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Love or the idea of me - thoughts on whether to continue


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Posted (edited)

Hi to all you fine people with many great insights and advice. Ive been lurking on these forums (and loveshack) for nearly 7 years now.

Ok so i've been single for almost a year since my last relationship (together for 1.3 years but i ended it as she was a total disaster and not what i wanted).

Since then, i've met my current girlfriend through a friend of mine(oct/nov 2020) and have been hanging out since (in groups).

I''ll try to make this short. Forgive me if it is way too long. Me 38(M),one child. She (29)F no children. First time we met, we were kinda drunk and kissed but did not go further than that. I then basically did not want a relationship with her as i was not all that attracted to her and just wanted to be friends. We hung out in groups, sometimes just me and her going on hikes/lunch etc but nothing romantic as such. So friends it was up until a month and half ago where we slept together and decided to get into a relationship. Main reason for this was that i liked her strong/independent personality. Then obviously with that came attraction, i admit i am more attracted to her now than i was before.

However, i am not so sure if she loves me (although she always says she does) or rather, that she loves the idea of me as i have a pretty good job in the legal field, i come from a decent family background (doctors & lawyers) and would be considered "well-off",  i look good for my age and well-educated. Recently i have been having doubts and it feels like she's with me because of these qualities rather than liking me for who i am. Like, she would probably not like me if i did not have the above qualities and I do understand women her age are attracted to financial securities (e.g. what the man can provide). 

I know i said above that i liked her strong/independent personality. However, i feel that she is a bit controlling. I mean if shes a little controlling now, wouldnt it be worse in time? For instance, we were having dinner with one of my best friends (first time she's met him and his wife & two young children) last weekend. My friend made a comment that he's proud of me that i have recently stopped smoking. She then comments to say "oh yea, he should, if he didnt, i wouldnt be with him". This wasnt a joke as she had said it before. Another example was that previously she mentioned (again at dinner in front of mutual friends/group) that i did not know how to use chopsticks properly. She says "oh if my mother saw you holding these chopsticks the way you do now, she would cringe". Then she said it last weekend again in front of my friends at dinner about the chopsticks. Then we went for a movie the next day. While at dinner she said, "can you not check your phone when watching a movie because its bright and it annoys me" (i only checked it once or twice max). I responded by saying but not angrily "i think i should be able to do what i want"(i think im resenting her for being like this already and the issue below about my son!!!) with her response being "okay next time i wont go to watch a movie with you then". I mean these are pretty petty stuff to take issue with dont you think?. Not once have i commented on her behaviour or way she drives (etc) or let alone try to pick a argument with her. I mean im the kind of guy who does not likes drama or arguments and am pretty chilled 99% of the time. 

the big issue for me. I have a 14 yr old from a previous previous previous relationship. Anyway, she knew about him since we became friends. So about 3 weeks ago, she drove my son (me in the car) to volleyball practise. My son (a shy, timid, softly spoken guy) said "thank you" very quietly as he was exiting the car. She then commented by saying (after my son had left) "you know i find that pretty rude. My family would find that rude. We are taught to say thank you loudly to show appreciation". I was quite unhappy with her comments but i did not say much. Instead i tried to talk to her indirectly to make her understand that every family is different and have different upbringings. The second issue is that i spent a night at her apartment last weekend and came home on Sunday (i live with my parents for now). It was around 12.30pm and my son was still in bed (it was a long weekend with no school the next day). She said "OMG, what? he's still sleeping? Not acceptable. Okay im not going say anything about it" and drops the topic. For me, it felt like she's trying to say im a bad parent and that my parenting skills are bad. I mean im thinking, my son does well at school, does his sports and is a good boy 99% of the time" and i think i've done a great job. Whereas you, on the other hand, do not have a child and commenting on my son or my parenting skills have no credibility at all. It is kinda ironic given that her own brother does not even respond to her text messages (been like 4 months LOL).  

I guess for now, she is not going on about the above issues as our relationship has just started but i feel that once we move on to the next level in our relationship, she will want be the dominant and controlling one. I absolutely despise that. I have had my fair share of toxic relationships and quite frankly, i do not want to continue this trend. The main reason why i did not call her out on her comments is because i feel that we should like/love each other for WHO we are not WHAT we want you to be. To call her out on these issues would mean "Changing" her and if i am "changing" her, it would mean im trying to control her which is the last thing i want to do. I know you might say maybe talk to her nicely and communicate these issues to her is the appropriate way to go but by doing this, i feel it is trying to control and change a person (even if it is relayed nicely). 

