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Stuck in a beautiful trap.
- Last week I touched briefly on my issues with reconciling my feelings regarding my ex getting into a new relationship, deciding instead to chalk it up to a fanciful obsession with past glories belonging to another time. My next issue, however, is with my current partner. We've been dating for the better part of two years, I suppose. She's a wonderful woman, nurturing and selfless, and is a fantastic mother figure to my four year old daughter. We share similar interests, like the same foods and hate the same stupid things together. Sounds perfect, right? Right? Seems like it bloody well should, but I'm in utter turmoil. There are several issues, so I'll do my best to do each one justice.
- I can't give her what she wants/needs. I'm not an overly affectionate person, first off. I like space and don't like being made to be touchy/feely. I feel she's very needy physically, and has a tendency to push the issue then gets upset when I appear to not enjoy a forced snuggle.
- She wants a baby. I don't want another child. This has been a matter of serious contention, sparking many long arguments and discussions. It's a very lonely feeling when your family, friends and coworkers are constantly pressuring you into having a child, which has happened many times in the past.
- We knew each other for years before we started dating, and she'd always seemed an easy-going person, not getting bogged down with emotional whatnots, claimed she wasn't particularly affectionate and that she didn't want kids. Perfect for me, in other words. That all seemed to change when we started dating.
- Things were rushed. It was one of those situations where she stayed over one night and just sort of never left. Then this year, we figured 'why not?' (despite the fact that inside I was strongly opposed to it) and signed her onto the lease. She had divorced shortly before we started dating, and more or less hasn't been alone for her entire adult life, going from one serious relationship to the next. That coupled with her low self esteem and abandonment issues (stemming from events in her life) makes for a difficult situation for me to deal with. She's told me in so many words that if we weren't to work out then she'd probably give up on happiness altogether.
- Did I mention we work together? I see her all day, every day. I get very little time to myself, and had to change one of my rostered days off so it didn't coincide with hers. I need a bit of "me time" once in a while.
- More to come
- She doesn't see friends, and the idea of doing anything individually seems to set her off. Earlier in the year an old buddy of mine was over from interstate, so naturally I wanted to catch up just them and I. This sparked a period of estrangement in which, to my observations, she couldn't quite grasp the notion of me wanting to do something without her. I told her once that, in light of the fact that she's not truly been on her own since she was 16, renders her ignorant to how some people behave: case in point- me reasonably wanting to see my friend on my own for the afternoon.
- Another interesting point is that she seems to view me as the dominant entity (which I guess could be true), and that she's not good enough for me (which is demonstrably UNtrue). Her point being that in her past two long term relationships, she was the dominant half, dictating terms and being adored, never really feeling like she had anything to lose. Now with me as the dominant figure, and having put me on a pedestal as she has in addition to her having a very low sense of self worth, she feels like she's constantly on the cusp of losing everything for once. Perhaps in light of this she desperately tightens her grip and hopes for the best, all the while expecting the worst. I don't feel she trusts me over much, either, which makes it hard. Honestly, I don't feel that the course of my life will be irreparably damaged if she were to leave me (which she's stated fervently that she never would) or I her, but that hers would be ruined: she's stated as much herself. I'm a very independent person and like my space, and doing my own thing. With this woman (amazing as she is) monopolising my time and space, I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to commit fully to envisioning a future. As it stands, it's a future that feels like it was thrust upon me, and I am a man who has made decisions based on not wanting to hurt a vulnerable person instead of making them rationally and based on what I want and need for myself.
Hi Rex, I'm new here and just stumbled upon your post. Perhaps people have offered advice, but they are still making their way through moderation?
I've had relationships in the past that had similar dynamics to what you've described...but haven't been able to stick them out. An independent person who values (and needs) time alone often has a hard time trying to find contentment in a relationship with someone who has more of a dependent nature.
Perhaps there is space for compromise and change within your relationship together? It might be worth going to counselling together if you both feel really committed to making it work? Or if you feel like you both started the relationship without really consciously considering your compatibility, and that you may in fact, just not be suited to each-other...then perhaps it's time to think about what a new future would look like?
Hope that helps....
the reason people didn’t reply could maybe that as you wrote 3 posts, when they are checking for unanswered posts theybusually have a number 1. So when they see a 3 they assumed it has been answered twice,
I am sorry about this and I have just seen your post now.
