Join Date: Feb 2008
Need some insight/perspective - Seem to be hurting everyone
Good evening. I am just posting here to try and get some third party perspectives on a situation I am dealing with just to help me think through what to do with a certain situation.
I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read and offer your insights.
In early January of this year, I got out of a relationship I had been in for 4.5 years. The girlfriend of that relationship was 41 when we ended and I was 39. By all accounts, it was mostly a very rough relationship. We love each other deeply at the core, but we had problems from almost the beginning. After about 6 months, she stopped having sex and that lead to lots of talking, me pushing her into counseling for depression and then scheduled sex every two weeks for several years. We had lots of fights during the relationship, she said I talked to her poorly, I said she was depressed. I am sure there are things I could have done better, but virtually everyone who knows her knows the majority of her issues are from a deep, deep depression she has been in. She has issues with her mom, her brother and her dad, many of them stemming, I believe, from her dad leaving her mom when she was in high school and the poor way he handled that. She is generally resentful and blames others for the miserable aspects of her life. This isnít just me, thatís the sentiment from counselors and others. For my part, I am sure I did not help things, as I always pressured her to get help and to work on things which she said made things worse. Anyhow, for the last two years of our relationship, we sort of just coasted along, deeply loving each other, but having these fundamental issues. I sort of just hoped it would fix itself on its own if I stopped pestering her about things. It never did and we never had sex for almost two years, never got any happier, never enjoyed our times together anymore and were both generally miserable. Finally, I ended things, as I know she wanted to long ago, but it was sort of me hanging on. I ended things and we went our separate ways and remained friends and talked regularly. She took a new job in a new city and is moving in a few weeks. She is still depressed and finding new things to be miserable about with the new job. She is moving close to her mother, so I hope that helps, but she complains about her mother incessantly, so who knows. Anyhow, we broke up and she is moving. I never felt wanted or appreciated and so I left the relationship feeling that way.
Well, in about mid April, I was presented with the opportunity for a relationship with a girl I do volunteer work with that sort of came out of the blue. Neither of us expected it, we just found so many commonalities and enjoyed our time together. The catch is that she is 23 years old (I am 39). Well, we talked about it a lot and probably against my better judgment, I entered a relationship with her. Things were generally great, she was funny and smart, has a good job, great work ethic, college degree, etc. We click very well and got along incredibly well together. The age thing always bothered me, especially when we went places and got carded and stuff like that, so it was always in the back of my mind. Well, I made a conscious effort not to rub the new relationship in the face of the old one and kept things off of ********, etc. and tried to be respectful. I was not hiding it, but I was not announcing it to be respectful, so I thought.
Long story short, the old girlfriend finds out about the new girlfriend and blows her gasket. We had many, many long emails where she told me several things: (1) I was deceitful and lied to her by hiding the new relationship (2) I was disrespectful for only waiting 3 months to start a new relationship after 4.5 years (3) I am creepy, immoral, unethical and disgusting for dating a 23 year old. She also told me that since we broke up, she has been thinking about how one day, perhaps we could get back together and how she felt like we had formed a positive friendship since we broke up and this may lead us to be healthier and stronger as a couple in the future. She never told me this at all as we broke up, so these feelings were new. She also told me how I had crushed her self esteem by dating someone so young and who had things she didnít (i.e. body, energy, etc.) and how I had caused her to feel at her lowest point ever. Anyhow, all of this went on and on and on, I kept hearing the same messages. I told her I was actually trying to be respectful by not rubbing the relationship in her face and not hiding it. I told her that 3 months seems a reasonable amount of time to wait for a new relationship and that while 23 was young, I resented being called creepy, etc. as she was a smart, mature adult. Well, this got nowhere after a week of arguing via email. Finally, basically tells me she wants me to break up with the new girl because it is immoral and wrong and not just because she is jealous.
Well, here I am now, not knowing what the hell to do. I never did anything to intentionally hurt anyone. I hung in there for almost 5 years of deep depression and no sex with the old girlfriend to try and make it work and I have found a new relationship with someone who is great, but young and I donít want to hurt her. Well, the old girlfriendís words are wearing on me and making me feel terrible as I know I am hurting her. I try and mask these feelings with the new girlfriend but it is hard to do. I start thinking a lot about just being free of relationships and all of this drama, I think a lot about the age gap and question myself whether it is right or whether I am creepy, and I think about hurting the old girlfriend. I try and make things work with the new girlfriend, but I cannot. I am unhappy and snappy with her and she can see it.
So, I finally break up with the new girlfriend. She is devastated, she tried everything to get me over my hurdle and showed a sweetness and compassion I have not often seen in people. I tell the old girlfriend what happened but that I resent her for what she did, how she acted, when she didnít want me in the first place and then tried to use me as the reason for all of her misery even after we parted. She does not take it well and thinks I have no right to be upset. She says she feels no different that I broke up with the new girlfriend. We argue, there is no common ground, she thinks all the same of me before. So now, the old girlfriend is mad at me and the new one is crushed.
Iím sure Iíve mad the old girlfriend out to sound really awful, but I want to be clear, she is a very, very good person and when things were good with us, they were very good. We were happy and it felt right. She is just suffering from a very deep depression that I spent almost 5 years trying to get her out of and could not.
I feel like a giant turd because I have hurt two people I really care about and have no way to fix it.
Any thoughts or opinions would be welcomed. Thanks for listening.