Three years in, uncertain. Keep going?
I've been with my partner for three years. We've lived together for the last two of those. We've been planning a future and a family together. This is my first relationship anywhere near this long and the first time I've lived with a partner.
I love her and know that she loves me, and really, truly appreciate that she has made great personal sacrifices to be with me. However, after three years there are many little things about her that really irritate me. Things that shouldn't matter but just get grating a lot of the time and make me resent her a little. I appreciate that I'm not perfect myself and that she puts up with my personal foibles too. I do my best not to let it show and feel bad for getting annoyed, because a lot of those things are just the way she is and I don't want to make her change that because it wouldn't be fair on her to do so. The times I have brought something up I always end up feeling bad for doing so. Again, she deals with my shit, still loves me and doesn't try to change who I am. But nonetheless, I often find myself wishing that she *would* change those things I find so annoying, and questioning whether I really want to be dealing with those things for the rest of my life.
I just don't know if this is normal for a long-term relationship and I should just learn to deal with it and just appreciate having someone who loves me and who I trust to always be faithful and who I can one day have a family with, and it's just natural to feel bored or annoyed with the other person as often as feeling happy to be around them (and we have had a lot of really great times together), or if maybe I'm just staying with her rather than looking for someone who doesn't get on my nerves all the time because I can't bring myself to break up a relationship I know is so good in so many ways.
Sometimes I feel like I should break up with her because I feel it's dishonest to stay with her when I feel annoyed or resentful as often as I do, and I don't feel like I deserve the unconditional love she gives me. She has moved a long way (too far to easily visit on any kind of regular basis) from her friends and family, who I know she misses greatly, to be with me, and I feel maybe she'd be happier back home when I sometimes don't feel like I love her as much as I should, and I should just man up, break it off, and let her go. Not that I'm deliberately forcing her to stay or anything, but I really want what's best for her and I just don't know whether that's to just keep loving her as best I can, or break up after we've both invested so much in each other (and really hurt her in the process) for the possibility that we might both be happier going our separate ways. Sometimes when I think about whether I should break up with her, the idea of doing so seems crazy, at other times, the idea of staying together seems crazy.
On top of all of the above, my partner been away recently and while catching up with a friend I met a single lady who I found quite attractive and spent much of the evening talking with and whose company I enjoyed. (Just to pre-empt any wrongful assumptions, I was open about my present relationship and did not try to hit on her or make any kind of approach. We just talked. Nothing happened.) Now and again, I've found myself missing the excitement and potential of being single and meeting someone new, but it was never a big deal. This time, I found myself thinking about the lady the next day and wanting to meet her again. I've never cheated before, and have no intention of doing so now or in the future. I'd end the relationship first before pursuing or even contacting this or any other lady again. But I've never felt like this before and I'm worried about what it might mean. But then again if I did break it off and get together with someone else I'd just end up feeling the same way about them after three years.
You don't list these "irritations" that your GF gives you, but - whatever - you clearly are not ready for marriage or a deeper commitment. (These "irritations" only double after getting married - can you handle that?)
You need to be honest with yourself and her. The fact that your eye has been turned by another also is a key that you are not ready to settle down.
Do what you must be to be honest with yourself.
Basically you to all intents and purposes married after only a year of dating. Plus cohabitation can change things. Feeling like you're "there", that you've "got" each other, both parties will inevitably relax. If this occurs BEFORE heightened, impressive behaviour has had enough chance to become a concrete HABIT, old habits can start to resurface and take over.
Just for the purposes of this exercise, let's liken dating/a relationship to a car test-drive: It's no good careening along a straight stretch of road at 80mph thinking, isn't this great, me and this car are made for each other, followed by handing over your precious cash to the showroom rep. The test-drive should take X amount of time. Having inspected under the bonnet, kicked the tyres, given the suspension a body bounce, etc., the vehicle should be tested on all types of terrain under as many weather conditions as possible (to see if any worrying clonking or overheating, etc., occurs).
