Menu

Emotionally Unavailable or is there hope?

HomeForumsRelationshipsEmotionally Unavailable or is there hope?

New Reply
Viewing 14 posts - 91 through 104 (of 104 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #377060
    Michelle
    Participant

    Anita, I don’t have an issue with you posting, I just felt that the tone of your latest post was a little different.

    “I believe that this medium here can not be helpful enough for you, if at all, and that you need professional, quality psychotherapy as soon possible.” I mean there may be issues that I struggle with, but I am always trying to work on them and I have been to therapy in the past. I’m not ruling it out in the future, but it is expensive and inaccessible for me on my limited income at this time. I also don’t feel that it is absolutely imperative for me and that without it I will be unable to do any work on my own. Even with the guidance of a therapist, I still need to be the one to do the work, to face the hard stuff, break my habits and thoughts that no longer serve me well. Mental health and mental health discoveries I see as a journey, not a destination. None of us will ever be fully healed enough, suddenly ready for a healthy relationship. I think that as long as two people are trying to work on themselves that there can be intersections of understanding and the rest can continue to be worked on in therapy. This medium has been extremely helpful, but I tend to use it at times when I struggle, looking for reminders on how to achieve equilibrium again. I am not incapable for developing my own insight or taking in the perspectives that are presented here. They’re just all different and some resonate and some don’t. It just depends.

    You also said “Your denial includes denying to yourself (and to others) your state of mind, misrepresenting yourself as calm and collected, unattached and not at all desperate, zen-like, meditative, calm and serene”. There are times where I definitely become anxious again, but it is definitely not my dominant state, and my friends who know me in real life would vouch for this. I am described as being calm, taking things as they come. No I am not always collected or unattached. At times I get downright mad and way too wrapped up in a situation, like I have been recently. Usually when I am trying too hard to strive for security which doesn’t seem to really exist. That is one of my issues, trying to secure something, and so I will push for insight into the future, to ease the anxiety. We’ve talked about this, OCD, easing anxiety etc. It’s hard when I’m facing someone who is so ambivalent, it makes me forget what I know, or feel that I know. It’s also hard when I’m taking in all of this info on here, and forgetting to check with how it is that I’m feeling. I had a breakup in the past where my boyfriend told me he didn’t love me and we were living together and he wanted to separate. I cried for two weeks and couldn’t image my life without him. That’s probably the first time that I found meditation and found some version of my centre. When I finally cleared out his voice and all of the doubt I had about my worthiness, when I started to get over the initial shock and make plans again for my future, I started to see things differently. They seemed so clear, and it had nothing to do with wishful thinking or denial, it was just a sort of voice that said he was lost and he didn’t know how to express that. That he needed to sort through some things, and then he would come back with a new perspective. My family told me I was crazy and that I needed to move on and yet I wasn’t trying to hold on. I was still planning to move out and pursue my own path. I felt very calm about everything. Eventually I might’ve said to him “okay, you do what you need to do, but I don’t fully believe your words”. He was adamant but so was my voice, that this breakup wouldn’t last. I didn’t feel he was meant to be gone from my life at that point, but I did nothing to hold onto it. A month or two later he wrote me an extremely long letter about how he’d been hurting and needing to deal with his internal wounds, etc. and that he was starting to do that now and felt that we could have a completely different relationship if we tried. He’d put all these expectations on me that were expectations he held for himself and it was unfair to do that to me. We were together for 2.5 more years until the depression really got the best of him and he wasn’t really trying to work on himself.

    Sometimes people from the outside can see things that I can’t or won’t, but there is also something to be said about the connection between two people, and the feeling one might have about the outcome of it. There are so many little intricacies that just can’t be viewed from the outside. I have my own unique view and perspective about what I feel about us, and while I respect his, I feel that some of it is clouded. That may or may not end up being about me being in denial about our true fate, but I have had strong convictions in the past about relationships before, and sometimes it all defies logic and psychology etc. Just a simple voice telling me that something will transpire or that words don’t feel true. And believe me at times I wish those feelings weren’t there. I want to take what he is saying at face value. I’ve been through too many relationships that were not right, to hold onto another just to ease the fear of being alone. It’s a scary thought, but I don’t want to be with anyone who isn’t really wanting to be with me. I do always at least come back to that.

    Today I saw that he’d been looking into therapy online as he left his computer open. So maybe there is hope for him to do that yet. Maybe he’s been considering it more since our discussion.

    Anyways,  “I am sure that your father was at times kind in various ways, but he couldn’t have been “extremely emotionally available” to you, as in one who gave you adequate emotional validation and support, because there is no evidence of it in what you shared about your life experience so far. I believe that you magnified his moments of kindness (see Magnifications,  above), which is what children do because they need to feel safe and loved. If he was adequately emotionally resourceful and available to you, you wouldn’t have had the strong motivation to help him with his issues. Instead, he would have helped you with your issues.”

