Skip

Comunication and distance issues don't mix well
August 7, 2014 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Bf wants me to spend more time in his hometown, whereas I feel uncomfortable sleeping at his place-the best/if not only solution in his book-, which leads to me turning down his offers to spend time with his friends and family, and him resenting me for it more and more, bringing each of this instances up everytime I say 'no' to an offer of his, which, in turn, makes me feel like I have to accept said offers or face consequences, which of course doesn't make me want to do those things more. How do I fix it?

My boyfriend and I have been having comunication and distance related issues lately. The problem stems from the fact we live an hour and a half away from each other by bus, 40 mins by car; I don't have a license (problems with past car accident and overprotective parents), he doesn't have a car and doesn't feel he can take the parents' one away from them for an evening, so, in order to see each other at night, we have to resort to sleeping in each other's hometown. Whilst he's fine with both me sleeping at his place (encourages it, actually) and viceversa, I am learning to be okay with him sleeping at my place and feel uncomfortable sleeping at his. The reasons for that are that I don't really feel at ease living with his family- not because of the family itself, they're all really kind, but because of the idea of it; I am a fairly independent person, I like having my own ('mine' in a general sense- even a hotel room) place to go back to at night, my space, I don't like feeling like I'm a burden or an incovenience, I always feel like I have to look presentable even to go to the bathroom if I am in someone else's place, and this leads to me being unable to relax entirely. Surely this is also because I'm not a very 'social' person by nature and circumstances (only child who never had many friends) and being the sort of person who spends energy when they're being 'social' rather than being recharged by people; thus, in order for me to really rest, I prefer being on my own at night at least. (If he lived on his own it would be much different; this applies to him only partially, since I have no issues when we're on holiday together and share a room). I can try to put all that aside for one night, which I've done once in the past and was about to do again. He's not okay with any of this; he's hurt by the fact I don't want, in his eyes, to spend time with his family and friends, and would like for me to be able to spend more time in his hometown. If I suggest being able to spend a night at his parents' place, it's not really enough; he says I can get a hotel room to stay longer, which I wouldn't mind, every once in a while (though the cost is quite high and I wouldn't mind a more budget friendly option), but simultaneously told me it'd be perceived as a lack of respect by the family and that I would have to explain my reasons for not wanting to stay at his house to his mother, which, maybe it's just me, seems a bit excessive. I would never do that and he knows that, so that's only a false positive answer in my eyes. We seemed to have met an agreement in the form of him asking me to spend more than a night at his place (his wish) when he felt like he could ask his parents for their car to come to my town and spend an evening together without having to sleep at the other's place (my wish).

All seemed fine and tomorrow I was supposed to go to his place, spend one night there so I could join him in a small ceremony he'll have to attend in the evening; this morning he asked me to make a small deviation for him to a shop near the bus station, to which I replied, since it was not urgent and quite unlikely, if I could have done it the following time, when I didn't have to carry the suitcase to spend the night out, since it is quite heavy for me, given I'm thin and with an unstable knee. To which he replied badly, saying I never do anything he asks me to, even small favours and that I'm selfish etc. Now, it's clear this reaction directly stems from the above discussion; it is also true that I'm not the most altruistic person in the world and could improve in that aspect, surely I never take things lightly, overthink things and get more worried than I should, that's true too, but I don't feel he's being fair in this assessment. I am NOT as uncaring and unthoughtful as he makes me sound; if some of his complains, as said before, are true, I am not THAT selfish. Also, he says he wants me to want to do the things he asks me to (going to a friend's pool party for instance), but often I do turn them down because they're hard to accomplish, given everything requires me to sleep at his hometown (as said above, I can try to push my boundaries for a night, but it's not something I'd prefer doing too often), or because of the circumstances (said pool party was the day after we had just come back from Rome after a concert, which was the day after I had had a really stressful exam, which had come after nearly a month and a half of nothing but studying); and when I do, there are always consequences. It's never as simple as 'you wanna come? If you don't, that's fine'. It's never fine, I feel as though he writes every single of these occasions down on a mental notebook and then reminds me about them all even months after the next time I say no. It IS true that I say more often no than yes when it involves me doing some social activity with his friends, because, again, it requires me sleeping there and that opens another can of worms, but it doesn't help making me want to really do those things when I know that if I don't I'll always have to suffer consequences either. To cut it short, now he doesn't want me to go at his place tomorrow night either, because he thinks I don't want to do it (this time my period is also nearly due, which worries me further, considering it's really heavy and quite invalidating at times, especially sleeping out as I may stain mattress and such, which I've told him), but it's not that I don't wanna go to the ceremony with him- it's the context that doesn't thrill me, but I was okay with it; also, I fear this may be yet another thing that I will have spoiled for him in the future. What do I do? I know I'm not perfect and I'm posting this throughly aware that I am part of the issue- likely the most part, but I feel as though he doesn't see his being unable to let go of anything as part, albeit small, of it all too...
posted by opalshards to Human Relations (38 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
My husband and I lived four hours apart by public transport (we had no option to drive) for the first two years of our relationship without developing this kind of drama. There are a lot of obstacles to your relationship (you have posted about this very issue before) and you don't say much about what you like about this guy. Why not break up with him and find someone closer to home?
posted by chaiminda at 9:02 AM on August 7 [8 favorites]


