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Thread: Maybe just communication issues, but want an outside perspective

  1. #11
    Silver Member chewy21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    5 years out of 6, this relationship has been nothing but a misery. On top of that things aren't getting better, they are getting worse and more miserable. So at what point do you think you can face the fact that this relationship, this woman isn't right for you. It's not working and truly....you've done all you can to try.... I mean there comes a point where you've tried enough and it's time to let go and part ways. You are years past that point already. How many more years do you want to waste on pounding a square peg into a round hole?
    Blunt, but mostly accurate. However, if it were *nothing* but a misery for the majority of the time, I'd have left long ago. There are clearly feelings between us, and compatibilities that don't present themselves when describing negative issues.

    I mostly agree, though. I'm nearing the end of my rope with everything. Just trying to make sure there's not something I'm missing or just looking at the wrong way.

    Thanks for the reply. Getting Ready for a First Date

  2. #12
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MissCanuck
    It sounds like there has been so much resentment between you two over the years that she's edging out of the relationship.

    Are you sure you want to be in the relationship at this point?
    Wondering the same thing myself.

    Reading between the lines a bit, and taking into account that she was a sneeze out of adolescence when you met, while you were cresting into your 30s, I can't help but see a dynamic in which you are seeking some kind of comfort in both the idea that she is young and immature and the notion that you can "grow her," so to speak. That she has begun to reject that dynamic and role in your life—that she is no longer 21, but approaching 30—is a big part of the rub here. As much as you want to preserve that early dynamic, she wants it shattered.

    The sex stuff, for starters. You can make it super complicated, as you have, but it's also kind of simple. You two don't have great chemistry, never have, as you've never really felt she was "with" you between the sheets. Happens. A lot. Always a bummer. But rather than just think of it as sexual incompatibility, you seem to have viewed it as a problem to solve, some place where you can "awaken" her, with that "awakening" really being about your pleasure, soothing your insecurities, reaffirming some idea of yourself. Someone who is young and inexperienced might entertain that for a bit, as she has for years, though it grates, wilts the spirit. People don't want to feel like other people's projects.

    Which brings us to your second point—second and third, actually. How I, here in the bleacher seats, would take what she's saying? I'd see it as a 27-year-old woman who has grown very, very tired of being viewed as a hapless 21-year-old by her partner. She is tried of giving you the reward of her growth, of having her immaturity being the thing by which you measure your own maturity, and is now finding ways to reject that model to feel more empowered. The language for all this may still be forming for her, but, like Andrina said, this is what it looks like when someone "outgrows" a relationship. She wants to be seen and viewed as an equal, not wet clay that you can mold and become frustrated with when it doesn't "set" in the shape you desire. No, she is not expressing that with a ton of grace, but she's trying. I get that you have a lot of history, and emotions are tense right now, but your overall tone in talking about her is heroically condescending.

    Onto point four. You're saying she loses control of emotions, struggles with "adult conversations," but from what you've outlined? I'd say that applies to you as well, maybe more so? The nuts and bolts of the novella, after all, is that you wanted attention and praise from her that you weren't getting when you wanted it. Rather than just think she wasn't super duper into gaming when she she left the room, you kind of amped it up. In response she amped back. Around and around. Zoom out, be generous, be humble, and it kind of looks like: two people who, together, lose control of emotions and struggle to have adult conversations. You're both guilty of the same crime, so to speak, and there may be no one to blame save the god of incompatibility—two people who no longer function and, in trying to force functionality, merely exacerbate that which is dysfunctional.

    If you're still reading? I know that may sound harsh, but I'm not saying that you're being a "big ol' dong" here. You're just in a relationship with someone you've never taken seriously as an equal, and now that she really senses that, the plot is lost. Personally, I believe that, as much as people do change and evolve, the foundations of relationships get set pretty quickly. The reason very, very few 21-year-olds spend forever with who they date at that time in their life is because they outgrow who they were, and no longer want to be seen that way. Alas, as you yourself have said, you can't quite see her as anything but that person you first met. Go back to when you were 21, and imagine having to play that role for someone as 30 dawned. You might understand her headspace a little better, as well as the fault lines running through the dynamic you two have built together.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member Lambert's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are very confident in 'you know her'. However, this can't really be true. Can it?

