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Realizing the damage done

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Tigersrule77 posted 6/29/2020 13:54 PM

Kintsugi, don't beat yourself up. It seems to me that maybe you jumped into a serious relationship too quickly. It seems you started dating around your D for 3 years.

I agree with you that your XGF is blameshifting. My MC, who became my IC said, "no one "always" or "nevers"". Meaning one partner can't put all the blame on the other. She claimed she always had to apologize. I doubt that.

It also sounds like she couldn't take any criticism. If she acted defensively, it is reasonable for you to try to talk about that. Just as it would be reasonable to talk about issues she had with you.

Kintsugi posted 6/29/2020 14:26 PM

"no one "always" or "nevers"". Meaning one partner can't put all the blame on the other.

Thanks Tiger, I really appreciate the kind words and the empathy and that observation. One of the things that sent us down the rabbit hole were those type of statements in our discussion/arguments. It wasn't a fair criticism, and I got the sense history was being re-written and you know that was a big time trigger. Before you knew it, we were arguing about the "always" and "nevers." It was incredibly derailing to make any progress and you can see it in her comment about going in circles. Wow, thinking about it now, the arguments were really tough to get anywhere. And we usually didn't.

Talking though all this is really helping with my acceptance, so thank you all.

[This message edited by Kintsugi at 2:30 PM, June 29th (Monday)]

gmc94 posted 6/29/2020 16:19 PM

I didn't read all the posts, so apologize in advance if this is duplicative....

there seem to be A LOT of "makes me" in her email, and some in your posts as well.

Good communication begins with "I feel" statements, rather than "you make".

I feel inadequate when you roll your eyes while I'm talking
rather than
you make me feel inadequate when you roll your eyes.

The first is taking responsibility for one's own feelings.
The second is blaming someone else for them.

subtle, but different (and we hear the blame a lot louder than we hear the "I feel"

HalfTime2017 posted 6/29/2020 18:04 PM

King, the whole taking time to cool off is something I've done in the past as well. I've learned from it, and its not wrong, just make sure that you let them know that YOU ARE INDEED DOING THAT. Sounds like she kinda does that too.

I would say that what your ex said about losing herself, losing self esteem, and blaming you for her lack of worth is more about her than you. You may have some communication style issues. I would agree with the others, that maybe you need to read up more and practice your communication style, but the whole other issue is with her.

I remember my WW saying things like she's lost herself, and that whole nonsense. DUDE, no one told you to stop doing what you liked to do. Than you blame me b/c you did it? FUCK that noise!!! I can't stand that shit. Take ownership and don't blame the other person when you leave that you lost yourself. You sure weren't losing yourself when you were enjoying all the other things!!!. Listen, maybe for the best. She sounds immature emotionally as well, its not just you.With all that aggravation, you would be looking at a second D down the road.

Go back to dating, and have fun. Let this one go for now, she may come around again, but in the meantime, have fun brotha. Don't be too hard on yourself.

MakingMyFuture posted 6/30/2020 06:16 AM

So, I read some of your posts and some of the responses, but didn’t read them all so may have missed some details or be duplicating feedback. You sound like a very caring person who really lives this woman, but maybe the two of you are not the best fit. No matter what each of your parts are or were, all you can do is learn and move forward and be better yourself in a future relationship with her or with someone else.

Just something for you to consider....if you had been together for three years and were intending to get married...where did you think she would go when you had a fight in the future? It sounds very much like you were kind of living together but still keeping her place?!?

If I was in that situation and my partner asked me to leave, I would the first time and we could probably recover and move on. The second time I wouldn’t be back. And I probably wouldn’t be back the first time if the situation had sat for days without even a text message, call or some form of communication. Hurt and anger just get worse over time without communication.

I also can’t imagine letting someone roll their eyes at me without calling them out on it. I don’t roll my eyes at good friends or people I work with, why would I treat my partner with less respect?

