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In a relationship with a man who is detached.

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  • #347814
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tee:

    I will read and reply to you in about 14 hours. Take care!

    anita

    #347920
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tee:

    You are welcome.

    Your family was not “close knitted, supportive, and loving no matter what”. When the two parents are enemies, it is impossible for their child to feel safe and warm inside. It is like living in a domestic war zone, which is the opposite of what a child needs.

    “It made me feel sad and jealous almost”- it made you feel really and intensely sad and jealous (not almost). In that jealousy, there is anger, as in: why isn’t my family like her family???

    “I considered them my second family”- not your first family. A child’s loyalty is to her first family, and her experience with her first family is what determines her ongoing emotional experience.

    “they sort of adopted me too in some way“- not in a definite way, (not that they could or should have tried to legally adopt you). Your experience with them, however good on many occasions (“I felt so happy”), didn’t replace your experience with your (first) family.

    “I guess in this relationship I’ve been trying to get everything I didn’t have growing up”- yes, in your romantic relationship, you wanted to be his Priority, you wanted to be attended to/ to be the center of his life, for at least for two hours a day.

    What you needed mostly as a child, besides the basic needs of food and shelter, is a family that is peaceful, not a war zone. Your parents could have provided that to you- it doesn’t require money, all it requires is using lower, calmer voices, always treating each other with respect, and expressing appreciation to each other once in a while.

    * A peaceful family is not common, it is not the case for many millions of children who grow up carrying with them a war-zone experience of childhood.

    Post again anytime, and I will be glad to reply to you every time you post.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.
    #372194
    Tee
    Participant

    Hello, everyone hope you all had a wonderful new year!

    So much has happened to me. Back in April during the time we were talking me and him had a huge fight. Where he said he wasn’t sure if he loved me and figured it’s best to separate. I removed myself from his life only to have him contact me few days later saying that he was just overwhelmed by the emotions I unleashed and he made a mistake. I didn’t blame him at that time considering it was a lot and the way I unloaded my emotions was not fair to him. Ok, so I go back and try to work it out. But, our communication problems did not improve too much and my feelings wasn’t reciprocated enough. I did more reciprocation than him where he just went on with his days. I let go of wanting 2 hours of undivided attention and let him choose how he wanted to communicate. Days went by and a week and he doesn’t show much attention to me. I just wanted a conversation here and there when we don’t see each other. Because of quarantine I would only see him once every week or two weeks so I got lonely I guess. We would say our routine good mornings and good nights and a few exchange of words but that’s about it. It felt like we were strangers/friends when we didn’t see each other. I even pointed that out to him in October and hoped he would do something about it. I soon came to resent him for it, realizing now when I saw him having spontaneous hang outs with his friends when he won’t even initiate a hang out with me. I’m the paranoid one for covid and he knows that but there’s other ways to spend time with someone while still socially distancing. I guess I just wanted him to put a little thought and effort in thinking of ways to spend time with me. Now, I know you’re probably thinking why haven’t you planned anything? I got tired of it, since I’m always planning for every holiday and date. I wanted him to think of something for a change. Maybe, I’m expecting too much from a guy? Fast forward last week of December I figured let me ask him directly what he thinks of our relationship and if he even had a plan to get married. That would be my cue to know if I want to continue the relationship any longer. I asked him if he plans to get married in 4 years or even have a family and he replied; I don’t want to be broke and have a family, I don’t know if I even want a family at this point, there’s a lot of things financially and personally I would like to do before settling down. After hearing that I realized he doesn’t seem to know what he truly wants and do I even wait any longer? I will be 32 in four years and he will be 34 and if I wait any longer than 32 I’m going to have pregnancy complications since at that point woman have a tough time conceiving and healing properly. I graduate with a degree this spring and I feel like I’m ready to prepare to settle down. Him, not so much it seems like so I decided to walk away…..I love him a lot and now I am  heart broken and confused. His reply was not one I was expecting and it broke my trust in his feelings and conviction for me. I feel like a stranger more than ever. Can I feel this way or am I just being dramatic? Well, whatever the case we’re not together anymore and all I’m left with is just a broken heart.

    #372195
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tee:

    Welcome back to your thread! I am looking forward to read your new post and reply to you when I am back to the computer in about 12 hours from now.

    anita

    #372217
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tee:

    First (1), I will retell your story, using quotes. Second (2), I will tell your story in the first person (I), in a simplified way, using approximate ages, integrating my interpretations and understanding into the story, and third (3), my comments.

