Unsure on my relationship
I’m new to this... & there’s a few things that I need advice for.
Im with a guy who I’ve been with for almost a year & a half now. He has 2 kids & an ex wife Of 10 years. They are recently divorced.
My partner is 15 years older than me (I am 25). I’ve never been with anyone who has had children and an ex wife before but I’m finding it extremely hard to cope with especially because he has to talk to his ex daily to get to his kids which I understand. I get very anxious that he talks to his ex because there has been times where he has spoken badly about me and calls her when we have arguments etc. I have found this out by going on his phone or his ex telling me what’s he’s been saying. This has caused me to be paranoid when he talks to her because I’m scared he will do it again! I have found out he has lied to me by denying it. I always fear that he will go back to her also because he has kids to her which makes it harder. He gets very angry at me when I ask him what hes saying to her, and always threatens to leave me because it agitates him but then the next day he’s nice again. I’m now on anti depressants because it getting to me now. Not only that I feel down most days because I’m scared of what he’s doing behind my back, I don’t feel good enough, he speaks down on me when we argue and looks at other woman. This makes me feel worthless. I’m a very loving person and very affectionate but he detaches himself from me and then somedays he makes me feel special but recently we have been arguing nearly everyday and I have been crying most days too. Im just so confused because I’ve never felt so in love with someone & at the start it felt so amazing but I feel like it’s going down hill now. I am from England and I have no one here to talk to & he is from NZ. I feel so stuck because sometimes I think I’m too young to be going through this and have sacrificed so much to be with this guy.
I feel the need to go on his phone behind his back and check his messages etc and I don’t want to be like that. I want to be able to trust him but I just don’t know how and so scared of getting hurt.
Any advice is appreciated. Thank you
Welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry to hear that you're in this position with your relationship. While I don't have much experience with this scenario, we are the same age (25), so maybe I can offer my perspective and advice.
Sometimes I feel like there are different levels of adulthood, and occasionally I come across something that feels like it's from a more advanced stage than I'm at, for lack of a better term, and dealing with the ex-wife and kids of a partner would certainly qualify. This isn't to say that the age gap between you and your partner is wrong or can't work, but it does mean that he has a responsibility to be attuned to this age difference and to the very different circumstances of your lives (in his case, an ex and children).
But the problem is that instead of being extra careful and considerate in a situation that calls for it, your partner has shown you disrespect and proven to be untrustworthy. Without knowing too much detail of your situation, it seems to me that this person has taken advantage of your patience, love, and affection, to the point where it has impacted your mental health. In my opinion, relationships worth staying in do not involve badmouthing to an ex-wife or feeling the need to check phones behind backs, period.
All this to say that it isn't exactly that you are too young, nor that he is too old, but that his behaviour is totally inappropriate under any circumstance, and is made even more so because of this age gap. He has had an entire adult experience of a marriage and raising children that you simply weren't privy to, and instead of attempting to bridge those two parts of his life, it seems he has decided to keep them compartmentalized and antagonistic.
I'm also an expat who moved to Australia recently, and I know that it can be lonely and difficult. But the key is to fill your life here with people worthy of your love, even if it takes time. Apologies for the rambling, but those are my two cents. You are always welcome here to talk, and would love to hear more.
Oh my, I was blown away with your message. I wasn’t expecting that, so thank you ever so much for that - I honestly appreciate it so much. It actually made me tear up because what you said was so on point and I felt it with all my heart.
I just don’t know what to do because I’m so in love with guy, but at the same time I know I deserve better. The way he speaks down on me & makes me feel worthless, then other days like special? It’s really messed with my head and it’s caused me to be this way. He blames me for my mental health issues, and says I’m crazy but really I’m just wanting to be loved & not broken.
Thank you so much again! I hope you are well, and wish you all the happiness you deserve x
I'm so glad my message brought some comfort. That's what we're here for 🙂 The pattern you are describing, of sometimes being made to feel special, and other times worthless, is a very common one in unhealthy relationships unfortunately. This is not to say that it is necessarily intentional or calculated (though sometimes it is), but it does go a long way to explain why some relationships are just so hard to leave, even when part of us knows that they're not good for us. Unfortunately, calling a partner crazy and blaming the pain we caused on them is another well-known tactic.
As you say in your own words, you know you deserve better.
Of course you want to be loved, just like anyone else. And it sounds like there are plenty of times where he has made you feel that way. I think sometimes we get confused when people we love hurt us, because we think of it like this: "I love him, BUT he treats me poorly." Instead, I think it's really more like "I love him, AND he treats me poorly." By this I mean that these two seemingly contradictory feelings can live inside us, and we spend time trying to figure out which behaviour represents the "real" them. But people are complex and multifaceted, and to put it simply, you are your actions.
What have your partner's actions communicated to you? About how important you are to him, about how much he loves you, about how much he values your time and company? These are tough questions and you don't have to have the answers now, but we are always here for you on the forums.
You definitely sound like a very sensitive loving person. We need more folk like you in the world, that's for sure.
Having dealt with a period of depression in the past, I've learned to keep an eye out for particular behaviours other people contribute to my well being or lack of it. People can definitely be triggers when it comes to our mental health. I've learned to question any behaviour that I attach the words 'down' or 'low' to. I'll ask a few questions so you can get where I'm coming from. By the way, you don't have to openly answer them, just perhaps mull over them and see how they resonate with you:
- Do you think your partner bagging you out to his ex is a bit of a questionable or low act?
- Do you think it's a low act to straight out lie to you? Does it bring you down, feeling like you can't trust him?
- Do you find it difficult tolerating him speaking down to you? Is there a part of you that just wants to say 'Look dude, where do you get off speaking to me this way?!' Tolerating mental abuse does become intolerable eventually
- Is there a part of you that wishes he'd raise you when you're down?
I believe you're doing a good job of trying to raise his consciousness when it comes to his behaviour. Does he want to vibe higher through maturing to understand the challenges in your relationship and why they make perfect sense?
Gems beautifully and brilliantly suggests filling your life with people who are worthy of your love. It's so important to gradually form a circle of people who raise us, especially at times when we're feeling down.
Is it possible to raise yourself to not tolerate your partners behaviour? For sure, it may be a challenge. You could even say to yourself at some stage 'I'm going to raise his consciousness and if he dismisses this, I'm going to raise the fact that he's dismissive'. If he's dismissive after this, you can always say 'You see, there you go' 🙂 You're ultimate challenge in this relationship may be to challenge him. If he's got any sense he'll recognise you're raising him at the same time. I bet you can do it.
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I have some experience with what you’re going through and I’m 50 so I hopefully have a little wisdom from that extra 25 years.
Firstly please don’t ignore your intuition. Why do you feel the need to check his phone? Why do you feel unsafe when he talks with his ex? Because he’s given you good reasons for those feelings. LISTEN to your gut. This man is not trustworthy. A loving partner would never talk about their spouse behind their back and especially NOT to their ex. That is incredibly disrespectful.
The fact that the situation has led you to have to take meds to deal with this abuse is unacceptable. Please learn from my experience and watch his actions & not his words. I was with my husband for over 12 years & was convinced he was devoted to me. But there were always doubts & gut feelings led to me checking his phone & there were the messages to/from his ‘girlfriend’ who thought he was separated. Then my whole world unraveled when he finally revealed he’d been cheating & lying since the very beginning & had cheated on his first wife too. These people don’t change they just get better at hiding what they do. Get out now while you can. You’re young enough to find someone who values you. You deserve better than this. Big hugs. Xox