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Do I continue my "more than friends" relationship with this man? I want to but am so unsure.

(25 Posts)
GratefulHead Fri 07-Nov-14 11:47:30

A quick history, I am in my 40s and have a background of serious sexual abuse as a child. After many years of trying to have and enjoy sexual relationships I admitted defeat and made the decision that I did not have to have sex again if I didn't want to. This decision was very empowering and I talked it all over in counselling.

My counsellor was of the opinion that it was a huge decision to make and I should tame it to "I will only have sex again if I actually want to do it". This has been fine and tbh I haven't found anyone I wanted to DTD with....until I met a man via a local group.
He is two years older than me at 50 and is without doubt the nicest, kindest mam I have ever met.
On top of this he has been hugely understanding and supportive about my issues.

So we have been to bed several times now, he knows what a huge deal this is for me. We haven't attempted penetrative sex as he feels it's a huge issue and we need to work towards that rather than rushing into it. He is supportive and kind, constantly checking that I am okay etc. Has told me that I am in charge of what does and does not happen etc.


He is an alcoholic sad and has serious addiction issues where alcohol is concerned. Like me he had a very abusive childhood but he copes by drinking to excess. It does nothing except loosen him up and relax him but we are talking serious amounts

I don't for one minute think I can stop him drinking. I've already told him that I am not able to "rescue" him as it is apparent that previous girlfriends have tried and failed.

Interestingly he describes himself as a "fucking nightmare" as a partner and sees himself as a springboard for me into better relationships. ..even though I am happy with the "springboard" at the moment.

I am getting a flavour of what he means though. He has never been a Dad and finds my son hard work (DS is indeed hard work at times ). Last night while fairly drunk when we were deep in conversation he admitted he really doesn't like my DS. In a way this isn't an issue as he and DS rarely come into contact anyway. I asked him why and he said it was about the way DS spoke to me etc. DS cam be very oppositional but is autistic so it sort of comes with the territory. I have to say I was hurt by the comment but put it down to drink talking and him never having been a parent.

He says he is selfish and destructive which is why his past relationships have finished.

As for me we have agreed not to define what we are but just to enjoy it while it lasts. Should I be running a mile though?

At present I just see two people with massive issues who are offering mutual support to one another but I would appreciate other views.

Meerka Fri 07-Nov-14 11:58:58

In this one particular special situation - enjoy it for what it is.

You know it's not a long termer. He's told you outright that he sees himself as something temporary in your life. You know why too: he's destructive and selfish when in a formal proper relationship. You know you have your own hangups, some of which are pretty deep.

Seems to me that you can both simply enjoy this for what it is, for as long as it lasts.

Getting too close would be a major mistake. Treat this as a short term, very enjoyable thing and don't let your heart get engaged and when the time comes, you can say to him with an affectionate smile "I think the time has come to let the closeness go".

He's actually being quite generous - he knows his flaws and he knows he'd be no good for you long term and he's told you. Sometimes two hurt people can be good for each other, as long as they don't expect too much.


alphabook Fri 07-Nov-14 12:08:09

I think you know the answer. It sounds like ultimately it is going to end in tears, it's a question of whether you can deal with that and enjoy it while it lasts. Personally I don't think two people with deep seated emotional/relationship issues can just have a short term, casual relationship without there being massive fallout.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 07-Nov-14 12:33:37

I would walk away now from this before you either become more emotionally invested in this and hurt even more when it ends. This really does have DFS - disaster from the start all over it.

Why did you choose someone like this for someone to date?. TBH if this man is the kindest man you have ever met, that does not say much about all the men you have met to date. This man has already told you he is both selfish and destructive so what is really in this for you, what needs of yours are really being met here?.

You may also want to speak to NAPAC about your abuse if you have not done so to date as they are very helpful to adults who were abused as children.

I realise that you do not see this man as a long term thing ultimately but the fact he does not like your son would make me walk away from this as of yesterday. He is not a man that should be anywhere near your son anyway. Love your own self for a change and work on you further.

