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How can I *finally* forgive him, forgive myself, and let go?


Coping Learning to deal with one's emotions and loss.

 
 
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Old 2nd May 2005, 12:21 AM   #1
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How can I *finally* forgive him, forgive myself, and let go?

This is a somewhat complicated story, but I'm going to tell it in chronological order and try to be as brief as possible.

A little over a year ago, I met a guy, at a New Year's Eve party. I fell almost instantly into an an obsessive crush. It's true that I am prone to those types of crushes (and I'm not a young girl), but it's also true that when I met him I was going through one of the most difficult periods of my life.

One and a half months before I met this guy, some property belonging to my parents had been badly damaged in a terrible act of vandalism. There was a great deal of press coverage, and, of course, an ongoing investigation by the police. In addition to the pain caused to my elderly father by the crime, he was interviewed exhaustively by both the press and the police because he thought he saw some suspicious characters the day of the crime who might have been the perpetrators.

Allow me to hold that thought...

So, I met R on New Year's Eve and was instantly attracted to him. His roommate said he was available. Then, after R and I had begun making out, I found out that he was only available because his long-time girlfriend had broken up with him that day. Still, both of us had had too much to drink, and I suppose we were both hurting in our own ways, and we had sex. The next morning, we parted as friends, and I knew that there was no chance he'd be ready for a relationship any time soon.

Except...he pursued me, in a way. I had recently joined his circle of friends and we saw each other often. In addition, I'd been invited to join his circle's online blog community (a new experience for me). In both real life and online, I think my crush on him, my attentiveness was apparent. We had a six-week-long affair, which I suppose was really more a string of one night stands. He initiated all of them.

Oh, I'm not sure how to convey the turmoil of those months, the roller coaster I rode with regards to this guy, the hopes he'd create in me when he'd seek me out, then dash 24 hours later by saying he was still confused and was sorry to be confusing but he was still hurting from his breakup, and, no, we were not in a relationship. But...I don't want to sound like a victim. I could have said no, ignored him when he IM'ed me and asked to come over (IM was also new to me, he set me up with it) -- and I didn't say no. I seemed incapable of saying no to him. My friends who were around for all of this still hiss "Jerk! *******!" whenever I mention his name, but I want to be fair. I feel like I'll never truly be able to forgive, both him and myself, unless I am fair and see the truth as clearly as I can.

The other thing was, my obsession with R, the exquisite agony of that roller coaster, was actually the *best* thing happening in my life at that time. I thought about R all the time, as much as I could, because when I didn't, I had to think about the awful phone calls from my brother who was paranoid that my parents were going to be murdered in their beds. He harassed me to help him convince my parents to hire a private bodyguard they couldn't afford. He begged me to help him yell at my father to stop talking to the press because the perpetrators *would* come after Dad -- and he was telling Dad the same thing. Yes, there were some concerns about my parents' safety, but the police had extra patrols in their neighborhood, and it seemed very unlikely that anyone would come after them in their well-lit, middle-class neighborhood. But when I tried to tell him that, to calm him down, to ask him not to make my father more uneasy and stressed out than he already was, my brother called me an apathetic idiot who didn't realize the danger and who didn't care about my parents. And all of this was reminiscent of a previous family crisis...let me just say that, understandably, this was a very traumatic time for my family and many old wounds, only semi-healed, were ripped wide open.

On top of that, two days after I met R, I had what I thought was a routine mammogram (my first) and was told I might have breast cancer. I had a needle biopsy, which was inconclusive, then a surgical biopsy, the results of which were benign, but these biopsies, doctors' visits, and all the waiting time, uncertainty and fear in between -- all of that also ran concurrently with my affair with R (I had the second biopsy a few days after he ended our affair).

The thing about R was that he seemed extremely invested in seeing himself as a good guy, a monogamous guy, the opposite of a player. When I told him that I knew the score, that he obviously only wanted me for sex, that I was the rebound woman, that his ego had taken a blow and he needed to know he was desirable, that I was willing to fill that role, he said, no, no, no. He said he was incapable of that, he had feelings for me or he wouldn't be with me, he could see us together "somewhere down the road" or he wouldn't be with me, but he was confused and hurting, confused and hurting.

