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Weekends - Reasonable compromise?


iris174
When He Says He Wants Space | Begin...
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So I've posted a few different threads about my bf on here and I'm finally planning to talk to him this week. I'm going to tell him I'm unhappy with the way he treats me and speaks to me sometimes, and that I feel he is slightly controlling and makes me feel like I need his permission to do certain things.

 

The big suggestion I'm going to make is that from now on I'm going to visit my family every weekend if I wish, but only stay one night rather than the full weekend. At the moment I feel I'm only allowed to visit them once a month because he insists we spend almost every weekend together (we live together). If I suggest visiting them more frequently he sulks and complains and tries to make me feel guilty. I've told him I want a bit more breathing space and don't like how insistent he is about spending all our time together but nothing has changed yet. I feel my suggestion would give me the freedom to visit my family whenever I want while still allowing my bf to spend some time with me at the weekend.

 

I just want to see if people think this is a fair and reasonable compromise before I suggest it to him. I'm going to gauge his reaction to this very carefully because it's pretty much become a "make or break" scenario for me. I don't want to be in a relationship where my partner puts limits on how often I can see my family.

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I don't want to be in a relationship where my partner puts limits on how often I can see my family.

 

I think you should say the above to him.

 

I think what you are proposing is a good compromise, and make sure he understands that this is the compromise you are making, and his compromise is to be ok with it. That way you are both meeting in the middle.

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I think you're choosing the wrong battle, and in that sense it would be a strategic mistake. The problem in the dynamic of your relationship with your bf runs way deeper than how often than you get to see your family. He obviously has serious control issues, and the relationship, as you say yourself, seems more parent-child in some ways than two equal partners.

 

The problem with your proposed compromise above is that it inadvertently makes him look like the reasonable one, and you the one who actually dictates how things will be, and in this case in a way that most people in a relationship would not find acceptable. If my gf suddenly declared she would be spending every weekend with her family, but only staying one night, I would be less than thrilled, I can tell you, and she would be if I said the same to her.

 

I think instead of trying to dream up compromises like this, you should be asking yourself if you want to be spending any time at the weekend with your bf (and I suspect not really, which is not surprising given how you're always being told you're in the way, and patronised and generally controlled), and if not, what you can do to change that situation in one way or another.

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I suppose looking at it from the outside it's pretty clear I simply don't want to spend my weekends with him, and possibly not my weekdays either. I worry that I present him too badly in my posts, exaggerating how he acts and making him seem worse by leaving out all the good things he does, but I guess in the end that doesn't change how I feel. We're not married but do have a joint lease until April next year unfortunately.

 

It's so hard to accept that I might have fallen out of love with him and after almost 4 years together the idea of hurting him by leaving him seems unbearable. I know how badly he can act towards me but I also have all the memories of the nice times and of how sweet he can be when he wants to be, and I'm sure he'd have his share of complaints about me. It's just so confusing, is there any way to make this easier to figure out or to act on?

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Better to leave him all at once than to leave him by degrees. You are doing neither of you any favours by staying with him if you don't love him.

 

I would guess that the real reason you want to spend time with your family is that you are happier when you are with them than when you are with him. If that is true, your relationship is already over.

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Just what I was going to say.

 

However, I wish I knew more about the context. Is he controlling in other aspects?

 

Yes. I have other posts about this kind of stuff but basically he had a go at me for not wearing a t-shirt he bought me, he's always pointing out that I'm not wearing the watch he bought me years ago (the strap is broken), he complains if I visit my family too often but more or less expects me to go with him every time he visits his, he's always telling me I'm in the way instead of saying "excuse me", he gives me chores to do (e.g. telling me I have to clean the toilets rather than asking me to do it), he insisted I take 2 weeks off work for holidays even though I said I might like to take just 1 week (disregarding my opinion), when I told him for the second time that I have worries that we've moved in together too soon he dismissed my feelings by saying "You already told me that" making it clear he didn't want to hear about it. I'm sure there are other things I've forgotten but it can be so subtle that it's hard to spot and sometimes I'm not sure if I'm imagining it all or not.

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Hi Iris- Got a bunch of thoughts for you to fiddle with.

 

First I'm getting that the two of you have differing needs for space. Your partner panics and how he's learned in the past to deal with his panic is to attempt to control the situation. Not his fault, he learned that from his parents. But his reaction is pretty unpleasant to you, and over time has changed your feelings about the relationship. Second, the beginning romance stages of the relationship have passed. Did I get all that?

 

Learning to assert your boundaries in a way that doesn't threaten him sounds pretty important here. You can only be controlled if you allow yourself to be. He can only behave that way if you let him keep doing it. Threat probably won't help because he'll get scared and become more controlling. But the two of you need to learn how to manage your differing space needs.

 

I want to share this blurb from Hugh Prather. Just something to think about.

 

Hugh: All relationships reach that point. That's one of the things we point out in our book, I will Never Leave You. We point out the various stages of the average relationship, which are not known anymore because people are not staying in a relationship long enough to see that there are stages. One of the stages is that the relationship seems to go flat and there seems to be no love anymore. It's as if you're living with a stranger. You think, "How did I ever hook up with this person again?"

 

However, unless you're dealing with a destructive or extreme situation like domestic violence or child abuse, this is simply a stage. If you're in relationship with a decent human being and you can do no more than just hang in there, you'll learn that, just like the "terrible two's" children go through, the stage will pass. Parents don't turn against their children just because the children are saying no to everything and telling their parents they hate them. They understand that this is a stage that children have something to learn from.

 

The same thing is true in relationships. This is what we call the "something is missing" stage that every relationship encounters. If couples can go through it with understanding, then they actually reach a different level of learning that's much more satisfying and happy. Most break ups in my experience occur during that "something is missing" stage, because people assume it will last forever, but it won't.

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That's a nice thought Jasper but how long is this stage meant to last. I remember feeling such irritation and resentment towards him after Christmas 2007 when I saw him again after spending a week with my family. I just didn't want to be around him at all and that was over a year and a half ago. Also Im pretty sure he doesn't feel this way, it's only me.

 

I talked to him about a few things, and suggested the weekend thing which he was fine yet, but I still felt too afraid to suggest going home this weekend.

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Of course you're afraid. You've gotten used to this problem and it's ugly.

 

I think the struggle stage lasts as long as neither partner actively learns to relate differently, or the couple splits up. My thinking's a bit different than Prather on that point. He implies, perhaps unintentionally, that you just wait it out and it fixes itself. But I do think it is a stage, nearby the 'somethings missing' stage. I believe all couples go through this. And I think the somethings missing experience is many times one-sided (only one of the partners).

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Seems like you guys are going in different directions. Seems like he wants more time with and you want less time with him. I don't think it's a terrible things for your SO to want quality time with you.

 

Maybe you have different needs and it's time to evaluate whether you are compatabile for each other.

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