Am I crazy taking her back?

I dated a wonderful Catholic girl for 3 years, and was certain of our impending engagement and marriage. My relationship with her literally saved my soul (I converted to the Catholic church because of the many arguments I had with her over Faith - I was a “devout” Protestant). Being with her also helped me learn how to introspect and reflect on my life, and I can honestly say that all the successes I have had in my life would not have been possible without her ALWAYS being in my corner not only as my cheerleader, but my partner in much of what I have accomplished through undergrad and grad school (it was mutual).

She is a virgin, I am a “born-again” virgin (ironically, 1 mistake I made 1 month before meeting her…). It was a very difficult thing for her to get over the first half year of our relationship, but we worked through it, and we just “knew” we were meant to be together.

A little relevant background on her childhood: she was a the only child of a single mother (an amazing woman). Her father was in the picture until her early teens when, without going into detail, she did something that completely ruined their relationship, and he has been in and out since. In high school, she fell with the wrong crowd, and her mother sent her to a Christian boarding school for 3 years. Subsequently, she attended a Catholic university, but self destructed during her first semester (going out, and not studying). She took a semester off, and then left the country for a 4 month mission trip. We met a few months after she returned. An important note: She has had psychological help on/off for management of ‘possible’ bipolar disorder (I didn’t really notice this), and anxiety. I have to also add this: I am a*** very*** stable individual. Throughout our relationship, she was very clingy (trust me, I loved her so much I didn’t mind) and would profess how perfect I was in every way (this made me a little uncomfortable at times, because well, I am a sinner).

This past year, I started a very intense graduate program several hours away, and our life really changed. We made sure to see each other every weekend, but we would spend most of those weekends studying. In effect, we wouldn’t see each other during the week, and on weekends, we wouldn’t really “be” with each other except an hour here and there. Still, it was a large sacrifice (8+ hr round trip commute for her, 4hr for me). Towards the end of the year, I was so busy I didn’t really notice this, but she was very upset with being on the back-burner. Wrongly, I didn’t really pay attention to her complaints (I was so busy and overworked that I could barely realize how poor my health got). In all honesty, I was trying to ensure a successful life for the two of us…it wasn’t until it was too late that I realized she was falling away from me.

I have to add that we had physical struggles as a couple, and even cohabited a year (due to circumstances beyond our control). We frequented confession because of our weakness, and several times in our relationship we tried taking “breaks” in order to fall back into God and renew ourselves apart in order to come back renewed. She, however, couldn’t last a week away from me, and I always took her back (with no argument on my part…I loved her dearly). I have to mention that one catalyst for one break was a betrayal last February where she had an emotional “thing” going through text messages with her ex-boyfriend who lives outside the country when she learned he was having a child and getting married (it wasn’t going anywhere, and she knew it, but they “talked” about her getting a ticket at visiting him). I considered it cheating, and asked for a break and that she seek counseling. I soon too her back, and she went to counseling, but it died off as she saw I wasn’t really pushing for it anymore as our life got very busy.

About two months ago in the midst of feeling like I was putting her “on the back-burner” (I have to admit, I am guilty of this), we both agreed to another break. Long story short, 2 weeks into it, she started dating another guy and one night ended up going back to his place and was physically intimate with him (no sex). Through this, I still saw her once a week where she professed her Love for me, and would say things when I would ask her back along the lines of “I have to be away from you so that I can be with you again,” or “God is talking to me in so many ways,” and “I forgot how amazing you are, and am realizing it now.” Still, she wouldn’t take me back. I assumed that since she was going out to clubs/bars with friends (which we rarely did during our relationship - a mutual decision), that she meant God was reminding her that wasn’t the life for her. Anyway, a week later, I found out about her ‘affair’ and confronted her about it. She spilled the beans, but kept reiterating that it was during our break, and even asked me if I was proud she didn’t have sex with him. She says that she was floundering without me, that every time she was with him she would think of me and be upset, but still felt like she had to do it. I find it difficult to believe since if I hadn’t found out and confronted her, she would have seen him a few more times (her admittance). She said that if we were on an “exclusive” break, she never would have done what she did, and that she thought we explicitly agreed it was okay to see other people…which I did not as I don’t believe in “non-exclusive” breaks. An important detail: several of her ***close friends *** who are now married or engaged went on “breaks” and dated other people before coming back together…sick individuals with a twisted sense of commitment; our poor society.

