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epinephrine
Ok, I'm in a major "should I stay or should I go" sort of dilemma. My girlfriend and I have been together for 2 years now, and 6 months ago she dropped the bomb, completely out of the blue and with no warning of any kind, that she felt "trapped" in the relationship and needed to back off and live her own life more. She told me this in an urgent 1:30 am "we have to talk" conversation that started with her telling me she was deeply unhappy (news to me) and basically that she wanted to break up. This was catastrophic for me for several reasons: one, it was so sudden; two, up until now she'd been the clingy one who pushed to move in together, wanted to get a couples phone plan, wrote me love notes every day, planned her whole life around me and needed my constant attention, and the sudden revelation that she felt like she was "trapped" with me was a hypocritical slap in the face; three, I felt like she betrayed my trust by derailing what I thought was a near-perfect relationship without even attempting to talk to me first; four, it meant I had to go through the hell of finding an apartment, moving, and paying twice as much rent at a time when I really couldn't afford it, and buy all new stuff for it only weeks after she'd helped me haul all my old stuff off to the Sally Ann; five, because I'd always thought we were so happy and solid and we understood and knew each other so well, and to find out that I was wrong was devastating; and six, because I suddenly had no idea where I stood with her, which is something I find intolerable. I felt like she'd been incredibly unfair to me by keeping this issue to herself and then hitting me over the head with it when it could have been so painlessly dealt with before. I felt like the entire problem was her own fault and her own issue to deal with, but she made it my problem when she let it get to the point where she basically had to kick me out and end the relationship as we knew it to deal with it. Her codependency was something I'd tried to gently bring up with her in the past, but she got upset and shut me down immediately. On top of this, it appeared that someone else was the catalyst for the whole revelation, although she still denies it. She'd met a girl at work (like how she met me) and there was some sexual tension, and all of a sudden she felt trapped with me. I'm not a jealous person and I've never been sticky about monogamy, but come on. That is not trust. In the end, nothing ever came of it, but that's not even the point - I just couldn't belive she could do something like this to me.

After a traumatic month of living together in a tiny apartment in a horrible state of relationship limbo, when I needed comfort so badly and the only person who could provide it was asserting her newfound independence by being cold and indifferent to me, I was finally able to move out, and things have improved since then. We decided the relationhsip was worth saving and working on, and we set some boundaries and tried to do that. We see each other almost every day and spend a few nights together a week, but we have our own lives and we do our own thing. We hang out together and she doesn't need my constant, undivided attention. But, in my opinion, things are still not right. She's still weird about sex, so I'm leaving that alone for now. It happens spontaneously now and then, and I can live with that, as long as it's within the context of a rebuilding relationship and I can look forward to better times. She's weird about affection, too, which I'm not so ok with, because I really need affection and as much as I try to be cool about it, I am hardwired to interpret a lack of affection as a fundamental signal that all is not well. She treats me differently now, with much less patience and good humour, and it often leads to fights, usually about whether or not she's being an asshole and whether or not I'm being too sensitive. I don't know how not to be sensitive - I'm still raw from the disaster that preceded this whole change.

The worst thing is that when we fight, or even try to have a civilized discussion, we seem to be completely incapable of reconciling our two different ways of seeing things. When we disagree over something and try to discuss it, my way makes sense to me while I'm talking and her way makes sense to me while she's talking. I end up doubting myself and agreeing with her, and nothing is compromised, changed or resolved. It always ends with her feeling exasperated with me and with me feeling schizophrenic. Because nothing ever gets resolved in this environment, we keep having the same goddamn disagreements over and over and over. Something will bother me, some friction will start over it, and she'll tell me basically that I'm reading too much into everything and that I should just calm down and let it be. I always end up agreeing with her because I really want it to be that simple, but as soon as the discussion is over the feeling creeps back. It's gotten to the point where I feel like I can't talk to her about anything, because she won't understand and I'll just get confused by our two conflicting opinions.

I'm so confused now that I don't know if my unhappiness is her fault or mine. All I know is that I'm unhappy. I'm trying to see things her way, but it's just not clicking, and I sort of resent that everything has to be "her way" now. What was so terribly wrong with my way? If she hadn't been an idiot and kept a secret that needed to be dealt with, my way would have served us perfectly well. It's the surliness that really bothers me. Basically, I feel like if she really wanted to be with me, a little affection and closeness wouldn't feel like a chore, and she'd just generally be nicer to me. She feels like if I really wanted to be with her, and if I really had faith in the relationship, I'd be able to deal with a few speed bumps and dry spells without feeling abandoned. I don't know what the fuck to do. Six months is a pretty long "speed bump" in a 2-year relationship. But she really makes me feel like I'm being needy. I'm so close to just ending it for better or for worse so I can get my head on straight again, but I really, really love this girl and I really feel like we have something that could work if we could just figure out how to drive it again.

For god's sake, help me!
period_monster
Yikes, Epinephrine. Have you tried couples' therapy? maybe that could help to work through your issues. I certainly don't have the kind of track record to give good advice. I walked away from an off and on five year relationship earlier this year because I just couldn't have the same argument again. Good luck on things. It's tough when you love the other person involved, to that I can relate.
edie52
(((epinephrene)))

I can relate to how you're feeling because I just had a similar situation with my boyfriend- we didn't break up and we still live together, but we've been having some of the same issues. He was being super-distant and wouldn't tell me why, and I became anxious and mopey, which made him more distant, and then I got angry that he couldn't comfort me... it finally came out that he feels that he needs "space" and that our relationship could be more interesting and less routine.

We have also been together for 2 years.

I have been going to counseling alone for the past little while to deal with some of my own issues that revolve around guilt and insecurity. While it sounds like couples therapy would benefit you guys more, even going by yourself could help you see things more clearly. My therapist helped me sort out where my feelings and patterns might be coming from. She helped me tap into other emotions that I was scared of (like anger) instead of always reverting to guilt or worry (with which I'm more comfortable). I also realized that you can't control or change your partner, but if you change your patterns then the dynamic between you will change. Basically, I'm worrying less now about what I can't control and trying to focus on changing what I can. I still need a lot of reassurance and affection, which my boyfriend (like your girlfriend) has been providing less of, which is frustrating and doesn't help the issues of imbalance in our relationship.

Sorry I don't have much advice for you right now... like I said, I'm in the middle of dealing with these issues too. It's hard. Good luck and keep us posted.
Persiflager
((candycane_girl))

I think 5 days is a long time to go without contact, but I can understand how it wouldn't bother some people. It annoys me more on your behalf that he wasn't more sympathetic when he realised how worried you'd been. I think either he is trying to tell you something but too cowardly to say it (boo), or he's feeling guilty about upsetting you and pushing the blame back on you (not ideal, but possibly fixable).

I've had this situation with boyfriends before, and the only one who made me feel like a crazy person was the one who ended up dumping me a short while later mad.gif (but that is in no way statistically significant!).