Co-dependency often features in such relationships; I would read up on that too.

GratefulHead Fri 07-Nov-14 15:21:58

Thank you, yes my past relationships have not been good. This man says pretty much the same in that if he is the best person I have dated then my past experiences have been truly crap.

Why did I choose to date him? Because I haven't had sexual feelings about someone for a very long time. Ironic that it should be THIS man who makes me feel this way.

He has said we can be friends no matter what. It doesn't matter to him if we never go to bed as he will always like me etc.

He has no real contact with DS and when he does he is fine with him.

Will read up on co-dependancy though.

Meerka Fri 07-Nov-14 16:04:59

I think that you -have- to keep some emotional distance from him, but just enjoy the physical side ... that sounds pretty healing for you.

It's gotta hurt to hear this man doesn't like your son. But he is entitled to his own likes and dislikes. The very tactless thing is in telling you. But he was drunk and you know that being drunk is a big problem he has and that he's not long term relationship material. He's not with you son very much at all.

It is what it is, and as long as you don't try to make it into an actual relationship, it's working and sounds beneficial to you both. Like tiramisu, good in small doses but not to be consumed all the time.

blanketyblank100 Fri 07-Nov-14 21:07:35

You sound very vulnerable. I can't imagine how you would be able to prevent your emotions getting seriously engaged in this relationship - for that's what it is. I can see other ways to look at it, but it seems to me like you're using each other a bit - he's no intention of shaping up but enjoys the physical side, you couldn't see yourself with him but can see the potential to make progress on your issues. It's a non-starter and your head knows it...but your heart may not. No one has the right to tell you whether to go ahead or not but I would agree with others that you're likely to end up hurt. Also...this is not your only chance to learn to enjoy sex. He's not the only relatively decent bloke who would be prepared to treat you as you deserve to be treated, with gentleness and patience. Why go ahead with anything less than 'Yes I really want to have a relationship with this person'?

WildBillfemale Sat 08-Nov-14 08:06:33

*As for me we have agreed not to define what we are but just to enjoy it while it lasts. Should I be running a mile though?

At present I just see two people with massive issues who are offering mutual support to one another but I would appreciate other views.*

You sound like someone with a healthy insight (both of you do) - I suspect this situation will run it's course in it's own time but at the moment if it's on some level positive for you then just enjoy.

Don't see it as something with a future - that would be a mistake and if you can't enjoy each day as it comes without thinking about the future then maybe it's not for you.

pinkfrocks Sat 08-Nov-14 10:00:14

Why are you settling for this? Where is your self-worth?
What you have latched onto is a person who has real issues themselves - hence the ability to empathise with your past. Have you not considered that there is someone out there who is equally kind, thoughtful and 'nice' to you who doesn't have issues with addiction?
It's very common for two people with miserable pasts to feel they have something in common and find a bond- but if one of them or both still has issues- such as being an alcoholic- it's not going to end well.

I think you need to re-think your version of 'kind and nice'.
Someone who is really those things doesn't involve another person in their own shit- ie alcoholism. They also don't move things beyond platonic friendship when they know they are useless in relationships. They also don't criticise their friend's child(ren)- even when drink loosens their tongue. These are not the actions of someone who is 'nice'.

I am sure you have had masses of therapy along the way- but there seems still to be a legacy of you thinking you are not worth more than this and being grateful for any attention or crumbs of love that someone throws your way.

If you are in your 40s now and - from what you say- have not had sex as an adult since you were abused as a child, then your first encounter ought not to be with a man who has mental health / addiction issues.

I think you should take a huge step back and consider your self-worth. You also need to ask if you are attracted sub-consciously to men with issues because they offer you a get-out of jail card type scenario if the relationship doesn't work. By that I mean how some women date married men because they aren't 'free' so it means they avoid commitment. It sounds as if you are sticking with this guy because you still don't have the confidence to be an equal partner in a relationship where your past and the damage it did is no longer relevant .

