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.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
I fucked up again(32 Posts)
Shiny new name for this.
I need advice about how on earth to break out of my awful relationship habits.
Narc mum, rotten first-ever bf, various none too successful relationships, one not great marriage - now ended, one horrendous unrequited love - nothing happened except lots of misery and two lovely kids.
I've had an on-off FWB thing going for about 18 months. It's pretty sporadic and would never turn into a 'real' relationship. I thought it was just what I needed and it was at the beginning.
But I've just fucked that up by being too needy, too many times (sending shitty texts when he doesn't respond to mine quickly enough, after not being able to take my eyes off my phone). I can't just feel like I'll take it or leave it.
Before anyone tells me I've been an arse, I know.
I can't help myself. If someone's nice to me I think I'm being played (along with other women), if they don't communicate when I want them to I think they are avoiding me. If I feel sure of them I'm bored and don't respect them.
I've tried to work it out and the bottom line is that I'm expecting to be ill-treated and get hurt so I end up being appalling and it's a self fulfilling prophecy. And then I'm filled with regret and self hatred.
I think the FWB thing was all I thought I could handle (the idea of falling in love fills me with horror) but I can't even manage that without making a complete mess of it.
I'm sure what I'm describing will ring a few bells. But has anyone out there actually managed to do something about it?
There is a very good therapy called 'dialectic therapy'.
It goes on the premise 'where do you want to be in 20 minutes time with this person?' and helps you control your impulses (to lash out/reject), which are ultimately born out of terror of being left/rejected.
I have also heard of a book 'I hate you, don't leave me' (but never read it)
Fwb always ends ups like this whare one person had more feelings than the other but i think you deserve so much more than this
Helpful, Golferman . You know what you sound like, don't you?
honeybunny I don't know if I want more. I lived for a long time in a bad marriage and in lots of ways I like having my own space. Just not absolutely all the time.
Why nc? does your op render past support you have administered hypocritical?
18 months is a long time to have the same FWB. If I were in your shoes I would suspend activity with him (maybe indefinitely) and find someone new. Just take charge of the situation and your emotions - if it's not fun then don't do it any more.
Golferman why be so cruel to a stranger? I didn't find it easy to write about this.
I wonder if you are a weedy bald loser with no FWB.
I think this boils down to self-confidence and being happy in your own skin. If you can achieve that then you are less likely to think you are undeserving of love & that others are automatically taking you for a ride. Find happiness from within and you will be less obsessive/needy/suspicious/desperate or the other things you describe that you know lead to poor decisions in relationships. My suggestion is therefore to concentrate on being the best you can be, finding happiness and fulfilment independently, and then you'll feel worthy and deserving of affection.
I don't have to justify ncing, it's got nothing to do with past support I've given to others. I've never heard anyone asked why they have nced before.
One piece of advice and one thing to mention.
Here we go.
Advice....don't stay around when you discover someone is shit. Is about them, not you. You say you've had one shit relationship after the other. Other people are meeting the same men, but they go away sooner. Seriously. Ditch the shit ones. Life abhors a vacuum.
To mention.......I found my relationship quality directly mirrored my self esteem level.
You don't have to justify NC'ing... relax. On the other hand, that last message does demonstrate what you're saying ie. that you take things very personally and are quite defensive. As your description of relationships could be summed up as 'waiting for people to attack'... understandable if you've been in abusive situations (bad marriage, bad parents etc)... have you ever seen a health professional or counsellor? Would it be something you'd consider.
Can't really add to what others have said, just wanted to send you a ((hug )) OP.
Helpful, Golferman . You know what you sound like, don't you?
I know what he sounds like - a knob.
It sounds like you'd benefit from therapy, and some time off dating completely. And IMHO long-term therapy, like good psychoanalysis and not just a coping strategy like CBT. I had TERRIBLE relationships with men & my family until I had therapy - it was a long slog but so worth it.
And try taking some time off from men & date yourself! Learn to love yourself - what you like, what you need.
that last message does demonstrate what you're saying ie. that you take things very personally and are quite defensive
True, probably. I haven't ever heard anyone pulled up for ncing though!
Thank you for the advice. Wobbly the therapy and book you mention are for people with BPD. I have read about this and I don't think it's me tbh because I don't fear being alone or dislike my own company. But I do get a bit lonely, I'm very conscious that I'm getting to an age where it's harder to find new relationships.
I'd love to have higher self esteem and interrogate more if things are doing me any good rather than just be grateful to have them at all. This fwb thing has been doing me more harm than good for ages, but I still feel like it's better than not having it. The sex is very good, which makes it difficult to give up
But I can't be cool about it. I know it's not working and the fact that I have 'fucked it up' is probably evidence of that. I'm still upset with myself that I did though.
Sounds like you needed to do it.x
You have fucked nothing up. There was nothing to fuck up.
It wasn't a relationship.
I've been where you are......saying you don't want a relationship but then pushing boundaries with FWB. It sucks.
It is self-esteem.
But take heed here, you dared to push the boundaries. You didn't get the answer you wanted......but you got the truth. And as the saying goes, the truth will set you free. If you move on (fingers crossed) and let this one fall to the wayside, you may be able to be a bit more honest with yourself and a potential partner as to what you actually want. Even if it terrifies you
Don't worry about that IFU, don't worry about being labelled - you told us yourself you set yourself up to be rejected by lashing out when you fear you are being uncared about / ignored.
