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    Old 12-03-2008, 10:25 PM   #1
    plaxmax34
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    Relationship Obsession

    Hey everyone, just looking for a little advice about something. As a lot of you probably know, my ex-girlfriend cheated on me back in September, and Iíve had a tough time coping with it. Anyway, something yesterday reminded me of the circumstances of our break-up, and I found myself thinking that, while it sucked that she cheated on me, the past few months would probably have been even harder for me if she had just broken up with me normally. I would have probably tried to get her back, and Iím sure I would become obsessed with figuring out why she did it, and wondering what was wrong with me.

    Thatís when it hit me: maybe she foresaw that and maybe that was the reason she cheated on me. Things between us had been going downhill for a while. I felt her pulling away from me, and I didnít understand why, so I was doing everything I could think of to try to make things better. However, looking back, even before our relationship had started going bad, I had prioritized it to an unhealthy level in my mind. For example, I was in danger of being kicked out of school due to bad grades, and rather than being concerned about my future, I was upset because I wouldnít be together with my girlfriend anymore. She and my sister didnít get along, and I was prepared to side with my girlfriend and just stop talking to my sister unless she started treating my girlfriend with more respect (thank God my sister forgave me, because she turned out to be absolutely right). I ran up a $6000 credit card bill buying my girlfriend groceries and taking her out to expensive dinners, which wouldnít have been a problem, except my parents pay my credit card bills, and I have put them into a bad financial situation. Anyway, one night, right before we broke up, my girlfriend and I were talking about our relationship, and I told her that she was the most important thing to me, and the only thing that mattered to me anymore. I told her that I was even more concerned with her well-being than with my own. This really scared her and worried her. We both agreed that the way I was feeling was wrong and unhealthy, and we both agreed that I should start seeing a therapist. A few days later, my already-fragile mental state was made infinitely worse as I caught her cheating on me. I survived the heartbreak, but just barely.

    Anyway, I realized yesterday, I know she was very scared when she noticed me becoming obsessed with her. By that point, she had fallen out of love with me, and I think she was about ready to break up, but I think she was worried that I wouldnít be able to handle it, or that I would become a stalker. So I wonder if maybe part of the reason she cheated on me was so that I wouldnít do all of that. Maybe she wanted me to hate her, for hers and my own benefit. If I knew that she had cheated on me, it would be easier to cut ties with her and in my mind, I would no longer hold her up on a pedestal. This has happened, to an extent, but in my own mind, Iíve forgiven her for what sheís done. Iíve tried to stay friends with her (to no avail), and I still think of her as a good person. Iíve even had dreams recently where I am seeking her approval. I know, this is kind of pathetic, but I just hate thinking that my judgment was off, and I spent a year and a half with someone who was just a bad person. First of all, to hate her for what she did, for the actions of one night, which may have come in desperation, is to ignore a year and a half of what I considered a good relationship. And I really felt that I knew her. Maybe she changed, but the girl I loved would not have done that to me. She was probably perplexed by the fact that I still wanted to stay friends with her after we broke up. I bet she couldnít fathom why I would still want that, or how I could possibly forgive her. Maybe it just shows weakness on my part that I was able to forgive her.

    So anyway, my question here is, do you think it is possible that this was why she cheated on me, instead of just breaking up with me in a mature, adult manner? And secondly, I know there is something really wrong with my perception of that relationship. I shouldnít have put it on a pedestal the way I did. It actually hurt us both in the long run, because it got to the point where there were things that bothered me, but I was afraid to talk to her about them for fear of starting a fight. In fact, Iím finding that my obsession with that relationship may have even been tied to some deeper psychological problems that I have or was having at the time. Aside from altering my underlying beliefs and perceptions, does anyone have any advice about how I could alter my behavior in future relationships so that I donít find myself getting obsessed? I always just wanted to make sure I was a ďgood boyfriendĒ, but I think I definitely took it too far.

    *PS- Iíve realized recently that I think my obsession with that relationship does indeed signify an imbalance in my own personal life. After we broke up, I was obviously really unhappy, and I believed that the best way to be happy again, and to get my life back on track, was to find a new girlfriend. But then it struck me, partly through discussion on this website, that I shouldnít need a relationship to make myself happy. I know now that there are aspects of my life that I am unhappy with, other than the fact that Iím single. I am starting to correct these things, but itís going to take a little time. Iím hoping that, once I figure out why Iím unhappy with my life and get that sorted out, I will be in better shape to seek a new relationship. And hopefully, I wonít fall into the same trap I did the first time, getting obsessed with my girlfriend and placing the relationship on a pedestal above all else. I used to think a girlfriend was the key to my happiness, and I see now that thatís not the case. Still, any advice on modifying my behavior would be greatly appreciated. It seemed logical to me that, if I was truly in love and truly valued my relationship, than I should have put in great effort to make sure that it lasted and thrived, but perhaps that shouldnít have been the case.