Going at 80mph along a relatively straight and easy route, the temptation is there to sit yacking away and admiring the look and smell of the upholstery, etc., instead of noting road signs, hazard warnings, and signposts in conjunction with the car's all-round performance capabilities.
If you're GOING spend less testing and assessing time by going at a faster speed, you should ideally compensate by paying much closer attention so that by the time you're done, you've executed the EQUIVALENT of a longer duration (this case, 2 years instead of 1), simply condensed.
...so here you now are: for the nth time having, say, entered a hair-pin in wet weather and accepting once and for all that, yes, the car has crap road holding (amongst other inadequacies to your driving expectations, like a crunchy transmission). "Bum and poo!", you say - you LIKE taking corners and changing gear fast, it's always been one of the highlights of driving.
Are you going to lump it in weighed comparison to the car's other positives or don't you have to? Are the inadequacies/annoyances 'pimp-able'? And how good a mechanic are you? Can you do it yourself or do you need a professional? Or are you expectations too high?
It's not your fault that you've associated certain pleasures/non-annoyances with the joy of driving. But perhaps you need more than one car? Whoops - not possible, there's only one per person allowed in this life.
So it depends both on your expectations AND how often these niggles are occurring and whether they're posing as water torture (drip, drip, drip..).
Maybe she deals with your shit because it's less bothersome than her shit? Or maybe she's more laid-back and lower expectation-ed? Lucky her, if so.
YES, this is natural. Unlike a car, this relationship evolves, via phases. When you're in transition from one phase to the other, it's disquieting, and you find yourself trying to pinpoint tangible reasons for why you feel so ...ANTSY, AGITATED, UPSET. (Hey, fella - welcome to the world of PMT!, LOL) But phase-to-phase transitions END. You enter the new phase and fall in love all over again (much to your delight and surprise).
HOWEVER. There's the light-to-dark ratio. For a relationship to last until death takes a ratio of at least 60:40, whereas YOU went on to say this (note caps):
"I just don't know if this is normal for a long-term relationship and I should just learn to deal with it and just appreciate having someone who loves me and who I trust to always be faithful and who I can one day have a family with, and it's just natural to feel BORED or ANNOYED with the other person AS OFTEN AS feeling happy to be around them (and we HAVE HAD a lot of really great times together), or if maybe I'm just staying with her rather than looking for someone who doesn't GET ON MY NERVES ALL THE TIME because I can't bring myself to break up a relationship I know is so good in so many ways. "
Are you just venting or is the light-to-dark ratio really as 50:50 as it sounds?
If so: "She has moved a long way (too far to easily visit on any kind of regular basis) from her friends and family, who I know she misses greatly, to be with me, and I feel maybe she'd be happier back home when I sometimes don't feel like I love her as much as I should, and I should just man up, break it off, and let her go."
That was her choice. Nobody made her. LIFE is a risk, let alone a relationship. Sometimes our plans work as conceived and intended, sometimes they don't. If they don't, you learn and take and apply that learning to all such future embarkations.
But, wait, what's this? "On top of all of the above, my partner been away recently and while catching up with a friend I met a single lady who I found quite attractive and spent much of the evening talking with and whose company I enjoyed. (Just to pre-empt any wrongful assumptions, I was open about my present relationship and did not try to hit on her or make any kind of approach. We just talked. Nothing happened.)"
AH-HAH! Pre-justifications alert!!!
Yes, you DID do something. You could tell you found this woman attractive yet, rather than act in ways to protect your existing relationship, you proceeded anyway, which you did by giving this woman all of your focus all night long (shut up, Lionel). That's called being open with your mouth and then contradicting it with your actions.
So which came first: the chicken (you finding gf 50 irritating/50 pleasing) or the egg (you finding temptation compelling you to find ways to lessen your sense of wrongdoing and guilt)?