    I have to say unfortunately that you are wrong here, and I have definitely not remembered my dad with any sort of tinted glasses or magnifications. I remember my dad with all of his faults, but he was very emotionally available. Travelling to visit me at school in a different city, meeting me for coffee just to talk. Him and my mom separated early and he wanted me to know he was going to be there. He was kind and loving with me. No doubt. He was not that way with my brother, but that’s a different story.  I believe the desire to help him stemmed from the fact that at some point he couldn’t help himself anymore (physical ailments) and no one else was willing to help. I also wanted to help him with the depression and ocd at an early age, because his apartment was filthy and I hated going there due to the environment. So most of our discussions revolved around that and trying to help him keep it clean. I enjoyed when we’d go out, but the apartment was so dirty that it made me uncomfortable. I truly don’t  believe my desire to help him stemmed in any way from him being emotionally unavailable. He just was not that parent. But I could see how that may fit for someone else.

    As far as my cognitive distortions go. I think at times everyone suffers from some of the ones you mentioned. Cherry picking information when we’re hopeful about a relationship, magnifying and minimizing things etc. I don’t feel that that means that I make believe good things in the relationship, just so that I can feel good. The main issue that I’ve had with this relationship is that there have been so many moments of true joy and love, that it’s hard to meet the contrast of that with words of doubt and rejection. It’s not that I refuse to accept anything he’s said as true. I want to take him at face value as best I can. This is where he is at this moment in time, but I also know that people evolve and change as he has in so many ways, and it definitely does not devalue the true moments we have shared, as something I’ve constructed as a way to bolster the bad times. If I were to bet money on this relationship I’d probably bet a good amount, because my overall feeling about it has been good, my experience of it is good, but there are moments where he has doubt and this creates anxiety for me. I don’t feel that I fool myself when it comes to whether something is working or not. If he truly bowed out and wanted that, I’d respect it and I’d realize that it wouldn’t work with just me alone, but at this point he’s making statements he does not back up with action, so it makes it hard to just take him at his word without any further consideration of the experience we’ve had. Like I said other men have said they don’t feel it with me, and it just made sense. And I would say they held just as much stock in the healing emotional wounds department as this current one does. I just don’t feel that it adds up, but I truly don’t want to hold onto him just for the sake of having someone. If he’s not really in it it would show, and I wouldn’t really have him in the relationship either.

    “– the guy is multi-dimensional: he suffers from OCD and perhaps from depression, and he fears commitment and he is confined by his fear and he is dishonest, self-serving and selfish.” Is it possible that he suffers from all those things, and that he is aware of some of them, feels guilty, but is not trying to be dishonest, and is selfish in that our relationship does make him feel good and it is why he continues it. That perhaps its not about just serving himself until he can decide I’m not longer needed, that perhaps he just truly does not know what the future holds and the fears he have are constantly making him question whether he will disappoint/be disappointed. I feel like he’d put in a lot less effort if he was just using me for now. I don’t think he would be having hearts to hearts with his friends about us either. It’s just not like him to do those things for someone he only truly sees as temporary. But that’s my view from the inside, based on what I know about him. Time will do the talking, years will do the walking, time will tell you baby, what you can’t hear now.

    #377061
    anita
    Participant

    Dear  Michelle:

    I will read and reply to you when I am back to the computer, in about 8 hours from now.

