My Girlfriend Dreamed I Ended Her! Call In Show - Transcript

Caller:
[0:00] The main reason I sent the email was, well, I'm currently in a relationship

Seeking advice on a troubled relationship

[0:07] that I have been, well, questioning quite a bit over the last few months.
And I've tried to get some input from family and friends, and some of it's been helpful and some of it's just made me doubt it more.
I was hoping, well, that you could help me out. I guess not help me out, but...

Stefan:
[0:31] Yeah, yeah, no, I'm happy to do what I can. Just, I guess, you want to start with some backstory?

Caller:
[0:39] Well, sorry, I might mute a couple times throughout. I've had a pretty bad chest cold lately.
Sorry about that. Uh, so we met about three years ago now, uh, through a mutual friend and, uh, we were a, do you want me to just pretty much give the whole story on us from beginning to end or beginning to now?

Stefan:
[1:14] I can't tell what's important in your story. If you like, you're the one who knows the story. So whatever you want to talk about, I'm happy to hear.

Caller:
[1:21] Okay. Okay, I guess I'll just give a brief overview then.
So we met each other three years ago through a mutual friend.
And we were a, well, pretty common thing now, friends with benefits type thing.
Never a real relationship, never nothing committed.
And then about a year ago, we actually got together. So we knew each other for two years and we were kind of fleeing.
And then a year ago, we got together and we were together for about a month.
This was last summer, so almost a year and a half now.
We were together for a month and she went and she was texting one of her long term ex-boyfriends.

[2:15] And I really I include this because I think it has hopefully some relevance to how we both feel but So then I broke up with her and we still kind of this was we were together for a month.
She started texting him I found out she stopped texting him.
We were still friends for a while And then we started doing our fling again and, And we got back together right around June this summer.
And we've been together ever since.
There's not really any major, there's not any issues in our relationship.
Like everything's great.
We get along. We have the same goals.

Uncertainty about commitment and dreams

[3:02] Pretty much the same viewpoints on everything. But there's just, I don't know, we both sense issues in the relationship.
We both have weird dreams and things like that.
And I have feelings about what she's done in the past.
And I don't know if there's really a way to move through that.
But I'd really love to because I personally believe that she's the best woman there is for me.
But I don't really know how I can move through all the things I've felt.

[3:38] Sorry if that's confusing, if I need to clarify anything.
Uh weird dreams uh well she uh this was a couple months ago uh she told me she had a dream i don't remember exactly it was either i think oh it was uh she had a dream that i was, was uh shoot yeah she had a dream that i think that i i killed her like it was something uh crazy it was not good um you mean like a dream where she like woke up screaming or like what do you mean uh more just not like uh actually i couldn't really tell you it was her dream not But from what she told me, it was just a really bad nightmare where apparently I killed her in her dream or was about to kill her or something really off the wall like that.

Stefan:
[4:50] And have you had any, I guess, aggressive or violent dreams towards her or regarding her?

Caller:
[4:57] Well, that's the weird part is she's had that one violent dream that she's told me about.
And I've had, it's been a little while now, but I've had dreams of cheating on her and her cheating on me, which I guess makes sense with a little bit of backstory.
Story but um i've had three or four dreams i think three were me cheating on her with uh, i really uh it's not like it wasn't anybody i knew that was in my dream it was just random women uh and then i had one where she cheated on me with uh her ex, is that the same ex that she was back in touch with uh in the past to cause problems Yes.

Stefan:
[5:50] Okay. And what is it that you would like to get out of the relationship?
What's your long-term goal?

Caller:
[5:58] Well, we both pretty mostly have the same goals.
We want to own a house together and have two or three kids and get married in the next couple of years.
But I have a lot that's messing with me mentally when it comes to committing to her forever.

Stefan:
[6:19] And are you guys in your 20s?

Caller:
[6:23] Yes, we are. We're both 21.

Stefan:
[6:25] Both 21, okay. All right. And what is it that you find yourself drawn to in her?
What is it that you are attracted to or love about her?

Caller:
[6:37] Well, she's...
Uh, she's really hardworking. We both have the same goals when it comes to the things that we want right now and later on in life.
Uh, she's been, uh, well, I, I guess I can't really say a good person cause there's one really big contradiction to that.
But overall, uh, she's been very good to me, very good to my family.

Stefan:
[7:08] Um and really just our goal our goals line up really well we want the exact same thing and i i really do think that she is the best woman for me but there's just a lot, uh messing with me when it comes to her past and the things that have happened and, uh all that yeah i mean hard working and same goals doesn't mean a huge amount i mean to me, i mean to take a sort of silly example like if you were both serial killers and you were hard working and had the same goals that doesn't necessarily mean a a moral part of the relationship so let's talk about her virtues like you said she's kind to you or kind to your family let's talk about the virtues because the virtues are what's needed for her to be a good mom to your kids right is that is that a fair way to put it yeah no you uh you're right there um well she uh, I guess she really wants to be a mom and she has shown that she is great with kids.

Caller:
[8:10] I don't really know if that counts as a virtue, but, uh, she's great with kids.
Um, she's shown that, uh, she's ready to cut people off that would mess our life up.
Like she's, she's already cut off a lot of her family that are just terrible, manipulative people.
Um, uh, yeah, Yeah.
I can't really think about a whole lot off the top of my head.
I haven't been feeling good at all the last couple of days.

Stefan:
[8:40] Is there something that happened over the last couple of days?

Caller:
[8:44] Oh, no, I just, I think I caught COVID.

Stefan:
[8:46] Oh, you mean like the chest cold thing, sorry.

Caller:
[8:48] Yeah, I think either COVID or a really bad chest cold. It's been kicking me around pretty good.

Stefan:
[8:55] And how do you know she's good with kids?

Caller:
[8:59] I have, I think in the second part of the email, I mentioned that I have a little brother that is, he's actually nine years old and she's fantastic with him.
And she has some cousins that are, she has a couple of them age two, all the way up to like 17. She has four or five cousins.
And she'll go out and do stuff with them. And she loves being with them.
And they'll go out and do stuff together. And she'll babysit them sometimes if she really needs to.
And I've just been around kind of a fly on the wall when she's been around kids. And she's fantastic.

Stefan:
[9:38] Okay. Okay. And what's the story with her family? You said she's cut some family members off. What happened with her childhood?

Caller:
[9:45] Well, she was... I'm not great with dates or ages or anything.
I kind of give a vague.
I think she was about... Her mom and dad are still alive. They are divorced.
She was about 10 years old When they got divorced, And then her mom just got remarried In the last I think about two years ago And then her dad has a long-term girlfriend Neither one of them were really step-parents to her, Her parents were Her dad is a very, Maybe not the best adjective But he's a very yelly person, easily angered, and he'll yell over nothing.
Even if he's not all that angry, he'll just raise his voice for the hell of it.
And then her mom was pretty much just neglectful, not there emotionally. Right.

Stefan:
[10:54] And what is the status of her relationship with her parents?

Complex Dynamic with Absent Mother

Caller:
[10:58] Well, right now she lives with her dad.
What she's gotten a lot better over the years. He still ain't perfect, but rent's expensive.
So and her mom, she sees every now and then she sees like once a month.
She's never really wanted a relationship with her mom, at least over the last two or three years. because her mom hasn't really had anything to offer.
I guess that doesn't sound great, but...

Stefan:
[11:30] Well, no, I don't care how it sounds. I mean, this is your interpretation.
Don't worry about how it sounds.

Caller:
[11:35] Yeah.
Her mom just never... Her mom was always very surface level, never really talked about much.
And then when her mom did talk about stuff, it was like her shit talking, her dad and things like that. So nothing, nothing really great or anything that she wanted to hear.

Stefan:
[11:56] Okay. All right. And sorry, just, sorry, just remind me how long have you guys have been going out in terms of like after the friends with benefit stuff and after the break you took when she was in touch with her ex?

Caller:
[12:08] Uh, six months now.

Stefan:
[12:10] Six months. Okay. And you live in the same place. Like it's not long distance.
You see each other on a regular basis.

Caller:
[12:16] Yeah. Yeah. We live 10 minutes away from each other.

Stefan:
[12:20] And is she down with the peaceful parenting stuff?
Okay. All right. No, that's good. All right. So, sorry, go ahead.

Caller:
[12:29] Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. I talked to her about, I haven't really brought up your name, but I've talked about peaceful parenting and things like that.
And I've talked about it around friends and help some people out.
So I've kind of tried to spread it a little bit, and she really liked it.
Even though she wasn't beat as a kid, there was a lot of yelling and verbal abuse and emotional abuse in her childhood.
And she seems fully on board with the peaceful parenting.

Stefan:
[13:06] Okay, well, that's good. And it's fine to not use my name. I can be a little bit goosey for some people, so that's all right. Yeah, she's...

Caller:
[13:14] Sorry, go ahead. Sorry, go on.

Stefan:
[13:15] No, you go ahead. It's your convo, man. You're not interrupting me.

Caller:
[13:19] Yeah, I don't... Nothing against you.
I don't like throwing your name around too much, because some people I know are kind of lefty, and they look up a Wikipedia, and they assume they know everything about you.

Stefan:
[13:32] Yeah, no, I get that. I get that. That's what it's for. Okay.
So, what are the problems? Let's get to where your hesitations are.

Caller:
[13:42] Uh well uh i don't know if i'm uh paranoid or maybe it's just uh from the past because it has happened i've uh, uh there there'll be times when she doesn't uh answer back and things like that uh which is kind of smaller and i'll think that hey you know it's so it's always a thought in the back of my brain that, hey, she could be cheating on me or running around or doing whatever, even though I know for a fact she isn't.
It's just it's a nagging voice in the back of the brain that really, really bothers me.

Stefan:
[14:22] Right. Okay. And tell me, so taking me back to your late teens, sort of the friends with benefits stage, because I've never sort of, I mean, I'm a bit older, so that wasn't really a thing when I was a kid.
But what what was the story with that like were you dating other people was it like kind of an open relationship or non-relationship or how often would you guys have the benefits part or like i don't really quite understand how that works is it is it monogamous friends with benefits or is it like you can date whoever or like i don't really know how that works if you could explain that uh it's pretty much monogamous i don't uh it's uh it's really just a way to get around commitment honestly um which we were both kind of scared of at that time but it was, 99 monogamous for two years okay and the non-monogamous part how did that play out.

[15:20] Uh well actually during the friends with benefits it was uh pretty much 100 monogamous but then And after she went and talked to her ex and we broke up, I went and slept around a little bit.
I mean, is there a breakup? I'm trying to understand how a monogamous sexual relationship where a lack of commitment, i.e. she's talking to her ex-girlfriend, is a big problem.
Then you have a breakup. How is that not just a relationship?
Help me understand how that's not a relationship. i mean uh uh it's uh uh it's uh i i really couldn't explain it to you very well i because i really don't know that well myself i know what do you mean you were in it you were in the relationship so you're having a sexual relationship with the woman you're expecting monogamy and you're upset when she talks to an ex and then you break up i'm just not sure how this sort of friends with benefits thing is different from just a relationship and again i'm happy to be schooled on this by your young mind but i don't quite follow uh in terms of practicality uh at day to day it wasn't any different it's it's a very weird label thing i uh, i don't uh.

