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Forums / Long term support over the journey / I don't know what to do - a mess of a situation

Topic: I don't know what to do - a mess of a situation

  1. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    30 September 2019

    Hello friends

    I am in a bad situation. I would appreciate your advice and insight. I have been in a relationship for almost four years. It's been really hard at times. I love her sincerely but recent developments have have made me realise that I don't think I can in good conscience stay with her any more.

    For majority of our relationship we have had issues with intimacy. This was a mess. Unfortunately my AD medication had adverse side effects. She assumed I didn't find her attractive and I guess responded with a threat response. I was screamed at, belittled and told that this is my problem, you need to fix it. I accepted this and sought counselling to help. This had repeated so many times that I no longer was interested in intimacy. I was actually afraid of it and still am. Similarly with other issues/concerns, they were usually met with either a very defensive or aggressive response, despite my best efforts to be diplomatic and gentle in my manner. Most of these particularly nasty memories are from some time ago now, (at least a year usually) but have done a lot of damage.

    She had been away for the last three weeks. During this time a friendship with a female co-worker started. I confided in her about ALL of the issues I've been dealing with. She displayed warmth, kindness and understanding that I simply forgot could exist. I developed feelings for her, she did for me. We agreed I'm not in a place to obviously do anything about it so unfortunately are no longer friends.

    I attempted to break up with my partner yesterday. She was distraught and heartbroken. It was the opposite of the angry/aggressive person I feared. I care very much for her. She has no friends, barely any family and would be entirely on her own. I couldn't go through with it. We agreed to try and work through our problems. I want to believe we can do this, but deep down I don't think it will work.The fact I developed feelings for someone else plagues me with guilt and I feel like every word I say to her is a lie.

    Right now I think I need to work through my own thoughts and feelings and then proceed to act from there. I feel like I'm some sort of monster and I don't know what to do any more.

    3 people found this helpful
  2. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
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    2459 posts
    30 September 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Hi Rhinoceros

    I have just read your thread and wanted to say how wonderful it is that you have reached out to talk.

    I am no professional but I have been in a marriage that ended 4 years ago.

    I wanted to say that you are further ahead in your journey than you may think, the fact that you are very aware of your issues and triggers is a massive positive, it means you can then know where to start to make different outcomes for yourself.

    The fact that you opened up to another woman and both developed feelings for each other also shows that you do have the ability to form wonderful relationships, they don't always turn out the way we hoped, however you are certainly no monster, just a human that is having some confusion at the moment.

    It is to your credit that you are going to try to work things out with your partner and I truly wish you and her every ounce of luck, the fact you are both going to try is so positive. However it is just my opinion, but I feel it is also the most kind thing to do, even if it does not seem so at the time, to let her go if you no longer can love her the way she deserves and infact the way you need to love. This is no criticism on either of you, just the sheer fact that sometimes we grow apart and sometimes we no longer love the ones we started off loving, and that is ok.

    You sound like a wonderful man and I wish you every success in your journey forward. All the very best Rhinoceros....virtual hugs x

    2 people found this helpful
  3. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Dear Aaronsis

    I like your user name - my name is Aaron!

    Thank you so much for your beautiful message. I'm far from experienced in relationships. My relationship is the 2nd relationship I've ever been in. A lot of this is uncharted territory for me.

    I think while I wish I could try and work through our issues, I feel like it's a case of 'too little, too late'. For such a long time when I needed her to be gentle and kind, she was often neither of those things. Most of the time I assumed this was my fault - i.e. I wasn't mentally strong enough, not attractive enough, not a 'real man'. For such a long time we were together I felt so lonely. I thought that if I gave more and put in more effort I'd finally make her happy.

    Right now she's hurting badly. She was unaware of the issues I had with how I was treated, and thought we were in a good place. She thought we'd get married and grow old together. To see her pained like this is so heart-breaking.While I hated it when she was angry/defensive/aggressive - this is so much more painful.

    This friendship that struck up recently was an eye opener for me in so many ways. I didn't have to be careful about what I said, I could relax and be at ease. I felt like I could be my own silly old self. In my own relationship I've been on edge for most of the time and often I really felt like I wasn't the same person. I was a washed out, nervous, scared version of my old self. Just to properly laugh again was so special.

    I feel guilty for opening up like that to someone else. While I knew I had a bit of a crush, I never meant for it to get out of hand like that. It just happened by accident.

    At this point, I know that I need to break things off with my partner. While she desperately wants me to stay, and while I still love her and care for her, to continue stringing her along like this is not right. It's horrible for her, and I can't forgive myself for it. It's just so painful, but I need to be strong and do the right thing.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Unicorn Sparkles
    Unicorn Sparkles avatar
    22 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    This post hits home a bit, because I was seeing a guy last year, that had certain *issues* When getting intimate, he also told me he still had feelings for his ex, which was soul destroying, because all I had tried to do was love and support him and be there for him.

    At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you. Would you feel better if you told your gf about these feelings you had for someone else? It may help clear your mind and able to move forward in trying to repair your relationship and move forward? It's not going to do you any good to be in an unhealthy relationship, feeling miserable and guilty all the time.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Alana_H
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    Alana_H avatar
    59 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Hello Rhinoceros,

    Thanks for your post. It is a really hard time when you see the end of the relationship, especially when it's not mutual, and I think you've done a great job at identifying why it's no longer a good thing for you to be in this relationship. I also think it takes a lot of insight to see that keeping the relationship going would not be good for her either.

    That being said I can also tell you still deeply care about this person and if you can you want to reduce her hurt from the break up. I know his might seem counterintuitive but have you considered couples counselling? Couples counselling can be just as useful for helping couples breakup, it can help couples communicate without it escalating and can be a support for both of you, which might be good if you feel your partner wont have anyone to talk to.

    I hope you are ok during this time and try not to be too hard on yourself, breakups do happen and it's never easy!