Apart from the above though, i do enjoy time with her (without all those comments) but the feeling of resentment is something i seriously have to consider. 

Thoughts anyone?

 

 

 

 

Edited by adrian83
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She seems to have some criticism in there, eh?

I agree...

1) Re your son, you don't have to answer to her and she does have a lot to say! ( complain much?)  😕 

She really knows nothing about your son.. or your lifestyle. ( seems ALL is about her).  Ick

yup, you are way too different.  She knows nothing of being a parent..

I don't see all of this as a 'controlling' aspect.. She just seems moody/bossy and a whiner, like it's all about her!  And she seems judgmental.. you name it!

All this is going to do is cause conflict.. resentment.

19 minutes ago, adrian83 said:

The main reason why i did not call her out on her comments is because i feel that we should like/love each other for WHO we are not WHAT we want you to be. To call her out on these issues would mean "Changing" her and if i am "changing" her, it would mean im trying to control her which is the last thing i want to do.

This is not controlling her, it is responding (communicating) from your end of things.  So, what you are doing is saying nothing (explaining some things - to hoping she'd try to understand).. and this will all just build up and you'll flip.

 

It's only been a few months and obviously you know you have issue's with her.

It won't last much longer.  As you can't 'be yourself'.. and your defenses are going to start building.

She is not for you - you know it.

then don't let this drag on any longer.

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34 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

She seems to have some criticism in there, eh?

I agree...

1) Re your son, you don't have to answer to her and she does have a lot to say! ( complain much?)  😕 

She really knows nothing about your son.. or your lifestyle. ( seems ALL is about her).  Ick

yup, you are way too different.  She knows nothing of being a parent..

I don't see all of this as a 'controlling' aspect.. She just seems moody/bossy and a whiner, like it's all about her!  And she seems judgmental.. you name it!

All this is going to do is cause conflict.. resentment.

This is not controlling her, it is responding (communicating) from your end of things.  So, what you are doing is saying nothing (explaining some things - to hoping she'd try to understand).. and this will all just build up and you'll flip.

 

It's only been a few months and obviously you know you have issue's with her.

It won't last much longer.  As you can't 'be yourself'.. and your defenses are going to start building.

She is not for you - you know it.

then don't let this drag on any longer.

Yes you are absolutely right that i should talk to her about how i feel which i would have done and have done in my previous relationships. However, from my past relationships and what i've learnt is  that talking to her about how i feel is an attempt to control dont you agree? Basically it means okay i dont like you commenting on these topics as it makes me unhappy so she HAS to stop which means she has to stop being her "judgemental" self. One thing ive also learnt is that you cant change a certain trait/behaviour of a person unless that person changes him/herself no matter what you do. For me supressing someone's true self is a form of control which inevitably result in resentment as well. 

Hopefully she understands when i talk to her about it one day.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, adrian83 said:

However, from my past relationships and what i've learnt is  that talking to her about how i feel is an attempt to control dont you agree? Basically it means okay i dont like you commenting on these topics as it makes me unhappy so she HAS to stop which means she has to stop being her "judgemental" self.

Do you like her attitude with you?  All you're doing is allowing her to continue her criticism & judgment with you.  Not asking her stop.. but this is most likely just how she is.. and you don't like it.

I think you are uncertain as to what 'controlling' someone is.

Forms of Control:

The power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events.

Similar:

jurisdiction

sway

power

authority

command

dominance

From how I see this, you are in no way acting like you are in command or dominating.  You are wanting to Speak up to her behavior . ( didnt you mention how her own brother has distanced from her?).

I don't know WHY you'd take her tude at all 😕 ... You obviously do not approve!  How much better do you think this will get?

* It's called Red Flags - things you pick up on that affect or bother you*.

Has been a few months, that's long enough, no?

Edited by SooSad33
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The delivery matters. If it's a screaming match or devolves to insults, not so great. If it's an open conversation, that's a positive. It means you both can communicate effectively past the superficial stuff. Good communication is a good sign in a relationship.

