September 11, 2017 at 3:28 pm #168338
I am 24 and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a little over 2 years. We broke up once last year around this time but were able to reconcile after a few weeks. Things were going well but we have recently begun getting into more arguments. They are usually over small things and are often because I am upset with something he has done but I feel that there is something much deeper going on that cause me to get upset over small situations.
The best way to put it is: he feels that we spend a lot of time together and that he does all of the things a boyfriend should do. In his words, he “spends time with me”, he “takes me out”, he “converses and talks to me”, he “introduces me to his family”, and so on. Which he does. I feel that those are pretty standard in any long-term, adult relationship and I 100% acknowledge that he does those things. In general, he is very supportive of anything that I do and is truly my best friend. But there are fundamental things that we disagree on that often lead to arguments.
First, is that he believes I am a priority but not his first priority. I know that we aren’t married so I don’t expect to be put ahead of everything and everyone, but I don’t agree with the fact that he often makes that very clear. He constantly reminds me that his family (parents and siblings) and his job are his #1 priority. But I feel that if he continues to do this, we will never get to a point where we will be in a committed relationship in which we can grow together or even start a family of our own. I understand we are young and it’s early to think about those things, but I can’t help but feel that being told I am not a #1 priority (even if it’s true) is putting a strain on our relationship.
Second, we have different work and social lives and this sometimes leads to tension. He works nights and weekends. I work during the day and on weekdays. He likes to go out if he has a free night and I am more of a homebody. I often still go out with him if I’m in the mood and there are nights where he’ll stay in with me. But the disagreement usually pops up if he wants to go out and I want to stay in but I still want to spend time with him. Like most girls, I get a little upset when he chooses to go out with his friends over me and we have a long drawn-out conversation about it. He tells me that I am clingy and too dependent on him (he may be right) and that I limit his independence. I try to compromise with him but this is where things usually break down — I’m a planner and like to set times for things and generally stay true to my word once I say something. If I say I’ll be home at 1am, I will be home at 1am. He is a more of an on-the-fly person and likes to let other people and experiences guide his time. So even if I ask that he come home by 1 or 2am, I can never quite trust that he will do so. I think he makes an effort and tries but he gets wrapped up easily in what’s going on wherever he is and forgets that we made a compromise. So where I would like to trust him when he goes out with friends, I simply don’t believe that he will hold up his end of the bargain. Or am I wrong to try and compromise? Should I let him have his freedom?
The last big thing is that he makes me feel as if I don’t contribute to our relationship. I’ve never been a huge fan of gender roles, but he has expressed to me that as the male, he feels obligated to provide for me. I don’t necessarily need any financial support but I am a student in med school racking up a lot of loans and he is currently working. He acknowledges that and goes out of his way to pay for things (food, small parking fees, hotel rooms on trips, etc.) even when I offer to pay for them. But whenever we get into arguments, he always complains about how he always has to keep me happy. By being a provider, by doing things on “my time” (see above), and by spending time with me. He constantly puts things into a frame of him being the giver and I am only the taker. I’d like to think that I positively contribute to his life but it is often in ways that are intangible and are harder to defend myself with, so I’m often left feeling like I’m in a one-sided relationship or that I am the selfish one.
I guess my question here is, what is the best way to go about working this out? I love him very much but am growing more frustrated and anxious with the situation. All of the things above are constantly swirling around in my mind and often cause me to resent him — leading to the arguments. I try to reflect on what I can do differently or what I need from him but it’s becoming too much. However, I want it to work because I do see a future with him if we can get past these obstacles. Any advice or insight you are willing to provide is greatly appreciated!September 11, 2017 at 11:46 pm #168364
I was scanning through the forums and happened to click on yours and it’s unbelievably canny to the story of my boyfriend and I. It may just be the late night hours but the same thoughts that you’ve expressed in this post are swirling through my mind right now.
My boyfriend and I have also been together for a little over two years, and yes, we also took a month’s break around this time exactly last year. Coincidentally, my boyfriend and I are also quite young and like you, I’m still in school (law school, haha).
I know you’re feeling extremely frustrated. But if it’s any consolation, you’re not alone in your situation. I know I may not be stuck in the same scenario, but my boyfriend tends to have the same quality that you described yours as having.
