how do i react in this relationship?
May 29, 2011 7:48 PM   Subscribe

I’m not sure how to react in my relationship?

As a kid I grew up very religious, so much so that not until I was 21 did I ever cuss, or drink, or really touch a girl. I had kissed two girls by the time I was 21, and a little more interaction with both, but was still a virgin at 21. At 21 I became agnostic and started drinking slightly, cussing poorly, and attempted to date girls; though, I was quite unprepared for sex. I wanted to wait for someone I really liked to make it easier and more enjoyable.

Fast forward to the age of 25, I missed several opportunities to have sex with girls that were really hot but didn’t want to be with me more than one night. I finally gave up waiting and dated a girl one night, had terrible sex, and unfortunately never talked to her again Less than 1 month later I met my current girlfriend. She was great, we started dating and waited 2 months before having sex. I’ve only had sex with 2 girls.

Fast forward again 2.5 years later and we have lived together now for 6 months. She is a GREAT girl. I really love her. But, she’s 2 years younger (and I’m nearly 30) than me and ever since we moved in together, she acts like she is 40. She doesn’t like to stay out late, wants to go home, and doesn’t drink much and any time I tell her I want to stay out she gets fairly angry at me. If I get drunk, she gets pissed even more. Honesty, she is the coolest chick ever though…well grounded and a great person. She loves me to death, puts up with most of my shit, but at the end of the day, for 25, she is a little boring. When we didn’t live together, she was so much more patient. Now she thinks I’m irresponsible for wanting to go out and drink, and would rather stay home and watch crappy movies. It’s not always that way, but I do feel a little cramped with her at times.

I have a few problems with the relationship other than the aforementioned. I see girls all the time and I am really attracted to them. Like very sexually. I am a 6/10 guy on the attractive scale honestly and see 10/10 girls and want them, so I know in reality…I’m not going to get them. But of course I believe I can get those girls and it’s very annoying because I love my girlfriend so much. But is that a sign that I should move on?

But I have been diagnosed with OCD and understand I may just be obsessed with my girlfriend not being the right girlfriend even though it may be untrue. There is something called ROCD, which is relationship OCD, where you constantly think you should not be with your SO and for whatever reason and there is someone better. I love her, am occasionally bored, want sex with other people (that’s pretty normal for 20-year old guys), but could see her being the best wife of any girl I’ve ever met. Every friend I have is jealous of me for having her. And it sucks I’m confused about our relationship. I think I could be going through that OCD of not knowing what to do, but I don’t know if it otherwise is actually a desire to move on...

And simultaneously, I have friends in their mid 30s and they are still single. I don’t want to end up single for the rest of my life. Truly, I don’t know what to do.

Are you with someone and see girls you want to be with all the time; how do you cope with it?

Should I consider other girls or give my girlfriend more of a chance (aka talk to her about my concerns)?

Btw, I know someone will ask. Our sex life is pretty good. A little boring, but not terrible. Actually, maybe normal. I don't know because I don't have a lot of experience. I would never have sex with another person, but really want to in order to find out what relationships are all about from a sexual perspective.
posted by only4u to Human Relations (50 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Well, if you've not talked to her at all about your concerns before that's a big strike against this relationship. Why didn't you talk to her about this before? Be an adult and ask for what you want. If she can't or won't give you what you want, it's perfectly okay to end the relationship. Don't stay with her just because she's a cool chick who's gorgeous who likes you. That doesn't mean you're right for her or she's right for you.

But if you don't think you can keep it in your pants any longer and want to drink and make passes as whoever you'd like, that's fine. Break up with her first, then move on.
posted by inturnaround at 8:02 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

>she acts like she is 40

As a 40-year-old, I'm a bit offended at that description. If you believe people's age should be a good indicator of how they'll behave, you're in for a lifetime of confusion.

She's not acting 40. She's acting like herself. If you have a problem with that, you can either end the relationship or talk to her about it like an adult.
posted by mmoncur at 8:15 PM on May 29, 2011 [59 favorites]

If her not liking to party is a big strike against her, I'd say yeah, it sounds like you don't like her very much and you should probably break up. If she was really that important to you, you probably wouldn't be judging her as "boring" because she doesn't drink much or stay out late. If you can't look past something this petty, you should probably just set her free to find someone who really cares for her.
posted by Sara C. at 8:19 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: so what do you tell "her" is the concern? i don't want to party, but sometimes i want to stay out later than 10. sorry for offending you about the 40-year old comment. i guess i mean she gets tired easily and wants to go home and watch tv, rather than hanging out with our friends for another couple of hours. that seems boring to me. she used to be all about going out, but now that we live together, she doesn't want to so much. and that's sort of odd.
posted by only4u at 8:24 PM on May 29, 2011

Eh, in a lot of parts of the US she's practically an old maid for not having kids yet. She's probably getting a bit miffed at waiting for you to settle down. But boring is boring and you should probably cut her loose sooner than later.
posted by rhizome at 8:25 PM on May 29, 2011

There are plenty of really good reasons to stay with someone, even if you're attracted to other people (which you always will be, to some extent). But the following are not good reasons:
* Fear of being alone forever
* Your friends think she's a good catch
* You objectively think she should be a good fit for you
* Your sex life isn't terrible.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:26 PM on May 29, 2011 [15 favorites]

I am in my later forties and I like to have a few adult sodas regularly and I have female friends who get piss drunk in their forties. Suburban moms blowing off steam from too many carpools, too many pukes in the bed, too many nights when a teenager just says, "fuck you, mom" etc. My point is that she is who she is. She may change. She may not. And acting like she is forty means nothing to me.