Caller:
[16:38] I mean, neither of us really used it as an excuse to sleep around or use it as an open relationship or something like that. It's just...

Stefan:
[16:46] Okay, well, let's step back to when you guys, I guess, first decided to get romantic or sexual with each other.
Did you both say, we're not boyfriend, we're not girlfriend, this is not a relationship, this is just friends with benefits.
And then you just kind of, with that label, you then sort of proceeded to have a monogamous romantic relationship where talking to an ex was a bad thing and then you broke up.

Caller:
[17:05] Was it just like a label thing to to keep your minds at ease and then you basically just had a relationship is it something like i don't want to put words in your mouth i'm just trying to follow well part of it is uh at the beginning i didn't really want to commit to her because she was uh she was very traumatized from uh not even as much from her parents as much as not being being parented and being parented on the internet.
And that just wasn't, that was not good for her overall.
And she's very traumatized, a very kind of weird looking person.
When I met her, she had this very short hair, like barely longer than a buzz cut.
And I don't want to say I felt ashamed, but it was kind of, in my mind, it was kind of embarrassing at the time for to date her which i found bad but uh, i didn't want to commit to her because she wasn't someone i wanted to bring home for christmas.

[18:13] And was she aware of that uh Uh, actually, yeah, I did kind of tell her that once that I just couldn't, uh, I couldn't really date her with the super short hair, not those exact words, but, uh, uh, along those lines.

Stefan:
[18:36] You mean like, like the whole mindset that goes with it or like, not just the short hair, but.

Caller:
[18:40] Well, that was part of it too, is once she started growing out her hair and kind of dressing and like a woman again and everything she changed a lot and that's when i really became uh emotionally attracted to her too ah okay all right okay so when did that happen over the two-year thing, uh pretty right before we dated for that like right uh right before we dated for that one month, probably a couple months before that I started seeing a lot more of what I wanted in a relationship versus the fling that we had.

Stefan:
[19:22] Okay. Got it. Got it. And so at the end of the two years, she was just in contact with her ex-boyfriend or how, what happened there?

Ex-boyfriend still in contact, sets boundary in relationship

Caller:
[19:30] There uh well that was so her ex-boyfriend they had been together for before we met each other they had been together for three or four years uh and they were still kind of ish in contact just texting back and forth when we were uh when we had our uh fling for the two years and uh i made a uh i set a boundary when i asked her to date me like as a official relationship um, i told her that i didn't want her talking to him anymore um, and after it took it was a month uh and then she started uh they were just texting each other back Nothing ever happened.
It wasn't even really flirty, but she texted him out of nowhere and they were just kind of chatting back and forth and I broke up with her then.

Discovering Suspicious Behavior and Phone Calls

[20:42] Sorry about that how did you find out about her texting uh one night she was uh, she was acting kind of weird um we were hanging out and she was acting kind of weird kind of off uh and i was like hey what's going on uh and then she kept on getting uh phone calls from a random number i'd never seen and i'm not really i don't look through phones or anything but i just saw all that and I was like hey who in the world's calling you and she's uh got real quiet wasn't saying anything uh and then we got home uh we were actually in the car when this happened uh and then we got home and I asked her um I asked her I looked her straight in the eyes and I asked her I was like just tell me the truth who is it and she said that it was her ex and um Um, I pretty much, uh, got up to the door, closed the door in her face, told her to go home and, uh, broke up with her.

Stefan:
[21:45] And that's because there was an agreement that she not contact her ex. Is that right?

Caller:
[21:50] Yeah. The same way I wasn't talking to any other women in my life, especially not any I'd ever had relations with.
Uh and this guy was uh he wasn't the worst of the worst but he had a really fucked up childhood and he was very manic manipulative and just uh not a good guy overall and i just wanted him out of her life and uh yeah i made that one part of i guess not part of our relationship i can't think of the word but yeah yeah like a condition of dating yeah that she not be in touch with this guy and you would say that he you said that he would contact her is that right, Uh, that's usually how it was, but I think when they started texting again, I think she texted him first. I don't remember.
That's been about a year and a half now.

Stefan:
[22:46] And do you know why she was texting him or having some interest in him or being in contact?

Caller:
[22:52] Text um well the excuse or maybe not excuse that i got from her was uh he was super manipulative and he had been in her life so long and this and that um and that that's uh about all i got, do you know uh did you get a chance to review the text or did she show you any of the text messages that they had uh yeah i actually um i did look at them even though i really didn't want to but um i looked at them and uh there was nothing particularly flirty or anything they were just kind of bullshitting back and forth but it was still enough for me, It was too much for me.

Stefan:
[23:47] Now, was it that she was in touch with him or that she had broken a commitment?
Like if you hadn't had that commitment, but she'd been in touch with him, would it have been as bad?

Caller:
[23:57] Yeah, no. It was really the commitment that she made to not doing it.
And it really broke a lot of the trust that I had in her.

Stefan:
[24:09] Because i'm not the type of guy you know go searching through messages or something crazy like that i i mean a relationship should be on founded on trust right now so it wasn't it wasn't sometimes guys can get back into a girl's life by you know i'm gonna kill myself or like some crazy stuff like that where they feel kind of compelled to respond otherwise they're gonna face the possibility of guilt or shame like do you know if there was anything where Where there was some extreme thing going on that she felt more compelled to respond to?

Caller:
[24:44] Actually, now that you say that, I did completely forget about that.
I don't remember if he... I think that's actually how they started talking.
I don't remember if he threatened suicide or if he was...
I think he was talking about how depressed he was. Which kind of coerced her into a response.
Because she was pretty much the only person in his life.
Outside of his shitty family right okay so so he was either talking about like i guess severe depression or self-harm or suicide or something like that he was talking about uh some very messed up things that happened to him in his childhood uh and then it kind of went off on a i don't know if i can do this anymore uh type of tangent yeah right okay got it so i i saw it as very very very manipulative which she is very prone to manipulate which is something I've seen.

Stefan:
[25:50] Well, I mean, if you mean manipulative, whatever.
Right. I mean, but the whole point of that stuff is if he did kill himself, wouldn't she feel just unbelievably horrible?

Caller:
[26:01] Yeah, no, it's that's yeah. And I told her that that that alone, him just threatening that and talking to her about it as a manipulation thing is just a nuke to a relationship.
And she got that after.

Stefan:
[26:14] Sorry, a nuke to which relationship? relationship uh between the them two i mean if somebody threatens suicide and kind of pins it on you a little bit then i think that kind of destroys any sort of relationship that's there, well i i get that but that doesn't mean that you then in your late teens or early 20s can just sail on with somebody threatening to kill themselves hanging over your head and you know if heaven forbid they actually do it i mean won't that kind of break your heart, yeah yeah yeah you're right there i mean it's it's a it's a threat for like i don't know lifelong semi-misery for feeling guilty if that makes sense i mean it's a very extreme thing to do and i i agree with you it's a horrible thing and and if it is manipulative um like if the person has no intention of doing it but you don't know right she's not a mental health expert and even mental health experts can't predict who's only threatening and who's actually going to do it with any particular accuracy right yeah yeah so and he he uh sorry go ahead uh he has been he hasn't been openly actually suicidal but he does have guns and he has the means, I'm not sure what you mean by openly suicidal.

Caller:
[27:31] From what I know, he's never said, I want to kill myself, but it has been kind of implied several times.
But I don't know how much of that is him just manipulating the people around him for attention and how much of it is actually real.

Stefan:
[27:47] Yeah, I mean, nobody does know, right? And the other thing, too, is that it may be put forward as a manipulation.
But then if let's say he puts it forward like i don't know how long how much longer i can do this kind of thing and then she just blocks him and cuts him off and then he's like oh yeah like it starts off as a manipulation and then it can escalate to actual death right yeah if it doesn't go the way that they want yeah and of course it's a horrible thing to put on on someone else and so on so she may have felt kind of trapped and and she was certainly being threatened right i mean somebody threatening to to kill themselves is i mean it's a very real threat and it's very dangerous for your mental health right yeah yeah and her um uh her mental health was never good When she was with him, from what I've been told, he was manipulative and verbally abusive.

Caller:
[28:50] It was a very, very weird teenage relationship.

Stefan:
[28:56] Well, it's not weird for people with bad families. It's kind of normal for people with bad families, isn't it?

Caller:
[29:04] Well, yeah, that's a good point.

Stefan:
[29:06] And if I have the timeline right, didn't they meet in their mid-teens or didn't they start dating in their mid-teens?

Caller:
[29:12] Yeah. I started seeing her when I was, or we started our thing when we were 18 and they dated from like 15 to almost 18, almost two and a half, three years.

The troubled past of the girl and her manipulative partner.

Stefan:
[29:31] Now do you understand or i hope you might understand or at least let me make the case that she's not particularly responsible for this you know broken damaged manipulative guy being in her life because she was an unschooled neglected verbally abused a girl who didn't really have any model for a good relationship who didn't have anyone looking out for her, and so she's going to be prey and of course he at the age of 15 is not particularly responsible for his behavior because i as you say he comes from a bad family and right so so he they kind of ended up together and it it wasn't her particular fault to to end up with this guy in her life because again she's just so unschooled and they're just two damaged people kind of gravitating to each other well i don't know how much of a difference it really makes in emotional maturity and everything but he was uh i think she was 15 he was 17 if i remember right i think he's two years older well that in a sense excuses her even more.

Caller:
[30:37] Because he would have a couple of years extra on her in terms of skill at manipulation and and so on and he may have a little bit more authority he may have a little bit more desirability as being an older an older guy well and she was kind of trained into it too being uh i didn't i don't yeah i didn't mention it um when she said she was her parents weren't really a lot when she was kids she spent a lot of time on a laptop when it could shouldn't be on a laptop that young and she She was groomed at a very young age.
Nothing, you know, she didn't go meet up with old guys or anything, but it was very weird thing.

Stefan:
[31:18] You mean like she was exposed to sexualized conversations as a child?

Caller:
[31:23] Yeah, as young as 12 or 13.

Stefan:
[31:29] Right. Okay. Okay.

Caller:
[31:30] With much, much older guys, probably 25, stuff like that.

Stefan:
[31:36] Oh yeah no the internet is just a wild vile horrendous space for that kind of stuff i i kind of get all of that and and she should of course have been protected she should have had you know whatever locks on the devices and instruction from parents and i don't know this isn't this weird blind spot for older parents about the internet but anyway okay so, i mean she had it she had a pretty rough she's got this guy in her life she's unprotected contacted she's kind of preyed upon by an older boy or i guess almost a young man at the age of 17 so she's preyed on and so this guy's in her life and uh i assume as you say it was pretty pretty unhealthy relationship and he then fixates on her as the only solution now like his only social life you said she was his only contact now well he had he had one other friend was which was actually the mutual friend that we met through.

