Lately, I’ve been finding it hard not to “snoop” through his comments and posts on websites and forums (like tickld). His online persona is much more coarse than his real-life personality. He sometimes makes sexist remarks and exhibits a lot of behavior and uses language I find really rude and disturbing. He said online he was an atheist when in real life he is a Christian who used to work for a church, attends church regularly, discusses scripture and spirituality with me regularly, etc. Last night, he made a comment online about currently being with his “best friend,” but he had told me around the same time over the phone that he was at home, getting in bed (I checked the time stamp of his comment). He also wasn’t with his best friend today, unless he has a best friend I’ve never heard of or met up with his best friend after 11 PM on a weeknight and just didn’t tell me.
Obviously, I realize how easily this could be a huge miscommunication. That said, should I even bring it up? Am I going to come across as a paranoid and controlling girlfriend? Am I acting paranoid and controlling? At what point do things warrant confrontation? I feel like it’s not healthy to bring up every little thing that crosses my radar. I also realize I’m not responsible for being his moral compass regarding discrepancies in his online/real life personalities.
Background information: I have Bipolar II and Borderline Personality Disorder which means how I see things is often not how they are. We have a very open relationship and great communication, but I am also a very confrontational person. I really need some feedback on this. In general, what is controlling or paranoid behavior? How can I avoid it? How can I know when I’m doing it? How do I deal with it? — Paranoid about Being Paranoid
First of all, as someone with Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder, you should be seeing a therapist regularly. If you aren’t, I highly, highly recommend you find one. You have mental illnesses that can be managed and treated very effectively, but, if you aren’t proactive in all parts of managing them — which includes regular therapy sessions — they can quickly turn your life upside-down. Once you find a therapist, or if you already have one, you should be addressing your broader questions to her or him about what paranoid behavior looks like and strategies for avoiding and dealing with it. Those are far bigger and more general issues than I can attempt to address here and you really need a professional who is familiar with you, your illnesses, and your behavior traits to help you.
In regards to your specific issue about your boyfriend’s questionable online behavior that you’ve discovered by snooping on him, I would definitely ask him about it. Regardless of whether it was paranoid and controlling to basically stalk him online — it is a little paranoid, fyi — you can’t not un-know what you’ve learned. You read what you read and now you have questions and, until you get some answers to those questions, they will plague you and your relationship. So tell your boyfriend that you did something you know is a little weird — you read some of his favorite sites and forums specifically to find comments from him — and you have some questions about some of the things you read. Give him an opportunity to explain himself.
If it were me, and I had reason to question my partner’s values based on language he used — whether it was online, to my face, or repeated from someone else — then I sure as shit wouldn’t be “confident I’d want to spend the rest of my life with him,” as you say you are about your boyfriend, ESPECIALLY if we hadn’t even been dating six months. You can’t be confident you want to spend your life with him if your trust in him is shaky enough that you’re stalking him online and then being troubled by what you discover. That’s not what a fantastic relationship looks like, and it’s most definitely not what “great communication,” which you say you have, looks like.
You obviously have questions or doubts about your boyfriend or you wouldn’t be snooping like you are. Those doubts may have everything to do with YOU and issues you have, or, more likely, they are at least in small part the result of your boyfriend’s behavior offline — things he’s said (or hasn’t said), things he’s done, little idiosyncrasies that may not mean enough for you to call out but raise enough of a red flag for you to want to learn more. But you should be talking to your boyfriend if you want to learn more, not snooping. You may not necessarily believe what your boyfriend tells you if you pose questions directly to him, but at least you both know the score and are at the same point of discussion. When you learn information by snooping, you still don’t know the whole story and you’re then at a place where you either have to fill the gaps with assumptions or confess your snooping and then pose questions, which immediately puts your partner on the defense.
But you’ve already snooped and as I said, you can’t un-know what you’ve learned. So now’s the time to talk to your boyfriend, confess what you’ve done, and hope he isn’t so defensive that he won’t be honest with you.
Finally, think of this whole thing as one big red flag — the fact that you felt pushed to snoop, the fact that you snooped, and the fact that you found some pretty weird things about your boyfriend when you snooped. None of this is necessarily worth breaking up over, but it should serve as a huge speed bump in your relationship and prompt you to put on the breaks, slow down, and get to know each other a little more before rushing into home ownership together and marriage and all this other stuff that is difficult to un-do.
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bagge72 June 17, 2013, 9:10 am
WWS, and wait a lot longer before buying a house together, it hasn’t even been six months, and you don’t trust him.
Jenny June 17, 2013, 9:10 am
WWS! I hope the LW takes this to heart because it is wonderful advice.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 9:10 am
Checking the time stamp of a comment online to check up on your BF is not normal. “snooping” about his online presence is also not normal. But on the flip side- being a completely different and contradictory personal online is not normal.
But, WWS. Go seek individual therapy. This is a complex situation that none of us on an internet forum can solve.
bethany June 17, 2013, 9:11 am
This is exactly why my husband is forbidden from reading the site, because in real life I’m a 500lb man who hates cats and wine. 🙂
WWS for real. How can you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you don’t trust? How can you want to buy a house with him when you’re doubting if you really know who he is?
Sunshine Brite June 17, 2013, 9:19 am
Your mental illnesses may have broken or are making you doubt your intuition. These online statements should make anyone pause and re-think the relationship. This is not a completely healthy relationship that should be moving towards a house and marriage so quickly since there’s so much more you need to learn about him. He sounds like one of those chameleons you hear about that dupes women into xy or z action or becomes abusive over time.
theattack June 17, 2013, 9:20 am
How do you even know this online person is him? Unless his screen name is his actual name, he could be any number of people on the site.
temperance June 17, 2013, 9:36 am
I was actually just thinking the same thing! She did say that it was multiple websites/forums, which makes me think that she was snooping before she had any kind of suspicion.
Tax Geek June 17, 2013, 9:21 am
It’s less than six months and they’re not rushing but she’s confident she wants to spend the rest of her life with him. From what I understand about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) that seems to be the typical thinking paterns of someone with BPD.
zombeyonce June 17, 2013, 10:46 am
I also thought that was quite the contradiction: they’re “not rushing” but are looking for houses after less than 6 months together. That’s basically the definition of rushing.
Doodles June 17, 2013, 10:58 am
Ya I was gonna point this out too. LW it is too early in a relationship to start thinking about buying a house together, and such. You are still in the “getting to know each other” phase. Slow down, seek help for your personal issues, and start communicating better with your boyfriend.
csp June 17, 2013, 9:22 am
So, alot of people go online to live out the people who they want to be. Maybe he wants to be barney stinson. Maybe he wishes he was more confident and could say anything he wants. But, sometimes someone can be guarded around you and are showing real opinions online. Ask him what he believes.
katie June 17, 2013, 9:24 am
yea, WWS. you dont have “great communication”, and you obviously arent ready for the big stuff like marriage and home ownership, that much is very obvious.
i want to hear everyone’s thoughts on being someone else when you are online. do you think he does it for fun? the thrill of saying things that are sexist, racist, ect? do you think he gets off on being a troll?
i think that if he just came out and said it- oh, i like to just say things online to rile people up, i think its funny, bla bla bla- i wouldnt find that too weird. i mean weird, sure, but not that weird. any other response would make me think he secretly thinks all these things
also, did anyone catch the hilarity that he is supposedly such a good christian but he is an online asshole? ohhhh irony. to me, that is actually the biggest red flag, LW. he professes to be so christian, godly, whatever, and regularly goes to church and everything, but then says this stuff online? he is a hypocrite, then. religious hypocrites are the absolute worst kind of people, and i would think very, very hard about having a life with one…
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 9:30 am
I think the split personality (real life v online) is really weird. Like, IMO, a sign something is off with the real life personality- I try not to have people who intentionally stir shit up in my life, and that’s just what this guys seems to enjoy doing. IDK, it’s all weird and red flag-ish to me.
