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View Full Version : is my boyfriend too needy or am I just isolating?


fishalthea
03-25-2012, 11:49 AM
Oh dear,

I used to post more in the recovery forum but not here before. I am in recovery from AN after a battle that took nearly all of my twenties. I'm not there fully yet but better than in years and for the first time since the onset of ED I have allowed a true relationship with a man to develop in my life. we've been together for over a year and a half now, and he is great in so many way, but I have been spending more and more time thinking about ending it. The major issue is just that I feel unable and unwilling to give what he seems to require. We tried living together after the first four months of the relationship and I ended up asking him to move out of my place-too much too soon- since then, things have been better and he has learned more about how much space I need. I am really introverted and NEED time alone, but I also know that with my ED comes some desire to be alone and keep walls up. Anyway, for the past eight or so months we've been in this pattern where he and I spend Friday nite, Saturday nite, and generally Sundays together. There usually aren't formal plans; it's just what we do. Last Sunday though we had a big fight because I really just wanted most of the day to myself to putter around. This is NOT the first time this has happened; there have been other very similar arguments.

I know he wants to marry me and I don't even know if I ever want marriage, let alone with him. He tells me he couldn't live without me, that I'm all that matters to him, etc etc. I think he thinks this is romantic but I find it so very smothering. We've talked and talked and talked about this, we communicate quite well, but he still thinks I'm being cold and overly complicated and just need to let go. He told me last week that it seems I only want a relationship when it's convenient for me. This was hard to hear, but I told him it was also fairly accurate. Were he to have his way, I know we'd go to the grocery store together, sleep in the same bed every night, and share all of the same friends. If I ever do get married, I don't even see marriage being that intertwined. It isn't me-ED or no.

That other major concern I have regarding our future is financial. I'm secure, responsible, and future-oriented. He's thirty two, and has no car (he drives his mother's car to work and she is basically poor already), an hourly job with no benefits, and no desire to save anything. He lives paycheck to paycheck. He talks about wanting to get his shit together "later" but he's pretty clueless as to how to do that-not how he was raised-and I don't know if I'm up to educating him.

Ugh. I love him, but bottom line is I'm just not sure anymore. And I'm doubting whether my desire to end it recently is ED talking, or if it truly is me. I know in the past ED has wanted me to kick everyone else out. I don't want to make that mistake.

???

:love althea

DreamsInBlack&White
03-25-2012, 12:50 PM
It sounds to me like a mismatch in personalities and expectations. My hubby is more like you are - a true introvert with some strong alone time needs. I tend to need/prefer more interaction, but I wouldn't want as much as your BF seems to want from you. I think you two could make it work, and if you were already married to him, I'd encourage you to get some marriage counseling to try to help you do that, but since you aren't, I'd honestly suggest that you look for someone who is a little more in line with your own goals, priorities and needs. I think it would be a struggle to make a marriage work with your BF, and marriage is a tough road, anyway, so adding extra challenges to it before you even get started is less than ideal... I am not sure that's what you really want to hear, but that's my two cents. After over a decade of marriage, I've learned that the things that bug you before marriage get magnified down the road, so if you are having these doubts now, I don't think going further is in your best interest, or his.

:hugon HUGS :hugoff

DreamsInBlack&White
03-25-2012, 12:53 PM
Also... a mismatch in financial expectations is really, really tough to overcome in marriage. Money is one of the very top (possibly *the* top) reason for divorce. So if you two don't agree about that, I'd be very, very concerned about your ability to function as a married couple unless you kept your finances totally separate (which you might be okay with, but it sounds like he wouldn't be...)

fishalthea
03-25-2012, 03:32 PM
thanks missannabelle.

I know the financial thing is difficult, but sometimes I think that I'm just using it as an excuse, so I can say "it never would have worked anyway" and be done with it. I know the larger issue is that I won't really, fully just let go in this relationship. And I'm struggling to know the difference between whether this is ED-related or if I truly just need to maintain some distance.

I don't know if I'll ever truly want a relationship where we spend tons of time together. I like freedom soooo much, and I'm just so independent. To me, love is not dependency. I want to be able to tell my man "I love you, but if I lost you I'd be okay." And I want him to not take that as a slight to our relationship.