So work on controlling those fear-driven impulses (behind rage is fear). Who cares what it is called, if it focusses on controlling and thinking through an area, where you know you lose it?
Wellwobbly I take your point.
I don't think I have a borderline personality but I think you are right that I have borderline traits in my relationships with men. It's frustrating because I seem to be able to function successfully in other areas of my life, like work, friendships and family relationships.
I don't want to be labelled only because I don't think the cap fits all that well. I don't look down on anyone with a personality disorder or think I'd be unable to accept it if I had one.
But I will put this thought to one side and have a look into the things you have recommended. If I could change this one aspect of my life it would be so much better.
OP I think maybe people are giving you a hard time about name changing because they are seeing a clue in your OP as to who you used to be, that you may not intend to be there.
Or maybe it was meant to be there?
Or maybe I've been here too long and no-one else will know what I'm talking about.
Thanks for posts.
I have been wanting to text this guy all day yesterday and all day today. But I haven't done it. Partly because I think he won't respond (I think I've been sacked - for now at least) and I will just feel an awful lot worse.
But also I know when I reflect on it that the situation is doing me no good and I am able to understand the pattern that develops. My OP was pretty generous towards this man. He knows how to push my buttons. When I see him we get on well and laugh about it and he says he is sorry but then it happens again - he can see my anxiety escalating and doesn't make the response he knows would arrest it (a quick text). He is more experienced (and generally better) at the FWB thing than I am. He knows he has to keep me at arm's length and whenever things get a bit too close he disappears. It's like he is putting me in my place and pointing out that I can't make demands.
When I can be calm and rational about it I do think he likes me as a person and isn't a bad person himself. But he is deliberately unreliable, because he wants what happens between us to be kept in a certain box and to manage my expectations.
Of course this means that everything is on his terms and timelines and not mine.
The pattern since I met him has been that just when I think I can rely on him - not as a potential partner but simply as a regular shag - he evaporates. Or sometimes I will tell him I don't want anything to do with him any more because I am so annoyed and frustrated (I once went NC for six months). If he was the one who evaporated, he will suddenly pop up again, and chase hard. I will be wary at first but get drawn back in, thinking I can stay in control.
When I cut him out for six months, I missed it and was sad at first but then felt freer and glad I had taken the initiative. It was me that got back in touch with him again though, and it kicked off once more, quite intensely.
I actually think he is probably as fucked up as I am and is just as responsible for this pattern. It's a struggle for control that he mostly wins.
I don't meet men, don't have time to meet them (demanding job, being a single parent). I'm also not interested in getting serious with someone, can't be arsed with internet dating and am still 'recovering' from my marriage ending etc. But I'm quite highly sexed and want affection from someone other than children. It's kind of convenient and the sex is fantastic, very close, very intense, very affectionate.
Maybe it's not possible to have regular great sex with someone and be friends with them and make it work. At some level I think the problem is that he just doesn't 'get' that I don't want to be with him, he treats me as if he is worried I'm going to want more than FWB and I don't. Deep down he doesn't really mean a huge amount to me, though I like him and fancy the pants off him.
This was an experiment on my part but I have to accept that it hasn't worked but that I have learned a lot from it. I want more from him than he gives me, but this is mostly what I see as courtesy and communication. I don't want him. I think he either doesn't get this or more likely he knows it and secretly resents it. Not because he wants or loves me but because he wants me to want him, for his own validation. (He wouldn't keep my interest day to day. I am a lot more intellectual than he is - and in many ways more 'successful'). Which is why he makes himself unavailable, because seeing that he can upset me makes him feel wanted and gives him the upper hand. I'm a mess but so is he.
I don't want much from him so he gives me less. To feed his ego and boost his self esteem.
A couple of days ago I just felt desperate for him to contact me and to be able to make amends for being so demanding. But he does drive me to it. I have to stop blaming myself and recognise that he does it deliberately. I will stop myself from contacting him and must try to be strong if he gets in touch. I have been here enough times to know that while it feels now as if I will never see him again in the past that hasn't been the case. He has popped up again just when I have almost moved on.
Sorry this is such a long and self indulgent post. It may seem inconsistent with my OP but I was in a state about it when I wrote that. He gets me so I can't see the wood for the trees. A few days on and I can look at it with a colder eye.
hogwash can you leave that please. I've never seen your name before (maybe it's new) and I don't know what you mean about a 'clue'. But you seem to be encouraging people to try to guess what other name(s) I might have or have had. I don't like it and nor would you. I wouldn't go on a thread just to say something like that.
It's a dangerous game anyway; anyone who has been on here long enough will know that the same things happen to many, many people. There is nothing new under the sun (except a name on MN, perhaps) ;)
OP I don't know if you've read it but I've just read Natalie Lue's The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and it's very good. She's also written Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl which I think you might find useful.
Op the agonising going into this relationship - the emotional highs and lows, the pushing and pulling, quite frankly the angst - is not what FWB should be about. But I think you know this. You definitely need to cut loose and decide if this set up is ever going to work for you. I think you certainly know it isn't with this man.
Your expectations of him and the "relationship" are far too great for a FWB set up. And I think you are giving it far too much of your energy. His mistake is still engaging with you - I'm sorry to be harsh but if he was looking for a purely FWB relationship this isn't fair on him either. I think you know this.
I really do wish you well - but with all the things you have mentioned - recovering from your marriage, family dynamics, self esteem etc, it sounds like you would be best off working on yourself first.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.