Talk to her about it and talk to her about your sexual fantasies. Better now than after you are legally attached.

Also, I enjoy hanging out at home with my significant other just sitting on the couch watching bad TV, but I have found that having guys night out or ladies night out where you go out with friends and enjoy yourself without SO makes those days with SO that much better.

As for the sex part with the 10/10 types, you never know. I am always glad to say that I slept with a woman who was in a Victoria's Secret catalog, but when pressed I have to admit that the sex was not that good and her conversation even worse. Very sweet gal with what most men would consider a killer body, but I would have cut off my arm if she was sleeping on it to get away after a few hours. She actually asked the waiter what an Idaho potato was at dinner.

The point is that the grass is always greener. Make your decision about your gal based on your gal, not based on what you think might be with other gals. Experience is great, but if you have the right gal, you have the right gal and experience is just that thing that would have cost you a lot of money and time and you would be right back where you are now, with a great gal.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:37 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I guess part of the problem here is that you're dealing with a bunch of related but ultimately separate questions at once. You're unhappy with your girlfriend's quiet lifestyle; you're not sure about the relationship itself; the sex isn't great; and finally, you sound like you aren't actually ready to settle down. Maybe you think that at your age you should be in a long-term relationship, but you got a lateish start and aren't actually ready for that. That's fine, when you're single, and it sounds like you should be.

It's entirely possible for someone to be wonderful, beautiful, and for you to love her, and for the match to not be all it could be. I tend to think that waiting around for someone who's amazing for you, and not just objectively great, is the way to go. From what you've said, I'm not sure she's right for you, or you for her.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:01 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

What's going to happen is that you're going to break up with her, do whatever, then wish you were back with her. In a few years the qualities that irritate you now, the "acts like she's 40" will be something you want.
posted by Slinga at 9:17 PM on May 29, 2011 [9 favorites]

Every time I see a question like this I translate it to mean "give me permission to dump a good person." Sure, you're going to regret breaking up with her. Sure, its not going to be easy to get back into dating, especially since you haven't done much of that before. But just pull the trigger already! If you decide you're gonna stick with her today, that doesn't mean your feelings and doubts will go away - you'll have to make this decision again and again and again until you do something really awful and she makes it for you.

I think a lot of people are piling on the OP for being shallow and that's kind of unfair. Sure, he seems like a bit of a jerk, but that has more to do with him being totally inexperienced in this field - I'm sure many of us felt this way when we had our first serious partners; we just happened to be a lot younger so it seemed more normal.

End the relationship. Regret ending it. Move on and learn from your mistakes.
posted by modernserf at 9:24 PM on May 29, 2011 [17 favorites]

It sounds to me like you are scared of being alone, and scared of not finding anyone else.

Part of the reason you are scared of these things might be your religious upbringing. If your church community is like mine was at that age, there is a lot of expectation that people will marry young (because if you have to wait until marriage to have sex, why WOULDN'T you get married fast?!). So by the age of 18, many of my friends were already getting engaged. So at least subconsciously you might be feeling pressure and worrying that 28 or whatever is "too late".

Secondly, there is the idea in some religious communities that there is only one person ordained for you by God, and that your first big relationship will be The One and then you somehow owe it to them, God and yourself to stay together for ever. Again, this might be putting pressure on you subconsciously.

In reality, many many people (especially men), do not marry until their thirties or later. Many people have three or four or more serious or semi-serious relationships before they settle down. There is nothing wrong with doing that.

Finally you seem to make a weird distinction between "good girlfriend" and "good wife". You say you aren't happy or compatible with your girlfriend in many ways, yet "she could be the best wife of any girl [you] ever met." Why? Why would she magically be a better match for you if you had a signed legal document? I wonder whether you are thinking your parents' relationship or someone else's relationship and putting her in the "wife" role without actually considering what a wife role in YOUR relationship should look like. Maybe she'd be good at homemaking, childcare, etc, but is that what YOU want in your partner, or what you think a wife should be like?
posted by lollusc at 9:50 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

If my boyfriend and I had been together for nearly 3 years and we'd moved in together (which is kind of a big sign that you're settling down into adulthood), and he was still all about going out and partying all the time and getting mad at me for not wanting to be out partying all the time too, I'd be a little miffed. I mean, sure, partying is fun. But there's only so much partying I can do before it gets really friggin' boring, you know? And it's not really fun to roll into the office all hungover at 8am after a night of partying. I could pull that off when I was 22, and 22 was probably the last time I thought partying all night was worth feeling shitty the next day.

Honestly, OP, just break up with her. You sound super resentful of the fact that your girlfriend's at a different place in her life. And she's probably resentful of the fact that her boyfriend is giving her all the signals of wanting to settle down and then turning around and telling her she's acting 40 because she doesn't want to stay up all night drinking with your pals.

