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Long-term relationship doubts
May 10, 2009 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Can someone help me out with Long-term relationship doubts and resentment? Not sure where to go. Desperate and depressed.

Dear all,

I'm a 28-29 yo woman in a 5 year relationship with a loving, generous and overall sweet and solid guy.

I see all his good points but there are just some events that made me resent him. I know I am not a good communicator but whenever I try to bring up the subject, it always end with "I'm like this, I hope you love me for who I am. Or you can find someone else who does all these things. Please appreciate what you have."

I have anxiety everyday about myself and my relationship. I figure out that these are my problems:

1.) I feel guilty that I suddenly lost the deep loving feeling I have with my partner. He is absolutely wonderful and I feel evil for doing that. I'm trying to love him as much as I can but when I think of singlehood and just being ALONE, I feel so happy and relieved.

2.) I realise that I do LOVE my partner. There are times when I'm so safe and happy with him but the doubts and resentment came back. He's buying me an overseas trip at the end of the year and I get so anxious just thinking about it. He tells me to just be grateful. I'm so afraid!

3.) I don't know what I want but I have a nagging intuitive feeling that it might not be him. And I want it to be him because we are together 5 years, he's loving and sweet, he's devoted and loyal and I just feel so old and tired. I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken. I'm not extraordinary beautiful and I don't think I attract guys I like at all.

4.) I'm very social. I love having lots of close friends around. If I don't have close friends around, my partner becomes my sole source of fun and thus I need to have fun with him. I'm not having fun with my boyfriend. He's a quiet person who prefers to stay at home with the animals because he has a high-stress job. I'll be in the same job soon. Maybe I'll change to be more like him and everything will be perfect?

5.) My resentment are stupid things like not being able to have big parties at home, not being able to go out and not worry that he's lonely and resenting at home, not having my boyfriend do the things I love with me. I feel alone sometimes but I don't know why. He's not around now and I miss him. I can't deny that. But when he's back, I just want him to go away again.

Background information: I've not been single for 11 years. 7 years of the best time in my life is stuck with an abusive boyfriend. I then hop right into this relationship which offers me comfort and safety.

I'm afraid to talk to him because whenever I do, he thinks everything is solvable. But I still feel unfulfilled. I don't want to make a mistake but neither do I want to waste my time. My psychologist thinks it's all me... that I'm not happy because I've lost myself.

Why do I feel so conflicted inside? Anyone felt the same way before? Do I just need to get married to my boyfriend? Will that work?
posted by Nicci_80 to Human Relations (38 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I do not think it has anything to do with your boyfriend. In fact, the things you list for resentments are pretty common, and can as well happen with your new boyfriend should you leave your current one.

Please do not marry him unless you resolve these issues.
posted by coolnik at 8:01 PM on May 10, 2009


I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

Not true. Not even close.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:02 PM on May 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


Background information: I've not been single for 11 years. 7 years of the best time in my life is stuck with an abusive boyfriend. I then hop right into this relationship which offers me comfort and safety.

This is a red flag. Consider talking to a psychologist.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:03 PM on May 10, 2009


I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

Wrong. False. Ridiculous. Untrue.

Do not get married as an attempt to "fix" anything. Marriage adds complications, it does not solve any problems at all.
posted by rokusan at 8:04 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It sounds like a lot is going on. I'm not sure I understand it all from your post. I would take the advice of your therapist over anybody on the internet.

FYI, the best time of your life is likely up ahead, not behind you. And 28 years old is not over the hill. Ages 28-31 have been great for me. Life gets better and better as you get the hang of it. Getting out of an abusive relationship and into therapy were two steps in the right direction. Hang in there.
posted by salvia at 8:06 PM on May 10, 2009


It sounds as though you're staying with him because you're afraid of being alone (you haven't been single since you were 17, and you believe that a 28 year old woman is undatable? Those are huge red flags). If you're unfulfilled, break up with your boyfriend. You both deserve better than a relationship where you're pretending, and the odds are very good that you'll be able to find it.
posted by decathecting at 8:09 PM on May 10, 2009


Definitely don't get married. In 100% cases I know where people got married because they were asking "will that work?" ....it didn't.

whenever I try to bring up the subject, it always end with "I'm like this, I hope you love me for who I am. Or you can find someone else who does all these things. Please appreciate what you have."

