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Doctor Blake
Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience:  Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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I am looking for a 3rd party to mediate an ongoing argument

Resolved Question:

I am looking for a 3rd party to mediate an ongoing argument I am having with my long-term boyfriend. We have reached an impasse in this current argument, and it has now been 5 days. We are now not speaking to each other at all because of this argument. Therefore, I feel we need someone to intervene. We have both agreed to listen to whatever the feedback is. Fortunately, our argument is 100% on text messages, so I can copy and paste the entire saga for someone else to give their opinion about. Would someone be willing to give us an opinion about this tonight?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.

Good morning.

 

I've just received your e-mail query this morning.

 

Please feel free to forward your question(s).

 

Thanks.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. Please give us any suggestions of how to resolve this. It is spiraling out of control. 9 days ago we were talking of getting engaged and now we are on the verge of a break up. :( One piece of background information you should know is that last summer we had a really bad argument that went on for a week because he asked to use my credit card to buy something online. When I asked what it was for, he didn't want to tell me and said nevermind. This made me anxious, so I wouldn't drop the issue. Turned out that he wanted to buy me some workout clothes from Reebok as a surprise. He did eventually give me the workout clothes anyway. Here are the text messages:

Person 1:
Jun 3, 2010 5:53 PM
I just got a package from Reebok. Is this for me or for you? Wasn't sure if I should open it or not.

Person 2:
Jun 3, 2010 6:08 PM
For me.

Thanks.

Person 1:
Jun 3, 2010 6:11 PM
Ok. I went ahead and opened it. They fit me too. :)

Person 2:
Jun 3, 2010 6:11 PM
Did you really?

Person 1:
Jun 3, 2010 6:13 PM
Yes. Am I in trouble?

Person 2:
Jun 3, 2010 6:16 PM
Why did you open it?

Person 1:
Jun 3, 2010 6:20 PM
I don't know. I didn't think you would care since you usually don't when I get your packages. I put it back in the package as it was. Sorry.

Person 2:
Jun 3, 2010 6:21 PM
I hope you are kidding about opening it.

Person 1:
Jun 3, 2010 6:24 PM
I'm not kidding.

Person 1:
Jun 3, 2010 6:41 PM
If it was supposed to be a surprise for me, I really like it. I'll forget that I saw it... :)

Person 1:
Jun 3, 2010 11:30 PM
So you are not speaking to me now?

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 7:05 AM
Yes

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 7:11 AM
I don't understand why you are so mad about this. I said I was sorry. It was a simple mistake. I got excited thinking it was probably for me and assumed you would tell me to go ahead and open it. I was mistaken.

Can you please explain to me why this has turned into a federal case?

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 7:17 AM
Last year you fought with me for a week about this same thing.
I don't understand why you would do such a thing again.
I don't have anything else to say to you about this right now.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 7:20 AM
Our fight was about you using my credit card. I don't understand how this is the same thing.

Since then I've gotten many packages for you and opened them before bringing them to you and you have never gotten mad at me.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 7:28 AM
I think we need to talk about this. I don't want to be mad at each other for such an obvious misunderstanding. I want to try to understand why you are so mad. I need you to explain to me how this is the same as what happened last summer. Can I call you?

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 7:32 AM
I'm not going to argue about this with you again.
I'm sorry, I don't feel like speaking to you right now.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 7:43 AM
Ok. This is really hurting me because I am not understanding why this is the same thing. If what you are trying to do is hurt me and put distance between us, you are succeeding.

I have had time to reflect on the arguments we've had because of me recently and in my reflections, I felt mad at myself for being such a brat and causing problems where there were none.

Because you won't explain to me why this is the same as what we argued about last summer, I'm feeling like you are just getting mad at me about this because you are really mad or wanting to distance yourself for some other reason.

I miss feeling so close to you, and I'm feeling very broken hearted about this whole thing.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 7:59 AM
Please talk to me about this. This is causing me a lot of stress and anxiety, and I have to work all weekend, and I'm not going to be able to deal with it if things are like this between us.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 8:09 AM
In order to resolve this, I will offer as a solution that I will not open another package for you without first getting your permission. What else do you want to resolve this?

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 8:13 AM
I will think about this and let you know.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 11:34 AM
In my birthday card, you wrote me that you have been happier these past few months than in some time. I have felt that way too.

I believe that we have both been happier because we have been communicating with each other in an open and understanding way. The issues that have come up while we have been apart, we have talked through over the phone, and we have both been open and honest about our feelings and worked together to understand each other's perspectives and form solutions to our problems.