Some people are really expressive and give out the “l love you’’s”and positive comments along with the eye rolls. But it’s like parenting where every negative thing takes at least 3x the positive to make up for it.

She may have had a big part in the communication or the breakup. But hopefully you can explore those two things a bit so you can move forward and have more positive interactions in the future.

Kintsugi posted 6/30/2020 07:35 AM

the whole taking time to cool off is something I've done in the past as well. I've learned from it, and its not wrong, just make sure that you let them know that YOU ARE INDEED DOING THAT

Halftime, thanks for input, I hear ya'. Some more details, Yes, I did tell her I needed space. We were doing what I called "the upstairs downstairs thing." I would isolate myself downstairs and she would isolate herself upstairs. This drives me a bit crazy and I definitely think I'm being triggered by it from experience with my ex WW. I'm coming to realize that me asking her to leave is a manifestation of the failure to properly communicate and conflict management. I'm coming to realize that her moving things out is her version of me asking her to leave. We're not communicating and we're not dealing with the conflict. I get she probably wouldn't have moved her stuff out had I not asked her to leave, but it does trail back to the failure to communicate.

but maybe the two of you are not the best fit. No matter what each of your parts are or were, all you can do is learn and move forward and be better yourself in a future relationship with her or with someone else.

Thanks MakinkMyFuture. I think that's where I am. I can only offer that we have both not been communication and dealing with conflict in a healthy manner and see where it goes.

Some people are really expressive and give out the “l love you’’ and positive comments along with the eye roll.

The eye roll in question was indeed intended to be an expression of fun. We were in a town an hour and a half from where we live, and she saved a radio station on her radio to listen to it when we returned home. It was cute I thought, and the eye roll was intended to be poking a little fun at her. The radio station signal in no way would make it to our home town. She was offended by the eye roll, and I said to her "are you capable of laughing at yourself" as we got into the whole signal thing. It's a little dumb issue that escalated into something big. A manifestation of our communication issue and resentment that has been building.

where did you think she would go when you had a fight in the future?

Excellent point. In this particular instance, while yes, we were fighting and not previously shared, this was a Sunday evening. Our normal routine pre-COVID was she would always go home on Sundays. It was Sunday, "you always go home on Sunday" I said to her. I mentioned this in our discussion leading up to her leaving. Bad timing given the circumstance. She didn't want to go, that was clear, but I pushed the issue and that was wrong on my part. It took this particular instance to make me understand the magnitude of how far our communication had fallen.

[This message edited by Kintsugi at 7:44 AM, June 30th (Tuesday)]

Kintsugi posted 6/30/2020 08:27 AM

I'm really nervous. She is coming over at today to pick up the rest of her things. I asked for a few minutes to talk, and I want to lay it all out for her, hoping we can hit reset, and really address some of the things going on.

Anna123 posted 6/30/2020 08:43 AM

Yes, she has her own place, but spends a lot of time at my place. But when we would fight, not every time, but when I felt me hitting a boiling point, I would ask her to leave. I'm not proud that I can spill over, and get really heated. Getting that way with her scares me. Oh geez, maybe I am a monster.

Where ever this goes, the fact you are looking at things, analyzing, and considering her points, shows you are a growing human being, (as opposed to many of our cheaters that remain self-defensive and stagnant).

"Monsters (I know you were over stating), don't self-evaluate very well. The fact you are aware of what you would like to improve, willing to work on it, and can sort and know the worth of your good traits, you will move forward into singledom or your next relationship that much better off. You WILL learn to tamper down what you wish to tamper down. Good people do it all the time and the combination of someone that feels deeply but with a measured demeanor, is a very desirable person for others to connect with and be around.