Caller:
[32:29] But yeah, he had like two or three friends.

Stefan:
[32:35] Right. Okay. Okay. So what happened with their relationship?

Confusion about the timeline of relationships and friends with benefits.

[32:41] Did it overlap with your friends with benefits thing at all?
Like, how did their relationship play out and its end with you guys having friends with benefits thing?

Caller:
[32:50] Uh that's something i was always kind of confused about uh well i kind of i i don't know the answer i don't know the exact dates um i think that their relationship kind of rolled into our friends with benefits but we also didn't do anything uh sexual for a minute uh after we met I think it was like a week and a half, maybe, that we didn't do anything sexual, but I think they kind of rolled over into each other.

Stefan:
[33:25] I'm sorry, you're saying this like, hang on, you met and you're saying like you didn't do anything sexual for like a week and a half?
Is that wildly unusual for your social environment?

Caller:
[33:38] Unfortunately, yes. Yes.

Stefan:
[33:41] Okay. Okay. So was she, was she still dating the other guy when you rolled into her life?

Caller:
[33:48] So from, uh, what I've collected, he thought that they were still dating, um, for, uh, like a decent chunk of time before that.
And for a little bit, when we first knew each other, he thought that they were still dating.
Um, Um, and I don't, I, she didn't want to be her in the relationship, but she couldn't tell him off, which was also a part of, uh, me definitely not wanting to commit to her.

Stefan:
[34:21] Well, hang on, but you did, you did have, oh, so you had sex with her when she was still dating another guy?

Caller:
[34:28] I, yes.

Stefan:
[34:30] Okay. Jay, so you understand why you might be a little paranoid?
Because you were participating in a cheating situation.

Caller:
[34:40] Yeah, I've...

Stefan:
[34:42] Sorry, there seems to be a big pause here. Was this not something you were aware of?

Caller:
[34:46] It was something I was aware of, but it's been pushed very...
It's been two and a half, three years now, and it's been pushed very far down.

Stefan:
[34:59] And did you know that she was... You knew she was in a relationship with a guy or he was still around or whatever it was, right? When you got together with her?

Caller:
[35:08] My interpretation is that they were still kind of friends but they weren't actually dating and then i learned later on that he thought they were still dating for a while but they never really saw each other or did anything which was really uh weird to me, but he thought that they were dating for like six months into our uh when we were um you know when we had our thing they he thought that they were dating for that long and i guess she didn't think they were but i didn't know that until later on when did you find out that uh about a year after uh no probably six six months to a year after we started seeing each other okay so like six to twelve months into the friends with benefits thing you find out that for the first six months of the friends with benefits thing her ex-boyfriend thought they were still boyfriend girlfriend yes and do you because you i mean was she was she still i assume she was still texting him or was she still seeing him with him do you think that they had any kind of relationship have you ever found anything out about that about what happened with the ex over the first six to 12 months of your friends with benefits thing?
They would hang out every now and then, but we probably hung out 10 times as much as they did.
They maybe saw each other like two or three times a month, maybe.

Stefan:
[36:36] Oh, okay, so she was still seeing her ex. Or, I guess, she was still seeing the guy she went out with for a couple of years while you guys were friends with benefits.

Caller:
[36:45] Yeah, they weren't really going out on dates or anything. It was just kind of hanging out, playing.
They both had a lot of mutual interest in video games, and they would sit around and play video games and stuff like that. I don't really know.

Stefan:
[36:58] I mean, were they romantically involved at this point?

Caller:
[37:01] It i don't uh know for i don't think so but i don't know for certain because she at that point she was uh very turned off to him i think she was but she's still hanging out with him right oh you mean like romantically she was not interested in yes yeah romantically not interested at all and i i think she was just appeasing him so she didn't have to deal with cutting him out but that's uh i don't know everything so okay so then six to twelve months and she's still that's a big gap by the way you can't narrow it down i feel weird saying six to twelve months like there's a six month thing i don't know like when did you find out that she was still hanging out with her ex uh closer to the six months probably seven months let's just say six months just so i don't have to keep keep head yeah okay so six months into the two-year friends with benefits you find out she's hanging out with her ex and when and this is is this when you found out that the ex thinks they're still a relationship uh it was around that time yeah that i found out that um that he still thought that they were dating okay and then what uh Um, uh, uh, really, um, I think.

A Complicated Situation with Exes

[38:28] They kind of, they, uh, if I remember right, they officially broke up, but they were still talking here and there and, uh, hanging out from time to time playing video games and, uh, stuff like that.

Stefan:
[38:42] Uh, I'll, I'll, I'd have to ask her to know the exact, uh, Well, no, but it's some like, so you're friends with benefits, and she's still hanging out with her ex.
And you find out that the ex still thinks they're in a relationship.
So what did you do or say? Or I guess when when did your girlfriend break up with her ex?
Like officially not just like whatever implicit thing?

Uncertainty about the timeline of the relationship.

Caller:
[39:11] I really don't know.

Stefan:
[39:13] Well, has she? Has she broken up with him? Does her ex know that it's not a relationship anymore?

Caller:
[39:19] Oh, yeah.

Stefan:
[39:20] Okay, so when did that happen?

Caller:
[39:23] After we broke up, after that month of official relationship, I guess.
She completely cut him off, blocked him on everything, and there's been completely no contact since.

Stefan:
[39:36] Sorry, I just don't really understand the time frame.
So for two years of friends with benefits she's still hanging out with her ex and then when what was the process of you becoming boyfriend girlfriend her breaking up with him you guys breaking up for a month because she's in contact with him i'm just i'm not i'm sort of hazy on the, the the two months i'm sorry the two years thing and what happens there, uh the problem the part of the problem is that i i don't exactly know the timeline of how long he thought they were dating.

Caller:
[40:09] I guess I probably should have asked.

Stefan:
[40:12] That's fine. But in terms of like the actual thing, right? So after two years, you say to her, I want to be your boyfriend. Is that right?

Caller:
[40:20] Yes, because she had actually, she had told me that she was never going to talk to him again.
And that was part of the condition of the relationship. I didn't want her being in contact.
And we both wanted to be with each other. And, Well, yeah, that's, yeah.

Stefan:
[40:38] Okay, so you say, I want to be your boyfriend, but you've got to cut off the ex, right?

Caller:
[40:44] Yeah.

Stefan:
[40:45] So then she cuts off the ex, your boyfriend and girlfriend, for how long before you find out?
Because I think, wasn't there two phases of her talking to her ex, one that led to a breakup a while ago and one that's a problem more recently? Do I have that right?

Caller:
[40:58] Oh, no, no.

Stefan:
[40:59] Just back then.

Caller:
[41:00] It was just the, I mean, it was at the beginning of her relationship with all that mess.
And then it was when we dated for the month and I found out that she was talking to him again so you said I'll be your boyfriend but you got to cut off things with the ex and this was six months ago right?
This was a year and a half ago yeah right around a year and a half it was last, June or July I thought you were friends with benefits for two years do I have that wrong?

Stefan:
[41:35] Yes it was right around two years so it's actually we've known each other for almost three and a half years now is the actual okay so you're friends with benefits for two years then you go through this whole breakup thing a year and a half ago yep and then we were kind of friends with benefits for well almost a year after that uh almost a full year uh and then we got back together this june and this is when and and when did you it was how long ago was it you found out she was still in touch with her ex uh that was during the one month uh relationship we had a year and a half ago sorry it's kind of confusing no that's all right that's all right um okay so y'all had a kind of messed up beginning to the relationship right yes so you've done, three years off and on friends with benefits and then six months now and you don't have any indication that she's in touch with her ex at the moment right uh i uh i know for a fact, Sorry, you know for a fact that she's not?

Odd friendship dynamics and assurance of no contact with ex.

Caller:
[42:39] Yes, I'm, actually, my best friend is the, he's kind of friends with the ex-guy, and then he's my best friend.
He's been my friend for years, and every once in a while he'll talk about what the ex says, and they haven't been in contact for the whole year and a half.

Stefan:
[42:58] Wait, hang on. Pretty wild, man.

Caller:
[42:59] So your best friend is best friends with the manipulative creep who threatens your ex or threatened your ex oh sorry threatens your girlfriend in the past with maybe suicide, uh not not best friends no they see each other maybe once a month or twice a month not very friends yes okay does that seem a bit odd to you that he would have like both people in his life, uh yeah it's been kind of it it seems very odd but he is uh uh he's been the best friend i've ever had um all right hey man i'm not gonna i'm not gonna lecture you on friendships or anything like that because we got an okay yeah it's a very it's a it was a it's not really a weird dynamic anymore because i never see the ex and i still hang out with my friend quite a bit and, And so the point is that, you know, that your girlfriend is not in touch with her ex. Yes.

Stefan:
[43:56] All right. And do you know when she was last in touch with him?
Was it the year and a half ago or?

Caller:
[44:01] Yeah, it was after we after I broke it off with her. She almost cut him out completely.
Or no, that is when she cut him out. I think it was like a week after we broke up.
She cut him off completely, blocked him on everything and hasn't talked to him since.

Stefan:
[44:18] And that's when you decided to get back together with her?

Caller:
[44:22] It took me a while after that because she, I was already, I'm not an open or trusting person.
And she had, it took me a long time to warm back up to her because she had lost pretty much all the trust that I had in her.

Stefan:
[44:42] Okay, so how did she regain your trust?

Caller:
[44:46] Part of it was her cutting him out and actually meaning it this time.
And then we got a lot more serious with the topics that we talked about, the things that we wanted, things like that.
She actually got a good full-time job because she was kind of not doing much with her life before that.
But over the last year, year and a half, since we broke up that first time, she's cleaned up her life a lot, gotten a lot of the stress out of her life, a lot of the bullshit, and just become a lot better person overall.
And it restored a lot of my trust in her.
And I wanted to date her again.

Stefan:
[45:34] Okay and so she has fulfilled the requirements you gave her to be trustworthy right she got a job she's not in touch with the ex and so on right yes and part of the problem is i still, even though she has met all that uh i guess because of the past i still don't trust her completely, well so what are you doing i mean like why are you in a relationship with someone you can't trust I mean, if she's changed and cut the guy out and got a good job and she's fulfilling the requirements that you have, don't you kind of need to?
I mean, it's sort of like you quote ordered a girlfriend and now you're not paying the bill.
Like you said, I'm going to be together with you. So if you're together with someone, you have to figure out how to trust them, don't you?
I mean, how can you be with someone and yet still be withholding trust?

Caller:
[46:24] Yes. No, I definitely, I do trust her.
I definitely phrased that wrong. I trust her that she's not going to do anything.
And I know she's not doing anything.
It's the nagging thoughts in the back of my head that are, I don't know if it's paranoia that are always like, well, even though I know for a fact that she's not, and I trust her completely, there's always the thoughts in the back of my mind.

