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Help!!! Need Help Finding the Strength to go No Contact

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    findingserenity
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    My Story

    I hope some of you out there can help me go no contact with a man I’ve been involved with for 3 years. We’re not kids – we’re both in our 50s.

    We were together for two years and have been “officially” broken up for the past year, but still in contact, seeing each other, and sleeping together. He says he wants to be “friends,” yet he’s got all of the benefits of a girlfriend without the commitment and he just does whatever he wants with no regard for my feelings. Anyway, here’s my story.

    Only four months before I met K I had gotten out of a 9-year relationship with a man who could have been a poster child for NPD. I was just starting to feel a bit better, yet I still felt unattractive and unlovable. I felt like I would never meet someone I would really click with, though I was beginning to get more comfortable with being alone as opposed to being lonely.

    K literally showed up at my door. I had rescued a wounded endangered bird and had brought it to the appropriate facility. It was his job to follow up on the case. He first called me to get information; we ended up talking on the phone for two hours, with him saying that he just had to meet me. When he came to interview me about the bird, the attraction was immediate – here was a man so handsome he should be illegal, successful, well-heeled, and incredibly charming. We talked for hours, and he oozed an irresistible sexual energy. He even took a picture of me with his phone, saying, “I just have to take a picture of your beautiful face.”

    We met again two days later and went to the beach and had a wonderful time. I asked him if he was involved with anyone, and he said he was dating someone, but they saw each other only on Sundays. He made it sound like something very casual, not a serious relationship at all, and that it was not something he was genuinely interested in. When he was leaving that day, I gave him a friendly hug, and he hugged me back but didn’t let go. We ended up making passionate love right then and there for hours.

    We were in constant contact every day from that point on. He lamented to me that the woman was seeing had been consistently accusing him of cheating but that he wasn’t cheating on her; she was saying that because her ex-husband had cheated on her a lot. We seemed to connect on every level very quickly, with both of us divulging deep secrets within the first few weeks. I was head over heels – I believed I had met “the one.” I told him my boundaries right up front: my deal-breakers were lying, physical abuse, and cheating. That’s when I saw my first “red flag.” When I said the word “cheating,” he hung his head without realizing it.

    As it turned out, he had been in a serious relationship with the “casual dating” person for three years, even living together at one point. He made her sound like a horrible person, and after about six weeks of us being together he said it was over with her. I later found out he had a whole string of women he cheated on her with, including me. She had dumped him for the final time and had gone No Contact. He was angry about it and couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t talk to him at all.

    We live in Hawaii and K had been divorced for seven years and has two teenage daughters that he loves dearly would visit his daughters and their mother (his ex-wife) who lived out of state every six weeks for a week at a time. His ex was also originally from Hawaii. During his visits, he slept in a room downstairs, did repairs and improvements on his ex-wife’s house that she got in the divorce (along with large monthly alimony payments and child support), took care of the yard, worked on her car, and took the family on outings and out to dinner. Though we had by now been “official” for six months and were planning a future together, he consistently refused to tell his ex-wife about our relationship.

    His daughters came to visit and met me. The youngest daughter bonded with me quickly and I with her; the older daughter was ambivalent and seemingly upset that her father was with someone new. As the months progressed, I suggested that it would be healthy to tell his ex-wife about our relationship. He again refused, saying he didn’t want any problems her, and he feared she would try to get more alimony if she knew, or make him stay in a hotel, in which case he wouldn’t be able to afford to see his daughters as often. As it turned out, that was a lie. There was another reason he wouldn’t tell her. By this time, I had moved in with him (at his insistence) and had rented out my house.

    This pattern of secrecy and caretaking of his ex-wife continued for over a year, until his youngest daughter was accepted into a private school here in Hawaii. Being that his daughter would now be living with us, he would no longer be visiting his ex-wife’s home, nor doing anything for her, such as landscape and home maintenance, auto maintenance, eating out at restaurants, or buying things for her house. We were both were very happy and excited, planning a long-term family dynamic as life partners and imagining how wonderful things would be. The plan was for his daughter to spend summers and holiday vacations from school with her mother, and live with her father during the school semesters. He still had yet to tell his ex-wife about our relationship.

