Afraid Of Commitment? Learning To Live All Over Again?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2012
Afraid Of Commitment? Learning To Live All Over Again?
3
Wed, 11-21-2012 - 9:34pm

Hi guys.

I'm currently in a 5, almost 6 year relationship that including living together for the majority of that time. It seems as if the relationship is on a cycle that just keeps repeating over, and over, and over again. After two years, we broke up after I felt like things were too bad to mend. At the time we lived with his parents so it was hard leaving but not as hard as it is when you actually share an apartment together. At that time I was leaving because I felt overwhelmed by the relationship, I was upset by his actions at the time, he wasn't working, he had lost a lot of confidence & ambition. He has emotional issues that keep him from being able to connect on a certain level & communication has always been difficult. I ended up leaving but coming back about six months later after going through a health crisis that left me vulnerable. When we got back together though, things seemed to go well for another two years before it all started all over again.

This time things are a little different. The same issues are there which is disturbing because I realized that I feel the same way now as I did three years ago. That tells me that in the matter of three years, nothing has truly changed despite any disguise that it has. Sure small advancements have been made, but the bottom line is that I somehow have landed right back in the same spot I was in 2009. The circumstances have changed but the underlying issues are the same: my man is afraid of commitment, isn't ready to grow up & has no idea how to control his emotions or anger. Issues of the same nature have continually come on, been talked about, "gotten over" and put away. That cycle has become so monotoneous, so exhausting, so overwhelming. I keep thinking that things are changing, that we are growing, that we are moving forward but now, in the past week, I've realized that I might be wasting my time.

The biggest problem right now is that at 27 & faced with a lot of health issues I'm thinking about true commitment & what i want out of my life. At this point in a relationship, I feel like there should be some inclination of whether or not marraige is probable as that is something I really, really, really want. This whole time I thought that was a goal of OURS together, that we both wanted that with a family, etc etc. Up to this point, I knew he had hesitation but I had no idea just how much the whole thing scared him. The reason it's truly come up now is that I am ready for that step with someone, I am ready to move forward. I've finally gotten a good job, got my BA degree, am making big girl decisions like buying a car on my own...but I don't think he's there with me at all. He's got a good job but all around seems like he couldn't care less about anything else i do (marraige, money management, settling down, family, kids, etc). Those are things I can't lie about: I want that. And I want it with someone who wants it too, the last thing I want is to force him into ANYTHING because I'd rather go adopt a child on my own then have him father one against his better judgment. That's just completely wrong.

One of the hardest aspects (as if it all isn't difficult) is that we live together, share everything...it's like the sensation of questioning a divorce. At this point I feel like we've talked so many times to no-avail where I've told him bottom line "this is what i want to change, this is what needs to happen" so many times, but things despite quick changes seem to always go back. My friends are tired of hearing it, as they have all told me what their bottom line opinion is: he's not going to change. I'm just so angry that he's made me become this bitter, that he can't give me what I want, that after all this time he's still not sure if he wants to take the next steps. I have had so many good times despite the bad & this is the longest relationship I've ever been in & the only man I've ever lived with. At this point he isn't clued in to how serious I'm feeling about this, despite the fact that the conversations have spawned little by little hinting at my displeasement over his anti-marraige stance.

Am I wrong for feeling upset about all this? How in the world do I begin to process such a big change? Help!!

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

katzkataz wrote:
Thank you so much for your thought. I have to say now that I've actually taken the steps & I've initiated the break-up. The strange thing is that he almost mutually agrees because I think he sees the logic in relation to our seperate ideas of a future. I know we both love each other & I know he cares about me. I know he also knows how I feel about marraige & has even said that I don't deserve to have that idea bashed to bits. It's a very strange process, and it's been very hard but I think it's ultimately the best decision.. Thank you for your advice. I may be posting more often about issues involving this journey, so I'm glad there are some who read.

You're welcome. I'm sorry that things have to end, but I"m glad that the two of you have come to a resolution.  You're too young to be with someone who doesn't want what you want--and what you want is quite reasonable. You deserve to be happy, loved and cherished by someone who will move heaven and earth to be with you and treat you like a queen.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2012
Thank you so much for your thought. I have to say now that I've actually taken the steps & I've initiated the break-up. The strange thing is that he almost mutually agrees because I think he sees the logic in relation to our seperate ideas of a future. I know we both love each other & I know he cares about me. I know he also knows how I feel about marraige & has even said that I don't deserve to have that idea bashed to bits. It's a very strange process, and it's been very hard but I think it's ultimately the best decision.. Thank you for your advice. I may be posting more often about issues involving this journey, so I'm glad there are some who read.
Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

