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2 hours ago, FF-lawyer said:

@Jibralta: well, I think it would take some time to rebalance the relationship but I think with time and practice, he could gain the confidence to “lead” more (his confidence was really down while he was unemployed and under debt and has since gone up significantly) and I could “chill” more. That of course would be optimal. In reality, I think I would always be the leader, but I think we could arrive to a dynamic that is more balanced than what he have had so far.

So this will take more time. How much time are you prepared to commit to his personal development, after the year you spend waiting for him to move back to you? Or, is your life together going to be a process of adjustment? Is that what you want? Maybe it is.

 

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I'd focus on this latter part, more than the former. Curious: Do you have the same impulse with friends, with family? I ask because it's worth understanding what's behind that, the degree to whic

I think the above describes me to some extent, until I was in my mid-30s. I made excuses for their shortcomings and took up the slack for them. When I reached my mid-30s, a switch went off. I bec

The Wendy behind Peter Pan Psychologist Dan Kiley, who defined ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ in 1983, also used the term ‘Wendy Syndrome’ to describe women who act like mothers with their partners or peop

2 hours ago, FF-lawyer said:

do I just have to let him solve his issues all by himself?

I know you're coming from a good place, but think about the lack of respect that this statement implies.

Of course you have to let him solve his issues all by himself. He's a fully grown adult, just like you. Do you have someone chasing after you, solving your problems for you? 

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2 hours ago, FF-lawyer said:

But maybe he has the impression that I want him to be more successful?

This is certainly the impression I get, reading your posts, or at least that you'd like him to be more...well, like you. You seem to be breaking your brain to not say it directly, which is understandable, since it kind of boils down to admitting that your respect, admiration, and general faith in him is contingent on him evolving a bit more, accomplishing some more goals, and so on.

I don't mean that to sound in any way harsh, but just to encourage a level of self-reflection that matches your analysis of him, his struggles, his hurdles, his potential, his development. Sometimes, without realizing it, when we get that deep into trying to understand and rewire the operating system of another person it's because there's something in ourselves, and our own operating systems, that we're questioning—or a bit scared or reluctant to question. 

Edited by bluecastle
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@smackie9: we have also discussed this but for now I think it would be best for him to stay in his country for a bit to get better (and save money) before moving to a completely new place! But a new place is not off the table in the future.

@RoseMosse: I do feel guilty for the misery he has been through since he moved for me. I know it was his decision but I still feel guilty. But his misery has definitely made me miserable as well, and that is what prompted me to break up, as I couldn’t take it anymore emotionally.

@LaHermes and Wiseman2: you’re definitely right. It doesn’t matter to me what he does with his family and friends actually (whether he wants to keep engaging with them as usual despite the likelihood of being hurt or try to do something about that), but I guess hearing him complain and be sad about the exact same issue for more than a year does frustrate me so much that I feel the need to intervene. I could try to just nod along when he expresses his feelings about them and just not advise him or anything. But it’s hard to see him like that. It got a lot better since he talks about that with his psychologist though.

@Jibralta: I would stick to 1 year to see if it gets any better. It doesn’t have to be a perfect balance by then, just a good enough improvement.

@Jibralta and boltnrun: I don’t mean “let” as in “authorizing” (English is my fourth language, “let” is not meant like that in my native language, more like “abandon”), I mean should I just not advise him at all as to what to do? He often asks for advice (but often doesn’t follow it). I could limit myself to comforting him but he asks what he should do!

@bluecastle: that’s very true. I feel that his system has not proved efficient to solve his issues and wonder whether my system would not work better. But I know a specific system does not work for everyone as everyone is made differently.

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1 minute ago, FF-lawyer said:

@Jibralta and boltnrun: I don’t mean “let” as in “authorizing” (English is my fourth language, “let” is not meant like that in my native language, more like “abandon”), I mean should I just not advise him at all as to what to do? He often asks for advice (but often doesn’t follow it). I could limit myself to comforting him but he asks what he should do!

I didn't take it that way, although the choice of word was interesting upon reflection. 

Taken in context, your statement implied that you are an integral part of his problem solving system. That's what I am questioning. Why are you so involved? Is this grown man incapable of solving his own problems?

And yes, you did add that he sometimes asks you for advice, but that read as more of an afterthought. I think that, once you wrote out the part about helping him solve his problems, your level of involvement seemed a little much even to you, and you added that statement as justification. 

Yes, you have to let him solve his own issues by himself. They're his issues. You are supportive simply by being there and listening to him, and not undermining him. Anything more than that will look like you are taking over his life.

