October 30, 2019 at 6:37 am #320503
My situation is one of big indecision. I am 27 (female) and have been in 3 consecutive relationships (with a 3 week single streak) since I am 18. It have been nice relationships but I always end up breaking up after some years because I feel I need time to be with myself – consequently immediately falling head over heels for a new guy. My current relationship has been going on for 4 years and here I find myself again, with this deep wish to be by myself and experience life without being tied to someone. I wont bore you with the details of the relationship, what it comes down to is that I am a total people pleaser and have a tough time standing my ground. I love my boyfriend but I keep going through a cycle of indecision and complaining about him, while he is just being himself.
I have discussed this all with him and he is very sad, but because he loves me he is ready to let me go if that is what I feel I need…he is very happy in the relationship and says I am the best girlfriend he has had. But I just don’t feel this way, tho I am not unhappy at all, and it is very confusing that we see the relationship differently… I guess because of my lack of communication. I cannot seem to break up tho, he is so sweet and loves me and there is this invisible wall stopping me – sometimes all I want is to be alone and other moments I just want to lie in his arms on the couch… so much indecision and I feel very guilty! Its not fair to him. Do I need to break up just so I know if being single is what I really want/need?
Any advice for a girl who lives with constant and exhausting indecision?October 30, 2019 at 7:18 am #320521
Are you sure being single is what you really want/need if you always immediately jump into another relationship or do you feel there is something lacking in your life (likely within yourself) that you might be able to find if you just take more time to focus on yourself and your wants while you’re in this relationship?
Your boyfriend sounds like he’s really reasonable and loves you, so it sounds like if you just talk to him about needing a little more “me time” alone to figure yourself out, I bet he would give that to you without much of an issue. Then just take that time to yourself to dig deep into your feelings/emotions and figure out WHY you’re a people please or why you always feel the need to break up after some time (which actually, Anita on this message board could probably help you with. She’s good at helping people to dive into those things because a lot of it has to do with things that happened when we were younger). Look for ways to help you be and feel more assertive rather than being a people pleaser. I ended up going through counseling to help me with that because I used to be a people pleaser, too, and also used to overthink, so perhaps if counseling is an option for you, that might be extremely helpful in that way, too.
I think the wall that goes up and your indecision may be your intuition telling you that breaking up with him might not be the right decision, especially if your relationship is good overall. It’s possible to find yourself while you’re in a relationship, so maybe that’s what you should focus on instead of being single (especially because being single itself won’t help you find yourself), and then see how you feel after some time.October 30, 2019 at 7:55 am #320537
Hi Valora, thank you for your advice, I appreciate it.
I have indeed seen a counselor about this and done a lot of reflecting on my own too and I am very aware of how my past and my family relationships have contributed to me being a people pleaser. I have worked very hard on this part of myself and have applied my progress onto my relationship by standing my ground more and trying to integrate my values. However, I find myself dating a guy who “is how he is and that is never gong to change”, which means that any values of mine that I have tried to integrate into the relationship have largely been rejected. I’ll give you an easy example; I want to have dinner at the kitchen table instead of on the sofa in front of the tv, so that we have some quality time to talk. After 4 years it has still been impossible to make this happen. I think this is my fault for never bringing it up at the beginning of the relationship. Like this I have many more examples.
I don’t want to make this a post where I blame him for everything. On the contrary. He is who he is and he knows it, and he has been very clear about it since the beginning. Me on the other hand have not, and as I take time to reflect on myself and understand what I want, I see it just doesn’t match up at all with what he wants. I feel I have cheated him by pretending to be so okay with everything all this time, and it is catching up with me. I feel the only way forward is to end this relationship so I can really figure out what I want and then find someone who matches those values.
I kind of believe that wall that doesn’t allow me to break up is the fear of hurting him soso badly…October 30, 2019 at 9:41 am #320567
Reads to me that on one hand you greatly need to be in a relationship, and on the other hand, maintaining a relationship is very taxing for you, it takes a whole lot out of you, so you yearn to be free.
This is the part of the relationship that is so taxing for you: “I am a total people pleaser and have a tough time standing my ground, doing what your boyfriend is doing “just being himself”, that is, it is taxing for you not being just that, yourself.
Problem is that for the two of you in a relationship have to compromise yourselves and experiment with new things: he needs to compromise his habit of eating on the sofa in front of the TV, experiment with eating at the kitchen table with you. Maybe he will like it if he tries!
