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Update; MM left and went back twice...


The Other Man / Woman The other side of the story: Support and discussion for those who find themselves involved with a committed partner.

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Old 29th January 2018, 12:56 PM   #31
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Today's been a tough one. People keep mentioning MM in conversations as they just don't know. I've heard he will be back at work soon so I need to figure out how to deal with that. It will be odd working together and not talking as we have never done that before. I'm dreading it. I also found out somebody from work is renting his flat...the flat he moved into when we were together. It holds lots of memories and it's just knocked me for six slightly. I don't really know why.

On the plus side, I have interviews for new jobs, so fingers crossed
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Old 29th January 2018, 3:29 PM   #32
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Rebel, I just want to thank you for posting your story. It's sobering and I really feel for you. My xMM never actually left his home or marriage, but if he had, I am 100% certain he would have gotten into the same "boomerang pattern" as your xMM. This particular type oscillates between wanting to have it all, and then not wanting to feel like the bad guy. More often than not, that means giving up the AP so they can be Mr Family Man again. But on rare occasions that means pretending to themselves they're going to leave the marriage or, god forbid, actually leaving, because the marriage is tainted now and they'll never again have that "knight in shining armor" image with BW, but they get it in their head that maybe they can feel that way with OW. But then as soon as they're with OW, they're headed right back in the other direction.

Note that most of these impulses are based on their own self-image at any given time... any love felt for the BW or OW is a secondary factor at best.
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Old 5th February 2018, 10:47 PM   #33
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Rebel, I just want to thank you for posting your story. It's sobering and I really feel for you. My xMM never actually left his home or marriage, but if he had, I am 100% certain he would have gotten into the same "boomerang pattern" as your xMM. This particular type oscillates between wanting to have it all, and then not wanting to feel like the bad guy. More often than not, that means giving up the AP so they can be Mr Family Man again. But on rare occasions that means pretending to themselves they're going to leave the marriage or, god forbid, actually leaving, because the marriage is tainted now and they'll never again have that "knight in shining armor" image with BW, but they get it in their head that maybe they can feel that way with OW. But then as soon as they're with OW, they're headed right back in the other direction.

Note that most of these impulses are based on their own self-image at any given time... any love felt for the BW or OW is a secondary factor at best.
Yes, I can definitely see now that he was largely concerned with himself. Even now, this R with his wife is all about him. He hated that people saw him as 'bad'. I'm glad your xMM is your ex
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Old 5th February 2018, 10:53 PM   #34
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It's been 6 weeks of NC. Mostly it's ok, sometimes its heart breaking. But then I remind myself that the man I miss wasn't real, and the good times I remember were equally as fake. I don't want him back because I don't even really know who he is. I don't want contact, because it would be too easy for me to convince myself he's who I thought he was (spoiler: he isn't).

I try and distract myself when I start thinking about what he's doing, or things we did. It's pointless, and unhelpful for me.

So...I'm just getting on with things and trying to sit with the hurt when I feel it, and understand where it comes from, why it's appeared at that time. Mostly it's not even to do with him at all, although it manifests in that way.

I'm starting grief counselling next week, and it'll be interesting to see how that goes.

Just needed to post because I thought about him. The time between that happening gets longer. NC works, let's hope I can stick with it.
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Old 6th February 2018, 8:36 PM   #35
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Today's been a tough one. People keep mentioning MM in conversations as they just don't know. I've heard he will be back at work soon so I need to figure out how to deal with that. It will be odd working together and not talking as we have never done that before. I'm dreading it. I also found out somebody from work is renting his flat...the flat he moved into when we were together. It holds lots of memories and it's just knocked me for six slightly. I don't really know why.

On the plus side, I have interviews for new jobs, so fingers crossed
Hope you are hanging in there! I am also looking for a new job, even though MM doesn't work at the same company, there are reminders because I was in the thick of it when I started there. Plus it does not keep me busy enough and my mind wanders.
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Old 6th February 2018, 8:37 PM   #36
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It's been 6 weeks of NC. Mostly it's ok, sometimes its heart breaking. But then I remind myself that the man I miss wasn't real, and the good times I remember were equally as fake. I don't want him back because I don't even really know who he is. I don't want contact, because it would be too easy for me to convince myself he's who I thought he was (spoiler: he isn't).

I try and distract myself when I start thinking about what he's doing, or things we did. It's pointless, and unhelpful for me.

So...I'm just getting on with things and trying to sit with the hurt when I feel it, and understand where it comes from, why it's appeared at that time. Mostly it's not even to do with him at all, although it manifests in that way.

I'm starting grief counselling next week, and it'll be interesting to see how that goes.

