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#2612709 04/03/12 11:48 PM
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Puzzle Offline OP
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Good evening everyone!

So I haven't been online in awhile due to some dramas. (My life could be a soap!) Let's see...
1. my marriage finally dissolved
2. I quit my job and moved to Colorado
3. I met a great guy
4. I'm currently searching for employment

How did all this happen? Well, my depression continued to go downhill last fall and I was taking the max dosage of the meds I was on. So me and my doctor started playing with cocktails to get me straightened out again. Unfortunately with the stress of work, home life and such I still ended up in the hospital for 11 days in August, during which my dearest Hubby was looking for a participant for affair #2.

He did his own thing and ended up moving from SC, where we lived, to NC. Not really having any particularly thrilling options myself, I agreed to move to CO with my mom and dad, to be near my sister and niece. Mom moved up right before Hubby took off, (we actually helped him move into his new room!) She stayed with me for a month and is about 95% responsible for getting me packed. Dad came up, packed up a trailer and we went down to FL in time for a quick Thanksgiving, with the majority of Mom's side of the family. Then we drove to CO and I currently live in my sister's basement on base.

There weren't any positions in my company to transfer so I had to quit and I've been looking for a job to support myself ever since I got here. I've gone on a few interviews but nothing has come of them yet. I've got another set up for Friday so we'll see how that goes.

I met a really nice guy here in Colorado about a month after we got here. I've been dating him for 4 months now. He's a year older than me with a Bachelors in Molecular Biology, I think. He's an EMT and has only 4 more weeks before he finishes Paramedic school and goes into his internship. He has a full education, he's discovered what he wants to do for a career, he's got his finances in order, he has his priorities straight. He's an adult and my husband was immature in comparison. He thinks I'm amazing and beautiful the way I am. He thinks I'm strong and intelligent. He says he loves me. He has experience with depression and recognizes the signs that I'm still struggling with it and says that it's something we'll work through together, that I'm not alone.

There's been a few things that have raised red flags for me though. I'm not sure if they are major drawbacks yet, or just minor hiccups that can be worked on. The first thing I've noticed is that my emotions seem to be muted or held back or something. There's none of the infatuation and puppy love that has been in my previous relationships. Is that because I'm not as niave as I was before? (Hopefully I've learned a few things by now.) I realize I still have a lot to learn about relationships and that I'm not the best at identifying my own emotions or sharing them. I also realize that I'm still depressed and that has put a distorting lens on my feelings and thoughts. I've thought that maybe our relationship is just a rebound on my part, which is completely possible I suppose. How can I tell? I really do care about him and I don't want to lead him on. Is it possible for a rebound to turn into a strong relationship and how do you know if that's happened?

I've noticed also that my new boyfriend demands attention like my husband did. He's also an only child and I think that may have something to do with it. He's used manipulation techniques to try and get what he wants and I've recognized them. For instance he'll call on the phone and after going through the details of our day I'll run out of things to say. It's not that I don't want to talk to him, I just don't have a clue what to talk about and I don't see the point of sitting in silence on the phone. I've tried to come up with other topics or asked him what he wants to talk about but nothing usually comes up. But if I try to say goodbye then I must not want to talk to him and I must be busy with other things. He tries to tell me how I must feel and lays on a guilt trip. I've seen him do it with his mother also when she wasn't able to visit one day we were in town. Usually when he's in a mood and does something like this he realizes and calls later to apologizes for how he acted. But it's happened a few times now.

He's also said that I've reject his affections and not reciprocated them. He's mentioned my lower libido and how he always has to initiate our intimacies. He says that these aren't problems and that it's okay if that's just the way I am, but it's something for me to think about. He's mentioned the symptoms of my depression and how I need to get back into my hobbies and not sleep so late. It was only three months and he wanted me to move in with him so we can see each other more and not drive the 30 minutes from one house to the other. I told him that 3 months was too soon to move in together and that I wasn't comfortable considering it until I had a way to support myself and contribute to the rent and groceries and such. He says that me moving in wouldn't cost anything he wasn't already paying and that it wasn't a big deal.

