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Friend or lover?


iris174

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How do you know if you really love someone or if you just think of them as a friend? I've been with my boyfriend for 4 years, been living together for 3. When we first met I was crazy about him, I used constantly check my phone to see if I had a text from him and really looked forward to seeing him.

Since we moved in together I think my feelings have changed and now I'm worried I don't really love him anymore. I know a lasting love isn't the same as the excitement in the first few months or years but I'm finding I don't miss him when we're apart and now look forward to time by myself more than anything. I enjoy spending some time together and we have a fair bit in common but I think I'm becoming increasingly resentful about the demands he puts on my time and attention. I don't feel so attracted to him anymore and rarely initiate sex. It's making me wonder if I'm starting to view him as an overly-demanding friend rather than a lover and I'm just not sure if I'm happy anymore.

 

Any advice?

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Sometimes it gets tough but if you can see yourself happy being married to him, I think it is safe to say that you love him. Or if you feel like he is your "partner" and you would feel bad if you could no longer cuddle and be physically close with him, then you probably care for him more than a friend.

 

You most likely love him either way, if you care about his happiness and he is important to you.

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He is big into doing everything together and arranging our social lives so we spend more time at home together. I told him I'd like a little more space or more evenings at home by myself but he laughed it off by saying that I practically spend the evening alone anyway, reading or watching tv in the other room. I don't think he got what I meant by "alone".

 

I used to hang on his every word and worry if he didn't text me goodnight. Now I barely listen to him when he talks. I honestly don't know if I can see us happily married as things are now, or if I'd miss being physically close to him if we were apart (I don't when I go home for a week at Christmas)

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For us, neither of us is that social so we don't have a lot of alone time either. But it's been over a year and we still greatly value our time together. Seriously sitting on the couch with him every night is the highlight of my day. It is what I have been looking for all my life. That feeling. I periodically have to go away (very far) once a year too so that really sparks it up even more. Right now I can't die to see him again. But pretty much it is like this every day, even when we are not far apart.

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You're lucky, that sounds nice

 

Cruel as it sounds, I don't look forward to seeing him most of the time. I'm tired of him always being around, forcing me to listen to him talk away and make silly jokes when I'm concentrating on something or want to be alone with my thoughts. I've told him that sometimes I'm not in the mood for conversation but he still insists on trying to talk to me and gets mad when I'm not listening. If I loved him wouldn't I want to hear what he had to say, and make him feel like I'm interested??

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I experience what you describe on occasion. It happens when I am stressed and usually working on solving the thing I am stressed about on the computer or in my mind. On these occasions I snap if I am interrupted. But this is not very frequent and it is only because I am stressed and worried already. Other than that I enjoy every little conversation I have with him. I enjoy holding his hand on the couch or just being close in anyway. I am very affectionate and touchy feely. And my favorite time is cuddle bed time.

 

Sorry if you mentioned it, how long have you been together? How long have you lived together?

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Been together 4 years, lived together for 3. I'm 25, he's 30 and he's my second ever boyfriend. If I could go back in time and stop myself getting so serious and moving in together so soon, I would.

 

I just feel so frustrated with him most of the time, I feel restricted and stifled. The main reason I ask about being a friend instead of a lover is because the nice thing about living with a friend is you can close the door to your room if you don't want to talk and you don't have to answer to them and have every decision revolve around them. That's what I wish it was like with my bf which makes me think I view him more as a friend than as someone I'm in love with.

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Hmm sounds like you love him but you're not experiencing that right now because he's being clingy and that's turning you off big time...if he doesn't want to give you more space, i can see that as being grounds to break it off, but I think you should have a serious talk about your feelings first without blaming him or making it seem like you don't care

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He is big into doing everything together and arranging our social lives so we spend more time at home together. I told him I'd like a little more space or more evenings at home by myself but he laughed it off by saying that I practically spend the evening alone anyway, reading or watching tv in the other room. I don't think he got what I meant by "alone".