    Alana_H

    2 people found this helpful
  6. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to Unicorn Sparkles

    Dear Unicorn

    I'm sorry to hear that. My issues with intimacy certainly affected my partner. She didn't feel attractive or loved. Unfortunately she would get extremely angry and impatient, compounding the issue for both of us. We didn't properly talk about it, if I tried to bring the topic up it would be met with 'we will sort it out some day', or 'you're just being neurotic'. I feel very bad that I ever made her feel unattractive, it was never my intention, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. She is beautiful, and I have spent years trying to make her feel that way.

    If I told her about these feelings for someone else, I'm very worried she would take that badly. I'm worried it will completely crush her self-esteem. I can't bear to do that to her. For such a long time she was quite aggressive, and usually didn't display much in the way of empathy. Usually she'd be the one attacking me about things. To see her so fragile is unprecedented and heartbreaking.

    You are right though, it's never really been a healthy relationship. I know I've gone on about the intimacy side of things, but it wasn't just about that. Intimacy is important, but without closeness and balance in other elements of the relationship, intimacy doesn't really work.

    For a long time I've been doing a lot of the work to keep the relationship going. It's very draining when you're giving 110% and the other person doesn't really reciprocate.

    I know I need to get out, and I guess I feel kind of cowardly in that I don't want to hurt her, but I know that I will.

    2 people found this helpful
  7. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    2459 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Hi Aaron

    Lovely to meet you, my brother's name is Aaron and devastatingly we lost him to suicide only 8 weeks ago, which is why I am here. My name is Sarah.

    It was my pleasure to respond to you as it really resonated with me. I was in a marriage for 17 years that probably ended 6 years before I left if I am to be honest. It takes courage and bravery to do...BUT.....you can do it and another thing....the way you role play it in your head most times it never transpires like that....in my case it was nothing like I thought it was going to be and in actual fact while at the time we were both hurting and angry, we are now quite good friends, better than when we were married and we can parent together. I know this is not the same for everyone and I do feel lucky, however what I am trying to say is although you role play her being totally devastated as you can see she is hurting badly, the fact you have had bad times probably means that deep down she has thought about the future of the relationship too.

    I understand what you are saying though that this has all come as a shock to her but I guess over the past 24 hours she has done some thinking too and as time progresses it will get easier for her.

    I feel like you have identified your feelings and feel like the best outcome for you is to move forward alone, and you should not feel guilty or angry at yourself. You deserve to be happy and life is very short. She too also deserves to be happy and in time she will be OK and will move on with her life.

    I feel so happy for you that you got a small taste of what perhaps a different relationship might look like for you in the future where you can be you, and laugh and say silly things and be 110% Aaron, that is so refreshing and exciting.

    The time is now for you and you can do some things that make you happy. What things do you like to do? Sport? I love my AFL and am a massive Geelong supporter. I have 3 cats so they get me through some tough times too. Do you have any pets?

    Lovely chatting with you Aaron

    Cheers

    Sarah

    2 people found this helpful
  8. Unicorn Sparkles
    Unicorn Sparkles avatar
    22 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Dear Rhino.

    From your gf's point of view, I can completely relate to that feeling of being unwanted. I tried to reassure this guy that it wasn't just about the sex for me, I was happy to snuggle up on the couch or lay in bed cuddling. If it led to more, than so be it, if not, just being close to him was all that mattered. But to him, maintaining hard and blowing his load (excuse the bluntness) was a sign of failure as a man, so I can kind of see from your perspective, although I hope your feelings aren't as bad as my ex.

    I know you don't want to hurt her, but for your own wellbeing you'll have to. Maybe you could write a letter to read out to her? There's no gentle way of dumping someone. In person is always the best, but I think it is the hardest. I know you said she doesn't have many friends/family, but is there anyone you could speak to or give a heads up that you need to break up with her? The other suggestion is explaining to her that you need some time apart for your own mental health? You wouldn't be breaking up with her, just taking some time apart.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Dear Sarah

    I am so sorry to hear about your brother, to lose someone in that way is something I can't begin to comprehend. I've attempted suicide many years ago, I will never forgive myself for the hurt and anguish I put those dear to me through.

    You are so right, these things take so much courage and bravery to do. As horrible as this feels, being with someone just to prevent them from hurting is not really a good reason to stay, and it is less than what they deserve too!

    I have two cats, and I have a vintage car. I'm also a jazz guitarist. I guess when I finally go ahead with this awful break-up, these will be the things to focus on. Lots of long drives, listening to music, cuddling cats (when they let me cuddle them!!).

    Right now I'm feeling awful as I know it has to happen, but I just don't know how/when. There's no good time I realise, but the longer it drags on the worse it becomes for all concerned.

    Aaron

    1 person found this helpful
  10. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to Unicorn Sparkles

    Dear Unicorn

    I think for many men it's easy to get in the trap of feeling that 'doing the deed' is the be-all and end-all of intimacy. I certainly don't think that way. There's so much more to intimacy than that. For me, my girlfriend really wasn't happy with less than going all the way for a long time. I felt like I was under a huge amount of pressure to perform. Being yelled and screamed at just made it worse. Basically we both made each other really unhappy.

    Recently (i.e in the last week or two) we have had more luck in the intimacy department however I guess I'm realising that even with that side of things being sorted out, I still ultimately don't feel happy in the relationship. The fact I developed feelings for someone else is not a good sign at all, and I'm deeply ashamed of this.

    Writing things down helps me with lots of things. I might write down some dot points to help keep my thoughts together when this break-up happens. I guess what is hard is, it's like I'm dealing with two people. There's the angry/defensive/aggressive person that I learned to keep happy, and now that the relationship is in question, there's a very gentle scared person. It's hard, if that gentleness could have been present earlier on, maybe things could have been so much different.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
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    2459 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Thanks Aaron

    Your message is lovely and thank you for your support, it is a really really tough time but with counselling and talking and being on here I am getting there..slowly. I am hurting for my dad who is just broken at the loss of his son, it just tears me apart.