If the grief he causes you when you're not together ends up out-weighing the wonderfulness when you are, then you should leave him, but it's definitely worth trying to talk about it first. Be calm, explain your feelings, and take it from there - if he cares about you, he should be willing to take some responsibility for ensuring this doesn't happen again.

Do you two have a regular date night? That could be easier than trying to arrange ad hoc plans each week.

How have things been since you got back in contact?

((epinephrine))

Boo, that really sucks. It sounds like the two of you could do with a bit of a break - maybe a month apart to think about things, or only meet up once a week? It's hard to get perspective when you're stuck in such a tricky situation, and it sounds like you need to take some time to look after yourself as well. Can you get away for a few days to visit friends or family?

Persiflager
double post
stargazer
(((((epinephrine)))))) I'm so sorry you are in this situation. It sounds like you are really hurting right now. From what you shared, it sounds like your gf is going through some changes on her own and is trying to see where you and your relationship together fits in her life. Unfortunately, you are the whipping girl for the choices/opportunities she is not taking for herself. You become the problem in her life. It is not fair to you. Do not take her baggage or unhappiness on.

I winced reading your post because it reminded me too much of my LTR with my exgf (don't read too much into the ex part). I thought she was the love of my life. We would be together forever. All that good stuff. We were still growing in our own ways and just needed to part to have our own journey or else we would've destroyed each other. Seriously. I was unhappy. She was unhappy. It didn't feel fair to take it out on each other. I needed to take myself out of the equation because I got tired of being the blame for her unhappiness. I knew she had to take a risk and live her own life so she could be happy. Her issues really had very little to do with me. I will say that we are friends today after 2 years of not speaking--I had to set that boundary as she used every opportunity to argue with me.

I agree with others that therapy would be helpful. I guess what reminded me of my previous relationship was the power struggles the ex and I had when discussing our needs/wants in a relationship. She blamed me for making all the decisions; however, she didn't want the responsibility of making decisions in our daily life. (Gosh, typing this sentence, I just realized a pattern here for myself. My mother does the same thing to me. Yuck. I dislike passive aggressive behavior.). I remember telling her that while she complains about me being in control, she wants me to be the one in control because she doesn't want to be the responsible one. She has grown up in some ways, but, sheesh, she was an immature womanchild when we were together. Like your situation, it just felt like we were disconnecting in our conversations. Finally, I realized that it wasn't that she couldn't understand what I was asking for, but, she couldn't provide me with what I needed/wanted in a committed relationship. Yeah, it was meant to end for us.

I don't know if my story helped or made you feel worse. sad.gif Keep posting in here if it helps you to get everything out. Or, feel free to PM me.
candycane_girl
Thanks, persiflager. And thanks for reminding me about my stats exam this week. Eep!

We usually meet twice a week every week but since it had been Easter I wasn't going to see him and then this past week was the beginning of exams so that's why our plans were up in the air.

I talked to one of my guy friends who said that calling the boy's grandparents was going way over the line and that really helped. I was glad to get a guy's perspective.

I can understand if my boyfriend feels like maybe I crossed the line with his sense of privacy but I still think he should have been more understanding about how worried I was. I still haven't been able to talk to him face to face and that's what's bugging me. Like I said he sent me an email on Friday about getting together, I replied and now I haven't heard from him at all. However, I'm not going to bother calling or emailing him again. I really want to talk to him but I refuse to chase him down.
surfita
so its my first year at college and my love life has been considerably less successful than i had hoped. im not sure why, but on two different instances, i'll like a boy, and we'll end up making out (and doing nothing more physically than that). then he'll make sure i know that this he's not looking for anything emotional with me. in one case, a boy said this, only to start seeing my friend two weeks later. i feel like i have a lot to offer in a relationship, i've got my own life, and im confident and outgoing. im just looking for something more emotional than just a physical relationship, and no one seems to be interested in me as a person. i know that the thing that im looking for will just surprise me sometime, but its hard to wait for that. any advice on staying happy in the meantime?
zoya
QUOTE(Persiflager @ Apr 19 2009, 07:33 AM) *
I think 5 days is a long time to go without contact, but I can understand how it wouldn't bother some people.
I agree, but I also think that if it just doesn't sit right with you, that you just continually don't feel right about it in your gut (even to the point that you start feeling *crazy*) it's not right. Even though it might not bother some people, it bothers you. You have the right to need what you need, and you're totally entitled to own your feelings. I don't think you sound "needy." I think that you sound like you're just behaving how anyone would behave when they're assuming they're in a healthy relationship.

QUOTE
It annoys me more on your behalf that he wasn't more sympathetic when he realised how worried you'd been. I think either he is trying to tell you something but too cowardly to say it (boo), or he's feeling guilty about upsetting you and pushing the blame back on you (not ideal, but possibly fixable).
again, it seems to me that you're just acting as any person would if they're in an on going relationship. While 5 months isn't a huge long time, it's not a short time, either. Long enough to make consistently being in contact with someone, or just dropping by their house, not a big deal.


QUOTE
If the grief he causes you when you're not together ends up out-weighing the wonderfulness when you are, then you should leave him, but it's definitely worth trying to talk about it first. Be calm, explain your feelings, and take it from there - if he cares about you, he should be willing to take some responsibility for ensuring this doesn't happen again.
agreed. you are totally entitled to need what you need in a relationship. none of what you're wanting is over the top, it's just normal. If he's invested in the relationship, he will do what it takes to fix it. You would - he should too, in a healthy, equal relationship.


I know that you feel like people here are telling you to break up with him - but as for me, I'm not advising one way or the other - I'm just saying that I think that the most important thing is to use this situation to help you become clear as to what YOU need in a relationship (ie: consistent communication, it being ok to drop by his place now and then unannounced, etc. etc.) and to not feel bad for wanting those things. That's part of who YOU are and what will make you bloom in a great relationship - getting your needs met, along with meeting someone else's needs. Someone who is also invested in meeting your needs. I think that you will know exactly what to do, that it will just fall into place as to what you want to do either way, if you are clear about what you need and don't sacrifice that. There's nothing wrong with needing what you need.


(ok, and lest anyone who knows me think I sound like a total hypocrite saying the above because you know that I've been in the exact same situation over and over and over - it's because I've been in that situation over and over and over that I'm learning that what I need is ok and all that stuff....)

epinephrine
Hey, guys, thank you so much for all the support. I wasn't expecting so many responses!

I wrote that post the morning after a really stupid fight that started with me being grumpy and her bugging me to tell her what was wrong until I spilled a bunch of half-formed thoughts about whether or not we should really be together that made no sense and really exacerbated the whole situation. Now she thinks I'm crazy and needy, and I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. She came over to my place for about 20 minutes yesterday and spent the whole time sitting in my kitchen looking grim and saying nothing. I don't know what the hell that was about, but it really threw me off. She claimed she came over to say hi, but she didn't seem to want to have a normal conversation and she wouldn't go somewhere more private where we could have a serious conversation. Ugh. Fucking dyke drama. I never wanted to be in a relationship like this.

