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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 900
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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I was with a woman for 7 years and we ended our relationship

Resolved Question:

I was with a woman for 7 years and we ended our relationship on very bad terms. I loved this girl with all my heart and I believe I tried everything I could to be with her.
So as of 5 months ago she had my baby and I half heartedly tried to work on the relationship to see if we could work it out.
Well I just didnt trust her.
So behind her back I started dating another girl who is 8 years younger than me! I told the younger girl about my ex and didnt tell me ex about the new girl, yet I was sleeping with both of them. My ex found out about the new girl and packed up our son and moved to a different state. I blamed her for everything and lashed out at her viscously.
Ive done nothing but party with various people and woman and ended up cheating on the new girl and what not. I care about the new girl, but I care about my ex to!
Within the last month I have been fighting with the new girl and my ex and I have not had a fight in the last month. I have yet to bring the new girl around my family, but my ex I still bring around all the time , in fact when she visits, I have her stay at my parents house. I let her drive my car and I even gave her a 300 dollar birthday gift. I even paid 1200 dollars for brakes on her car and took her family out to dinner which cost me 800 dollars.
I dumped the new girl and I am now on semi- friendly terms with my sons mom, but here is the tricky part.
Whenever I get a voice mail from my sons mom, I save it for a few days and then delete it. Yet I save all the nasty mean emails from the new girl. What is wrong with me. It should be the other way around right. I mean new girl nasty voice mails save, sons mother, nice messages, delete. What is wrong with me?

My other qouestion is why was lashing out at my ex/sons mother so much? I didnt want her to find out about the new girl , I dont even know why I didnt want her to find out, help me with that one too.

why am I still holding onto those messages if I dumped the new girl.

I also have to say that my ex really really broke my heart, she didnt cheat she just dumped me at the wrong time in life. I know she loves me, I just dont trust her.

HELP!!!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 3 years ago.

nphbrown :

Well, you have quite a bit of relationship history in this posting. I'm wondering what the story of your breakup with the soon-to-be mother of your child was, who did what to whom, and what were the real differences or deepest wounds underneath the escalating bickering that usually becomes the avalanche that buries a relationship of that much length. I wonder too, what sort of discussions you two had about marriage, which in my estimation differs from cohabitation in a few major ways. 1. It is usually a commitment to stick it out way into the future, and quite likely to accept responsibility for raising children together (or separately if the marriage crashes). 2. It is usually consecrated in the presence of both families, so all those relatives become a great source of embarrassment and recriminations if you allow the marriage to go down and crash. 3. It involves a merger of financial responsibilities, especially when the wife has a baby and is therefore very necessary to that baby's early physical, psychological & emotional development. (For example, children whose parents were fighting or otherwise unstable during the infant's first year, as evidenced by their eventual divorce, are about 7 times as likely to get diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder as children from subsequently stable marriages.)

Customer:

No she has already had my son, in october to be exact

Customer:

We were engaged at one point and I found out that she had two abortions without my knowing

Customer:

I want to know about the messaging aspect

nphbrown :

So I wonder if issues around marriage and family commitments were instrumental in your breakup. OK now I see why you don't trust her. But I still wonder what led her to believe that it wasn't safe to have a kid with you.

Customer:

She had a bunch of fear from her parents and I was not as stable as I should have been

Customer:

so it led her to do so

Customer:

Im still hurt by her

nphbrown :

Everybody's hurt all around. That's not going to get you or your child's mother anywhere unless you're both determined to find the ways to show the empathy and understanding that the other one needs to begin hoping again, if not yet trusting.

Customer:

When I got cuaght I blamed her and then as of the last month I have been lashing out at the new one, who I have dumped but I dont get it

Customer:

What am I to do

nphbrown :

I'll explain that. It's purely emotional. You have hurt, so you cover up your hurt by inserting "new love" to wash it away with sex hormones, and some booze and/or drugs for good measure. So that victimizes the new girl by using her as a "human shield" against your self-perceived failure as a budding father. Becoming a father is a huge new responsibility that requires lots of sacrifice for less rewards than when life was more full of partying. Yet you seem to have been very hurt that your girlfriend aborted two pregnancies without consulting you. So do you really want the burden and sacrifice (which means sacred activity) you've managed to launch this time? And why do you think she had this baby when you were already broken up before either of you knew she was pregnant? Or is that time-line inaccurate?

