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Old 09-06-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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Question help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

I've come here in search of understanding.

I recently had a short (couple of months) love relationship with a girl. The relationship is over now, and given the facts post-relationship, I should be fine and happy of not being involved with her anymore. But I still care for her, and really would like to find a way to help her out of the path she has chosen. I know she should be free to choose any path she'd like to, but what I learned in those short months troubles me deeply.

We are 30 years old now. We met 10 years ago at the same college. We were friends for less than a year, but I felt in love with her while she wanted to stay just friends. I couldn't handle the situation, so I moved away from her and didn't meet her again until last year (by chance). We were both happy to meet again and started having lunch together once a month or so. She had a long term relationship with her boyfriend, and this time I was happy just enjoying a good time together.

Everything changed when she started calling me to go out (as her date for parties hosted by her friends and/or family). She had broken-up her relationship and I was happy to go out with her, if only as a friend. But this time she had other plans.

Afterwards I learned that in the previous months she started developing romantic feelings towards me, and that she wasn't happy with her boyfriend. It was hard for her to gain the strength to dump him, but finally she did. Some weeks later she called me to go out a couple of times, which lead to our first kiss. I was happy to fulfil one on my youth dreams, but she wanted to have a more serious relationship. I told her I didn't want to commit so fast, but some weeks later I did, under her pressure. Finally, we could announce to the world that we were a couple.

I was happy. Not everything was perfect, but the good stuff overshadowed the strange and bad. She wanted to move along faster. Not a month had gone by when she wanted us to move together, to find an apartment for us, to buy a house, to have kids, etc. I didn't take those requests too seriously and didn't do much about them, although they came in frequently and wouldn't stop. Maybe I wasn't the perfect boyfriend, but I didn't want to fully commit before understanding better what I was going into.

I might call her selfish, but I suspect something deeper is going on inside her. For example, she wanted me to visit her, but when I did she could completely forget I was there while she watched her favorite TV series. If I asked her afterwards she would feel bad and apologize while admitting her fault (she had really self absorbed and dismissed the rest of the world), but it troubles me that it could happen at all. How can you forget that your guest is standing up besides you, while you eat and watch TV? She also had a clear vision of where we should be living, or how our future children should be named, but never cared much about my opinion. I was amazed, but didn't worry a lot as I wasn't going to buy a house or have a children with her in the short term anyways. I could sense these personality issues 10 years ago, which helped me rationalizing out of my infatuation, but this time I could get an even closer experience of them. I could forgive and live along with them, as I am not perfect either, she is a great woman, and when things were good, they were great.

The relationship ended suddenly. She wasn't happy I didn't want to visit her on a Saturday night while she was sick, but I thought it was fair I could take a night off, as we had met on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and on that Saturday morning. I told her I wanted to stay at home, but to have lunch with her and her family on Sunday as usual. She didn't understand me, and we didn't met that Saturday, or had lunch on Sunday, and she didn't want to see me on the whole week. Next Saturday we met, she was friendly and warm, but I decided to end the relationship as she told me she was confused, and having feelings for her previous boyfriend.

Previously I had learned that it wasn't the first time she had tried to end her relationship with him. He didn't have a lot of friends, had a negative view of life, and he had some anger management issues. I could understand what kind of situations with her could trigger that kind of reactions, although under similar situations I could stay calm and rational (which she appreciated). While we were going out he sent her messages of mad love, resentment, vengeance, ill feelings, and love. Not even her family liked him, and they were happy to see her moving on.

I thought we could stay friends after ending the relation. I was wrong. She doesn't want to see me, she doesn't answer my calls, and if casually we almost meet each other she just plainly avoids me. I can understand that her boyfriend wouldn't like her to meet me given the facts, but it's hard to understand why they are together again. It's even harder to understand why are they getting married or why would they think they'll have a successful marriage, but now it's official: They are getting married.

If they hadn't broke up so recently I would be happy to see them getting married, I even might have been invited to the wedding. But destiny or chance wanted me to get involved in this story. I learned a lot of things I wouldn't had if it wasn't for this close relationship. Can I do something to help them? Should I? Or I was just invited to watch and learn from this disaster in the making?

I hope I am wrong. I hope they will have a happy life together. I hope his feelings of resentment and vengeance disappear. I hope she gets the house and the children she dreams about. I hope I was just an extended bachelorette party. I will be sad to lose a very valuable friendship, as her husband wouldn't feel easy with us being friends, but I would be happy for them and especially for her.

But if there is a disaster coming, I think I would want and should do something about it. I don't know what or how, but I'd like to help. Or at least to understand.

What do you think?

Thanks.

 
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:38 AM   #2
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Re: help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

Well, your side of the story makes her sound more than a little unstable, but there are two sides to every story and who knows, she may have some truthful things to say about you that wouldn't make you look too good, either.