     
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    Old 12-03-2008, 10:58 PM   #2
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    Re: Relationship Obsession

    No, I don't think that you gf cheated on you because she wanted to force a breakup. I think that a person either cheats or doesn't. Apparently, she does and you should be glad that she is out of your life. You are probably young since you write that your parents pay your credit card bill. Try to get a more interesting life for yourself and relationships will follow. Get involved in sports and other activities and you'll be more interesting to girls. It is not necessary to always be in a relationship. Enjoy the time to be single while you are young.
    You have plenty of time to be in relationships.

     
    Old 12-03-2008, 11:34 PM   #3
    digmusic
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    Re: Relationship Obsession

    It's been a couple months now and you're still overanalyzing why she cheated, etc. What would you want us to say? How would knowing why she cheated change your life in any way? You haven't moved on. Are you in therapy? Can you afford to go to therapy? I think you need professional help to sort through this.

    As far as your question goes, I think she probably didn't think through the cheating nearly as much as you are; in fact she probably didn't think it through at all. I'm sure she just felt smothered, and I would definitely be freaked out if someone told me that I was the only thing that mattered in their life anymore. I would run away too.

    Something you said disturbed me, and that is: "Iím hoping that, once I figure out why Iím unhappy with my life and get that sorted out, I will be in better shape to seek a new relationship." First of all, figuring out why you're unhappy isn't something that can be neatly sorted. People spend their whole lives doing that, so you might have unrealistic expectations about that. Also, you should do that for YOURSELF, not so you can "seek" a new relationship. Needing to seek relationships is part of why you're unhappy to start with.

    Something else to think about - people that are always in relationships and always with another person become really boring, because they have no new experiences to share. Find a hobby, a passion, something that gets you excited besides relationships. People are attracted to people that are passionate about life. If this relationship obsession gets any worse, what would you talk about on dates? Past girlfriends and relationships?

    You need to grieve and let go, otherwise you will carry all your unresolved feelings into the next relationship. You have a lot of personal growth to do, developing a sense of self and self-worth.

     
    Old 12-04-2008, 02:21 AM   #4
    plaxmax34
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    Re: Relationship Obsession

    I'm not sure why it matters. It shouldn't. To be honest, and you're going to hate me for saying this, but part of me still feels like her cheating on me is my fault, somehow. It's irrational, I know, but I feel like I failed. I feel like a failure. I did just about everything I could, and it wasn't enough to keep that relationship going.

    I am in therapy, but it's been a few weeks since I've seen my doctor. I think I had moved on, and my therapist and my family and my friends all thought I moved on, but I guess I just regressed. I don't know, maybe it was brought on by our discussion of love addiction a few weeks ago. As I mentioned in the other thread, if I'm not working towards another relationship, I still feel like I'm not moving forward or going anywhere. My mind wandered back to my ex. And even before that, last week for two consecutive nights, I had dreams about her that were totally unprovoked by anything I thought about in my waking hours. There was nothing I could do about those. I woke up thinking about her.

    Digmusic, I really appreciate your advice, but I just don't understand how I'm supposed to change. We had that whole discussion about love addiction on that other thread, and you've made me realize that I'm not happy with myself right now. I'm not happy with the life I'm living and the choices I've made. That's on me right now. No relationship is going to make me feel better about that.

    But I do want more relationships in the future. I don't want to be alone. Who does? Maybe my perception is a little messed up, but I think I will be disappointed with my life if I don't someday have a wife and kids. And I'm going to be extremely disappointed in myself if I ever get divorced.

    What I don't understand is, when will it be ok for me to have another relationship? I can't have one now because I'm unhappy and my life is in disarray and it probably won't go well. I'm not in the right condition to commit to something like that. But you're saying that even when I do start improving my happiness and my self-esteem, I shouldn't start seeking a relationship.

    Ok, I understand that making myself happy isn't an easy task. I know it's very difficult for a lot of people. But I feel like if I were to just make some minor changes in behavior and perception, my life would be just about as fulfilling as I could expect it to be. I mean, true happiness is elusive, I know that. And I feel that there's something wrong with the world, I really do, and I'd love to become an agent of change. But even if none of that ever changed, if the world stayed exactly the same as it is right now, I still think I could reach, like, 98% of my full potential for happiness and fulfillment. I have things I need to improve: social skills, behavior, self-perception, perception of the world around me, including relationships, self-esteem and confidence. I know that's not all going to happen overnight. But I don't need my life to be perfect in order to be happy.

    I don't mean to sound aggressive or hostile, but I just don't understand. What do you think I need to change about myself before I'm ready for another relationship? When will I be ready, and how will I know if I am?