Stefan:
[46:49] Well, you can't say you trust her completely if you also think that she might cheat or do something bad.

Caller:
[47:00] I don't really know how to reconcile those two thoughts.

Stefan:
[47:02] Okay, let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this.

Trustworthiness in the Relationship

[47:06] Do you think that you've been trustworthy in the relationship?

Caller:
[47:12] Yes.

Stefan:
[47:14] Why is that?

Caller:
[47:14] Well, I've been faithful. I've been there for her.
I put a lot of trust in her.

Stefan:
[47:27] I mean yeah I don't really know what to add to that alright so when you started sleeping with her, and you knew I guess you've known each other for a while even before is it true you knew each other oh no you just met through a friend right like you didn't know each other before you met, not we went to the same school and stuff but no we didn't really never really know each other but you knew that she was in a relationship with this other guy right, Uh, before that, yes, I knew from my friend that they were in a relationship for a while. Okay.
And did you, you didn't find out from her directly whether she was still in a relationship with this guy before you slept with her, right?

Caller:
[48:13] No, it was, uh, I guess, uh, I guess I could say it was kind of implied, but I don't really know for sure.
I never, I guess I never asked. No.

Stefan:
[48:25] Right. Okay. And then you found out six months in that she was still in contact with him, still hanging out, and that the other guy thought that they were still boyfriend-girlfriend? Yeah.
So you were in a relationship with a woman whose boyfriend thought they were still in a relationship?

Caller:
[48:49] Yeah.

Stefan:
[48:50] Knowledge of which you had kind of avoided, right? Yeah.

Caller:
[48:55] Yeah.

Stefan:
[48:58] So from her perspective, do you look particularly trustworthy?

Uncovering the truth about the relationship dynamics

Caller:
[49:07] No, not really.

Stefan:
[49:09] Well, and you kept sleeping with her even when you found out that her ex was still in her life and thought she was his girlfriend?

Caller:
[49:20] Yeah, I did.

Stefan:
[49:22] I mean, for like another year and a half, right?

Caller:
[49:27] Yeah.

Stefan:
[49:30] So, I mean, you knew you were involved in a cheating... I'm not trying to be harsh on you. I'm just trying to figure out the mechanics here, right? of like what might be going on, right?
Because if we think we're perfectly innocent, we tend to put the blame on other people, if that makes sense.

Caller:
[49:45] Yeah.

Stefan:
[49:46] But you spent 18 months, which is not an insignificant portion of your young life, sleeping with a woman whose boyfriend thought she was still in a relationship with him.

Caller:
[49:57] Yeah.

Stefan:
[50:00] And you didn't really inquire. I mean, you must have had some idea.
Okay, so you said they got together a couple of times a month, right?
So for the first six months of your relationship, you'd say, can we get together Friday?
And she'd say, no, I'm going over to my ex's or I'm going over to this guy who was my boyfriend for many years from my mid-teens or whatever, right?

Caller:
[50:19] No, we were, it was pretty much completely, she saw him so little, it was pretty much completely separate.
There might have been, there was probably once or twice where she's like, oh, well, I'm out doing stuff with him. So I guess, yeah.

Stefan:
[50:33] Oh, so you knew before the six months that she was still seeing him then?

Caller:
[50:38] Well, I didn't know if they were dating until later on, but yes, I knew they were hanging out.

Stefan:
[50:44] So you were perfectly happy to sleep with a woman who was still seeing her ex, but God forbid she text him later, right?
I mean, am I wrong about this?

Caller:
[50:58] No, you're...

Stefan:
[50:59] And again, I'm not trying to be mean or harsh. Like, I just try to shine this light on as many corners as I can.

Caller:
[51:04] No, you're just... You're digging up a decent amount I had pushed down and tried to ignore for a while, so...

Stefan:
[51:14] And I'm just trying to get you to see it from... Okay, so then you don't have a problem sleeping with this woman knowing that she's still hanging out with her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend or whatever, right? Right.
Now, was it because you were friends with benefits?
Like if you were boyfriend, girlfriend, like I'm trying to put myself in your shoes.
Right. So if I'm dating some woman, I'm in my late teens, early 20s or whatever, I'm dating some woman and then she goes to hang out with her ex.
What's the first thing I'm going to say?

Caller:
[51:41] Well, you mean in my shoes?

Stefan:
[51:44] If I'm in your shoes right I'm dating some girl let's say it's not the friends with benefits thing because that really wasn't a thing when I was younger right, so I'm dating some girl and then she's like no I'm going to hang out with my, my ex-boyfriend at his place or I'm going to hang out with let's call him Bob I'm going to go hang out with Bob and Bob was my boyfriend of many years I can't see you because I'm going to go hang out with Bob well what would I say, if I was if we were dating I would I'd be pissed.

[52:14] Well i'd be i'd be curious i guess like what what do you mean you're going to hang out with your ex-boyfriend yeah right it would be curiosity and then i would be kind of pissed that she was uh that she even agreed to it right okay okay so uh i'd be just like okay well help me understand now then she would say look he's he's emotionally unstable he's fragile he could be suicidal i i'm really scared to cut him off like so when he says come over i'm afraid if i say no he's going to to hang from a rope or something right that was uh that it's my my belief that that's a big reason as to why she even stayed in contact with was a lot of guilt tripping of well i don't know what will happen if you don't talk to me anymore uh type behavior oh yeah so we've got somebody with severe mental health problems and it all comes down to not you've got a whole society with you know hundreds of billions of dollars in mental health funding and professionals and psychologists and institutions and medicines and all that, but keeping this guy out of the grave all comes down to one 16 or 17-year-old little girl, right?

Caller:
[53:19] Yeah, it was a lot on her shoulders for years.

Trying to help her while navigating the complexities of the situation

Stefan:
[53:27] And did you try to help her out with that burden, or did you just have sex with her?

Caller:
[53:34] I tried to help her out, and she wouldn't cut him off for the longest time.

Stefan:
[53:39] Okay, so how did you, hang on, so you found out she's going to see her ex even in the first couple of months, right? Because she's still seeing him a couple of times a month?

Caller:
[53:48] Yeah.

Stefan:
[53:50] Okay, so she's going to see her ex, and what do you say at this point?
I'm trying to figure out, I'm not saying you didn't try to help her out, but I'm trying to figure out how you did try to help her out.

Caller:
[54:01] A lot of, you really shouldn't see him anymore. He's terrible for you.
He was terrible for her mental health.
And it took her down a lot to even be around him.
But there was so much guilt tripping and the suicidal.

Stefan:
[54:20] So you knew even in the first, sorry, you knew in the first couple of months of dating her that she was being bullied by this mentally unstable and possibly suicidal young man, right?

Caller:
[54:29] Yeah. Yeah.

Stefan:
[54:32] And you said, don't see him.
And then she says, well, I'm scared he's going to kill himself or do something dangerous or harmful, right?

Caller:
[54:43] Yeah.

Stefan:
[54:46] And so this is before the six months thing you said earlier, right? I'm not trying to catch you out. I'm just want to make sure I get the timeline down.

Caller:
[54:51] Yes. I knew they were still hanging out, uh, here and there, um, closer to the six month mark.
And that's when I started telling her, Hey, you shouldn't be around him anymore and things like that. But I had no clue that he thought that they were still dating at that point.

Stefan:
[55:08] Now, did she know?

The Revelation of Hidden Relationship Status

Caller:
[55:15] Did she know that he thought that they were still dating?

Stefan:
[55:19] Yes. Yes. And she kept that from you, is that right? At least until the six-month thing.

Caller:
[55:29] I don't know as much as she kept it from me, as much as I stayed away from the topic and didn't ask. But, yeah.

Stefan:
[55:39] I'm sorry, you stayed away from the topic? Because wouldn't it be her topic to volunteer if she's...
Well, I guess the friends with benefits thing means that you don't have a right to monogamy, right?

Caller:
[55:49] Yeah.

Stefan:
[55:50] Sorry, they're getting a lot of background noise here. It's a little distracting. Like, Adores and...

Caller:
[55:55] Oh, sorry. Yeah, I'm just walking in and outside. Sorry about that.

Stefan:
[55:59] Yeah, sorry. It's a little confusing. Yeah, so with friends with benefits, I mean, theoretically, couldn't she still have some other relationship?
And if that guy knows and it's all kind of open and polygamous and loosey-goosey?

Caller:
[56:14] Yeah, yeah. Yeah, she could.

Stefan:
[56:18] Okay, so she didn't really owe you an answer, right?

Caller:
[56:24] No, she didn't.

Stefan:
[56:26] I mean, I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, because I'm trying to sort of navigate the complexities of these new relationships.

Caller:
[56:32] Yeah, it's a very weird phenomenon, but yeah.

Stefan:
[56:38] Okay. Okay. So she's still seeing her ex and you're not asking whether they're still in a relationship, right? I mean, in a romantic relationship.

Caller:
[56:50] I definitely very much avoided the conversation. I can say that much.

Stefan:
[56:56] Why did you avoid the conversation, do you think?

Caller:
[56:59] I don't think I wanted to know.

Stefan:
[57:01] Well, I know that. Why didn't you want to know that? Because I didn't want to know that. But why didn't you want to know it?

Caller:
[57:07] Know why if they were in a relationship or not um, I guess, uh, I didn't want to be the side piece messing up the relationship, the relationship.

Stefan:
[57:27] Well, you didn't want to know that you were.

Caller:
[57:30] Yes. Yeah. That's okay.

Stefan:
[57:32] So you, you avoided the topic and you avoided the topic because you didn't want to be, uh, the side piece.
Now, why would you put yourself in a situation where you want to avoid this, uh, this topic?
Like what was the plus in the i guess was it the benefits part that was like if she was just some friend it wouldn't really matter that much right yeah it was um you mean why was i seeing her in the first place well no why like if if you're gonna avoid knowledge right like if she was just some friend and she said i'm gonna see my my boyfriend or i'm gonna see bob this guy right i think your first question would be well i mean are you guys still together right yeah that would be your question right it would be a normal natural question to ask someone right so the most normal natural question you would ask as a friend you didn't ask i assume the main difference being that if you ask that question and you found out they were still together then yeah you wouldn't be able to have sex with her, right?

Caller:
[58:41] Yeah.

Stefan:
[58:41] Or at least it would feel bad, right? I mean, you might still grit your teeth or whatever, but...
Okay, so you avoided the knowledge of her relationship in order to keep having sex with her, right?

Questioning the Integrity and Paranoia

[58:59] I mean, so that's what I'm... Like, in terms of your integrity, right?
Right. And look, you're a young man and I'm not trying to throw you under the bus or condemn you in any way whatsoever, but I'm just trying to figure out why you're so sort of jumpy or maybe you said paranoid about what's going on.
So a lot of times if we haven't acted in the most elevated manner, and this is true for everyone, we've all done things that we look back and we go like, ooh, I could have done that slightly better or a lot better.
So i'm not i'm not trying to you know shame you or anything like that but in terms of like if you haven't processed that you avoided finding out about their relationship status in order to keep banging her uh you know that's not super elevated right, and so and and she's aware of this right so she's aware that you're not asking her about now she may not be aware but she's aware deep down right she's aware that you're not asking her about her her relationship status so that you can keep having sex with her.
Which means that you want to have sex with her body, but you don't want to know much about her life, her mind. There's a detachment there.

