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It may actually be me causing most of my relationship issues?

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  • #113455
    dreaming715
    Participant

    I’ve posted several times that online dating has resulted in a lot of “really good at first” moments and then “suddenly he wants to leave” (there have been a few times where I did leave though due to not feeling compatible).

    Well I’ve been dating a guy for the past 2.5 months and yesterday he actually asked me what I thought of him introducing me as his girlfriend from now on (I was honestly a relieved, happy, excited, and even flattered because he’s someone I’ve grown really fond of).

    I will admit he has had moments of being a little hot and cold (and I think I unfortunately sometimes compare his actions to my ex-fiancé). While my ex and I are long done, we had an inseparable, best friend type of relationship right away.

    With my new boyfriend we met online as strangers and have had to build trust and intimacy. He’s very reserved (doesn’t show a lot of public affection, although the does sometimes), we talk but he’s a little hesitant to open up.

    I think I may have unfair expectations and I seem to have this mentality that the best relationship is when a guy is head over heels for you, would go above and beyond to make you happy, would stay up all hours of the night talking to you, etc… It occurred to me that my attitude is unrealistic and on-par with Disney movies or something.

    For example: We got food the other night and he ordered potato wedges and I ordered fries. The fries were not great and I commented, “You had the right idea to get the potato wedges,” and he didn’t really say anything. I think I expected him to be like “Have some of mine!” That’s completely ridiculous of me to even think though. Plus he bought both of our meals so I feel guilty for even feeling irritated about it.

    Also, when I spend the night he doesn’t really give a formal kiss and say “good night.” He just says “All right… Think it’s time to get some sleep” and rolls over. Idk why but this frustrates me too. It’s like I expect him to fawn all over me and treat me like I’m the luckiest thing that happened to him (I know that sounds so self-centered… But at least I’m recognizing it and wanting to change).

    Is it unrealistic of me to expect more from him? Is it irrational to expect a kiss every time we say good bye or good night? Yikes… Anyone have advice for me?

    #113457
    anita
    Participant

    Dear dreaming715:

    I like your insight. Very much! I think you hit the nail on the head with your analysis. Makes a lot of sense: unrealistic expectations. Seems like this has been the main issue all along.

    I used to have such expectations, that is that a person will say exactly what I thought he should say! Until not too long ago, as a matter of fact. I can very much relate. And that is unrealistic, to expect that his brain will operate just like yours and come up with the exact words or almost the exact words that come to your brain! After all you are two different individuals with two separate brains formed via different experiences of many years of childhood.

    Of course, if you want him to say good night in any particular way, you can ask him to say it your way.

    Expecting the man to mind-read you, that is to read your expectation of what he should say is a very common problem. As I said, it is not too long ago that I had such unrealistic expectations myself!

    Good job, dreaming715- I am genuinely impressed!

    anita

    #113473
    VJ
    Participant

    Hi dreaming715,

    You are right in identifying about unrealistic expectations.

    @anita
    has already explained everything rightly, so keeping it simple…..

    True love is not about “wanting” the other person to behave in a particular way, but it is about “allowing” the other person to just BE.

    But at the same time, keep your senses open and just don’t “give-in” everything for the sake of the relationship.
    If you are looking for a long term relationship then bring that balance between what is fine with you and what is not.
    Meaning – does he intends to first get married or wait for some more time before going ahead with a good night kiss? Gradually figure this out. If you find out that he is

      NOT

    the kind of person who will love you and be interested in a good night kiss even after marriage, then that is the time for you to make a decision whether to go ahead and make this person a partner for life or not.

    Similarly figure out about other things in the relationship and work on striking the balance.

    Take care.

    #113474
    VJ
    Participant

    PS: something messed up after posting and the word NOT ended up on a separate line.

    #113520
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Anita and Vijayendraid: Thank you for your responses!

    Anita, this quote really stuck out to me: “Expecting the man to mind-read you, that is to read your expectation of what he should say is a very common problem.” I agree with you. I’ll admit I’m a little hesitant to speak up about the things I like because sometimes it feels borderline confrontational (like I’ll try to word it nicely, but he’ll become confused, feel like I’m nit-picking at him, etc…). But, if you don’t say what you want, you won’t get what you want.

