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Avatar universal

Should I stay or should I go?

Hi everyone,
This is so unlike me, but I have been driving myself crazy for a long time now and I really need help.

I have a great boyfriend- he is the best communicator I have met, we have a great friendship, love and respect for one another. We have fun and he is reliable, honest, committed, a hard worker, a gentleman... We have great chemistry on top of it all... And, he is very good with my daughter (he has 2 older children and I get along great with them too). So yeah, so many great things. On the other hand, he is more of a realistic/practical/logic minded man, who isn't very supportive or enthusiastic or positive minded. I struggle a great deal with all of that because I am pretty much the opposite in those ways... I often times feel like I'm being weighed down instead of being lifted up and inspired to be a better person. He teases a lot and I can't help but feel it is a way to "soften" his criticisms. A passive aggressive sort of thing. But... There are those other wonderful qualities he has! Ugh! Whenever I bring things up to him he listens, and he really makes some changes and is willing to do the work. Yet, I know I can't change his personality and so I have my work to do in accepting him for who he is (which I do, most of the time...).

Very important to mention here is that this is the first real relationship I've had since a recent divorce (we started dating while I was in the process... It was a longggg process...). I am and have been struggling tremendously with trying to find my own ground/stability, new career (I had been a stay home mom), etc. and it is so difficult to do this while in the midst of trying to make a relationship work. I do feel I have "lost" myself and am working so hard to recover what I have lost. I am also a single mother and am trying to get my health back on track so I also feel frustrated that I don't have enough time to myself - yet, I am not so sure the answer is not having anyone in my life either. How is one suppose to balance all of these things- how is one suppose to "find themselves" with so much going on in their life?

I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place! I don't know if this relationship is really not right for me (our personality differences...), or if it is just me, and/or my circumstances causing my anxiety and apprehension- that maybe this is something that could be worked through- maybe it will just take time. I don't want to let go of a really good thing, but yet I am not sure if maybe this is really wrong for me and I am blaming it on my current situation...? Is that confusing? Lol. On the other hand, is this possibly just a case of bad timing and there isn't any way around it? Do you think I really need more time on my own to figure out my own sh$t first?

Many times I feel I really need to break it off so I can concentrate on myself (and my daughter), but then there are other times I am so grateful he is in my life. Relationships take time and a lot of work- I give a lot because that's who I am, but maybe I shouldn't be doing that right now. I just don't know what to do... He, by the way, is happy and content... I've tried to just stay on the moment and enjoy- it works for a while... But my thoughts of uncertainty keep creeping back up over and over. I've always been the type to believe that when you know, you just know, but this has been something I've never experienced before, and well, I really don't know one way or the other! (And I also have no desire to get married again anytime soon).

Any helpful insight/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance...
4 Responses
1415482 tn?1459702714
I totally understand the dilemma you are in. It is very difficult to deal with divorce. Marriage is such a joint and personal thing. You are directly linked to another human being -- your feelings, your home, your child/ren, your bills... just your whole life is cradled by someone else, which is fine because that's what marriage is about. But because marriage is so intense, divorce is a pretty rough thing in itself.We have to shape up our whole existence to prepare ourselves to make our heart another person's residence. We have to shape up for the arguments and differences of opinions and the break up and the make ups and everything else in between and so it is easy, not to become "lost" but to become someone else, to don another role. When we have done all of that to accommodate another life, getting back to that place, who we were before, is one of the hardest things to do.

I say this to you. You have to accept who you were in the marriage and accept that now that it is over you have to once again "shape up" to unlearn and discard and to gain new things through new experiences. That is a difficult task. I applaud you for at least trying, to have some semblance of a life after marriage and not curling up in the fetal position. However, trying to find a new you in a relationship might not be the best idea.Relationships are emotional and with your emotions already all over the place, I think one day you might hit the ground pretty hard. We all need healing after something life altering happens. We need time to settle our minds and to find a place filled with contentment and happiness. That is not easily done in a relationship. I advise that you find your happy place first and then invite another person in your space.

I read where you said you do not want to let go of a good thing but when you are sure of something, you won't have all these doubts and confusion. Clear the clutter from your heart, soul and mind and then make some room for someone else. Inviting a person in a corroded room will only lead to disaster.