This sounds thoroughly reasonable. He's right. If you don't appreciate this, then it might not be what you need right now. If you need someone else, or no one at all, that is a choice you can make - but it's up to you; it sounds like he's content and just telling you how it is.

when I think of singlehood and just being ALONE, I feel so happy and relieved.

I don't know what I want but I have a nagging intuitive feeling that it might not be him.

Your psychologist is right: you've lost yourself. But you just wrote two strong sentences your self is saying to you: you feel happy when you envision yourself alone, and you have a feeling that you don't want to be with your boyfriend. Listen to yourself. It is the best way to get in touch with what you really want.

I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.


Do you have any sense of how ridiculous this sounds? Who has given you this message? How do you "know" this? Let me be clear: this message is false. As I look around my circle of friends, the majority of the happy couples I know met and married in their 30s and did not know each other before that. Many met in their late 30s. Others in their 40s or beyond. "Old maids?" That sounds comic! There is no expiration date on your life. At any age, you may meet and fall in love with someone wonderful. There may be many more loves out there for you - or not. But please don't act out of some sense that you have to lock down a life partner now. Sure you could do that - people do - but then think about how those people might feel when that strategy turned out not to be a blind alley, and they found themselves no happier five or six years down the road, and ended up several years older, now divorced, and with a difficult path to getting back their sense of themselves.

Seriously. Ditch the "old maid" thinking ASAP.

Finally, it sounds like you have self-esteem problems that might be making you deny yourself experiences you'd like to have. You mention "I'm not extraordinary beautiful and I don't think I attract guys I like at all." and "7 years of the best time in my life is stuck with an abusive boyfriend. I then hop right into this relationship which offers me comfort and safety". In fact you mentioned "comfort and safety" twice in this post. I certainly understand the attractions of that, but you're also clearly wanting more than comfort and safety now. Perhaps you've done enough work on yourself that the security of having a partner is no longer the most important thing in your relationships - if so, congratulations. But the next challenge is to know yourself well enough to be honest with your partners about what you want.

From the sound of it, there's nothing wrong with your boyfriend at all. He sounds like a grounded person and probably a great catch. And he is absolutely correct that "everything is solvable"...IF and only if the two people concerned are willing to solve it together. The thing is, you're reaching a point in your maturity where you have to take responsibility for your own feelings and emotions. You're having strong feelings that you are no longer interested in this relationship for anything other than comfort and security. Your boyfriend probably deserves better than someone who wants to stay with him only for that - shouldn't he be with someone who really thinks he's wonderful? If that isn't you, then perhaps you should be honest with him about that, and begin the process of separation so that you can both move on - either to truly exciting and appreciative partners for each of you, or happy independent lives following your own dreams?
posted by Miko at 8:11 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

Huh?!

"The people at the top of the dating totem pole are women in their late 20’s/early 30’s..."
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:13 PM on May 10, 2009


If you look at being alone as a relief, maybe you should try it. It might have been a mistake to jump straight from a 7-years-long abusive relationship into another relationship.

As for your specific concerns, it's fine for an introvert and an extrovert to be together, but not if the extrovert is wishing she could see her friends more often, and the introvert is resentful when the extrovert goes out. It sounds like he expects you to conform to his way of spending free time. Why is that?

28 is not too old for anything -- especially learning to be comfortable and happy in your own skin, and only after feeling that way finding someone who complements you.
posted by palliser at 8:17 PM on May 10, 2009


Have you talked about maybe a trial separation? Some time apart to be on your own and think, without obligations? It might clarify your thinking.

In the end you might still decide you belong together. But it's so much better when that's a really considered choice.
posted by Miko at 8:28 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


We cannot tell you what to do. We don't really know the real facts. I think a lot of people project their own experiences of how they felt in the past, and will give you direct advice based on past experience. You can follow that advice if you wish, but it might be wiser to use advice on some of the things you might want to consider in making your decision.

The key is to separate out other issues from relationship issues. You may be having other issues. Set a time limit to find out what those issues are and work them out--then focus on the relationship. The danger is you can blow relationship problems up out of proportion to avoid real issues one does not want to face.Therefore, be sure you have your own stuff well on the way to getting taken care of first.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:37 PM on May 10, 2009


One: you're anything but an old maid, esp these days when women regularly have their first child at 35+ I don't think most people are/feel like adults until sometime after 30.

