Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Gutted and feeling such a fool

(48 Posts)
BestestBrownies Tue 20-Aug-13 15:51:50

I hope this doesn't turn into an essay, but I'm trying not to drip feed.

I left my unhappy marriage in October last year and moved to Italy for a fresh start, new job etc in early December. The last thing on my mind was starting a new relationship. I wanted to be single and selfish for a while, do my own thing, work on my confidence and do some serious soul-searching blah, blah, blah.

2 months in (late january), I joined a nice gym. Having no social life, I spent a lot of time there and joined the squash league to both get fit and try to make some friends. At this point I was still not really myself and sex/dating hadn't even crossed my mind.

To cut a long story short, I met a nice guy and we started playing squash together regularly (twice a week or so depending on work commitments), and I would often see him in the pool/jacuzzi and we'd chat, so realistically I was seeing him at the gym 4-5 nights a week. At first I just thought he was nice, liked chatting with him and playing squash, but didn't fancy him.

Fast forward another 3 months to April and I begin to realise I'm looking forward to seeing him and starting to think that I might fancy him. We have a lot in common and get on really well. I also start to think he might like me as more than just a friend/squash partner too. I know already that he is divorced with a DS and 2 dogs, has his own successful business, lots of friends, a very similar upbringing to mine, doesn't drink or do drugs etc etc and is the opposite of what I have by now identified as my 'type' and learned to avoid. So things slowly start getting warmer between us. I am being very very cautious as I still don't feel ready to date anyone yet.

Then we start sexting each other (instigated by him). I feel great because I'm flattered he finds me attractive and I enjoy the titillation. No actual sex happens but we're finding out what we both like. I love the fact he is as open and liberal as I am (the ex was seriously repressed and uptight). This continues until late June with a few snogs and gropes thrown in, but I hold back from full sex because I don't like one-night stands or casual arrangements, but I'm not certain I want a relationship either.

We both have to travel a lot for work and both work long hours, and I can't take personal calls whilst I'm working, so we have fallen into the habit of WhatsApp/FB messaging if we can't talk in person. We have also only been on a couple of actual dates not involving being at the gym. I know these things are usually red flags, but there was good reason for them.

So 5 weeks ago we finally had sex. It wasn't the best I've ever had, but it was pretty good and I really needed the release after having at best mediocre sex with my ex husband for the last 12 years. He had to get an early flight the next morning so our goodbye was pretty rushed. Then he went a bit cold in the days afterward, and I had to leave for another city for the whole summer with work. He text me around 5 days later, but I was feeling hurt by his earlier coldness, so acted cold back.

We then ignored each other for 3 weeks until I decided to send him a laying-my-cards-on-the-table message on FB, to which he responded saying he really liked and missed me, was sorry for his behaviour and didn't want to lose me. Great I thought, I was just being over sensitive. So then things carried on as before with us in daily contact via text/FB (normal as well as sexting), for the next week. Then he goes on holiday and goes quiet again.

I thought, OK we've cleared the air already and he's gone away on holiday (I assumed with his DS), so I'm not worried, I'll see him in September and all will be fine. Then a few days ago I went on FB and he is with a (very attractive), woman. He has tagged himself with her at different restaurants etc over several days. At first, I just assumed he'd met up with a friend there and they were catching up (He has lots of male and female friends, I am not a naturally jealous person and I believed his sentiment to be genuine in his message).

Then last night I saw a picture that she had taken and tagged him in. It was her hand resting on top of his with plants tied around both their ring fingers like the best cheesy wedding photo. When I looked at her page, she isn't from that city, she is from the one we normally live in, so is clearly on holiday with him.

I FB messaged him last night about it. No drama or accusations, just that the picture looked very intimate and asking where we stand with one another and if he's already dating someone else. He has seen it this morning, but not replied.

So wise Mumsnetters, what would you think in my situation? And what would you do?

bestsonever Wed 21-Aug-13 00:49:11

Seems he's being duplicitous. At best, even if there is an innocent explanation, he is treating you badly by inconsistent communication very early on which is also a bad sign and you should expect to deserve better than that. I think you've done all you can by asking calmly how you stand, however, if he was sincere he would of answered you by now one way or the other. You may have a liar and a coward there, please don't entertain him in future, it will end in more tears that way. Hmm...might be easier to change gym, though it's annoying that he can't be the one to go elsewhere for your sake.

BestestBrownies Wed 21-Aug-13 01:11:53

hashtag - I also saw the picture removal as a good thing, because SHE would have had to remove it. She posted it and then tagged him in it. For it to no longer be on both of their walls, she would have to be involved, and if it was important or meaningful to her that would have caused a row between them surely?

My friend thinks he hasn't replied because he's annoyed by my lack of trust, which I can believe because his previous partners have been the jealous/possessive bunny boiler type (as have mine). She also thinks he's 'processing' and testing me to see if I start bombarding him with increasingly unhinged messages.