MissRueful Sat 08-Nov-14 10:38:50

Do you not find him being bladdered repulsive? I ask as like you I have a history of abuse and dysfunctional partners. I really cannot cope being around alcohol now. Are you drinking too to paper over the cracks of your vulnerability? Also maybe you desire him as has so many issues and you only feel comfortable around damaged people. Be careful is all I say.

Twinklestein Sat 08-Nov-14 10:54:08

Sexual desire is no justification for getting involved in a car crash.

Has it occurred to you that desiring him and considering a sexual relationship with a self-destructive addict who dislikes your son, is simply a continuation of your abuse issues? Perhaps you have internalised the idea that sex takes place in a dangerous, damaging context.

You are prioritising desire over love, trust and functionality in this situation. Feeling desire is not the most important thing here, what's important is that fundaments of the relationship are healthy and strong. It would be healing in the long term would be for you to be able to be in a loving relationship in which sex plays its natural part. This is not it.

SageSeymour Sat 08-Nov-14 11:52:41

Oh get rid. He doesn't like your son and has actually told you this. Stop settling for losers and set the bar higher

GarlicNovember Sat 08-Nov-14 12:04:34

Sometimes it can be helpful to look at relationships as a balance sheet. In this one, you've gained some sexual confidence and experienced better mutual respect than before - you've been learning good things, so your bottom line's in the black up to here. Now, he's "told you who he is" - selfish, fucked-up, intolerant; "a nightmare". You've started to consider compromising your emotional integrity for the relationship, and boundaries are being drawn around how much negativity you & DS can expect from him in the future. Your relationship balance is down to zero - and you've had due warning it's about to go into the red. This is where you stop it - now, when you can mutually take only positives from it and part affectionately.

As you've not been having sex before now, you've probably forgotten the emotional pull that comes with it. Please do re-read the posts above, and affirm to yourself that any feelings of "it could work, somehow" come from the sexual bonding and have no basis in the realities of your two personalities.

It would be excellent to stop the relationship now, and take what you're learning into counselling smile Good luck.

emanresU Sat 08-Nov-14 12:21:23

Some wise words I have often seen here on Mumsnet .........

"When a man tells you who he really is - please listen"

I seriously think you need to be kind to yourself and just let this go - you've had enough to deal with in your life, please don't lunge head on into what looks like will be a total disaster for you

alongcamespiders Sat 08-Nov-14 12:54:16

Oh fuck me, been there numerous times, he is telling you what he is, your gut is telling you the answer, a man who doesn't like your child regardless of the child's condition (for wont of a better word) is not a man You need around you
You will not get anything from him of any slur except perhaps some valuable life lessons to help you move on.
For your own sake, sanity and recovery you need to let this one go. It's your decision and you will do it when the time is right for you.

GratefulHead Sun 09-Nov-14 14:42:38

Thank you all, I haven't disappeared but needed time to process all the helpful responses.

I know you are all quite right about this. I guess I am working on the basis that I know I am a rescuer but that I can't rescue this man from alcoholism...something I have already told him. He has told me that his ex partners were all lovely people who wanted to help him (rescue him) . I know I am a rescuer but I also have enough insight to know I cannot rescue this man from himself...he has to do that.

We have spoken about his comment regarding DS and he says he is nervous around DS as he has never been a parent so has no experience of children. He said that there have been times where he has wanted to say to DS "please don't talk to your Mum like that as it isn't nice", but feels it's not his place to do so. He wants to make an effort to get to know DS a bit more and support me.

Someone mentioned that my experience of men must have been crap....yes it has indeed been shite. I've never met a man this understanding and supportive about my sexual issues...ever. Not surprisingly this is a big draw for we make each other laugh and can talk into the early hours about life, the universe and everything.

