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.
I have destroyed my own tangled web of confusion(192 Posts)
WARNING: This is going to be long, so thank you very much to whoever reads all the way through. And please make sure you're comfy before you start ;-)
I (20s) met him (40s, let's call him Tom) last November. We went out together twice and even though I liked him, our chemistry was amazing and the kissing wonderful, I was going through some kind of existential crisis in which I was questioning everything about my life, and I vanished from his. Poor, I know.
In July, I felt I was getting back on track and moved to his part of town. After eight months of zero romance, not even so much as a kiss, I had met another guy who I had very casually started seeing. Yet I sent Tom a message apologising for having disappeared and asked if I could buy him a drink.
I was beginning to feel better about life and I was enjoying getting back into dating. That same night, I went back to his house and slept with him. It was wonderful and I was reminded just how much this guy made me laugh, just how well we clicked. That morning as we were having breakfast, he got a text, which he ignored, then a call, which he ignored, then his doorbell rang, and when he ignored THAT there was the sound of a key in the door. He rushed down to 'sort it out'. Turns out he'd been seeing this married woman (had given her a key to go to the shop and back the week previously and had forgotten she still had it). At this stage I wasn't emotionally involved with him and could offer him some advice and an ear. I asked whether he loved her, and he said 'it's not that simple'.
Our relationship progressed nicely over the next two or three weeks. It was now early August. I was still seeing the other guy, too. Things with both had progressed to the stage where I didn't think it was right to be seeing two men anymore. I spoke to both of them individually about it, and Tom was pissed off that I'd been continuing to see this other guy. Personally I felt that we didn't feel like a couple and it was such early days that there wasn't much wrong with dating other people - especially since there was the married woman scenario, which sort of made me think him a little hypocritical.
From early August to early September, we continued seeing each other twice a week. We loved spending time together, never a dull moment, so in sync with each other. But I should mention that this is set against a backdrop of quite a lot of alcohol consumed (both of us), and very regular cocaine use (him). As soon as I started to feel emotionally involved, I started 'acting up', by which I mean I became oversensitive and started walking off on a regular basis. I suppose deep inside I was insecure about where we stood. Every now and then when his phone would go off near me, I'd instinctively look down and see he'd received a message from the married woman. Obviously I never read the messages, and he reassured me that she'd moved and they were just friends (he did see her at a festival in August, and there was the niggling thing of....a friend who texts at 8 in the morning?), but that coupled with the sometimes offhand way I felt he could be (maybe the coke?) resulted in me storming off for almost no reason fairly often. I just felt unsure and insecure, and like he didn't take me seriously, and I'm not sure why, when he was so tender with me and we had such a good time together. One time for seemingly no good reason, I started crying and said 'I wonder if I made the right decision, to stop seeing that other guy'. I suppose I didn't like the sometimes too casual way he would act with me. After I said that I calmed down, we went to the pub, and he left me there after an hour and wouldn't answer my calls.
In early September, the final straw came. He invited me round to his, I felt he was being a little standoffish and 'lazy' with me, and without warning I jumped out of the bed in the middle of the night and left. As I left I told him I wasn't an app, I didn't want to sit around just being someone's narcissistic mirror, as that's what it sometimes felt like. I left and received a text from him saying he couldn't take the drama, that this was the 6th time I'd done this to him and he couldn't take it anymore. I didn't hear from him for 10 days.
I suppose this would be a good point to mention that I'm starting to realise one of the main problems is that we were viewing 'us' in two different ways. We never spoke about what we were, or had. And I'm starting to think that he saw me as his girlfriend, whereas I was convinced we were just 'seeing' each other (I would have wanted more). I'm not sure why we had these two different views of it, but I think that was one problem. From my perspective, the fact that we rarely met during the day, and that we'd never had a full day together (we'd go out together, have sex, wake up, have breakfast, then one or the other would leave) didn't make me feel like we were in a proper full-on relationship.
