend for overstepping boundaries.

Even if most of the guys you have been meeting since this guy are even worse, that still doesn't make him a keeper. It's not a good idea to compare men against other men. I think we need to compare men against our own wants, needs, and standards, instead.

I'm not saying that him getting married shouldn't be painful for you. I can understand why it is. We're all entitled to our emotions. And I'm sorry you're going through that. But I wouldn't necessarily say that this pain you're feeling is because he was such a good catch... It could be because it is bringing up thoughts of loneliness in general and fear of being alone. Totally normal. I have those feelings, too. But in therapy, I'm working on accepting those feelings, but not allowing them to drive me to do things that are not in my best interests.

Hope you bounce back soon!
"The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are."

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atticusfinch

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2016, 07:27:22 PM »
Hikercymru, thanks for your comment, it really helps a lot.  Funny enough, I had the NPD former husband of my aunt message me on a dating website, probably not realizing it was me.  It definitely makes one feel exposed, knowing an ex can watch you on those sites (I got a creepy feeling when posters without a photo would message me).  For now I'm taking a break from that too.  At least we have each other on this board to help each other stay strong.

Hopeful,  what a helpful and insightful idea, to compare men against our ideal instead of to each other.  You are absolutely right that abandonment fears can be triggered in dating.  I am so happy that I'm aware that this is what I'm feeling because it helps me not to act on it, does that make sense?  I got rejected a couple weeks ago by someone who was not right for me, but the rejection feelings were very strong and painful and hard to shake (I think partly because I let so few people "in" and I'd let myself sort of like him, against my better judgement).  He just stopped communicating with me rather than stating he wasn't interested any more, after leading me on in a strong way.  I felt so tempted to reach out, to tell him "hey-- sorry things didn't work out, etc" and I realized that I'd be sort of grovelling in an attempt to assuage my abandonment fears.  Even though it's been hard, I've told myself that I'm better off, that he wasn't right for me anyway (which is true), and that I deserve someone who'd at least give me the respect of telling me upfront...and so I've stayed strong but I have to admit...it kind of shakes your sense of who you are when getting rejected like that.  It's just one reason I've realized I'm not ready to date-- I need to build a better foundation of who I am that isn't so easily upset/shaken by an experience like that.  Sorry for the long-winded explosion. :)

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HoldingStrong

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2016, 08:07:06 PM »
Atticusfinch, I remember you posting about that guy. I saw the red flags & still see them in what you've posted today. What struck me the most is how little time it took him to get married! They couldn't have been dating for very long. That, in itself is a huge red flag!

I don't think you made a mistake. I believe you dodged a bullet! Keep taking care of yourself & your kiddos. You are a strong woman and you come first!

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Rocket Girl

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2016, 08:12:08 PM »
Hi Atticus.  I have to agree with Hopeful and disagree with your t.  These are control tactics.  And, the crying when you tried to leave him, well been there done that.  They always beg you to stay then push you away again.  It's also common for a PD, at least a BPD, to have a flying monkey accomplice.  PD's are not nice people.  Any niceness they show is most likely learned and mirrored from you!

I don't think it's the loss of him that has you sad.  Basically I think its how our society is these days.  Such a throw away society.  No one thinks they owe anyone an explanation anymore for why they are not calling back etc.  It even happens in the business world. Send in a resume, no response back.  It's all very rude.

When we have been with a PD, they tear down your self esteem.  It's only natural for you to take it personally when ignored or disrespected on line.   Your post has validated what I feared might happen to me if I attempted to meet someone online.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I just have to be strong enough to take the bad with the good.  I'm not sure my self esteem can take another hit at this time, so will stay away for now.

Thanks for your post.
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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Scout

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2016, 08:27:21 PM »
Atticusfinch, you did not make a mistake in letting go of that one . . . You had a nice time, and he was significant to the process of your evolution and hopefully vice versa, but in my opinion, he was no match.  (I too am concerned by his insecurity, and his use of a flying monkey, and the multiple attempts it took to unseat him. Just . . . No! Not okay.)