    I am glad to hear that you have made the decision to pull the band aid off if you like. It will be hard and there will be tears but you both deserve a chance at a fresh and happy life, and unfortunately, that is not together.

    Just a suggestion from me but I feel like a free space is the best place, perhaps like a park or somewhere where you are both on equal territory, some fresh air will help too, perhaps even going for a walk, and I think that the how will just take over, I think if you can be totally honest and tell her how hard this is for you and you don't know what words to say as nothing is going to be the words she wants to hear.

    I think if you keep to the facts and be totally honest then the words will come to you. If you cry who cares, it just means you do care and if you stumble that is fine too. She does deserve the chance at love and so do you Aaron.

    Oh Vintage car, that sounds awesome and yes a drive in the country listening to your favorite Jazz music will be the soul food you need. Cats are so "on my terms" aren't they.....lol...but they make me smile everyday and life just would not be the same without them. My son plays drums and bass guitar and the saxaphone so music is a plenty at my house too, and I would not have it any other way.

    Oh and just another thought, think about what you would like after a break up, like a follow up text or call or something the next day, just check in and see how she is....that is really important too, that way she knows you care for her.

    Sorry I am waffling on now....lol

    All the best

    Sarah

    1 person found this helpful
  12. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Dear Sarah

    To see someone you love broken in that way would be so heart wrenching. I guess all you can do is be there for them to provide as much support as you can. It's hard, you would at times feel so powerless to help. I'm so sorry you have to go through something like that.

    For me I realise now that I'll be happier out of this relationship. Breaking up is horrible, but I think in an almost perverse way it will be like a weight off my shoulders. I know there will be a lot of tears. This week there's already been lots of tears, and over the last four years I've cried more times than I'd care to admit to.

    I like the idea of a space such as park or something. Finding a neutral space is a good idea. It's hard, I still love her and care about her. Unfortunately, that's different to seeing a future together.

    I need to work out what the facts actually are - right now my mind is a bit of a whirlpool, it's racing too quickly and it's hard to think coherently. Getting it onto some paper to almost take some of the emotion out of it and just see the facts as they are would be really helpful.

    I've been speaking to my best friend about this mess a lot. He pointed out how over the last 4 years I've really only been concerned about my partner, I haven't done the right things for myself. I guess that short friendship I had with my work colleague made me realise how wonderful things can be, and that life shouldn't be as hard as it has been. It would nice to have the old Aaron back again.

    I am so lucky to have a vintage car, there's something so therapeutic about a nice country drive with the sunroof open with Dean Martin playing on the tape player... the cats are wonderful too. Such unique personalities, but everything is on their terms!

    I think after we do break up, not sure when/how that will happen, I will try and check in on her to see how she is going. Obviously if she doesn't want to hear from me, that's okay too. But I agree, that's the right thing to do. After all, I still love her and care about her.

    By the way, you're not waffling all!

    I can't begin to express how helpful your insight has been.

    Aaron

    1 person found this helpful
  13. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
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    1 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Hey Aaron

    Thank goodness I am not waffling..lol..

    I am so happy to hear that my tiny piece of advice has been helpful to you.

    I think that what you said about writing all the facts down is a great idea, you can actually see them for yourself then and by rehearsing it I guess the words will come more easily when you have to speak them.

    I feel sad that you have had a shitty week and this is happening to you, breakups are really bloody tough..but I am glad that you have been able to have a cry, it is so good to get it all out, and you should never feel ashamed or embarrassed by saying that you have cried, it would be a concern if you didn't cry in life.

    I am glad you have a good mate that you can talk to too, someone who really knows you and is there for you, you are lucky to have a good friend. Also the fact that he mentioned you have not really considered your own feelings all this time is nice that he is there for you.

    You seem like a person who has alot of emotional intelligence so I probably didn't need to say you should check in with her, It is lovely that you want to take care of her feelings too, even you saying all this I just know that the conversation that you have will go better than you think as you do have her best interest and her feelings in mind.

    What sort of car do you have? I always wanted an old FC Holden and my grandfather had one...I am a fitter by trade..lol although I don't do it now but mechanics and automotive have been in my life and I love cars.

    I am so happy to hear that there is that tiny bit of excitement that you have for getting the old Aaron back and that is so awesome and something really cool to look forward to, please do not feel guilty about that, you deserve a wonderful life.

    The other thing I just thought of is that there is no pressure like you have to do it today or tomorrow, you just plan it out in your head and on your paper and when you are ready you do it....when you feel strong and when you feel the time is right. I know this also is harsh but you cant wait for a time when she will be ready to hear it as any time will be hard for her....but you know this is right for you so you must do it when you feel strong and ready.

    Isn't that funny that I had to read "Tape Player" twice...lol...I was thinking OMG...my kids probably don't even know what a tape player is....lol....ah the good ol days.

    Well hope you are getting to enjoy this awesome weather today..how good does the sun make you feel...

    Cheers

    Sarah

    1 person found this helpful
  14. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    2 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Dear Sarah

    Your advice and insight has been very helpful!

    Today my plan is to get my facts in order and kind of figure out what angle I'm going to approach this awful thing from. I think when there's so much emotion involved it can get really hard to be coherent in words and in thoughts.

    I certainly am looking forward to not feeling like this any more. I'm still really rattled so not sure I'm in the place to go through with this yet, however it is really hard in that my partner is being extra lovely to me. I know it's because she doesn't want to lose me. I don't mean to sound cold or callous, but it's too late. It's just so sad that it's happening the way it is. Obviously I can't hold off a great deal longer, it's really the sort of thing that makes people go crazy.

