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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am a long-time lurker and used to be a semi-regular poster when I was married, but I have created a new account because I don't want my new posts associated with the old account. Because my how things have changed.

I am now divorced and dating a new guy. He's 39. I'm 42. We have been together for a little over a year. At first glance, you would not necessarily put us together. He is extremely overweight, underemployed, and less educated than I am. Most people (and honestly, I'm not trying to oversell this or sound like an arrogant jerk) would describe me as a 9/10. I'm a pretty solid catch -- very attractive, slender, educated, own my own home and business, and very active/fun. All of that said, I find him very handsome, funny, empathetic, and kind. The sex is phenomenal. We have tons in common.

I mention all of these things because they are relevant to a problem we have been having for the last several months. In a nutshell, I recently discovered that he developed an infatuation with a student at the school where he works. She was a high school senior (age 17) when this started. There was no contact between them at all. He simply looked at her photos (quite regularly) on Instagram. He kept this hidden from me, but he made the mistake of using my laptop to do so on more than one occasion and I came across her profile in the history quite accidentally at first -- and then went digging when my curiosity was piqued. My first thought was, "Who the hell looks at Instagram on a computer?"

When I confronted him about her, he became very defensive. At first, he lied. A lot. Eventually, he came clean (yes, he was attracted to her and yes, he knew it was inappropriate -- but the thrill of possibly getting caught was a rush for him. Major eyeroll here.)

This young lady is beautiful and sexy and vapid in that way that so many 18 year-old girls are. And this has become a huge problem for us. Huge. For starters, I am 42. I am not 18. No matter how attractive I am or how fit, I am not 18. Never will be again. Nor am I a fantasy. I'm a real woman with feelings and thoughts and a history and complications. Like ANYONE.

Secondly, he has made several comments over the last year that have somehow managed to transform me from a confident, self-assured woman into a clingy, insecure mess. Mind you, I thought I had worked through a lot of the issues that came from my marriage (namely that my husband was LD and I am extremely HD). I learned to stop taking things like that personally. Or thought I had.

Third, I also discovered that he (BF) was using porn in excess -- and hiding/lying about it. I don't care about porn usage, but I DO care about how it affects my sex life. And when he was having trouble getting/maintaining an erection, he blamed it on all sorts of things. Not once did he confess that he just TCB right before I came over. So I started to become paranoid. Especially because we went from having sex 1-2 times a day to sometimes struggling to have sex once.

On top of all of this, I started thinking about the weird things he would say. "You would be so hot with black hair." (False: I'm a blonde.) On discussions about the fact that he seems to prefer extremely tiny women, he would defend it by talking about "heavier" women he dated. Except NONE OF THEM WOULD BE CONSIDERED HEAVY.

When all of this new stuff came to light, I started ripping myself apart. Changed my hair color. Dropped ten pounds (that I didn't need to lose). Started wearing makeup every single day -- and lots of it. Started dressing sexier and behaving differently. Started tanning. All of it. Suddenly, all of my values were flipped upside down -- and WHY? Because some guy made me feel like garbage. I was so blindsided. I really thought that we were happy and that he was in love with me. I never saw this coming.

We have struggled with the lying/covering up stuff the most. A couple of weeks will go by without any problems and then I will suddenly feel suspicious, insecure, and heartbroken. He's extremely intuitive, so he will immediately start asking questions. I will try to tell him what is going on without too much fuss -- and inevitably it ends up in some stupid argument where we are focused on how his guilt makes HIM feel. Not how his actions hurt me, but on how hard this is for him. More eyerolling here.

We've taken a couple of breaks, but invariably, he freaks out, feels abandoned, can't live without me but swears he will banish me from his life forever, etc. A lot of emotional manipulation.

For the record, I'm in individual counseling, but this year has been full of other, more pressing issues -- like health concerns for one of my children, old family drama with my parents and brother, and a whole host of problems created by my divorce. So quite frankly, I haven't wanted to spend my valuable 45 minutes talking about some BS relationship problems.

I'm not an idiot. And I'm not a doormat. I can SEE how screwed up this is. So how do I go about untangling myself? And how do I go about beginning to repair the damage he has inflicted? Why is it so hard to walk away? Am I overreacting? WHY would he sabotage this? I understand that young women are sexy and beautiful, but she was a student. That's an abuse of the trust placed in him as an employee in the high school -- and I resent the idea that men are entitled to just ogle teenagers without consequences. He can insist that it was meaningless all he wants, but it still hurt like hell and did a number on my self-esteem and my ability to trust him.

I keep waiting for the moment when I no longer look at him with love or desire or longing, but rather the disgust I think this situation deserves. Is there a pill I can take for that? :laugh:
 

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I have no idea why you can't get rid of this guy. Why do you think you stay with him? Are you trying to punish yourself for something?