Fabelle June 17, 2013, 9:38 am
Yeah, I agree. And definitely think it’s a sign that something in the real-life personality is off. I value consistency there…if someone is writing shit online that I couldn’t imagine hearing them say in real life, that would be alarming to me.
oldie June 17, 2013, 10:09 am
The different on-line persona may or may not be ‘off’. Impossible to know why he does it. Some people do it as a sort of on-line role playing to be someone different than whom they really are and learn how the world reacts to that sort of person. It can be anything from a mential sociology experiment, to harmless fantasy, to showing his true nature in an anonymous place where he feels it safe to be whom he really is. If it’s the latter, then he’s not the person LW thinks he is.
I’ve been on sites where guys will create multiple persona and argue with themselves, use their duplicates to support their position to make it look like they’re winning an argument when nobody else agrees with them, or just to generally mess with the heads of other posters. It apparently is the form of trolling that is preferred by some.
Fabelle June 17, 2013, 10:14 am
But what you’re describing IS “off”, at least it would be to me. I wouldn’t want to date somebody who was an online troll to that degree, & I even think the whole roleplaying different personas thing would be a red flag. That kind of trying-on-personalities behavior is more suited to an adolescent who’s only just discovering his/herself, not an adult. I would be equally concerned with that as I would be with a “troll”.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 10:17 am
oldie- see what you describe is “off” IMO. Making multiple accounts etc to win an agreement with your self?? On a basically anonymous internet forum- that’s really weird. You don’t have to agree, but it would be a HUGE red flag to me to find out an individual was acting in that matter.
oldie June 17, 2013, 3:32 pm
I don’t know. What he says on-line may be fairly tame and nothing more than the sort of schtick that BGM employs on this site. I am not going to ignore the possibility that LW is severely over-reacting.
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 12:43 pm
I think most possible motives of a troll signify something off in real life. An obsessive need to win an argument, enjoyment at making people angry, etc. I wouldn’t want to date somebody who thought that was a good way to spend his time.
oldie June 17, 2013, 3:37 pm
That is often true. The webmaster of a baseball website which I participated in traced our resident troll and found he resided in a federal penitentiary. I think some guys just fairly innocently carry over the role-playing attitude from role-playing sites. I think it a good general rule to assume that nobody is exactly as they seem on the internet. If a troll is nasty to other posters or posting obsessively on a few narrow points, he is easily bypassed. The LWs bf could have serious mental issues, but she doesn’t say he posted anything abusive, confrontational, or particularly deranged. He used some swear words that she wasn’t used to hearing him used and was not the pious Christian she thought him to be. Neither of these things scream mental problems or nastiness to me. Perhaps he is, but LW’s examples don’t definitely take me there, and, as with all LW’s posting this sort of complaint, I assume she has described the worst examples she found.
temperance June 17, 2013, 9:38 am
I thought that it explained why so many internet atheists are super jerky, lol. They’re caricatures of what dudes like this guy think atheists are!
csp June 17, 2013, 9:42 am
For the Christian vs. Athiest, I think that many people have challenges with faith and don’t talk to people about it. Also, who knows how sexist the comments are? Did he call someone a MILF or something much worse. I know there are things that I mention here that I don’t in real life because it might hurt someone. Is it any different than talking about a friend behind thier back?
bethany June 17, 2013, 9:50 am
All joking aside- I’m exactly myself online. It seems like way too much effort to attempt to be someone else. Or maybe I’m just lazy? But regardless, if I found out that my husband had an “online persona” where he was a racist, jerk or something, I’d be really concerned, and it would make me question my trust in him, for sure.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 10:02 am
I do not have the energy (or brain power) to create a different personality online. As Michelle.lea said below, I might be a little more free with my opinions, or “forceful” when explaining myself, then I would be in real life. But it’s still the same opinions.
Fabelle June 17, 2013, 9:26 am
WWS all the way. I don’t think I even have anything to add. I’d just like to reiterate that yes, your snooping does fall into the realm of paranoid, I’d say (but there are plenty snoopy LWs WITHOUT your diagnosis, so make of that what you will…) Also, on the flip side, there’s something not right about your boyfriend’s online persona being so different from his real-life one. I mean, you’re right that you are “not responsible for being his moral compass regarding discrepancies in his online/real life personalities”, but still, there’s something… off… there?
Lily in NYC June 17, 2013, 9:30 am
Borderline personality disorders tend to cause people to rush into relationships, idealize their partner, and then demonize them when something minor goes wrong. It sounds like that’s what is happening here. I am sorry you are suffering, it must suck, but if you aren’t getting help then you need to take care of yourself before you will be able to have a healthy relationship.
Adrienne June 17, 2013, 9:53 am
“I’ve been in a committed, fantastic relationship with a guy for just under six months. We’ve said “I love you,” discussed marriage, are looking for houses, etc. We’re being careful not to rush and I’m confident I want to spend the rest of my life with him.”
This. I stopped reading after this. Regardless of the “I love you” and marriage discussions, if you think that by looking at houses you are not rushing things, you need to re-evaluate your understanding of the word “rush.” A house is a mortgage. A house is a big effing deal, and eons away from lovey dovey talk about marriage. A house is more than a six-month commitment.
I don’t even care what the issue is with your boyfriend. If at six months you’re reading to buy a house and get married, but need to write into an advice column to ask if he’s okay or this is weird, then the issue is with you and your perception of reality. Without knowing what you think his issue is, just stop. Its only been six months. Take a few more months to figure out if you can live with it or not. But DO NOT get married, and DO NOT buy a house. Stop living in the fantasy future and start living in today, and deal with the issues there.
Heather June 17, 2013, 11:45 am
Even signing a lease to rent with someone else that soon is a huge commitment (I know, I did it once and it didn’t turn out very well). I just think it’s amazing how she says they’re not rushing but then discussing all of these things. LW, that is totally rushing.
cdobbs June 17, 2013, 10:03 am
i think is a classic example of: “do we ever really know someone?”….only a person truly knows themselves….people in relationships don’t tell their significant others everything in a relationship….little white lies….keeping opinions to themselves….i think the fact that the LW got to see a glimpse into her boyfriends personality is lucky for her….something about the letter makes me think that the boyfriend is probably more like his online personality than the front he presents in real life….i’m not sure how abnormal it is….probably very common if i had to guess
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 10:32 am
When you put it like that, I don’t know how abnormal it is either. You want people in real life to only see your best sides. You try to be your best, and come across as your best self.