Kintsugi posted 7/1/2020 10:18 AM

Update:

What a talk it was. It became apparent over the past week that my fiance' and I simply stopped communicating in a meaningful way. Yeah, we went about talking day to day but we stopped communicating. She mentioned she was keeping a list of all the hurtful things I said to her, and it was long. I have no doubt. I have been frustrated with things she'd do, and not do and not remember. Having to say or ask things countless times based on the previously mentioned forgetfulness or lack of attention wore me down, and I felt like a parent sometimes vs. significant other. Who the hell wants to feel that way in a romantic relationship?? She also mentioned things like feeling like she's living in the shadows of the former marriage, stuff I always thought she was ok with given we all have a past, but really did irk her some.

I suggested that we figure out some way / mechanism / structure to fix the communication issues and address our conflict management. Weekly sit downs to communicate how we felt when issues arose and use that as a means to deescalate the resentment that has built.

Her biggest concern during the talk was nothing would change. She saw any discussion toward getting back together was more like me convincing her to come back vs. a way to improve and move forward. That stings and doesn't sit well in my gut.

I have another trip I need to take to where I grew up on the East End of Long Island, and offered for her to get away to the beach for a week with me. We could use it as a retreat to talk about the structural improvements toward our communication and conflict management or, we could talk about nothing and just decompress. She declined the offer to get away together, instead wanting two weeks with no communication to write down what she wants from the relationship and me, she might go away with friends to the beach closer to home in Maryland next week. If she goes, that's more like a month given COVID concerns and the need to possibly quarantine.

I need to figure out what I want as well. I could come up with my own list of things she's done and said and how we're not compatible. I guess my hesitancy in just pulling the plug on everything is the fact that we are good in a lot of ways, and no one is perfect. I'm giving serious thought to advice given early on regarding learning when to leave a failing relationship. as much as she didn't trust or think I would change, I could say the same for her. She would need to prove to me, earn my trust that she would be committed to improving. I'm not sure she is wired to accept the realities of healthy disagreement in relationships.

I question whether there is any hope she'll come around after all this. While deciding not to take the rest of her things (winter clothes and she can always get them whenever), she did take her passport. Not to travel I don't think, but it's the one thing that was somewhat irreplaceable in the sense it's the closest thing to a birth certificate she has given she was born out of the country and came to the US as a child. That could simply mean she is looking for some sense of security and belonging too, I get that.

We ended the discussion by having sex, lol. We'll see where it all goes. My head is in a much better place, and my sense of the degree of emotional drain this has been, and will be, is beginning to send red flags to me. I've done and said in a constructive and positive manner all I can. It's all beginning to feel incredibly high maintenance.

[This message edited by Kintsugi at 10:28 AM, July 1st (Wednesday)]

Tigersrule77 posted 7/1/2020 10:29 AM

It's all beginning to feel incredibly high maintenance.

Absolutely. in your notes about your conversation, you didn't mention your XGF's acknowledgement of any failings on her part. Is she blaming all of your relationship's problems on you? If so, that is a huge red flag and you should run. If she is willing to accept that she has failings as well, there is something to work with. And her failings can't be "I need to tell you when you do something wrong".

Kintsugi posted 7/1/2020 11:44 AM

Absolutely. in your notes about your conversation, you didn't mention your XGF's acknowledgement of any failings on her part. Is she blaming all of your relationship's problems on you?

Hey Tiger, thanks. To a degree, I think she did acknowledge some fault. We didn't get into specific events much, but at minimum she acknowledged she had some role. I do get the sense however, I am being blamed for most of the failing. After all, she was keeping a list of things I said and things I did that she had issue with. I can safely say, I didn't simply wake up in the morning and say something that she took offense to. Something preceded what she has issue with, some sort of event, conversation, issue, whatever. I don't think she takes criticism too well, and I understand, there is a correct and incorrect way to have that sort of discussion. That's what I think we failed at.

She did want us to go to counseling. I'm not necessarily opposed to it, I think it would be a safe place to talk about past issues.

I just thought of this! She would often accuse me of keeping a list of argument and issues... whe SHE turned out to be the one who was keeping a list. I wasn't!!