    I think when I do go through with this (at this stage I'm thinking this weekend...)... I'm playing this all by ear. I will have to make an effort not to fall to pieces too much. I'll have to be caring, considerate and kind, but if I fall to pieces like I did last time, I suspect I'll buckle over again. I have to remember that I'm actually doing the right thing for both of us, even if she doesn't see it that way.

    My car is a 1975 Mercedes 280SE - ever since I was a small child I've loved old cars. I get a great deal of joy driving it, if I'm in a bad mood or sad, I feel immediately better as soon as I hop in that car. My grandfather had an FC Holden too!

    Right now I feel like I'm all knotted up. I guess naturally we don't want to hurt people, especially people we love and care about. I tried to make this relationship work as best as I could and for as long as I could, but ultimately it's no good if you're unhappy and the efforts you've been putting in for years generally are not reciprocated.

    But yes, the old Aaron is due to come back. He's been gone a while, my mum said that for a long time I've been a 'lost soul'. She said after the last few weeks, my old self is coming back again. I will talk to Mum more tonight. Mums have SO MUCH wisdom. I love my mum so much!

    It's funny- both my cars have tape players! I don't see it as a novelty, I'm just used to it, but my friends find it hilarious!

    Weather down here is beautiful today. I'm going to go for a walk at lunch time and soak up some sun rays.

    Aaron

  15. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
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    2459 posts
    2 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Good Morning Aaron

    I am so happy to hear that you have a plan and that you are going to get some stuff down on paper. I am sure that you are totally rattled and you would not be human if the pending thought of what you are about to do doesn't upset and bother you, so be kind to yourself.

    There is so much emotion involved and I think that is why getting some order on the page might help you to focus on and try and keep the emotion in check..good in theory but I am sure it will be tough non the less.

    You are right in that it is the best outcome for both of you and if you are not happy then that is not good for you or for her..and that is ok..in life we move through friends and lovers and relationships, it is how the world works, and just because you are ending this one in NO WAY makes you bad or horrible or anything like that..infact I admire that you can identify that even though you still love her and care for her that a future with her is not for you..that is a real credit to you.

    I do hear what you are saying that waiting to do this could drive a person insane and the sooner the better...true but i think you will know when the time is and when you feel strong enough that you can stick to your commitment to yourself of happiness.

    I know this might be hard too but if you feel like you are going to do it this weekend I can make sure that I check in online if you need to chat to someone to debrief to and get an online hug, I can make sure I am available to help you through.

    How cool that we both have the old FC in common, they really are such a cool car..I can remember my Gdad's one was kind of a weird light green colour..and the seats and the seatbelts burnt our bums..lol

    I get you are totally knotted up and that is a wonderful idea to take a lunchtime walk in the sun..I am in Melbourne I am not sure where you are but it is going to be 26 today so I am so happy about that..I might try for a lunch walk too.

    I find it hilarious too that you have two cars with tape players, they are a thing of the past and in fact I was in Cooma last week with my dad, he turned 70 and I went into the Salvos..love those places and saw a tape by Hole...I loved that album soo much...I was so happy then thought..how are you going to play this Sarah...lol

    Mum's are truely the best..and they just seem to know what you need..I hope my kids say that about me one day..lol..but yeah have a big chat to her tonight, she will at least be able to give you a hug.

    Chat soon

    S

    1 person found this helpful
  16. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    2 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Hi Sarah

    I had a good conversation with a counsellor today. I told her how I work as jazz guitarist as well as having a 9-5 day job. She said to treat the break up talk like being a performance of sorts. The relationship in most ways has been a caring relationship more than a romantic one. I basically make sure she has dinner to eat, ring her at lunch time to make sure her day is going okay, check if she needs anything from the shops etc. When she was upset when I attempted to break up with her last Sunday, I buckled over because that instinct to look after her kicked in, I found it so heartbreaking to see her hurt, I couldn't do it. I guess that comes down to still loving her and caring for her.

    At times this has been an abusive relationship, not physically, but certainly emotionally. That in itself is a big reason to get out! Particularly in those times where I had issues in the bedroom and was screamed and yelled at, that was abusive without question. If it was the other way around, I wouldn't even dream of being so cruel to someone who is already in a highly compromised/vulnerable position.

    It's also been quite an isolating relationship in that I don't spend much time with friends. Certain friendships (with female friends) I had to more or less remove myself from. This happened gradually, but before I knew it I suddenly realised how isolated I have become.

    Really I think this has to happen this weekend, but I'll play it by ear. I'm finding it really hard to be productive at work, and being so knotted up like this isn't much fun either. When I get this over with, I'll take that old Mercedes out for a nice long cruise and listen to that old motor hum along the highway.

    I went for a lovely walk in the sun today, it's been 17 today, but I'm in Hobart - that's pretty warm! I have quite the collection of tapes. My guilty pleasure is Barry Manilow! I'm a sucker for tear jerker ballads. Also love listening to Roy Orbison - again more sad ballads!

    I'm feeling eerily calm about this mess, but I think it means I'm pretty much ready to go through with it. That's a good sign, and deep down I know I should have removed myself from this relationship a long time ago.

    Thank you again for all your kind messages - you have no idea how appreciative I am.

    Aaron

    1 person found this helpful
  17. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
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    2459 posts
    2 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    OMG Aaron I am so happy to hear that you talked to a counsellor today, that is such good news and it sounds like she has really given you some great stuff to work with and think about which is awesome.

    I can already tell by your posts that you are feeling different, dare I say stronger and more positive, I really hope so. That makes so much sense what she said about being a carer rather than a lover, and once you put it like that and itemise all the things you do for her it really seems to be that way. I am so happy for you that she has helped you get to this clarity.

