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Thread: I love her, but I don't think I can be happy with her.

  1. #21
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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    Jane doesn't physically have anywhere to go despite paying the mortgage on her house. He might have to fly back to the UK to help her re-situate herself or at the very least have a word with her family or assist her if they're hostile and the outcome might be less than savoury if he's delivering her back to her dysfunctional family. There's a living situation issue with Jane and her finances are tied up. With a new job, going back to the UK might not be feasible until he can work out some time off to go back and tie up loose ends.
    Maybe i misread some of it, then. I thought he was living elsewhere and she was still in the UK - so she is living at HIS place in the UK?
    Honestly if he is working abroad and doesn't go back to the UK except to see her, maybe an amicable split where she pays rent at his place for awhile so she can get situated can be a workable situation. Its not his fault she doesn't have boundaries with her family or if she is paying their bills and not living with them. Its not his concern if she can't grow a backbone - there are roommate situations she can enter into and cut off the family gravy train

  2. #22
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by abitbroken
    Maybe i misread some of it, then. I thought he was living elsewhere and she was still in the UK - so she is living at HIS place in the UK?
    Honestly if he is working abroad and doesn't go back to the UK except to see her, maybe an amicable split where she pays rent at his place for awhile so she can get situated can be a workable situation. Its not his fault she doesn't have boundaries with her family or if she is paying their bills and not living with them. Its not his concern if she can't grow a backbone - there are roommate situations she can enter into and cut off the family gravy train
    These are really great ideas and I agree with you. I think it's hard on him because they've been together awhile and culturally, once broken in this way or once a path starts where there's cohabitation or as he's put it in another thread, "consummation" of a relationship, it's difficult to backtrack. I believe there's some kind of honour involved. It's difficult to describe especially if it appears alien/strange or different to other people who aren't bound by the same norms.

    I don't think existing this way indefinitely is possible but I believe it buys him time to figure things out on his end while he's in Singapore. He's mentioned that Jane lives at his house in another thread. The idea about rental or a rental contribution is a great idea if it didn't carry some insult/emotional difficulty (alluded to above regarding honour) perhaps or create more of a financial strain on her as she is currently still paying the mortgage on her own home which she does not live in.

  3. #23
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    Maybe i misread some of it, then. I thought he was living elsewhere and she was still in the UK - so she is living at HIS place in the UK?
    Yes, I am working in Singapore. Jane lives and works in the UK. After she got assaulted by her elder sister and driven out of her own house that she co-owns with that sister, she moved in with me, and still lives in my house now.

    maybe an amicable split where she pays rent at his place for awhile so she can get situated can be a workable situation. Its not his fault she doesn't have boundaries with her family or if she is paying their bills and not living with them. Its not his concern if she can't grow a backbone - there are roommate situations she can enter into and cut off the family gravy train
    Whether we split or not, I have encouraged her to cut off the gravy train so to speak and sell off her share of the house. The complicating factor is the fact that her mother also lives at the house with her sisters. Her elder sister is abusive to their mother too because she sided with Jane in the drama from the beginning, and said she would kick out their mother too if she had full ownership of the house. (What a horrible woman, right?) Despite paying only 5-10% towards the cost of the house (in the initial deposit) so far, Jane's sister thus far is not even willing to pay Jane 50% for her share of the house (various crazy BS reasons I don't want to go into).

    Jane has a complete aversion to conflict, so if I abandoned her completely, she will most likely get completely screwed over in whatever settlement they arrive at. At this point, I doubt she will ever get the £9,250 she is owed back, and I suspect she is going to need a good lawyer to get her fair share for her own house.

    Assuming she can get a reasonable chunk of change for her share, I am encouraging her to use it as a deposit to buy a new house/apartment herself, one that she can afford with just her own income, because although I currently have a decent job and earn more than her, my career has been very patchy and my job stability is poor. If we stay together, we can live at her new place (she doesn't like mine) and we can use my house as a rental property. If we do not stay together, she should be able to pay off her new mortgage by herself.

  4. #24
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    I think it's hard on him because they've been together awhile and culturally, once broken in this way or once a path starts where there's cohabitation or as he's put it in another thread, "consummation" of a relationship, it's difficult to backtrack. I believe there's some kind of honour involved. It's difficult to describe especially if it appears alien/strange or different to other people who aren't bound by the same norms.
    I am Chinese and my parents are certainly on the conservative end of the scale, but it is not a simple cultural issue. Due to the Communist revolution, and especially the Cultural Revolution in the 60s and 70s, traditional Chinese culture has been significantly diluted and eroded in mainland China. Modern China is surprisingly feminist and misogynist all at the same time, if we try to apply Western labels on Chinese societal attitudes.