But then, there's the part of me that knows that a big reason I developed and hung on to an ED for so long is that I have a poor habit of shutting people out, pushing them away, and wanting to do it by myself.

So it's so hard to tell for me-and my biggest fear is ending a relationship that would have been great with a wonderful man, all because ED was keeping me from letting someone in. If I do it now, will it happen again if I find myself in another relationship? Am I going to be alone forever? Am I just to independent? :ummm These are the questions that all of this is bringing up for me.

nc
03-25-2012, 03:43 PM
I am much like you, an introvert who needs her time alone.

It is funny because I just read an article on introverts and how people often do not understand them. For instance an introvert can be a very social person when need be but alone time is essential to their overall well being. It is hard for those who are not introverts to understand this.

My husband is also one of those who wants me to do everything with him and it can drive me up the wall but it balamces itself out in that he is a workaholic so I only see him a few hours a day during the week, lol. I have no idea what I am going to do when he retires.

I have spent the last four days with a family member who was visiting. I really enjoyed our time but today while my husband watches tv in the living room and does some work I am holed up in the bedroom getting my alone time. Thankfully, he is okay with that as he as learned .

It sounds like the two of you have very different personalities, I think you are wise wanting to move slowly and really looking if this is someone you could spend your life with. There is so much compromise in a relationship and some of the compromise is respecting the other person's needs even if it goes against yours, which means when you need alone time you should not be attacked or made to feel guilty for that.

As well the financial thing is big. Waiting for him to get his "shit together" could mean waiting a lifetime if he is already in his thirties and is not headed in that direction. You need to ask yourself if you could be married to someone with no real goals and focus.

Again, there is nothing wrong with how he is but if it goes directly against your goals that could be a big problem.

This really does not sound like it is about your ED, it just sounds like you are to very different people and those differences are causing some issues in the relationship. I don't think you need to make a decision right now but I think the difference do need to be worked on to see if the two of you can compromise to a point where you both feel your needs are being met without resentment.

fishalthea
03-25-2012, 09:06 PM
thanks, nc, for the reassurance that maybe this isn't just my ED trying to take me back and keep me isolated. You have helped reassure me in the past as well, with regard to being a natural introvert and how hard it can be for less introverted and extroverted people to understand those tendencies. I think it's great that you and your partner have overcome the difference with what sounds like a healthy balance. Sometimes I think if my bf was more motivated to advance some sore of career, or even if he had more intensity or passion in ANY area other than our relationship, then I could handle his neediness a bit better. But I don't want to be his, or anyone else's, everything-not now, not ever. Sometimes I get hopeful because he will get excited about something-starting a new hobby, or making plans to do something with friends-but he never follows through. In the past six months there have been at least a dozen different things he's talked about doing, from writing for a magazine to starting a band to taking a trip to south america-and he constantly talks about things he's going to do with so and so friend. But he never does anything. He is really just content with this relationship being his whole life.

You are correct that we're different personalities. We have a lot in common too, but the way we live and approach life is just sooo different.

This is so hard. I am afraid of ending it because I know I will be so lonely without him. And I feel so guilty-he has gone through so much with me. During my last IP stay I broke up with him and kicked him out, only to get back with him after I was discharged. It hurt him so much before and I know it would crush him. It did the last time. And on top of everything, we have a vacation together scheduled and paid for in about two weeks that we are both so looking forward to. So that just makes me feel I should at least try to hang on and let us enjoy this vacation before I make any decisions. I think that would be best for both of us.

:love althea

nc
03-25-2012, 10:05 PM
I don't see anything wrong in waiting, even waiting a few more months. It does not sound like the two of you are talking marriage so giving it some more time and continuing to talk about and explore how to work through your differences might make you feel more reassured no matter what your ultimate decision.

rafferty
03-26-2012, 02:59 AM
I've always said that if I got married - I would need to marry someone that didn't mind living in a different house to me - and ideally - a different suburb :muhaha

I need my alone time as well - and I've realised that I need it more than most people. But it's part of who I am and what I need to keep me in balance.

Even friends have had to understand that there will be times when I'll go underground and not be in touch because i need time out from people.