    I am sorry that you had to go through the abusive part and be screamed and yelled at, especially in the bedroom, that is actually beyond me to and I am not sure how anyone can actually do that to another person, let alone someone you are trying to build a relationship with and a future. The fact that you were isolated from your friends does add another layer onto it too, but I feel like you have woken up from a big sleep today after speaking with the counsellor and have so much great stuff to look forward to, that is so exciting.

    Your mum will be so thrilled to hear how far you have come today and what break throughs you have made, I think she will notice a difference in you today too, which is awesome.

    17 in Hobart is pretty warm..lol..you probably needed a t shirt on....that was a joke...lol

    I love a tear jerker ballad too, something you can belt your guts out to, the best. I am not sure I am a big O fan, but if it works for you then that's what matters.

    The eerie calm is soo good, I really think you have come so far today. I think you will be ready when you are ready and just go with it, we can look back and think "oh should have done this years ago" I know I did after I left my marriage finally but hey, you are doing what is best for you now and that is the main thing.

    It is my pleasure to have been here for you and to chat this through and I will be here for as long as you need me to be, believe it or not, you have been helping me too Aaron.

    Have an awesome arvo

    Cheers

    S

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  18. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    3 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Dear Sarah

    So glad I spoke to a counsellor too. It can really help with perspective, and actually realising the gravity of how unhealthy my situation has been. I guess I never really want to think the worst of anyone, but in ways my partner has been controlling and emotionally abusive. Did she actually intend to be any of those things? I don't know, but I guess that's not the point. From the limited information I disclosed to this counsellor, she basically said I have to get out ASAP.

    My partner can tell something is up - it's horrible because she is being extra nice to me. My inner cynic knows that it's really because she doesn't want to lose me. I don't mean to sound harsh or unkind, I still love and care for her, but it's at least two years too late for this change.

    I think the three weeks she was away, I gradually woke up from being in a big sleep. I had this optimism that somehow things would get better, if I did enough or worked hard enough she would change and we'd be happy. I guess I see the facts as they are, basically all that hard work and effort I was putting in really didn't achieve much. In fact, it did damage , in that the relationship really went to being that of a carer and patient. It was partially my doing that things went that way.

    The abuse hurt. At the time I accepted it was my fault, and that I needed to fix it. I believed everything my partner told me. I appreciate how hurt she must have been feeling, but I can't get my head around how someone would treat anyone like that, especially in such a delicate/vulnerable situation.

    I'm still obviously not wanting to hurt anyone, especially someone I still love, but for the first time in years I need to do what's right for me. Hindsight is a funny thing, there are so many times where I should have left, but I had such little self-confidence left that I just assumed everything was my fault.

    Today it's hot in Hobart - 27! Unfortunately I'm wearing a suit and tie asI have a gig straight after work. I'll still go out and go for a walk to soak up some Vitamin D.

    I'm so happy that I have helped you even in some small way- I feel very grateful for how you've talked with me and how genuinely kind you are.

  19. Aaronsis
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    3 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Hey Aaron

    27 in Hobart..woah..sweltering day for you, enjoy it as I think next week it all turns a bit yukky again, well for us here in Melbourne anyway! We have 29 today..not to brag..lol

    The counsellor really has given you perspective and I can tell you are starting to see things with a whole new set of eyes and that you are starting to put you and your happiness first which is so awesome and so very important.

    Like you said, your partner has never intentionally meant to damage you, I really can't think that is possible for someone to intentionally damage someone, but the facts are the facts and you have felt hurt and been made to feel unworthy as a man and as a human and that is never alright.

    I am sure too that she probably has an inkling that something is up, after all you have already had a conversation with her, and like I mentioned before, she has now had a few days to think about things and prepare for what next, hence why her behavior has changed too..but like you said, you surely don't want to hurt anyone, but the point is she has hurt you for so long, so unfortunately to stop the pain for you means some temporary pain for her. It will be temporary, we do get over break up's in life, we really do and she will too. You cannot stay in this relationship for your mental health and I don't think she can sustain the happy bubbly lovely person she is being at present either. The issues in your relationship are so not your fault and you need to know that.

    You sound so much stronger and the growth you will have after this is all said and done will be so wonderful for you, you can fly off and be free and be you and that is so exciting.

    Yes hindsight is a ripper and we would all be so very different. In saying that nothing is ever a mistake if you learn from it, it is a lesson and you have certainly, to your credit stuck around and given it your best, and now the lesson is over, and you can move on.

    You have helped me in so many ways, by allowing me to think about your issue and chat to you has allowed me some time off from my grief and that has been so wonderful, I am kind of sick of myself crying and being sad, so to see you come so far and seem so much stronger has really lifted me.

    I am not quite sure how you do a 9-5 job and then do a gig as well..I would be asleep at my desk tomorrow..lol..but it is so good you are out there and getting into life. Hope the gig goes well tonight and that you have heaps of fun.

    Chat soon

    S

  20. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    3 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Hi Sarah

    Just got back from a walk outside. Hot! We have really intense UV in Tas, and my pasty white skin burns real easily! It was nice to get out and about though.

    I guess where things have changed now it's not a question of 'do I leave', it's now a case of 'I have to leave'. It's so unbelievably painful to keep going on in this relationship now knowing it's not right for me. It's like being slowly tortured, but at the same time I'm actually torturing someone I love and care about! Saturday morning will be the time I be brave and finally end this thing. It's not going to be pretty but I'll have to hold my ground and do the right thing.

    The counsellor I spoke to made a great point in regards to my worries about my partner having no friends, and not much of a family. Before I came along, she was okay - once I go, she'll be okay again, at least once the hurt from the break-up has passed, which it will.

    In a strange way I think this has all happened for a reason. The reason why I couldn't be on holiday for that three weeks with my partner was that I became sick with a nasty illness called labyrinthitis, it's an infection of the inner ear. I lost 50-60% of my hearing in one ear due to this. I'm kind of nursing it along, hoping it'll improve with time, so long international flights in a pressurised cabin on a plane isn't going to help.