Its not a split personality, but when I get really, really worked up on here, I will say things to the person I’m arguing with that I would never say in real life. Not that my opinion would change, but I just wouldn’t engage like that in real life. I don’t fight with people and get into arguments much at all in real life. I guess I just don’t get as heated.
csp June 17, 2013, 11:29 am
totally agree. This letter is making me reflect on myself. yikes.
oldie June 17, 2013, 10:19 am
To me, it’s a big red flag on LW when she describes herself as a ‘very confrontational person’. That and mental illness are not a good combination. She should work on dealing with issues/disagreements in a nonconfrontational manner. If she tackles her current concerns with her bf in a very confrontational manner, this is not going to end well. Wendy is totally right about the need for LW to be working with a therapist. This perfect relationship, off to marriage, after less than 6 months, coupled with the total lack of trust and confidence in the guy is pretty stark. This is another case of reading a letter and wondering afterwards exactly what she finds so perfect about this guy. That he goes to church and discusses scripture with her? Anybody can do that. That he wants to marry her and buy a house? That reeks of desperation, rather than perfection. I can only believe that ‘we’ve been careful not to rush’ means they haven’t had sex yet, because planning to marry certainly seems like rushing. Just not sure there is any there there in this particular relationship.
Michelle.Lea June 17, 2013, 9:41 am
i’d be fairly concerned here if he’s saying one thing online, another irl. and a Christian is NOT going to call themselves an atheist online – so you can probably bet on the fact that he’s probably an atheist. huge red flag. i know online a lot of us feel a bit free-er with our opinions, but i’ve never met anyone that is a completely different person online – it’s just a different aspect of them. a shy person may be more bold etc, but people don’t change their opinions that drastically online.
red flag, red flag, red flag.
ebstarr June 17, 2013, 10:05 am
What if he’s trying to troll – prove to the internet that atheists are terrible people by behaving like a pig when he is pretending to be an atheist?
Of course, that still makes him crazy, so.
katie June 17, 2013, 10:07 am
ohhh good theory.
Michelle.Lea June 17, 2013, 10:31 am
then he’s an idiot? and still a jerk – you don’t get a free pass online to be an ass.
ebstarr June 17, 2013, 11:30 am
Oh totally. I was just speculating about his motives, in no way arguing that he is not an ass. (Also, in no way arguing that her behavior doesn’t also indicate serious issues, but that is for a different thread!)
temperance June 17, 2013, 12:06 pm
I actually have run in to online “atheists” or non-Christians who actually are Christians. It’s a weirdo conversion tactic – they start a conversation about religion and faith and keep it “open”, but really, the whole time they are just waiting to pounce with the Jesus thing.
That being said, even when I was going to church (not by choice!), I assumed, wrongly, that everyone else just went through the motions and no one would ever believe in this stuff. Oops. I was an atheist evangelical Christian. lol
SasLinna June 17, 2013, 10:46 am
“I’ve been in a committed, fantastic relationship with a guy for just under six months. We’ve said “I love you,” discussed marriage, are looking for houses, etc. We’re being careful not to rush and I’m confident I want to spend the rest of my life with him.”
Even without the rest of the story – his weird online behavior and your snooping – I could have told just by reading this paragraph that something’s off here. Why do you mention that you’re careful not to rush? Because in reality you’re rushing, like a lot (looking at houses and discussing marriage). You shouldn’t be “confident that you want to spend the rest of your life with him” after less than 6 months of being with somene. You can have a feeling that it will work out that way, or be optimistic about it, but not confident like it’s a sure thing already. It sounds to me like you’re trying really hard to spin this relationship a certain way and ignoring the cold hard facts – that you don’t know him all that well, that there’s no guarantee this relationship will last, that you’re already seeing red flags.
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 12:27 pm
“You shouldn’t be “confident that you want to spend the rest of your life with him” after less than 6 months of being with somene. You can have a feeling that it will work out that way, or be optimistic about it, but not confident like it’s a sure thing already.”
YES, exactly. Being that confident so early on is very naive.
fast eddie June 17, 2013, 9:48 am
Buying a house “together” less then 6 months into the relationship??? Declaring to be an atheist and regular church member at home??? Nothing in this letter adds up. Wendy’s being too generous, I think it’s fake.
katie June 17, 2013, 9:53 am
unfortunately, i think there are a lot of church goers that are really secretly atheists, or to be more general, dont actually care about the church/god. going to church is a largely “for show purposes” act, so i could see (and have known people) that do the big church thing but in their day to day life couldnt really give a shit about god.
oldie June 17, 2013, 10:13 am
Yes, I know a lot of guys who are regular church goers but not all that religious. They go because their wife expects them to go, it is a place to meet business contacts and interact socially, they don’t want to stand out by waving the nonreligious flag and be shunned by the super religious. This phenomenon is especially true in small conservative or ethnic communities, especially for fish out of water in South.
temperance June 17, 2013, 12:09 pm
That was me back when my mother forced me to go to church because she wanted to show off her good Christian daughters. Granted, I thought everyone else was a non-believer just following the motions, too, until I met open, actual atheists.
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 12:10 pm
Yea, I think you will find that a lot. People who are “forced” to go, like kids or spouses, that really are only there to please someone else.
temperance June 17, 2013, 12:08 pm
My mother has mental illness that I think is BPD (but she claims is only “mild depression and anxiety”). Everything in this letter is hallmark BPD, with the exception that she’s actually using the label for herself instead of reacting to it.
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 12:10 pm
I think it’s bizarre behavior, but certainly not far-fetched enough to definitely be fake. Unless 90 percent of the letters Wendy gets that are crazier than this one are also fake…
findingtheearth June 17, 2013, 10:49 am
LW- you need to make sure you are maintaining your mental health. That is the most imperative point.
Also, if you are religious, is there someone in your church you can talk to- such as a pastor, that might be able to help you rationalize your behavior? If you plan on getting married, you will probably have marriage counseling through your church anyway.
I know that many religious/church folk rush into marriage and have short courtships and engagements. I think, for your benefit and your mental health, you really need to slow down, check in with a doctor/psychologist, and make sure you are making healthy choices.
Your boyfriend’s behavior is odd. You stalking through his online profiles is odd. You need to discuss all of this with a professional and your boyfriend before you go and make a huge commitment to your boyfriend.
sarolabelle June 17, 2013, 11:00 am
Tickld, Facebook, Twitter – these things are pubic. It is not snooping if you simply read something your bf posts.
So “hey, last night on Twitter I saw you tweeted you were with your best friend. Who is that?”
Amber June 17, 2013, 11:07 am
it doesn’t sound at all like it’s FB or twitter – it sounds like she’s trolling websites he frequents and is scanning the comments section for his comments.
Christy June 17, 2013, 2:43 pm
I wouldn’t consider it snooping for my gf to read DW and see my comments, but I would consider it snooping if she did a CTRL+F to find my name on the page. Semantics. He’s putting the public information out there.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 2:45 pm
Eck, apparently I snoop about y’all because I often CTRL+F to find a certain commenter!