Ever since she first told me she wanted to back out of the relationship, I've said that if we wanted to start fresh, without a ton of baggage and tension to fuck things up, we really needed to spend a couple of weeks not seeing each other at all - we really need a vacation from each other. I've brought it up over and over again, and she won't have anything to do with it. She won't give me a reason, she just says she "knows" it won't work. But I know that my problem is that I can't help but see this relationship through the lens of how good it used to be and how much I feel I've lost, and it makes everything we have now seem terrible and wrong. I need fresh eyes before I can really accept things how they are, move on, and start making things better, and I can't do that by continuing to do what we've been doing for the past 6 months. She seems to think that if she doesn't see me for a few weeks that when we do get back together again we will no longer want eachother and it will really be over, or something like that. And the fact that she thinks that only makes me feel more insecure about our relationship because that would only happen if she really didn't want to be with me. Whenever I bring it up now she acts like I'm saying it to hurt her and I don't care about her feelings, and eventually she plays the "well, do whatever you want, I can't stop you and I don't care" card.

I don't want to break up, but things cannot continue like this. Should I just insist on taking a serious break, even if she doesn't want to? The worst thing that can happen is she'll either really miss me or she'll decide she doesn't miss me at all and doesn't want me back. We've been influencing each other's decisions long enough. We really need the space. I definitely think this is the answer, I just really don't want to have another fucking fight about it.
stargazer
QUOTE(epinephrine @ Apr 19 2009, 02:45 PM) *
I don't want to break up, but things cannot continue like this. Should I just insist on taking a serious break, even if she doesn't want to? The worst thing that can happen is she'll either really miss me or she'll decide she doesn't miss me at all and doesn't want me back. We've been influencing each other's decisions long enough. We really need the space. I definitely think this is the answer, I just really don't want to have another fucking fight about it.


It sounds like you answered your own question in your post. If your intuition is telling you to take a break, then you should do it. I think you should read zoya's response to candycane_girl 'cause I think it is applicable to your situation. Good luck and let us know what happens for you.
candycane_girl
Thanks again, ladies. I didn't really mean that it felt like everyone in the world was telling me to dump him. Well, not exactly. It was just that I talked to my mom and she said "you deserve better". And then everyone in here said that I deserve better. And then I went out on Friday night and even some random women I ended up talking to told me to get rid of him.

But I've found that as the weekend wore on it seemed like more people were just telling me to talk things out with him. I would if I could. He sent me an email on Friday about making plans for today or tomorrow, I replied and I haven't heard back since. So...yeah. But I'll be damned if I'm the one to call/email him. I don't know if he's just really pissed off or if he thinks that he's testing me or what.

It's the worst because I simply can't do anything right now. I want to talk to him but like I said, I'm sticking to my guns. I have no idea where this is going. If he wants to break up with me than I'd rather he just fucking do it and get it over with rather than making me wait in limbo. I just want to talk to him face to face.
girltrouble
QUOTE
It's the worst because I simply can't do anything right now. I want to talk to him but like I said, I'm sticking to my guns. I have no idea where this is going. If he wants to break up with me than I'd rather he just fucking do it and get it over with rather than making me wait in limbo. I just want to talk to him face to face.
just a thought, candy-- he can't make you do anything. in this thing you have as much control as you choose. you can wait, sure, but you can also take control and make decisions for yourself.
ketto
QUOTE(candycane_girl @ Apr 20 2009, 09:57 AM) *
Thanks again, ladies. I didn't really mean that it felt like everyone in the world was telling me to dump him. Well, not exactly. It was just that I talked to my mom and she said "you deserve better". And then everyone in here said that I deserve better. And then I went out on Friday night and even some random women I ended up talking to told me to get rid of him.

But I've found that as the weekend wore on it seemed like more people were just telling me to talk things out with him. I would if I could. He sent me an email on Friday about making plans for today or tomorrow, I replied and I haven't heard back since. So...yeah. But I'll be damned if I'm the one to call/email him. I don't know if he's just really pissed off or if he thinks that he's testing me or what.

It's the worst because I simply can't do anything right now. I want to talk to him but like I said, I'm sticking to my guns. I have no idea where this is going. If he wants to break up with me than I'd rather he just fucking do it and get it over with rather than making me wait in limbo. I just want to talk to him face to face.


Candy, this sucks. I was in a similar situation with a guy 5 years ago. I always felt like I was waiting around for him to call or get back to me and I could never freaking reach him. We dated for about 4 months, things seemed fine but we only saw each other once or twice a week and then out of the blue he broke up with me. At first I was really hurt but then I realized that he'd been annoying me so much with his unreachableness that I was glad to be rid of him. In retrospect he was kind of a pompous asshole....but hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, I don't mean to imply that you're situation is the same, but along the same lines as Zoya, I just wanted to say that remember to think about what YOU want out of this relationship, because it doesn't sound like you're getting what you want right now.
candycane_girl
Well, it looks like we're finally meeting tonight. I'm not really sure how things are going to go but at least we'll be able to talk face to face.
candycane_girl
Hello, ladies. I just wanted to let you all know that the talk went fine. It was good to get things out in the open and get him to see things from my point of view. Thanks for all of your support, it really meant a lot of me.
flanker_ji
I'm glad to hear it, ccg.
crinoline
that's great! (((good relationship vibes for all)))
epinephrine
QUOTE
Ugh, all of this sounds just like me about 20 years ago, CCGirl. That was my last bad boyfriend. When I found myself in this situation with him, I decided I'd disappear for a few days, myself. No phone calls, no information to anyone about where I'd gone, only my family and my best friends knew. Sure enough he started to phone people looking for me (I found out when I got back) but when I was away I decided I wasn't going to wait for him to decide. He wasn't giving me what I wanted, he was making me unhappy, and frankly, after about the same amount of time as you've spent with this guy, I was really getting bored with his bullshit, and with him having all the power in the relationship.
...
Your boyfriend is making you feel bad for doing things anyone would do if they thought they were having a relationship with someone they assumed to be a lover or boyfriend/girlfriend. It sounds like this boy likes to have the option of seeing you, and he likes to have the option of not seeing you whenever he wants. He knows exactly what you want from him but isn't willing to be honest about the fact that he won't give that to you because then he'd have to make a decision one way or the other. Right now, he's feeling guilty for not calling you (cause he really didn't want to) so he's trying to make you feel like there's something wrong with you for giving a damn about him when he really did fall off the face of the earth and didn't bother to let you know he'd be out of touch (as far as I know, pay phones and land lines are all still available in Canada to anyone with a few coins--he could have called, easily). He's trying to make you feel like you're defective, when you were just being human. He's careful to let you know he doesn't think you're defective enough to break up with, however, so he'll just skirt around the whole thing until he wants to see you again (whenever his convenience dictates).


