Does this look like a long term relationship at the end?
Throughout my 6 year relationship, me and my partner have grown and achieved so much together, often with the help of the on another. He is very stable whereas I can be very unstable, he is anxious where I am confident, he can stay calm where I would become annoyed. On paper, there are many positives about him and the relationship as far as future prospects go. There has been, however, many recurring issues that we can never seem to work through. We rarely agree to disagree. Although one may back down on their side in the end (usually him) we still ultimately stay opposing. Our arguments have slowly started to escalate more and more over the years into such viscous screaming matches that continue for hours or even days recently, we both reach unhealthy and dangerous levels of anger. With a mortgage in the mix and babies considered to be on the horizon, I am really wondering if this relationship is what it should be. For context, I am 25 a recent graduate and my partner is 30 in a successful career.
Here’s the general vibe of things:
I can be stubborn, controlling, particular and impulsive whereas my partner can be unresponsive, inattentive, defensive or hesitant. Together, this means I can be unfairly negative towards him, and he can be dismissive or argumentative. I often say things that he interprets badly, as he sees most things that come out of my mouth as stress or moans, which they certainly can be, but they aren’t always. This means he responds defensively, to which I will justify my point, and he will justify his, and so on. I usually stick with my side on most occasions where he will eventually ‘back down’ and agree with me. I can be stubborn, however I could agree to disagree and drop things, he can’t. On larger issues that he has been asked to face, the conclusion (after hours of arguing) is usually that he may have been wrong for what he did but the way I said it was wrong and caused the argument. Or his behaviour was a result of my bad behaviour over the years. Maybe I could be less stubborn sometimes, sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit your wrong and I do have a problem with that, but should I believe that if I learn to do this more often, the justifications and defensiveness from him will not occur and we will learn to accept each other’s side? We are, after all, very different when it comes to personality traits, values and approaches to life.
We struggled to compromise on house work from the moment we started to live together, I felt I had to take the lead on almost everything and felt under appreciated. My partners job was intense, mine less so, so I naturally give him an allowance for this. However when I did say how I was feeling (albeit sometimes manifesting in snaps), he would justify his position, i.e. say that I should appreciate how hard he is working, that he is working for the relationship and I reap the rewards financially and I will in the future, that because I was just a student with a part time job, I should pick up more of the slack around the house with my free time. And that he would do the same if I was the main bread winner and working more hours. We would argue for hours about what is an equal share of housework and cooking, always deciding that due to his job, I will do more, as long as he does his bit. But I didn’t want to do more when it came to it, not without appreciation at least. His efforts felt minimal and I still saw an imbalance. To me, doing extra would be my way of showing love and doing my partner a favour, but it always felt like an obligation or expectation. This caused A LOT of agitation in my life, I resented him every time I had to clean or cook, which would come out in outbursts about his character or something minute he was doing like leaving shoes on the floor, when I did this too.. It was around 3-4 years before these cleaning arguments actually reached some sort of balance, but to be honest, I still carry the resentment. I feel like it would be easier and more rewarding to clean up for myself and myself alone, as I always have to drop my standards otherwise. His efforts have made a difference that’s for sure, such as cooking our meals much more often, but I’m still not fully happy and still suffer in this area. He accepts his initial approach on the situation regarding work was not helpful, but also says that the way I approached it (snapping, the tone of my voice) meant he was unwilling to listen. So basically, he’s sorry, but it’s partly my fault. Which came first?
