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Thread: Hitting a brick wall

  1. #1

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    Hitting a brick wall

    This is my first post here so hello all.

    This is an awkward one (as I'm sure most are) so please bear with me.

    So we've been together a very busy three years achieving our goals and moving back to our respective parents for the financial stability, in-turn putting extra pressure on the relationship. My girlfriend has worked hard through a three year nursing degree but now that she is out of it, she can't seem to shake her university blues. Since transitioning to her position as a nurse she has maintained this pressure on herself, despite achieving her goals, having much less of a workload and having financial stability. She is irritable, complains (mostly of aches, pains or tiredness), has become less and less intimate; as a result I am feeling drained and becoming snappy. I am finding it difficult to cope because the hard work has paid off and she should be walking on clouds, pleased with her accomplishment and taking back her independence. We should now be moving forward together and actually starting our lives.

    I have spoken to her and asked her to open up but she's putting up walls, this is in part to a previous partner and some insecurity but I can't accept that. As her partner she should be trying to open up to me so we can move forward but now I have no clue where to go with this.

    Would appreciate some outside thinking on the matter, thanks.

  2. #2
    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    Maybe you should sit her down and tell her that the current situation is unacceptable to you, and if things don't change you'll have to part ways. Perhaps a short break from each other would help until she figures out what direction she wants to go in.

  3. #3

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    I agree and keep drawing on the same conclusion myself, thanks Sarah.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I agree with Sarah.

    The best way to handle being frustrated with someone for not opening up is to open up to them. So rather than press her to be more open, which will just make anyone close off more, be open yourself. Be vulnerable. Calmly, with affection, sit her down and express your current feelings: that you love her, believe in her and the connection you have, but that you can't keep going forward the way things are going. Make it about your feelings, not her behavior. Hopefully she can hear them in a way that brings evolution, a kind of softness where right now you're getting a hard edge. But if she can't—well, there is clarity in that too, if a more melancholy variety.

    To wax philosophical for a moment, in hopes of maybe broadening your perspective on things a touch: I think one of the hardest things about life, especially for younger people, and especially for driven people, is learning that the achieving of goals rarely brings the kind of satisfaction you imagine when pursing them. I'm super driven—started dreaming big very young and realized a lot of those dreams quick. Always left me kind of hollow, less content then wondering: Okay, what now? What next? Made me a bit of a nightmare to be with, especially in my 20s and early 30s.

    At some point, for me, there was a shift. I stopped caring about achievements and refocused my pleasure on the pursuit—basically recognizing that I liked the questions more than the answers, the journey, per the old saying, more than the destination. Things that once seemed so important to me—owning home, a professional achievement, a certain number in my bank account—just stopped mattering because I'd come to understand all that as basically superficial, and always in flux. Or, put another way: they didn't matter if they got in the way of connection, of a deeper, stiller version of contentment.

    In my case the only thing that changed all that was just...time. Experience. Living. And, sure, losing connections with some very wonderful people because that energy inside me needed to burn off and settle. Guess I'm saying that I very much sympathize with both you and your girlfriend. It's totally okay for her to feel the way she does right now, but it might not be conducive to being in a relationship. And it's totally okay for you to feel frustrated, but ultimately you'll find more peace in accepting that all you can do is be open and honest rather than trying to change someone or push them to view things as you do.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    There's a lot going on for her as well as both of you, particularly living with parents. Do not ascribe all your snappiness to her. .Reflect on what in your life causes your own irritability and dissatisfaction. For that is all you can change in this scenario.

    Stop asking her to "open up to you". Instead use compassion and ask her if she's depressed, anxious, etc and if talking to someone (not you) would help. Otherwise do you think her former bf or someone new may be influencing her moods and attitudes?
    Originally Posted by Fletch
    we've been together a very busy three years achieving our goals and moving back to our respective parents for the financial stability. She is irritable, complains (mostly of aches, pains or tiredness), has become less and less intimate

  7. #6

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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    I agree with Sarah.

    The best way to handle being frustrated with someone for not opening up is to open up to them. So rather than press her to be more open, which will just make anyone close off more, be open yourself. Be vulnerable. Calmly, with affection, sit her down and express your current feelings: that you love her, believe in her and the connection you have, but that you can't keep going forward the way things are going. Make it about your feelings, not her behavior. Hopefully she can hear them in a way that brings evolution, a kind of softness where right now you're getting a hard edge. But if she can't—well, there is clarity in that too, if a more melancholy variety.

    To wax philosophical for a moment, in hopes of maybe broadening your perspective on things a touch: I think one of the hardest things about life, especially for younger people, and especially for driven people, is learning that the achieving of goals rarely brings the kind of satisfaction you imagine when pursing them. I'm super driven—started dreaming big very young and realized a lot of those dreams quick. Always left me kind of hollow, less content then wondering: Okay, what now? What next? Made me a bit of a nightmare to be with, especially in my 20s and early 30s.

    At some point, for me, there was a shift. I stopped caring about achievements and refocused my pleasure on the pursuit—basically recognizing that I liked the questions more than the answers, the journey, per the old saying, more than the destination. Things that once seemed so important to me—owning home, a professional achievement, a certain number in my bank account—just stopped mattering because I'd come to understand all that as basically superficial, and always in flux. Or, put another way: they didn't matter if they got in the way of connection, of a deeper, stiller version of contentment.

    In my case the only thing that changed all that was just...time. Experience. Living. And, sure, losing connections with some very wonderful people because that energy inside me needed to burn off and settle. Guess I'm saying that I very much sympathize with both you and your girlfriend. It's totally okay for her to feel the way she does right now, but it might not be conducive to being in a relationship. And it's totally okay for you to feel frustrated, but ultimately you'll find more peace in accepting that all you can do is be open and honest rather than trying to change someone or push them to view things as you do.
    I appreciate the insight and the view from your personal experiences, it does help to see how different people view their goals or problems and ultimately how they deal with them. I do believe that drive to reach those goals has knocked us off course but I'm sure we will be able to set that right. Its far too easy to lose sight of what's important when you're distracted by this constant idea, then the frustration and the challenges creep in to give a reality check. Hopefully we overcome these ones.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Take a break from the relationship. Allow her to have rhythm with her new work life as a nurse. She has baggage from her previous relationship, too. Give her lots of time and space. If she comes around eventually, then wonderful and if not, it's time to go your separate ways. Don't force a relationship if she's unenthusiastic.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cherylyn
    Take a break from the relationship. Allow her to have rhythm with her new work life as a nurse. She has baggage from her previous relationship, too. Give her lots of time and space. If she comes around eventually, then wonderful and if not, it's time to go your separate ways. Don't force a relationship if she's unenthusiastic.
    I agree, although you can back off without necessarily breaking. I see a lot of 'she should' in your post. The perfect way to harm any kind of relationship--with anyone--is to should all over someone.

    Maybe GF will learn to thrive if you take some of the pressure OUT of her cooker instead of adding to it with your prescriptions of how she 'should' do anything. Demonstrate the kind of respect and support you'd offer a neighbor or a colleague or a stranger, and this will prevent you from taking for granted your familiarity as a 'right' to impose parentage on another adult.

    Over time you will learn whether GF will respond to your model of respect and a lighter touch or not. If not, you can decide whether the relationship is worth saving through counseling, or whether you'll walk away, but at very least you'll have learned how to stop trying to control GF's perceptions and behaviors, which will serve you well in any relationship you wish to build in the future--with her or anyone else.

    Head high, and read my sig below.


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