This is pretty long and detailed, but I really need some insight.
I met my now ex-boyfriend (36 years old, no kids, never married), whom we will call Tom*, at work on April 21 2015. We literally had to spend the day together for work-related purposes. I was in a relationship at the time that was going nowhere, and on the verge of breaking up with the guy, so when I met Tom*, it was refreshing to talk to someone that I seemed to have more in common with. For days after, I wondered why he didn't ask for my number and kept thinking about him as he left a huge impression on me. I also felt guilt for feeling this way but it was the charisma and easy conversation that hooked me with Tom*, as well as the fact that he was tall, handsome, and intelligent.
Tom* messaged me at work a week later, asked for my number. We texted back and forth for over a month, with him asking to see me, setting up several dates, but I kept flaking out because I had a boyfriend. Tom* would sporadically text me, we'd talk for a bit, then he'd disappear for a few days, mostly weekends, and would occasionally text me while out drinking. One night, before our first date, he texted me at 3am with "I'm drunk and you're the one I'm thinking about and want to talk to". At the time, I thought it was sweet, but now thinking about it, I should have wondered "in relation to who exactly?!"
We finally had our first "date" on June 11 2015. We went out for a bit and then back to his house. He gave me the tour, and upon going upstairs, he said "look at this" and showed me a room with little girl toys scattered about and the name Lily in pink letters on the wall. He said it used to be his old roommate's daughter's room before the roommate just up and left. I believed this, as there wasn't a reason not to. He said he'd been saving himself for me since he's been trying to see me for over a month, even though I kept flaking out, because he believes I'm a truly good person with a big heart that attracted him to me, and he didn't want to pass me by, but that there would be nothing wrong with having sex. He said people do it all the time and it isn't a big deal. I stuck to my guns and said no, that I'm not that kind of girl. When I left the house, he wanted to kiss me. I said okay, and he pulled me back in the front door, leaned me against the wall and we had one of those romantic, steamy movie kisses before I went home.
I broke up with my boyfriend, and Tom* knew all about it, wanting to give me advice too, since he "had been in that type of situation before and knew what it was like". He said he could truly focus on me now that I didn't have another guy in my life. Now, over the span of months from June to the end of October 2015, we spent a ton of time together, usually at my place or his, and he told me he loved me within the first month or two as well (albeit the first time he told me was through text while he was drunk) and we also became official around that time, saying that he wanted to marry me, have babies, etc. He also several times made comments about how other women were hot, how he's had several threesomes, had told me in the beginning before we became exclusive that he'd only have one with me if I wanted to but wouldn't if we were exclusive, that he's slept with and dated lots of women, even told me after asking me several times to be his girlfriend and I declined, that he could go pick up a girl at a bar whenever he wanted, but he was waiting for me. That never made me feel good, it always intimidated me, like it was so easy for him to replace me, but he also had a way of making me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. However, another thing that threw me off was the fact that I was never allowed to sleep in at his house, he always made me leave in the mornings before he went to work. That never sat well with me.
He told me several times that marriages rarely last and he doesn't know how people make them last, throwing out divorce statistics, and saying he usually gets bored once he gets to know someone like the back of his hand...that he didn't like predictable..but wanted to try with me. He said he wanted to try to be like me in regards to only wanting that one person and no one else, and that he felt like he could never get bored of me. Tom* also seemed to have an issue with trusting me but were clearly just deflections of his own guilty conscience.
Halloween weekend 2015, he ended up lying about where he was going with this elaborate story about needing to go to a cousin's wedding but that I couldn't go due to a family fued he didn't want me involved in. I found out via Facebook that he lied, and upon confronting him, he dumped me. He said he needed the weekend away with friends to think but didn't want to tell me because I wanted to spend time with him, that he needed to break up for awhile to figure out what he wants and if what we had was real, if maybe I was just a fling, that we'd talk again one day, that he feels like he messes everything up and something is wrong with him, that he'd probably always regret breaking it off with me, and that he may not come back one day and that I didn't have to wait for him, but that he loved me.
We didn't talk at all from November 1st to around Christmas that year, when he reached out to me during Christmas, telling me he misses me, wants to hold me again, and needs to see me. When I saw him at his house a few days after Christmas, he seemed totally changed. He was ecstatic to see me, said he thought long and hard and realized that he can't live without me, that he spent the time apart on his own, no other woman was involved, and he couldn't stop thinking about me and couldn't pretend like I wasn't apart of his life. We got back together soon after. He spent tons of time with me, weekends and everything I had wanted the first go round. The only issue was that, during our time apart, I had rebounded with a coworker of mine. Tom* had expected me to be as I were before he hurt me and left, and wasn't at all happy knowing I had been with someone else. He made me feel guilty for it, saying he had been single and alone during our time apart. It took me until the end of February to make up my mind about truly being with Tom*.
