August 11, 2017 at 12:41 pm #163514
A bit of background: I've been with my ex for 1 and a half years. He's 27 and I'm 29. I've been in several relationships and I'm his first. I saw this as a huge red flag but because he was initially so thoughtful and affectionate and we got along great, I dismissed it and fell in love. Having come out of a rocky relationship before him with an emotionally unavailable man, I was slow in our courtship (took us 5 months to be official), as was he because he had moved to the city I'm at (Jackson, MS) a year ago and had thoughts of moving to New Orleans, LA. This caused a bit of pressure in our relationship early on and anxiety on my part. I was comforted when he initially asked if I saw myself settling in Jackson, to which I said no, I would ideally want to move. This was early on though and as our relationship progressed there wasn't much communication on what would happen if he moved (another source of anxiety). We would fight, about small things typically that would escalate because he would stonewall me a lot. I soon realized our conflict resolution was a mess, he had a huge ego and wasn't very good at saying sorry or comforting me after fights and thus things would escalate and I would feel even more hurt. To add to that, another thing we would fight about often was our sex life. I'm a highly sexual being and I'm only the second girl he's been with sexually. He lost his virginity at 25 with a random girl just to lose it. I'm sexually experienced with a high libido. I've tried to be patient with him and tried to make him comfortable in all kinds of ways, but he hasn't extended the same courtesy to me and I've often felt rejected and undesired. He thinks sex is not important in a relationship and I do. It's not because he's not physically attracted to me either, he's just really inside his head about it all and doesn't seem comfortable with sexual things or with his body. I often wonder if it's a trauma or low testosterone but he isn't open to exploring those options and gets defensive no matter how I word it. I can't force him to be open unless he wants to be. This has caused a lot of tension in the past but lately it seems we were on a decent path with a better sex life.
Fast forward to now, he's decided to stay here for another 3 years to pursue his masters so the pressure of him relocating is gone. We've broken up here and there but always get back together fairly quickly and I've been very direct in letting my needs known on what I need in a relationship, which is affection and words of affirmation. He's not affectionate as he was in the beginning and he's never been very good with words or expressive and sometimes I feel he lacks emotional depth. This makes me feel emotionally disconnected from him but he's said he would work on it yet it never sticks. Overall, I feel like our relationship is stagnant emotionally. Recently, I thought our relationship was at least improving in the conflict resolution department, we were fighting a lot less and when we did our fights would resolve fairly quickly. I was seeing improvement in that, but other areas were lacking and overall I just felt like he was being lazy with his love by not putting much effort in other than spending time with me (even though when we do spend time together we laugh a lot and are best friends but I still don't feel like he's vulnerable with me). I've told him that that isn't enough to sustain a relationship and he either simply didn't get it or chose not to.
Last weekend we had our first fight where it didn't resolve quickly like it had been lately and to top it all of it was the night before a long awaited beach trip. It soured the trip and was a complete mess. In our continued fight, he told me that he loved me but wasn't in love with me and that he stayed with me because he wanted to and to see if he could re-ignite those feelings. This really hurt of course and I told him that on one hand it was unfair to me that he didn't let me know and that if he wasn't putting any effort into the relationship it's even less likely those feelings would return. I'm very confused right now and don't even know if I could get over someone telling me that because as much as I would try it would be in the back of my mind.
