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We are very different. I don’t know what to do about him

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  • #381975
    Luna
    Participant

    Hello

    I hope you can advise me on a situation that is very complicated in my mind.

    I am sorry for my bad English if there are any mistakes.

    My boyfriend and I have been together for about four years.

    He is 5 years older than me. We met in the last year of college and very soon everything went well and we fell in love very fast. We both thought we were very similar and understood each other very well. In those days, my depression problem was very severe. Getting into this relationship made me feel better and my boyfriend worked hard to improve my mood. Another reason that made us feel close to each other were the problems we had. They were similar and it felt good to have someone to understand you. We both had family issues. Father issues

    We graduated a year later and I had to go back to my hometown, which was a long way from there. Due to circumstances we could not see each other till now and I am thinking of moving closer to a city near his so that we can see each other. I had planned for this, because of financial reasons it did not happen.But im trying.

    At the moment, I feel that I no longer love this man like before for several reasons. I like him, but no more than a normal friend, and I no longer feel romantically attracted to him, to the point that I always imagine myself with someone else. I have had nightmares many times that I was betraying him or that I fell in love with someone else while I was in  relationship with him. my feelings have changed .

    He is an extraordinary man, very kind, supportive and patient. He has most of the moral qualities I expected from my partner, but on the other hand, after a few years, I found a lot of  differences that I did not realize at first, or I may have deceived myself that im ok. As time went on,  we both became more self-centered and expected more of each other for our desires. It was hard for him to bear my mental state and my endless problems, so much so that when I wanted to talk to him about them, he tried to shut me up quickly and said that I was overreacting. He is a sensitive person and I remember how he felt scared about knowing my suicidal thoughts and this made me feel a little lonely. At the beginning of the relationship, he listened to my problems. He used to think that he could handle my problems. He thought it was his job to make me feel better he has a strange idea that it is his duty to solve the other person’s problems and make them happy!! Now that he cannot fix my problems, it is difficult for him to hear about them. My problems are not solved easily. I am dealing with PTSD and had sexual abuse when I was a child and family problems, chronic depression and anxiety. Due to financial problems, I have not resorted to therapy for a year, but I intend to start treatment again after moving for work.

    Problems that exist:

    1- He has difficulty expressing his feelings. He is very worried about the future and is very idealistic and always anxious. Most of the time, he is negligent and is a perfectionist and when he procrastinate and does not do his daily works he begins to feels worthless. He also has problems with his mother and brother and these make his condition worse. He has been depressed for a while now. Unfortunately, I cannot stand his bad mood, and this has made both of us tired of each other. I cannot face someone else’s negative energy when I am in a bad mood I can’t take it and Im sorry about this.

    He was very energetic and active at the beginning of the relationship and that’s what I liked about him I have never seen him like this. I feel scared. When I talked to him about this, he said that this is what he actually is and people always misunderstand his personality at the beginning of the relationship! He was very energetic and enthusiastic about photography, but now he has given up photography and has had doubts several times about what he wants to do for his future and what he is interested in at all. I don’t know what he wants to do at all he even does not talk about these things with me.

    2- He has a passive aggressive behavior and he stonewalls me. I hate this behavior. I am very sensitive to this. He is afraid to express himself and his sadness and instead of telling me, he changes his behavior with me and expects me to understand but god I do not understand.  I get upset  and when I ask what happened he answers me with ” nothing its ok” which makes me angry and unfortunately I get aggressive in texting and when that happens he would leave and sulk. I tried to be calm but that did not change his stonewalling too. he would send a message after days. I feel controlled and being punished every time when that happens . He expects me to come to him and be the first one to text so that he would be satisfied. You can’t help but feel angry and upset about this behavior. I felt my pride was being trampled on. I had talked to him about this many times and he was sad that it was causing me these feelings and he said that the problem is that he grew up in a family that treated each other like this and did not express feelings. He said that when this happens, he expects me to approach him like him mom But I cannot treat him like his mother when it’s his fault.