    Sounds to me like she is feeling very misunderstood. Which generally causes intimacy, in any type of relationship, to stop.

    Your post read like you do things, that you think are being supportive of her, but they are really more about you.

    You screamed at her for not telling you sooner that she was raped. Think about that. I understand you regret that but...

    honestly, why would your first reaction to something, so clearly about her, to make it about you? And to make her feel even a smidge worse about it? I don't understand this at all.

    Then the whole sheets thing..... you wake her because the bed is ready. Why wouldn't you make sure the bed was ready before bed time? you started the linens earlier in the day? then you wake her up. that's annoying. then you ask her if wants the blanket and then you toss it on her.

    which is it? do you care she gets a better night sleep or are you mad she didn't come to bed?

    21 to 27 is a much bigger growth spirt, than 31 to 37. So she probably has changed.

    And as another poster said, I do see the parent child dynamic in what you wrote. You sound like you think you know her better than she knows herself.

    She is probably resenting this and feeling like you are imposing your version of her on to her.

    The best thing you could do is try to listen more. Talk less. Look to solve things via compromise instead of trying to convince her you're right.

  4. #14
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    It sounds like your instincts are telling you not to go further, particularly with this much strife already. If she wants kids/marriage let her go.
    Originally Posted by chewy21
    I started looking at rings a few years ago, which prompted me to really dig into my own feelings about committing to her. Ever since, things have been too uncertain for me to consider making that commitment.

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  6. #15
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chewy21
    Blunt, but mostly accurate. However, if it were *nothing* but a misery for the majority of the time, I'd have left long ago. There are clearly feelings between us, and compatibilities that don't present themselves when describing negative issues.

    I mostly agree, though. I'm nearing the end of my rope with everything. Just trying to make sure there's not something I'm missing or just looking at the wrong way.

    Thanks for the reply.
    Well of course no relationship is 100% bad. Heck even the worst and most abusive and violent of relationships have their good moments. That's hardly the point here.

    The point is that for 5 years you've had no satisfying sex life to speak of and rather than walking away after a year at most, here you are....still trying to make, fix, mold, seek something that is not there....never was. That is reason alone to walk away. Instead you continue to build on emptiness, rejection, resentment, seeking validation and approval where none exists.

    The argument about the game thing.....it wasn't about the game. You did something for her and were craving recognition, a thank you, excitement....some kind of positive emotion like a man craves water in the middle of the desert. You didn't get what you want and so it blew up into an argument. My point is that this is your moment to recognize that this relationship hasn't been working for years. Has left you feeling thirsty and desperate rather than secure and satisfied and happy. So I ask again - how many more years do you want to spend living the desert trying desperately to turn it into a blooming garden? You know it doesn't work, right? Incompatibility doesn't make her or you bad people, just two people who can't quite get along, who end up feeling thirsty instead of fulfilled. You can't fix that by clinging on, you have to let each other go. That's how you fix it - by finding a partner who actually fits. Relationships aren't this miserable or this much work when they are right - a concept to ponder.

  7. #16
    Silver Member chewy21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Wondering the same thing myself.

    Reading between the lines a bit, and taking into account that she was a sneeze out of adolescence when you met, while you were cresting into your 30s, I can't help but see a dynamic in which you are seeking some kind of comfort in both the idea that she is young and immature and the notion that you can "grow her," so to speak. That she has begun to reject that dynamic and role in your life—that she is no longer 21, but approaching 30—is a big part of the rub here. As much as you want to preserve that early dynamic, she wants it shattered.