    anita

    #377067
    Luz
    Participant

    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Hi Michelle,</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>First of all, I want to say that I completely understand that all of us have a limited view and understanding of your situation given that we are not in it and given that we don’t know you beyond what you’ve stated in this virtual platform.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>So I agree that you should take everything others tell you with a grain of salt and question everything.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Even what society tells you about what relationships should look like.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>What your favorite YouTube spiritual guru tells you, or what your friends or family tell you.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>That’s part of the spiritual path—realizing that no one has the answers for us, we have to reach in and uncover them ourselves. Towards the end of my so-called “twin flame” journey, I stopped asking for others’ input, not because it wasn’t valuable or valid but because my feelings towards my twin couldn’t be rationalized and it felt frustrating talking about those feelings just to be met with analysis from well-meaning friends who wanted to get to the root of my fixation with this guy. Weirdly enough, it’s only when I stopped analyzing and just accepting feelings for him—and stopped caring about whether he felt them too, because I would never be able to truly know that and wondering would just trigger another episode of futile analysis—that my feelings of anxiety lessened considerably and I was able to enjoy the love I felt for him without any expectations about the future or regrets about the past.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>And eventually, I met someone else that I now have a healthy, fulfilling relationship with, and my TF became someone who still evokes positive feelings in me, but is not someone I could ever see myself pining for again. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>That being said, some level of analysis may be useful, and to an outsider like me, it seems like you’re attributing your anxiousness and need for certainty as the source of the problem in the relationship (rather than anything your partner has done).<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>So your response to your anxiousness has been to fiercely cling to something that many people (particularly those with more secure attachment styles) would have left by now, because on some level you’re clinging to the perception that you can gain control if you just learn to reign in your anxiousness. It’s okay to accept that you’re not giving up—you’re not letting your anxious attachment style dominate your love life—by letting this person go. You’ve already spent plenty of time in this relationship, given it time and energy and opportunity to grow, and at this point you’ve received clear-as-day signals that he’s not going to be able to reciprocate the way you’d like him to. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>You’re not making a premature decision to bow out of this; in fact, it’s your anxious attachment style that’s likely been keeping you in this for so long.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>His ambivalence and mixed signals is fueling your anxiety, fueling your hope one day, before crushing it the next, so that you’re left in a perpetual state of disequilibrium and confusion where you no longer know what’s real and what’s not.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>You react by staying and hoping that things sort of figure themselves out on their own, that he gets clarity as to what he feels, when all signs indicate that’s likely not going to happen. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I agree with Anita that he seems quite selfish, in that he’s clearly aware of his own ambivalence and yet doesn’t seem to be considering, or caring about, the negative consequences that ambivalence may be having on you.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Has he expressed concern for your well-being, for the impact the relationship is having on your psyche and emotional state?<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Does he know or care about the impact of his words—words that are immensely hurtful, yet give you just enough hope to stick around?<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>One of the qualities I realized I needed in a partner was being impeccable to one’s word, being cognizant of the impact words can have on others before carelessly throwing them around.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>I also need a partner that is considerate and truly cares about my well/being, and wants to help ameliorate my</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Anxiety rather than contribute to it. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I suggest trying out an exercise that I’ve found helpful in restoring a sense of equilibrium and balance in my romantic interactions with men.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Take a piece of paper and fold it in half.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>On one side, make a list of all the qualities you absolutely DON’T want in a person.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Think back to your failed relationships and the reasons why you<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>or your partner ultimately ended things, and qualities you saw in past partners that made you realize you weren’t compatible.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Then, on the other half of the piece of paper, use the negative statements to create positive statements about what you do want—so, if one of the things you didn’t want was “I do not want a person who is flaky and inconsistent,” on the right, write, “I need a partner who demonstrates consistency and sticks to plans.”<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Or “I do not want someone who does drugs or binge drinks all the time” becomes “I want someone who is moderate in their consumption of alcohol and avoids drugs.”<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Then transfer the “positive” list on the right to a new piece of paper and take your time re-writing it and making it pretty lol—something that you’ll want to re-reference in the future.</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>At the end, if you’ve done this exercise thoughtfully and are honest about what you need in someone else and what has led to the demise of relationships in the past, you’ll be left with a list of qualities that can help guide you in determining how close someone is to meeting your needs and desires.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>In my case, by referring to this list every time I started to date someone, it felt like I was using a concrete tool that I had created for myself that was based on years of introspection and growing to know myself. I started fully comprehending my pattern of letting intense chemistry drive my relationships, while ignoring all the ways those relationships were detrimental to me. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I also allowed myself to dream big and imagine that a person with all those qualities really did exist—in some ways, I felt encouraged to embody those qualities myself, since it felt hypocritical to want things in others that I myself did not have.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>It might be worth trying out and assessing how many qualities your current partner embodies, since it’s not clear to me based on your posts what about him it is that is drawing you to him so deeply. </span></p>

    #377068
    Luz
    Participant

    Sorry–weird formatting issues posting through my phone!  Posting from my computer instead 🙂

    First of all, I want to say that I completely understand that all of us have a limited view and understanding of your situation given that we are not in it and given that we don’t know you beyond what you’ve stated in this virtual platform.  So I agree that you should take everything others tell you with a grain of salt and question everything.  Even what society tells you about what relationships should look like.  What your favorite YouTube spiritual guru tells you, or what your friends or family tell you.  That’s part of the spiritual path—realizing that no one has the answers for us, we have to reach in and uncover them ourselves. Towards the end of my so-called “twin flame” journey, I stopped asking for others’ input, not because it wasn’t valuable or valid but because my feelings towards my twin couldn’t be rationalized and it felt frustrating talking about those feelings just to be met with analysis from well-meaning friends who wanted to get to the root of my fixation with this guy. Weirdly enough, it’s only when I stopped analyzing and just accepting feelings for him—and stopped caring about whether he felt them too, because I would never be able to truly know that and wondering would just trigger another episode of futile analysis—that my feelings of anxiety lessened considerably and I was able to enjoy the love I felt for him without any expectations about the future or regrets about the past.  And eventually, I met someone else that I now have a healthy, fulfilling relationship with, and my TF became someone who still evokes positive feelings in me, but is not someone I could ever see myself pining for again.

