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I need a pep talk


1a1a
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TLDR: I feel like my partner is pulling away and my untamped anxiety about that is pushing him away, help me short circuit the negative feedback loop of him pulling away and me chasing.

 

My relationship has deteriorated into a terrible push pull dynamic where I am the one begging for some time together and to be included in his life (his family came to visit and 7 days turned into almost a month of no to low contact and 7 days in I was an abandoned feeling wreck and we have been argueing about it ever since and even with all the pressures on him at the moment with hosting and working a very demanding job he has tried to lift his game but it’s like a drop of water in a desert. The situation that made me feel abandoned persists without relenting. 
 

The other night I thought we’d get 15 minutes together while he dropped me home after borrowing his car but he invited his housemate to come with us because said housemate wanted coffee from the servo. I lost it. I was so tired and so sad and so disappointed and so overwhelmed with bad/sad feeling. He wanted me to keep my composure in front of his friend but I could not. I found myself driving us three to my place trapped in a situation that felt absolutely awful and I expressed that badly and he felt disrespected. 
 

He did message good morning the next day and I messaged profuse apologies and a commitment to seek the tools that would help me keep my cool in that situation better. No reply. 
 

Today I got most of my shift covered so my free time could line up with his (because when we argued he said he’s trying to make time and include me but I work when he’s free and I care about money more than him). He’s read the message asking what he would say if I told him I got most of today free? And he’s not replied to that either. 
 

Either he read it and went back to sleep, or was immediately engaged in social interaction with his sister and his housemates, or some other activity that he had already planned to do, or he read it but he’s a burnt out introvert and he just needs time for quiet contemplation, any which way, he hasn’t replied because he won’t reply until he has time and this isn’t a reflection of his affection for me it’s just how he is. 
 

Or he read it and his feelings are really cooling under the struggle of the last two weeks. 
 

Either way, me following this text with a phone call is not going to make anything better. It will surely make things worse. 
 

We’ve been fighting and I’ve been doing small things to try and make it up. I filled his tank with fuel, I cut him a new key, I burned 4 CDs and left them in his car, all music he likes. 
 

But what if the kindest gift I could possibly give him is space and grace to get through the last few days of having family here and the lack of sleep and the overwhelming job. 
 

So I want to give that gift but my anxiety about the connection failing is off the charts.

Give me a pep talk about giving him space? How it’s either going to save the relationship from being smothered or allow it to end with dignity. 
 

Stories about times you got stuck doing 100% push while your partner did 100% pull away. How did you short circuit this most hellish of dynamics?

Tell me when you managed to and your relationship survived. 
 

Tell me when you managed to and the relationship ended because it was already damaged beyond repair but you kept your living your life and better things happened and a better partner was found. 

 

(For anyone wondering, yep, same guy from my previous posts. We went no contact, he was so sad about that he reconsidered his having kids timeline and reached out and we reconciled. It was going pretty good. Until there were too many demands on his time and his plate filled up and I felt like I was the expendable thing that was dropped. Not very serious for someone you’ve asked to move in witb and start a family with. )

 

 

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15 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

Today I got most of my shift covered so my free time could line up with his (because when we argued he said he’s trying to make time and include me but I work when he’s free and I care about money more than him).

What does he mean by this? It sounds like you're incompatible, you're hanging on and he's slowly inching away. You sense this, hang on tighter and feel like you're going crazy. I don't think you're imagining anything nor do I think you have to apologize for a single thing - not for the servo/roomie episode or anything else. 

He is starting to distance himself due to these incompatibilities you two appear to have. What are your thoughts on the clash in schedules and what he said about you caring more about money than him?

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24 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

 or allow it to end with dignity.

OP, I read your post a few times and I come away feeling exhausted.  Your words "hellish dynamic" describe your relationship very well (imo). All I get from your post is two incompatible people.  I don't think you two are on the same page at all.

Sometimes love is not enough and allowing a "non-working" relationship to end with dignity is probably the best thing for both of you.  To me, the writing is on the wall.  The red flags are all over the place.  Maybe time to rethink and let it go. It may hurt for a little while, but you'll thank yourself later.

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He has sadly checked out of the relationship. You can't force him back.

It doesn't matter whether he has work or family visiting... He would make time for you but his actions tell you he doesn't want to.

So now you are clinging on someone who is not reciprocating. Nothing sounds attractive or exciting about this. Of course your are stressed.