The 10 days of silence from him passed. The final day was a Sunday. I had given up hope. I was devastated. I couldn't stop thinking about him and how I'd fucked things up. So I made a really stupid mistake. In a desperate attempt to make myself feel better, I created a Tinder profile on Sunday afternoon. I don't know what I was thinking, I didn't even think I'd use it. I'm sure a lot of women here can relate: my logic was I could dull the pain of one man's rejection with the comfort of another. I don't think I was going to act on it. But I think I had to feel like I was doing something to get control over myself again. I felt heartbroken. That same afternoon, I went out with some friends. In one last final attempt to reach out, I texted him that what we were doing was great, and I just wished he could be there with me to share it. To my total amazement, he replied. He suggested we go to his local for dinner that night.
When I arrived at the pub, he was completely off with me. Talking to anyone but me and actively making me feel uncomfortable (pretending not to hear me, getting me to repeat myself, etc.). I was confused as I thought he wanted to make up. I grit my teeth and did my best to chat away with his mates, who I like. At closing time, he walked me home and we sort of had it out.
He said I had abandonment issues and needed therapy (he has a point). He told me I couldn't just relax without his undivided attention (true, but only because I felt the whole relationship was an insecure environment). He said a lot of other things that resonated with me.
And then: he pulled his phone out his pocket and said "And I saw -". And then stopped. I said "saw what?" and he said it didn't matter. We walked back to his. He said I "scared" him. He said he was sure he was just a transient thing for me. I denied that. The next morning when I got back home, I deleted my Tinder account.
Since that night, one month ago, I took everything he said on board. I started therapy. I tried to completely turn my attitude around and it worked. We've had a month of great times, although I did feel he was slightly more pulled back now, warier. I just thought I would have to regain some trust, and accepted that. It became left up to me to organise all of our meetings. I think he wanted to see me "work for it", if you get me. So I did. We did non-booze related things together. It was brilliant. He said "I adore you" and "I think about you all the time". And I feel, felt, the same. I love every minute I spend with him. He makes me happy. He makes me laugh, he makes me feel supported and protected. This Friday he sent me a text at 11pm inviting me round to his for cocktails, but I was shattered. I suggested we go down to the sea the following day (Saturday). And so yesterday I texted him at 5pm asking if he wanted to meet in an hour. No reply. Two hours later he called, jovial, said he was at the skate park, etc. I was a bit gutted as I thought we'd be going down to the beach together, but invited him to join me and my mates at our local later.
When he arrived at the pub last night, he was clearly off with me. Didn't even come over and greet me. Spoke to everyone but me. Got up from the table when I started a story, you get the idea. I tried to shrug it off and focus on his mates and mine. At closing time, me and my mate went back to his for drinks, but he was still being passive aggressive with me, not communicating, not smiling, despite having invited me back (??). When we got in, I let some little catty aside out, mainly at the frustration of having just spent 6 hours basically being ignored by the man I so care about. He went apeshit. I couldn't even finish a sentence. He was steamrolling all over me. He said it was bullshit how I only asked him to go down to the sea at 5pm, when he'd been waiting all day (I just wanted to go for dusk - I would have thought he'd initiate a text if he wanted to go earlier). He called me manipulative. He called me desperate for male attention (I'm not a flirt, I don't act or dress provocatively at all, so I can only assume he means talking to his mates - which I would have thought any guy would appreciate it). He called me emotionally abusive. Then the real slap came: "And I saw your fucking Tinder profile".
Wow. That profile had been online for 16 hours only, a month ago. I said so he must have been on Tinder too. He said "just keeping tabs on you". We didn't meet online, by the way. I began to feel panic and regret. It was impossible to get him to understand my reasoning for having that profile up. I couldn't get him to understand it had been up there for only 16 hours. He seemed convinced I was sleeping with other men. I told him I hadn't slept with anyone else since July. But he was getting louder and louder and less and less willing to hear me. Finally, he told me to fuck off and all but frog marched me out of his house. He told me to get lost and said he would discuss things another time.
I'm so upset. I feel like I've really fucked this up, but there are so many things I don't understand. I don;t know how to fix it. I tried calling him once this morning (went to voicemail). Then I sent a massive text telling him we needed to have an honest conversation where we get everything out on the table. I said I felt like our relationship had started with mistrust because we were both seeing other people at the start, and we needed to have a frank discussion about everything so we could nip this in the bud instead of always hiding away from it, whether with socialising/drink, or me storming off, or him throwing me out. No reply.
