Dear Jana

My blog has been a lifesaver for me for years. Although I am only consistent during tough times, it is when I need to journal the most. I have been so lucky to have readers engage with me thoughtfully and honestly, even when the truth hurts. This particular comment from Jana really addresses so many of my own questions I figured it would be great to copy and past both Jana’s comments and my answers as I work through it.

I had one post written and scheduled for this morning before I read Jana’s comments and its sort of eerie how many of her own thoughts were starting to surface in my head. It often takes me a while to sort through the emotional murkiness I create for myself.

Thanks for all the thought starters Jana – you have always been such a great support and eye-opener for me and I always appreciate you.

Jana’s comments are in italics and my thoughts/replies/comments are in regulars font.

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.

*This is all 100% accurate. Had he been honest, at any time, a conversation would have been possible.

I would suggest that you really examine 1) Why you were willing to keep adjusting your boundaries in order to stay in the relationship. *I adjusted (for smoking) because I wanted to believe what he was saying rather than what I felt to be true in my gut. Also, because he never smoked around me (except the very first fight in Dec, then he never did again) and he would do his best to be sure I didn’t smell it or taste it before we were together. When he said he wanted to quit (and he had quit once in his life) I believed he would want to quit again.

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? *A half answer is mostly yes to both questions. I am not entirely unhappy outside of relationship, I am happier within. I have such severe body dysmorphia that, yes, much of my self-worth is centered around being comfortable in my body, not necessarily in being attractive. Desirable, yes (but not in a sexual way, just overall).

Do you not have enough activities or close friends to help you with any loneliness you feel? *Sure, I have plenty. They do not fulfill me the way a partner does.

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. *I submit that people do not change, but they do grow, and growing together, and even better, healing together, can be a beautiful thing. In the beginning with Scott I was entirely judgmental about all the normal things I usually am in dating, I let go of all of it, and saw other behaviors that I didn’t even have any idea I needed to be wary of because I hadn’t been exposed to them (in a sense).

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). *Nag seems a strong word here. We had one discussion about his drinking where he admitted he drank too much and was pulling back, that was not at my request – it was because he blacked out twice when I wasn’t with him. He was also with the kids when this happened. So the conversation with the kids and drinking happened once. I was on his about his job early on but stopped long before the Thanksgiving holiday, acknowledging it wasn’t my place and in an effort to understand I had to accept his decisions. The smoking caused one big argument in December then did not appear again until March. It is easy to pull out the big ones as they are so obvious, but they are also the ones I tended to focus on the least as I knew they created the most tension.

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 believed that is what I was trying to do with Scott, I really do. I was striving at every turn with Scott, to be a better person.

The line about “expecting truth and not tolerate disrespect” should be my mantra. I have found this impossible to abide by, which does make it appear as if I am desperate to remain in relationship at all costs.

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. *With Scott, this all fell to the side. I thought about these things during dating, then evaluated the importance of them over how I felt when I was having fun with Scott. I can’t say I don’t think about it, I’m not sure when (or if ever) I won’t think about some of it, but I do realize what I feel is important on a date now, and what isn’t.

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. *we can agree to disagree to a point. I had no emotional feelings for Scott post sex for many, many months. Same with other men I had sex with after Tony. HOWEVER, I also know there is a risk that when I get a little crush on someone, that’s when I should stay out of bed – that’s when the trouble starts with the imaginary bonds. Sex with Scott was very good, but I never felt the emotional connection, that real passion, I have had in the past – it was ALWAYS missing from sex.

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. *I love this comment Jana and it really helped me clear out some cobwebs. Strangely enough I had some of these thoughts the other nights and had written a post on lying…..I should have identified that trigger as the smoking gun long before the actual smoking (there must be a great play on words in there for a more clever person!).

I am confident, despite what has happened with Scott, that I have changed and grown. I don’t understand myself and why I want to accept an unhealthy relationship, or why that feels more comfortable to me than having no relationship. I don’t have those answers yet. I am searching for them though and I appreciate having you as a trail guide along my path. Thank you, Jana.

Lying Always Confuses Me

Over the past week all the journaling, talking to friends, my therapist and just getting more days between Scott has helped me to sort through all the different layers of things that were intertwined and which I couldn’t seem to unravel well enough to see what was clearly in front of me HAD I BEEN HONEST WITH MYSELF.

I have resolved to rake over as much of my memory while it is still intact as I often bury and forget thing in order to move on, it has always been my own way of compartmentalizing trauma. So, if I don’t get this stuff out of my head now, I won’t be as clear about it later. It’s important now as it is as close to reality as it will ever be.

I was raised in a home where lying was the order of the day. My parents lied to us and trained us to lie on their behalf for a multitude of reasons. I learned to lie well at a young age. However, as I grew independent in my own relationships in life and away from my parents, I realized how much I hated lying (much like I hate smoking) and resolved to try and live a life that was more transparent. I had probably already indirectly acknowledged this at a very young age and its why my personality is so direct and critical, I want things to be right, true, not false – because it felt like everything around me was false, I could never really tell if and when my parents were lying. Then I married a man who did the same and the pattern continued. I even have one son who can’t help himself, he lies for sport and he knows it. Lying can make me anger almost more quickly than anything else, it is probably one of my worst triggers and the hardest for me to control. I think part of the reason it sets me off so badly is I hate when I don’t see it coming, and, of course, I am often fooled because I always believe in the good of people.

I believe people genuinely want to be good and honest and this isn’t always the case. Honesty for me may be one thing, and it may be entirely another for someone else. People talk about some types of white lies being ok, and I get confused about where you draw the line at that. Sometimes a type of storytelling or embellishment to a story is a bit of a lie, right? I guess it’s all in your perception of what a lie is.

And, for me, this is a very, very unclear line.

Scott is a storyteller. He loves to embellish a story and refers to many of his stories as “legendary.” In the beginning I was a little confused by the voracity of his stories, some seemed so outlandish, but as time wore on, and as he repeated them (often as it turns out) I understood the stories to be almost entirely true. Almost, but not quite. Let’s just say close enough to the truth. Over time, when the story was repeated I could glean the different details and sometimes could ask a question or two and get the whole (truthful) story out of him.

I think that I have been lied to so much over the years in my relationships that I tend to try and believe what I am being told instead of what my gut is telling me, or worse yet, what I am seeing with my own eyes.