    That being said, some level of analysis may be useful, and to an outsider like me, it seems like you’re attributing your anxiousness and need for certainty as the source of the problem in the relationship (rather than anything your partner has done).  So your response to your anxiousness has been to fiercely cling to something that many people (particularly those with more secure attachment styles) would have left by now, because on some level you’re clinging to the perception that you can gain control if you just learn to reign in your anxiousness. It’s okay to accept that you’re not giving up—you’re not letting your anxious attachment style dominate your love life—by letting this person go. You’ve already spent plenty of time in this relationship, given it time and energy and opportunity to grow, and at this point you’ve received clear-as-day signals that he’s not going to be able to reciprocate the way you’d like him to.

    You’re not making a premature decision to bow out of this; in fact, it’s your anxious attachment style that’s likely been keeping you in this for so long.  His ambivalence and mixed signals is fueling your anxiety, fueling your hope one day, before crushing it the next, so that you’re left in a perpetual state of disequilibrium and confusion where you no longer know what’s real and what’s not.  You react by staying and hoping that things sort of figure themselves out on their own, that he gets clarity as to what he feels, when all signs indicate that’s likely not going to happen.

    I agree with Anita that he seems quite selfish, in that he’s clearly aware of his own ambivalence and yet doesn’t seem to be considering, or caring about, the negative consequences that ambivalence may be having on you.  Has he expressed concern for your well-being, for the impact the relationship is having on your psyche and emotional state?  Does he know or care about the impact of his words—words that are immensely hurtful, yet give you just enough hope to stick around?  One of the qualities I realized I needed in a partner was being impeccable to one’s word, being cognizant of the impact words can have on others before carelessly throwing them around.  I also need a partner that is considerate and truly cares about my well/being, and wants to help ameliorate my Anxiety rather than contribute to it.

    I suggest trying out an exercise that I’ve found helpful in restoring a sense of equilibrium and balance in my romantic interactions with men.  Take a piece of paper and fold it in half.  On one side, make a list of all the qualities you absolutely DON’T want in a person.  Think back to your failed relationships and the reasons why you  or your partner ultimately ended things, and qualities you saw in past partners that made you realize you weren’t compatible.  Then, on the other half of the piece of paper, use the negative statements to create positive statements about what you do want—so, if one of the things you didn’t want was “I do not want a person who is flaky and inconsistent,” on the right, write, “I need a partner who demonstrates consistency and sticks to plans.”  Or “I do not want someone who does drugs or binge drinks all the time” becomes “I want someone who is moderate in their consumption of alcohol and avoids drugs.”  Then transfer the “positive” list on the right to a new piece of paper and take your time re-writing it and making it pretty lol—something that you’ll want to re-reference in the future.

    At the end, if you’ve done this exercise thoughtfully and are honest about what you need in someone else and what has led to the demise of relationships in the past, you’ll be left with a list of qualities that can help guide you in determining how close someone is to meeting your needs and desires.  In my case, by referring to this list every time I started to date someone, it felt like I was using a concrete tool that I had created for myself that was based on years of introspection and growing to know myself. I started fully comprehending my pattern of letting intense chemistry drive my relationships, while ignoring all the ways those relationships were detrimental to me.

    I also allowed myself to dream big and imagine that a person with all those qualities really did exist—in some ways, I felt encouraged to embody those qualities myself, since it felt hypocritical to want things in others that I myself did not have.  It might be worth trying out and assessing how many qualities your current partner embodies, since it’s not clear to me based on your posts what about him it is that is drawing you to him so deeply.

    #377070
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    “Even with the guidance of a therapist, I still need to be the one to do the work… Mental health and mental health discoveries I see as a journey, not a destination”- the idea behind quality psychotherapy is that there is a relationship between client and therapist, and within that relationship of care and trust, the therapist walks with you the beginning part of your journey.

    You wrote earlier yesterday, “maybe I shouldn’t go sharing everything in the internet and I’m inviting the over dissection of things by strangers“- a therapist you meet in-person, and with whom you build a relationship of care and trust, will not be a stranger: a therapist truly helps a client within the relationship she/ he has with the client.

    “This medium has been extremely helpful”- then please continue to use it, continue to post any time you want to, for as long as you find it helpful. Because there is more than one member replying to you, I don’t want to reply to a post you submit for another member, or with another member in mind. Therefore, if you want me to reply to a particular post, please mention my name on that particular post.

