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Can this relationship survive?

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I hope you all had a Happy Christmas.


Most of you know my story - my bf and I dated for a year, he proposed in September which bowled me over, I said yes, we were on holiday in Oct, and he did something which I considered to be unacceptable. After 6 weeks of thinking it through and talking with him I decided to break off the engagement (I felt that that was the right decision). The main reason being that I felt I didn't know him that well after all, I didn't want to rush into marriage and wanted to spend more time going experiencing life together before making that commitment.


Now with Christmas behind us and the New Year fast approaching, I wonder what 2009 will bring.


He relies on coming to my place every weekend (he doesn't have his own place to go to in this part of the country but has a property 4 hrs away - no mortgage). He hasn't got his act together and rented a place near to me so he is completely dependent on coming to me and staying here. During the week he is in lodgings for 4 days which his company pays for. It is driving me nuts since he is not generous by nature and admits to being stingy: read between the lines - I end up providing food and doing the cooking. It means more laundry for me to have to do and if I did want time to myself at the weekend I wouldn't be able to have it because he has to stay here as he doesn't have anywhere else to go. He offers to bring food over when it is too late and I have already done the shop.


He seems to crave attention from the opposite sex and I wonder what would happen in my absense - I think this is down to his insecurity or lack of self-worth. He makes comments frequently about the women in his past and keeps bringing up the same anecdotes which I have heard before. I don't understand why he feels the need to do this.


He is a party animal and likes going out drinking with the lads - he can consume alcohol like it is going out of fashion. He is strongly influenced by a male friend of his who doesn't want to lose his mate (my bf) because he has a gf. He wants to have a party at his house up north - hasn't had one in 2 yrs and from what he told me, the last one involved him throwing up in his bath and passing out for the rest of the night. Everyone just gets totally drunk. I can't relate to this and find it boring. They are all in their mid-late 30s! He told me just before Christmas that he was off on a lads weekend next June to watch an endurance race (cars).


He leaves everything to the last minute and relies on me to make decisions etc etc. We are planning a big road trip and I wonder if it is going to happen at all or like other things, we won't have planned it enough to make it happen.


He complains about my bed being uncomfortable which is so out of order and yet he hasn't sorted his own place out. I would love to be able to go and visit him and have the pressure taken off - just for once. I think he sees the arrangement we currently have as a way for him to save money.


He is pretty self-absorbed, doesn't want to listen to me if I have a bad day but wants to hear good news, likes to talk about what he wants to talk about and likes to talk through TV programmes. If I want to read quietly he wants attention.


Sex is mechanical - he doesn't initiate different positions even though I have told him I enjoy experimenting and have asked him to try different positions. He doesn't surprise me sexually and never has. He is a missionary position guy. OK, I don't wear saucy underwear that much but I get the impression he wants me to initiate everything in the bedroom. He never wears sexy underwear himself.


I think there are some major incompatabilities.


I fear that despite the fact that we are trying to resussitate the relationship, that its fruitless.


It is also worth adding that he has managed to get everything to be on his terms.

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Well, you've outlined all the negatives (which, frankly, would have me running if I were you). Are there any positives that are keeping you in this relationship? Based on this and other threads you have written, the only word I can think of to describe this relationship is exhausting. You will run yourself ragged if you continue down this path with this man, IMO.

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Ally - it sounds like you have some legitimate concerns, probably the biggest one being his selfishness.


There are some things about a person that can change with maturity, and some things just never will. Given the fact that he's in his 30s already and still acting like this, I kind of tend to agree that unless some major changes occur, you probably won't be happy like this.


You know you're being used, he doesn't really seem to consider you all that much, and he acts like a 21 year old which is kind of sad.


I think you're on the right path questioning your future with him, unless he's seriously willing to make some major changes in the face of losing you.

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You don't mention what he did to warrant breaking the engagement, but the problems you discuss here at face value alone would have had me kicking him to the curb a long time ago.


The person to whom the relationship matters least has the power. When an imbalance leaves one partner so powerless he or she accepts mistreatment, he/she can dig in and become stubborn and manipulative instead--spending the better years of his/her life in a miserable game of 'I can make you love me better.'


Catering to someone's selfishness and neglect isn't love, it's something else. It's also a losing proposition.


Don't you deserve to the opportunity to find someone who'll share your love and value you?


In your corner.

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I'm sorry I don't think so. It seems as if you are very unsatisfied with this relationship. You've listed a lot of red flag IMO--all which point that he is very selfish and that you feel used and drained out.

If this how the relationship is, how do you think the marriage will be?

It seem as if he leaves his burdens on you. While he saves money, he costs you money. While he is able to come to your place, relax, eat and sleep. You are forced to clean and cook for him. He has sex with you the way he WANTS it, and it isn't satisfying to you nor does it seem as if he cares that it isn't satisfying to you. It just seems as if you aren't happy.