I feel like this current issue does not need to form a wedge between us unless one or the other of us let's it. I made a mistake in thinking the package was probably for me and in my happy excitement I wanted to see what you got me. Then when you said it was for you, I thought I should be honest and tell you that I had already opened it. I could have just sealed it back in the package and said nothing, but I wanted to be honest.

I really need to understand, by you explaining it to me, why you are so mad about this. I can promise not to open any more packages without your permission, but I fear that if you don't explain to me why you are so mad I may not understand correctly what this is all about and somehow have this problem arise again.

All I am asking is for us to talk about this the way we have the past few months when anything has come up. I fear the way this is being handled is too much like the past, and I don't want to go back to treating each other like that.

I say all of this with love and a true desire to understand you.

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 11:41 AM
I said I have been happy the past month because for that short period of time you did what I have been begging you to do for 2 years, and that is to not argue or complain.

I am not going to argue with you about something that we argued about for a week last year and even spoke to the counsellor about.

I will respond to your last text about solutions.

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 2:40 PM
I don't really have anything to say to you about this that we haven't already discussed. I don't see the point of making resolutions if you don't respect them.

I don't see the point of arguing or going to counselling if you learn nothing from it to apply to our relationship.

To say it is not exactly the same is not in good faith.
Even a child understands that 'don't take from the cookie jar without asking' applies to more than just cookies in that jar.

I think I just need some time to think and try to come to terms with how you could show such a lack of consideration.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 2:54 PM
You break my heart

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 2:59 PM
I do nice things for you. You break my heart.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 4:49 PM
Are we still together?

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 6:36 PM
For what reason are you asking me that?

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 6:43 PM
I'm not sure how to interpret your saying that "you need some time". I don't know if that means you are saying you want a break from the relationship for a while or if you're saying you just need a day or two to think about things.

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 6:47 PM
I specifically asked for what reason you want to know.

Person 1:
Jun 4, 2010 6:54 PM
I want to know so I can set my expectations about what "some time" means. I don't know if that means days, weeks, months...

Person 2:
Jun 4, 2010 6:55 PM
Days

Person 2:
Jun 5, 2010 8:19 PM
I hope you're having a good evening.

Person 1:
Jun 5, 2010 11:06 PM
You too.

Person 2:
Jun 5, 2010 11:07 PM
What took you so long to reply?

Person 1:
Jun 5, 2010 11:28 PM
Why is it you think it's ok for you to ask me questions like that, but I can't ask you anything. There is such a double standard with this in this relationship.

Person 2:
Jun 5, 2010 11:30 PM
You're the one with the double standards. I answer your questions.

What took you so long to reply?

Person 1:
Jun 5, 2010 11:33 PM
No, you don't always answer my questions.

I took a while to reply because I was having a peaceful evening at home with the kitties and have been very hurt by the way you have been treating me and was taking some time to think about things myself.

Person 2:
Jun 5, 2010 11:35 PM
When have I not answered your questions?
I don't think you're being honest.

Person 1:
Jun 5, 2010 11:39 PM
You took 2 hours to answer my question yesterday evening, and I did not question you about it.

If you don't believe me you can call me and see for yourself that I'm home. I'm happy to make Stinker "meow" for you. I am not dishonest with you. Although if you are accusing me of being dishonest, maybe you have a guilty conscience.

Person 2:
Jun 5, 2010 11:49 PM
I answered when I got your text and it was early in the evening not late on Sat night. It even took you 20 min to reply just now. So I don't think you're being honest.
What questions of yours have I not answered?

Person 1:
Jun 5, 2010 11:59 PM
I'm not arguing with you about this. Either you trust me or you don't. I have had to learn to trust you without any reassurance from you. Now, you need to look into your heart and decide whether or not you trust me. I am being honest about why I didn't write back right away. I could have said "I was working" or something like that, but I decided to be honest with you about my feelings. I guess I should have learned by now that being honest about my feelings with you gets me nowhere.

I am not going to go back over questions you haven't answered from me. If you take an honest look at yourself and the way you like to treat me, you know it has happened.

I WAS having a peaceful evening. I am not happy with the dysfunctional way this recent situation has been handled. I thought we had learned to communicate with each other better than that.

Person 2:
Jun 6, 2010 12:08 AM
That doesn't make sense to me that you would purposely take 3 hours to reply.
You say things and can't back it up.
I've done nothing wrong to you. You hurt my feelings and once again you're making everything about you.
As far as I'm concerned you are up to something dishonest. Why else would you ask yesterday if we are broken up and how long you have.
You look for loopholes to justify whatever you want to do to fulfill your self gratification.
I took not even one day to think about how you can be so hurtful and inconsiderate of my feelings and now when I message you in good faith, you are again making everything about you without any regard for my feelings and how hurtful you treat me.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 12:27 AM
I am very sad to say that after such a long time, you don't seem to know me. You have created this entire situation. Thursday, I tried to be silly with you at first to let you know I meant no harm in what happened, but you berated me and then refused to talk to me. I begged you to communicate with me and you harshly told me you needed time. I have been heart broken since just trying to figure out how we went from communicating with each other so well over the past 6 months when we were having differences to this.