Even after the fight, we semi-reconciled, re-conciled as in eased some of the tension and continued hanging out through the night and having a somewhat pleasant evening but I went on to later say that I needed some space after all of what was said during the argument. He said that he deeply regretted the things he said and that he just wanted to make me happy(which he doesn't say very often) but I was still very hurt. He agreed the space was a good idea which kind of bothered me because I wanted him to fight for our relationship but I digress because ultimately I knew space was necessary. I ended up staying the night and the next morning he gave me the usual hug and said I love you before he went to work, he then texted me asking me how I was feeling to which I didn't respond. I did leave him a letter explaining to him how I was feeling though. I didn't think he would respond so soon and he ended up texting me when he got home from work and basically said that he didn't know that I'd been so hurt by him by the things he hadn't been doing until this weekend that we fought (even though I've been very direct on my needs). He then proceeded to tell me that he deserved a little more credit than what I gave him in the letter but that that wasn't the point and said that there a lot of other guys that could hurt me much more than he has and that hopefully I wouldn't end up with one of those types. He ended his text by saying that maybe we would bump into each other like they did in the last movie we watched together (the breakup, comical, I know). I was strictly just going to go No Contact for a while but the comment about there being other guys that could hurt me worse irritated me so badly. I told him that it wasn't necessary to say that and that those men had no room in our conversation because they were irrelevant, it only matters how he treats me and how you don't get brownie points for not being the worst of the worst but you get brownie points for actually treating someone well. Other stuff was said, but it ultimately ended on him saying he wanted to let me know he wasn't ignoring me and that he just didn't know what to say right then and wanted to make that clear. I left it at that and stopped communication.
Overall, I don't think it helps that he is a commitment phobe, is inexperienced, not the best communicator, and that the rocky middle caused him to doubt us so much that it made his feelings change. I've asked him what he thought being in love was and he said it was giving up everything for that person to which I replied that that wasn't a very healthy way to view it. In my mind, you don't give up everything for someone, you wouldn't expect someone you love to do that, even if you do sacrifice certain things, but never who you are. I've also asked him what he looks for in an ideal partner to which he replied a lot of characteristics that I fulfill and has told me so, yet it seems he thinks love is an unhealthy notion and a constant “in love” feeling and commitment is scary. I told him “the one” is the person you have various different types of chemistry with but also who you put effort into, and love can't sustain itself on air.
Our last contact was Monday after he texted me in response to the letter, that is until he texted me Wednesday saying that he missed me. I haven't responded but of course I'd be lying if I said I didn't want him to tell me he wants to work on our relationship and be a bit more expressive than that. I only ended things to prove that I'm not going to put up with lack of affection(I typically have to ask for it other than the hug when I first see him) and expression if he wants to be with me, because lately I feel like he's taking me for granted and just being lazy with his love. I just want him to step up and be consistent because other than that we are best friends and are always laughing when we are together. If he truly wanted to work on things, I'd be up for it as well but I don't know if it's my job to say anything since technically I would be considered the “dumper” /the one that needed space. I just don't want to chase him, and want him to realize what he had and any time we've broken up it's only for 2 to 3 days, and I feel that's not enough time for someone to really get the effect of you being gone and getting their feelings and thoughts in order.
Should I have responded to his I miss you text to get the ball rolling or am I doing well in having ignored it? I wanted to maybe say “I'm not trying to ignore you btw” and see what he says to that, but he might just ignore it too. Should I just leave it alone for now?
Highly confused, any thoughts/suggestions appreciated.August 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm #163530
what ive learned is that guys tend not to share emotions that well cause guys aren't supposed to be “vulnerable” i think guys should share emotions but they have a hard time doing that. you seem like a sweet person, but reading your story it just seemed as though you wanted him to confide in you but if guys think that you constantly want to know how they feel and you pressure them they tend to become self involved.
you said ” He thinks sex is not important in a relationship and I do. It’s not because he’s not physically attracted to me either, he’s just really inside his head about it all and doesn’t seem comfortable with sexual things or with his body.”, can you explain a little more cause im very confused.
let me ask you something. you seem as though you want a committed relationship where the guy is all in, i respect that i would too. it seem that he doesn't want to put effort in and you said that he told you that he wants you back, you also said y'all were off and on after the second chance you needed to let him go its his fault for you not wanting that relationship, don't put yourself in a relationship were the guy doesn't want to put the effort in but he wants to stay. if you truly want this guy set ground rules tell him the rules if he doesn't like them then forget him. if a guy truly wanted you he would put an effort in. if he does say that he can follow those rules do a test on him but don't tell him. give him 90 days a guy cant pretend for that long so that's what you do if he falls short more than twice than it should be over. during the test he goes by your rules and only yours.
serenityAugust 12, 2017 at 4:32 am #163570
Your relationship, now on a break, possibly to be resumed, lasted 1.5 years. Initially he was very thoughtful and affectionate and you got along great. You mentioned your anxiety during the relationship and fighting that escalated. Over time, he has become no longer affectionate like he was and you were unhappy with the way he expressed himself, with his lack of emotional depth, lack of sexual drive and interest, with him not saying he is sorry, him being “lazy with his love”.