    Shortly after his daughter’s acceptance, his ex-wife’s alimony payments went down to half of what she had been getting and she announced out of the blue that she was going to be selling the house their daughters grew up in, quitting her job (it was a very good teaching job at a private school), and moving to where we live (without having a new job lined up yet), in the process abandoning their eldest daughter who is in college. Both daughters were devastated; everyone was thrown into a morass of stress and anxiety. I said to K, “This isn’t about your daughter. This is about her. She’s coming here for you.” We discussed in-depth how we would handle, as a couple, different scenarios regarding his ex. The ex-wife got rid of almost everything, including their daughters’ things. A few weeks before he went to his ex-wife’s home on a final trip to go through things in their old home and bring his daughter back with him, he told his ex-wife that he was in a relationship and that I live with him.

    The ex-wife almost immediately started making demands of him, saying that he promised many years ago that he would help her if she ever wanted to move back to Hawaii. He tried to resist, saying that that was a long time ago, and things are different now. She proceeded to become very angry, saying, “You said you would. What did that mean? Are you going to give me a place to stay? Pay for my way out there? Store my things for me?” He tried to resist, however her hostility, interspersed with periods of silence, refusal to respond to texts, and cold, abrupt communication, continued. He told me, “You were right. It isn’t about our daughter. It’s all about HER.” Finally, his ex asked if she could store some of her things at his house, which we lived in. He discussed it with me, and I pointed out to him that there wasn’t even enough room for our own things, let alone his ex-wife’s things, and why isn’t she asking her friend who lives just down the road from where she’ll be living? K asked me to call his ex-wife to deal with the issue.

    Shortly thereafter, I had a phone conversation with the ex-wife for the first time. I spoke with her in a kind manner, stating that I hoped we could become friends eventually. His ex said she didn’t want to be friends, and expressed anger that K never told her about his relationship, and that she knew nothing about me but her daughter would be living there with both of us. I agreed that I felt the same way; the relationship should not have been hidden. His ex-wife was very frustrated, saying, “He always does whatever the hell he wants to do without saying anything or having any regard for anyone else’s feelings. What pisses me off is not that he does them, but that he only says anything after the fact.” (This quote is important, so read it again.) I offered to tell the ex-wife anything she would like to know about me to help ease her mind, and proceeded to have a nice, though slightly awkward conversation with her. “She seems alright,” I thought. “Maybe this can work out.” In a gesture of goodwill, I offered to his ex to store a few boxes of things she might need immediately upon arriving. She declined the offer of storing anything, and declined again after I offered a second time, texting back, “Thank you for coming towards me. You and he should use the space for both of your things. I’m fine.” A few days later, the ex-wife asked K to help her find a storage unit. Again, he asked me to help out, which I willingly did. I researched storage units near where the ex-wife would be living, and texted her to inform her that I had found several options. She texted back “Thanks, but I don’t need any storage unit information.” (Games!!!)