    If it wasn't for that, I would have had those three weeks to realise how unhappy I was. I wouldn't have made that beautiful friendship that made me realise how easy life could be. Sometimes I think the universe has a strange way of 'shoving' us in the right direction.

    Truthfully I don't feel all that strong right now, but I know everything is going to be okay no matter how much this will hurt. That's what I'll have to hold on to for the time being. I am lucky to have good people who I can go to for support. As you say, I'll fly off and be free! It's been a long time since I can truthfully say I've felt free.

    I can definitely look back and feel that I've tried my best. I gave it every chance, but in the end an unhappy relationship is exactly that. We generally don't enter relationships to be unhappy. It's normal to feel unhappy at times, but that should be the exception, not the rule.

    I'm so glad I've been able to help, my worries and issues pale in comparison to what you are going through, the fact you have made time to talk to me is really generous of you.

    Aaron

  21. Aaronsis
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    3 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Hi Aaron

    Awesome that you got some beautiful sunshine today, I just went outside for a bit myself. I too have pastie skin being a redhead, I am just lucky I work for a Sunscreen Company!

    That sounds really positive that you have picked a day to have the conversation. The advice that the counselor gave you is so true in that she was fine before you and will be again afterward too. The hurt will pass and she will do what she needs to do in healing herself, she make even seek some counselling which could prove to help her on so many levels.

    We think alot alike and I am also a believer that things happen for a reason. Sometimes we have no clue what that is at the time but some how there always does seem to be a reason. The fact that you have lost some hearing isn't great but hey, you got to experience the kindness and attention of someone who was warm and caring and you would have missed that had you gone away. It is so strange how the world works.

    If you were to say what good has possibly come out of my brother's suicide if everything happens for a reason..I can actually say something positive, and that is that I have joined Beyond Blue as a volunteer, I have met some amazing people with real substance. I have found I can give something back to people who are also having a hard time. Would I rather it not have happened this way..absolutely but my experience with Beyond Blue as life changing. So yeah, the universe does have it's ways and there are so many new and exciting things ahead for you.

    Everything will be OK Aaron, you are stronger than you think and don't give yourself enough credit. No doubt this conversation will be hard, I feel like standing in front of a crown playing a guitar would be hard too, but hey, you smash that! You deserve happiness Aaron and now it is time for you to claim it. You are so emotionally intelligent, warm and caring and I can see you would have a lot of love to give, so now it is your time to receive it too. You have given your utmost in this relationship and that is to your credit, that is so true what you said, it is normal to have times of unhappiness but it sure should be the exception!

    Please do not think for one moment that my issues are more important than yours, everyone has there own struggles in life and it is all relative to each individual, you have been going through a really tough time with this and you should not discount that. You are making some really good progress and should feel proud.

    S

  22. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    3 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Dear Sarah

    I would imagine being sunburned at a Sunscreen Company wouldn't be a good look! I'm just kidding.

    I'm finding this so unbelievably daunting but having picked the day kind of makes things okay. I've had to think practically. We both would then be able to collect ourselves a bit on Sunday. Obviously I have clothes etc. at her house that I'd need to deal with too. I feel cold thinking about it in this way but with something like this there are logistics to consider. I've actually removed some very valuable guitars. I doubt she'd actually destroy things, but I'd rather not take the chance.

    The world sure works in a strange way. Initially I was completely deaf in one ear. I'm so grateful some hearing came back. I have shocking tinnitus but it rarely bothers me. Strangely, if it's the wake up call to get me out of an unhappy relationship and something that allowed me to experience a friendship with someone so genuinely kind and caring, it was strangely worth it. It also gave me the appreciation that life is quite short. Our health can suddenly fail on us, things happen that we would never imagine. That is why we should be with people that make us happy. Being with someone and feeling lonely is not what I want. It's really been a hard 4 years.

    I feel nervous a bit like when I first started performing on guitar. It's a good way to look at this. It's a performance of sorts, not a particularly nice one it will be such a profound relief when it's over. It'll be really harrowing but I'll have to stay strong as I can and remember that I'm doing the right thing.

    That is so wonderful that you are a volunteer for Beyond Blue. I am so grateful for organisations such as this. In the early stages of this relationship I posted here and people were so helpful and kind. Again hindsight- it was clearly identified that the behaviour I was being subjected to was wrong. I just didn't want to believe it at the time. I just soldiered on believing I was defective and that it was all my fault.

    I need to remember everything will be okay - I'm terrified in all honesty right now but I think it's because I know I'm going through with this. Change is scary whether good or bad, and it's only natural to be afraid of change, especially when it's a big one like this. I've never been a fan of change but this is one that I know is for the better.

    I'm glad I'm making some progress. I still feel awful but that's to be expected!

    I hope you get to enjoy the balmy evening weather :-)

  23. Aaronsis
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    3 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Dear Aaron

    You hit the nail on the head..there is NO WAY you can come to work sunburnt, it's like doing the walk of shame as you enter the building..lol

    There are the logistics to consider and that is very smart to give yourself a day to "recover", the fact you have taken things already that are valuable is good as clothes are just clothes and if you don't get them back it is no big deal. Don't feel cold about thinking about these things, it is all part of the process and you have given it so much attention and thought about everything.

    I can't imaging what the past 4 years has been like for you, it is a long time to be feeling and being made to feel like a less than satisfactory partner. You are right in saying that your health is also something to think about as imagine what your poor body is doing inside with all the stress and anxiety and sadness. It will be nice to have a break from all of that, and you are going to get it.

    Don't beat yourself up about having received information before and not acting on it, yes hindsight is a powerful thing and if you had of know that 4 years later you still would have been feeling like this then perhaps you may have done something then, but, I am sure then you thought that things might change and things would get better as you do love her and wanted things to work out, that is only natural. I think now you can see though that you have given it every single ounce of what you have and to no avail. The time is now.

