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Old 29th April 2011, 11:10 AM   #46
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GC,

While I want to be a voice of support for you, I have to say I was disappointed to hear the outcome of your conversation.

Do you realize you have just set yourself up to wait months on end to watch him--at best--make progress in fits and starts? If his issues run as deep as some are suggesting here, it will take years of therapy for him to work it through.

I am not a betting woman, but I strongly believe that the eventual outcome of this relationship is still going to be a breakup, with you mourning that he didn't make enough change for you to work well together, but now looking back at having spent 2 or 2+ years of your life with this man (instead of one) when these very issues were present from the earliest weeks together.

A better outcome for YOU would have been for you to split now, and let him work on his issues by himself. You realize you have made your happiness dependent on him and how much/how well he works out his issues?
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Old 29th April 2011, 11:43 AM   #47
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GC,

While I want to be a voice of support for you, I have to say I was disappointed to hear the outcome of your conversation.

Do you realize you have just set yourself up to wait months on end to watch him--at best--make progress in fits and starts? If his issues run as deep as some are suggesting here, it will take years of therapy for him to work it through.

I am not a betting woman, but I strongly believe that the eventual outcome of this relationship is still going to be a breakup, with you mourning that he didn't make enough change for you to work well together, but now looking back at having spent 2 or 2+ years of your life with this man (instead of one) when these very issues were present from the earliest weeks together.

A better outcome for YOU would have been for you to split now, and let him work on his issues by himself. You realize you have made your happiness dependent on him and how much/how well he works out his issues?
I totally agree with you, and I see it, too. When I went to his house the other day, I began our conversation not sure what was going to come out of my mouth--whether I was going to end it then and there, or whether I was going to lay it all out and give it one more chance. Because I was feeling really calm and confident in my convictions, I felt capable of giving this one more chance. And that is genuine. But the other piece of the truth is that I am out of patience for his unsavory behaviors. Where before I have felt frustration, now I feel a coldness and a dark certainty.

For example, during our conversation he offered me a glass of water. I said, "Please, thanks." He got a glass and proceeded to fill it only about 1/4 of the way with water. At first I was amused as I peered into the glass, and I smiled and said, "Is that it?" And he teased that I never finish my water so that was all he was going to give me. I laughed and said, "Well, I'm pretty thirsty; I could use a full glass." Whereupon he filled it only half way and laughed mischievously. I said, "Come on now; I really do want a full glass of water." He poured out a small trickle. I started to feel annoyed and said, "Okay, seriously, could you please just pour me a full glass of water?" And he filled it so that the water overflowed and spilled into my lap.

And then I was really annoyed. I said, "This is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about." He said, "Why are you making such a big deal out of this? It's not a big deal." I said, "You're right, my wanting a full glass of water is not a big deal. It's not me who is making a big deal out of this simple thing. All you had to do was pour me the amount I asked and that would be that." I asked him, "Would you have dared do this with your grandmother? With my mother? With someone at your job?" He admitted that no, he would not have done it. I pursued, "Then why would you do it with me? That's the big question that needs to be worked out."

He apologized, but inwardly I felt that cold, dark conviction from my inner voice. It's beyond anger or frustration, and feels very close to, "I'm done." I spoke with my mom yesterday and told her some of what was going on. I said that I didn't feel much sense anymore that this relationship was going to last. I am pretty confident that I'm not going to give this another year if things don't change. And sadly, I know that the kind of change that needs to happen on his end is one that will come about even ideally in fits and starts, and I no longer have the patience for a rollercoaster of fits and starts. So perhaps a part of me is being disingenuous, even while that is not my true intent at all.

My true intent is that I know it's possible at times to discover too late how you were damaging a relationship. I have been there and the heartache is awful, because you know you are finally ready to change as you finally see the light, but the person whom you adversely affected no longer has interest growing and changing with you. You've destroyed their faith in you. All I wished for was one more chance; when that was not granted, all I could do was work on myself in light of the new things I'd learned. And ultimately it was not a bad thing.

But now that I am in the other role, I'm trying to extend some embodiment of the Golden Rule and give him the chance I'd wish to have were I in his shoes. At the same time, I feel comfortable in the knowledge that even the most saintly version of the Golden Rule does not involve endless patience. I'm not a saint, and I don't want to be one. I'm also going to turn 35 in September; I'm anticipating that will be a bit jarring, and I don't think I can tolerate being in this relationship on that birthday if there are not significant changes.