Customer:

She broke up with me again at 3 months into her pregnancy and she did not start speaking to me again until she was 7 months

Customer:

So what about the messages on my voicemail and deleting the ex and saving the new ones whom Ive dumped

Customer:

I mean why didnt I tell my sons mother about this new girl and why am I so nice to her all of the sudden

nphbrown :

So the emotional category at the heart of your relationship problems is shame/hurt guilt/embarrassment/awkwardness, all biologically designed to signal that love, excitement and joy are out of control and cruisin for a bruisin, that is way too likely to create a big mess for too many people that normally do matter. So new mother withdraws, perhaps needing peaceful surroundings for hatching a little one. So you flee your own shame into drugs, sex and new love, because you don't have time to feel bad when you're jacked up on new love. Then you get shamed by being spotted with the new girl by the wrong people. So now you can't use newgirl to avoid your sense of embarrassment and prior failure. Your last-ditch defense against shame is violent anger and blaming anyone else but yourself. SO first you're desperately pushing away the mom you've betrayed and failed by not sacrificing your own lifestyle to protect and provide for. Why didn't somebody who's done some fathering tell you about what you were going to have to "man up" for? Now you're having to play catchup, when too many people are hurting too many other people.

Customer:

So do you think I even care about new girl, I mean I cheated on her with my sons mother. And look how I am now treating my sons mother

Customer:

I mean now look at how I am treating her

Customer:

thanks for you help

nphbrown :

So why do you dump the new girl and get nice toward your "child's mother?" Because you're thinking there's something important about fatherhood, and that child is going to be a living witness to your failure if you don't start doing the right thing. Spending all that money (and even keeping track, and rounding $ up to the nearest hundred$) looks to me like the beginnings of making amends and trying to patch things up. WHy lash out at the new girl? To drive her away and reduce your sense of failing as a man. For as studly as it may appear to some uncoupled buddies, getting away with infidelity is just as unsatisfying in the long run whether it gets caught during the partying or not. It's much more economical to beat up on the girl you cheated with than to keep hurting the child's mother.

Customer:

WOW! I never looked at it that way

Customer:

So my questions about the voicemails

Customer:

Why did I delete my sons mothers who were really nice and save the old girls nasty voicemails

Customer:

I dont get that about me

nphbrown :

Apparently you're a charming guy with an expensive car, so you look like a good catch for a girl. But you're either going to lose your wild-guy bachelorhood or your dignity in the eyes of your family and hers, you choose. That's one of the central points your current tumult boils down to.

Customer:

True but I dont think Im going to let that go soon

Customer:

and I dont want to lose my family

Customer:

I must mention that my sons mother and I were engaged as well

Customer:

What about the messaging

nphbrown :

What difference does it make why you do such a minor thing irrationally, when there are so many more important things you need to handle with care and humility? If you want me to speculate on that piece of irrational behavior, I'd say you've flipped your shame party away from your ex and in fact would be wife and onto the surrogate you used before to avoid your feelings about failure. So you can let litlKitty blast you and enjoy it, because you know you are guilty as sin, and you know you'll be a lot further into the doghouse with both families if you don't smooth over the disastrous months around your staggering entrance into parenthood.

Customer:

true! how do i build up the trust though

Customer:

I really dont trust her

Customer:

and Ive tried to replace my sons mother but I cant

Customer:

as for the message deletion... Im trying to see as to why you think I might have done that... Its a learning process for me

Customer:

And with what I have said.. do you think I still love my ex/ sons mother

nphbrown :

Perhaps your couldabeen wife wasn't eager for motherhood's responsibilities any more than you wanted to knuckle down to boring stable providerdom. Perhaps one root of your fighting is struggling to avoid buckling down to parenthood. You might need to think about rehab, since you say you're not going to quit partying.

Customer:

Yeah Im reaching out now so I know I need to buckle down

Customer:

She actually is a great mom to our son, and she has shown emotions that I had never seen in her before

nphbrown :

I don't understand why you don't trust her (not that it doesn't fit for you). But I do understand why she wouldn't feel distrust for you. The husband/father is supposed to build and maintain the outer container--home for the wife, who maintains the sacred inner space for their child. (We don't get any stories in the gospels about the cool parties Joseph was attending in between painting-ops by the manger.)

nphbrown :

Do I think you still love your son's mother? You would if you could get over the feelings of failure and shame you have for bungling the walk into parenthood, even tho she might have some similar feelings about her own breakups with you.

Customer:

She lied to me about our children

Customer:

she had abortions and told me that she had miscarried

Customer:

she never cheated on me yet she would just act so dysfunctional

Customer:

But I realize that her home life was dysfunctional

nphbrown :

So the key is how to get through cleansing yourself of the extreme discomfort of feeling like a failure. You need to stop keeping score about how she hurt you and start figuring out what she'll need to hear or read from you that shows her you understand what some of the things you've done must have felt like to her, and how bad you feel that you've tripped over yourself and made all those mistakes that could really make her distrust you forever. And if you run away and into another easy conquest to avoid getting down on your knees (figuratively) to show her how thoroughly you can feel for her in her time of need, you're just sentencing your kid to a life without trusting his father.

Customer:

Wow!

