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Dear Cynthia... > Big Regret
Big Regret
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1 post
Sep 24, 2007
10:11 PM
I met this gorgeous guy about 18 mths ago when he called out to my house to give me a quote on some work I wanted doing with the house. We clicked stright away and he asked me out. We spent the whole weekend together, I could not believe how well we got on. Truth was there was something special between us and we both felt it. He said he would call during the week and he didn't. I was disappointed and rang him. I asked where I stood and he was a litle taken back with my demand so to speak. He called a few days later but there was awkwardness there between us. We agreed to meet however he let me down. I got annoyed and told him that he was a coward, he hung up. That was it. Four months leter he contacted me and said "hi" and the usual small talk back and forth. I listened to my work collegaues who said get rid and tell him however today I have always regretted that. I contacted him and again the small talk however this time he said that he opened up to me too soon and regretted it. He was not in the wrong I was for getting annoyed at him which i had no right to do.
One year later I am involved with someone and altough we get on so well and yes there is a a future in it I still regret and think about this other guy, so much so that I contacted him to say i was genuinely sorry for the way I acted. He said that there was genine feelings there between us however he did not think of me anymore and was not interested in meeting up. I have made contact again and he has given me the cold shoulder by not responding to my text message, I know that that is a clear message in it self but I just wish we could have had the opportunity to sit and meet for a chat to birng closure. In every other relationship I have always had this opportunity and it has been great but with this one no it's not over. I know that I have probably annoyed him and i know that he is not currently dating anyone. I really wish I could turn back the clock as I do regret making the biggest mistake ever.
181 posts
Sep 26, 2007
10:35 PM

I'm not sure if you have a question, or if you just wanted to tell us about this painful experience. It sounds like the situation hooked something powerful inside you, but it's not clear what. Are you unable to forgive yourself for being irritated with him? Do you think he could have been the love of your life if you hadn't called him a coward? Do you feel rejected by him and haunted about what that may mean about you? Do you feel like you're settling for the guy you are with? These are just ideas--what do you think?



Last Edited by on Sep 26, 2007 10:36 PM
2 posts
Oct 02, 2007
10:36 AM
Hi Cynthia,

You have asked many questions and yes I do believe that I am settling for a guy who is so kind and decent that I do and don't feel the same way for him. I deeply regret the mistake that I made with Anthony and always will. He touched my heart which no other guy has done before and we connected. I know it is over and he despises me at this stage for the amount of times I have contacted him. I don't blame him because it gives an impression of someone who is needy and insecure which is such a turn off for any person, I would hate it myself.

In answering your Q yes I do believe he could have been the love of my life and yes I cannot forgive myself for making such a stupid mistake. I have apologised and he does not want to know.

I am 35 and a afraid to end things with my current partner Pat because he is such a kind person. At times I do see a future with him and others times I don't. I honestly feel like I am using him until someone better comes along but also for fear that I may meet no one else. Does this make sense?

Last Edited by on Oct 02, 2007 10:40 AM
182 posts
Oct 03, 2007
9:01 AM

Yes, it makes perfect sense. I think most people have been where you are with Pat, more or less, at some point in their lives. Let's try an experiment, if you are willing. Write me 10-20 words or phrases that describe your Mom and 10-20 that describe your Dad (or whomever raised you). Don't think about it too much, just write what comes to mind when you remember that person in your mind--how they were when you were a kid, not now. This may help us understand better what you need to do now. Willing?

1 post
Oct 20, 2007
5:50 AM
Hi Cynthia,

This is Lorraine 2 however my e-mail deyails expired and I had to relogin.

In answer to your question about my mother and father here are my thoughts:

Kind, Thoughful, always put me first, willing to help, always encouraged me to do well, my friend, easy to talk to, always praised me when I did well and even when I didn't remained very positive, not very understanding at times, would brush over what I was trying to say. Helped me restore my faith (religion)

Firm, no nonsense, bully, make you feel small (still does this), very wise, could talk to him about my worries compared to my mother and he listened and advised (really respected him that way, very thoughful, always surprised me at birthdays and other occasions, shared similar hobbies in animals and farm work.