However given the way she makes these negative and condescending comments, it's no wonder you're feeling uncomfortable approaching her at all. 

The age gap might have something to do with this. That's funny you mentioned about the phone in a movie theatre. I once went to a movie with my brother who criticized me for checking my phone and called me a Tommy Texter. I never did it again. The glare is pretty annoying so point taken. She finds you distracted and annoying. That's valid.

I can see how the other points about your softspoken child can be misunderstood from a different culture. That kind of softer tone can be misinterpreted for begrudging behaviour or dragging one's feet (ie paying lip service and not meaning what's being said). Obviously that's not what he was doing and it's his nature. Big misunderstanding. You're both misunderstanding each other here but I do understand you're hurt because it's your son she's talking about.

About him sleeping in, anyone who has had teenagers knows that this is not an uncommon occurrence. This was a bit rash and rude by anyone's standards. 

My reading of this is she's not as open or understanding and tolerant as you are but you are already at your wit's end and there doesn't seem to be a single peaceful moment between the both of you. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, adrian83 said:

i feel that once we move on to the next level in our relationship, she will want be the dominant and controlling one. I absolutely despise that.

It sounds like you dislike her anyway. In addition to her personality (which is definitely abrasive) you believe her to be a shallow gold-digger who doesn't actually like you. Why continue? 

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Posted (edited)

Honestly. I think you're incompatible in ages and stages of life.

She judges things maybe because well she just hasn't learned better yet.  We all know everything until we realize oh wait. I don't know poop.

You need to work on speaking up in the moment. As @rosemosse said, it's in the delivery.  You are setting yourself up for a lot of unhappiness if you think voicing your opinion is trying to change someone. 

Our needs cannot be met if we don't express them clearly. in some ways she is a better communicator than you are. She sets the boundary- don't check your phone in the movies.  and tells you the consequences- I won't go to the movies with you, if you do.

But even with all that said, some things cant be explained  and some you should not have to explain.  first off, it ridiculous to tell a parent to not check their phone. 

I probably would end this. find another single parent to date. This woman is still a girl in a lot of ways.

It will only get worse.  The beginning of a long lasting healthy relationshiis is easy to spot.

It just flows in the beginning in terms of understanding each other and comfort level to be oneself.  Those are the green lights..

You've got red flags all over... judgement, embarrassing you in front of friends, criticism of your parenting...

If you're feeling self conscience and anxious this early in, it's not a good sign. You also don't want to subject your son to this treatment. As a single parent, be selective who bring around. 

The kids of divorce have to cope with a lot of confusing experiences. The parade of romantic partners should be limited to the ones that you intend to keep around for years to come. 

Edited by Lambert
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14 hours ago, adrian83 said:

i said above that i liked her strong/independent personality.

OP. True strong personalities do not behave in such an utterly rude fashion.  She sounds a total nightmare.  And no, she is not "a bit controlling".  She is simply unfit to hold a civilised conversation. 

 

14 hours ago, adrian83 said:

Instead i tried to talk to her indirectly to make her understand that every family is different and have different upbringings.

You can bet her upbringing was "different". Dragged up more likely.

Surely you can do better OP!

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Short and simple answer is that you and her are too incompatible to carry on and it would be best that you part ways sooner rather than later. Basically, before more resentment builds up and the inevitable break up ends up ugly and contentious.

 

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48 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

OP. True strong personalities do not behave in such an utterly rude fashion.  She sounds a total nightmare.  And no, she is not "a bit controlling".  She is simply unfit to hold a civilised conversation. 

 

You can bet her upbringing was "different". Dragged up more likely.

Surely you can do better OP!

Yes.  This. Strong and independent need not ever be rude or abrasive.  Funny how the people who point out rudeness or impoliteness are the ones who do it themselves.  I’d be concerned about bringing her around family or friends.  You’re going to feel so self conscious.  Oh so can your 14 year old son teach my 12 year old son how to sleep past 8 once in awhile ?? Pretty please ?  I promise to say thank you above a whisper lol.  

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12 hours ago, Jibralta said:

It sounds like you dislike her anyway. In addition to her personality (which is definitely abrasive) you believe her to be a shallow gold-digger who doesn't actually like you. Why continue? 