    (1) In April this year, you shared that years before, you had a relationship that you “thought was perfect”, and that you “were going to get married”. For four years afterwards, you met another perfect man (“He is and was perfect”), “everything seemed to fit”, and you were “content and happy”.

    Four years into the new relationship, you “felt so sad, painful, and lonely”, and you realized that your relationship was not perfect (“this one aspect threw me off this ‘perfect’ relationship”).

    The one aspect that threw you off this “perfect” relationship was that whenever you talked to him about your parents and how they made you feel, “he just doesn’t know how to respond. He either just listens or just gives me one words responses”. You told him that you wanted more of his time, words and attention, including “2 hrs of undivided attention” at the end of the day. He told you: “I show my love for you in different ways that are not verbal and you don’t see it”, and that it is difficult for him to “have that 1-2 hour a day communication” because of work and school (he is a self employed landscaper, doing remodeling and construction; you work in a bank and studying for a degree, and the two of you were not living together).

    You shared this about your feelings at the time: “so sad, painful and lonely.. I just want to feel I guess warm inside and feel safe somehow around him. Maybe I’m looking for some magical phrase or sentence to make the pain go away… I hope one day I can truly leave this emotional torment behind and be happy… I want to have a stable relationship”.

    You shared this about your childhood: “I grew up in a house where my parents continuously argued, were always at each other’s throat… I  kind of repressed a lot of memories to be honest and it is a bit hazy… I was sad and wanted to help but didn’t know how. I remember trying to tell (mother) to stay strong and maybe fight back.. I knew one thing for sure that how she was being treated was wrong.. I remember her always telling me it’s just problems between adults and to ignore what’s happening. I did as I was told and stayed in my own world. I did not have playmates growing up. I did not get to have friends till I was in high school. My parents had this paranoia that I was going to get kidnapped every two seconds because we lived in a bad neighborhood. I studied hard and did not question much since I didn’t want to give them anther reason to argue….(Father) was always suspicious that she was seeing other men.. If she was late just 10-15 minutes coming home from work he would be very angry… We weren’t very fortunate and lived in a cramped one bedroom apartment till I graduated… I did miss (parents) a lot when I was alone and wanted to go on vacations or do family things like everyone else”.

    You shared about a friend you had in high school: “I went over to my friend’s house and saw her family dynamic, it gave me an utter shock. They were so close knitted, supportive, and loving no matter what. It made me feel sad and jealous.. I wanted so badly to be a part of them.. I just longed for that family dynamic… I felt so happy. I feel like they kind of saved me in a way”.

    In your last April 5, 2020 post, you wrote about your relationship with your boyfriend: “I guess in this relationship I’ve been trying to get everything I didn’t have growing up.. Makes me appreciate my boyfriend more now because he’s been able to stay sane with me despite my emotional roller coaster and unreasonableness”.

    Eight months later, Jan 4, 2021, you shared that back in April (sometime after your April 5 post), the two of you “had a huge fight.. he said he wasn’t sure if he loved me and figured it’s best to separate”. A few days later, he contacted you and said “he was just overwhelmed by the emotions I unleashed and he made a mistake”. You then got back together, but “our communication problems did not improve too much and my feelings wasn’t reciprocated enough.. Days went by and a week and he doesn’t show much attention to me… I  just wanted a conversation here and there… Because of quarantine I would only see him once a week or two weeks so I got lonely… It felt like we were strangers/ friends when we didn’t see each other.. I soon came to resent him… I just wanted him to.. spend time with me”.

    That was in later April. Fast forward last week of December, you (age 28) asked him (age 30) “directly what he thinks of our relationship and if he even had a plan to get married.. in 4 years or even have a family and he replied: I don’t want to be broke and have a family. I don’t know if I even want a family at this point”. His reply broke your trust, you wrote, and you figured that if you wait for him to be ready for marriage and children, being an older mother, you will have pregnancy complications, so you “decided to walk away”. Now, you are “heart broken and confused.. I feel like a stranger more than ever”.

    (2) Scene 1, at 5 years old: Father is angry again, Mother gets angry, I cry, they tell me to go to the room and stay there, they tell me to ignore what is happening, that it’s problems between adults. I do what they say, I go to the room, they keep arguing in the living room. I don’t know how to ignore them, they are loud, I am scared: what if he hurts my mother, what if my mother gets hurt and dies. I want to help my mother, but I don’t know how. I am scared my father will get angry at me. Mother, please be okay, please stay strong!

    I feel dizzy, I am breathing is fast and shallow, I think I am going to faint, or die. Help me! someone save me!…  How strange, I suddenly feel so hazy, like I am in a cloud.. their angry voices sound far away.. I  feel like nothing is real. Maybe I am in a movie.