    Regarding The Voice: you shared that you trust a voice/ strong conviction in you that “sometimes defies logic and psychology etc. Just a simple voice telling me that something will transpire or that words don’t feel true”. You gave an example of that voice in regard to a previous relationship: a man you lived in told you that he didn’t love you and wanted to separate, your “sort of voice” said “he was lost and.. he would come back” and you then very calm. The ex boyfriend was adamant about separating from you, but so was your voice (“He was adamant but so was my voice”). A month or two later, he indeed came back to you and you were together for 2.5 more years.

    In regard to the current man, you wrote that you want to take his words on face value, but that “simple voice telling me that something will transpire or that words don’t feel true”.

    You also wrote: “I’ve been through too many relationships that were not right”- isn’t this evidence that the simple voice you shared about did not serve you well so far, in regard to relationships with men, including regarding the man who returned to you, but only for 2.5 more years, not for a lifetime?

    Regarding the current relationship: you shared yesterday that he left his computer open and you saw that he’s been looking into therapy online, “So maybe there is hope.. Maybe he’s been considering it more since our discussion”, and you wrote regarding the relationship with him: “there have been so many moments of true joy and love… If I were to bet money on this relationship I’d probably bet a good amount, because my overall feeling about it has been good, my experience of it is good, but there are moments where he has doubt and this creates anxiety for me”-

    – you definitely answered the question stated in the title of your thread: “is there hope?”- you feel that there is hope, enough for you to bet money on it, enough for you to have a good overall feeling and experience of this relationship and you are adamant about continuing the relationship. The only problem you have in regard to this relationship are the “moments where he has doubt and this creates anxiety” for you.

    My suggestion: any time you experience anxiety about his doubts/the relationship, post here, in a journal/ diary sort of way. Expressing yourself will probably make you feel better. Maybe you are not interested in other members’ insights or analyses, maybe what you want instead is to be listened to, your words being read, that is. Is this the case?

    anita

    #377090
    Michelle
    Participant

    I feel like I spend so much time discussing the negative aspects about our relationship, that it can be hard to see the positives. and like you said Luz, it’s not clear based on my posts what it is about him that is drawing me so deeply to him.

    In many ways he is consistent. He is consistent in that he never ignores my communication or my desire for it, he liked to see me, likes to spend time, he makes the time. He never treats me like an afterthought. I suppose this was a huge night and day difference from men in my past, from the short term flings who demonstrates complete abandon of concern for me and seeing me, to the long-term relationships who allows addictions or depression to excuse why we couldn’t spend time together. He has never let his depression or his occasional binge drinking affect me.

    He does express a lot of concern for me and he does choose his hurtful words carefully. I can tell because he spends more time before he releases them, and he always apologizes after expressing them. I have had other major life events affect me recently and he has phoned and been there for me to make sure that I am okay (holding my hand in person, hugging, giving words of encouragement and affection). The past few days since our latest discussion about us he has seemed quite down, having restless sleep etc. I know all of this affects him and he does ask how I am doing and if I am okay.

