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Whoa, overanalysis anyone?

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I'm a healthy 38-year-old male and I usually am a happy go-lucky person. My partner is a wonderful 30-year-old woman who I feel thankful for having in my life. We've lived together for more than three years now - the relationship started off rather quick, after knowing each other in my hometown for a month, she quit her job, moved countries and moved in with me later that year. It's been going ever since.


We've talked marriage, kids, we own an apartment together, have joint accounts/credit cards, etc, etc, etc. And I often stare at her in the kitchen and dig deeply into my soul and extract something that I feel for her - something beautiful. But I sometimes have to work at that, and I hate that I have to work at it. Shouldn't it feel natural, the way friendships feel natural?


It is not a beautiful, happy-go-lucky ride, and it never has been. It has always been a lot of work to make things work. She is an engineer and a very tactical logical person, while I'm a writer and a very romantic, easy-going person. A to B for her is strictly A to B, get to the effin' point, whereas for me, A to B is part of a huge story and I like to go off in tangents about it. Both of us get very irritated (sometimes amused though) with each other's traits, constantly.


The problem for me is I tend to overanalyze. Why don't I feel LOVE for her? Why do I feel totally at ease with everyone else - my cousins, my friends, my parents, my drinking partners, etc. - but I always feel a little uneasy around her? Why can't I just relax and enjoy my time with her? I'm always feeling a little off, and when I do, I tend to wonder, and once I wonder, I extract all the evil thoughts in my head and they spin around relentlessly - is she the one? Why don't I feel like she's the one? But if I break things off, I'll regret it? What's going on? Will I be ever happy with her? Why can't she be like THIS instead of THAT? Why can't I be at peace? Etc, etc, etc, etc... it's ad nauseum and it drives me insane to the point where it's bottled up so much that it cracks, and I break into tears with her. And it hurts her, because she then wonders if I'll ever be happy with her. She's always been so sensitive and I hate to hurt her like that. My uneasiness gets worse when we're around family and friends and I see how happy and relaxed THEY are, and I wonder why I'm not. It also gets bad when I see movies that deal with the subject - not crappy Sandra Bullock Hollywood romances, though. Recently saw Rachel Getting Married, and it actually irked me to see how happy and in love that couple was.


I have a lot of issues that bubble up all the time and they don't leave me at peace. I've not had a lot of relationship experience in the past - first kiss was at the tender age of 26, first REAL lay was basically with my present partner. I have a hearing disability which has affected my interactions with people in the past. I have confidence issues. I'm sometimes a pretty dark person and I'm quite intense inside - typical person who was mistreated in high school and I have a lot of antisocial attitudes as a result. I don't like the way the system works. I hate The Man, and so on. Plus, I have a lot of problems in the sack - have a very hard time getting it up, and once I do, it's only moments before it droops again or I hit climax with her. I know all of these are issues with both me and her.


Now the crux of my problem: I find it much easier to deal with my issues when I feel at ease with myself and with my life. I find it HARD to deal with my issues when I don't feel at ease. And because I don't feel at ease, I let these issues take over. I feel like if I try to tackle these issues, I am just forcing myself, and I don't see the "light" at the end of the tunnel that keeps me going.


And my issues are really poisoning my relationship. I want to be at peace with this woman, and I don't. Sometimes I think of taking the easy way out and ending this relationship, but I really am a stubborn person and I don't want to do that. I want to make this WORK. I want this to GO WELL. I want to have a GOOD life together. But problem is: I don't know how. So I'm stuck in this terrible helix, and I want it to somehow stop before it puts me in the sanitarium. Not only that but if I break it off I feel like I'll be with another woman, have the same fireworks at the start, and then fall into the same bullsh*t again. Don't want to do that, not when I've got this someone who I often can't believe wants to be with me.


I've analyzed this enough to know that if I fix my problems and learn to love myself, I'll be better and stronger, and the relationship will feel stronger too, and I'll be more able to really feel love. But oftentimes, I don't feel that I really know this. I just "know" it, as if it's something I read in a book.


