What to do

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-2012
What to do
7
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 9:41am

Hi Everyone

My partner and I have been dating for 4 and 1/2 years. We are both divorced she about 11 years and me 8 years. We are both early 50s and live in seperate homes me with my 22 year old daughter and she with her 14 year old. We speak every day and would generally see each other 3 or 4 times per week. We are very much in love but right this moment we are in a difficult place and this is the 3rd time this year.

Last weekend we were away with her family (she has other adult kids who are at university) and friends. Everyone had a great day/evening but when we got back to our hotel room she got really angry with me. After initally arguing briefly we went to bed and and I got very remorseful as I had been selfish that evening and she remained very cross. Neither of us slept all night as she lay there angry and I lay there wretched and guilty. We spoke again only briefly during the night and I expressed my profound regret at my selfishness ( she had indicated some time before that she wanted to go straight home from the restaurant but when out I and some of the other men decided we should look for a night cap so we all ended up wandering around a bit before going home - so my selfishness was firstly forgetting her plan for the night and secondly not checking with her what she wanted as the night went on. So she had every right to be cross with me).

So now 6 days later we are both home again and have spoken on the phome but the normal sleep overs and time together have been cancelled. What is getting to me is that the subject now and once again is are we compatible, should we continue seeing each other. And that's the way it tends to go she gets incredibly cross with me over something, the anger lasts and lots of other things I do or don't do become reframed and included to reinforce her perspective on my poor behaviour (though these were not things that were a problem when they arose or weren't brought to my attention) then its She's not sure about this realitionship and we need some space - prior to us making it up again. And the problem for me isn't so much that she gets so terribly angry but that the intense anger lasts and then its I love you but I am not sure we are right for each other and meantime I have a week of sleepless heatbroken nights.

I know I am a bit odd and can be arrogrant and selfish but I do try to change and lots of the friends I had and things I woudl have done when we first met I no longer do. She is a fantastic strong beautiful woman and we so comfortable together in so many ways and enjoy doing lots of thing together. I love her very much and we have discussed that when her daughter is old enough to leave the family home that she and I would set up our own home together.  I so want to make a go of this. After my marriage split up I didn't date anyone for about 3 years as I just wanted to make a life for myself without the complications of a relationship. Now I don't want to loose her and can't imagine being with anyone else or starting all that dating stuff again.

My issue or the one that I woudl apprecitate the perspectives of you good people on is do I now say to her that I can't go on like this because the fear that she will dump me one day is eating me up and I also feel that I am loosing myself in the process i.e. I would almost do anything to keep her regardless of the cost to me. And I don't want to end it now but just that I feel very vulnerable and disempowered - but if I say this then she may decide to end it now or following a future row. It has been me very much who has sought the committed realtionship and she has tended to be protective about her world and the risk of a new man to it. She is very loving woman and when its good its so beautiful (though I know I find myself watchin what i say). She said last night that she doesn't want to destroy me and thats why she needs to reflect on if we should continue ....but the thing that is destroyng me is her reflections  and all this uncertainty.

There's much more I could write to explain things more but thats the gist of if. I would really like some alternative perspectives to help me consider what I should say to her when next we do meet to talk.

