Why is my final boundary making me feel regret?

Why was my decision to make a stand about his smoking making me feel regret in hindsight?

Why did I reconsider, in that final argument, if his smoking was something I could ultimately tolerate?

His drinking – that’s harder because I never understood what alcoholism looked like. I never saw the behavior so consistently in an adult before to have an opinion. I didn’t know I needed to have a boundary until it became apparent his drinking was growing out of my comfort zone, in particular when he wanted to continue to socialize at bars.

Why do I feel guilty? Why do I feel like I should have reconsidered and allowed him to smoke in his own home while I was there without making a big deal about it? Why couldn’t it just be “no big deal” for me. Why couldn’t I relax” they way he kept asking me too?

So while I’m hyper focused on the smoking and I consider it the straw that broke the camels back, I have to fight to remind myself it was only the final straw and not the entire house of straws.

I’m not doing such a good job. I keep blaming myself for missteps. I keep looking for alternatives snd solutions and I know, I really know, that’s wrong.

I’m struggling today. Not enough to reach out. But I keep wishing he would and I believe he will not. I know he is very angry and indignant this time to block me from the fitness app we shared and loved. There is nothing I can do and feeling helpless is an awful feeling.

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

14 thoughts on “Why is my final boundary making me feel regret?”

  1. This is what I get when I try to go to your blog:

    madelineharper09.com recently expired! Oh no!

    “Madeline Harper” is not available at the domain madelineharper09.com right now. This domain expired, and it has to be renewed before it is lost.

    We already notified this site’s owners. However, renewing expired domains becomes more costly and complicated as time goes by. We want to make sure they got the message.

    If you know this site’s owners, please get in touch and remind them to renew this domain before it’s too late.

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  2. Okay, I haven’t really absorbed all that has happened but in this particular thing, it’s a given that there are things that we cannot, in all good conscious, abide by. There are things that we would not do and can be of a mind that no one else should do them and if they do, we’re pretty “quick” to condemn them for whatever that is and it becomes an instant red flag issue. Okay, so he smokes and drinks “a lot.” You didn’t like it and if you let your dislike be known – and I suspect more than once – I’m not really surprised that he got pissed off because you were pissed off.

    The mistake we all keep making and even justifying is that when we get involved with someone, we want them to be the way we want them to be instead of adjusting to the way they are. If they’re doing something we can’t abide by, we can ask them not to do whatever that is and if they agree to stop it, fine… but they don’t have to if they don’t want to but if you keep busting their ass about it because for you, it’s the proverbial straw, well, I’d ask you why you persisted in a behavior I’m sure you knew would just fuck everything up and more so when it’s not the first time you’ve gotten your panties in a bunch over someone being themselves… and you weren’t feeling that. And, yes, I think I know better than most how you are about the kind of guy you want to be with and that you are exercising your right to be the way you are about it…

    And I’m still the guy who has the nerve to ask you, “How’s that been working for ya?” Honestly? I knew this was going to happen so it was just a matter of when it was. Honestly? I was – and still am – proud of you for being able to set aside your usual reluctance in order to check him out and, at the very least, just enjoy being with him and just because you could and needed to be with someone. I had hoped that the “old Madeline” got locked in her room and not do or say anything to mess things up… and she did and I know, without having finished reading everything, you also blame him for being… who and what he is… and you weren’t having any of that.

    I need to think some more about this – I am not done with you yet but I need to make sure I understand what happened better.

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    1. Yes you are right I have to accept people for who they are which is also what Jana is saying.

      There is no way around it except to say he lied multiple times about the smoking because he knew it was a no go for me. So it was 4 months of relationship and commitment before I understood, really understood, there was a potential problem. And he said he would never smoke around me and would quit.

      I didn’t need to voice it because it didn’t happen, until it started to late in the game. He hid it until he stopped trying to hide it.

      So, in all honestly, I’m not challenging you as much as I am really and truly confused – if he’s lying to me about something he knew was going to mean I wouldn’t get into relationship with him, then ultimately tell me I have no choice but to accept it, was I wrong to get upset with him when he finally crossed the line in front of me at his home (so this is 13 months after we’ve met and it never happened with me except the one time he asked me on St Patrick’s day and I didn’t blink and eye because he said it was a tradition – it wasn’t worth any argument if it was important to him and he raised it with me – so here it was 4 days later and he just goes and does it?). I am really confused about it.