BestestBrownies Wed 21-Aug-13 01:13:35

bestonever - I'm not changing my gym! I will maintain a very British dignified silence and just blank him if our paths cross ;)

Bogeyface Wed 21-Aug-13 01:15:31

I also saw the picture removal as a good thing, because SHE would have had to remove it. She posted it and then tagged him in it. For it to no longer be on both of their walls, she would have to be involved, and if it was important or meaningful to her that would have caused a row between them surely?

Or she leaves her FB signed in and he deleted it without her knowing and hopes she wont notice.

Sorry but he is playing games and you are playing along. No relationship is worth this shit. After 20 years and 4 kids then maybe you would try and work it out, but a few months dating? Nope. Not worth it.

You are used to trying to work through a bad marriage and this is your default setting. You need to remember that this is dating and its ok to say "you are behaving like an ass, I dont this shit" and dump him.

Bogeyface Wed 21-Aug-13 01:16:20

I dont need this shit

Bogeyface Wed 21-Aug-13 01:17:01

Btw, 10-1 that within a couple of weeks of him being back he will be all over you like a rash. Tell him to get bent.

BestestBrownies Wed 21-Aug-13 01:24:01

Wow bogeyface, I think you hit the nail on the head there. I wasted far too much time and energy on my marriage, doing everything I could possibly think of to make it work until I ran out of ideas and patience and left.

I guess I'm not quite as healed as I imagined I was after all. Back to the drawing board.

Bogeyface Wed 21-Aug-13 01:33:43

Bad marriage default setting is what got me into bad marriage 2. I know what its like. So FFS please do heal because I didnt, I married my FB asshole!

BestestBrownies Wed 21-Aug-13 09:49:29

I really appreciate all the advice everyone, thank you. It helps so much to clarify thoughts when you write these things down and get strangers' perspectives.

Why, as an intelligent woman am I so fucking stupid when it comes to men?

Another friend of mine recommended a book on co-dependency a few days ago and I think that might be my problem, so am going to give it a read and as you say Bogeyface, concentrate on healing and amending my destructive behaviours for healthy ones. I have come to realise that I actually have no idea what a normal, healthy relationship even looks like.

SirRaymondClench Wed 21-Aug-13 10:08:43

Bestest you're not fucking stupid when it comes to men. You took this guy on face value and worked with the information he gave you because you liked him. That is normal. He is the one playing games, that's about him not you.
What are you supposed to do? Become some paranoid, cynical haridan cross-questioning men all the time?
And keep going to your gym. Like you said why should you change gyms? You've done nothing wrong.

GilmoursPillow Wed 21-Aug-13 11:07:57

If he untagged himself you wouldn't be able to see it if you're not friends with her (unless her profile is wide open of course).

This woman aside, he's acted like an arse towards you. The next one will be better smile

saggyhairyarse Wed 21-Aug-13 11:29:08

You are not gullible. You have seen the picture and have taken stock. You would be gullible if you saw the picture, pretended to yourself it was innocent and carried on seeing him.

I agree, look at it as a testing of the waters... The thing is, you got to know him over months and didn't rush into anything so I am not sure what you can learn from this. Except that some men are arseholes but then we know that don't we confused

saggyhairyarse Wed 21-Aug-13 11:35:55

Oh, and if you want to look at relationships further then How To Whole A Broken Heart is good. The title doesn't do it justice. Basically there are words of advice regarding dealing with the initial trauma of a relationship ending abut then it is about moving on, identifying similar traits in romantic partners etc. It is like your bestfriend letting you wallow in it for a few weeks, then telling you to pull yourself together and then pointing out where you are going wrong with your choice of partner.

saggyhairyarse Wed 21-Aug-13 11:41:34

^ How To Heal A Broken Heart....

BitOutOfPractice Wed 21-Aug-13 13:46:04

Saggy I have read that book. LOTS of it resonated with me even though I'm a year on from having my heart broken. I recognised a lot of my behaviours last year in it. And, thankfully, that I had instinctively done quite a few of the things the author recommends to help get over it. Worth a read

OP you are not stupid or gullible. You have been played by an accomplished liar. Nothing to reproach yourself for.

Step back, take stock, dust yourself off and move forward. You've done it before, you can do it again, promise

saggyhairyarse Wed 21-Aug-13 13:53:44

It is a good book. A lot of it is geared up to someone in the immediate fall out but some of the longer term sort of exercises are worth doing if only to make you think. Glad its not just me that has read it!

BitOutOfPractice Wed 21-Aug-13 13:55:22

TBH I also thought I'd use some of the techniques to achieve different goals as well Saggy. I think I am pretty much no longer wanting to murder over my ex

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 21-Aug-13 15:09:22

Ach, stop listening to your kind but naive friend, and analysing whether his untagging of the pic is a "good" thing or not: even if this holiday woman is an innocent thing, he had the chance to answer your FB message and give you a straight answer. Instead, he posted a passive aggressive FB status that addresses nothing concrete. So he is STILL acting like an arse, even if he's not shagging her (or trying to).