And her failings can't be "I need to tell you when you do something wrong".

Great insight! I think she is getting this, but not sure. I'm a believer, and I think I'm on solid ground on this, that you sometimes have to agree to disagree on relationship argument issues. I'm not sure she sees it the same. One of thing things she often brought to the argument was the issue of right and wrong. She did make this clear, she didn't trust nor have belief that "I (or anything) would change"

This is kind of funny. I had a dream last night my house was on fire and burning down, and I was frantically trying to put the fire out with a garden hose. No sh*t!

[This message edited by Kintsugi at 1:20 PM, July 1st (Wednesday)]

Kintsugi posted 7/6/2020 14:10 PM

I've been doing a lot of thinking. As much work as I did on myself post dday, old habits seem to die hard. It's so apparent after moments of hitting bottom, that any relationship is like a garden. If you don't tend to it, personally and as a couple, it will be full of weeds and won't flourish.

This relationship I've been writing about has experienced a fair amount of trauma. She became pregnant not long after we met, she miscarried, but in the mean time we had gotten engaged and we were living together. Leading up to a pretty short wedding date and post miscarriage, I had to have the talk with her that I was having doubts. I didn't know what that meant other than I was afraid and nervous, it was just too soon for me, and really tried to communicate it wasn't meant toward her or us. We agreed to have a follow up discussion the next day, but she moved out the next morning, moving back home with her family. This created all kinds of drama and hurt, now her family was involved. we battled through the wedding cancelation, but it was really tough with lots of fights. This seemed to set our foundation for where we are today and never got past those early events I don't think.

She ended up buying her own place eventually, I helped with some of the down payment, and we settled into our new normal - about four days a week she would be at my place. We settled into a pretty good routine, but in hindsight, we fought a lot and had so much trauma in the relationship. Asking her to leave in the heat of arguments (not all, but enough) was my old pattern of behavior with my ex WW. She too had gotten her own place and was my knee jerk reaction in the heat of battle.

I just finished reading the book Best Self. Wow, it was eye opening. One of the things the author makes note of when applying and understanding the concepts of the book, is you need to do an emotional and personal self assessment after any major life event. Looking back, we had so much trauma and major life events that we needed to not only communicate deeper on, but to each do an emotional inventory to dig deeper on what we both needed to work on and understand. I was my Best Self after the D, but slowly lost that.

We're in no contact, but I broke it twice, once to wish her a happy 4th, and the second when I woke literally thinking it was all a bad dream and reaching over to her, realizing she wasn't there and texted her that I love her and miss her. She didn't respond to either text. I know I have to adhere to the no contact if we're to have any chance at all. I'm just not use to having the 180 done to me. So, reading a lot lately, I know I just have to say "whatever" and keep busy and involved.

I'm in EXACTLY the same spot with this current relationship as I was with my ex WW, right down to even buying a boat which I now just want to sell. I sold the old one after the separation. Replace the person and it's scarily similar. Old habits and patterns die so hard.

It all just sucks and the pain seems all too familiar and the sense of helplessness and guilt is overwhelming. Whatever.

[This message edited by Kintsugi at 2:32 PM, July 6th (Monday)]

EllieKMAS posted 7/6/2020 14:46 PM

Kintsugi - you can only tend to your side of the street. If she offered you a long list of things you had 'done wrong' and you think there is any validity to them, then you owe it to yourself to dig in and figure out what you did and how you could have done better. And also to hopefully use them to grow from and do better next time.

But I have to say - so she has this list. Did she EVER try to bring up all these things at any time before this major blow-up? If no then that's her not handling her side of the street. You can't make her tend her side, and if she isn't willing to then imho she's probably not ready to be in a real adult relationship right now.

Sorry you're in this familiar pattern. Adulting sucks sometimes.

