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Stuck in the Story & Living a Lie  

Note from Dr Matt: I do NOT recommend reading all of what follows — just read the highlighted words to get the jist of the Story in which this woman is Stuck. After this long explanation (which I have edited down substantially), I give a short answer with an important and applicable point. We can learn from those who get Stuck in their Stories, like the lady who tells this tangled tale:

Hello Dr Matt,
This is my situation, I’m a 38 year old, divorced women and my friend is 42. It’s quite complicated as he’s married to a Russian women who he met on the Internet and bought to the UK to marry after going to meet her.  She slept with him on the second day he was in Russia and he married her after knowing her for 2 months. She abandoned the marriage and they have not lived together about 3 years.

Mostly at about 6 to 8 week intervals, she will email or leave voicemail messages declaring her undying love and that she wants to return to look after him. He usually doesn’t respond at all and if he does its in a cold manner. She now has British nationality.
Because he’s married I had refused to have an intimate relationship with him for about 2 years, even though he only has what I see as an emotional relationship with his wife. This is our second relationship. We used to live together for 6 years more than 15 years ago, but the relationship ended because first he had sex with someone saying she harassed him for hours till he gave in to get some sleep then I had sex with someone out of revenge and asked him to leave which he did.

Since our re-meet we have been on a couple of holidays together and had some nice times, lots of laughter, good conversation and fun time’s, we get on well for the most part but there are certain things I do not like which make me suspicious of his character.
I have the feeling his wife is very manipulative and has used emotional blackmail as I’ve read her emails and its also obvious her goal was to get to the UK and become a citizen which she has achieved. I believe my friend lies to himself, that he wasn’t used from day one, and likes to think she ever wanted him rather than just wanting anyone who’d get her to the UK. I just have the feeling she manipulates and he wants to be manipulated so enables her because he wants to feel needed like she can’t do without him so he allows the contact to continue, all of which he denies.

Another reason I think this about him is his mother is aging and has him at her beck and call so he can’t really go off on the boat he recently bought and when I was there visiting last she had care workers ringing him all the time for him to go over or to do various things for her. I spent a lot of time on my own at his house or wandering about town on my own which was quite boring. I live in Belgium and he lives in the UK so I can just as well do that here. He mailed me a couple of days ago and said he hoped his situation with his mum wouldn’t stop us being together but he’d understand perfectly if I decided to delay my next trip over till things were settled with his mum, so I said that’s a good idea I won’t come over as planned but will come later.

Then he mailed saying he was disappointed and for me to let him know when I could go over so he could work to that time. I told him I didn’t have a time so to let me know when things were settled and to take his time and do things in his own way so he didn’t have regrets about his mum later on. Then he mailed me saying if I were to ask him to put me above his mother he would and would be as grateful for that as he was for my understanding. To me this came over as manipulative and I told him so and that I wouldn’t suggest that as I’d find myself manipulative and I’m neither a manipulator or enabler and that he’s already entangled in one situation . . . so why ask for more of the same. By that I meant he asks to be manipulated by his wife and when I think about it the same is happening with his mother.
When I was last over there his brother told me their mother was extremely manipulative and an emotional blackmailer and he’d never forgive her for it. He was disgusted and found it unforgiveable she had said to my his brother, my friend ‘you won’t abandon me will you’. I then got to thinking could this be what my friend likes because it’s what he’s used to and he likes to feel needed like he can’t be done without.
After having refused to have an intimate relationship for all that time I then thought about it differently when I saw his contact with his wife as a fiasco, as it’s just the same old thing every 6 to 8 weeks. As I see it the sex was casual as he’s still married so I didn’t take it as seriously as he apparently did but in all fairness I said I saw it as casual for that reason.
I feel he’s manipulative but he says my views are extreme but I say I just go on what I see not what he says. For eg when I was over there last time he emphasized he wouldn’t go on his boat during the Easter or summer holidays as its too busy on the canals then and I had an odd suspicious feeling when he was saying it. I’d been back 2 days and he mailed saying he’d been talking to his daughter about going on the boat during in Easter and the following day he went on it with her and his 2 granddaughters. It gave me the feeling he’d had that in mind when I was there but hadn’t said it either because we didn’t go on the boat except when it was his brothers birthday, when in fact he’d got me to go over specifically to go on the boat for a few weeks which didn’t happen.

