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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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Hi, My fiance and met in 2004, dated for 6 years, broke up,

Customer Question

Hi,
My fiance and met in 2004, dated for 6 years, broke up, got back together and got engaged in February of 2012. When he popped the question, I was completely caught off guard. I thought we were taking it slow (as we'd discussed) in getting back together. But I said yes anyway, because I love him and I want to be with him.
I knew that during our split, he saw other people, and one of those people he had a strong connection with. Nevertheless, he's denied being serious about her.
I have a terrible habit of snooping through his things. Its a self-destructive behavior that has hurt us both in the past, and recently, I did it again. He left his email open and I looked. I found that he still continues correspondence with her, and met up with her one afternoon in April 2012. Only then did he tell her we were engaged.
We have been through so much. This level of dishonesty and abuse of trust (on both our parts) is something I have no idea how to cope with. I need just a little guidance here... I'm completely lost and terribly hurt.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, I am available to assist you

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Welcome, I'm glad you posted today!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

This sounds like a difficult place for you to be right now. Feeling a bit guilty for "snooping" but confused and suspicious.

Customer:

Hi, thanks for taking my question


 

Customer:

Yes, that's basically it


 

Customer:

I've always had difficulty when it comes to trust, especially with men.


 

Customer:

And it makes that complex worse when my suspicions are validated


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes! Trust is a big issue here-

Jean N/20pluscounts :

This may be the best opportunity to be really honest- have you set a date for getting married?

Customer:

No, we haven't planned anything. Neither of us are big planners to begin with, and I'm kind of scared of marriage - or rather - of wedding ceremonies. I find them all a bit antiquated and silly...

Customer:

I should also mention that when we got engaged, my family didn't even know we were dating. Bascially because I wasn't sure if he was totally serious. So I hid the engagement for several months. That hurt him deeply.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

What led to break up? You may subconsciously be looking for a reason to put off marriage cuz of the fear. Yes- you hid the engagement- like he's hiding the contact with girl- both acting in similar way?

Customer:

We had been fighting quite a while. He is a work-a-holic, and was working nights for a long time. The schedule and the lack of deserved promotion made him into a monster. He was angry, verbally abusive and had no patience for anyone or anything. I strayed and kissed someone else. I hid it from him, but he found out anyway because he can read me like a book. We broke up after that. Its interesting you say putting off marriage because of fear - that is so on-point. I let fear take the wheel in countless situations. It prohibits me from happiness on so many levels. And your statement about hiding this contact and me hiding the engagement has me close to tears. You've definitely hit a nerve there.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

What you describe is not uncommon- you are not alone. All this gives you an opportunity to communicate better- that's a must if relationship and or marriage is to work. Learning to communicate clearly and honestly is a skill many of us have not learned real well- don't teach it in school, often don't see it with our parents... I'm amazed when I see couples in therapy how basic we have to start sometimes- having to teach communication.

Customer:

Amen to that.


 

Customer:

We are rookies.


 

Customer:

As much time as we've been together, we are very new at communicating clearly, honestly and without resorting to childish behavior


 

Customer:

I just don't know if I should keep working and keep trying or give up with him, since there's so much past and so much pain between us


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sounds difficult with him being married to work to- not always available to you- you have to compete for his time and attention. The key is to learn those skills of communication. It may be worth the risk to tell him how you really feel, and yes that you snooped!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

example: "I snooped in your phone, I'm sorry, but I'm worried about us"

Customer:

Well that's the thing


 

Customer:

As I mentioned, he can read me like a book. As soon as he saw me later that day, he immediately asked, 'what's wrong?'


 

Customer:

I tried to blow it off, but he literally said, 'you're hiding. you're not communicating'


 

Customer:

and out of the blue he asked if i'd looked through his things on the computer


 

Customer:

I admitted it, and he was very angry. He said that his love for me was all that mattered, and that he needed me to trust him


 

Customer:

But I'm not sure how to do that when he hid this from me. I mean, the only reason I can see why he met with her was because he still has feelings for her.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The use of "I" lessens defensiveness- less need to put on boxing gloves. If you are so unsure if you should remain in relationship- what do you have to lose in being more honest? Wow he reads you well huh?? It's okay to be a bad liar or faker!! What are you really trying to communicate in snooping?? A reason to not trust, reason to jump ship? The girl was there for him at a difficult time- when he was vulnerable- sounds quite clear he has chosen to be with you and cares a lot for you.

Customer:

If I'm going to be honest with myself, yes I think I was looking for a reason not to trust and therefore, jump ship. I feel I have to protect myself - that no one but me can be careful with me, so I have to double check my partner.
I'm pretty good at reading him too though. I keep a journal and I looked back to the dates when he and this girl were meeting up. I literally wrote, "something is wrong, I feel like he's cheating on me." But of course, I never communicated that concern to him.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It sounds like the "fear" is talking in all of this- have you felt this way before him- something in your past? Fear is often underlying much of our not so healthy behavior in relationships. This may be more about your insecurities and may need to put lots of energy in building yourself up. We have to love self before we can love others!! Corny but true:). There are no guarantees in life in relationships, but being afraid is a huge use of energy and time that can be used better elsewhere.