But if his attitude is: this “is how he is and that is never going to change”- then he is the wrong guy for you. Because this attitude means life has to be his way and not at all your way, my-way-or-the-highway type thing. This is not at all loving on his part, not at all “so sweet and loves me”.
He told you from the beginning of the relationship that he is not willing to live your way at all, only his way (“he has been very clear about it since the beginning”) and you accommodated him for a long time. It is no wonder to me that he says that you are “the best girlfriend he has had”.
You brought up a moral dilemma: he told you from the beginning that it is his way or the highway, basically, and you were not clear with him, meaning you didn’t tell him you want to live your life with him your way as well as his, and therefore you “cheated him by pretending to be so okay with everything all this time”.
My beginning input on your moral dilemma: it is similar to this- two people meet, one says: I want you to be my slave, the other says: okay and proceeds to be a good slave. A few years later, the slave says: I don’t want to be a slave, I don’t like it! And the slave owner says: well, that is not fair! I told you from the beginning that I want you to be my slave and you agreed! And then you were my slave for years and I like it. I is not fair that you change the rules!
So the slave says: well, I still want to be with you, just not a slave. Can we be together in a different way? And the slave owner says: no! I like it this way! And you agreed to it. And you were my best slave ever!
Am I going too far with my imagining?
anitaOctober 30, 2019 at 11:00 am #320571
Yes you have captured that well, very long story very short, that is the situation I find myself in, and I definitely blame myself for not owning up to my values and communicating better since the beginning. I belief that if I would have done that, we would probably not even be in this relationship (I absolutely dont want to play victim). I have not been unhappy at all, but reading back my journals of these last years, the themes are extremely repetitive, as follows:
We are fine, stable…then I start feeling restless, I want us to do more of the things together that I enjoy like take walks, eat together, have friends in common, have more sex… for him to generally be more proactive in doing things together (he likes videogames and tv) – I explain, try to apply changes and he makes clear it is not something he finds necesary or likes, we fight, make up and forget about it – I start focusing on myself and we are again stable for a couple of months until I again start feeling like something is missing for me in the relationship.
However I do love him…of course after all these years we have formed a close bond and we share all the things we have, so taking that final step to break a seemingly unavoidable cycle is very tough, specially when he really doesnt see why and is quite surprised I feel this way. I do belief I would benefit from some time alone for the first time in my life to work on myself and my boundries. I am however used to ending my relationships once there are no more feelings on my side, and since this time there are still feelings, it really seems impossible…October 30, 2019 at 12:13 pm #320589
It really sounds to me like your needs aren’t being met in this relationship, so it’s not actually a good relationship, even though things are fine and stable. Having your needs met are important and from what you’ve said in the 2nd post, it sounds like your partner isn’t very willing to do this. This really makes you two incompatible. What do you think?October 30, 2019 at 12:24 pm #320593
Well, since I captured the your situation well, then regarding your moral dilemma: it is okay for you to change the slave/owner relationhip with him at any point in time, regardless of you agreeing to it earlier. First, you didn’t sign a contract with him to be his slave forever. And even if you did, such a contact would be thrown out of a court of law very quickly!
As to the rest of your recent post: “We are fine, stable… then I start feeling restless”- born to be free, to experience some of his freedom, to do “more of the things that I enjoy”.
So you explain this to slave owner aka boyfriend, and “he makes clear it is not something he finds necessary” and that “he really doesn’t see why and is quite surprised (you) feel this way” so you “fight, make up and forget about it”.
I wonder why he is surprised that you want to experience some of the freedom he takes for himself. Is it that he thinks that you are a different species of animal from him, one that doesn’t have that innate calling-of-the-wild all animals have, this longing to be free (as in free to eat at the dinner table from time to time)?
anitaOctober 30, 2019 at 1:01 pm #320599
Thanks to both of you for your answers.
I think that indeed in many aspects we are incompatible and the things we want out of a relationship are different. By me agreeing so often to giving up things I find important in a relationship, I have given him the impression that he has a lot of control to make the decisions. I have held on very strongly to the aspects that we do have in common and times that we have fun together and used them as the reason why we belong together, but the more I think about it, the more I believe these are things I can also find with someone else.
I am terrified of not having him in my life, he is such a big part of it…but mostly I feel like a horrible person for hurting him. I have tried to break up before but I just havent been able to utter the words, it literally feels like they are stuck in my throat! Like when you scream in a dream but no noise comes out of your mouth. Why does it seem so impossible? Am I just afraid of having to deal with the aftermath? Afraid that I cant take it back? Because again…we are talking master and slave, but he really isnt a bad guy at all, just different.