Scott’s first lie was about smoking. But his next was about a woman.

And, I should have had the courage to end it right then and there – that night – except I was in another state with no transportation at his mercy. We did argue, pretty badly that night – when I heard the lie about the woman and the lie about the smoking and he went off the rails at me with anger. I tried to fix it then too, because up until that point things with Scott had been fun, happy and good.

I wrote about that first bad argument in early December. All the signs were there.

I saw them. I wrote about them. And I looked the other way for fucks sake.

From December until the end of March, I let the same behavior get worse and nothing I could do was going to fix it. Mark my words, whatever set Scott of initially, whatever trigger I pulled – that lever never came back level. Not only did his actions become more disrespectful but I allowed it to happen.

The question is why.

The question has always been why.

I thought, by being with Scott, I was striving to be better – I was dumping so many of my old scripts out the window. It wasn’t easy, it really wasn’t easy – and I wasn’t asking for anyone’s applause. I wanted Scott to see me, to ask questions, to understand how I had changed and how I was growing and how hard it was for me, just how much I wanted to do it. I took his criticism of me to heart, I wanted to hear what he said so I could be a better person, but while doing that, I was also stepping over my own boundaries and sending the wrong message time after time.

I suppose in hindsight the message was that if I can’t value my own boundaries and standards, neither should Scott.

Everyone can preach about self love. My therapist wanted to introduce to me to God yesterday and it took all my power to not quit her on the spot (I do not know what I believe, but I do know this is not something I want in my therapy. Also, to be fair, I made this clear when I hired her long ago, I did not want God or religion brought into therapy ever as I know she does religious therapy). Self love, God, self-worth, gratitude, acceptance – I know, I get it – these are all the valuable and important internal mechanisms I am missing. People can repeat these words to me until they are blue in the face but I do not understand what it means. I only seem to understand the pain and abuse. I only seem to understand the neglect. I do not truly understand how to get away from it and just sit with myself and be happy with just myself and what I have. I have also read extensively that some people just can’t do it alone, some people need a relationship to be successful at finding that self-love – what if I’m one of those people? What if I can’t do this alone?

All I can say is I feel very, very alone.

A Week On

It’s been a week and a day since it ended, a week since I left him.

I have looked for emails or text from him every day, even though I know its fruitless. Good thing too, because I already know I am weaker than he is. I feel like every man I have ever met is stronger than I am, they all have more self worth than I do.

I have friends who check on me, but I know better than to keep talking about it which is why the word vomit here is so abundant. I know journaling gets it all out of my head and on to paper. I know, after Mexico in particular, that I must write and write and write, until the pain is less tangible in my body. It does flow out through my fingers on to the page. The tears often come out too.

Between the vaccine and getting my period after almost 11 months without a period and this breakup, my emotions are running rampant and are very hard to keep in check. I haven’t worked out in a month (since he left me at the hotel in February I lost all the will to exercise), I’m not eating well, and I have little to no focus on anything. After sitting in bed for 2 days in delirium, I gave myself today to skip one more workout and focus on just getting my act together at work (because we don’t also want to lose a job now do we?). Tomorrow I can focus on a little exercise and map out a plan to get a routine back together.

I am unsure if I ever told this story, but back when Tony and I split and he went to work for Peloton, I thought buying the bike would make me feel closer to him. It didn’t. The bike became a coat hanger for 7 months or so. Then, one day, I realized it was silly to own such an expensive piece of equipment and not use it, and my love of exercise (or some version of love) was born. In the back of my head I also thought, if my xbf was going to be taking care of himself, how dumb was I to not take care of myself? Revenge body anyone? I don’t think my thoughts were that literal at the time, but something like that. Scott is a lifetime athlete, he inspired me to do well, and to work with him. Maybe I am depressed I am going to miss my partner because he was the first man that I was able to share my new found love of running and Peloton (and he embraced it with me). His blocking me on Peloton is a real slap in the face, there is no actual interaction with one another, you can just see each other workouts. He knew this would hurt me, yet it is no cost to him. At the moment, I need to unwind my exercise from Scott or I am afraid I will lose the love of something that has become critical to my sanity. AS I am writing this, I didn’t realize how I was correlating the two, but this seems to be the only answer for why I have lost my passion right now.

I do miss him. And each time I miss him I say (out loud) “cancel, cancel” (thank you @miaknipst). Sometimes it works. I know ultimately nothing works but time and I just have to get through it. I don’t understand how someone so very smart (and he is very smart, two impressive MBA’s) doesn’t have any desire to work on themselves. I just don’t get it. I believed we could have helped one another in so many ways. I know that I can only help myself, do my own work, and continue to grow and cultivate my own self-worth.

The one image I try to keep in mind is this: each time I cried he would look at me and he would be dead, just dead, behind his eyes. No emotion. Not pity, sympathy, empathy or concern. Maybe not even disgust. Just an absolute look of blank deadness. To me, the look was cruel and I couldn’t meet his eyes. I suppose in the moment I thought there was anger, but he didn’t especially demonstrate overt anger (and I think this was especially contrived, he tried hard not to display anger). The words in his letter do not align with the image on his face, or the anger that spewed from his mouth about how he really felt when I exhibited emotions he didn’t understand (they were always “outbursts”). I need this image to haunt me when I am weak because it was horrifying to see someone who claims they love you, that claims you are the one they “feel in their soul” are their lifetime partner, reflects back at you.

This cannot be what love looks like. Love cannot harbor this much disdain, even at the end as things fall apart. Perhaps he loved me as best he knew how. He certainly loved a thought of me, an ideal.

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.

Feeling Shitty

I had my 2nd vaccine Tuesday and wasn’t even able to get out of bed yesterday. I had all sorts of weird dreams and delusions. Today is mildly better. At least I know this feeling will pass soon enough.

The heartbreak, or whatever else it is I’m feeling, probably isn’t going anywhere for a while.

I am sorry to have lost Scott as a friend, there was a lot I enjoyed about him. If there is one thing I have to focus on, it’s that, no matter what else happened, Scott was not a nice person, he had a terrible mean streak and I brought it out in him.

I am attracted to my abuser, there is no doubt. I want to fix it. I feel an almost desperate sense to try and fix it. This has been my pattern my whole life. When things begin to shut down on me, I go into overdrive in an attempt to repair and its already too late. This is my father, then again my x. I have never broken this terrible cycle. Perhaps, had Scott been less obviously cruel to me it would have gone on even longer, but his cruelty was pretty blatant, especially at the end.