Hopeful, you said it very well . . .

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atticusfinch

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2016, 09:12:33 PM »
Thanks all so much for your kind replies!

I must add that with a few hours to think about this I think I am still sad but also very relieved at the same time.  I have to say I agree with you that it is a red flag that he got married so quickly.  Marriage is such a huge, life-altering decision.   Just a few months before he got married he'd messaged me about seeing a photo of me on facebook, and without making light of his feelings that he shared with me in any way, he shared with me that he was overcome with his feelings for me, and that he'd spent hours going through our messages and crying and praying about what to do.  He shared either at this time or just a couple months previously that if I didn't marry him he'd accept that he would be alone for the rest of his life.  It just seems like a crazy jump to go from me being the only woman he'd ever marry to actually marrying someone else in 3-4 months time.  It seems that he can't have had enough time to heal from those feelings(?).  So I guess on a couple fronts it just shows some rebound/irresponsibility/impulsivity?  Anyway, I think you are right.  I guess I need to just let my feelings align with my logic. :)

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A_newlife2014

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2016, 10:07:56 PM »
Atticusfinch, I remember you posting about that guy. I saw the red flags & still see them in what you've posted today. What struck me the most is how little time it took him to get married! They couldn't have been dating for very long. That, in itself is a huge red flag!

I don't think you made a mistake. I believe you dodged a bullet! Keep taking care of yourself & your kiddos. You are a strong woman and you come first!

 :yeahthat:

Atticus, consider yourself boosted!

I believe there is a lot more of the luck of the draw involved in dating -- good and bad -- than people want to realize. And sadly, I think you hit the mark also with your comment about how guys have more choices.

I think it's like anything else --- hope for the best, prepare for the worst, no guarantees with any of it. If guys reject you, they're doing you a favor early.

I think your instincts are right on (the guy was controlling, making you feel bad, wanted to be fatherly...).

 :udawoman:

-ANL

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Scout

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2016, 10:35:53 PM »
Thanks all so much for your kind replies!

I must add that with a few hours to think about this I think I am still sad but also very relieved at the same time.  I have to say I agree with you that it is a red flag that he got married so quickly.  Marriage is such a huge, life-altering decision.   Just a few months before he got married he'd messaged me about seeing a photo of me on facebook, and without making light of his feelings that he shared with me in any way, he shared with me that he was overcome with his feelings for me, and that he'd spent hours going through our messages and crying and praying about what to do.  He shared either at this time or just a couple months previously that if I didn't marry him he'd accept that he would be alone for the rest of his life.

That's emotional blackmail right there, as well as first class histrionics.

Quote
It just seems like a crazy jump to go from me being the only woman he'd ever marry to actually marrying someone else in 3-4 months time.  It seems that he can't have had enough time to heal from those feelings(?).  So I guess on a couple fronts it just shows some rebound/irresponsibility/impulsivity? 

The first word that popped into my head was "UNSTABLE" in red, blinking neon letters, but: all those other things, too. :)

You did very well for yourself at a very vulnerable time, don't you think?

(I do!)


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atticusfinch

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2016, 11:17:20 PM »
Thanks so much ANL and Scout.  It really helps to be validated because I tend to ignore my feelings perceptions and guilt myself too much.  You have all helped me so much.

