Going round and round in circles in a relationship that has me asking 'what's the point?' and thinking 'why bother, he doesn't care'. Add to this my freelance work pattern, cohabitation but sleeping in separate rooms, his eating disorder, my issues with child abuse, his distance geographically from his family... and it's all just a big mess. I don't know what to do. Perhaps you can help me untangle things?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you in advance for reading this, and apologies that it's long. I'm sorry if I'm including lots of irrelevant bullshit.
My SO and I are 30, and have been going out and living together for 3 years. He moved a long distance away from his family for us to be together, and arrived here with no job and no contacts or friends. I was working in a job that had a long commute, shit money, mega stress and crazy people. I love him and want to be together but am starting to doubt that this is realistic.
Fast forward to the present day. I have now left that job to work from home, after much urging from SO that we could afford it, especially if I got a part time job with less stress that was closer to home. The idea being we could see more of each other, and actually have a relationship instead of passing like ships in the night. It has been (predictably) a bit of a struggle - we're not starving or going without necessities, although it's not exactly comfortable and we have no savings. We're sleeping in separate beds due to his snoring/sleep apnea and have been for 2 years. It's killing me - he says he isn't as bothered by it as I am.
My SO wasn't as supportive as I'd hoped during this time, asking me things like why can't I just get '*a* job, any job', for the time being - which I can see the sense in but also got angry and frustrated about, because the idea of leaving my shitty job wasn't to go find another and keep grinding - it was to change things for the better and to give me an opportunity. I felt extremely alone and like he had no faith in my or my choices/reasoning/decisions and wouldn't hear them out. I thought we were supposed to be a team.
My luck has changed recently, and I am getting a modest amount of money coming in the door - enough to get a coffee and a muffin/lunch once a week, maybe shout a round of drinks, maybe a book, but not enough to justify buying a new pair of shoes or clothes, if you get me. And not a whole lot left over to contribute to our expenses, but probably enough to stop getting an allowance. Our current arrangement is that he pays the rent, bills, food, everything when we're out (eg, dinner, drinks, transport) but when I'm on my own I pay my own transport and whatever else. He also puts $50 a fortnight onto my credit card. I feel awful being dependent financially like this: I suggested a while ago that perhaps an allowance would be easier than me asking him for money, and now get $100 a fortnight, although this will probably stop now.
He has been carrying a financial burden for both of us and is still working in a job with a boss who is extremely aggravating and hard to deal with, and who my SO hates. SO has a good track record at this job and says he will move on in the new year.
My SO told me soon after we started going out that he had bulimia. He said he hadn't purged since we were together but that he overate and uses food as a crutch. He is now quite overweight and is getting breasts. I think he has purged a bit lately but have been wary of asking because I don't want to meddle or be a nag or his mother/checker upper-er. I have spent two years trying to encourage/provide a safe space for things like losing weight, seeing a therapist, going to the Doctor, and addressing the snoring which he says and said he wants to do. We finally had a breakthrough a few months ago, and he went to see a doctor, and has seen a therapist, and has found out some options about the snoring. But that's all kind of stalled and hasn't been readdressed by him. We also started couples counselling because things were really getting hard to handle and we were fighting a lot.
I am conscious that I put in more than he does. He gets coffee and a smoothie in bed every morning, and I also wake him up to start the day - as he seems pathologically incapable of setting an alarm/using an alarm clock and just rolls over and turns it off and keeps sleeping. He is extremly forgetful, and delgates much of the responsibility of the day to day onto me. He breaks promises and generally derps about a lot of small to medium stuff. He can remember/prioritise to go to work, but can't remember/prioritise that he promised he'd clean the bathroom every Monday or that he said he'd change a lightbulb last week. He makes an effort for a while, but then backslides.
When we do talk about this deeper shit, I can literally see him close his ears and start forming an response as to why I am wrong, or being unfair, or why it's too hard to do that, or a list of all the shit I do that's bad and proves I'm a hypocrite.
I do want to emphasise that he pays all the bills and that this is a big, big burden and I am grateful for the chance to do things differently work-wise.
In counselling recently he admitted that he doesn't feel comfortable in situations where I am the expert and he isn't. So we don't do many, if any, things which I know all about and he has to learn. I learned more about the sports he liked and worked on seeing the value in things he valued, because they were important to him. He also mentioned he has thought I am 'a know it all' - but he is happy to rely on me being the one who does know it all around the house/our social life/organising stuff day to day.
He masturbates almost every night, apparently, and when we do have sex, which isn't often (once a month?), he is so out of shape it doesn't last long. He does not seduce or romance me. When I have tried to initiate recently he has rebuffed me. The sexy powerplay we had years ago of him being the Dominant and me the submissive has gone, utterly. The relationship feels like we're flatmates. I feel like I get very little out of this situation and have to constantly be 'on' and aware, with no break or chance to be less responsible or 'off'. And no feeling of being with someone who has initiative or is proactive or notices me and my needs and desires and tries to fulfil some of them on his own impetus.
I know it's mostly his job which makes him stressed, and overeat, and put on weight, and the sleep apnea he has makes him constantly tired, which isn't in turn helped by his weight, his lack of motivation, here we go round and round again.
I went to couples counselling alone this morning after he walked off angry when we had a spat on the way there, and spent most of the time crying angry tears. She suggested I roll back the things I do and let him have his own consequences instead of stepping in.
Do you have any other perspectives you could offer me about this situation? It feels like such a huge, gross, sticky mess and I don't know what to do any more. I have tried to be good and feel like my 'reward' is someone who barely bothers to think about being considerate, let alone act on the issues we have as a couple or he has himself. Am I that girl who everyone has a little inward sigh about when she starts talking about her relationship, because, duh, it's broken, move the fuck on? Is there anything you can see that I could try or refrain from that may make things less upsetting and more rewarding? What IS the point? Thanks if you made it this far.