I believe everyone has flaws, even myself. Noone is perfect. It's whether the pros outweigh the cons i  guess.

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18 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

The delivery matters. If it's a screaming match or devolves to insults, not so great. If it's an open conversation, that's a positive. It means you both can communicate effectively past the superficial stuff. Good communication is a good sign in a relationship.

However given the way she makes these negative and condescending comments, it's no wonder you're feeling uncomfortable approaching her at all. 

The age gap might have something to do with this. That's funny you mentioned about the phone in a movie theatre. I once went to a movie with my brother who criticized me for checking my phone and called me a Tommy Texter. I never did it again. The glare is pretty annoying so point taken. She finds you distracted and annoying. That's valid.

I can see how the other points about your softspoken child can be misunderstood from a different culture. That kind of softer tone can be misinterpreted for begrudging behaviour or dragging one's feet (ie paying lip service and not meaning what's being said). Obviously that's not what he was doing and it's his nature. Big misunderstanding. You're both misunderstanding each other here but I do understand you're hurt because it's your son she's talking about.

About him sleeping in, anyone who has had teenagers knows that this is not an uncommon occurrence. This was a bit rash and rude by anyone's standards. 

My reading of this is she's not as open or understanding and tolerant as you are but you are already at your wit's end and there doesn't seem to be a single peaceful moment between the both of you. 

 

 

Delivery indeed is key. I am not at "my wit's end" as such. Just venting for now and seeking some input from other people in similar situations. 

And yes, telling me how to raise my child is defs a big no no. She hasnt done so yet (well not directly) and if she does, i most definitely will call her out on it.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, adrian83 said:

I believe everyone has flaws, even myself. Noone is perfect. It's whether the pros outweigh the cons i  guess.

Yes, but to be with someone whose flaws you despise is self defeating. It's practically self-sabotage. 

@Lambert said earlier in this thread that it's easy to spot the beginning of a long lasting healthy relationship. Well, even easier to spot is a disaster waiting to happen.... and I think you have it here.

Can't you find someone with better flaws? Do you have to settle for the ones that you hate?

Edited by Jibralta
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18 hours ago, SooSad33 said:

Do you like her attitude with you?  All you're doing is allowing her to continue her criticism & judgment with you.  Not asking her stop.. but this is most likely just how she is.. and you don't like it.

I think you are uncertain as to what 'controlling' someone is.

Forms of Control:

The power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events.

Similar:

jurisdiction

sway

power

authority

command

dominance

From how I see this, you are in no way acting like you are in command or dominating.  You are wanting to Speak up to her behavior . ( didnt you mention how her own brother has distanced from her?).

I don't know WHY you'd take her tude at all 😕 ... You obviously do not approve!  How much better do you think this will get?

* It's called Red Flags - things you pick up on that affect or bother you*.

Has been a few months, that's long enough, no?

Yes and you are mostly right except the definition of "control" does fit what i was trying to say earlier. I guess different people may interpret control differently. If i tell her that i am unhappy about her comments, it means i am telling her to change her attitude and not to make those comments. This is a sign of control is it not? So if she doesnt change, i walk away = influence her decision to not make those comments. If she changes, then she is supressing her real feelings = control. 

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5 hours ago, LaHermes said:

OP. True strong personalities do not behave in such an utterly rude fashion.  She sounds a total nightmare.  And no, she is not "a bit controlling".  She is simply unfit to hold a civilised conversation. 

 

You can bet her upbringing was "different". Dragged up more likely.

Surely you can do better OP!

Will see how it goes for now, thank you for your insights.

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5 hours ago, DancingFool said:

Short and simple answer is that you and her are too incompatible to carry on and it would be best that you part ways sooner rather than later. Basically, before more resentment builds up and the inevitable break up ends up ugly and contentious.

 

I dont think incompatibility is the issue as we both have common interests. But you're right, i am feeling resentful whenever those comments are made.

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8 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Yes, but to be with someone whose flaws you despise is self defeating. It's practically self-sabotage. 

@Lambert said earlier in this thread that it's easy to spot the beginning of a long lasting healthy relationship. Well, even easier to spot is a disaster waiting to happen.... and I think you have it here.

Can't you find someone with better flaws? Do you have to settle for the ones that you hate?