Caller:
[1:00:13] At that point, yes. That is how it was.

Stefan:
[1:00:16] Well, that wasn't a point, my friend. That was quite a long period of time.

Caller:
[1:00:19] Well, it was a very long time, yes. But that is how it was.
It was separate.

Stefan:
[1:00:28] So to some degree and again i'm not trying to frame it too negatively but there's a certain amount of i'll use you for your body but i don't want to find out about your relationship status or your life if it interferes with me using your body so to speak well i knew a lot uh like we still had a good friendship and i knew a lot about her and there was still a personal connection i just didn't want to know i was avoiding the uh the ex-boyfriend and relationship but well the The thing that had most effect on sexual access was the things that you avoided, right?

Caller:
[1:01:04] Yeah, it was. Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:01:07] And this went on, I guess, for the first couple of months, or at least then six months, you found out that Bob thought that your friends with benefits girl was still in a relationship with him, right?
Yeah. And then you continued the friends with benefits for another 18 months, is that right?

Caller:
[1:01:33] Yes.

Stefan:
[1:01:34] So it turned out that it didn't actually have that much impact on your sexual access to your friends with benefits girl, because even after you found out that Bob thought they were still dating, you continued to have sex with her, right?

Caller:
[1:01:48] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:01:50] So then it turns out you were actually kind of fine with being the side piece, right? or being in a cheating situation.

Uncertainty about the nature of their relationship with Bob

Caller:
[1:02:05] I guess so.

Stefan:
[1:02:06] Well, unless she, because she didn't cut things off with him, right?

Caller:
[1:02:11] From my point of view, it was very, they weren't really in a relationship and she was just kind of keeping him there.
No, no, but Bob thought they were in a relationship.

Stefan:
[1:02:24] Did she tell Bob, we're not in a relationship at all. There's no romance here.

Caller:
[1:02:30] Or like or did she um after the six month thing did she continue to just kind of not address it because she was concerned about his instability yeah she just kind of uh kept him or she he kept her around and she just kind of let it happen because anytime she would bring up uh breaking up or hey this isn't right like there's uh this relationship bad things like that there was always always uh an escalation from him now did you ever think uh yeah i get it so so she let him continue to think they were in a relationship because she was concerned about escalation which you know i think you and i can sympathize that's a it's a heavy burden to place on a young woman right and i can definitely see where she's coming from with her her dad was never violent but he was always a very yelly and pretty uh pretty manipulative person and he still is but not to to not nearly as bad as it was.

Stefan:
[1:03:27] Now, did you ever think of having a conversation with Bob about all of this?

Caller:
[1:03:36] I did. When we went to date the first time, I did have a conversation with him of, hey, you guys are completely done.
She's not talking to you anymore. Just stay away.

Stefan:
[1:03:50] Oh, no, no, no. But that was like well over two years into the friends with benefits thing, right?

Caller:
[1:03:54] Yeah. Yes. No, no.

Stefan:
[1:03:56] So she says to you, my ex-boyfriend is threatening suicide and whatever.
I mean, maybe it wasn't that extreme, but that was her concern, right?

Caller:
[1:04:04] So you're talking about earlier. Earlier on, I didn't really talk to him at all. No.

Stefan:
[1:04:10] Sorry, you didn't really talk to him? What do you mean?

Caller:
[1:04:13] Are you saying if I tried to confront him or something in the beginning when I found out about it?

Stefan:
[1:04:19] Well a person i mean you care you care about the girl right the friends with benefits girl i mean now your girlfriend so you cared about her and she was being threatened by an ex right yeah and i was and and she was bullied and and manipulated, and i guess i mean what would have been the kindest and strongest thing to do.

Caller:
[1:04:42] To actually stand up to him.

Stefan:
[1:04:45] Well, I mean, whether you get professionals involved or you call up some mental health center or some crisis center and say, look, my girlfriend's ex-boyfriend is threatening suicide or threatening self-harm and he's kind of bullying her. Like, what should I do?
Or maybe you get a bunch of your male friends together, including your friend who's still friends with Bob.
You sit him down and you say, listen, man, this is really not okay.
Like, you can't do this, right? right that's really heavy to put on this on this girl right yeah no i never uh, i never uh got involved in that way i'm sorry i'm still getting this background noise man if you could just try and find a way to sit still i know this is maybe a little bit uncomfortable now it sounds like you're opening a tackle box or something i'm sorry i'm really bad about pacing around when i talk uh yes i don't mind the pacing but just stop fidgeting with stuff that makes sound because i then i gotta figure it out later what to do with it so just sorry about that right that's all right now did you think about doing this at all or i guess were there other people in your friend group who knew that bob was threatening your girlfriend or holding this over her or something i don't think anyone else knew and i never i definitely considered doing something about it but i didn't really know what i could do that would actually do anything other rather than just backfire on her.

Concerns about intervening in the situation with Bob

[1:06:12] So you didn't think that talking to him about it and saying, this is not a good thing to be doing, like this is really unfair and not caring at all.
Or, you know, listen, you know, here's a stack of resources for mental health.
If you're feeling suicidal, don't threaten your girlfriend with it, like call this number and they can help you.
Or maybe just, you know, I mean, I don't know if there's a school psychologist or, you know, There's usually helplines for young people or youths that you can call and say, look, here's the situation I'm in.
What should I do? I don't know if you could talk to your family or your doctor.
If somebody paid you a million dollars, if somebody said, you're going to have to address this, whether you do it well or badly.
But if somebody said, here's a million dollars and try and deal with this issue, you'd have found something, right?

Caller:
[1:07:03] Yeah, I would have.

Stefan:
[1:07:05] So she's aware that you know she's being severely bullied.
Like, that's one of the most severe forms of bullying is, I don't know if I can go on much longer, this kind of stuff, right? This, like, threats of self-harm is severe bullying.
So she knows in her guts, right, that you knew for years that she was being severely bullied and you were willing to have sex with her, but you wouldn't stand up for her.

Caller:
[1:07:30] You wouldn't help her in and other than saying you shouldn't see him right which she already knows that but that's not yeah and that's one thing i feel kind of guilty about is i uh i put a lot of the responsibility on her when i talked to her yeah so she's carrying a burden and you're putting another burden on her uh yeah because i would tell her hey uh i'd sit down and talk to her And, you know, he's being a piece of shit.
You need to stay away from him. And I did.
I put a lot of the responsibility on her.

Stefan:
[1:08:03] You ever hear this, like some kid being bullied at school and all the teachers are just like, well, just try and avoid him.

Caller:
[1:08:10] I mean, what do you think of that?

Stefan:
[1:08:11] Do you think that's a productive approach?

Caller:
[1:08:13] Roach i mean i do think that's a slightly different situation said she could stay away from him but there is a lot of guilt and he could do something stupid and things like that so i no it's not no she can't she can't she she of course she can stay away from him but she can't stay away from the guilt if he kills himself yeah yeah so i mean she really is being bullied and you're saying well just she's saying i'm scared he's going to kill himself if i don't see him and you're saying don't see him and that doesn't address her fear right well yeah i i was pretty much just telling her to cut him completely out of her life and never talk to him again because he's never really uh, done anything positive for her life uh and that that was but a lot she's she's aware of all of that.

Stefan:
[1:09:09] And she doesn't like being bullied either, right?

Caller:
[1:09:14] No.

Stefan:
[1:09:14] She wasn't like, yay, I got another suicide threat today. I couldn't be happier, right?

Caller:
[1:09:19] Definitely not, no.

Stefan:
[1:09:23] So you'll have sex with her, but you won't help her. In fact, your, quote, help is telling her to do the thing that she's most afraid to do.
And you're not getting your friends together. You're not confronting him.
You're not calling mental health specialists. You're not consulting with people.
You're just having sex with her.

Caller:
[1:09:44] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:09:45] I mean, it's kind of shitty, right? It's kind of shitty.

Caller:
[1:09:48] Yeah, that's how it was for a while.

Stefan:
[1:09:49] Because you're kind of leaving her twisting in the wind. And you'll have sex with her, but you won't do anything to help with the guy who's, you know, it's, it's almost like some woman's getting held up in an alley and you're like, Hey man, quick hand job.

Caller:
[1:10:03] Uh, I also, I was, uh, I was mainly trying to stay out of the situation with him, which is definitely, you know, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Putting blame on others instead of self-reflection

Stefan:
[1:10:11] The way to stay out of the situation with him is to stop banging his girlfriend.

Caller:
[1:10:15] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:10:16] Um, so you weren't trying to do that.
Yeah now you're yeah you're right there because look and we've all done stuff we're not proud of particularly as young men in the sexual arena so i get all of that so again i'm not trying to make you feel terrible i'm just saying that it's a lot easier to criticize your girlfriend than to look into the mirror right yeah uh and uh just a a little aside i've um.

[1:10:45] I i can feel myself creating excuses and i'm sure you kind of heard it almost trying to create an excuse and i stopped myself by uh no listen and and you you may have good reasons in hindsight you can say well you know but this could have happened that could have happened the other could yeah but that wasn't your motive at the time your motive at.

[1:11:02] The time was to avoid knowledge get as much sex as possible lecture her and do nothing to help her in any material a substantial way now later you can say well but there were good reasons behind that but that way come on man to man that wasn't your motive at the time right no it's it's definitely all rationalized i'm sure you'd see i'm sure you've heard me kind of stop myself a couple times trying to we all do it yeah we all do it i'm not i'm not uh you know i'm i'm in no elevated position to throw stones here so like i'm right down there in the trenches with you as far as this goes so um but as far as trying to figure out why you guys can't commit right because isn't that the major issue like you you have these dreams and and they're negative or violent and you can't commit and you say you can't trust right so so either the fault is in her right or the fault is in you now you could say well maybe the fault is in both and all of that i get all of that but the problem is the moment we start to say it's both of us we just end up focusing on the other person right so from her perspective like why would she have a dream about you killing her.

[1:12:21] Because you are a danger to her. Now, why are you a danger to her?
And I don't know, of course, but my guess would be.

Caller:
[1:12:29] I didn't stick up for her for a long time.

Stefan:
[1:12:31] Well, not only did you not stick up, like not sticking up is the nicest way, right? I didn't stick up for her either. I didn't know her, right?
So I didn't stuck up for her.
No, no. So you had sex with her. You lectured her.
You didn't get help. You didn't confront Bob. Rob, you didn't make a phone call to mental health professionals who will talk to you for free.
I don't know, up here in Canada, they call it kid's help or kid's helpline or something like that.