It sounds like what you want to be dating right now is a vapid party girl, not someone who is "wife material", whatever that means. So go find a vapid party girl, and let your girlfriend find someone who actually wants to be with her the way she is.
posted by palomar at 10:17 PM on May 29, 2011 [18 favorites]

It sounds like perhaps she's changed and you haven't over the past 2.5 years. This isn't terribly unusual; different things about people change at different times. As folks above have said, it may be a dealbreaker, and there's nothing wrong with that.

It really, really sounds like you're not done sowing your wild oats--you're still thinking about all that time you weren't getting with girls and drinking and cussing when you were younger. You're talking about possible missed opportunities with 10/10 women, and I wonder, Bedding very attractive people isn't going to change your life. But it does speak to the fact that you're holding some serious regret here.

You haven't said much about why you *do* like her, other than she's awesome and puts up with your shit. While these seem rather huge to me (being a woman in my early 30's), it doesn't seem like you're happy returning the favor. I think you have a bit of living and/or growing up to do away from her. Good luck.
posted by smirkette at 10:17 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

You grew up sheltered and inexperienced. You got involved with this girl not out of love for her as a specific person but because of your own neediness/desperation stemming from lack of experience. Basically you've subconsciously used her as an "experience," or as a gateway to more desirable people.

You don't have a firm identity because of your oppressive upbringing and maybe a naturally passive temperament. Now you're overcompensating for lost years, and acting like a teenager when your peers have moved on. If you haven't already developed an alcohol problem, you're in danger of doing so. But you won't realize you have a problem until much later, in fact you'll think of slight alcoholism as a desirable trait, because, like a teenager, you associate drinking a lot and other juvenile activities like constant swearing, partying and displays of ego with being popular and cool. Abstinence you associate with the old, square self that you're trying to shed. Your current girlfriend reminds you of that old you, and you resent her for it. You subconsciously hope that if you land a "cooler" girlfriend some of that coolness will rub off onto you and fill in your lacking personality.

You probably never thought you'd be in this position since you consider yourself a nice guy and were thrilled at first when the relationship began that a nice girl was that interested in you. Ironically her love for you has only damaged your commitment to her by making you confident that you can upgrade to a better model.

You will dump her with some obligatory guilt, and then forget her pretty fast. You'll chase a bunch of hot and crazy bitches around for a few years who treat you like dirt, not understanding your poor luck. Eventually, you'll end up with a moderately attractive but cold and shallow woman who dominates you and keeps you on your toes. Your relationship with her will be a never ending struggle to stay on her good graces, but you'll embrace the pain even while it chips away at your already fragile ego.

It's an old story. I've met many guys like this, and their narratives always end the same.
posted by timsneezed at 10:25 PM on May 29, 2011 [19 favorites]

It sounds like she's either the wrong person for you now or the right person at the wrong time. Maybe because you developed socially later, but you aren't ready for this kind of relationship now. Though younger, it sounds like she is ready. It happens - timing often sucks.

The answer to all of these questions is always: just break up. You will likely realize in six weeks that you were correct in assuming the 10s aren't going to do you and that you screwed up a good thing. But that isn't going to change how you feel now - it's part of maturing. You got a late start, so developmentally you're about 19, right? Too young, too inexperienced to be worried about one girl standing between you and FOREVER. You should tell her it's not working out because it's not. You want different things - though maybe refrain from accusing her of "acting like [she's] 40." (The way some of us are 40 is so much more than you can handle, btw.)

Thinking that something better is out there is just another sign of immaturity - given your background, it's understandable. It's possible a really open dialogue would help you get out of your head a little ... but more likely you just need to part ways before you do something that might really hurt her.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 10:32 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow, timsneezed. That's a very cynical overview, but, well, it's kinda what I've seen too, maybe not the ending up married to a cold harridan bit. But the elongated period of growing up that attends a stifling childhood, and the feeling you must stay with the first girl you like, that likes you back. Sexual anxiety also springs from this kind of childhood - you've realised you've missed out on the shallow pleasures of 'cussing' n drinking, now you think you've missed out on other forbidden things.

I think, OP, that you have a bit of that madonna/whore complex that percolates through our culture, but particularly within religious families. You're drawn to a 'good' woman for your home life, someone your peers admire, someone you can take home to your parents. And, you are also drawn to, what you think are, other types of women - those you think will allow you sexual expression. In your post there is quite a lot of dichotomy going on and you don't have to be either/or. And neither does the woman you want to have in your life.

It's a cliche, but I think you need to have a chat with a therapist. Unraveling the baggage of a childhood like you have experienced is worth doing earlier, rather than later in life.
posted by honey-barbara at 10:39 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

i don't want to party, but sometimes i want to stay out later than 10. sorry for offending you about the 40-year old comment. i guess i mean she gets tired easily and wants to go home and watch tv, rather than hanging out with our friends for another couple of hours. that seems boring to me.