I left her nearly two months ago, and during that phone call (we broke up over phone as I was still at school), she said that she was sick and tired of being an agent of “hurt” and self-destruction and was seeking help so that one day, she can come back to me “renewed in Christ.” I fully believed in her intentions, but didn’t believe she had the moral discipline to follow through. I have since learned that over these past couple months, she has been getting spiritual guidance from her Priest, and seeing a Christian psychologist consistently (the first time ever since I’ve known her), and as per her step-father - with whom I have a close relationship with - has made great strides in her quest for “radical conversion.”

As the hurt and anger calm, I am able to reason things out for myself. Since our break-up, I have only prayed that the Will of God take over my, but I do have expectant faith that if she is truly renewed in God, and I am seeking him also, that we will be reunited with great joy. Am I crazy? I only find peace in my heart when, in my prayers, I am urged to accept her sin as I would want Jesus to accept my sin when I am repentant, and not only forgive her, but to take her back with arms wide open because Jesus has, is, and forever will forgive my sins and take me back with arms wide open when I turn to him. After all, aren’t we called to be Christ-like?

If she has turned to God, I believe our life together is possible again, but I am torn on three counts: 1) she didn’t recognize her sin needed to end until I found out, 2) this is a pattern in her life as she has cheated on every one of her boyfriends before me (they were the high school fling types…aka not serious relationships, but none-the-less cheating is cheating), 3) our relationship was a source of content comfort in our lives, and spiritually we were lazy…if I take her back now, will that ruin what God is doing in her life now?

Also, if I were to take her back out of the Christ-Love that I believe is flowing out of me (thanks to the Holy Spirit), does that also mean I need to trust her immediately? Should I require her to earn my trust again?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

All of these things are blood-red flags, Infaith. It looks to me like she’s also Borderline Personality Disorder (aka toxic as h***). My advice would be: chop the relationship. The pattern of her life bespeaks bigtime problems. Marriage is hard enough even when you choose an optimal mate; don’t make the mistake of choosing someone who’s bringing in all kinds of gratuitous ballast.

Note that if she is Bor.Per.Dis., after you cut the ties with her, you might well have huge (almost unbearable) longings to get back together with her: DON’T. Fight it with all the things you’ve written in the quotes above. Keep reminding yourself of the truth, of what kind of person she really is. Open up a private blog, if necessary, for pouring out your hurt and frustration (and anger). If you do not end this, you will live to greatly regret it. (Take a look at TucDoc’s thread here at CAF about his wife, if you want an illustration of the kind of thing you can be “looking forward” to if you don’t excise this woman from your life and heart.)

All the best to you.

Jesus,our Lords peace be whit You.
I guess You are a bit “crazy”,but love and feelings is often beyond our control,the brains and common sence says one thing,the heart another. Your relationship has for sure beeing a bit out of control,and it looks it still is.
An “on-off” relationship seldom works to the end,and I must say that I sadly don’t see a future for You. But that is up to You and her to look at. But I can’t lie,if I would love someone and the things would be the same,I would think of her first,then all the other things,and I would take her back,hoping,wishing,all will sort out in the end. So I can give You a advise,not a ansver,follow Your heart,because thats what I would do,and I sometimes are right. My advise is based on what I would do,forgettin to use my common sence.

IF you have to ask…you know the answer.

Man to Man. I’m going to make this short and sweet.

Run away as far as you can from this girl and go a little further.

I am not making judgements on her - but you are trapped by her and you are too blinded to get out. Get out my friend. There is nothing left for you.

Stop trying to convince yourself. This post you made is you hoping we’ll tell you to get back with her. Can you not see the struggle you are going through? You can clearly see what needs to be done and yet there is another part of you that doesn’t want to do it. Fight it.

This is going to be extremely difficult - and maybe for the next year or so you are going to suffer. But for the sake of your happiness and your soul please stop seeing this girl.

Pray for her everyday but cut contact.

That’s my advice.

I have not been in contact with her (at all) for two months.

The problem is my brain and heart are saying the same thing. I am looking for someone to give me good reason not to take her back (and thus convince me I am crazy).

Just to clarify, aside from this last break (and subsequent break up), our “breaks” lasted a day or two max…just couldn’t be apart for long.