The thing is, you have to accept that you are not compatible and it isn't working. Love yourself enough to accept that it's just not the relationship you need right now. He's not the one for you.

31 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

We went no contact, he was so sad about that he reconsidered his having kids timeline and reached out and we reconciled.

Also this^ this is a major incompatibility. He may have lied about this just to get back his gf benefits.

This man is like some fantasy security blanket to you. I get it. But you need to out what is no longer serving you to get closer to your goals. You need to free yourself to find the man who wants kids same as you, who will make time for you, and make you feel special rather than a burden. Someone who will adore you and you will get along with much better. You've dragged this longer than possible. Time to quit that one-sided race. Else you will be more resentful, more unhappy, more angry... Cause this is bringing out the worst in you- instead of the best. Let go OP. You will thank yourself later.

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Take a deep breath. Consider that on/off relationships are filled with drama, headaches and heartaches combined with chronic unresolved conflict and fundamental incompatibilities.

Flip the script. Decide what you want out of life and relationships rather than whatever he wants.

Let the dust settle so you can reflect in peace without background noise and angst.

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Quote

I need a pep talk

Here you go 1a1a(look at the pic)

Damn, wanted to ask if its the same guy and then read the whole story. Anyway, you are bending over backwards. Over somebody who doesnt appreciate your time invested or even anything you do for him. That never ends well. Mainly because the other side cant give you what you want. You are in the constant state of struggle because you know you make an effort. But the other side just doesnt care. Hence why the outbursts. That is not something that is easily fixable. Or maybe even at all. For example, why is his family such a problem being there? Shouldnt he be extactic introducing you and having you spend some time with them? Its not something that should pose so much trouble in something that is suppose to be long relationship.

you-can-do-eeeeet.jpg

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A healthy and viable relationship doesn't require this many emotional gymnastics and this much exhausting negotiation with yourself, OP. 

Your time would be better spent by recognzing that this relationship just isn't working, and letting go of it. It's not going to last much longer anyway, judging by how disinterested he seems. 

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4 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

What does he mean by this? It sounds like you're incompatible, you're hanging on and he's slowly inching away. You sense this, hang on tighter and feel like you're going crazy. I don't think you're imagining anything nor do I think you have to apologize for a single thing - not for the servo/roomie episode or anything else. 

He is starting to distance himself due to these incompatibilities you two appear to have. What are your thoughts on the clash in schedules and what he said about you caring more about money than him?

I think one of two things. Either he means exactly what he said, that he feels like I’m prioritising working on the weekend like a weirdo over making time for us, or he’s trying to make me feel how he has felt when other people (possibly myself included although I’ve never said anything about valuing money more than the relationship, that might be a hang up from something earlier). 
 

Do you mean the original incompatibilities around what we want to do in life and how soon? You might be right. I did think the other shoe had to drop when he pushed all of that to the side so we could reconcile. 

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2 hours ago, Kwothe28 said:

Here you go 1a1a(look at the pic)

Damn, wanted to ask if its the same guy and then read the whole story. Anyway, you are bending over backwards. Over somebody who doesnt appreciate your time invested or even anything you do for him. That never ends well. Mainly because the other side cant give you what you want. You are in the constant state of struggle because you know you make an effort. But the other side just doesnt care. Hence why the outbursts. That is not something that is easily fixable. Or maybe even at all. For example, why is his family such a problem being there? Shouldnt he be extactic introducing you and having you spend some time with them? Its not something that should pose so much trouble in something that is suppose to be long relationship.

you-can-do-eeeeet.jpg

*appreciates the pic*
 

He did introduce me to his parents and sister in that first week when all three were in our city. This is a big deal to him, I want to marry this woman kind of big deal. 
 

While they were here we were very low contact. The parents went back and the sister stayed longer. Which means him choosing to be in a situation in which I either cannot or he doesn’t want to include me in it. It’s a tough situation because he’s really close to his family and he left them to give us a chance and I imagine he feels like he absolutely has to make the most of them while they’re here. Just it’s left me feeling abandoned. There’s so many small things he could do that would alleviate that feeling. Short daily phone calls, inviting me out for coffee with him and his sister. Inviting me for their weekend day trips even if I can’t come because of work. And he has attempted that a little bit. But it’s inconsistent. 
 

He keeps saying ‘we were going really well, you met my family. Why is this all going bad?’  Because I feel like you put being in a relationship with me on pause. Unilateral decision. Not made as partners!