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 2:49 pm
Is it me? I bet its me? STOP STALKING ME GG!!!!
sarolabelle June 17, 2013, 3:56 pm
I just don’t consider that snooping either. I’ve done before to boyfriends or to friends. Heck, I’ve even hit CTRL+F to find Addie Pray’s comments. But I don’t think I’m stalking. I’m thinking, I want to read something funny.
What I have done in the past is just know he isn’t being honest either online or with you. Truthfully, I think the relationship has far to many red flags though.
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 4:50 pm
And you are my new favorite commenter, saro!!!
lemongrass June 17, 2013, 11:22 am
Slooooooooow down, LW. I think that people in early relationships want their relationship to seem legit to outsiders and therefore feel a need to rush things. At 6 months you don’t need to be looking for houses or talking about marriage. You don’t even need to be exchanging I love you’s. What you need to be doing is getting to know your boyfriend in a deep way- what their inner thoughts and values are. You do that by talking and it takes time and will flow naturally. Trying to get to know him too quickly- by stalking his online persona will only backfire, as you can see. A therapist will help you work through what is appropriate behaviour in a relationship as well as how to deal with your mental illness.
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 11:47 am
Slooooooow down, you move to fast. Got to make the morning last!
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 11:48 am
TOO fast. ffs. Mondays are so hard.
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 11:41 am
The more pressing issue is why you are planning marriage and buying a house with someone you’ve only been with for six months. Not to mention someone that you seem not to trust and whom you have serious questions as to what sort of person they are and what their core beliefs are. And even if you didn’t have those questions, it’s still way too soon, especially for someone who is specifically trying not to rush things. Though I wonder if that’s just a defense because you know that it does sound too soon?
I’m not sure why people feel like as soon as they find someone they care about and it’s going well that it means you have to immediately make all these huge commitments. Whatever happened to just enjoying what you have? Are people that afraid that if they don’t lock it down, the person will get away? Every part of a relationship has its place, and 10 years down the line, you’re going to miss the time you had early on.
But I digress. I assume your paranoia stems from your illnesses, in which case, it’s also not appropriate to be making huge decisions like buying a house with someone if you’re not getting proper mental health care.
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 11:45 am
wait wait WAIT WAIT W A I T………
WHAT IS “TICKLD”?! I give up, I can’t keep up.
bethany June 17, 2013, 12:29 pm
I didn’t get it either. I still don’t understand how reddit works…
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 1:24 pm
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 1:30 pm
You know what would be cool? If Wendy did a LIST of all things you should know if you want to be current / social media smart / not stuck in the last century. Like, um, I’m not saying I don’t know these answers because of course I’m so hip buuuuuut: how exactly do hashtags work? what’s reddit? what’s tickld? um, instragram what exactly is that? and i don’t understand pinterest or whatever my SIL keeps posting all over Facebook and btw I’d like her to stop. Also… well that’s enough for now.
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 1:32 pm
my SIL started a pinterest thing for me but i don’t know what/where/how/why’s of it.
also, is there a way to send someone my playlist from itunes? without having to burn the songs on a cd and mail it?
Christy June 17, 2013, 2:49 pm
Ok. Basically, a hashtag identifies a key word or phrase in a longer string of text (like a tweet or facebook post). It means that you can quickly identify the subject of a tweet, even if it doesn’t necessarily seem to relate. It also means that it’s much easier to search for related tweets.
For instance, if I made a hashtag that was #AFPwisdom, and I posted something like “More wine, less whine #AFPwisdom,” you’d know I was referring to you. Then, if this were on twitter (or something else with searchable hashtags), you could search for “#AFPwisdom” to find all of the instances of that hashtag.
You know how you can have bookmarked links on your internet browser? Pinterest is basically bookmarked links that are stored by pictures. So you can click on a picture to go to the link. And you can organize them into different “boards,” or folders.
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 3:09 pm
so the hashtag is to avoid reading all of the (not very many) characters in the tweet ?
and do people really still tweet? i did a few years ago, untill i wrote that it was hot as balls in my office and an attorney we were using as local counsel for a case in another state Googled me and/or somehow found my tweets and said wow I guess it gets really hot in Chicago and i was confused and then he explained and then i was embarrassed and then (i think) i made my tweets private. and then i also developed a crush on that local counsel but that is a long story that went no where.
#AFPwisdom should be a thing.
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 3:11 pm
Eat Cheese #AFP wisdom.
That’s my very first hash tag fka pound sign.
A La Mode June 17, 2013, 3:08 pm
Reddit is like the whole internet packed into one place, and the commenters range widely but for the most part people are literate and passionate. It’s the kind of place where you can expect to be corrected on your spelling, hear every reference to every cult hit tv show and movie that could possibly be referenced, and connect with wonderful people from many countries who share your interests.
Subreddits are webpages that house specific information. For example, reddit.com/r/flagstaff is the city of Flagstaff, AZ’s subreddit. reddit.com/r/accounting is where accounting students and professionals talk trade. reddit.com/r/pugs is a subreddit for the glorification of pugs. I think you can get the idea. Just subscribe to subreddits of topics you like, and all you have to do is go to reddit.com. All those subreddits fill up the front page with headliners. You upvote and downvote threads and comments that you feel contribute in a worthwhile way to Reddit as a whole. It is my personal opinion that Reddit’s primary purpose is to house interesting and relevant data, and for the comment threads to be a platform for meaningful and informative discussions relating to the thread’s topic. Other people think it’s for other purposes, and that’s what keeps things lively.
I highly recommend getting on Reddit!
Addie Pray June 17, 2013, 3:11 pm
what? i can’t, it’s too hard.
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 3:12 pm
There’s also some really F’d up stuff on there. Like underage subreddits (I guess that’s what its called). very disturbing.
A La Mode June 17, 2013, 3:23 pm
Yes, there’s a place for pretty much everything. In example, r/spacedicks is a thread for pictures of galaxies with penises superimposed on them. However, you will not see a single shred of those subreddits unless you subscribe to them.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 12:30 pm
Maybe crazy people should just not fucking date. Especially, you know, when they aren’t doing anything to NOT be crazy. Again, if a man wrote in with this… He’d be RIGHTLY labled a stalker to be wisely avoided. But when its a woman… she apparently just has issues… Um, okay. Whatever.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 12:37 pm
How do you know she isn’t doing anything to “not be crazy”? It’s not clarified in the letter if she’s in treatment or not.
Also, I think your remark is pretty offensive. People with mental illnesses face a lot of stigma already, calling them crazy is really rude. She’s facing enough hardship and stigma living life with bipolar and borderline personality disorder- she doesn’t need an asshole on the internet berating her.
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 12:40 pm
OMG! Maybe BGM *is* her boyfriend’s online personality!
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 12:52 pm
Or maybe I’m his best friend and I am sick of guys dating psychopaths…
NOBODY… Man or Woman… should stalk their lovers online. It’s FUCKED up. And often a sign of much more dangerous things to come…
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 12:55 pm
I don’t disagree the online stalking is way off the mark, but it’s pretty self aware to reach out for help.
