little help/advice/anything

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by Emm, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. Emm

    Emm Well-Known Member

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    So I’m just looking for some advice/perspective/help. This isn’t exactly the easiest thing I’ve written so I’m sorry if it gets to the TL: DR stage.

    My GF & I have been together for 10+ years (we’re both in our 30s), we have a house, 2 cats, we’ve discussed kids, traveling and the future. And we’ve got some really huge issues going on that I’m not sure how to deal with.

    The past 9 months has been intense, we’ve gone through losing jobs, new jobs, illnesses, and both of us returning to studying. It’s been exciting, scary, stressful and emotional but the strain of so much change, and the knock on effects…the cracks are beginning to show.

    About a month ago it all got kinda crazy. She’s not big on emotion, physical contact or expressing feelings, at all, and I am. It’s become excessively one-sided, with me giving more time and energy and heart to it and it reached the point where I issued an ultimatum - I need to see some change from her, emotionally, physically and practically, some kind of indication that I mean something to her and am worth her fighting for, or I’m done. It’s not an empty threat, I didn’t say it to get a knee-jerk reaction, I did it because I needed to and I mean it.

    Around the same time I brought up (again) the issue of our distinct lack of physical contact and got shot down with more precision and speed than a clay pigeon. Turns out we have very different views of what our relationship is, and apparently it’s “not that kind of relationship” to her anymore but what we have is great and she’s happy and it works really well. And I guess because she already knew this it wasn’t as world-shifts-on-its-axis for her, it didn’t totally throw her into a tailspin.

    So now we’re alternating between dragged out fighting, angry silences, sleeping in separate room and days where I have no idea how I’m going to get through this or whether I want to, mixed with days where she cooks dinner and talks about the future and going away in a few months and buying a new TV. It’s like some kind of twisted emotional mind-f**k

    And I have no idea what to do next, like it’s a third of my life and I don’t want to throw it all away because I’m hurt and angry and confused, but in a sense I feel like I’m playing a waiting game of who will walk first.

    So if anyone managed to get the whole way through (sorry :p) and could provide some insight or advice I would really appreciate it

    Thanks
     
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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, after having written everything down, you know the answer to this already. Get counseling on an amicable breakup. If there is anything left there it may surface and she may learn to be the partner that you want. After 10 plus years, and she is not doing the things that you want in a partner then she is just being consistently, not the person for you.
     
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  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member

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    I agree on the get counseling bit, you're both wanting different things and with your relationship being pulled into different directions. Sounds to me that you two need a third party to help you see the inconsistencies, you're both facing. You need to ask yourself, whether you want to work at it or whether working at it seems like hitting your head on a brick wall.
     
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  4. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

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    You need to take an objective, honest look at your relationship. 10 years is what exactly? Time? 10 good years, 10 so-so years, or 10 years just biding time, muddling through and co-existing under the guise of a relationship? What about your ability to communicate? Has it been there? Never been there? Have you always been able to talk?

    There's a difference between cracks in a relationship that has a solid foundation and the crumbling of a relationship built from a house of cards.

    The lack of physical contact -- is this a new thing or has it permeated the relationship for years? Problems don't tend to arise out of the blue; however, they can be magnified when lots of other stressors come into play. Other than time what have two of you got together besides the material things (house, cats etc.)? Are you together because it's easier? Because you're comfortable with the status quo? Are you pretending that this (absent the current issues) is as good as it's supposed to get?

    Relationships work because both people involved have the same expectations, same goals, and they can weather the storms fairly well. Don't get me wrong...two people don't have to agree on everything in a relationship; they just have to have an understanding as to how to approach those differences. They have to agree on how to handle the bad when, on the occasion, it arises. If you're communicating well, there will always be disagreements (if you're being honest).

    You can't think in terms of this being a 1/3 of your life if during that third of your life you've only been complacent. You also have to recognize that relationships evolve and needs change. 10 years in and couples generally aren't physical as much as they were in the beginning (hello, work...life...stress...business). But if the physical isn't there for other reasons? Yeah, that's a problem.

    The point is -- whether to stay or go shouldn't be contingent upon the amount of time you've been together. If your relationship is worth saving, then prepare to work hard to find that common ground to where you both can begin to grow together. If you're only together because you fear the unknown, you have to open yourself up to the possibility that there's better out there.

    PM me if you want to talk more.
     
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  5. Kaiden

    Kaiden Well-Known Member

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    If you ever need the most negative conclusion or advice ever, let me know. I'm a pro at that.
     