Tom* didn't trust me after he had come back into my life, worried I'd cheat on him with the guy I had been seeing while Tom* and I were broken up, so I began staying at Tom's* house everyday, actually able to stay at his house without him being there unlike the first go round...and eventually he said, March of 2016 to be exact, that I should move into his house with him. So I did.
However, the lies began again not even by the end of that March. He started lying about his whereabouts, like going to the casino but really going out drinking with his friends. This happened several times, and he got caught each time, always saying it was because I'd get upset and he wanted to avoid arguments. Then June 2016, we were talking about going to a family outing of his with a bunch of his family (I had already met his parents and sister earlier in 2016, just not his whole extended family), and he asked me, if anyone were to ask when he and I met, to say we met the beginning of 2016, like we hadn't known each other in 2015 at all. I didn't get an exact reason why at the time, and it really bothered me.
A few weeks later I found out that he had had a girlfriend the entire time we were dating in 2015, whom he had been with for about a year before he met me, and dumped her January 2016. He apolgoized profusely, saying he was confused, didn't know that he could feel the things he felt for me, didn't know if it was too good to be true, and that he was confused, and didn't want to tell me for fear that I'd leave him. And stupidly, in my low state, I stayed with him as he seemed to sincerely want to work on things and be with me.
Fast forward, February 25 2017...I wanted to give Tom* more trust so I told him to go away for the weekend to visit his parents without me, that it would be good for us. He leaves, texting me around 11pm that he was going to bed at his parents' house. I thought nothing of it. the next day he seemed hungover and slept all day at his parent's house, claiming he had not gone out drinking the night before. A few weeks later in March, he went out with friends and ended up staying out until 3am. I called him, and he accidentally answered the phone, not knowing that he had. I overheard him in a car saying I was at home pissed off and that a few weeks prior, he had met some girl from "back home" who was hot, they had been talking for a few weeks but she quit talking to him for a "black guy", and then he made a racist comment, which was totally unlike the person that I knew. When I was able to confront him when he got home, he denied everything, saying he hadn't said any of that stuff and it was the guy next to him who had said it. I did a little digging and was able to speak to someone who confirmed that Tom* had went out that night in February and met some blonde at the bar. When I confronted Tom* with this information, he admitted it all, saying that he went out but didn't want to tell me because he just wanted to have fun without me getting upset. He said the girl he met had bought him a drink, he didn't tell her he had a girl friend, and they texted for about a week as a means to escape our intense relationship. He said he wasn't happy, although I had NO idea that he had been as unhappy as he was. I also found out that he had actually went to a club the night I overheard him and gotten some girl named Brooke's phone number. Once I found the phone number, I called Brooke and she told me that Tom* had approached her that night in the parking lot of the club around 2am, saying "I really hope you get home safe, you should give me your number just in case" so she had put her number in his phone and that was that. He had called her a bit later, but she hadn't answered. When confronted, he put the blame on Brooke, saying she was drunk and immature, didn't know what she was talking about, that he only got her number in case he needed a ride home from the club, and that he hadn't told me about the club because, yet again, I would have gotten mad. He broke up with me after this, said he felt the need to "act out" and do things that he hadn't wanted to do anymore, all because our relationship was intense and he wasn't going out with friends as much. He went out, got other girls' numbers (always saying they were just in case he needed a ride home), had one girl bring him home one night at 3:20am who had NO idea that I lived with him. When I confronted her, she said Tom* had been flirting with her, told her he had dumped me weeks prior, had no idea I lived with him, and that he had texted her telling her that she is beautiful but that nothing happened that crossed the line. Of course, Tom* denied flirting and telling the girl he had dumped me.
After all of this drama, Tom* finally agreed to get back together officially (I was still living with him at his house) and work on our relationship. He started being sweet again, doing sweet things and seeing a therapist with me, doing relationship-building things, telling me he is in love with me, wants to marry me, seeming protective of me at times....just things that made me believe that we were getting better and he was happier. I even felt happier.
May 19th, he went out with friends, stayed out til 3 am. I offered to pick him up when he was ready to come home too. He got home on his own and I saw him looking at his phone in a weird way, so I walked up behind him and saw a text message from a woman saved in his phone by the name of Sarah, saying "Hi Tom* :)". I immediately felt my stomach drop. He finally said, after denying, that he had gotten her number in case he and his friend needed a ride home. I reminded him that HIS GIRLFRIEND had already offered to take them home and he had even promised me, several times, no more random numbers in his phone....and I demanded a real answer as getting a drunk woman's number is NOT for a ride. He insisted it was only for a ride, but then let me see the text conversation between he and Sarah. He had texted Sarah that night at 2:18am with "It's Tom*" and she responded at 2:41am with "Hi Tom* :)". In my disbelief and being crushed all over again, I made him text Sarah, telling her he has a girlfriend and not to contact him again. The next day, I had him show me her response, and I only got to see a glimpse of Sarah's response, which was a paragraph text, and the only thing I saw from what she had said was something about "taking her back". Tom* refused to let me read her response, deleting it and her number, saying she meant and means nothing, and her response was just because of the instigating text that I made him send to Sarah the night before.