Two: If you've been in a long term abusive relationship, you may not have had the freedom that all young people need to learn about who they are. Or, you may be a bit like me with the family from h*ll who was only previously comfortable with men who reminded me of my childhood even though I knew they were poison. The drama of a really bad relationship is anything but boring. I found a great guy who was absolutely nothing like my ex or my family, and wanted to run for the hills after a few weeks/months/years. I still get the urge to fly once in a while, and this is after 20 years. It's hard adjusting to a peaceful life. Sounds silly, but sadly true.

Three: If you were single and out more with your friends, what would you be doing? Running from instead of to can make more problems. Are you prepared to avoid people like your ex?

Four: No one loves anyone else truly-deeply-completely every day of the week. It's called getting comfortable. The I-love-him-hate-him of a rotten relationship can't compare with the old shoe feeling of a more mature, solid relationship. Perfectly natural to even dislike him a bit or a lot some days/weeks when he's doing things that bug you. It's hard putting up with other people's habits. Works both ways.

Five: Have small parties, cocktail parties, BBQs, birthday parties, whatever at home. Invite some people from work along with your friends so he has someone he knows in the room. Get him used to being more social. Give him something to do other than stand around, whether it's the drinks or music, whatever he's good at and you can praise him for and will make him feel part of things. Ever think he loves you for your ability to be more social? Help him get used to being around people, but don't throw him in the deep end or he'll run and hide.

Six: Relax. So, he might not be THE ONE. Does THE ONE exist? I don't think so on this overcrowded planet. Think of how many DEFINITELY NOT THE ONEs that are out there, and I'll bet there are as many on the other side. I'd give it a bit more time while you figure yourself out a bit more, figure out what's important to you, figure out where you want to go in life, and take a good hard look at you and him and the future.
posted by x46 at 8:49 PM on May 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

Wow. No. this is not true. Really.

My resentment are stupid things like not being able to have big parties at home, not being able to go out and not worry that he's lonely and resenting at home, not having my boyfriend do the things I love with me. I feel alone sometimes but I don't know why. He's not around now and I miss him. I can't deny that. But when he's back, I just want him to go away again.

Is he really lonely and resenting at home? Or are you just assuming that he is?

This is the biggest flag of all. Yes, you do have self-esteem issues (see above and below) and this may be playing into your assumptions of what's going on - but really - this will not get better. You need to figure out what you really want. It sounds like you're not ready to settle down. Trust me, this will not improve with time!!


I've not been single for 11 years. 7 years of the best time in my life is stuck with an abusive boyfriend. I then hop right into this relationship which offers me comfort and safety.


So, you already know what's going on. You're not ready to settle down, but you're sticking with this guy because it's better than being alone forever. Wrong. Being with the wrong person is 1,000,000 times worse than being alone "forever." Trust me on this. I know you want it to be cut and dried, but that's not going to happen. You need to figure out who you are and what you want - this is not the way to do it. Find a therapist, take some time off from the guy, and find yourself. Don't wait, it gets worse over time.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:06 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh...and PS.... DON'T MARRY HIM!!!!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:07 PM on May 10, 2009


>I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

There's a reason people keep citing this line; let go of this belief, and resolving everything else will become much easier.
posted by darth_tedious at 9:35 PM on May 10, 2009


God, let the poor guy go already. If you aren't compatible you aren't compatible. Increasing commitment is not going to change that. Go be single.
posted by thatbrunette at 10:30 PM on May 10, 2009


I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

This is wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to start. So I'll just say two things: 1) my dating/relationship life was infinitely more interesting, exciting, and satisfying in my 30s (following my divorce from a man I married in my late 20s; my ex-husband is a wonderful person and a terrific friend but we just weren't meant to be a couple); and 2) I found the love of my life I was 36 and he was 42.
posted by scody at 11:03 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


that is: found the love of my life when I was 36...
posted by scody at 11:05 PM on May 10, 2009


Oh, and I only finally found the love of my life when I had been single for a couple of years, so that I could work on letting go of all the baggage that I'd been carrying from my previous relationships. You can't be fully present and healthy in a new relationship until you've resolved the old ones. The best thing I ever did for myself and for the health of my relationship was to face my fear of being single so that I could let go of the past and learn to love and accept myself as I am.
posted by scody at 11:07 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

I'll echo this one more time. In fact, as a man, I am VERY hesitant to date a women under 28. In my opinion, and forgive me for the broad generalization, but the late 20s, like 26-28, is in my experience when women start to shed the self-absorption of the early 20s, and become ready for a grown-up relationship.