Except...when we were in bed, he wouldn't meet my eyes. He'd leave as soon as the sex was over. He even convinced me to have anal sex. I'd never agreed to that before, though others had asked, because I know my body and my tastes and I knew it wouldn't work for me (I'm not condemning it in general). However, I was in complete thrall to R. I would not refuse him anything. We had anal sex, and I didn't enjoy it and it hurt, but, if I'm remembering correctly, he didn't seem to care.

Fast-forward several months. I move across the country, not to get away from R but because I had already been planning a move before I met him. Still I'm glad of the distance. I love my new home near the ocean. I find a cute apartment, I find steady work almost immediately (I had no job set up when I moved), I find volunteer work that satisfies me and brings me friends. But romantically, physically, I am shut down. I stay at home every night and make no attempt to date or meet men. Also, I keep *obsessively* checking up on R through his blog. I can't seem to stop myself; though I'd already deleted my own blog account, I can read his blog because many (all?) of his entries were public. I find out that he has a new girlfriend whom he worships and adores. I find out that all his friends are thrilled because he's a great guy who deserves every happiness (see, I can detect the bitterness and sarcasm in my tone. Am I unfair to him? Is he a great guy? Then, why did he hurt me? Why did he use me? Was it my fault? These are the questions I still ask.)

Finally, I read that he has proposed to his girlfriend and she's accepted. He writes with great enthusiasm how he planned every detail of the proposal so it would be as special a day as possible for her. All their friends respond to his post with blessings and praise for being such a wonderful, thoughtful guy. His fiance writes how lucky she is to have him, how he is so supportive of her and such a great friend. I am sure he does not think of me at all, while I think of him far too much. By the way, finally, at that point, I promise myself not to read his blog anymore, and I've kept that promise so far (about 3 weeks).

This may seem disjointed, but two months ago, for my birthday, I had a full-body massage for the first time. It lasted an hour and, while the massage therapist (a woman) did not touch me sexually, she touched me gently in places that had not been touched in almost a year by another person-- the back of my neck, the small of my back, the tops of my thighs. I cried and cried and cried. I have always been a sensual person, and I realized how much I had shut my body down, had not allowed it to long for touch, and how much pain seemed stored in those places.

Recently, I went out on a few dates with a guy. We were not physical, did not really have much in common, and that was the end of that. However, I think that the massage woke my body out of its dormancy. I found myself longing for tenderness and closeness. I answered an ad in a "casual encounters" online list by a man who said he was only looking for someone to kiss and hold. We emailed a few times, I met him in a public place and determined he was safe, then we went to his apartment and did just what he had proposed. I think he'd been recently hurt, too. He was gentle, and he respected my boundaries. We kissed, and held each other, and he told me I was lovely and intelligent and interesting -- all things I badly needed to hear.

So, I think I am ready, finally, to try again, to risk a new relationship, to risk falling for someone new, but I don't know how I can when I'm not really over R. How do I make peace with myself and him and put that time behind me? When I think of him, of his impending marriage, I do not wish it was me instead -- I know we were not right for each other, and he and his fiancee do seem well-suited in many ways. What I really want, what I dream of, is an apology. But do I even have a right to one? Does he have anything to apologize for? And besides, I know that I will never, ever, ever get one.

I apologize for the length, though I still feel I've left out some pertinent information. Ask me questions if that will help you to give me advice (though not about the crime -- I don't want my family to be recognized through this).

Also, in case this seems at all familiar to some long-term LShackers, I posted some part of this story at the beginning of last year using a different user name.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 2:22 AM   #2
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Gosh, what an experience you've had. I want to offer my sympathy for all you've been through with this person and with what has happened in your family life. I'm so sorry.

