The Coaching Situation

4 years ago I had a good job, was happy and single. But I became lonely. I met a man who made many promises, was very romantic. He was the perfect man, like I’ve been searching for all my life. I gave everything up and moved to another city to live with him. I sold my car. I knew it would take time before we got established, because he just got out of prison. (I know, these stories are heard all the time.) He was everything he promised for the first 2 years. But now, I feel he’s cheating on me. It's eating me up to the point that I’ve become a basket case. I don't have a car or money, my family isn't close with me, and I haven't made any friends since I lived here. If I had the money I’d hire an investigator to find out. He’s a flirtatious person. The last 2 years, I'm stressed all the time, cry a lot, don't sleep, use language I've never used before. I drink now. I need help.

I asked for more information to write the most helpful coaching response.

1. What happened that you went from being happy to being lonely? He made me believe that he was the most kindest, understanding man. I believed he was everything I wanted. He promised he’d respect and treat me like a woman should be respected and treated. And he did just that, in the first couple of years.

2. How old are you? Have you been in any other serious relationships? I'm in my late 40's and was married twice. I was 16 the first time and it didn't last because we were too young and my husband was physically abusive. I was hospitalized for it one time. My second marriage was great the first 5 years. But after that, the relationship died. My husband wasn't there for me emotionally or any way. We slept in separate beds until my divorce.

3. What's changed that you feel he's cheating on you? I found phone numbers in his wallet or pockets. He came home several times late, or a couple of times not till early the next morning. I called the numbers, but either the number changed, or they said he was supposed to work on their car (he's a mechanic). On his cell phone, the numbers all belonged to females. He denies having any relationships or he’d use other excuses. Several times, someone called our phone and hung up.

4. Have you ever talked to him about your fears about him having an affair or about any other fears you might have in the relationship? Yes constantly, every time I tried to discuss my fears about him having other relationships, we would end up fighting. He gets verbally abusive, yelling, cursing, and my chest starts hurting, absolutely no resolution.

5. What's happened to your finances, car, the income from your job, other possessions, etc? When I moved, we only had my car and it wore out, so I agreed to trade to a better car. I worked when I first moved, but I couldn't work and wonder and worry if he’s seeing someone. I know I should've kept my job so I had money. But after giving my job, friends, home up, I wasn't going to give him opportunities to have other relationships. So I figured if I stayed home, he'd come home knowing I was there. Besides, he promised he’d take care of me, so I’d never have to work again. I don't work now and we're in a financial bind. But I don't have the energy or will power to work. I’ve been stressed and depressed for so long. Especially since 2 months ago I’ve been taken cold turkey off my anti-anxiety medicine that I have been taking for about 4 or 5 years.

6. Is he working? How are the finances handled? Yes he’s working and works on cars on the side. I really don't know what he does with his money. We never keep our bills paid. (He was hospitalized for about 6 months off and on, for a couple of things. They never found why he was having chest pains.) Whenever I try to discuss where the money goes and why our bills never get paid, he’d get sarcastic and mad because I ask him.

7. Please explain your feelings about your family or the feelings or judgments your family has about you? My family is not a real close kind of family. We respect each other, but we don't show any emotion. Our mother would never hug, kiss, or tuck us into bed at night when we were kids. My sisters stay in touch, but my brothers are too busy with their own Mom always sends cards and calls occasionally. If they knew he was an ex-con, they'd have something to talk about to each other. My family is starting to wonder though. The last couple of years, I’ve expressed to one of my sisters that he was being a jerk and she gathered I was unhappy.

8. Has he ever physically or emotionally abused you? Emotionally, yes. He told me that he flirts to get what he wants. I told him that isn’t acceptable. That’s always been a disagreement. Whenever I disagree about anything, he becomes sarcastic, loses his temper, is emotionally abusive, orders me to get a job and pay bills, calls me offensive names, knocks holes in the walls, and throws things. He’s an alcoholic, and is on constant painkillers for his back. He’s even left me a few times. I often think that if I just had a car and money, I’d leave right then. I'm unhappy that I allowed myself to fall for a man that made so many promises, and I believed him. I feel I had to fight so hard for this relationship, because I gave up everything for it.

The Life Coaching Response

Frequently, by the time we get help for something, things have become complicated and have spiraled into a difficult situation. Often, what we fear the most ends up becoming our experience, because we make choices out of hurt, anger, and mistrust. By this point, both parties have so many walls up, it’s hard for each of you to come out from behind them to see what’s really happening and find some solutions.

You both came into the relationship with much love and emotional baggage from your pasts. All the negative experiences people have from childhood cause us to build unique fear responses to prevent us from being hurt again. The more traumatic the experience, the deeper the fear. This fear also affects our ability to see things clearly. What has no meaning to one person can be very fearful to another because it releases a fear response based on your past experiences.

What generally happens when two people come into a relationship is that their past fears come to the surface and get acted out within the relationship. What you do when this happens can make or break it. Many people don’t know what to do and are unable to stop the issues in the relationship from building to an extreme proportion. You both need to get help if your relationship is going to survive. Your partner is probably just as afraid of being hurt as you are, in his own way. Both of your emotional reactions and actions have driven a wedge between the two of you and you both feel justified for feeling the way you do.

We all have a need to be taken care of to some degree. When we want somebody else to fill our needs, we run into trouble. You are the only person who has the power to fill your own needs. When you hand over that responsibility to a partner, you become a victim of your own actions. Our partners have needs different from our own, so that when they attempt to fill ours it’s never quite right. The partner inevitably becomes resentful, even if they agreed to take on that responsibility, because filling somebody else’s needs is an impossible task.

You need to explore your past to move through the hurt and pain and release the patterns of behavior and thinking that contribute to your current unhappiness. You quit your job because the level of your fear became too large to handle. Start to deal with some of those fears by taking back some of the responsibility you’ve given away. Start by thinking about what you need to do now to take care of yourself. What people say is rarely perfectly in line with what people do. People’s intentions are usually sincere, but we all fall short when it comes to living out what we say we'll do.

You need get immediate help. There are agencies in your area that will provide help free of charge or on a sliding scale, depending on your financial situation. You need someone to help you prioritize your decisions so you can start taking some positive actions. Being able to take care of your basic needs has to become a priority over finding out if your partner is having an affair or not.

You're unhappy with your life and the decisions you've made aren't working for you. Relationships are not possessions. Sometimes they make it and sometimes they don't. The harder you try to hang on to it and force it to go in the direction you want it to, the more likely it won't last. You can't make any decisions about your future until you consider ALL options. If you do want to try and salvage the relationship, you need to stop the obsessive behavior. If your partner is in an affair, you'll have to deal with it one way or the other and you can't do that in the state of mind you're in. You don't know and right now it really is irrelevant. You have to think about what you want, apart from the relationship. Even if your partner has had an affair, the relationship can continue if both of you get professional counseling to help you through your issues.

It's not worth being in a situation where you're desperately unhappy. Something has to change right now and the place to start is within yourself. Start doing some things that you like to do. Take care of yourself, making sure you're eating right, getting enough rest and exercise, and do some things that make you feel good about yourself. Go to a doctor and talk about how you feel after being off your medications for this long. Let the doctor know about everything that's happening so that they can make sure you're okay. Many times our emotional well being is tied into our physical condition.

You and your partner need to change how you communicate with each other. You both are on the defensive and little can be communicated from that perspective. You need to be taught how to do this, so that even if you choose to leave and go into another relationship down the road, you have effective communication skills. If you don't, the patterns of behavior you have now will be there in the next relationship. It's better to learn how to change them now and this situation is a perfect opportunity to do it.

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