    The sex stuff, for starters. You can make it super complicated, as you have, but it's also kind of simple. You two don't have great chemistry, never have, as you've never really felt she was "with" you between the sheets. Happens. A lot. Always a bummer. But rather than just think of it as sexual incompatibility, you seem to have viewed it as a problem to solve, some place where you can "awaken" her, with that "awakening" really being about your pleasure, soothing your insecurities, reaffirming some idea of yourself. Someone who is young and inexperienced might entertain that for a bit, as she has for years, though it grates, wilts the spirit. People don't want to feel like other people's projects.

    Which brings us to your second point—second and third, actually. How I, here in the bleacher seats, would take what she's saying? I'd see it as a 27-year-old woman who has grown very, very tired of being viewed as a hapless 21-year-old by her partner. She is tried of giving you the reward of her growth, of having her immaturity being the thing by which you measure your own maturity, and is now finding ways to reject that model to feel more empowered. The language for all this may still be forming for her, but, like Andrina said, this is what it looks like when someone "outgrows" a relationship. She wants to be seen and viewed as an equal, not wet clay that you can mold and become frustrated with when it doesn't "set" in the shape you desire. No, she is not expressing that with a ton of grace, but she's trying. I get that you have a lot of history, and emotions are tense right now, but your overall tone in talking about her is heroically condescending.

    Onto point four. You're saying she loses control of emotions, struggles with "adult conversations," but from what you've outlined? I'd say that applies to you as well, maybe more so? The nuts and bolts of the novella, after all, is that you wanted attention and praise from her that you weren't getting when you wanted it. Rather than just think she wasn't super duper into gaming when she she left the room, you kind of amped it up. In response she amped back. Around and around. Zoom out, be generous, be humble, and it kind of looks like: two people who, together, lose control of emotions and struggle to have adult conversations. You're both guilty of the same crime, so to speak, and there may be no one to blame save the god of incompatibility—two people who no longer function and, in trying to force functionality, merely exacerbate that which is dysfunctional.

    If you're still reading? I know that may sound harsh, but I'm not saying that you're being a "big ol' dong" here. You're just in a relationship with someone you've never taken seriously as an equal, and now that she really senses that, the plot is lost. Personally, I believe that, as much as people do change and evolve, the foundations of relationships get set pretty quickly. The reason very, very few 21-year-olds spend forever with who they date at that time in their life is because they outgrow who they were, and no longer want to be seen that way. Alas, as you yourself have said, you can't quite see her as anything but that person you first met. Go back to when you were 21, and imagine having to play that role for someone as 30 dawned. You might understand her headspace a little better, as well as the fault lines running through the dynamic you two have built together.
    First off, thanks for the detailed response. I'll have to read it over a few times, but I really do appreciate the effort and thought that went into it.

    I also appreciate the perspective, even if there are particulars that I take issue with. For starters, it was never my intention to "grow" her in any way. Could it have been a subconscious thing? Sure, I could entertain that. In fact, the issues with my mother (very controlling, very authoritarian, very meddlesome) might actually have something to do with what I look for in a partner. Maybe I'm looking to "control before I can be controlled"? I'll bring up this possibility in my next session and see what my therapist thinks.

    The sex stuff is super complicated, regardless of how you slice it. There's a history of abuse there. So wanting to see through that and hopefully come out the other side with the biggest issue in our relationship (at least to me) resolved is not unreasonable, I think. I mentioned in the OP that I believe sex is the biggest issue we have and that all the other issues stem from it, and I believe that's because it's fostered some resentment from me not having my needs met. Whether or not I can overcome the resentment is on me, but first I'd have to see what comes of all the work she's putting in. I appreciate the attempt at directness, but it's simply not an easy issue to hand-wave in this instance.

    The next part is back to the "grow you" stuff, which I mostly addressed above, but I did want to set some things straight. I've never seen her or treated her as anything but an equal. In fact, she mentioned a few years ago that she wanted me to try taking a more traditional gender role in the relationship (things like driving everywhere, deciding where we eat, what we do, big decisions such as where to live and what car to buy, etc.). I was super hesitant, but she insisted. It didn't work out, partly because I was uncomfortable treating her as a subordinate, and party because she didn't appreciate being treated that way as much as she thought she might. I was glad she was willing to bring it up to me and try it, though. It's one of the few times I've ever gotten a suggestion about how I could improve from her. I don't disagree with your overall point, though. I could certainly work on being more accepting. It's easy to get bogged down with the problems we have. Maybe I've started to reject her as a proxy for rejecting the issues I don't want to deal with anymore? I'm not sure, just trying to work through this a bit as a type.