This kind of feels like an overall incompatibility. Sometimes people just don't work out, and logistics can be part of it, but neither one of you seem into all this enough to be worth slogging on. It reads like you're together kind of by default, which is not a great foundation for a long happy relationship.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:02 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


You have a lot of excuses for why you want to do things your way. You can't sleep over with your boyfriend because you might get your period? That sounds silly; that's a reason to pack extra pads and a towel, not skip the whole thing. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, but I can't blame your boyfriend for being frustrated by having a girlfriend who constantly has reasons to not spend extended time with him. Maybe it's gotten to the point where the bad is outweighing the good here (weren't you having these issues last year, too?). Maybe it's time to break it off.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:02 AM on August 7 [21 favorites]


Are you in the US? I ask because in your last Ask with similar problems, you wrote that you both still live with your parents, and that it's common where you are. I think my own, and many others', answers are predicated on the idea that young adults should and will live on their own as soon as possible, as a part of living your own life. I know in other countries, young adults stay with family until they are married (or even after).

It seems like the underlying problem here is that neither of you have stepped up to take charge of your own lives; your decisions and his are very affected by your parents' concerns and limits, and so you're not free or able to put yourself or your relationship (which does need privacy!) as a priority. The problems in your relationship have followed from that, and I think you'd probably have the same problems with another person as well. I can't tell what you are attracted to with this guy -- you don't say much about that -- but even 'date someone else' might not solve your problem.

So I think the real challenge you need to solve here is your own agency, and your boyfriend's lack of his own agency. Until then, there will continue to be reasons and excuses and discomfort.
posted by Dashy at 9:13 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


I give you permission to stop making excuses and break up with this person.

You two just don't seem to be compatible enough to put effort into the relationship. And you're not incompatible enough to put effort into the breakup. Dragging things out doesn't seem to serve either of you well.
posted by 26.2 at 9:15 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


this morning he asked me to make a small deviation for him to a shop near the bus station, to which I replied, since it was not urgent and quite unlikely, if I could have done it the following time, when I didn't have to carry the suitcase to spend the night out, since it is quite heavy for me, given I'm thin and with an unstable knee. To which he replied badly, saying I never do anything he asks me to, even small favours and that I'm selfish etc.

You just spent 90 minutes on a bus to see this person. The correct response for a partner to offer you some sort of refreshment (tea/coffee/snack) and let you get your bearings. An hour and a half on the bus is like the wear and tear of a 3-hour car ride, IMO.

I'm not sure why you're bothering with this person who isn't connecting to you in even the most basic way.
posted by mochapickle at 9:19 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


It sounds like he thinks of the distance as you being local (coming over regularly, invited to small things, hurt that you can't go to all of them) and you think of the distance as being long-distance (scheduling visits around higher-priority inconveniences, prioritizing luggage weight over doing a minor favor, thinking of visits as long distance travel). Neither of you are wrong to feel that way, but it does sound like a pretty significant divergence in points of view, and it might be hard to reconcile them both unless one of you moves closer or farther away, and at the moment neither of you seems to be assuming the best about the other's intentions.