Caller:
[1:12:58] Are you saying I was an accessory?

Stefan:
[1:13:03] Well, I don't know what that would mean exactly, but she was in a very difficult situation, and you were willing to have sex with her.
You avoided the knowledge of what was actually going on, and you added to her burden, by telling her to do that which she was most afraid of without any context or help.

Caller:
[1:13:25] Okay.

Stefan:
[1:13:26] Because she was afraid that if she cuts herself off from her ex, he's going to jump off a bridge, and you're like, you've just got to cut yourself off from your ex.

Caller:
[1:13:34] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:13:34] Like, she knows that, right?
So you're adding to her burden without asking her any questions, without actually helping her.
You're making it worse, right? Because you're telling her to do something that she already knows knows she should be doing, but which she's desperately terrified to do, and she's completely isolated in dealing with this phenomenon.
As you say, nobody else was, like, you're the only guy who knew, right?

Caller:
[1:13:56] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:13:56] Well, you and Bob, right? But, so you're the only guy who knew, and you're like, well, I know you've got this big problem, I'm going to give you a lecture, then let's have sex.

Caller:
[1:14:05] Well, it wasn't a lecture, it was a back and forth.

Stefan:
[1:14:09] Oh, no, it was a lecture, no, it was absolutely a lecture, because you're telling her the the most obvious thing to do, right?
Which is the exact problem that she's facing.
If she's saying, I'm scared he's going to jump off a bridge if I cut him off, and you say, well, you just got to cut him off. That doesn't address her fear.

Caller:
[1:14:30] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:14:32] You're just giving her kind of a pompous lecture about the most obvious thing to do.
You know like if a woman says well i want to leave my violent husband but i'm afraid he's going to kidnap my kids and you say well you should just leave him, are you helping definitely not you're not helping right you're kind of making it not at all you're just saying look the answer is obvious just do this, Now let's have sex.

Caller:
[1:15:06] Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Prioritizing personal needs over the well-being of the partner

Stefan:
[1:15:08] So from her perspective, from her perspective, are you trustworthy? Which means, are you looking out for her best interests, even if they go against your own in the moment?

Caller:
[1:15:25] No, I wasn't. I was not trustworthy.

Stefan:
[1:15:27] You were there for the sex. You gave her lectures.
You didn't inquire as to whether she was still in a relationship, so you were there for your needs now i'm sure she enjoyed the sex and all of that i'm not saying this was exploitive or anything like that but you were there for your needs not her benefit in in terms of mental health right yeah she didn't need someone to have sex with her she needed someone to be there and support her and help her in this desperate situation right.

[1:15:58] Right yeah yeah she did can is it is it is it just her that you can't trust to do the right thing, uh no but yeah that's a completely separate conversation about myself but yeah no not she's no it's not one it's not a separate conversation, if see it how do you gain trust you elevate what you do to the point where your what your choices choices are good choices, like kind of unimpeachable choices, right?
Now, if you elevate your own behavior to be as good as reasonably possible, or as good as humanly possible, which is to say as good as reasonably possible, not perfect, whatever that means, but you know, as good as reasonably possible, if you elevate your behavior to a good, decent person, yeah, to be, I'm not saying you're not a good, decent person, but this is, you know, this probably was a bit of a hiccup and probably probably not what you'd look back with with the greatest pride right but if you if your behavior becomes really good then either the other person matches you in positive behavior or they don't now if your behavior becomes really good and the other person like you become really trustworthy, and the other person also behaves really well then you'll end up trusting them right, yeah but if your and if your behavior becomes really good and the other person doesn't become any better, then you won't trust them and there'll be no future to the relationship, right?

Caller:
[1:17:24] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:17:25] Does that make sense?

Caller:
[1:17:27] Yep, no, that's amazing.

Stefan:
[1:17:28] But if your behavior still has crappy elements and all you're doing is criticizing the other person, you will never solve the problem of mistrust.

Caller:
[1:17:38] No, and I...

Stefan:
[1:17:39] The person you first most need to trust is who? Who do you most need to trust to do the right thing first?

Caller:
[1:17:46] Yourself.

Stefan:
[1:17:46] Right, and you're not even exploring the origin story of this relationship where you behaved pretty badly for like two years.
I'm not saying that your whole life was bad, but in this particular instance, right?
This woman's wrestling with her ex who's threatening suicide.
You're adding to her burden by stating the obvious.
You're having sex with her without helping her. You're not stepping up.
You're not protecting. You're not, right, sympathizing.
You're just kind of giving her orders and ultimatums, right?
Which is what her ex was doing was giving her an ultimatum, right?
Be with me or I may not be here tomorrow.

Ultimatums and Lack of Sympathy

[1:18:23] So you're giving her ultimatums. Her ex is giving her ultimatums.
And nobody's really reasoning with her sympathetically.

Caller:
[1:18:28] Sorry go ahead when you say ultimatums are you talking about when i made it made it a condition of the relationship that she'd not be in contact with him well that's an ultimatum sure okay i was just confused as to what you were talking about i don't i don't really know when else i made a ultimatum i was just kind of confused well no because when you it wasn't an ultimatum but when you said to her well you just need to cut this guy out of your life that's an insult to her like Like you're insulting her.

Stefan:
[1:18:58] This is why I said it was patronizing. Because she knows that he should not be in her life.
She knows that he's a bad influence, right? Because he's threatening suicide.

Caller:
[1:19:08] Yeah, no, she knew for a fact.

Stefan:
[1:19:10] So, you know, like if I come across you in the woods and you've got a giant log crushing your leg, right?
And you're kind of screaming out in pain because your bones have been broken, right? And I say, hey man, you just got to get that log off your leg.
Leg and what's the matter with you get just get the log off your leg what are you doing, would you be kind of annoyed yeah he was not doing anybody any good well no you're doing someone harm you're insulting like i know there's a fucking i know there's a fucking log on my leg, yeah right don't don't don't state the blindingly obvious and then not even help me and then you walk on actually no it's worse than that i i come across you you got a giant log on your leg it's It's broken your leg.
I say, hey, man, you just got to get that log off your leg, man.
That's really important. Oh, by the way, I'm taking your wallet.
Right, because she's got this desperate, manipulative, dangerous guy in her life, and you're like, well, you've just got to have him not have it in your life. Now let's have sex.

Caller:
[1:20:13] Yeah, it was kind of like that.

Trust and self-criticism in relationships

Stefan:
[1:20:19] So, you know, this is a biblical—are you a Christian?

Caller:
[1:20:25] Not really, no.

Stefan:
[1:20:26] Now okay but you've you've heard the sort of biblical injunction maybe like why are you so focused on the speck of dust in your brother's eye and ignoring the giant log in your own, yeah because when somebody says to me i'm in a relationship with someone who just isn't trustworthy they're just not trustworthy those that other persons the first person i know they're not trusting deep down is themselves and that's really all i've been asking.

[1:20:49] You okay you can't you don't have as yet listen you're a young man so i sympathize and again i'm not trying to make you feel bad but you don't as yet have the self-criticism to know that you can act with integrity in in a way that you're genuinely proud of later on right because looking back on this like looking back on this this like it's not you're not super proud of this kind of behavior right and you're probably not super proud of only criticizing her trustworthiness right and now i'm not because you like all of us when we're young particularly if we're raised badly, you behave in ways that aren't particularly trustworthy.
And again, not trying to make you feel bad, this is just a fact of life, right?
And so the way that you figure out how to have trust in a relationship is you first have to trust yourself.
And if you're not self-critical, in other words, if you take all of your self-criticism and pour it onto the other person, then they're going to feel like you're attacking them, right? And you don't have self-criticism.
And then they're going to dream about you killing them.

[1:21:56] Because all of you all of your all of your criticism aggression and hostility, is focused on them when you you're when she knows deep in her bones that you acted in, a very sketchy manner for quite like a long time at the beginning of your your i don't know relationship friends with benefits whatever right but you were acting only for the benefits and not for the friendship, yeah i was and that level of self-criticism is important because she's still carrying that burden that she did all the wrong things and she didn't take your advice and you had the obvious solution and she didn't do it and and and also you didn't help her deal with this incredibly difficult and complex situation of an ex threatening suicide or whatever he was doing You didn't help her deal with it.
All you did was criticize for her failure to deal with it.

Caller:
[1:22:57] Yeah, I did.

Stefan:
[1:22:58] Right, so I keep walking back and forth on this hiking path, and you've still got this giant log crushing your legs.
I'm like, what, you haven't lifted that thing up yet? What's the matter with you?
Come on, man. What kind of idiot just sits there under a log? Lift the damn log up.
And then I go off and I come back. I'm like, oh, you loser. You're still under that log? I can't believe it.
I'm taking a photo here. This is ridiculous.

Caller:
[1:23:21] I mean, it wasn't that looking down my nose at her.

Stefan:
[1:23:26] But yeah that's no no no a little no a little bit it was because you're when you state the obvious to people you're insulting their intelligence right so she she doesn't like this guy threatening her right obviously but it's it's the threat that's keeping her in his life right and so when you say you've just got to cut this guy off like it's obvious it's like she knows that but that That doesn't address the threat aspect.
Like, if I come across you getting mugged in an alley, and the guy's got a gun to your belly, and I say, just turn and walk away.
Or let's say it's a fat guy who's mugging you, and you're a thin guy, right?
A fat guy's mugging you, and he's got a gun to your belly, and I say, dude, just turn and walk away. He's fat. He can't run that fast. What am I not noticing?

Caller:
[1:24:18] The fact that he can hurt you.

Stefan:
[1:24:20] You the fact that he's got a gun to your belly he doesn't have to run fast and i if i just keep coming back and like and saying just run away and like later you tell you're telling that story and oh yeah there was this guy he was like 250 pounds and he had a gun to my belly and i gave him my wallet and i say i'm so ridiculous man i don't know i still to this i'll go to my grave never knowing why you gave him the wallet you could have just turned and run away well wouldn't you you be kind of pissed yeah yeah like dude he had a gun to my belly you don't think i thought of running away.

Caller:
[1:24:59] That's a good, yeah, that's a good point.

Stefan:
[1:25:02] You don't think she thought of cutting him off? Yeah. That never occurred to me, to not be in contact with someone I don't want to be in contact with.
I mean, she cut off her entire family, and she never thought of cutting this guy off. Sorry, go ahead.

Caller:
[1:25:15] Well, she hasn't cut off her entire family.

Stefan:
[1:25:18] Sorry, go ahead.

Caller:
[1:25:20] Yeah.
Yeah. I always framed it in my mind, which might have just been another way of me avoiding it all, that he was never going to do anything, which he ended up not doing anything.
But I guess there's no way she could have known that. I guess it's how I rationalized it to myself, telling her to leave him.

Stefan:
[1:25:41] Yeah, you can't guarantee that. She knows him way better than you do.
And let's say it's only a 5% chance.

Caller:
[1:25:50] Yeah, and that's...