I hope this reasoning is sound. It feels so, to me. Perhaps the bottom line is what you say, though, SSG--that I should have ended it on Wednesday. I will find that out soon enough, no? *fingers crossed*
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Old 29th April 2011, 11:56 AM   #48
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Here's the key right here.

When your bf is interacting with you and his mother, generally, they are trying to make you play the role of his sister in their family dynamic.

Your bf and his family probably need family counseling. This man has all sorts of issues. He is way too entangled with his mother. The best thing that could possibly happen for your relationship with him is for the two of you to get as far away from his mother as possible, but that's not really practical based on the situation you described.

Whether or not you have the patience to wait for him, or possibly to even participate in whatever therapy his family gets involved in, is entirely up to you.

But I think you are just kidding yourself if you believe your bf is ever going to be able to resolve his family and relationship issues w/o professional therapy of some kind. He needs to at least get to the level of maturity where he can make relationship decisions, incl. how he regards and treats his gf, without mommy's approval or intervention.
PorkRinds, let me ask you: if you were in my boyfriend's shoes, 1) what would you do, and 2) what would you like to see your girlfriend--a woman in my shoes--do?
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Old 29th April 2011, 1:36 PM   #49
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Thanks, PorkRinds. So in a nutshell, you think he should man up, and I should support him, but only if he mans up?

I also just wanted to point out to readers of this thread that SSG made some really good points at the bottom of the previous page, and I responded; my response ended up at the end of the previous page. (I know I tend to get lost when threads start to get long.)
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Old 29th April 2011, 2:21 PM   #50
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For example, during our conversation he offered me a glass of water. I said, "Please, thanks." He got a glass and proceeded to fill it only about 1/4 of the way with water. At first I was amused as I peered into the glass, and I smiled and said, "Is that it?" And he teased that I never finish my water so that was all he was going to give me. I laughed and said, "Well, I'm pretty thirsty; I could use a full glass." Whereupon he filled it only half way and laughed mischievously. I said, "Come on now; I really do want a full glass of water." He poured out a small trickle. I started to feel annoyed and said, "Okay, seriously, could you please just pour me a full glass of water?" And he filled it so that the water overflowed and spilled into my lap.
Wow, annoying! He did this during the discussion about your relationship issues?

Do you want to have kids? Because, even if he learns you won't tolerate this stuff, he will probably engage in the same behavior with his kids--especially if this stuff was the norm for him growing up. And they'll probably hate it as much as you do.
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Old 29th April 2011, 4:33 PM   #51
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GC, H and I have a very teasing banter with each other, and one of our jokes is how I never finish a beverage. I take a fair amount of ribbing on that one...BUT the difference between my situation and yours is:

--My H knows where I am sensitive (not on the beverage thing, but there are a couple of other areas) and when he has triggered me and seen my hurt reaction in one of those other areas, he doesn't tease me anymore about that particular thing;

--There is no underlying hostility to H's teasing and ribbing. N overfilling your glass to spilling on you screams of hostility to me... or at best, the maturity of an adolescent who doesn't know when to stop;

--My H also knows that there is a time to be serious, and I am confident he would never engage in the very behavior that is at the heart of a serious disagreement at the moment we were going to discuss it... unless he was sure it would cut the tension and make me laugh.

Beyond that, I wanted to respond to the comparison you've made to your prior relationship where you realized (too late) your contributions to a bad dynamic, and weren't given the chance to work on it within the relationship.

My memory is a bit fuzzy; are you referring to the more recent ex, or the ex-ex?

Either way, I don't see how that applies. From your description, you have been explicitly raising this issue and asking for change for nearly a year. It is not your responsibility that he wouldn't "hear" you or "accept" it or act on it for months on end. Do not confuse that with not giving him a chance to work on his issues.

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Old 29th April 2011, 5:38 PM   #52
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For example, during our conversation he offered me a glass of water. I said, "Please, thanks." He got a glass and proceeded to fill it only about 1/4 of the way with water. At first I was amused as I peered into the glass, and I smiled and said, "Is that it?" And he teased that I never finish my water so that was all he was going to give me. I laughed and said, "Well, I'm pretty thirsty; I could use a full glass." Whereupon he filled it only half way and laughed mischievously. I said, "Come on now; I really do want a full glass of water." He poured out a small trickle. I started to feel annoyed and said, "Okay, seriously, could you please just pour me a full glass of water?" And he filled it so that the water overflowed and spilled into my lap.
Are you kidding me? What a loser and creep this guy is!!! He is about to lose his relationship so it is more than time that he cleans up his act and he pulls this trick on you???
This guy has a very evil streak and he is beyond repair I think.

