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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Going On

Comments:  Quandary! What's Going On?

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 1998-2006. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

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 B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, August 26, 2006

S1

Thanks for this, Jim. It has really helped me on my own quest for self discovery. I recognize myself as a love addict who has for years given another person "permission" to treat me very badly (although I understand, too, that he is controlling/abusive as well). I have been working on getting better for a while now - learning to love myself, and value myself. I actually think I need to be out of a relationship for a while in order to do this. I am hoping I can be honest with myself, look at myself truthfully and begin to look forward to what I will find. Good luck Jim.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, August 26, 2006

S1

I am two years out of a marriage that started on the internet. He proclaimed love for me by the second date, and I agreed. Seven months later we were engaged, and seven months after that, married. It seemed so perfect, but three months before the wedding, I began noticing things....I too failed to read my internal sensor that all was not well. I completely changed my life around for this marriage. There were a lot of control issues, for us both, and neither of us handled it well. The actual marriage last 2.5 years and I still stayed another eight months due to owning our house together. It has taken me this long to begin to get myself back. There was a lot of verbal abuse. Dr. Irene is so right - it's not about them --- it's about what we do to ourselves when we abandon ourselves in relationship. I am coming around to almost feeling grateful for this relationship because it has opened my eyes to areas of myself that were in denial....it's all learning, nothing to be ashamed of. Good luck to you, Jim, in your journey....go slow and don't rush into another relationship if you can bear it. Ann

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, August 26, 2006

S1

Hi Jim, Your story touched me because I can relate to the self-blame and dishonesty that results when one doesn't truly know and accept them self. I've been out an abusive 17 year marriage for just over a year and a half now. I immediately latched onto another relationship, that was non-abusive and was wonderful. It helped me to see the difference and learn to understand all the control and abuse that took place with my ex. I gained some strength and confidence from being treated with respect, but the relationship didn't work because I didn't possess a healthy respect of myself when I entered the new relationship. I was damaged with a very eroded self-esteem. I see now what I really needed to do 18 months ago was to take some time on my own to discover who I am and and learn to accept and love myself. I'm doing that work on my own today finally. Living on my own and learning to get comfortable being alone, with just my own thoughts and feelings to guide me. Learning to respect and trust them, so that one day I will know myself enough to stand up for my boundaries when I'm ready to enter another relationship. Give yourself time on your own to learn. Get to know yourself and love yourself. When you accept and learn to love your unique and wonderful qualities as well as your shortcomings, you will see more clearly what your rights are and know that its unacceptable to take blame or control from another person. Its a process that takes time and effort. I'm finding this is the most worthwhile thing I could have done. I wish you well on your journey to self-discovery. Keep reading, there's a wealth of great resources here to claim your personal freedom.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 28, 2006

S1

Dr. Irene, I just wanted to clarify one point I brought across to you that may or may not change your outcome; when I was caught emailing the other women, it was for casual sexual encounters. I wasn't looking for a relationship. I may have been looking for some sort of sexual satisfaction or appreciation. But I know I definitely was not looking for a budding relationship to fall into next. I plan on staying single for some time since we've split, and I actually am enjoying it. Not quite sure I could call myself a dependant now, but I certainly see what you're saying in the beginning. Part of me believes that what I did was a gut instinct to shed myself of the stressful position I was in. Physiologically, I had a regular heart palpation that seemed to have went away since we split.  Same difference. Basically you were looking to "medicate" your pain; looking for an external means of coping with the stress.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2006

S1

Jm, even a "casual sexual encounter" is a relationship. Don't kid yourself in thinking you are taking a break, but maybe this is the level of relationship you want right now. No judgment here, just an observation. Agreed.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2006