You wrote: “You wrote: “Overall, I don’t think it helps that he is a commitment phobe, is inexperienced, not the best communicator… I only ended things to prove that I’m not going to put up with lack of affection… and expression…and just being lazy with his love”.
He told you later on that “he deserved a little more credit than what I gave him…”Your last line is: “Highly confused, any thoughts/suggestions appreciated.”
My thoughts and suggestions:
You have been for a while and are very critical of him, unhappy with whom he is and you pointed it out to him many times, how lacking he is.
This is why he told you that “he deserved a little more credit”- because you abundantly expressed to him his debits.
You ended the relationship at this point not because you meant to end it, but so ” to prove that I’m not going to put up with lack of…” Maybe you are confused because you are still interested in a relationship with a man you disapprove of, with a man full of debits, lacks, inadequacies.
Could that be the reason for your confusion: your interest in a many you find so lacking?
August 12, 2017 at 4:44 am #163576
- This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by anita.
* typo in last line. I will repeat my question: “Could that be the reason for your confusion: your interest in a man you find so lacking?”August 12, 2017 at 6:02 am #163584
When (usually guys) say, “I love you but I'm not in love with you” that is the death knell of the relationship. You can't take those words back. You can't unring a bell. He could do a complete 180 and be the perfect guy, but those words will cast a sour note in the relationship going forward. Romantic, huh?
At this point, what can he possibly do?
His character is passive, he sounds bookish/introverted and asexual. Some people are asexual. And that's OK!
But not only that: You have studied your relationship, evaluated his personality, thought about the relationship 24/7… I promise you he is and has not thought that hard about it.
I mean he sounds like an OK guy, but he's just that. “OK”.
And then he's the one to tell you “I love you but I'm not in love with you”? Please. Because he is inexperienced, he doesn't get that that phrase is the number one relationship killer thing to say. The ultimate prehistoric meme. Like, cavemen were saying that. Now he is back peddling like crazy.
Time to sail on.
August 12, 2017 at 7:01 am #163590
- This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Inky.
I'm sorry to hear about what is happening. Its a difficult thing to go through. Just some thoughts, let's say you did get back with him, you had mentioned things seemed “stagnant” and he stated “he was not in love with you” If you got back with him, would you truly be happy, secure and content in a relationship that is not moving forward and a man not in love?August 13, 2017 at 7:52 pm #163792
Thank you Serenity, Anita, Inky and Eliana for your responses.
Anita, I try to not be critical of him and really am not day to day. They are just certain characteristics that are present and have caused issues in our relationship. I'm not saying I'm perfect or that he needs to be or that he will always be what I need him to be, but I think the only thing I'm asking for are basic needs and maybe expecting him to be more expressive when he's not is asking him to change so I can do without that, but I can't do without a lot lacking, at least give me affection if you can't be expressive right? And he used to. I'm confused because of course I still have feelings for him and want us to work these “lacks” out and he's said he would work on it but doesn't. I guess I'm just dissapointed and hurt. I know that if you are constantly critical of anyone, they will lose interest or feelings for you. I try to praise him and make him feel good whenever I can and especially whenever things are going even better.
I did mean to end it, because I can't continue on without the lack of those things, I feel like certain men need to lose something before they realize what they have, usually not the better men but some men do. It's basically like setting my boundaries I think, because talking about things and setting boundaries in that way hasn't caused any consistent improvements, and that's what relationships need, is consistent effort right?
Thank you so much. Now if only I could re-read your message over and over again when I'm feeling weak and missing him. Because while he might not be a good romantic partner right now due to not putting the work in to grow and communicate well, etc, I know that overall he's a good person. Sighhhhh. I know I will get through this but it sure is hard the first few weeks.