Maybe you should get into some heavy duty IC ASAP.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Honestly, I think I stay for a few reasons: the chemistry is pretty intense, I have never been able to communicate so openly with anyone in my life, and we have both been through some fairly traumatic things in our lives that not many other people would understand. There's a connection there that is really unique...and it messes with my head.
 

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Honestly, I think I stay for a few reasons: the chemistry is pretty intense, I have never been able to communicate so openly with anyone in my life, and we have both been through some fairly traumatic things in our lives that not many other people would understand. There's a connection there that is really unique...and it messes with my head.
Blah blah blah. Every person who has ever been in love says all the same crap. You're getting something out of the relationship, and I think it's an unhealthy something.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
LOL!! I know you're right re: everyone in love and oddly enough, the "blah blah blah" didn't offend me. But still. I want that magic bullet.
 

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What magic bullet????

What are you getting out of this relationship? Are you scared to find out - is that why you haven't seen a therapist?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
For the record, I've stopped with the self-destructive preening and clingy behavior. And I've demanded transparency. But I still find myself struggling with certain things -- like now that I know how to get into his phone, I'm obsessively checking it. That is not something I *ever* did before this happened. He feels like I'm invading his privacy -- I feel like I'm policing his behavior for good reason.

I think part of it is that I am still struggling with the shock of this happening to me. How could HE do this to ME? That's my ego talking -- and I know it. But it still hurts like a son of a *****.

And mostly, what I am afraid of is that I will wait until I find someone "better"...rather than simply walking away because it is what is best for me. I know that I have a hard time being alone because quite frankly, I've never been alone for long. Any books or guidance on that would be helpful.

To make matters worse, my ex-husband is still trying to fight for our marriage...wants to start counseling together (again)...and all I want is to crawl into a hole for a year.

In some way, I think this dude represented some measure of comfort in an otherwise extremely stressful time. And now he is just perpetually linked with MORE stress. And I can't unlink the two. Nor do I think I should. But clearly, I am not letting go.
 

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Honestly, I think I stay for a few reasons: the chemistry is pretty intense, I have never been able to communicate so openly with anyone in my life, and we have both been through some fairly traumatic things in our lives that not many other people would understand. There's a connection there that is really unique...and it messes with my head.
The Chemistry is pretty intense, huh, @TournerLaPage?

Well... here is what this chemistry looks like to an outside observer:-

 

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Discussion Starter #11
My logical brain knows everyone is right. If I heard about this situation from someone else, I would tell them to head for the hills. I think part of me still needs to be convinced that what he did was genuinely, legitimately wrong. I have a tendency to completely detach from my own bad experiences -- probably as some sort of weird coping mechanism learned early in life...where there were more than enough bad experiences to go around. I spent a long time in therapy dealing with that stuff though and thought I had put it to bed, so to speak. But it's crazy how quickly something can become a bad habit again.
 

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And what are you learning?
Long story short: my old therapist retired last year. I started with a new therapist several months ago -- when all of this came to light. Quite frankly, we are still unpacking all of the crap from the last two years -- a lot of external stress that came out of nowhere combined with personal crap. We are literally still going through the timeline...because it got pretty wacky. We haven't even gotten to the new crap yet. And in part, like I said, I want to spend my 45 minutes focused on things that are more important to me -- my daughter's health, my family relationships, and my own sense of being overwhelmed. The last thing I want to talk about with her right now is how my grown ass boyfriend had the hots for a teenager. :|

But what am I learning? I'm learning that I insulate myself when things fall apart. I'm learning that I have a stubborn tendency toward thinking I can handle everything myself. I'm learning that I need better coping strategies when I'm overwhelmed. Not sure I needed a therapist to tell me any of that, but there it is.
 

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Have you told your therapist about what he's done? Don't you think that it affects every other aspect of your life? Don't you think that the thing you most DO NOT want to talk about should be the thing you DO talk about?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Have you told your therapist about what he's done? Don't you think that it affects every other aspect of your life? Don't you think that the thing you most DO NOT want to talk about should be the thing you DO talk about?
I have not addressed it with her yet -- no. I can only afford to see her twice a month...and it's been about two months since this happened. I started seeing her about three months ago. It is a priority -- I'm just not sure it's THE priority, if that makes sense.
 

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In a way, I think I came here looking for confirmation that YES, what he did was wrong. Because he has a knack for making me think I'm overreacting. And I have a knack for ignoring my own instincts.
 

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In a way, I think I came here looking for confirmation that YES, what he did was wrong. Because he has a knack for making me think I'm overreacting. And I have a knack for ignoring my own instincts.
YES. What he did was VERY VERY WRONG.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
And how's that working out for you???
Haha! Well. It's why I'm here, I suppose. Not that this is a substitute for therapy, but sometimes a consensus is better than one person merely repeating crap back to me. Or asking me how I feel. Or what I want to do next. I don't KNOW what I want to do next which is why I'm in counseling in the first place. I'm overwhelmed.
 
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