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Am I to blame for my girlfriend not being happy with her job?


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I met my girlfriend about 5 years ago, and she was doing her master’s degree. We were all over each other, always holding hands and cuddling in public. It felt so good to have found someone finally.

 

When she finished her degree, she couldn’t find jobs related to her study. She found temporary administrative government jobs, a few good, a few where she wasn’t happy with. She started complaining that she had stayed in town to be with me, that her original plans were to move somewhere else. Gradually, this turned into blaming me, that she had sacrificed her career for me. The intimacy we had gradually dropped to zero. She was now also blaming me for ruining her life, even though I had repeatedly guaranteed her that would support her as long as she needed to find a job she would be happy with. Beginning of last year, she found a graduate government job, which a two level pay-cut from her previous temp jobs. But this was a permanent job with promotion prospects. Again, it wasn’t in her exact field. She is now blaming me for having a pay cut and having to work at a job she dislikes.

When she decided get this job without even telling me, she had temp positions in her field that got renewed, but without any guarantee. In fact, lucky for her that she took this graduate job, as she would have been out of a job if she stayed in the temp position when the COVID-19 crisis hit.

 

And now, she wants to break up with me saying that I ruined her life by keeping her in town. I didn’t even know that she wanted to move away when we met and when she finished her degree.

 

In retrospect, she has floated the idea of leaving town together and finding new jobs. But I told her that was too old to quit my job of 25 years at the university and hope to find equally paying one anywhere else in the job climate that was already deteriorating before COVID-19. Me leaving and losing my job would have been detrimental for my aged parents who count on my support, financial and emotional.

 

In the meantime since early on our relationship, she was critical of my relationship with my parents, because I happened to live with them. This wasn’t a choice, but a result of me not having found someone to marry earlier in my career, so, having lost hope of finding someone, I stayed with my parents and took care of each other.

 

Last year in November, I moved out of my parents’ house and moved in with my girlfriend. I had bought over the years the two house next to my parents as investment properties and it was ideal for us to move in into one of them. She made a big fuss about living next to my parents, even though my parents are not the nosy types, they don’t visit anyone unless invited. Finally, I convinced her to move in to the house two down.

 

If we were young, there would be no issue for me to move somewhere else, even a different town, but my parents are over 80 and they need my help, financially and emotionally, my father has a pacemaker and they need my assistance in their doctors’ visits a few times a month, and they feel safe knowing that I am next door.

 

My girlfriend is still unappreciative if the situation and keeps saying no one lives next their parents in the West, which can’t be further from the truth. I am 54 and she is 44. We are no spring chicken anymore, we are at the ages when people living away from their parents move back in closer, or even build a granny flat in their backyard to have them nearby.

 

Besides, if we had left town, we’d be both out of jobs in the streets following the COVID-19 crisis, and she is still blaming me for ruining her life, costing her a career and the opportunity to have baby. I am at a complete loss understanding her, as I proses to marry her many times, she rejected it as she didn’t believe in marriage.

 

I never wavered from my commitment to her, never cheated on her, have been always kind, loving, supportive and generous to her. Respected all her family even though she kept insulting mine for being too attached to me.

 

I opened a house for her. It may not be fancy, but it is in a good neighborhood, and within my means to support her even if she lost her job. And yet, she calls me immature and that I need to grow up. How much mature can one be having had a stable job for 25 years (unlike her), supporting aged parents, made provisions for our future, mentored my nephews, having a reputation among friends as a kind and generous person, having an equally good reputation among my colleagues at work as well as in academia. I mean, what is it that she wants from me?

 

Where did I do wrong?

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She said that she stayed for me, for which I am obviously grateful, but neither did I know at the time, nor did I ask her to stay. And the town we are in is actually a capital city with all the job options as anywhere else with better living conditions

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If it was her choice to stay with you then you can't be blamed. Living in a capital city is where the best job opportunities are, so I'm not too sure what her problem is. Does she think she can find a job in her field in a small town out in the country? Makes no sense to me.

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Yes, she thinks that there are more opportunities in social work in small towns, which I don’t understand how. Plus, we’d be worse off with me losing a well paying academic job and finding an entry level engineering job at age 54, since I don’t have any industrial experience. I’ve been an academic all my career and got where I am with hard work. Who gives up a 25 year career at 54 and with no guarantee of finding a job?

