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Rebuilding a relationship: can so much negativity rob you of passion?


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Hi, I wrote a post several months ago about the possibility of getting back together with my significant other whom I've known for over four years. I explained how we've been on-and-off for a couple years and how my ambiguity/ lack of commitment really damaged the guy -- who has almost always been dedicated to me and wanted to get back together -- and how we were long distance much of the time. (Long distance really takes its toll on two people ... very difficult). My question in the lack post was, Should I fight for the relationship or let it go? Here is the update.

We were broken up during the summer, but still kept in touch a little and I was still preoccupied with him. I was asked out by several other men but declined. I wanted to move on, but my heart was still tangled with the ex-bf. Eventually, my ex-bf (after four years) started accepting that we weren't going to work out, and moved on to finding someone else.

When I heard that he was showing interest in others, I felt devastated about losing him, regretted that I hadn't fought for the relationship, and asked him if we could arrange a long distance visit. He accepted. Instead of being a commitment phobe, my intention was to see if we we could salvage our relationship and fan the flames again.

We had a pretty good visit, but he had changed some. I realize now that he was backing off because I had rejected the idea of marriage so many times with him and he was still guarding himself. At the end of the visit, we discussed our futures again. Surprisingly, we ended up committing to each other again (he asked me) and he unofficially asked me to marry him. I finally said yes, even though I still had fears, I still wanted him to be a part of my life.

Since we've been committed, I have tried to move forward, have been more involved in the relationship now, and planning marriage! The paradox is that he, on the other hand, started dragging his feet, not being very excited about it, neglecting me, etc.

This has really thrown me for a loop because usually he is the most dedicated, romantic guy around. Now he seemed incredibly selfish and fearful of committing (after he had asked me for a commitment for years and years). Gradually, I think I've learned what is going on: he probably is still really hurt from all the times that we didn't work out when I abandoned him. He probably is testing my commitment level to see if I'm going to bail or not. We've gotten into a huge fight, and I wanted to bail, like I always do, because he said some pretty nasty things. He's not usually a jerk. But I'm still here.

Eventually he did apologize for acting out and being lethargic about our relationship. Is not quite sure why he's doing it. Maybe it's just fear and the fact that trust has to be rebuilt?

My concern is that we just aren't that passionate anymore like we used to be. Looking through my old journals, I realized how negative I've often been of him -- focusing on all his faults and mistakes instead of how heroic and wonderful I thought of him when I fell in love with him four years ago. I want to get back to that place that we used to be -- when we thought the world of each other and I knew I was crazy about him. Has the negativity just really robbed us of the passion? Can the relationship really be repaired after so much has gone down? He wanted to get married, but I'm seeing that we probably need to take a good amount of time to recover from old hurts and get to know each other again?? What do you think? I don't want to simply be the committed couple... I want us to be ecstatic about each other if we walk down the aisle. If you've been pretty excited about someone in the past, can you regain that excitement? Or is this just reality -- after a few years together, you realize you're not walking on the clouds anymore but you're still committed??



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postscript - I guess I should add what those "fears" are: his fears are of me following through on commitment and also being able to provide a life for me.

My fears in the situation have been: I don't want to make a mistake, so that's why I often haven't committed in the past; I fear being poor and having a lower quality of life with him since we're still getting back on our feet; and I fear people changing when they've been someone before and now seem different.

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Things don't sound lost yet. Which is positive. You both really need to sit down and listen to each other. Take LOTS of time to listen, listen and listen some more. Be really patient with each other and try to get to understand what where each of you are coming from. TRY to stay calm and polite during the conversation. You should checkout Al Turtle online he has some really good advice which has helped me in my own healing process. You HOPEFULLY won't have to use this material too much if you can save the relationship that you have now

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