“It’s Complicated” is the kind of modern message from the heart where you tell your stories – in all their complexity – and where the columnist answers you. This columnist is Lucille Bilan. She is a journalist: not shrinking, not a doctor, not an expert. She just wanted to talk about your problems. If you want to send him your stories, you can write to this address: [email protected]
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I am a man in his thirties who no longer understands himself.
I met a woman a little over three years ago. It was an unbelievable encounter, because I’ve never really felt good with someone, and I’ve never found a woman who has set all my criteria for having a romantic partner.
Six months later, it was a complicated and volatile relationship, because she told me that she was afraid of the spouses, what he represented to her, having lived in difficult relationships where they fizzled out, and did not feel listened or respected. I insisted on giving her confidence in herself and us. He insisted enough on this behavior to scold Lee, and justify his decision to break up and take some distance.
However, she would come back to me from time to time. So the pattern was the same during these three years. I insisted on seeing it and trying to discuss its lumps. If you accept, we spent beautiful moments, full of promises and mutual feelings, then you don’t answer anymore, and you go away. I insisted on understanding, and that was wrong with me. I felt guilty. And so on, until you can no longer see or talk to each other.
Little by little a real addiction was born. I have developed harassing behaviours, which I nonetheless deeply despise. Faced with her silence, the fact that she makes herself unreachable, her words at odds with her actions and our still indistinct relationship, I have lost my footing, but I have always hoped that this story can be cleaned up and that it is worth living. That you had to fight for it and understand.
I saw this woman again recently. She admitted to me that she has been in an affair since we met. This confession was finally meant to be honest, to be able to try to live with me. accepted. After a week, she recedes, becomes inaccessible again and makes me bear the burden of guilt, arguing that it is unhealthy to know what I did and still want a relationship with her. I should have set limits. Let her feel guilty.
Since then, she has been mired in the same harassing behavior towards her. Addiction has become an obsession. My self-esteem is at its lowest, and I do not understand why I insist on writing to him whatever comes to my mind, to tell him about my mood and my pain. Finally, to apologize, to end up starting over.
However, I am aware that this behavior is actually very toxic and pathetic. My attachment and desire to live out this story over three years is certainly dictated by fears, a lack of self-confidence, and the need for others to thrive. I feel guilty for this behaviour, which I have experienced in the past in ruptured circumstances, but never on this scale.
I do not understand its origin. I tell myself that one does not want to make an effort with me for the story to work, but rather one wants to make another effort. Again, I get criticized for not setting boundaries, but the opposite person doesn’t respect any of them themselves.
I feel the need to review all of my beliefs, behavior, my vision of relationships, and my feeling of love. This story hurts so badly, but I don’t understand myself in my reactions, these impulses to write for the other, when it would be enough to sever contact, heal and move on.
It is up to you to be aware of the limits of this relationship, and of the negative behaviors you may have. However, you are saying that you have had problems in the past regarding respecting your ex’s boundaries and digesting your pain on your part. If it’s a recurring pattern, though situations vary, it’s probably important to work on it before you face reviving it again. What I mean is that you can never really address your trust issues or any other issues through a relationship. You could not have healed and saved this woman with your belief in your relationship, and you will never have the opportunity to learn how to manage your boundaries if you don’t work on them outside of a relationship. That is why I think the treatment is appropriate.
You have to find yourself, to be more confident in your feelings and needs, and to respect your own limitations and those of others. If, in your writing, the person you’ve known does not appear to be completely confident in himself and his choices, you have also played a lot with this great ambiguity and have suffered as a result of a toxic addiction.
Nothing prevents you from writing down your feelings, from writing down your annoyance and doubts. But nothing obliges you to share all of that with someone who doesn’t agree with your reading. This is where I think therapy is the solution you should consider. As part of your rebuilding process, you need a codified relationship between therapist and patient, one in which you are welcome to share your feelings. Not so with the woman who occupied your thoughts for three years. This will not be the case with a new wife.
You already realize that your behavior is toxic, but I want you to be aware of its potential danger. What if the woman you’ve traded with for three years felt pressured to give you what you asked for? If she had forced herself to share sex with you, out of fear that you would be pushed away and that you would go back in your ways? It’s also possible that his behavior is erratic in response to your reactions – I can’t guarantee something like that, but it is possible. Then you will have a sense of confusion, when the situation is only defensive, combined with the attractiveness that can be likable. Several readings can be made, and this is always the case in the context of relationships. This is the famous Rashomon effect (so named because of the Akira Kurosawa movie, where four witnesses have four different versions of the same murder story).
The only thing you are in control of today is how you view the story and how you react to it. You will no longer change this woman’s view of you, nor your previous actions. You probably will not understand what prompted her to respond in this way, or to make such a statement to you. It is her reality and it belongs to her. What you have left is a painful story in which you lost a little of yourself, and the feeling that you weren’t quite a good person. It’s always a good start to start a change. Go see someone, Pierre, and tell them your story…so that it doesn’t happen again in the future with more devastating consequences.
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