    You talked about point four, somehow assuming I'm as guilty of letting my emotions rule our discussions as she is. I'm not sure where you're getting that from. I tend to keep my voice down, not yell at her or point at her, let her speak when she's speaking, and try to approach issues from a place of wanting to resolve them rather than make demands or cast blame. It gets difficult when she's doing the things I mentioned above several times during the argument or talk. When she's screaming at me, pointing, interrupting, it affects me and I start feeling myself lose my temper as well. Again, I appreciate your differing perspective, but I've gotta hard disagree here. I'm by no means perfect, but I do not lose my temper when we're arguing or discussing our issues.

    If she weren't feeling playing games at the moment (or even in general), she could have just said so and that would have been totally understandable. Instead, she tried to make out like I'd done something to cause her to leave, and that's what I didn't understand. Did I "amp it up"? Sure, after she'd already done so, twice. It felt like she was looking for a reason to be upset with me, which was frustrating, and I responded out of frustration with how she was acting. I'm not saying I'm blameless in that, but it's not an unreasonable reaction either.

    You've given me something to think about, and another perspective to view this from (as well as something to bring up in my next therapy session). I appreciate that, and again, I really appreciate the time and thought that went into your reply.

  8. #17
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I'm sorry if this is a little harsh but it struck a cord and appeared insensitive. That was incredibly rude of you to walk right in while she was changing. I understand you wanted an adult discussion right then and there but I think the relationship has derailed so far that neither of you are respecting each other and basic decency has flown out the window. It doesn't matter what rooms you share or whether you share a bed in a shared bedroom. If someone is changing or tending to personal grooming or other business and isn't ready to see you or speak to you, it's not a good idea to be aggressive or pushy. Never walk in on someone or force a conversation like that. I understand you wanted a problem resolved - right then, right now but it's very inappropriate to walk in that way.

    Regarding the video games, I can tell you're putting in extraordinary effort but she's not into it as much as you are. You're describing in vivid detail how you're taking dinosaurs to safety and taming them while her responses are fairly basic "yay" or "nay". This is a person who's trying to do things your way and be as active of a participant as she can be but you're not paying attention to her cues. I think you are trying, valiantly, to save your relationship but you're going about it in all the wrong ways and it's a little too much, too hard.

    I don't think you intend to come across as aggressive but the level of detail and attention to detail needs to lessen a great deal. You're far too intense to feel comfortable around and I think she senses that. Is it possible for you to slow down your thoughts and emotions also and not let them race ahead? What are you seeing your therapist for - do you mind me asking? Is the therapist aware of your difficulties or challenges in this relationship?

    Every relationship needs some rest periods where couples don't constantly feel compelled or pushed to do things together.

    There's no way sex will happen naturally with how tense things are between the both of you. Try and be more respectful overall. Don't push so hard. A problem or conversation may not happen right then or right there. It may take her a week to come back to you or open up about something. Maybe longer. Are you willing to be patient with your partner?

  9. #18
    Platinum Member itsallgrand's Avatar
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    I did read it all, but I'm going to comment mostly on the first part because it stands out to me. Where you talk about her not being present and engaged/connected during sex for the bulk of the relationship.
    For me, that would have been the time I would stop having sex with the person. For multiple reasons, one being a personal philosophy of only having sex when both are excited and engaged about it, because I want to keep a really healthy and positive view of sex. Sex is totally voluntary, whatever the reasons.. and it should never be a matter of convincing or aiding someone to be fully present in it. I just think if it's like that, it's better to not try and force anything. Let it be natural, even if it means it's not going to work out sexually with that person.

    Just my outside viewpoint. There seems to be a lot of forcing to try to make something that doesn't fit, fit. Not only sexually.

