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Relationship troubles

By January 3, 2012 - 9:36pm
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I am totally lost, and could use some input.I have been with my current boyfriend for almost 3 years now. We met when I was a senior in college, and had an amazing first couple of months. This relationship is extremely complex but I'll do my best to explain. I am currently unhappy a large percentage of the time and think about breaking up with him pretty often, but when I actually think about going through the breakup and being without him I feel like I could't go through with it.

Our relationship started out fun and exciting as most do. Right off the bat I should state that I am a education and career minded person, and he is not- in fact, he worked at home depot at 25 when I met him and had never thought about going to school or making anything for himself. I graduated college and then moved about 2 hours away to start medical school. He did not come with me because he didn't feel like he could leave his home town. We did one year of long distance, which was not without drunken nights of fighting, verbal abuse, and a few instances where we should have separated. The summer between 1st and 2nd year of med school he was arrested for domestic violence against his brother with whom he lived with and decided to move to be with me. Living with him was wonderful at times despite the fact we could only afford a piece of shit house that I paid greater than half the rent. He then decided to quit his job at home depot and try to invest in boa constrictor (yes, snakes) selling- but instead he now has 20+ snakes and has not sold one. Also during this time, stressful for me with school, tests and boards, I find that he had posted profiles on local "cougar" websites and was even "sexting" with some girl he met on craigslist. Due to my extremely low self esteem, I still did not break up with him. I do not pride myself in this, but I thought moving away for third year rotations to another state would provide me with strength to be alone and maybe even find my way to be single. It is now 6 months after I've moved and we are still doing long distance. He is here visiting me for 2 weeks right now. At this point, I feel like we're totally disconnected. We are also having intimacy issues (like he won't have sex with me)- which I addressed this evening. He states I need psychologic help and when I throw myself at him it turns him off. I actually totally understand this fact- but then I have to wonder why I'm throwing myself at him. I am self aware of the fact that I have poor self image issues, but in other aspects of my life I totally have it together. I'm almost done with med school, I aspire to be a surgeon, I have worked extremely hard in the past years to get where I want to be career wise, but I can't seem to get my relationship life in check.
Basically, my question is- what is it going to take for me to get out of this situation? Or am I doomed for a poor relationship because all I can think is how fat and ugly I am?

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First of all, how awesome it is that you've maintained the strength of will and determination to succeed in such a rigorous field as medicine while dealing with such a tumultuous relationship! I hope that you can attribute the measure of pride to that which is deserves. It seems to be the general malaise of women everywhere that so much of our self-worth is tied to our appearance. I've struggled with that for years, and no matter how angry or hurt I feel toward a man (or society) for not valuing what's inside rather than out, the bottom line is that *I* am not happy with the way I look, and that kind of low confidence level shows on our faces, in our body language, and in the choices we make in relationships (which reinforce our self-image, sometimes). This may be one aspect of why you have chosen to stay with this man - as you mentioned, you feel afraid of being alone. I can empathize with that, but I believe the truth to be that you will face a period of fear no matter when or how you end the relationship (if you do) because uncertainty is just plain scary. It is for every person at some level. If that is what's holding you to this guy, it may be that you just have to suck it up and take a blind step. The cure for all pain, my great-grandmother once said, is one thing and one thing only: time.

As for this man... I don't want to belittle him because you care for him, and I'm sure that isn't the sort of response you were asking for. From my own perspective as a social worker and a therapist, however, there are many red flags which I hope you will not continue to ignore. Foremost, the two of you seem to have different core values, which are essential in a good relationship. You are driven in the very practical, mature sense to succeed in a career and provide for yourself and your mate. He seems to have not reached a level of maturity where is able to or willing to do that, and unfortunately I fear that the dynamic between the two of you will continue to enable him. Domestic violence, or lashing out in physical anger toward anyone, especially family / loved ones, is a lack of self-control at a very critical level, and you should be very concerned about the day when stresses in your relationship might inspire him to 'solve' the problem this way. This is even more important if you want to have children with this man some day. You mentioned he is bipolar, but does not take medications. This could account for the lashing out, but unmedicated illnesses such as these can cause a person to be unpredictable and unstable, which is not a good basis for a lasting union.

I mostly hear from your post that you are ready to move on, but are having a hard time convincing yourself it's the right thing to do. Breaking up with someone is hard, especially for compassionate people, of which you must be one, as a future doctor. But you cannot be this man's mother, and it may be that he can't make changes until those that care about him in life leave him to his own devices. You can always encourage him seek counseling. Offer to go with him, if you feel that's a good choice for you.

Definitely keep going down the path you've started on. You're focused on your career, and you're questioning (and seeming to believe) that you're worth more. Focus on what makes you feel negatively, and begin to change it! Find a friend to go the gym with at school. Don't be afraid to seek counseling for yourself, too. Most professional programs will offer those kinds of services for free to students.

Best of luck, and hang in there. PM me if you need to talk to anyone!

January 9, 2012 - 8:02pm

Hi future_doc,
Because you see all the signs that this relationship is not a positive one I suggest that you end it ASAP. The reason I am saying this is because I have a friend who was in a similar relationship and stayed with him for whatever reasons. He was also Bipolar and on no meds. She ended up getting pregnant and the relationship worsened. He also didn't work and simply wanted my friend to do it all for him. After her second child (who is now officially diagnosed as Bipolar) she finally left. Your boy friend will continue to use you for cash income and I'm sure he sees dollar signs when you become a surgeon. I suggest that you focus on yourself right now and what's best for you. You mentioned about self esteem and weight. I suggest you go to a gym with a friend, work out, meet other people, and focus on your true needs. Trust me, the relationship WILL NOT get any better but most likely worsened to the point he will get angry for you not meeting HIS needs. You're entitled to a person who loves you, wants to give you loving kisses and hugs, and praise you for your accomplishments. You have come a long way and you continue to deserve a lot more. Don't worry about hurting his feelings, because it doesn't sound like he really cares about your feelings or needs. Get out before it's too late!

January 5, 2012 - 8:41am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi future_doc,

Welcome to EmpowHER.  He's got alot of factors in which you should not be in a relationship with this person.  The fact he doesn't want to be intimate with you and he still comes visit you. Sounds like he is holding on to you for Monetary support.  Arrested for Domestic violence, sexting, verbal abuse, drunken fighting.  I think you got a bright future up ahead and have no need to be in a relationship like this one.


January 4, 2012 - 5:15am
EmpowHER Guest

I understand that you are empathetic because he's bipolar. But he's abusive. He's also holding you back, and you have so much potential. You have different aspirations than him. He doesn't seem like he's going to move if you get a job somewhere other than where he lives. He also doesn't seem like he's stable enough for a relationship right now. It may be the hardest thing you have to do, but breaking up with him will probably be the best thing for your career. Trust me, I've been in your situation. www.flurtsite.com

January 4, 2012 - 1:06am

I should also mention- he has bipolar disorder that he does not take meds for.

January 3, 2012 - 9:39pm
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