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Do I leave him? Please help :(

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  • #380475
    Madi
    Participant

    Dear Readers,

    I have been with my boyfriend for almost a year now. He and I get along really well, our dates are always amazing, we understand each other really well. I love him a lot. But we have broken up a couple of times like for a couple of hours or a day so it’s not really a break up I guess. Our fights and reason for the “breakups” are almost always the same, but let me go back to the beginning.

    My boyfriend and I fell in love really fast, he told me he loved me on the second date (!), I didn’t return the sentiment but I was deeply in love with him within a month of dating. As I got to know him, I fell for him more and we hung out almost every day for the entire days.  And then 5 months later I found out that he was still talking to other people on dating apps. I was heartbroken, I talked to him at length about it. I forgave him because I genuinely felt he was telling me the truth when he explained to me that he did that because he likes getting to know people and he never met with anyone else while dating me. I explained to him how that feels to me and that I honestly wanted to break up with him at that point. We talked for so long and he explained to me that he felt damaged from his family life and his ex. He felt like he wouldn’t ever find love or attachment to anyone but he was surprised by how much he cared for me. We discussed this at length and honestly, I felt like he was being truthful. We tried taking a break but since I got into a car accident and he ended up driving me around a lot. He showed me that he longer had any apps on his phone and we slowly moved forward.

    Over time, I started noticing a shift in certain things he would tell me. The most prevalent one being, “I don’t think I’m ever going to get married”. At first, I didn’t think anything of it because really, I am still not sure if I want to get married to him or anytime soon since I am still in the process of working on my career and honestly that is my priority. But over time, I noticed so many of our conversations centred around marriage and how he was feeling more and more certain that he wouldn’t get married. Marriage was something we never really discussed before because it wasn’t my goal in the relationship since this is my first relationship. I asked him why he felt this way and he would explain to me at length about all the broken marriages he has seen, including his own parents, he told me about the extramarital affairs he sees among his friend groups and that his family’s expectations of marriage are different from his.

    I do see from his perspective why he feels the way he does and I agreed with him about why he must be feeling all this. I shared my side as well because I’ve seen a lot of successful marriages based on trust and respect and that is really is about being open and communicating well with your partner. I firmly believe I want to be married and I even told him that I’m not sure if it will be with him. He always says that it’s a good thing that I don’t know about him since he doesn’t want me to feel like I’m being led on by him.

    As I said, these conversations did not affect me that much until it just ended up being a consistent conversation that I never wanted to have. I explained to him that I don’t want to talk about this anymore because really it just feels like a conversation directed towards me. I started to feel like I wasn’t good enough to be married to him and so this relationship will always have an expiration date. When I explain these things he also said he’s also not sure about his plans because he feels this now but he never used to feel this before and he may not be this way in the future. So I always wonder why we bother to have this conversation anyways and I’ve explained to him that we should just live in the moments we have and see whatever happens in our future.

    But these conversations became so prevalent and hard to bear that we have “broken up” twice because of it. Both times he said he would stop and he kind of did but kind of didn’t because it kind of became a joke to see how ‘long we would last”. It has bothered me a lot and I guess it stayed with me because I straight up told him I want to break up over a call and he said ok if that’s what you want. He was angry that I kept doing this and I explained to him that our relationship was making me feel anxious and sad because I always felt pressured to stay happy and make the most of every moment. He said he didn’t want me to feel this way and said that I should break up with him and move on then.

    It was our only break-up that actually felt like an official one but he called me after 10 minutes and said he didn’t want to break up and he’ll stop making these mistakes and that he feels he can’t live without me. I basically said I don’t know how I feel about that and then hung up.

    We continued dating since then (about 2 months ago) and he has done what he said he would do about being more careful about what he says and we’ve had a great relationship so far. The problem now is his words continue to haunt me. I’ve become inherently unsure about us and I have a great time on our dates but I have this nagging feeling that I need to break it off before I continue making more memories with him.

    The reason I won’t is that I never went to into this relationship looking for a life partner and until he started talking about it, I wasn’t really thinking about it. I know if I break up with him and go into another relationship I will have the same idea of just letting things progress and not necessarily planning for marriage but I guess I want it was as an option. With my boyfriend, since I feel so strongly that it won’t even be an option, it’s really hurtful.

    I really love him, I know part of the reason I’m not leaving is that I’m just so in love with him but I don’t think he loves me the same way. At this point, just creating some distance is so difficult and it feels literally impossible to go a day without talking to him. I know he loves me but I feel like I’m being naive and foolish. I just know that if I break up with him, it will have to be permanent because I don’t want to keep either of us hung up on the other.

    Please help me figure this out! I’m really confused. I love him but I keep asking myself, is that enough when he is so unsure about what he wants?

    #380485
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Madi:

    It reads like he is/ has been very troubled about his parents’ broken marriage (“he would explain to me at length about all the broken marriages he has seen, including his own parents”)- if his parents’ marriage was troubled while he was growing up, then he was understandably troubled as a child and onward, witnessing his parents’ bad marriage. This would explain why he repeatedly brought up the topic of marriage to you, even though it wasn’t a topic that was relevant to you and him.

    It would have been appropriate if he talked about his parents’ troubled marriage to a professional counselor who could listen to him objectively and help him, instead of talking about it with you, a non-objective listener (because of your emotional involvement with him).

    “I’m just so in love with him but I don’t think he loves me the same way.. I love him but I keep asking myself, is that enough when he is unsure about what he wants “- reads like he loves you but he is troubled about his parents’ marriage. Given that (1) this is your first relationship and you are not seeking marriage at this time, (2) this relationship is not yet one year old, (3) he stopped his activity on the dating app about 6 months ago, and he stopped talking about (his disinterest in) marriage two months ago, and the relationship has been great for the last two months, maybe you can be okay in the relationship as it is right now. But because of your increased anxiety in the relationship, it may help you to attend short-term counseling. Do you have such an option?

    anita

    #380507
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Madi,

    I started to feel like I wasn’t good enough to be married to him and so this relationship will always have an expiration date.

    This relationship will always have an expiration date, but not because you’re not good enough to be married, but because of his fears around getting married, which have nothing to do with you. If he doesn’t deal with his fears, he won’t be able to marry you, or stay married to you, even if he loved you very much.

    When I explain these things he also said he’s also not sure about his plans because he feels this now but he never used to feel this before and he may not be this way in the future.

    You mean he never felt the fear of getting married come up so strongly in his previous relationships, but only with you? If so, he’s probably very much attracted to you and sees you as a potential long-term partner, but this triggers his fear. He’s very conflicted because on one hand he loves you and would like to hold on to the relationship (he told you he can’t live without you), but on the other, this is exactly what triggers his fear.

    I understand it’s hard for you to be totally relaxed and in the moment, when there’s this looming possibility of breakup down the road – even if you’re not sure yet if you’d want to marry him some day. You said you want to have marriage at least as an option, and you’re right that with him, this option is practically non-existent, unless he works on his fears in therapy. He might have stopped mentioning it for the moment, but the fear isn’t gone, he’s just controlling it better in front of you.

    So if you want to be in a relationship with someone with whom you do have the long-term option, I think you should ask him to deal with his fears. If you’re so important to him, he should be willing to work on it. If he refuses, then you know where you stand. How does this sound to you?

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