If you want to stay with this person, you may have to lay down some unromantic ground rules where you compromise a bit of each other's comfort. You will come to visit him for, say, one weekend per month. You agree that you won't complain about having to behave in front of his family, he agrees that he won't complain about you not visiting more often. If you really chafe at this idea, it might be that your priorities are not with this relationship, which is okay, except that then the fairest thing is to let him go.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:21 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


What you want is reasonable. What he wants is reasonable. Neither of you is happy doing the thing the other wants, and compromises also don't work well. I think your options are:

1. Both get better at compromising and being ok with it.
2. Keep being unhappy and unsatisfied.
3. Break up.

I would suggest #3 as the likely path to greatest happiness, probably for both of you.
posted by spindrifter at 9:22 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Also, he says he wants me to want to do the things he asks me to.....It's never as simple as 'you wanna come? If you don't, that's fine'. It's never fine,

For real, one of the reasons I fell in love with my husband was he would say, "You're invited but it's okay if you don't want to come," and he meant it. No games, no grudges. He understands me and my social needs and he trusts that if I don't want to do something, I have good reasons.

There are people out there who will be a much better fit for you.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:27 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I want to thank you all for the time to read my very long and likely very boring reply. That always means a lot to me. To reply/answer a few things:

It's not as though I can't sleep over at his place with my period; I am packing the pads and towel as we speak. =] The point is that when I brought it up to him this morning, after the whole 'can you stop at a shop for me' thing, he said he doesn't want me to sleep over anymore, because my bringing it up to him meant that I didn't really want to do it and he doesn't want to make me, whilst to me it meant something like 'yeah, even if I may get my period, I want to come anyway'. I'm packing now without really knowing how things will play out...

And no, we don't live in the US, but Europe. So you're definitely right in feeling this situation may be uncommon in the US and less so here...And yes, again, I do at times feel very restricted living essentially like a child still when we're in our mid-twenties, but money issues make that the only reality for the time being.

I don't really say what keeps me in this relationship because here I limit myself to posting about the issues we have, and even then I am not that good at keeping it short, so...

I realize a lot of the answers are going to be going with the break up option, and, of course, I don't want to interfere with anybody's opinion, but if someone could explore more the idea of a compromise and how to achieve a satisfying one for both parties, I would be even more grateful than I am now, after you all endured my long post. Thank you again.
posted by opalshards at 9:28 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I realize a lot of the answers are going to be going with the break up option, and, of course, I don't want to interfere with anybody's opinion, but if someone could explore more the idea of a compromise and how to achieve a satisfying one for both parties, I would be even more grateful than I am now, after you all endured my long post.

Thing is, you need to be comfortable with the fact that there might not be a compromise that works for both of you.

You are entitled to your boundaries, and you are entitled to stay within your comfort zone. He is entitled to feel a little bit unfulfilled because of the fact that the two of you don't get to spend much time together. One of you has to change -- or at least lessen -- one of those things. But it sounds like, given the logistical circumstances, that might not be possible.

Can you have a talk with him where you each express what you want + what you're able to do, and then see if there's a way for you to to be slightly more able to do what he wants, and for him to be slightly more able to resepct your need for space and the logistical difficulties?
posted by mudpuppie at 9:36 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


[Edit: By "what you want," I meant what each of you wants -- not what you personally want.]
posted by mudpuppie at 9:37 AM on August 7


Frankly, I think the reason that he's saying "it feels like you don't want to come visit" is because you have been giving off that impression, whether you've been intending to or not.

I understand you not feeling comfortable with his family hanging about - but my Object d'schmoop may have also felt uncomfortable visiting me (long distance) even though my roommate was around. And even though I have a very thin bedroom wall. And (yes) even though my roommate did get woken up in the middle of the night by.....things.

If you are willing to visit him whether or not you get your period, then why did you bring it up at all?....it sounds kind of like, when you go out of your way to mention "here is an obstacle I am overcoming for you", it sounds like you're sort of passive-aggressively asking him to be all grateful that "oh look at what I'm sacrificing just for you, look at how much of a hassle this is for me". If you want to see him, just SEE HIM, and don't tell him all the problems you're overcoming to do so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


It's never as simple as 'you wanna come? If you don't, that's fine'. It's never fine, I feel as though he writes every single of these occasions down on a mental notebook and then reminds me about them all even months after the next time I say no. It IS true that I say more often no than yes when it involves me doing some social activity with his friends, because, again, it requires me sleeping there and that opens another can of worms, but it doesn't help making me want to really do those things when I know that if I don't I'll always have to suffer consequences either.
This is actually a pretty toxic instinct to have towards your partner, and I do not point it out to make you seem like a jerk. In fact, it strikes me as a totally natural response: "You ask me for something, and if I don't do it, I know you'll get mad? That's manipulative, and I won't play."