Appreciate you taking the time to respond

Thanks Oliver

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 6:52pm

IrishOliver wrote:
<p>Hi Everyone</p><p>My partner and I have been dating for 4 and 1/2 years. We are both divorced she about 11 years and me 8 years. We are both early 50s and live in seperate homes me with my 22 year old daughter and she with her 14 year old. We speak every day and would generally see each other 3 or 4 times per week. We are very much in love but right this moment we are in a difficult place and this is the 3rd time this year.</p><p>Last weekend we were away with her family (she has other adult kids who are at university) and friends. Everyone had a great day/evening but when we got back to our hotel room she got really angry with me. After initally arguing briefly we went to bed and and I got very remorseful as I had been selfish that evening and she remained very cross. Neither of us slept all night as she lay there angry and I lay there wretched and guilty. We spoke again only briefly during the night and I expressed my profound regret at my selfishness ( she had indicated some time before that she wanted to go straight home from the restaurant but when out I and some of the other men decided we should look for a night cap so we all ended up wandering around a bit before going home - so my selfishness was firstly forgetting her plan for the night and secondly not checking with her what she wanted as the night went on. So she had every right to be cross with me).</p><p>So now 6 days later we are both home again and have spoken on the phome but the normal sleep overs and time together have been cancelled. What is getting to me is that the subject now and once again is are we compatible, should we continue seeing each other. And that's the way it tends to go she gets incredibly cross with me over something, the anger lasts and lots of other things I do or don't do become reframed and included to reinforce her perspective on my poor behaviour (though these were not things that were a problem when they arose or weren't brought to my attention) then its She's not sure about this realitionship and we need some space - prior to us making it up again. And the problem for me isn't so much that she gets so terribly angry but that the intense anger lasts and then its I love you but I am not sure we are right for each other and meantime I have a week of sleepless heatbroken nights.</p><p>I know I am a bit odd and can be arrogrant and selfish but I do try to change and lots of the friends I had and things I woudl have done when we first met I no longer do. She is a fantastic strong beautiful woman and we so comfortable together in so many ways and enjoy doing lots of thing together. I love her very much and we have discussed that when her daughter is old enough to leave the family home that she and I would set up our own home together.  I so want to make a go of this. After my marriage split up I didn't date anyone for about 3 years as I just wanted to make a life for myself without the complications of a relationship. Now I don't want to loose her and can't imagine being with anyone else or starting all that dating stuff again.</p><p>My issue or the one that I woudl apprecitate the perspectives of you good people on is do I now say to her that I can't go on like this because the fear that she will dump me one day is eating me up and I also feel that I am loosing myself in the process i.e. I would almost do anything to keep her regardless of the cost to me. And I don't want to end it now but just that I feel very vulnerable and disempowered - but if I say this then she may decide to end it now or following a future row. It has been me very much who has sought the committed realtionship and she has tended to be protective about her world and the risk of a new man to it. She is very loving woman and when its good its so beautiful (though I know I find myself watchin what i say). She said last night that she doesn't want to destroy me and thats why she needs to reflect on if we should continue ....but the thing that is destroyng me is her reflections  and all this uncertainty.</p><p>There's much more I could write to explain things more but thats the gist of if. I would really like some alternative perspectives to help me consider what I should say to her when next we do meet to talk.</p><p>Appreciate you taking the time to respond</p><p>Thanks Oliver </p>

Fear as a basis for inaction has no hope for a good outcome.  You cannot go through life being afraid... that will wear you out emotionally faster than anything else.  You need to face what you fear head on and conquer it.  Being by yourself doesn't mean the death of you.

If not losing her is your sole goal here, then you need to start reading her mind when it comes to her expecations of you.  It sounds like you don't if you're making a decision to do things that neither of you previously agreed to do.

Having said that, you must understand that her repeatedly threatening to end the relationship with you and keeping taciturnly is bald-faced manipulation--and you're willing to enable it and go along with it because of a fear of losing her.   This is how she controls you and it apparently works like a charm, if one goes by what you've written here.

I think it would be a very good idea for you to call her bluff and agree to end it--she will not be expecting you to do that.  It may shift her out of manipulation or it may not, but you cannot allow her to disrespect you in this manner--because it will only get worse.  And do call her out on her manipulation, because as long as she's allowed to get away with doing this by you, she will continue to do this to you. Bringing up past actions is BS---why did she not address it when it was happening instead of storing it to add to her threat bomb later on? Because that's what manipulators do. 

If you want to tie the whole second half of your life down to a manipulatrix who comes in pretty packaging, then you need to square yourself with the looming task of putting your neck in the yoke and pulling her sled of controlling, manipulative behavior with her whipping you incessantly for not pulling faster or in the direction she wants.  It is beyond childish to carry a grudge days after something they blew up out of proportion happened.

Think about yourself 30 years from now and how you want that man to think back and reflect upon his life and his happiness.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 5:41pm

I just wanted to add:  being able to admit our own faults is a good thing.  But equally important is perspective.   The level of self recrimination you're doing should be kept for having done something really awful and ongoing.

The level of remorse you're feeling over something so minor is extremely worrying   I can't help but think that you have no self respect.   And frankly, I'm not sure how she could respect you if you crumble so easily with this overblown sense of remorse.  

Is it possible she'd stop worrying about her potential to break you if you stood up to her?  If you made it clear that you will not tolerate her overreations and ongoing anger?    I can only think that standing up to her would increase her respect for you.    Alternately, if she can't cope with having her bad behaviour rejected, then she deserves to be alone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 5:08pm

Oliver, I'm giving you a swift kick up the rear end.   Stop with all the self recrimination for the night out.  And stop allowing her to belittle you over something so minor.  

For what it's worth, you've done what my lovely hubby is prone to do on occasion.   Yes, you partied longer than she wanted, and yes, it's boring for the one who wants to go home.   But it's really not so bad that it should result "profound regret at your selfishness".     Your actions that night deserve nothing more than her having a grumble and you giving a quick apology and both of you letting it go.