I drafted a lovely post of the reasons I stayed with him before I had the vaccine, but during my delirium, I realized I needed to focus on the negatives first. This is the shit I need to work on. During my delirium I was bargaining with myself….if I wait a few weeks I can contact him again, if I change this, I can contact him again, if I do that, I can contact him again, if, if, if, he will want me again. And all the while, never putting into perspective the things he was never going to be that was going to make him the right person for me. I admit, I am still confused if he wanted to be the person he originally showed me, or if it was an act. The love bombing really took hold with Scott and I had to go back and read my posts more than once – and even then I still have trouble sorting it out – I NEVER really wanted this guy, but I settled for something different telling myself that it was ok.

I settled for something comfortable because I thought I was asking for too much.

I can’t seem to sort out that he locked the door of the guest room on the last night. I can’t seem to reconcile that I cried for an hour on a walk and he didn’t so much as make one gentle gesture towards me, he ignored me and became increasingly angry and embarrassed with my tears (which in turn created more tears). I can’t see to justify that as I was sleeping and he threw on the lights and told me to leave because he was angry one night (over my indecision on dinner reservations). He abandoned me twice in a hotel room in another city to get home on my own, once on NYE and once on our 1 year anniversary.

He kept telling me I was having “outbursts” and I kept responding to this because IN MY HEAD I know all about Trixie – I know she’s there – BUT HE DOESN’T! He doesn’t know my history or where I’ve come from or how I’ve grown because he never asked, he was never curious. Yet, he figured out this was a trigger for me. The more he said it the more I responded. I have to laugh a little that he called me stating that smoking was deal breaker a “roadshow” when he has never actually even seen one of my roadshows – and I’ve had plenty of good ones in my past. That was the wake up call – when I knew my behavior was not aligned with his filter. He was gaslighting me and then applying terms like “emotional abuse” and “gaslighting” to try and make me thing I was the one doing it to him.

I am nothing if not direct, I don’t need to gaslight. I will fuck with you directly thank you very much.

Empathy was another term that brought me to my knees and he used this to his advantage. My mother always told me when I was younger that I had no empathy so I am very attune to this criticism and I have worked hard to develop some. Even when I may not be very empathetic, I am at the very least, self-aware enough now to know when I should be, or when a situation requires different behaviors. With Scott, these cues were never clear to me.

At the end he told me that he shouldn’t have to tell me certain things, that I should know how to behave “like a grown up” – another one of the many insults he hurled my way. I don’t believe in mind reading, and we were raised differently. I would have taken guidance had he given any in love, he never did.

I can think of many reasons why things were not right, but the bottom line is I knew they were not right before I started with him in September. I was lonely, he was in hot pursuit, and we were friends. I don’t think I made the wrong choice. I wish I had been stronger to end it after the first bad fights back in early December, because now its just an ugly memory instead of the pleasant ones. Now I feel sick when I feel drawn to him and I can’t ascertain why.

My body dysmorphia is so strong and my depression has such a hold of me that I am still considering taking his abuse over being alone or starting over. I know that is wrong. I have no intention of throwing any fits of rage (or desperation) or going back begging, but it is how I feel and it is a horrid broken feeling inside.

Admittedly a Stalker

I opened a Bumble account with the sole intention of seeing when he opened one. You can remain hidden so they can’t see you, and I changed my location to his town.

Sure enough, by Monday morning he was there. I wasn’t entirely surprised and I didn’t feel the horrible sinking feeling I might have expected to feel. I felt dead, angry and disappointed. I am heart broken but this is a very different kind of heart break than I’ve experienced before. I’m not exactly sure what it is I feel.

My fitness account covers 4 family members so he was on my account since the kids don’t use it. I promptly asked all of my friends to unfollow him and I removed him from my account. Before the end of the evening he must have somehow checked his fitness account to realize he was no longer subscribed and then blocked everyone.

After that his dating profile also disappeared – so I sort of wonder if it was bait?

I booked a trip end of the month to see a friend in Atlanta. I wish it was sooner but that was the earliest we can arrange.

I’ve already had one session this week with my therapist. She had had one session with Scott and told me that she get it was the best thing for me to be out of that relationship, that he had very serious anger issues. She didn’t explain or dive in further, but only said she picked it up in their first and only conversation.

I’ve told the story to as many friends who will listen. I’ve reached out to them when I feel weak. I removed his number from my phone and wrote it on paper and put it away. The peloton account was the only place I could see his activity because he has no social media and I was checking when he was working out the last few days. So it’s better he’s blocked me.

I wonder why I never have the strength to do the same. To let the guillotine just come down. He has done that to me multiple times – more times and more ways than I can count now. I suppose to preserve his own side of the story, what he tells himself to be true.

I just checked Bumble again. His profile is gone. So either is was bait or he has also gone incognito.

What do you think?

Where Are My Armchair Psychiatrists?!

This one was in writing….give me feedback on both sides….I really want to break this down. My bff gave me insight I didn’t see to Scott’s replies.

……………………………………………..

The set up – we had been talking for two weeks post a fight where he left me in a hotel in his city to get home on my own and he had been dropping hints about wanting to see me and knowing where he lived. I was afraid to go there as no trip to Scott’s was successful, they all had resulted in his abandoning me in some form or another and ended in arguments. However, since January, he had come up to me for every trip and had spent 3 weeks straight in February at my home, so in all fairness, it was my turn.

I acknowledged that, and sent him a text with a couples thing we could do together over 2 weeks. Each day you share one thing you like about each other and the relationship and talk about it – basically reminding yourself why you are in the relationship. I asked if he would do it with me and I was looking for reassurance as well as him stating he would not, yet again, throw me out or abandon me should he get angry (and actually, he didn’t do that this time, which is unique with Scott and something I acknowledge about him that I saw as the potential I was just unable to tap into further – he wants to grow, and he listens when he realizes he is hurting me – I just don’t know how to help him do it without the terrible fights first). I absolutely was looking for and needed him to communicate two things to me: he would not abandon me and he would try the couples thing willingly. I swear, I don’t even know how it goes from trying to say “I need you to support me” to a full fledged fight.

This one was pretty ugly and ultimately resulted in him blocking my phone so we emailed. My email is italics.