Kintsugi posted 7/6/2020 18:51 PM

But I have to say - so she has this list. Did she EVER try to bring up all these things at any time before this major blow-up? If no then that's her not handling her side of the street. You can't make her tend her side, and if she isn't willing to then imho she's probably not ready to be in a real adult relationship right now.

Thanks Ellie! She did not provide the list to me per se, but I could probably identify some in my head. I knew we were in a bit of a funk, but we never were adult enough to put her issues and mine on the table for discussion. The resentment on both sides built until I crossed a line in the sand she had drawn. I knew I was crossing a line when I asked her to leave, I now know she had placed the next incident to be the last straw.

When we're in an argument and I can literally feel the anger building I'm truly afraid I'm going to do or say something I might regret. We never as an adult couple built a system or process we could use to defuse and de-escalate vs. fulfilling my need for space and the resulting asking her to leave.

I think in the end, this is simply the reason she is using to justify leaving. She's been checking out for awhile and had a host of issues on her mind. I think I was checking out to a degree as well. Unfortunately it takes getting to this point to realize we both had work to do, and we just didn't do it, and it takes two to have a shot.

I'm of the mindset that if given the chance we could use this to build a better relationship. She seems to be in the mindset, she's better off without it. But I have to say, wanting her space because I asked for mine seems somewhat surreal to me.

Tigersrule77 posted 7/7/2020 11:46 AM

Kintsugi, I know you are only discussing a small portion of your relationship. However, I have to tell you that if I had a friend considering M in this type of relationship, I would try to dissuade that friend. There are so many problems here, and I don't think counseling is going to solve them.

Who keeps a list of things you do wrong? Seriously. This is a huge red flag, as it is completely made to place the blame on the partner. No other reason. As you stated, she didn't consider any mitigation. "Kintsugi lost his temper and yelled at me." Why? Was she late to something she agreed to? Was she ignoring you? Did you have a bad day at work and you are just taking it out on her? As you said, something precipitated the argument, but there is no mention of that. Everyone needs to control their temper. And people need to acknowledge their own roles in situations.

I know I have to adhere to the no contact if we're to have any chance at all

Kintsugi, I don't want to be rude, but I have to say that I think you are making a big mistake and that you need to move on. It seems to me that you are hanging on to something that is comfortable instead of looking for something that can be better.

TKOGA posted 7/7/2020 13:48 PM

This woman is clearly not blameless in this. She doesn't seem to be emotionally mature. Rather than discussing issues like an adult, she creates a list and stews over it. But she has spent the last three years with a man who throws her out of his apartment and then goes radio silent.
"simply the reason she is using to justify leaving"
That's a damn good reason to leave if you ask me. It's behavior that seems manipulative and a more dramatic person might even consider it borderline abusive depending on how often this happened. Wrap it up in an "I'm just a person that needs space" all you want. Please stop breaking no contact. You both deserve to move on from this, in my opinion.

[This message edited by TKOGA at 1:50 PM, July 7th (Tuesday)]

fooled13years posted 7/7/2020 14:52 PM

Whether this relationship comes back or you both move on there is something you both need to understand.

Men and women are different.

The man cannot expect the woman to handle things the way he does and the woman cannot expect the man to handle things the way she does.

Kintsugi posted 7/7/2020 20:20 PM

Kintsugi, I don't want to be rude, but I have to say that I think you are making a big mistake and that you need to move on. It seems to me that you are hanging on to something that is comfortable instead of looking for something that can be better.

By all means Tiger, be rude, lol. That's the first time I thought of all this in the context of comfortable. I appreciate that input and candid advice. It gets confusing considering all the good against all the negative, but I have to say, we're two very different people. She's a simple woman by nature, and I say that as a positive and a negative as sometimes we don't quite connect mentally or emotionally. We come from very different backgrounds and cultures, but I always said that I couldn't imaging being with anyone else, and much of our relationship translated into everything surrounding that accepting the differences as a way to grow.

