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Hello all,

First time posting here and needing some advice. Me and my girlfriend have been together for 3 years. I moved in with her and her two kids a year ago. To be honest I love them all very much and they are close to my heart. A little backstory. A few months back I got laid off due to the economy. I had unemployment to help out which paid some bills and bought some food but wasn't as much as we were accustomed to living. She has a good job but lately she has been really depressed working there. I have started working again about a month ago and were slowly getting out of the pit of despair that are the bills. During the time it took me to find a steady job (it's not a great job but it pays enough that we can live a little easier) she started getting really depressed and I was obviously stressed and depressed. I'm still depressed honestly that all this happened. During the time period she started talking about us splitting up and then would decide against it and say she feels really connected to me. This has been going on and off for the past few months. So needless to say it has been really confusing trying to figure out if she wants me to stay or if she wants me to go.

I suspect she may be possibly bi-polar or borderline just based on posts I have read here and other websites. It's not just the recent events that I'm talking about that I'm basing that thought on. She has a long history of even when she was a kid going and being tested. She won't get tested again. I even wonder if her hormones could be all out of whack. She had a hysterectomy several years ago and she even says she's been messed up ever since.

It's been really bad lately. I know last week she snuck off to go see a ex boyfriend that was in town. She claims she just has a lot of relationships she hasn't had closure on and needs it. So finding out she snuck off to see him was pretty devestating. So me being paranoid because of it put a keylogger on my computer and went and seen the conversation they had afterwards. They have only talked once since then. It was her telling me (who wanted her back) that since the meeting she has come to find she no longer feels anything for him. Then yesterday I got off work early and text her that I was heading her way to take her out for lunch. She didn't text back. I got there just in time to see her leaving with another ex boyfriend. To my knowledge nothing happened as she only had an hour. Once again I read the convos. They are both attracted and feel connected to each other but neither feels they are ready to date the other again right now. I've mentioned to her previously that I really don't like these conversations. They have been going on for years but yesterday was the first time she had seen this particular ex in about 2 years. He stays pretty busy at work. She says there is nothing between them anymore and they are just friends. She is friends with a lot of ex's but this particular one from what I know has never been interested in being just friends. He's more interested in dating/having sex with her than being friends.

One thing personally I have noticed about myself is that during the time of being laid off I really lost myself and got beat down. I honestly believe getting myself back is a key factor in fixing things between me and her. I have already started on trying to get back to me. I joined a gym the other day to start getting back in shape. I'm trying to be a little more light hearted and care free. Next week I got an eye appointment to get my contacts back again. I'm going to get my hair cut today in a new style as well.

When she met me I was strong and ambitious. I was playing music a lot and was independent. Nowadays I find that I have become depressed,paranoid and dare I say a bit clingy. I don't really know how to fix that though because I'm scared that she's going to leave me for an ex or that she may potentially cheat on me. Although she says she would never cheat on me because she knows how it feels. She says she likes to flirt because it makes her feel that she is still a sexy and vibrant woman.

I shouldn't defend myself because regardless of anything the reason I'm the way I am is due to me but since I lost my job she has really beaten me down and I didn't know how to handle it and took it all very personally in a weakened state.

Anyways sorry this is so long but I was wondering if any of you had any advice on if this relationship can be saved and what I can do to get back to myself. Thank you for your time.
 

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Right, what you are experiencing is likely the natural result of her slowly loosing attraction for you.

Roughly speaking in a relationship you have 2 hormones involved in 2 circuits. Oxytocin the bonding hormone associated with the feeling of connection and warm comfort built over time with one's partner.
Dopamine, the passion hormone associated with attraction, excitement, newness and victory.

During your unemployed period some behaviors that likely used to generate some dopamine in her ceased or diminished (confidence, assertiveness, physycal good looks, resources, social mastery). As a result her brain craves it and actively seeks it in the search for and interaction with potential sexual partners.

Her mind rationalizes this behavior however it can as long as it continues as it feeds a craving and provides a powerful high. In other words your wife is actively seeking sexual attention for dopamine while vigilant to maintain oxytocin with you at least for now as breaking this bond would be very painful for you both.

In order to begin addressing this issue you first need to get informed on the many details and then diligently act on that information.

There are 2 materials of note that I suggest:

Please read Married Man Sex life by Athol Kay and Women's Infidelity by Michelle Langley. They provide a great breakdown of what you are likely experiencing and good tools to remedy the situation.

Please come back with feedback once you have read the materials.
 

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You say these conversations have been going on for a long time with the exes.

The things you described aren't the bipolar / BPD type of things. Those might be present, but just because someone is BPD or Bipolar doesn't mean they compulsively pursue exes.

I think she's keeping her eye out for a bigger, better deal, especially if this has worsened since you lost your job. It's natural to get clingy or demanding when you're threatened, and yes, you are being threatened. I don't think it's paranoid to think she might get back with an ex when she's meeting up with and talking to them the way she is. Your paranoia isn't the problem - your lack of "manning up" to her behavior is.

Why would you let your significant other treat you as if you're not the most valuable person in her life apart from her children?
 

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Thanks for the replies. I am reading Women's Infedility now actually.

As I mentioned the things I'm describing aren't what I'm referring to as potentially BPD. Those traits are separate from this situation altogether.

I have been working again for the past month so my girlfriend has been happier on that end.

Not sure what I'm doing wrong as far as not manning up. I mean I mention it to her and the factor that we arent married there isnt any kind of legal rammificationd. From what I can tell all I can do is talk to her about it.
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Thanks for the replies. I am reading Women's Infedility now actually.

As I mentioned the things I'm describing aren't what I'm referring to as potentially BPD. Those traits are separate from this situation altogether.

I have been working again for the past month so my girlfriend has been happier on that end.

Not sure what I'm doing wrong as far as not manning up. I mean I mention it to her and the factor that we arent married there isnt any kind of legal rammificationd. From what I can tell all I can do is talk to her about it.
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You are kidding, right? All you can do is talk to her? NO! You can decide to "man-up" and set expectations and boundaries. You can tell her that if she is going to be in a relationship with you that sneaking off to see Ex's isn't acceptable. If it happens again, you are history.

I'm not certain I would want to be with her if a little rough spot where you lose a job for a few months leads to this behavior:(
 
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