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Yes, my conscience is clear, I haven’t done anything wrong by her. I still love her, but I can’t force her to love me back. The said thing is that asked her to tell me if she no longer loved me so that I stopped trying to save our relationship by finding any compromises we could. She doesn’t say and drags every attempt to talk into an argument, putting words into my mouth that I haven’t spoken. There is no telling her that she might be wrong about anything. She picks a fight saying that all I do is prove her wrong. Not only I don’t do that, I always approach any discussion, no matter how much I am confident about the topic, by assuming that that might be wrong, giving the benefit of the doubt. Besides, if and when I am wrong, I admit it and I am thankful to whoever corrected my mistake.

 

With her, it becomes personal, it is as if by saying that she might be wrong on one issue is like invalidating her as person.

 

It is really frustrating to try to talk to someone who can’t take any criticism, and yet she can criticize me all she can without me reacting like her. Even defending my position after a criticism is grounds for fight, because it means that I would prove her wrong at some level.

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I apologise as I'm 35, so not in my 40's or 50's. My parents are also only 60, so not as old as yours. So I can't 100% relate to the situation. Also just wondering, are you an only child? Did you want to have children, or only to marry?

 

If I may be very honest....I think it's nice to take care of your parents and by all means it's good to help out your parents. If they need a lift to appointments here and there or some other help, no problem. However I must be honest that if I met a man my age or older, who still actually lives with his parents, it is off putting. It's good to help but not actually live with them and be their carer. If you also have other siblings or it was possible to access some kind of social services to send carers to your parents too. I'm not sure where you live but here in Australia it's very possible. If you're over 65 you get government funding which allows you to have paid carers to come to your house. Surely something could have been worked out so that you don't have to live with them.

 

I don't think it matters if you got married or not. I'm not married or partnered either but I moved out of home when I was 23. I've been renting with housemates and on my own ever since. I do visit my parents regularly but I don't live with them and not tied to them in the way that you are. Some women may be fine that you want to live next door to your parents and be their carer, but some not. Some people at this age prefer to be independent of parents and have their own space. Maybe your girlfriend actually wants a man who's independent of his parents. I think that’s fairly normal once you're past your 20's.

 

However having said that, your girlfriend can't actually blame you for everything SHE decided to do. She knew everything about you, knew your situation, your views on life and aspirations. She knew you definitely don't want to move due to your job and your parents. And that is actually a fair enough reason because you're right, it's not easy to find a good job. And it's good to be close to family, especially if you had actually ended up having kids.

 

If your girlfriend wanted to move, then she shouldn't have been dating you and she should have moved. Also she could have been more successful in her career if she maybe did some internships, tried to network on Linked In, and so on. It was up to her to do everything possible to advance in her career. If that involved moving, then she should have done that. We always have a choice in life (mostly) and SHE made those choices. You also did ask her to marry you and she declined. If she thought you're not the one or whatever, then that's how she feels. But it's not like you didn't try! And yes you did try to provide a home for her, to the best of your ability which fit in with your values and way of life.

 

This is the thing too, people can have different values and these clash in values might really get in the way. Your girlfriend obviously really cares about her career, more than her relationship or family. Whereas you value helping your parents and being a caring, supportive person. It's obvious that she looks down on your values of being your parents' carer. So it's a mismatch there.

 

If she wants to break up, then maybe you should let her. I mean how much longer do you intend to keep listening to your girlfriend complaining and blaming everything on you?

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Sorry to hear that. It seems like a mistake to move in with her and an even bigger mistake to move in together next to your parents. Perhaps it's time you set each other free. She can move to wherever she wants and you can stay with your family.

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Thanks Tinydance,

 

You’re right, and I can’t hold her, if she wanted to break up so much for the last three years, she could have, regardless of me agreeing or not. People get dumped all the time.

 

We’re in Australia, and it is not like my parents need my day to day care. I just don’t want to make them feel abandoned when I own a decent house next door to them. Why should I break their hearts in the last few years they may have left. And it is not like they ever disrespected our privacy, they haven’t set foot in our place yet.

