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How do I make sure my ex's cheating doesn't ruin a future relationship? (very long post)

(5 Posts)
indigosunset Sun 24-Mar-13 17:31:14

Thanks for the replies, I appreciate people being there to listen smile

BeingAWifeIsNotForMe, luckily this is the first guy that has been this awful to me. In the past it has been me to end relationships (usually managing to stay amicable with the other person), or it has been a joint decision because we both knew things weren't working. So I guess this has been my first real heartbreak.. I understand what you mean about the possibility of past events affecting who I'm attracted to/attract though, and I am keeping it in mind for future relationships.

CogitoErgoSometimes, that's exactly how I feel, thank you. It's good to hear that this feeling of wanting to protect myself is perfectly normal in this situation. Also, I've experienced what you mentioned about a guy knowing that I'm not ready and still pushing regardless.. This wasn't the new guy that I mentioned before, but someone I had a few 'dates' with (if they can be called that - he brought a friend along the first time!). He was way too into me way too quickly, and I felt like because he had been alone for so long, to him I was just a symbol of ending his loneliness - I could have been anyone who paid him a little attention. We sat down and talked, and he basically said that he didn't want to be friends, it was girlfriend or nothing for him. I said I wasn't ready. And then before he left he still asked me to 'be his Valentine' - obviously ignoring everything I'd said about how my ex had made me feel and not being ready yet. After that I stopped all contact with him for a while and let the dust settle.

EllaFitzgerald, I have definitely learned from this, and I've even read the posts about red flags. I won't ever let myself ignore them again if they're flapping around in my face so obviously.

The new guy knows all about what happened, as he also knew my ex. So he understands how I feel (I hope) and he's not making any demands on me or my time that I'm not comfortable with. He lives a few hours away for studies (he moved last summer after we met), so things can't really move much faster than the speed I choose.

EllaFitzgerald Sun 24-Mar-13 14:26:13

I think it's really good that you're aware of past experiences being projected onto new relationships and would say that the best thing to come out of your previous relationship is that you've learnt some valuable lessons, like being aware of red flags and listening to your inner voice.

You know that you can have relationships without jealousy, so carry on with this new chap at your pace, keep reminding yourself that he's not the ex and if you do find yourself having trust issues for no good reason, then perhaps consider some counselling.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 24-Mar-13 07:36:22

Life is a series of learning experiences. We (mostly) start off naive, trusting, heart on sleeve, and wanting to give ourselves 100% to the person we think loves us. That's why the concept of first loves are so special... But, as we get older and have a few corners knocked off and experience a few bitter realities of others' behaviour, we become less trusting, less willing to make ourselves vulnerable, less gullible, and more cautious. THIS IS NORMAL. It's not only normal, it's healthy.

FWIW a man that is happy to go at your pace is a good sign. Beware of men that know you want to go slow but try to rush you along... they don't respect you at all. So don't worry. Trust your judgement and tread carefully.

BeingAWifeIsNotForMe Sun 24-Mar-13 00:51:49

Sorry you sound like you're having a tough time.

No real advice I'm afraid, but the tough home life you mentioned, could that have influenced the type of person you attract/are attracted to?

indigosunset Sun 24-Mar-13 00:07:57

Firstly, I'd like to say 'hi' as this is my first post here and I've not been reading long... Please be gentle. wink

I'm looking for some advice about coping with the feelings and worries that are left behind after splitting with someone who was unfaithful. I want to avoid the mess in my mind causing problems in future relationships, if I can possibly help that. My confidence in men in general has been deeply shaken. Logically, I know that not everyone in the world is necessarily going to do that to me, but the thought of letting myself be at risk of that ever happening again is a scary one.

So, some background maybe might be helpful?

I'm in my mid-twenties, work full-time and have no children. I had a tough family life in my teenage years and I've had to be strong and independent since seventeen, as have all my siblings. I've moved around across the UK a bit in recent years, finally culminating in me moving to be with my recent ex boyfriend after a year of long-distance. I have no family and few real friends here, but the saving grace is that I've found a job that I love and is decently paid.

Now, the ex boyfriend.. In hindsight all the signs were there; I see them all when I look back and the picture fits.

I supported him rent-free while he re-studied A levels to try for a Medicine degree, with him just paying for his car and computer games. And I did this knowing that he would be moving away to study at the end. I was willing to wait the five years it would have taken to finish his degree, after the two years of college. However, he expected me to move and follow him, giving up my amazing job and starting from scratch again in another new place. I told him straight when the topic first came up that I wouldn't be moving for the first year for sure.

There were reasons for me to start distrusting him whilst he was at college. He started marathon text message sessions with various other girls that would span weeks sometimes. He was always very flirty but played it down as him just being friendly with people. Then I found some conversations that made me feel very uncomfortable and we sat down and talked. Eventually the only way that we could move forward was him letting me see copies of SMS messages, uncensored and at any time. He insisted there was nothing happening that shouldn't, and refused to stop these conversations. But I couldn't handle them going on and not knowing what kind of chatting was being exchanged.

I have never had jealousy problems in any relationships in the past. When things started feeling 'off', I didn't know how to deal with it as it was a completely new and alien feeling to me. I started to dislike what was happening to me and the way his actions were making me feel. When we talked about it, he always insisted I was paranoid and it was my problem. I started to believe him, and tried my hardest to put any fears about his future behavior when he would eventually be moving away to the back of my mind.

Fast-forward to last December, and he's been away in his new prestigious university for just eight weeks. (I should add.. The university that I helped him get into by writing his application personal statement for him, just days after the unexpected death of my mother.) His first holiday back home. He tells me that he's kissed another girl, and after again getting the 'off' feeling, I dug deeper and managed to get onto his facebook account (due to his silly mistake), and saw all the evidence I needed to confront him that there was far more to it than he had admitted.

He slept with someone else two days after my birthday, while away at Uni. It wasn't just a one-night thing, it had built up over weeks and he had planned with other friends about how to 'get with her'. In one conversation, his response to the question from a friend, "Don't you have a girlfriend?" was.. "Technically." That really hurt.

So, I finally knew that it wasn't me being paranoid all this time, and he had proven my sanity, I believe. I kicked him out the same night that I logged on his facebook. The first thing I did was tell my family (who had loved him) - so that if I faltered at any point, all I needed to do was call one of them and they would remind me what a scumbag he is. Funnily enough, I didn't need that support, I remembered all on my own.

Now, it's three months on and I think I'm doing okay. I've been on some dates and had some very causal things recently, but the thought of something serious does cause me some amount of anxiety. I'm worried about having to worry about .. 'what's he doing?' 'is he lying to me?' and all those kinds of things again. It's not me and I don't like how it makes me feel. As I said, I was never like that in the past at all and I would hate for the d***** to have affected me that badly.

There is something that seems to be moving towards becoming more serious, with a guy I met last summer as a friend. It's moving slowly, at my pace, and he's okay with that. At the moment I'm enjoying it and haven't even had the smallest twinge of any of the worries that my ex gave me. But I still worry that if I start to care more about him, I might start to think about these things again.

Wow, sorry for going on for so long! I could write an essay on the damned topic, unfortunately.. I shall stop there though!

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