Customer:

Nail on the head

Customer:

Im really getting used to the idea of being a dad

Customer:

but I know I am being selfish

Customer:

can you tell me again why I lashed out at her

Customer:

So where do I go from here

Customer:

Ive shelled out money, accomodated her at my mothers house, taken the family out for dinner purchased a birthday gift

Customer:

What do I do

nphbrown :

Since coming up with the words to express what it means to you to have treated her as you have should be very uncomfortable and difficult, I suggest you work on it in emails, so you don't have to be right the first time you try to say it. You can ask her what's bothering her most about the last year and then proceed to address each one of her complaints, not defending yourself but humbly showing her that you can understand and feel her pain. Then you can run your letter(s) by someone older who might understand better how to express what you want to write, perhaps even an expert like me (tho I'm not sure if that's kosher thru an educational site like this one). In a second letter (separate) you could tell her how you feel about the most painful things she has done also, so that she'll have a chance to empathize with you too.

Customer:

Lastly and I must know...

Customer:

Do you think i still love her

Customer:

and Why the issue with the messages... I still have yet to delete them.

Customer:

I must know why I did that

Customer:

Its so simple yet I cant understand

Customer:

Also can I continue to contact you for guidance

nphbrown :

Money isn't the pathway to mutual forgiveness, tho using it for building the protective container for her childraising and yours is certainly right. I've described the far more difficult process of expressing your regrets and empathic feelings in written words, tho they're still easier than spoken because you can compose what you want to write more carefully than you can say it.

Customer:

I know its not money she wants, she loved me when I was broke and down and ou

Customer:

out

nphbrown :

I told you you'll only discover that you love her when you've cleared away the hurt and turmoil you've caused and also felt yourself. By working at expressing complete understanding, empathy and contrition (sorryness) for your mistakes and your intentional hurtfulness. That's no simple achievement. For that much openness about your own mistakes is way beyond what most men are ever able to achieve. And they just do everything they can to avoid it: Withdraw from the situation, avoid the awkward feelings by partying, sexing, new-love addiction, risktaking, or blaming and attacking (verbally) somebody else, who is apparently the real guilty party instead of you. We've all done all three of these "directions" of defensive response to shame feelings, but most of us men have real difficulty accepting the blame ourselves and confessing our misdeeds, seeking ways to express our sorrow and make amends where what we do can benefit our woman and in the fairly near future Restore our Dignity, Restore our partner's Trust by showing her our new humbler self that can express his apologies and declare his mistakes and sacrifice to serve his woman and his child.

Customer:

Thank you!

nphbrown :

Now finally you said her family is dysfunctional and that shows up in her probably difficult personality in close relationship with you. Since you seem to be earning some serious money, you can provide therapy for her and for the two of you. To begin ironing out the destructive emotions and bringing the attachment ones into good relations with each of you.

nphbrown :

But now I'm so exhausted and it's 4:45 am, and my dog needs me to go to sleep so he can.

Customer:

Well yes I think we will get to that point, i will admit that I am nervouse to do so

Customer:

Can you just answer the question about the messages... It is really bugging me

Customer:

PLEASE!

Customer:

And Id like to see your counsel again sometime

Customer:

Please

nphbrown :

I'd appreciate a good bonus, since I've provided quite a bit of clarification on the emotional front for you. I'm very well versed in that area, since I've written a scientific book on the Emotional Dynamics of Love with which I intend to improve the basis of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. And that is the most appropriate for healing up the emotional wounds and dysfunctional cycles that have probably brought you to fall off the edge and now discover that life is no longer a whopping adventure story when you've conceived a child. Instead of just turning the corner to encounter another exciting adventure, you're now living an epic poem on love, parenting and family. So the plot is pretty well known already and it's just how well you can live it that matters the most.

Customer:

and the messages please

nphbrown :

Not tonight. Go back and reread this transcript. It's already there, though not spelled out in great detail. I don't think I ujnderstand it so much better than you do since you created it. I wrote why you've saved lilKitty's scoldings, but not why you've deleted the others. Perhaps because reconciling with your real partner is much scarier than taking a few beatings from the girl you were toying with. Why so scary? Because you'll have to deal with almost everyh painful episode all over again, and your poor overchallenged ego can't imagine going thru all that pain, shame, frustration, mistakes carefully again and actually making it to the other side. But it's mainly so frightening because you haven't started the really emotionally taxing part yet.

nphbrown :

And you can make that transformation of yourself thru this necessary healing and forgiving process a lot safer by locating an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist in your area and hiring him.her as your guide, manager, and skilled, conscientious guarantor of the best outcomes possible.

nphbrown :

You can ask for me again tomorrow, but I won't have time in the afternoon, just late morning and early evening. Hasta la vista. Read my profile to see more about who you're dealing with, just so you know I'm not really being cocky, just in a hurry because I'm so exhausted, but I knew immediately that I needed to step in for you.

Customer:

thank you and I will contact you again

Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 900
Experience: Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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