However, that's pretty spiteful/contemptuous behavior towards your partner who you love. Your disagreement over this issue has gotten you to a point where you are actively selecting solutions that you know will piss your partner off. He is probably doing it, too. This is the nature of power struggles. In a relationship, that shit is no bueno.

You guys both deserve better than what your differences are allowing you. One way to stay together is if you can both compromise. It sounds like you have tried that, and it isn't helping. Another way is for one or both of you to pursue more independence and live closer to one another so both of your needs are met. That may be unreachable. Your last option, which I know you aren't interested in exploring right now, will be to recognize when it's time to let it go.
posted by juliplease at 9:51 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Whoops, sorry - I left a sentence out up there. What I meant about my Object d'Schmoop maybe being uncomfortable visiting me even though my roommate was around was - even if he was uncomfortable, he still just did it, with a big smile on his face and a big hug.

It's not that we don't communicate if there are big problems either. There's been times that we've just not had the time to visit (especially in his case, as he's a grad student and has zero time). And there are things we both overcome in the attempt to visit each other. But the point is, those are obstacles, but seeing him is enough of a priority for me that I suck up my hating to travel by bus, and I don't complain about having to come by bus to see him because the alternative is not seeing him and I don't want that. Same too, is not liking the crowds and traffic in New York - the alternative is not seeing me, and he doesn't want that.

Complaining about "I don't like [foo] and [baz] but I'm gonna see you anyway" gives the impression that you are not all that into visiting him, and you want him to realize just how much you're going out of your way for his sake and you'd rather have stayed home. You may not be aware that's how it's coming across, but it is. Even to us.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


FWIW, I think the reason you get the suggestion to break up is that you really say nothing good about this man. Most times people say that they have X problem with their partner but that their partner has Y wonderful qualities and the relationship provide Z benefits. You never seem to state any Y's or Z's.

It's hard to tell someone to compromise to stay in a relationship if there aren't any good things associated with the relationship. You might get different feedback if you presented your question differently to include why you want to stay with this guy. As it's presented, it sounds like inertia or desperation - neither is a good reason to stay.
posted by 26.2 at 10:01 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I don't really say what keeps me in this relationship because here I limit myself to posting about the issues we have

It's an elephant in the room. The relationship sounds like a hot mess of poor communication and a lack of real concern for each other. I hear 'wondering how to compromise' but so much of this seems to stem not from 'can't compromise' but 'don't actually like each other all that much.'

You had a bag to carry and a bad knee -- he wanted to stop in a store -- how was it not an easy solution for both of you for him to carry the bag so you could make the detour?

You sound like your username: nice, but prickly and a bit precious. You're not 'living essentially like a child,' but you are restricting yourself with fears about mattress-staining &c. The stuff about going or not going to events just sounds, again, like you are not that into each other and communication is such a problem as to make a good partnership untenable. You need to have an ease with "Hey, I don't think I can do that right after my exam, I'm sorry, but how about [...]" where both of you are clear about and respectful of each others' needs while still making time together a priority. Like the other answerers I'm not seeing any of that between you. None of this is intended to let him off the hook; it's not at all clear why he can't come to where you live more often.

The stuff about how if a person wants to spend time with you, they will find a way to spend time with you is true. I am empathetic towards the distance thing, having a similar span between me and somebody I'd like to see more. But despite the logistical ($, etc) hassle of bringing one of us from A to B, the pleasure of spending time together totally outweighs the bother of engineering the visit. This just sounds like you're not even having a good time once you get together.
posted by kmennie at 10:08 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


You sound utterly incompatible. I can't think of a compromise that would actually be a "cooperation" (both people are happy). Only ones where you're both slightly unhappy and not into the new solution. Maybe it's just vibes from your question. It seems like it's just about over for you two. There is contempt, &c.