But just going off of what you've said here, it seems she really wanted to get married and have kids. the fact that she didn't seem to include you in the decision making doesn't mean she didn't really love you. I had a rather difficult childhood, and part of how I survived it was to elaborately plan my future, mylife will look like this, I will live here, my kids will be born at this time, and this is what they will be named, etc. When I reached adulthood, I still hadn't let go of that elaborate picture I had drawn for myself. It was only after my break up with someone I loved very very much that I realized I didn't take into account his feelings and want and needs as much as I should have, but it wasn't because I didn't love him, I did very much. It was because I was so used to feeling that my life depended on that picture, making that picture I had drawn come true, that I just couldn't see the forest for the trees, so to speak.

I think he kind of assumed my feelings for him weren't genuine, like you are assuming. but they were. 10 years later I am still broken hearted that he didn't want me and that he left me so unceremoniously. It could be this girl ran back to her ex as a rebound from you, I don't know. I really don't know what she's going through, but it would appear, since she's so unwilling to talk to you, that you are part of the problem. It could be that you really broke her heart. If that's the case, there is nothing you can do to help her, since you are part of the pain and the problem. All you can do is sincerely apologize for anything you did or said that caused her pain and wish her a happy life and then get out of the way.

 
Old 09-07-2008, 08:30 AM   #3
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Re: help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by pigsonthewing View Post
...

What do you think?

Thanks.
I think you have done the right thing (breaking up with her), as it appears that you and she are quite incompatible. Now, as for her further life and destiny, there is really nothing you can or should do about it. It is not in your hands. And then again, you are not their counsellor and they haven't asked you to say anything. Do you really think you would have the power to change anything? And - since you don't have a crystal ball, what if they are going to be a happy couple after all, despite everything? Are you somehow envious of that? Let it be. Move on with your life. You deserve to be with someone not only more compatible with you, but also with a less complicate history. Please find another focus for your life.

Last edited by pendulum; 09-07-2008 at 08:31 AM.

 
Old 09-07-2008, 10:10 AM   #4
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Re: help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

Thanks for your words and time, Larrylou'smom (do you have a shorter nickname I can call you?). It's good to look at this situation from another perspective.

I could say this girl was manipulative and mounted this whole show so her ex would marry her, as that it what she got, but I won't. Given the choice, I'd bet her feelings for me were genuine, although a lot more fickle than she thought.

I know I can't go back and change the past, but as history tends to repeat itself, I'd love to know if I could do something better. Would you help me?

This is what I have in mind: Let's travel back in time and let's say you are still the girl that wants to make her dreams come true, and that I am your boyfriend that doesn't want to live in your world, as I want to build a new one, with you, us together.

I guess at the time he told you something similar, but you couldn't listen. You realized it when it was too late. My question is, now that you know it, is there anything he could have done then to help both of you?

I totally agree that I can only tell my side of the story, but that's all I can bring here. Fortunately you also have your side of a similar story, and I'd love to know more about it.

Thanks again.

 
Old 09-07-2008, 11:30 AM   #5
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Re: help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

Most people here just call me LLM, and that's fine!

Hhmmmm....well, I really don't know what he could have done to have brought me out of my own world and into a new one we could have built together, since actually, he did the same thing. He never made room for me in his life, in his world, he just fit me in around perifery when all the important stuff was taken care of. His friends were rude and terribly disrespectful, but he shared a house with a few of them and constantly hung out with the rest of them, and that put stress on it as well.

Since I was 12 years old, I've just had my heart set on having a daughter named Aurora Marie, since Sleeping Beauty was my all time favorite fairy tale and Aurura was the princess's name, and my real name is sort of similar in an indirect way and so she'd kind of be a junior and I just loved that name, but he hated it. He liked Jennifer or Beth. I thought Jennifer was just way too common and Beth was too antiquated sounding. When we talked about boys' names, he rejected every one I liked, I think out of spite because I refused to consider any other name for a girl but Aurora (it bears mentioning that the woman he did marry had a daughter from her first marriage named Jennifer. ) Anway, I'm just not sure if there were any words he could have used to have made me come around. It was just a lesson I had to learn on my own. A year or so after the break up, I saw a wedding on some tv talk show, I dont' remember who it was getting married, Star Jones' aunt or something like that, but the minister made a comment during the ceremony that the union was not a sanctuary they both should use to escape the world, but rather a fertile ground where they can both grow out of love and go forth and share that love with the rest of the world. I just didn't get that. I think we both used the relationship as an escape of sorts, and that was its doom. We were in bed and he was watching tv and got so engrossed in the show it was like he forgot I was even there and had to remind himself I was there, as he said "Oh, what am I doing? I've got a beautiful woman in bed right next to me!" But the reasons aren't always what they seem. We had a really great day once and we came in and watched The Fugative with Tommy Lee Jones. About a year later it was on tv again, and I wanted to watch it, but he wanted to watch something else on vh1, and we fussed a little about that. Instead of just letting him watch what he wanted to watch, after all we had already seen the fugative, and he really wanted to see the vh1 show, but I wanted to relive that wonderful day that we had had a year prior. It was just me not being very good at living in the moment and being sort of tunnel blind and still being stuck in a habit from childhood fighting to get my own needs met since no one else in my life all through my developing years seemed to care if my needs were ever met or not.