I have to say, with a little time to process this, I am also relieved on another front.  Since he'd never been married, I felt a ton of pressure from his family to make things work (this should be a cautionary tale to anyone who wants to jump into an r/s right after PD, right?).  His family was nice to me but there were red flags there too-- they reminded me a lot of my ex's family (lots of insecurity in the siblings and control by parents...which I learned after marrying my PD meant that the parents were emotionally abusive/controlling, and only bodes poorly for the relationship) and that scared the crap out of me!  One day they were all picking on his niece (18 years old-ish and pregnant) and my ex bf was joining in-- jokingly putting her down.  His mom told her that since she lived with her she got a say in what the baby was named, and was putting down all the girls name choices.  I remembered that putting someone down while joking can be a bad, bad sign!  That also freaked me out.   Ultimately I was so worried that I was letting down this whole group of people when I ended things with him.  I realize this is partly some co-dependence at play (which helped me not give in to it) and I'm just so relieved that burden isn't on my shoulders anymore.  (honestly I couldn't stand the thought of two families hating me -- one is more than enough)

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Lady Baltimore

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2016, 01:33:52 PM »
Just leaving support, Atticus-  It sounds as if your relief is perfectly validated.   In your writing, there were a lot of red flags both about him and his family. 

I know that this is a cliche, but a friend of mine always told me, "Look out for number one," meaning myself.  I think a lot of us are so used to wanting to please others and putting ourselves second that we can miss the bigger picture.   Trust your gut-  Your well-being is more important than the approval of a group of veritable strangers.  (I hope that doesn't sound patronizing- It's meant with good intentions!)

*gentle hugs*

Bullet dodged,

-LB
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." - George Eliot

Calm. Stay calm.
Challenge. This is a challenge.
Control. You are in control.

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atticusfinch

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2016, 03:13:04 PM »
Thanks so much LB!  Even though I do feel relief I did find myself waking up pretty sad.  I guess what's hard when someone you've dated gets married is that it also makes it hard to be friends again, because of the complications with the new wife.  I would like to be friends with them after there has been some healing time take place, but we'll see.  I guess that's another reason not to date until you're ready-- sometimes it isn't helpful to be grieving yet another relationship when the wounds from the first are still so fresh.

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hhaw

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2016, 12:48:58 AM »
Well, atticus......

you know I'm relieved he's out of your life...... married or no.  I'm just glad he's gone.

I never liked him. 

You deserve so much better.

hhaw
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

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BingoLake

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2016, 02:02:54 AM »
Love is patient.  Anyone who's in it for the long haul will be patient.  Not pushy, and dramatic.  Which is what he sounded like.  Honestly it sounded like he only wanted to get married for the sake of getting married.  You could have been anybody.  And that girl whom married was that "anybody."  It really sucks to be married to someone who doesn't see you as a person, but only sees you as an end result.

Atticusfinch if life has taught me anything it's that life is full of surprises.  Don't lose hope.  Life has a lot of adventures in it whether we're looking or not.  Just keep taking care of yourself, and your kids.  Everything will fall into place when, and however it is suppose to happen.  Which reminds me of the Rolling Stones lyric..."you can't always get what we want, but you get what you need."

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waking up

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2016, 03:45:15 AM »
Haha hhaw
Atticus
If you felt it to be a red flag then it was. It was something you noticed that just felt wrong to you...thats what a red flag is. And I think all of us here wish we had paid attention to those red flags years ago.
When it feels wrong it is wrong. Dont ever doubt that. And dont settle for something you know intuitively is wrong.

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Rocket Girl

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2016, 03:31:06 PM »
Hi AF,  you wrote in an earlier post "It just seems like a crazy jump to go from me being the only woman he'd ever marry to actually marrying someone else in 3-4 months time.  It seems that he can't have had enough time to heal from those feelings(?)."

I'm sorry to say it, but I doubt he ever had those feelings.  This is impulsive, irrational behavior, one described perfectly as belonging to a PD.  My n/bpd told me he loved me within 2 months and was talking marriage during the same time.  I'm not surprised your ex married on impulse, what I am surprised about is the girl said yes. 