As a student and as a law student especially, I’ve also always been a planner. I’m a stickler for getting places on time. It’s really a huge pet peeve of mine when my plans are ruined due to lateness- which my boyfriend absolutely just does not care about. He is the type to show up at 1PM if I said 12PM, with absolutely no concern for the fact that I am quite angry by the fact that I simply CANNOT trust him to hold to his word. I hate the fact that I can’t trust him to stay true to his word because I’ve always been a girl who needs stability in her life. I sometimes wonder, “if my boyfriend is always this wild card who shows up late all the time and never takes our plans and my requests to heart, why am I still with him, time after time?”
And you know what? Whenever I ask him to just be on time for something or to pay more attention to sticking to our plans, he also accuses me of being too dependent on him. It makes me angry when he says this because I feel like, at the point of 2 years in a relationship, a slight sense of dependency and reliance on the other person is necessary. There are certain roles a person plays in a lifetime and I’ve always believed that when you play the role of a significant other in a serious, long-term relationship, it should be done with all your heart. I hate feeling like he has all these inhibitions. My boyfriend also considers spending time with me and doing things the way I have planned is considering “being a good boyfriend” but I feel as though he is giving himself too much credit (forgive me for saying that if it offends you in any way). The way I see a two-year, strong and deeply rooted relationship, I think that spending time with your significant other and doing things to make them happy should come easily and naturally and should just be as routine as washing your hands every day.
Girl, about 90% of what you talked about in your post is what I’m living through right now. My boyfriend is really my best friend and the person I love the most. He is the person who knows me inside out, and the only person I can truly see myself with. For now, and for a long time to come. But lately, we fight at least once a week and like you said, it’s over the same small issues that really have deeper, underlying issues.
I’ve been thinking about this for the past 3 weeks and to be completely honest with you, I am almost at the point of giving up on him too. It’s been 3 weeks of constantly being angry at him for something I feel is beyond my control and completely within his and just constant questioning of how much I truly mean to him. There are nights where I so frustrated that I truly just want to yell “I can’t do this anymore” and scrub him entirely clean from my life. Sometimes, after a particularly angry fight I find myself on the verge of just spitting out those words because all the frustration just builds up inside.
Like you said, my boyfriend also does not consider me to be a top priority of his (which makes me upset). As a ivy-league law school student with a part-time job, my own family and friends and a side business I’m managing on my own, somehow I never seem to push him down my list of priorities. Sometimes, in spouts of anger over this exact topic, I tell him that despite the fact that he only has to worry about working one job while I am struggling to put myself through law school AND through two jobs, I still manage to treat him as though he would never mean less than gold to me.
So here’s where I’m going to give you the advice I was going to give to myself. Although my boyfriend frustrates me and stresses me in times where I’m already flooded and drowning in the stresses of life, at the end of the day, I think about the moments we’ve shared between the two of us. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, but there are certain flashes in our past that have stood out to me as “this man is the one you can’t let go of.” There’s a huge, hidden and completely pure part of my heart that knows that this boy and I have something truly special that I’ve found worth it for the past 2 years. I think of all the travels we’ve taken on together, all the midnights and early mornings, all the small little daily conversations, all the inside jokes, and most of all, I think of the way he looks at me.
He may not say much, but the way he looks at me when he thinks I don’t notice- this is how I can tell he loves me without him saying a single word.
Desiree, if you truly think you have a future with this man, and if, from the bottom of your heart, you can find the same things I can find in my boyfriend, then I say, don’t give up.
I’ve been mulling over these thoughts for weeks and I’ve written my boyfriend a letter that just poured out everything I’ve been feeling and how I’m feeling now. I write when I’m sad and frustrated (hence, this post) and for me, watching the words spill out onto paper, I felt a sort of release and it felt like just one of the knots in the spiderweb in my head unknotted. It felt like a momentary release.
I’m going to sit my boyfriend down and just talk to him this week. With both of us in a calm and clear state of mind, I am going to tell him everything that I’ve been feeling and everything I’ve written to him in this letter. I’ve never been afraid to ask my boyfriend questions, and if you choose to openly speak to him about your troubles and your frustrations, I really encourage you to be honest with him. Be honest with how you feel. And then ask him to be honest about he feels. If you want something, don’t be afraid to ask. If you want compromise because you truly feel it will make your relationship better, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Your happiness matters too. And it’s not just a relationship for one- your happiness matters too.