    What that means is that young Chinese people do date, have sex, break up, etc without the sort of social stigma that my parents’ generation would have experienced, though they are generally still more conservative than the UK. A lot of marriages end in divorce, a lot of women end up not marrying at all, because a lot of Chinese women are well educated high earners who do not want to settle for a man with lower social status or economic assets, but they might not be young or pretty enough to land a man of equal or higher status and economic circumstances.

    Anyway in my case, traditional Chinese culture does play a part, Jane and all her sisters were born in the UK, but her Mum and Dad are from Hong Kong, so the level of commitment and sacrifice the sisters made in the care of their parents is probably grounded in traditional Confucian ideals of filial piety. Unfortunately, they took it to an excessive degree and it robbed all three sisters of their youth and independence, and caused a lot of internalized resentment that has been triggered and unleashed by the fact that Jane got a boyfriend, which was interpreted as an attempt to escape her responsibilities and obligations.

    From my perspective, some traditional Chinese values probably does influence my thoughts regarding Jane. (I took her virginity, so she is my woman now, my responsibility). But beyond that, I do care about her, I do love her. I have prided myself on generally behaving as a morally upright and decent human being. Jane gave me a chance when I did not have much. When I lost my job just a month into our relationship, she did not abandon me or blame me, but just gave me comfort and encouragement. So how can I abandon her now that I have a decent job and improving career? Whilst I am not at fault for her issues at home, I am the indirect cause, or trigger, so I would feel immensely guilty if I abandoned her after she had just lost the only home she has known her entire life because of me.

    If she were younger, she would have time to find somebody else more suitable. But if I abandoned her, given her age, it is very unlikely she will ever have her own children. She is so shy (I think she has social anxiety) that it is a miracle that she ever let me into her life. If she was more independent and adaptable, she would be able to take care of herself and move on. But she is terrified of change and so dependent on me emotionally... Just earlier I told her that I have some business dinner engagements this weekend, so will not be able to video call her at our usual time until Sunday. She started to cry straight away. *sigh*

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  6. #25
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    Her elder sister is abusive to their mother too because she sided with Jane in the drama from the beginning, and said she would kick out their mother too if she had full ownership of the house. (What a horrible woman, right?)

    So what? So Jane moves out and get a place with her mom. Or mom figures out another situation.

    (I took her virginity, so she is my woman now, my responsibility).

    She is 7 years older than you. If you love her and the only reason you don't want to be with her is the ability to have children, then what about marrying and adopting kids? No guarantee you will meet, fall in love with and marry a woman 7 years younger than Jane and be ready for kids when that 7 years is up and she is the same age as Jane. I am not asking you to settle, but you knew she was older when you met her. And to tell her now you want to break up because you want a younger woman -- well that's something you knew from the word go. So make a decision, and it can't be simply about kids because you made that bed when you "took her virginity, so she is my woman" with an older woman.

  7. #26
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I think she senses you're slipping away and developing yourself exponentially especially in Singapore. It may not be completely related to culture and relationship expectations. Unfortunately she has not developed herself nearly as much as you have or are continuing to do. These can create vast imbalances in a marriage or relationship. I appreciate you taking the time to tell your story in more detail.

    I married outside of my norm/my culture. I knew early on I did not see eye to eye with the ideals of a society still mired in tremendous gender bias/inequality. Fortunately for me my father never inhibited me or treated me differently from my brothers and we were encouraged to develop ourselves and make choices that best suited us. From there it was clear to me that the development of self and whatever trajectory that would lead to would be the outcome of my upbringing, my choices in life and any difficulties that all that would entail would be related directly to those choices. I had a very close relationship with my father and he was the first man who demanded that I become more than what he made of himself. I suppose that's why I may also demand more out of others and in my relationships. I have the sense that you're taking on a lot of responsibility for your choices but not all of it is in your best interests.

    Regardless of how we all came to be, I hope that you are able to make peace with your decisions and your life. I don't think it's a bad idea to do all the thinking you're doing now. I think Singapore will be good for you. Even though it is conservative compared to western culture, it is still fairly forward in the way it treats its women and in the way education is at the constant forefront. Keep learning and exploring more about yourself.