But what I want to know from everyone is - have others been through this? Has anyone been through a long period in a relationship where they weren't really happy with the other, and somehow worked it out inside themselves and are really glad they did? Even if it took years? Has that feeling of love settled in after a long, long time together?


Thanks so much.

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I think you are on the verge of coming into your own...I think all the questions you have are valid and not evil thoughts...there should be some kind of communication rapport/trust by now...you should be relaxed around her...


You are a late bloomer. To just be with 1 female your whole life...I'd dump her and continue growing/exploring. You'll know you love yourself...when you put yourself first and not feel guilty about it. How can you answer your relationship questions if you don't explore it?

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It's easy to be a happy-go-lucky person when you're single, because there's nobody close enough to rouse those old demons or really challenge your view of yourself. Once we're into intimate relationships, all bets are off. Yes, sure it's scary - but not only is it potentially very rewarding, but it also provides an opportunity to visit those dark places. Maybe stop trying to hard to make it WORK, and just let yourself be. Let your thoughts and beliefs arise and just observe them, detach yourself and don't let them take over. If you need professional help while you confront these demons, then get it. But they're nothing to do with your partner.


Within my experience, three years together is a significant and critical time; my guess is that if you can stick together over the next few months and get through it, you'll be together for a good many years to come. You are wise not to try starting all over again with another woman - you're absolutely right, the chances are that you will have the same experience all over again.


Please don't base your opinions of the way relationships should be on movies you've seen. They really are telling a fantastic lie. And you can never get a handle on how other people's relationships are working by just seeing the way they behave for short periods in public. It's easy to build up a totally unrealistic picture and then wonder why reality doesn't match up. Or, to put it another way, setting yourself a completely unrealistic goal and then getting into a state of despair when you fail to reach it.


One of the best resources I've ever seen on relationships was posted on this forum recently; I bookmarked it because I was so impressed, and you might like to visit it link removed.


Good luck, whatever you decide to do!

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Crazyaboutdogs: That's the right term - I have demons and they like to play with me from time to time. I'm starting to "give myself permission" to do things without needing her OK, without needing to consider her all the time. Trying to pursue my individual wants, needs and goals, so to speak. Started a writers' group earlier this year - this is my own thing - and I find myself energized and revved when I come home from the group, end up talking her ear off, and it feels good. She loves to see me happy about it too. Ditto language classes last year - same thing. That's one way I'm trying to deal with it, but I wonder if there are others. Meditation? Reality check? Travel alone? Etc?


JackPotential: Appreciate your idea but no, I'm not going to dump her and move on. I agree, I should be relaxed around her. But I think I can get through my struggles while I'm with her. I want to come out the other end and look to my side and see that she is still with me. It would be devastating if I finally conquered my issues, became happy as a clam, and suddenly realizing I am just alone, no one to share my life with. I'm not taking that route.

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Thanks Nutbrownhare for your encouraging words. That's helpful advice, knowing that I never had to deal with my demons when I was single and happy-go-lucky. I've realized that living closely with another person - with huge plans ahead - is not something to be taken lightly, and it's not an easy thing. Roommates are easy - you don't CARE about them nearly as much, and you come and go as you please. With partners, though, on the other hand...


Thanks for the great link. I actually saw that when combing through the forums before posting my own new thread. It's VERY helpful stuff. I love that idea of "agreeing to disagree" and thriving on it, and maintaining your individuality. Biggest lesson as well is to not keep making the same mistakes you were programmed to make time and time again. I consider myself fortunate to have the self knowledge to see how I am and know that there must be a way to fix it without sabotaging a huge and important part of my life.


And I particularly appreciate your advice on letting it BE. I need to learn how to do that. When I do get to that stage - temporarily at least - I find myself feeling stronger and happier with my partner. It's when I fall off the stage that the demons start crawling out from the woodwork and start feasting on me. (Yup... that's the writer in me)...

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