I’m turning 40 this year. And this certainly has an influence on the pain I currently feel, since I’m under the impression that I don’t have the strength to start again a relationship at this age.
Naively and full of hope, I thought I would be able to change him.
For the last seven years, I was in a relationship with someone I met at work. I was married before going out with him, so I didn’t want to move in or have a really close relationship too fast. At the beginning, we had a ton of fun and did lots of things together, but after around two years the relationship felt stuck. We started doing less and less together and stopped being as big a part in each other’s life. Actually, it was more him not wanting me to be part of his life. He didn’t invite me to family events, birthday celebrations, his sister’s wedding, and started coming up with stories to avoid saying that we are together in front of colleagues. His behaviour seemed odd to me and I didn’t like it at all, but as humans we often get used to things and don’t question them after a while. We continued in this type of limbo relationship for five more years. Many times I brought up the subject about moving in together, having kids or making compromises on things, but he avoided getting into these discussions. His favourite phrase was, if I wanted to move in with someone or have kids, I should ask my ex-husband to do it with me. Looking back in time now, I should have run away immediately when hearing those comments. Naively and full of hope, I thought I would be able to change him.
I’m a very organized person and have achieved success in my career and life. Originally, I’m from South America but moved to Germany when I was 20 years old and started making a living here. Throughout our years together, I literally solved all his problems. I found him a flat, got him furniture, organized his appointments because he couldn’t speak German, even read his letters and wrote emails for him.
A few months ago, I visited him and was a bit surprised that his flat looked different. Women have an innate sense of knowing exactly how guys’ flats look and when there is some foreigner influence. He then confessed he went on a couple of dates, but it was nothing serious. Of course, I found it terrible, but thought it might have just been a one time thing. Yes, I should have run away immediately again, but I didn’t. A few weeks later, I wanted to go for coffee with him, but he was not answering the phone, and since I was very close to his place, I decided to go there and ring his doorbell. He then sent me a message saying he had company. I felt really sad and mad afterwards and cried the whole day long. I wanted to talk to him, to understand what was going on. The day after, I was still in very bad shape but decided to go visit him. He then came up with the typical story about how we aren’t in love any more and our relationship wasn’t the same. And again, he said he was not in a relationship and had just gone on a date.
He came up with the typical story about how we aren’t in love any more and our relationship wasn’t the same
This was the exact moment when I had my first emotional breakdown and cried for weeks. Since I was so ashamed this was happening to me, I only reached out to friends after several weeks. I realized that the pain was getting worse and that it was influencing my life in a too violent way. Luckily, my friends rapidly gave me the contact details of psychologists, psychiatrists and everyone who could help me get out of the horrible condition I was in. With that help I was able to calm down and sleep and eat again.
The absurdity about this is that my ex and I still kept in contact, met up, and he was telling me he was not going out with anyone. However, on many occasions I had huge suspicions that this wasn’t true, and it felt like I was going crazy because he was not answering or didn’t check his messages for hours. He then said, he was sleeping, watching films, didn’t hear the phone, or it ran out of battery. On top of that, he claimed he was getting very anxious and stressed because of all my messages and calls and my blaming him that he was dating someone.
After Christmas, we had a serious talk in which we agreed that I would send him fewer messages and stop asking him where he was and if he was going out with anyone. I felt really positive after our talk.
Due to the lockdown, I spent New Year’s Eve just with my neighbours, and he said he would spend it alone as he was tired. A few days later, it was snowing in Berlin and I said I would come to visit him. His flat was quite messy, and I decided to help him clean it before cooking dinner.
And again, even after these absolutely clear signs that he was cheating on me, somehow I still managed to believe the unreal and absurd stories he came up with.
I noticed a few changes around the flat: there were some board games in his living room that I never saw before, the kitchen table was in a different position, one of my towels was hanging in the bathroom and there was lots of long hair everywhere. Once again he had the perfect justification to explain everything, it even went so far as him saying his hair got very long during lockdown. As I was putting the recycling away, I found some food orders and the board game receipts under a woman’s name in the paper bag. That was the moment I collapsed and started to cry and yell at him. And again, even after these absolutely clear signs that he was cheating on me, somehow I still managed to believe the unreal and absurd stories he came up with. How can our mind change facts and make us so blind?
The day after something horrible happened, but I guess it was time I found out the truth for myself. First thing in the morning, I got an Instagram notification saying if I didn’t know this woman and I don’t want to follow her. I recognized the name from the receipts the day before. The flat in one of the pictures she was in was my boyfriend’s flat. Also, my boyfriend and his friends and family were following her and liking her pictures. Suddenly the story was put together. By then I was so crazy, that I transformed myself into an online spy and found everything out. They had been together for months and months, spent Christmas, New Year’s Eve and almost every Thursday and weekend eating pizza or Asian food in his place.
All the hard work I put into improving my psychological situation got swept away in seconds. I know it sounds unbelievable, but as I called to confront him, he kept on lying. I could see food orders, money transfers, messages, pictures, locations, and he still didn’t have the guts to tell me the truth.
The only positive thing about the call was that I found the strength to stop seen him for good. A couple of weeks later, I got a rage attack and sent him a million angry messages telling him how much he hurts me and all the things he destroyed. Maybe I’m now reaching the next phase of the grief … I really hope so.