3 hours ago, FF-lawyer said:

My intention is also not to “change” him for my benefit, but he seems to have so many struggles and issues (he has been talking to me a lot about his issues, obviously) that I want to help him solve. Again, not my job I know, but these issues make him so sad: do I just have to let him solve his issues all by himself? He also asks a lot for tips to be more successful, more efficient, more self-aware, etc, so I don’t feel like I am feeding him unsolicited advice. But maybe he has the impression that I want him to be more successful? I guess there is a fine line between giving advice and wanting someone to change? I am not sure how to behave in a way that is supportive of his efforts towards solving his issues and his ambition but does not look like I want him to change. Not sure if I am being very clear here.

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20 minutes ago, FF-lawyer said:

@Jibralta: I would stick to 1 year to see if it gets any better. It doesn’t have to be a perfect balance by then, just a good enough improvement.

He's going to pay off his debts, get his career in order, move in with you, and shape up within a year? And what does "good enough" mean? And "good enough" for who? Up until he decided to move away (without telling you), things were basically "good enough," as far as you were concerned, right?

I know I'm harping on this, but I think you're being very wishy washy. And (for lack of a better metaphor) you are reallocating the same funds over and over again. 

Edited by Jibralta
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@Jibralta: he is definitely leaning way too much on me for his problems. We have already discussed that and I have pointed out that maybe he could dump a bit more on his psychologist, which he has been doing for the last 2-3 months. I definitely do not want to be that involved (it’s exhausting!) but I want to be there to support him so I don’t want him to feel that he can’t talk to me about his problems either (I was very careful about that when I suggested that he talks more to his psychologist). Again a balance to reach, it seems.

No offence taken for your second reply - good enough balance between the two of us! Yes I agree that for the first 6.5 years, it was “good enough” for me and I was fine making the general plans for us (although I mentioned a few times that he could be a bit more involved, but it was not a huge problem for me at that point). It was probably not “good enough” for him but he never said anything - I obviously asked for his point of view and opinions but either he was not fully aware (he says he wasn’t preparing to move until it struck him that he was really about to move) or he kept it for himself (he says he was scared of how I would react if he expressed any doubt). I didn’t know that moving would be an issue for him as he never expressed any fear or worries. I am not supposed to be a mindreader either, I can change what I can change on my side but I can’t guess how he must feel if he doesn’t say it. 

His career is already in order now (choosing the career path was basically the problem) and his debt will be entirely paid off in less than a year, there isn’t much to do for that except keep the job. Which basically leaves shaping up! He is very motivated to work on that and his job and money situation seem to help a lot so I want to trust that one year will be enough. And after a year, he could move back here. Or we could move somewhere else.

I don’t think I am wishy washy, my intentions are very clear, at least to me, but I do think I might be reallocating the same funds over and over again, which is why I posted! There is certainly no point in reconciling if things are not radically different, which is why I am assessing whether things CAN be radically different. But the fact that his career and debt problems are gone/will be gone does change a lot of things as these were directly the cause of his misery. We are planning a big talk to lay all our cards and decide. I’m going to do a bit of my own self-reflection until then.

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1 hour ago, Jibralta said:

I didn't take it that way, although the choice of word was interesting upon reflection. 

Taken in context, your statement implied that you are an integral part of his problem solving system. That's what I am questioning. Why are you so involved? Is this grown man incapable of solving his own problems?

And yes, you did add that he sometimes asks you for advice, but that read as more of an afterthought. I think that, once you wrote out the part about helping him solve his problems, your level of involvement seemed a little much even to you, and you added that statement as justification. 

Yes, you have to let him solve his own issues by himself. They're his issues. You are supportive simply by being there and listening to him, and not undermining him. Anything more than that will look like you are taking over his life.

Just curious. . maybe rhetorical. 

What would happen if you did nothing?   You let go and let things fall where they will?    Could you guess what that would look like 2 years from now?  Where would he be with absolutely zero influence from you?  After all, I am pretty certain he knows what you want.   No point in repeating it.

Personally.  . if it were me that's exactly what I would do. I would step back, sit on my hands and see the true measure of this man's capability and commitment.   I'd base my decision on that.

 

Edited by reinventmyself
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So do you enjoy having the role of leader? Showing him how to be more goal oriented like you? I'm extremely goal oriented, not just professionally.  My husband is far more type B but he's very goal oriented too just shows it differently and at different times.  I would not have wanted to be with him if I had to be the leader most of the time nor would I have married him if he wasn't ambitious and passionate and driven about his career.  But that has it's downsides of course -for both of us -me being driven too . There's this old saying that seems apt here: "Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend."  