Which he totally is, btw.

Fizzycandy Wed 21-Aug-13 22:32:34

Hi Bestest,

I'm delurking because I wanted to say- you're not the fool, he is.
why do we women always blame ourselves when a man acts less than honourably?

Also, I wanted to share what I've only recently realised (at 33, god it took a while)- I recently went on 2 fab dates with a guy from t'internet. He told me he was thinking about me all the next day etc etc- and then when I showed a hint of interest, he began to blow hot & cold. A friend advised me that if he's interested in a relationship with you, he'll do everything to contact you and make you feel good, and he wouldn't risk any hint of ambiguity about the relationship.

The funny thing is, when I got back with my lovely ex (who always texted etc without being a pushover or clingy- he is just being a gent), the Internet fella started texting again, and tried to befriend me on fbk- it's like they KNOW when you're losing/have lost interest & try to reel you back in again.

So no, this guy hasn't treated you like gold dust and hasn't been a gent- so why bother with him? Guaranteed though that he will come running (& probably bearing OTT gifts etc) when he realises you won't be messed around.....be strong! These men are Unfathomable- but there are lots of nice ones too- all my friends have given up the bad boy types & married the nice guys that won't set the world alight.....I'm just realising that this may be a good thing to dosmile

BestestBrownies Thu 22-Aug-13 21:58:51

Thanks HotDAMN and Fizzy. I know what you're all saying is right, and that he is an arse who I'm 99% certain is shagging/in a relationship with this woman he's on holiday with. He must have so little respect for me to not even bother doing me the courtesy of responding to my message, the bastard.

I don't need any more immature fuckwits in my life. I have just treated myself to a new camera, so will be using that to keep my mind off him until I no longer care.

btw Fizzy, I'm 36 so should be much better at spotting the losers by now sad

Mumsyblouse Thu 22-Aug-13 23:51:23

To me the pictures aren't the biggest red flag it's the going hot and cold, who needs to be ignored for three weeks. Basically, he's a bit of a player and you need to just give him a wide berth now. Even if his holiday was innocent (it isn't) then he should be reassuring you and making you feel wanted, instead of which you feel a bit shit. Just learn from it and move on.

beaglesaresweet Fri 23-Aug-13 02:00:55

agree with a poster who said that starting a relationship with sexting was a red flag! he shuold haev asked you out on a date/s to start with, not just jumoed into sexting after being friends. It just shows that he's always seen it as FWB kind of fthing, so he may not be lying when he says he likes you and doesn't want to lose - yes, as a friend with benefits! I think it's a very Italian thing for women to play very hard to get to start with, so you being ready to sextext has put you into matey category (in his mind). The whole way he was on and off is also fwb (not very close friends obv.) NOw he MAY have developed more feelings towards you but it's not srtaightforward in his mind so it would take AGES to make him see you as a proper GF. All quite immature, and I'm afarid quite Italian (sorry, there aer always exceptions, but Italian men are known for their immaturity with women and being mummy's boys - I do have some experience btw). I think he does respect you though and sort of looks up to you for being strong etc., just doesn't want to show it directly.

FB message imo was sarcastic, i.e. do you really see everything on FB as the truth (ha ha of course not), so it's a sulky thing. No idea though whether it's a double bluff or not. Taking pictures down after they upset you is a good sign, so it may be innocent, but you ar right to be silent and to insist on a proper direct answer. He will contact you soon if it was innocent and if he cares.

BestestBrownies Fri 23-Aug-13 14:07:21

Thanks Mumsy & Beagles. I agree that the worst behaviour is the ignoring of my message and blowing hot and cold. It's very disrespectful and if he actually cared at all about my feelings he would have been in contact by now.

I'm back in Italy after my brief visit home and funnily enough, met with some female acquaintances (some of them Italian), here last night who were talking about relationships/Italian men. They said the same thing, that most Italian women are essentially very hard work (high maintenance and play very hard to get), and that Italian men are really immature and 'like dogs' (i.e. will get it wherever they can regardless of their relationship status). And to think I'd just dismissed that as a silly stereotype confused

My prediction is that he will either send me a message after his holiday (when I am still in another City), or he will wait until we are both back in the same City and ask to meet up/bump into me at the gym. All very cowardly choices imo and not the sort of character I want to date.

The book I've started reading on co-dependency is really resonating. I hope that will help me understand my behaviour and change it too.

I found out through a mutual friend when I was in the UK a couple of days ago that my ex has essentially fallen off a cliff. He is now blatant about his drug and alcohol use, has screwed up his job/career and is dating a train-wreck of a woman who has already moved in with him rent-free. Exactly as I predicted, only a hell of a lot faster than I expected. I don't feel any responsibility or guilt though, which is a huge step forward for me. Just sad that his life is going down the shitter when he had so much potential sad

God, I just read all that back to myself. I definitely need a break from men!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now