How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Mark Manley Your Own Question
Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Mark Manley is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have asked several times about my current situation... i

Resolved Question:

I have asked several times about my current situation... i appologise for the repetition but i desperately need to get better soon.
im 26 and am an officer in the military. A year ago I broke up with my girlfreind of 5 years and i am utterly devastated. The reasons for the break up are complex and haunt me. Haunt me so much I cannot live a healthy life. I was starting to make progress when I bumped into her a few days ago, with a new boyfriend. Her progress - seemingly complete - and health and grown up attutide and seeming complete happyness has shocked me back into my depressive, regretful state of misery about the break up.
I loved and still do love her so much. She is a lovely, gentle warm girl who was a truely wonderful girlfriend to me. The only thing that bothered me in our relationship, and the cause of the break up, was my dislike and inability to let go of her past - her sexual past. It was a big issue and caused a 6 month depressive episode when we got together and 4 years later it came back. She decided enough was enough and left. I knew it was wrong, i knew we should be together and that I loved her, but i was in a depression again and as far as I could see it was just. yeh again, beacuse I had decided I didnt like what I knew about her past. Basically, she naively had 10ish 1 night stands when arriving at university and I knew some of the guys involved.
She was the eldest of 4 children, the only girl. One of her brothers has ADHD and she was sent off to bording school on her own. She had an eating disorder and she found her school years very difficult and hard to talk about now. She arrived at university with little confidence but after joining a few sports clubs I believe she became much more confident, made some freiends but this was the start of her "behaviour." She had never had a boyfriend of more than 2 weeks before I met her. Unfortunately I only viewed her as a conquest when we first met and didnt want much to do with her after. She just accepted the knock back and a few weeks later was sleeping with someone else. A little while after that we started seeing eachother again and got together and fell in love.
However, I found out about her behavior shortly after and it sent me beserk. I found it very very hard to deal with. She was my first sexual partner, I was her 10th..
But i finaly learnt to deal with it and we had a wonderful few years together. Howver last year it all came back, out of nowhere... I started asking the same questions, started punishing her, started obsessing. She declared she couldnt go throught it again and left. She has not been able to speak to me since. Any reply I have had to contact has been "please dont contact me, its over." Bumping into her the other day with a new boyfriend - on their way to her place, which is where we spent so many wonderful times together - has really really sent me back. I almost feel sorry for her, having to put up with me. I feel sorry for her and how difficult her childhood must have been.
I have always regretted how I behaved, on both occasions. Its embarassing if nothing else. I regret breaking up with her. I love her and would do anything to go back a year. I have a high preformance job and I cannot seek professional help over this. I am withdrawing into my own little world over this.. Im not eating properly and im utterly devastated.
What do I do.. ? could you please give me your thoughts on this.. How do I deal with it? What on earth happened with us? Why am I like this?
thank you
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
You sound miserable, I am sorry you are feeling so poorly.
What insight do you have about your obsession with her past. Did you want a virgin? can you list all the reasons why?
Go ahead and list every reason you have thought of or can think of that you wanted your first to be her first.
We will go from there.
If you want some relief from this and you are not going to go to therapy then we will have to work back and forth. You will have to click 'Accept' to get us going and then click on it again every few times of back and forth.
I am assuming your childhood was pretty good, is this correct.?
I look forward to hearing from you (if you would like to work on this).
Mark Manley
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hello, thanks for your reply..
It seems ridculas that im still seeking help about this when we broke up a year ago..! like i said, i just cant seem to move on..
Its not being a virgin that concerned me, I knew full well when we got together she wasnt, and neither was I (just). But for some reason, the fact several people I knew had a 1 night stand with her sent me beserk. I dont know why, its just destroyed something deep in side me and I couldnt process it/understand it etc. I had this beautiful girl, inteligent, lovely and to hear she had been "shagged" by these blokes - some of whom i knew - really upset me. For example, she came to watch me play roller hockey and one of the team players without knowing she was my gf declared "Whos that girl, my flatmate f**ked her last year." How am i suppose to feel hearing that? There are of course girls with much worse behavior, much worse and they all seem to find boyfriends, but for osme reason i couldnt let go of the fact my girlfriend had this past. I kept asking myself would I prefer it if she had just had a long term boyfriend instead? I always thought maybe that would be worse as they would have been in love and been heavily intimate. I dont know why again, but for some reason I just couldnt let go. And it came back 4 years later....
As for my childhood, well the early years were very hard I think i maybe had the beginiings of depression I moved schools once which heavily disrupted me. I was bulied a little bit but by the time I reached secondry school it was all different.. I dont think i quite knew how easy I had it. I went to 1 school had good friends and a solid family. Quite the opposite to this girl i think.. I wonder if i am outwardly very confident but inside I have serious issues that this girl has impacted...?
Thank you for your time I am very keen to try and sort my head out and move on with my life. I am very very regretful of this. I love her and want to be with her but I cant be.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
I received your reply, thank you. I can't respond at present but will try to get back to you later today. Sorry for the delay.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok thanks... i wont turn this into a long discussion... But id greatly appreciate your thoughts or explanations...?
Really i just want to try and understand why have I reacted in this way? Do i have problems? how do I move on?
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
When I think of your situation I think of three possible sources for your problem with her behavior.