I'm hurt, I don't know what to do now, I can't bear the thought of such good potential going to waste. I haven't felt so in tune with someone in a long time, but what the hell am I going to do about this now?
I needed to write all this down. If you've read this far, thanks again. If you could give me any outsider insight that would be very appreciated. I should point out that I realise the drinking and his drug use are NOT conducive to healthy behaviour - I do know that and it should be something that changes.
Why was he on Tinder? As I said, it was up for 16 hours: that's quite a stroke of luck, isn't it, to log on to Tinder in the small 16-hour window in which it was visible? Why would he wait a full month, holding on to that Tinder profile thing? How could he spend time with me and be tender with me to suddenly lose it over this information he's been guarding? What pisses me off is how he started this fight after a month when I'd really been trying and things were going so well. He may have complained about my walking off in a strop, but his way of completely shutting down (not reply to me) is also very distressing and a little controlling.
Ultimately - do you think I've fucked this up beyond all repair? Obviously you don't know the guy - but what the hell could his POV be? How could he be feeling? Do you think I've behaved badly? Obviously I know I have - I'm just not sure it warrants this explosiveness and 'punishing'. Do you think he feels mistrustful of me? Does he not give a shit? I just can't tell, I don't know what's true anymore.
Fucking hell OP, how on earth have you got the energy to work with all this dramatic bullshit going on?
So this dude:
20 years older than you
Shagging other women, probably multiple other women
Plays head games to keep you in line (inviting you out then ignoring you)
Tells you you're mad and need therapy
Demands your undivided attention despite shagging other women
Takes coke, which is basically a drug that turns people into even bigger cunts than they already are
Gets shitty when you even talk to other men
He's a player. He'll always be a player. You weren't his girlfriend, you were a convenient shag when his married woman was tied up with her husband. He couldn't give a shiny shit about your feelings. I've met dozens of guys like this: all they want is a no-strings bang, and they'll feed you the right lines ("You make me so happy, I think about you all the time") in order to keep you hooked.
Get yourself into therapy because he was kind of right in that you do need to understand boundaries better, not to mention appropriate and acceptable behaviour in relationships.
I tried to get through to the end but jeez that's an awful lot of angsting over a guy who's not treating you with a great deal of respect and hasn't been for a while. I think that his ship has sailed and you wos be better off moving on and forgetting about the whole thing.
Go back to counselling, focus on yourself, spend some time single, have fun and then maybe Dip your toe into a new relationship - this time not with 40 year old, coke snorting man-child. Honestly he sounds so immature. You can do better my love.
Wow, he sounds like he also has a shed-load of emotional problems to work his way through before he's anyone's idea of a catch. It's all well and good trying to change yourself to suit him and his needs but, ultimately, you're jumping through hoops for someone who doesn't even sound like he gives much of a shit.
Also, mid 40's and still taking cocaine? That's not too much of an Iggy-Pop cliche, is it? He's a dong, keep away, remove him from all your online profiles, block his numbers and email address and for God's sake don't try and change yourself for him. Change the parts of yourself YOU aren't happy with. Work on your self esteem and independence. And if you see him in a pub ever again, walk straight out.
Please God will you stop beating yourself up about this prick?
How DARE he be offish with you while banging some married woman who CLEARLY didn't know about you.
How dare he humiliate you in front of your friends.
You are in your 20s. You have WAY more currency than he does, and if he has reached his 40s and still thinks it's acceptable to treat a young woman like this, he's not a keeper. This is him supposedly on GOOD behaviour!
I reckon he only dates married women or very young women because a single woman his own age would tell him to ftfo and introduce his bollocks to his ears by means of a mighty good kick.
Who gives a fuck if you have a tinder account. He's not your keeper, and his morals are hardly anything worth writing home about!
Fwiw, tinder isn't the place to seek healing for heartbreak, but I can understand the need for that distraction.
Delete his details and give yourself a chance to recover, focus on all the wonderful things you have to look forward to with a man who loves you for you.
Don't put up with this shot of a bloke. Please? He sounds awful.
Wow..I was expecting to be told that I had treated him badly, not the other way round....
You both sound as bad as each other
Do people really spend all this time fucking each other around once out of the teenage years ?