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  6. rac

    rac Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the story of my life... almost. Just like you, the ex and I built a life together with the house and dogs and a vision of the future. And then I woke up one morning and realized her vision was completely different than mine. We did the same things you guys are doing now: fighting, rationalizing, promised we still loved each other till the end of time. Then the cycle began again the following month. Then it became the following week. Then it was almost on a daily basis. I told myself I won't be the one who would walk away because I loved her (and I was sure at the time she did since she said so) but she was so good at doing terrible things, not only I had to walk away but I made sure there'd be thousand miles of land and sea between us. I still regret not doing it sooner before it got so toxic that I still couldn't face her.

    If I sound bitter it's because maybe I still am :(. Maybe I'm being too negative but this is another reality of relationships, some are not meant to last. Maybe your situation is different, maybe you just need to recognize again what made you fall in love and maybe yours will be saved by counseling but I have to tell you, that was also what I repeatedly told myself. I don't regret my life with her, I only wish I ended it sooner. Sometimes I think to myself, if I knew about this forum during that time of my life, I would have saved myself couple years of misery.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.
     
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  7. Just Me

    Just Me Well-Known Member

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    I think @Spygirl nailed every point on the head in her post...

    Relationships are a two lane road, if one shuts off and can't change or make sacrifices, then you get a cluster of problems trying to go down the same road... Life's too short for traffic jams. How's that for a cheese analogy? Lol...

    Seriously though Emm, it's time for a serious sit with the gf and tell her what you just told us, if you haven't already. I know some people won't agree with what I'm about to say, but don't be afraid to set a deadline. If you don't see change, or change happens and things revert back to how they were, for your own sanity, leave... It will be hard at first, specially with having to divide property... but you're still young. Do yourself a favor, don't drag it out until you're old and it's harder to find somebody else.

    Hopefully she can see what this is doing to you and make some change. Good luck Emm, if you need anything you know we're all rooting for you :)
     
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  8. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    I think you've already got my point of view. But I'll put it here just so it's all out on the table.

    Relationships are a two way street. You can't fix your relationship, without your gf doing work too. If she is unable or unwilling to work and change, you are left with a handful of difficult options - admit it is over and leave, settle for what is there and stay.

    If she is unable or unwilling to take steps like couples therapy, or even talking about you gals' issues, it is very unlikely that things are going to get better. You can give it a few times and give her a few chances, but at a certain point, she either is willing to fight for things or she is not.

    My ex wasn't willing to fight for us. That's why she's my ex (or more properly, I'm her ex, she did the dumping). It hurts like hell, but you pick up and move on. I know a lot of people who had break ups or divorces in their 30s and wound up in a much better place after.

    Hang in there and good luck.
     
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  9. Emm

    Emm Well-Known Member

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    First off, thank you all for the comments, I really appreciate it.

    Counselling is something that as a couple...it's just not going to happen, but as an individual is definitely happening.

    @Spygirl
    It’s been 11ish good years and 1 questionable year, it’s not like it’s been perfect (I’d be worried if it was) we’ve had shitty times but generally it’s been solid, it’s been a lot of fun. Our ability to communicate used to be great, it was a two way street, we were generally open and able to discuss things without a war starting, but the past 9 months have been a lot worse.

    The lack of physical contact has been there for a while but it wasn’t totally dead in the water, there was still affection, it wasn’t so black and white. But the ‘it’s not anything about you, it’s me” speech, that’s a huge red flag that can’t go unnoticed. It’s just not important to her and that’s a big issue.

    Generally, it is easy, we have a great friendship, and it’s comfortable, it’s a known quantity. The fact that it’s been all these years…it’s not so much in a sense of ‘well its been 12 years, we may as well stay here’ it’s more that my entire adult life has been formed around her, with her involved in everything.. and I honestly don’t know who I am individually without that, and that’s not a good thing. In some sense I think I am pretending that this is a good as its supposed to be, because I’m scared of what comes after.

    If it’s worth saving….I’m prepared to work for it, but as @Nancy said it’s a matter of deciding if I’m banging my head on a brick wall
     
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  10. Emm

    Emm Well-Known Member

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    @rac That hit home hard and i really appreciate you sharing what sounds like a really painful time for you, so thank you :)
    The cycle of rationalising and promises, and not leaving because I believe she means it when she says she loves me when her actions don't show it...it's the same situation, and the times are getting smaller between the cycles.
    And justifying it to myself that we can find the girls we were at the beginning and revive them, we just need more time or less stress or something...it's only hurting me in the end.

    @Just Me I love a good cheesy analogy :)
    I've set a timeline of sorts, I can't realistically expect to see overnight, genuine (and sustained) changes, and I'm fully aware that there may not/probably will not be enough so it's going to get painful but there's no way I want to avoid the pain now just because it's been a long time already.