1). Your ego. You just can't accept being one of the many guys. You should be able to behave as they do but get different results. Like you are special in some way. Also the ego doesn't want to be compared with others and found wanting in any way. Also you wanted to be desired as someone and something special, how could she ever prove to you that you were so desired when she behaved the same way with all ten of you. When she acted the same with 10+ guys how could she say that what she had for you was truly different or special. Also the male ego wants a challenge to overcome, what is the big accomplishment here, apparently anyone of you could have had her sexually and did and who is to say that she wouldn't have stayed with any one of these guys long term if they would have ask her to. There is definitely a lack of food for the ego here. You may have an over inflated ego that needs to be controlled, so you don't miss out on good opportunities in life because they don't suit your ego.
2). She wasn't truly a good fit for you because she didn't/doesn't have enough self. Her behavior was the symptom of the problem. If she had more self respect and self esteem she would not have been so promiscuous. Another way to say it is, she didn't have enough to give you. Not because she gave it all away but because she didn't have it in the first place. So you ended up pitying her but not respecting her.
You loved certain things about her and wanted to be 'in love' with her but you weren't.
A third possible dynamic is that maybe your value systems are just a lot more different than you want to acknowledge. This is an issue where seeing those differences is unavoidable. If you were raised with more conservative values than she, you may be reacting to the difference even though you may think that you aren't, or should not be, effected by your parents values as much as you are.
Seeing her again recently, wakes up all the confusion and spurs the ego to desire that which you can't have but some other guy can. (Not that you truly want her but you don't want any one else to have her).
Some things to think about.
Let me know if any of them touch a chord with you.
Mark Manley
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thank you so much for your reply... I wont drag this out and will accept your answer shortly.. thank you.
Your posts 1 and 2 above I think strike a very big chord with me..
in my phases of depression and confusion about her I often said to her how do I know that I wasn't just another one of these people... That if any of them had wanted a relationship you would be with them? I also said "how can I trust that you wouldn't have gone on like this for another year and slept with 30 guys" she simply just said it was different with me, and she was rapidly learning what guys were like and how she should be behaving and that sleeping with them wasnt getting her anywhere.
I think ego has a big part to play in it... Often at parties when i knew some of these other guys were there id often just think "whats the point, she has been with all them... what do I have with her that they didnt" I couldn't realise that I had her love etc... It actually made me sick knowing who some of these guys were, especially one or 2 who had a reputation as being "shaggers" etc It devastated me the thought that there was something more sinister in her behavior.. that She wanted to be with these guys for some kind of female ego boost..? is that possible? does the female mind work that way? But again, she insisted not once did she ever just want to "shag" anyone, only wanted a boyfriend. I don't know why but I just couldn't get over the fact we had started out the same way all these other guys had, except I stayed with her....I almost felt like people were laughing at me... As the years went by she became more beautiful and I left our university town, i felt proud of her.. she turned into something special but my problems came back!
Your 2nd point above is interesting... I thought I was the experienced one as such and that she was a nice innocentish girl... but when i realised it was the other way around i couldn't take it. I felt/feel so so so sorry for her because she suffered boarding school, an eating disorder, a difficult family.. She is just the gentlest loveliest girl I have ever met and I do feel pain when I think about any of these bad things happening to her. But why did she not know how to behave..? What i mean is sleeping with 10 guys in a year is bad in anybodys book... Why was she differnt? Why did she think that was ok? I do believe what she said about just wanting a boyfriend, thinking that was how to go about it etc... But i just dont understand? this is the bot***** *****ne in my problem:
I just dont understand/process how such a lovely girl could behave in such a way, as innocent as she may have been...? It hurt me so much.
I dont think your 3rd point is true, but Id just like to mention something else... She went to an expensive school and had a good background... She had class and some money etc... this never and would never be reasons to be with or without someone of course. However, I went to a rather bad school and didn't have the "class" that she did. I almost felt i was missing out on something, or perhaps I was jealous of her.. Does this mean anything in my problem?
Thank you for your help... i feel like im starting to make a little progress...
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the reply. I will be back with you later today.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks... like i said i dont want to drag this out but im just very keen to hear experts explanation of what im going through!
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
As to why she could/would behave this way and not know that it was wrong . Some possibilities are:
1. She was sexually abused in childhood or adolescence by some one from whom she craved approval or attention. This can cause a female to tend to sexualize her relationships prematurely in an effort to be validated.
2. She had a distant and disconnected mother who gave her little nurturing and thus was left craving nurturing which she unconsciously sought in sexual encounters.
3. She had an unusually high sex drive for due to hormonal or other physical factors.
4. She was socially retarded and just didn't know what she was getting herself into or how to get herself out of it once things progressed to a certain point.
5. She liked/needed the attention and she kept thinking that the next guy would be different, i.e. he would appreciate her for who she was not what she gave sexually.
The complement to you that you couldn't keep a hold of was that you two were the ones who found something deeper that caused her to stop the previous behavior.
In your next relationship, as soon as potentially big issues surface (ones that could be relationship breakers), I recommend you obtain some couples therapy instead of dealing with it all your selves.
I think the biggest missing part for you is this:
People are made of parts. Some people look 'all together' because they seem to have some great parts that shine, but these same people can have missing parts that manifest in odd ways. I think she has/had some missing parts that were hard for you to detect, acknowledge and understand.
We can continue to explore this if you like, or be done if you like.
Either way please click on 'Accept' and we will continue if needed.
Sorry this is so painful for you.
Mark Manley
Mark Manley and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you