For me, It just came from years of regretting my mistakes and learning from them and seeing clearly how I messed up. He made his fair share of mistakes as well, so I guess there was just no hope for us from the start, neither of us was ready, and he didn't love me enough to come back to me when he was ready, but rather moved on with someone else. Or maybe he just never would have been ready with me, and we weren't compatible enough. It's hard to tell with men, as they sometimes tend to go with when they are ready rather than finding the right woman.

Since she's made up her mind to marry this other fellow, I'd say the best you can do is learn your lessons for the next relationship. But should you find yourself in another relationship with a girl who seems to want to draw you into her world instead of opening up her eyes to a new world the two of you can make together, I woud recommend just sharing your world with her as much as you can and kindly compromising rather than putting your foot down on matters and saying "no I don't want to do that!" but be gentle and explain why and that you would appreciate her taking your feelings into consideration like you do for her. Good luck.

Last edited by Larrylou'smom; 09-07-2008 at 11:35 AM.

 
Old 09-07-2008, 05:36 PM   #6
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Re: help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

Ola Pendulum,

Thanks for sharing with me your point of view. I think we agree almost on every point, as that might be just what's happening right now: We were not a great couple, but they will. Everything will be fine for everyone involved. I should just stop thinking about it and move on. I might have lost a great friend in the process, but that could be the price for a failed experiment in love.

But what if that isn't all? What if there really is a problem I could help preventing? Then I have a choice. Who do I want to be? The guy that knew everything, but did nothing, or the guy that at least tried? Everyone involved is an adult, and no one has asked for my help, but is it a big sin caring for others? Or is it a bigger sin not caring for people who have been there for you?

I try not to fool myself, as that is a human trait. Even the worst characters in history have thought they were doing the right thing while helping others. That's why I've come here, because I want to think and listen before I do anything. I could go ask my friends, but I wouldn't like to tell them the whole story, as that might look bad on this girl. At least here I am an anonymous guy, and no one should be able to tell who I am talking about, thus I am able to tell the whole truth as I see it, without harming anyone. And if I end up doing nothing, at least I had this chance to learn and reflect.

She invited me to her world. She trusted me her hopes and fears. What will I do with those gifts?

Am I relieved of all responsibilities, even the moral ones?

Thanks.

 
Old 09-07-2008, 06:24 PM   #7
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Re: help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

Hi LLM,

That's a beautiful story. The kind of story you see in the movies, where the guy ends up with the girl and we meet a lovely baby named Aurora on the last frame. Unfortunately real life doesn't go that way always and the prince ends up being more looks than substance, but that's the kind of things we are left to deal with when those 90 minutes of magic end.

I can see myself as the guy you describe. I feel like I was "better" than him, but that might be as I am comparing your description of him with my description of myself (not too fair, but what can I do?). The point is there are a lot of traits I see on myself I should (and will) change, to be a better partner, or at least to be a better man. At the same time I feel those traits protected me from an unhealthy relation with a woman that wasn't ready to have a healthy one, so I am kind of proud of my mistakes. Let me put it this way: If I had been the perfect boyfriend, there still isn't anything I could have done to bring this girl out of her dreams and back to earth.

From your words I infer it took you time and suffering to do so. Maybe she'll have to go through a failed marriage to see the world as you do now. I could have been more flexible with her desires, but not when they amounted to buying a house together or having kids. She might be 30, she might be worried about time passing by too fast without her dreams coming true, but I just couldn't compromise.

And that's why I am worried now. Am I in front of a woman that still thinks her only path for happiness is making her childhood dreams come true, and in front of a man so desperate for her love that will do anything she asks him, just to have her again?

I'll move on. Maybe I will find another great woman in my path. Maybe she will be perfect, but most probably she will have some issues too. Everyone does. Maybe next time I will be able to help her. But right now I feel helpless. That's not too good, but at least I'm learning something (thanks to you).

Thanks again.

 
Old 09-08-2008, 02:17 AM   #8
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Re: help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

Olá Pigsonthewing,

I see your point and I appreciate the fact that you have this noble soul.

I would tell you to do what your heart or mind tells you to do, if you see what I mean, especially if:

a) You have a clear agenda in your mind. You don't want this girl back in your life. You simply want to save her from a bad and perhaps dangerous marriage. You don't want a prize. You don't want to be thought of as a saviour of the world, but perhaps as a real friend.

b) You are calm in your heart. Even if she refuses to listen to you and goes on to marry him, even if she offends you and hurts you even further, even if she makes you lose face, even if she says to you "get a life," "mind your own business," etc, you are sure this is the right thing to do.

Do you already know how you can approach her? And how about her fiancé? Do you know how to defend yourself against a potential attack?

Last edited by pendulum; 09-08-2008 at 02:26 AM. Reason: fiancé

 
Old 09-08-2008, 08:39 AM   #9
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Re: help me understand (or help?) this dysfunctional relationship

oh honey, you need to celebrate.......you just dodged a bullet.......

let her go make some other guy miserable, it won't be your problem!

 
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