I would be your boyfriend in this situation-- I think nothing of a 90 minute bus ride and do it all the time. (I just took a 12 hour bus ride to visit my family on the spur of the moment so that might say something about me.) If my SO felt like 90 minutes on a bus was too long and there was no way of us being geographically closer in the near future our relationship would probably fizzle out too. He wants both of you to go the extra mile to see each other and show up with enthusiasm, or pop by the shop on the way home to help each other out. He shows his love with actions, it sounds like. As someone similar to that, it feels quite cold when I date someone who doesn't "get" that about me. I don't know your love language, but it seems to be not showing up in this Ask, and neither of you seems to feel loved.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:23 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


The thing is, if he's the kind of person who holds into slights, that is not going to change. That's the deal breaker to me; you can figure out the compromise for this specific situation but he's not going to change how he approaches conflict. The strategy itself is toxic.
posted by spunweb at 11:00 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Him forbidding you from getting a hotel room in his hometown unless you followed his demand that you first: I would have to explain my reasons for not wanting to stay at his house to his mother is whack, controlling and abusive (trying to convince you to participate in humiliating you in front of his family?!). Your other question mentioned all of his control issues; him forbidding you and banning you from doing things normal adults do. This is not a healthy relationship from anything you have written in your questions.
posted by saucysault at 11:01 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


I'm also the type of person who's more like your boyfriend. I'm baffled by your approach to the situation, but I also recognize it as reasonable behavior and expectations for a very different type of person from myself (someone who's higher maintenance and very introverted). When I was your age, I used to stay at my boyfriend's house for the night all the time, but I wouldn't even bring a small bag, not to mention a heavy suitcase. I kept a toothbrush over there and didn't give a fig whether I went home wearing the same clothes I came in. If a boyfriend of mine wanted to stay at a hotel while visiting because he felt that awkward around my family, my family would be extremely confused and probably disappointed and feel like the person didn't like them.

It also sounds like you feel compelled to give a long list of reasons each time you say "no" to a request - not clear whether that is because your boyfriend badgers you about it or because you just spontaneously offer them up, but if you can't stop at the store because your knee is bothering you, it seems over the top to have to say that your bag's too heavy, you have a bad knee, you're thin (?relevance?), you don't think it's urgent, and you have your period (and other reasons?). I found myself wanting to argue with you just reading this. It would be a lot easier if you just sincerely apologized for not being able to do it this time and said you'd do it next time, and left it at that. I don't think it's fair of him, on the other hand, to constantly guilt trip you every time you say no to something. You need to establish a rule about it being OK for you sometimes to say no and that he will not say anything further about it such as bringing up past refusals, hold him to that, and in turn you have to be sure you're saying yes whenever it's feasible.

I don't think of 30 miles as distance travel - I commute further than that every day I go to work. Sometimes I go down to work just for an hourlong meeting and this doesn't bother me (although I also don't have to worry about the bus). So it's hard for me to think of good 'compromise' options because my compromise would just be not to sweat staying at his house so much and relax your standards for appearance, which is a lot easier said than done. Can you just keep a bunch of stuff like pads and towels and some of your clothing at his place, so that you never need to worry about packing a bag? Can you practice telling yourself "no one cares how I look when I walk to the bathroom" until you really believe it? Can you plan to stay at your boyfriend's house half the times you see each other, and have him visit you the other half of the times, and sometimes push yourself out of your comfort zone to go to social activities with him, and be happy with that? Because your plan cannot involve making him and his parents change - you can only change your own actions and reactions. If it doesn't sound worth it, then I think you need to move on.

p.s. if you had started the course for your license at the time you wrote the last question, you'd be almost ready to start driving to his house by now!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:02 AM on August 7 [6 favorites]


Here is the thing about compromising. You really have no control over what he's willing to give up. There are no magic words that are going to make him realize how uncomfortable and put-out you are by accommodating his requests. The only thing you can change is you. So, see if he's willing to agree to limit the overnight visits to one a month, but it sounds like he doesn't understand your need for space and solitude and his preference is to be 10X more social than you can cope with.