    I think she was young when she got involved, and hasn't really found her voice. Some of it is starting to grumble inside her, but she's got a lot of figuring out to do, and this relationship is stifling her.

    I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be harsh. I think you need to look at how stilted this all is though. Relationships can't be forced, and I think you are having trouble letting go of what you once hoped would come of it, and her, instead of seeing what's been apparent for a long time.

  10. #19
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Per your response to me, itsallgrand offered some very wise words.

    See, to repeat, this stuff really is only as complicated as you want to make it. Flip the script, for instance, and instead of focusing on her, her past, and so on, focus on the choices you've been making through the bulk of your 30s: five years sleeping with someone you don't feel is quite "there," five years trying to solve that riddle in order for her to be more "there" for you. If you were my best friend making those choices, I'd wonder what's up with you every time you talked to me about what's up with your gf.

    So: What, do you think, is up with that choice? We humans, in the end, only do things over and over when we're getting something from doing it. Could it be, as you mentioned, something to do with control?

    She hasn't really found her voice, offered itsallgrand, and I'd agree. Further, I think that may have been part of the appeal, at least early: that you could be that voice, or coax it out, ensuring (control, etc.) that when it emerged in its full range of octaves you'd like what you heard as a soundtrack to live by. Well, here it is, coming out at last, albeit not in the way you'd hoped. It's grumbling a bit, shouting a bit, the record is scratching, because it's been stifled. That's not a "you" thing, but more of a "you two" thing, I think. She's 27, but feels a bit frozen at 21, while you're coming up on 40 and...well, it might be worth looking at whether you're growing into the shape you'd like to be as that bell rings.

    You can deploy the language of "equality" until the sun burns out and we humans turn to dust, but the brass tacks here are that you had a decade of adulthood under your belt when you met, while she had a few blinks. Put each of those weights on the scale, and 9 times out of 10, you don't get balance. You get teacher/student stuff, parent/child stuff, a dynamic where the one in the student/child role eventually needs to reject the teacher/parent to find their voice. You can try to rectify that through highbrow ideas, but experience is experience, and it informs us. Less experience means less information. If balance was what you naturally sought? The intimacy stuff wouldn't have been a compelling riddle, but just a bummer, with whatever specifics behind it not nearly as relevant as the disconnection and dissatisfaction.

    When you sincerely see someone as an equal, after all, it's simply impossible to see what potential you can coax out of someone. What is actual is more than enough—or not.

    I know there's a lot of history here, a lot of feeling, a lot of hope. But step outside yourself and listen to the basics of your story from an outsider's perspective: an iffy, tetchy intimate life for years leading, these days, to petty arguing about petty matters. A playwright could probably spin that into an Act Three that inspires, but relationships among mortals aren't scripted. Drop the story of what you'd like here, and focus on what you have, what you two have built over years. Then ask yourself: Is that serving you? Is that, do you think, serving her?

    Answer those questions with honesty and respect—of you, of her, of facts—and I think you may find some clarity in this fog.

  11. #20
    Silver Member LootieTootie's Avatar
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    Reading your post, OP, and I get this overall sense of dread in your relationship... Obviously your relationship has run its course. You both have been and still are incompatible
    I have a friend and a coworker who stayed in relationship that was 8 years overdue for a breakup and when they broke up, they both admitted to me separately they felt liberated. I think when you are in a relationship, you've already invested so much, you feel like it would be a loss if you gave up on someone you care about - but it's all self-interest based on fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of being alone, fear of seeing them happy with someone else... When your relationship is constantly filled with this heavy dread of another fight of another miscommunication of another petty yada yada... you both would benefit from freeing yourself of that dread by moving out and moving on - separately.

    Also, you both met when her brain wasn't fully developed so yes you got someone who was naive and impressionable... now as she is finding her voice, she is seeing/hearing things that she is doing a second take because she starting to see that it doesn't sit well with her. I am sure it's frustrating and confusing but this is just another sign that you guys aren't right for each other.

    Don't complicate it... it's not.

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