Penury, I appreciate the advice. She doesn’t fit BPD though…more like anxiety-like attacks every so often. She clearly knows right from wrong, and although she is clingy, she knows how to back off when necessary (day to day life, she didn’t think it was necessary…nor I). In my limited knowledge of the inner workings of her mind, I believe her actions were secondary to the negative influence her friends had on her, feelings of being ignored by me, a fear of growing up too quickly (she mentioned this once), a fear of moving on (she was finally graduating).

Look at this as if you were going to buy a car.

You see the blue car. It is perfect and ready to go. Yes, something might need to get fixed here and there down the road, but maybe not. You do know basically that this car is stable, has a high safety rating, has a good track record, a good reputation, is very sound and is very dependable.

But you love the red car. The red car is in the shop right now because it has major transmisson problems. The mechanic is working on it every day, trying to find out what it’s problem is. It also looks like there may be a major problem in the motor. The red car also broke down every time it got a new owner, and has a reputation for being unstable on the long haul. It also doesn’t have a good track record, and isn’t sound. You feel like you might want it because a part of you kind of feels a little sorry for it, and you like the feeling of the clingingness of all the gum all over the seats. You are used to this car.

You need to pick one of these cars. Look at this car as the only car you will probably ever have for the rest of your life. Which one can you depend on most to get you where you need to go in life?

Since you are both living outside the will of God according to your story; I would get right before God before I did anything else. She definitely needs to do the same. From the outside looking in; I’ll guess you have had similar relationships in the past like this. I use to be the same way; “I want and feel I can help you with your emotional issues and get you on track”. My guess would be she has had some real bad things happen to her. So you open yourself and allow her to come and go as she pleases and she presumes you will always be there, which makes it easy to come and go and the result is she tramples over your heart at times.

You won’t fix her problems that she has not addressed; I cannot tell you what to do, but if it were me, since I have been down a similar path(s) before; I would see it as a cancer and therefore I would cut it off and never look back and begin to pray that God will 1) help her and 2) provide the kind of wife that you will be compatible and stable with and watch Him work.

That’s my 2 pennies worth; I know it doesn’t paint a real pretty picture, but in the long run it is probably best for both of you. I pray my response has not offended you because I understand the difficulties and I sympathize with both of you.

Keeping that definition in mind, you spoke of repeated “breaks” throughout your narrative. Setting aside for the moment what occurred during those breaks, I would caution you on pursuing a romantic relationship with this person. My understanding of dating tells me that its purpose is to find a future spouse. If that is your feelings on dating, do you really want a spouse who views “breaks” as an option when dealing with problems and emotions? On top of that, a spouse who appears to play word games in relation to these “breaks” as in, “She said that if we were on an “exclusive” break, she never would have done what she did…” This sounds like a line from the sitcom Friends when Ross and Rachel were on their “break.”

Couple all that with:

  1. Clinginess - which seems to indicate a self-confidence issue
  2. High anxiety
  3. The willingness she seems to have for allowing people (friends?) outside of your relationship to influence her behavior.
  4. And finally, the fact that she is willing to toy with and act upon finding a replacement for you when she cannot see you often.

So, IMHO the question isn’t whether or not you are “crazy” over taking her back. The question is rather how much more pain are you willing to endure?

It sounds like she’s not stable with her feelings and this is tumultuous and could be really difficult both now and in the long term. I’m also concerned about her family. You say she had a relationship with her father until she did something to ruin it in her early teens. At that age she was still a child. What could a child do to ruin a relationship with her father? Maybe she did something he really didn’t like, but a responsible parent would not abandon the child and blame it on her, not at that age, for any reason I can think of. I don’t know if she took drugs or something and he said he couldn’t cope with that and left but it seems the message she got is that he would not be there for her when she ‘screwed up’ and now she is having problems consistently committing to adult relationships. I guess what you might want to do is look at the past history of instability and assume it will continue in the future and ask yourself if you want to risk spending the rest of your life living with it.

This is what I was going to say, verbatim.

I don’t think this will end well if you marry her.

I’m not sure, quite frankly, if it would end well if anyone marries her.

Well how about this for starters:

Just to clarify, aside from this last break (and subsequent break up), our “breaks” lasted a day or two max…just couldn’t be apart for long.