Not sure if these are some of the tings you wnated but off hand this is what I can remember of both of them when I was young.
184 posts
Oct 24, 2007
12:47 AM

Ok, good. Now do the same with the gorgeous guy that got away and for your current guy. Do it the same way--don't think about it too much, just start writing a list of their characteristics...

2 posts
Oct 24, 2007
10:59 AM
Well I was not with the gorgeous guy for very long compared to the current guy so I will tell you what I remember:
Anthony (past guy:
Made me feel special, could talk to him like I knew him all my life, he touched my heart with his openess, wanted the same out of life, his faith (religion) was important to him like it is to me, we could laugh none stop, just clicked on that first date and knew there was something special between us, family was so important to him, very heartened to hear how he loved his dad because his dad believed in him so much when the rest of his family did not, respected and admired him so much for saying that, he let me down and made me feel small, gut instinct told me not to trust him, listened to me when I rang him 1 year later so that I could apologise for been impatient with him, I felt proud to be with him and he felt the same, had so much in common, very attracted to each other, wanted to have a family like me, could see a future with him and been his wife.

Pat (current guy:
really listens, is honest and tells me when I don't like it, reliable, I feel like he has no life, secretive, really puts me first so much so that it gets irritating because he seems to have nothing going on in his life, makes such silly statments, makes me laugh at times, relaising now that we may not have much in common, have similar outlook on things but the religion thing no and I really miss that, he's very open to religion and is happy to just go with the flow, I tend to hide him from family as I am not sure about him, does not go to family events with me, initially not attracted to him but am now, very keen to have a family like me, very kind and generous, although talkes about been close to his family he does not seem to visit them regularly, seems like someone who is alone and is dependent on having someone in his life, doesn't sound like he has much friends and does not have a great social circle, can and can't see a future with him, lots of doubt.
186 posts
Oct 25, 2007
12:00 AM
Ok, I think there was something about Anthony that hooked you beyond what you would expect if you stand back and look at it objectively. Even though he seemed and felt so perfect at the time, when you think about what we find out about people over time, you realize you knew so little about him, really. Plus some of what you knew about him was not so perfect: he made you "feel small;" and your instinct told you "not to trust him." So the question is what would make you feel so desperate to connect with him despite knowing very little about him and not liking all you knew--especially after he rejected you?

I believe we are attracted to people who offer us an opportunity to work out hurt we felt with our parents. You said your father was a "bully" and made you "feel small" but you had alot in common and he really listened to you and you really respected him. That is a painful combination because the good stuff would draw you toward him and make you want to be close, and then he could hurt you badly because bullying you and making you feel small when you feel close, admire, and feel understood is worse than being bullied by someone you don't care about.

So since we learn what love is from our parents (unconsciously), you learned that love is sometimes being listened to and advised by someone you admire and share interests with, and other times being bullied and made to feel small. So love is the confusing and untrustworthy mixture of having and longing for those wonderfully connected times, along with feeling bullied and made small by that same person.

I think this describes your experience with Anthony. With your Dad, you probably felt rejected when he bullied you and you probably concluded you'd done something wrong and if you could just figure out the key, you could get back to the sweet, close experience of him. So, this may sound weird, but if Anthony triggered this old hurtful trauma, you unconsciously saw an opportunity to make the same situation (psychologically) turn out better. If you could get him to stop rejecting you, and take you back in close--that would be what you wished for from your father, but probably never found the key to doing that with him. Sadly, it didn't turn out differently with Anthony; it turned out the same--rejection. This is the down side of this way we try to repair the wounds our parents can create.

I know this is complicated and may sound farfetched, but this actually happens all the time with everyone. I don't know much about you, so I may have some of the details wrong, but do you recognize yourself in what I am saying?

To further complicate things, I suspect that Pat represents you in the trauma. You see him as you saw yourself from your Dad's perspective. Loving your Dad meant thinking of yourself as needy, dependant, idolizing (putting him first so much it devalued yourself)--focused on him as your source of love and worth--I think you didn't like this image of yourself and you identify with Pat by seeing him as like this experience of yourself, so you don't respect it in him either--probably because your father didn't respect you when you felt like that--or he didn't seem to. Bullies treat people as though they are not respect-worthy. Simialarly, you may feel tempted to bully Pat at times, because you then identify with your father. If you get caught up in re-enacting this dynamic, you have to either be the bully or the bullied. Most people choose being the bully, though both roles may be against your values.

