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crinoline
rosev- I'm 24, and we've been together for four years (this time around) We got back together when he contacted me two years after we had broken up and gone to separate colleges. I've dated other guys, but I've never had another "boyfriend", I've never felt comfortable enough with anyone else to go further than first base. If we have one thing by the barrelful, it's chemistry. He's had another girlfriend, but it was only for a few months.
I haven't brought him up with the counselor, but I will. She might be able to give an unbiased third party opinion and offer general communication advice.

From the responses I'm getting, I fear I may have misrepresented my guy. He is silent and keeps his emotions locked away in a hidden area, but he loves me dearly. He checks to make sure I have everything I need several times a day, but he never *asks* about my day. Our problem is verbalization.
ananke
It really isn't verbalisation. If he really checked to see what you need, he'd talk to you. Bottling up and not sharing and insisting nothing is wrong are not normal behaviours and are not things that help build a relationship. You can be silent and not share your emotions, but you can't create a relationship without sharing something. He is making a concious choice not to speak to you on equal terms, in a way you need.

There are times when I suffer from alogia - mostly when I am depressed. It becomes impossible to make the realtionship thrive. No matter how much I touch my husband, no matter how much I do for him. Because I am not letting him see me, or communicate with me. Even though my husband is a much more physical person than me (the kind of guy who requires daily hugs and kisses and stuff like that to feel loved) - lack of conversation, or even attempts at conversation (I've got several friends who are in biligual relationships that began with very little shared language) just cannot sustain love.

Chemistry, only being around each other and not wanting to have sex with other people don't make a relationship work. You need to build on a foundation. Like I said before, he is refusing to compromise or talk to you.

Like I said though, I'm crotchety and old and I absolutely have had my fill of guys so caught up in their image of who they are and what they should be that they can't love another human being. I'm too old and cranky for one-sided relationships, not matter how great the sex.
roseviolet
Crinoline, definitely talk to your counselor about this. She's there to help you. Back when I was seeing a therapist, she really helped me get in touch with what I needed from a partner. She assigned some books for me to read & I went over the exercises with my old boyfriend. I ended up leaving that boyfriend eventually, but the things I learned helped me a lot.

There's a book out there that, as a psych major, you may have heard of before. It's called "The Five Love Languages". If I remember correctly, the book is kinda Christian-centric, but not too much. I know non-Christians who've gotten a lot out of it. Don't be surprised if your counselor mentions it to you.

Ananke, I love the way you describe yourself as old and crotchety! I must admit that, when it comes to relationships, I have a touch of that now myself. However, I like to think that I just value myself & my time too much now to tolerate that sort of stuff. I spent too many years thinking, "I love my boyfriend!" when I secretly spent all my time wishing he would change - wishing he would open up more & talk to me, wishing he was more careful with money, whatever. Then I found somebody who has the same priorities as I do - who expresses his love in a way that feeds my heart better than anyone else I've ever known - and I can't help but wonder why I wasted so much time trying to make do in my old relationships. I think that on some level I didn't think I deserved anything better. I also had serious doubts that there was a guy out there who was willing to be as open & share his inner feelings with me. My therapist told me they existed, but she may as well have been telling me to believe in unicorns, you know? Well, lo and behold, I found my unicorn. He isn't absolutely perfect (because he's human, afterall!) but he and I are so well suited spiritually-speaking.
ananke
Believe it or not, I actually got a decent relationship idea from Oprah. Bascally, everyone has flaws, you just need to find someone who has flaws that mesh with you. So even though me and the MU communicate differently (he needs physical affection and verbal affirmation, I need actions) we don't drive each other crazy and we don't make each other feel unloved or unappreciated. Part of it is compromise, part is wellmeshed faults (i.e. we're both messy, but neither of us feel like housework is a sign the other doesn't appreciate/care/understand) and part is knowing that love doesn't make a relationship.

But yeah, I didn't say it earlier, but talk to your counsellor/therapist. It is not at all normal for your partner not to make some attempt to talk to you when you're upset. Holding you doesn't allow for healing (well, only holding you - sometimes that is all you need) and doesn't allow for communication. Unless he is going into some serious interpretive dance/charades, you can't be having the kinds of conversations that mean love gets a chance to flourish.

I am being v. negative about this, and I'll shut up if needs be, but I think you're doing yourself a disservice if your second post is your best defence of the relationship. You deserve someone who will do the hard things in order to make the relationship work, who doesn't expect you to put up and shut up according to their desires.
erinjane
Crinoline, your guy sounds like my first serious relationship. I loved my boyfriend and I knew he loved and cared about me but he never learned how to communicate and after a year and a bit I realized I needed a lot more than he could give me. I felt horrible because I knew how hard he tried to communicate and he actually told me after I ended things that he thought we'd be together forever, and there were many discussions about it before and after we broke up but we were never able to work it out. Probably not what you want to hear, but the way you write about your boy really sounds just like my ex. I used to ask him what he was thinking too and would get the 'nothing' response all the time. At one point I even hoped he might get counselling help outside the relationship but it never happened. Sorry i don't have any real advice, I just wanted to let you know that I've been there and felt the frustration of trying to pry a conversation or honest thought from your loved one.
hiddenpoet
i'm one of those people who doesn't talk a lot, and i say nothing a lot when asked what i think. it isn't because i'm not thinking of anything. in fact i'm almost always thinking about something unless it's early in the morning and i've just woken up. i give the nothing response when i don't want to talk about what i am thinking or cannot verbally explain the idea at the time. words fail me often. i need to do things besides just yak yak yak or i get bored very quick. i need to keep my hands busy.
i don't know if this gave anyone any real insight as to mens behaviors but i thought i'd throw it out there.
crinoline
I really do appreciate everyone's responses, even if it isn't always what I want to hear.