But she has spent the last three years with a man who throws her out of his apartment and then goes radio silent.
"simply the reason she is using to justify leaving"
That's a damn good reason to leave if you ask me.

Hi TKOGA, thanks for the input. Not to diminish my actions but I have to clarify. I know it felt to her like she was being "thrown out" (and that's all that matters, I know), but "thrown out" doesn't accurately reflect the overal tone or action. I was certainly frustrated and angry and that tone would carry, but it usually would go something like, "babe, I need some time and space. Please {insert name} I can't do this right now. Please, can you go home?" I know for a fact she heard, "get the F out!!" It sickens me to write that.

Men and women are different.

The man cannot expect the woman to handle things the way he does and the woman cannot expect the man to handle things the way she does.


Thanks fooled. This is so true. It takes empathy on both sides. I think the frustrating part was I never felt like we had an avenue to truly address the disagreement nor did I feel like any of it would be heard or achnowledged. I'll also add, that she was capable of acknowledging her role. Pretty damn frustrating.

I found that no matter how benign the message came out when I needed some space, she heard the polar opposite. I literally said to her at one point, "I can't say it any nicer." So message heard loud and clear, "Men and women are different."

[This message edited by Kintsugi at 8:32 PM, July 7th (Tuesday)]

EllieKMAS posted 7/7/2020 20:45 PM

I know when tempers are up it's easy for words to come out not quite in the way one intended. Hey, it happens. But again, take care of your side of the street. If she heard 'get the f out' when you were asking for space... That's HER dysfunction. If you think there's validity to that complaint regarding your tone or what have you, then work on that part. If she was upset, then the adult thing to do is to talk about it. Not stew in resentment and then punish you. That's how teenagers handle shit.

ChamomileTea posted 7/8/2020 03:56 AM

I'm going to be honest with you, man... I think your girlfriend has some good points and I can see why she's trying to pull the plug. What you see as "taking space" or "cooling off" is a form of stonewalling. Peeps are right when they tell you that cooling off is like 20 minutes. Sending her out of your home is like a slap in the face while screaming "I DON'T WANT TO TALK TO YOU!" I'm sorry if that sounds rough. I thought about passing by your thread and not saying anything, but it really seems like you'd repair this relationship if you could.

There's an essay by John Gottman you can find pretty readily online called The Four Horsman. These are the four communications styles that he has identified as predicting the end of a relationship. They are Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. And from what you've described, I can see some Criticism and a good bit of Stonewalling in your interactions with her.

Having to say or ask things countless times based on the previously mentioned forgetfulness or lack of attention wore me down, and I felt like a parent sometimes vs. significant other.

Some people are just more forgetful than others. It can be anything from easily distracted to poor concentration to undiagnosed ADD. Brains are just built differently and the way we process information can vary from person to person. Not saying that there aren't work-arounds. People do it all the time. And people who love each other will find a method that works rather than allow Criticism to find a nest in their communications pattern.

I do think this lady was trying to get through to you, but even here, you've dismissed her as "overly sensitive". So, let's go with that. Let's say she's a sensitive gal... what that means is that the stonewalling she's getting while trying to reach you is just going to heighten her sensitivities as she's shut out. So, not only is her emotional plea being ignored, it's being tossed completely out of the house.

You've described some good times and your words to her seem heartfelt, so I don't agree that you two are just too different or that anyone is in any way FUBAR. It takes time and effort to build a new communications style, but in your case, it might be worth it and it might save the relationship. Gottman always recommends that couple turn TOWARD each other in times of conflict rather than away. And yes, if you follow his link to "Antidotes for the Four Horseman", you'll see how important taking that 20-minute break is. But after that, you have to jump back in because Conflict = Opportunity. Every conflict is an opportunity to fix a problem or make something better, IF... you both make your Criticism constructive, reign in your Defensiveness, and keep Contempt and Stonewalling at bay.

I hope it works out for you, Kintsugi. You deserve something nice after all you've been through.

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