Of course, I can only tell you what I think. If i have learnt one thing about human beings is that they do whatever they want in the end and that is fine  because they also eventually do what is best for them when the time comes.

Good Luck and Take care!
Oops - I didn't realize the comments were individualized- please see my comment below as it was meant for you both!
3060903 tn?1398565123
.. I often times feel like I'm being weighed down instead of being lifted up and inspired to be a better person. He teases a lot and I can't help but feel it is a way to "soften" his criticisms. A passive aggressive sort of thing.

Have you brought up your concerns about you feeling that his teasing feels like he is being passive aggressive with you? When you way he teases a lot, and it makes you feel hat you are not being  "lifted up", but rather 'weighed down"  it sounds like there needs to be a change, and that's not going to happen until you can commit to yourself that this behavior is unacceptable to you personally. If he's gotten used to being passive aggressive with people, he can unlearn it. Often we follow the role that we learned in child hood, or in another relationship.. Anyone is capable of developing new ways to relate to people. IF they are the type of people to embrace a challenge,

You need to tell him that you need to feel "lifted up" rather than weighed down (and what that means exactly). You have to teach people how to treat you. This can happen even in a casual relationship  with you taking all the time you and your daughter need to while adjusting to a divorce, and everything that this entails.

Give him something to work on. If he cares enough to treat you like you demand to be treated., then he might be a possible candidate to include him in your life. Otherwise, i would have to say walk away. Feeling inspired and lifted up by your partner is the foundation of many fine relationships. You have to think  about this and how it can affect your daughter as well as yourself. You need to teach your daughter not to settle for a guy who is passive aggressive, or a guy that is not the the type to lift up or inspire their women, in having happiness and complete confidence in the choice of a mate. People can learn not to be passive aggressive. They can learn to be assertive. People do it everyday. It's time for you to present the challenge to this guy. He may have no idea that he does the passive aggressive thing. (my husband want' aware that he speaks passive aggressive ly, until i remind him. He's a big enough guy to accept constructive criticism. If he didn't I wouldn't have stayed with him. I have a son that i'm trying to teach how to be happy, and you can't be happy with someone unwilling to communicate and work out relationship challenges.

Thank you both so very much for your feedback... I truly appreciate it more than you know! It is definitely a tough situation... If I do decide to end it, I will be losing a wonderful friend and lover, but if I stay I think I will always be wondering what if...? I suppose if I leave, I'll be wondering what if as well... Sheesh...

I have brought up my concerns with him before about his passive aggressiveness - and other things as well (like he has a very hard time giving compliments, etc.). He does listen and try to an extent, but I think it is so ingrained in his personality that I guess I've kind of felt like I had to accept it for the most part. I don't like being a "nag" and I am weary of trying to change a person (been there, done that- too exhausting!)- and I guess I figure everyone (including myself) has their flaws of course... I suppose there is definitely more 'work' we could both do regarding that (seek counseling, talk about it more, etc...) and I definitely will bring it up again. I guess with this whole "should I stay or should I go" question in my head, I wonder if I really have the energy to put in the 'work' a relationship entails right now... I suppose that is what it comes down to. I feel like I am floating all over the place, overwhelmed and without any stable ground- so if I am going to be putting the time and effort into a relationship, I want to know it is right, you know?

We have been together 2 years, and this keeps coming up for me, so I suppose maybe there is a reason for it... And maybe it is time I really listen... Sigh... Tough stuff. It would be so much easier if he was a jerk but he's a really good guy! Thanks again.... Very much...
3060903 tn?1398565123
You've done fine talking to us both, it's more often the case than not. so no worries.

Since this is something that keeps coming up, it means that's it's one of the most important traits that you want in a relationship. You can't delete it from your list of must haves because he's a nice guy or he has other wonderful traits. I know you're coming out of a relationship that didn't work, and so you're probably mighty impressed that he has so many lovely qualities that you may not have had in your ex. So you've already lost at love and may be thinking that you can't have it all.