I know there are exceptions to every rule, and I'm sure men in their early 20s are no picnic either. But just saying.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:13 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're a great age to be dating material, and you shouldn't be getting married right now. Everyone else already said why, consider this my "me too."
posted by davejay at 11:45 PM on May 10, 2009


Thank you for the 28 over the hill assurance. I guess my situation is that

1) I'm Asian and my dad's on my case to get married. He even had the TCM guy tell me my ovaries are shrinking and I'll be infertile come 30 years old. I think it's ridiculous but that's the pressure I face. My dad calls me constantly to make sure I haven't broken up with my guy.

Also, not meaning to sound racist against my own kind, Asian guys I know tend to think that any girl over 25, really, is seriously in trouble. They run to the hills when I tell them my age and query endlessly about why i'm in grad school, why I'm not married, why I don't have babies. I get that from friends, cousins and other assorted strangers. ARGH!

My partner's from another culture. He doesn't share the same sentiments.

The fear of being too old to be single is made more pronounce when I read posts on other relationship websites. The same people on those websites also lament constantly on how difficult it is to find someone compatible and who loves you.

2) I'm in grad school but everyone's really young (21-25). My good friends close to my age are all coupled up. I'm feel too weary to even type about the social situation I'm in. Basically, I feel really immature for my age. And I don' find any other guys attractive... except for a couple of close friends who will not even be remotely interested. Neither I am. I think I'm too picky.

3) I have a fear of singledom. I am also superstitious. I think if I break my guy's heart (and it's ridiculous. I love him. I just don't know if I want to be with him. I know it's all me) for no good reasons (such as abuse), I'll have karma do the same to me.

It's getting me down. I am severely anxious when I wake up everyday. I know I may be just projecting my negativity onto my relationship. I also fear that I'll never get him back if we do a trial separation but I am unable to stop sabotaging everything. I'm reading books on self-esteem, talking with my psych, and also one on relationship ambivalence. There are times I get so down I just wish I was on a different planet.

All I know is that if I were 24 again, I would have chosen differently and just be by myself. I do regret not going out on my own and just be fearless. But even at that age I was under so much pressure to find a guy and marry that I just hang on for dear life to any good guy that comes my way, who won't threaten suicide or yell at me all the time.
posted by Nicci_80 at 11:45 PM on May 10, 2009


All I know is that if I were 24 again, I would have chosen differently and just be by myself. I do regret not going out on my own and just be fearless.

This. You answered yourself. The difference between 24 and 28 is 4 years -- that's a measly 5% of your life. Please don't delude yourself into thinking you're too old when you're not.

Also, not meaning to sound racist against my own kind, Asian guys I know tend to think that any girl over 25, really, is seriously in trouble. They run to the hills when I tell them my age and query endlessly about why i'm in grad school, why I'm not married, why I don't have babies.

All I can say is -- hey -- you're hanging out with the wrong kind of Asian guy. And if you listen to the voice that you've internalized that says your ovaries are going to shrivel (!!) and you're over the hill (!!!) because you're in your late twenties, then you're also responsible for propagating and furthering this sort of talk that stresses you out in the first place. Don't listen to it.

If you had a button you could press, and pressing it would instantly make both of you single, without any of the ensuing relationship drama or heartbreak or breakup pain -- would you press the button? From reading your question above, it seems like you would.

It sounds to me like you know what you want, but you're not letting yourself have it for the wrong reasons. The next question is to tell your boyfriend without hurting him too much.
posted by suedehead at 12:17 AM on May 11, 2009


I see all his good points but there are just some events that made me resent him. I know I am not a good communicator but whenever I try to bring up the subject, it always end with "I'm like this, I hope you love me for who I am. Or you can find someone else who does all these things. Please appreciate what you have."

Depending on the context, this can be reasonable or a sign of unwillingness on his part to compromise on anything and take your concerns seriously.

When he says everything is solvable - does he then try to solve it with you?

