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Thread: Which one of us is the problem?

  1. #1
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    Which one of us is the problem?

    I've been with my boyfriend, Ryan, for three years and a few months. We bought an engagement ring a year ago, but it's just stuck in a box somewhere because I'm avoiding the commitment until I get this sorted out (and he's just procrastinating). We got together when I was 20, and I had never had a long term relationship before that - that's what made me come here. I have no idea what is normal or expected. I'm hoping those of you who have had longer relationships/marriages might be able to tell me if we're in a bad spot.

    I have never felt more stuck or confused. I can't figure out for the life of me if I'm the problem, or if he is missing something normal guys have. My family insists that Ryan is perfect, and he really is a prince charming. He loves me so completely, and he's constantly doing things for me, like cooking, fixing my broken devices, etc. He's incredibly loving in a non-enthusiastic way. Absolutely wonderful to me and so smart, responsible, and kind, but he, or we, seem to be missing a spark. His family all act like robots, and he definitely got that from them - he barely ever touches me without me asking for it. It's hard not to cry when I see something as simple as a man putting his hand on his partner's lower back. I would do anything for Ryan to "treat me like his girlfriend", I feel like I'm just a roommate he really cares about. I'm at the opposite end - affection and touching/being touched is EVERYTHING to me. Every day, I completely shower him with "tickle baths" as we call them, massages, kisses, and compliments. I don't do those things because I should, I do them because I want to. Yet it seems like he doesn't have those instincts at all. He didn't initiate sex for months until I directly asked him to, and that still has barely made a difference. He also never compliments me in any way, almost never says thank you when I do something for him, and barely ever says he loves me. After all this time I've started to feel unattractive/unwanted, which I know isn't the case. That's the problem - I know he loves me and thinks I'm attractive, but he didn't grow up in an environment where you show affection. This wouldn't be a big deal if I didn't need so much love, but I'm the opposite of him. I show all my emotions all the time and love being touched more than any other form of affection. At the heart of it, we go together as people PERFECTLY, and I really love him, but the way we handle a romantic relationship clashes like all hell.

    About a couple months ago I told Ryan about all of this, how awful I was feeling, that I thought maybe we might end up breaking up. He said he completely understood and that he was being lazy with his affection, that he would make a greater effort in the relationship (and in the bedroom). He initiated sex twice in that whole period of time. He also started poking and nudging me with his fingers, like he was trying to touch me as I had asked him to. He's been a bit better since the big talk, telling me he loves me more often, saying I look cute once in a while, smiling at me when he walks in the door sometimes. That's how "robotic" he is - he doesn't naturally smile when he sees me after work - I can tell it's weird for him now that he does it. Basically, it's clear that he's a certain way and I'm a certain way, and that won't change.

    And it's not just affection - I always want to do crazy, wild things. I'm fun and spontaneous, I like to run around the room making funny faces and being silly, and I love going up to strangers and making fast friends with them. I would probably go skinny dipping in the wilderness or something like that with anyone who asked, whereas Ryan (for example) won't go swimming in the apartment complex's heated pool unless it's 100 degrees outside. Too chilly. He's not a risk taker and never looks actively for excitement, he's just a pretty serious, extreeeeemely intellectual person who sticks well to a routine. Since the first day I met him, I've always thought there was a fire in him that was missing. And despite the million billion times I've convinced myself I'm asking too much from him, I always get that nagging feeling coming back, forcing on thoughts/fantasies about being with a more exciting person. I want to LIVE as much as possible, just immerse myself in new experiences, but he doesn't immerse himself in anything. I'm an artist, and he's an intellectual.

    I have been researching and thinking about all this to no end - I know full well that any person you're with will drive you up the wall for one reason or another. Everyone has flaws. This could totally apply, because Ryan is seriously great. He's just like a sleepy or kind of robot-y version of the most perfect guy in the world. Incredibly respectful, sweet, and makes all the right choices. The problem could also be that I don't have friends - I work so often, I could squeeze in hangouts, but I've honestly been too lazy to try to find friends. I'm also kind of obsessive, I could just be focusing way too hard on a negative quality. I've looked at this from a thousand different perspectives, but at the end of the day, I just feel empty and don't know what to do. And I can't stop dreaming about that guy out there who's not as smart or responsible, but who would fit the lifestyle I prefer. Every day filled with excitement, kisses, cuddles, sex, adventures, risks, fun!! It could be me causing the problems, stressing about pointless things and getting too wound up, or it could be him. After all, I've had this issue with him since day 1. It's probably both of us. I need too much, and he doesn't give quite enough. No matter what, there's probably a 95% chance I won't leave him. I just can't, I don't think I'd ever be brave enough to leave my entire life like that and just start over, I can barely take care of myself without him. Plus everyone is telling me to stay. I'm looking for a therapist to see if I can fix any problems with myself then re-assess, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to get rid of this nagging feeling. I'm missing the basic things, like, I have to make myself feel excited about the idea of marrying him someday. I'm not usually extremely excited to be with him, or proud of my choice in a permanent partner. As in, I never look at him and think "That's MY guy!!", which I know is supposed to happen. It's like we've never had a spark, as if we've been an aging, tired couple for our whole relationship. But there are so many good things and fun times we have together, and I truly don't think there are many, if any, guys that are better than him out there. Our relationship looks totally perfect to anyone who knows us, because it pretty much is aside from my own feelings.

    Someone please help, I'll take any and all opinions, if you can possibly get to the end of this gigantic freaking post haha. I have no idea what to think, or how much affection/enthusiasm/craziness is too much to ask for. People have flaws, but I just can't seem to get over this and don't know how to.