  8. #27
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    Disentangle yourself from this situation.

    Despite she being 7 years older than you, Jane is not really that put together. You are under no obligation to support her or be witness to her dysfunction.

    Maybe get her into a small apartment of he own and in he own name, then poof, you're gone!

  9. #28
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MirrorKnight
    I have prided myself on generally behaving as a morally upright and decent human being. Jane gave me a chance when I did not have much. When I lost my job just a month into our relationship, she did not abandon me or blame me, but just gave me comfort and encouragement. So how can I abandon her now that I have a decent job and improving career? Whilst I am not at fault for her issues at home, I am the indirect cause, or trigger, so I would feel immensely guilty if I abandoned her after she had just lost the only home she has known her entire life because of me.

    If she were younger, she would have time to find somebody else more suitable. But if I abandoned her, given her age, it is very unlikely she will ever have her own children. She is so shy (I think she has social anxiety) that it is a miracle that she ever let me into her life. If she was more independent and adaptable, she would be able to take care of herself and move on. But she is terrified of change and so dependent on me emotionally... Just earlier I told her that I have some business dinner engagements this weekend, so will not be able to video call her at our usual time until Sunday. She started to cry straight away. *sigh*
    Putting aside the cultural stuff for a moment, what I can't help but see is a dynamic in which two people are bringing out each other's weaknesses, not strengths, and have been for some time. You both know this on a cellular level but are reluctant to admit it on a cerebral level. Pretty classic knot that occurs when you stay in something you've outgrown, breaking your brain to come up with rationalizations—and, as a result, can't grow authentically.

    I'll start with her. Past the shyness and fragility that you're hyper-focused on, Jane is very much an adult human being, a woman nearing 40 who is not completely immune to navigating the business of being alive. She earns money, eats, breathes, thinks, feels, gets by just fine. She did this before you. She will do it after you—and, with a different partner, or without, if you can allow the humility to imagine this, with potentially more grace, moxie, and inner-growth than she does with you.

    Being with you? Well, you have become a mirror to the fragility, enabling, accentuating, and kind of "freezing" one part of her identity as her whole identity, at least inside your co-created dynamic. She cries straight away not because she is a damsel woman-girl, in other words, but because that's the role she's been conditioned to play with you, a role that gets rewarded by you.

    Which leads us to you. You've got a great spirit, a great mind. While I have no doubt your decency is genuine, and your desire to be a good, decent man genuine, I think something else is tied up in all that nobility. Pride, as you said. A lack of humility. You take "pride" in being "the good guy," and while much of that might by culturally driven there may be something more primal, or at least psychological, gong on too.

    In Jane you have a pretty "easy" vessel for mainlining that pride, for feeling "big" next to someone you perceive as "small." You met her at a time when you were in a low, battling depression, battling pretty human thoughts and feelings about not meeting your own expectations of yourself by age X, and in ways she remains a mirror to that version of yourself. Someone who "needs" you, in the way she does, becomes something of an immediate fix to that existential angst, a booster shot of self-confidence. You go from being a wayward guy crossing into his 30s to the Man You Want To Be, or perhaps the Man You Are Supposed To Be. I suspect much of what you are currently frustrated with in this dynamic was, in the early days, much of what drew you to it, subconsciously. And to let it go? Well, that means letting go of that booster shot, something your subconscious resists.

    Culturally you and I come from different stock. I'm a white American dude soon to turn 40, abandoned by my father, raised by an entrepreneurial single mom on the far edges of liberalism, progressive this and that. Very little emphasis on tradition, lots of emphasis on individuality, on learning to listen to your spirit, on being kind to others but not compromising your core selfhood. So my definition of being a "good guy" is basically just being honest—with myself and, by extension, with others. That's a lifelong process, with hits and misses. The people I try to associate with, platonically and romantically, are people that have me hitting more than missing. That too, of course, is a process.

    That said, I've found myself, at various junctures, adhering to conventions that didn't quite serve me, ideas and ideals, of manhood, of partnership, of women, that aren't so different from what you're reckoning with. I'd say, during those junctures, that I was being dishonest, so that no matter how "good" a man I was, say, to a girlfriend—and I've been a very good boyfriend in the checklist sense, and hold myself to very high standards—that goodness was tarnished by the dishonesty. That taint is like a little tumor that expands in time. Treat it, and we grow; ignore it, and we stay stuck. It has led me to fall short of my own expectations in my past, my own "Cathy-like" experiences when I've been with a Jane. Whether you curb those instincts or indulge them doesn't take away that glitch in the mainframe; the former is better character, without question, but it's still not being applied on the right stage, with the right person.