Also, your psychologist saying that it's all you and your boyfriend is right makes me a bit suspicious. It takes two to tango, as they say. Be gentle with yourself, I hope you feel better soon.
posted by meijusa at 12:53 AM on May 11, 2009


I was going to pile in with the "28? Over the hill?? Pah!" as well, but I'll lay off that and just say in response to this...
I think if I break my guy's heart ... for no good reasons ... I'll have karma do the same to me.
... that, although I too believe in a "what goes around, comes around" version of karma, if it worked on individual events like that we'd all be screwed.
posted by Pinback at 2:25 AM on May 11, 2009


My sister's Asian (well, so am I). She's 36. She met her British fiance 4 years ago - past 30 - and is getting married this July. No way are you over the hill.

I felt similar to you a couple of times in the past couple of years, but the main factor was mainly my anxiety at not being able to commit to anything "forever" when I wasn't even sure what country I'd be in in a year. We have separated twice and always came back together, mainly because we missed each other and actually did well with each other.

It was when I finally lost my expectations and accepted that this may not be forever anyway, this could end any minute, etc that our relationship actually got BETTER. I was not super anxious and neither of us felt trapped. We are both in our early 20s and since we're both from different countries it's pretty likely that we may move apart. Letting go of the expectation of needing to be "together forever" really helped us.

My boyfriend sounds like yours. What your guy said to you sounds like what he has said to me. Separation may or may not work - at the very least, it'll help you get some time to work out things for yourself. My guy's my only ever partner and I started very late so I didn't have the "OMG I've never been alone" problem. That said, we do make it a point to do our own things, have our own friends, not just rely on each other - it makes us more interesting and bearable.

Good luck. It's hard; I can empathise. Feel free to message me and rant if you need to.
posted by divabat at 5:34 AM on May 11, 2009


Thank you for the 28 over the hill assurance. ... I'm Asian .... not meaning to sound racist against my own kind, Asian guys I know tend to think that any girl over 25, really, is seriously in trouble.

Solution: date white guys who may (may! I'm not stereotyping) be attracted to Asian women precisely because they tend (tend! again, not stereotyping) to look relatively young for their age.

[NOT RACIST]
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:20 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


The one thing that struck me is that you said that you don't like talking to your boyfriend about problems because he thinks everything is solvable.

Most SOs would be thrilled to have a problem solved, and be able to be happy and move on. But it seems that you don't really want an answer or a solution, and that's probably indicative of how you really feel. Maybe you don't want to hear his solutions because the only solution that you truly feel comfortable with is moving on.

I have to say I have definitely been in this situation. My problem became that I was confusing love with the comfort and simplicity of a long-term relationship. And change is really hard and scary, but once the initial loneliness and scary feeling of "singleness" wears off, you'll truly feel liberated!

Personally, I think it's always safe to go with your gut and not stay in a relationship just because it's safe and comfy.
posted by Grimble at 6:49 AM on May 11, 2009


Also, to speak to the karma issue...

Just like it might not be great karma to break someone's heart (although I don't think it works that way), I also don't think it's great karma to string someone along in an unhappy relationship, potentially holding them back from going out there and finding a relationship where both people can be truly happy.

Then again that's just my atheistic understanding of karma, so potentially completely wrong.
posted by Grimble at 7:01 AM on May 11, 2009


The fear of being too old to be single is made more pronounce when I read posts on other relationship websites. The same people on those websites also lament constantly on how difficult it is to find someone compatible and who loves you.

Tip: Stop reading those websites. They're giving you a skewed picture. Who posts on relationship websites? Answer: not happy people who are content in their relationships or in their singlehood and have full, satisfying lives. You're reading the ventings of the anxious, fearful, unhappy, and passive people who are not working on their self-development.

I'm not saying it's a piece of cake finding a partner for life, but those forums attract a small and self-selected bunch of people who are in an acutely unhappy state. They don't reflect the actual lived experience of a life spent making yourself happy first, and seeking a partner in a grounded way after that. Yes, it is "difficult" to find a partner you love and who loves you and who you can live with, but that doesn't mean the alternative is to settle for a partner that does not feel right and grit your teeth and go unfulfilled through your whole life. The difficulty people are describing in relationships isn't that of finding someone to date, who can give you "comfort and security." The difficulty is finding something better than being single. Being single is pretty awesome, and a life partner needs to be worth the sacrifice.

Finally, I just want to point out that you have woven yourself a very tight net of beliefs in which you are trapped. I think you're going to stay trapped until you start questioning those beliefs. Among the beliefs you currently hold that you have listed here:

I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

I'm not extraordinary beautiful and I don't think I attract guys I like at all.

how difficult it is to find someone compatible and who loves you.