Scott, I wish there was another way, I wish it hadn’t ended like this as it has so many times before.  This is our horrible loop.  
Somehow, I cannot seem to find the right words.  I cannot do the right thing.  I cannot find the right path to settle you. I am unable to make you happy, Scott.  Nothing I can say or do pleases you anymore.  I feel a constant anxiety and tension in an attempt to please you, I want to so desperately and I keep falling short.   
I want to write so many things, and I can’t even find the words to express my deep sadness that we were even unable to try when we both said we so desperately wanted to try.  
I strive so hard to understand what just happened today, where I went wrong, what I could have said or done differently and how we could have avoided confrontation yet again.  It’s been under the surface in every conversation, every text.  We can’t seem to get away from it.  
I was scared to come to you, but I realized I needed to set it aside and just come and be in your arms and I would be safe there, I just needed you to tell me that today, to tell me that I would be safe in your arms and we would work through these things.  I set aside my fears and placed my trust in you to show you how much I value our relationship by texting something we could try together so we could have open dialogue face to face.   I am unsure how our conversation took a turn when I was being vulnerable by offering to come to you when I was scared.  I needed reassurance.
I thought being in your arms tonight would remove this feeling, I wanted that so badly, but even then we could not find middle ground.  Somehow, I am always wrong and saying and doing the wrong thing and this is a constant in our relationship.  I feel like I cannot be good enough, that I am never right, and that you will never truly love me for who I am.  I know I have so much to work on and I will be working on these things for myself, in my life.
I wish you all the good things the world has to offer and may you find all the joy and peace you deserve.  You are the best among us.  I have loved you deeply and profoundly
(in hindsight I am sorry I wrote this, I do not feel this way)

Scotts reply: All I ever asked in these recent conversations to think about how I felt. To show some- any empathy for the emotional abuse you have so readily available. That was all. It’s not my role to be your emotional punching bag nor have to provide emotional stability as you continue to abuse everyone around you.

Good luck to you. Any else you’ve got to say to me will need to come after you show some empathy for all the gaslighting. You know where I live. Enjoy Portland. I here it’s nice

Why would I ever come to you when you are cruel?
This is why I am scared
I need safety and security and this isn’t it Scott. This is cruelty when I am being vulnerable. Twice today. 
I said I would come. I put aside my fear and asked for support by sending the couples text.  
Then I sent a kind message and you come back with cruelty.  You are unkind and unsympathetic.  
I have never said a cruel word to you. I have never kicked you to the curb the way you have done to me so many times. You treat me worse than a dog Scott. 
You can’t see your own gaslighting and abuse. I am willing to work On mine. You have never once, not once in this relationship, accepted your part in any of our falling out. 
You can’t help yourself, I understand. Your wounds are deep so you need to be cruel to me instead. I’m an easy target for your cruelty. You shouldn’t have to behave like that because you are a better man than sending childish barbs.  
I will speak to you when you stop insulting me and being cruel. I will come to you when you are ready to be kind to be and love me.  But this behavior has to stop. You have been an asshole to me all week and you are purposely distorting anything you can.  
Stop flinging childish insults.  
I have no desire to go tit for tat – none. I was ready to come to you. But if you act like a jerk and treat me like crap you can remain alone. 

I will say this very clearly again. 
I love you. I want to be with you. At no time have I ever intentionally emotionally abused you or gaslighted you.  I do not know your demons that you continue to raise these two things and because we have not done any work together on our past demons, this is the shit that’s going to keep coming up because it’s buried so fucking deep you can’t even see it anymore.  I am not your enemy. I am in love with you and I am your partner.  I don’t know who hurt you and how in the past but I refuse to let you keep taking it out on me and will not accept outright childish cruelty or abandonment.  
There is nothing I wouldn’t try to do with you together.   But there were two pieces in this puzzle.
 

Scotts reply: Wow. All I ask was for you to understand how I felt and feel. That’s not “cruel”. That’s all I asked. That’s all I ever asked from you. For understanding in how I feel when I’m disrespected, belittled, devalued. That’s not cruel. That’s dialogue and communication. No need for you to lash out with another outburst. I’m excited for you and the new path you wish to pursue for your future. I’m sure you will find all the success you desire

How about when I’m disrespected, belittled and devalued?  You don’t believe you have done this to me?  You have no part in that right?
Here’s the thing – I was willing to put myself out of my comfort zone and come to you.  I was willing to do whatever it took and you pushed me away yet again. You don’t want this to work. 
I was willing to put aside therapy in understanding and acceptance. 
Sounds to me (and it’s in writing) that you lashed out. You had the outburst. But only you can twist actual facts.  You have a knack for it. 
If you want to ever repair this, stop with the low blows. 
I have left the door open. I made myself clear.  
Don’t contact me again unless you want to repair this relationship.    
I do not want to hear from you again Scott unless You want to repair this relationship. Please respect my wishes.  
When people love one another, they don’t attack, they find ways to repair.  I am willing to do what it takes  but you have to back down too.  And you just aren’t even taking a half step.  You are not showing love anymore.  
So, if you don’t feel love, don’t act out of ill will

I regretted that last email, because I did want to just work it our face to face and the whole string was childish. This is when I found out he blocked me and I had to use a burner number to contact him. I ended up calling and telling him I would come, I knew it was the only way. And that’s the groundwork for the 13 days from the previous posts.

Here you can see how he refers to “another outburst” which pretty much means any time I had any type of emotion – sadness, anger, frustration – he considered it an outburst. And then, ultimately, a “roadshow”

Ok, give me feedback

The 5 Things That Led to the End

Here is the set up

The last argument started because I approached him at a quiet time to ask when would be a good time to have our talk. I had been there 12 days and we still had to work things out

He agreed we had a lot to talk about and said whenever I wanted and he followed up with “this is your thing” indicating that “couples therapy” or fixing the relationship was really my bag of tricks. He threw an insult in as well saying “I don’t read vogue” and I replied with “please don’t insult my intelligence, you’ve said that multiple times now, do I look stupid and like I read cosmo/vogue for my communication skills?” I knew this wasn’t going well already but I also felt I wasn’t going to crumble as much as I had for him in the past.

In hindsight I should have just picked a time and moved forward but instead I tried to negotiate the right time with him and that’s when the conversation deteriorated beyond my control.