How old did you say he was?

I think the only woman this guy can be happy with is an evil b!tch who does not accept any of his crap. But what woman wants to be like that in a relationship? In a relationship you want to feel safe to show your softer side.
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Old 29th April 2011, 7:09 PM   #53
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Are you kidding me? What a loser and creep this guy is!!! He is about to lose his relationship so it is more than time that he cleans up his act and he pulls this trick on you???
This guy has a very evil streak and he is beyond repair I think.
I can't help but wonder if there was substance abuse (or any other kind) in your early family life. You make endless excuses for this guy ( & previous guy). I have to concur with a previous poster that it is disappointing to hear that you didn't take this opportunity to exit this relationship.

The bolded above may not be an overstatement.
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Old 1st May 2011, 5:32 PM   #54
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Thanks, Eve

It's not just N. that hopefully will effect some changes. I feel like I'm on the cusp of some major developments (for me). Mainly, this one point: that if I feel I'm not getting what I need out of a relationship, that is a valid feeling, even IF there are things I personally can do to make the relationship more fulfilling to me.

I realize this is "obvious" in many ways, but to me it never has been obvious. Whenever things don't feel right in a relationship, I blame myself. That's different from looking objectively at what I might be contributing to the relationship to make it unfulfilling. That's me beating myself up for things that oftentimes are partially or even completely out of my control, given I'm only a part of the equation.

When I blame myself, it's usually along the lines of labeling myself as "oversensitive" and maintaining too-high expectations of people. And it is true that I am sensitive and I am easily irked by stupid people, crude people, shallow people, people who seem never to examine the meaning of anything or examine their behaviors and motivations. I'm an intense person and I often grow frustrated with trivial conversation and what I perceive to be the triviality of our culture at large. So, when I start to feel unhappy in a relationship, I blame these attributes of myself as the cause.

Which, ironically, leads me to force myself to sustain NO expectations of people...to force myself to overlook or excuse every insensitive, selfish, crude behavior...to maintain almost no boundaries. This creates a lot of internal dissonance in me, because I cannot lie to myself about feeling unhappy and lonely amidst my unmet needs and inability to assert my needs to the other person. And when this dissonance reaches its climax, I do come down very hard on the other person. But FOR THE WRONG THINGS. And so my communication is completely unproductive and only feels harsh...even though its root is more often than not perfectly valid.

I think the change I made this time, with N., is that I cleaned up all of that white-noise of misplaced self-blame, and clearly communicated that his current behaviors do not fulfill my needs, and that they are *my needs,* not a blanket condemnation of his character or even of his behavior, that for someone else his behaviors might be perfectly acceptable. And I feel in this way I managed to respect him, as well as myself.

Regardless of what ends up happening in this relationship, I feel I, at least, am on the right track...and ultimately with that it can only get better from here.
I am really feeling what you are saying here.

Not that I am perfect but I do have a high tolerance because I am able to suppress things within myself and focus on others. It did come to a point though where I became too full of the toxic behaviour of others and so learned to concentrate on effecting positive change from the point of whatever was going on rather than sit with aimless 'what ifs'. Funny, it was far easier than I imagined in the end. Mainly this involved a bit of good old sticking up for myself and steering clear of those who have no real positive influence on my life. I suppose I always wondered why they would behave as such and made excuses for them... and they lapped it up!

In the end, I had to admit that I was a doormat.

From reading your posts I would conclude that your bf wants familiarity and predictability and is usurping your good intentions to fulfill this need of his. I do believe that people can change without therapy as such but would question the need to go this far with him because he does get on your nerves a bit too much. I mean, nowhere have you said here that you love him and want to spend the rest of your life with him.

Whatever you do, don't move anywhere with him.. away from his Mum or not. **** me, what a disaster that would be!

I suppose I am seeing a clear divide here where you are giving him the respect of a Husband without him being able to fulfill such a role... at all. There is politeness OP and then there is overkill.

Still, I do think that in relationships we can reach points where there is no other option but to change. It is preferable that a person can see such opportunities a coming and prepare in advance... but this does not seem to be the case with so many people nowadays! Never the less, I can't tell you to give up on this person. It may be turning point for him and you.. I really don't know.