    Like I’ve said one of the biggest reasons I have been sticking around despite great moments of doubt is due to the improvements in behaviour and the progress within the relationship that I feel have been shown. Looking back to a year ago when we first broke up and he declared he could never see us together and I would never be his girlfriend. That day as he told me he was extremely defensive, felt he didn’t owe me a more detailed explanation and he tried to hold my hand but as I cried and started to get angry, he left quite abruptly after 10 mins and said it was up to me whether I wanted to see him again. He was so completely emotionally unavailable and at the time I was dead sure that kind of behaviour would not be acceptable in the man I would be with. Fast forward to another discussion we had in person in the spring of covid last year, I expressed to him what I wanted and needed in a partner. I cried and while he listened he again made light of my crying as something undesirable that he didn’t need to be around. Something changed in me that day, and I began to be truthful with him. I told him if he left again while I was expressing emotion that I would not accept this and he would not be someone I could be around. I said this was extremely rude and immature behaviour and I was not going to tolerate it anymore. I started to ask for what I needed, and to call him out on some of the things that were no longer working. Since that day he has never again acted this way with me, and responds in a mature and comforting manner when I express my emotions or am facing an upsetting situation. This on it’s own is immense progress to me.  Fast forward to a little towards the end of the summer when I again told him i didn’t want to see other people and we were either together and trying or were not. He responded with he really didn’t know what the future held but he was scared of committing. He did not want me as his gf at that time and we should take a break. We took a bit of a break, but he was miserable and so I suggested he date if he wanted to but i decided to be more secure and stated that I would not be and that I wanted to be with him. I started to show him what commitment would look like with me, while at the same time giving him freedom. This seemed to change him entirely, yes because he was getting me on his terms, but he also began inviting me more into his life, family, friends, holidays and began acting as if we were a couple. When pressed about whether I was am his gf and whether we are in a relationship he says that he acknowledges that completely. Contrast back to a year ago when he said I would never be and we could never have a relationship, only something casual where we would not go on dates, or share in any romance (which we do regularly now)…. Hmmm is this someone who is clear about what he wants and sticks to his word? Is this someone I really can take at face value, or is this someone scared, who changes, but needs time to adjust. The more I seem to lay down what I want on the table, the more he seems to move in that direction. He definitely still challenges at first, but it’s like he dips his toes in, sees there isn’t a threat and decides to stay for a while and see what happens. He was keeping his options open for some time there, but has since cut off all seeking elsewhere behaviour and has said he will not be doing that anytime soon. I’m not ruling out that behaviour as something that couldn’t return, but I could not be around for that. Around Valentine’s day that was what I was most upset about, and when i asked him whether he was still doing it, it was going to be my deal breaker that day. If he was I was going to bow out. Same with asking him whether he would move in together. This was something I thought would shock him and yet he’d been thinking about it on his own before I brought it up, to the extent that he’d pictured where we could live and how our furniture would mesh. I do not feel that someone who can’t picture any sort of future with you, wonders whether they could live with you. That is definitely not a move he would see as short term or as a temporary measure. There is nothing he would gain financially or even really emotionally from that move. I mean to say that it would be entirely new territory for him (in that he’s never done it with a woman before) and it would be a move of investment. So to go from saying he would never want a relationship with me, to considering moving in with me a year later (on his own) is progress. Yes, his major fear of what all of that means seems to be ever present. His doubt of whether he’d be disappointed or he’d disappoint me is still there. He still says I could find a man who is more emotional than him and wouldn’t be so afraid of commitment. These are clearly things he is insecure about and feels that I am displeased about when I do bring up the future. This seems to send him into a tailspin because it contradicts that my happiness in the relationship and probably signals to him that I may never be okay with how things are, taking them day by day. In my eyes though, while partly driven by my anxiety, each time I ask, I ask because I have seen changes in him and progress and I feel that the answer may be different this time. Each time his answer is a little different, and has gone from a complete no, to yes we are this, to let me think about the rest. I don’t think he considers anything in a rash manner, but I also don’t believe that he’s operating from a state of awareness about how he feels. This isn’t just an observation based on our relationship, but how he responds to other people and events in his life. He doesn’t seem to connect the emotional dots so to speak. He will mention a negative event in his life and immediately following that event, feel sad, but be unsure of as to why. He is emotionally convoluted still and he would need to do some clearing of the trees, to be able to see the forest.

    Just as I have my own struggles and things to work on, he does as well. The one thing he does not and cannot seem to give me is the security of the future, and yet he admits that this past year he has been completely wrong about what he saw for us. So perhaps he’s not sending me the most reliable signals, maybe his vision is a little clouded. I also tend to spend so much time thinking about what it is that someone else sees, that when they tell me what I see, I seem to forget that I don’t have to adopt that as my own vision, that I see something all on my own.

    And yet I stay because what he offers me is not anything short of what I would write on the positive qualities side if I did do your paper exercise Luz. He offers me kindness, continued support, reliability in companionship, affection (never withholds that), slowly but surely more expressions of love, consideration for my opinion and my emotions, and we have a chemistry in and out of the bedroom that is hard to find. He is funny and we share a similar sense of humour. This to me is major and I cannot be without that. I don’t easily find that. In terms of long term compatibility I feel that we could share a nice life and enjoy various activities together. The things that remain an issue are the bigger areas of commitment, like living together, marriage and kids. One funny thing is that he always seems to happy about the idea of me getting pregnant. Go figure.

    Surprisingly, the depression and binge drinking mostly just affect him and his view of things for the future. Which of course affects me, but they don’t really change his behaviour day to day, or while he is with me. He just becomes a bit more jolly when he drinks. Nothing obnoxious or detrimental to the relationship. He doesn’t do it instead of spending time with me, there is no lack with that habit. And they’re not necessarily deal breakers for that reason, they’re just flags and things I’d need to monitor over time. They’re not extremely desirable qualities no, but everyone comes with something. I suppose the things I’d write on my negative deal break qualities side of the paper would be disengaged with me, no passion, no humor, unkind, uncooth haha, fooling around, no job and no desire to find one etc etc. In terms of whether I want and need marriage and kids, they’re not something I need to have. I would want to be exclusive and share life with someone and to be equally excited about doing that. So it’s really hard to say that he could never get there, as he has demonstrated that he is unsure of what he wants, and he had shown progress even in the face of his own stubbornness to show any at all.