I still think that I may have exaggerated his silent demeanor because I was upset and venting. He is pretty quiet, but it often stems from a difficulty to put things into words, he used to have a tendency to stammer (which is actually cute/sexy to me...thank you Jimmy Stewart). He refuses to sing ever at all (except for sheepishly and privately on my birthday) and has trouble with writing tasks, despite being very intelligent.

I agree about loving someone for all their flaws, and finding flaws that mesh. We usually mesh really well. This is just that one grain of sand in an otherwise great situation. I hope my counselor can recommend some communication exercises...

btw hiddenpoet -love your avatar
roseviolet
Crinoline, I hope you don't think I was somehow demonizing your boyfriend. I'm sure he has many great qualities. Otherwise, why would you have been with him for so long, right? smile.gif

Definitely check out that link for "The Five Love Languages" I posted earlier. That page gives a basic break-down of the 5 love languages in the book. The whole point the author is trying to make is that we all have our own ways of expressing love - our love language. Sometimes our partners don't use the same love language we do, but that doesn't mean that either person in the relationship is wrong - just different. The book is all about understanding one another better, accepting one another as you are, and learning little ways to compromise so that you'll each feel loved & content. It all sounds painfully cheesy, of course, but it really is worth checking out.
kittenb
RV - thanks for reminding me to look at the Languages link. Now I am thinking about buying the book. The Geek is clearly more about the Physical Touch than I am. I mean I like it but I live without for long enough that I really had to get used to the fact that he is almost puppy-like in his ability to curl and cuddle. I hope that doesn't sound bad b/c I don't mean it to be. Whereas I am more the Acts Of Service type. It is in my nature ot fuss and tend to someone. I like the cuddleing but sometimes I feel he needs to "earn it" more. It has caused some level of stress b/w us.
Hmm, interesting...
edie52
I think I definitely need "words of affirmation." I can remember things he's said to me, word for word, for a long time. It seems he doesn't. This probably has to do not only with the fact that I'm a pretty verbal person but also that I'm kinda insecure. I don't even know which "language" he speaks- if I had to guess I'd say quality time.

Anyway, I came in here because I have a dilemma. I've posted variations on this theme several times in the past, and I've gotten good advice, but I'm stuck again. The boyfriend (together for a year and half, about to move in together soon) ran into an ex of his at a party we were at together last month. She's from his hometown, so it had been a while since they've seen each other and he didn't even know she was here. I only knew who it was because his friend told me. He didn't introduce me or say anything about it, he just came away with a smile and said to his friend "that was weird." I felt uncomfortable but didn't say anything because we were at a loud party, and afterwards, I just let it slide. I've been the jealous girlfriend too many times in the past and while he's good at reassuring me, I can tell he's getting sick of it and wishes I were more self-assured.

So cut to yesterday. He was on my computer and I sat down beside him only to see that he was writing her an email. It wasn't super-long but it was more than a few sentences; it was a few short paragraphs that seemed carefully composed. I read only for a second, saw a few things like "I was really surprised to see you...", etc. I went away because I think it's rude to read over someone's shoulder, and I didn't say anything. I just let it bug me.

I feel crazy and I know I'm analyzing everything, but this makes me uncomfortable. Has he been thinking about this in the weeks since he saw her? Why hasn't he said anything to me (I guess because he knows it might make me uncomfortable)? I don't know what happened in their relationship... but I know it was right before he moved away so I am also uncomfortable with the possible lack of closure there. I should say that I have no reason not to trust him, and also that he is usually more open about these things (he occasionally calls or meets up with a few of his exes to catch up- and I'm fine with it, because he's open about it and I know there was closure in those relationships). In the past I've been jealous of female aquaintances more than anything.

My question is, how do/would you guys deal with these situations? Should I say something? I hate letting this fester inside but I can't imagine how I would say it without coming off as angry or simply in need of reassurance. And I hate the fact that it could come out wrong, and I can never take it back, and then he may be even more uncomfortable mentioning her or other women. Ideally I would like for him to just talk to me about it... but he's no mind reader. Should I just calmly say "it bugged me to see that you were writing to her and you haven't said anything to me about your past together"? He will think that I'm implying that he still has feelings for her and he'll wish that I could be more secure. And as we're taking it to the next level (moving in together), I think I need to be. I want to be one of those couples who are comfortable and secure and can do things outside of the relationship.

(Also, I've been thinking about it, and I think he would feel the same way if the situation were reversed. If I were at a party, saw some ex he never even knew about, didn't introduce him, didn't address the situation, and then he saw me writing an email to him weeks later all like "how delighted I was to see you." Wouldn't almost anyone feel this way?)
kittenb
edie - I wouldn't be too thrilled if I were in your position. If it is something that you are stewing over, the longer you wait to tell him, the greater the chance of you exploding when you do. I think the calm approach that you listed would be good way to handle this.
You are right in that there is probably nothing to be worried about. However, you are feeling something and that is what needs to be respected. Good luck!
hiddenpoet
my advice is speak up now or be prepared for a blowup.
i would have went ballistic right there if i were in that situation. we have never had jealousy issues but then he isn't friends with any of his ex's. there is something about remaining friends with people one has "loved" that i deeply mistrust myself. unless they have children or a child together then it's a dealbreaker.
the questions that instantly came to my mind were 1. why shouldn't you be angry about this? and 2. is this really about you needing reassurance and being insecure or is it about his lack of respect?
edie52
Thank you, kittenb and hiddenpoet, for reading my post and taking the time to respond. I think I just needed a bit of encouragement and the confirmation that I wasn't being psycho.