Keep expressing your feelings but only if there really are feelings and hopes to express.

I am glad that you have expressed yourself and hope this leads to a point that you are able to confidently place him in the right location within your lifeline, like where he really belongs.

All the best,
Take care,
Eve x
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Old 1st May 2011, 7:02 PM   #55
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Eve, you and SSG and everyone here have given me a lot to think about. Thanks.

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I am really feeling what you are saying here.

Not that I am perfect but I do have a high tolerance because I am able to suppress things within myself and focus on others.
I really relate to that. I am very psychologically attuned, very interpersonally oriented, and so I am very attracted to the "puzzle" of people's motivations, etc. This capacity gives me a lot of patience towards people in some respects, which is good, and a strength...but it's a double-edged sword because it makes me very forgiving of people when someone else, who is not so psychologically sensitive, might draw a hard line in response to the same behaviors.

I'm perceived by most people to be a really nice person, as well as a strong, intense personality. I learn things very quickly, and oftentimes a lot faster than others. I'm also very driven. These attributes often threaten other people, though of course that's not my intent. In fact, I am very careful not to step on anyone's toes, particularly if I perceive that I am "quicker" than they are. Unfortunately, I suppose that also leads me to be a pushover as I allow the other person's personal insecurities to govern the interaction. Meaning, somehow in the attempt to be kind and equitable, I lose my ability to be firm with my boundaries. I don't know if I'm articulating this well; just thinking out loud.

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It did come to a point though where I became too full of the toxic behaviour of others and so learned to concentrate on effecting positive change from the point of whatever was going on rather than sit with aimless 'what ifs'.
I'm really trying to soak in what you're saying here but I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean you got better at nipping bad behavior from others in the bud? Putting your foot down right at the first instance rather than repressing your urge to speak up? If I'm understanding you correctly, how did you make that change? I *think* I am getting better, but my progress is snail-paced so far

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I suppose I always wondered why they would behave as such and made excuses for them... and they lapped it up!
You mean, you think that when you gave these people wide latitude, they actually used that license to act like even MORE of a douche?

I just realized that that goes in opposition to one of my deep-held beliefs: that if you are polite and kind to people (before they smack you in the face), the good ones, at least, will feel more at ease and consequently, more able to operate from their better attributes. Of course I know there are jerks to whom this does not apply, but at the same time I'm one of those people who only thinks of the good comeback or limit-setting response long AFTER the bad interaction.

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In the end, I had to admit that I was a doormat.
I must be, as well...which is strange because everyone always remarks to me how strong and confident I seem. But in addition to getting walked over in romantic relationships, I've also had a spate of bad friends. I never know whether you just chalk that up to bad luck...or whether, indeed, it's an indication that I'm a doormat

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From reading your posts I would conclude that your bf wants familiarity and predictability and is usurping your good intentions to fulfill this need of his. I do believe that people can change without therapy as such but would question the need to go this far with him because he does get on your nerves a bit too much. I mean, nowhere have you said here that you love him and want to spend the rest of your life with him.
I do love him as a person; right now I do not love him in the role of my boyfriend. He's got a lot of really good qualities that don't enter into my threads because this relationship has been so overtaken with the dynamic I've been describing. When his guard is down, my guard goes down and I really enjoy his company. In another set of circumstances I could see us being really good friends. Until recent months, I did see the potential for us to become long-term partners, but that was while I perceived this bad dynamic as "hiccups" here and there rather than an ongoing theme that seemed never to lesson no matter how many times I tried to point it out to him and no matter how well he seemed to listen or how much he tried to stop certain behaviors or how much I tried to adjust my attitude.

In the beginning this dynamic was there, but my mindset at the time was that just beneath the "hiccups" was so much wonderful potential, and if we could just get the hiccups to go away, then everything would be perfect. And that has not been what has happened. Because of these "hiccups" we have not had a sustained time to just get to know and enjoy each other. Isn't that sad? I told him that, too--not sure he fully gets it; his behavior the next month will reveal that, no?

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I suppose I am seeing a clear divide here where you are giving him the respect of a Husband without him being able to fulfill such a role... at all. There is politeness OP and then there is overkill.
This is perhaps a rhetorical question...but how do I find that line? Each year it seems I am better at that but my better still does not achieve the desirable results.