    3- We have nothing in common. We are very different, even our friends are different. We do not like each other’s taste in music, so we can’t listen to music together. Our opinions about life and everything are different and we cant discuss society or politics or life issues with each other because we would get upset or disappointed about the way we think. We even disagree about something as simple as what is a beautiful decoration for the house.

    I love excitement. He is the opposite. I like the noise, he is annoyed by loud sounds. He is into BDSM things and I’m into vanilla sex.

    He eats a limited number of foods like VERY LIMITED and this is crazy. I love to try new foods and be in different restaurants because I enjoy food so much. One day we were going to eat at restaurant and because he did not like any of my food listed in the menu he decided to order food for just me and while when I ate, he just looked and had no problem with it, but I felt very embarrassed and lonely. I felt miserable. At the beginning I did not think I would have a problem with this, and I thought it would be very foolish to leave out this good man because of his eating habits, but it is really crazy.

    Another difference is that I am not satisfied with his appearance and this makes me very ashamed and embarrassed of myself because why should i not love anyone because of their appearance. He does not care much about his appearance, he rarely buys clothes not like he does not like clothes but he prefers to spend his money on other things. Even when his face was severely sunburned, he refused to use some ointment for his face I see how some men including my brother tend to care more about their beauty and body so I don’t get what he does. The only thing that matters to him is hygiene.

    He doesn’t even wear the T-shirts he wore at our first dates because he says they are not comfortable.

    I feel I saw his best version at the beginning but after some time and insurance he became his real self or a lazy self?!

    When we want to video chat he wears his oldest T-shirt, which I hate. All this turns me off. I think to myself why he does not care when I care about my appearance and he expects me to. Comfort does not mean that we can be the worst version of ourselves, and I think good appearance is a kind of respect. This is what we are taught: Inside is more important than the outside, but I see that I can’t ignore this issue and I feel like a shallow bad person and I am ashamed of the reality inside me. I can’t do anything about it. I have tried to tell him in the past that I would like him to pay more attention to his appearance when he meets me, but I can’t do anything more or  point out or make direct efforts to improve this. I don’t have the right to change him.

    I feel confused. All the feelings I had in the first 2 years disappeared. The distance between us has widened.

    Sometimes I felt that he was distancing himself from me and that he was tired of me. We do not talk about anything outside of everyday life because we do not have similar interests. He thinks our words and chats are boring, but I was still exited to talk to him. Many times from the beginning  he was not as excited about texting each other and even our dates as I was. He was mostly busy with his work and study. There were times when I waited for him to respond to my message, but he did not respond until the next day. I don’t think it mattered enough to answer me the same day. I told him that if it was important to you, you would answer as fast as I do. Or when you promised me to talk you would not sleep and you would not leave me waiting. This has happened a lot lately. When I talk to him about this, he said that he was a little tired and very sorry that this would happen, he is just sorry every time about everything. He even cried once about this matter and said that his ex-girlfriend broke up with him because of this and this is not personal and he loves me, and if we break up because of this issue nothing will changes for the next person and he does not know why he gets bored easily after some time in a relationship he says he needs to fix this.

    I trust him completely and I know he does not talk to anyone else. I feel that he looks at me as an opportunity because he used to say that if our relationship breaks down, he will no longer have the patience to build a new relationship. His previous relationship ended after four years, and everything he had invested in was lost. I feel that because it is difficult for him to start a new relationship, he is forced to accept this situation. He is 30 years old now by the way.

    Idk I think I love him. He loves me too, but I’m not sure how he loves me.

    I stopped being exited for talking to him even I found myself avoiding him because of the guilt and confusion I have. I do not know if the problem is with my depression or the fault of the distance we had. I do not know if the problems I mentioned are important or not. I must say that Im very selfish and sometimes I expect things that I cant or dont do.

    Do I have high expectations and am I ungrateful? All my friends tell me that I am very lucky to be with my boyfriend because he is a very good man. Is it possible that if I get into a relationship with someone else, I will lose attraction after seeing their weaknesses and mistakes?

    It’s very hard to let go the security I have with him and I think I will not find a person as good as him, and if I find someone who shares my interests, I may not accept his morals and regret that I ruined this relationship. what should I do?