Just needed to post because I thought about him. The time between that happening gets longer. NC works, let's hope I can stick with it.
Let us know how the grief counseling goes. I'd be curious to hear about it! Hang in there!!
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Old 7th February 2018, 4:28 PM   #37
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Hope you are hanging in there! I am also looking for a new job, even though MM doesn't work at the same company, there are reminders because I was in the thick of it when I started there. Plus it does not keep me busy enough and my mind wanders.
Thanks. I just heard from a friend that he was in the office today so I'm dreading tomorrow. Just have to keep out of his way. I understand what you mean about reminders. Sometimes a fresh start is exactly what you need. Fingers crossed for us both in our job hunts.
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Old 7th February 2018, 4:30 PM   #38
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Let us know how the grief counseling goes. I'd be curious to hear about it! Hang in there!!
I will do! I ended up being referred for cbt when I was in a really low place about MM. But when I spoke to the counselled he referred me for grief counselling instead as there are things from my childhood that I need to deal with. He also said it may help me deal with my unhealthy relationship patterns. I wonder how many OW have similar stories to mine in their childhoods. Certainly things I've read recently have made me think there's a link. I'm not trying to make excuses, I think it's firmly up to us to take responsibility and make changes, but I think something has to be *off* for us to be ok with the dynamics of an A.
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Old 7th February 2018, 4:56 PM   #39
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Rebel, totally agree. I’d bet a lot of people on here have significant unresolved childhood wounds. It is definitely true for me. I’ve been doing counseling and have also been told that I’m suffering from an intense form of grief. I’ve been “no contact” (or really Limited Contact since seeing him in our community at intervals is unavoidable) for months and have been stuck so long in this grief that it has become “complicated.” I think the earlier you start to explore and address your grief and what underlying issues caused you to become so attached to this person, the better off you are. Hopefully since it’s only been weeks you can avoid ever being where I am now. It is so much worse when you don’t get proper help right away and your grief/sadness/hopelessness gets out of control to the point where the cycle truly becomes beyond your control. Apparently pain and grief can be just as addictive as the relationship itself.
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Old 7th February 2018, 5:18 PM   #40
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Rebel, totally agree. I’d bet a lot of people on here have significant unresolved childhood wounds. It is definitely true for me. I’ve been doing counseling and have also been told that I’m suffering from an intense form of grief. I’ve been “no contact” (or really Limited Contact since seeing him in our community at intervals is unavoidable) for months and have been stuck so long in this grief that it has become “complicated.” I think the earlier you start to explore and address your grief and what underlying issues caused you to become so attached to this person, the better off you are. Hopefully since it’s only been weeks you can avoid ever being where I am now. It is so much worse when you don’t get proper help right away and your grief/sadness/hopelessness gets out of control to the point where the cycle truly becomes beyond your control. Apparently pain and grief can be just as addictive as the relationship itself.
I'm glad to hear you're getting counselling and trying to work through your issues. Low contact must be tough. I think that's where I'm heading, and not sure how I'm going to cope. I'm not sure how long I've been in this grief cycle. To be honest I think pretty much since MM went back home last April I've felt this way as I knew then he wasn't leaving. I never wanted an A. The months after him going back were horrendous. I should've let go a long, long time ago.

From what I've read the inability to let go also stems from childhood issues (abandonment??). If you haven't checked out the site baggage reclaim I would highly recommend it.

It's funny because I've been reading baggage reclaim for years and Nat (the author) said that when her A ended it was like an exorcism. I didn't understand that whilst I was in the A, but now I get it. MM disappearing has forced me to confront things I haven't thought about pretty much my entire life. It's tough. But at the same time I really hope that working through this might be the start of something different for me. Hopefully it's the same for you.
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Old 7th February 2018, 5:35 PM   #41
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Thank you, Rebel. I love Baggage Reclaim and completely agree with Nat’s “exorcism” comparison. It is quite messy and painful. Like you, I think my head has been messed up with grief and abandonment issues for even longer than the “end” (I use quotes since my “end” was more a discard and disappear than anything else), triggered months before it ended by the intermittent reinforcement dynamic and power imbalance of the relationship. It triggers this fear of losing the person and an extreme depression when you don’t hear from them that becomes all-consuming. Reality is as soon as someone starts treating you like that you should realize they are not as invested as you are and therefore not worth your love and exit. I guess that’s where the childhood issues instead keep us stuck, desperate to right the wrongs of the past and willing to put up with mistreatment or optional status. I lost myself completely, and some days I still feel like I might die (or would rather be dead than) without him. It is so unhealthy and wrongheaded, that sometimes I look in the mirror and think “how did you become this person.” I know I existed and had a satisfying life for decades before this EA (which didn’t even last an entire year) but it is a struggle to remember and reidentify with that person. It is a struggle to reclaim my SELF-worth and value and focus on the people who do love me and never would abandon me the way MM did. To find a way to believe I still have personal power. Good luck to you as well on this journey.