    @Bluenote again, thank you :)
     
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  11. rac

    rac Well-Known Member

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    We were the same, we were fairly young when we started living together. I thought she was all I need, life with her was all I knew. I guess that was the main reason I stuck around too long. We both tried to save it but it came to a point that we were waiting who would blink first. I did. Because I was left with no choice but to accept what life she could offer. And it was not the life I would be happy living.

    I'm not trying to convince you to do the same thing I did. Rather, I'm saying I've been there and I know how maddeningly frustrating that must be. And scary. And I still remember how disappointed I was at myself for not trying harder. But like @Bluenote said, life goes on, you move on. I did and when I think about it, it made me better appreciate what I have now.

    For me, there was no right or wrong decision, I had to make one and I chose what I thought made the most sense. I still think breaking up was the better decision for us. You don't need to make a decision now, give yourself the time you need. Believe me, you'll know what to do when it's time.

    (Personal note: I never thought talking about this here will make me feel better about what happened. But it did. Greatly. I just wanted to say that.)
     
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  12. aussie_gabby

    aussie_gabby Well-Known Member

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    Well everyone's said just about everything I aw going to say!

    There is two things I know when it comes to relationship problems.

    1. It just feels good to say it out loud (or online). Admitting it, venting it to someone helps more than you know it at the time.

    2. At the end of the day, after mulling it over the advice, you need to figure out what's going to be best for you and you alone in the long run. Especially when you've been in something so long and had so much good out of the relationship. The hardest part is to be truly honest with yourself about if it will work or not. And deep down you might already know the answer.

    Sometimes it can take months for people to be honest with themselves or even just figure out what it is you want.

    It's so easy to stay in exactly the same situation and be unhappy than make a a change and be happy in the end.
     
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  13. Emm

    Emm Well-Known Member

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    @rac I'm glad that this has helped you feel better about the situation, your experience is helping me make sense of it all, all the emotion and the feeling that maybe I should fight harder but at the same time questioning whether she can realistically give me the life, or the relationship, I want.

    @aussie_gabby don't you hate it when everyone else steals the exact words you wanted to use? :)
     
    #13
  14. aussie_gabby

    aussie_gabby Well-Known Member

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    I know, totally rude! :)
     
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  15. rac

    rac Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad it helped, even for a bit; I thought I sounded too full of resentment.

    If there's one piece of advice I can give you, don't wait until all love is lost between you two. Try and exhaust all efforts if you must but don't wait until all you can feel is anger. Don't get to a point that fighting has become easier than facing the truth. I know it is not easy to walk away from someone you badly wanted to be the one because it may also mean failure. I know because I went all through that. It took me couple of years to accept there was nothing I could do anymore and more than a year to find peace within myself. The bitterness still creeps in every now and then but I think I'm in a better place now. If the ex and I remained friends, I think it would have been easier for me to let go and move on.

    I try to check the forum as often as I can but you know, life gets in the way sometimes. I know these are tough times; a lot of helpful people around here so you won't be lacking help/advices. But if there's anything I can do to help you with, just let me know (I want to say you can pm me but I'm a little technologically-challenged. I'm sure I can figure it out if I try but get my attention to it if you did.)
     
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  16. Emm

    Emm Well-Known Member

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    @rac I PM-ed you, just thought I'd get your attention :)
     
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  17. Emm

    Emm Well-Known Member

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    So I feel like maybe an update could be a good idea, and if anyone feels like dishing any advice or sharing a tale, or a cat picture or three, it's all much appreciated :)

    The fighting and the tension...it had started to ease a little but mainly because the disconnect was more pronounced, from my side.
    I've slowly been taking baby steps at distancing myself. Trying to, I guess, see what it would feel like without her, catching up with friends solo, spending more time out in the real world, studying at different places.
    And I've started to look at it differently (using all of the insanely helpful advice you all provided), at the small changes and the lack of consistency in them, at what I really want and at where we are individually as well as together.

    And I decided I need a break, from us (the whole slowly peel off the bandaid approach)
    So we are on a break, which is a new and strange concept to me.
    I think the space will be a good thing and it will give me some time to process everything and to work out what comes next or what I want to come next.
    Doesn't really make it feel any easier right now though
     
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  18. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member

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    There's not a lot for me to add. Seems to me that you're handling this really well, especially by looking after yourself and having the space and time to working things out. I'd suggest things like giving yourself a new routine, which by the sounds of things you're already doing by studying in different places and seeing friends etc. It's alright to feel shitty at times like this, the important thing is to not let the shitty feelings take over everything. Indulge yourself with things that perk you, so that the bad feelings aren't with you all the time.
     
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  19. Just Me

    Just Me Well-Known Member

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    #19
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
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  20. rac

    rac Well-Known Member

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    Yes, everything she said. Taking that break I think is a good way of gaining perspective on where you two are headed.
     
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