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Confused - could really use advice


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Hello, I took great comfort from reading entries in these forums about 2 years ago when I was having difficulties after a first big conflict in my relationship. After much consideration and talking on the phone, I decided to return. This is going to be a long one so I apologize. It is my first.


To the point, I've been dating a guy now for almost 2 1/2 years which is a milestone for me. I've had several but mostly one-way relationships so far, meaning the feelings were mostly on one side (namely, not mine) and my track record has always been to tire of these relationships based on too great of differences between us. I met him of all places online when I first started working in a new state at a new job. I dated him very casually for a month, then started dating exclusively a month after. I started living with him just over a year ago.


It's been a wonderful relationship with plenty of big bumps in the road to mark the way. First was the big fight over my insecurities at the beginning which I already mentioned and the next was a one year "lost" period where I spent more time online than spending on our relationship which almost ended it. During this time, he graduated with his master's, got his first full time professional job and bought a house. I came to my senses and we've trying to build it back to where it was when we first started. Of course, nothing will build it back up to the "honeymoon" period, but he's stated twice that he's been "trying" to feel the same level of intensity he had before my "lost" period, but hasn't just yet, keeping in mind that the "lost" period ended about half a year ago.


Right around Christmas time, we visited his family as we normally do. Since then there's been a sense of distraction about him that I never saw before. He's normally a wonderfully affectionate and considerate man. Always looking to try something new and very sexual. By the way, he's in his late twenties and I am in my mid thirties. While it's all very subjective to say so, I'm very young at heart and he's a little older, in some ways. About a week ago, I couldn't ignore it anymore and I asked him what was wrong. It hit me like a truck when he told me that he's been feeling that something is missing from his life. He couldn't tell me what and he's still been unable to pin down what the missing element is. All he can narrow it down to is that "it's about him." He's gone through an inventory of the main inventory of his life: close friends, job, relationship. The only main event that comes to mind during Christmas was his semi annual visit to an old friend who's hit on rough times and is about his age. This friend is considering moving our way and is someone that he has spent good times with twice on an international visit. There wasn't any conflict or problems during the actual family visits.


My mom says it might be timing. The SO says that in his mind he's envisioned what it might be like if there were 3 bachelors (meaning the friend mentioned previously in hard times) living in this house instead of himself, his friend and I. It's the "clearest" vision he has right now. He's not the best at articulating or even recognizing his own thoughts so we made what might have been a mistake of having a few drinks which always help loosen him up and talk more frankly. I'm abbreviating this story quite a bit. It was a long conversation. He also said that he is curious to know what it would be like to answer to no one because his friend pointed out once that he's "never been single long enough" to know. His friend is about his age as well, has been single for quite some time and hasn't had many if even more than one GF. He also thought that maybe it was time went our separate paths. I could tell this idea made him distraught because he also didn't want to be making a huge mistake, was tearful and told me he still loved me and there was no doubt in his mind about that. He left to go clear his head for a little while and returned saying that we shouldn't make any concrete decisions right now.


Some other factors... he's nearing 30 which is a red letter year for him because he always told himself he'd never think about marriage or kids until that mark. He's displaying signs of aging that he's never noticed before as he's always been the one in the family who looked very young for his age. He's not, as I said, very good at recognizing his own thoughts or feelings.


Things between us are interesting right now. He still demonstrates affection, holding me in his sleep, kissing and hugging, though not to the degree pre-Christmas. This conversation just happened 2 days ago. I've talked to him and told him I didn't want him to feel like he had to withhold anything from me. To talk to me about... anything, if it came to mind. Mainly I must initiate the "I love you's."


This is my quandry. I've gone through 2 sleepless nights. Long conversations with my mother on the phone. I'm using all my tricks to keep the feelings from becoming unbearably painful. Picturing an inventory one by one of what to do if I had to move out, enumerating his faults in my mind, imagining that there's a mythical "mr. perfect" out there waiting for me to hurry up and meet him. The thing is, there are still all sorts of wonderful qualities in this man that I love and love him for himself. I can still picture the future we've been building by working on his new house for the last few months. Our long range goals are not at all incompatible. I am just confused. I don't know if I should just play the wait and see game which may mean more pain in the future because he does not possess the personality which can be cajoled into an answer. He's very non-confrontational and avoids adversity whenever and wherever he can. When pressed he always seeks the path of least resistance.


Has anyone out there been here? Any thoughts anyone might have would be so much appreciated. I don't have many friends in this state so it's harder to find a kind heart to confide in and my mother needs her sleep. Thank you again for reading.

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Thanks for the reply. That crossed my mind, but I've never been with someone who had reached a crossroads before. I don't know the symptoms, but I suppose that's going to vary from person to person... After exhaustive back and forth with my family, the only thing that I could determine is that there's nothing I can really do except decide to stay or leave. I'm inclined towards the impatient (need to know why and what NOW!) so I tend to push. And I know that's not always the best approach towards personalities who pointedly avoid conflict with friends or loved ones. All I can think to do is to continue to show affection, love and support.

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I can totally relate with what you describe above. I'm sort of in that space now ... especially the "enumerating his faults", building up a case for reasons it won't work. I'm stacking it so high that it now seems overwhelming. I try to lower my expectations and, as a friend said, enjoy it for what it is. But, slowly, things build up again and I'm feeling unfulfilled.


Best to you,


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