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Is this conflict too deep?


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My partner has a disability that means she has to be on crutches constantly. Her life is spent largely indoors, largely on the internet on the sofa or in the bed. I'm currently a trainee teacher, and have high work volumes, as well as virtually all of the work around the house. I'm not a very tidy person at the best of times, and neither is my partner, and this is definitely one area in which we struggle. I moved in with my partner about 10 months ago, and she already had at that time 5 cats. We agreed to get a dog, and surrogately adopted two more cats. One of the cats is diabetic, so I have to cater for his medical needs, along with all the feeding, cleaning up litter trays, taking the dog out for her walks and feeding/cleaning her. I also have to everything around the house, such as hoovering the floors, washing the dishes, taking washing to the laundrette and general upkeep of the house. On top of an 8 hour day in schools, 3 hours travel, 4 or so hours in the evening doing lesson plans and general university work, it's fair to say that I don't really have any time for anything else, and have had to virtually alienate all of my friends and colleagues in order to keep up with this regieme.


The problem I have is that my partner talks often about how I don't appreciate what she does for us. What she does do is worry about finances (which aren't great - she's on benefits and I receive a grant of £1000 a month, which just about covers all the bills and food). She has to worry about when the cats and dogs are fed, makes sure that everything ticks along. In a way, she's my organiser - I'm not a very organised person, and I tend to be very forgetful. This causes a great deal of resentment in her, as she feels that she has to 'nag' me to get things done. This is true, certainly. I do resent, to some extent, having to do everything around the house as well as all of my work for my course. And I have to fit everything around her schedule, when she wants things done, which causes a great deal of irritation in me. I'm not a confrontational person, but when I do raise this, we get into a massive argument, and she's a lot more comfortable being angry than I am. I lose sight of arguments, I squabble over petty remarks that aren't related to the big issue, and have a tendency to sulk. I can certainly see how this is irritating, but I don't know what I can do to change this. I feel trapped, and completely and utterly stuck in a rut. I have no outlet, and although I have a tendency to self-indulge on matters that bring me down, I feel myself that I'm not really appreciated for what I bring to the household and relationship myself.


This has had a catastrophic affect on our relationship. I'm more of an emotional, touchy-feely person, whereas she most certainly is not. She is very logical, feels that things don't need to be said, and would generally be happier just to go about with her own way of doing things. She's very independent in this regard, whereas I am not. The negativity surrounding our relationship has caused me to continually focus in on this, and in the year or so that we've been together, we've only had sex about 5 times. We don't sleep in the same bed (because she moves about a lot and insists that she has her own bed, so that she can get a good nights sleep - although for me, this is another level of bonding that is removed from us), there's absolutely no affection coming from her towards me, and this again contributes to the rut. It makes me less willing to do all the things that I need to for the upkeep of the house, which increases negativity from her perspective, and we seem perpetually caught in this catch-22 position.


I've often thought about moving out, and the subject of us heading our separate ways has come up often. However, with the contributions I have to make to the house, there is absolutely no possible way that I could move out. Yet with no sign of things improving domestically, I feel increasingly isolated and trapped, and there is seemingly no escape. I sincerely enjoy my course, and I feel that I'm very good at what I do, but at the moment, it seems to me that the only way out of this cycle is to break things off with my partner, which would involve me having to leave my course and find a job so as to be able to afford both the contributions here and the rent, deposit and living costs incurred in finding a new place. I don't want this to happen, because despite all this, me and my partner do have a unique bond, but I'm at my wits end, and have no idea where to progress from here. I feel that I can't do any more here, and she feels that I don't appreciate her. What can I do?

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Hi ourinab1801,


Lets not sugar-coat it. I'm afraid this isn't a romantic relationship. It's two flatmates living together. Whether that is what you originally intended, or what it has gradually eroded down to, I do not know.


I appreciate that you have/had a close friendship with this lady, but this arrangement is unlikely to sustain you in the long term. Or is it?


Are you willing to say goodbye to a romantic connection, physical affection, and all the other things that usually come with a romantic partnership. I'm not even talking about sex here. There are those couples that jointly decide to take sex off the table, and feel perfectly happy and content with the emotional relationship that they have together.


Is this you? If it isn't, then how can you survive this situation over the long term.


I get the feeling you haven't remotely been consulted here. Decisions have been made without your input. A unilateral decision was made to move out of the "marital" bed regardless of your opinion or needs. The cats? Who's choice was that?


What are your needs exactly? What do you want? If it's to remain in the relationship regardless of the sacrifices demanded of you, so be it. I won't judge you. If it is not, then changes need to be made, as emotionally and practically painful ,as that is.


I understand your difficulties in moving out. However, truthfully, if you desperate and focused enough, despite the difficulties and hardships, you could make it happen. Flatsharing in a tiny box room for instance. Lodging with a family. There are cheap options although I grant you, they are not at all attractive, and will take a huge amount of effort and ingeniuty to get off the ground. You could also consider seperating in name, but continuing to live in the house as platonic "friends" until your course is finished, if that is at all practical or possible. Maybe so, maybe not.


What other option do you have? You only get one life. Right now you are choosing to spend yours, having the soul sucked out of your chest. Reread your post. It is so desperately unhappy. This is you. This is how you geniuely feel about life. Listen to what you are saying, I urge you.


Again I ask what other option do you have, than to make radical changes, to the life that has become unpalatable in slow agonising degrees.


There are underlying reasons as to why you are still in that house. I wonder if you are fearing loneliness or being unable to connect with another lady. Is it the stress of restarting your life again. Is is the guilt? A sense of failure? What? Because I promise you it's amazing how people restart their lives and start connecting with the outside world when they have no other option. That goes for your girlfriend and you.


Give yourself a deadline. For instance, if you feel this unhappy by Christmas, you will explore options to change it. If the first step is confronting your girlfriend on just how unbearable things have got, then so be it. If the second step is to try living apart for a while to see if that makes a difference, go head.


Either way, we are now at crunch time. Decisions need to be made. Do you stay and live with it - Or do you decide, that as painful as it is, this way of living no longer works for you. Which way are you going to jump?


I do wish you the very best of luck


Take care



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