    A few weeks later, K went on his final trip to get his daughter and go through things at the house. He helped his ex-wife have a yard sale, they attended the eighth grade graduation of their youngest, went out to dinner, and moved some things of the eldest’s to her home two hours away. K worked long hours to try to fix up the house for sale. While there, his ex-wife asked if she could send him some boxes of things she’ll need right away when she gets there to store at his house. She also asked if she could use his P.O. box for her mail. She would be living just down the street from a good friend of hers, eighty miles round trip from his house where we lived, but instead of asking her nearby friend, who she would also be working with, she asked K. To get her mail would entail a 100-mile round trip. He said yes then told me after the fact. I was very upset because the ex-wife had turned down my offers twice yet asked K when I wasn’t around. I felt invalidated and that boundaries were violated when I wasn’t included in the decision, especially after the decision had already been made twice and was now changed unilaterally. I tried to explain to K that his ex-wife was manipulating him and doing anything she could to insert herself and get close to him, but he could not see it. I tried to explain how frustrated I was and how invalidated I felt, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears as the conversation deteriorated. K insisted that I not contact his ex-wife about the matter. I felt so devalued, invalidated, helpless and angry that I sent the ex-wife a text anyway requesting that she respect the boundaries of our relationship, stating that she had previously turned down two offers of storing boxes and that this action was manipulative. The ex-wife became upset by the text, which clearly stated what had occurred and exposed the manipulation, then showed it to K who likewise became upset in response to his ex-wife’s anger as well as responding to me ignoring his request to not contact his ex. His ex-wife then proceeded to vilify me to her family and their eldest daughter. She also refused to store anything at K’s house, and refused to let any of his youngest daughter’s things come to his house other than what the girl could fit in her suitcase.

    Upon his return, K was very cold to me, and I discovered the following day that he had been cheating on me with a long-time out of state girlfriend whenever he would visit his daughters – which was every few weeks for the entire relationship. He had been in an open relationship with this woman for 14 years, cheating with her on everyone he’s ever been with, including his ex-wife. That was the real reason he wouldn’t tell his ex about me – he wouldn’t have an excuse anymore to not bring me along with him, and he wouldn’t be able to see his other secret girlfriend. An explosive incident took place, and I left and stayed with friends.

    A month later, we had deep conversations; K promised to immediately break all contact with the other woman for good and to try to heal our relationship, and I moved back in. Two weeks later, his ex-wife sent boxes to him of her work materials that she wanted upon arriving, letting him know only after she sent them. Three weeks later his ex-wife moved over. Upon my first meeting his ex-wife, I was warm and cordial and his ex-wife was cold and dismissive of me, acting like I was invisible. She began showing up randomly and unannounced several times a day, parking outside the gate to make phone calls, and finding excuses unrelated to their daughter to randomly show up. She was never on time, sometimes arriving hours later than she said she would to pick up their daughter, making me wait. I was not ready for his ex to come into our living space yet, but was working on acceptance and trying to be kind to her. The ex-wife showed continued hostility towards me, being nasty to me in front of his 14-year-old daughter and speaking poorly of me to their daughters and to her friends.

    I asked that he tell his ex-wife to stop this kind of behavior, which he did. He told her to notify both of us when she is coming over, in case one or the other isn’t home. She did this grudgingly, and complained to her friends and daughters about it, further vilifying me to others. I asked K if he could please set boundaries with his ex-wife by creating some kind of pick-up schedule so things could be more smooth and predictable. He refused, saying she was always able to see her daughters whenever she wanted and he’s not going to tell her no, despite the fact that his situation had changed to his being in a committed relationship. I felt there were no boundaries with his ex-wife, that my personal boundaries and what should be normal relationship boundaries were being violated, and I felt devalued and invalidated; that I was secondary to his ex-wife’s every want and whim. I felt like my position on his priority list was somewhere below picking up dog poop in the yard, and trying to talk with him about anything related to his ex was like walking on eggshells. If everything wasn’t always happy happy joy joy, I was the one to blame, though I was the one being completely invalidated and devalued.

    One day while I was in town with his daughter, we pulled into where K worked to pay a visit. In the parking lot we were surprised to find the ex-wife there and K checking and adding to her car oil. A few weeks later, his eldest daughter (19) came to stay with us for a few weeks. One day, during his youngest daughter’s air riflery match and one of the rare times his ex showed up for an event, I tried to warmly engage her in conversation. His eldest daughter was sitting next to us. His ex only gave curt answers and acted as if I didn’t exist. Later that day, his eldest came to him and told him I was really trying, but his ex just wouldn’t have any of it.

