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After the dissolution of a decades-long marriage (highly abusive - physically and emotionally) I fell into a relationship with a man that I had known casually (same general friend group) for 30+ years. We dated - but he was always pulling away and hot and cold. He has abandonment and attachment issues and doesn't cope with strong emotions well. When he feels there is a conflict or too much closeness he pulls away. He uses the Silent Treatment and Ghosting as coping mechanisms. When it was good it was better than I knew love could be. He was kind and attentive and so very interested in being together. We shared everything and we both knew more about each other and trusted each other more than anyone ever in our lives. But then he would go cold and run away. I would pursue him and attempt to mollify him and bring him back - as I did in my childhood with an alcoholic abusive mother and distant father, and as I did in my marriage to an unpredictable abusive man. In my mind, I make a lot of mistakes and I drive people away. I need to beg and convince them to come back to me. I can intellectualize the absurdity of this on a superficial level (I see it!) but it is a core-level instinctive reaction.
When he would come back, usually after a few days, we wouldn't discuss the issues, or he would run away again. Very maladaptive, I know.
We broke up a few years ago and decided to just be friends. He pulled away hard. I fought to get him back. Eventually, he came back and we fell into the same routine over and over again - two weeks of a wonderful loving relationship and then a week to two weeks of him pulling away and me doing whatever I could to get him back.
He always said that he was sure that he wanted to be friends. And that I needed to be patient and expect less from him.
I had some serious mental health struggles when my mother died a year ago. It was too much for him. We separated again, but he was responsive just enough to keep me hooked. He was kind and loving and cuddly and my kids loved him, so I figured that I would put up with his "slowness" in developing commitment. He always assured me that he wanted to be best friends. So, I waited.
I was put on some medication that had aggression and anger as side effects. And I will admit that my patience with him wore thin on occasion. I know that I said some not-very-nice things to him (although memory loss was also a side-effect, so I truly can't remember what I said...). He pulled away more. I switched medications and was patient. We saw each other a few times a month (not sexual). Each time was like old times and we behaved like best friends.
Three months ago he became increasingly distant and I only saw him once a month. I pulled more. Then he told me that he was dating someone new. I was broadsided as we had agreed that neither of us was interested in dating anyone as long as we had each other. I wasn't aware this had changed. He didn't tell me who and he almost entirely cut me out. He said that it wouldn't affect our friendship. When I went to his house, he was fine and we went for lunch or ice cream like we had always done. The new partner was never mentioned - I even wondered if she was not real.
But then he would disappear again.
The night of my Mom's funeral I was very upset and went to his house. He welcomed me in with hugs and acted just as he always had.
Two days later he messaged me and told me not to message him because it could cross boundaries. I was stunned. He refused to respond to me.
I became frantic - what happened to our agreement to remain friends?
I eventually reached out to another long-time female friend of his to see if she knew if he was okay. She disclosed to me that the new woman was her and that they had been "exploring their feelings together" for a few months and sleeping together for more than a month. She said that they didn't want to tell me because they knew that it would hurt me and make me "act crazy". She told me that I wasn't to see him because she was afraid that we were both still in love with each other and that it would interfere with her relationship with him. She told me that I was acting crazy and that I needed to walk away from my friendship with him - that I had had my chance and now it was her chance and she didn't want me interfering (although she's been around regularly in the 5+ years that he and I were together).
I almost lost my mind.
He refused to talk to me. He blocked me on all social media and text messages and telephone. He hasn't actually said a word to me since I last saw him 5 weeks ago... and he was mostly normal that night.
She has been aggressive in insisting that I back off and that he doesn't want to talk to me.
I've tried to get around her by leaving a note at his door and by messaging him through my work account. I can see that he reads my messages and doesn't respond... until last night when he told me to stop messaging him, again.
I'm distraught. I spend soooo much time thinking about him and about how to get him to see me or talk to me. I tell myself that he doesn't really want to be with her - he used to tell me how much she annoyed him - she has zero respect for boundaries, even when we were in a long-term relationship and looking to buy a house together she would sneak into his house and leave him Christmas and Birthday gifts so that he wasn't alone (even though he was with me and she knew that clearly).
I've become obsessed with this. I'm starting to think that maybe I am crazy. I don't even really want to get back together with him at this point. But I want my friend back. I don't want her in the middle.
I can't sleep at night because the emptiness in my bed where he used to be isn't just a temporary thing anymore. I want to tell him things and ask him things like I have done for almost 7 years. I'm terrified that he's shared my most intimate secrets with her - because he knows things that I've never trusted anyone else enough to share. We had full access to everything else of each other's.