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Never the less, I can't tell you to give up on this person. It may be turning point for him and you.. I really don't know.
Neither do I . Since I didn't take the option of ending it earlier this week, I can only turn up my spidey sense to the fullest possible volume and then heed what it tells me. He's taking me out to dinner tonight, reservations, the whole bit. This is a first (yes, I know ). Then we're apart for 3 weeks and I'll have time to think things over without any influence from him.
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Old 1st May 2011, 7:27 PM   #56
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GC, H and I have a very teasing banter with each other, and one of our jokes is how I never finish a beverage. I take a fair amount of ribbing on that one...BUT the difference between my situation and yours is:

--My H knows where I am sensitive (not on the beverage thing, but there are a couple of other areas) and when he has triggered me and seen my hurt reaction in one of those other areas, he doesn't tease me anymore about that particular thing;

--There is no underlying hostility to H's teasing and ribbing. N overfilling your glass to spilling on you screams of hostility to me... or at best, the maturity of an adolescent who doesn't know when to stop;

--My H also knows that there is a time to be serious, and I am confident he would never engage in the very behavior that is at the heart of a serious disagreement at the moment we were going to discuss it... unless he was sure it would cut the tension and make me laugh.

Beyond that, I wanted to respond to the comparison you've made to your prior relationship where you realized (too late) your contributions to a bad dynamic, and weren't given the chance to work on it within the relationship.

My memory is a bit fuzzy; are you referring to the more recent ex, or the ex-ex?

Either way, I don't see how that applies. From your description, you have been explicitly raising this issue and asking for change for nearly a year. It is not your responsibility that he wouldn't "hear" you or "accept" it or act on it for months on end. Do not confuse that with not giving him a chance to work on his issues.
This comparison is really, really helpful. The question that really muddied my thoughts the first 6 or so months of this relationship was, What is harmless "teasing" and what is crossing the line? I am so dang sensitive; it's like being ultra-ticklish--brush against me and I'm squirming and going into spasms. I've always known that a little ribbing is actually good for me because I get too serious so much of the time. And I like ribbing to a point. But this felt different with N. and it's just what you point out: at it's most benign, he doesn't know when to stop.

Oh, and I was referring to the ex-ex. I always charged him with not really, really trying in the end to clearly communicate what was bothering him and then giving us a chance to work on it together. I would never want to do to a person what he did to me. But you are right; this is not the same thing as I HAVE been communicative about my feelings on this issue, throughout the relationship.
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Old 2nd May 2011, 5:33 AM   #57
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What is harmless "teasing" and what is crossing the line? I am so dang sensitive; it's like being ultra-ticklish--brush against me and I'm squirming and going into spasms.
This thing with the glass of water was crossing the line. And was there not an incident with peeing in the shower?

I would say that wondering if you are too sensitive should already be a red flag. I know plenty of people who are too sensitive yet their partner takes their wishes into account (even if it are basically whims).

In a good relationship, people try not to hurt their partner on purpose.

I wish you would spend less time ruminating all this although I can perfectly understand it. As someone else mentioned, I wonder if you come from a family with abuse or addiction. It seems that this situation where you are not treated well is familiar to you and you therefore maintain stuck in it. I understand this but believe me, you need to try to break free from this relationship.

Can't you move to another place? Why don't you go and live in a big city, it seems to me that your chances for work and social contacts will be much bigger there.
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Old 2nd May 2011, 6:54 AM   #58
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This thing with the glass of water was crossing the line. And was there not an incident with peeing in the shower?
Yes. There are many such incidents (not peeing; I mean antagonistic incidents that crossed a line in my book). I realize now that the consistent presence of those incidents in our relationship has kept me "distracted" such that I've continually been attempting to navigate around these incidents to access the "real relationship." Since N's and my relationship talk earlier this week, all of a sudden those incidents are gone (hopefully for good), and it's like we are only just getting to know each other. And I don't mean that last bit in a rosy-tinted way at all; it's very sad to me to see how much "white noise" the constant antagonism created, for an entire YEAR. The antagonisms have kept me in a position all year long of constantly being on edge, defending my [admittedly poorly marked] boundaries and feeling continually encroached upon, in a high state of stress because from one interaction to another I'd never know when he'd step over a line again, and it always felt imminent.