And so I don't really think that marrying him is a good idea. If you aren't happy now how happy will you be in marriage?

If you TRULY believe that you guys stand a chance then I think that you guys should do a little bit of couples counseling. And if that doesn't work I think it's time to leave. It just isn't fun to be in a relationship where you aren't valued and where you aren't happy.

Relationships are about compromise. They aren't always easy, but they shouldn't be unhappy.

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We spoke a couple of days ago; lately I have felt so frustrated, he told me that he is effectively rudderless i.e. he has no goals in life, that he "feigns apathy" and can't even seem to enjoy experiences (like going on a holiday of a lifetime).


That he is dependent on others, he has a co-dependent relationship with his mother. She is always ringing up despite the fact that she lives in 5* accommodation and has no financial worries.


I explained to him that I did not have the energy to drive us both forward in the relationship, that I have the power to do anything, go anywhere, can achieve anything. To which he said with a sigh "I guess you feel I am holding you back". To this I replied "I would like to feel as though we are both moving forward, achieving things together, that there is more to life than what is on our doorstep (we live in a very provincial part of my country and the world is a big place), that we could have so much more than the life that exists currently etc".


The bottom line is, he doesn't know what he wants from life, never has done, that the only thing he did know was that he wanted to marry me (he said this with a tear in his eye), and that I am #1 in his life. However, I have not felt that I am. He puts his mother first (which i can understand to a point), any plans we make get put on hold and are contingent upon him and his agenda, and when we were on holiday, he certainly didn't put me first then. Thats why we are no longer engaged.


He said that we compliment eachother well, and in time the relationship will come together. That we even finish eachother's sentences. I said, that finishing eachother's sentences was something I loved, but there are much bigger and more important things.


He has admitted to me that he is unable to think as a couple - he is still thinking like a single man, i.e. His wants and needs. I asked him what would happen to us if in future he was unable to think from the point of view of both of us, and he replied "well, I guess I think we would be f****d".


I explained that I am very driven to achieve my goals and I have a vision and ambitions. That I want more from life than the life I lead now. I said to him that this could be construed as thinking like a single person so that he knew I was trying to see things from his point of view. However is having ones own goals and ambitions in life selfish?? How can I drive BOTH of us to achieve things?? He has to do things for himself and not rely on me the whole time. There is a limit to how much you can talk to someone and explain these things without them being made to feel ground down (not good). He said he respected me for talking to him and that by talking to him showed I cared about the relationship.


All I want is that we are working together as a team to have a better life together. He is so laid back, doesn't finish the things he starts, just apathetic. He said he seemed to lose his independence when he was 15yrs old??!


I have had so many big things to deal with - sorting out my parents, without my brother being around, that at times I feel extremely overwhelmed. My bf can be very wrapped up in his stuff. He is worried about taking time off work for our big trip which we have started to plan for this summer. He has a new boss and doesn't think his boss will be happy about this. I said, that I'd be happy to do a long-haul shorter trip if it came to it. I should add that as far as the plans for the big trip have gone, he has shown more interest in the type of vehicle we would be travelling in that the places we would be going to - he is a total car fanatic.

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I know everyone has given more than their 0.2cts on this.


Last night, my bf rang up, the main purpose being, to ask if it was ok that he went out with the boys on Saturday night - he asked if I had had anything special planned. To be fair he hasn't seen any of them in a while.


In view of what I said in the above post, do ENA'ers think we are not compatible? Two people pretty set in their ways.

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Do you love him enough to try and fix this?


Does he love you enough to try and fix this?


If the answers to both those questions are "Yes" then of course it is fixable. It's a simple thing to fix the details. Not easy - but simple.

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Yes I do love him enough to want to fix it, but lately I have been tired and irritable, don't feel particularly loving.


We are able to talk things through and he appreciates that I initiate the convos that we have as for him it means that I care about the relationship.


He is pretty demanding when we are together (never stops talking and likes me to do things for him), and sometimes I just need my own space and to clear my head.

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Yes I do love him enough to want to fix it, but lately I have been tired and irritable, don't feel particularly loving.


We are able to talk things through and he appreciates that I initiate the convos that we have as for him it means that I care about the relationship.


He is pretty demanding when we are together (never stops talking and likes me to do things for him), and sometimes I just need my own space and to clear my head.

These are things that should be negotiated - not just left to fester.
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What are the things you do like about him? Has he stopped craving female attention and is he starting to think like a taken man instead of a single one? If he is really truly working on the problems, then give it more time and see how things play out. The other problems you list seem like they could be worked through if you both love each other enough and if you both really want to make the effort to make it work.

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What do I like about him?