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If he’s checked out, and then comes and tries to check back in again, how do I discern if he’s really in or just afraid of being abandoned? What would turning towards each other look like in this situation? 
 

(Because I think you’re all correct, relationship as it is now has failed. He asks why am I ruining it why can’t we just be happy?! Because for me it is already miserable making to have my partner dial down the contact this low when he’s busy and overwhelmed. )

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

If he’s checked out, and then comes and tries to check back in again, how do I discern if he’s really in or just afraid of being abandoned? What would turning towards each other look like in this situation? 
 

(Because I think you’re all correct, relationship as it is now has failed. He asks why am I ruining it why can’t we just be happy?! Because for me it is already miserable making to have my partner dial down the contact this low when he’s busy and overwhelmed. )

No need to discern.  Watch the feet not the lips. One time checked out = bye bye unless so much time has passed -not just a few months -so that major incompatibilities are no longer.  My guess-being around his family makes him realize he does want kids sooner than you do.  And instead of being direct he's doing the slow fade.  

It doesn't require all this psychobabble or reading tea leaves or "discerning" - I just now told my son "I love you and I can't wait to spend time with you today.  Right now I need to have some space and sip some coffee". 

He knows because he has my heart, he has my everything, he has the security of knowing this that I will be back and he doesn't have to discern whether I really mean it, whether I return out of fear rather than love.  By contrast a few days ago we had a total mess up here and he ended up outside at the wrong bus stop and we didn't find each other for 15 minutes. 

He confided in me after he was afraid we'd forgotten to come to the bus stop to meet him.  He should know better of course and he realized what happened (bus's fault, not ours) but yes he felt abandoned.  Temporarily.  He needed reassurance that we would be there the next day.  Those situations are rare.  So rare that every child remembers being lost temporarily or getting separated from parents at a store or amusement park.  Because it's rare. 

Same with relationships. 

In the 3 years we dated before marriage I spent about 6 hours -all one stretch -worried that my now husband wasn't calling me back because of something I'd done wrong, and my mind went to that place of "uh oh is he unhappy and going to leave me?".  I can tell you what time it was, the context, etc.  Because it was that rare. I was wrong -he was caught up in a work situation and knew we already had time and place plans to meet in the evening and he showed up at that time.  6 hours.  Push pull is enough -the actions of pulling away more than once - to tell you all you need to know.  If you're willing to hear it.  Are you?

(And I don't think this guy ever pushed it all to the side -ever - he did so momentarily, impulsively, and on reflection pushed it back to the center and being with his family makes him realize how much he wants to be with someone who wants what he wants in life including the timing).

Edited by Batya33
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I think you’re on the money Batya.

 

There’s another thing. When something is troubling him he chooses to push it out of his mind rather than tackle it. 
 

That practice might have allowed us to reconcile for a while but the problem is not fixed. How can you possibly have a solid relationship with someone who does that?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, 1a1a said:

If he’s checked out, and then comes and tries to check back in again, how do I discern if he’s really in or just afraid of being abandoned?

For me, it would make no difference at this point. 

The relationship is too far off the rails with too many problems. I would stop trying to shove a sqaure peg into a round hole. 

Edited by MissCanuck
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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

I think you’re on the money Batya.

 

There’s another thing. When something is troubling him he chooses to push it out of his mind rather than tackle it. 
 

That practice might have allowed us to reconcile for a while but the problem is not fixed. How can you possibly have a solid relationship with someone who does that?

You don’t know if he’s like this in general or in his interactions with you. With someone else the dynamic might work just fine.  Especially if goals are aligned. It’s irrelevant and worthless to analyze or generalize. 
you’re also choosing to ignore what’s right in front of you and push it away instead of tackling it head on through basic self honesty. 

Edited by Batya33
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2 hours ago, 1a1a said:

If he’s checked out, and then comes and tries to check back in again, how do I discern if he’s really in or just afraid of being abandoned? What would turning towards each other look like in this situation? 

I'd take a look at the entire situation and gauge whether you feel this is enough to sustain a long term relationship. 

If the answer is no, you make the decision to end it. You have seen enough of what he is or how he handles challenges or works around issues in communication. Your communication together isn't good.

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Making the choice to leave it alone and then committing to that feels a little bit like tackling my hoard. 
 

