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Ask Anne: Relationship Advice
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Coming to Terms With My Own Pathetic Existence

I am 20 years-old and I am/was a recovered anorexic and have been dating and living with a wonderful guy for two years. My problems are many and sometimes I don't even understand them, but I'm hoping someone here can, so here it goes.

When my boyfriend and I were first together, it was wonderful. He clearly adored me unconditionally and made me feel like I might be an acceptable human being, which helped me get over my anorexia from which I had been suffering for many years. He made me feel pretty for the first time. About two months after we had been dating, I found a LOT of porn on the computer- sick, disgusting, porn which he had always told me was gross and that he never had any desire to use it. We are both very political, and I have always been against the media, tv, magazines, anything that uses boobs to sell a product. He had ALWAYS said the same. I felt like he had blatantly lied to and cheated on me by looking at these terrible things, like I wasn't good enough. I never denied him of anything he wanted, so it's not like I was neglectful and he "needed" it. I'm tall and thin and don't really have the "right curves in the right places," but I'm not terribly ugly to the point where he would have to look at other girls just so he could see something attractive every so often. I didn't understand why he wanted to look at depraved women committing disgusting acts and I still don't. I also found conversations between himself and some girl he apparently had met on some online personal. She had sent him scanty pictures of herself which he labeled as "pretty ----- in a skirt," "-----'s ass," and "-----'s boobs..." I was CRUSHED. So I couldn't help but snoop around elsewhere, to find out whether or not he had physically cheated on me. I checked his phone messages and there were text messages from her that were very crude and sexual, and I found messages from him to her that were all sweet and romantic... the things he had been telling me. I obviously confronted him about it, and he first denied everything, trying to tell me that these things were his friend's. I obviously didn't buy it and we fought until he finally confessed. He then promptly erased everything and claimed he would never do it again- that I meant more to him than all of these ridiculous things. Still, I didn't believe him, but after a few months of him being "ok" I began to trust him a little bit again. We carried on as we had before, being happy and whatnot, but in the back of my mind was still this aching need to know whether or not he had really "changed." I think I had been replacing my own insecurities with jealousy. I checked our computer again, and found conversations between himself and this other girl I knew he had been friends with for a long time. I wasn't even jealous or surprised to find them, but I was still inclined to read them. To my horror, I found that he had been hitting on her too. She wasn't as slutty as the first girl, but she didn't fight it too much. He would say things like "kiddo," and "sweetie-butt," and "my little pumpkin..." All of the little names and things he used to say to me, the ones that I had specifically told him I liked. The ones that made me feel like I was at least a little bit special to him. He told her he missed her and wanted to hear her pretty voice again almost every other sentence. I was sickened, again. I confronted him about it, he finally confessed that he did have feelings for her... I knew that nothing would happen between them, because she has a boyfriend and I could tell that she doesn't want him like that. I've known her for as long as he has... She's snooty. But the feelings of inadequacy and depression set in, once again, despite his valiant efforts to make me feel better. At this point, I had pretty much set my mind to not trust him ever again. Everytime he tried to call me something cute or tell me I was pretty, I yelled at him and told him to stop because I didn't believe him and it only reminded me of the things he had been saying to these other girls. Everytime we made love after that, all I could think about were those disgusting pictures he had seen, all of the other girls he might be pretending I am. I considered suicide. I have had terrible relationships in the past, and this was one of the first ones I didn't want to screw up. I know that he loves me, despite his faults. I assure you, these are his only faults... He is the guy that every girl wishes she had. He pays attention to me, waits on me, we go places, we have a lot of fun, he's nice to me, and he has the patience of a saint. I know I sound like every girl who probably has ever written you, but he truly is the one I want to be with.

One year has passed, and I haven't found anything else. A normal human being probably would have been over all of that by now. He still treats me well, we still have fun, but all I have been able to think about since those incidents is my inadequacy and my inability to please him. I've tried everything from a makeover to (dreaded) self-help books and I don't understand why I still feel this way. I have no suspicions of him but I still feel that even though he doesn't outright show his disappointment with who I am, that he still thinks it, even though he gives no impression of that at all. I have stopped eating again, and am feeling a little bit better about who I am, but I know that it isn't going to last and I know that it isn't the right way to do it; it just kind of keeps my mind off of the bad things and allows me to feel as though I'm accomplishing SOMETHING. I've thought about using "happy pills" that doctors seem so ready to perscribe now, but I don't really see that as solving a problem. To me, it's more like masking a problem. How can I stop looking at him like he's a monster and come to terms with my own, pathetic existence?




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