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Wife...Girlfriend...Wife...Girlfriend...???

Nothing can be so perfect when we possess it as it will seem 
when remembered.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

January 22, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene

I got married 22 years ago at the age of 21.  Since that time I've strayed outside of my marriage for love that I feel I'm missing.  To say my wife is unloving would be unfair but suffice it to say that she doesn't show me the way I need to be shown.

I have left my wife three times for the "other woman".  The latest time was for the same woman, never actually having ended the relationship with her.

This woman made me feel like a king.  She was very loving and provided all the touching, caressing, and caring that I needed.  I felt that I couldn't live without her in my life, and moved in with her and her son.  Shortly after moving in, I began to have second thoughts about what I had done.  She sensed this and began questioning me about my feelings and intentions.  I lied, telling her that I loved her and obviously wanted to be there with her because I kept coming home to her.  Truth is, I did want to be with her, I think I was just having problems letting go and taking a drop in financial stability at the same time. Why couldn't you say this?

Well, her pleading became demanding, and I admit I dug my heels in.  She stopped caring for me as much (never withholding her love though), and I refused to get on with my life with her.

We would fight into the early hours of the morning, each of us blaming the other for what was happening.  She would blame everything on my inability to close doors and I would counter that the problem was that I couldn't concentrate on anything other than fighting with her because these fights would go on for days and stop for one or two then start up again.  

Eventually, things became so miserable for the two of us that I suggested counseling.  The counselor suggested that I was an abuser and we should get away from each other.  Eventually I gathered up the courage to leave and moved back home.  She called and called.  Begged me to come back and threatened me physically, emotionally and financially.

About a month later, I decided that I was not comfortable at home and my marriage was not worth an attempt at salvation.  I moved back into the relationship.  Within two months, the same thing happened and I'm home again, wishing I could be with her. 

I'm at a loss, Doctor.  My heart truly is with her but for some reason my head won't let me go.  I keep getting pulled back home, not able to close doors with my wife.  I don't like the label "abuser" but can see definite traits that would lead to that conclusion.  I'd like to think that my actions were caused by a reaction to my girlfriend to my cold feet but know that it's actually her that was responding to my actions.

Where do I go from here?  I want a happy, fulfilling life.  One full of tenderness and love.  How do I break this habit.  My wife feels that I go through a two year cycle, sometimes I can be satisfied by material things (car, truck, boat), sometimes I need another woman.  I've got to stop this behavior, it's killing me, my wife and any other person I get involved with.  I find myself alone with no friends because I'm ashamed of what I've done and cut myself off from everyone, family included.

If I get move back with my girlfriend, will I be doomed to the same pattern? 

Probably yes. In fact I would bet on it. The grass will always be greener... The problem is not about who you pick: wife or girlfriend, because the answer is neither. (And I'm not even going to get into a lecture on commitment here, but if you stayed with the one you married, you'd at least have the opportunity to deal with your stuff as it comes up - over and over and over again, until you've learned the lesson.)

The only person who can give you the internal stuff you are so desperately looking for is yourself. You don't need another woman; in fact, you don't need a woman at all. Or a boat, or a car. No woman, no thing can do it for you; only you can do it for yourself.

Things are wonderful early on in relationships. When there is no pressure of day to day life, the other person can be their wonderful self and you can be your wonderful self. But as  reality's frustrations set in, and each person's own stuff prevents them from being able to meet their partner's expectations, things get difficult. Things can be especially difficult when both partners have expectations at the same time: anger and resentment may result. "How dare you! You stopped meeting my needs!" 

In your case, when you get fed up with the one you're with, the other one looks better. There is little solace in bouncing around. While you can always find a new person or a new toy to distract you and help you feel good, the latest fix will work for a very short time.

Advice: Start by reading all the articles in the verbally abusive partner pages. For example, Codependency of the Angry Person is about underlying, irrational expectations that another person can give you what you need. Note that the central expectation throughout the all the abuser articles is: " My Partner Must Take Care Of Me."  

Sez who? Even though in 99% of cases, the abuser's partner wants to do it for them, they simply can't. Its a Law of Nature. 

Start focusing on yourself. Read Burney's book. (And more books on the bookshelf.) Take a look at recovery from love addiction. Get into your own therapy and stay there. Always remember: what you look for is inside - and nowhere else!

Dr. Irene 

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, Copyright© 2000. 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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