    You say that I need to develop a sense of self and self-worth. I would argue that I already have a decent sense of self. Self-worth is something that, I'll admit, I could work on. But how am I supposed to do that? What advice would you give me to improving my self-esteem and self-worth?

    *Also, I understand what you're getting at when you say that needing to seek relationships is part of why I'm unhappy. I can agree with that. Perhaps "seeking relationships" was the wrong terminology for me to use. What I meant was being social, introducing myself to women that I find attractive and interesting, and dating a few of them. I know I shouldn't go around thinking "Gotta have a girlfriend, gotta have a girlfriend". But if I don't take a little initiative to be social, talk to some women, and go out on a few dates, I'll never have another relationship. A new girlfriend won't just fall into my lap. I do understand what you're trying to say, and that is that I really need to chill out and cool it and stop putting so much emphasis on a new relationship. But if you saw me at a bar with my friends, you would understand the other side of things. I don't think I've tried talking to a single woman since my girlfriend broke up with me. I need to improve a lot of things about myself, social skills included, but this is what I'm really getting at when I talk about seeking a new relationship. Taking some initiative and some chances, getting better at talking to women (really, getting better about talking to everyone), and going on a few dates here and there. In the adult world, I don't know any other way to meet someone new and start a new relationship.

     
    Old 12-04-2008, 02:44 AM   #5
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    Re: Relationship Obsession

    I'm sorry digmusic, minutes after I posted that, I think I started to understand the distinction you were trying to make, and the advice you were trying to give.

    I decided that it's not a good idea for me to have a relationship right now, because there's a void in my life that I want to fill, and because I am not as happy as I should be. I have to commit to helping myself before I can commit to something with someone else.

    However, self-improvement should not be motivated by my desire for another relationship. Just because I think it's a bad idea to have a new relationship now, I shouldn't make a new relationship the reason that I'm trying to make myself happy. And therein lies, perhaps, another problem/ complication. Do I value my own happiness, self-esteem and self-worth for what they are? For their own benefits? Or is my recent commitment to "fixing myself" just so that it will be ok for me to have another girlfriend?

    I think for the past week or two, I've been operating according to the latter. Who knows, maybe I'm not as unhappy right now as I think I am. Maybe my life isn't such a terrible mess. And, again, I guess the goal shouldn't be to accomplish all of these things so that I'm "normal" enough to enter a new relationship.

    I'm just frustrated, I guess. There were things about my relationship that were great. Sex, intimacy, connection, understanding, the feeling that there was someone else who really "got me". And there were things that sucked, like when my girlfriend slowly started taking all of that away from me. When she cheated on me and made me question my own self-worth. All of the pain that I've lived with since that night. I don't know if the benefits outweigh the risks. I've always hoped that they would, but now I'm not sure anymore. But you know what? I'm going to keep taking those risks. I'm going to keep putting myself out there.

    You've made it clear that you don't agree with my perception of relationships. How, in your opinion, should I view them differently? More importantly, once I've improved my life for my own sake, to make myself happy, to improve my own self-esteem and feelings of self-worth, then will it be alright to want another relationship?

    Last edited by plaxmax34; 12-04-2008 at 02:46 AM.

     
    Old 12-04-2008, 07:31 AM   #6
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    Re: Relationship Obsession

    Plaxmax

    If I can put in my two cents...

    I think your questions are genuine. All you have to do is to be patient. September was just yesterday. The answers will come when you least expect them to come (maybe, after the dust has settled, you could ask her directly), or maybe, after some time, you will no longer care to have an answer. What does it matter, after all? Probably she had mixed reasons to break up with you like that. Whatever her reasons were, she did cut a poor figure, not you.

    Take care of yourself. You are a young person and you are probably healthy. But the sooner you start to create good habits for your life, the better. Think of your health as the first priority in your life, but don't be obsessed by it, either. The other things will come to you as a consequence.

    Whenever you feel you are starting to feel obsessed by something or someone, take a walk in a natural environment or go to sleep or do something that requires concentration. Puzzles are a fine idea.

    Last edited by pendulum; 12-04-2008 at 07:32 AM.

     
    Old 12-04-2008, 07:37 AM   #7
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    Re: Relationship Obsession

    I agree with what everyone is saying with the advice to help with future relationships is to develop your own life outside the relationship friends, hobbies, work ect.. Things you can do outside the relationship and focus on. The point isnít just so you donít obsess the point is you want to make someone a part of your life NOT your LIFE I learned that the hard way when you make someone your life whatís left if they arenít there? If you really work on that not only with you have a healthier relationship but if things donít work out you will feel much better in the long run. You really have to stop focusing on why she cheated it doesnít matter anymore the point is she did obviously you were an attentive boyfriend and showed her lots of affection (maybe too much) your not going to be ready to date anyone until you just move on from that relationship trust me when I say that I know thatís not an as easy as it sounds, try and learn from your last relationship and improve the things your aware of on your end.

     
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