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My boyfriend loves another woman

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:48 pm
by reddinah
I have been in a relationship for 8 years with the love of my life (let's call him AJ). Unfortunately, due to my abusive upbringing and resulting depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms, I haven't always treated him well, or been emotionally available when he's needed me. During the years I've been in therapy and taken medication, he's been patient, kind, respectful, and loving.

But everyone has their limits. Our relationship has started to take a toll on AJ's mental health (he also has depression and anxiety as well as OCD), and just recently, he tearfully admitted that he's fallen in love with another woman (we'll call her J), though he still loves me too. He met this woman through an online musician network and started talking to her about composing songs together. She lives in a different state, so they've never met in person, but she's confirmed that she loves him too. Now AJ is considering taking a break from our relationship so he can see if a relationship with J goes anywhere.

To his surprise (and to my own), I took the news well. He was terrified of telling me, because he knows of my history of self-harm and was afraid I'd start that again. So far I haven't had any urge to self-harm.

I didn't think of it as "This other woman wants to steal AJ from me," but rather "This other woman cares about AJ and is meeting his needs, while I've been oblivious and negligent to his needs." Besides, how can I blame another woman for loving AJ? I love him too. I know how wonderful he is. I also know I haven't been the person AJ deserves, no matter how hard I try to be. I created the circumstances that made him fall for someone else. I have no one to blame but myself.

But for the sake of honesty, I admitted to AJ that I hope a break from our relationship (during which he'd try dating J) will renew his passion for me and make him realize I'm the one he wants. He said maybe that will happen, maybe not. I'm willing to have him explore his options if it means he'll return to me, but I'm genuinely terrified of the alternative outcome. The selfish part of me doesn't want to let him go.

Indeed, we've both admitted that we can't imagine life without each other. AJ has said that he'll always want me in his life, whether as a friend or a significant other. It does give me hope that he hasn't stopped loving me, despite falling in love with someone else. So far we've overcome every obstacle we've ever faced. I just hope this one isn't insurmountable.

Re: My boyfriend loves another woman

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:04 pm
by Ashia
Hi reddinah

This sounds like a difficult situation for you and your boyfriend. How are you feeling about it all now? Good job on being so respectful towards your boyfriend. It's not always easy in situations such as this. I'm here listening if you want to say more.

With caring

Re: My boyfriend loves another woman

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:46 am
by wolfspirit
I must say that your emotional capacity is quite mature. You respect him on a high level.
I hope it works out for you. It is hard, but like that saying says, "If you love them, let them go. If they love you, they will return."

sending thoughts of peace,


Re: My boyfriend loves another woman

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:02 pm
by the husband
Hi wolfspirit

I'm the husband of a survivor, and I read your post in hopes of gaining insight into my own situation. Thank you.

While I have never strayed from my wife, I do fantasize about being with someone who is as thoughtful toward me as I am to her. I used to do much more for my wife, and enjoyed it, but over time I realized how one-sided things were so I pared it down to things I would not feel silly or resentful about.

In my experience, I have learned to live with the status quo, but when things worsen it becomes unbearable. I wish my wife would make just a few small, consistent gestures to remind me that she cares. She buys me clothes sometimes and thinks that will do, but I can do that for myself. What about a nice dinner waiting, rather than wait for me to come home and cook, doing a chore for me so I can go to the gym, meeting me near the door when I come home rather than waiting for me to come into the bedroom to change, etc.. These are small, everyday things that would t tell me she is thinking of me.

Re: My boyfriend loves another woman

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:59 pm
by wolfspirit
Hello, the husband
I understand what you mean only from listening to my husband talk during our marriage therapy sessions. He has spent over twenty years with me and only in the last two years has he understood why I have always been so distant and unaffectionate.
I'm assuming that reddinah has had traumatic experiences in her childhood that affect the way she shows and feels love. Am I right?

My h and I have been to years of therapy in order to relieve the struggles we have in the affection, appreciation, and interdependence elements of a relationship. This is because my brain was wired wrong after years and years of learning that love meant rejection, violation, threats, manipulation, broken trust, and physical and emotional pain.
I had to (and still am) learn what another person needs in a loving relationship.

I'm not sure (and totally not my business) how much support your marriage has had in this regard. Therapy is helpful because we entered into agreements and timelines on how to proceed in growing deeper in love. BOTH of us had to compromise and agree to make an effort to change.

What helps us the most though, is my own personal healing. Once I knew why I was not a loving partner, I decided to change things a little at a time because I knew that I felt love for my husband.

I want to say that those people who can love wounded souls are special people. They have to, in a way, sacrifice their own needs while they are supporting their partner's healing. Sometimes, that becomes too much. Sometimes, the healing person can't do their work because it is too painful and the partner has to move on for their own health and happiness. It is okay to do that.

I hope that the two of you can try a new path to coming closer together. From the words you write, I can tell that you care deeply for each other.

take care,


Re: My boyfriend loves another woman

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:25 am
by the husband
Thanks for your reply, wolfspirit.

We've each had a lot of therapy, and some couples work. She has a hard time tolerating the couples work and if I mention that we should get back to it, she seems to view it as a threat. She makes some changes but it doesn't last. We've been together over 20 years I (we, really) began to know what was going on about 12 years ago. We too have some rules, particularly around working together for the kids. We have a problematic overlay in that her mother had bipolar disorder and really began to decompensate around this time - so my wife worries that every outburst will be her break.

What goes in to a survivor learning to love someone in a way that meets that person's needs?

Re: My boyfriend loves another woman

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:19 am
by wolfspirit
The only thing I think, and this is just from my own personal experience, is to have the survivor come to a place of healing which allows them to. That probably doesn't make sense or mean anything, but that's the only thing I know. I have reached a place where I can allow myself to feel love on a level that meets some of my husband's needs.

I just want to say that I feel uncomfortable to be posting on reddinah's thread without actually conversing with her.


Re: My boyfriend loves another woman

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:51 pm
by the husband
Confession: I actually was responding to reddinah initially, but got the names confused scrolling around on my small phone screen. I will not use my phone for this anymore. I think on-topic discussion helps everyone, though.

In my wife's case, I think she holds back for two primary reasons: fear that I will leave anyway and she will feel like a fool for trying, and being overwhelmed with her own thoughts and feelings. Perhaps if she were further along in her healing she might be able to reduce the hold that negative self talk has over her, and she might be less preoccupied with her other thoughts and feelings. Is that in the general neighborhood of what you are talking about?