It amazes me how you put down others SO often.
oldie June 17, 2013, 3:45 pm
There are a lot of flags with this LW. Self defined as mentally ill, self defined as very confrontational, self defined as on-line stalker, self defined as being ready to marry a guy in whom she has no trust. No mention of doing anything for her mental problems. If I was her bf, I’d be running. When she discusses the fruits of her internet stalking with bf, likely he will run.
Fabelle June 17, 2013, 12:49 pm
Yeah, using the word “crazy” as shorthand for her personality and mood disorders is…insensitive, at best. And I agree that we don’t KNOW if she’s being treated, or not…I understand why everybody is telling her to get into therapy, since that’s like the go-to advice for anyone who mentions they’ve been diagnosed, but we don’t actually know that she’s NOT currently in therapy or on medication?
And (sigh) if ~a man~ wrote in, very much aware that he was acting irrationally—not making any justifications for it, just stating it matter-of-factly like this LW did— I don’t think anyone would rush to call him a “stalker”. I really don’t.
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 12:53 pm
Yes, let’s hide away all the mentally ill people. Sound familiar?
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 1:05 pm
Well… that would certainly cut down the LAs astounding homeless population.
bcamber June 17, 2013, 1:04 pm
OH MY GOD. Again with the “well, if the LW had been a man and not a woman, you all would have said X and not Y”, “you women always side with other women and hate men”, blah blah blah…give it a rest. seriously.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 1:07 pm
Oh come on. If a man WAS doing this to a woman, the responses here would be very different. Its textbook abusive behavior. Stage one…
bcamber June 17, 2013, 1:09 pm
it’s a challenge to even consider your point because it’s your default response to every single letter.
and no, I would not consider it stalking, I would consider it snooping, regardless of gender.
LadyinPurpleNotRed June 17, 2013, 1:13 pm
I mean, yes, I’m creeped out by her behavior. And I think it’s past snooping when she’s checking time stamps and going past just reading it, but I don’t know that I’d call it full out stalking…but it sure seems easy to fall down that hole to full out stalking.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 1:16 pm
No one is saying the internet snooping/staking/obsessing/what ever you want to call it is okay. But berating someone because they have a mental illness is just as cruel as doing the same based on someone’s gender, race, or sexual orientation.
My response would not change a WORD if this was a man. Seriously not one word would change. The internet behavior is weird and go seek therapy.
Liquid Luck June 17, 2013, 1:30 pm
I’m don’t really think this counts as stalking. It’s not cool and it’s definitely not normal to this extent, but I don’t think it’s on the same level as stalking. I wouldn’t be happy if my boyfriend came to this site and read each and every one of my comments, but seriously, I’m posting on a public forum, and I have no right to declare this space private. I’d be pissed that he felt the need to check up on me, but to accuse him of stalking would be ridiculous. I feel the same about this LW. It’s not healthy for her relationship and brings out a lot of red flags, but I associate stalking with harassment and abuse, not with reading someone’s someone’s comments on a public message board.
Fabelle June 17, 2013, 2:07 pm
I really don’t think the responses would’ve been different, if everything else was written the same way. It’s not always a man vs. woman thing; it’s usually just a tone/self-awareness thing. This LW sounds self-aware—she’s asking for help navigating the paranoid urges that she KNOWS are problematic & harmful. So if a man wrote in asking the same thing, I believe the responses would be just as sympathetic. But that’s just me!
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 12:43 pm
If she WAS doing something about it… She’d never have written this letter. The rush to marriage abd house talk after a mere six months when one is mentally unstable alone is a HUGE red flag. Combined with the paranoia of stalking the love of your life on line…
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 12:48 pm
Why don’t you think she wouldn’t have written this letter if she was on meds/in therapy? Because only “crazy” people write to Wendy?
Sure the online stalking is a red flag, but talking about getting married or maybe buying a house after 6ish months of dating…that can be pretty normal depending on your age range (or even location or upbringing or ethnic background…)
iwannatalktosampson June 17, 2013, 1:15 pm
But is it stalking if it’s public information. I mean when I look at my news feed and see people’s updates I certainly don’t feel like I’m stalking them – they’re putting it out there!
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 1:17 pm
I do agree with you IWTTS, I was just using Mark’s word. It’s more of internet obsessing over a person, IMO.
bcamber June 17, 2013, 1:30 pm
FB is way different…don’t you see the difference between your friends reading your FB updates (which you put on FB for the sole purpose of sharing with your FB friends), and someone knowing your are on DW and coming here for the sole purpose of reading your comments and not telling you?
bcamber June 17, 2013, 1:33 pm
I mean, yes it’s technically public and maybe therefore you don’t care who reads your comments, but people seeking out comments that you’ve posted elsewhere and are not intended for them is different…
If my BF was coming here to read my comments every day, and didn’t tell me, that would so not be cool.
iwannatalktosampson June 17, 2013, 1:42 pm
Eh I geuss I take the approach that whatever you put out in the public is for public consumption. So yeah I don’t want S/O’s reading everyday… but if that’s a concern of mine I can just learn to filter what I put out there. Things on the internet never die. Maybe it’s the attorney in me but I think it’s all fair game. To me stalking is deliberately going out of your way to follow someone’s every moves. But you’re not really going out of your way to look at things people put online. I mean I’m online all day everyday. If I pay more attention to stuff people post when I’m in a relationship with them isn’t that… normal?
bcamber June 17, 2013, 1:51 pm
” To me stalking is deliberately going out of your way to follow someone’s every moves.”
And that’s what she seems to be doing here…going out of her way to follow his internet “moves”.
And whether it bothers you (or anyone) if people are seeking out your comments is irrelevant, IMO. It’s the sneakiness of the behaviour, like your checking up on the person.
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 1:56 pm
Eh, so are you a stalker if you check your partner’s facebook posts daily?
bcamber June 17, 2013, 2:02 pm
no, because that’s information that is put on FB for the sole purpose of being shared with FB friends. It’s about the intended audience.
If he is on a message board, having conversations/making comments that have nothing to do with me, keeping tabs on him by seeking out his comments online is like spying, or eavesdropping, to me.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 2:07 pm
What about twitter? Or Instagram? Those are public forums. Is it stalking if you check your SO’s twitter/instagram daily?
My husband only tweets about sports stuff, so I’m stalking when I look up his twitter to see what he’s been saying?
bcamber June 17, 2013, 2:15 pm
“What about twitter? Or Instagram? Those are public forums. Is it stalking if you check your SO’s twitter/instagram daily?”
again it’s intent though…twitter and instagram, info that is posted for the purpose of being shared, is different than your SO creeping around a message board you frequent to read your conversations/comments you are having with a specific group of people.
LadyinPurpleNotRed June 17, 2013, 2:18 pm
But those are something that you can jump onto his personal page and get all his stuff right there…on a website that has multiple pages and hundreds upon hundreds of comments…that takes sifting and time and patience to go through and search
Fabelle June 17, 2013, 2:20 pm
Yeah, I agree with bcamber. Especially here, I mean, she’s comparing a timestamp on an internet board to the time she last talked to the guy…it’s public info, sure, but she’s still checking up on him a little (a lot!) too closely.
(Which isn’t to say what he’s doing isn’t disturbing.)