    Vijayendraid, I liked this quote from you: “True love is not about “wanting” the other person to behave in a particular way, but it is about “allowing” the other person to just BE.” I cannot deny the significance of this statement. I do need to decide if I can 100% accept and appreciate him… or if there are long-term things that I’m not comfortable with and potentially walk away. An example being our levels of affection and if I would potentially want to spend my life with someone who would not be willing to compromise with somewhat consistent good-bye/good night kisses, etc…

    #113521
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Just another update because I don’t particularly feel confident in myself about dating and interpersonal relationships right now.
    Another thing that seems to be weighing on my mind is feeling occasionally invalidated by my new boyfriend. When I feel invalidated, I feel self-conscious, stupid, and as though he’ll lose interest in me. (Or am I just blowing this out of proportion in my mind?)

    Example #1 of feeling invalidated: We were going to meet at a friend’s birthday party. The party was located close to where I live. I texted my boyfriend and said I was surprised by how much it had rained. He responded, “Is it raining over there? It’s completely clear here.” I said, “It was pouring rain earlier and now it’s just sprinkling.” He then said, “I just checked my weather app on my phone. It says it’s pretty clear over there…” I felt like he didn’t believe me even though I was looking at the dismal weather right outside my window. I sent him a short snapchat video of the puddles outside that still had rain drops sprinkling onto them and wrote, “I don’t know, it’s just sprinkling over here right now.” He said, “Looks like it has past and the sky is now clear. Great weather chat.” I’m still confused on why it felt like he needed to have the last word and be right about something like the weather?

    Example #2 of feeling invalidated: We were watching a movie where the characters won the lottery. We started talking about winning the lottery and what we would do with the money. He said he would invest some of it. He works in finances and does a lot with investing and financial advising (which I honestly admire because math/money/investing is not something I know a lot about). I asked him if people with lower/modest incomes often invest and if so what were they investing in. The blank stare he gave me honestly made me feel a little embarrassed. He just looked confused and then asked, “What do you mean?” And I said, “I don’t know a lot about investing and I know that’s sort of your specialty so I was just curious.” Still seemingly confused he said, “Well doesn’t the company you work for have a retirement 401K you can put money into?” I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Well…then yeah… people with lower to moderate incomes will invest in that…” I felt stupid, like it was an answer that was obvious and I made myself look like a fool for even asking. Then we just changed the subject.

    I don’t know if I should grow a thicker skin and let things roll off my shoulder easier or what. I just want to feel good around him and like he admires me like I admire him. Maybe it’s my low self-esteem, but I often feel stupid around him and feel like I have to think twice about what I say so I can word it more eloquently to avoid sounding dumb.

    One good thing though: He’s not one to openly dole out compliments, so when he does compliment me it makes me feel great and I take it to heart. When we were at the birthday party last night I wasn’t drinking alcohol (I occasionally do, but I’m not a big drinker and last night I didn’t feel like drinking). He said he thought it was great that I could still be around a group of people who were drinking and have fun, dance, and socialize. He thought other people in my situation may feel uncomfortable and just want to go home. So I guess he complimented me on my ability to not need alcohol to have fun and I was enjoyable to be around.

    #113524
    anita
    Participant

    Dear dreaming715:

    You wrote: “it feels borderline confrontational (like I’ll try to word it nicely, but he’ll become confused, feel like I’m nit-picking at him”- it seems to me like you really are confrontational and nit picking.

    Example # 1: I don’t think he was thinking something like: “dreaming715 can’t tell the weather. She is unreliable, inadequate and maybe she is lying, I better check the weather myself.

    I think he was thinking something like: what? How can it be raining there? It is so clear here!” And then, out of sheer habit, he did what he usually does when he is confused about the weather: he checked the weather on his phone app.

    Example # 2: When you asked him about people of low/ moderate income investing, he was speechless for a while, I believe not because he was thinking something like: “dreaming715 is clueless. How can she be so ignorant?” I think he was clueless for a moment himself. Simply didn’t have the answer for you right there and then. He soon found the answer by asking you about your 401K- there, he came up with the answer he didn’t have a moment ago.

    Seems to me you are personalizing, that is misinterpreting his behavior to mean what it does not. You assume he is communicating to you that you are confused and clueless while in reality, he was confused (example 1) and clueless (example 2).