I did end up saying something to him. And because I had bottled it up (only for a day!), I kind of did blow up- not in anger, but I started crying. Which gave him the impression that I was REALLY upset (which I wasn't), and he got really defensive. It turns out he was just responding to an email that she'd sent him, so he was baffled by the fact that I was so upset (I don't expect him to tell me about every email he receives/ responds to... if he were to see her that would be another story... and he said he'll tell me if he does). So I just kept saying "I'm not mad, you don't have to be defensive, you didn't do anything wrong, I'm just telling you I felt uncomfortable and I wanted to know more about the situation." I also described to him a scenario in which our roles were reversed, and then we were on the same page. He told me that she didn't treat him well in their relationship and that he wasn't happy in the past for a long time in various relationships, but that he's happy with me. He said I shouldn't bottle things up, that I should've just said something when I saw him writing the email. I told him I'm getting better, and at least I only bottled it up for a day. He said he doesn't get jealous any more, he finds it useless and draining; I told him I'm still the jealous type, but I'm dealing with it a bit better- in past relationships, I would've made accusations or been totally passive-aggressive.

Communication- it works!
sassygrrl
((edie))

I have been sort of engaged to my boyfriend now, yet he didn't propose. He told me to start shopping for rings in July, after what happened to me in the hospital. I finally designed it in a shop in Seattle, and got the credit forms for the down payment a few weeks ago. Now, he doesn't want to even talk about it. This concerns me, but I don't want a huge fight, and force him to marry me. I do want to marry him, but I'm not sure what he thinks. Maybe it's a money issue? Is it a fear of commitment?

I'll have to check out that language book.

((everyone)))


((everyone)))


Christine Nectarine
i've been lurking a little in this thread, and decided it's time for a post.  I apologize now, it may be long.

it's A's birthday this weekend, and so far it's been terrible.  We're in somewhat of a "transitional" time, since I started a new f/t job 3 weeks ago, with new work hours and travel time, which has allowed me to quit my p/t job (I was working it and a f/t with wonky hours previously) and am working my last 2 shifts this weekend. All of this ideally will allow A more flexibility with his career.  
I have been asking A since at least a month ago what he would like to do for his birthday, or making suggestions for plans, all of which have been dismissed or ignored.  This is not entirely unusual, since he's not the type to get really hung up on birthdays or other designated "celebrations".  This week consisted of a few arguments, mostly due to miscommunication about our new schedules.  I had hoped to do some birthday celebrating on Friday night (the one night I'm not at work) and he was reluctant, but we did end up going out for dinner, and I made an effort to find a place I thought would be new and interesting.  The evening was ok. 
Then this morning, he asks if I will call my parents and see if they are available to babysit the kiddo, so he can go out with friends tonight.  I call, but they are busy.  He then tells me he is disappointed that I didn't get out of work, and make plans for us.  Especially since he gave me a really fabulous b-day this year (he really did).  I tried to take this in and talk to him about it, but ended up getting mad/defensive, and leaving early for work in anger.  I mean, come on!
1) My birthday planning enthusiasm has been consistently rejected
2) I did make dinner plans for Friday night, and have plans for a big birthday breakfast, and several little surprises for Sunday, his actual birthday
3) he ended up being able to make babysitting arrangements, and was going to meet friends.  I don't even know if he'll be home tonight, or if we'll get to talk before Monday.  On top of the expected frustration of this, I'm recalling that around this time last year was when he entered a pretty severe depression which lasted about 2-3 months.  I don't want to go there again. 

Helpful words would be appreciated./end pity party
deschatsrouge
((((Christine)))))

It sucks that he's not communicating what he really wants to you. Mrs. Rouge does things along the same lines. She wants to do something but everything I suggest she hates. So I told her, you have to tell me what you really want. She Won't tell me what she really wants, and then gets all depressed when she has a shitty time. Could you write him a note with all your feelings in it? I did that and Mrs. Rouge came around a little bit.
Persiflager
((Christine))

It sounds like he wanted an excuse to argue - could he be upset about something else? Or perhaps he's starting to feel a bit down and would rather pick a fight with you than admit he's feeling down. I know I've done that before. What was it like last year when he started getting depressed?

Either way, I don't think you could have done anything more, and I think he's being a bit unfair. You both have my sympathy - it's so disappointing when special occasions don't happen the way you hoped, even if it's nobody's fault.
kittenb
sassygirl - the situation you described would have me insane!!! It is possible that he doesn't want to tell you anything because he is planning a big suprise or something but he needs to twig to the fact that it is hard on you. I have no advice but you have my sympathies. Maybe pollysyrene has some advice? I don't know if her situation was similar but it might be.

christine - does your man have seasonal affective disorder? It does sound like chronic crankiness and he took it out on you.
Christine Nectarine
thank you all for your words. it's nice just to get some affirmation. as it was, we were able to talk the next day (his birthday). it didn't start well, but came around to him admitting he realized that he sort of self-sabotaged the whole event, and that is a recurring thing for him to do. his anger at me was based on other frustrations we've been dealing with - having only 1 car, crazy work schedules etc - and him feeling like i wasn't being considerate enough of him, and being distant. they were relevant things that needed to be discussed, but he had to get past some of his unwarranted emotions so we could do that.
i still feel that i need to be vigilant about the depression for a while. i don't know if he has SADD but he has dealt with depression and an eating disorder since he was about 15, so i worry easily.