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 2:24 pm
Ok, fair enough. There is a difference. I still can’t label her a psycho for it though. But, we all know what killed the cat.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 2:35 pm
I don’t know, I still don’t see a difference in my husband looking up my DW posts and me looking at his Twitter. DW is a public forum, as is Twitter.
(The time stamp comparison is over the top. This LW clearly has crossed the line.)
bcamber June 17, 2013, 1:52 pm
“So yeah I don’t want S/O’s reading everyday… but if that’s a concern of mine I can just learn to filter what I put out there”
I wouldn’t filter, I’d cut those people out of my life. Who wants people in their life that would rather spy on you than just talk to you in person?
iwannatalktosampson June 17, 2013, 4:24 pm
I guess I just look at it the same way as I do say – gossiping. Like I will only talk shit about my friends if I would say it to their face. Everyone occasionally vents about their friends. I only share my thoughts with other people if I’m okay with it getting to that person. So pretty much only I’ve also already discussed it with that person. I wouldn’t put anything on the internet if I really cared if anyone saw it. I just don’t see how someone providing information on the internet – and then someone reading it – is stalking. It’s there!
Fabelle June 17, 2013, 2:15 pm
Okay, I’ve been wanting to mention this the whole time, & this thread seems like a good place…
I generally tell my boyfriend about my online habits, which sites I use, etc., so one time I paraphrased, to him, a comment I made on a certain site (not this one!!). He later was reading the article on that site, & saw my comment—thus figuring out what my username was. THEN he went over to another site I frequently comment on, under the same username, & read nearly ALL of my comments on there (::cough, cough:: it was The Hairpin.)
One comment I’d made upset him (it referenced something I never told him before), so he told me about it. I got upset, & I’m pretty sure I told him how creepy it was that he did this (he agreed, said he kind of fell down an internet hole) & then he agreed to never read anything I post online ever again. The-end.
So yeah, it was kind of stalkerish, but I forgave him (he wasn’t trying to “catch” me in anything, he just claimed to be amused by my comments, but then became upset at the one thing)
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 2:26 pm
To be completely honest, I could see myself doing the same thing. Not to catch him or anything, but I know it would pique my curiosity. I’ll admit its creepy, but I bet if we all were “tested” with that like your bf was, many would look out of curiosity.
Fabelle June 17, 2013, 2:33 pm
Haha it’s funny, I told The Hairpin at the time what had happened (the very next day, they posted something relevant about internet stalking, I think??) & a lot of the commenters there said the same thing. (Like, they’d be curious about what their S/O did on the internet & might do the same thing my boyfriend did?)
So, yeah, it’s creepy & POSSIBLY red flag behavior, but if you found out, during your curiosity reading, that your partner was totally shady online (like this LW did?), then…? I dunno. I’m going back & forth, it’s clearly (in this situation) being done out of paranoia, but I also think sometimes this behavior is universal, to a degree?
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 2:36 pm
I hadn’t even thought about what would happen if I found some crazy stuff! Kinda ties back into when you are snooping, be careful what you wish for. Like girls who snoop thru phones and confirm their bf is cheating or whatever.
I guess I think it all depends. To me, what your bf did isn’t to a level of He’s Def a Crazy Stalker, at all, but when you add in comparing time stamps and going every day, etc., you are def in bad territory and have no trust in your partner. I guess that’s the big determining factor…trust. Your bf didn’t look because he didn’t trust you or because he wanted to find something out. And he told you about it.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 2:29 pm
Yup, curiosity would get me just like it got him. And I think your reaction was normal.
Boosker June 17, 2013, 6:31 pm
Haven’t we all fell down an internet hole at one time or another.
BreezyAM June 17, 2013, 1:28 pm
I’m gonna agree with BGM here. She’s either not in therapy, or not levelling with her therapist, or there’s a HUGE piece we’re missing, like she’s known this guy for her whole life and it’s simply that recently they began dating. The therapist would have pointed out to be aware of X traits, and that would have been mentioned.
I’m also going to go out on a limb and guess she met this dude at church, specifically, one of those “no nookie before marriage” churches, likely non denominational, contemporary…. which she probably got into after some of her behaviours led to “inappropriate acting out” (it’s common with those particular issues) and that’s why the plans are Moving Right Along. I’m floored how quickly they get married.
Her guy is most likely more like his online persona. I’ve met a lot of people who came out as atheists online before RL.
applescruffs June 17, 2013, 2:09 pm
Borderline PD is hard to treat. It can be done, but it doesn’t respond to a lot of meds, and it’s tough to treat therapeutically. The best thing we have for it is dialetical behavioral therapy, or DBT – LW, I highly recommend finding a DBT therapist AND skills training group if you haven’t already.
A La Mode June 17, 2013, 3:13 pm
I was diagnosed with Borderline quite some time ago. DBT did help a bit though it did not help me keep control of myself when I get urges or feelings – it just helped ease them up a bit, and helped me feel comfortable being honest about what was going on. LW, please take this with a grain of salt because I am by no means a professional, but I found remarkable success with EMDR therapy combined with daily phone calls to check in with a mentor. Constant evaluation of my behavior (via phone calls to let them know what I’ve been up to) and the therapeutic process of confronting traumatic or stressful situations with emotional guidance (via EMDR therapy) have helped me become high-functioning.
applescruffs June 17, 2013, 5:19 pm
EMDR can be really good for trauma – so if there’s a trauma history, which is common in Borderline PD, it can be helpful for sure. Glad you found some relief from your symptoms! Always good to hear a success story.
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 1:37 pm
Snooping and rushing a relationship are not exclusive to people dealing with mental illnesses. We see letters like that ALL the time. I agree that she does need to address her mental health, but even people who are being treated have relationship problems outside of their illness.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 1:59 pm
No. But they always warrant a break up, I think.
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 2:04 pm
Mark, what you’re failing to see is that everyone essentially agrees that her online obsession is out of line.
But your rude comments regarding mental illness are WAY out of line, and that’s the issue here. You calling names of a person who is already marginalized and stigmatized.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 2:13 pm
Its NOT fair To date someone when you’re mentally not all there this isn’t exactly a radical concept….
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 2:23 pm
Moreover… I practice what I preach. I’m battling depression…which makes me often blasely suicidal only far, far too polite to act on it… Sadly, treatment and medication are NOT in the budget… And guess what? I am not even dating people — much less rushing headlong into relationships with the unsuspecting.
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 2:28 pm
Do you actively turn down dates?
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 2:42 pm
No. But i don’t put myself in any situations where i would meet somebody either. I haven’t bern to a gay bar in way over a year. And I dont do grynd or any of that. Not that there is a huge demand for washed up 40 year olds…
lets_be_honest June 17, 2013, 2:48 pm
Christy June 17, 2013, 2:51 pm
I’m guessing Grindr, which is a location-based gay male chat/dating/hookup app. It shows you the profiles of any gay guys near you (like, in the same bar) and lets you contact each other.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 3:13 pm
Yes. Thats the one I meant. Sorry about all the typos… I’m dog walking and on my iPhone in…
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 2:24 pm
But she is all there. She has a mental illness that creates extra challenges. Would you tell some one who has a physical disability that say prevented them from ever having sex they couldn’t date? (Who am I kidding, you would.) Most people would say no, because you can still have a fulfilling relationship when there are hurdles to overcome.