S1

Jim, I'm assuming that you and your gf are quite young. This should be the time in your life to be somewhat self-ish (not greedy) and explore who you are as a person and to set your own goals. Without that basic foundation it is very difficult to mesh your life with another's and end up being happy with the result. I see again and again where you "agreed" and compromised yourself. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it isn't because you are a wuss - but because you had never really established personal boundaries that you felt you had to defend. Exactly. Sexuality is just about as personal as it gets. Welcome to an enlightened age when alternative "lifestyles" are more accepted. And even if they weren't - you are what you are, and repression be damned! You could well be bi-sexual if you are attracted to women in real life but you get a secret kick out of viewing and corresponding with males. Or you may be totally straight with a male "fantasy" fixation that you would never wish to act upon. Like I may enjoy a playful consensual fantasy "game" of rape with a trusted partner - but I sure wouldn't want to be raped in real life! Do you understand the distinction? That the mind can "try on" and even "act out" something in private safety that might be repulsive otherwise. Sexual curiosity is normal. Secretly searching out porn on the internet when you already have a real-life relationship is a good sign that the relationship is not going well. If the relationship were going well and you openly used porn as a visual aid or "appetizer", that might be okay with some couples. But (isn't there always a "but"? ha ha) when you are in an agreed-upon monogamous relationship, your partner should have a sense of what the boundaries of your honesty and sexuality are. I would want to know if I should be concerned about health issues - but I wouldn't need to know details of number of partners, etc. But that is me. Other people are more curious and that is where you need to know yourself well enough to "share" the details - or to maintain that personal boundary of privacy. There are many people today who indulge in casual sexual relations. That isn't wrong if both people recognize it for what it is. But, Jim, let me tell you - it is nothing compared to the experience you can have with somebody you love in mind and spirit as well. Don't sell yourself short! I would be FURIOUS if somebody read my e-mails. But I will also confess twice I've snooped myself only for a specific incident - not a general search. Both times were in response to a question I asked the snoopee directly and I found the answer very suspicious and had strong feelings I was being lied to about serious life-changing issues. I still see-saw between regret that I stooped that low and compromised my own sense of integrity - and self-justification that what I found was validating and gave me the information that I needed to protect myself. I almost equate it to the equivalent of spying for my country in wartime. In hindsight, I wonder why I tried to hang onto a relationship so strongly that had the feeling of a war zone to start with. Oh yeah, it's that love-addiction thing... Diane *Sigh*

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, August 30, 2006

S1

Thank you, everyone is extremely insightful and I’m glad my story helped a few people out. Dr. Irene’s feedback has served me very well. Observation – I believe that a casual sexual encounter and a real relationship would be two different methods of satisfaction, would you disagree? Not at all. If you are in a relationship however, your partner would need to be comfortable with the casual sexual encounter. Diane – we are quite young, both in our late 20s As far as my sexuality goes, I know exactly where I am. Each one of those unconventional experiences in person never felt “right”. I never enjoyed myself very much during those times, and really lost interest. I have these fantasies from time to time, which is easily satisfied from the safe confines of the internet.

That’s the way I keep it, and that’s the way I intend to. The thought is much more pleasing than the action. What is in my head is the only thing I can’t control. On the contrary, it is one of the few things you can control. I know my next relationship I will be more up front about it, which I did try to do originally in this past relationship. However when we had started, I thought the fantasies would be out of my system. A burden that I had underestimated. Lesson learned from my sexual side; these fantasies don’t just go away, no matter how much you’re distracted by someone. My anger and hurt had probably aggravated them as well, maybe even magnified them some. I’ve spoken to several people about this and it’s a fairly common occurrence. Yes. But it exacts a price. It may be hard to find a woman that I will be able to be up front about it, but life is always a challenge and every relationship will have a little aggravation and hurt, this past one unfortunately had much more than I could deal with. - Jim You are basically saying there is some addiction stuff going on - and you have no intention of dealing with it, at least at this level. So be it.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, August 30, 2006

S1

So, I have explored many avenues on to why this relationship had deteriorated. The major ones I investigated were originally sex addiction (blaming myself), my sexual nature (blaming myself again), and now love addiction\co-dependency (both of us). Good for you for looking at this. But you've got the wrong idea if you look at examining the addictions - and equating it to blaming yourself. Wrong! You do need to look inside because inside is where the trouble lay, but I certainly hope you don't blame yourself in the process! Taking responsibility for all you are and blaming yourself are as different as night and day.

Dr. Irene hit the nail on the head with this one. I read through Addiction to Love : Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships. by Peabody, and the both of us are text book examples of this type of character. Her background and actions fits the description to a T (severe child abandonment issues, peer rejection, controlling, delusional or unrealistic expectations, etc.). Unfortunately I can’t figure out where my background fits in, but I do display the addiction no less than she did; submission, weak boundaries, guilt\blaming myself instead of anger, etc. Our coming together seemed perfect at first, maybe complimentary addictions, but was a ticking time bomb, and it could have been much worse. Instead ,I'm thankful I learned so much from this. I actually feel very sorry for her, that she does not know this about herself. She may go through her entire life sabotaging her own relationships and continue to look at herself as the victim. Genuinely she is a very nice girl despite her problems. I would love to tell her about it, she could probably live a greater quality of life because of this knowledge. Unfortunately she has been so cold to me because she is the “victim” of this gradual deterioration, that she will not accept any communication from me (hence my loss of much needed closure as well). Albeit, I cannot gloat at one’s suffering. Now she will have to face her truth on her own, it’s probably better that way. The paradox to this is, I would have never figured this out about myself and other people if this tumultuous relationship did not explode the way it did. (and if I didn’t mail Dr. Irene). I’m glad I confronted it, ended it and am now discovering how to address love addiction. Funny how that order works. -Jim  Jim, I' m soooo glad you learned from this! And no doubt you grew, but, characteristic of the person who is just beginning to scratch the surface, you think you've got a handle. You don't. Not yet. But, you are young, and given your age, you are doing very well indeed! Keep looking inside, that's what it's all about, that's where it all is.