maybe writing a note will help if i see this thing repeating, so we can avoid the worst of it.
kittenb
So....we decided today to start talking about moving in together. I'm giving him time to really think about it, I know that he takes a lot longer to plan things and consider everything than I do. But, once I get my lease renewal form (January) we will have this conversation. I'm nervous but ready.
pollystyrene
*delurks*

Sorry, sassy & kitten- yeah, we've been together 7 years, and there's been some periods of "am I doing the right thing?" occasionally, but I think I've pretty much decided this is it. Our reason for why it took this long was 99% financial and now we're in a situation where we can finally pull it off (unfortunately, it's not because LeBoy got a better job; we just had some inheritance $ come through.)

((sassy)) Sorry you're in a weird limbo. Maybe he feels like he put the ring/marriage option out there on the table at a vulnerable time, when you were in the hospital? Obviously, I don't know the exact circumstances under which he asked, but maybe he's having second thoughts? I could be totally wrong- I'm terrible at giving advice in these situations.

We were at LeBoy's family's Thanksgiving party last night and a relative of a relative was there, someone we'd never met; she was older and her husband of over 50 years just passed away a few months ago. We ended up talking to her for quite a while at the party. Her husband had been a rocket scientist and they got to travel a lot because of various projects he worked on, so we talked about the places she'd lived in and visited and she also had a very realistic view on marriage/committed relationships, about how you've got to stick it out and learn to say your sorry, learn to forgive your partner and yourself. She said there were times when she was ready pack up and leave, that there were times when they did or said very hurtful things to each other, and times when they just didn't like each other, but they decided to stick it out and get past it. I know it's cheesy, and it's what everyone says, but it's different when you hear it from a real live person than a self-help book.

kitten, that's good news! Has the "three little words" situation improved? I haven't seen you post about it recently. Sorry I sort of unloaded about my own similar issue the last time I saw it mentioned....I just had to get it off my chest.
kittenb
He now says "I love you" as long as I say it first. It feels like progress. To him, "I love you" is ocmparable to a promise of forever. For me, "I love you" is what I feel right now. I don't even know if I believe in forever. I think that what is happening right now is what must be built on. He seems to hesitate about building until he knows.
This is why I gave him well over a month's notice about the conversation. I first mentioned in September that we would have this talk in January. Just wanted to remind him.
Everything else is going really good. We had a nice weekend away last weekend. Wish I was there right now.
sassygrrl
Kittenb, glad for the progress.

With Mcgeek, well I don't know. I have the credit forms still in the kitchen, and I kept thinking about it more this weekend. We went to this shin dig, and someone asked about my husband giving a math lecture next month. I had to explain that we were still dating, and not married. It just makes me sad. I want to have a ring, and I want to say he and I are engaged. I didn't feel this way with my ex-fiancee. I never wanted to tell people, and I didn't give a shit about the ring. He always blames money, which is a tired excuse. I don't want to force him into a proposal though. I think I was so sick in the hospital that he had a lot of time to think about us as a couple,. Now that I'm better, we barely talk about it. He just tells me that we're getting married at some point.

Polly, I agree about what you said. I think he felt vulnerable about me being in the hospital. All of this came out of the blue. I'm glad you met that woman. It makes me happy to hear those people exist in real life.





tankgirl
I feel you sassygrrl, that is what it is like with my boyfriend and I. Even his friends that he has been friends with his whole life call me him wife. But I am not, and I want to be, and he wants me to be but... money. Sometimes I joke (even though I know I shouldn't) when people call me his wife and say "no way would I be his wife." just to get back at him for being such a brat about it.
edie52
Kitten, congrats on the plans to maybe move in together!

My boyfriend and I just moved in together last week. All is well so far. The first few days I was frustrated with the mess and the boxes and little quirks that the apartment has that we didn't know about before moving, but now we're getting settled. I also got a little freaked out about the fact that if I don't like my living situation I can't blame it on roommates, it's a problem with him or with myself... but yeah, things are good now. I went back to my old place yesterday to take care of some stuff and I was agitated just being there. Our new place is much more bright, clean, and tasteful.
kittenb
I've decided that I am still relationship clumsy and kind of transparent.

My family decided to limit Christmas gifts this year, which I was cool with. We never go too crazy and money is TIGHT this year. But I kind of wanted to spoil The Geek. Nothing too expensive and I found all of it on sale. There were a few things I wanted to get for him: a DVD set (from Half.com), a sweater and a picture of the two of us. And then I found Superman pajama pants that he had to have.

So I wanted to let him know I got him more than one thing so there isn't this awkward moment of I gave him a stack of presents and he got me a paperback. And I am pretty sure I came off as greedy. And I am kind of greedy.
lolamartini
not sure that this is the place to post this... but I'm hoping someone has some good advice!
I've been with my boyfriend for 10 months.. I am A LITTLE bit older than him and more ready for commitment (move in, marriage, etc).
LONG story short.. the other night he broke up with and said he was not ready for the same type of commitment and he had to live. He came back an hour later, begging me to stay with him -- and he told me he was ready, just scared.
so, the main problem ... I have turned into CRAZY girlfriend. I need constant reassurance, I call and text constantly, I just want him near me so I know he's not going to leave. This, of course, makes him want to get even further away from me!
I am literally driving myself crazy.. not eating, not sleeping, etc.
There has to be someway to stop this freaking cycle
roseviolet
LolaMartini, sorry you didn't get a response to your post sooner. Maybe I can help you out a little bit.