Actually, i have to disagree on that one. It is practically impossible to spot the beginning of a long lasting healthy relationship as people change over time. I have had a few long term relationships where i thought they were long lasting relationships but ultimately failed. 

It's not that i cannot find someone better nor that i am settling for anything. I just feel sometimes love is a choice and that noone is perfect. 

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Just now, adrian83 said:

I dont think incompatibility is the issue as we both have common interests. But you're right, i am feeling resentful whenever those comments are made.

Common interests have little to do with relationship compatibility. It's surface, superficial type stuff.

How you communicate, interact, relate, speak to each other is the compatibility I'm referring to. On that front things aren't meshing at all. How she speaks and behaves offends you and you have growing resentments about that. Thing is that how she is being, how she speaks or even picks on you in front of your friends is who she is, it's her personality and it's not meshing with your personality at all. It is actively rubbing you the wrong way.

This isn't a who is right, who is wrong, but rather that her personality and your personality do not mesh and never will. You are too opposite in that regard. If you continue on, this will literally become a war of "you said this and it upset me" and "I don't understand why you are upset, I didn't say anything bad."

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1 hour ago, adrian83 said:

Actually, i have to disagree on that one. It is practically impossible to spot the beginning of a long lasting healthy relationship as people change over time. I have had a few long term relationships where i thought they were long lasting relationships but ultimately failed. 

It's not that i cannot find someone better nor that i am settling for anything. I just feel sometimes love is a choice and that noone is perfect. 

Maybe it's impossible for you to spot.  A long term relationship by definition is long lasting.  A healthy, happy relationship can last a long time and still end.  These things are not mutually exclusive.  

You know how you spot one?  It's little moments when you catch yourself thinking-- "hey this is working."

Not "hey, this would work if _____."

Edited by Lambert
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2 hours ago, adrian83 said:

If i tell her that i am unhappy about her comments, it means i am telling her to change her attitude and not to make those comments. This is a sign of control is it not? So if she doesnt change, i walk away = influence her decision to not make those comments. If she changes, then she is supressing her real feelings = control. 

You are telling her you do like like her attitude towards you.. Like an opinion.. That's not a form of control.. It's someone reacting to way they are being treated.

Asking someone to stop speaking or acting a certain towards you is not controlling them.

What SHE needs to do is learn to control her mouth.. and be more considerate. ( It's her controlling herself).

IF you were to walk away and this is how she is, it will not cause such an influence as to not make such comments.  I am sure she is a grown woman ... so, if she is like this with you, its probably just how she is. ( which is someone who's behaviour bothers you) .. and most probable the next one she encounters.

And, as for her 'suppressing her feelings'... No, you're not trying to control or stop that either.  Asking one to not be spoken to a certain way is not telling them to shut up.  If she is a rude/ sarcastic person and this is just how she is = she won't change.  It's like an attitude or learned behaviour.

In other words.. IF she wanted to change, she could somedays LEARN to be more thoughtful, be more considerate and possible of things that do NOT need to be said, and if need be, in a more considerate manner... (which is something she's lacking.. ya think?).

Either way, you already know she bothers you.  So, it's your choice on whether you want to stick with this.

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, adrian83 said:

It is practically impossible to spot the beginning of a long lasting healthy relationship as people change over time.

Interesting. How much do you think she is going to change?

Do you think she's going to go from a person that only likes you for your job and family background to someone who actually likes you as a person?

Will she go from criticizing you and embarrassing you in front of friends and family to someone who compliments you and supports you? 

Will she go from dominant and controlling to humble and demure?

Why don't you just start out with someone who has the qualities that you like in a person, instead of choosing someone with all of the characteristics that you hate? 

Edited by Jibralta
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2 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Will she go from criticizing you and embarrassing you in front of friends and family to someone who compliments you and supports you? 

Will she go from dominant and controlling to humble and demure?

Why don't you just start out with someone who has the qualities that you like in a person, instead of choosing someone with all of the characteristics that you hate? 

Precisely Jibralta. 

OP, what you desperately want is to remain with this woman. Regardless.

As DF said:

"Common interests have little to do with relationship compatibility. It's surface, superficial type stuff.

How you communicate, interact, relate, speak to each other is the compatibility I'm referring to."

 

Edited by LaHermes
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