 

We just had a text argument about whether I ever loved her, because I didn’t break up with her. I don’t understand why would I want to break up as I still love her, no man would do this. She was saying that I didn’t love her because I questioned once her love for putting through all this, and kept bringing it up at every argument.

 

She was packing to stay at a friend’s, and texted me that she could use the side door so that I didn’t have to see her until she was out for good. I told her that I didn’t have any problem seeing her and replied to her that believe it or not I still loved her. She replied that she had never stopped loving me despite flushing everything down the toilet for me. This is what I don’t understand, nothing is flushed as I never wavered from my commitment to her. At our age and financial situation, which is average, what else is there other than love to keep us going?

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Thanks Tinydance,

 

YouÂ’re right, and I canÂ’t hold her, if she wanted to break up so much for the last three years, she could have, regardless of me agreeing or not. People get dumped all the time.

 

WeÂ’re in Australia, and it is not like my parents need my day to day care. I just donÂ’t want to make them feel abandoned when I own a decent house next door to them. Why should I break their hearts in the last few years they may have left. And it is not like they ever disrespected our privacy, they havenÂ’t set foot in our place yet.

 

We just had a text argument about whether I ever loved her, because I didnÂ’t break up with her. I donÂ’t understand why would I want to break up as I still love her, no man would do this. She was saying that I didnÂ’t love her because I questioned once her love for putting through all this, and kept bringing it up at every argument.

 

She was packing to stay at a friendÂ’s, and texted me that she could use the side door so that I didnÂ’t have to see her until she was out for good. I told her that I didnÂ’t have any problem seeing her and replied to her that believe it or not I still loved her. She replied that she had never stopped loving me despite flushing everything down the toilet for me. This is what I donÂ’t understand, nothing is flushed as I never wavered from my commitment to her. At our age and financial situation, which is average, what else is there other than love to keep us going?

 

Your story resonates with me. It brought back some bad memories and saddened me... I was with a man similar to your partner a few years ago who was very condescending towards my parents who were living, by the way, far from him, he was constantly reminding me that he would not spend a penny on my parents while they had never asked for anything... He was constantly afraid that my parents would be a 'burden' to us in the future... My parents are such sweet, nice and very discreet people... His attitude was so weird especially that I was reminding him constantly that he should never leave his parents when in need... His lack of respect towards my parents, that he was not seeing that much, was one of the main reasons I put an end to my relationship with him...

 

I wish you the best of luck and I am sure what you have been doing for your parents would be rewarded by God/ universe or whatever you believe in.

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It sounds like when you met her you were a bit desperate, as in you hadn't dated in quite a while. You sound like a doormat, since you took all of that criticism for so long and chose to stay anyway.

 

Even though you take pride in your career and helping your parents, your self-esteem must need some boosting, because a person with good self esteem would've said to her at her first complaint: I guess we should've had this discussion about lifetime goals when we became exclusive, because I had no idea you thought like this. I'm not going to listen to complaints about ruining your life, so decide what you can be happy with, whether it involves me or not.

 

If you don't improve your self esteem, you will continue to attract and accept inappropriate women.

 

I agree with Tinydance that living with your parents is something not conducive to your romantic life. Obviously you can afford to not live with them, so don't. It will afford you the privacy you need when dating. It's great you're helping your parents, so continue doing so.

 

When social distancing is no longer such an issue, seek out dating opportunities on Meetup. com or meeting women by taking dancing lessons, book discussion groups, volunteer work. Perhaps you weren't previously pro-active in this area, plus the fact you lived with your parents, and for those reasons, you remained single for a lengthy time. In any case, you have a chance for a new chapter in your life. Take care.

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Thanks Wiseman2!

Thanks Andrina,

I normally have high self esteem, I know my professional strengths and my weaknesses, which I don’t shy away from rectifying. I had 4 girlfriends before her, but never felt a long term connection with them. But I thought that this was the one and gave her the benefit of the doubt that her petulance was due to her frustration in finding a job she liked. But you are absolutely right, I allowed myself to be a doormat in the hopes that she’d come around. And yes, I wasn’t very proactive before meeting her on RSVP. I will follow your advise in finding a happy woman.