What do you do for a living? Do you have to get up on weekday mornings and go to work? Does your girlfriend have to get up in the morning and go to work? Getting up in the morning when your alarm goes off at 6 or 7 and you were out until midnight (assuming 10pm plus "another couple of hours") sucks. It sucks a lot. I can pull it off maybe one night a week, but every night? No way. That sounds like hell.
posted by palomar at 10:44 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think folks are being unnecessarily harsh. It sounds like you two are in different places and you're afraid of losing her even though you're not sure you really want her. You still want to play the field before settling down, and given your background that might be reasonable.

I used to dismiss the whole 'timing is everything' but sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time. It sounds like you should have met this girl two years from now after you'd had a chance to experience the world and women more.

But you didn't meet her two years from now and you need to be honest with her about what you want and need.

I think people are being a bit obtuse about the 'acting 40', yes, she is acting like herself but we all know the difference between acting young and vibrant and old and retired. (And I know 40 is not old and retired.) Getting drunk regularly gets old pretty fast for a lot of people and I can see why your girlfriend may be tired of it. Sitting home and watching crappy movies can also get old.

It's okay to sow some wild oats. There are other girls in the world. You may regret breaking up with her but that's life and it's OK. You don't have to marry the first terrific woman you date. Sometimes the grass actually is greener and sometimes what passes for green grass is actually a crabgrass.
posted by shoesietart at 10:49 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I relate in many ways. My partner is actually highly allergic to alcohol so she's not a whole lot of fun to go out drinking with friends with. However she has no problem with me going out and staying out late, probably because I don't do it all that often. In my philosophy, any relationship you're in will have its pros and cons, and it's normal to feel restless now and then. But if you can be honest with each other about how you actually feel about things you'll manage a lot better than if you keep these feelings to yourself.
posted by moorooka at 11:16 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

Note that her behavior does not necessarily mean that she's boring - maybe it's that she wants to spend time with you, dude.

And there are ways and means you can spice up your sex life if you wish.

But are you happy to be with her - that is the question.
posted by mleigh at 12:43 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

OP, people are being really obnoxious and judgmental in this thread. I apologize on their behalf. Seems like folks are sensitive about being 40. Don't worry about them.

It sounds like, to your GF, moving in together was you telegraphing something that it turns out you werent. As such, she has made some changes in her lifestyle that she also expected you to make. You should maybe sit down with her and talk about how you feel things have changed and how it makes you feel unhappy. As plenty have said in-thread, living together doesn't necessarily mean "now we hang out only with each other," unless that's a conscious decision you male as a couple.

If she can't see your side of the situation, it may be time to think about breaking up. And being that this is your first real relationship, it may be the case that if you go through with it, that lack of relationship security will feel like regret a few months down the line, and you will have a long night of doubt. But why stay with someone who no longer likes the same recreational activities you do, and makes you feel guilty about wanting to partake in them? This isn't a case of you liking cycling and her liking bowling, hanging out, going out, this stuff is pretty fundamental. I know that, were my wife to get mad at me for wanting to go to the bar with our friends (as long as it is not interfering with my professional life/as long as my public behavior isn't problematic) would be a serious blow to our relationship.

As for your other problem of finding beautiful people attractive, well, everyone does that. I've been in a relationship for 7 years (married for one) and I also lust after beautiful women who aren't my wife. It's a function of a healthy libido. But it's just lust, and since I'm content with my relationship, I never feel like I'm missing out on something by not pursuing them. It's clear that you do. I have also had the opportunity to have more than one long-term relationship in my life. If youre no longer content in this relationship, it might be time to move on.

Good luck, and ignore the ridiculous negativity you encountered upthread.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:53 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

Hey timsneezed, if we're all doing amateur psychoanalysis, several hundred people probably just read your comment, laughed out loud and thought "projecting!".

To the OP, I'll say what I always say in these situations -- if you're not happy in a relationship, you either end it or sit down and have a frank conversation with your partner about why you're not happy. If you're not with someone you can have that kind of conversation with, then you need to end it anyway b/c it's clearly not meaningful enough for either one or both of you.
posted by modernnomad at 5:27 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

So I'm one of those people who got married at 20, to a 19 yr old. I'm now 30.

I go out (and stay out) most friday and saturday nights. He doesn't. Oh, he'll come along once every 3 or 4 months for a couple of hours, maybe. Is he boring? Nope, just has different needs to me come the end of the week. Do I stay out until midnight when I have work the next day? Very rarely, and usually by accident.

I watch the occasional eye candy that crosses my path, and occasionally ogle. Maybe I visualise when I masturbate. That's as far as it goes. Because, y'know, husband at home who I'm madly in love with.

Part of that madly in love bit, is that we've talked explicitly and openly about how we dispose of our non-work time. He gets cranky after a certain point in the evening, and if he's the driver, that's when we go. Otherwise, we're at a place where I can make my own way home safely, he gives me a kiss and a hug, says he loves me, and takes himself off.

I'd suggest you and your SO need to have that kind of talk. Must you party together? Why does she want to stay home? Why do you want to go out? Is there a halfway point you can reach - such as you going out, or one weekend on, one weekend off?
posted by ysabet at 5:49 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Probably Wrong Observation 1: Commitment poisons passion (i.e., wedding cake cures nymphomania)

Probably Wrong Observation 2: There is no Mr. / Ms. Right. ( lots of Mr./Ms. Adequates, though)

Probably Wrong Observation 3: Development delayed is development deferred. (No matter what, you've got to live your youth, and if you don't do it while you are young, you'll do it when you are older. Key hallmarks of this age are experimentalism, bad judgment, ignorance, inadequate empathy, general stupidity, smooth skin. The last one is the only thing the young can really brag about, but it's like the rooster claiming credit for the sunrise.)