I have a fear of singledom

I'll never get him back if we do a trial separation

if I break my guy's heart, I'll have karma do the same to me.

I am unable to stop sabotaging everything


There's legitimate reason to examine and challenge each and every one of these beliefs. One suggestion: print out the list and bring it to your therapist. As long as you maintain all of these beliefs at once, you've given yourself a nice safe spot to stay stuck in (as long as your boyfriend can stand it, anyway).

If you're willing to start valuing what you want for yourself enough to take some of these apart and move forward, you might be able to make progress and make yourself happier by making a conscious choice to do whatever it is you decide you want to do. I suspect you're sabotaging the relationship because you're trying to create enough tension and drama to make it seem awful enough that you both want it to end, absolving you of the need to take action. That's not playing straightforwardly. If you want to get out of the relationship, it sounds like it will take simple direct action to do so.

Please do consider your boyfriend.It sounds like he is sure he wants to be with you. If you don't want to be with him, hard as it is, the kindest thing you could do for him is let him be free to find someone who wants to be with him. Yes, he'll be hurt very much in the process, but ultimately, wouldn't he be happier in a genuinely loving and committed relationship than in what he has now? Would you sentence him to this halfway relationship, where he has to keep guessing about your state of feeling, forever and ever?

I do feel for you. Your family has you loaded down with some ridiculous baggage. I hope you can set aside what they want vicariously for you and what you want for yourself. At some point you have to decide to live your own life, not other people's. Today is a good a day as any.
posted by Miko at 7:35 AM on May 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


the only guys for whom 28-year-olds are over the hill for are the ones you want no part of in your life. Think about it. If an early twenty-something lives long enough (tongue in cheek), she'll likely reach thirty...over the hill!!
posted by teg4rvn at 8:18 AM on May 11, 2009


It's all about inertia at this point: if you can heft yourself out of this relationship, in say six months or so, you'll be in the midst of feeling so much better and wonder why you hung out in that relationship for so long. But the trick is working up the energy to surmount your current wishy-washiness. You're not happy, you know you're not happy, your dad is whining about marriage but you know that's not what you want for yourself. Recognize that all of that is kinda healthy. Imagine if you forced yourself into a lackluster marriage and ten years from now had a bunch of kids involved. You'd be even more miserable.

And your resentments aren't "stupid" so please stop talking yourself into believing that. You are who you are, you like what you like, there's no shame in that.

Take a big deep breath. Accept that you're not happy in your relationship and let yourself be single for a while. Tell dad to shut the hell up (in a more diplomatic fashion). I understand there are cultural issues at play here, but find an appropriate way to say, "Hey, dad, I appreciate your concern about my life, but this isn't something I want to discuss." Period.

Stop worrying about being single. Singlehood is actually quite full of awesomeness. Enjoy your studies, your friends, some alone time. Revel in it. Take some time to figure out what's right for you, but don't pressure yourself.

Good luck. I think you already know what you need to do here.
posted by December at 8:50 AM on May 11, 2009


I'm pretty in tune with a particular asian culture and I've seen them in action. What everybody up above said is true, so definitely keep them in mind.
I especially agree with Miko. It seems to me that you derive your self worth from those around you. You mentioned your father, the previous spouse, your current partner, and you seem to judge yourself against their expectations. This is misguided and a good way to be miserable and miss out on life.
You must imagine the life you want first, and then provide guidance to those around you so that they can support that vision. If they cannot or will not, then you know that they do not have your best interest at heart, and are putting their wants/desires/needs ahead of yours. To illustrate what I'm getting at, here's some examples: Let's say that you decide that socialization is important to you. You tell your partner that socialization is important to you, and that you're going out with some friends later in the week. If he is supportive (even if he doesn't go) this is a positive thing. If he is non-supportive either overtly or passively, this is a bad thing. If he feels lonely and reacts badly afterwards, then this is a huge red flag for your relationship. Likewise for your father. Tell him that you are going to get married on your timetable, and if he tries to manipulate you (feeding you misinformation on ovaries or whatever), reject the manipulation. Tell him that he is hurting his relationship with you, and that you are now less likely to listen to what he has to say or push for because he obviously is unwilling to trust your judgment.
Be strong and be who you want to be. One of the great side effects of being yourself and projecting it to the world is that you will then attract the right people to you.
Good luck!
posted by forforf at 10:12 AM on May 11, 2009


Errrr, my opening sentence got munged. What I meant to say is that I've seen those cultural pressures you mention in action.
posted by forforf at 10:16 AM on May 11, 2009


Do I just need to get married to my boyfriend? Will that work?

