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Ask Rafael M.T.Therapist Your Own Question

Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Okay, I was involved in a messy love triangle recently.

Resolved Question:

Okay, I was involved in a messy love triangle recently.

I started growing apart from my girlfriend when a very close family member was diagnosed with cancer (he died eventually). I needed to talk about it, but my girlfriend would start criticizing me if I tried to, saying that discussing problems was unmanly. When I found out this relative only had a short time to live, it made me cry, and she called me a wimp for doing so. As you can imagine, that didn't help matters.

Then one of her friends started talking to me, and unlike my girlfriend, she let me talk about my grief and she never criticized me if I felt the need to cry (I was very close to this person) and not once did she call me "unmanly" for doing so. As you can see, we started getting closer behind my girlfriend's back. I started getting to know her more as a person and found that I liked many traits about her. However, I never stopped loving my girlfriend despite our problem.

Eventually, someone chewed out my girlfriend for the way she treated me when I needed to talk, and my girlfriend apparently took it to heart because she decided to try to reconcile with me.

That's when my relationship with the second girl was discovered when my girlfriend caught us kissing. The two of them got into a heated argument, with one girl accusing the other of "stealing" me and the second girl saying this wouldn't have happened if she had just listened to me.

I was torn. On the one hand, the second girl was there for me when nobody else was and was sincerely XXXXX XXXXX my well being. On the other hand, my girlfriend was sincerely XXXXX XXXXX disrespecting me, and it seemed only fair to give her a second chance and reconcile.

In the end though, what bothered me the most was that two formerly good friends were now bitter enemies because of their feud over me. So I decided to do the only thing I thought would be good for all of us: I told them both off. I was in love with both, but I couldn't be with both. And it didn't seem fair to choose one over the other since they both had an adequate reason for being with me.

One night, I talked with them both and told them the truth: that I loved them both, but I couldn't stand the fact that their love for me had destroyed their friendship. If I was unavailable, then they wouldn't have anything to fight over anymore. I made them promise that if they loved me as much as they said they did, they would put this behind them and resume their friendship, no matter how difficult it may seem. They both agreed, if nothing else because they cared about what I wanted, and what I wanted was for them to become friends again.

That was three months ago. I haven't seen either since and I don't know if they've made any progress.

So what do you guys think? Did I do the right thing? I mean, obviously it should never have happened in the first place, but how do you think I did once it DID happen?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 8 months ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this overwhelming situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

For how long were you dating your girlfriend when this episode happened, and how early into the relationship did you start feeling this neglected and abused by her?

Customer:

I was with her for about 7 months. Then someone close to me got diagnosed with cancer, plus there were other things bothering me. It was here where I learned something unpleasant about her: she doesn't think men should cry or discuss their problems. For all her good qualities, this was something not so good, and I only learned about it then.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This is very since it shows how your ex-girlfriend did not offer any understanding nor support when you need them the most, but was literally very neglectful and verbally and emotionally abusive when confronting your pain with her opinions about how incompatible they were with your manhood. Most people in your shoes would have felt very insulted and wounded by such mistreatment for sure.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, that's why it as so socking and painful, since that was the time when you needed her the most and she was not able nor willing to even acknowledge your feelings and need for support, but became this abusive. It was still a young relationship but showing a very serious issue already.

Customer:

Well, I certainly did feel wounded. But I'm a forgiving person, so like a fool I put up with it. I didn't think this was worth ending my relationship with her since she was generally a good person. So for the next few weeks, I bottled up my feelings and didn't talk about it...until her friend noticed my changes in behavior.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, it was natural for you to feel comfortable and good about being understood, respected ,supported as a real human being with empathy and affection, and obviously this person was there able and willing to share with you and play this role.

Customer:

One night the second woman approached me in private. She kept asking what was wrong, but I kept replying "Nothing." However, she was persistent. This lasted for nearly an hour before I finally caved in. I struggled not to cry the entire time, but every time my voice wavered, she would pat my arm rather than lecture me. Finally, she let me cry on her shoulder.

Customer:

It was all down hill from there

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, makes perfect sense

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

She was understanding, sensitive, supportive, compassionate, wisely humane

Customer:

Yeah. From that point on, SHE was my confidant, not my girlfriend. There were a lot of nights where I would talk with her on the phone RIGHT AFTER I finished talking with my girlfriend.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right

Customer:

I rationalized this by saying that she and I were "just friends." Sure this was true for a while, but needless to say I sorely underestimated the dangers of closely associating with someone of the opposite sex

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Correct, you were needing support since you were grieving a lot and the was nobody to support you, but she was there for you.

Customer:

Well, as it turned out the attachment was mutual. She was falling in love with me as well. We tried to hide our feelings, but eventually (surprise, surprise) we ended up...well...you know

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I understand, it makes sense and is normal behavior since both were being open, honest and caring about each other.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It is not hard to share happy moments and enjoy things between with other people, but it is not easy to find a person who is able and willing to understand, respect, support and care about you when life issues arise and when there is pain and work in needed to cope with them.

Customer:

Well, shortly after this happened, my girlfriend started talking to her mother about how distant I was becoming. When she told her mother why, she got chewed out by her and informed her that her father cried in front of her on a number of occasions. Perhaps this made my girlfriend feel guilty, so she decided to try to reconcile.

Customer:

That's when she discovered me and her friend kissing.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see.

Customer:

Well, this led to them arguing quite heatedly over whose fault it was or who deserved me more. I didn't say anything. I just stood in stunned silence.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Now after this period of time by yourself, what do you feel for each one of these tow persons, who do you feel could truly be a better life partner, who could respect, understand, support and share with you at core levels, specially when facing painful and tough time, with whom you also have more compatibility around core values, belief system, needs and life expectations? Do you know?

Customer:

Well, the second girl seems more ideal now that I think about it. But I already cut them both off because I didn't want to be a cause for division between them anymore.

Customer:

I made them promise to rebuild their relationship, even if it seemed extremely difficult. In the end, I was more bothered that their friendship was wrecked by their quarrel over me

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You should not try to take responsibility for any of these persons' choices and actions, but focus on holding full accountability for your own feelings, choices and actions, and base don what you truly feel, think and expect from a long term life partner choose one of these two person if you really feel you can play a healthy role in her life and together build something also healthy and fulfilling.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Obviously if you do feel overwhelmed by this situation and for you it is more important not to get involved with any of them because of the conflict that happened, then you have the right to do so, and would have to focus on learning from this experience and giving all of you time to find out how things evolve, and in case nothing changes to start looking for a person who could be able and willing to build a new healthy and fulfilling relationship with you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does it make sense?

Customer: Yyes
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Good. Thank you for replying

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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