My very warmest wishes to you, Dr. Irene, September 1, 2006

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 02, 2006

S1

How strange that the open world of the internet and what it now offers has seemed to create such a speedy demise of a relationship that may or may not have been damaged by inappropriate(?) contact. Irrespective of the underlying issues detailed so well by Dr. Irene....how long might this relationship gone on before so many key issues were "Put on the table"? (Good/Bad?------who knows???) To the point.....he did know she had the password to the "Other" email account, and was consciously or subconsciously wanting to be caught. It seems like a "game" that they both played courtesy of the world wide web. Clearly, no trust existed on either side. IE,. They moved too quickly into a committed relationship. However, as noted above........irrespective of the other issues ..........Jim used email to flirt with other women, was exposed as having potential gay interests in the past and an interest in porn. I do not believe any relationship would be on firm footing with these internet "proclivities" in the picture. It seems that Jim is asking to weigh her alleged greed against his "sins" of the internet. Ultimately........did Jim endulge in the "web" as a punishment -(I'll show her!!!) or just to get caught or because he uses the internet as his personal "pick me up"? Only he knows the answer................I don't even want to go there!! Ultimately, to me, it is so sad to think that a cherished mate is participating in hurtful "contacts/relationships" on the web. I would not want my significant other to have email relationships, accessing porn websites or secret accounts to do "Heavens knows what". Period.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2006

S1

Hm. Although major details are different, this reads very much like it could've been written by my ex - although his perceptions of things are far different from mine, to the point where his version of reality was very different from mine. My ex and I had broken up, but we still lived together for financial reasons, and after he used my computer, he left an e-mail account open which revealed he'd been trolling around on the Internet for sex - extremely unsafe sex at that - and there was evidence that he'd been doing it well before we broke up. Eight months before, in fact. When I confronted him, he lied despite the obvious evidence, but eventually admitted to it, although I doubt he ever told me the full truth. We got back together (a really dumb move - much like living together after breaking up - boy were we addicted to each other!) but I was so paranoid about his prior cheating that part of the terms I laid out of us getting back together was that I would be able to monitor his online traffic and he wouldn't try to hide his online activity from me. He readily agreed to this at the time - like you did - but as the months went on he became increasingly resentful at his lack of privacy. He also looked at "inappropriate" pornography - "barely legal" "japanese schoolgirls" that kind of stuff - a bit disturbing on it's own, but downright terrifying to myself as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and even more disturbing since he'd admitted to me that he'd molested his stepsister when he was a teenager - and we'd have screaming matches about what porn he looked at. He felt (rightfully) controlled and I won't argue that point - I WAS being controlling. To this day I don't know if that was wrong or right. I knew that I needed to know that he wasn't looking at girls who looked underage and fantasizing about that, or that he was cheating on me, and I couldn't be in the relationship otherwise. What I didn't realize was that he'd already made it abundantly clear through his actions that he probably wasn't going to stop the behaviors I found troublesome and my attempts to control his behavior just bred resentment on his part, usually leading to a meltdown. What you write reminds me of some of the thinking I thought I saw coming from him. He wasn't neccessarily a "bad" guy although he certainly acted like it sometimes - but we both had issues that made us incompatable. I carried some of my control issues over to my next relationship but my new partner was generally understanding and was pretty good about setting boundaries and within a few months I was able to get over my need to try to protect myself through controlling behaviors. As for my ex, I don't know. He also has a new partner and has described in taunting online contact with me (unreciprocated contact) their sex life, which is extremely, ahem, varied. I wish I could say that I think he's happy and healthy in his current sexuality but I still doubt it. He never wanted to talk about boundaries and limits and that sort of thing in regards to sex. To him, sex wasn't fun or sexy unless it was spontaneous and without rules, because sex is something that is "naughty" and "forbidden." I have nothing against kink, but I think his underlying worldview about sex and sexuality is unhealthy. Like you, he had past experiences with men (and then cheated on me with men) but was very embarrassed and ashamed about this. Meanwhile, my current partner, told me the truth about his sexuality one night when I related to him my experience of being cheated on by my ex with other guys - he told me right there that he was bisexual, out to his family and most of his friends, and unwilling to hide that, although he's also strictly monogamous. Despite both these men sharing something in common - bisexuality - one I trust with my life and the other I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw him. It has nothing to do with who they've slept with in the past and everything to do with their attitudes towards honesty, communication, and sexuality. It's true that not every woman is going to be okay when learning that her date has had unusual sexual experiences, but many, such as me, appreciate that honesty. I saw it as a sign of real character. My current partner liked me a lot when he told me of his past early on and given his past experiences with women, he knew full well that I could reject him outright based on that, but he told me anyway. That's a seroius kind of integrity that made me realize right then and there that he's an upstanding guy. I think you could be that kind of upstanding guy, too - but yes, there are risks involved. -Satokogirl