 

I used to hang on his every word and worry if he didn't text me goodnight. Now I barely listen to him when he talks. I honestly don't know if I can see us happily married as things are now, or if I'd miss being physically close to him if we were apart (I don't when I go home for a week at Christmas)

 

Did you recently move in together? A lot of couples experience this.

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Yes, lots of couples experience this. I had this problem with my ex-fiance after a few years. It could be you're coming out of the romantic, honeymoon phase and you're both having difficulty transitioning into the more comfortable, steady companionship part of the relationship. It's really important to talk about both of your needs and find workable solutions and to also take breaks from relationship talk to rekindle the romance. If the only things that are bothering you are that he talks too much and that you need more emotional space, I think you can work through this. If you're turned off by him or he disrespects your need to be alone/introspective at times, those are bigger problems. You might not be compatible in the long-term, but I think it's worth hanging in there for now.

 

I think DW is on the right track by asking if something has changed either in the relationship or in your life. Anything going on in your job or with your family that could be causing you to need more alone time? Are there other issues that are causing conflict in the relationship?

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We moved in together almost 3 years ago, less than a year into the relationship which I now think was a big mistake. We left the honeymoon period a good while back. I think he's making more of an effort to respect my need for space recently but he doesn't really understand it.

 

Nothing major has changed in my life recently but I have been finding my work very boring and come home feeling very down some days. What makes this so confusing is that I've been having a lovely weekend with him so far this weekend but I know I'll probably feel this burning resentment towards him again at some point in the next 7 days.

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Wow, the things you say sound a lot like what my ex said before we broke up. He didn't say that I talked too much and annoyed him. He said he felt stranded....he felt like our apartment wasn't his home and he wasn't ever really comfortable there (and he still isn't) he said he needed time for him. I tried to give that to him by giving him at least 2 nights a weeks when I took classes or went out with friends, and he said that wasn't enough. He said he loved me very much....but when I tried to talk to him he shut down and we ended up breaking up in Feb. and I moved out of our apartment and in with my parents. Finally in May we talked about what was really missing from our relationship and we've been getting closer and closer again ever since. Actually when I got my own place again in mid May things really started to turn around.

 

I think the advice to think about what has changed in your realtionship and talk about that is great...I wish we would have done that 5 months ago.

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Check out Al Turtle's brilliant website. He talks about this dynamic: clinger vs. avoider. Here are two links that discuss some of what is happening with you both. Wish I had known about this earlier in my relationship.

 

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Nothing major has changed in my life recently but I have been finding my work very boring and come home feeling very down some days.

 

Then in addition to working on the clinging/avoiding dynamic between you two, try to also address your feelings about work. You sound depressed and perhaps you're stagnating and projecting that onto the relationship. We all go through phases like that. The important thing is to take responsibility for your feelings instead of blaming your SO. Try to remember the things that bring you joy on your own. Even little things. Then do what you can to feel better about yourself. Maybe you need to change jobs. Or maybe you just need a new outlet for something to stimulate and challenge you. If you feel more open to the world, you'll feel more open to your SO.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You probably are right about my job and being down about life in general but I want to make sure those things aren't a distraction from any potential problems with my bf either.

 

Part of me wonders if we went back to living seperately but meeting to "date" a few times a week would the spark come back and would I be able to grow in confidence the way I need to in order to become a more equal partner down the line? Even that suggestion would hurt him though. I've also been thinking of asking him for a break of 2-3 weeks to see how I feel without him and then see how I feel once we're together again. I have no idea where I'd go for that time though and again the idea of telling him things aren't ok seems so difficult.

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Gradually we become tired of the old, of what we safely possess, and we stretch out our hands again; even the most beautiful scenery is no longer assured of our love after we have lived in it for three months, and some distant coast attracts our avarice: possessions are generally diminished by possession.

 

Friendship and marriage.— The best friend will probably get the best wife, because a good marriage is based on a talent for friendship. Applies to relationships aswell.

 

I think what your experiencing a natural progression in a long term relationship.

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