I am not trying to make myself sound like a victim; I am only describing how the relationship has felt to me up to now. And when I write it out and it stares back at me, I am shocked that I put up with that for a solid year. I see that in this dynamic, BOTH of us have not had our needs met. As Eve suggested in her most recent comment (and it rings true to me), N. perhaps only wants a sense of familiarity and predictability in our relationship, but with me always seeming to be a "threat" as I'm "always getting after him," I have not met those needs (though Eve is also correct that that was my desire and intent).

It is so, so sad; I'm crying as I type this--crying at the emptiness of this relationship for us BOTH up to now. And what makes it sad as well is the fact--and I know it sounds crazy given all I have typed about N. here--that I know he really cares about me. I'm not condoning his behavior and nor am I saying that that fact alone, regardless of how it gets diverted into channels that feel uncaring many times, should be sufficient and I shouldn't consider leaving this relationship. It's all just doubly sad because at heart he is, truly, a good guy--and that's not something I would have said about my previous boyfriend.

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I know plenty of people who are too sensitive yet their partner takes their wishes into account (even if it are basically whims).
I see that now. I do. I came into this relationship entrenched in an old pattern of feeling apologetic for being very sensitive. I don't mean by "sensitive" that I can't take a joke; I mean that I am very attuned to feelings, mine and those of others, and I am drawn to talking about them and philosophizing on the meaning of things. I like to mull things over and solicit input from others. The relationship breakup that brought me to LS back in 2007 was the first time it occurred to me, thanks in part to posters here, that I didn't have to feel apologetic for this attribute but rather needed to find someone who found it endearing and not irritating. I guess I am slow to internalize that discovery.

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It seems that this situation where you are not treated well is familiar to you and you therefore maintain stuck in it. I understand this but believe me, you need to try to break free from this relationship.
Yes, I realize that now, that this dynamic is very familiar to me. My stepfather growing up was a daily source of stress and derision to me; he thrived on control and to survive nearly 10 years of living in his house I had to believe his love was just around the corner and I'd keep my optimism tied up in that even while I loathed how he treated me and eventually, loathed him. My mom has always been there for me but she to this day gets beyond irritated at how sensitive I am as she is very stoic and never discusses emotions and I am very expressive. My entire family, in fact, is emotionally tight-lipped; I always was a bit of a "black sheep" in that regard.

I guess in this climate I never truly learned how to comfortably be myself, and how effectively to stick up for myself, and I pay for those lacks of skill in my relationships. It's funny because I can have a big mouth; you'd think I could be better at vocalizing my needs and feeling deserving of having them met.

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Can't you move to another place? Why don't you go and live in a big city, it seems to me that your chances for work and social contacts will be much bigger there.
I expect I will move, soon enough. I've only lived where I do now since last June. The scenery where I live is pretty spectacular; for an outdoorsy, athletic person like me it's ideal in that respect. I worked hard to obtain this lifestyle and I want to enjoy it as long as I can before the necessity of returning to the land of better career opportunity waves its scepter at me!
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Old 2nd May 2011, 8:55 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by GreenCove View Post
It is so, so sad; I'm crying as I type this--crying at the emptiness of this relationship for us BOTH up to now.
NO NO NO, this is not a reciprocal thing. He is abusive. To have you constantly on edge is what he wants.
He is not a good person, open your eyes for god's sake. The glass of water incident is the best proof. What is good about a person who does that?
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Old 2nd May 2011, 11:17 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkInTheLimo View Post
NO NO NO, this is not a reciprocal thing. He is abusive. To have you constantly on edge is what he wants.
He is not a good person, open your eyes for god's sake. The glass of water incident is the best proof. What is good about a person who does that?
I don't feel that this is reciprocal. I was only observing that it is sad because the relationship is rendered empty for BOTH people in a dynamic such as this one, and yes, that is sad.

I am also not focusing on whether he or anyone is "good" or "not good." I do believe that he is someone who doesn't fully realize the extent of what he is doing. That's not me excusing him. My ex, by contrast, was truly, pathologically, calculating and vindictive and N. is NOT like that. Either way, it doesn't matter as what I am realizing really is at the heart here is HOW I FEEL IN THIS RELATIONSHIP. Recognizing that is a huge change for me.

I realize that psychological changes don't tend to occur easily or quickly and it can be frustrating to read someone struggling to figure out something that to you as a non-invested outsider is obvious, but please try to refrain from articulating your frustration in statements like, "...for god's sake..." It makes the other person out to be stupid, and being temporarily blind is not the same as being an idiot.
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