    And because you misinterpret his/ others’ behavior to mean that you are lacking, you are bound to be confrontational at one point.

    Better ask him what he meant by what he says, just so to get the correct meaning in what he says, to check against your assumptions.

    anita

    #113538
    jeena
    Participant

    It’s not unreasonable to expect your significant other to show regard for your feelings. But have you ever brought up how you’ve been feeling? If so, how did he respond?

    #113580
    Call Me Ishmael
    Participant

    Hi, Dreaming715.

    Regarding your original post, except for recalling what didn’t work with you and your ex-fiancé (the problems you two had, what you learned from that, and seeing potential red flags for similar problems in your current relationship), I suggest that comparing your current boyfriend to your ex-fiancé is probably not very productive or beneficial for the relationship. They are two different people, and your current boyfriend doesn’t have the benefit of knowing everything you know about your ex-fiancé (everything you liked about him and didn’t like about him, etc.). It also sounds like he doesn’t have the benefit of knowing everything about you (what you like in a partner, in a relationship, etc.), either. For him to be able to have any real chance of living up to all of the good things you liked about your ex-fiancé, and to avoid all of the things you didn’t like, he would: 1) Have to know those things, 2) Be all but identical to your ex-fiancé in the ways you liked, i.e. the same genetic proclivities, same up-bringing, same interests, etc., and 3) Be dissimilar to your ex-fiancé in all the ways you didn’t like.

    The last one is particularly tricky because some of the proclivities of your ex-fiancé that facilitated things you liked about him may have also facilitated things you didn’t like about him. As a made up example, maybe he had the proclivity to be detail oriented, which made him remember little things about you that you liked, but also made him notice little things that you didn’t do the way he thought they should be done. You would also have to like the ways in which your current boyfriend was dissimilar to your ex-fiancé (while still maintaining all of the similarities that you liked), which is just as unlikely as him being all the good things you liked about your ex-fiancé.

    Does that make sense?

    I went on about that much longer than I intended.

    I agree with you about the Disney movie expectations. But I also think many, many people have those thoughts as well. Maybe everyone does to a certain degree. I think the fact that you realize that such expectations are unrealistic is extremely beneficial for you and the relationship. Great insight!

    Regarding the French-fries and potato wedges, rather than hoping he will intuitively understand what you are thinking, and being disappointed when he doesn’t, you might say something like, “These fries are terrible! It tastes like they were cooked in last year’s grease! Do you mind if I have a few of your potato wedges?” That way he knows that you don’t like your fries, why you don’t like your fries, that you are still hungry, that you would like a few of his potato wedges, and why. Being straight forward, clear, and communicative gives him a chance to understand what you are thinking and what you want, and then respond.

    Also please consider that saying things obliquely, and hoping that he will understand what you mean and do what you want, can also come across as being passive-aggressively manipulative.

    Regarding the goodnight kiss, why not take the initiative? Before you go to sleep, say something like, “Come here. I want a kiss to help me sleep!” Then look deep into his eyes and say, “Goodnight, sweetheart,” and lay a sweet, gentle, loving kiss on him. (Hell, after that, if it were me, I’d be lookin’ forward to saying goodnight all day.) But don’t stop with only one time; establish the pattern, and when you kiss him, let him feel your caring for him. After a while, if he is the kind of guy you’d like for him to be, he will make damned sure that his sweet dreams start with kissing you, even if you don’t initiate the kiss. The same thing goes for a goodbye kiss.

    Give it a try.

    Regarding your question, “Is it unrealistic of me to expect more from him?” I suggest the answer is yes, and no. Yes, because you framed what you want in terms of “expect” rather than “hope.” To expect implies an obligation on his part. To hope, on the other hand, still allows him his freedom. For you to hope for more from him, as long as you are openly communicative with him, I suggest is very realistic.

    CMI

    #113741
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Anita, Jeena, and Call Me Ishmael: Thank you all for your input.
    Anita: I feel I may be nit-picking, but I don’t know that I’ve been confrontational (I have more of a reserved and shy demeanor and try to be mindful of how I say things)… but still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas of communication I can improve upon (which I hope I’m headed in the right direction and doing).