Please try to walk away from them both.  You don't need this drama in your life.  These are people you are barely vested in.  Adopt a family that needs help, or assist an elderly neighbor.  Be part of something positive.

yes, it hurts like hell, the rejection.  I try to tell myself I didn't lose him because I never had him. 
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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atticusfinch

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2016, 02:09:00 AM »
hhaw, BingoLake, waking up, Rocket Girl and all my other sweet OOTF friends,

Thank you so much for your validation and support.  I am at a low point at the moment and just really needed it!  I went to ex bf's wedding reception today; I thought it was the "right" thing to do to show support to him, and I was worried it would be hard.  It was hard, and I've spent the rest of the night just feeling like I need a big fat cry.  I took two girl friends along (we all met in college) because I knew some other friends were coming.  It was so great to see all of them for the first time in years!  But it was also super painful for weird reasons!  Ex bf's new wife told me their dating story and it was hard to hear (I knew her, she was the flying monkey I mentioned!)-- basically they went from dating to married in less than 3 months and she sounds like the one who pushed things to move fast.  Also weirdly hard was seeing a couple of our guy friends from college who were there.  They are both happily married and thriving, and I just had a sad moment.  I'm lonely right now but not ready to date, and there aren't a lot of friend possibilities where I live.  One of the guys who was there is someone I dated way back my freshman year in college and for some reason it triggered these really strong memories.  He was a bit silly but a very good and kind boyfriend and he went away at the beginning of our relationship for a job, and gradually our r/s fizzled (he is now a doctor, and has a cute wife/family).  So it felt like we never had closure, and it just felt hard that it seems like all of the good guys are married, and i guess I just really felt the loss of what I've missed out on.   On the flipside, they are good, responsible people and it was a good reminder to keep my standards up for the future.

Also just to note that while I've been sad about the ex boyfriend off and on, I've also felt strangely angry at times!  I guess that's part of the grieving process.  It was nice to get a little closure with his family though, so they knew there were no hard feelings!

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Hikercymru

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2016, 05:28:51 AM »
Hi atticus,
What a rollercoaster of emotions the reception must have been!
You had so many triggers, and met so many people from your life story.
Have you heard about loss theory? Elisabeth Kuebler Ross came up with this in 1975, when she did extensive interviews with dying people. It goes like this: When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they will go through 5 stages: Denial (this is not happening to me), Anger (why me?), Bargaining (if I do x,y, z maybe I won't die), depression (reality sinking in), acceptance (making peace). Over the years, this theory has been applied to loss other than death, e.g. relationship break-ups. And it is found that people switch back and forth from one to another of the stages. I feel this could really apply to our break-ups, and to the realisation that our partners never really were who we thought they were, it is like a death of a dream.
Hang on in there, you are a beautiful person, and give yourself time to process.
I am going to start a separate thread about this.
H

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hhaw

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Re: Need a Little Boost - Ex Boyfriend Got Married
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2016, 08:37:17 PM »
atticus:

I'm sorry it's been such a sad weekend.  You were brave to attend the wedding reception, but I'm concerned that you went for the ex's family.... so they'd know there were no hard feelings.

Why do you value their feelings over your own?  WERE there hard feelings you had to dispel?  Why would you believe that perception was true?

If what other people think impacts you greatly, please consider doing work to value what you think more. 

The pd's in the world will always tell erroneous stories about you.  Their believers want to believe it, and you'll never impact that.... you can't.

What you can do is value your opinion more, and the opinions of your supporters who care to know the truth.

You're a very nice person, but you shouldn't suffer so much when someone has an unkind thought about you.  People are only human, and a lot of them are ignorant, gossiping, sheep, IMO.

Put on a tougher skin.  Put on an imaginary helmet.  Get comfortable with the fact not everyone will like you, or think well of you. 

Know it's not important.  What's important is what you think of yourself.

::brewing hot tea and pulling warm tray of cookies out of the oven for atticus::

You have people who care about and love you. 

Lean on them when you're feeling down. 

Trust yourself.

Before you know it you'll be glad to feel the sun on your face again.  You'll feel joy at being alive again.  This is the cycle of life.  The sad times are teaching you lessons you needed to learn about yourself.  Pay attention, atticus. 

hhaw
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt