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Thread: What do I do? Or is this it?

  1. #1

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    What do I do? Or is this it?

    I've lurked on this, and several other forums, for a while now. Every time it makes me feel better, because I find people who have the same issues. And the replies those people have gathered are helping me, and probably many others, as well. However, every situation is unique, and this time I'm having difficulty finding others with similar issues. So, I put this out there, in the hope somebody can help me.

    For privacy reasons I'll muddle the background and details a bit, but I'll leave in what I consider relevant or harmless. So:
    We met in university. I'm a native of the country, she's not. We dated for a while, and had some fights. I feel we had more fights than average, but I don't really have anything to compare it to. Our jobs have allowed us to move into a house last year, which was good news for our daughter (who is almost three)

    What worries me is the seeming imbalance in our relationship. I feel I work harder for us than she is, and I am treated badly, both in and out of fights. I feel most of our fights start without me, with something being misinterpreted or even imagined (which is a strong word).

    The trigger, this time, was bad. The details itself don't really matter, but in the end I hid the truth from her. Hiding the truth is large, for us. I had reasons, of course. She'd been having her period, and we'd been in a few stressful weeks, and just wanted a fun day out. There had already been several near-misses in the morning, and I hadn't really slept, so I was quite on edge. And I really, really wanted to avoid any kind of fight. So, I deliberately hid a detail that I knew would set her off. Of course, she found it.

    Her reaction was the same as it's been in all of our fights. She starts calm. Explains she doesn't like it. I acknowledge, apologize, and state I was wrong. She reiterates over it, but now adds something that I lied about did years ago (also tiny, but nobody cares at this point). I go through the steps again, while thinking I should perhaps shut my stupid face and allow her time to calm down. She then reiterates, and brings in a discussion point from years ago where a misinterpretation led to a fight; she feels I lied there too. I try to course correct by babbling inanely, but it's only getting worse: more things get pulled in, and every iteration the things get more extreme and less consistent with my experience. She's not paying attention to what I'm saying, but instead keeps saying I'm a liar. If she says I feel a certain way, and I say I don't, I'm a liar. And I'm impossible. And insane. And she doesn't love me. And our daughter shouldn't have me for a father. And so on. This goes downhill for a while. When I try to say something, I'm either cut off, misinterpreted, or she goes back to me being a liar. All the while, she's calmly eating her dinner.

    I offered to sleep on the couch, and she said she preferred that. Right now, I'm supposed to be asleep; tomorrow at work I've got two large potential deal-breakers that either end in a promotion or a sharp kick in the rear, if they don't kick me out right away. But some of the things she said will keep me up the whole night. She's not really affected by these things, as she simply 'shuts off' her emotion. I can't, but I'm also a tad oversensitive and insecure. In times like these, I afraid she'll leave me. When I make this explicit, she says leaving would solve her problems, and she's not quite sure why we're together.

    After a fight, our behavior slowly stabilizes again. After a while I get hugs again, and she'll say she loves me. But the fights really affect me. It usually takes me months to recover from the severe fights. I've been talked out of taking 'actions' several times (before our daughter arrived, of course). I don't think she's fully aware of this. If we're in a good period I try to talk to her about it, but if she's happy, she doesn't really understand the weight of my remarks.

    The imbalance is also visible in the good moments. I If I ask her to do something for me (such as give me a hug when I come home), she'll do it once or twice, and then forget about it; she's happy, so it doesn't seem relevant to her. If I press, I make her sad, and then the whole thing restarts.

    I'm not sure what to do to improve this. I love her, but I'm at my wits end. And I'm also not sure where the problem comes from. All the above is from my perspective, of course, and has likely been tinted a bit. It could be just me that's creating the problems, instead of both of us. Or maybe I'm approaching her wrongly; annoying her instead of calming her down. Or is this normal? Is this how relationships work from time to time? Am I just going to have to deal with it?

    Apologies for the wall of meandering text, and apologies for dumping my problems out here.

  2. #2
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    What did you hide?

    Have you considered couples counseling?

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry this is happening. Without trust and respect, you will both be miserable and have chronic fights. You seem to not trust her judgement and lie to avoid things. This in turn angers her and the vicious circle keeps repeating. One of you has to put down the weapons and start the healing.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member SGH's Avatar
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    You seemingly write many details here, but if you pick and choose what it is important to disclose, no one here can really help you. The specifics behind your past dishonesty could potentially reveal a lot about the situation.

    However, that does not mean this all your fault. It sounds like she has a very resentful fighting style. Typically, my rule is to try to keep the argument about what it happening in the moment and to see if the present conflict can be resolved. She seems to view all your behavior as interlinked or reflective of your general character, and is making you pay for the sins of the past over and over again. If she cannot find a way to heal from your past transgressions (and since I do not know the specifics, I am unsure if that is reasonable or not), the relationship will never function in a healthy stable manner.

    Have you ever considered couples therapy? It could potentially help to resolve some of your communication issues.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Hiding the truth....come on, call a spade a spade - you were lying to her. Of course, lying will cause problems in any relationship. You know this. It's causing fights and a complete breakdown in your relationship...so why do you keep lying to her? This issue is on you to resolve. There are no good excuses for lying to your SO. None. Avoiding conflict? But you created even bigger conflict.

    Since you aren't willing to disclose what you are lying about, it's really difficult to give you any good, concrete advice. If this is how you behave in your relationship as well, being vague, hiding, lying, not accepting responsibility for your actions....it's really not surprising that your relationship is circling the drain.

  7. #6

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    Already several helpful replies, thanks!

    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    What did you hide?
    The situation here started with a remark from a third person. Something I interpreted as a normal, harmless remark, but which could have been interpreted as quite a bit racist. In fact, I thought I saw my partner respond to it as if she interpreted as a racist remark, to which she is quite sensitive. I then proceeded to act on it, and gave the person feedback.
    She brought the remark up a few times in the space of an hour, and at some point I realized I had misinterpreted; she did not pick it up as racist. This meant that I had acted wrongly, which I then simply 'not mentioned'. To support this, I reflexively tried to avoid it, which then attracted secondary misinformation and half-truths.

    Yesterday, I was not sure why I acted like that. I mean, I can explain it, but I'm not sure why I thought I should cover and hide something like that.

    Originally Posted by SGH
    The specifics behind your past dishonesty could potentially reveal a lot about the situation.
    There have been situations in the past where I deliberately hid relevant details. Think previous partners. One of our biggest fights started with:
    "Who is that?" "My high-school girlfriend." "She looks like the girl in that picture." "She is." "You told me that picture wasn't important."
    The picture represented one of my happiest moments, just before the whole thing came crashing down. Of course it was important, I just didn't want to talk about it.
    Originally Posted by SGH
    Avoiding conflict? But you created even bigger conflict.
    I'm quite good at triggering this specific type of escalation, historically speaking. I've got a few dozen more examples where I lie about something relatively small to keep the peace, which then ends up blowing up in my face.

    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    You seem to not trust her judgement and lie to avoid things. This in turn angers her and the vicious circle keeps repeating. One of you has to put down the weapons and start the healing.
    I've not thought about a lack of trust in her judgement. It is true that she tends to take actions that I consider counterproductive, which in some cases lead to harm or negative situations. Stupidly tiny things like "you'll never wear those shoes, you have nothing that matches with them" to "you should prepare for your test like so-and-so".
    I do tend to try to convince her of taking actions in a way that I consider optimal, usually at her request. She tends to say that I'm more capable than she is, which is a statement I really don't like, but I do have to admit that I am essentially one step above her in capabilities (we have similar jobs).

    Originally Posted by SGH
    Typically, my rule is to try to keep the argument about what it happening in the moment and to see if the present conflict can be resolved.
    Originally Posted by SGH
    She seems to view all your behavior as interlinked or reflective of your general character, and is making you pay for the sins of the past over and over again.
    I try this too, but she does see my behavior as interlinked; everything is evidence of a deeper issue. She's not deliberately making me pay over and over, but does take all kinds of situations and snowballs it into a huge unmanageable mess.

    Originally Posted by SGH
    Have you considered couples counseling?
    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    Have you considered couples counseling?
    I have, and think it may be good to suggest once she's calmed down a bit. I'm not sure how she'll respond, but she'll likely demand I do the first few sessions by myself, about lying. Which may be a good thing, I don't know.

  8. #7

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    It appears the forum ate my previous reply, so here's attempt no. 2.

    What did you hide?
    It started with a remark from a third person. A remark that could be interpreted as quite racist, which is something both of us are sensitive to. When we walked away, she responded to it in such a way that I concluded she thought it was racist, and I gave the person making the remark feedback (as in; left a bad review). She kept bringing the remark up, and I realized I misinterpreted; she didn't think it was racist, but was genuinely confused about the remark. Feeling a bit awkward about my review, I proceeded to hide it, which led to me trying to change the subject and trying to find other explanations (piling noise on top of a lie, of which I'm not proud). I made a mental note to delete it later, as it was not fair to the third person, but of course she found it.

    I've done similar things before, most notably regarding a previous relationship (high school). That relationship was a bit innocent, and I was quiet naive, but it ended very badly, and I prefer not to think about it. There was a situation where my partner asked me about an aspect of my previous relationship (sharing a little bit of a household), and I denied it happened. When she found out, I retorted that she hasn't told me anything about her previous partners, while there's some hints that she's had quite the saucy past. This was a mistake, and caused the biggest fight we've had.

    Typically, my rule is to try to keep the argument about what it happening in the moment and to see if the present conflict can be resolved.
    I prefer this too, as I prefer to 'fix' (which is not the correct word, but okay) the situation at hand, and then delve into motivation and background and such. However, at home, I'm not able to do this.
    She seems to view all your behavior as interlinked or reflective of your general character
    It's like every fight we've had in the past is collected and brought in when something happens. At first, at least. Then other miscommunications are brought in, then harmless situations that do not have a negative connotation, then fun days out are twisted, until finally every aspect of me is 'wrong'. I'm usually not sure what to do here, and try very hard not to focus on the details, and keep going back to the issue at hand.

    You seem to not trust her judgement and lie to avoid things.
    That, interestingly, seems to fit. She's quite capable, but also does very dumb things from time to time. She once joked that "I told you so" is my catchphrase, and when she's in a good mood, she tends to ask me for advice on all kinds of things. Conversely, I ask her to think with me, and she can influence me, but in the end I tend to trust my own judgement, even if she disagrees. Avoiding certain things at certain times because I don't know how she would respond, does fit.

    Have you considered couples counseling?
    Yes, and I'm planning on asking her if she'd want to go with me. Right now, her mood is such that she'd respond with something like "you're the one who needs therapy", but right now we're past the phase where she suggests me getting a lobotomy, which is good. We're talking again, but we'll be talking for every evening for the next week or so, and I'm quite fearful for the next fight.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member WithLove's Avatar
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    You're in a relationship where you pick and choose what to tell your partner based on how she has reacted to different things in the past. She sounds a bit unbalanced, and definitely doesn't stick to any "fighting rules", and you sound like you'll continue withholding information (which is the same as lying, when it comes to relationships) no matter what happens because that's what you have done in previous relationships.


    What exactly are you getting out of this relationship?

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the relationship sounds so toxic and contemptuous it's doubtful therapy could help. You are simply warring enemies who have zero respect for each other..Do yourself a favor and end this.

  11. #10

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    What exactly are you getting out of this relationship?
    Do yourself a favor and end this.
    I wasn't expecting anything this extreme, and wasn't prepared to go this far myself.

    Once a while, a situation presents itself where I neglect to tell something and then panic (and reflexively try to cover it) when it appears to lead to a fight. I know this is a problem, and I've been working on it. I can weakly say "everybody lies", but since I've done this six or seven times over the past five years, I think we're doing quite well on that front. My problem was with the escalation, which I find goes way beyond the original problem. However, this is all a moot point, and not the reason for my post. I came here to get some insights or helpful tips, but it appears the situation has been resolved.

    In the aftermath of the fight, my partner asked me about financial transactions on the family account, and demanded I explain a very specific $6.30. That was lunch, as my packed lunch was lost (in the car, I found out later). This escalated the fight further, and she took the toddler, and walked away. As in; walked to the street, picked a direction, and with a screaming toddler started walking. I managed to take my daughter from her, which prompted her to walk back into the house, grab a knife, and try to stab me. After giving me a large gash, she gave up, threw the knife, and walked away. I called the police, but haven't heard anything yet.

    I'm oddly comforted by the fact that I'm not the only one; my partners' parents just told me that she walked out of her previous living-together relationship (which I didn't know existed), had an abortion (which I didn't know), and went on to get therapy (which I didn't know). I'm not sure how I am right now, but am sure there's no need to be on this forum in my current situation. Thanks for your thoughts, I'm going to focus on moving on.

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