Observation 4: Most young people are not on Jackass or Real Life. Boring lurks in every soul, waiting for Lazy to give it permission to rule. What I did after I was 50 would give a lot of 20-somethings pause.

FWIW, she may be a nice lady, but you are just now actually getting to see her. Visits to the zoo are not the same as living in the cage, kiddo. You are about to enter the "Breeding in captivity" zone, and the door is still open. Do whatever you want, of course. No one gives a shit. It's your life. Unless you sign it over to your mom again, that is.

Once YOUR personality is somewhat gelled, you are in a position to enter commitment. If it's still in major flux, who are you? What business do you have experimenting on someone who knows who she is? Not a recipe for happiness, IMO.
posted by FauxScot at 5:54 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

It sounds to me like you could really use some social skills training and a neutral third party to bounce ideas off of and figure out whether your expectations are realistic/healthy or not.

As a boring girl who sees "a few more hours out tonight" as a major imposition rather than a fun idea, and who is kind of appalled by that "acting like she's 40" line, I think it'd be better for her if you parted ways.

But since I don't know you and it's pretty clear you're confused, I will instead recommend therapy. And if your communication is as bad as I think it might be, couple's therapy might help, too.
posted by SMPA at 7:07 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

You sound really hung up on the idea that life has to function in a specific way, which is kind of a boring way to be. Lots of people don't have their first sexual experience till later or don't get married until in their thirties.

When you say you think your girlfriend would make a great wife you forget the fact that a great wife is someone you love who loves you for who you are not someone you try to shoe horn into a preconceived notion of what you want. Its someone you can talk to and compromise with.

I get the impression that your trying to live up to expectations that you feel you should have of yourself that you don't really want. Stop that. You need to decide what you really want from your life and go get it and stop obsessing over what you other people/your ingrained narrative think.

Also I think I should point out that maybe your girlfriend thinks going out drinking at a bar for hours is boring. Drunk people can be exceedingly tedious. That doesn't make someone boring. Maybe she just finds the get wasted and make dumb small talk in a loud bar with a drunk boyfriend thing really really dull.

I think you should break up with her. Someone potentially having the traits you think a wife should, being a good friend, or loving them doesn't mean you have to be with them forever. It seems to me you need to figure out what you really want before getting into a long term relationship.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:16 AM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

she used to be all about going out, but now that we live together, she doesn't want to so much. and that's sort of odd.

mleigh hit what I was thinking, OP. Maybe your girlfriend really wanted to spend time with you, and going out was how to do it before you lived together.

Should I consider other girls or give my girlfriend more of a chance (aka talk to her about my concerns)?

If you're not going to talk to her about your concerns, you might as well let her go free now. And be prepared for similar problems in your next relationship when you aren't talking to that one about your concerns either.
posted by cardioid at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

One of your questions is about what the sex would be like with other people -- people who are not your girlfriend, and it seems like you have curiosity about that, and wish that you'd had sex with more people. It's like conversation with different people -- with some it's entirely natural, great, with some it drags, with some it's fast-paced, it's just different with different people, but it's still just conversation; it's still you making up half of it.

I've had many lovers, and some I've enjoyed having sex more with others, but I don't think any of them would have been worth ending a great (or ever really good) relationship for. I understand the curiosity, but let me tell you from my place: sometimes I wish I had nothing -- no one -- to compare my partner to. Sometimes I wish sex was just what it is with my one and only partner. More experience is not always better; it can interfere.
posted by Clotilde at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

(Sorry for all the typos there!)
posted by Clotilde at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2011

So, since your question is, "How do I react in this relationship", I'd tell you what I would do and avoid all the projecting and conjecture:

I'd sit my partner down, not when we are about to go out but when the two of us are alone, and say, "I really like going out with you. I notice that sometimes you want to come home when I want to stay out later and party. Can we agree that on nights we don't have to get up early the next day, we can maybe stay out later, say until midnight? That would work for me. Or, if you don't really want to party any more, how do you feel about me going out with my friends--one night a week, or two, or whatever? And, since you like staying home and seeing movies, how about we agree we do that at least once a week, too?"

That would be a good start. Also, the seeing other girls and thinking they are hot, etc. is totally normal, and fantasizing about them is, too. But I think you realize that it's unrealistic to think you'd end up having sex with them if you weren't with your girlfriend. So you just have to decide which you want more: guaranteed relationship with this girl or the chance at sex with another one?
posted by misha at 7:49 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

There is something called ROCD...

That... may be true? (Don't want to incite a flamewar but really you should probably stop reading about things on the Internet.) But I don't think you need a diagnosis here. Why the pathologizing? It sounds like you're bored, don't want to be nagged and want to make up for "lost" time. (Pro tip from an older person: no such thing as lost time. Live the life you want to live now.)

