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Unsure of moving forward

By May 10, 2010 - 12:07am
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My boyfriend and I have been dating for over three years now. We met when I was 20 and he is 10 years older than me. I was very happy with our relationship at first because of his seemingly stable and happy go lucky attitude. It has been a tumultuous 3 years and after moving away from my home state and living here for 2 years, our lease is coming to an end. I feel like since I have been so unsatisfied lately, that it would be an opportune time to separate.

There is a multitude of reasons why I feel that breaking up is my only option. We have been fighting a ton lately, and I thought it was just over finances, but he makes me feel terrible about things that are out of my control. I've always dismissed his condescending attitude on stress or fatigue, but lately I've felt like I just don't want to put up with it anymore. He has talked about getting married and in the back of my head I am thinking, "What have you done to make me want to marry you?" I use to believe he was my soul-mate and that I would always want to make it work, but maybe I set my expectations too high.

Another one of my biggest problems is I do not feel that he is consciously aware of me and my needs. He makes decisions regardless of how they impact me, and his behaviors sometimes discredit my efforts in working, school, household chores, etc. I have tried addressing things on multiple occassions and he gets defensive and I feel like my points are invalidated and illegitimate. I don't know where to draw the line when enough is enough! One last huge factor is I do not feel I get the intimacy and affection that I need, I have always blamed it on him having issues being close to people, but going on four years, I feel he should have opened up to me right now. He is 34, and I am worried he is going on the down side of things and if I commit my life to him I will always be unfulfilled... Help!

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Hi EQ-
I'm sorry you are going through this. I've been there myself. I think if you go back through and read your question as if someone else wrote it, you'll have your answer.

Time already spent is not a good reason to stay with someone. Being with someone who denies your needs, your aspirations and your opinions is difficult. You are clearly unhappy. If you marry this person, what will change? You asked yourself what he has done to make you want to marry him...marriage does not usually improve a rocky relationship. It often does the opposite because then people feel stuck, whether that is true or not.

I'm not a therapist, but I am someone who has been divorced. If you are not happy in a relationship, do not marry him. I can say that with 100 percent confidence. I think this is part of why our divorce rate is so high.

You should be able to feel loved, supported, and like a partner. You should not expect perfection, and there will be times when a relationship is hard and you may think "Ugh, I hate when it's like this." But deep down you care enough to stay, because those are moments and not years. You will know the difference.

Decide how you want your life to be going forward. Then do what it takes to get there. It really is that simple. Do not let any emotional blackmail or manipulation keep you from setting and achieving your goals. We create our own lives, and you are young, so think about what you want, and go get it.

I hope that helps you. If you need extra support and don't have family or friends you are comfortable with, you could always go for a counseling session. But you sound like your head is on pretty straight. You can check our relationship section to see what others are going through: http://www.empowher.com/relationships-family/sex-relationships

Thank you for writing.

May 11, 2010 - 6:19am
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