I feel like this really applies to my situation, as well. This is what I've been trying to tell my girlfriend - she's not giving me what I want - and she's telling me there's something wrong with what I want. I feel like she's keeping me at arm's length so I'll be there when she gets lonely but she won't have to deal with me when she doesn't want to. She says that right now we're going through a dry spell because she's focusing on her family issues (unbelievably messy Chinese family politics and a dying patriarch) and on her career (she's a cook, not a lawyer or anything), and that since we're in a serious relationship I should be able to stick it out through these bad spots and come out on the other side. She's basically asking me to wait for her to want me again. And if I can't deal with that then all our relationship problems are my fault. She totally has all the power in the relationship right now. She decides when we're on and when we're off. She keeps trying to pass off the blame on me, and she keeps making me believe it. But when I suggested that she didn't seem to want to be with me and maybe we should just break up, she actually told me I should try to see things her way, and it's my fault I'm unhappy because I can only see my way. But that's not true, because it's the very fact that I can see things her way that makes me confused. Every time we have this talk, I walk away wondering why I get so upset when I could just let go of my expectations and let things take their natural course. Then I think, since when is it wrong to have expectations in a relationship? Mine can't be that outrageous. I just want to be wanted.

Things between us have grown way out of proportion because of this constant back-and-forth game, where I react to her behaviour and she reacts to my reaction and I react to her reaction to my reaction and so on and so on. When I feel like she's being cold and distant, I get upset, and when I get upset she just withdraws even more.

stargazer
Dude, you really need to read Zoya's and my post again. You have power in the relationship.

Is she willing to go to therapy to work on the current issues? I mean, individual therapy for herself and couples therapy for the both of you. What are you doing to take care of yourself? I'm sorry to hear things have not improved for your situation.
epinephrine
I actually have had some counselling, and I've suggested couples counselling, but I have yet to look into it further. I got free one-on-one counselling from my school (the perks of being a student) but we're both really poor (the pitfalls of being a student) and professional couples counselling would be a strain for both of us. I like to think we're worth the money, though. I don't really feel like my counselling helped me resolve anything, but it was nice to have an impartial ear. I feel awful talking to my friends about it, but I really need an outlet.
edie52
QUOTE
When I feel like she's being cold and distant, I get upset, and when I get upset she just withdraws even more.


Ugh, that's what was happening with me and my boyfriend, and it was driving me crazy. It led to a huge fight which led to him being like "I'm not doing this- I don't want to deal with you when you're all mopey like this (etc)," which I thought was shitty because it was like he was saying he only wants to deal with the good and not the bad. I understand where he was coming from- he didn't totally understand what was upsetting me and felt like I was being unreasonable and uncommunicative.

But anyway- I feel like your girlfriend is being similarly unfair- she seems to not want to deal with the bad (by being distant when you're upset, not being receptive to the fact that you're unsatisfied), and at the same time she's telling you that you need to cope with all this bad stuff, and get through it. It's a contradiction. What she's saying suggests that she's in denial, that she doesn't want to admit that the problems are about the two of you (despite the external problems with her family, which may seem tangled up in this but are actually something else). I'm not saying you should break up, I'm really not one to jump to that conclusion and I understand what it's like to really love someone and want to work it out, if at all possible... if you can't seek counseling together then you at least need to come to an understanding on how the behavior and patterns in your relationship are affecting you both, and you both need to agree on ways to change your behavior to be more sensitive to the other's needs and expectations. Just trying to blindly get through a hard time without addressing these issues will still result on problems on the other side, even after the external problems get resolved.

At the same time, beyond talking, if at all possible you should try to just relax and have fun together. I know this sounds like a bizarre contradiction to the heavy "talk it out" advice, and I know it's hard, but if you're ever in a light mood just try to go with it, try to momentarily forget all the problems and have fun together, and remember why you love each other. This is coming out as really cliche advice, but when my boyfriend and I were in our big flight/crisis it helped to recognize those moments when we were having fun again, and try to help them along.
epinephrine
Yeah, I feel like she's in denial, too. I just feel like every single signal she's giving me is telling me she doesn't want to be with me, but when I tried to talk to her about that she got angry at me. And then she denied that she was angry. That's one of our biggest problems - she can't seem to hear the tone in her voice, and she's constantly talking to me like she's angry and then telling me everything's fine when I call her on it, and then she acts like I'm just being sensitive and that's our real problem. But, yeah, I really feel like she doesn't want to be with me. She doesn't want sex. She doesn't want affection. She doesn't even want to kiss me. She insists that we hang out at her place and never wants to come to mine. she never wants to get out and do something fun and always claims she's "too tired," but goes out all the time with her friends to do the exact same things she wouldn't do with me. She's begun accusing me of being "messy" even though I'm a total clean freak and her apartment, which was always clean when I lived there, has been totally messy and crusty and stinky ever since I moved out. She picked that fight with me once when every dish in the apartment was dirty, her bathroom and kitchen hadn't been cleaned in months, the garbage hadn't been taken out in 2 weeks, the floor was covered in food, and there were clothes all over the bed, couch, tables and chairs. Amid all that filth, she chewed me out for being messy because I'd left an empty, rinsed tin can on the counter. I mean, if that's not a clear sign someone doesn't want you around, I don't know what is. When I pointed out how ridiculous that was, she took it back, but told me that "ok, that wasn't a good example, but you're still really messy."

I think she's seriously conflicted about being in a committed relationship. She watched her parents go through a horrible divorce when she was 15 and it scarred her for life. Her first relationship was with a deeply closeted and controlling girl and it lasted 5 years. She was only 19 or 20 when they broke up. She told me when she first broke it off with me back in October that she'd started rethinking our relationship when someone (I think it was the girl she liked) asked her how many serious relationships she'd been in in her life and she realized how much time she'd spent in committed relationships at the age of 22. It sparked a kind of identity crisis. So she pushed me away. But she's scared to break up, too. Our last fight started when I told her how I felt about the way she treats me and suggesting that if she didn't want to be with me, we should break up. She was upset by my "lack of commitment" and my inability to stick through the "dry spells." Some nights, when we're hanging out but I feel like sleeping in my own bed, she'll ignore me the whole time I'm there with her and just watch TV and surf the net, but when I get up to go she gets all sad and kitteny and wants me to call her when I get home. The only time she ever tells me she loves me anymore is when I've gone to sleep at my place and she gets lonely. Denial is the only way she can cope with this dissonance. She doesn't want to be committed but she doesn't want to be alone, so she just does what she likes with me and denies that anything's wrong so that when I get upset at the state of our relationship she can claim ignorance, and then all the problems I brought up will be mine and not hers. That way it's always my fault. I'm just imagining things; I'm just being sensitive; I'm the one who's not communicating when I don't bring up these issues before they become issues.