But if you "constantly" think you should be with other people or not with your girlfriend or just want to sleep with other people, that's what you should do.

Meanwhile, tell your girlfriend that sometimes people in relationships have their own individual interests. Maybe yours are going out once a week and getting shit-faced! Awesome, enjoy. You don't have to enjoy her private interests either.

You don't "give someone more of a chance" in a relationship. You talk to them. If your partner is on probation, you've basically already broken up.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:08 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks for all of the responses. firstly, i apologize for sounding a bit jerkish in my post. i was a little drunk (oh, the irony) last night and i've read so many good responses on metafilter before (different questions) that i mainly joined to ask about this. due to my inexperience, i guess i could have easily consulted a therapist and asked these questions; though, i was curious about what the general consensus would be and wanted to describe my situation to others.

FIRSTLY, i do not "party" all the time. during the week, absolutely not. i work in finance in quite a lucrative position, so during the week i MAY have 2-3 beers in a night, but rarely rarely rarely will i drink to the point of having a hangover the next day. SECONDLY, i don't get drunk every weekend. i'd say once a month i get a little out of control, and my girlfriend always says "i don't like when you get that drink too much," and then i have to remind her i haven't drank that much in a month and tell her she is overreacting. this, i find, is 1 uncomfortable part of our relationship.

thirdly i appreciate some of the responses (i.e. misha), but some of you guys are retarded. "acting 40" only means that she wants to settle down in such a way that means we don't go out much, sit around and watch tv, maybe have a glass of wine, and go to bed by 11. i'm 28. i don't like that. i am okay with it A LOT of the time, but sometimes i want to go out and stay out until 1am and get a little drunk. once a month. i find it odd that she's younger than me and would be perfectly okay with being a stay at home mom tomorrow. BUT, i don't have a problem with that if she didn't expect me to want to be the same way.

as for seeing other girls and wanting to fool around. yes yes yes i definitely get that it is normal. is my experience with other women worth breaking up with my current girlfriend? absolutely not, to be frank. but i sure did emphasize that point, and maybe a little excessively. i don't think it's abnormal for a guy in their 20s to want to stay out a bit late here and there, and honestly that is the biggest problem in our relationship. i'd love to have sex with other girls, but i truly don't think that alone is worth ending the relationship.

i apologize for seeming like a jerk. my "being 40" comment was only to let you guys know she likes to be a bit lazy and sit around. i should have said those words and not referenced an age. i apologize for offending anyone with that remark.
posted by only4u at 9:32 AM on May 30, 2011

You know, the sober you sounds like he's making worse choices than the drunk you.

This isn't an issue of acting a particular age; it's an issue of fit, and it's obvious from your post and comments that you don't.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:40 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

thirdly i appreciate some of the responses (i.e. misha), but some of you guys are retarded
i apologize for seeming like a jerk.

You're still doing it wrong.

You sound like you like getting drunk more than your girlfriend. If you do it every month and she doesn't like it every month then she isn't overreacting, she just doesn't like it.
You need to have a real conversation with her about these topics or look to move on.
Easiest solution seems to me is that It doesn't seem unreasonable for you to maybe start going out once a month alone and drinking with friends in excess if you want, just don't involve her in having to drive you or anything like that.
posted by zephyr_words at 9:42 AM on May 30, 2011

Dude. When your girlfriend says she doesn't like it when you get drunk, it's because you're getting "a little out of control" (direct quote from you).

I drink sometimes, but I emphatically cannot stand being around people who turn into a different person when they drink. It sounds like maybe that's what your GF's objection is -- that when you get a few drinks in you, you act like someone she does not like. It would be kind of helpful to know what "getting a little out of control" actually means (do you get loud and obnoxious? do you grope her in public with no regard for her wishes? etc.), but that's a really great jumping off point for more exploration for you. Basically, if you're getting out of control when you drink, you are doing drinking wrong.

Also, if you want helpful advice, try not calling us retarded, friend. That's incredibly offensive.
posted by palomar at 9:48 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: i was not calling "you" retarded, friend, i was saying some of the responses were offensive towards me. after all, i'm the OP so may as well give me your response. if it happens to be terrible, i'll let you know. i'm not the only one who has pointed this out. instead of retarded, maybe i should have said "that advice doesn't make any sounds like you are offended about my post." if you're offended by my post, it's going to through off your judgement...i.e. do not respond in the first place. friend, if i offend YOU, it's because you offended me in the first place.

"out of control" simply means being drunk enough to have a hangover. loud and obnoxious is not me. i think the worst thing i do when i get "out of control" is get pretty stubborn, but i don't ever make a scene. everyone has made a scene before and it happens sometimes, but for the most part i'm not that kind of drunk. last time i got drunk though i woke up in the middle of the night and went and peed. i didn't do anything but pee, and in the toilet mind you, except accidentally knocked over a painting i bought for $10 several years ago. it made a loud crash and my girlfriend is STILL pissed i was drunk. no painting falling (and it was my painting!) and she would have never been pissed. it's absolutely RETARDED to me. i don't even remember waking up and peeing either (not that it helps my case, but hey, it happens).

some of you are pretty judgmental about drinking. you've never drank a little too much before? give me a break. i'm not saying it happens often (and once a month i don't wake up in the middle of the night and pee and not remember it, that's kind of a rarity), but if it does happen circumstantially (the night goes longer, friends come in to town, we go on vacation, etc.) i think it should be a "whatever" kind if thing. my girlfriend just gets pissed.
posted by only4u at 9:59 AM on May 30, 2011

Response by poster: btw, what the hell does "you're still doing it wrong" mean?
posted by only4u at 10:00 AM on May 30, 2011

There's something that seems kind of odd to me about how you describe both your activities and your girlfriend's (lack of) activities... In short, the only activity you describe involves alcohol. You've set up a dichotomy: either someone wants to go out and get drunk with friends or one sits around being lazy and watching TV. Why are those the only two types of activity?

