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Objective judgement needed-BU 3 days ago


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My boyfriend and I broke up a few days ago and I'm really struggling, even though he is more willing than I am to give it another try. We're 26 and 27 and have been living together a few years. We first got together the first week of college aged 19 but then I broke up with him a year and a half later because I longer felt satisfied and felt we'd become too dependent on each other, the sort of mergence that kills passion. But we were back friends after a few months, and never went no contact, sometimes sharing a bed. That tortured me in a way, because I felt guilty for being able to enjoy his company while putting him in a state of constant sexual rejection, although he never came on to me, it was obvious he was still into me. We got back together more than three years ago when I convinced myself that our sexual problems were minor compared to our wonderful connection and shared love. I was away studying for a year but he came to visit all the time and we moved back in together when i returned. Since then, although we're still each other's number one ally and confidante, if that makes sense, there has been tension growing to an intolerable level. Although he seems lethargic, cranky and unhappy to me a lot of time, he has never said he's unhappy so i'll have to just stick with my unhappiness.


The basic problem seems to be that I am someone who feels like I'm stagnating when I'm not moving towards something so I was working hard enough in college by the end of second year, whereas he has little motivation when the rewards are far off, or as he sees it, is able to enjoy life more, and not be as anxiously driven for the approval of others and society in general. In fact, he's very gifted, inventive and creative but because putting those skills to work takes time for a result, he gets diverted and goes for quick rewards like my approval or writing comedy pieces for online forums, where he can get immediate positive feedback. He dropped out of college in the end, completely unable to focus on work, I mean, powerless in the face of his own lack of motivation. I had really tried to get him to work so i felt very upset and uncertain what effect this would have on his self-esteem. That's an ongoing theme in our relationship, me worrying about his self-esteem. It's a major factor in why we've broken up. Although i've tried to talk myself out of it a million times, I feel dissatisfied on a day to day basis and it's destroyed our sex life for me. Or I should say, all i know is that I stopped being sexually attracted to him some time ago, as in I still loved to touch him, smell him, and be near him but I seldom felt desire spontaneously bubbling up in me. He's has put on more and more weight over the years and i have told him, when he's raised the issue of us not having sex enough, that this may be affecting my attraction towards him. That sounds very harsh but he's unhealthily overweight and i just can't get beyond what that signifies to me, which is a sort of helplessness. I'm far from gorgeous myself (he's much better looking than me, without the extra weight) and I don't usually go for conventionally good-looking men, i can still be wildly attracted to someone if they're 'ugly' but not if they're fat. I just can't get past my association of it with laziness. Obviously, though, since i'm often frustrated with him for actually being lazy, as i see it, i don't know whether he needs to just lose weight for me to me sexually excited about him again or if he needs to become more active generally. All i know is me being there actually seems to make him less likely to do the things he needs to do to lose weight and get to a point where he's able to fund his creative work and the pleasant things like holidays that i know he does want from life. He's currently unemployed but i know that he can sustain hard work and with pleasure, because when he helps his parents run their guesthouse, cooking, doing the bar or taking care of the guests, he comes to life. His parents are very critical and easily angered though so this may be him just trying to please them, i don't know. He'll work happily for other people's ambitions, stepping in for a year to try rescue his father's failing company, working for free in his sister's cafe she opened for a summer. But he says he gains no satisfaction from work and left to his own devices, would like to travel, have sex, write a little each day, watch tv and sports. Or he often has grand very appealing plans like opening a community bookshop but seems unable to figure out the steps to get there, that it's something that might take years and years of sacrifice and hard work in something less satisfying. But I know that it's hard to work when you don't have an overall fixed long term plan of what you want from life, so i try to push him to visualise this, but he doesn't. He sees the ideal of striving for stuff as middle-class puritan ideology (his family are quite upper class, opposite of mine, and he should inherit the big house in years to come, but that's actually more of a financial drain to heat and take care of, plus his family have raised concerns about if he's responsible enough to take it on) and that i'm the one with the problem in not taking enough pleasure in life.

He's aware of all these frustrations I have but i know i haven't been consistent (like i'll often order take away with him, even though i want him to lose weight) and he's prob confused. A part of me just loves that I can relax with him, like no-one else in my life, that he sort of gives me permission to take it easy. We were never very active together, I should explain. For the first year of college, we used to just order pizza and stay in bed all the time, having sex or watching comedy. I mean, we did other stuff too but this was where our bond was cemented. I'd never met a man so kind, so supportive and still haven't. It has always been as if he cared about the stuff in my life and entered with more enthusiasm into them than his own and that's part of the problem. Anyway, up til then, everything had been so precarious and insecure in my life, i'd been in care, then my mother died a few months before i met him, so my first real home, that sense of happiness at walking in the door has been with him. The problem is that, if you see us like a venn diagram, i'm 25 per cent committed to everyday happiness and comfort and 75 per cent hard-working and excited by challenge, whereas he's the reverse, as I see it (and others, like his family and closest friend, who are always trying to get him to be more motivated).

I still absolutely value him as a person and know that for every 100 motivated men, there will be very few in comparion like my ex-bf, who will sit up with me telling me stories because i'm suffering from anxiety, who can make me laugh with a miniscule change of tone and expression, who knows the names and details of every one in my daily life (phd student) even though he's never met then, just because they matter to me. So i can't stand losing all that is rare about him, for the sake of qualities common as muck. But the way we were, i was hurting him all the time and putting myself in tremendous guilt and anxiety, because sex had become a chore for me, and i would put him off for days at a time and often just have sex in the end because i knew he was getting rightly hurt and angry by my evasions and i wanted to feel united with him again. I didn't plan to break up with him the other day but we'd been snapping at each other and i'd been pushing him away for a few days. I started to argue and i realised that i'd been waiting for something to change that would make me fancy him again for too long, that he already knew my frustrations and it hadn't made a difference and that far from being able to quarantine the sex problems, we had become very snappish and resentful of each other on a daily basis, not ostensibly at war, still hugging and making tea and having some sex, but very easily pissed off over small things like snoring, bed time, doing the dishes etc I had a continually gnawing sense of dissatisfaction. Anytime i tried to ease myself into accepting the relationship as it was and trying to fix it, my sense of him as immovable and inert,unwilling or able to make any changes i wanted came down like a road block and made me feel a sense of actual despair. I also felt like this might be just my own natural inability to be pleased, in which case staying and constantly giving him signals that he was inadequate as he was would be just cruel and horrible.


So right now, missing him horribly, going repeatedly into trembling shock and tears, unable to sleep and simply yearning for his presence, I'm sort of making a deal with myself that this is only temporary. Being with him wasn't putting either of us in a position where I could commit to him and i couldn't get back with him right now, no matter how much i miss him, because it would just be putting this wrench off to a later date. But being apart gives us some hope that we'll both change enough to make being together sustainable.


I needed to write this because i'm really struggling, which is made extra hard by not having any home to fall back on, so i'm gonna have to move in with strangers and lose all that warmth and security. But i need to know, is my judgement trustworthy? Have i made the right decision. I have absolutely no clarity right now. Sorry this is so long.

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