I know you feel like you're going crazy, but I think under the circumstances that's a perfectly normal way to react. The guy broke up with you and literally one hour later returned & said he's ready to make a life-long commitment to you? That's REALLY scary behavior ... for both of you. Hell, your average car accident is less frightening then that kind of ordeal.

So how does one get off of this emotional rollercoaster? I don't know you two so I'm definitely no expert, but I think the only way to get past it is to talk. I don't mean that he should just keep reassuring you. I mean you two should talk openly about how you really feel - what makes both of you scared & why. I think the only way to get past this is to be really really open. Put it all out on the table. Warts & all. Listen with an open, supportive, compassionate heart. Once you know what you're each feeling, you can probably calm some fears or help eachother get over some hurdles. Perhaps you'll develop a happy compromise. It's worth a shot, right?
lolamartini
thanks!
Unfortunately, he broke up with me shortly after the post!
Guess I wasn't so crazy for needing so much reassurance... it's been about a week
and I literally feel like my world has ended. I somehow managed to completely forget who
I was over the past year. I am 27 and have had serious relationships, but this has been the hardest
breakup so far. I don't know how to make it feel better sad.gif
Persiflager
(((lolamartini)))

Damn that man! I've been in a similar situation before, and the thing that made me so angry was that he made me doubt myself - dammit, I wasn't insecure, I was totally right! Never doubting my instincts again.

I'm so sorry that you're hurt and upset. At least now you know that you are not 'crazy girlfriend'.!As you start feeling better, you're going to re-discover who you are and that is going to feel incredible.

P.S. Last time I went through a break-up I discovered the Lounge and spent hours obsessively reading the threads in this area - I can totally recommend that as a way to get perspective and feel less alone, but would warn that it plays havoc with your work-life.....
bottleblack
Hi to all you "commited" out there. For some reason I have not really felt like being around my fiance this Christmas. I have been somewhat irritable/emotional, especially around him, and it seems like everything he does annoys me. If he is being very sweet, I find something about it that will irk me. If he is not being sweet and is reacting to the way I am treating him, then I am angry with him. I know it is pretty much all to do with me, and my attitude, and it is not fair to him, but I can't help it! I just want to have some space and avoid him for a few days until I turn less beastly, but the poor guy doesn't understand. I don't want to spend time with his family, I don't want to watch home videos with him, I just want to stay in my room and read. What's wrong with me? Has anyone else felt this way towards their significant other at times??
Persiflager
Oh dear random-fluctuations-in-the-space-time-continuum, yes! Nothing wrong with you at all. If you need some space, go get yourself some space. I've had to sneak away from my family (with whom I get on very well) for some quality time alone reading or Busting this holiday, which has kept me sane and non-stroppy - home videos with the in-laws is asking a lot.


edie52
Yeah, bottleblack, I think it's normal. I actually describes the way I've felt towards family and close friends, probably even more than a significant other. It makes sense that it could happen with anyone you spend a lot of time with. When I know someone really well I can start getting annoyed when they become predictable or overbearing (or predictable in their overbearing-ness), even though I still love them. It makes me want to shut them out. Are you going through something internally that's making you need to be alone and reflect? If so you should talk to him or someone else about it. And by all means take space if you need it. I would only worry if the feeling drags on and doesn't go away.

So, I have a confession to make: I read my boyfriend's journal. I know I can't be the only one to have snuck a peek at someone else's journal (or email, or stash of old letters...). The problem is, what I read is filling me with a terrible anxiety, even though it was written well before we even got together. Basically, there are quite a few women in his past, and reading about how he felt about them (especially when he had feelings for more than one at once), just makes me feel really vulnerable and even more insecure. I know I need to focus on the present. However, I feel scattered and anxious. Also guilty. But, I don't actually think I should tell him. I have promised myself I would not do it again. I really really don't want him to stop trusting me, and I don't feel it would change much (I mean, nothing can change the past, and what I know). I guess there's a chance he might be forgiving and that I'd feel better.

I'm actually thinking of talking to a counselor (I can go for free at school) about this, and all the other general tangled up insecurities I'm dealing with. I constantly imagine myself as the victim and as the one who will be left. When we first got together last year, it was all happy chemicals and fun and I was simply curious about his past relationships, and accepting. We recently moved in together, and while I felt great about it at first ("no more bullshit insecurity- we are so solid now!" I thought), it's been getting worse. Has anyone else talked to a counselor without their partner about relationship problems?

Whew, just writing about that made me feel a bit better. I guess another aspect of this is me not having many active friendships, and depending on him way too much. I think my new years resolution will be to socialize more.
stargazer
edie, what motivated you to read the journal? i know when i went looking for things, i usually found it. if that makes sense. but, there was alot of insecurity and lack of communication in that ltr. if you go alone to counseling, your therapist may want to eventually invite your bf for some couple sessions. good to hear that you are willing to work on the issues in therapy that moving in together have brought to light for you. let us know how things go for you.
bottleblack
Thanks for the words guys. And edie..I've done this too! My fiance left his email open on my computer once and I found myself sifting through old emails to his ex girlfriend and her replies. I felt so bad! But just..couldnt..turn...away. I would say don't tell him. It will make him most likely angry, understandably, and break some trust. I think it's best to just commit to not doing it again. And i think it's a great idea to talk to a counselor. Maybe they could really help to give insight onto why you might feel certain ways in relationships, or even just help to get it all out to somebody professional.
edie52
Thanks for the replies!