Do you have hobbies? Does your girlfriend? If you guys are going to do something other than go out and get drunk, what would it be? If you say to her, "Hey! Let's go do something!" is she going to interpret that as nothing more than a request to go get drunk at a bar?

It may very well be that the thing your girlfriend doesn't want to do is get drunk (and/or watch you get drunk). She may have become more "lazy" and "boring" specifically because she doesn't want to do this one particular activity. Is it possible that she'd be open to plenty
of other exciting, fun, interesting activities... so long as they didn't involve drinking alcohol?

You really don't seem to want us to point to alcohol as problematic at all. But your girlfriend clearly thinks it's a problem. It may be worthwhile for you to consider what other fun activities you can think to do with her that don't involve drinking.
posted by meese at 10:03 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: yeah, we play tennis, golf, basketball. we go to the mall sometimes. we go to movies. normal things that people do. the reason i'm bringing up alcohol is because it is the only problem that we seem to have. other than seeing other women and wanting to be with them, of course...which i feel is static for most men now.

if we got pissed off at each other while playing basketball, i would certainly have included it in my post. if someone posts asking about a hernia, the readers probably don't want to know if their foot hurts also. i'm just telling you what's going on that i'm concerned about, not the things that we do otherwise that are normal and without problems.
posted by only4u at 10:08 AM on May 30, 2011

I drink all the time but I don't have a loved that doesn't like or is disappointed in my actions.

You're still doing wrong can be all encompassing. I was trying to nicely hint at you still coming off jerky with your word choices though.
I understand how you were using "retarded" I just don't understand why you'd use that word to describe anything.
posted by zephyr_words at 10:14 AM on May 30, 2011

i'm just telling you what's going on that i'm concerned about, not the things that we do otherwise that are normal and without problems.

You told us that she was boring and lazy and just wanted to watch TV. That was part of the problem, wasn't it? But it now doesn't sound like she's boring and lazy at all (I should know, I'm boring and lazy!). Instead, it sounds like she just doesn't want to go out drinking.
posted by meese at 10:17 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

You know, I'm not really hearing any big problems here. Most couples I know have one member who is more of a homebody and one who wants to go out more. They work it out by compromising.

I would suggest that you stop labeling and judging your girlfriend's preferences and accept her for who and how she is. She has as much right to have them as you have yours, and there's nothing wrong with a 25-year old preferring to stay in or get home early. Have an adult conversation about how you like to go out and get drunk every now and then and work something out. Either go with your friends and let her stay home, or see if she'll be willing to stay out late every now and then, or come to some other kind of arrangement.

As for wanting to sleep with random hot women, yeah, that's not going to go away. You've already said that it wouldn't be worth it to break up with her so you can do that, so there you go. You just have to get used to it. You seem resentful that you didn't get to sleep around much because of your religious upbringing, and I really hear you, having a very similar history. But it's up to you. You're free to break up with your gf and go out and try to make up for lost time, or you can just write it off and say oh well, I prefer to keep this relationship.

If you're not talking about this stuff in therapy, then you really should be.
posted by callmejay at 10:25 AM on May 30, 2011

Response by poster: damn. great post, callmejay. thank you. what's your relationship story? girlfriend/wife, did you split up to test more waters out there? i'm just curious.

no therapy here, though with OCD i definitely should anyway.

good point about the sleeping around thing. i try to just tell myself, "no matter why, you chose not to sleep around at a younger age, not to drink, etc. at this point you have a great girlfriend and you really just have to forget that you didn't get more sexual experiences in your life." i have to make that decision that the current girlfriend isn't worth being with others and making up for that inexperience. but it's still something that pops up in my mind, even if i eliminate that question for today.

in 10 years, i could have slept with 100 women if i broke up with my girlfriend today. my honest opinion, unless i found a better girlfriend/wife through it all (and i don't know if that's possible...partly due to my inexperience with dating), i don't think it would be worth giving up my current girlfriend to do. however i contemplate sometimes that the grass is greener, but you can't exactly check the grass over there out without leaving the grass you have now. that curiosity bugs me. sounds like that's just life, though.