This man led you on in many ways. You obviously had a grasp on what was going on, but his inability to be honest with you coupled with your feelings for him led you to have false hopes. Some people can't face some serious emotional down time. They just don't have the backbone for it. He's one of them. So, he latched on to you because he needed relief from his heartache - you were the medicine he needed, the temporary cure, but what happens once the cure is effective?

I'm sort of guessing at what you're feeling in regard to an apology. It's a sense of no closure, I would think. Maybe it would help if you wrote him a letter and put all your feelings into that letter, but don't send it. Lock it away and rip it up at a later time, once your heart has healed. Probably he does not and will not feel he stands guilty of anything in regard to your past relationship. I shouldn't say that because I don't know the guy, but I get a feeling he is full of ego. He makes the mistake of listening to his ego. Never listen to your ego; it will lie to you everytime.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 10:11 AM   #3
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Thank you for responding. I know I wrote a novel, and I thank you for taking the time to read it. I was also afraid my story might sound too sensational and people might not believe it, but it's true.

Recently, within the past month, my family enjoyed wonderful closure with regards to the crime I mentioned. We are also so much closer now, having come through this together. However, the closure in that area in my life somehow made me realize how I have no closure with R.

Also...I fear it may seem ridiculous that more than a year later I am still hurting because of an affair that only lasted six weeks (though he was in my life for a few months after we stopped sleeping together). Thinking back over that time made me realize that all the other turmoil somehow doubled, tripled, quadrupled, the intensity of the feelings I had for R. I suppose men have always been my drug of choice. But how do I detoxify my system of him, once and for all?

The letter to him is something I've considered to him. It's just that...I know how angry and bitter I'll sound. The intensity of the anger and bitterness I can feel under the surface, which I haven't given vent to, almost frightens me. Perhaps I just need to let it out. I know I should write the letter on paper, rather than as email, or I'll be tempted to send it.

But...how is it that everyone else I've encountered who knows this guy, even ex-girlfriends, seem to see him as a sterling, caring, supportive GOOD guy? Did I just meet him at the wrong time? But if that's the case, why didn't I get an apology?

Quote:
Originally posted by suegail
This man led you on in many ways. You obviously had a grasp on what was going on, but his inability to be honest with you coupled with your feelings for him led you to have false hopes. Some people can't face some serious emotional down time. They just don't have the backbone for it. He's one of them. So, he latched on to you because he needed relief from his heartache - you were the medicine he needed, the temporary cure, but what happens once the cure is effective?
It's interesting that you came to that conclusion from my story, even when I was trying to be fair.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 1:43 AM   #4
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You seem to me level-headed and intelligent. I think you see the situation for what it is, but it's the problem of letting go, the problem of trying to find a way to accept. It will come in time, and what a relief that will be to you. It was a short time you two had together, but alot happened, and you became emotionally attached to him. I know how that feels. It's painful.

You've said that men have been your 'drug of choice.' I think you and I have a great deal in common. How do you 'detoxify?' I've read other posts where people have said something to the effect that when a relationship ends our mind plays tricks on us, and we tend to remember how good we felt at certain points in time. Well, he was terribly inconsiderate to you in many ways. Remember that and know that you deserve so much better in life.

I think you probably did meet him at the wrong time. The situation might have been very different if he hadn't been desperately trying to do nothing more than fill a void, a huge gaping hole in his heart that he didn't want to have to look at. This is how some people deal with their problems: They don't face them. They don't want to and they won't. Unfortunately they pull other people into their world and wind up hurting them terribly. It's really a lousy thing to do to someone.

His friends see him as a wonderful guy. Well, so be it. What kind of friends has he got? Are they all like him? well, I wouldn't worry about it.

I only know I don't like to see you hurt; you seem so honest and so genuine. Just do remember that the time will come when you won't feel this way anymore. It will happen.

Sometimes when I feel in any way hostile toward anyone, I ask God to give me the kind of love for others that He has for everyone. It does help me. I can tell you that without reservation. That is a prayer God has answered for me many times.

suegail
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