    Jeena: I have not talked to him about this. I’m honestly nervous to talk to him about how I’m feeling because to be honest I don’t feel he’s that emotionally invested in me or our new relationship. I fear a true “sit down talk” (even a pleasant one), would be a turn-off at this point and possibly push him away. But, if someone is uncomfortable in a relationship they should be able to talk to their significant other about what they’re experiencing.

    Call Me Ishmael: I liked your suggestion to take initiative and do things like excitedly say goodnight and give him a kiss (it’s sort of like positive reinforcement). That way I’m not being passive. I think that may also be something I need to be mindful of, how passive I’m coming across (like in the example, not acknowledging the potato wedges thing).

    Update: So it’s mid-afternoon Tuesday here and I haven’t heard from him since Sunday. Yesterday I went to a doctor’s appointment and then made a pit-stop at my favorite ice cream place. He hasn’t been to this place before so I sent him a snap chat picture of the ice cream (they have some unique flavors and toppings) and mentioned I stopped there after my doctor’s appointment and stated it was one of my favorite places to go to.

    He opened the snap chat message, but didn’t respond. I’ll admit I feel emotionally deflated right now. I spent a few days riding a high, happy feeling of him asking if he could call me his girlfriend and introducing me to his parents… and now something feels very wrong and he has withdrawn.

    Nothing significant has happened in between this past Friday (when he asked me to be his girlfriend and meet his parents) and today. We haven’t had any arguments, heated discussions, or disagreements. I wish I could get excited about having a boyfriend and freely text him, joke with him, hear about his day, etc… But when I saw he opened my snap picture and message and chose not to respond… I backed off figuring he wanted space from me. It kind of reminds me of the quote, “Silence isn’t empty, it’s full of answers.” If a guy is really interested in you… I believe he’ll make it clear.

    #113779
    anita
    Participant

    Dear dreaming715:

    I think I misunderstood about you being confrontational. You wrote in an earlier post then, that you were afraid to be confrontational, not that you were.

    From previous threads we came to certain insights, one was that you need to be assertive in these beginning relationships, ask questions and listen to answers, get the information that you need, evaluate the man and express your thoughts, feelings, needs.

    In the post above though you wrote: “I’m honestly nervous to talk to him about how I’m feeling because to be honest I don’t feel he’s that emotionally invested in me or our new relationship. I fear a true “sit down talk” (even a pleasant one), would be a turn-off at this point and possibly push him away.”

    In this latest quote you are stating, as I understand it, that you are not ready to be assertive, not ready to have honest conversations and for the same reason as appears to be again and again: being afraid such will push him away.

    But NOT doing these things (talking, sharing, asserting) is pushing the men away.

    So I am at a loss. I wasn’t helpful to you so far. I wish I was.

    anita

    #114308
    jeena
    Participant

    Dreaming715,
    Then that means your relationship is over. Either you or him is delaying the inevitable. If you can’t communicate or feel open to communicate being yourself, what’s the point of holding on to this relationship? Are you co -dependent?

    #115069
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Anita: You have been incredibly helpful and offered perspectives I haven’t even thought of. I think I have little puzzle pieces of advice, I just have to put them together and this may take time and experience to do so.

    Jeena: I believe I’ve had co-dependent tendencies in the past, but I’ve worked with more than one counselor and tried to be mindful about those habits. I’m currently estranged from my mother and don’t have a very close relationship with my dad and step-mom, so with my other interpersonal relationships, I will admit I have a fear of losing people I care about. But, as I said I’ve been working on this. For example, I turned down meeting my boyfriend tonight to go to a yoga class I wanted to go to and suggested meeting another night that works for us. I also go out of my way to do things alone on purpose (another example: I’ll be in San Diego completely alone next week, just because I want to visit the city).

    #115073
    anita
    Participant

    Dear dreaming715:

    Thank you for your note. Have a good time in San Diego (great weather!). And to your next thread…

    anita

    #115118
    jeena
    Participant

    That’s great that you are aware of your co-dependent tendencies and working on yourself! It does appear that you have an anxious attachment to this guy, so “playing it cool” is not the route to take with him. You actually should be opening up your feelings to him no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Otherwise, you prolong this feeling of un-fulfillment with him. You might as well find out where you stand and be truly free to move forward with him or without him. That is true independence.

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