FWIW, the word "retarded" has now been omitted from my Metafilter vocabulary.
posted by only4u at 10:35 AM on May 30, 2011

Getting "out of control" drunk to the point where you're not remembering large chunks of time, even if it's "only" once a month is not really healthy. I wasn't ready to agree with the people upthread suggesting you had a drinking problem until you started getting defensive that you drink "only 2-3" a night and "only" get wasted once a month. If your girlfriend objects to drinking in general that's one thing, but if she's telling you that you act irresponsibly when you get that drunk, you would be smart to listen to her before you end up feeling legal or professional consequences. If you just like booze more than her, and you're not doing irresponsible things like driving under the influence, then it's really just that you disagree on things you spend time on, and you both need to talk about making time to do things together that you like that don't involve drinking (because she doesn't like it) or sitting in front of the tv (because you don't like it).
posted by slow graffiti at 10:49 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I surmised from your original question that it's possible that we're hearing only your side of the story, and the real situation here is that your girlfriend thinks you have a drinking problem. I put that aside as uncharitable before, but your responses have me convinced. You have a drinking problem. Your girlfriend knows you have a drinking problem and wishes you'd do something about it. If you really loved her, you would take her advice.
posted by Sara C. at 11:04 AM on May 30, 2011 [6 favorites]

When you grow up in a very strict environment--whether the environment comes from external parental pressure, internal religious values, or both--it's hard to self-regulate once you're outside of that environment.

Taken together, your drinking habits are not healthy. Regularly having 2-3 drinks on weeknights, drinking heavily every weekend, drinking to the point of being out of control every few weeks--this points to something off balance. That you posted your original question while somewhat drunk is telling. Your girlfriend isn't pissed about the painting, she's pissed that you drink like a 19-year-old college freshman--that you drink without thinking about the potential consequences, that you drink and break things.

If you want to stay out late and get drunk and not settle down, that's your choice, but break up with your girlfriend. If you'd rather stay with your girlfriend, make different choices about how and when you drink. She gets to have feelings about your drinking when you share a life together. You need to decide whether you value those feelings enough to change your behavior, or would prefer to keep drinking and end things with your girlfriend.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:49 PM on May 30, 2011 [8 favorites]

- Should I consider other girls etc.

No, but you should consider other women. When a man in his mid-20s (or older) is still thinking in terms of "girls" it always rings a tiny bell with me that you're trying to relive part of your lost youth there somewhere.

In high school they were girls. Now they're women. Refocus.
posted by zadcat at 2:55 PM on May 30, 2011 [7 favorites]

in 10 years, i could have slept with 100 women if i broke up with my girlfriend today. my honest opinion, unless i found a better girlfriend/wife through it all (and i don't know if that's possible...partly due to my inexperience with dating), i don't think it would be worth giving up my current girlfriend to do. however i contemplate sometimes that the grass is greener, but you can't exactly check the grass over there out without leaving the grass you have now. that curiosity bugs me. sounds like that's just life, though.

Oh, heavens, I know you are going to think I am a jerk, but dude: relationships are not something you go out and buy. Girlfriends are not things you pick up off the shelf. Why don't you step back and think about why you are framing complex feelings, relationships, and interactions in such compartmentalized, commodified terms. It's like you want to decide on whether to go or stay based on the statistical probability that you can trade in your current car for something with cooler features. Or like you are playing love as though it were the stock market. I mean, you can do that if you want, but is that really how you want to go through life.

And: I surmised from your original question that it's possible that we're hearing only your side of the story, and the real situation here is that your girlfriend thinks you have a drinking problem. I put that aside as uncharitable before, but your responses have me convinced. You have a drinking problem.

Yeah, totally. You sound like every family member and friend of mine who has had to go through AA at some point in their lives.

I point these things out only because I guess that if you are totally honest with both your girlfriend, and yourself, you'll figure out what you really want to do. What that may be is up to you. But it seems like there is some stuff going on here that you might want to address before making any major life decisions. Just sayin'.
posted by vivid postcard at 6:24 PM on May 30, 2011

Response by poster: i don't remember really getting defensive about drinking, it's just that some people here suggested earlier that i implied in my original post that i drank all the time, and that i was hungover during the week with a job to go to, etc. i do not drink 2-3 beers every night, that is not what i said at all. i countered the earlier comments by saying IF i drink during the week, it's 2-3 beers at most. i don't really see how that is irresponsible or signifies i have a drinking problem in any regard whatsoever. i feel like i'm getting severely judged on details that i'm not typing out (and not realizing i need to).

anyway i'm not sure why i keep responding to this. i kind of feel like several members here are just making assumptions and giving me pretty brash responses. bottom line is i love my girlfriend, would love to have sex with other girls but don't think it's worth giving her up (thanks in part to some responses here), and if friends want to do shots together i'll divulge, but don't want the girlfriend to be pissed the next day. i really just started this thread to see if that is normal and if not, how i should react to the situation.
posted by only4u at 10:49 PM on May 30, 2011

I have to say that you sound a little immature. Which is fine, of course. Many people are immature in lots of different ways and people grow at different rates.

You mention (multiple times) wanting to have sex with different girls (I'd use the word 'women' if I were you, but that's your choice). That's a completely normal thing to want. I don't think this desire is going to go away. As others have suggested, I think that breaking up with your girlfriend is the best option. Neither of you sound very happy in the relationship at this point. You could spend time communicating and making concrete changes to create a happier relationship for both of you, but to me it doesn't sound like you want to do this.

Good luck figuring it out!
posted by sucre at 11:39 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

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