Now you don't trust me. I love you and would never intentionally do anything to harm our relationship. I have been heart broken because I want more than anything to just be a happy couple. I drove by a soccer field of children and parents today on my way to work and cried because I just want to be that normal happy family with you. But based on the way you have treated me over this, I am afraid that you will never stop your dysfunctional ways for that to happen.

Person 2:
Jun 6, 2010 12:28 AM
Can you explain what I did wrong?

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 12:38 AM
You got crazy angry with me for innocently opening a package. When I made every effort to try to understand why you were so angry instead of getting defensive, you berated me as if I had intentionally done something horrible to you and then told me that you needed time to think. Tonight, you have the nerve to ask a question that if I asked you I would either be ignored and/or punished for asking. And now, you don't trust when I tell you that I was upset and needed time to think before responding right away. Talking to you at times is like walking through a maze. A person sometimes needs some time to think about their response. You have no ability to look at yourself and see how controlling you are.

Person 2:
Jun 6, 2010 12:53 AM
You did something wrong and you are so selfish you are turning this around on me. I chose not to argue with you because that is a commitment we had made. You like to argue and hence here we are now, back and forth arguing, making things worse instead of better. I contacted you today in good faith but you were up to something dishonest.
You have had time to reflect and instead of doing some self reflection and responding in the reconciliatory fashion in which I messaged you, you are spiteful and turning my hurt for what you did into me not treating you well, which is either a lie or a warped perception of reality.
Clearly you have no consideration for my feelings and you only think about yourself.
When I am hurt by you, you should address that, not turn it around.
Unless you change these ways I have nothing more to say to you.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 1:37 AM
You should get a second opinion to see how other people see this situation. I hope that you will read to others word for word our texts starting with the initial one where I told you I had received a package, going all the way through to this one.

I was never trying to argue with you. I only wanted to talk to you so that you could explain to me why opening that package made you so angry. You refused to talk it through with me.

I believe that you contacted me today in good faith, but I needed some time to think about how I wanted to respond to you. As I said, I have been very hurt and upset by how angry you got at me and the fact that you wouldn't even explain yourself to me so I could try to understand your perspective.

I have been nothing but honest with you. I would never doing anything to dishonor our relationship because I have no other desire than to love you and be your wife. I am your friend too whether you see if or not. I would never intentionally hurt you or betray you. However, I will not allow you to manipulate me. That too is out of love for you and a true desire to have a healthy relationship with you.

I have told you that you have a tendency to be a controlling bully, and I will never again allow you to treat me that way. This is why I am continuing to tell you these things. I would be more than happy to discuss all of this with a therapist with you because my intentions are good, and I am saying everything in good faith.

I still love you very much no matter what. I believe that your intentions are good and that what you truly want is to have a healthy relationship with me. That is why I am being brutally honest with you now. I pray that you will realize that.

I pray you will come to believe that I would never want to hurt you. I know I have been truthful. If you do not believe me, that is disappointing. I would have hoped you know my heart better than that by now.

If you have nothing more to say to me, I wish you much happiness. I believe that we are soulmates and that God brought us together. I will always love you and you and Belicia will always be in my prayers. If you decide you would like to take a second look at this, let me know.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 7:27 AM
I do not feel it is fair for me to have to do this, but for proof to you that I was home last night, I saved my receipt from the pizza that I had delivered to my home. On the receipt there is the date and time that I called in the order (7:23pm) and on my phone is the phone number from the pizza guy calling to let me know he was out front with the pizza at 8:02pm. His number is XXXXX You can call him and ask if he delivered a pizza to my address last night. I would be happy to fax you the receipt tomorrow if you would like.

Person 2:
Jun 6, 2010 7:55 AM
That doesn't explain taking 45min to reply at 1 o'clock in the morning.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 7:57 AM
I wrote you a very long well thought out message. That takes time. Also, I was rereading it over and over before sending to be sure it said what I wanted it to because I thought it might be the last words you ever heard from me.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 9:49 AM
Also, at 11:39pm, I offered for you to call me so I could prove to you I was home with the kitties by making Stinky "meow" for you. You chose not to call, but if I was being dishonest, I would not have offered that.