Do either of you hold down a job or indeed a life ?
Both of you need to grow the fuck up
This is crazy I hadn't even considered it in this light. I thought my OP (in which I tried to be very objective) would come across as me being very emotionally immature and him just at his wits end.
He told me he is just friends with the married women: but really why would you be? And as for the tinder thing I can see no explanation other than he is using it. And frequently, too, if he saw my profile in its short 16 hour life...
Got bored half way through, but to summarise for a few weeks you had a middle aged fuck buddy, he didn't think you were a special snowflake, so you threw some tantrums. Is that right?
That's probably the most succinct tldr version, yes ;)
Even the title sets my teeth on edge in it's overblown drama lama visualisation
You both sound like very, very hard work
Coke, skate park...
You should have stuck with the other one.
Bin cokehead off, have fun with your mates and when you're in a better place with things find somebody decent. Good relationships aren't this much work, they just aren't.
Oh and stop the jumping out of bed in the middle of the night/running away every five minutes thing. It's not a good look.
Mess. There's nothing there.you can't build a relationship with a cokehead. You're flogging a dead horse there.
I know it's a cliche, but you need to forget about relationships for the time being and work on yourself. Learn about red flags and how to notice them.
You just bulldozed on through this mess when it was obviously a non starter. You behaved in a very desperate and needy way. So go and do some talking therapy.There's nothing wrong with you by the way. You're just a bit lost and insecure. You can change that though.
Guys, thanks for sharing your views. Even the harsh ones are kind of comforting.
I only read the first couple paragraphs, and stopped at the bit when you offered him "some advice and an ear" after the woman he was already seeing walked in on the two of you.
Why would you offer someone who had clearly demonstrated that he was a two-timing sneak anything other than the sight of you walking out the door, never to return or make contact again? Where is your self-respect, OP?
Please swear off men for a good long time and find a good therapist instead to invest that time in. It sounds like you get hooked on drama, and get validation from male attention, and all that is so so unhealthy, and also (thankfully!) so so fixable, if you're willing to take a good honest look at why you do the unhealthy things you do.
Therapy. It's really a wonderful gift to yourself.
OP, your relationship sounds very similar to one I had in my early twenties with an older guy who was an alcoholic and cocaine addict. In fact I'm wondering if it could actually be him!
The whole thing sounds a nightmare and as someone who left a very similar and emotionally draining relationship behind, I can tell you, there is NO POTENTIAL other than the potential to fuck with your head and make you miserable.
Cut all communication with him, concentrate on yourself and not a relationship for a while. You need to detox your head and heart - because this relationship no doubt feels normal to you. It's not.
I know Metallic, it's pretty pathetic of me alright. But I had got that side of me under control and things were moving in a healthy direction which is why I don't understand why he suddenly decided to kick off.
I stopped reading your OP about halfway through. Ridiculous amounts of drama mentioned already for a guy you've just been casually seeing.
Coke. Booze. Storming off. Other women. Arhuments in the middle of the night. Just...NO! NAH!
I'd steer well clear and start getting your boundaries sorted out pronto.
The minute he started banging lines of coke and talking about his 'married woman' I would have seen the red flag flying and ...vamoose! He is a middle aged man with issues. You dont need this shit.
Good luck, OP.
I really hope you have messed it up to be honest because this is a very toxic relationship.
You have a choice here and now.
You can continue to obsess and analyse your own actions and this man's and try to force some kind of interaction.
You can accept a sub par relationship that is not healthy.
Or you can break ties and accept this is a bad and unhealthy relationship and move on from him.
The latter combined with counselling is what I think you should focus on.
You sound like hard work. He sounds like a dick.
Stop talking to him. Be single for a while. Wait until you don't feel the need to be the centre of attention or play silly games. Don't even think about running off or leaving in the middle of the night. Meet someone normal and don't mess up the start seeing loads of people.
This one is a right off though, absolutely.
You're being very silly by getting so invested in this relationship and the running away and being dramatic. Turbulence and drama are addictive, but they're not love.
He's worse than you are, because he's a manipulative prick and a deliberate headfuck. You at least have youthful inexperience to excuse you. But time to grow up and get a grip.
Sack him off, never speak to him again and learn from this.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.