Some real talk as an extreme introvert here: People are not likely to understand the sources of your discomfort with sleeping over/ sharing quarters, etc. Your BF just hears that you don't want to see him, which is not true, but he may not understand the whole drained-by-social-situations thing. If you want to keep this relationship, you'll probably just have to suck it up and do at least 50% of the things. It's up to you if that's feasible. His family probably really doesn't feel inconvenienced by your staying there, doesn't care what you look like if you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and so on. If they insist it's no problem to them, the real obstacle is your internal discomfort. So, what you can do is learn to relax or at least fake it when you're over there. Build in breaks for yourself so you can be alone if you need them. Talk to him about making sure you have solo time with him when you're there and you aren't just hemmed in by crowds all the time.

It sounds like integrating you into his existing family and friends is a priority for him, and he may never appreciate why you aren't as connected to his people as he is. Best of luck to you.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:05 AM on August 7


And I agree with saucysault that his request about making you explain yourself to his mother is manipulative, and that he has other controlling tendencies that I would scoff at (wouldn't allow you to drive to him even if you did have a license? pshaw!). It's possible even for an extrovert, like me, to understand that an introvert needs time alone, and were you my significant other and expressed that you needed time alone sometimes, I'd offer without being asked to cover for you in front of my family and to stick up for your needs. It's hard to tell whether responding to this behavior would be as simple as "what? No, I'm not going to do that/worry about that" or whether he literally would not accept your will if you were going to do something like this. If it's more the latter, then I double down on my advice to forget this relationship and move on because it won't end well.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:09 AM on August 7


I just read this in your previous question: I asked him if he could come up with other alternatives, but all he came up with is ‘going on like usual and if you get sick of it, break up with me'.

I'm going to have to revise my opinion. He's not willing to engage you in a cooperative effort here. His solution to this issue is "Do it my way or leave," so I don't see a whole lot of other options. He's already told you he's going to prioritize his comfort over yours. Ugh. This guy sounds like an amoeba. DTMFA before you get engulfed.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:15 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Again thanks everyone, your opinions are really useful in trying to gain perspective over matters, especially when they're so varied. =]

He's still quite mad at me, but I managed to have him agree on a compromise of sorts- that if he wants me to interact more with his friends and stay longer in his town, it'd have to be in a way that made me comfortable- namely, finding another accomodation than his house, which is fine, mostly, for one night only weekends. He doesn't seem to trust this plan working too much, but I plan on seeing it through. He's the kind of person who's really unflexible when he feels wronged, but softens his edges as soon as he sees the other person actually puts some effort into making things right.
posted by opalshards at 11:41 AM on August 7


You have posted several long questions/follow-ups about this guy, and MeFites have pretty much unanimously condemned this relationship.

In the interest of answering what was asked:
we live an hour and a half away from each other by bus, 40 mins by car; I don't have a license (problems with past car accident and overprotective parents), he doesn't have a car and doesn't feel he can take the parents' one away from them for an evening

If you got your license, you'd buy a car, right? Buy one and let him drive it to you. He can see you as often as he wants, and you can remain on your turf. This is the only option I've come up with that seems reasonably quick and low-risk (vs. moving in together), while also accommodating both of your demands.

What you save on hotel rooms will offset the cost of the car somewhat. One night in a hotel can easily cover a modest car payment. Two, and you've got insurance. Three, and you've got gas for the month.

That said, I still think you should break up.
posted by nobejen at 11:42 AM on August 7


This question is pretty much a carbon copy of your last question ~6 months ago, which attracted a lot of thoughtful responses. What did you think of the last set of responses? What have you done between November and now to change things? If you haven't changed anything at all, why are you back here asking the same question? I don't get it.

Your whole rationale is identical to your previous question - you feel uncomfortable being around his family so you don't want to stay there. He clearly doesn't understand your position and he also doesn't give a shit whether you feel uncomfortable there or not, the expectation that you stay there has been made very clear by him and now he's resenting you for making excuses and avoiding the issue for the last 6 months.