      I get why he is angry about me getting upset about what he can or can’t do in his own home. What I don’t understand is why I shouldn’t have expected him to stick with behavior he himself committed to.

      I didn’t think he would cross that line. Like I said, the drinking I can’t say anything about because I didn’t know until I was around it. But the smoking is an issue for me because I’m allergic so it makes me physically uncomfortable.

      I really am trying to understand if he was just at a point where he was saying “fuck it” and knew this was going to start a war with me.

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    2. I guess I should have said – I wasn’t abiding by or adjusting to his smoking so I wasn’t complaining. He wasn’t smoking except before he saw me. There was no smoking so no complaining.

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    1. I feel regret because I was being beaten into submission and kept letting it happen and I wanted to find a way to enjoy the summer with him and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.

      I had pretty much sucked everything else up he threw at me those 13 days except the smoking.

      But should I feel regret I had a standard and stuck to it while he had no qualms to cross it? Doesn’t that constitute disrespect or lack of empathy? (And I get that goes two ways)

      So much to unpack.

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  3. Personally I feel that you met a guy that you enjoyed spending time with, and for the most part you liked, early on, the person that he presented himself as. This is how it was for me in 2018 when I met the fireman who I thought I just adored. He assured me that photos I saw of him where he was smoking “were old photos” and the fact that he constantly chewed Nicorette meant that he clearly was no longer smoking and wouldn’t smoke again. He also assured me that he only liked to have a few beers at home and drinking was social and not an issue. Upon getting to know him better, over a period of months I was able to observe first hand that he was still a regular smoker and is truly an alcoholic. It’s only over time that we get to really know people as most will present themselves as “the person they want to be” rather than reality.

    The only mistake is in staying when you realize that who they are doesn’t align with your wants and boundaries. Don’t “stay and settle” in an effort to make the person be who you want them to be as you will only make both of you miserable. I think he is just as guilty of this as you are here. He clearly saw some behaviours that crossed boundaries for him but he also chose to stay and was pretty mean to you about it as well. You didn’t deserve his meanness. But for the sake of both of you…please don’t go back…he is not someone who you can be happy with. And don’t feel regret, you have a right to have boundaries.

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    1. Hi Sassy – thanks for that. I didn’t realize you’ve been through the same. It’s always good to hear similar perspective. I’ve been so confused about what went wrong that last time but it was just the ticking time bomb of all the months before. Those last two weeks I had never seen so much nightly drinking before in all the months we were together and the smoking while I was with him had also started to show so you’re right – it was a matter of time before the full reality of it hit. And, I expect even if I accepted those things, his lack of emotional support was equally a big problem.
      I’m feeling bad because I don’t want to cause hurt between us and I’m sad it’s ended like this.

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      1. For me, my ex telling me “smoking wasn’t an issue” and then “I only smoke some times” to “I’m just a Social smoker” to “I only smoke when I drink” just kept going on and on. For me, smoking is a deal breaker and I am not even allergic. I just find it gross. I smoked from the age of 22-32 and then quit because it’s so unhealthy and gross. It’s a firm no for me now and the combination of a smoker and lots of drinking is just not the lifestyle I want to have. I feel no guilt or regret. It’s a shame the relationship could not have ended kindly, but you are not solely responsible for that. He abandoned you on NYE and your anniversary ….even doing that once is unacceptable. You don’t want that type of behavior in a relationship and you shouldn’t try to make it work. The little red flags have turned into huge ones. You will get through this, I believe that.

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      2. Thank you so much for helping. I’m struggling so much. I had the vaccine and have been delirious for two days and almost reached out last night! Thank goodness he isn’t in my phone anywhere!

        He outright lied about the smoking. I don’t know why I feel shame over it except mostly because (I assume) I was raised in a family of smokers who made me feel bad for getting sick and making a big deal about the smoke and not caring – and since they were adults not much I could do about it.

        And you’re right, he isn’t living a lifestyle I want. I don’t think he does either, I think it’s temporary until whether comes next – but maybe I even interpreted that incorrectly or he told himself a story that isn’t true.

