I met him via the Internet in July of this year. We exchanged e-mails and chats for about a month before we met each other. We talk everyday before meeting and we both looked forward to reading each other's letters. He lives 2 hours away from me. I don't think that is too far at all, considering some of the distances people have between them. I go and visit him every chance I get, but he has yet to come to my town and meet my family. When we met, I remember him asking me if I wanted to be more than friends with him. I was sure that I did!
But three visits and two months later, I find myself in a very familiar situation. I don't hear from him every day, and when I do, it is not as exciting as it used to be. I find myself wondering if he has found someone else, or if he has lost interest in me. I wonder about this constantly - all the time! With every e-mail and phone call that doesn't get answered by him, it just gets worse. The longest we have not been in contact with each other has been 2 days. Now it has only been a day and a half.
OK, about me. When I was three, I was sexually abused by a babysitter but my mom pretended it didn't happen. When I was 12, I was harassed in school for having boobs when other girls did not. When I was 15, I lost my virginity to the man who cheated on me (only man that I know of) and when I was 17 got pregnant. I kept the child (he is now 4, fathered by the same man whom I lost virginity to) and at 18 my best friend's boyfriend sexually assaulted me. I have never had a successful relationship or healthy one at that. All past boyfriends have either had an addiction problem or an emotional one. This guy I wonder about now is neither an alcoholic, nor a drug addict, nor a spouse beater nor depressed as far as I can tell. He has a three year old daughter that I know he loves to death-he tells her all the time he loves her.
Why am I so obsessed with all the men in my life? What would happen if I confronted my new boyfriend on my beliefs that he has found someone better? Would I only be setting myself up for a heart break? Would I scare him off?? HELP!!!
florecilla, 22-year-old woman
You have an Italian name, however, I see you reside in Minnesota. It would help to know if you grew up in an Italian family in Italy or here in the U.S. before addressing your questions, but since this information is not provided, I will base my answers on the assumption that you grew up in the U.S. and that you are an American.
In your background profile you stated that you were sexually abused at the age of 12, had sexual relations again at 15, became pregnant through another relationship at age 17 by a man who cheated on you, and was sexually assaulted at age 18. Any young woman having had such experiences would be left with low self-esteem, feelings of not being appreciated or loved by an Important Other. Try thinking of your feelings about yourself in this way: You were a child when sexually abused at the age of 12. You still carry this Inner Child around inside. This Inner Child was left after the experience feeling confused, guilty, abandoned, lacking feelings of love and self-worth...feelings of emptiness..perhaps, loneliness.
You are now 22 years old, but you still carry your Inner Child around in you, just as we all do. Only your Inner Child is feeling bad about herself...so she is constantly looking for reassurance from another Important Other...another man who can reassure her (your Inner Child) that she is O.K...that she is indeed loved, valued, and appreciated.
In addition to your Inner Child, you have your Adult Self...and your Adult can learn to give to your Inner Child everything she so desperately needs and desires. Then she won't feel so needy for attention from men, or reassurance from men of her own value as a person and a young woman.
You asked about confronting your new boyfriend about your belief that he has found someone better. Do you see how your Inner Child is controlling this new relationship, based on what I have said?
It is your Inner Child who is involved with your boyfriend in this present relationship...not your Adult Ego, which in time and through positive life experiences will come to be the part of You involved in a loving relationship with an Important Other. Your now very young developing ego will gain confidence and self-esteem necessary for putting your Inner Child at peace. Your Inner Child will not feel needy or lonely or insecure because she will know that she is loved and appreciated by You...your Adult Ego Self. Your present emotional turmoil will eventually begin to subside as you grow emotionally stronger and more confident, believing in the true value of yourself, and trusting yourself...that you can rely on your Adult Self to care for and nurture your Inner Child.
I wish to also speak to your concern about your present love relationship in light of the fact that you met him on the Internet and exchanged emails and chats for a month before meeting. Relationships originating from meeting over the Internet in chatrooms or dating websites proceeds very differently from traditional dating.
When corresponding with a prospective romantic partner on the Internet, all the normal slowly developing stages of traditional dating are in "fast-time." In other words, the traditional stages of dating which normally last sometimes months in each stage occur in days and hours over the Internet. You are both exchanging a lot of personal information, sometimes extremely personal in-depth information, according to the particular questions each of you asks the other. This gives each of you the feeling that you are having a relationship...when, in fact, you are not. You have not even laid eyes on each other! Even though, perhaps, you have exchanged photos...a photo is far from an animated multi-dimensional human being with moods and personality standing before you.
Also, remember, couples who meet over the Internet wish to put "their best foot forward" for the other person to see. So, this is far from seeing the whole person. This accounts for why so many couples who meet over the Internet complain of being lied to by each other...they simply can not ever know each other before meeting in person and learning through time to know one another.
Finally, in Internet dating relationships, there is the natural tendency to "fill in the blanks" - what you don't know or have information on about the other person - with the fantasy you have of your own Ideal Mate. So, whatever facts you don't have about your Internet dating companion...you fill in with Fantasy. This is why when finally meeting, you both might experience disappointment and disillusionment. No human being can measure up to an ideal fantasy.
I hope this information helps,
Diana DeLaney-Finch, PhD