     

    #377091
    Michelle
    Participant

    I realize my grammar for some of the posts has been atrocious and I haven’t gone back to edit as I should have. I was just trying to get some of the thoughts out, haha.

    #377098
    Michelle
    Participant

    So anyways, while it may seem simplistic in that I stay in the face of a lack of security which I seem to need, and my anxious attachment style is what keeps me bonded to him, forever trying to confirm some insecurity I feel about myself…. I feel that there are concrete reasons to stay as well and many good things between us, and that not all are soaked in unawareness of our patterns and behaviours. Some are good and true reasons.

    #377142
    Michelle
    Participant

    Anita, regarding my voice… I felt strongly that the man I was with in the past needed to sort out some issues of his to be able to see clearly, and that our journey wasn’t over. Not that we needed to spend life together, but I wanted to see where it went if he also tried to do some of the work that he needed to do on himself. I did not have strong feelings about men before or after him up until this man really. With my last ex I ended things, and with one of my first loves I ended as well. So there were relationships I felt that were not meant to be, and many other casual ones in between. I am always willing to reassess my voice and feelings as time moves on as well. So no, I don’t feel that this voice has necessarily steered me wrong in the past, as the relationship still had some development left at the time (that one specifically in the past), and others I left because they felt over. This is the one that has been the most difficult for me.

    I use others’ perspectives as a way to reinforce what I feel, or bring about the truth of what I feel, like holding up a mirror. You may be right in that I still do feel hope even in the face of some of his assertions. I meant to say I am trying to take him at face value, but it has not been easy, as I don’t feel like he is being fully honest with himself. I feel hope for us as there have been changes up until this point and I feel like we aren’t a simple case of “not meant to be.” It wouldn’t feel conclusive as he is teetering on the verge of a breakthrough or a more enlightened path. I guess I feel that, and I feel that his view will change completely in some ways and it may change us for the better. In the past I would’ve left because I did not feel that change was imminent and that all options had played out. There isn’t enough of a solid conclusion here for me to feel good about moving on prematurely. As we try to make assertions about the future we move into it, like it or not, and some things cannot be determined between us, some will be revealed in due time.

    If I felt like other parts of the relationship weren’t working, I would suggest a break.

    #377144
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    I will read and reply to your recent post addressed to me when I am back to the computer in a few hours from now.

    anita

    #377145
    Luz
    Participant

    Michelle, thanks for clarifying what it was about your partner that draws him to you. It’s natural that you would focus on the negatives in discussing the problems of your relationship on this forum, but bringing up the positives I think sheds light on what this relationship is fulfilling for you and why you’re so reluctant to separate from it.  In some ways, it sounds like this relationship has been a huge improvement compared to past experiences you’ve had men, and since you’ve seem to have made a lot of progress in this relationship—in terms of asserting your needs, being clear with him that withdrawing or recoiling at the sight of any emotion you show is not something you would accept, etc—maybe you’re especially invested it in now, because to you this relationship has acquired a deeper meaning, a deeper significance: this is the relationship where you started to discover your voice and personal power. This is the relationship that has triggered spiritual growth and experiences for you (meditation, introspection, finding ways of self-soothing, etc.)  I think that’s why it probably feels fated and super important.  In some ways it IS—but that does not mean that staying in the relationship is what’s healthiest for you or would help you stay on the path and momentum towards growth that you’ve seen to be on.

    What’s important to recognize is that, this has nothing to do with HIM.  All this progress that you point to is actually coming from YOU and your increased ability, compared to the past, to draw boundaries/handle your anxieties and fears/express your needs, etc.  There is nothing you’ve said about your partner that really points to meaningful growth on his part, in my opinion.  Just because he is now open to the possibility of moving in together or because he is no longer actively seeking other partners doesn’t mean that YOU are the partner he’s looking for, and he’s stuck to that story since day 1.  While I understand your sentiment that his actions don’t align with his words and he’s not being honest with himself—that he’s turned out to be much more open to long-term commitment than what he initially portrayed—in some ways, in a healthy relationship, we have no choice but to accept our partners’ words.  To decide that we’re going to ignore their words and carve out our own interpretations and meanings is essentially to diminish their sense of autonomy and free will.  Imagine if someone told you, “I hear you buttttt I just don’t believe you for xyz reasons” to something you did actually mean.  Even if the person had valid points, it would feel pretty defeating  and demoralizing, because in your mind, it IS true.  Perspective is everything.  And from his perspective, he probably does mean what he says.  Even if his actions did somehow belie his words, he is probably not just going to snap out of it and realize “oh wait you were right all along..I can totally see the future together now!” It’s a narrative and choice HE has to be willing to accept and strives towards.