1) sense of humour

2) sexy and attractive

3) kind nature

4) a bit naive about the world.

5) he looks after himself (i.e. eats well, exercises, good personal hygiene etc.)

6) he is a good listener when we have discussions and doesn't lose his temper.

7) genuine - means well.

8) very loving and affectionate - always telling me he loves me. (not lately though)

9) Usually good at keeping in contact.

10) wants to learn re: thinking as a taken man.

11) Responsible for his mother who lives on her own in 5* accommodation - they are co-dependent. He is at her beck and call.

12) Intelligent, reads a lot, (he could do so much more with his life)

13) He is great at DIY and loves fixing things.

14) He is fun-loving and young at heart - doesn't look like he is in his late 30's.

15) enjoys going to the theatre, concerts etc.


Things that bother me

1) he craves female attention, and my attention alone doesn't seem to be enough for him.

2) Doesn't have a head for alcohol and yet carries on drinking like its going out of fashion. Still likes getting drunk with his mates and none of them seem to have grown up. They want to get away from their gfs/wives it seems.

3) Still likes the whole party scene and needs socialising.

4) No hobbies - difficult for him at the moment as he doesn't have a workshop where he can make things. He is very creative.

5) No goals, ambition or drive.

6) thinks like a single guy still - doesn't think how his actions would affect me.

7) He doesn't put me first - any plans we make always are contingent upon him and his priorities. Even though he says that I am his #1.

8) Constantly needs my attention and talks at me which can be exhausting since most of the things he tells me I have already heard before. I keep telling him that I have heard these stories before and yet when I have something to say he won't listen.

9) Very, very careful with money - again a topic which I find wears me down. He seems to think I am going to rip him off or something and says that he has become this way because of his mates and how careful they are! And yet I could not be fairer about it, but equally, I do not take it to the extreme either. I have had to ask him to replace the soya milk he has taken and which I have found myself providing for him and he never offered to buy me more. He has only recently started food shopping before he comes over. He only ever bought the absolute minimum. He goes on about money and where he has made cost-savings which is great but after a while .....

10) Not good in certain social situations - has ignored me in the past - particularly where other women are involved.

11) Can't make decisions - leaves it all up to me to drive the relationship - again exhausting.

12) Doesn't know when to shut up - he tells me things about his 'going on the pull' days which he seriously things I'm going to find interesting and want to know. They are anecdotes that make me cringe.

13) doesn't initiate sex like he used to - it is always me who does and who compliments him about how good he looks and how attracted i am to him. Not adventerous in bed, favours the missionary position, doesn't suggest new things. I love trying new things and have initiated new positions, but he never does. He doesn't wear sexy underwear. I would love to buy myself and him a whole new wardrobe of new sexy underwear but I can't afford to as big important expenses.

14) we were in a running shop the other day and I was trying on running tights - he didn't compliment me or tell me how the running tights flattered my curves.

15) supportive when it suits him, but he finds it a big effort and he only wants to hear the good news.


Has he stopped craving female attention?

I am not convinced he will ever stop craving this. There are two areas where I have concerns about this - when he is at work and when he is out with his mates (alcohol involved). He is a completely different person when he has had a few drinks, he can't handle alcohol and some of his friends (female included) have got him drunk for a laugh because he won't say no to a top-up nor does he know when to stop in social situations. He is also naturally flirtatious and as I mentioned before, loves attention.


He does have self-esteem issues, and he told me that he was very spotty as a teenager, his physical build hasn't changed much since he was 15. I keep telling him how attractive his, how sexy, and how good he looks in his clothes which must build him up a lot.


What I do know is, he isn't going to change - he has told me straight up that he doesn't think like a taken man.


The answer?

I will have to accept this about him and mesh my character with his in order for this to work at all. I am a very independent, driven person, I crave new experiences, seeing the world, improving my lot professionally (earning more) etc.


How can you work with someone who wants to marry you and yet doesn't think of himself as a taken man???


As it is, perhaps it is just aswell we are not engaged for the time being as the economic downturn has meant that he can't sell his house yet, I am stuck living with my friend for a few more months, then my bf and I are going travelling for a bit, then there is the whole emmigration issue. We would have had to rent a place together until he had sold his house not that this a problem, but I never stop moving.

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To me it sounds like you're done with him BUT.... this, that, and that keep you coming back for more.


For many of us a "BUT" isn't good enough to marry a man I'm not entirely sure is the right one. But only you know for sure.


Here's food for thought a friend told me this after I was like deciding if I wanted to spend my life with him or not: "sometimes love isn't enough" that friend could not be more right. I need more than just love... a "but I love you".

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I agree, it is a very one-sided relationship, and I think if he had truly wanted it to work, he wouldn't have come out with the line "I can only think as a single man".


