Tired of relationships, want to be single, but I have a great boyfriend
June 25, 2017 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Hey, dear strangers in the internet - since you're a neutral source, I am turning to your wisdom for help with a bit of problem which many people probably consider as ridiculous, but I am really having a hard time, it’s passively eating me alive and disables me to be completely happy. I hope I am able to get some compassionate answers. Sorry for tldr!

Dear people!

First of all, I would like to put the whole situation in a context even though it might discorague you to read the whole thing, but it puts things into the perspective. I am 26 year old female lived the whole life with extremely narcissistic parents, I have had a really tough life, full of emotional, physical and even sexual abuse and this implanted some fears in me, fear of decision making, hurting other people, I was hearing my whole life how I will regret my choices regarding relationships, boys, sex etc.,even though I have not had any of that until I was 18. I was simply too terrified, had many trust issues, it was obvious that I have the wall in front of me, so that drive quite some people away I guess. Not to mention all of my characteristic traits were surpressed as I was a kid, I was not allowed to have any emotions, personality, interests and hobbies, not even clothes and music in my room, if it was not in a very tight box of my parents’ of tolerance. Basically they wanted me to become a brainless obedient girly girl who becomes a housewife to an extremely machistic guy someday. You may imagine. At some point as a kid/teenager, I also had to be councelor for my parents’ sex issues, for gods sake! I had to endure listening how they are unhappy and what do they regret in marriage. I was not allowed to use make up or to be ‘’pretty’’, just ‘’presentable’’ , was doing extremely good at school, worked since I was 15, and had to endure how I owe all of my successes to my parents. That’s it in a nutshell. It took me forever to identify the issue and to more or less limit the confidence issues, to stop being actively angry and to wonder if I will ever be good enough. It is some kind of skeleton in a closet, yet extremely hard one to address and deal with.

As I was almost 19, I got into my first relationship and slowly started deviating from the toxicity of my own family, as I started realizing my boyfriend and people close to me are appalled by my situation and that there must be something wrong, but not with me. I was in a relationship for a year, had a few months as kind of single, after that I got into my first (2 year long) and second (3 year long) relationship.
This was the relationship with a guy I loved in the way I think one should love the person. As the poets describe it, you know. So drained me out completely as it was long distance and the guy had way too hard time to open up and to show his care for me, also he did not put lots of effort into it – or so it seemed due to his anxiety issues. We still care deeply for each other, I do not regret it and both of us still think this could ‘’be it’’ if we sort some practical and logistical issues out once we grow a little. I loved him since I met him 10 years ago and will probably never stop caring about him in some way even though we had quite nasty times.
Shortly before we broke up, however, I met a guy that seemed to be characteristically perfect for me – laid-back, reasonable, up for fun stuff (which I lacked with an ex, he was quite socially anxious and never wanted to leave the house) and liked me very much. We connected, started talking all the days and nights, yet I was exhausted and only wanted to have fun with him despite the fact that I knew he would be great with me on the long run. I had a fling that from my side looked more like passing-by-crush, yet he’s a bit older and fell in love with me. He shortly after confessed that he has not felt like this since he was a teenager and that he loves me truly and he wants only me (after cca 5 months of talking to each other). I told him I was pretty drained from my previous relationship and it might be a good idea to wait a bit before getting serious again, but I guess I was not clear enough. I wanted the single life already, although I had a great guy willing to date me.
I thought I might give this guy a chance, what do I have to lose. I can still break up with him. But he actually has never failed me, does everything perfectly, cares about me, is romantics, we have a very well intimacy situation, misses me when I’m gone, is honest and loyal. Just the kind of guy I would want to marry someday in case I would want to marry. It has been 8 months since we've hooked up the first time.

The problem is, well…as I went through my worst break up with my ex and got to know this guy, I started feeling apathetic in a way. The current boyfriend has had his promiscuous past, ‘’the college years’’, the ones I did not have. And I did not miss it with my ex, we were kind of equal on that. Honestly, I don’t even like going to clubs, but I have never had ‘’adventures’’ in this sort of way so I feel I am missing out and that everyone sees me as ‘’the poor girl who had only relationships’’ and boring. His circle of friends, well, they all have participated in many one night stands and whatnot and even though I had no interest in that before due to my (I’m not sure if smart) decisions to look for one person that would care about me since my family did not, have missed that part of life that ‘’normal’’ people led. If I’d stay with him, I would want us to be on at least approximately equal side.