I packed a suitcase and left, to stay at my sister's house for the rest of the weekend and the following week, to think, because I was honestly thinking about my options as far as breaking up and moving out. He called me and texted me all that Saturday night, and began again Sunday morning at 7am. I finally responded Sunday morning around 9am, explaining how hurt I was. He was responding back to me, saying he will never do it again, but he ended up saying we need to break up, that he isn't "ready for a relationship", out of the blue. I drove to our house and he said he doesn't think he's in love with me anymore, because he keeps hurting me and feels that if he were in love, that he wouldn't do things to hurt me, things that he agreed he wouldn't want me to do behind his back. He admitted, that he not only has done these same things with me and the girlfriend he had cheated on me with, but also in every relationship he's had, that he doesn't know if he's ever truly loved anyone, that he isn't happy with his life or himself and he feels like a bad person, that he feels he has problems that he needs to fix because he is getting old and doesn't want to keep hurting people, that he does want a marriage and kids, but doesn't know if he will ever have any of that. He said he's been saying and doing things the past few months to make things work between us, but didn't always mean the things he said and did, and mostly just wanted me to feel better and to feel special. He said when he was texting me the night before, he meant everything he said about not wanting to live without me, that I am in every part of his life and he wouldn't know what to do without me, that he wants to spend his life with me but when he was texting me that morning, he didn't feel the same and what he was texting me just didn't feel true. He kept assuring me this has nothing to do with any woman or any outside influences, that he's not happy with himself and he needs to be a better person, and he needs to stop doing the same things to women and hurting people, because nobody, especially me, deserves any of that.
After awhile of talking, he said we should take a week apart to process things and see how we feel. I reluctantly agreed, and spent the week at my sister's house, only talking to Tom* that Tuesday, with him saying it was so hard for him not to text or call me, that he wanted to be with me but knew we needed time apart. That Friday rolls around and I hadn't heard anything from him since Tuesday, so I drove to our house. He was home, upstairs alone in his office. He hugged me and told me that he had thought things through, and he missed me and cared about me but that he ultimately decided that we can't be together. He got upset when I said I feel like he's happy and just wants me out like I don't mean anything to him at all. He showed me our bed, where had placed pillows where I always slept, saying he is hurting and misses me lying next to him, that he isn't happy and this isn't easy for him, but that he needs to be alone and we can't be together. He did say, while crying, that he doesn't know what's wrong with him, why he keeps hurting people, why he keeps doing things that he knows is wrong, that he wants to be better for me. He ended up saying he was going away for the weekend, to spend time with family and to process his thoughts. I was so upset, and didn't want him to leave, and he ended up running out the back door, to his truck and driving away, with me crying, standing in the doorway. He said before he left, that he'd help me figure out where to move to and he'd help me with whatever I needed, but that he wouldn't be back until the following Monday (this was Memorial Day weekend).
I packed all of my things and moved out that weekend, and haven't seen or talked to him since. He never contacted me, even upon going home to an empty house. His mom has contacted me a few times, seeming concerned for me and wanting to talk, but never mentioning anything direct about him. I never responded to her.
I'm hurt, angry, feeling duped and stupid for not trusting my intuition about him. He always told me he'd never look outside of our relationship if we were having issues, that he'd never cheat or lie...well, he did everything he promised he wouldn't do, including saying he can't imagine his life without me the day before he dumped me this last time. I know this all sounds ridiculous, and I clearly should have left him when the shady stuff first began, but I'm in the throes of this break up that I should have initiated, feeling like I'm to blame partly for how he acted due to feeling insecure and sometimes wondering I could have done things to prevent all of this from happening. But then I realize that's a load of crap, that I'm not to blame for his behaviors, that clearly he's been doing these things way before he ever met me. My therapist thinks it's because his mother coddled him and he learned how to manipulate women by first manipulating her while he was growing up.
What do you guys think? Any (respectful) opinions and advice would help.
As we are working through couples recovery I'm a little stuck about the part where the CS has to forgive themself. I do know that it's part of the recovery that the CS has to forgive themself. When did your CS forgive themself, how many months from D-day? How did that fact make you feel?I can't help but feel disappointed almost and frustrated as unreasonable as I am. But why should I still...