Ugh, the more I think about this the more I think this girl is totally not stable enough to be in a relationship. She has no idea what she wants. I'd be fine with breaking up at this point, but she's so far in denial about this and she's still so dependent on me that I know she'll make it as difficult as she can. Every time I try to tell her I'm unhappy she turns it back on me. I'll just have to disentangle myself from this situation as gently as possible. All I want is for the fighting to stop.
Persiflager
((epinephrine))

That's pretty shoddy behaviour. Dry spells are one thing, but it's unfair for her to have the energy to do fun things with her friends but not you. It's also not ok for her to blame everything on you.

If you do want to break up with her, then I think you can. It doesn't have to be a mutual decision. If you're not happy and don't see a future for you two, then you're allowed to walk away.

You need to take care of yourself.

How badly do you think she will take it? Is there a neutral place you could go? It might help to write down what you want to say beforehand. It sounds like she has friends to take care of her, so she should have some support.

Alternatively, you could always make a unilateral decision to take a break - tell her that you need a break from the relationship and you're going to take one. There's no guarantee she'll wait for you, but it's possible the time apart will help.



ketto
Epinephrine, that's so rough. I could even feel the tone of "i'm fed up" in your writing. It sounds like she's being totally unfair and just isn't ready to make a real commitment. It sounds like you've already made your decision really, so I hope everything goes alright.
epinephrine
Well, we seem to have made an unspoken decision to keep our distance from each other for the last few days. I've only spent about an hour with her in the past 3 or 4 days. For the first time I can remember, she went one day without calling me. When I saw her today, the distance was palpable. We had nothing to say to each other. Even though it's going to kill me to do it, I think I'll just break up with her and be done with it. I wanted to be with her so much, and I worked so hard on the relationship, and I'm sick of waiting around for her to want to be with me too. It's going to be tough, though, because her grandfather's in the hospital with only a few days left, and I don't want to break up with her in the middle of a death in the family. Goddammit. This woman has really busted my balls.
candycane_girl
Whoops.
epinephrine
Wow. Well, it's done - and sooner than I thought. She came over to my place to do her laundry today and told me she wanted to talk to me, and she started by saying that she's been unfair to me and things haven't been good, and she hadn't been treating me right. I agreed, and we made a friendly and mutual decision to break up. I've known for a long time I wasn't going to get what I wanted from this relationship, but every time I tried to talk to her about it she'd just turn it into an argument. Or she'd say something I thought was mean, and it would turn into an argument about who started the argument. And I just couldn't stand the thought of breaking up in the middle of an argument and ending our relationship, which has, for the most part, been absolutely amazing, on such a bad note. I was waiting and waiting for the right time, and it never seemed to come. So we broke up quietly and easily, and spent some of our day together with none of the horrible tension that's been plaguing us for the past few months. I felt like we were just walking on eggshells all the time, anticipating our next fight. Ugh.

So it's over, and that's sad, but it was over a long time ago. At least now we can finally start being ourselves again. I don't even think we're going to cancel our travel plans. The only problem is that, now that things are good again, I keep wanting to kiss her, and I know I can't.
period_monster
((epinephrine)) I'm glad that your breakup was low on drama. I hope that continues.
girl_logic
((Epinephrine))
I've been following but never have the good advice so haven't said anything. I'm glad that turning point in your relationship happened in the most positive way imaginable. I hope you keep thinking about the possibilities with someone else that will be open soon, or just how great it feels not to be in the situation you were in a few days ago. Every step away from the particular type of emotional engagement you have with her will make you feel better and better. It's going to be hard on vacation with her, unless she really does stuff that drives you crazy. Then you can shake your head and think "but for the grace of gawd..."
epinephrine
You know, every time I think things have gotten as bad as they're going to get and they're about to start getting better, this girl finds a way to fuck things up again. This is truly unbelievable. She just called me tonight to tell me there's something going on between her and one of my good friends. And it's been going on for weeks. It actually precipitated her finally initiating that talk with me. I don't have a clue how to deal with this. I haven't even retrieved all my things from her place, and I already have to watch her move on to someone else, like I was never even there. And this new love interest is a good friend of mine! What's it going to do to our friendship?

We just spent an hour on the phone talking about this. On one hand she told me because she knew what a touchy subject it would be, but on the other hand she doesn't seem to understand why I'm upset. I'm devastated because I feel like I just never meant as much to her as I thought I did, and this girl meant so, so much to me.

I think I'll just take this into the Moving On thread now, because clearly nothing that happens between us now belongs in a thread about relationships. I am so done. Fuck this shit.
period_monster
(((epinephrine))) I'm so sorry. Could you enlist the help of a friend to help gather the rest of your things?
candycane_girl
((((epinephrine)))) Just like girl_logic, I've been following all your posts in this thread but I never knew what to say. However, the part about your ex now revealing that she's been with your friend for the past few weeks reminds me of how my boyfriend described his last relationship. He and his ex were living together but towards the end they were barely sleeping together and only officially separated because their lease was up. I guess the next day (!!!) she mentioned her "new" boyfriend. I realize that this isn't actually offering any advice but I guess I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone.

Like PM said, could you possibly get a friend to get the rest of your stuff? As for your ex, she sounds pretty heartless. I think at this point that I wouldn't even try to explain why you are pissed. She just doesn't get it. All I would do is make sure she knows how you feel and then cut her out of your life 100%.
stargazer
(((epinephrine))) sad.gif
candycane_girl
Okay, I'm not really seeking any advice I'm just wondering about something. As anyone in this thread knows, I've had my fair share of issues with my boyfriend. However, it seems that even amongst all my friends, they also have issues with their boyfriends and not just little ones. I've even noticed on this board how many posters seem to have great relationships but even they have issues and problems with their boyfriends or husbands.

I guess what I'm wondering is how much women put up with in relationships. I mean, obviously there has to be a certain amount of compromise but I just wonder how much it varies for people. Does anyone feel like they have a perfect or near perfect relationship?
epinephrine
Well, that's what I thought I had before everything went to hell. And after it went to hell, I was still willing to put up with an awful lot of shit in the hopes that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Things were so good before they got bad that it just didn't seem possible - I was convinced that there was just a misunderstanding and that once we cleared it up things would be good again. I put up with a lot of shit before I realized that the misunderstanding was that we still had a relationship to save.
girl_logic
That's a good question. I want to get some work done right now, but it's something I've been thinking about too.

edie52
That is a really good question, something I always wonder about. Because as you said, everyone I know well has their fair share of relationship issues. But other couples I look at from the "outside" (acquaintances) seem to have great relationships. I know they must have their issues too, but I always manage to convince myself that they have less. As for how much to put up with, that must vary so much from person to person. I don't think you should feel as though you are compromising yourself. If you do, that's a red flag in my book. Don't forget to think about what you want. It also depends so much on the couple, how much and how well you communicate and are willing to work through things and let other things go. It's definitely a process that both people have to be committed to. Maybe faith helps too.