The major issue originated around the fact that he smoked while I was there and smoking is a full deal breaker/boundary for me. I can manage a cigar once in a while but it’s really hard for me as I am allergic to smoke. I gag, my eyes water, my throat closes and I literally want to vomit. Then the psychological piece of repulsion kicks in because I thinks it’s just gross. We already managed a couple of instances where I had, in fact, managed him smoking a cigar (and he tried really hard to clean it up for me, but it was still pretty bad and he knew it – he really doubted my reaction to it). I wasn’t happy, but I dealt with it and didn’t want to make it the end of the world. However, nothing was as blatant at this example.

(Saturday) While I was napping he went to the porch to smoke a cigar. I can’t even imagine how he thought this was ok or acceptable. When I woke and saw this I immediately burst into tears and walked back inside. I tried to wait but couldn’t and I knew walking back out there while he was on the phone and enjoying his cigar was wrong. I knew it and couldn’t stop myself. As tears were running down my face I opened the door and he pulled out his earbud and said “why are you crying” and I replied with “why are you smoking when you know that’s my dealbreaker?” And went back inside. He said some shitty machismo things to his sister which I could hear through the window and I waited for him to come inside.

When he came inside he asked again, not very nicely, why I was crying, and I asked him to come sit and face me on the couch. I acknowledged I should not have come outside the second time and interrupted when I was upset (I was calm but I was crying and his sister could hear what we both said which embarrassed him, but there was no drama). However, when I saw him smoking I couldn’t control my reaction and I felt diminished and unimportant and devalued. Almost immediately he launched into a thousand reasons why he should be able to smoke if he’s stressed including “you take a bucket of pills for your anxiety.” At that point I said he was insulting me and if he couldn’t stay on topic, which was his smoking, then I was going to go upstairs and shower. He kept going after me at that point and I said I wasn’t going to be spoken to that way and walked upstairs to shower. I called down to him when I was done.

While he was in the shower he said “no rush to get ready I cancelled dinner and you can figure out what we are going to do now”.

He didn’t bother to try and get rid of the tobacco smell from his face/breath/hands which he normally does a pretty good job of so I wouldn’t touch him or kiss him the entire evening. I know this bothered him but he didn’t say a word about it. Friends met us out and he drank heavily. I was not sulking and we had a good time until my son had a terrible car accident and we became distracted with that. Scott was so drunk and I was so distracted that we just passed out upon arriving home.

(Sunday) The next day we didn’t speak very much but had a lovely day walking, hitting golf balls and making dinner together.

That’s the gist of the backstory. I was there a week when the smoking incident happened. It seemed to lie down a bit that Sunday. And by Wednesday we seemed to be in a better place which is why I approached the conversation again. It was the entire point of my trip: repair the relationship. I was supposed to leave in a day or two and was wanting to have the conversation.

……………

Instead of agreeing on a time to talk, the conversation somehow disintegrated quickly into a debate. I believe I may have said I wanted feedback and that’s where it went sideways.

I had been working hard to incorporate his requests into my behavior while I was there. I was conscious of telling him my schedule of when I was working, eating, working out etc. I was more aware of being clear of what I wanted and when as he seemed to prefer me being directive. When I said this he looked at me with disgust and said “you really think you’re doing better?! What about that roadshow on my porch?” When I genuinely had no idea what he meant (about “roadshow”) and asked twice he then said “I’m going to go back to scrolling on my phone if you are going to play dumb because we’ve had this conversation about your behavior already.” Then it kicked in that my “roadshow” were the tears when he was smoking. The final nail in the coffin (or the point of no return) was when I put my foot down and said “so, you have no accountability in this equation? You were out there smoking when you promised not to smoke around me and I am not able to feel some sort of way about that and you are calling it a roadshow like it was a dramatic outburst.” He said it was. Everything was going to revolve around this one incident of mine, I knew there was going to be no accountability on his part. I have lived this episode for months, I knew my part and his part. I wasn’t willing to play that assigned role any longer. I had to stand up for myself. Smoking is a deal breaker.

At this point he stood up (we were facing one another in the couch) and walked behind me (because he was angry – but if you recall his letter he doesn’t like to be told he is angry) where I could not see him and he kept talking – here is what came next – a series of sideways barbs that I knew nothing about until this very moment because Scott has no idea how to have an adult conversation:

1. When we were out drinking with his daughter and her bf (day 4)I suggested to the bf to buy Scott a bottle of scotch because Scott is so extraordinarily generous. The bf lives there at least 4 nights a week and the kitchen snd main living room are in Scotts main home. So while the daughter pays rent, the boy still encroaches on Scott’s area and when Scott spends weeks with me, he lives there full time (rent free). The boy was super insulted I suggested it and I’m sure I got a look on my face but all I said was “he’s very good and very generous to you”. The next day I told Scott the entire story. I said I understood why his daughter was dating the boy because his reaction was much like I expect Scott’s would be at that age, too much bravado – like I’m not doing shit for some old man. Scott said the kid was like him and thought he was a little shit and we moved on. We may have referenced it up once or twice more in the week.

The day of the argument (a week after the event) he said (behind me where I could not see him) “and Shane won’t come here anymore because you yelled at him”. When I said I didn’t yell at anyone (which is very true, it was a conversation only), Scott said “it’s his perception! It’s not your place to get involved. Stay out of my kids life”.

Opinion?

2. We are walking around the street and see a home for sale. He takes the paper and gets excited when he sees the price. When he gets home he immediately starts telling his daughter how much the house is going for and they start discussing how much they could sell their home for. He is super excited. He also has no intention of selling his home. When his daughter leaves the house to start asking questions to understand where he is coming from. The other home is much larger and more updated and on a bigger lot. I am ALWAYS asking questions, it’s my personality. He knows this about me. I was trying to understand why he was saying he would get the same price for his home. I am also going to sell my own home soon and I am trying to understand how the market works and what he might understand/know differently than what I do.

During the argument (4 days after the house conversation) he threw at me “and you told me right in front of my daughter that our house was a piece of crap”.

Opinion?

3. During the argument he said “and the next time you text your therapist about me you might want to cover your phone because now I’ve lost all trust in you”.