     

    #381982
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Luna:

    I would like to understand better, therefore I ask:

    (1) Did I understand correctly: you haven’t seen in-person/ been with this man in four years, following a one year relationship while attending college together?

    (2) Are you trying to move far away, to a city near him, for the purpose of to jump-starting a romantic relationship with a man you do not love, a man you are not attracted to, a man with whom you have nothing in common?

    (3) You wrote: “All my friends tell me that I am very lucky to be with my boyfriend because he is a very good man”- if you did not see him in 4 years, living far away.. are your friends people who have met him.. are they living in his part of the country or in yours. Are they  long-distance friends to you?

    anita

    #381983
    Luna
    Participant

    Dear anita

    thanks for reading my long post

    1_ I have not been with this man for the last three years. We were only together for a  year and lived together for about the last 4 months of that first year. After the separation, our relationship became long distance.

    2_ yes and no. The reason for my decesion is also becues of  job oppertunities. I can not work in my field in my hometown. It was hard for us to separate at the time and we both promised to try to get close.

    My feelings are very complicated. Something between love and not loving. I feel like a stupid person who needs to be told what to do about it because I no longer trust my feelings. I do not understand how I got from feeling in love to being like this and whether this feeling is due to distance or whether I am creating problems  in my head or not. Whether I will still feel this way when I get to see him or not, I do not know. When he says that he loves me I say I love him too but I feel guilty for not knowing the truth about whether it’s true or not. I know that if he finds out about these thoughts, he will be very disappointed and heartbroken.

    He was very supportive to me and did everything for my well-being when I was deeply depressed. I know he cares about his loved ones more than himself and he does not deserve what I think about him.

    3_ Yes. My friends are people who have met him and they know him since collage and some are living in his part of the country

    But I know its not like they know him better than me …

    #381984
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Luna:

    You are welcome. I will answer you further when I am more focused tomorrow morning (in about 10 hours from now). For now, I’d say: you had a one year relationship with him during college, only 4 months of living together- that’s not a long time. Then a 3 years of physical separation- it is not surprising that within these 3 years you got to know him more (long-distance) and your feelings changed. I think that it is very important that you don’t put yourself in a situation where you feel that you “have to” be physically intimate with a man you do not like/ a man you are not attracted to. I believe that you should let him know, gently and honestly, that the relationship of years ago has ended some time ago.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by anita.
    #381987
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Luna,

    it seems to be that in the beginning he tried to “save” you, and was very enthusiastic about your relationship. Then he got disillusioned (like he does with other things in his life, such as photography), and he reverted to his normal self – which is feeling anxious, worthless, lacking enthusiasm, somewhat depressed, exhibiting passive aggressive and other immature behavior, and last but not least, lacking interest in the relationship (“he does not know why he gets bored easily after some time in a relationship”).

    You liked his enthusiasm and energy in the beginning of your relationship. You don’t like his present self, because he’s not listening to your complaints – he tends to shut you up and tell you you’re overreacting. He gets scared when you talk about your suicidal thoughts, and this makes you feel alone. He doesn’t want to talk about his problems and his emotions with you. He stonewalls you and then sulks if you demand that he talk to you.

    It seems that at this point, you can’t stand each other’s bad mood, and cannot really support each other in any way:

    I cannot stand his bad mood, and this has made both of us tired of each other. I cannot face someone else’s negative energy when I am in a bad mood I can’t take it and Im sorry about this.

    In the past he could stand your bad mood, but now he cannot and doesn’t want to, because he has enough of his own problems. You miss his support and enthusiasm that he showed in the beginning, and because of that you started resenting him.

    You also realized you’re very different, have different interests, political views, views about life etc. You have hardly anything in common, other than the childhood trauma (“family issues, father issues“). Since the original dynamic – him trying to save you and you relying on his help and support – changed, there’s nothing that binds you any more.

    It seems to me there’s really no point in staying together, because both of you have serious issues to work on, and once you solve those issues, it’s not sure you would even like each other. It’s not sure you would even be compatible.