Our relationship is my top priority. I would never take any actions to jeopardize it. And I am totally in love with you. I would never do anything to hurt you. I would not be able to live with myself if I did.

Now I have given you more proof of my honesty than you would ever give me. I do that because I believe you are being this way because you have been hurt, and I want to reassure you that you can trust me and that I still love you.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 9:53 AM
Send me your fax number at work so I can fax you the receipt.

Person 2:
Jun 6, 2010 10:03 AM
A receipt for pizza doesn't explain not replying to me from 8pm to 11pm and from 1am to 1:40am on a Sat night and taking 20 min to half an hour to reply in between.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 10:28 AM
You clearly want to believe that I have done something wrong. Maybe this is from guilt because there is something you have done to hurt me. I will never know and cannot spend my time worrying about that. I learned over a year ago that I had to either just decide to trust you or not and go my own way. I decided to trust you because I believe in you and I believe you are a good person. Also, I believe that you love me as much as I love you...even when you do and say things that hurt me.

I have done all I can to prove to you I am being honest with you. A receipt may not explain everything, but a phone call at a quarter to midnight would have told you I was home with the kitties. I made that offer to you. Also, you know I have to give Pirro his medicine at midnight and have to be home for that. If you know nothing else about me, I know you know I would never do anything to jeopardize Pirro's health.

I am very sad that you aren't trusting me, but I'm starting to believe you don't want to because you are looking for excuses to end our relationship.

I can't fight you anymore. If there is a solution, if there is anything you can think of other than the evidence I have offered that you want in order to believe me, I am open to doing anything. But I fear what you are really looking for is an excuse to break up.

I do not want our relationship to end. I love you more deeply than any man I've dated in my life. I want to work out our issues in any way possible. I want to marry you and have children and have a lifetime of fun memories and adventures. I look back on the last 2 1/2 years with nothing but love for you in my heart. No matter what, I feel blessed to have been loved for those 2 1/2 years by you and to have learned all we have learned about each other and ourselves together.

If you want to end our relationship, it does break my heart, but I want you to be happy and feel all the love I wish for you. I would like that love to come from me, but it is your choice.

Person 2:
Jun 6, 2010 11:31 AM
Love is not waiting 3 hours to reply. Either you are very mean spirited or you are doing something dishonest.

Love is not waiting 45 min at 1 o'clock on a Sat night to reply. There is no logical explanation for that. I would be a fool to think you weren't up to something.

Love is not arguing with me for a week last year because I wouldn't tell you what I was buying you online then to forgive you and buy it for you anyway even though you would not lend me your credit card and I had to jump through hurdles to get the transaction done. Then for us to speak about it in counselling, then for me to forgive and forget to the point that I go to the trouble of buying you something online again from the same retailer and overcoming the same hurdles only to have you greedily rip open the package instead of showing some consideration to at least wait for me to give it to you. But never mind that, you don't have enough integrity to be mindful of what a terrible experience we had with me giving you a gift from this same retailer last year. Two events couldn't be closer linked, yet you are dishonest with your approach to legitimise something selfish you have done, not offering one good reason why you would do such a thing.

I then kept my side of the bargain to not argue, because arguing has caused us so much hurt and amounted to very little, only bitter words back and forth as you have again instigated here. Instead of arguing with you I took time to self reflect and resolve to move on. Out of courtesy for your feelings I waited not even one day to message you kind words of reconciliation, though I had done nothing wrong, only bought you a gift and was hurt by your inconsideration. You waited 3 hours to reply and your words after that were not respectful of my feelings. Instead of dealing with how you hurt me you turned it around to somehow be about you, a pattern you do with every argument we have. You just did it when you were here and we were at the beach.
Similarly, I said that I felt some apprehension about doing good enough for your birthday. And selfishly you argued with me for 6 hours about how I didn't make you feel special enough by telling Liz and Chad it was your bday.

Selflessly, I bought you something from Reebok last year for no reason other than because I love you. Selfishly you argued with me for a week for me to tell you what I was buying you online.

Selflessly I put that behind us and again bought you something from the same retailer for no reason other than because I love, showing that I can let bygones be bygones. Selfishly you couldn't even have the courtesy to ask me if you could open it, rehashing a terrible situation we encountered last year, for what self fulfilling reason I do not know.

You call me controlling as a scapegoat for your control issues. That is why you need to know what I'm buying and what is in the package. You used to get mad when I didn't reply for an hour during the workday. You demanded to go through my facebook. You control every argument we have by making it about you even when I am the one who has been hurt by you. You are a master at turning things around. You show no regard for my feelings.