So that's alot to take in. Please let me know if this rings any bells for you, or seems completely off. I'm happy to answer more questions, if you have them.



Last Edited by on Oct 25, 2007 12:05 AM
3 posts
Nov 13, 2007
11:32 AM
Hi Cynthia,

There was a lot to take in then, so much so that i had to read it a few times to fully understand what you wrote but yes some of them are true, more importantly when I do take a step back and realise I did not know Anthony, I liked him because we clicked and we had so much in common.

However my thinking or obsession has not stopped, it keeps getting in the way of my relationship with Pat. As of today I asked him for a break from our relationship to make me appreciate what I have in this guy or give me a wake up call and end it. One thing you menioned was correct I do see a bully in me when I am with Pat and it is so unfair, as he does not deserve it.

I have been frustrated and unhappy with this relationship for the past few weeks constantly comparing Pat to the other guys I have met. He is different in that he is not good looking, does not have the affluent background, has no education but is very intelligent however he is
the kindest person I have ever met but I just don't appreciate him at the minute, I don't even like kissing him. What on earth is going on with me?

He genuinely cares but do I care for him and that is the question
187 posts
Nov 14, 2007
10:20 PM
This is a tough, tough place to be in! I know you see you have some gold with Pat, but it's stuck in a big rock you don't like. That makes it hard to give him up, but also hard to be happy with him. Usually we play out these patterns with lovers over and over, sometimes moving toward getting what we need, sometimes just repeating the same patterns. Your tendency may continue to be to fall crazy-in-love with guys who remind you of your Dad (or your Mom, or both) and hook up with guys that remind you of you as a child with your Dad, and for you to play your Dad's role.

So you have to ask--what am I trying to do--how can this come out in a positive way--how can I get what I need--what do I need in these situations? With Pat, what you probably need is for him to stand up for himself--firmly stop you from bullying him and clearly show you he values himself and won't let anyone put him down. That is what you wish you could have done with your Dad. You can't make him do that, though, and if he doesn't, you will continue to be very disappointed in him. You can decide about your own behavior, though. When you act out your Dad's example by bullying Pat, what do you wish your Dad had done instead? Can you do with Pat what you needed your Dad to do with you? For example, maybe you needed your Dad to stop himself when he started to bully you and take responsibility for what he was doing. If he could have told you that his behavior toward you was his own pain/problems--that you didn't cause it and didn't deserve it and were wonderful and innocent, you might not have been scarred by his behavior. It's important that you come to realize that you never deserved your Dad's bullying--that it had nothing to do with you. Making a relationship with Pat work would be hard, but you could try experimenting with focusing on his strengths and gifts and having compassion for his shortcomings--or doing what you think you needed from your Dad.

You will probably always be more attracted to guys like Anthony who have an edge of rejection to them alternating with sweetness and familiarity. This can evolve too, if you find someone who has a little edge like this, but nothing very hurtful, and far outweighed by the sweetness. You deserve better than someone who really doesn't love you or treat you respectfully. Somewhere under all of this is probably self-criticism and self-doubt about your lovability.

If you could work with a therapist, they would help you with all this, so you wouldn't have to handle it all alone. Is that a possibility?



Last Edited by on Nov 14, 2007 10:27 PM
6 posts
Feb 21, 2008
3:13 PM
Hi cynthia,

i last wrote to you in November '07 about this guy Pat that I was seeing. I ended all with them 3 days ago after seeing some disturbing behaviour with him, hiding my nightwear, talking about finantial things to my family on meeting with them for the first time, finding out from a relaible source that this guy may be a complete conman, I am in total dismay. I had been seeing this guy for the past year and had just recently introduced him to my family. They disliked him from the start and warned me to be careful and preferebly to end it which I have done.

He treated me with such respect and kindness which no one has ever done but my gut feeling over the past 3 months told me not to trsut him, he was so secretive and I never met with anyone of his people except for one friend. My suspicions were correct he turned out to be much older than he was and he just kepy tripping up giving different versions each time when asked about the same thing, so bizzare.