    Now, my best friend suffered Tinnitus so badly for most of her adult life..she by accident found this sound therapy. It is a small device and it plays classical music but in a pitch that corrects the way in which your ear retrieves sound. You listen to it through head phones for like 4 hours a day, you have it on so softly just so you can just hear it, she wore hers at work or on the train. It is expensive, like $700 and there are different levels you listen to as you progress through it. Well to cut a very long story short ..it worked..and she no longer suffers the squealing and the high pitched noises that plagued her for her life. Maybe this is something to have a look at.

    Tonight I am out for dinner with friends for their birthday which I am looking forward to, I try to keep myself busy to avoid idle time and my friends have been awesome. We are having Vietnamese.

    Hope you have a great time at your gig

    Chat tomorrow

    Sarah

    1 person found this helpful
  24. Aaronsis
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    4 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Hey Aaron - Happy Friday!

    I just wanted to stop in and say that I will be thinking of you tomorrow and pass on all my strength to you for the day.

    Stay strong and I will be checking from time to time on here if you need to debrief or to do whatever after the fact.

    All the very best Aaron - YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK...

    chat soon

    Sarah

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  25. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    5 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Dear Sarah

    Sorry for going quiet like that. Today (Friday) I broke things off. I couldn't take it any longer. There's no right time for these things. There's only so long you can lie to yourself and your partner.

    Right now I'm going between feelings of relief, sadness and guilt. I guess that's what happens when people break up. She was absolutely heartbroken. Like I said before, she has no friends and no close family. I'm all she had. I guess that's the part that I feel awful about.

    I know I've done the right thing for myself. It's just hard to keep believing that when you're feeling down. I'm going to call her tomorrow morning to see how she is doing. I owe her that much, I still love and care about her even though I can't be in a relationship with her anymore. Despite being treated badly at times, I'm really going to miss her. It's horrible, I can hear her crying clearly in my head. It hurts badly.

    Today I wasn't at work obviously as this break-up was happening. I had to do a gig this evening, which I thought would be hard, but it was actually a really nice distraction from all the horrible thoughts running through my head. I have to remember too that I'm probably feeling my absolute worst right now, as each day passes I will start to heal and feel better again.

    Today took all the strength I had. I find the thought of tomorrow kind of daunting in a bizarre way. It's like a newnworld but I don't really know what my place is in it anymore.

    Thank you for your lovely messages Sarah, you've really helped me through this really unpleasant time. I'm optimistic I'll be feeling much better soon.

    Aaron

  26. Aaronsis
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    5 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Oh Aaron, firstly hi, and secondly ..I am soo proud of you.

    You have done it and I am very proud of you as this has been so bloody hard for you and the anxiety and stress and guilt all rolled up into one big ball of yuk. You are such a caring person and because of that it will feel like crap today, but you are so very right, this will be the worst of it, each day will easier, but some days might feel worse and all this is completely normal and completely ok. Please don't beat yourself up if you want to cry or just feel like absolute crap, allow yourself to do that, give yourself permission to grieve this, it is a loss.

    She is not a bad person, infact you love her and she was special to you, you care for her and that is what makes you so wonderful, that you can see all her good and wonderful points but they just don't line up with what you need anymore, and that is fine.

    Today be kind to yourself, even if you can do one thing you love, jump in the car and go for a big sing to Roy..it is going to be a beautiful 17 in Hobart today so that sunshine should help too.

    I guess I am just saying that I am so happy for you, it is a wonder what is next for you but you know what...how bloody exciting...you can choose, it is all up to you and that is so refreshing and liberating. Now you have done this you have given yourself permission to feel alive again.

    Lean on your mum, lean on your friends, lean on me...we are all here to see that you are ok as we all care about you.

    Stay strong Aaron and that is so sweet of you to call her today, that is really kind of you too.

    Just a side note, the mother in me came out yesterday when I didn't hear from you and I was slightly worried about you...lol...wondering if you were ok...but I should have know you were as you really are much stronger than you give yourself credit for.

    Every best everything for you....have a great day and let yourself do what ever it is that comes.

    Chat soon Aaron...and I won't worry if we don't..as I know you will be off living a wonderful life...yay for you.

    Cheers Sarah

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  27. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    6 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Dear Sarah

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I actually went to reply last night, but I fell asleep before I finished writing the message. It's been really horrible for the last couple day. We broke up on Friday, I spent most of Saturday with her - we still had lots to talk about and discuss. I took her out for a hot chocolate, we walked around the Botanical gardens and had some lunch. There's a lot about her I didn't know. I guess I felt (and still feel) really sad we couldn't communicate openly like that earlier.

    I'm finding it really hard to not think about her. She obviously doesn't want to break up. She asked if I've given up on our relationship, I told her that it's far too soon to even know/consider that, and that I haven't ruled anything out as such.

    Right now I'm really torn up. I saw her again today, we talked some more about things. I actually told her about what happened with my work colleague - felt like I owed it to her to be honest about that. Was expecting her to be absolutely furious, but she was actually sad that I felt so lonely that it happened.

    I'm finding it really hard to not see her. For so long I've been caring for her, to not do that is so hard. She hasn't been eating much at all since Friday, I worry so much. Part of me wants to run back to her again. I miss her so much.

    I guess right now I'm feeling really lonely. I've been spending time with my best friend and his family. Early today I took my Mercedes to a car show. He was there this morning. Was nice to see him again. I feel like I have a huge hole in my chest. I guess that urge to care for her and look after her is really hard to suppress.

    I probably sound like I have second thoughts about all this. I suppose I do in a way. The last 3-4 years haven't been exactly happy for significant periods, I guess right now I kind of have lost sight of that. I'm too raw to think straight. It's probably good that it's Monday tomorrow and we will be forced to have a bit more space. I told her I'd ring her after work just to check in.