What is she supposed to do? Live in a closet for ever? Never have a job? I mean really. People with mental illness are entitled to live just as you are including having relationships, even if it is definitely more of a challenge. It baffles me how much you look down on other people.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 2:46 pm
If you aren’t in therapy… You aren’t all there. Not with those two conditions anyway…
GatorGirl June 17, 2013, 2:58 pm
But we don’t know that is isn’t in treatment. Just because she reached out to a relationship advice columnist and didn’t say she WAS in therapy, does not mean she is NOT. (Also, Wendy does edit letters. There is a chance it was edited out.)
And, there are plenty of people in therapy who aren’t “all there”. Just because you’re going to get help, doesn’t mean its working or that you’re actually trying to get better.
I can’t debate with you anymore. It is rude to call people with mental illnesses crazy. They are entitled to live a fulfilling life just live everyone else.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 5:23 pm
Un… It would be pretty illogical of Wendy to edit out the part where the LW talks all about her therapy and/or other treatments only to then open her advice saying she needs to get therapy and/or treatment…
oldie June 17, 2013, 3:51 pm
What does it mean to you when a LW describes herself as being a very confrontational person and mentally ill? The rest of her letter and description of her and her bf’s behavior has to be read in that context.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 4:36 pm
So true. Some people are so righteously naive on here it’s hilarious…
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 2:32 pm
She said that she and her boyfriend have together been discussing marriage and a house. Who exactly is going to do the breaking up in a couple where both people are rushing?
temperance June 17, 2013, 2:46 pm
Borderline is nearly impossible to treat because it’s part of her personality. You’re not wrong about all of it being a giant red flag, though … right down to her saying this dude is the love of her life. Next week, he could cough the wrong way and be the worst man on the planet, because that’s how BPD works.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 12:54 pm
It’s the CONTENT of the letter. Not the fact that she simply wrote a letter.
peaches June 17, 2013, 1:39 pm
Whoaaa. My ex was very much like your boyfriend…I seriously hope it’s not the same guy haha! They’re super alike in a sense that when my ex was physically with me, he seems like a totally different person. Compared to his online persona or when he is with his buddies. When he’s online, he would write in a very rough, very vulgar kind of gangster-talk that was completely foreign to me. It scared me a little because I never knew he could write like that. And with his friends: I get that when boys get together, swear words and sexist jokes will fly and whatnot, but there’s a fine line between what’s acceptable and what’s not. The kinds of things he would say were completely unacceptable to me and made me feel embarrassed to even be acquainted to him. Big red flag number 1.
My ex is also a Christian that will attend church every week and lead discussions on the Scripture and lead youth groups and such….but he admitted to me (after some pressing and coaxing) that he, in fact, did not believe in God at all and never considered himself a Christian. Talk about a huge gap huh? NOT COOL. Big red flag number 2.
In summary. If he acts like a totally different person elsewhere (regardless of where), you need to carefully assess what kind of person he actually is, and whether or not you can truly accept that side of him (since it obviously exists). I agree with those that say 6 months is too short and you don’t even really know him. Please be extra careful and realize that if you continue to be with this guy, you’ll just keep on finding these “sides you never knew” and eventually it’ll just be too much.
peaches June 17, 2013, 2:41 pm
Oh, and his best friend remark might have been a dirty joke! As in, being in bed, with his…junior. I’ve heard a male friend make a similar remark so there is still some hope 🙂
oldie June 17, 2013, 4:03 pm
I hang out with a lot of men a generation older than I am. They are all intelligent, sane, good people. I assure you that they say things in that setting which they would never say in the presence of a woman. Jokes that are mildly risque will be canned for the day if a female is present. I also know from talking to one of their wives, that the wives tell equally or more risque jokes to each other. It is simply the way a lot of men have been socialized by their mothers and societies. You must limit your speech to that which is totally clean in the presence of women. There is nothing unusually two-faced about it. I am a quasi-agnostic. I believe in a supreme being, but not the version perpetrated by organized religions. I know I follow what is regarded as the sin of universalism. If I am dealing with a conservative, true-believer conservative Christian, I will not get into a lot of this, out of politeness and knowing how upsetting such talk is to such folks. If the LW is a lot more religious than the bf and is a true believer faith type, I can well understand why he would fear shaking the underpinnings of her world to have a full-out discussion on his religious doubts with her. He can do that on-line, with a persona which is close or not at all close to his true persona/beliefs. LW is both mentally fragile and confrontational. That is a good person not to have real conversations of this sort with.
mylaray June 17, 2013, 1:44 pm
I can’t really explain why, but I felt that Wendy’s first sentence of saying how the LW needs to be in therapy was a little insensitive. We don’t know if she already is in therapy, but she does sound aware that she needs to take care of her issues. I agree with the others though that she is rushing, even though she may not think she is, which is very common with BPD. My mom has BPD, but unlike the LW, is in denial about it, and has very unrealistic views and expectations about life. But I think the LW needs to slow it down, and even though you may be in the rush of the honeymoon of a new relationship, know that it will likely fade away, and it’s not a good time to make life altering decisions (buying a new house, etc). Then the fact that you are concerned about your boyfriend’s online life is another thing. My mom has a very strange online life and is delusional about her “friends” there and lies about what she posts, but she is also mentally ill. I’m just speculating (though it may not be true at all) that maybe the boyfriend in this letter has an issue too, because in general, it’s not typical for someone to have such a differing alter ego online. It’s one thing to troll or to slightly exaggerate minor things, but it sounds much more than that. And it’s definitely understandable for the LW to have trust issues, and I would say this is definitely a red flag. So I would start a conversation (calmly) to discuss this with your boyfriend, but I would in no way accuse him of anything first. Since it’s hard to tell how you found out this information, if it’s completely accurate, etc. Just start a conversation and see what he says, and take it from there, and slow down the pace while you’re at it.
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 2:53 pm
I agree that we don’t know if she’s in therapy or not. I imagine that if she’s that self-aware, like you said, that she’s probably at least on medication, which implies that someone is overseeing her treatment. But I do think that it was sort of crucial to Wendy’s point that she can only give advice based on the relationship itself, not in regard to how the LW’s illness might be affecting her behavior or thoughts.
mylaray June 17, 2013, 3:16 pm
I know it’s a personal thing that rubbed me the wrong way, but to me, the wording sounded slightly insensitive to say how the LW should be in therapy regularly, because of her illnesses. I don’t think therapy is the answer for everyone (even those with BPD, especially since it’s so hard to treat). And some people with serious mental illnesses can thrive on going to therapy only a few times a year. I’m aware I’m being nitpicky, but I’ve grown up around lots of people with serious mental illnesses and that’s why I thought that. Though I think we all can agree that the LW does need look at her relationship more closely, and her actions, and by writing the letter to Wendy, I think she took a good first step toward more introspective thinking about this relationship.
Lindsay June 17, 2013, 3:41 pm
Yeah, that makes sense. I do think that in this particular case that the LW clearly has some questions that need to be addressed by a professional, though. Like all the ones she asked at the end of the letter. Those seem less about relationship advice and more about how to address her own behavior and how its affected by her illnesses.