    My advice—and again, I’m not looking to convince you of anything, just give you input—is to thank the universe for providing you an experience that allows you to recognize you own power and inner reserves of strength…and then move forward.  Allow yourself to be open to the possibility of a relationship where you don’t have to seek for inner layers of meaning or play the analyst, where the person is very clear about what he wants and is not eternally ambivalent, dragging you along for the ride.  It seems like you’ve been the person driving this relationship forward ….showing him what commitment would look like, what a relationship with you would be like, etc.  Why does he need to be convinced?  I’m not sure that always being the teacher (and in a way, salesperson) in a romantic relationship is a positive thing.  It’s natural for one person to adopt the role of teacher at times and student at other times—we’re all constantly learning and teaching each other as we interact—but when one person is stuck with the role of teacher most of the time, it can make things feel lopsided and burdensome and unfair.  Especially when it’s not a role that you were ready to be thrust upon you or 100% willing to accept.

    I remember a therapist once told me, years ago, a story that resonated with me about attachment theory.   Apparently, a lot of studies around attachment theory began during World War II, when many children in the UK, Romania etc became separated from their caregivers for wartime reasons.  Psychologists realized that people separated from their caregivers tended to have different emotional and behavioral reactions to the separation, depending in part on their attachment styles.  Some children, when they had a substitute caregiver, were able to bond with their new caregiver and adapt to their new circumstances despite missing their primary caregiver.  Others, however, never bonded with the substitute caregiver and displayed intense anxiety, depression etc.—even when that new caregiver fulfilled their needs.  Not sure if I’m remembering this super accurately lol, but at the time I was stuck on an ex and I remember thinking…damn.  I’m that kid that refuses to have anyone except that primary caregiver, because I’m convinced that no one else can fulfill what he fulfilled.  Which of course, wasn’t true—at all.  Sometimes we just have to trust that there’s someone out there better suited for us, while acknowledging and honoring the love we did have had that no longer serves us or that we’ve outgrown.

    #377150
    Michelle
    Participant

    Luz I feel that you are right, that this is about me, my growth and development as much as it is about him, and while I do not feel that we have reached the end of our road and growth together, I am going to take a lot more time to focus on my own path and what I see for myself. I feel as when I continue to do this it will just give me more strength and may give me even more insight into the action I must take in time with him. For now the action I feel is best for me is a wait and see, with a bit of a twist. I am going to start honouring his words and reflecting them back to him in a way. As he says he does not see me as someone for his future, I will allow him more autonomy to carve out what he does see and to show that to me without as much persistence on my part. It will be as simple as matching his energy and investment. I will continue to communicate openly, but I will allow him to take more of a lead or more of a back seat, depending on how he reacts. I think words are important but I do need to see how they are congruent with actions that he spurs on his own. I will make less plans unless he asks to do something. I want to see how he feels when he isn’t simply submitting to me because I’m around, but when he decides “hey where is she, what is she doing?” I agree that he does need to feel that this is his choice and it won’t happen because of an ultimatum or a threat that I will see other men. It will have to be something inside of him that changes and the more I need to keep changing on my own as well. With this I feel time will show what is true. If he said we should break up I don’t want to see you I would agree that I should move forward, but because he is simply staying he can’t make promises, I’m not sure thar this is enough. I know what I will do if he does not invest on his own, but I do want him to make that decision. My decision is to keep pursuing my self development with as much vigor as I do him.

    #377154
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    You wrote in your post addressed to me: “There isn’t enough of a solid conclusion here for me to feel good about moving on permanently.. some things cannot be determined between us, some will be revealed in due time”-

    – I hope that good things will be revealed in due time, good for you and good for him, I wish the best for you and for him.

    anita

    #377159
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Michelle,

    I too wish you well. It’s good that you’re creating some boundaries, certain “deal breakers”, and aren’t tolerating some of his old behaviors any more. If he makes you happy on a day-to-day basis, and you can let go of thinking about the future for a while, then the relationship could function, I guess, without you suffering in it.

    I will make less plans unless he asks to do something. I want to see how he feels when he isn’t simply submitting to me because I’m around, but when he decides “hey where is she, what is she doing?”

    Good that you intend to let him take the initiative and show interest in you, and doing things together, rather than you always initiating it and hovering above him. I don’t know how your current dynamic looks like, but it wouldn’t be good if he does things just because he feels he has to please you (almost like “please mommy”). I’ve been in one such unequal relationship, and there was a parent-child dynamic, not two grown-ups interacting. I don’t know how much this is true for your relationship, but it’s good that you intend to change it and allow him more autonomy and self-expression.

    It will have to be something inside of him that changes

    Yes, true change can only come from within. He may be stretching his limits and changing his behavior to accommodate for your needs, but eventually, he will have to figure out what it is that he really wants, independent of you or anyone else’s influence.

Viewing 14 posts - 91 through 104 (of 104 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.