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Old 7th February 2018, 5:47 PM   #42
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Thank you, Rebel. I love Baggage Reclaim and completely agree with Nat’s “exorcism” comparison. It is quite messy and painful. Like you, I think my head has been messed up with grief and abandonment issues for even longer than the “end” (I use quotes since my “end” was more a discard and disappear than anything else), triggered months before it ended by the intermittent reinforcement dynamic and power imbalance of the relationship. It triggers this fear of losing the person and an extreme depression when you don’t hear from them that becomes all-consuming. I lost myself completely, and some days I still feel like I might die (or would rather be dead than) without him. It is so unhealthy and wrongheaded, that sometimes I look in the mirror and think “how did you become this person.” I know I existed and had a satisfying life for decades before this EA (which didn’t even last an entire year) but it is a struggle to remember and reidentify with that person. It is a struggle to reclaim my SELF-worth and value and focus on the people who do love me and never would abandon me the way MM did. To find a way to believe I still have personal power. Good luck to you as well on this journey.
I understand that completely. I think unfortunately the dynamics of an A mean you always feel this. For me, after he went back the first time, I pretty much had that fear all the time. And I became so compliant to his will, as I thought that would stop it happening. That addiction to MM is a tough thing to break. But you can and you will get over this. Are you able to see you MM for what he really is? I think part of the reason I couldn't let go for so long was honestly believing he was this amazing, nice, hurt man just trying to do the right thing. Now, not so much. That helps.

I honestly think the only thing we can do is start trying to love ourselves as much as we love the MM. Which is hard...but fake it till you make it I guess. I'm trying to be kinder to myself and I've started treating myself like a friend in my head...I give myself the advice I'd give those I love. Treating myself well, looking out for me, is helping. Especially after nearly two years of always putting him first, even when it really hurt.

The one thing I'm struggling with the most is how to deal with the guilt of what I've done to his wife. I hope they are able to use this to make their marriage better. I hope that means he won't do this again. But honestly I don't think he will work on himself enough. I think he's papered over the cracks, and that won't be enough. I wish there was some way I could make this ok for her, but I can't.

You definitely do have personal power. I think it's a bit of a self perpetuating cycle...you have to start acting like you have that power, even if it's only in small ways. And then hopefully it gets easier.
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Old 7th February 2018, 6:00 PM   #43
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Yes, putting MM on a pedestal and believing he is the second coming is something I struggled with as well. I thought, “I’ll just let him do whatever he wants, play by his rules, smother my feelings, do everything “right”, because then he won’t leave.” Of course, after the fact I would still find ways to blame myself and determined that all those “right” things I did were “wrong.” My therapist works on getting me to see him for who he really is. Especially based on the way he ended it and has treated me subsequently, it was very cold and cruel and hard to reconcile with the person I believed him to be. I miss that person who I thought he was. And since I was in “stifle my own feelings” mode (and because he was supremely good at deflecting my heartfelt appeals and twisting things around) I never got to express my feelings about his actions and he never had to face them either. I didn’t want him to be put off because I was afraid he wouldn’t “come back” if I did. I sacrificed being true to myself (hurting myself and others in the process) and that is hard to live with.
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Old 7th February 2018, 6:15 PM   #44
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Yes I know what you mean. My MM (exMM) disappeared on me too...and I feel your pain about not being able to reconcile that with who I thought it was. But then I realised that the way he ended it was also part of who he is. It's easy for Them to be nice and caring when we're going out of our way to be compliant, love them, literally going against our best interests in order to meet their needs. But it's an act. An A isn't like a real relationship is it, you get the good stuff. From reading the stories on here as soon as it starts getting tough or real, things change.

To be honest his ability to cut me out of his life in the way he has, is helping me move on. Because I truly dislike him now. And I don't want to be with somebody who sees me as that dispensable. We deserve better.

I also miss the man I thought he was. And it's hard because the A is so limited you basically have an amazing relationship at first. And other relationships struggle to compare to that. I've been reading about narcissists and love bombing and it's exactly like that. It seems so perfect and you could spend forever trying to get back to that because you *know* it's possible.

I hope you get to a stage where you don't want him to come back. I hope I do too.
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Old 7th February 2018, 6:31 PM   #45
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Thanks. I’m with you all the way. The narcissist stuff is so on point, yet I still find it hard to believe it’s true about him. Childhood issues come in because instead of disliking him for discarding me and deciding he’s not worthy of me, I start believing his assessment of me as having no value (or not enough value to keep me in his life), essentially giving him the power to determine my worth. “If he only comes back, then I’ll feel worth something again.” Even as I write it I know how wrong and screwed up it is, but the feelings are hard to keep at bay. At heart I’m hurt by the loss of someone who was significant to me, but also feel like I hurt other people for something that I believed in when it wasn’t even true. I justified it in some way as being about love conquering all and this kind of love being more powerful than anything else. So to have him walk away like that also makes it difficult to find meaning and purpose in the decision I made to invest in a relationship that was bound to result in pain to others. I hope we all get through this and heal in time.
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