I definitely wouldn't feel secure, I haven't felt secure with him for some time. I think if this had been the only issue I had tried to get through with him, then I would have more strength and will to try to work on things but at this point i feel emotionally drained and that was the last thing I needed to hear. I think it's possible to get through that, although highly tricky but yeah definitely a stab to the heart that you don't get over for a long while.August 14, 2017 at 5:01 am #163826
In your last post you wrote that you “want us to work these ‘lacks' out and he’s said he would work on it but doesn’t”, and you wrote: “I know that if you are constantly critical of anyone, they will lose interest or feelings for you”
I think it is better to not have a love relationship with a man whom you consider to be as lacking as you consider this man to be. It seems to me that you believe you are being assertive by expressing to him his lacks, but it is not an effective behavior on your part. When a person is repeatedly criticized, his lacks pointed out, the person does lose affection to the one doing the criticism.
You wrote: “I try to praise him and make him feel good whenever I can and especially whenever things are going even better”- praising does not undo the affection-killing affect of criticism. It doesn't neutralize the damage.
You wrote: “It’s basically like setting my boundaries I think, because talking about things and setting boundaries… and that’s what relationships need, is consistent effort right?”-
I think you are confusing being assertive (which is a requirement for a good relationship and is what is needed for a relationship to improve) with being critical. The two are not the same. If you want to improve a relationship, criticizing the partner, pointing out to his flaws, inadequacies, lacks will promote further deterioration of a relationship.
I don't know if it is a good idea for you to resume a relationship with him, but I do believe that the way you went about asserting yourself with him has not been effective and will not be effective with any person with whom you have an intimate relationship.
anitaAugust 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm #163946
Anita, When I communicate what is missing, I don't do it in a way that is critical of him, I do it in a way that expresses what I need. I say “I feel loved when …or I don't feel loved when” , I try to use a lot of “I feel statements” etc. I don't just sit there pointing out his flaws or “lacks.”
As far as having a relationship with someone that is so lacking, I guess you just form an attachment to people before you find that out sometimes, and it's not like all of those qualities are completely lacking, he used to be affectionate so I know it is within him.August 15, 2017 at 9:16 am #164040
He's not the one for you.
You've spent enough time ruminating on things that are a vicious cycle, which aren't ever going to change. At this point, the problems with that relationship are so multiple that, by the time you might be able to fix one, another will crop up. Or a huge life issue, such as an illness. In other words, life is happening outside.
Honestly, it sounds like there are no pieces to pick up. Every relationship has good times – amazing times – this is b/c we are human, and great things happen to humans inside relationships, even when those relationships are only meant to be short-term life lessons, and stepping stones on life's path. These good times are to be used as memories – reasons to be grateful for having spent a chunk of time with another person – however, they are Not to be confused with valid reasons to stay in a dead-end relationship.
You have faith, positive hopes, and ambitions – that much is clear. Don't waste them by projecting them onto a relationship that isn't meant for you. It is a waste of good faith, hopes and dreams that are meant for a different relationship. One that you KNOW works, and one that you do Not have to come to the Tiny Buddha website to obtain “advice” on for what you already know in your gut when you listen to it.
Get off of this hamster wheel that you are on. It will only wear you down, make you cynical, bitter – and you Don't even need to let it.
Move on and much love.
xoAugust 15, 2017 at 11:44 am #164100
You're so right about staying on that hamster wheel, it does waste a lot of emotional energy and makes you jaded and bitter.
Thank you so much for your support and thoughtful words.
Much love.August 16, 2017 at 7:58 am #164218
You wrote: “I say ‘I feel loved when …or I don’t feel loved when' , I try to use a lot of ‘I feel statements' etc. I don’t just sit there pointing out his flaws or ‘lacks.'”-
Using I-feel-statements is a by-the-book recommendation for effective communication. And if you complete “I feel loved when” with a specific act, then the man is clear about the specific act that will work.
- This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by anita.