Maybe with your boyfriend its about getting him to understand your need to alone time isn't about not wanting to be with him - but that it's the way you maintain your health and wellbeing. Just as you need food, water and oxygen to survive - as an introvert - you need alone time. That's the way I see it. It's an essential element for survival.

Maybe if you can trust that your need to alone time isn't pathological - and then educate your boyfriend and make sure he knows it's not about rejection of him - then things might feel less pressured for you?

:love

fishalthea
03-26-2012, 07:13 AM
yes, I've tried to talk to him about it. we've talked and talked and talked actually. I just can't seem to get through to him. In his mind, if you love someone, you want to be around them as much as possible, period. this is how he feels, and he can't understand how its possible that I could actually love him and yet not want to spend time with him. we have had many fights about this-me trying to reassure him that yes, i love him. he is extremely insecure and constantly accuses me of "not caring" about him or us. sometimes i think his saying it so often is making it true :ugh

plus, simply put, he gets bored, and when he is bored and knows I'm not working-such as on weekends-he gets angry with me because he wants me to relieve his boredom. The way he talks about it, it sounds almost like he thinks its my duty...?...I don't know, that could just be my interpretation. And again, he really has no outside interests. I do, but whenever I express interest in and/or participate in some of my outside interests it seems to cause serious problems between us-but maybe that's another post entirely. Suffice to say he is extremely jealous and unsupportive when it comes to my hobbies.

I have to admit that responses supporting a wait it out/work it out approach are making me recoil a bit. I love him in a lot of ways, but I don't know. I don't want to hurt him, but I'm afraid that not wanting to hurt him may be the only thing keeping me from leaving. I just don't want someone being so dependent on me for their happiness. Having someone say he can't live without me does not feel like love to me, despite what you see in the movies. It feels like an eternal obligation. :ugh

:love althea

nc
03-26-2012, 10:27 AM
If the only thing keeping you with him is not wanting to hurt him then of course, just bite the bullet and end the relationship.

My take on the give it longer and work on things was on the belief that you felt there was much more good than bad but you were unsure on how to handle the bad.

Althea, you really have to trust your gut on this. I don't think these issues have anything to do with your ED it simply sounds like there are some incompatibility issues. Could they be worked out? Maybe but it could also the be core of each of your personalities and there could be very little change.

fishalthea
03-26-2012, 02:06 PM
:hugon rafferty :hugoff I am completely supportive of the idea of a non-cohabitating marriage. I don't know if you happen to be a fan of the show Dexter, but I'm kind of obsessed with it-there was a point where Dexter married his girlfriend, but kept his apartment. When she found out and it finally came to him having to give it up, I was so sad for him.

:hugon nc :hugoff did i mention he wants children and i do not, at all, in any way? but he has told me he would give up that dream for me...

There are most definitely incompatibility issues. And I have respect for those who "work it out" in a relationship-I definitely think that is what you do if you've made a commitment such as marriage-but we have not made that commitment, and the reason I am so hesitant to even consider marriage is that I don't know if I want to be required to try to work it out.

I wonder a lot if I'm just staying because I know I'd go back to being so lonely without him. I know I'd miss him and I'm terrified of the loneliness and sadness that a breakup would cause for us both. :sad

fulltimepinklady
03-29-2012, 09:30 PM
I could've have written this about me except for the last part about your financial concerns. I also dont always know if it's me or ed that is making me hate my relationship and sometimes being around my bf so much. So I put us on a break. I wish I had some solid advce or comforting thought for you but I don't At least maybe know you're not the only one who feels this way because I feel very bad too right now. I did feel very free right after I put us on a break but the looming thought still remains all the time-to marry or not too marry and to him? I know it has a good bit to do with ed but it's also in my personality to not need someone all the time like he does and feel suffocated so often if not by him by his family who is always around. I hope you find the answers that are best for you and find what truly makes you happy in the end.

nothingxtragic
04-09-2012, 09:10 PM
I very much understand where you are coming from, I have ended myself in a similar situation. Which actually led to an engagement that I had to end because of my insecurities, and just not wanting to let people in as much as they wanted.

Again as you I do feel badly, but I have done this for so long that it just becomes second nature. I recently just got out of treatment of a and b. If you ever need someone to talk to feel free to message me!