October 4, 2011 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Follow up to this question: What are productive ways to be mad or frustrated with an SO? I want to honor my feelings and work through them properly, but I also really want to keep moving forward with my guy, too.

Context specific, here.

Long story short, my relationship with my SO has been a ridiculous rollercoaster ever since we got together, and the last month sucked so much that we decided to call it quits temporarily to give ourselves some time to breathe. We finally were honest about what was bugging us (mostly we are just OD'd on seeing each other so often and spending so much time together; other myriad issues too) and we are keen on starting over and taking things slow. Dating, lots of good conversation, etc. We have determined that we care about each other deeply and though we are not ready to say "I love you" again yet, we are looking forward to that gradually being a part of our lives again in the future.

One thing that's getting hard for me to deal with is that sometimes I'm still really mad at him for stuff he said when we were fighting. I'm also stressed occasionally about the reality of starting over, which scares me because it's a little daunting and because at one point during our fall-out I became very okay with the possibility of dating again, and now that leaves me feeling guilty since we're working things out and I'm still curious. I brought the latter point up recently and he was so, so devastated by the idea, and now I feel rotten.

How can I honor these feelings of anger and curiosity in a healthy, productive way? I am tired of finding myself all nitpicky after a good day with him because I'm picking fights with him just to get my frustrations out. A part of me wonders if a longer break is necessary, but we had such a hard time with doing a break in the first place that now I'm not sure what to do. Couple's counseling seems too serious for us right now. We're both a little skittish about rushing into things.
posted by iLoveTheRain to Human Relations (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I read your previous question. May I?

I think maybe this guy is pretty good, but you both are just not ready yet for intimacy.

Intimacy is hard. It's a skill and and art AND a product of life experience - A/K/A emotional maturity.

Not that you are immature! But you are both forcing things.

My husband and I never fought, really, until the first few months when our son was born. kinda nasty fights, because he is silent but very strong and I grew up in a crappy household and freely used dirty tactics for a minute there. We talked. We understood we were sleep deprived and loved our son so much, but we were not on the same page. It was fairly easy for us to get back on the same page and let go of any ill will conveyed prior. But we're older, wiser, and take the long view. Also, we had a great three years to draw from and understood this was an anomaly for us.

Struggling to make relationships like this succeed when they are likely destined to fail is part of growing up.

I reckon this is a case of this not being exactly the right person for intimacy right now, and a lack of life experience.

Others will give concrete techniques. You are not a failure if these techniques implemented don't "take."

It's just life. It gets better. You get better. I know this for sure!
posted by jbenben at 7:58 PM on October 4, 2011

From experience, I don't think you can move forward from something like this until you've really, truly let go of the resentments. And you haven't. More time might help, and you also might need to mentally be single for a while - not necessarily go the next step of dating or anything, but really separate yourself out from the demands of the relationship. Get to know each other as people again. You might find after a while that having the other person in your life is completely worth dropping the old crap. Or if it's not, it's not.
posted by ella wren at 10:25 PM on October 4, 2011

The point of a temporary break is to take time to let go of things like lingering resentments, get insights into your issues that get in the way of a healthy relationship, and develop coping skills for stress & anxiety ("picking fights with him just to get my frustrations out" will not serve you well in life, trust me). If you haven't done those things, then you aren't ready for the do-over.

Also it sounds like you aren't ready for the do-over if you are interested in dating other people.

Most relationships end with a breakup. There's nothing wrong with recognizing that you're not compatible right now, wishing each other well, and moving on.
posted by headnsouth at 3:50 AM on October 5, 2011

Hon, from your previous questions, you have been dating this guy for 8 months and all of them have been filled with fighting. Relationships shouldn't be this difficult. Cut your losses and move on.
posted by animalrainbow at 7:32 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

An honest question: Why do you want to date him? If you can't forgive him and it's causing you to pick fights with him, that's pretty obviously unhealthy. You don't want to date someone you're always mad at any more than he wants to date someone who's always mad at him. It's not fair to either of you. And on that note, if you're still interested in dating other people, you really have no business dating him right now.

if you haven't already, try talking to him about the leftover anger you have, and how it hurt you when he said xyz. I'm not sure that will do much to alleviate the anger, because at best he'll apologize, and that's probably not going to do much.

You guys care for each other, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're a good match. Accept that, and decide whether or not you're ready, willing, and able to proceed with a relationship.

Either you move on from the past, or you move on, period. If you can't do one, you'll have to do the other.
posted by metaphorik at 12:28 AM on October 6, 2011

« Older What to do when an employer stiffs you on a...   |   Am I thinking about sex and dating the right way? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.