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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Im in a long distance relationship, I suspect my boyfriend

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I'm in a long distance relationship, I suspect my boyfriend is cheating on me because of sudden unavailability and inconsistency. He reasons out because he is too busy with work and some issue of bankruptcy in his family. He told me i'm being paranoid and just blowing things out of proportion. He said he sought help to a psychiatrist and the expert advised that according to him that we should not communicate for a month so as to regain my confidence and avoid being too attached. Is that a proper intervention not to communicate for a month?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how distressing this situation must be for you. I can't tell you that this would be "improper" in a formal ethics inquiry type of definition; but it is certainly an unusual approach that would be very counterintuitive.

No contact would tend to exacerbate your lack of trust in your boyfriend. It would certainly not help in your regaining any trust!

As for avoiding being too attached, perhaps that might loosen your sense of connection to your boyfriend. But that would not be desirable. If you loosen your sense of connection with him it would be like putting one foot out the door; that would not be an intervention that would commonly be used in such a situation.

To be frank, I would recommend that you ask your boyfriend to ask the psychiatrist to let him fill out a "release of information form" allowing you to speak directly to the psychiatrist about this recommendation. This would help in you regaining trust in your boyfriend for sure, don't you think?

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5109
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Mark is being very clever with this recommendation. For it's pretty obvious that the boy is really just telling you he wants a sabbatical/vacation from being in any relationship with you at all, and pretending that a psychiatrist recommended this path to reduce your anxiety! Naturally your boyfriend will invent a reason why he won't ask the imaginary psychiatrist to speak openly with you about his recommendation. What country is your boyfriend in?

 

Like Dr. Mark, I'm not assuming that your suspicions are right, that he is cheating on you, but he certainly seems to be LYING to you about this advice, and you may be able to catch him in this lie, which would be as good a reason for breaking up and would be catching him cheating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

he said i should've explained the nature of his work which requires frequent out of town trips and his dad's 44 million peso debts. according to the imaginary psychiatrist he needs to focus on his family and that i should understand it. he promised me by october that he will not let me go back abroad to work, we will just put up a business. but what can you advise to me on what's the best thing to do?

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

It looks like your payment and your rating of good service went to Dr. Mark, which might not be what you intended, since you're now adding significantly to the information you wanted an expert to comment on I don't know if Dr. Mark understands the effects of instant Internet communication as I do, so you might want to shift your payment, which I'm pretty sure the management will allow you to do, by simply rating me as "Excellent Service" because that will supercede "Good Service". And it looks like your boyfriend lives in Mexico?

 

I can look at the inconsistency issue in a different way if I factor in his business trips, his family bankruptcy, and most of all the INSTANT COMMUNICATION potential thru the Internet. The Internet and mobile internet devices make it possible to interrupt another person's activities any time day or night with a message, and then start getting worried when they don't respond in 15 minutes, or 1 hour, or 2 hours, or 3, or 4, or 6. This is HELL for interpersonal communication: Because you can't choose to be "unable to respond" without TORTURING the other person who wants you to respond RIGHT AWAY.

 

The most famous Existentialist drama in the 20th century was named "Huis Clos," which means No Exit (Jean Paul Sartre). In it HELL was conceived as a place like a gigantic elevator stuck between floors, so nobody could EVER leave or even get some time and space to themselves. So when a relationship went sour, there was NO ESCAPING FROM IT.

 

That's what Instant Messaging and Texting means to relationships! You are going crazy, as are many younger people than yourself, because you're not getting timely responses to your text messages; and he's going crazy because he can't get away from being held responsible for "standing you up" when you want him to respond to a message from you.

 

The answer to THIS part of the problem is simple: He needs to inform you in advance of WHEN he will make time to respond to any messages you have sent to him, like he could write: "I will be too distracted by business concerns today, but I can make some time between around 4 & 5 pm tomorrow to answer any messages from you that have come in before then." (You should probably NOT set up the expectation of actual real-time chatting at that time, because if he's stressed out about something coming up, he might not be able to keep a promise to chat. And if he has to shut down his responding because he's getting anxious about something else he needs to be thinking about or doing, then you'll get the unmistakable feeling that you're being pushed away--because your connection is being shut off--and that feels like you're not his highest priority: Because you're NOT, since he's busy with his work connections.

 

You would also be well advised to make some specific time predictions about when YOU will be able to respond to his messages, whether you intend to always stick to them or not. Because you need to NOT act like you're available EVERY MINUTE day and night, and here's why: The person who apparently has MORE time to devote to the relationship inherits the role of PURSUER, while the person with LESS time becomes the DISTANCER. And the distancer has more power. In addition the Pursuer starts thinking the Distancer is more SELF-centered and less interested and less loving; while the Distancer starts thinking the Pursuer is more NEEDY, childish hypersensitive, and weak. Relationships work out petter when neither partner is in one role all the time, but each one gets to experience the thoughts and feelings that are bound to occur to Pursuers and Distancers sooner or later.