He refused to clarify this comment, when it happened or what he read. I asked multiple times and he stated he refused to tell. I stated that I do not text my therapist except to confirm an appt, so he must have a read a text to a friend while in the car, and it was pretty interesting he was saying he lost trust in me when he was the one who read my text, wouldn’t tell me when or what it said, and lost trust in me. He still refused to state what he saw but said “these things happen when you leave your phone on your lap.” I suggested he tell me what he saw or show him my phone as I have nothing to hide from him but he refused to even speak at this point.

This comment also came from behind me and not face to face.

Opinion?

4. At this point he came around to face me, but on the opposite side of the couch and standing, so not at eye level as I was sitting. He called my walking out on the back porch a roadshow again. I told him to stop insulting me. There was no tantrum, I was not a child, and all I did was walk out on the porch and make a statement calmly at an inappropriate time – but it was hardly worthy of being called a roadshow when he was the one who crossed the line in the first place.

5. He then started spouting words I had used out of context and said I was “repulsed by him” (I said I was repulsed by his smoking – I asked him to go lick his ashtray and see if he felt repulsed and get back to me) . That he was an “alcoholic” There were more but for the life of me, they didn’t stick.

He stopped moving at that moment and said “I’m not the guy. I’m not the guy to change for anyone. It’s my house. If I want to smoke a cigar and drink on my porch on a Saturday I’m going to do it and no one is going to tell me not to”. His face was blank and his eyes were dead. There was no emotion there at all. I had seen this look before and it has confused me. I don’t think he knows how to feel love, he looks at me like he hates that he loves me.

Thoughts?

………

The ending –

At that – I replied “well there’s our answer”

I got up and went upstairs and cried. I felt sick. This man just chose smoking as being more important than our relationship and while I realize its not quite that black and white, that is how it feels. And what’s worse, when he said it to me I looked at him with pause and thought to myself “can I accept him for who he is and accept the smoking?” I actually thought about compromising my own standards for a man who is not worthy of me. I knew he was right about one thing, he had every right to smoke and drink in his own home. I also knew I didn’t have to be there for it, that was my choice.

Later that night when he came up he went into the guest room and actually locked the door. I went over and knocked to ask why he would lock the door (we sleep with an open door in his home) and he made up some weird thing about not being surprised in the middle of the night. At that point I said I pitied him for not understanding what love really was because I would have slept with him in the same bed on our last night together and we could have said goodbye peacefully.

I am certain the entire 13 days I spent with Scott neither of us said I love you to the other.

The next day he never said a word to me but I went and sat next to him on the couch and let the tears roll. He asked why I was sitting there and I replied I was sad for all the things we wouldn’t have. I asked him if he wanted one last walk together which we did. He took my hand and held it as we walked the neighborhood though we didn’t speak.

He hugged me goodbye while I sobbed and told me not to cry. He said we just don’t work together. I said we were breaking up over smoking because he’s so stubborn. I saw that look on his face again as he stepped away. No goodbye. Just stepped away.

I sat in the car and cried a good 10 minutes before I could compose myself for the long drive home.

Scott has insulted me in so many ways. As I write them, even if there are places I am at fault, his abuse is pretty heavy. The list has really become too long. For him to lock a door against me as if I could harm him somehow is psychologically painful to me. The stonewalling about the text. His inability to even reach across and touch my hand when I cry is almost inhuman. The look in his face when I’m emotional will haunt me – its empty.

Somewhere in there he kept telling me I was playing games. It makes me think that only someone who plays games actually says something like that. If anything I was working really, really hard to make sure I didn’t pull any triggers of his. But in order not to pull his, I can’t give up myself. He is telling me I need to accept him as he is but he does not want to accept me as I am.

I am certain, and I really mean certain, my behavior has been the same. I am nothing if not consistent. He fell in love with an idea of me and presented the best version of who he WANTED to be, but not who he really was. I can be critical but I am not cold or cruel. I am not unkind. I no longer yell. Yet somehow all of these words were used by Scott and they tapped right into every one of insecurities because that’s who I USED to be. And I’m afraid of her. I don’t. Want to be her anymore. You haven’t even met her she’s been gone so long. She grew up when she was raising kids and losing a momma and building a team at work. My worst traits haven’t disappeared entirely but the way Scott describes me is someone who existed in my 20s or early 30s and behavior I had with my x and it frightened me and I responded to it by believing it to be true because it USED to be true. That modicum of truth has distorted my vision for months now.

What I believe has happened is that I acknowledged where I need to change and grow and I am more than willing to work on those things, and Scott exploited those insecurities. I can be critical, but there is a huge difference between being direct and being critical and somehow his filter began interpreting my directness as criticism post Thanksgiving. As I mentioned, I do not think that has eve been any different with me, I am very direct and inquisitive, and he acknowledges this in his letter that I ask questions and push him to a place to be a better man….but that must be lip service.

I want to tear all of this relationship apart. I want to hear all your thoughts over and over. Where I went wrong. Where I didn’t. Why I feel like such crap and went back time and time again after such obvious abuse.

It’s Over

This is going to be long and painful but it’s got to come out.

I wish I had a psychologist write this for me so it didn’t sound like such an attack but at this point I don’t even care about his triggers. I am pretty certain now I’ve been gaslighted. I tried so hard those last 2 weeks to the point I felt my entire person slipping from me and it was like watching my 22 year marriage in fast forward and all at once – for joy to utter despair and losing myself just to make someone like me – which meant giving myself up – and even then, that person wasn’t going to be happy with me.

……………….

Dear Scott,

There are so many things I saw as potential, but the things that stood in the way were things you felt defined you which is a pity.

The immaturity, the drinking, the smoking, the codependent relationship with your child and the utter complacency about work are things I’m just not interested in being a part of. These were not the picture you presented to me when I met you. The real fact of the matter, the part I think you are angriest about, is that you couldn’t keep up the facade you sold me on. And then got mad when I called you out on it. It all turned in to “I’m not the man to change” when the man I met was all about change. The man I met wanted to be a better man, not a bitter and unloving partner.

I will never forget how you told me I was the pinnacle of everything you ever wanted. That you felt you hit the lottery with me. When you said that to me, just as when you fell in love with me, you were hiding major parts of yourself from me. So the man I (thought I) was falling in love with isn’t the man I was with at the end.