Before I did it it felt like the most terrifying and impossible thing to do. Then after letting go of some things, the sun still rises, life still happens, I feel, ok, I think. 

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Posted (edited)

Trying to change my whole way of thinking about things. 
 

Be more optimistic, take the silence less personally, the failing connection also, be more in control of my emotions by being more careful about what stories I tell myself (like right now, my partner needs space and I’m giving it to him, is a different story to it’s over and I’ve been left in limbo again). 
 

Regardless of the outcome of this relationship I don’t want to be this person anymore. The one that fears abandonment and fears intimacy and let’s those fears sabotage her relationships. (Or, maybe, they all needed to end but my fear also stops me walking away). 
 

I’ve been trying to keep my mind occupied with dreaming and scheming what I can do with all this space (maybe forever space from this guy). There are things, there’s plenty to do. The only person’s actions I can control are my own so it’s time to do that and leave him alone and do things that’ll nudge my life along in a direction I want it to go.
 

I guess that does help a bit but there is still this gnawing pit of fear in my stomach. How do I get rid of that? 

Edited by 1a1a
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23 hours ago, 1a1a said:

My relationship has deteriorated into a terrible push pull dynamic where I am the one begging for some time together and to be included in his life (his family came to visit and 7 days turned into almost a month of no to low contact and 7 days in I was an abandoned feeling wreck and we have been argueing about it ever since and even with all the pressures on him at the moment with hosting and working a very demanding job he has tried to lift his game but it’s like a drop of water in a desert. The situation that made me feel abandoned persists without relenting. 

- YOU feeling like you need to 'beg' for some attention. (which is affecting your mentality).

- He has a large demand coming from several directions... BUT ...  Has he been acting up much before they came to visit?  Has he shown a cold shoulder your way?

 

23 hours ago, 1a1a said:

He did message good morning the next day and I messaged profuse apologies and a commitment to seek the tools that would help me keep my cool in that situation better. No reply. 

- yes, to be this way I feel he is pulling away. 😕 

IMO, If someone is totally into a relationship they will try

 

As mentioned, the push & pull is terrible.  It's damaging. He's either in it or he's not.  So now, YOU have to step up and just be done with it all - for your own good.

And don't beg for his attention.  If you do not feel wanted in this relationship, is maybe time to bow out. Time to TC if YOU!  Be strong, move on.

In time you'll come to meet someone who is more compatible and who will want to have you in their life.

 

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59 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

Regardless of the outcome of this relationship I don’t want to be this person anymore. The one that fears abandonment and fears intimacy and let’s those fears sabotage her relationships. (Or, maybe, they all needed to end but my fear also stops me walking away). 

- Is maybe time to see that you DO need your own time.  Time to let your life settle.  Be on your own for a good while and try to 'improve'. ( don't you feel that you're just not okay at this time?) .

Consider journaling- get your 'feelings & thoughts' out another way.  I've done that numerous time... Everything I feel ti building up, I go write it out.. time & time again. Even consider some therapy - some prof help.

 

59 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

I guess that does help a bit but there is still this gnawing pit of fear in my stomach. How do I get rid of that? 

-- By doing this ..." I can control are my own so it’s time to do that and leave him alone and do things that’ll nudge my life along in a direction I want it to go."

- Yes, we do usually come to a realization that things are not working out for us and we need to take our own lives back - and NOT be all torn to shreds, confused, hurt, overwhelmed and that anxiety.. Is no good for you, is it?

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Posted (edited)

Maybe the kinder narrative of I am giving my partner space is not sticking because I know he can’t or has chosen not to do me the kindness of saying he Needs space. 
 

I got a moment in between jobs and tried to do batyas breathing exercises to quell that gnawing sadness. It was like trying to hold back an avalanche with your fingers. (I mean, this is still a perfect opportunity to practice getting a handle on my emotions but I feel so ***ing sad about all of it. My brain hasn’t even dared venture to the prospect of having to try all over again to find someone new. That’ll be so far in the future as to be incomprehensible to me right now. I thought I had found someone so much more able to be kind this time and I was wrong. I thought he could support me. I think he thought so too. He learned what an anxious attachment style was and said he would show up for me and show up for me and keep showing up for me. We were both wrong). 
 