I bought you a gift out of the goodness of my heart. You showed no respect or consideration for me to just tear into it. You showed no respect for all that we have been through, arguing about it last year and even talking about it in therapy to avoid the same behaviours and similar situations. Clearly you don't care about me or this relationship. To do what you did was a spit in the face. And to add insult to injury you spit in my face again when I messaged you yesterday evening and you took 3 hours to reply.

Nothing you have done during this has been noble. I asked you that before you do or say something, not just to me but in general, to consider if it is selfless. You agreed to, but you are not a woman of your word, just like you couldn't keep your word about not arguing. And so here we are arguing because you couldn't consider how you hurt my feelings and respect that I chose to use self reflection rather than arguing with you to come to the realization that I love you enough not to argue about something you did that I found to be very hurtful and defy any reasoning. Yet I still came to you the next day with open arms.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 11:47 AM
At least now I know what is going through your head and understand why you were upset. For me, that's a start. That's all I wanted in the first place.

I am at work now and will be here until 11pm tonight. I will have to respond to you later.

Person 1:
Jun 6, 2010 12:12 PM
As I'm working some of the words you said are going through my mind. I am trying to listen and understand your perspective. I will respond further to that later.

However, I have something I'd like you to reflect on while I am reflecting on your words. I do not hear in your words any attempts to try to understand my perspective. Based on what you say about me, you do not think I am a very good person and not someone who deserves to have their feelings heard. This is all bringing back bad memories of how you treated me and talked to me before New Years.

I know my love for you is genuine and pure, and I have never been told such awful things about myself by anyone other than you. I really hope this is just anger talking. I ask that while I reflect on your words, you will reflect on who you really think I am. Because if this is who you think I am, I don't know how we can overcome anything.

Person 1:
Jun 7, 2010 1:03 AM
I have read over what you wrote several times now.

I did not intend nor have I ever intended to hurt you with my actions. I wish that you knew that about me at this point in our relationship.

Opening the package was not something I thought long and hard about or that I thought "this will really get him good if I open it". It's as simple as this. I saw it was from Reebok and thought it was probably something for me, and I got excited that you had bought me something and wanted to see what it was. That is the only explanation I can give because that is exactly how it happened in my head. When I realized you were upset that I had opened it, I felt bad for ruining your surprise, but I never thought you would be as mad as you became. The credit card incident never even crossed my mind.

Since then, all I have gotten from you are harsh words condemning me for being such a selfish, greedy person. When I hear that from you, all I can think is, "If he feels that that is who I am, then how can he possibly love me?"

Which leads me back to wondering what kind of a person you think I am. I know who I am, but there are times when I feel like you don't really know me. You spin my intentions to very dark places. That just isn't me. It reminds me of how when we were together last week. We kept seeing the same situations and interpreting them completely differently in our minds. For example, you thought the guy on the pay phone was having an affair and I thought he was visiting from abroad and was calling home. That just shows how differently our minds work and how differently you and I can interpret the motives behind the same exact situation.

I think there is a reason why you see black when I see white. It's all because of our different life experiences.

If you could see into my heart, you would see how much I love you. You would see how truly pure that love is for you, and you would know that all of my intentions are good.

Admittedly, I'm not perfect. I screw up sometimes. I do act selfishly sometimes. But when I realize it, I try to admit it. I had no malicious intentions when I opened the package nor when I took a while to respond to your text messages.

I have explained that I was upset from how mad you had gotten at me the day before and I just needed some time to think about how I wanted to respond to you. Also, I was feeling very relaxed and peaceful as opposed to the day before where I was a wreck, and I didn't feel like getting into a discussion with you at that moment about how wrong and selfish I am. I just wanted a little time to myself to think and eat my pizza and watch some tv. When I did write you back it was because I had decided I was ready to talk to you then if that is what you wanted.

Ultimately, I want you to know that I understand how things appeared to play out from your perspective. I understand that to you, I am the villain who is greedy and selfish and now even dishonest. But I wish you could see that none of those things are true.

I am sorry that my actions have hurt you, but I feel with all you have revealed to me of how you think I work and who you think I am, I'm not sure how there can be any healing until you see the reality of who I am. Unfortunately, I feel like there is nothing I can do about that. You are going to see what you want to see.

I wish you would just respond and say, "I was just angry. I don't really think you are like that." And then we could go back to communicating the way we said we would when we talked on the phone one day about 5 weeks ago. We said we would always interpret the others actions as coming from a loving place. Do you remember saying that? I think you are the one who said it, and I think it is what made the biggest difference in our relationship for the last month. I feel like you've forgotten that and are interpreting everything I do under a guise of suspicion and negativity. Let's both go back to doing that and then take a look at this silly argument for what it was...a horrible miscommunication.