I didn’t know you smoked or how heavily you drank. I didn’t know that you no longer had peer friends to do activities with, that your social circle consisted of children. I didn’t know that the reason women were jealous of your daughter was was because you have a codependent relationship and treat her like a spouse rather than a child and the lines get very blurry. I didn’t know you were so complacent to sit in one job until retirement despite the fact you are one of the smartest men I know. I didn’t know that you enjoy the fact that you are the “brute force” guy at work, the one they send to go knock some guys over and scare people and you love it. I didn’t know how much anger you held deep, deep within.

You spoke about all the brilliant activities you did: golfing, concerts, hiking, biking, fishing etc. I find out that many, if not most, of these activities are your so called “legends” and stories of old. You haven’t done many of these activities with any regularity since you’ve moved to VA almost 8 years ago. Your entire life revolves around bar and drinking activities.

What’s even more disturbing to me is when you say that most of these activities you have only done drunk, including sex. You actually highlight how drunk you were in any given activity with a badge of honor. But then, you don’t want me to call out an alcohol problem. You told me that you can’t recall the last time you had sex without being drunk and you certainly never had slow sex. You didn’t know what “making love” even meant.

I asked you point blank more than once if you smoked and you said you stopped. Then you said only cigars occasionally. Then you said you would stop all cigars. Finally, in the last argument, you told me I needed to accept your smoking. I’m not going to accept your smoking. I gave a very clear boundary you chose to break right in front of me and then tell me it’s “no big deal” and try and manipulate how I should feel about it. You lied to me about you smoking in general, saying you didn’t smoke at all initially. Then you continue to lie to me about smoking less and trying to quit all together. Finally, when you are faced with me being upset that you crossed my boundary, you unfairly turn it back on me with other arguments and state I “take a bucket of pills ” to reduce my anxiety. Maybe if you asked questions you would know I don’t take any pills ever during a day to reduce anxiety. I don’t anesthetize myself the way you do with alcohol or smoke. But since you don’t know how to ask questions, you wouldn’t know this, you just make assumptions from the pieces you have heard or seen. Turning an argument about cigars into something entirely different is your way of never being accountable for your actions. Not once in our relationship have you said “I’m sorry my action has upset you” or “I was aware this crossed a line”. It’s always “because you do this I do that”. Every action has a justification in my behavior, you can’t seem to find accountability for your own behavior with anything.

You are so smart, so funny and so engaging and yet you hang out with children. You claim “this is how we do it” yet I know of no adults anywhere who do this. You do this because you don’t have any peer friends. Everything revolves around a bar and alcohol. You go into a bar and literally drink as fast as you can to get drunk – that is an alcoholic and immature behavior. Kids do that. When a man who is nearing 50 is sitting there slamming down shots and trying to hide drinks in his jacket to get them out of the bar at the end of the night, he’s a drunk. More than once a week you call me slurring you’re words at 930 at night, Scott. Is this the man you want to be? I thought you were a better man than that. I think you can be. But the more you hang around with children or hang around in a bar the less chance you grow up.

Maybe you like the fact that they don’t challenge you. They don’t talk about anything important. They entertain the nonsense you bring up. They can talk about the random inane nothingness that fills most of your chatter. Unimportant information. Talk about big dreams that will never materialize like gay bars and weed stores. I notice when I am around if I talk about something more serious that anyone is engaged with, you go blank and bored, and people notice. You want to be an entertainer. You want to act the fool. That’s fine. Be a fool. Just not with me. I want a grown up. A man who acts like a grown up and talks like a grown up and behaves like a grown up when I’m out with them. I don’t want to worry about being utterly embarrassed by being with the local drunk. About your child making sure I’m driving you home. I want a man who can speak about important things, who doesn’t feel a need to advertise his salary so he can get a stimulus check, who considers drug dealers and thieves amongst his “friend” group. No judgement you tell me. Well, yes, I have a lot of judgement. You surround yourself with these people because they don’t hold you to a higher standard. They don’t require you to be a better man.

Speaking of your child. I love Lauren, she’s such a lovely spirit. I feel so bad she hasn’t had a decent mother. You have done so many good things for Lauren and I do think you have done a great job of being both mom and dad and being there for her. You have a great relationship. But, You aren’t doing her any favors being her best friend and bar buddy. you wonder why women are jealous and Ive explained this to you before but here’s the right word for it – you are entirely codependent with your child. Stop with the “we” and start living the “I”. You are a 47 year old man. You have a lot of responsibility for yourself, own it and stop acting like your daughter is your spouse. You are unintentionally putting all that pressure on her for your lack of a partner – she’s filling your void whether you realize it or not. She always feels bad when you are alone and she wants you to be happy. Every choice you make in your home doesn’t need to be run by your daughter, you can make these decisions, stop treating her like an adult spouse/partner. It’s unhealthy for her to have such an enmeshed relationship. You’ve taught her how to not respond emotionally and that it’s ok for an adult parent to be an alcoholic. Is that what you want for your own child? Do you know how to make independent decisions? Sometimes I wonder as I rarely hear you say the word “I”. It’s like you can’t think for yourself. You can sugar coat that all you want and say it’s just language, but the psychology of it speaks volumes – you just don’t use the personal pronoun. I was given all the leeway in the world to speak to your daughter and her boyfriend until it no longer suited you, until you could use it against me in anger. You send mixed messages. You were very clear at the beginning that you wanted someone who would be a good mothering influence in her life, well for me that means I don’t go drinking and getting drunk with her boyfriend and watching him take advantage of mine. So the fact that I defended you suddenly was used against me. I simply suggested to her boyfriend to buy you a bottle of scotch because he lives there 4 days a week and you are so generous (and I told you this story the next day because you were too drunk to tell you the night it happened) and your daughter tells you her boyfriend won’t come around because I “yelled” at him. When I told you what I said to him and his reaction, even you thought he was a little shit. But when your daughter tells the story, you throw it back at me a WEEK later. It’s shit like this Scott That shows me me you I can’t trust you to be consistent. When I said I did not “yell” at the child, you said it’s his perception. But when I say your angry with me, my perception doesn’t count.

This is how I know I’m being gaslighted. I can highlight numerous occasions now where you adjust stories to suit your argument.

You told me many, many times I’m the most important woman hands down – until I’m not and need to be “smacked down into my place”. That’s how you treat me. I’m the Queen until you decide I need to be put down a few notches. And when you decide to smack me down, you manage to do it so well, because my insecurities allow you to get right at them, the door opens wide and let’s you right in.