I have told him that I am not his previous girlfriends, I have responsibilities and I won't enable his drinking etc. Having said this he is stopping again tomorrow. ..until Xmas. He can do this with a few clear days...and does so regularly. ...but it never lasts.

Anyhow I am still thinking about things. Am going to ring my previous counsellor and see if she has available appointments to talk all this through.

pinkfrocks Sun 09-Nov-14 15:11:25

But even though you know his faults you are clearly besotted- and ploughing on.

Can you not take on board the fact that there are MANY men out there who will understand your past - and not have the issues he has?

You are both 'damaged' people.
It's no coincidence that you gel.

You sound as if you still need help because if you were truly over your abuse then you'd be able to move on and it would not still be such an issue for you with men now. If you haven't had loads of therapy then get it now so you can move forward without it being something that propels you to people who are needy in their own way so that you become the 'rescuer' as you say and the man becomes the victim.
But - honestly- he sounds as if he is rescuing you as much as you are him.

AnyFucker Sun 09-Nov-14 15:13:56

Research "co dependency" love. This is a very unhealthy situation for both of you.

Wrapdress Sun 09-Nov-14 15:26:01

Get out now before you have PIV sex (if he is even capable with the alcohol).

You can't trust an addict to behave predictably. There is no telling why he is coming across as so kind and understanding. It may have nothing to do with you personally. It could just be something insular to him and it isn't sincere and genuine. The kind and understanding behavior can poof away in a second without explanation when it comes to damaged people. Don't get sucked in with that.

Twinklestein Sun 09-Nov-14 15:38:37

That you have never experienced a man be this understanding about your sexual issues before is neither here nor there.

He has a 'serious' alcohol problem, and he has told you that he is 'selfish', 'destructive' and a 'nightmare'. What you are doing is very dangerous to your emotional wellbeing, and I guess your experience is that that is standard context in which sex takes place. I do believe that this is likely a consequence of your previous abuse.

This is not a springboard to a better relationship, it's a big leap into disaster.

You are clearly nowhere near ready, in view of past abuse, to be considering a sexual relationship with anyone. Your judgement with men is still very damaged, clearly.

GratefulHead Sun 09-Nov-14 21:09:36

Thank you all, it seems my instincts and concerns are correct.
I read up on co-dependancy. ..and it was all too familiar. It's me to a T.sad

No I will talk to this man next week and just call it off. I know he will understand as he has been so supportive but you are right in that it's doomed. sad

AnyFucker Mon 10-Nov-14 07:26:49

Sensible plan thanks

GarlicNovember Mon 10-Nov-14 19:05:15

Good for you, Grateful flowers I know what a big wrench it can be to end a co-dependent relationship. What you are doing is a huge piece of intelligent self-care and self-respect!

If your reading on co-dependence doesn't lead you to it, please also take a look at self compassion (compassion-focused therapy) which is a very secure building block towards your freedom from abuse smile

GratefulHead Mon 10-Nov-14 20:10:11

Thank you Garlic, am a bit tearful today. Have spoken to him and have ended it. He was fine (I knew he would be) and said he had been thinking/feeling it was wrong because he had so many issues. He says he is always there for a hug if I need it, and I think that's what it is all about. I have avoided close relationships for so long that I had forgotten how much I missed that closeness. Unfortunately I see him at least once a week so I can't go no contact and nor do I want to.

I haven't heard about compassion based therapy so will google that in a bit.

Am currently sat here wishing I hadn't gone back to work as I stopped my therapy to take my current job (which I love). Part of me thinks I should have remained as a Carer to my son and remained in counselling while he was at school. I don't know....need to find a grip and get hold of it.

GarlicNovember Mon 10-Nov-14 21:44:19

Oh, bless you. I get what you mean about feeling cut adrift from your counselling - but, as you love your job, your counsellor would want you to keep working grin

Try this book smile It's by Prof Paul Gilbert, the 'inventor' of compassion-focused therapy. Kristin Neff is also very good.

Take care of you!

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