I just wish I could have you look into my eyes and see how genuine I'm being when I say these things to you.
I AM NOT THE ENEMY. I am your girlfriend and I love you. I make some mistakes, but I never ever do anything with an intent to hurt you. Know that if you know nothing else.

Person 2:
Jun 7, 2010 11:37 AM
Why are you arguing with me about this?

Person 1:
Jun 7, 2010 12:23 PM
I thought we were still trying to work through this and come to understand each other better.

Person 2:
Jun 7, 2010 1:32 PM
Once again I tried to move on from this, but you won't. So here is my reply:

You're telling me that all I had to do was to basically just accept that you opened the package and not make a big deal about it? Don't you see that's exactly what I did by not arguing with you and instead just taking time to reflect? Do you realize how ridiculous it sounds for you to tell me that when all you had to do was not open the package. Failing that, all you had to do was to respond lovingly to my text message. All you had to do was not argue with me last year about something similar and none of this would be an issue today. All you had to do was consider my feelings before you opened the package.

You say you took long to reply because you just needed some time. Isn't that exactly what I did the day before? But when I took the time I needed I came back to you positive and with no intention to argue, unlike you. That you would want me to understand you doing that but you don't understand me doing that is not just a double standard, its hypocritical.

You've told me to look at you with love in my heart. Didn't I do that when I reflected and messaged you on Sat. Did you respond with love in your heart? You took the time to enjoy your evening while I suffered wondering why you weren't replying. Was that a selfless thing to do? I do everything that I ask you to do why don't you do the things that you're asking me to do?

You say I have double standards but couldn't give one example. Look above for all the double standards you have.

You said yourself all you thought about was that it was something that I bought for you so you opened it. You didn't for one second think about my interests. Was that a selfless thing to do?

I didn't start this whole thing. You opened the package. Nor did I start this argument, I didn't start it this year and I didn't start it last year. Its way past time that you take responsibility for all the hurt and damage you cause and stop blaming me for being upset with how hurtful you are. It doesn't even make sense that you do that. You are upset at me for being upset at you. Don't you see that is a double standard? And you do it all the time. You take my expression of being hurt by you and you turn it around to be about you. That is controlling.

Person 1:
Jun 7, 2010 4:47 PM
I am willing to take responsibility for any hurt or damage I have caused. That is why in my last text message I wrote, "I am sorry that my actions have hurt you." Only I see things from a different perspective than you.

At this point, I would like nothing more than to move on. But I can't move on when I know from experience that you will bring this up again at another time down the road, and I know that you will hold a grudge against me for the wrongs you have perceived me to have committed.

I would like for us to submit this to a 3rd party mediator. I am open to letting you pick the mediator. I think whoever it is they should know about the history of the argument we had last year and then they should be able to read our text messages word-for-word starting with the first one that I sent you saying that I received a package and going through to this last text.

I will be willing to accept whatever their resolution might be. I wish we could give this to our old therapist to look over. I think that she would be the best person's perspective to get because she would be unbiased and knows our history, but I don't know if that is possible. Would you be open to doing that?

Person 2:
Jun 7, 2010 4:50 PM
Yes, if you would like to set that up I would be fine with that.

Person 1:
Jun 7, 2010 4:57 PM
Ok. Can you send me our therapist's information? I'd like to see if she would be willing to listen. She did say to me as we were leaving that I should call her to let her know how things are going.

Person 2:
Jun 7, 2010 4:57 PM
Let's do this in DC.

Person 1:
Jun 7, 2010 5:06 PM
I was just going to call her on the phone to see if she'd be willing to listen now. If not, I guess we can wait til you come to DC, but I'd really rather get this resolved in the next day or so. Wouldn't you?

Person 2:
Jun 7, 2010 5:08 PM
I think we should try someone new. You didn't seem to learn anything from our experience with her.

Person 1:
Jun 7, 2010 5:14 PM
Ok. If that's how you feel, that's fine. I'm going to look online tonight to see if there is some sort of online therapist for things like this.

Is there a quick way to copy and post text messages online like you did that one time on that website?

Person 2:
Jun 7, 2010 5:17 PM
I emailed it to myself then I had to manually put it in chronological order and remove the header info except for the time, which was an important factor.

I remember I went through a lot of effort to do that and you didn't value the unbiased feedback or the effort I put into it.

Person 1:
Jun 7, 2010 6:01 PM
It sounds like you are feeling a lot of resentment toward me from things in the past.

Person 2:
No reply was sent


Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the text information.

 

I regret that it will take me some time to review this - but I'm happy to get back with you - hopefully in a short time.