Customer:

Not corny at all - I really, truly believe that you have to love and care for yourself before others can see that example and set it. I guess I just haven't been concentrating on that very much lately. Fear is a huge part of my life. As a kid I was physically abused for years by my Dad, and sexually abused by my uncle. Its bled into almost every one of my relationships - my fiance is far from alone. I think you are dead-on... its soaking up too much of my energy... so much so that I have terrible self-esteem issues


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

What we "feed" or give energy to only grows larger. When you start feeling insecure, suspicious remind yourself- "oh ya that's the "fear" talking- it is strong. We all have fear but we don't want it to be driving the car- yes in the car- but you need to drive. Move over fear I'm drivin! I think you can give "fear" an identity- big blop going nowhere fast. I'm sorry for the abuse- yes when young didn't learn to trust, to be protected- that's really hard.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

We tend to replay the original hurt until we heal it.

Customer:

Absolutely - all of that sounds like what I'm dealing with, or rather, avoiding.


 

Customer:

I really want to get better at identifying - I feel like that's a big piece of nipping things in the bud


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Pete and Repeat were in a boat- Pete fell out who was left- "repeat"....and on and on, over and over.

Customer:

Ugh I'm so tired of repeating the same behavior over and over.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Again what you describe is "human behavior" you are not alone- we do the best we can considering what we have endured- survival.

Customer:

Right.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You expect danger- and look for reinforcement of that with the snoopy nose.

Customer:

Exactly!


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You sniff it out right!!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You have a nose for it:) I'm not making fun- it's just so common- normal response to fear.

Customer:

I want to be proven wrong... but my gut says 'something's there.'


 

Customer:

'he's hurting you and you're looking foolish!'


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes- right. It may be more about expecting hurt- or being with someone who may hurt??? Someone who isn't available. Have you been in counseling?? You sound like you may be "ready" for some or for some more.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You may be drawn to someone who can recreate the original hurt in order to heal it.

Customer:

I have been in and out of therapy for years, but never to therapy with him. I asked him the other day if he'd be willing to do couples counseling, and he said yes.


 

Customer:

But its interesting - the similarities in personality between him and my father are tremendous


 

Customer:

So maybe in that way i'm going back to the 'original hurt'


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes- how do we find that person from the past- so automatic. With this sort of thing a huge focus goes on him, vs. you- put more energy into healing you. Hey the therapy wouldn't hurt!! It's a big step towards that healing- help with the healing. Your mind, body, soul want to heal- correct self.

Customer:

But does that mean I've chosen the wrong partner? This engagement is a mistake?


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes- in some way he wears the face of your father and triggers all that goes with it. No does not mean he's wrong partner. not necessarily- it's more of an opportunity to heal self with help of him- he can be part of that recovery- learning to trust.

Customer:

o.k.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

He's an opportunity to be pushed to heal- do you kinda know what I mean?

Customer:

Because I'm an adult now and I can take that healing and growth into my own hands and make it my own?


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

He's bringing up the stuff that is unresolved- he's helping you in a sense.

Customer:

Jeez - if meeting with other women is helping than I'm really lost!


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Read a bit about Imago therapy- very interesting stuff about looking for image of what needs to be healed. No it is challenging you to look within.

Customer:

Ok, I will absolutely do that


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The meeting other women is worth a discussion for sure- not to minimize that.

Customer:

He gets really defensive. Not sure how to just get honesty without anger/defensiveness


 

Customer:

But your explanation of "The girl was there for him at a difficult time- when he was vulnerable" made me feel a lot better


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It does give you an opportunity to trust that you have a voice, opinion, deserve to be treated with love and respect. That's where the couples counseling may really help- that's a good idea- I'd encourage you to do that.

Customer:

I think its a must.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

He is with you- chooses you- committed to you- but hey we all are a work in progress

Customer:

For sure.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I hope this chat was helpful- food for thought- you will be able to review again for reference.

Customer:

Thank you so much Jean. You really are great at what you do and have given me a lot of relief in a very troubling time.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm glad to help- let me know if I can help again. Jean

Customer:

I couldn't see through this but now I feel like i have clarity and a better approach


 

Customer:

Thank you!


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hang in there and take the best care of you!

Customer:

Thank you Jean. All the best to you as well.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If you would be so kind to rate my answer ok or above so I can get credit much appreciated!!

Customer:

Absolutely, will do!


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

great- thank you!

Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience: Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Jean and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Jean,


 


I've been trying to contact you via justanswer this morning, but I see that you're not online. I believe justanswer has taken my $5 deposit, and I'm hoping that when you are online and have a moment, we can talk. Please contact me - I could really use your help.


 


Thank you,


Lynn

Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.
Hello Lynn!!

So good to hear from you. If you want to go ahead and post what's on your mind looks like you can do it right here- on this question. If you prefer a live chat I would be available for that now for about an hour, or this evening at 6 p.m. my time central time. For a live chat you would need to start a new question. For now go ahead and use this thread, and I will respond to you asap. This format still allows us to post back and forth.

Jean
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Jean,


 


Thanks so much for your response. Live chat would be great, but whatever is more convenient for you. I'm available to talk now.

Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.
I'm available now for a live chat- so will leave that up to you. I have about an hour. Do you know how to ask a new question? I'm not sure what screen you see, if you do not know how to start a new question, check with customer service they can help you.

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