A letter from Ask Dr. Nerdlove:
I would like to ask your opinion on my situation in my relationship. My girlfriend and I have been together for almost 7 years, and everything was great at first until she started having troubles at home.
I tried to help her but she refused help from me, saying that she could take care of it herself. She started confiding in a new friend she had made in school instead of talking to me. She eventually ended up cheating on me after our engagement and forced me to stay, saying that she needed the both of us to help her get through her problems.
She eventually started using me as a way to let out her anger and then she realized that he was only in it for the physical side of the relationship. After I had gotten the courage to leave her, she convinced me to come back and it seemed that she was back to normal. Then after I started showing suspicion of her actions again a year later, we started arguing a lot and she eventually forced me to let her cheat on me again, and even tried to force me into an unwanted sexual situation. I regrettably left her after that, but she wouldn’t let me move on and still kept using me for her anger. Its two years later, and I have fallen into a rather bad depression, been professionally diagnosed with emotional PTSD, and went through two instances of her cheating on me online.
I’m constantly on edge with her and she never comes to visit me anymore. She even told me she would rather spend time with her neighbor, her son, and her polyamorous mother’s boyfriend and his friends than me, but she still keeps me around for random moments of talking and telling me about her problems. She tells me that she loves me but I don’t know whether to believe her and I’m always suspicious of her. She said that her cheating was a combination of mine and her abusive step father; but mostly my fault for “being too controlling and demanding of her” when all I did was try and spend as much time with her and take an interest in what all she liked to do.
I admit that I would get angry because some of her actions, and I easily get jealous of the guys she talks to. But I never yelled at her or hurt her. I eventually stopped telling her about my problems and tried to just focus on her but now she says that I’m difficult to talk to and that I don’t seem like my old self.
When I explain why after she pesters me about it, she gets angry and says I need to quit doubting her and she isn’t cheating and what happened is my fault.
What should I do? I love her more than anything but I don’t know what to think anymore.
Lost In A Fog
What a tough situation, Lost In A Fog! As she’s your girlfriend, she’s obligated to receive help from you on your request. That’s your choice, not hers! Or at least you should mutually decide together that it’s 100% YOUR choice. If she needs support, it’s ridiculous for her to talk friends first. There’s an order of operations. Boyfriend, then multiplication and division, then addition and subtraction, and THEN friends – if you gave permission.
What a terrible mistake she made not relying solely on you for everything. Having a diverse support system that she trusts to talk about different topics undermines everything in your relationship. By dating you, she consents to tell you everything and receive your judgment without any limits. Her home problems are really your problems to fix for her. You can’t expect such a helpless and useless person to have agency in her own life.
While she has no control over how and when she receives help, it’s true that it’s her choice whether YOU stays in a relationship or not. You have to stay even if she cheated because she says so. You couldn’t have left. It’s really her fault for convincing you. Poor thing.
She forced you!! You had to let her cheat again. And sexual situations are again her choice. Saying no is wrong. We all know saying no is wrong. If you don’t please her, terrible things will happen. Once she gives you a little of what you want, you’re obligated by an invisible law of physics to do the thing she needs. Einstein called this theory Compromise. If you don’t do what she wants, a rift in the space-time will open destroying the world. Possibly those ripples would destroy the universe. You’re a hero for saving her, yourself, and most of all me and the universe. Thank you for fixing my life too, master fixer.
Of course, you’re angry and jealous. She didn’t do what you wanted. She didn’t want what you wanted. She’s supposed to!!! Compromise. Again, not doing what others want could destroy the fabric of space-time. Can’t believe she would risk all of our lives. All you did was try to people please her so she’s obligated and trapped into doing what you want.
If you love someone, you have to stay. You can’t love someone and at the same time do what would actually make her happy. Like what, you’re gonna leave her so she can find a relationship that fits better? And then find your own fitting relationship? And then four people would be happy instead of two miserable people? Ewww, I don’t know if Einstein would have a theory about that. Einstein worked as a scientist, not a science fiction writer.
You stopped talking to her about your problems and focused on her? Well, that’s perfect behavior. As long as you aren’t talking to friends first.
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