  2. #2
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    Hi

    I think after three years youíve now taken a better look. You removed the rose tinted glasses so to speak.

    Youíre probably feeling more you two are friends then lovers.

    I would suggest breaking up with him so you two find the ones perfect for each other. Somewhere out there is a match for him.

    Of course youíre scared to leave. Heís all you have known. But taking a risk and being alone and facing the world on your own is its own adventure!

    That guy you crave is out there please donít settle.

  3. #3
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    That's a lot of words for something very simple. He is perfect on paper and not a good match for you. IMO to marry someone other than a marriage of convenience you need to be reasonably sure and excited to be marrying the person and to me anyway excitement requires a spark. Or at the very least at those times you're not feeling it you can reinvigorate the spark or know you can later (meaning you might not feel the spark if you're really upset with him or really exhausted, etc).

    If you have the dream of someone else then he is not the right person. Sure we might all notice an attractive guy, crush on a radio personality, feel a mild thrill if someone flirts with us or gives us a compliment but it's completely overshadowed by the love/commitment you feel for your person -it's a momentary fleeting thing.

    There's no thousand different perspectives and while some people "just know" it's also ok if you don't just know. That's why I'm a fan of "reasonably sure and excited to marry that person". You can overanalyze to death -can you tell that I did when I was just about your age??? - but it really is quite basic/simple.

    It's also not about shoulds or comparing yourself to how your girlfriends or hairdresser or mother feels -it's about you. But that is also why if you tend to overthink I like the simple "reasonably sure and excited to be with the person."

    I spent many years overthinking this. And wasted time overthinking it. And when I became the right person to find the right person I knew that while there might technically be someone better out there -technically because well sure I didn't date everyone who existed - that technicality was irrelevant. I made my choice, was happy and excited by my choice and this with all the past overthinking, obsessing, doubting, panicking. I even married someone who I didn't feel right about marrying but then did 8 years later. On my wedding day I had this combination of feeling completely natural and completely magical about taking my vows. Never felt that way before -that seemingly inconsistent combination but it made perfect sense, felt completely right that day. And the magic had nothing to do with the setting -we had 10 guests at my inlaws' home -as simple a wedding as can be and the magic was from within and without, surrounding us.
    I wish the same for you -that peaceful easy feeling that is not settling because it includes that spark, includes that security of knowing that when you're not quite feeling it it's fleeting, temporary, it will return because nothing can shake the foundation, the core of who you are together.

    It's not about being brave enough to walk -it's the ethical thing to do. It's unfair to him -he deserves a spouse who is excited to be with him. Of course there are guys out there who are better for you -obviously. It's not about perfect on paper.

  4. #4
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    You both sound like great people, but you are not compatible. You would be miserable if you decided to spend a lifetime together. You should never expect people to change.

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  6. #5
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    You should also develop some friendships. It's not healthy to make your life about your bf.

  7. #6
    Super Moderator Capricorn3's Avatar
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    I don't think either one is really doing anything wrong. It's more a simple case of incompatibility, imo. Best to cut your losses now while you're still young.

  8. #7
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    Why are you barely able to take care of yourself?

    Are you dependent on him for everything? If so, why did you allow that to happen?

  9. #8
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    You and Ryan are incompatible.

    He isn't going to change and you can't expect him too. You told him about the initiating, he has done what he can. But as for the long list of other things, being spontaneous, being silly etc...it's not him, it's never going to be him. You are going to have to accept this.

    He is NEVER going to be that person.

    That does not make him bad, or boring or 'robotic'...that means a girl like you, cannot fully appreciate a man like him. But out there somewhere, someone will appreciate exactly who he is and what he's like...it's just not you.

    You have gone on about there not being a 'spark' and you need to own up to that and move on. You can't stay with him just due to the fact that you're scared to be alone or that you're not responsible enough. He's not your parent and you can't keep clinging onto him like this.

    You are essentially using him out or fear but you don't actually love him. There's parts of him that you appreciate, but its not love.

    If you want to be fair at all, you will let him go. Stop using him, stop putting him down, stop expecting him to be someone he isn't.
    Tell him it's not working, and let him go.

    Then you can find the man you've described above and Ryan will stop feeling like he's not enough and you will stop expecting him to be someone he's not.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    But taking a risk and being alone and facing the world on your own is its own adventure!
    True, if you're such a risk taker, then this should be easy to leave and go find the man of your dreams.

    You should also develop some friendships. It's not healthy to make your life about your bf.
    Also true, you don't have friends. That's your fault, not his. You are placing all this pressure on his head and expecting him to be everything. That's not fair. You need to start making friends and not have all your happiness dependant on Ryan.

    But you two still won't be and aren't compatible.

  11. #10
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    I agree with whoever said you are actually not a risk taker despite your claim to be.

    ď No matter what, there's probably a 95% chance I won't leave him. I just can't, I don't think I'd ever be brave enough to leave my entire life like that and just start over, I can barely take care of myself without him. Ē

    Risk takers are not brave. They are reckless yet know the risk and accept the potential consequences.

    You are ONLY 23 years old. What do you mean by leaving your entire life and having to a start over?
    He is NOT your entire life , in fact you have only known him 3 years out of 23?

    You say there is a 95% chance you wonít leave him , I say there is a 95% chance you will! If not now, then later , hopefully before you marry and have kids.

    He is a nice guy, you are a nice girl.
    But you donít make for a nice couple. (Outwardly to others yes perhaps)

    Google the five love languages. Perhaps you will understand why he will never give you the affection you require.

    End it now because you will eventually.
    Itís the kindest thing you could do for him.

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