She has psychological problems, and you have some sort of emotional problem yourself. This cycle of “breaks”, all the drama, the fact that you “can’t” be apart (oh, please), everything you’ve written screams DISASTER. You two feed off each other, with emotional drama. That’s not good.

You are not a psychologist. Don’t try to diagnose her.

She has some sort of psychological and/or emotional issue. And if you pursue this, someday these things will drive you right up a wall.

And, frankly, I would not want to bring children into such a situation, with a mother who is mentally or emotionally unstable.

Brother, I have been down the same road - though it was not as long and winding. I was young and in a very deep and meaningful relationship - while I we were in school - different schools different states. We met when we were both on 6 month internships at the same company. The better we got to know each other there seemed to be little things that bugged me. As time went on those things were more profound but we were in what we though was love. I was sure that “love can conquer all”. It turned out that all these little things were signs from God. Still blind with what I still though was love, I was within 30 minutes of proposing but she finally figured that our relationship was not right. She pulled the plug. I was upset. But it was the best thing possible. I wasn’t and still am not a quitter. Sometimes, to my own detriment, I let things go too far.

Let her go. Concentrate on being a student. Live life for yourself - and God. Let the Church be your spouse.

I am praying for you!

Infaith, allow me to add my 2cents worth advice.
I was a highly demanding person emotionally with a lot of issues a couple of years ago. Marrying my husband didn’t “fix me”. On the contrary, after 2 months in the marriage, I realized that he was not that god that I was longing for. He could not fulfill my many little girl desires and I wanted to leave him in a dramatic Hollywood way. I was thanking Heavens for not having kids with him.

Now the reason I’m still married to him today, have 2 beautiful children (and wanting more kids) is because I have faced my many issues with my absent/violent dad, my search for him in older/abusive men, my 2 abortions etc… I have been to counseling, I have made peace with God and men, have repented of my many sins and asked Him to forgive me, including for the way I have treated my husband. I made peace with my past and I pray to St Joseph to help me heal totally and to be the dad that I’ve never had.

Your friend sounds like she has some issues. Maybe she needs frequent Confession, Adoration, reading books about the Mercy of God (like St Faustina’s diary) and prayers as I did. BUT one thing is for sure: you can’t fix her.

I will pray to St Joseph my quiet, hard working, loving and obedient spiritual father for you and her.

With all the history breaking it off is going to be hard. Similar things in the first two stories reminded me of my life a bit.

I was listening to Catholic radio the other day and they wearing talking about chastity and relationships. This man was talking about how we give our hearts too quickly and are not able to see red flags. I feel like I have currently done this and I’m going to take a break, like 8-months to detach myself so we can get out lives straightened out since we are not really on solid ground. Anyways more importantly, they recommend this book to read which I just got from the library and it’s AMAZING. The books is title “How to not marry a jerk.” I am not saying she is a jerk or that you are a jerk but the book teaches ways to hae a relationship with your head and your heart without giving your heart so fast. This way you won’t be “blinded by love” but rather level headed to say is this really the kind of person I can marry OR are problems too severe that it’s not going to work. I will pray for the both you. God bless.

You two sound toxic for each other, its not a good relationship from your description, not one that should be pursued any further. Its quite clear you’re laying a lot of the blame for the problems in the relationship on the girl involved, but I don’t think you’re totally innocent either. Taking so many breaks, that’s not a healthy way to deal with the problems in a relationship. I think you need to take a very hard look at what you contributed it all the problems in the relationship before you think about even getting into another relationship with someone else. If you don’t take anybody’s advice in this thread, and decide to take this girl back, you are asking for a very long, drama filled relationship. A serious relationship shouldn’t be so hard as you described yours. Marriage is not going to make anything easier either, it doesn’t magically fix all the problems that were there before the ceremony. You want a relationship that is already functioning at its highest healthiest level before you even consider anything permanent. You don’t have that with this girl, be it all her problems or what you bring out in her. You two just aren’t a good match.

It is difficult reading these posts. We’ve met with Priests and Psychologists before (this last incident) regarding our situation, and it has always been a resounding, “you guys are great for each other.”

I feel my post painted a negative picture of a generally perfect relationship (with its rough patches highlighted).

Have you ever seen Wedding Crashers? She sounds like the crazy sister that Vince Van gets hooked up with… Run man! Focus on being happy along before trying to find someone to “replace” her.

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