Thanks again for the advices, I have to say it is helping me a lot.October 30, 2019 at 1:06 pm #320603
You are welcome. I am trying to understand the following, and it may be helpful to you to explore it further:
“I feel like a horrible person for hurting him”- how is he or will he be hurt???
anitaOctober 30, 2019 at 1:19 pm #320609
We have built a life together over the past 4 years, given that he doesnt like to go out, we have spent most of our time just the two of us and developed everything around this. We have made plans for the future, have a house, pets… he genuinly thinks we are very happy together and all that will fall apart the moment I say the words. He does not have much of a support system and that worries me. Thinking someone loves you 100% and then they suddenly break up with you…I can imagine is very tough.October 30, 2019 at 1:32 pm #320613
Clearly you are very attached to him, so a breakup will be very difficult for you.
What leads you to think that it will be so very difficult for him?
I mean, if he places his desire to eat every night on the sofa and never sit by the dining table over your desire, so to not give you a bit of what you want- how much does he care to not lose you.
October 30, 2019 at 1:57 pm #320621
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by anita.
You are right… that it is something I just cannot know nor predict, just what I guess based on his feelings towards me. He has had a hard life and I feel he loves me in the ways that he knows how, but sadly that is just not enough for me.
I think I just have to focus on myself, it will be hard enough for me once I manage/am ready to break it off. I know now it has to be done, one way or another.October 30, 2019 at 2:29 pm #320625
It will be easier for him than it will be for you. It is you who are “terrified of not having him” in your life, not the other way around. This is why you people-pleased him all this time, and he didn’t reciprocate, didn’t inconvenience himself a bit so to please you.
“I have tried to break up before but I just haven’t been able to utter the words, it literally feels like they are stuck in my throat”-
– you can plan breaking up with him, make a detailed plan as to where, when and how to do it. And if the words literally get stuck in your throat you can do what I am doing right now- typing words. And present him with a paper.
The plan can include different scenarios: preparing yourself to respond to different things he may say to you as you execute the plan. You are welcome to plan this here if you want my input on your plan.
anitaOctober 31, 2019 at 2:17 am #320671
I would actually appreciate that a lot. In the past whenever I have prepared arguments he seems to always have an answer to counter them. This confuses me and makes me feel I have not been trying hard enough to fix things. The mix of seeing him sad, surprised and giving me the feeling he actually wants to try harder always results in me not being able to go through with it.
Regarding what we have been discussing, me pointing this out results in him replying that it is just not something that comes natural to him and he can start doing it for me but he wont enjoy it. As he has said to me in the past; stop trying to fix something that isn’t broken.
Generally I think that instead of giving him a list of things I am not happy about, I have to keep it simple – tell him I do not feel I am in love anymore…that I love him, but the strong feelings that make me want to spend my life with him are not there anymore. We are different in some ways that for me too important and we will not be able to fix them at this point, so I believe we should separate… Is this too general?October 31, 2019 at 6:59 am #320687
I think it is an excellent idea, to explain your reason for breaking up with him as a feeling that you have or don’t have- it will be very difficult for him to argue with your feeling, while it is easy for him to argue with your thinking. If you present him with your thoughts again, he will argue against them once again, you get confused.. again, and it is business as usual.
Because he successfully argued in the past with your thoughts (“he seems to always have an answer to counter them”), better not present to him any more thinking.
When you told him in the past, for example, that you want the two of you eating at the dinning table together, it resulted “in him replying that it is just not something that comes natural to him and he can start doing it for me but he won’t enjoy it”- see how he explains his behavior with feelings, not thoughts?
You can do the same when breaking up with him, saying something like: I don’t enjoy our relationship anymore. If I stay with you, I will be doing it for you but I will not enjoy it.
So let’s say you tell him the above and he asks you why (wanting you to give him your thoughts because he knows he was successful in the past arguing with your thoughts)- don’t fall in that trap by giving him your thoughts, stick with the feelings and say to him something like: I really don’t enjoy our relationship anymore. I don’t like it. It is not fun.
Notice: this man has been quite selfish throughout the relationship with you, being guided solely by how he feels, guided solely by his need to have fun. He is not likely to suddenly care about your feelings once you try to break up with him yet again. He is likely to focus on winning an argument once again and resuming business-as-usual.
I am looking forward to read from you next.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by anita.