        I just have to keep reminding myself

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  4. You have every right to have boundaries and dealbreakers. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for that. However, an area where you can do better is to to not let anyone cross those boundaries. Of course, they may do it – but you shouldn’t redraw the boundary to keep the relationship going. If smoking was a dealbreaker, then the first time you learned he was smoking (especially since he knew this was not something you would tolerate and after he lied to you about it), then that would have been the time to end the relationship.

    Quite frankly, in my view the lying should have been the biggest issue. I don’t smoke and I don’t want to be with a smoker – but at least if they came out and told me, ‘Look, I do smoke. I’m trying not to smoke so much, but I’m probably always going to want to smoke from time to time.” Then you could have a real and reasonable conversation about the smoking, possible compromises (not just bullshit promises to quit) and then make a decision on whether you can tolerate that or not. With Scott, he lied up front (I’m sure because you had mentioned you would not be with a smoker and he wanted to bang you) — but then once he had gotten what he wanted, he let you “find out” that he was smoking. You bitched about it and he told you he wouldn’t – but then he did. Then you bitched about it some more and he said he would only smoke cigars – but he smoked more than that (after all, you had stayed after that first time). You bitched some more and he became progressively more angry and resentful until he told you straight up he would do what he wanted, especially in his own home. In my humble opinion, the first time you determined that he was smoking (which meant he was lying), I would have thanked him for the memories and ended the relationship. He certainly can do what he wants and set his own boundaries, especially in his home, but you don’t have to debase yourself by staying.

    I would suggest that you really examine 1) Why you were willing to keep adjusting your boundaries in order to stay in the relationship. Do you feel you must be in a relationship to be happy? Is your sense of self-worth based on whether someone finds you attractive and desirable? Do you not have enough activities or close friends to help you with any loneliness you feel? and 2) Why do you have the mistaken belief that you can change someone – or that they SHOULD change in order to be with you? In a real, healthy relationship, neither party expects the other to change. Both parties realize that there are going to be things about the other person that drives them crazy – but they figure out a way to deal with that and/or compromise with love and respect. If one of the party is not willing to do that – the relationship will not work.

    You are not the bad guy here — but I would submit that Scott is not really the bad guy either. He lied, which is something I would not have tolerated, and he treated you with disrespect, which is equally bad. But you also lied – to yourself when you kept convincing yourself that he would change or that the relationship was healthy. And you treated him with disrespect when you started to nag him about his behaviors (smoking, drinking, hanging out with younger people, staying in his job). You can’t change Scott (or anyone), but you can change yourself. But first you have to be willing to really examine your roll in your history of failed relationships. That’s a pretty hard thing to do and not fun at all. But then you need to figure out a game plan for future dating and relationships. A plan where you are not so desperate to be with someone. Where you expect respect and truth and will not tolerate disrespect. Where you get to the point where you really understand that, while you will never be perfect (and that is OK – none of us are), that you are always trying to grow and that you are willing to accept that the other party will not be perfect, but that’s OK as long as they are trying to be the best human they can be. I would suggest that you also work on why it is so important to your sense of worth or your view of a “good” relationship that a man needs to follow the scripting you have in your head of how they should act – how often they should be texting and calling, how many and what types of gifts and perks they should be buying for you, how they should anticipate all of your needs on a first date. All of that is mostly superficial bullshit and doesn’t allow either party to really get to know the other to find out who they really are and what is important to them in life or in a relationship. Hopping into bed as quickly as you do may also be contributing to your pattern – women especially equate sex with feelings, love, or some sort of bond. Take sex out of the equation until you really have a handle on who someone is and if he’s worthy of that next step.

    You’ve got a continued difficult road ahead if you’re serious about becoming more emotionally healthy and learning to love yourself instead of just medicating your pain and doubt with quick fixes like weight loss surgery and drama-filled relationships. As you have found out, time and time again, these types of things cause more pain and heartache, more doubt, more guilt, and in the case of your surgery, it almost cost you your life. You deserve better, Madeline – but only you can do the hard work to make things different and better.

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  5. He lied about it! And instead of “I’m sorry I was just really into you, and I’ll try” he told you “OK, I won’t around you” and lied again. Then he got upset that you were upset.

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    1. The more I talk about it, the more clearly I can see he can do/be whatever he chooses, but my boundary with smoking was always crystal clear. I would have opened an honest discussion but was never offered opportunity. He got angry that i got upset, not even upset – which makes it even worse.

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