For someone who only 2 months previously proposed to their gf, acted like a jerk, only to have their fiancee give the ring back - great start that is, and then say the above. How can they possibly want things to work???


And so the emmigrating option seems like a very smart idea to me having invested 3 yrs getting it sorted and having spent a lot of money to make it happen. He is quite happy where he is, doesn't want to change his life in any way.


SOMEONE has to make a compromise, and he has put that responsibility onto me. No wonder I am going out of my mind with the whole thing - his apathy is driving me up the wall.

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I think this man is going to drain you emotionally, and it sounds as if that has alraedy gotten off to a good start.


I wish i could be as romantic as some and say if you both love each other that it can be fixed, but I have my doubts on that. It often takes more than love to make a marriage work. He doesn't sound like it is within his capabilities at this stage in life to do the work that will be required on his end. I know saying it takes work doesnt sound romantic but marriage DOES take work and he is too self professed lazy to be able to handle it, and his tastes for women will always leave you feeling insecure and drained.


Out of all the negatives you wrote, the thirst for women, and the laziness would make it a no go for me.

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JS, Girl68, Girl79 - how right you all are.


I think he likes the idea of marriage, and I think at the time he proposed because I had had a job offer overseas (he had known from the start re: my plans to emmigrate). He didn't want to lose me and so the proposal came - TBH it was the last thing in the world I expected.


Despite our 6 weeks of discussions post-holiday trauma, and only a few days ago admitting to me that he is incapable of thinking like a taken man, do you guys (this is directed at DN) seriously think he WANTS this to work??? My answer would be no because


1) He enjoys the single life. He is drawn back to being with the lads time and time again (there is a mate of his I don't trust and who I think is trouble). This particular mate is always encouraging him to go drinking and my bf obliges willingly and has always seemed proud of his hungover state. He is out with the lads this saturday night - I don't want to imagine what they are going to get up to.


He is always making references to other women - he is someone with a high sex drive, and yet our sex life is rubbish - perhaps he is getting it from elsewhere?? He does NOTHING to make it more exciting, and relies on me to make all the moves.


2) Why would he want to sell his house in a great city up north particularly with the way things are in the world in order to start a life with someone? All the people who live in his road are successful, it is a private road, he likes the whole exclusivity thing. For the first time on our last visit just before Xmas, I was introduced to his neighbours. There have never been any photos of us at his house either which is strange.


3) He is an only child who is doted on by his mother and he puts his mother before me. He isn't prepared to make a decision on that, and has always procrastinated.


4) He isn't prepared to compromise and has left me to make ALL of the big decisions with regards our future - its no wonder I am in a permanent state of nervous tension.


5) He still acts like a single man - still does the drinking thing with his mates. Has prioritised a guys weekend in June over our holiday. This shows that he is more than capable of booking up a weekend with his mates in June but drags his feet when it comes to making plans with me.


I think the reason I am constantly tired and feeling down is because of the burden I am carrying - the burden being major decisions to make that he won't make. He doesn't want the responsibility, but is happy to carry on with his life as though we had never been engaged.


Last night he signed off a text "Yours forever J". I poked fun at him by saying "wow, you are being a tease tonight! was that a proposal?!, sorry I am in a bit of a naughty mood tonight". He responded with "well, just keep up your naughty mood for Friday night Love J". etc.


How much more do I need to mention here?

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It wouldn't surprise me if he had already started the 'hunt' for a new woman whether that be in the office or through friends.


Also, JS I agree with you (and have told him this several times during the course of our relationship) that it takes more than love to make a marriage/relationship work.


He is not capable of making a relationship work - doesn't have the skills as he is too self-centred. I also don't think he has the will either. He is financially very well off, has everything he needs - why would he need to get married??


His other excuse is that he had been single for so long before we met (i.e. 7yrs), he has forgotten how to think as part of a couple. I pointed out to him that I had also been single for 7 yrs since my last serious relationship (before we met) and yet I hadn't forgotten how to think as part of a couple.


I don't understand why he would use that as an excuse.

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I'm sorry you feel this way.


Seems like your mind is made up you're just trying to convince your heart of the same thing. I think you know what needs to be done.


Best of luck.


BTW a friend always told me somethimes love is not enough... you know this the same friend also told me if you found love once you will find it again...

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Had I just accepted his behaviour on our holiday and carried on with the wedding arrangements I think I would have given him the impression that I'll accept that kind of behaviour again and that it was ok to do what he did. It wouldn't have been a good way to continue.


As it is, we have been trying to make things work, but I just feel down and worn out all the time.

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And with that comes resentment in time. You may already resent him for not putting in his share of work into the relationship.


I personally am not one to pick up ones slack to make something work. Put in your time and effort or I'm gone. That's not selfish, it's being smart.

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