 

I also regret that that, as another expert has previously noted, your request is underpriced. Please consider raising your price in order to get feedback.

 

Lastly, I may have several questions for you after I review the material.

 

Thanks.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
That's fine with me. I gave the last expert double in bonus to make up for her effort.

You should also know that we are long distance and have been our entire relationship. He lives in Toronto and I live in DC. We've been together almost 3 years.
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.

Thanks.

 

I'm reviewing now.

 

Several questions:

 

1. I'm asking primarily so I get the genders/names correct. I don't need your actual names (and please don't supply them)... but if you could give me pseudonyms - that would help me make some sense about what I'm reading. Who is person 1? Who is person 2?

 

2. How frequently are you in the same city? For how long do you stay together? What is the plan in terms of living together upon engagement?

 

3. What are your phone bills like? (Humor is always good... I hope...) :)

 

More soon.

Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.
There is mention of counseling? How long has this been going on? How frequently do you meet? Who/what events initiated the counseling?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Person 1 is Sally and Person 2 is Frank

We have seen each other about once a month for the last 2 years and 7 months. Usually the stays are between 4-10 days. Our plans for engagement (if it still happens) involve Sally moving to where XXXXX XXXXXves in Toronto.

Haha. No phone bills. We mostly communicate through text messages because phoning is too expensive on a daily basis.

We went to counseling for a few months last summer after the argument that I mentioned before about the credit card. We would only meet once a month as that was the only time I could be up there.

Frank no longer believes counseling will work because he says I don't abide by what we agree upon in counseling.
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.

OK.

 

Hi, guys! (Frank & Sally - I'm Blake.)

 

I've reviewed your transcript.

 

If I understand that you are asking me to "mediate," I'll need to know what your specific questions. For your own sake, it would probably be best if you both agree that you will abide by whatever answers are provided. (The last thing you guys need is wiggle room...)

 

Please tell me what your specific question(s) are, and I'll try to answer them as best I can. Please also understand that I will try to keep my answers succinct and to the point.

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I need to talk to him about that, so we can come up with specific questions. He's at work, so may be a while.
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your reply.

 

Just let me know.

 

Blake

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Dr. Blake,

I really apologize for taking so long to get back to you. My boyfriend has been very busy at work and hasn't had time to talk to me about our specific questions. He promised to do it tonight. I hope you are still willing to help us.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding.

Shana
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.

No problem.

 

Thanks.

 

Blake

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Since it's been a few days, here is a summary of the argument again and here is our question:

Last July my boyfriend wanted to use my credit card to buy something online because he only has a Canadian credit card which couldn't be used for this US retailer. At first I said no. I didn't let him know why at the time, but it was because I wasn't sure I had enough credit for his purchase. He said fine and didn't ask again for the credit card. I asked him what he wanted to purchase and he wouldn't tell me. We got into a huge argument about it, lasting almost a week. He believed that he didn't need to tell me what he was going to buy online and I thought that not telling me was being secretive.

He ended up figuring out a way to make the purchase online and he had a package delivered to my address from Reebok. I didn't open it and I gave it to him. Weeks later, I found out that what he was buying was a pink tanktop for me from Reebok. He knew that I wanted a pink top.

That was last year. Last week I received a package in the mail from Reebok. I knew that it was something that he bought as he frequently gets items shipped to my address, but I figured it must be for me, so I opened it. He got very upset that I opened it. He told me that I was inconsiderate and selfish and that he needed time to get over it. I asked him how long he needed, and he told me "days". The next evening he messaged me (all of our communication is via text message) at 8pm to say that he hopes I was having a good evening. I didn't reply until 11pm because I was upset at him for blowing things out of proportion. We then got into an argument for days because I was upset at him and he was upset at me.

Questions:
1) I know "there is no right or wrong", but we would like to know if you can give an opinion who is right or wrong here or have this mediated in some way.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When I sent the text messages, they were formatted, but I see they appear all jumbled up. If it would help you for me to send them formatted again, let me know. I'm not sure this site enables messages to remain formatted.
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.

Good morning.

 

I have reviewed your (lengthy) transcript from the text-mail passages, and your summary. Here's the question you wrote:

 

Q: I know "there is no right or wrong", but we would like to know if you can give an opinion who is right or wrong here or have this mediated in some way.

 

A: Given the context of the entire text-mail exchange you are both equally at fault. One need not look at who "began" the difficulties - because you both perpetuated the fault ad nauseum to the point of practically destroying the relationship.