I'm frantic and I can't let go and I can't stop obsessing. It's like I'm drowning. I just want him to walk in the door and wrap his arms around me and tell me that it's all a bad dream. I can't fathom that I'm supposed to just act like it never happened and he didn't exist. He's abandoned my kids too. They have long since loosened their attachement - because they've seen little of him in the past year. But I can't let go.
Welcome to the forum! It's a place we learn to stand on our own two feet in a way we've never learned before. You're safe here. We completely understand the madness. Which makes you normal. And if not normal, then one of us. Either way, vent, scream, cry, ask questions, and definitely have a look around the site. You'll see you are not alone even though everyone has unique experiences.
Do I need him to complete me? No. I don't think so.
He is the only person that I have ever felt understood me and the only person that I ever really felt that I bonded with - essentially he was the first no-abusive non-hyper-critical/controlling person in my life. I am afraid that I will never find someone else with whom I feel physically safe. I am afraid that I will never trust anyone else emotionally - because he was the first person that I ever totally trusted. He loved me for me. I dropped my barriers for the first time in my entire life and now I feel naked, alone, and terrified.
I know that he isn't ideal. But I feel like life will cease to exist if he's gone.
Maybe this isn't Limerance. But it's making me do stupid crazy things (like bashing myself in the head for being so stupid). I can't stop trying to figure out ways to reconnect with him. It's a panic.
I know that I am strong. I have always had to be strong.
But it gets tiring after so long. There's no downtime, no "me time", no time to just enjoy life.
Having a partner meant that I could share the load. But it's a heavy heavy load and even he couldn't manage it.
If someone as strong and patient as him couldn't handle it then no one else ever could.
I feel that I just need him to see that we were good together and that it will get better. Because it was better when we were a team.
I don't trust people easily. He trusts almost no one. But we trusted each other.
And his new girlfriend has convinced him that I am crazy. And he could be sharing all of my secrets with her. All of my craziness that I haven't ever shared with anyone (assault and abuse history that I have kept hidden from my public persona for half a century) ... I feel so vulnerable and afraid because I trusted him with everything. It's like I'm suddenly naked.
I feel like I know that he wanted to come back... but she's been stalking him for years, like a wolf laying in wait for me to stumble. She needs him to feel like I am crazy. She told me that she doesn't want me around because we may still love each other. I told her that I DO still love him. She told me that I am warped and crazy for still feeling that way about someone that I broke up with more than a year ago... but we were still friends in that time.
I'm too vulnerable. I trust him, but I don't trust her. She seems to think that she "won" him from me - like he's something to "claim" rather than a person with his own thoughts.
And I know him... if she makes him feel loved he'll do what she wants. He's adopted and has struggled with feeling unwanted and abandoned his whole life. He told me that the kids and I were his whole world.
If I hadn't fallen apart we quite likely would/could have stayed together in some way. He wouldn't have been vulnerable to her if I hadn't fallen apart...
And now I'm alone and they have the life together that was ours.
First of all it sounds to me based on what you said that he is as abusive as your last partners just maybe in a different way. It may be that he doesn't mean to be that way; it sounds like his issues are really dragging him down as well and affecting his ability to have a relationship with these problems are not yours to solve and no one in their right mind would be expected to stick around and wait for him to decide he needs to heal his own s*** and get it together if a relationship is what he really wants.
Based on my own family and several people I've known it seems like a lot of people with wounding issues like this they do have a tendency of keeping a lot of people at arm's length to get random attention from people and that makes them think that that they're getting what they want as far as whatever attention/supply you can call it whatever you want that they need.
Again it's not your situation to solve you had your chance with him as she said and it sounds like you didn't have sole responsibility in how things turned out he shares an equal amount.
So on that note it doesn't sound like he's a very good friend to you it sounds like he's just causing you more misery than help and it's hard to let go even when that is the case believe me I know all about that.
I've had to really lessen my presence around several people including family who are toxic for my healing. So if I were you I would just look at getting the heck out of this dumpster fire and letting him figure out his own crap and letting psycho pants which it sounds like that's what she is if that's the way she really is have him. Because I can guarantee you that the same problems he had with you he's probably having with her. He's not going to fix his life until he does it.
I don't know if you can check out any type of support groups online what might apply to you some kind of love addiction or if you can find a limerence support group limerence reddit also has more traffic than this forum but I think this forum is really great for really researching what went wrong to make you attach yourself to the types of people that we tend to attach to.
And again I'm not saying that the elbows are always bad that's certainly not the case but sometimes wounds are a dance and they just keep replaying themselves in peoples' lives until they're healed.
Sending you warm wishes.
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