He's gone into my financial situation and explained how we're going to get me out of it and strongly suggested additional ways to try and find a job. He says that he understands that I'm broke and that it doesn't bother him that he always pays when he takes me out, that I shouldn't let it bother me. He says everyone has rough times and he's been through it too. He's offered to help me with a cell phone bill the first time it was disconnected. I refused because I had no way to know when I could pay him back and my mom covered it for me. The second time it was disconnected I knew I had my tax refund on the way and would be able to pay him back when I got it. I asked him if I could borrow the $200 it would take to turn my phone back on, especially since it's the only number employers have to reach me. He said yeah, but it was a reluctant agreement, and it was 3 days later before we went online to pay it. While typing in his bank information he says that it's interesting how I don't want to move in because I want to be able to support myself and yet here he is shelling out $200 for my cell phone and that it was something I might want to think about. (The website was down so we couldn't process my payment and the next day I asked my mom to cover it again for me. )

And the other day money came up again and we talked about my debt and how I wasn't even sure what I owed my Mom and Dad for helping me move and covering some of my bills. He said that he wasn't keeping track of what I owed him and that we needed to focus on other bills first. He's bought me food plenty of times and took me to the movies and such knowing that it bothers me how he pays for everything and he's told me not to worry about it that he takes care of his Baby and he enjoys taking me out. He's filled my gas tank once, maybe twice, because 75% of the time I'm commuting to see him and that's where all my gas goes. But he hasn't paid any of my bills. We joke around that I owe him a massive steak dinner but what did he mean when he said he wasn't keeping track of what I "owe" him and if he isn't keeping track then how can I "owe" anything?

They aren't majorly big red flags in my opinion yet, but I feel that, if left un-addressed, they might become bigger issues.

If you managed to read all that I'd love everyone's thoughts, opinions and advice on the matter and how you might handle my situation.


ME:BS 27
H:WS 28
Separated since 10/2011, divorce pending.
Puzzle #2612722 04/04/12 06:19 AM
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You aren't seeing majorly big red flags but there are tons of them! I say run.

- you aren't ready for a new relationship (that's why your knees are not going weak)

- this man is controlling and manipulative, he is preying on you.

- you feel comfortable because this relationship feels familiar. That's because it is, you are making the mistake of falling for someone like your ex.

Give it a year before you date anybody. Sort out your health and money problems. You will be amazed at what you discover about yourself as you work on your emotional needs.


3 adult children
Divorced - he was a serial adulterer
Now remarried, thank you MB
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Living_Well,

You make some very sensible comments.

What major red flags are you seeing in particular?

I agree I may not be ready for a new relationship but I'm already in one now. Wouldn't it be better to try and work out the kinks than to just abandon it? Or is it because these problems are coming out after only a few months that means it's not worth trying to work them out?

I believe that everyone has the ability and inclination to manipulate people to get what they want in life. We are mainly Takers, as Dr. Harley would put it, in our early lives until we learn how the world works, in my opinion. I think only children are handicapped in this regard, but shouldn't they have a chance to learn? Isn't it possible that bringing the manipulative behavior to his attention may be enough to stop it and learn a better way to interact?

I know that we are both in really stressful circumstances and that stress shows through sometimes. If we can be patient and understanding with each other, and support each other through it, doesn't that make our relationship that much stronger? His big stress right now is his school. But that's almost done and his internship will be complete by this fall. Mine is my health and money situation which kind of goes hand in hand. I need money to get my meds and counseling so it's a matter of time.

Just some more thoughts...


ME:BS 27
H:WS 28
Separated since 10/2011, divorce pending.
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Actually, I think some of these are major flags.

The only one I don't find worrisome is that you aren't weak in the knees.

I would break it off. Save the gas money and use that to pay down debt. Use the free time from not dating to work an entry level job.

As someone who has suffered depression, I'd like to add another thought. Anyone who dates you while you are depressed is not experiencing the real you. When you are completely out of the depression, he may actually try to get the old you back, the one who was depressed.


Divorced.
2 Girls
Remarried 10/11/08
Widowed 11/5/08
Remarrying 12/17/15
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Originally Posted By: Greengables
I would break it off. Save the gas money and use that to pay down debt. Use the free time from not dating to work an entry level job.

As someone who has suffered depression, I'd like to add another thought. Anyone who dates you while you are depressed is not experiencing the real you. When you are completely out of the depression, he may actually try to get the old you back, the one who was depressed.


The little bit of gas money I can borrow can't really even pay one bill in reality. And I've looked for entry level positions. I'm on Monster and Careerbuilder daily and have also filled out company apps on their websites and even posted my resume at a staffing agency or two. I've had a few bites but they've been completely networking based sales or extremely travel extensive. I've got another interview on Friday that I'm keeping my fingers crossed for.