 

My advice would be as follows:

- DO NOT TEXT MESSAGE. The number of miscommunications and misconceptions about communications between you kept compounding until it nearly exploded. You *both* need to agree that text messaging is not a good forum for you to communicate. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Many people assume, once they get started, that text messaging is like a verbal face-to-face conversation - and then proceed to violate all the rules of f-2-f talking. When you text someone, as your transcript implies, you can hold onto it and re-read and re-read and re-read, and overinterpet and use words against one another. Bad idea.

2. Another common assumption is that, like in a f-2-f convo, the other person is able to respond immediately. You both used the rules of f-2-f and text convo interchangeably when it suited you, and this hurt the conversation.

3. So much of human conversation is nonverbal... the same words can be said in 1000 different ways by simple changes in inflection, gesture, body language, and context. (This is why, among other reasons, it's fascinating to watch two different productions of the same show. The words are the same, but the actors and designers and director can change it so it has a completely different meaning.) The context in which "Sally" or "Frank" writes a message might be received in an entirely different context, at a different time, and without the benefit of all the other nonverbal communication tools humans use. In your particular case, it led to innumerable miscommunications and misconceptions.

4. Text messaging is addictive. Why do you think they've dubbed the Blackberry the "crack"-berry? I've seen otherwise completely sane people become complete blithering idiots - either putting their life on hold waiting for a text reply or spending HOURS crafting lengthy replies worthy of a novel <or> sending minute-by-minute "pokes" that grow annoying and pestersome. It simply isn't healthy.

5. The "texting isn't all bad" <or> "I need it for short communications" argument... You may argue that "well, this exchange was a bad one... they're not all like this." Perhaps... but your conversation began with a simple exchange about a package... and escalated into WWIII. Please recognize that even using the texting to send a simple "I watered the garden" or "Call me" or "Have a good day" could be toxic for you guys right now.

6. Texting is pulling you out of your lives and into your heads. You need to stop living in your heads and start living in your hearts and in your actions.

 

My second piece of advice would be to take a mutually agreed upon amount of time (say 2-3 days) to just "cool off" for awhile. Select a date and time when you both will be available to talk VOICE-TO-VOICE on the phone. Make sure that date/time is written down and secured as "sacred" so you can both be available to talk. Decide, in advance, who will call whom. Then, make certain you're both available for 30-40 minutes to have a phone call.

 

During that time, gain your bearings, and recognize what is good about the relationship (not what is bad). Take a moment to write down a "gratitude list." All you need to do is write down A MINIMUM of 10 things you're grateful for about your partner or your relationship. You don't need to (nor do I necessarily recommend that you) share this gratitude list with one another.

 

When the phonecall happens - apologize to one another, acknowledge that you both are at fault (yes - both of you, for the initial incident and all of the aftermath), and put it behind you. It can be as simple as, "I regret that this whole thing happened. I admit my part (no details here) and my responsibility. I'd like to move forward." (Don't rehash it for hours and hours on the phone. If you need to discuss the particular incident, agree that you will only do so IN PERSON.)

 

Allow the phone conversation to proceed as naturally as possible. Enjoy one another's company on the phone. Limit it to 30-45 minutes, max... and see if you need to make plans for another phone call or a time to see one another.

 

During your 2-3 day vacation, have NO CONTACT. After you've had your phone conversation, please DO NOT RESUMING TEXT MASSAGING. For many, it is a means of convenience - but for you both right now - it is a loaded gun. "Put the gun down, and step away from the relationship." That way you can start fresh, with fresh communication, and a mutual acknowledgment that you WANT to communicate and that you WILL, with this matter behind you.

 

What are your thoughts?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Dr Blake,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. We have been given that feedback in the past. What we are more concerned with is our different communication styles and how we can change to improve the way we are communicating with each other so that it is more healthy. Do you have any insights about that?
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 4 years ago.

LOL. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the first person to suggest you "step away from the text messages..." it's a loaded gun for any couple!

 

The best advice I could give is what you guys have already started - coupled therapy. Having someone there to mediate - and to help you both stop the tendency to "read minds" will go a great way toward healing some of your communication. Remember that we're not looking for "good" communication or "correct" communication - we're looking for "healthy" communication. Having a third party present will also teach you strategies to keep in mind for when that third party ISN'T around... simple things like, pausing and actually taking a breath before launching into discussion (or even a reply), active listening, a using humor constructively to defuse potentially touchy situations (for example).

 

The fact that you both WANT to communicate and WANT to find a solution is more than half the battle.

 

I hope you'll take a couple of days to relax, "to breathe," and to create your gratitude lists will bring you closer to more healthy pro-couples communication.

 

Of course, the best way to make the communication better is to be in the same room... and the best way to do that is to live in the same city (or at least the same state... let alone country).

 

Thanks. I hope you guys are well.

 

Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience: Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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