You realise you have many good things going in the relationship and that on the surface it looks very good.
Out of all the issues which one for you is the most important, the issue that maybe a deal breaker for the relationship. ?
Do you think you both may consider seeing a relationships counsellor together ?
Redambergreen suggested a compromise and that can be a good idea if you can both agree.
i know some people feel that because they are a couple they need to do everything together while others have some time pursuing their own interest or seeing their own friends but still have time together .
I can understand you seem a bit confused as you realise the relationship has many good points but there are other issues that cause you problems.
How do you see your relationship in a few years time if things do t chnage
Thanks for sharing your thoughts .
Quirky is right, people look for threads with just one post, that lets them know the person is not being talked to, and as there are many of them they go elsewhere. So an unfortunate hiccup.
It does not mean you are not important, or that people will not share their thoughts. If you do not mind I'll share mine.
Your freind has gone from one relationship to another all her life - people person, and ended up after marriage, the ultimate giving, with divorce - a reflection of something. Perhaps to her it may seem a judgment on her worth, her abilities, her attractiveness. I think if that was me I'd be so frighted I'd end up very needy indeed, with constant reassurance in word and deed never being quite enough.
For many a child is a way of cementing a relationship, though 'm not sure if that works as well as some might hope if both parties do not feel the same.
You need space, which is fine, as it happens both my partner and I, who are in love and are soulmates do need some time doing our own things - so I understand exactly. Does not mean we do not treasure each other, just some space confirms identity and allows for other things.
Looking from the outside I would guess there are two things. The first is for your friend's confidence, self esteem and trust in both you and herself to be strengthened. That may be the job of the medical profession.
Can I suggest you talk with her about seeing a GP and being tested for anxiety? A delicate conversation that really needs to be set in very supportive and reassuring terms.
The other of course is to institute regular boundaries, so everyone expects you to retreat to your study - or whatever- for a while each day. Provided that is not seen as an escape, but a positive action allowing you to relax and ponder or any such then it should be acceptable. Mind you if it always coincides with washing up time that might be viewed in a very different light:)
As for physical affection, I would imagine seeing such an act as relieving distress and bringing pleasure might help
What do you think?
Thanks so much for your replies, team. I wasn't quite sure how the system played out, and I had a fair bit to say beyond 2500 characters, so I thought replying to my own post like a lemon was the way to do it. Whoops! I'm glad you guys were able to tell me of your similar situations. I'm not often, if ever, able to get these kinds of viewpoints. My family have a habit of trying to repress my own views on these matters, desperate as they seem for me to settle down again and give them another grandchild/niece/nephew. It gets hard when you're made to feel like a cold-hearted prick by others when all you're doing is what comes naturally. Maybe counselling would be the way to go moving forward. I very much love this woman, and my daughter loves her, and everyone gets along, but I'm just having trouble dealing with the recurring "pity party" (for lack of a better phrase). I may come off as cruel at times, but it's just my way. After a bad relationship in my past I kind of became somewhat of a vicious pragmatist. If I ever feel (falsely or not) that somebody is trying to emotionally manipulate me, I act accordingly and lay down the law. Not physically, of course, but rather giving no quarter verbally or emotionally. If someone, for instance (particularly in this case, on more than one occasion) were to threaten to leave in an attempt to sway me on an issue, I'll simply call their bluff and insist upon it. It's kept me armoured so far, but also isolated to a point. I imagine it harkens back to my point that I perhaps feel that I have less to lose than she does, and that I consider myself to be more emotionally independent and capable of making it on my own. I hope I'm not coming off as arrogant, it's just the way I feel I've had to conduct myself over the years.
Others have given great advice so I won't repeat them but I can totally relate to you getting sick of the "pity party". It is very hard when you're trying your best in a relationship but its still not good enough. You are entitled to your own time and space as well without your partner being involved in absolutely everything you do. I admire that you stand your ground when someone is trying to emotionally manipulate you and your post has helped me with my own relationship problems. It's no arrogant at all, its sticking up for yourself when the other person is acting like a child to get what they want. I hope that you two can work it out and you should be proud of yourself for wanting to keep the family together.
Best of luck.