Stefan:
[1:25:52] And you also, yeah, so you can't guarantee that, and let's say it is only a 5% chance, that's a hell of a dice roll.
And assume he was the guy who took her virginity, women have a wild spot for that, right?
I mean, it's very, because evolutionarily speaking, basically he's her husband, right?

Caller:
[1:26:14] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:26:19] So, you know, just with people as a whole, right, and I hope I'm sort of modeling this, right, I mean, with people as a whole when they've got a big problem you've got to get down in the trenches with them and really see it from their perspective, right?

Caller:
[1:26:32] Yeah, which I definitely didn't do.

Stefan:
[1:26:34] And not give them, completely obvious answers as if you're the wisest guy since Solomon, right?

Caller:
[1:26:44] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:26:45] But actually help people, right?

Caller:
[1:26:48] And I didn't.

Stefan:
[1:26:54] And so she knows that you will choose sexual gratification over her mental and emotional well-being to some degree.
I'm not saying 100% and all of that, right? But she knows that, right?
Because that's kind of what you did for a long time, right?

Caller:
[1:27:11] Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure in her subconscious, that's...

Stefan:
[1:27:15] Well, and it's the subconscious that's doing this dream, right?

Caller:
[1:27:18] Yeah, it is. Yeah, it connects.

The tension between balls and morals in relationships

Stefan:
[1:27:26] Now listen, I'm sure that if she was on the line, I was talking to her, not you, then I'd be criticizing things she did, right?
So again, I'm not saying she's an angel and you're a bad guy.
But in terms of moving forward, and listen, this is a man thing, right?
It's the balls or the morals, right?
It's the balls or the morals. And we have this tension, right?
This, you know, curse slash blessing or whatever it is, right?
Which is when we're faced with sexual access, particularly as young men, right?
When we're faced with sexual, given the opportunity of sexual access, it's our first instinct in general, especially if we're raised badly, our first instinct is, okay, do whatever it takes to get sexual access, right? Right.

Caller:
[1:28:11] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:28:12] If I acknowledge this relationship, if, you know, if she's complaining, if she's complaining about this guy and I, you know, it's going to interfere with sexual access, I'll just give her an obvious answer and then move past and I won't listen to more. And I'm not going to dig in.
I'm not going to try and because that can interfere with my immediate sexual access. Right.

Caller:
[1:28:29] Yeah, and definitely when I was 18, the sexual access was definitely, definitely a motivator.

Stefan:
[1:28:36] Well and again i i was 18 too i'm afraid it's a while ago but you know i i mean this is this is still happening you see all the conservatives freaking out over some relatively mild calendar but anyway so so as far as but that's why we need morality right we sort of this integrity stuff right and this is why the friends with benefit stuff is kind of messed up because you're having sex which your body indicates is a pair bonded relationship but then you're saying no we don't really care about each other and it's like well you're gonna have to pick one because your body doesn't know the difference right yeah because you're already pair bonded yeah like i saw this video the other day of somebody like doing some medieval role play who actually hit someone else with an axe right now the body's like hey i just got hit you're sorry the the crazy fights that they do the uh full combat or whatever yeah no this was an accident right i don't think at least i don't think he was actually trying to you know and so he hit some guy i think he thought he had metal helmet it turns out he only had a pretend metal helmet like it was actually cardboard or something so he hits the guy with an axe and like does some real damage now your body's like no no no like your brain is like no no this is just a role play and your body's like i don't care we got with an axe like the role play thing doesn't mean anything to me because now i have a skull in two pieces right and so it's the same thing with with sex your body's like and your brain says no no it's just friends with benefits and your body's like well we're pair bonded i'm pregnant and we're we going to raise a family together?

Caller:
[1:30:01] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:30:02] We haven't had enough evolution to integrate pair bonding into our deep psychological mechanisms and body dopamine response bonding processes, right?

Caller:
[1:30:13] Um, okay. Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:30:16] So, yeah. So with regards to this, when I don't trust someone, my first question is, do they trust me?
Now that doesn't mean they're right and I'm untrustworthy, but it's a good question to ask at the beginning. Cause that's a self-critical question, right?

Caller:
[1:30:36] Yeah. I mean, I think we, We both trust each other now when it comes to the relationship, but I guess there's so much past where we don't.

Stefan:
[1:30:49] Absolutely you don't, because you haven't addressed this issue.
Right, so she needs to know, as all women need to know.
All women need to know, you're not here mainly for the sex. sex.
All women need to know that. If you had a lot of money and you couldn't hide it for whatever reason, you had a lot of money, you would need to know that your friends weren't with you just because you're flying them to Aruba.
You would need to know that they actually cared about you, right?

Caller:
[1:31:24] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:31:24] I mean, since we've been dating, I have reassured her and I'm not just in it for the sex but i don't know how much well no but you really still have to but you have to address the origin story of the relationship where that was the case for some time okay um how in the hell do i do that uh would you i mean is that a rhetorical question i'm not sure uh yeah sorry that was a little bit uh talking to myself rhetorical um i mean i can give you a suggestion i can't obviously tell you what to do but i can give you a suggestion yes please yes well you You say, look, I, um, when we got together, um, a lot of it had to do with the sex and the fact that you're very sexy and, you know, it's great. There's nothing wrong with that in a relationship.
It's a great part of the relationship, but I really avoided no knowing what was going on with you and your ex because I didn't want to be a side piece.
And I bonded a lot more than I thought. And I gave you a bunch of lectures about how to deal with him without actually really helping you. And I avoided all of that kind of stuff.

[1:32:24] And, uh, that was not great at all. Like that was kind of cowardly and that was bad. And that would give you every reason to suspect me.
To be suspicious, right? So then after not helping you with your ex for like years, I then give you this ultimatum just like your ex, right?
The ex is giving you ultimatums, I'm giving you ultimatums. And I don't sit there and say, well, the reason why your ex is still in your life is because I spent two years banging you without helping you with this relationship.
And all I did was blame you. I didn't sit there and say, well, this woman's struggling with this psycho-abusive, threatening ultimatum guy.

Avoiding Responsibility and Blaming the Other

[1:33:01] I spent two years having sex with her without helping her other than to toss off obvious stuff like, well, you really shouldn't have him in your life, right?
So, and then I stepped back from my participation in allowing this to continue and not helping you.
And then I stepped back and say, I'm going to give you an ultimatum.
It's really terrible that this guy's in your life.
You can't ever have contact with him again, as if I wasn't part of that whole thing for two years and avoided, resolutely avoided dealing with it for two years.
So I didn't, he wasn't threatening me. I was in a better position to deal with it. I didn't deal with it for two years.
He's threatening you. You've got a long history with him for years and years since your mid-teens.
So I'm bungeeing in. I don't have a relationship, past relationship with the guy. I never had sex with him. He was never my boyfriend and he's not threatening me.
So I was in a way infinitely better position to deal with this problem than you were, but I didn't do it. I avoided it. I chickened out. I cowered it out.
I tapped out. I cucked out. And then I blamed you for not dealing with it.
You know, like there's a, there's a hundred pound weight and I'm like, well, I'm never going to touch this. but you as a woman who's 5'2 and 110 pounds, you're ridiculous for not lifting this weight.
Why didn't I lift it? I could have dealt with it. I was in a much better position.
I got friends. We could all sat down with him. I could have called an expert.
I could have done any number of things, but I dodged it. I avoided it.
Even though the stakes were way lower. The stakes were way lower for me, and I dodged and avoided this problem, and then I blamed you entirely for having this problem and gave you another ultimatum like I'm some perfect guy.
That's shameful behavior, and I'm really, really sorry.

Caller:
[1:34:23] Yeah. Yeah, and I guess I, um, yeah, no, you're right.

Stefan:
[1:34:34] Who stands up for this woman? Who stands up for her? Who genuinely helps her, or who just has sex with her and gives her ultimatums?

Caller:
[1:34:42] Well, back then, yeah, I just did nothing helpful.

Stefan:
[1:34:46] But even now, standing up for her is also saying, saying, I'm sorry I didn't stand up for you. Because you know what that says to her?
It says to her that you might do it in the future.
But if you never admit you didn't stand up for her, but rather exploited her and insulted her, then she knows it's going to happen, so she's not going to commit to you either.
I mean, you may date, you may have sex, but she's not going to have that fundamental commitment.
Because if you say, I'm sorry I didn't stand up for you, but rather exploited and kind of insulted you, by stating the obvious, which you already knew, as if it was some lofty pronouncement of wisdom, I'm sorry in the past that I didn't stand up for you, I'm sorry in the past that I used you for sex without helping you out with the biggest problem hanging over your head. I'm really sorry for that.
She has some sense that you might do differently in the future.
Does that make sense? Like you've noticed a fault.

Caller:
[1:35:34] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:35:35] But if the only thing you say to her is, well, I don't know if I can trust you, honey, then she knows you have no intention of standing up for her in the future because you haven't criticized your lack of standing up for her in the past.
And look, I know that now this is clear there for you, you're sorry about it, you feel bad about it, and you will stand up for her in the future.
But if she doesn't trust you to do that, and I don't see any reason before this call why she would...

[1:36:01] Then you're not a trustworthy guy. You don't protect her. Because she had this guy dangling her off a bridge.
And you're like, well, okay, but can I at least cop a feel?
Right? I'm joking, but half serious, right? She had this predator in the house.
And you're like, well, you know, just deal with the predator. Now let's have sex.
Right? You didn't help her. You didn't stand between her and the predator.
You didn't confront the predator.
You know it's like you're living together there's this guys break into the basement and you send her down there with a spork and saying just you know deal with it but make sure you come back naked what trust does she have in you that you're genuinely going to be there to protect her if she's threatened in the future because she will be and as will you right because that's life right you try and do any good in the world then people will threaten you right she was being threatened for years.
And you did nothing but lecture her.
You didn't confront her. You didn't help her. You didn't get your friends together and go talk to this guy. You didn't get her professionals involved.
You didn't do anything other than lecture her and bang her.
Are you a trustworthy guy to protect her? And this is after a lifetime of her being what? Not protected, but exploited.

Caller:
[1:37:23] Her mother was neglected.

Stefan:
[1:37:25] Her father yelled at her. Nobody protected her. She was raised by the internet.
People exploited her when she was nine years old with sex talk or 12 years old or whatever it was so when has she ever had a man stand up and genuinely protect her, never so be that guy, because now you're still I don't know if I can trust her well it's, it's not as much as I don't know I guess I don't completely trust her I guess you're right Well, that's what, I hope that's the case.
Otherwise, I don't know what the hell we're talking about. Wasn't that the whole point of the call?

Caller:
[1:38:04] Yeah, no, no, I was, but still.