I have been told that I had a lucky escape because he could have dragged me down however my question to you is how do I protect myself and not become so naive. I have made an appointment to see a therapist to sort this out once and for all.
192 posts
Feb 23, 2008
8:31 AM

You know, it's funny; often when something like this happens, friends and family have picked it up before the person in the relationship. I always advise, especially if you don't trust yourself to determine whether or not someone is safe, to tell the truth about what you know to friends and family you trust, and introduce him to them, and take seriously their feedback. Therapists are another source of checking yourself in choosing a relationship. Again, tell your therapist the truth, and take seriously what she/he says.

I'm glad you're going to see a therapist--this has been very painful for you all along, so it may help you grow to sort all this out with a professional. If there is something in you that you carry from childhood, or past relationships that makes it hard to pick good partners, then therapy can help resolve that so you can choose men who are trustworthy.

Let me know how it goes.

4 posts
Mar 07, 2008
1:19 AM
Hi Cynthia,

I went to my therapist yesterday and sahe said that it was very apparent that I had not gotten over Anthony because there had never been ever any closure. I had closure with all my other relationships and moved on fine however I have not had it with this guy. I need closure in order to move on and have a healthy relationship. She advised me to seek Anthony out and meet with him face to face, and aplogise for naming him and that the contous contact from me was my fear going into complete overdrive. She stated that this is a maistake that many people do even men and I should not be had on myself about this. I informed her that there was every possibility that Anthony would not meet me or listen to me on the phone and seh said that you make him listen because this is the only way you can resolve this. The truth is I am sacred to do this becasue he could put the pone down on me and I would look so bad. My therapist said that when I rang him the last time and asked him to meet up you put him down again by stating "please show up at the agreed venue". he stated that "if you don't trust me then why are you even bothering to ring me". I replied "I don't even know" and I discontinued the talking. She informed me that again I put doubt in his head and I should not have done that hence his reaction.

What do think of attempting the contact with this guy again and putting closure on the whole sorry affair, because it is true I have carry this guilt araound for the past 18 months or more and i know it effected my last realtionship because I was constatnly making comparisions between both guys which is vry wrong.
194 posts
Mar 10, 2008
11:03 AM
Your therapist is in a better position to know what to tell you, because she has much more information about you than I do, and I don't want to confuse you by disageeing with her. I will say that I believe you are right that if you try to contact Anthony, he will reject you and you will just have more of the same pain to deal with. I think resolution will come through working on your father's rejections of you and your own rejections of yourself. But whatever you decide to do will be a learning experience, and I hope you'll share it with us on the forum.



Last Edited by on Mar 14, 2008 1:39 AM
7 posts
Mar 13, 2008
1:23 PM

I made that call to Anthony's home just now and feel dreadful as it was it father that answered. Anthony was not there. I passed a message onto his dad and said "that I had gone out with his son back a while ago and we got on really well" I said that I hurt his son and aplogised for that however I never trusted him and want to say I was sorry". His dad just cut me off and said he would pass the message on and that was it. It finally is over and maybe now I can move on. I read this e-mail to you and think what a very sad person I am that I belittled myself like that. Thanks
195 posts
Mar 14, 2008
1:46 AM

Apologizing is almost always a good thing, and you did it for the important reason that you needed closure badly, and haven't been able to get it any other way. If you can feel good about humbling yourself to apologize, that will be a great outcome. In that case, you can use it as a learning experience for future situations, which you might handle more constructively from what you learned. If you see it as demeaning that you apologized, then you will probably continue to be haunted. Let us know if you feel free of Anthony, or if you continue to obsess about him. Then we may learn something too!



Last Edited by on Mar 14, 2008 1:47 AM
8 posts
Mar 14, 2008
3:07 AM
I woke up this morning Cynthia feeling that a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and yes I do belive that I did right thing. (On another matter by apologising to a friend last week whom I had not spoken to for 4 years has given our friendship back which I did not expect). The important thing for me was that I could lift this dreaded guilt which I carried for almost 2 years regarding Anthony, I do belive I have made a really positive step and as you have stated learn't a valuable experience. Thank you.

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Email: CynthiaLubow@yahoo.com 

 Cynthia W. Lubow, MFT

 For 30 years, compassionately helping people build self-confidence and feel happier.

 San Francisco East Bay Area Therapist

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