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38 minutes ago, reinventmyself said:

What would happen if you did nothing?   You let go and let things fall where they will?    Could you guess what that would look like 2 years from now?  Where would he be with absolutely zero influence from you?

That's the real question! These are the real questions, I should say. Would the 'naturally occurring' him be the man you want to be with? Or is it the constantly cultivated, pruned, and staked version of him that you want?

Edited by Jibralta
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@reinventmyself and Jibralta: you know, I have thought about that option so many times over the past 1+ year and never bit the bullet by fear of stagnation/things going horribly wrong but you have convinced me, I will so do that!! That might actually be the radical change that we need. Thank you for your advice! 
 

@Batya33: I don’t like being the leader in the relationship (but love it in my professional life) so per reinventmyself’s advice/opinion, I will stop being the leader and see what happens.

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It's not radical at all.  

You are currently the puppet master here.  You're the pulling all the strings to orchestrate the outcome.

But you aren't the only one in this relationship.  You need to let go and see what you actually have. 

It is your life on the line after all

Believe you deserve the best. 

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10 hours ago, FF-lawyer said:

My family has been highly educated for generations but my parents immigrated to my current country and faced a lot of struggles, including financially. 

 His family has been living in the same village for generations and he is the first one to go beyond middle school. They are not rich and do worry about money a lot 

This seems to be the root of the issue.

Your background vs his.

There's nothing "wrong" with his background, even if he vents/talks to you about it.

The issue is not everyone wants to do things the way you and your family has, nor is it the "correct" way, except in your view.

It's simply your world.  Strife about climbing social ladders and achievement based on outward details. Money, degrees on walls, etc.

Keep in mind his family are whole human beings regardless of education or material acquisition.

When you view your own world and your own experiences as superior to others, you'll have problems accepting and appreciating people for who they are.

That is the case here and why you are so driven to fix him .

Edited by Wiseman2
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@reinventmyself: will do!


@wiseman2: for the first 6.5 years I was actually very close to his family and liked them a lot (didn’t think I was superior at all!), we used to visit them all the time. Basically I was considered a part of the family. It’s in the last 1+year (basically since he told them he is moving to me) that they have gotten really mean to him, me, and us, and my ex-boyfriend has been very unhappy with them, fought a lot with them, cried a lot, so I’ve gotten gradually angry at them. I’m not saying their background is wrong, I never said that, I’m saying that their treatment of him because they like their background and he is doing things differently from them is wrong. I was asked to describe our backgrounds, so I did, with the differences which I thought were relevant to the topic. Saying that “they worry about money” is not saying that they should all have a career so that they don’t have money issues, it’s a fact that for me has explained a lot of comments that they made to him, such as “why don’t you work yet”. And they “have stayed in the same village for generations” is not saying that they should all live abroad or whatever, it’s a fact that has explained why it all went loose when he told them that he is moving to me and why they seemed to scared of him moving. I’m trying to see why they make such comments, to understand what is happening. And they are the ones who criticised my background ad nauseam, saying that I shouldn’t have a career, why don’t I live there, why don’t I stay at home and have children, where are children going to play in the city. I’ve also been the recipient of horrible comments, not just him. I think they all thought I’m the one who is going to move and I’m going to live exactly like them.

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55 minutes ago, FF-lawyer said:

It’s in the last 1+year (basically since he told them he is moving to me) that they have gotten really mean to him, me, and us, and my ex-boyfriend has been very unhappy with them

Well, it's his struggle to deal with their dismay at him leaving the pack and their traditions. Not much you can do about them. 

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2 hours ago, FF-lawyer said:

I definitely think that he leans too much on me for his issues and I try too much to solve them.

I'd focus on this latter part, more than the former.

Curious: Do you have the same impulse with friends, with family? I ask because it's worth understanding what's behind that, the degree to which it's simply you, or a reflection of your lack of trust in the way he goes about the business of living. If you don't trust or respect that part of him on the same level you respect it in yourself—if you think his mode of operation leads only to stagnation and dashed dreams—I suspect you'll find it quite challenging to just step back and take your hand off the wheel. 

All that said, I think challenging yourself to step back a bit is going to be eye opening. Give him space to surprise you, without needing that surprise to be anything but...whatever it is. That's the only way you'll really be able to answer the big questions here. 