    What you like about him is that he wouldn’t cheat on you (“He has most of the moral qualities I expected from my partner. I trust him completely and I know he does not talk to anyone else.”). But other than, there isn’t much that you like about him, is there? And maybe, there isn’t much that he likes about you either at this point. You think he would be disappointed and heartbroken if he found out that you’re so unsure about him, but perhaps he would be relieved?

     

    #381988
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Luna:

    1) In your original post, you wrote: “My boyfriend and I have been together for about four years”. In your second post, you clarified: “I have not been with this man for the last three years”.

    In my view, it would be more accurate to say: My former boyfriend and I had a one-year relationship that ended 3 years ago. We never got together in those 3 years, but kept in touch long-distance.

    2) You described your mental state before and now: “my depression problem was very severe… had family issues. Father issues.. I am dealing with PTSD and had sexual abuse when I was a child and family problems, chronic depression and anxiety. Due to financial problems, I have not resorted to therapy for a year, but I intend to start treatment again after moving for work”- If I was in your shoes, at 25 years old, I would focus on finding work, moving for work, and receiving professional treatment for PTSD, anxiety and depression. I would not consider any romantic relationship before I receive enough professional treatment.

    3) You shared that you “no longer feel romantically attracted to him.. for several reasons”.  You then went on to say that he is “an extraordinary man, very kind, supportive and patient. He has most of the moral qualities I expect”, etc., and next, you listed at great length those several reasons for no longer feeling romantically attracted to him: “he tried to shut me up.. He has difficulty expressing his feelings…  He has a passive aggressive behavior… We have nothing in common… I like the noise, he is annoyed by loud sounds…. He eats a limited number of foods… When we want to video chat he wears his oldest T-shirt, which I hate…There were times when I waited for him to respond to my message, but he did not respond until the next day…”-

    – It is as if you are in a courthouse on trial, accused for losing your romantic attraction to him, and you make a case for him (“He is an extraordinary man”, etc.), and a case against him (those many detailed reasons). Thing is, you are not accused by any legal authority of a crime, and you are under no obligation to justify your loss of interest in him. You are not obligated to resume an in-person romantic relationship with him, or any relationship of any kind with him, because you are not married to him, you do not have a child with him, you do not own property together, you don’t work for him or with him.

    There is no reason.. to give reasons so to justify you losing your romantic feelings for him, no reason to build a case for him or against him: you are allowed to change your mind and heart about him.

    “Do I have high expectations and am I ungrateful?”- you lost your romantic interest in him, and you don’t really like him much. That’s an adequate reason to not be in a romantic relationship with him. Having high expectations or not and being grateful or ungrateful is irrelevant to the issue.

    “I do not know if the problem is with my depression”- that’s why I recommend that you don’t consider a romantic relationship with any man before you receive treatment that includes psychotherapy.

    “All my friends tell me that I am very lucky to be with my boyfriend because he is a very good man”- what they tell you is irrelevant because if you get back with him, it will be you in his bed, you getting up with him and living your life with him, not your friends.

    “Is it possible that if I get into a relationship with someone else, I will lose attraction after seeing their weaknesses and mistakes?”- sure it’s possible, but to have a romantic relationship with a man, you have to like him and appreciate him enough so to overlook his weaknesses and mistakes. From what you shared, you do not like or appreciate this particular man enough. You will be able to answer this question further yourself after adequate psychotherapy.

    “I do not understand how I got from feeling in love to being like this”- feelings do not remain the same for anyone. Feelings naturally change. Millions and millions of people got from feeling in love to not.

    “When he says that he loves me I say I love him too but I feel guilty for not knowing the truth about whether it’s true or not. I know that if he finds out about these thoughts, he will be very disappointed and heartbroken”- imagine living with him and experiencing this guilt every day, guilt and probably anger at him and at yourself. That would be a recipe for disaster, as far as your mental health goes.