It's funny that you asked about how much women put up with... because I genuinely wonder how our experience of a relationship differ from a man's (sorry to be hetero-centric, I'm only speaking from experience). My boyfriend was being quiet and distant the other night, and seemed bored, and I was asking what was up, saying I want to know what he's thinking and where he's at because I can't tell. He said he was just tired and was like "can't I just BE?" -I need constant communication, and maybe make too big a deal out of things, but I can't tell when I'm mis-perceiving something. It causes problems. He would probably say that that's one annoying thing that men have to put up with. (Mega-generalizations here, I'm aware.)
candycane_girl
See, I've always thought that relationships do require compromise. I think as long as it's not too much then it's okay. Of course, I think about my own parents and all of the compromises they had to make to be together. My mom's white and my dad is Indian so they couldn't just do things however they wanted, especially when it came to having a family. I think to me that relationships are all about give and take.

I'm curious about how it is for men as well. I think they get bothered by different things. Almost every woman I know complains about communication with her boyfriend while most guys I know say that they just don't have anything to talk about so they want to be left alone.

It kind of reminds me of a stand up routine by Russell Peters. He says that a lot of times guys can just stare into space and honestly not be thinking about anything. So then when the girlfriend asks what he's thinking about and the guy says nothing the girl thinks that he's lying and a fight ensues. According to my bf and all of my guy friends, this is very true.
solaria
candycane girl, what a good question. I feel like I do have a good relationship with my husband, and from the outside I'm sure it looks nearly perfect. We've only been together for two and a half years though, so it's not like I'm speaking from decades of experience.

Ok, it sounds cliche, but your relationship with your partner is a magnified version of your relationship with yourself. That person is not there to indulge your ego but to help you grow, and show you who you really are. Sometimes you don't want to see parts of yourself. I see my bratty shadow side come out kind of often. I have a lot of work to do...and sometimes I get resentful, and think "I was fine when I was single, and this is just so annoying", or something like that. But when I was single and could "do whatever I want", I was just hiding from this unpleasant side, but it was always there.

Knowing your own issues and being willing to face them is the number one thing you have to do if you want to be able to have a relationship that will actually grow with you. And of course, you have to hold your partner accountable for their stuff too, but also know that because we're not all enlightened, there will be times when your ego gets in the way and you will act like a jack ass, or your partner will, but it's not who you really are. And if you can remember that your first priority is to love and support each other, and not to be right, you'll be ok. It's when one or both people can't get past that is when I think there ends up being too much compromise.

I see some women who have been married for like 30 or 40 years, and they don't really have a relationship with their husbands. It's like they avoid their issues as much as possible or ignore them, and usually its the woman who does most of the emotional work because the man probably has long since numbed himself and doesn't know he has emotions. It's scary.

Interesting though, because in my relationship I am the one who spaces out and my husband asks me what I'm thinking, and I'll say nothing, and then there's this awkward silence because I'm not really communicating and then I get resentful that he's like prying into my thoughts, and they're so vague and introspective I just don't know how to answer. This usually happens on long car rides.
edie52
Solaria, you're so wise! I can't write much now but your post was kind of an epiphany for me. I'll be back.
stargazer
QUOTE(solaria @ May 10 2009, 07:58 PM) *
Knowing your own issues and being willing to face them is the number one thing you have to do if you want to be able to have a relationship that will actually grow with you. And of course, you have to hold your partner accountable for their stuff too, but also know that because we're not all enlightened, there will be times when your ego gets in the way and you will act like a jack ass, or your partner will, but it's not who you really are. And if you can remember that your first priority is to love and support each other, and not to be right, you'll be ok. It's when one or both people can't get past that is when I think there ends up being too much compromise.


I really liked reading your post, Solaria. You sounded very grounded and wise.
roseviolet
QUOTE(candycane_girl @ May 8 2009, 04:31 PM) *
Okay, I'm not really seeking any advice I'm just wondering about something. As anyone in this thread knows, I've had my fair share of issues with my boyfriend. However, it seems that even amongst all my friends, they also have issues with their boyfriends and not just little ones. I've even noticed on this board how many posters seem to have great relationships but even they have issues and problems with their boyfriends or husbands.

I guess what I'm wondering is how much women put up with in relationships. I mean, obviously there has to be a certain amount of compromise but I just wonder how much it varies for people. Does anyone feel like they have a perfect or near perfect relationship?



CCGirl, I read your post aloud to my husband & we talked about it for a while. Here's a basic run down of what we covered.

If you engage in a close relationship with another human being, there WILL be times when you argue or disagree. Doesn't matter if it is your friend, your parent, your sibling, or your lover. No one gets along ALL the time. There will always be issues. ALWAYS. The key is to find someone with issues that you can handle (and vice versa) and for the two of you to find a way to communicate through the issues.

Compromise is an interesting word. Sheff said that when people hear "compromise" they often think "sacrifice". And sacrifice is usually thought of as a very bad, painful thing. They think of things being taken from them, usually reluctantly. Sheff says there's another way to approach the idea of sacrifice. He said that traditionally, when people "sacrifice" one thing, they give it up willingly in order to gain something better. Personally, I don't think I have to compromise often in our relationship, but that may have more to do with my mindset than anything else. I may not compromise often, but that's because I have prioritized what is most important to me. When I' am given a couple of options, I usually do whatever lines up with my highest priority. Sometimes I give up something, but that's because I think I'll get a greater benefit n the end by making that choice. Other times I'm just being a wimp and not good at standing up for myself, but in those instances I can only blame myself.

Sheff and I get along really well. It's hard to say exactly why. Sheff said it helps a lot that we're equally committed to one another (and I totally agree). We're equally important in the relationship; neither one of us is the boss. We have fairly equal & fair expectations of each other and of the relationship. We genuinely like being around one another, but we also value having time to ourselves. We do not expect perfection from one another, but we expect kindness and sympathy, grace and compassion. I do not expect him to be "my everything" (I hate that phrase!). He's only human, so he cannot fulfill my every need. Luckily, he does do the things that matter most to me - the things I most want from a spouse. For the other, more trivial stuff, I can turn to friends.

That's where prioritizing comes in. I used to be with a man I loved very dearly, but I didn't have the kind of spiritual connection with him that I longed to have with a partner. I tried to change that - tried to change him - but it didn't work and left me feeling resentful. Then I tried to fill the void by having deeper spiritual relationships with other people, but that went REALLY badly and left me feeling resentful and guilty. I was convinced that there was no man on the planet who could be what I needed ... that men like that - men who could actually talk about their feelings on a deeper level - just didn't exist. Then I met Sheff and realized that I could have what I wanted, what I needed.

Sure, we annoy one another sometimes & we argue occasionally, but we do it respectfully. There's no name calling, no violence, nothing like that. Both of us are willing to apologize & willing to admit when we're wrong. We try to be gracious, to be loving, because that makes us both feel good. We've only had a couple of really bad fights in the 8 years we've known each other, but we've always been able to reach a point where we calmed down, discussed the subject again, came to a better understanding, and developed a strategy to fix the problem together.