You are definately right about your insight into depression. I think that's one thing that really bothers me, the fact that I'm not myself and I feel like he loves this person that doesn't exist. He claims to be able to see through it, having experienced it himself, to see the real personality beneath. But how can he when I can't? Granted he did meet me when I was still fully medicated and my symptoms weren't so strong, but now I'm only able to afford 2 out of 3 and my symptoms are much more incapacitating.


ME:BS 27
H:WS 28
Separated since 10/2011, divorce pending.
Puzzle #2612898 04/04/12 04:12 PM
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Just out of curiosity, has he been married before? Kids?


Me (BS): 41
Ex (lying cheating piece of dirt): 43
Kids: 12 DD, 6 DS
Married 17 years
I filed: 9/25/10
Divorce final: 10/4/11
He remarried: 10/15/11

My current status: Healing a little more every day!
Puzzle #2612926 04/04/12 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted By: Puzzle

What major red flags are you seeing in particular?....

...I believe that everyone has the ability and inclination to manipulate people to get what they want in life. We are mainly Takers, as Dr. Harley would put it, in our early lives until we learn how the world works, in my opinion. I think only children are handicapped in this regard, but shouldn't they have a chance to learn? Isn't it possible that bringing the manipulative behavior to his attention may be enough to stop it and learn a better way to interact?


Hi Puzzle
You seem to have picked the flags up pretty easily so I am guessing that your XH had similar issues. So how did that work out for you?

I have no idea if you can change manipulative people but I do know that they are attracted to vulnerable women and that the manipulation starts as subtle and becomes gradually more intense. You point out correctly that we are all manipulative as children but the idea is to grow up. People who control and manipulate are deeply insecure.

Do you really think it is ok for you to educate him and try to change him? Is that what he wants from you? That's another red flag to add to the list.

I was married for 30 years to a manipulative man. Marriage is hard enough already, you really need to avoid this like the plague. My eyes were opened when, at Jennifer Harley Chalmer's suggestion we tried to POJA an issue. We went through the entire exercise with her and 'resolved' that because I could not agree enthusiastically, it would not be done. That next week he went out and did it anyway.

My suggestion to you is that you try a POJA with this man. No need for it to be a major issue, just give it a try. Controlling and manipulative people are not capable of negotiating successfully. They just can't go there.


3 adult children
Divorced - he was a serial adulterer
Now remarried, thank you MB
(formerly lied_to_again)
Puzzle #2612964 04/04/12 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted By: Puzzle
If we can be patient and understanding with each other, and support each other through it, doesn't that make our relationship that much stronger?


I've never bought into this line of thinking, no matter how popular in Hollywood or how pushed it was onto me by some women I dated. I believe that if a person has issues, they should work them out before dating others. The "let's support each other" approach will not lead to a healthy relationship, it actually lays a foundation for codependency and manipulation.

I would not spend any more time on this man, I would break it off and spend some time alone.

AGG


AGoodGuy #2613049 04/05/12 08:40 AM
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I echo AGG. The problem with supporting each other through a crisis or as we work on issues IN A DATING relationship is that the relationship becomes about the issues. Once the issues are resolved, what happens to the relationship? That's the best outcome. More likely, the issues DON'T get resolved in order to maintain the relationship status quo.

Highly manipulative people don't change as a general rule. They usually cannot see their behavior as being anything other than honest and forthright. He didn't mean to put you on a guilt trip--He was just being honest about his feelings.


Divorced.
2 Girls
Remarried 10/11/08
Widowed 11/5/08
Remarrying 12/17/15
Puzzle #2613167 04/05/12 03:07 PM
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Are you kidding me? This is so full of *red flags* I'd be in the next state by now!
It reeks of stuff that would turn me off! First off, people who say they're aren't keeping track of what you owe them have a mental ledger down to the penny! Who is he to tell you what to do with your life?! This guy is very controlling and feels more comfortable calling the shots and having you dependent on him. He shows a lack of faith in you BTW and I hope to heavens you aren't falling for it. I don't like his calling you "Baby", let alone trying to get you to move in with him. And intimacies? There shouldn't even BE any! Who is he to talk w/you about your libido! You have a lot on your plate right now with all of the changes/adjustments you've been making, moving, looking for a new job, etc. I'd say ditch him in short order, continue working on finding a job and keep working on your depression. This guy is no Mr. Fixit, he is a controller!

If he tried to manipulate me with the phone conversation or anything else, I'd call him on it right away...better yet, I'd just be gone!

Aren't any majorly red flags? Go back and re-read what you've written! If this was your sister's BF, would you consider it a red flag then?


Enacting life's lessons into positive change... .

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