    Scene 2, at 10 years old: Father says it’s a bad neighborhood, he says bad people will kidnap me if I go outside. I must be careful, I must stay inside alone. I study hard, I try to be a good girl for my parents. I do what they say. I stay inside; people are dangerous outside. But there is danger inside too: I can hear father getting angry even before he gets angry, maybe mother is going to be late from work again. I am waiting for her.. Mother, please come back home quickly, quick! Please!

    Scene 3, any age: I am alone and lonely, painfully lonely. I feel cold inside, I feel scared. Oh how I wish I could feel warm, safe and happy!

    Scene 4, at 16: I have a friend, a real friend, she invited me to her home.. I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe how different it is in her home, it is not scary there at all, no one is angry, no one is arguing- no matter what. I feel warm, safe, content and happy- I didn’t know I could feel this way, I didn’t know life can be so perfect. I want this perfect!

    Scene 4, at 2o: I have a boyfriend. He is perfect. I feel warm, safe, content and happy! This is it, this is what I wanted all along! We will get married and live happily ever after!

    Later: something is wrong, I lost that perfect feeling because he is not  perfect after all. I feel so sad, empty and painfully lonely. He has to fix this, he has to get his perfect back!

    Scene 5, at 24: I have a new boyfriend. He is perfect. I feel warm, safe, content and happy! This is it, this is what I wanted all along! We will get married and live happily ever after!

    Later: something is wrong, I lost that perfect feeling because he is not perfect after all. I feel so sad, empty and painfully lonely.

    (3) Comments: like I wrote in the beginning of this post, the second part is simplified. Just because you had the childhood experience that you had, which requires healing, it does not mean that any and every man you meet is right for you (and therefore, if  you were healthy enough, you would have realized it). For example, you were troubled by seeing your recent boyfriend only once a week, or once every two weeks- almost every woman would be troubled by such infrequency. Another example: if you want to get married and have children, and the man does not- that’s an incompatibility that is independent of your childhood experience.

    On the other hand, for as long as you don’t adequately heal from your childhood experience (it will require quality psychotherapy, I believe), no man and no relationship will be good enough, and in every relationship you will experience a fall, so to speak- a fall from contentment and perfection to dissatisfaction, emptiness, sadness, loneliness and resentment.

    You wrote earlier: “Maybe I’m looking for some magical phrase or sentence to make the pain go away”- there is no magical phrase, or magical man, or magical relationship that can take your childhood pain away. But emotional healing is possible for you and that pain in you will lessen and lessen, and be replaced by increasing contentment and an improved emotional experience overall.

    anita

    #372237
    Tee
    Participant

    Just because you had the childhood experience that you had, which requires healing, it does not mean that any and every man you meet is right for you (and therefore, if  you were healthy enough, you would have realized it).

    Thank you for the insight Anita. Maybe you are right, I may need to see a psychologist before I think about having any relationship with anybody. Maybe I kept trying and trying with him in hopes that he ends up fitting the “perfect” mold I want him to be in. Or, I just didn’t see him trying and he gave up on me too because I’ve been fixated on him fitting my description of a relationship. He’s unsure about starting a family and having kids so that’s why I walked away. I just didn’t want to be hurt four years down the line when he makes up his mind. I didn’t want to chance getting my heart broken then. Maybe I’m running away from pain after experiencing it so many times. I never imagined my personal life being this way. All I ever wanted was to be loved.

    Thank you, for your time. I really appreciate the feedback.

    -Tee

    #372238
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tee:

    You are welcome. I can almost  hear your pain as I read your words. I am sorry that you are hurting.

    When you shared about your childhood, I was reminded of parts of mine: I too lived in a very small 1-bedroom apartment, in a poor neighborhood, but that was not what I remember to be painful. What I remembered that was very painful were the fights, the screaming, the threats, the violence inside that one-bedroom apartment. I too “wanted.. to be loved”, like you, but I was also afraid of (and angry at) people and relationships, having associated both with pain, not with love.

    You wrote that you walked away from your boyfriend because he’s “unsure about starting a family”. You didn’t talk with him about family and children when you met him, and through the four years of the relationship?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by anita.
    #372245
    Tee
    Participant

    Anita,

    I feel somewhat less crazy and alone knowing that someone went through something similar to mine.