Wendy June 17, 2013, 3:30 pm
I respect your opinion, but I stand by my assertion that someone with mental illnesses — two of them in this case — need to be seeing a therapist regularly. How one defines “regularly” can differ — weekly, monthly, seasonally — but if you’re mentally ill, there should be a mental health professional who is familiar with you, your history, your traits, and your current lifestyle and its affect on your mental health. It’s essential.
Bittergaymark June 17, 2013, 1:54 pm
If she WAS in therapy, do you REALLY think that wouldn’t have been mentioned?
oldie June 17, 2013, 6:16 pm
If she was in therapy, her therapist would already have answered her question and she would have written something like “My therapist says …, but I’m not sure I agree.”
Thunder_Power June 17, 2013, 2:09 pm
Dear LW, I’m a fellow person with Bipolar Type II and thought that I should chime in with some of my experiences. Once you are labeled with a mental illness it becomes so easy to sit back and watch your life through those lenses and think that every emotion/reaction/suspicion/everyday experience can some how trace back to that label. Not only that but you believe that every problem in your life is somehow caused by you and this disorder(s). Any and all bad things in your life trace back to how this disorder affects you. This, for me, has always been a problem because then I mentally shoulder the burden of every problem in a relationship because I MUST have caused it with my mental illness and therefore is MY responsibility to fix it.
The longer I have lived with my disorder the more I’ve learned about the world and relationships (thanks in a large part to being a devoted reader of this site). What I’ve learned is that sometimes relationships just aren’t meant to work out. Sometimes Two people don’t click together perfectly and that is ABSOLUTELY OKAY! For example: my first girlfriend and I had VERY different ways we liked to communicate about mundane things. She liked fighting to resolve differences of opinion; I saw fighting as a sign that I had done something wrong to anger her so I spent a good portion of our relationship shouldering all this anxiety and stress so that I wouldn’t trigger a fight. One day I thought about what Wendy would say if I would write in about this relationship and I realized that “wow, I don’t actually need to stay here and work this out. There are millions of other girls I could be dating. Why would I stay with one who makes me so anxious and on edge?”
Another example: depending on the time of year/month it is I have a harder time being close to people. I get to be super introverted and just don’t feel like being intimate. Well I was dating someone else about this time and I was having a really hard time with physical intimacy towards her. I loved hanging out and talking and watching movies but really I just wasn’t that physically attracted towards her. For too long of time I blamed my disorder, I tried to stick it out and MAKE myself become attracted to her, but in the end it just wasn’t happening. And it really had nothing to do with my disorder; I just wasn’t attracted to her that way.
My point is that no matter what baggage we carry into a relationship our relationships are subject to the same joys and heartbreaks as any other person’s relationship. Our relationships too can be victims of all the same things and it won’t have anything to do with how WE are, but just how the world is.
That being said and your disorders aside, I think your boyfriend sounds super-sketch and now that you have done all that snooping it’s clear that you don’t trust him. After doing that, along with this total rushing into moving in/spending the rest of your life/ etc, I think that is relationship is doomed. But that’s okay; not every relationship is meant to work out. You may have snooped because you’re insecure (our insecurities certainly are more heightened that other peoples), but it doesn’t make him any less sketchy and two-faced.
If you are to have any success in the future you have to learn how to trust your partners and build up your own self esteem and confidence. Learning how to trust people (and how to trust yourself!) after the emotional roller-coasters we ride is so, so, so hard and I completely sympathize with you. But it is doable, I promise!
I would advise that you break up with him and really spend some good quality time with YOURSELF (and a good therapist whom you also trust)! Spend some time getting to know who you truly are underneath that diagnosis. Because you are not “Bipolar” or “crazy” or a “looney”; you are a PERSON who has Bipolar Disorder. These disorders are only a facet of your personality. There is so much more to who you are. If you can learn to channel those other parts of you into your life you will be able to be a better friend, better partner, and a better human being to yourself.
It’s not easy, and it does take time (I’m talking a couple years here), but it is so so so so worth it. I’m so thankful for my diagnosis and the medication I take everyday because it forced me to change my life, my behaviors, and thinking for the better. You can do it too! Don’t settle for any less than you deserve. Best of luck 🙂
SasLinna June 17, 2013, 2:34 pm
Love this comment!
Pinky June 17, 2013, 8:17 pm
Thank you so much for writing this!
LW (Paranoid About Being Paranoid) June 17, 2013, 7:18 pm
Hey all, here is some info to help the discussion. I have found a lot of your comments to be interesting and helpful, but most are way off the mark because they lack a lot of background information. I talked to my boyfriend about the comments. He realizes he says things that are unkind and not like his IRL personality and he wants to change that. He also has some mental issues and particularly struggles with anger. Online is where he lets his anger out, another thing he said he is trying to improve. In his defense, of all the stuff I snooped, the more current comments and posts were, the less unkind/rude/disturbing they became. In the past, when he does things that one of us realizes is wrong or has an issue with, he is genuinely works to change those behaviors. When he said he was an atheist or with his best friend (when he wasn’t) it was because he was trying to make a point. For those worrying about my mental health, I am on a combination of medication and I spend about 4 hours a week in therapy (DBT for those who know what that is). I have been with my therapist for a long time, and she is helping me with this issue. She told me employ a skill called “check the facts” which basically means I compare my mental beliefs and concerns against all real evidence (ie, things that have been said or done, not my interpretation of them). I have absolutely no reason to believe my boyfriend is hypocritical, has a hidden personality, etc. We have a mutual best friend who I have known for over 6 years, as well as other mutual good friends who I have known for longer than my BF, and my boyfriend has been given a seal of approval by all of them. As any with mental disorders know, having disorders under control is NOT the same things as getting rid of them all together. Sometimes I just need an objective third party to tell me if my behavior is “normal” or not. For instance, my urge to snoop was not in anyway generated by something my BF said or did, but rather my persistent and irrational belief that I am worthless, and therefore its impossible that someone as wonderful as my BF loves me. Since not being worthless is clearly not an option, the alternative explanation is that I am totally blind and naive and ignoring all sorts of red flags, which my therapist, friends, and family all disagree with. Obviously, something else my therapist and I are working on.
Pinky June 17, 2013, 8:23 pm
I’m so glad to hear that you’re actively in treatment. I wish you the best of luck.
GatorGirl June 18, 2013, 9:00 am
Glad to hear you’re in treatment!! If your BF is not in some kind of treatment of anger management class, it sounds like it would be good to explore that. Best wishes!
Crazy in Love June 18, 2013, 2:05 pm
I’m sure some of the issues at hand are brought on by your illness, HOWEVER, a man who is portraying to be something he’s totally not, even if it is just on-line… well, I think that is a HUGE red flag. Sounds like a sociopath personality. If I were you, I’d take a step back, discuss it with him, and find out why he’s behaving as such. He may have a legit answer, he may get angry for you snooping, or maybe he thought it was his little secret. Either way, you should wait on the house thing and tread lightly in seeing this relationship progress. Be sure of yourself and be sure of him, his values, his motives, etc. To me, he sounds very creepy!