So nowadays, I just started getting more careless. It almost feels like I am getting the maturity of a teenager because I want to experience all of it suddenly. I do not want to get these ideas once I am 50 and have bunch of kids already. I know my boyfriend is awesome, I can honestly say I care about him and love him in some way, even though not the same way as I did my ex; the current thing seems more like a good deal, a friend with benefits almost. Not someone I would get butterflies when we meet, I never had that. But someone that makes me generally happy since he worships and loves me. A year ago, my biggest wish was to find a job, to move in with my ex or someone and start a family, I desired that with my whole heart, nowadays, I am not even sure if I want that with anyone. Maybe someday. If it would happen, I have a feeling my current bf would be a really great father, though. But I cannot say I fantasize about that any longer.
Maybe it is because everything seems so vain at the moment. Like I am not able to offer anyone what they haven’t experienced yet, like it does not matter what do I do or whom do I give myself and my intimacy to, because no one appreciates that anyway. People do it all the time with strangers and maybe it’s time to get accustomed to that and see it for myself since it doesn’t matter. That's also the reason I did it with my current boyfriend since before we were together he went into a lot of details about his previous adventures and sex life. After we got together, he never mentioned it again, he said that he regrets it now since ''i'm so awesome to him that he wouldve traded all of them for me'' etc. I don’t know.

This lead to my decision to take a year off and to work as a volunteer in Norway in a hostel. For the first time ever I did something for myself only and I am very happy with my decision since everything I have ever done, was either for someone else, for the greater good and so on. Most of the time to satisfy my family and to earn their love which was never achieved anyway. So now I am having a work I love, I am learning new skills, talents, meeting people, finding myself and my character which was suppressed by the weight of expectations of the others for years. So I am practically having a long distance relationship now, meeting a lot of people in a foreign country and having the ‘’what if…’’ thoughts. It sometimes doesn’t even make me feel bad. I have never cheated nor would I, but I would want to discover myself fully, yet I am afraid to do this step.

I have talked to him about it. He was, obviously, very sad but he claimed that if he gives me more time, I’ll ‘’see what I have’’ and I’ll get over it and start being happy. Honestly, to me it sounds a bit idealistic.
On the other hand, my ex and I have also agreed to not be friends because we know we feel to each other more than that, but in case of trouble we support each other. So I talked to him about similar stuff (not explicitly asking for an advice on new relationship, but around this topic…) and he said that I should take this year for myself, that I have done too much in that area of life and I should just put it on the side and take some time for myself. I know, many people tell me how single life is not as awesome etc., but i just have not experienced it first hand. Ironically, since all i wanted as a teenager was one single person whom i would be able to trust...

So even though my life is very enjoyable at the moment, free from toxic people, I am living in the condition I always wanted and think I have a great future ahead of me, this is a bit of a stain on it as I am not sure if that is something that just passes by with time or is it gonna be corrosive in the future.

Would anyone be willing to give me an input?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (5 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Sorry, but this is really more of a processing exercise (or just sharing your story?) than a specific concrete question for people to answer. -- taz

I'm not sure what your question is? But... be single!

You very clearly stated what you want in the title, and then wrote a bunch of confusing stuff. Loose yourself from all the confusing stuff (this guy vs that guy, your family, etc etc etc) and go be single in Norway!

(But it does sound like you've gone through some heavy stuff. Put the guys on hold and see a therapist to get a handle on it instead, if you aren't already.)
posted by functionequalsform at 6:45 AM on June 25, 2017

There doesn't seem to be a question here. Is the question "Is it okay to break up with an otherwise great boyfriend because I want to enjoy and develop other aspects of my life while I'm 26 and enjoying my freedom and independence?"

Because yes, it is.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:46 AM on June 25, 2017

You can break up with anyone for any reason. Do it and enjoy Norway and get to know yourself!

I suggest learning a new hobby as you adjust to the single life - knitting is my favorite and the yarn in Norway is beautiful, cheap, and plentiful.
posted by sockermom at 6:51 AM on June 25, 2017

You have identified your problem - you didn't have a chance to grow up "naturally" instead of jumping from your parents' situation to serious relationships, and you regret what you missed. You should break up with your boyfriend - better now than in five years when you've wasted each other's time.

Worth noting - not everyone has "adventures" as a young adult, and a friendship circle where people judge you because you haven't slept around a lot isn't a very healthy one, especially if people are grown adults. For instance, the majority of my friends didn't have a lot of hook-ups in youth, even the very good-looking ones - the people who are really sexual had more hook-ups, the people who are less sexual had fewer, and we're all doing okay. I mean, you want them so you should go out and pursue them, but don't let people convince you that this is the only way to have a happy life.
posted by Frowner at 6:51 AM on June 25, 2017

When people grow up in abusive or controlling families, it can be hard for them to find a true sense of self, because the reflections they get back from their parents are so distorted. That difficulty in finding self while in intense relationships with other people can continue into adulthood. I think that for people struggling with that, it makes total sense to take some time and get a better sense of self as a single person, so that they can take that knowledge back with them into relationships; with better self-knowledge, things like negotiating boundaries in relationship can get a bit easier and more healthy.
posted by lazuli at 7:06 AM on June 25, 2017

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