Yes, I feel really positive about going to talk to someone... it was actually my bf who originally suggested it, a few months ago when I was talking through some of my issues with him. He really wants to be supportive but I think it burdens him sometimes. Also, he talked to a counselor a while ago and it was really positive for him.

Stargazer, on what motivated me- he just leaves it lying around! I'd seen it in his room before we lived together, he was in the shower. I skimmed a few pages, thinking "this is some juicy stuff!" but then guiltily put it away. When it resurfaced, at our new place, I was just so unbearably curious that I had to peek and see if it was the same one. It was, and that time I read almost all of it. I felt like shit afterward, sick to my stomach about what I'd read and the fact that I'd read it. I realize that it is a pretty big breach of trust. Especially since I promised myself the first time not to do it again. I've looked at his email a few times as well, when he leaves it open. But this time I really want to commit to not doing that. And part of keeping that promise is finding strength and security in myself. At the same time, I don't see it as a total betrayal, like cheating or something. I'm curious about his past primarily because I love him so damn much.

When you said "when I went looking for things, I usually found it," did you mean that your instincts were making you suspicious, and that snooping confirmed it? I'm not sure I know exactly what you meant. I guess what motivated me to go back to it was my insecurity about how our relationship measures up to his past, and also how his past is more illustrious than mine- something that I had sort of gathered before it was confirmed by The Journal. So, in that sense, your statement makes sense. Stupid, really, I can't change any of that. The only thing I can control is my actions. Problem is, I feel like my anxiety spirals OUT of control.
Persiflager
Edie, I think you'll always feel worse if you learn the details of your boyfriend's relationships - however they ended, he must have cared deeply for them at some point. But they did end! All of them ended for a reason, and you're the one he's chosen to be with. I wouldn't feel too guilty about peeking (I think it's understandable nosiness), but don't torture yourself by seeking out more details.

And I agree with bottleblack, don't tell him! He'll ask why you looked, you'll explain how you felt, and he'll feel (a) hurt that you don't trust him, and (B) defensive about his past.
kittenb
{{{lolamartini}}} How are you doing now?

The holidays have been a frustrating one for me. I missed The Geek very badly over Christmas but his holiday was so busy and stressful with work that he is just coming down from it now. I feel like he is very emotionally distant and hasn't been very cuddly at all since I got back. I've let him know that I am aware of something seeming weird but haven't pushed for a Conversation. He is not good at the whole talking thing so I am not sure it really would make a difference. But I am afraid if the reason doesn't either become apparent soon or if things don't stop feeling weird I am going to snap. I feel like he has totally gone "to his cave" (say what you want about John Gray and Venus/Mars, I think he got that dead-on) and I can't decide if I should just let him come out of it or if I should make him talk to me. When I ask if something is wrong or if he missed me, he either says no or just makes a joke. Well, in his defense, I haven't really pushed the issue.
I have a feeling that this (both his pulling back and my getting nervous) is stemming from the fact that in a few weeks we are going to discuss moving intogether. I think we are both anxious.

Any advice ladies?

ETA: Another thing that is getting to me lately is that he has never said "I love you," where I haven't said it first. To me, that means that he has never felt it so strongly that he had to get it out. Am I over reading that? I should just ask him, I know, but I have no idea how.
stargazer
(((kitten))) i've been wondering about the moving situation. yeah, i don't do small talk. re:the geek...i think i remember saying this stuff to you before....but, i think you need to really look at what you want for yourself and looking, objectively, to determine if the geek is the man who can provide these things for you. i think it is key to remind yourself that you are not being judgmental or girly for asking for what you want. us, women, have a terrible time of blaming ourselves for asking for what we want like that is the worst thing a woman can do to a man. i've had this conversation about dating with SO many women in the past year it is ridiculous.

i blamed myself ALOT after my breakup with my ex. i thought i was the one uptight and i spent alot of years dating the wrong men. i feel like i'm back at the beginning when i ended my relationship ltr...i want a commitment and affection. nothing wrong with that. i also think that this time...i'm more willing to do the work. but in all honesty...i was able to do the work then. it just wasn't meant to be with my ex. nothing wrong with that. i only resort to thinking about the past relationship when i don't like the feeling of being alone or question if i made the right decision. but, when i go with my instinct and intuition...i know i've made the right choice.

if it is important to you...you should have the talk. this convo really sets the men from the boys i say....and if he is not willing to do the work, then he is probably not the guy to move in with. who knows. you've done too much work in your life (both personally and professionally) to just settle. never settle. you only betray your own truth and self if you settle.

hang in there dude. don't rush moving in if it doesn't feel right. if need to chat with the accompaniment of cosmos...call me cause i'm your girl for that.

((((kittenb)))
kittenb
I think my post may have sounded more dire than I meant it to. My concern isn't how to acceot that he isn't the guy for me. Rather I need to learn about how to get our languages to reflect each others needs. I just ordered the Love Languages book that rv recommended. I think it will help. I put a lot of thought into this. I think we will have a "touch history" conversation tonight about what touch means to him, to me and to us and why I need the words as well. He is very physically affectionate, not just when he wants sex, there is a reason I've started calling him "my lap cat boyfriend." As for him pulling back for a few days, well I know that we as humans do that. I just don't know how to deal with it when it happens at a time that I need more assurance.

To sum up, I don't know how to work on a relationship. I am learning this from the ground up. Ironic that this semester I'll be taking Couples Therapy in school. rolleyes.gif
stargazer
good luck kitten. it sounds like that book is a good start for you. let us know how things go.
Persiflager
Ooh ooh, I have a question! I feel silly posting this as it's so petty, but would welcome any advice....