Or he was reserving the school holidays to take his daughter and grandkids on trips. The funny thing is I don’t want to go on trips with him and his family so why he’d not be straight forward baffles me. I did go on a holiday abroad with him and his kids and grand kids and the only thing we didn’t do was to go to Feurta Ventura together which is the only thing we agreed to do before I went on holliday with them. We were going to go off on our own and do things and that didn’t happen either so I would not bother again.  It was the same with the house he recently bought, he asked which house I liked then chose the one he and his daughter liked, which was the only one I would have never chosen.
I feel he just wants an accesory to his life, someone to slot in with his extended family who will always go first.  It’s a real pity that he does things in a way that is manipulative and not straight forward, as his approach destroys a bit more trust each time and there have been a list of incidents since we remet. The first being that he claimed his marriage was over for him but as he still wore his wedding ring, had his wife’s picture on the wall, her toiletries in the bathroom, things in the kitchen, clothes in her wardrobe and in their marital bedroom draws when his wife had already left years ago.

He had his son deliver her things to her in November, 3 years after she left and to this day still sleeps in their marital bed in his new house. She used to send him birthday presents which may still happen and he wears whatever she sends, he was unable to reciprocate as she didn’t give him her addres till he wanted to send her things to him. Then there was the fact that he told me he was getting a divorce from her and would not be in contact for much longer, that was in 2007. In 2008 when he went to see her that had changed to getting a divorce in 2 years time and the contact being of little significance yet the next day he mailed to say how nice it was to have seen her and she mailed that he could then phone her again, which he didn’t do.

Then by the august he told me that he would always be in contact with her. This "moving the goal posts and not doing what he says but doing the opposite" quite often means I can’t trust him so I have a sort of half affair with casual sex, with a married man, who I can’t trust because he doesn’t do what he says and because I think is manipulative and who enables his wife and mother to manipulate him and wants me to manipulate him as well.
What does this say about me then, that’s the question.

Related Article: Justifying: A Tell-Tale Sign of Betrayal

Dear Audrey:

You ask: "What does this say about me?" By the length and complexity of your story, and the fact that you HAVE a story that you yearn to tell, I know you are inwardly conflicted. Both the Story and the Inner Conflict are tell-tale signs that you . . . are not living true to your own sense of Truth. To put it bluntly: You are lying to yourself.

As for the choice to have sex with a married man, your sprawling story and your inner conflict tell the truth about this choice — they expose the lie you are living.

People who live true to their inner Truth, do NOT have, and do NOT tell, this kind of complex and sprawling story. Here are excerpts from my book that will help you discern between an “honest” story versus an “anxious” story — the latter being a twisted tale that people tell when they are NOT being true to their own sense of Truth.

Curiously, you already know part of the Truth about this situation: You write "he just wants an accesory to his life." You need to read what I wrote to a woman who suspected she was just being "used for sex."

If your man is Manipulative . . . then you are Manipulate-Able. If your man is Using You, then You are being . . . Use-Able. Blaming others for your miserable life does not make your life better: Only when you own all the thoughts, words, and deeds that come out of you — own Response-Ability — can you change your life, and make it better.

Dr Matt

Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

* * * * * * *

The Journey

For this is the Journey that men make:
To find themselves. If they fail in this, it matters little
whatever else they may achieve: Money, Fame, Revenge.
When they end the Journey, they can put them all into
a bin marked “ashes.” They mean nothing.
But if one has found that he has within him
a divine soul, if he has discovered the principles
upon which the fulfillment of that soul is based, and
if he implements those principles, then he has a mansion
within which he can live with dignity
and joy each day of his life.
(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page vi).

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(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274)

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