Assuming that you're speaking the truth about how you WOULD end things with "wife" BEFORE you went and did anything whatsoever that could constitute taking this attraction further, you need to ask yourself this very levelling, acid-test question:
How does the attraction, excitement and hope you feel towards this new woman at Week X compare to that which you felt for your "wife" at Week X?
And what if she turns out to be a bunny boiler? EEK.
You're going to have to take a risk whichever way you look at this: a risk in ending what could be the best NORMAL relationship you've had or are ever likely to have or beginning what could be THE best normal relationship you've ever had or are ever likely to have.
Your partner's been away recently. Seemingly, the 'full stomach' she left you with WASN'T full enough to see you through her absence. The proof of that is that you felt hungry (and in walked a dish). No matter that you blame how you feel on this/that/the other, is the truth, the REAL issue, that she's under-feeding you, knowingly or not? Has she relaxed her previous standards of how she used to treat you and this relationship TOO much? And is THAT why she SEEMS like little miss laid-back? Does she just not care enough to get annoyed?
Here's another important question, possibly "the" question:
Do you, because you feel hand-tied by deeming any complaints/requests for betterment in her behaviour/habits UNREASONABLE, have a little pot of resentment in you now just BURSTING for revenge at a distance? Are you subconsciously hoping that gf will somehow get wind of this brewing situation and sit up more straight and pay better attention like she used to?
(Take your time, think before you answer. Your future happiness deserves that amount of effort, oui?)
3 years must mean something to you from being in this relationship, but in saying that i feel for someone to be in a relationship and had to deal with the other halfs bad habits for 3years.... i get the impression your just trying to find faults so that it gives you less guilt to end the relationship.
I think you already know the answer to your situation, your only holding onto her cause of how far shes traveled, how dedicated & committed she is and is being herself around you.
And even if you tell her that your annoyed with her bad habits, with a genuine person to come from afar to be with you she sounds like the type to change for you & i can already tell that youll be looking for something else to find to be annoyed about her.
At least tell her the real truth behind all this, you owe it to her that much. Don't hang onto the relationship & waist her time when she too deserves to find someone with the same intentions as her. which someone to settle down and grow old with
From reading your post, I have to agree with LIPSZEALED. Even though you said you "love her" the fact of the matter is that throughout your post, you've been talking about nothing but the negatives about her as far as your relationship is concerned. Are you sure that you're even in love with her? Or are you just in love with the idea of being in love?
Take a good long time to examine yourself and your motivations in staying with this relationship and try to see if love is even a factor here or if you're just trying to prevent yourself from feeling guilty. Once you're done, make up your mind to either continue with the status quo or finally end this relationship formally and let your wife know about your decision without cheating on her first.
Here, peeps, can I just make sure I haven't been responsible for leading everyone into the wrong assumption?
When I said pre-justifications alert, I wasn't insinuating that I thought this guy is intending to CHEAT. I was referring only to how bad anyone would naturally feel at the daunting thought of ending a relationship that wasn't working out as well as initially hoped, with someone who'd at the start moved mountains to be with them, and wanting to find a way to get around that emotional impediment to possible perfectly warranted action-taking. Of COURSE you'd feel guilty about ending it under those prior circumstances - IF you were a conscientious, responsible type, that is. My opinion is that this guy is, and that he genuinely wasn't even aware how just talking predominantly to this new woman represented one foot placed onto the thin end of that slippery-slope wedge (where you COULD get sucked in if you weren't aware and careful).
He, however, made it quite clear that the (daunting) decision facing him is between persevering with his live-in girlfriend or *breaking it off* in order to start something new.
Not that I condone lilypad-leaping straight from one serious relationship into the next, because obviously any issues that played a part in making it less than 60:40 will just get carried straight into the new relationship, meaning history in whatever way, regardless of specific problematic details, repeating. But that still doesn't make him a candidate for cheating.
This is not a cheating issue, IMO. It's one called, Do I bin it and buy a replacement? -versus- Should I see if it can be fixed first?