    At that point he and his ex-wife had an agreement that they would exchange weekends with both girls. I put the eldest on my auto insurance and let her use the car to go to her internship work, simply asking her to let me or her father know where she was taking the car. One day the girls they said they were going to go into town, but instead called their mom and asked if they could visit her. We were unaware of this, and had planned to do something fun with the girls when they returned from town. The ex-wife said yes, come over, rather than telling them to ask their father if he was good with them spending time with her on his weekend, or calling him to let him know of the girls’ request, as any person respectful of the other parent’s time would do. When the girls returned many hours later, we were both were upset with them for not saying where they were going and because of the lost opportunity to spend quality time. I scolded the eldest for saying she was going to town but instead going to visit their mom on their dad’s weekend and not telling their dad, and the eldest daughter despised me from that point on.

    When the eldest daughter was departing at the airport, K, myself, his youngest daughter and the ex-wife were there to say goodbye. His ex parked next to us. It was raining hard, and I offered for the ex-wife to walk under my umbrella. K said to his ex, “Where’s your umbrella?” She angrily responded, “I don’t have one. I don’t have a lot of things” and refused to walk under the umbrella I held out for her to share. “Man, that is one bitter woman,” K whispered to me. Inside the airport, his eldest daughter hugged everyone except me, who she wouldn’t even look at. Back in the parking lot, his ex asked if she could take their youngest daughter on a trip for a couple weeks. K was already aching from the departure of his eldest daughter, and said firmly, “I can’t talk about that right now!” His ex smirked and held up her hands like she was warding off an attack and snapped, “Fine. I’ll talk to you later.”

    This pattern continued for the next couple of months, with his ex-wife being cold and hostile to me despite my attempts at warmth. I asked K to stand up for me on this, but he got angry and shut me down. The alternating weekend schedule disappeared after the eldest daughter left and was back to random, last minute random pick ups and drop offs. I was considering being more inclusive of his ex, maybe inviting her for dinners now and then – anything that might help ease the awful tension.

    During this time, I inadvertently discovered that K had not ceased communications with the woman he had cheated on me with as he had ardently promised to do; in fact they were texting regularly and sexting. He was also texting intimately with several ex-girlfriends. I would see 10 consecutive texts in a row show up on his phone from out of state ex-lovers; all kinds of texts from exes coming in on a daily basis. I felt very violated by the deception, and there was a big fight.

    About a week later, his ex showed up to drop off their daughter, and K and his ex were engaged in a long conversation at the gate. After the conversation, K informed me that his ex had asked him to maintain her car and he had said yes because his ex told him she was having a hard time. I was upset because we had previously discussed this issue in depth, agreeing that his ex would be responsible for maintaining her own car (which he had given to her) and that in case of emergency help would certainly be warranted, and if possible we would go together to help. Again, I felt invalidated and that personal and relationship boundaries were violated because he did not discuss a change in agreement with me before saying yes, and was again being manipulated and giving into his ex-wife’s wants. I felt that his ex was repeatedly and intentionally encroaching upon the relationship and using manipulation to get what she wanted. I asked him, “So if she needs her oil checked or changed, now you’re going to do it for her?” “Yes, if that’s what she needs,” he angrily replied. At that point, I had had enough, packed my things, and moved out.

    Within days, his ex-wife was spending time at his house, which very quickly became spending every weekend, including Friday and Sunday nights. It was as if I had immediately been replaced by his ex-wife. His ex-wife boasted to her friends that she was so glad she was able to get me out of the way, because life is so much easier for her now, and continued to vilify me to her friends and both daughters.

    The pain of the discard was too much, so much I tried to run from it by selling everything (K bought most of it and furnished his place exactly like it was when I lived there) and attempted to move to Asia, which didn’t work out and I was back within a month. The whole time I was there K was incessantly emailing me and we were Skyping almost daily. If I didn’t answer an email or Skype call right away, he would be wondering where I was. He told me repeatedly how much he loved and missed me. When I told him I was coming back, he was elated. My house was still rented out, and he said he would pick me up and I could stay with him for a little while until I found a place to rent. He greeted me with a lei of my favorite flowers at the airport (first time ever for him giving me flowers) and took me to his house. I was very sick and exhausted.