    “He was very supportive to me and did everything for my well-being when I was deeply depressed. I know he cares about his loved ones more than himself and he does not deserve what I think about him”- after you get settled and employed, and after you start receiving psychotherapy, if you still think that you owe him for his previous support of you, then talk to your therapist about offering him a sum of money as a payment for his past support of you. Don’t offer your mind and body as payment. He does not deserve that kind of sacrifice.

    anita

    #382085
    anita
    Participant

    I hope to read from you again, Luna, and I wish you well!

    anita

    #382373
    Luna
    Participant

    Dear anita                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I’m sorry, I was very busy for a while and I could not answer quickly. Thank you for your reply. I laughed a little after reading my post. I think I was very emotional. It really looked like I was in a courthouse. I think the reason is that I feel I will be responsible for his sadness after the relationship ends. I’m afraid that I might regret it and I’m afraid of feeling guilty for him too. I know he will be against ending the relationship. Earlier, after a fight, I told him to end our relationship, but seeing his insistence and my own fear, I did not insist on it.

    #382384
    Luna
    Participant

    Thank you Teak for making time to read and answer my post💙

    What you said is true. He lost his father to addiction and insanity. So with all of this what you said about him trying to save me at first looks true.

    Its not like I dont like anything about him at all. I like That he is a gentleman. I like that he is extremely polite and respectful of others (professors, elders, and his family and friends). Most of the guys around me were very childish, just like my ex but He was more mature than them. He is also very responsible and generous.

    About him being disappointed and heartbroken if he found out that you’re so unsure about him I tried to end it once. It was after a fight. I told him that things does not work and that it was better to end the relationship. He didn’t know what to say at first. In the end he insisted that the problems started ever since we moved away and everything would be fine if we tried. He made promises and said that he would correct the behaviors that I thought were wrong and that his life would be very sad and unbearable without me. I felt guilty and did not insist on whether or not we should breakup I wasnt sure the decision to breakup was right and didn’t insist. I was and maybe I am still looking for my feelings to return.

     

    #382385
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Luna:

    You are welcome. No need to apologize- whenever you post is okay with me. As long as you are not living with him, as long as you are continuing a long-distance relationship with a man you don’t really like and to whom you are not attracted- is not that painful. But if you move to where he lives, and find yourself having a physical relationship with .. a man you don’t really like and to whom you are not attracted- that can be very painful. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    anita

    #382410
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Luna,

    you’re welcome. You say you like his moral qualities, you trust he wouldn’t cheat on you, he’s a gentleman, extremely polite and respectful of others (professors, elders, and his family and friends), more mature than other guys, responsible and generous.

    But he’s not respectful of you when he tells you that he is bored with your conversations (“He thinks our words and chats are boring”), or he repeatedly falls asleep when you agree to have a video call, or he tells you he gets bored with a relationship after a while. That alone is a romance killer, and a red flag that something is wrong, even if he tells you he loves you. Do you want to live with a guy who is bored by you?

    On top of that come pretty severe differences in worldview: “Our opinions about life and everything are different and we cant discuss society or politics or life issues with each other because we would get upset or disappointed about the way we think.” How wise is it to share life with someone whose way of looking at life is fundamentally different than yours?

    You say you tried to break up with him before but he didn’t take it well:

    In the end he insisted that the problems started ever since we moved away and everything would be fine if we tried…. He said that his life would be very sad and unbearable without me.

    If he is bored with you while in a long-distance relationship, what would happen if you were there, by his side, day in and day out? Wouldn’t he be even more bored?

    What’s coming to me is that he might need you to provide him with some sort of security, perhaps a sense of familiarity, without which he might start feeling anxious. If he had a father with mental problems, whom he tried to save, it’s a similar dynamic like he has/had with you. You might give him the same sense of familiarity, which to him feels comforting. But at the same time, he also resents it – he resents being your savior, like he probably resented being his father’s savior. This resentment manifests in him losing interest in the relationship, falling asleep, and doing other passive aggressive things. Do you think this might be the case?

    If so, he doesn’t really love you for who you are, but for a role you play in his psyche, reminding him of his father. As I said before, your bond might be based on trauma, not on true appreciation for each other.

     

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