Some people seem to get stuck on the “What if It’s My Fault” train and refuse to get off. I know I had times after JC and I split that I would obsess about him and his new woman. He seemed so happy and was saying it was all my fault, that I was critical, stuck in the past, caused conflict even when I knew how much he hated conflict, how “she” was calm and rational and he could talk to her, he didn’t “have” to lie to “her” because she understood him and didn’t push him away with her paranoia, suspicions and accusations.
I am tossing a challenge out there for those of you who are torturing yourself; I want you to play “devil’s advocate” (considering who we are talking about there couldn’t be a more appropriate name) and tell me why you are to blame, what you could have done differently and justify how he treated you. I want you to look at your relationship with as little emotion as possible and be calm, rational and honest. This is what I want you to do, get 5 pieces of paper or go on your computer and do it.
Title the pages: 1. What he did. 2. His excuse for doing it. 3. What you did. 4. What you could have done differently. 5. What would you advise a friend to do
Write down all the things he did that upset you, his excuse for doing it, how you handled it and what, now in hindsight; you could have done differently and perhaps prevented the breakup. If it was a reoccurring issue than write the different reason’s he gave, the various ways you tried to deal with it and the final result for that issue.
I’ll give you an example;
What JC did
Had personal ads on the internet
His excuse for doing it
There were so many,
- he was bored because I was at work and he wasn’t working and sitting home alone. Awwwww
- We had broken up, (we had a fight and he had said it was over and then bought me supper that night and acted like nothing was wrong, I had no idea we were broken up.
- He didn’t remember doing it
- He changed the subject and got angry with me for snooping on the computer
- Why wouldn’t He look for someone else when I act like “this”
My suspicious mind drove him to it
What I did
The first time I was totally shocked, I was angry but I was calm and basically told him if he was unhappy I could leave and started packing my bags. He started to cry and begged me to stay and promised it would never happen again.
What I could have done differently
It continued for the whole 10 years of our relationship. Over time I convinced myself he would never really DO anything with these women, it was just an ego boost for him. But then he started meeting women, telling them he thought they were soul mates etc. He joined a local singles club, started not coming home at night. By the end of 10 years I didn’t even react to him not coming home, what was the point? I really don’t know what I could have done differently, I tried to explain calmly why it upset me, for some reason I thought if I could just explain it properly he would understand that it really hurt me and he’d quit.
What would you say to a friend in the same circumstances
Are you listening to yourself? You felt that if you explained it better he would understand why you were hurt? Come on Carrie; a 40 something man doesn’t know why you are upset that he has personal ads? You have an argument in the morning and by noon he has placed a personal ad? He doesn’t love you Carrie, he’s a player and a user; kick him to the curb!!
What he did
Stayed up watching porn night after night after night
He never ever admitted to doing it; certainly not to the degree he did. The history did not lie on the computer but he just denied denied denied
What I did
At first I laughed about it. I have nothing against porn within reason. I offered to watch it with him, I eventually tried to bargain with him, he only had to come to bed with me 3 nights a week. I tried dressing in sexy little outfits and enticing him to bed. (You saw my pics, I don’t look bad in stockings and heels) if he did come to bed it was for sex and then he got up and went back on the computer or he’d be on the computer all night and come to bed at 5 am, pull me on top of him and get off. I even went so far as to make a couple of videos for him while he was trucking. Then I found out he still had personal ads and was meeting women while he was trucking so I didn’t make any more. Eventually it affected my self esteem and became a major issue between us.
What I could have done differently
Once again I can’t think of anything. It wasn’t an issue for me until he made it an issue, I guess I could have just shut up and not mentioned it and just slept alone and taken any crumbs he offered me, which I basically did near the end. I saw no point in fighting about it any more and I was sick of begging
What I would say to a friend
Carrie, think about it, if two people love each other they try to not hurt each other. If something they do bothers the other one they stop doing it. If they don’t stop, it is obvious that his addiction to porn is more important to him than your happiness, plain and simple. Either leave or live with it, but combined with all the rest of the shit you put up with why would you stay?
After you have done that list all the things you ever did that you feel bad about and how he reacted and what you did then.
What I did
I keyed his truck.
Because he had come back from Africa, was staying with me and I had said he could stay with the condition that he not have personal ads while he was living under my roof and sleeping in my bed. He agreed. I went on MY computer and his POF profile popped up, I was furious and he wasn’t home at the time, he was driving my truck so I keyed his. (some guy who was mad at him had already taken a base ball bat to all the windows and lights so it was looking pretty shitty anyway.)
He never said a word about it (until just recently when he commented on my blog and said he was concerned for his and his new woman’s safety considering my history of keying vehicles.) the only thing he was mad about was that I had sent all the women each others emails from him and written the couple that seemed the most important and told them he was living with me and his history with me. He was “disappointed in me, that I would stoop so low. He thought I was better than that”. and I felt guilty!!!
What I would say to a friend
Better than what? Again you should have packed his bags and put them in his truck, gone in the house and locked the doors. You asked him nicely to stay out of the personals while under your roof, a very reasonable request and he didn’t comply, end of story; he no longer resides under your roof he made his choice.
I am sure you get the idea. What I am trying to make you do with this exercise is look at it from an outsiders perspective, from a rational objective view point and realize YOU WERE NOT IN A NORMAL RELATIONSHIP, YOU CAN NOT BE BLAMED FOR FAILING IN A RELATIONSHIP THAT WAS BASED ON LIES AND DECEIT. THERE WAS NOTHING “NORMAL” ABOUT ANY OF IT. STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT NORMAL. STOP MAKING IT ABOUT YOU.
I have said it before, it isn’t about you or her for that matter; both of you are actors in his orchestrated life; players in his game of strategy and nothing more. He knew right from the beginning he would discard you some day and was working towards that end from day one. He knew he couldn’t keep up the facade and was always looking for your replacement.
Couples have issues, people have affairs and usually it isn’t one sided if one of them does have an affair, usually there is some blame on both sides and the relationship can be saved if the offending party is truly sorry, the other person is truly trying to forgive and they get some good counseling. There are men and women who just screw around and still love their partner but can’t say no to a strange piece of tail. My first husband fell into this category; he was a loving husband, he always came home, he had no intention of ever leaving me but when he went out drinking he usually ended up screwing some random woman. He would confess, apologize and tell me it wasn’t me, he just could not turn down strange pussy. (his words). Now some couples have relationships where this kind of thing works for both of them. I could not deal with it and it eventually broke us up and I was devastated by the break up and so was he but we moved on and remained friends, he never tried to destroy me. He came and asked me to take him back and I asked him if he could say he would be faithful and he said he couldn’t promise that so we didn’t get back together. As much as the relationship was troubled, and didn’t work there was no manipulation, lies, deception, hatred, vindictiveness etc He never blamed me, I never felt unattractive, I always felt loved and that he found me attractive, I didn’t take it personally because he didn’t blame me.