    It's been a rough trot for sure, but I'm sure I'll be okay and this will get easier with time. Right now it's painful as all hell. Being at work tomorrow is a blessing in many ways. There's a telephone counseling service I've been using, I think I will call them tomorrow just to get a bit of perspective.

    Can't say life has become wonderful yet but I'm hoping it'll happens soon because this current feeling isn't very nice.

    Aaron

  28. Aaronsis
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    6 October 2019 in reply to rhinoceros

    Hey Aaron

    Please don't apologise for not getting back to me, you are out there living your life which is great.

    Please do not beat yourself up for feeling this or not feeling that or supposed to be doing this and supposed to be doing that...this is your and her relationship and there is no right or wrong way to do this.

    The fact you have had some really good conversations is really terrific, and good that this has not turned nasty and full of hate.

    I feel proud that you have not commited to her in getting back together or not, I think you are very wise to give yourself some time and see how you feel about her and about the relationship. There are no rules to this and I guess that is also what is hard is that you are travelling blind. It will hurt like heck and that is to be expected, especially as you do love her and care for her.

    I think that is also a brilliant idea to give the phone counselling a call tomorrow and chat through the past few days with them as they will be able to give you some great tools to help you manage through this tough time.

    I am so very sorry you are hurting and I can hear how sad and how confused you are right now.

    What do you think about this idea, what if tomorrow you call her after work as you said, but not see her, then Tuesday perhaps leave it for a day and give yourself some time and space and also her a chance to have some time to figure out what her strategies are for managing her sadness. Then perhaps a call on Thursday. Slowly give it a few days and decrease the amount of contact and give yourself some time to reflect on how you are feeling.

    It is perfectly ok to miss her and feel worried about her, she has been the main part of your life for 4 years. I wonder if making a pros and cons list too might help you too see all the reasons to stay with her but remind yourself of the reasons you left. Just to see it clearly.

    There really is no right or wrong way to do this but I feel like each day with some space it really will get easier and I know that is such a shitty cliche but it is true..that is great you spent some time with your friend today too, reflect on that and think about how that felt too.

    You are doing such a great job of talking and communicating so keep on doing that as the more you get out I feel like the easier this will be to digest.

    It is great to hear from you and I am sorry to hear that you are not doing well Aaron. I am sending you my strength and warm hugs.

    Stay strong my friend

    Sarah

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  29. rhinoceros
    rhinoceros avatar
    148 posts
    6 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Thank you Sarah for your lovely and kind words - you have no idea how helpful you've been

    I too am so glad it hasn't turned out nasty or bitter. There's no hatred, really there's a lot of love there. She has accepted and acknowledged how the dynamic of our relationship wasn't healthy. We've both done a massive amount of crying and apologizing over the last couple days.

    You're so right that I need to gradually make more space between us. It's hard to think clearly and be rational at the moment. Space will help with that. I also really like the idea of a pros and cons list. To be honest I've almost forgotten all of the bad things that happened, I guess when we are hurting, our perceptions and recollection of things can become distorted.

    Gradually communicating with her less frequently will be hard but it's the right thing to do. It's almost like weaning off medication (been doing that for 3 years now - ergh). Not seeing her tomorrow is going to be really hard, but talking on the phone will be good. If I keep seeing her constantly the dust is never really going to settle and it will be impossible for me to think properly.

    Part of my problem is I really don't know how to think about myself any more. I've done nothing other than think about her for the last 4 years. The relationship took on a carer/patient dynamic and I guess my source of satisfaction and gratification came from looking after her and putting myself last. It's a strange feeling to even think about a question such as "what do I want?". Truthfully I don't even know!

    Tomorrow is a new day- I think I'll just try and break the day up into small chunks and try and not to think about anything much beyond that. Right now I'm thinking about so many things that are not even relevant or necessary to think about yet!

    I'm going to listen to some music and try and get some sleep - I hope you have a good evening :-)

    Aaron

  30. randomx
    randomx avatar
    2767 posts
    6 October 2019 in reply to Aaronsis

    Hi Aron.

    Sorry to read about your sitch but it isn't just you believe me , these things and periods are one of the hardest things in life ever .

    Reading through , the one thing that kept coming back was that your gf has been very , very abusive and in many ways not just the bedroom , but to repsond in those ways she does in that alone is basically gasoline on the fire . So it's no wonder your desire has dwindled away even more so in the way it has and you need to relieve yourself of at least some of that guilt because there's no way know it's all been on you . And that's without even talking about the rest of her treatment of you.

    l know she's basically alone and so the even more so extra guilt you will feel but l'm also wondering a few things. Does she acknowledge or even realize the way she's been treating you and what is she saying about all that ? ls she aware she's been literally abusive and not only is that not a relationship but pushed you even further away all this time and of the effect it's all had on you , on top of everything else ?

    Because it seems your taking the wrap for everything in this , yet intimacy or lack of is only one small part of a relationship, and it sounds like she's certainly got her fair share of crap and in that anyway but also in responsibilities all through as well. You need to feel loved and cherished and wanted , cared for and 100 other things from her too, that's not just a women's privilege , it's just as much the mans too.

    So l'm thinking if you are considering staying, without getting to the real heart of things on all sides, not just a few of your things, the nice side of her that your seeing now , doesn't really carry much weight at all to my mind. Matter of fact you could expect a complete 180 from an abusive person right now. So l just think whether you decide to stay , or leave but particularly if it's stay, you really need to call a spade a spade in this and to hear what's going to be done about it, if it's going to be any different later in a few mths time. Yet on the other hand if it comes to leaving, then she should know the way she's treated you has one helluva lot to do with it and in many ways your guilt is mislaid tbh.

    Anyway , hope you can come to a good place in this with whatever you decide. All the best.

    rx

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