Chasing my tail...all the time

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2006
Chasing my tail...all the time
Wed, 12-03-2008 - 9:16am

Hi I am new here, although I've checked out this board before. I'm writing because I hit a wall last night and realized that I am in a rabbit hole and I can't get out. I'm going to give you the dime version so I don't take up too much time.

I left my marriage 2 and a half years ago. I had had an affair for about a year before I left. Never discovered, but ended by me, one month before I left my marriage. I left because I realized that my xH was oblivious to my needs and wasn't willing to grow and get deeper, even when I articulated it clearly. The whole marriage was always about what a shining star he was - we graduated from college (me) and law school (him) on the same day (might as well have been just about him), moved for him, changed jobs for him. It was all about him because he had the higher, more important degree. That's just one example. I left and went through hell running away from the guilt and shame around the lies and cheating I had done. He never found out but I suffered immensely for that. There is all sorts of guilt that still plagues me about not knowing if I could have made it work if I just had the guts to be honest and confess, to try to make the road straight again before walking away. But I did and it's in the past and I can't change it.

Now I am dating a wonderful man who is 13 years my senior and who is willing to go as deep as I want to spiritually, emotionally and physically. We really have a bond that could last forever. The problem is that I am stuck in this horrible place of critiquing EVERYTHING about him. Sometimes it comes out outloud, in a nagging sort of way. I admit that there are a lot of comparisons I do in my mind of him against my ex. My ex was very clean cut and looked the part of the "perfect picture." This new guy, while gorgeous, is much more his own person, rugged, not afraid of what other's think of him...all of that good stuff that we should all feel. But instead of learning from him, I cut him apart inside because of how I feel about ME. He is so patient and will point out when I've pushed his limit, but that always feel horrible becuase I fee stuck in this behaviour pattern.

Now add to the mix that my mother (whom I have always put up on a pedestal, but who was never really emotionally available to me growing up) pulled a whamy on me this summer by inviting my ex inlaws to her 25th wedding anniversary to my step-dad. They hadn't seen each other in 2 years and were not in any sort of friendship with these people. Around this time, I was having serious anxiety attacks and all sorts of triggers were happening constantly. She knew that I was having a rough time and never thought to run this by me. Needless to say, seeing the ex's was a MAJOR trigger to my guilt and self-punishment tapes that paralyze me. When I tried to explain this to her and to ask her to just this once, support me, and not invite them, she basically blew me off and said that it's her party and she can invite whomever she likes. I still don't know why she felt the need to invite them afer not seeing them for more than 2 years. Apparently they ran into them about a month prior to this why not have a private dinner some other night to catch up? Nope. She wouldn't see it that way.

RIght now, I'm just in the grips of constant turmoil. I am fixating on my BF's sexual past right now. That's my area of obsession these days. I have been in situations lately (one on a regular basis) with women he's slept with and it makes me CRAZY! The places my imagination goes when I look at these women is not good. It's sick. And I've tried talking to him about it, but I realize that I've got to be careful not to drone on and on in front of him. I get that I am seriously lacking in the self-confidence arena. The affair and the ensuing divorce really ripped my world apart. And it's all my own doing.

Short of following a 12-step program where I confess these deeds to my ex, I'm not sure how to free myself from the past and to learn to love myself the way my friends and boyfriend does. He sees someone in me that I hardly recognize. He's always supporting me and telling me how strong I am and how beautiful I am. And all I do is feel like a pile of crap on the floor.

I know that if this doesn't change, I'm going to lose him. It's inevitable. I should also say that I've just started therapy with a wonderful woman. So far we've been dealing with the mom issue. I have not talked to her since the summer (the party) because I'm just too hurt and can't deal with her defensiveness right now without screaming and losing control. So that's been my main focus in the sessions so far. I plan to bring this up this week, but wanted to post here in case anyone else has any suggestions - readings or just words of support.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Wed, 12-03-2008 - 11:35am

Welcome izzyblue2006.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2008
Wed, 12-03-2008 - 11:45am

Hello and welcome to the board,

It sounds like you have alot on your plate and it seems very overwhelming. I'm glad you started therapy cause that was the first thing I was going to ask about! I would talk about the summer thing, and then also how you are comparing your ex. You went along time with your ex being the center, and almost the ideal where things revolved around him (??? I might be reading wrong.) Those idea are very hard to get rid of, and remembering to trust is hard as well.

There's a book called the Four Agreements. While it may not exactly relate directly to your situation, it has alot to do with perception and then how to act. When I get overwhelmed I often forget how to break things down or manage, and then I get stuck into a hole or end up going in circles.

There's a number of good articles on this board and links brought here by other people. If you find any that are helping you (or books), I hope you will share them too. I'd link a few for you now, but... I'm on the wrong computer to do that.

It does sound like you are over-your-head or feel like it at least, but it looks like you are going in the right direction.

I do ask what is something you think is the most problemsome? Or is affecting you the most? - sometimes it's really hard to take head on one challenge with ourselves, let alone three...

~ RainCL for Self-Esteem Support

"One Step At A Time The World Will Be Traveled"

~ Rain   
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-21-2008
Thu, 12-04-2008 - 11:16pm

Well I think therapy is a great start, stick with it!
As for confessing, there is no point now. It would do nothing but hurt him and hurt you to have hurt him. The past is past, everyone makes mistakes, the important thing is to learn from it. If you are ever in the same situation that led to the affair (which it doesn't sound like you will be), you can make different choices, and give yourself what you really need (whatever that may be).
Have you confessed this to your current boyfriend? Maybe some of the guilt is this big "secret" from him. If you have confessed, and he is accepting, then it is time that you force yourself to be compassionate to yourself. Its easy to find info on the web at how to make affirmations, and how to change your self talk to accept and forgive yourself. The hard part is doing it. This is also something your therapist can help with.

Good luck and I wish you happiness!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2008
Fri, 12-05-2008 - 12:09pm

~ Rain