Honestly, you are seriously under the thumb with her.  It's time to man up and get some boundaries in place as to the behaviour you will accept from her.    This current tantrum of hers is so far over the top that it's ridiculous...and you're allowing her to beat you down so that you think your behaviour is far worse than it actually is. 

It's time to start rebuilding your self esteem and stand up to her.   A relationship which leaves you crumbling and self flagellating after such a minor incident is not one which is worth having.   

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 4:16pm
I don't see what you did as a relationship crime, but my DH and I have in place neither of us makes plans without running them by one another, I don't obligate him to anything and vice versa without first talking about it. What you did is not considering her and making a decision for the both of you - this is a problem my DH and I have had in the past and hopefully a therapist has helped him stop doing this. He'd make gigantic decisions, including financial ones, without even MENTIONING to me - things like using a line of credit against our house without so much as mentioning it, and I'm talking HUGE amounts of money - note the house was paid off and we had an agreement no one would touch that line of credit, yet he had done it for years on his own without telling me about it. Our therapist clued him in, your partner deserves to be included, that's what relationships are about. What you did - at least to me - is a totally forgiveable screw up, if this is truly all there was to it. I think all of us are guilty of little blurbs like this, on the spot saying "oh sure, WE will go get a drink with you"...when in truth you'd agreed to not do that. It's been said to pick your battles, and it's also been said it's the little things that truly get to us the most, probably because the little things are the ones that happen so often. There's no perfect relationship, the two of you SHOULD really be able to work this out! You came with baggage, sometimes the baggage gets in the way and some move beyond it. I hope the two of you can do that. Would she rather go your separate ways or just accept nothing is perfect? Because it isn't.

 

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 2:35pm

I think you are right to wonder if you are losing yourself in the process, because in some ways you seem to be doing exactly that.

There is compromise and then there is acquiescence. I think you are giving up too much of yourself for her.

I think after 4.5 years together, you have pretty much seen the whole and true her. She is showing you who she is and how she reacts when she gets mad. Her behavior drives you completely off the edge, you can't sleep, etc. Do you really want to live that way the rest of your life? Now imagine living together. Is she going to ignore you for a week when she gets mad or rent a hotel room? It's not a good way to handle conflict resolution.She is ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater every time one of these incidents come up. How can you entertain the thought of making a life with someone who calls into question the entire relationship overtime she gets pissed at you.

I really believe that you and her have a fundamental disconnect and incompatibility in this area. If it were me she would either need to work on changing her ways or I could not stay with her.

.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 10:43am

This is the part that really stuck out to me:

 I also feel that I am loosing myself in the process i.e. I would almost do anything to keep her regardless of the cost to me. 

A friend of mine just posted something in regard to her past that I thought was really comparable to your situation.  she was in an emotionally abusive marriage where the exH told her she was worth nothing, no one would ever love her, etc. so after the divorce she dated various men & would do anything to keep them and put up w/ a lot of bad behavior & make excuses for it.  Now she's at the point where she will not hesitate to cut the guy off & break up if she realizes that things aren't going well & he's not good for her because she realizes that she will be ok if she's alone & being alone is not as bad as being in a bad relationship.

so you said that you don't want to lose her, which is fine, but is it that you love her so much or that you just don't want to be alone & go through the hassle of staring to look for someone else again?  I think you should really think a lot about what you want--is this woman really the right one for you?  You said that you had to give up your friends & a lot of things you used to do--why is that?  I mean if you were doing something bad, like drinking too much or using drugs, then yes, you shouldn't be doing that, but otherwise why would you have to give up your friends?  Were they bad people or did she just not like then?  In a good relationship you shouldn't have to change who you are or what you like to do.  

And I couldn't stand being with someone who held onto their anger & bad feelings like this.  I'd like to get whatever the current issue is resolved & then move on--it's not fair to bring up all the other issues of things you did in the past, unless it's a repeating pattern--like do you never ask her what she wants to do & just make plans for yourself?  If she feels that way, maybe she should just break up with you, but don't keep you hanging around wondering what's going on.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 10:21am

Did your girlfriend remind you of her preferences, at the time you were discussing a night cap with the other men?  Or did she just go with it, and then when you returned to the hotel room unleash her frustration?

My concern for this situation is it seems as though your girlfriend is short tempered and is one to hold a grudge.

I could be totally off, but I think maybe you need to not only look at your role in this relationship, but hers as well?  You mention that this is the 3rd time a conflict like this has happened this year.  And you also mention your girlfriend is hesitant to commit as you have.  After 4+ years, this stuff should be figured out to some degree.

You have also stated you are willing to do anything to keep her happy.  But what is she willing to do for you?

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