At first I thought every time you said “what do you want to do” or “whatever you want” it was because you really meant it or because you really were trying to lease me but now I’ve come to learn that’s not it at all. It’s because you are simply a people pleaser and you don’t even want to be. That’s where all the “we” nonsense comes from. You think every single thing needs to be aligned on. You can’t start any thought with “I would really like xxx, what would you like?” Everything is open ended. This way, when it doesn’t turn out the way you prefer, you have something to complain about because that’s not really what you wanted anyway. So when you don’t choose the restaurant, it’s much easier to complain about it because you really wanted a different one, but you were not clear about it. Then, many times when I make a decision, it’s not what you really wanted to do and “you did it for me” and were unhappy about it. That’s not flexibility. Talk about being a martyr- you don’t even see yourself up on the cross.

You believe you are clear about things, you believe you say them over and over. You even have these fabulous knack of “I never got to finish my sentence from 6 months ago”. It’s famous. It’s now legendary as you would say. You believe, you really believe, you never had an opportunity to speak your piece. Or that I haven’t heard you repeat the same unclear, ambiguous messages over and over. Doesn’t matter how many times I ask you to clear it up, it’s always the same “just relax” or some form of it.

We have no intimacy. We speak about the most mundane, daily things. Things you can’t speak to any stranger on the street. I hear you tell anyone and everyone the same stories you tell me. How does that make me special? Where is our intimacy? The only form of communication is functional. There are rarely engaging questions from you. I have repeatedly asked you to be more curious and you come up with millions of reasons why not, and still don’t. You don’t know how to have emotional and intimate conversations.

I broke your trust? Supposedly I wrote to my therapist? Here’s the thing you got caught out about, I never write to my therapist other than to confirm and appointment. I have every right to communicate with my friends about anything. You asked me not to communicate to you what I speak to my friends about. So I stopped. Yet, you read something over my shoulder out of context and I broke your trust? I would have clarified or even shown you the text but your stonewalling – another favorite abuse tactic of yours. Once again, had you just asked what you saw in the moment you saw it I would have shared. One night in bed I asked 3 times what Lauren was texting about so late at night and you kept saying nothing, but kept texting – so it’s one for you to have conversations I’m not a part of but not ok for me.

You do not want a mature woman. You need a young girl who wants to go out and act the fool at a bar with you and Lauren’s friends and get drunk and smoke. You want someone to run around and play with. Someone who doesn’t have family ties and will only be bound to you. You don’t like roots because you have none.

I tried to sit this week and speak to you. I tried to set aside time. I kept my tone of voice even. I stayed on topic. I know for a fucking fact I did everything right because by God I wasn’t going to fail this time. And I watched it happened like a scene from a movie I’ve seen a thousand times, but this time I knew it by heart and this time I knew I had no part in the movie, where before I was mistakenly playing a part in your drama. We can’t have a discussion can we? There isn’t one thing, not one single thing, I can bring up that you won’t counter with your own justification. Not one thing you will take actual accountability for.

………

That’s my first brain dump. There’s more to come. I really need some help and support to pull myself through this one. If you’re out there and you’re listening. Stick around and give me all the feedback you can. But not just “get out, be strong” I really want some solid feedback if you have it. I keep feeling like I’ve missed shit along the way. I know this letter isn’t really something you can feedback on because it’s not detailed enough but o think I might write some examples to get your opinions

Contemplation

His letter came Saturday.

We spoke a bit on Sunday and I also spoke to my therapist Sunday.

He agreed to therapy and to read 2 books she recommended.

Since then, we have had basic communication. He sent a lot of flowers to me Monday morning in an effort to acknowledge small gifts are important to me and he had stopped doing anything like that for me since last October. He also sends sweet little messages during the day to let me know he’s thinking of me.

But I’m feeling removed and deflated. I’m still confused about what I want.

I turned on Bumble for a minute last week because I was angry and I matched with a guy quickly. we started speaking and he asked me out this week. While I thought “fuck it” I realized two things: 1/ I don’t want someone else; 2/ I won’t be a jerk and cheat for no good reason. So I sent the nice guy a text, being honest, saying I wasn’t in the right headspace to be dating. I had already pulled my profile down within 24 hours of putting it up. It was a childish and immature act of rebellion.

Here is what’s bugging me:

He hasn’t mentioned if he bought the books, so I’m pretty sure he hasn’t.

He hasn’t mentioned therapy and I haven’t given him her number so he hasn’t contacted her.

He hasn’t asked to see me.

He hasn’t asked any questions about me (friends, family, life) his standard question is: how was your day, what did you do?

I realize in dating him it isn’t enough to expect your partner to tell you everything organically. You must ask questions and show curiosity. You must pull out information. It’s unfair to think “if you want to tell me you will tell me”. We haven’t spoken about one thing you couldn’t speak to a bartender about. I feel myself turning further inward and creating an even bigger chasm. His standard response to this challenge would be one of two things: I tried and you stopped me or “you women don’t like to talk about those things” which is the biggest load of bullshit I don’t even know what it means. Either of those two things are bullshit, he doesn’t know how to ask questions because he has no emotional depth.

I don’t believe it’s because he doesn’t care, it’s because he doesn’t believe it matters.

He has mentioned being physically close to me several times, but not asked to see me even once.

In hindsight, I can’t actually recall if he did this early in relationship. I feel like he pursued and I wasn’t always making the suggestions. Now I feel like he’s dropping hints I’m supposed to pick up on. In the book I’m reading it talks about dropping “coded” messages from your language. Say what you mean, don’t say words that are meant to be interpreted and decoded.

I speak to my therapist on Friday. I don’t know how much longer I can handle an in between with him, or if at all. It’s not like we were married and committed.

But there is a large part of me that wants to experience therapy with him and through his eyes. I want to understand myself through a partnership eyes. What have I been missing al these years that I’ve been unable to correct – because there IS something. Doesn’t seem to after what I think it is or isn’t, the same issues keep rising to the top and I don’t seem to be cognizant of them happening. Maybe there is a real opportunity for me here. Maybe there isn’t.

My two cents is that he will poo-poo therapy quickly. He’s “doing this for me” and “doesn’t believe in it”. I heard all that before with my x. He’s been in therapy for 2 years now and dating a psychologist and said it’s the best thing he’s done for himself. You can only lead a horse to water. I have a very strong suspicion Scott doesn’t want to shine the light in the corner.