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psychlady, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6892
Experience:  I have over 16 years experience in treating adults presenting with a variety of relationship issues
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I have been with a man for over 15 years, to make a long story

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I have been with a man for over 15 years, to make a long story short(er) we started having issues, some with fidelity about 5 years ago. We split for over 2 years but in the past 6 mos. have been spending time together. I am about to turn 52, he is turning 50 this fall. I have had some trust issues with him in the past and he is fully aware that I have them and until recently, gave me no reason to feel as though he was being anything but monogamous. Last night, we visited a restaurant we had not been to in a long time. I knew that there was a woman that worked there that he had spent some time with while we were not together. We ran into her and she immediately hugged him and started talking to him. He talked with her while I stood there. I finally decided that I would find a place to sit down and about 5 minutes later, he came over and sat down. I didn't mention anything to him about her while we were there but when we got into the car to go home, I asked him what happened with her? he seemed to get a bit defensive. I asked him if he told her who I was and he replied that he told her I was the ex. They evidently had talked about me when they were seeing each other. When I heard his reply, I got upset because he does not refer to me as his 'ex' to anyone else. He said that we had not gotten married and that we hadn't decided if we were 'together' or not. I really got mad then becasue I felt disrepected. He also said he would not introduce me to her. I don't get this mad very often but I was there! He asked me to stop the car on his road and he would walk home. I told him not to be so childish that I would drop him off at his driveway.... then is when he broke the camels back, he then said she was someone that he would have liked to sleep with. I slammed on the brakes at that point and told him to get out, and he did. I know him well enough after all these years to say that whether he really wanted to sleep with her or not, it was a statement that was intended to get to the most vulnerable part of our relationship, and to just hurt me as much as possible. I also know that he will pick a fight like this so that he is not forced to look at the awful thing he had done to hurt me. If he is mad, he doesn't have to feel the guilt and shame of hurting me..... there must be more to why, what do you think?
This was horrible on his part. This was vicious and uncalled for. This was a way to project blame onto you. He handled this badly in the restaurant too. I would think that he would be calling you to apologize by now. You were well within your rights to be highly upset and hurt. This seems like a way to stroke his ego rather than value your relationship. I would set some firm boundaries if you do get back together that hurtful things like this are off limits. He needs to resolve whatever happened before without rubbing it in your face. Let him know what you found most hurtful about this situation. And the consequences if it happens again. In the meantime, you remember that you are a valuable person and this was all him .
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. I am interested in knowing or understanding projection a bit more. It seems that when an issue like this arises, he will try to justify his actions instead of accepting his behavior and making it right with me. This bothers me the most because it seems that for some reason, in his maturity level, he lacks a great deal when it comes to issues like this. It is bewildering to me because there is no way that his infidelity can be justified, it is what it is and he continues to try and give me some stupid reasons for it. I am afriad that it will hinder any kind of future for us because I feel like if he cannot be honest with himself and admit to me it was wrong, then how can he be honest with me? Is this kind of behavior 'projection'? Is it that he knows that it was wrong but he can't somehow be honest with himself and admit it? for the most part he is a caring and empathetic person but to devalue our relationship after the strides he had made is what is so confusing to me. I do not understand this. I saw that he had called me at home mid-morning which was weird as well because I work everyday. I wonder if he wanted to know if he had made such an impact on me that I didn't go to work because I was 'too upset' maybe another hopeful ego stroking on his part?
What he is doing is rationalizing or justifying. Projection is when he projects his emotions onto you. Rationalizing behavior has a quality of being immature or just doesn't want to openly admit what he knows is wrong. It is extremely frustrating for the other person. If you have any questions about communication the Mars and Venus series is excellent. It is very hard to argue with a justifier. He would need to consider your perspective in order to make an educated judgment call. It is up to you how patient you want to be. But he has to participate as a adult rational person in order to solve issues. One thing that would help is counseling but he may not want to go. The other is educating yourself through literature like I suggested. In the end, you have to decide if you can function in this relationship if he doesn't change. It is a good sign that he did check on you because that indicates that he was worried about how he effected you. Start a conversation there to see if he is ready to hear your point of view. Talk to him using "I" statements like "It really hurt my feelings when you said I was your ex" Try from that perspective
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

We have been through a lot in our 15 yrs. and to be totally honest, when he stepped out of the relationship and started another one and of course I was the last to know, it took a deep toll on me, a very rough time in my life that literally took about 2 years to even feel comfortable in the world again. I understand the differences between men and women. I did counseling when this happened and I finally moved on. It has been with a lot of caution that I even decided to be around him again. I had to be emotionally ready to do it without falling. I think that I have managed to separate me from him and to take better care of myself and my needs. Don't think I can go through the 'work' it takes to understand why he does what he does anymore. I just know that when he does it, it completely throws me off track and again, I am stepping back for now and going to take 'my' time to think about whether this is really worth it because he isn't going to change. Not as long as he justifies and rationalizes his behavior and as you pointed out and a very well said statement.... he would have to put himself in my shoes and I don't think he knows how to do that. Unfortunatley, thats too bad but it isn't my job to 'lead him to the well' because I damn sure can't make him drink. Thanks for your wisdom, you put a lot of things in perspective for me.