Everything's going super well with Lanky Boy - he's the best boy I've ever met, he adores me and he treats me incredibly well. I've been a bit fed up recently as I don't like my job and I'm looking to leave, and he's been very supportive. The thing is, I like being supported but I also like being independent, and I think it's especially important for me to feel that I'm standing on my own two feet as the work situation has given my confidence a bit of a knock.

What's annoying me is something he said on the phone earlier. We were having a nice chat about our days etc, and I mentioned that I'd decided to stand down from a volunteer role that I've been doing for a couple of years as it takes up a lot of time and I'd like to try some other things. And he said "Could you share the role with someone else? Or have you tried using x software to speed it up a bit?"

Now this annoys me because I hadn't said "Aargh, I'm quitting as I'm too stressed and can't cope with this job!". It's as if he heard an entirely different sentence. What, does he think I'm incapable of thinking of these things for myself? Does he think I'm doing the job wrong, and if I was more efficient it wouldn't take so much time? mad.gif Dammit, I say what I mean and I mean what I say!

I KNOW that he respects my independence, and that he thinks I'm clever, and that he's only trying to help because he loves me. I just don't understand why he'd say that (and I don't entirely understand why it annoys me so much rolleyes.gif ).

I don't want to resort to tired cliches about 'men fix problems when women just want empathy', and I don't want to snap at him when he's not done anything wrong! Any advice on how to (1) get him to stop doing it by gentle persuasion, or (2) how to get over myself? I really don't want him to feel bad.
bottleblack
Maybe just try explaining to him that sometimes you just want him to listen, and not necessarily offer advice or try to fix things. I've had to say that to my bf before as well. I know it is a cliche, but it seems women DO just sometimes want empathy while guys want to fix things
starpiste
I agree with bottleblack. I've said that before to people and it really helped.

I have a bit of a thing that might be the end of my current relationship. We've been together for just over 6 months and things are going great. We're talking about moving in together in the summer, and we're both skirting around the love word but taking our time. The big problem is that we have totally different attitudes towards kids. I love them and in 5 or so years really want one - I feel my life would be lacking if I didn't. He, however, dislikes kids and has no interest in having one ever. I knew this would have to be sorted out before we moved in together but I was kind of avoiding thinking about it. We just talked about it on the phone and it ended in us both hanging up in tears. We both don't want to end things at all, but know that this could end things later and would be harder then.

I just feel sick about it.
LoveMyPugs
starpiste - the kid issue...i feel your pain. mr. pugs says he's not sure about wanting kids or not. he doesn't have a lot of good examples around to like. most of our friends have really rotten kids. the kids at my church are really well behaved and polite. mr. pugs always focuses on the negative. for him it's not a matter of wanting or not wanting them. i think he wants them but he's just not sure if he wants to put all the energy into them that they require to be well behaved respectable children. like you i am avoiding it and i hope that some day we can have at least one. to be honest, no kids isn't a deal breaker for me. my sister with have children and i'll spoil them and send them back home. all my friends have kids and i love them and i spend time with the kids at church. i can be married and happy and childless. it wouldn't be a huge sacrifice.
LoveMyPugs
The short and sweet version:

mr. pugs and i are getting married. it's a long story but many things have happened over the past six months that i don't really want to get into. neither one of us has been very happy. he's very afraid of marriage. his main reason is because he doesn't know anyone who is happily married. however, his idea of a "happy marriage" is very unrealistic. i think he feels like if there are ANY problems in a relationship that means you shouldn't get married. well, sorry but we've been together for almost 13 years and we've always had one problem or another. nothing is ever perfect.

we've always sort of followed the philosophy of if we are happy more then we are unhappy then we stay. His way of thinking is that if things get bad then we split. My way of thinking is that if things get bad we try to fix it and work on it. My way has always worked for us but in his mind he's always had a way out if things get tough to the point where he doesn't want to fix it or work at it. I think this is lazy and selfish.

Now that I'm telling him I'm tired of waiting to get married and I'm putting the pressure on him to truely commit he's terrified. So we've spent the last six months fighting over whether or not we should get married. I'm living on eggs shells because most of the time he's going to walk down the isle. However, every time I do something wrong he throws it in my face because "that makes him unhappy". Well, there are many things that he does that makes me unhappy but I love him and I tolerate and have learned to live and love him for what he is.

So in October he agreed to a wedding date. We set it for February and it's going to be very small like we both want but like I said he's just very scared. He has NO EXCITEMENT about getting married. This makes me very upset because I feel like I'm forcing him to do something he doesn't want to do but then he says it's not like that. He loves me and he's just trying to be a man and do the right thing and get out of his own head.

I feel like once we just get married and get it over with that I won't feel so rejected as a woman because i've given him 13 years and he doesn't want to marry me and he'll have the marriage monkey off his back. He did at one point tell me he wanted to leave but the admitted that he didn't mean it and only said it to make his point about how unhappy he is and how pressured he feels.

I know it doesn't make any sense and everyone will thinking I'm making a huge mistake walking down the isle with him and I being so up in the air but it's what I feel is right. I'm in this relationship for the long hall but marriage is important to me and I'm not going to be his girlfriend forever. I might consider it but I think I'd become bitter in the long run. That pretty much sums it all up I guess. I know my posts don't make any sense and it seems as though I'm making a big mistake but I have to follow my heart on this. Hope that makes sense.
bunnyb
Um, wow.