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It kinda doesn't add up, but she needed a reason to leave and is just trying to pin the blame on you.

I don't see anywhere where you held her hostage.

She knew your family dynamic when she met you and continued to make her own career decisions along the way.

Now it's all your fault?

Yah, let her go.

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Sorry about all this.

 

Agree with the general sentiment expressed here. Namely: it seems to me that your girlfriend—now possibly ex?—is someone who finds comfort and power in blaming those around them for their circumstances, for the places in their life where they've fallen short of their expectations of themselves. Perhaps there were signs of this early—complaints about a friend, say, or a professor, or a waiter at a restaurant—but were easy to write off, since the full spectrum of this way of being generally surfaces over time. Easiest people to blame, if your happy place is blaming others? It's those closest to you. Egro? The closer you get, the more potent the blaming becomes.

 

Going from what you've written, there is really very little evidence here that your girlfriend cares much about her career, or building a family, at least not with the same focus and passion that she has for finding scapegoats for her disappointments. Imagine that headspace, far more than this relationship, has hamstrung her here and there, and that's a battle she's going to have to wage with herself, or not. But until then? Those around her—partners, professors, professionals—will likely find themselves casualties.

 

As for the living with your parents? Sure, that might be something to reconsider in the wake of this, but she knew what she was getting into and the world is filled with people who meet and build a constructive partnership from all sorts of variables.

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Hi Mike.

Maybe set your sights on an older lady, closer to your age? Someone who has her career and children sorted, and not looking for anything but companionship.

Best of luck...you are dodging a bullet with this one moving out.

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A warm thank you to all of you who spared their time to reply to me, giving advice and reassurance. As painful as it is to let go of the woman I love, it is comforting to be reassured that I haven’t done anything wrong by her. It is her choice to leave, as it was hers to stay with me to start with. I just wish that she could snap out of her pessimism to appreciate what we had and the nice future we could have built together.

 

Again, thank you very much for your support!

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A warm thank you to all of you who spared their time to reply to me, giving advice and reassurance. As painful as it is to let go of the woman I love, it is comforting to be reassured that I haven’t done anything wrong by her. It is her choice to leave, as it was hers to stay with me to start with. I just wish that she could snap out of her pessimism to appreciate what we had and the nice future we could have built together.

 

Again, thank you very much for your support!

 

From the looks of it, it appears she needs to live her life without having any other major responsibilities. She's not ready to be a caretaker or have her partner juggle other family commitments. I don't think either of you have done any wrong. You both need different things.

 

I agree with Shelly - you may do better with someone who already has their act together and is able to take responsibility for herself and her own shortcomings. You seem to take on the role of sole provider.

 

My question to you is: Would it feel uncomfortable if you met someone who didn't need your house to move into and someone who took a more active role in supporting your parents? We sometimes subconsciously pick partners that slip into roles we're familiar with and we also slip into familiar roles. Would you know what to do with yourself if you found someone a bit more proactive and involved or does this idea make you uncomfortable? Just putting this out there - maybe some thoughts to go over if you're dating again later on.

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Neither of you saw a nice future. You were unhappy and things were fraught with chronic conflict. She was unhappy with her work and being too close to your family. You placed your family and proximity above all and so it worked out for the best. She can pursue whatever she wants without your family-ties constraints. And there you are still footsteps away from them, where you wish to be.

appreciate what we had and the nice future we could have built together.
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You weren't wrong. Cut her loose. Since she's unhappy and very dissatisfied with her life, show her the door.

 

She had freedom of choice regarding the major or program she decided to study and moving with you far from her original town. Both of you made this decision together; not just you and not just her. It was a joint decision and just because life didn't unfold the way she had hoped for and imagined for her job situation, it's not your fault.

 

If what you're offering her isn't good enough regarding a good neighborhood, marriage and a baby, then tell her she is free to move on with her life without you, move out and seek her own independence however way she sees fit. Wish her all the best.

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Thanks Chrylyn,

 

She’s not from another town, her parents live in the same suburb as we do, just 4 minutes drive.

 

She keeps saying that she only agreed to move in with me next door to my parents because she didn’t any other choice when her lease was up, but she could have easily ended it back then stayed with her parents for a while....

 

I do wish her all the best.

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