katzkataz wrote:
<p>Hi guys.</p><p>I'm currently in a 5, almost 6 year relationship that including living together for the majority of that time. It seems as if the relationship is on a cycle that just keeps repeating over, and over, and over again. After two years, we broke up after I felt like things were too bad to mend. At the time we lived with his parents so it was hard leaving but not as hard as it is when you actually share an apartment together. At that time I was leaving because I felt overwhelmed by the relationship, I was upset by his actions at the time, he wasn't working, he had lost a lot of confidence &amp; ambition. He has emotional issues that keep him from being able to connect on a certain level &amp; communication has always been difficult. I ended up leaving but coming back about six months later after going through a health crisis that left me vulnerable. When we got back together though, things seemed to go well for another two years before it all started all over again.</p><p>This time things are a little different. The same issues are there which is disturbing because I realized that I feel the same way now as I did three years ago. That tells me that in the matter of three years, nothing has truly changed despite any disguise that it has. Sure small advancements have been made, but the bottom line is that I somehow have landed right back in the same spot I was in 2009. The circumstances have changed but the underlying issues are the same: my man is afraid of commitment, isn't ready to grow up &amp; has no idea how to control his emotions or anger. Issues of the same nature have continually come on, been talked about, "gotten over" and put away. That cycle has become so monotoneous, so exhausting, so overwhelming. I keep thinking that things are changing, that we are growing, that we are moving forward but now, in the past week, I've realized that I might be wasting my time.</p><p>The biggest problem right now is that at 27 &amp; faced with a lot of health issues I'm thinking about true commitment &amp; what i want out of my life. At this point in a relationship, I feel like there should be some inclination of whether or not marraige is probable as that is something I really, really, really want. This whole time I thought that was a goal of OURS together, that we both wanted that with a family, etc etc. Up to this point, I knew he had hesitation but I had no idea just how much the whole thing scared him. The reason it's truly come up now is that I am ready for that step with someone, I am ready to move forward. I've finally gotten a good job, got my BA degree, am making big girl decisions like buying a car on my own...but I don't think he's there with me at all. He's got a good job but all around seems like he couldn't care less about anything else i do (marraige, money management, settling down, family, kids, etc). Those are things I can't lie about: I want that. And I want it with someone who wants it too, the last thing I want is to force him into ANYTHING because I'd rather go adopt a child on my own then have him father one against his better judgment. That's just completely wrong.</p><p>One of the hardest aspects (as if it all isn't difficult) is that we live together, share everything...it's like the sensation of questioning a divorce. At this point I feel like we've talked so many times to no-avail where I've told him bottom line "this is what i want to change, this is what needs to happen" so many times, but things despite quick changes seem to always go back. My friends are tired of hearing it, as they have all told me what their bottom line opinion is: he's not going to change. I'm just so angry that he's made me become this bitter, that he can't give me what I want, that after all this time he's still not sure if he wants to take the next steps. I have had so many good times despite the bad &amp; this is the longest relationship I've ever been in &amp; the only man I've ever lived with. At this point he isn't clued in to how serious I'm feeling about this, despite the fact that the conversations have spawned little by little hinting at my displeasement over his anti-marraige stance.</p><p>Am I wrong for feeling upset about all this? How in the world do I begin to process such a big change? Help!!</p>

No, you are not wrong for feeling upset--feeling are feelings... they "are".  The question is: what action do you plan to put behind those feelings?  It's not like you're not used to breaking up and being away from him. You know what life is like when you're not dragging around his unresolved baggage, so I have to wonder what do you get out of dragging him around behind you like a ball and chain?  That's dead weight you don't need.

You know that putting any more effort into this man is going to wind up with you wasting another 3 years of trying to mask "what is" with "what you wished would be".  He has no incentive to change at. all. He doesn't need to--he knows that you will come back and join him in his mess and not really demand a change--a lasting change.  One cannot ascertain the sincerity of someone's wish to change themselves unless they've been away from that person for quite some time--I'm talking about longer than a year.

Just because it's the longest relationship you've ever been in doesn't mean that that alone warrants you to keep "making the red spot on the wall bigger while your head starts hurting more".  That's the worst of reasons to stay with someone... as it speaks to emotional laziness (I'm not referring to marriage--that's a whole 'nother dynamic altogether).

As to how to process a big change: I've related a saying my daughter uses (and I had to remind her of it a few days ago, LOL): "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."  You take steps each day to accomplish what is needed in order to establish your own space, both physically and emotionally, from this guy.  No monumental task can be executed in one day, nor is it realistic to do so.  But each day, do something that puts you closer to what it is you say you want, no matter how big or small, especially the small stuff.  It's the details that usually hems one up in feelings of being overwhelmed by the task.

Start being selfish and focusing all your attention on you and getting where you want to be in your life. He will probably notice and start to promise his puddle-deep changes to keep the status quo and keep you there and once you're lulled back into the stupor, he'll revert to being who he can't help being: him.  He has some really deep issues that he doesn't want to address and he 's counting on you not making him address them or to make a change because what he has works for him and where he wishes to remain. It's convenient and he doesn't have to bust a sweat for it.

You want more, therefore you need to be about the task of finding the man who wants exactly what you want out of life--this guy isn't it and no amount of time that you'll never get back is going to turn him into that man. He has to get his wiring redone before any kind of consistent and lasting change will take place.