    People want to be respected, admired, not pitied. That's not cultural, but human nature 101. When we feel pitied we feel weak, and our weaknesses become us; when we feel respected and admired we feel strong, and our strengths become us. Your dominant feeling toward Jane seems to be pity. Perhaps, once upon a time, she felt something similar to you, and perhaps her mix of pity and love gave you the support you needed to dig in a bit, to go after the job, to grow and be "better," to come further into yourself by harnessing qualities that were there pre-Jane but that being with Jane, early, helped excavate.

    Great. That was when things worked, to a degree. For you. For her it sounds like the effect on her development has been different, stunting her as you went through a growth spurt. Your levels are different now, and where there was once something like respect there is now something like condescension, pity, to say nothing of a wandering eye. Do those qualities make you the decent person you want to be? Or do they take you further from it? I'd take some time to ask those questions, as it seems you're doing.

    Keep thinking, keep processing, keep feeling. But keep being honest, with yourself. Humility is your friend right now. Chill with the idea that breaking up is "abandoning" her, relegating her to a shadow of a life that only you can rescue her from. That's just not how life works, how people work. It gives yourself more power than you have and makes her more of a victim than she is. Makes it hard to think, process, and feel on an honest plane.

    Not sure any of that helps. Just some thoughts, some observations. Gun to head I think you know Jane is not your person, and gun to her head I think she knows this too. That's your dynamic, now. Plenty of people spend their lives together with those guns at their heads, pretending they're not there by leaning into stories of nobility, or intimacy as labor, of compromise (of their core selves, of the truth) as a virtue. In my nearly 40 years stumbling about this planet, I haven't seen a lot of joy in those unions.

    Do you think you can find joy there?

  10. #29
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    Update

    I feel like people have told me what I needed to hear, but I am really struggling to take decisive action. Partly that is because I am still struggling to let go and really hurt somebody I truly do love, and partly because even if I decide to do it, I don't want to do it when I am not with her in person. I am going back to the UK on Sep 24 and I want to make a final choice before then.

    I have become more vague and more non-committal when I talk to her about the future, and she has picked up on it... and she responds by pressing me for reassurances and precisely the kind of concrete commitment that I want to avoid, and crying pretty much every time that we video-chat. She asks "do you still love me? do you want to be with me?" and she gets upset when I say things like "do you think we are good for each other? don't you think somebody else could take better care of you?"... She feels me slipping away and she is grasping ever harder. She's booked a date at local government to register our intent to marry, she has gone off birth control (I agreed to this because if I stay with her, we will try for children, if we break up, we won't have sex again) and she is even checking flight tickets to visit me in the most fertile period of her menstrual cycle...

    I'm not really sure what I am expecting anyone to tell me that I have not already been told. I feel like I have all the information, I feel like the choice is pretty obvious, but it still feels like abandoning my responsibility, leaving a puppy on the roadside, stabbing her in the heart. My chest hurts just thinking about it. Am I being egotistical to think that she cannot survive without me? There has been more drama on her family front, maybe I'll post about that separately... if I abandon her, I am so worried that she will get mad at me, reject my help going forwards, and then get completely screwed over by her evil sister.

  11. #30
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MirrorKnight
    Am I being egotistical to think that she cannot survive without me?
    In a word? Yes.

    And I don’t mean that harshly, as it’s clear you care about her and are weighing this all with intention. Still: just as she survived before you, she will survive after. Perhaps she will even find a way to thrive in a way she can’t with you and the dynamic you’ve both created.

    I’d explore these thoughts a bit, the plane where what’s still drawing you to this might not just be tradition and a sense of duty but, well, ego. I can’t help but think that, along with not wanting to hurt her, which you’re already doing plenty, if passively, you’re wary of giving up the role of her life force, your identity as her blood and oxygen. All that’s given you some confidence over the years, and while it’s pretty clear it’s time to harness that confidence elsewhere, taking a big leap like that is always scary. It means getting more fully in touch with yourself as a mortal, not a superman who can live for two.

    But imagine, for a moment, a partner referring to you as a “wounded puppy.” Is there any way that you can fathom being okay with that? Any way you can imagine any adult human, regardless of their cultural background and life station, being okay with that?

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