You have three options:
1. Put your foot down and say that you're not going to stay over there anymore and let the chips fall where they may
2. Stop making excuses and stay over there a set number of days a week, whether or not you like it and find it comfortable
3. Break up with him

Continuing the excuse dance is just going to make things even more resentful and intractable.
posted by zug at 12:06 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I think you should read Franny and Zoey and see if you really want your relationship to be like Franny's!
posted by Jahaza at 12:10 PM on August 7


Bottom line: if this was a good relationship worth having and continuing, it wouldn't be this difficult.
posted by misseva at 12:30 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


All the other responses about your probable basic relationship incompatibility have excellent points, but if you're determined to try a different tactic: pool your resources, and have him rent a car. Forty minutes to your town to have a regular, few-hours-long date, and forty minutes back. You don't seem to have the energy reserves or the social inclination for these marathon, days-long get-togethers. If you have the funds to vacation together, regularly pay public transportation fees, and consider staying in a hotel in his hometown, there might be money in the budget to try car rentals.

Also, if you're prone to travelling heavy and have a bad knee, get a long-handled, rolling bag and ditch the hand-held suitcase.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:49 PM on August 7


I, a perfect stranger on the internet, give you permission to free yourself from this relationship.

This question is pretty much -identical- to your question from November. You're still struggling with the exact same issues and NOTHING has changed despite the wonderful advice given back then (much of it already parroted here in this question).

You're running in place due to incompatibility and I haven't seen a single mention about what you actually like about this relationship. Your boyfriend is controlling (though this may be culturally acceptable/expected where you are) and you both appear to be 'settling' (over the alternative of being alone). He also appears to be an extrovert and family-oriented, so his desire to integrate you into his life (family/friends) is only going to intensify the longer you're together. Since he's incapable of really grasping/understanding your introverted nature, this means any compromise will be on your part - not his. Is this really how you want to spend another year of your life?
posted by stubbehtail at 2:23 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I also want to add that if your boyfriend is in fact like me, and you are like one of my recent boyfriends (which it sounds like you are in your anxiety, aversion to his family, lack of proclivity to show love with actions, mental block when it comes to doing "difficult" things like picking up something from the shop or traveling to see him, &c.), you are making him miserable. If I could talk to him, I would say: break up now, you are too different, she will keep disappointing you, and you will eventually become a person you no longer recognize because you're so full of hurt and resentment and anger. Boyfriend, you are wasting your openness and loving nature on someone who doesn't appreciate or understand it.

The flip side of that (what I would say to you is): break up now, you are too different, he will keep expecting things from you that you don't understand (or care about), and you will become a person whose life is shaped by a balance of obligation and anticipating the flare-ups of attitude from your boyfriend (boring). You are wasting your life on the demands of a relationship that does not suit your personality or lifestyle.

If the relationship was REALLY worth it-- if you really, undeniably loved each other in some difficult-to-replace kind of fashion-- you could try to understand and forgive each other more deeply. It would require a lot of work and patience and mindfulness (frankly, it seems like he lacks this right now). But it sounds like you just kind of like each other well enough to not change anything, which is not a good reason to stay together in light of everything else.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:50 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Your boyfriend sounds like a difficult, unkind and unpleasant person. But you seem really interested in trying to make this work, so..

I realize a lot of the answers are going to be going with the break up option, and, of course, I don't want to interfere with anybody's opinion, but if someone could explore more the idea of a compromise and how to achieve a satisfying one for both parties, I would be even more grateful than I am now, after you all endured my long post.

The thing about compromise is that it's a lot easier when you actually have a high degree of intrinsic appreciation for someone. That is, when you really fucking like them. Forget about love for a moment. If someone you don't like very much asks you to make an accommodation, you're probably not going to be that keen on it. Whereas, if someone you adore makes the same request, you'll probably carry it out with bells and whistles on.

My girlfriend and I have had to take train, subways and taxis - sometimes even walk 2 miles - to see each other. I would never do this for someone that I only sorta kinda liked. I make it work because I adore her. It's not just that I love her and that the relationship is "worth it" - it's because the time we actually spend together is so beautiful, so valuable, so intrinsically enjoyable that I'm thrilled to jump through hoops to see her.

Now, this doesn't mean that I'm willing to jump through every single hoop to see her at any given time. I have boundaries around what feels do-able for me. We negotiate our preferences and possibilities together -- but these negotiations are never "anger" filled or full of tension, because we know we both value and love each other.

I would never get mad at my girlfriend for not picking me up something on her way to see me. Of course her hands would be full and it's not easy shlepping things around. That your boyfriend didn't understand this -- and worse, disregarded your perspective when you shared it -- suggests to me that he's a jerk.