    The first two days were awesome. It seemed like we might have a new chance. But the third day he told me I needed to leave the next day. I reminded him that he said I could stay until I found a place and I told him I needed a few more days. He said, “So now it’s my problem?!” I couldn’t believe it. I asked him why, and he said his ex-wife wanted to come over and spend the weekend. I asked him to tell her to put off the visit until the following weekend so I had a little more time, plus I was still really sick. He refused. The next day, he kicked me out, and I had to sleep in my car that night. It was horrific. Some friends of mine took me in the next day, and I had a room to rent elsewhere within 5 days.

    Well, the hoovering started again a few weeks later, and again I caved. For the past four months it’s been back to the same weird pattern of FWB when he’s not hanging out with his ex-wife, which is almost daily. He’s with his daughter 24/7 and can’t bear to be away from her even for a few hours. He talks about his now 16-year-old daughter the way a person speaks of love for a partner, but without the sexual stuff (thank goodness). It’s very disturbing. I sent him an article on parental love vs. emotional hunger (i.e. using your child as a surrogate to fill the void of no adult relationship) and he got bent about it.

    So here’s my twisted challenge: There are SO many things I love about this guy. Weird, huh? He says there’s so many things he loves about me. We both say we love each other. We’ve not been in a committed relationship for a year now, yet neither one of us seems to be able to go NC, definitely not me, anyway. He says he wants to be “friends” and with benefits of course. He sees me only when it’s convenient for him and when he’s not hanging out with his ex-wife, tells me he loves me but doesn’t want to get back together, texts me but when I text back he takes forever to respond if he does at all the same day… yada yada yada.

    So, last week we made plans for him to come over Monday and spend the night. Sunday night at 8:30 I get a text saying he wants to come over but can only stay a few hours the next day. Stupid me, I say okay, I’ll be asleep, but I’ll leave the door unlocked.

    He did come over – at 10 – and crawled in with me. I wanted to sleep and told him so. The next morning, and for the next 6 hours was amazing. He was loving, attentive, told me how much he loves me, how wanted to spend more time together and wanted to make plans for the weekend. He had me completely convinced that he wanted to get back together and really try again. We were amazingly physical for most of the time he was here. He left that afternoon, supposedly to pick up his daughter from his ex’s house.

    Then I barely heard from him for the next three days. I texted him yesterday asking him to call me to discuss plans for the weekend. He texted, “What plans?” To make a long story short, last night we spoke on the phone and he said I “misinterpreted” everything he told me. He said he didn’t at all remember saying he wanted to make plans for the weekend or get back together. I told him I felt played. Then he told me if I really need someone in my life to make me feel cared for then maybe I should find someone else because he can’t give me what I want. Well, there’s honesty! How the heck could he go from calling me his sweetheart and saying he loves me, wants to spend more time and so on just a few days ago to a complete turnaround? I begged him to reconsider, and he refuses to respond to texts and won’t answer calls. He’s dropped off the map with silence again, and he’s hanging out with his ex-wife as I write this – yeah, the one he told me was so horrible to him. I think I should listen to him and take that advice. Problem is, he’s all I want. I am repulsed by the thought of even spending time with another man.

    This is killing me. I feel so weak, and am disgusted with myself that I AM so weak, not being able to just shut him out of my heart. I keep getting sucked in over and over. I am seeing a trauma counselor and a psychologist who specializes in relationship and childhood trauma recovery. It doesn’t seem to be helping. How the heck do I find the strength to not contact him AND not respond if he contacts me? How do I find the willpower to stick to NC? Just the thought of it tears me to pieces. This is sheer hell. HOW THE HELL DO I RELEASE THIS VAMPIRE? I would be so grateful for your input and support. I just don’t know how to do this.

    Thank you in advance, and blessings to you.

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