Sexually, things haven’t been the best. Early on, I had a problem with feeling the pressure of sexual intercourse. I felt like it was a daily or every other daily chore and struggled to be able to say no if I wasn’t feeling it. I would blame my partner, as he would become excited much more frequently than me, sometimes just during hugs and kisses so I felt I had to back away before he wanted things to go further, as rejection obviously didn’t feel nice and would ruin the moment too. He had erections several times per day and it would sometimes feel overbearing, like a constant factor in our lives was his penis. On top of that, I sometimes felt that the availability of sex was the thing making me not want it. Even though my partner felt I always decided when to have sex, I never felt that I had control over it, he was just waiting for it and I always felt like it was for him before me. I may have communicated this in the wrong way sometimes, asking him not to do something a certain way and closing up as I was inexperienced and so was he, so my behaviour made him awkward and hurt. We couldn’t seem to establish a mature approach to sex. Yet it was always seen as me with the issues, he was normal, he would be happy as long as there is some sort of intercourse because ‘that’s how he gives and receives love’... me on the other hand, was particular, fussy and not very relaxed. We couldn’t communicate about how I was feeling pressured or take steps to alleviate that pressure for around 3 years, even then, it was very much the case that he was the one trying to ‘budge’ or him changing his behaviour was at the expense of his own feelings and control. Only in recent months have we been able to talk more openly and with more understanding, he accepts he should have been more sensitive sometimes, and says I am partly to blame for this, obviously. But is it too late? I’ve never sexually expressed myself with this person or felt fully comfortable. I convinced myself I have a low sex drive.. but what if that’s not the reason I rarely feel up for it.
Small things, like thoughtfulness and gifts or small acts of kindness is also things I felt I gave but didn’t receive, and may have helped me harbour more positive feelings about him. But this isn’t uncommon in relationships as some people just aren’t as good at that sort of stuff!
The dynamic of our relationship has turned into a toxic unhealthy battleground. He feels I need to learn to back down, to give him some power, to ‘lay off his back’ and not blame him for everything, to show a bit of love. At the same time he doesn’t want to let me go and is quite dependent, attached and invested in this relationship and thinks it could work. However, I feel that even if I did try to do that, I still wouldn’t be happy or able to get what I need from him, I would end up being back ‘on his back’ in no time, as I have tried to control my inclination to disapprove many times. I feel exhausted, that there is so many things I try to change about him on a daily basis, it’s stressful to be that person and know that it’s hurting him too. I think maybe if we became more accepting and in tune with each other.. but I know the problems I have won’t go away. It’s been 6 years. I don’t want to lose him, but everything is telling me that I don’t want this relationship either. With the pandemic pushing us further into each other’s space, I wonder if I’m being rash and dramatic, then I look back and see constant problems. Am I being unfair to him by prolonging this? Have I already got my answer and I’m just clinging on? Ahhhh help! Does this sound like a relationship at the end?
It sounds to me like you are both missing the key to a stable relationship.
Your significant other comes first in all things even over yourself. If you both did this, things would be a lot less stressful. If nothing else, neither of you seems to have empathy for the other.
I would strongly suggest therapy.
It's the little unexpected things we do for each which show our need, rather than our want, to be with each other. After 6 years, you guys need to reach level ground where you can use communication and negotiation, rather than arguments, to sort and achieve a shared goal, which is fixing your relationship together.
You need to understand that it's not about changing someone, it's about accepting all of the other and loving and respecting them for who they are. If you share the same values and standards, then you're half way there but both partners need to work at the relationship to keep it on an even keel. If there's love and respect, then there's trust, which lays a solid foundation for the future. When there's constant conflict, then it blurs into constant doubt hoping for the best. It's not so much about you being unfair to him by prolonging a rocky relationship, it's about you being true to yourself and being kind to yourself so you don't end up as a tired soul.
Yes, professional counselling will go a long way to assisting you guys to sort the issue.
You’ve done a good job training this guy in areas of taking responsibility for food preparation, housekeeping and other areas where you think it’s important. But this has exhausted you and I get the feeling that it’s never gonna be enough For you to be satisfied.
Clearly you are in the “critical mother” role in this relationship. In addition you sound like you really don’t like this guy.. have you fallen out of love with him?
I think you should read the book “Men Are from Mars…” and consider couples therapy.
girl, definitely get coaching/counseling, most important relationship in your life and you need to create agreements understand each other and a ton other things to make it happen if you want a great relationship.
Are you kidding me?
Done a good job training him in food preparation and housekeeping? He's a man, not a pet. Try treating him like a man.