We had been quarreling about a lack of time before they arrived. He started a very demanding job. I went into isolation because my housemate got covid and got upset when my isolation period ended but still he wouldn’t come near me, just visit from the kerb. There have been at least 2 times we were meant to see each other and he ran very late because he saw his friends first. The last time he was due to leave for interstate the next day and wanted to cook all the food in his fridge. He offered the meal to his old housemates. That took a long time. He ran really late and I was really sad about it. I don’t know if he would have invited me otherwise but he was still treating me as infectious at that point.

 

I’m starting to wonder if the relatively even keel I feel like I’ve been on since he and I connected, has been entirely dependent on that connection with him. Like, I thought I had healed from past hurts and was doing ok but is it more like he was providing an anaesthetic? 
 

How am I 35 years into living and still this emotionally broken?

 

I have the mental health care plan (piece of paper you need from the doctor to get subsidied mental health care). I tried calling the psych a few months ago and she didn’t pick up. 
 

Just tried again then and got an answering machine. Left a message. If they don’t get back to me I return to the doc and ask for a new referral. 
 

Yeah, I guess even if I came a long way, I’m still not there. Which is disheartening. I thought I’d done the work. But the way this guy communicates (sparsely) clearly brings out the insecurity in me. And what is that insecurity if not (still ***ing) low self esteem. God, still, I’ve been carrying this bit of baggage my whole life. 
 

(Back to journaling is very good advice. Somewhere I can word vomit and no one has to read it, not even me. Because I’m burning that ***er when it’s done, my journals have never contained anything good to revisit). 

Edited by 1a1a
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I think part of this is simply you are with the wrong person.  No need to think or analyze beyond that or to generalize, dramatize, decide that for 35 years you've been emotionally broken, etc.  And it's kind of a vicious cycle because the longer you spend with him the longer of a time you're foregoing opportunities to be the right person to find the right person. So if you give this another 6 months you can bemoan the fact that "now I'm almost 36 and...."

I have an old friend -now more of an acquaintance -who is single and 55.  I no longer know if she wants to be married or wants a family - but she did when we met 18 years ago and for the time we were close for the next 7 years or so.  For about 4 of those years she pined away and pursued a romantic relationship with a guy in the theater group she was in. I met him a few times -handsome, good actor, cold, distant, seemingly arrogant. 

For 4 years they were friends, but she was secretly over the moon for him - he'd flirt, they'd spent one on one time together, but he never asked her out, they never hooked up.  One time -I got judgey -I just couldn't take it anymore -she told me they were at an airport with their group and he put his legs on her lap and was kind of flirty.  I interjected how he knew she was into him (he had to) and he was basically leading her on.  She didn't like that.

After 4 years they spent a full day together in a gorgeous park.  He told her that for the past few years he'd been dating another woman in their group but secretly.  And they'd broken up.  Did he ask her out then? Nope.  She eventually moved on.  But wasted 4 years in her late 30s/early 40s-ish on this person. 

Same basic push pull thing -she'd read into "signs" he was into her, she'd "wait" for him to want her back.  Yes you're dating this guy, yes you actually did have a romantic interaction and had future-based talks.  I get the differences.  But at bottom it's the same - one person chasing another and the other person occasionally dangles hope in the other person's face -or the other person reads it that way -and more and more time passes.

I don't think my friend has had any LTR since that time -she did before this guy.  She was so beautiful back then and she's gained quite a bit of weight and is now in her 50s. Reality is that impacts her chances to find a lasting relationship and of course she'd have to adopt/be a stepmom at this point.  It's really sad. I mean maybe ultimately she decided not to marry and to enjoy being single and never told me. I do not think so.  Don't be her.  Cut cords, cut your losses ASAP. 

I wouldn't be married and a mom if I hadn't been willing to do that and in one case I dragged it along way too long on and off on and off -7 years of it.  I feel awful for so many reasons I did that and luckily we both married other people (same year actually) who are right for us.  Don't waste precious time and indulge in these ruminations and overthinking -those are just excuses and you getting in your own way again.

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5 hours ago, 1a1a said:

Yeah, I guess even if I came a long way, I’m still not there. Which is disheartening. I thought I’d done the work. But the way this guy communicates (sparsely) clearly brings out the insecurity in me. And what is that insecurity if not (still ***ing) low self esteem. God, still, I’ve been carrying this bit of baggage my whole life. 

What always stands out to me when you post about this guy is how you portray him as "good" and yourself as "bad." When he's cold and dismissive of you, it's somehow your fault, you have to change to make this work. Your narrative never makes your relationship needs ok. You reject yourself.

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