 

So BOTH of you need to build time-sensitive EXITS into the Up- and Down- (Mood) Elevator of the Relationship you share together. Then you will not be trapped into getting hurt every time the other makes a non-response. For you are NOT engaged in Electronically Synchronized Swimming in Cyberspace halfway around the world, even though that has now become possible in "real time."

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

But he doesn't want it that way, he wanted to not communicate for a month and if i message or call him he said he would extend it for a day so I think he isn't interested as much as before anymore. I tried to break the "imaginary psychiatrist's" suggestion, i tried contacted him and we became okay but after that i was left hanging again he insisted his rule again until this morning i cut the relationship off already. my suspicions actually started when he hired a beauty queen secretary for his business which requires them to travel out of town together and the girl stays at their place once in a while because the girl is friends with the girlfriend of my ex's brother. I started to doubt him because of the gradual and sudden unavailability and the inconsistencies of his statement. everytime we talk recently either he was in hurry, busy or he would put the blame on me that i'm too possessive, too clingy, too suspicious. I got tired so I broke up with him this afternoon. Now i have to deal with the tedious process of moving on..

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I understand. You had a LOT more evidence of cheating than you'd mentioned before. And his newfound "success" (of hiring a girlfriend) has made him arrogant and incautious. It sounds like he's used to getting what he wants with his power and money, so you'd be likely to get pushed around more the longer you stayed with him. Not too different from a Saudi prince or businessman, so I hope you are careful with how much you let them into your life.

 

I presume you're a pretty woman yourself, so you're probably familiar with dealing with powerful men, since they're the main kind that will pursue you. At least you may have an easy time getting some impressive attention from well-behaved men where you are, and if you keep having less time for them than they want, you can keep your freedom and know that you're valued for your presence and charm (though your intelligence might be more than they want).

 

But if your intelligence IS what your Mexican boyfriend wants, you might find him wanting you to come back, because you've turned the tables and now YOU'RE the Distancer. You'll see -- you might not be rid of him yet.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
By the way, my ex is filipino and so am I but I work overseas. I just never thought he could do these stuff for he was entirely different before. He was even close to my family to the extent of visiting them even I was abroad but recently my family has been very disappointed also. I didn't know what pushed or influenced him to do so. Anyway, thank you so much for the helpful advice.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
I've just been counseling another woman who's also Filippino working abroad and was about to marry the wrong guy. Would you say there's a big difference between the Filippinos that are bicultural (or tricultural) because they've lived and worked for several years abroad (and perhaps also gone to college in a Western culture) and those that have never gone far from their families? Or do you have little or no access to influential relations with Saudi culture? I imagine that for a woman, living in Saudi Arabia might present no temptation to marry and settle there; but living in Australia, Hawaii, USA, Japan, or Malaysia might be more enticing. What does your experience suggest to you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There's no chance at all if you're living in Saudi Arabia as for my opinion. Anyway, I think I'll get rid of him forever because he was really angry and blaming me for destroying his life after he has done everything as what he claims. And he said he doesn't want to see or to talk to me anymore for what I did.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
Do you have any way of getting independent witness corroboration for your belief that he's been cheating with the "beauty queen?" You're both acting like a pendulum that's swinging farther and farther with each emotional blow you deliver to each other. Passion is powerful, but are you sure that your suspicions have independent evidence to back them? Remember, he could be very frightened of his family's bankruptcy too. I know he's acting controlling and irrational, and I'm not suggesting that you should want to marry a guy with such extreme reactions.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Honestly, not enough evidence yet but I get to see pictures of them together with friends and relatives of the girl during out of town "business trips" plus the girl posts photos of her where she's in the house of my ex. the girl used to stay in my ex's house and now he told me she's staying in another place. There were actually inconsistencies in his statements from the very beginning he started to work with these beauty queens. My ex mentioned he wasn't firing his driver/pa because the person has been already known to my family but I just learned yesterday that the driver no longer works for him but to his sister and he already hired a new one. My aunt had the chance to ask about the girl but the driver didn't utter any word. He also issued some bouncing checks to my uncle who was supposed to be his business partner and no explanation yet up to date. That says something to his personality I guess. But honestly inspite of everything I would want to believe there's still goodness left in his heart but obviously I can say he has changed a lot for the past 6 weeks.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Long distance relationships certainly won't work without the trust that comes with clear mutual agreements. I know many Filippio men prefer more dominance in relationships, and the money- power- and beauty-seekers are especially likely to avoid anything resembling equal rights. I wonder how long you've known him and how long you've been in agreement that you had an exclusive relationship. I'm relouctant to apply myown cultural standards to your relationship, so I have to take my cues from you--from what matters to you. This guy has alpha-male ambitions, but I'm not sure he has much respect for you.