Stefan:
[1:38:10] Now, if you stand up, say, you be a stand-up guy, you apologize for not protecting, and listen, with the fact that you didn't know any better, like, I'm not, again, I'm not saying you did this all, I mean, you did some avoidance, some Weasley stuff, and you avoided some knowledge and all of that, but you weren't like, aha, like, I consciously am not going to protect her against this very dangerous guy.
Who's much older than, like, a couple, was a couple of years older than her, right? Two years or three years older than her.
I'm not, so you weren't consciously saying, well, she's got this dangerous older guy, but I'm just going to lecture her and then have, like, I know that it wasn't conscious, right?
So I'm, that's why, you know, like, I get it right now. Now I'm sort of dredging this stuff up and making it conscious.

The Importance of Pair Bonding and Protection

[1:38:48] If you are a stand-up guy and you really work to protect her, which she deserves, right?
I mean, we all deserve that, right? We all deserve people who are going to stand up and protect us and really help us out in times of danger.
And that's really what pair bonding is. Pair bonding isn't for, like, right when you're having an orgasm or having the best time of your life.
Pair bonding is when, like, you're facing down this giant glittering army of flaming, sordid doom or something, and somebody, like, stands with you and links arms and says, all right, we're doing this together, right?
That's what you need the pair bonding for, right?
And you didn't do that when she was being threatened. like she was being very very dangerously threatened by this guy because he could have been violent he could have been self-destructive he could have been a murder suit like i i just talked to a woman yesterday whose older sister was murder suicided so sorry if this is still fresh in my brain but uh it's it's a thing right i mean he was unstable for sure right now again turns out he didn't do anything but maybe he didn't do anything because she handled it just the right way.

[1:39:39] Like maybe maybe i would say well he didn't do anything but maybe he didn't do anything because she didn't cut him off a couple of years ago when maybe he was more unstable maybe he found someone else to latch on to maybe he got a better job maybe he something positive happened in his life that he could handle being without her without throwing himself off a bridge or driving her over with a car or something right i don't know we don't know but you do the right thing you stand up and you protect her and maybe she's a total witch and stabs you in the back a hundred times i don't know i doubt it but maybe right then at least you did the right thing and then if you end the relationship you don't have doubt and you won't carry it to the next relationship but let's say you end this relationship because, well, I can't really trust her.
And then you kind of like a selfish D-bag in the next relationship.
And I can't really trust this girl either. It's like, well, hello, because at some point you got to trust yourself.
Once you can trust yourself, trust opens up to other people.
But you got to have seriously high standards in order to trust yourself first, if that makes sense.

Caller:
[1:40:32] Yeah. Yeah, no, that makes sense.

Stefan:
[1:40:39] Well good I'm glad you did so yeah I would suggest have that conversation with her and just say you know I think I acted super well there, definitely and ask her you know like how did it affect you that I was just lecturing you and having sex with you and wasn't digging in really helping with this problem, because it's a huge problem and you were a kid or like young and And that was a seriously heavy problem to have in your life.
And I didn't help, right? In fact, I made it worse.

Caller:
[1:41:16] Yeah, that's right.

Stefan:
[1:41:17] He's not here to help me. He's not here to protect me. He's here to have sex.
Pair bonding is when the woman knows you're not just there for the sex, or not mostly there for the sex. That's when pair bonding happens.
A woman can't trust you if you're there for sex, because you can get sex anywhere.
And she also knows that if you'll give up your values in order to get sex, then you're going to cheat on her at some point.
Because some other woman's going to come along and offer you sex, and you're like, oh, all right, sex motivates me, so I'll do that. Sorry, go ahead.

Caller:
[1:41:52] Uh now i see the signs what you were saying about justin at first sex because she um, when we first uh when we got together that now we've been together for six months when we first got together six months ago she uh she questioned that a little bit and then she questioned it uh like three weeks ago and what did she say um i don't exactly remember what she said six months months ago but three weeks ago um she's kind of texted me out of out of nowhere and was like hey um but why do you love me right which i think is pretty obviously why are you with me other than sex right right yeah and and that's one of the first questions i asked of course as you remember is like what virtues do you love she's hard working we have the same goals that's not enough.

The Challenge of Deep Commitment and Trust

Stefan:
[1:42:51] And for a woman, of course, she can always get a man's attention with sex, but she can't get a man's true deep commitment and protection with sex.
And that's the challenge that you guys are facing. And I think if you can get to the root of that, then I think the pair bonding opens up.
But unless she can trust that you're going to be there for her no matter what.
Because, you know, I mean, when you become parents, you know, I mean, she's going to be recovering from pregnancy and childbirth and all of that.
There's going to be times in your life where sex is less. And is your eye going to wonder, is some other woman going to scoop in? Are you going to get cranky with her?
Or do you just love her? And the sex is a great benefit or bonus.

Caller:
[1:43:26] Us but you know yeah i mean one thing that's still um that's still bothering me um do you have any clue this is kind of weird to ask outright but do you have any clue why i've had several dreams of cheating on her because i've never really had the impulse to cheat on her or or anything like that.
I think I said at the beginning of the call I've had a couple of dreams about cheating on her.

Stefan:
[1:44:01] Well, it's your unconscious telling you that sex is too strong a motivator in the relationship.
That you need to find virtues in each other that transcend sexual pleasure.

Caller:
[1:44:15] Yeah, that makes sense.

Stefan:
[1:44:15] Because if you're there mostly for the sex, then you can't pair bond because you can get sex from anyone.
You know, like if I just really like pizza, and there's three great pizza places around, I'm not going to be monogamous to one pizza place.
Like if one pizza place is closed for the day, I don't just sit there and say, okay, well, I won't have any pizza. I'll just get my pizza from somewhere else because I'm there for the pizza.

Caller:
[1:44:38] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:44:39] You know, whereas if it's my brother's restaurant and I just want it to do well, I'm not going to shop anywhere else because we got that bond, right?

Caller:
[1:44:45] Yeah. No, that makes sense.

Stefan:
[1:44:51] And, of course, the relationship began with a kind of cheating, right?

Caller:
[1:44:57] Yeah, it did.

Stefan:
[1:44:59] Which means that, again, she knows that you prefer sex to integrity.
Because integrity would have been, okay, listen, I really like you.
And the very fact that you settled for sex with benefits means that you prefer the sex over her.
Because, you know, I mean, if you really love the woman and you want to have a life together with her, the last thing you do is friends with benefits.
And the last thing you do is not question whether she's still with some other guy.

Caller:
[1:45:26] Well, in the beginning, I wasn't looking for that at all, but...

Stefan:
[1:45:30] Looking for what?

Caller:
[1:45:33] A long... I wasn't looking for, I guess, a wife.

Stefan:
[1:45:38] No, no, but you weren't even looking for someone to love. You were looking for sex.

Caller:
[1:45:44] And, yeah. Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:45:47] And so I don't know how much you can redo the foundations. It's kind of tough to redo the foundations when the house is already built.
But, you know, it's your best shot, in my humble opinion, right?

Rebuilding Foundations for a Life of Love and Commitment

Caller:
[1:45:57] Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:45:58] Because it's just going to be kind of a time-wasting torture to just be frittering around without this deep commitment to each other.

Caller:
[1:46:05] And that's kind of where I'm at.

Stefan:
[1:46:06] Not just primarily for sex. Yeah, for sure. I mean, you're hanging out and you're together and you're having sex. And, you know, it's good. You're getting along.

Caller:
[1:46:13] Long but um if you want to sorry go on no you go ahead um what uh yeah what really spurred me to actually i guess confront all of this is um well we've been together we've been together for six months and i think she's the woman i want to be with for the rest of my life and uh, Oh, it's been a long time. It's about time to settle down if I'm going to is kind of what brought me to actually take on all this instead of just letting it sit idle by the side like I have been. No, that's great.

Stefan:
[1:46:54] That's really great. Like, good for you. And she's lucky to have a man who's willing to dig into this kind of stuff.
But yeah, if you're there for her, man, you get a life of love and kids and great sex. And like, if you're there for her, right. Right.
But, you know, I don't know if like men have this fear that the woman's only there for the money.

Caller:
[1:47:15] Yeah. Yeah. If you're rich. Yeah.

Stefan:
[1:47:18] Well, I see. And she's she's wealthy. I mean, because she's a young, attractive woman.
Right. So she's she's got like imagine you with like, I don't know, five million dollars. Right. You're five million dollars. Right.
And all these women are like, oh, I'd love to be your girlfriend. And you're like, why?

Caller:
[1:47:34] Yeah. Right.

Stefan:
[1:47:35] And they love spending your money, and they love, you know, I need a credit card on your account, and they love going shopping.
And at some point, aren't you going to say, like, what do you love about me?
Aren't you going to feel kind of insecure and feel like, wait, I think, because their actions kind of say that they're here for the money.

Caller:
[1:47:51] Yeah, no, I get what you're saying.

Stefan:
[1:47:53] So that's probably where she's coming from, right?

Caller:
[1:47:55] Yeah, and she thinks I'm there for the sex. No, that makes complete sense.

Stefan:
[1:48:01] So yeah that would be uh i think if i think if you have that conversation i think that'd be that'd be really powerful.

Caller:
[1:48:07] Yeah, we're actually going to hang out tonight, which I kind of did on purpose after we had this talk.
Hopefully, I have the balls to actually talk about all of it in one go.

Stefan:
[1:48:20] No, you will. That's just a decision. You'll do it. And listen, when you do have the conversation with her, I mean, for what it's worth, just you can toss in that I am incredibly sorry for what happened to her as a kid, like the lack of mothering, the lack of nurturing, the lack of guidance, the lack of parenting, the neglect, the, you know, exposure to hellscape creeps on the Internet and like and then hooking up with this lunatic who's dangerous and threatening.
Like I'm just really really sorry for all of that you can just pass that along for me like that's just really tragic and I'm so sorry you know because I mean my daughter just turned 15 right which is the age that this girl was dating this creep right so I'm just really sorry for everything that happened to her and I'm sure that in you and I hope that in you she can find somebody who's just really there for her and I think that would be really a beautiful thing.

[1:49:14] Yeah I hope so will you keep me posted about what happens, happens yeah um and be prepared she might be kind of angry right which is fine she's got it right it's nothing wrong with her being angry uh so it might happen right she might be like yeah you were kind of a jerk back then and you'll be tempted to like you know no i wasn't i mean i mean a bit but you know but just let her be mad right that's part of pair bonding too is people can be really pissed at you and it doesn't threaten the relationship right and she'd be right anyway so right yeah all right well listen man keep me posted about how it's going and i really really do appreciate Appreciate the call today. You did a fantastic job.

Caller:
[1:49:51] Actually, this is probably a topic or definitely a topic for another call in sometime.
But the second part of my email was about a separate issue with my brother I'd also like to address.
Not today, but sometime soon.

Making plans for another time with the girlfriend.

Stefan:
[1:50:10] We'll do that another time. but do this thing with the girlfriend and uh you keep me posted about that and we'll we'll do a another another brother topic i'm fairly down with that too okay um, all right yeah all right man we'll keep you posted and thanks for the call today man yeah thanks uh thanks for your time and thanks for your uh input you're welcome take care bye yeah you too bye-bye.

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