Sheff and I are alike in tons of ways & we have plenty in common, but there are some differences that are never going to go away. Sheff does not like craft fairs or the opera. I don't like his collection of angry-ranting-man music or the smell of pickled onions. But it's okay. I'll happily go out to those activities with my girlfriends while Sheff stays at home alone, eating stinky food and listening to hair metal. There are tons of other things we have in common, so it's okay if our tastes don't match up perfectly. We just find ways to make sure we both feel satisfied with what we get.

Solaria, I really loved your post. There's a lot of truth there. It's funny that you say that people think you have the perfect relationship because our friends seem to have that impression, too. In the past week I've heard one friend say that she wishes her boyfriend wer more like Sheff and another friend say that he wishes his girlfriend were more like me! Oh, if only they knew the truth, right? wink.gif Honestly, though, I feel truly blessed to be in this relationship. Sheff & I have been married for 4 years now so maybe we're still in the honeymoon period, but I hope not. I have a feeling that a lot of the good things about our relationship will carry us through for a long, long time.

Edited to add: I just wanted to say that the behavior of my friends - comparing their partners to me and Sheff - is really really bad form. I am embarrassed to admit that I did that kind of thing to my ex-boyfriend. Now when I think about the way I humiliated him in public like that, I feel absolutely horrified. When I'm with casual friends, I only say complimentary things about Sheff. I will expose our dirty laundry to my closest, oldest girlfriend, but only because I respect her opinion & because she's good at telling me to pull my head out of my ass when necessary.
candycane_girl
This might sound crazy since I've only been with my guy for a few months (almost 6) but reading your post, Rose, I noticed a lot of similarities between your relationship and mine.

My guy (I wish I could think of a nickname for him) is really understanding with me. See, before him I hadn't had a relationship in 4 years. I'm not totally used to the relationship stuff, I get upset easily and I'm kind of used to cutting people out of my life if things aren't going well. So whenever I've gotten really upset with him he is the one who is more calm and that in turn calms me down and then we talk things out.

I also like the idea of not having the same taste in everything! First off, I think that would be impossible but secondly I think it can be more fun. My guy and I have a lot of things in common, mainly our taste in music and movies, but we still differ a bit and it makes things interesting.

I think the one thing that scares me is the idea of having a really big bad fight. Last year I got into a horrible argument with my cousin in April. She cut me out of her life so I decided to do the same with her (basically deleting her phone number, IM, etc). We didn't talk again until November but she was the one who made the first move. I basically had an attitude of "I'll be damned if I apologize for anything". And that tends to be my attitude a lot of the time. I'm stubborn and I hold grudges. Oh, and I have a horrible tendency to say really terrible things in the heat of the moment. I think these are the things that I need to work on. But it scares me to know that that's how I tend to behave because I've said a lot of things that most people probably wouldn't forgive. I guess I'll just have to keep working on myself so that I don't say such terrible things in the heat of the moment.

Oh I also liked the idea of being with someone who can help you grow. I really hate the way that I look right now and I feel horrible about myself a lot of the time. My bf on the other hand, is really into eating healthy and he exercises almost everyday. So he's trying to help me lose weight. Despite the fact that he says he loves the way I look he's still willing to help me get in shape and hopefully go down a few dress sizes. Sometimes he jokes about not being into skinny chicks but he knows that this is really important to me so he's very supportive.

Gah. I'm on my period and thinking about him is making me all emotional. I really do love this guy. He's not perfect but he is so sweet and so caring. I can't wait to be in his arms again. Sorry for the mush.


Persiflager
Ooh, that's a good question, with some great responses!

Rose, I really like your points about compromise/sacrifice vs priorities. I don't feel like I compromise much in my relationship because I'm getting everything that's important to me - I wouldn't say we're perfect, but it's exactly the relationship that I want.
angie_21
QUOTE(Persiflager @ May 11 2009, 03:01 PM) *
Ooh, that's a good question, with some great responses!

Rose, I really like your points about compromise/sacrifice vs priorities. I don't feel like I compromise much in my relationship because I'm getting everything that's important to me - I wouldn't say we're perfect, but it's exactly the relationship that I want.


I second those thoughts.

I used to think about this a lot when I started going out with my current sweetheart 3.5 years ago. We said the I love yous after a week, and moved in a week after that, it was crazy and impulsive, but there was a lot of thinking (and feeling!), and countless talks that lasted until 4 am. We've talked about this stuff a few times since too, because we both feel (and most of our friends agree) that we've got it about as good as it gets. I don't believe in perfect relationships or in soul mates, but it's pretty close.

Looking at this from kind of the opposite angle, because I don't know why you would bother being in a relationship if you didn't believe it was (or, at least, had once been) close to perfect - One thing I've always wondered about, is the massive amount of people out there reading books and watching tv shows about how to "understand" their mate. How can you have made a life commitment to someone you don't even understand?! In this day and age, when you can have divorces or wait your whole life to get married, why do so many people still marry the first idoit that comes along, and then stay with them? Argh! It seems so old-fashioned and crazy! Sure, sometimes you wonder WTF is going on in that crazy little head of theirs, but if you don't, overall, understand what your partner wants out of life and your relationship, and furthermore, if you don't agree with it, why oh why would you stay in a serious relationship with them? I don't know if I am saying what I really want to say here, but I hope at least some of it gets across.

That being said, relationships change over time, because the people in them change, and I have no idea what the future holds for us. We've made very strong commitments to eachother (bought a house together!) and agreed that this is it, for both of us, whatever happens we are going to work it out. So far so good. But we are also both reasonable and know that things change. We have already made "compromises" for eachother, moving to different cities for work and school, for example. We know there will be more, knowing our career field, which isn't great for income or for having control over your own life. There have been a few days of my life when I thought, "damn, if I was single I wouldn't have to worry about (money, letting the house get disgustingly dirty, moving to New Zealand on a whim, etc)" but much, much more often, I am happy about all the wonderful new things I have done and learned because of my sweetie, all the great new friends I made when I met his friends, and how much I still love getting drunk together and talking until 4 am.