No, absolutely not. Placing yourself in a life-time commitment with someone who you're not even sure you want to be with in the short term is a terrible idea. Marriage does not save relationships, not at all. 50% of all marriages end in divorce - even the most solid relationship won't necessarily last a whole lifetime.

3) I have a fear of singledom. I am also superstitious. I think if I break my guy's heart (and it's ridiculous. I love him. I just don't know if I want to be with him. I know it's all me) for no good reasons (such as abuse), I'll have karma do the same to me.

Karma is not a superstition, and being a Buddhist, I can tell you that this is NOT how Karma works. You carry your karma from every action with you, but there is not a direct one-one correlation between "If I hit someone in the face, I'm going to get hit in the face later." That is absolutely untrue. Actual karma is the sumtotal of your actions that you are working through on your path through this life, to treat it as a superstition is doing the real concept a great disservice.

That said, no one wants someone to stay in a relationship with them because they're afraid of being alone. This is doing your boyfriend a huge disservice. To whit: how would you feel if someone did that to YOU? Following your own superstition, which would be worse: having someone break up with you or having someone marry you because they were afraid of being alone?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:07 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know girls over 28 are considered "over-the-hill" and most likely end up as old maids because all the good guys are taken.

I broke up with a boyfriend when I was 28 and I felt this way and a few months later I met my husband who is such a better match for me. I don't know if you should stay or go, but for god sakes don't stay just because you're afraid of ending up alone - that's sure to end poorly.
posted by bananafish at 11:45 AM on May 11, 2009


I have lived through what you are asking about. I was in an abusive relationship, and four months after we broke up I got into a 5 year safe and comfortable relationship. Those 5 years were wonderful, and therapeutic in a lot of ways, but I fell out of love with him because he did not support the things that were most important to me. It took me almost a year to break up with him, and I felt terrible about hurting him, worried about making a mistake, etc.
I reconnected with an old friend to whom I wasn't really all that attracted, and I am now sure that this is how it's supposed to be.

Do not worry about other people's expectations or the consequences of your actions. It seems clear that you are trying to be single, if for no other reason than you simply need to be alone. Marriage and babies are not the ultimate goal of every person on this planet, so don't feel like this is something you HAVE to seek out. The less you worry about it, the better you will feel.

Just because its convenient does not make it right. Marriage does not solve any problems, it only makes you feel more trapped. Do what you need to do, and don't worry what you dad or your shrink says. In love, there are no mistakes, there are only lessons. There are other men like him, and better, that can and will fall in love with you.

Also, have you read the iChing? I find it to be an incredible source of comfort and guidance when I am lost.
posted by anniek at 3:54 PM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid to talk to him because whenever I do, he thinks everything is solvable. But I still feel unfulfilled. I don't want to make a mistake but neither do I want to waste my time. My psychologist thinks it's all me... that I'm not happy because I've lost myself.

Does your partner think that solving things means convincing you that he's right? Or learning about your concerns and then making an effort to come to a compromise that fulfills both of your needs? It's concerning to me that he thinks things are "solved", but you still feel unfulfilled. Do you pursue the conversation past that? Are you afraid to because of your past abusive relationship? Would he be open to it if you came back and said, "I know we already talked about this, but I'm still feeling unfulfilled, so we need to keep figuring this out"?

Is your psychologist helping? It sounds like s/he's just adding to your sense of self-blame, and it sounds like you're already suffocating under a mountain of that.

It sounds like you're spinning in circles in your head and going over the same things over and over and feeling increasingly bad about your situation. There's a book that gets recommended on here a lot, Feeling Good by David Burns, and it might be useful for you if that's what's going on. It's really useful when you're feeling really anxious and over-thinking things and getting more and more scared. It teaches you how to get off that rollercoaster.

You're not stuck. I know you feel stuck. You do have options that will make you feel more relaxed and fulfilled with your life. Good for you for asking these questions and not just taking your dad's words at face value!
posted by heatherann at 5:19 AM on May 12, 2009


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