I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, ever since I was a young girl. But I still believe that true love is meant to withstand anything and it is also meant to surpass all the obstacles that come its way. Maybe you are standing in the eye of a storm you don’t think you can survive, but maybe the two of you can watch it bypass you together. You don’t know that this necessarily has to be the end of your relationship, and if you are willing and your heart tells you that there is more to the story of you and him, just speak to him. Ask him how he believes the two of you can solve these issues. Catch him in the moment where his guard is down and his “manly pride” isn’t on full power.
If your boyfriend is even further similar to my boyfriend, or just men in general, then some of what we are frustrated about is just common to the male population. They are rarely considerate enough to think beyond their sphere. They like to take things step by step, one at a time, which may explain why he is so blase about plans and adhering to times. You said that you are 24 and if your boyfriend is around that age, then perhaps he’s still holding on to the youthfulness that comes with being young and in your 20s.
Remember how they always used to tell us girls that boys matured slower than us? Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes they are just too YOUNG (no matter how old they are) to see the value of what they have in front of them. Sometimes they are just too immersed in their own realm of conceptions and thoughts and too stubborn to leave that realm to understand the concepts that we try to get through to them. Sometimes they are too stubborn to change little habits. Sometimes they don’t understand how much something can hurt you and keep you up late at night and turning to the kindness of strangers at 3AM. Sometimes this is just what some (still very young) men in their 2os are like. These are certainly all things I’ve learned about my boyfriend in the time we’ve been together.
So Desiree, I truly hope that I’ve provided you with the slightest bit of comfort or insight. I know our situations may not be entirely similar but I feel as though I need as much direction as you in my relationship right now, and I know how frustrating it can be trying to figure this out on your own.
You don’t have to take any of my advice or listen to anything you find erroneous or incongruent with how you feel. As cliche as it sounds, truly follow your heart and listen to what direction it is telling you to go in to find peace and happiness.
And please do let me know if you have any words for me. They would be truly appreciated. 🙂
Jay.September 12, 2017 at 4:33 am #168370
Hi Desiree (and Jay! LOL, sorry, I couldn’t read all that you wrote, but I’ll try to talk to you, too!)
All I can say is WOW!! You (and Jay) must be brilliant if you are a med student (and a law student) and still have time to complain about your boyfriend(s)!
What would happen if you told the guy that HE wasn’t a first priority? No offense, fella, but you’re the one who has to get through school!
I honestly wouldn’t take anything he does personally as he is young. Unless you’re going to marry the guy (you might not!), the mission of becoming a doctor (or lawyer) comes first. Once you are solidly in those professions, then you can revisit whether you want a relationship, and with whom.
My son is in a service academy and even he broke up with his girlfriend because there was “no time” and he can’t be distracted.
I would view having a boyfriend as optional.
InkySeptember 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm #168868
Wow. Jay, we really do have so much in common, both in personality and in our relationships. Thank you so much for sitting down and taking the time to reply to my insanely long post. That really made me feel like I am not alone in this and not the only one facing these frustrations. I think everything you’ve said is wonderful and makes so much sense — especially when you talked about the special, shared moments between the two of you. Sometimes it’s so easy to focus on what’s going wrong rather and I often forget about those things that remind me why I fell in love him in the first place. But thank you for reminding me that reflecting on the positive is just as crucial for our relationship.
I’m really glad to hear that you’re going to sit down with your boyfriend and talk with him this week – I really hope it goes well. My boyfriend and I had a LONG talk the other night and did just that. It felt great to finally let out some of my feelings about our relationship and to do so when we were in a calm place and not in an argument. I feel like we were able to sort out a lot of it and I left feeling better than when we entered the conversation. I still believe we have a ways to go but you’re completely right: he’s 100% worth it and I’m not ready to give up just yet. Your response helped a lot with that too 🙂 So, again, thank you thank you thank you for that and I hope that you and your boyfriend are able to have a productive conversation as well.
I don’t know if we can private message on this forum, but if there is a way and you ever want to chat again, please let me know! You sound like an awesome person (law school and 2 jobs?! that’s amazing, girl). Either way, I’m wishing you the very best!September 17, 2017 at 7:39 am #169000
You wrote: “He constantly reminds me that his family (parents and siblings) and his job are his #1 priority'”- this makes me wonder why he feels the need to constantly remind you of that; what takes place right before he reminds you of that?
A clue is here: “He tells me that I am clingy and too dependent on him (he may be right)”-
I am thinking it may be that you communicate to him often enough that he is not doing enough for you, that he doesn’t treat you as his number one priority (maybe far ahead of any other priority), and so, he follows with reminding you that he has other priorities.
Is it so?