As far as fights go.. I don't fight with anyone I am close to (except a few people in my family), and don't have it in me to hold a grudge, as much as I've wanted to sometimes. I get mad, I tell them, then it's over and dealt with. There's just no point. Every guy I've ever gone out with has been very weirded out by it. A lot of my friends are too. Unfortunately, it's made it hard to tell in the past when my relationships weren't working out, and I've actually been learning how to fight once in a while, just so I don't get stepped all over. My current boy is very helpful with it just because he's so supportive, so when I make a point about speaking up about what I want, it isn't a struggle because he really wants to know what I think, and he actually listens. But it does mean we don't actually fight.
kittenb
I have put a lot of thought into the question that candycane_girl first asked. It was posted at an interesting time for me. Since I moved in w/The Geek (gods, exactly 1 month ago yesterday!!!) I feel like I have lost a level of balance that I had just achieved in this relationship. Frankly, I can think of two clear moments where I suddenly wanted to be single again. The first time was simply a brief moment of fear and frustration. The second time was this morning.
I haven't wanted to be single in a long time. Moving in with him was what I wanted. However, whatever relationship issues that we had before (we are both kind of messy, he never gives compliments, I overanalyze EVERYTHING) are a lot more present now that we are together. I keep telling myself that this is a natural part of our relationship. We are just adjusting and settling in. But I want everything to be perfect right now! Luckily, I can be rational enough to realize that we will never be perfect. There will always be adjustments and growth and change and the vast majority of the time we make each other happy.
I worked an overnight last night. It was an awful shift. He was working from home after a full day of work and was, apparently up into the wee hours for work. What did not get done was the dishes that he said he would do on Saturday and the trash had not been taken out. We had discussed chores this weekend and agreed that if I did the laundry (something I enjoy) he would be responsible for taking the trash out (something I hate doing, don't ask me why.) We also made it clear that I had never agreed to be the primary dish doer and he needed to do them as well. So when I came home this morning, exhausted and strung out from work and I saw the pile of dishes and all of the trash I honestly cried. Normally after an overnight, I'll lie down with him for a little bit but I knew if I even spoke to him it was going to be an ugly fight stemming more from our collective exhaustion than any actual dirty dish. When he came out of the bedroom, he looked about as bad as I felt. So I sat in the living room, insanely angry, until he left for work, taking the trash with him. Since he picked up the trash w/o me reminding him, I kissed him goodby and went to sleep, still crying.
I know myself well enough to know when I am not rational. This morning was that kind of time. Even if we had had the time for a conversation this morning, I would not have wanted to until I had some damn sleep. Otherwise, all of my fears about our first major fight would have been realized at about 8 AM this morning since I was convinced that he was a lazy annoying pain in my ass who clearly appreciated NOTHING I have done to make this place look good.
By chosing silence (and some level of martrydom, to be honest) I was able to calm down. After I woke up, he sent me a text saying he would take care of the mess tonight and explained his work from last night. I feel much better now.
So why did I write this whole book about my stupid AM drama? Don't know, but I feel better. And after reading everything here, I have been reminded that we don't have to be the perfect relationship as long as we remember that in our imperfections we are perfect for each other. I also believe what RV said about not airing out every single perceived fault of him and us. I respect him as much as I love him and I don't want him to turn into a punch line like I see in too many relationships.
All right, I'm off. Thanks for making me think and making me feel better about everything Busties. smile.gif
candycane_girl
I have to imagine that living with someone can bring up a lot of issues. You see the person all the time and you get to know all of their bad little habits. I also think that house cleaning is one of the biggest issues when it comes to living with someone else whether it's a boyfriend or just a friend or whatever. I know that for the brief hellish time that I had roommates that was our biggest problem. I hate cleaning up after other people.

Anyway, I guess that maybe I should clarify what I meant by compromises. Maybe it's just because I'm still in the very early stages of this relationship but when I said that everyone has to compromise I meant little compromises. I hate to bring up my brother again but the dynamics of his relationship actually bother me! I guess a little run down is in order.

He's going to be 29 this year but he is a very late bloomer when it comes to getting his life in order so he's just going to go into his last year of university. He has always talked about leaving our hometown and trying to get out and explore things that he can do and different places that he could live in.

His gf already has her degree but she doesn't work in her field. Somehow she has managed to purchase a house. Now she's talking about things like marriage and kids (!!!) and she has made it very clear that if she gets married it has to be in the synagogue.

This is where I feel she's expecting too much from him. My bro is kind of a man child and he is not ready for all of this stuff! Also he doesn't believe in organized religion at all so there's no way that he would convert just so that she can get married in the temple. Also, like I said, he has talked about getting out of that city and yet now here she is with a house which is basically like saying, "I'm staying here whether you like it or not". To me it just seems like she's making all these decisions and expecting him to go along with everything despite the fact that he has made it clear that he wants other options.

Now that I read that over it's not even compromise. She seems to just expect him to sacrifice everything he wants for her. I like the kind of compromises that Rose talked about, like not listening to Sheff's hair metal or Sheff not going to arts and crafts fairs. That is reasonable to me.

angie, I think it's interesting that you pointed out the books about understanding your partner. I admit that guys seem to have a really weird thought process but I also think that a lot of women over-analyze things in relationships. Sometimes you just have to take things at face value. Most guys I know aren't good at sending "hidden" messages. They also aren't good at picking up hints that we try to drop. Basically all I do is just tell it like it is. I say "I want to go here on this day and engage in this activity." It's kind of refreshing.
ananke
I talked to Mr A last night about this - I can think of a million reasons he's a good partner, but why our relationship is good is something more ephemeral almost. A lot of it is that we don't take each other or the relationship for granted - you have to work at making a relationship good. Yes we love each other and respect each other, but love isn't enough. If that means he has to know when to back off and let me be, or I have to push myself to be huggy and kissy, that's what it takes. And it gets easier and easier. And we tolerate the small things and put them into a bigger framework.

That and cleaning has managed to not be an issue. That makes it a lot easier!
edie52
When I said "you shouldn't compromise yourself," I meant in a very general sense, like you shouldn't compromise so much that you're changing who you are to please the other person, or because you're so wrapped up in what they're doing. Which I guess is obvious, but for me it's been a struggle. I was in a relationship a few years ago that I now realize was totally unhealthy- even though I really loved him and still think he's a wonderful, lovable person, and we had a special connection- I had just compromised myself too much. He was so expansive in his creativity that I ended up just helping him with his projects and feeling more and more insecure and unsure of what I even wanted from my life or the relationship- other than to be with him.

My current relationship is much more equal and healthy (of course now I'm in my mid-twenties not late teens). But it's still such a struggle at times. I know it has potential to last a long time, though, as soon as we met I felt a spiritual connection, and knew that he was a mature, caring, feminist man who was sees the real me and gives me room to do what I need and want, and admires what I do. That was very new to me. It felt so right, but somewhere along the way I began to feel I didn't deserve him, or that it was only a matter of time before he found someone "better."

I went to therapy recently to try to work on some of my own issues that were particularly affecting our relationship- feeling insecure or jealous and always needing reassurance, over-analyzing, setting myself up for heartbreak and thinking of myself as a victim, and also thinking of relationships as having a winner and loser. I'm still struggling so much with all of this, and I'm really interested in whether other people have dealt with these issues, or just what you guys think. One thing the therapy did help me with is stopping myself before my thinking spirals out of control, and also realizing where it comes from (we talked about my childhood and family history). I'm also thinking way more about what I want; I've realized that when I'm worried about my boyfriend's satisfaction I'm often projecting my own feelings onto him (like when I thought maybe he didn't like living together- I was afraid to admit that there were parts of living together that I didn't like).

I just realized this went off on a tangent... and I'm still trying to figure my answer to Candycanegirl's original question.

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