Firstly, thanks for being so honest, pugs.

I don't think it will come as a surprise to you that, yes, I think you are making a mistake, that mr pugs is also making a mistake, but that is your (as a couple) decision to make; I'm only offering an opinion.

I can see where you are coming from, to an extent, and I can also see that you are incredibly confused as that comes across in the posts. I think you and Mr Pugs have issues and they are possibly issues that can be worked out and resolved but they are issues nonetheless. I don't think either of you should run away; you have invested such a huge part of your life in this relationship and I am sure you wouldn't still be together if it wasn't worth salvaging.

HOWEVER, if Mr Pugs feels pressurised into marriage and isn't at all excited? then it sounds (and this is from you, the pro-marriage part of the couple) that he doesn't want to get married. Nobody should be jumping into a wedding and the ultimate commitment if they don't want to and are only doing it to keep their partner happy. I think I've also said the same to you in the past (possibly in this thread) about kids; from your first post below, it sounds as if this is still an issue. I also notice from the frustration thread that you haven't been having much sex since October; and, yes, this could be solely down to illness but taken with your other posts it sets alarm bells off and could be symptomatic of the bigger issues. Although, saying that, the way that you two are like rabbits when it comes to sex, I would say that this was a huge issue all on its lonesome.

pugs, I'm just posting my opinion and you and mr pugs know your relationship better than anyone else but it's not like you're concealing that you're having problems so none of this should come as a shock. Take my opinion -and anybody else's who posts- on board or not but you and mr pugs really need to talk about this. Perhaps you'll find that marriage is the best way forward but from what you have written below it really sounds as if this is not what mr pugs wants. You write about what feels right to you and following your heart but what about him? Marriage is about compromise and you don't seem to be compromising at all. I get that you want this more than anything but will it be worth it if he walks out on you in six months because he didn't want to walk down the aisle and resents you for it? The wedding may be lovely and quiet and everything that you want but divorce and heartbreak won't be tasty icing on the cake.

That last part may be a little strong but I'm really trying to get across to you the severity of this situation. I know you are daydreaming about your big day and want to be happy but getting married won't fix things and IMO will make the problems in your relationship a thousand times worse. Talk to mr pugs, really talk to him. Please.
culturehandy
Okay, I was throwing it about whether or not to post, but after reading bunny's post, I really do need to get in. Note, this is my opinion only and I'm not expert, but in my line of work I see a lot of shit...

Pugs, you and the mister have an incredible relationship, you've been together for a long time, have shared so much with each other, BUT I think when anyone, anywhere, regardless of the strength of their relationship, should never force anyone into marriage. It breeds resentment and contempt. Think of it this way, if you aren't ready for something that is literally life changing, and someone forces you into anyways? I, personally wouldn't be happy about it at all.

Now, since you two have already been toghether for 13 years and already enjoy the same rights as a married couple anyway, why does marriage suddenly matter after all this time? I can honestly tell you I've seen couples be together for many many years, and once that ring goes on, it changes things and the relationship doesn't last. Now, I'm not saying that this is going to happen to you and the mister, and I would NEVER hope for that. You two have been fighting over this, pretty constantly, I really think you two need to talk about it, forcing someone into something is just bad news all around, sure sometimes it needs to be done, like forcing someone to take a shower, but when it is such a huge HUGE moment, it's something that you can't be rushed into.

you two were happy beforehand right? You had your issues, but what couple doesn't fight? If you were really happy before, then why the sudden change? You can still wear the ring, still be engaged, see how that works.

I have learned that so many people are so focused on the wedding, and have the *perfect* day, that they forget about the marriage. Like Bunny said, it is about compromise. Maybe right now just isn't the right time, no one is saying you can't see what the future brings, but I want you to ask yourself an honest question, and it's not meant to sting in anyway at all, think about it. Do you really think that this is worth possibly loosing Mr. Pugs forever? Also ask yourself is it the marriage or the wedding you are really after?

Just my .02.

zoya
delurking

QUOTE(LoveMyPugs @ Jan 13 2009, 08:22 AM) *
I feel like once we just get married and get it over with that I won't feel so rejected as a woman because i've given him 13 years and he doesn't want to marry me and he'll have the marriage monkey off his back. He did at one point tell me he wanted to leave but the admitted that he didn't mean it and only said it to make his point about how unhappy he is and how pressured he feels.

step back, try to get out of your own head, and imagine someone you know said just the above statement to you. Nothing else. What advice would you give them? Would it be to do the same thing that you're doing?

if you are looking for mr. pugs to make you feel whole in any way that's a big burden to put on someone. and I guarantee you, forcing anyone to do anything is not going to "get it off their back." It will make them resentful and angry. He's telling you how he feels. Why aren't you listening? It hardly seems fair that YOU want what YOU want and you're not listening to what he's clearly stating. (you say it in that quote)

sorry, I'm not gonna sugar coat it. I had a very good friend when I was in college in a nearly identical situation to you. She went through with it, and within a year they were cheating on each other, the marriage fell apart in a really bad way, and she ended up having more shit to work through than if she'd just faced her own issues around this stuff head on in the first place.

Maybe you should do some work on yourself first and see what it is that's making you feel this way. And I don't mean church, or friends, I mean therapy. You are the only person who can fix you and your issues.

Go ahead and attack if you want, but I stand my ground.

re-lurks
culturehandy
Reading Zoya's post I have to say; Pugs, he's so unhappy about being forced into marriage that he's threatening to leave you, he is so unhappy. is this worth it? What would you do if he was forcing you into this? Would you stick around?
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