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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5334
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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My ex partner left in March leaving me with 2 boys, turns

Customer Question

My ex partner left in March leaving me with 2 boys, turns out he'd been seeing someone else since last xmas seriously. I'm so upset still, I found out recently this had been going on, I need to move on, but we still have contact due to boys. I need to move on but also be civil for boys sake. He only sees them when it suits him and rages when I try to suggest regular access. Am sure this is normal, I let my eldest stay with him on Sunday night and because he couldn't be bothered going to work my son didn't go to school. I feel like he gets what he wants but I need some me time. I am so fragile I just don't want confrontation and am still hurt. I found out he's been seeing the other woman for years. I am strong in so many other ways, good job,look after boys and don't need him financially but just need advice. Too top it all they got engaged in August after years of him telling me he couldn't commit
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. Why do I say frustrating?

Because he's the one who was unfaithful, he's the one who hurt the people he professed to love, and yet he's the one who seems to be getting the good life with impunity. But of course you're wrong:

It's not impunity: he has to live with someone like himself 24 hours a day (I hope that made you smile). The pattern with the boys shows you just that, his pattern. And what is that pattern? Self indulgence. And selfishness. And here's the key: selfish people can act happy and on the surface they can be happy. But when they get to that moment of having to take stock of who they are and what they are about, it isn't pretty. Their goal is to never reach that moment. And as a psychologist, I've seen it happen: they get a glimpse of the wreckage they've caused.

So, you don't know when that will happen. But you do know that you're seeing the veneer of happiness. My advice?

Don't get sucked up emotionally into that shallow veneer of happiness. You couldn't live in that shallow way and be grateful for that. YOU have to live with caring and concern for those you bestow love to. And so you also get to spend some time grieving for what was lost.

He has no need to grieve. But you do. You invested real love and caring into the relationship. You feel bad that he's happy and you're distraught. Would you want to be NOT distraught? You need to recognize that this is a time for grieving. And so...grieve. You're over denial, so that means anger, and hurt and pain. And eventually acceptance.

But as you do that, keep your head up high: he is showing by his lack of caring for his own children's welfare what you want to make sure to AVOID as you move on and look for Mr. Right.

Because you will soon need to switch focus from exclusively grieving (looking back at what was lost) to where you wish to head toward. And that will be to look for Mr. Right. So let's have this in hand:

Now for your life. Why do I say your life? Because you are not going to find Mr. Right by just looking for "a guy". You've got to treat finding Mr. Right as part of living YOUR life. You are clearly a woman with values. You are not looking simply for sexual gratification. You are looking for a human being who wants to share his life with you and who values who you are.

That's why we're going to focus on goals, strategies, and plans. I want you to take a sheet of paper or on the computer if you prefer and on that paper write your Healthy Relationship Goals. Examples: make 3 close friends in the next 3 months; or go on dates with interesting men at least 4 times in the next 3 months, etc. So you see they don't need to even be goals for just relationships with men, but can be social relationships. Because the more social you are, the more you build your ability to express yourself socially instead of just career wise, the more you will feel comfortable expressing yourself to Mr. Right on a date. You need to feel comfortable sharing your inner self with other people on lots of different levels: acquaintances, friends, confidantes, and dates.

Next, I need you to take another sheet or underneath the goals in the same sheet write Strategies for my Healthy Relationship Goals. For each of the Goals, I want you to write strategies. For example, if your goal is to go out 4 times in 3 months, strategies might be: I want to identify the type of interests men you'd be interested in would have. Then I want to ask yourself where would they go to fulfill those interests. For example, if an interesting man needs to be someone who is into fitness, then he would be a member of a fitness club. If he needs to like art, then he would be a member of the Art Museum and go to gallery openings. If he needs to be spiritually oriented, then he might need to be attending church or a meditation class.

Then, you need to write on a separate piece of paper or underneath each Goal and Strategy: Plans for how to succeed with your strategies. So to continue the example above, you might write: my plan is to go to the 6 most popular fitness studios and check them out to see what their membership looks like and what kind of activities are there. Or for art, I plan to join the Art Museum and to go to an art opening at a gallery at least twice per month and maybe 3 times. Or if you are interested in religion, checking out 3 congregations for active ones that have social events.

These are examples of strategies and plans. I'm trying to focus you on your life interests. What do you want to do to further your having a meaningful life? Remember, Mr. Right needs to fit into what's meaningful to you, so look for him in activities that bring out what's meaningful in your life.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. You can continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What you've said says so much sense, I felt so low and an idiot for not realising the signs, Until now! He was so good at hiding it all and I only focused on my boys, which I know is important. He is the exact description of selfishness, but I will take your advice, move on and look after my little ones, thanks again !

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 years ago.
I've met so many women and men (perhaps a few more women, but it isn't as gender specific as you might think) who have beaten themselves up because the selfish one is the one who always ends up happy it seems.

But that's the facade of selfishness, not the reality. And I want you to remember: you're not trying to live a facade!

All the best to you, Dr. Mark