We are suggesting you break up because what you've described is a hot mess. The only way most of us would put up with the situation (e.g. having to stay over at his *family's* place) is if the other party were amazingly loving, kind, supportive and if the relationship was AMAZING. You have not described an amazing relationship. You've described a crappy one.
posted by Gray Skies at 3:16 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


However, that's pretty spiteful/contemptuous behavior towards your partner who you love. Your disagreement over this issue has gotten you to a point where you are actively selecting solutions that you know will piss your partner off. He is probably doing it, too. This is the nature of power struggles. In a relationship, that shit is no bueno.

Yea, seriously. Please break up and date someone with whom you don't feel the need to act like a rebellious child trying to spite their parents.

This level of contempt is the interpersonal relationship equivalent of a flat spin. Recoveries are notable simply because of their rarity.

It seems like you're giving this like, 250% of the normal amount of energy. What does that really leave you for you? how is that actually enjoyable?
posted by emptythought at 4:30 PM on August 7


I don't think you have just communication or distance issues. You're not compatible. This sounds like a battle of wills, not a space where actual compromise can take place. I wish I had better advice than "break up" and I'm not explicitly saying you should do so, but I've read your questions and I can't help but wonder where this relationship is going and whether it is fulfilling for both of you.
posted by sm1tten at 5:17 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I am more like you than your boyfriend. In fact, two of my relationships partly ended over this type of issue. For both of my relationships, I think what it ultimately came down to was hurt feelings on their part. Both felt as though I didn't like their families even they I did like their families. Neither could understand my anxiety at staying at over at their houses. I don't think there was any way for us to compromise because they didn't truly understand me. I think you and your boyfriend might be too different on a fundamental level for this relationship to work out unless you lived in the same town.
posted by parakeetdog at 5:24 PM on August 7


The thing about compromise is that you have to actually want to compromise, and neither of you seems to want to do that.

He won't:
a) ask his parents for the occasional favor of borrowing their car.
b) have an uncomfortable conversation with his mother about why you might not want to stay in the same house as him.
c) arrange to run his own errands so you don't have to suffer potential physical pain

You won't:
a) put up with having a less than totally restful night in order to be with him
b) get a nice robe to wear to the bathroom in the middle of the night
c) have an uncomfortable conversation with his mother about why you might not want to stay in the same house as her
d) do things you're not super thrilled about because they'll give you a chance to see him

I mean, these are relatively minor things. Things you should both be happy to overlook because they're the inconveniences that let the two of you be together. But neither of you will, which suggests that frankly, you don't want to be together all that badly.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:01 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


My boyfriend and I currently live a little further apart than you two: 1.5-2 hours by public transit (two or three different trains, by the way, depending on the day of the week) and about 1-1.5 hours by car. Neither of us ever drives to see the other -- I don't have a car here, and for him, parking where I live is a huge headache. So it's always public transit. We see each other about 2-3 weekends a month.

He still lives with his parents too, partly because of finances and partly because he spent the last seven years away and now wants to be close to his family. Sometimes he comes to my apartment in the city, which is super fantastic and fun, but it's not fair to make him travel all the time. So when I visit him, I stay at his parents' house in a very boring suburb. (It helps that I do like his family quite a bit.)

I am coming to a point, I promise, and it is this: Despite the distance and the family and the suburbs, I am THRILLED every time I go to see him. I cannot wait to get off work and make the trek over. It takes a long time, and it can be hard when I'm already tired from the week, but Gray Skies has it exactly right: it's not a cost-benefit analysis of the relationship being "worth it" to me. It's the fact that I genuinely love the time I spend with him -- to the point where the distance is almost inconsequential.

And just like you, I am an anxious, type A introvert who likes her space and her things exactly right. But the "compromises" I make to be with my boyfriend aren't even really compromises -- it's just what I do to spend time with a person I really, really enjoy.

And it doesn't sound like that's the case for you. To me, it sounds like the fight you two are having is not really about travel and sleeping arrangements. Rather, the fight is about how neither of you feels loved and wanted. Break up if you're not into each other, or resolve the underlying issues if you are, but know that the question is not about logistics.
posted by Ragini at 10:12 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


« Older The canvas warps when painted ...   |  Difficult level: Academia. Fu... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments



Post