 

Since you've already broken up with him, I'd support you staying with your position, which seems to me to be that you won't accept the incommunicado sabatical deal he's imposed without your agreement, so you'd rather be separated. The only problem with that is that there's nobody you can put in his place where you live now, so in effect you're waiting for him anyway, even though you're probably not going to tell him that. So you'll see if he has any long-term interest in you or not. Now you have the opportunity to make your Saudi lifestyle worth looking forward to without a promising LD relationship in your pocket. I wonder what you think the ingredients in such a single woman's lifestyle in SA are that can make your life a growing concern. (I'm thinking that developing something NEW --arts, travel, people, learning--is a key to setting yourself into forward motion.)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We've been in a relationship for almost a year but we've known each other for like 3 months when I was in the Philippines plus we had common friends before we entered the relationship, I was really reluctant then of being in an LDR but he was the one really persistent and convincing that it would work just like his sister who had been in an LDR for 3 years. He did everything to earn my trust as in everything even I had to go back to SA, we had a constant communication, did his promises and everything, he was very nice to my family, he would even visit them even I was here, he had a lot plans for me. A day before the break up he even told when I come home in October, he would not let me come back here anymore, because eversince he was planning to put up a business for me, he was discussing it to me since we've started the relationship, but for the mean time we will not communicate for a month because according to him he has to focus on his work for now. but in my heart and mind I had doubts, and felt like I was a big stressor or him. I wouldn't want to be a burden and beg for his attetion. He said he is very stressed out from work and he's hurting everytime I blame or accuse him and he's depressed knowing i'm not trusting him. I just don't know how true.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

You're sufferi9ng a lot from not being able to talk thru the issues. LDR's work best when you see each other in person at least every 2 months, but you don't have that option. And 3 months startup, followed by 9 months apart is tough because too much of the relating goes on in your mind and too little in communication, even if you're messaging. Realistically, you're not going to get over him in the monthhe's declared a moratorium anyway; and he still has more power, because he could be romancing another woman, whether it's the secretary or not, but you'd be giving up the kind of life you're used to in the Philippines if you got involved with a Saudi man (because their culture is so difficult for women).

 

He doesn't want to feel criticized because he's not paying attention to you at this distance, and you feel like you're begging for crumbs from his table: But those are just the normal and inevitable emotional thoughts arising from the Pursuer-Distancer Dance, which you both are stuck with, because he has too much to do, and you have too little to do outside of your work. So you can look for more ways to occupy your own attention outside of your work, like I suggested before. You're not going to make any difference in the balance of power right now; but you can work on making your own life more rewarding. What he has done is to demand of himself and of you that you turn down the heat on your feelings towards each other, because otherwise it hurts too much to be apart. That's a male thing to do, and it's normally not so easy for a woman. But if your other choice is to break up with him because you don't trust him (or to keep pursuing him through getting the people you know back home to report on him) you're going to keep suffering. So focusing your attention on what you can do where you are to make your life more interesting is a helpful alternative. For if you DON'T insist to him that YOU'RE THROUGH WITH HIM, then you're not giving him a kick in the backside and permission to cheat on you and try to replace you, if he isn't trying to do that already. You're giving yourself the month to wait and see what he does when his breathing space is over, and you're learning how to ease your suffering in the pursuer role by pursuing novel aspects of the place where you are, even though Saudi culture puts significant limitations on what a single woman can do--presumably group activities and private study would be open to you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I already cut all the possible means of communication, even deleted our common friends in all social networking sites, and all the means where I could find photos of them. We ended up badly so I don't think this will ever have a chance. I want to move on as well but it's kinda difficult here I am just locked up in the four corners of my room. I have no plans of dating here as well, I still would want to have a partner with of the same culture and religion or same beliefs, and for me dating now is really far off my mind, I've been too emotionally exhausted and drained for the last 6 weeks, it will take time. I have a holiday on october and I plan to spend it travelling and taking my exams so I could move to another open country by June. I already asked him to return my stuff back especially my graduation photo which he hung to his wall and the money I've invested on stocks because he convinced me to do so I gave him the money and he was the one who processed everything because he said before that if ever he gets in a serious relationship he wants the woman to be his business partner in that case, he won't ever let go of the girl but he agreed he will give it by Monday. I don't want converse with him anymore and so does he. I asked him to just talk to my relatives if he needs something. By the way, I tried going home at least twice in 6 months so this is the longest we haven't seen each other coz i was supposed to come home by October but I'll change plans now. I either go to Paris or Dubai. He even said he was working doubly because he would never want me to come back here anymore, at the back of my mind how could it be true when he wants to get rid of me for a month and doesn't want to talk to me.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
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