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16 hours ago, FF-lawyer said:

@reinventmyself and Jibralta: you know, I have thought about that option so many times over the past 1+ year and never bit the bullet by fear of stagnation/things going horribly wrong but you have convinced me, I will so do that!! That might actually be the radical change that we need. Thank you for your advice! 
 

@Batya33: I don’t like being the leader in the relationship (but love it in my professional life) so per reinventmyself’s advice/opinion, I will stop being the leader and see what happens.

Same which is why I asked.  I actually do not like delegating work but I do like taking initiative and being "professional" but I don't wear my professional hat at home. Well not mostly (I have a child after all lol)

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@bluecastle: I don’t have that impulse with anyone but him! I’m thinking out loud here but when I think about it, I personally don’t share my issues with him or anyone unless the situation is really extreme (but that happens so rarely, maybe that happened once during the course of our relationship - in general I guess I just rarely have issues at all, I don’t know) and then I am looking for solutions, not emotional support. I guess I’m trying to replicate what I would like him to do in my position.
The fact that he cries a lot also makes my impulse to provide solutions much worse, because it crushes me to see him like that, so I feel the need to try to make it better for him. I’m not really used to see people cry either, so it makes me panick a bit I think and my brain is in full mode to find solutions. And I think I lack of patience, because I think I do okay in providing emotional support initially, but it’s when the same issue makes him sad everyday for months that it gets complicated for me to just listen and do nothing about it. I feel too powerless. It’s definitely going to be tough to step back but I definitely need to do that.

@boltnrun: thanks, will do that!

@Batya33: same, I hate delegating work!

@reinventmyself: and I resent the parenting as well! 

Edited by FF-lawyer
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What Reinvent said.

 

57 minutes ago, reinventmyself said:

You are basically in a parent/child relationship.  Be careful because children almost always grow up.

He'll reset your parenting him at some point and the dynamic you two are accustomed to will backfire.

I am at a loss for words.  I cannot understand what is in this strange enmeshment that you find even vaguely attractive. You are doing him no favours, not to mention you are doing yourself no favours.

He seems to have no coping mechanism except this "crying a lot".  Having a constantly weeping adult toddler on my hands would drive me crazy!  

Life is all too short, OP. Forget "stepping away".  Please, step out of this danse macabre altogether.

The idea of "managing" a man they way you describe is beyond alien to me.  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I focused this post on what I am doing wrong, not him (after all, I can only change myself), but yes, I am very aware of his issues. I am aware that he does not have any coping mechanisms (no healthy one at least - his default coping mechanism is avoidance/escape), he has difficulties controlling his negative emotions most of the time (be it sadness, fear, regret or stress), he is unable to set any boundaries with his parents, he is a massive people-pleaser to the point of putting other people’s happiness over his (his parents even explicitly told him that their happiness is more important than his, and while he is extremely angry and resentful at them, he does not act on these feelings), and he is overly sensitive to criticism or any form of disapproval (even a mere difference of opinion is going to be tough for him and he will remember it for years). Some of it is probably obvious from my previous posts.

So yes, it is often unattractive and it does sometimes drive me crazy but I do believe that anyone can become the person they want to be as long as they want to and they put in the necessary effort. He has been going to therapy every week for the past 3 months and this has uncovered a lot of issues (not all of the above yet, but quite a few) that he is currently working on. For me, deciding to go to therapy (on his own, before the breakup) and stick to it IS a sign that he is acknowledging that he has issues and that he is willing to work on them.

I’m not saying that I’m going to wait forever, as I said, there needs to be some tangible and consistent improvement, and if he quits therapy (unlikely) or is not 100% into it (more possible but not very likely as he has been enjoying his sessions a lot), I will get out (or actually not “get in” in the first place). And on my part, if I can’t loosen up a bit and trust that things will be fine without my constant guidance, it will also not work. The good thing is that this time apart has been very useful for me to see the issues (mine too) with much more clarity, so I know that I will be able to move on without difficulty if we don’t work out. I have coped really well with the breakup (I’m a little surprised that it was not harder actually), so I definitely don’t “need” to be with him - maybe that’s normal since I’m the one who broke up, I don’t know, I obviously still love him very much, but I don’t feel the need to be with him, I just think we can be great together. I also know myself and I know that I would regret it if I didn’t give him a chance to surprise me. But on the other side, it might also be my determination/stubbornness speaking.

Am I delusional/wrong to plan to do that? I hesitated a bit to respond, but if you have any insights, even telling me that I’m crazy, I will definitely read very carefully and reflect on them.

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