The type of person you need in your life, is a man that is a glass half full type of individual. Someone who sees the good and rejoices in the simple things. Who appreciates and let's you know that he thinks you're special (complementary) .

In the position you're in, beginning your life again really, beginning your career it's crazy important for you to have a very positive person that gives you positive feedback, and encourages you to embrace the challenges of what you're getting into for the first time. You need someone to bolster your courage to do everything that you need to do for yourself and your daughter.

I guess what i'm saying is you can't afford to settle.at this stage in your life,  Even if this man has so many great personality traits  the most important traits that you need are clouded or missing. i think there might be a way to deal with this by backing away somewhat, until you know exactly what you want to do. As you said, you just want to "know". that its right. If you take some more time to yourself, and have more time with your daughter and what you need to do for yourself, it will give him a chance to fully understand the ramifications of his not fully understanding that what you need from him is non negotiable.

It might help to back away, and down the road, , when you're more ready to think of dating and have it turn into something more, you can make firm decisions about either staying in the relationship or moving on from it.

Keep in touch? Thanks for the message. I'd love to know how things are going for you. Medhelp is a great place for you to talk to the girls even when you have a busy schedule so i hope you stick around here and we hear more from you.  

Have yourself a great week and week end. Be good to yourself.
Thanks again... It is very true what you have said. I questioned myself a lot, wondering if I am being too "needy" by wanting more from him. I really don't see myself as a needy person at all - in fact I like a lot of time to myself and I am pretty independent. I just am finding that the "balance" between his passive-aggressive criticisms (which I really think are out of fear and insecurity in many cases) and his few and far between expressions of true compliments, etc. is really lacking. I've told him that before as well... It wouldn't bother me as much if he vocally expressed the good stuff more often. He has no problem telling me he loves me, and does many nice things for me, yet, often times he just says things that are suppose to be funny, but they sting, and they add up! I think it will be a lot of work for him to change. It's hard, because sometimes he really does say something funny - without a sting - it's his type of humor. Anyways, I could go on and on... Also about how he seems very biased and opinionated about what I choose to do with my life - I think for the most part it's coming from a good place (he wants me to be sure I'll be making enough money), but it makes it hard for me to really choose my own path. I know I need to do only what I choose, but I know it affects me even subconsciously. He just has a really strong personality.
I suppose I may offer the option of us trying some counseling - but also requesting much more space and time. It is really hard for me to imagine actually having enough time for a relationship though once I am working full-time... I am already so busy without!
Thanks for listening and for your perspective. I will keep you updated...
Avatar universal
This is a case of too many changes in your life at one time.

I think you need to take some time by yourself and sort this out.  He is the first guy whom you started dating right after a divorce.  You might of jumped too quick into dating after your divorce and not allowed yourself time to heal

Perhaps he isn't the best person as far as a romantic match and it seems he is comfortable being who he is without changing.  If the changes that he is doing are temporary then he is only trying on your behalf, not his, so that isn't good for you or him.

When you ask someone to be in your life you have to accept he/she at face value and accept the fact he/she may never change and will only really change if he/she sees a problem.  Holding on to this hoping for change isn't ideal.  
Sounds like he has great qualities, however, he probably isn't the one for you and even if he didn't have these negative qualities which you've mentioned you still aren't in a goog place to be dating just yet.

Focus on you and your child for now.  Heal first and then worrying about dating later.  Tell him you need to take care of you without being in a relationship.  

Maybe he would be better as just a friend?
Thanks so much for your comment. I appreciate your input, and you are no doubt, correct. I talked with him over the weekend, and told him we could go see a counselor together (which he agreed to - again - he is always so willing to do the work and communicate), but I am reconsidering this as I see that I really do need time and space to myself to figure out my life. It's just so hard and sad because it is like it is all or nothing. I can't give my all, but I have such a hard time letting go of all the good things. I am pretty sure (knowing him and knowing things he's said in relation to this sort of thing) that he won't really continue a friendship with me. Maybe after a good amount of time has passed... Who knows... Right now, I am just trying to figure out how to break this to him. I hate hurting people - and, of course, like I said, it hurts me a lot too. I will miss him very much : ( Why is life so complicated?! Thanks again for your advice...
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