    I have made it very clear that I want a family around age 32 from the 2nd year on. He mentioned there is a lot he wants to do personally and financially before he settles down and even if he does he’s not sure if he wants kids involved rather just a life partner. He said he’s okay with being alone and that if someone wants to join him great, if not he doesn’t feel the need to have someone with him forever. He too has lived a life of pain, he never felt loved and cherished growing up (I came to this conclusion since I never saw him close with his family rather just work-related) and his parents were never there for him. His parents have their own business so whenever it was business related they would see him and nothing more. Maybe deep down he’s afraid of having a family of his own and not being able to provide for them properly. He didn’t grow up rich either. I mentioned to him that I’ve been working hard to not ever be a financial burden to anyone and be able to sustain myself and one child. Before, I left I told him he can think things through before he responded but he seemed sure of it. Before all this he never was against kids either but all of a sudden he has take a sudden change of heart. Maybe his age made him feel incompetent since he saw his friends at certain points of life that he’s not there yet. I wish he would’ve talked to me but in the four years we’ve been together he didn’t always talk about his feelings much even when I questioned him. He kind of brushed it off. If anything he seemed to open up a little bit when I was tipsy. I don’t remember much after certain amount of drinks. I always told him he can speak his mind and I’m the last person who would ever judge him for it. Maybe we were both too broken inside to sustain anything.

    #372250
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tee:

    It’s almost bed time for me, so I am not very focused, I may reply to you further tomorrow, but for now: my feel is, regarding you and your boyfriend of four years, if ONLY you teamed up, of only you operated like a Team instead of you vs. him, instead of you letting him know that he does not  measure up to what you need him to be. We humans are all broken people, all people that I know.. we need each other’s gentleness instead of harshness.  He is not stronger than you are, he’s probably as lost as you are, needing your strength  and guidance no less than you need his. I hope I am making sense. Good night, Tee.

    anita

    #372254
    Tee
    Participant

    Anita,

    if ONLY you teamed up, of only you operated like a Team instead of you vs. him, instead of you letting him know that he does not  measure up to what you need him to be

    I always did want to be a team with him but I guess my ways of doing it was incorrect. In the very beginning I had this weird feeling that this was the person I wanted to fall in love with and love. Now, I’m thinking was I just trauma bonding with him? I felt close to him because we came from similar childhoods?

    Good night!!

    -Tee

    #372280
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tee:

    You shared about his childhood that “he never felt loved and cherished growing up.. his parents were never there for him. His parents have their own business so whenever it was business related they would see him and nothing more”-

    – it is no wonder then that “in the four years we’ve been together he didn’t always talk about his feeling much”- he was trained to talk about business “and nothing more”!

    In your original post you wrote: “Whenever I talked about something I’m going through in my life regarding my parents and how they made me feel he just doesn’t know how to respond”-

    – no wonder he doesn’t know how to respond to your painful emotional experience with your parents: he doesn’t know how to address and respond to his own painful emotional experience with his parents.

    “If anything he seemed to open up a little bit when I was tipsy”-

    – maybe because when you were tipsy you were relaxed and therefore you didn’t complain to him about… him, you didn’t question him excessively, you didn’t confront him and you were not otherwise pushy. Let’s look at how you were these things with him, taken from your original post:

    “He told me he’ll try harder… I confronted him again… I tried to accept all he said but I’m still feeling sad and lonely.. am I .. being pushy for him to open up”-

    He told you that he will try harder after you complained to him.. about him, pushing him to try harder. You “tried to accept all he said but”- meaning, you were in the habit of not accepting what he said, questioning and confronting him about what he said.

    You wrote: “Maybe I’m looking for some magical phrase or sentence to make the pain go away”- this means that whatever he told you was not good enough for you, so you questioned what he said, and complained about what he said, pushing him to say that “magical phrase or sentence”.

    From what you shared about this man, he is a  good, honest man. If you weren’t combative in the ways I just mentioned, then maybe working as a Team would have been possible. A man is not likely to open up  in a combat zone. A man is likely to withdraw and choose to be alone when in combat, not to team up with the enemy.

    I understand your pain, Tee, but he is in pain too. You wrote earlier: “All I ever wanted was to be loved”, and you wrote about him: “He never felt loved and cherished growing up”- see you were both unloved growing up, and on your part at the least, you failed to love and cherish him.

    anita

     

    #372347
    Tee
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I’m going to take some time assessing myself. Maybe I was too, confrontational. I’ll get back to this soon.

    Sincerely,

    Tee

    #372349
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tee:

    I was worried, after I sent you the last post- that you would feel bad reading it. I am glad you came back to me. I want you to evaluate your own behaviors and others’, so that you can make better choices, that is my intent. Take your time assessing, and I will read from you and reply when you are ready.

    anita

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