I think my relationship is bad for me but I'm so deeply in love that the notion of ending it seems unbearable. I can't figure out how to decide which way to take it.
posted by hungry hippo to human relations (47 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Dated this man for close to a year. I am in love with him. At times he acts very loving, shoots these love-filled looks, but neither of us have verbalized it. He can be caring, helpful, attentive, funny, gentlemanly. He has good values, and from what I can tell we share values on almost everything. We don't clash on religion, and in areas where we do clash if I make my case and give him enough time he often comes over to my viewpoint. I'm totally in love, did I mention that?
He can also be lazy, selfish, cheap, inconsistent, secretive, manipulative, and unpredictable. There are large chunks of time where I do 95% of the work to keep the relationship functioning. He runs from conflict (perhaps has some trauma/abuse issues). He doesn't communicate unless I pry it out of him, and even then he may shut down if he isn't perfectly comfortable with everything.
Recently, we spent some time at his good friend's wedding, and were surrounded by mutual friends getting engaged, married, etc. He was okay. I didn't use it as a springboard of any kind, but I did notice that he didn't act skittish at all - and was in fact VERY affectionate, romantic, sweet.
Then at a party one of his friends asks him how long we've been dating. "I'm not good with dates," was the response. It kind of crushed me, that he couldn't estimate or turn to me and ask me in a way that would show he cares even if he doesn't keep track. I got quiet. He tried to guess at what was wrong and fix it. (Normally I will communicate more directly, but I've done that a little too frequently lately so mostly I was just nursing my wounds, and afraid I might totally flip on him if I started to discuss it. When he asked what was wrong I said I didn't want to talk about it and wasn't sure how to articulate it.)
One thing he did to try to fix it was ask me to stay the night. This is something I've brought up before, as an area that confuses me. We've been together a long time but he doesn't ask me to stay over very often. Usually if I stay it's because I suggest it. He knows I want it, I like sleeping by him. It bugged me that he asked me to stay while I was upset when he doesn't ask me otherwise... as if he holds it as some sort of bargaining point or something.
Anyway. So that night I did manage to tell him I was worried that we were not on the same page with things. I cuddled him and we went to bed. A couple days later I told him I need to know where he sees this going. Been dating almost a year, no info from him on that to this point (some generic hints and broaching of subjects like do you want to live in the country, he initiates talk about children, but nothing direct), no L word, and although he's talked marriage in general terms he hasn't been clear about it. So I asked him whether marriage is something he wants for himself at some point. (I didn't ask if he wants it with me, just if he wants it.)
He got the deer in headlights look and said "I don't want to talk about this right now." I told him it's okay if he doesn't want it, and it's okay if he decided I'm too crazy for him, but if he doesn't want marriage and I'm not willing to play house, it's better for both of us to deal with it now because it would just get more painful. "I don't want to talk about this right now" was the answer for that as well. So I dropped it and left.
Before I dated this man I wasn't really interested in settling down. Dating him has changed that somehow; now I want it, and if he isn't looking for that we need to go our separate ways. Also we just clash sometimes. He can be difficult for me. He is the worst communicator I've ever known, and he chuckles about it. Sometimes I feel like he holds back (attention, affection, emotion) on purpose so he can feel like he's in control of the relationship. [Bottom line that's probably my biggest issue with him. This nagging sense that he tries to control everything, and if he would stop doing that he'd be doing things to meet my needs more naturally because I know he feels it, I can see he feels it, but he's constipated in expressing it.] We've been fighting a bit too much lately. So it sounds like the relationship is over and I need to accept that. Then what is the problem?
The problem is that I will tell myself the rational thing to do is end it - and then the next time I'm in his proximity I'm flooded with all this love and happiness and I forget why I'm looking to end it. It's really frustrating. He doesn't even DO anything, just being near him has this effect. It isn't infatuation because I see his flaws. But regardless, because of the chemistry...I can't do it. Not just the chemistry, also the positive traits and the way he does seem to change and work hard for me if I ask for it and give him enough time. I'm so torn - I don't think the RL is good for me, but I feel so much love for him. More than I've felt for anyone. The way I feel is also very different from how I've felt in any other relationship. (I don't mean that in the sense of a chemical trick. I mean really I was pretty detached in previous relationships, and in this one I'm actually invested emotionally.) I don't know what to do.
TL; DR How do you decide whether to end a relationship that has some kinks, a relationship that is HARD, where you're also so head over heels for the person? I'll muster up my inner determination like "yes, this is what needs to happen" and then have this huge visceral wave of "oh God this is a HUGE MISTAKE I CAN'T LEAVE HIM"... and the latter makes me think I would do lots of what-iffing if I don't play this out until it's impossible.
Have you been through this sort of thing before? How did you decide what to do? If you decided to break up, how did you go through with it when you felt so strongly for them?