Looooong Story: Relationship Advice
I'm not married, but this is about my relationship which I would really like to make work and get to marriage if possible. This story will sound like a soap opera, but everything is true.
Thank you for all taking the time to read it and help me out with your suggestions.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for just about two years now, and living together for one yea. I know, to many of you it may seem we jumped the gun. I don’t really care about that opinion. What’s been done has been done and shouldn’t be the focus.
Anyway, when we first began dating he came off as so confident. The way he carried himself was nor arrogant but assured. It was his presence that made such a big impact on me, not his looks (Although he’s not a bad looking guy). We met through a mutual friend. Two friends and myself were meeting up for lunch and he ended up tagging along. We instantly hit off, talking to each other the whole time. After that we saw each other a few other times through various events; New Year’s Eve party, Snowboarding, movie nights with friends. He was very reserved at first and wanted to take things slowly because he had been hurt badly before. But within two months we were official and meeting each other’s families.
He was 23 then (almost 24) but still lived at home with his family (he’s the oldest out of 6; 2 boys and 4 girls) and his family is extremely close nit. I’m also from a large family (4 older half siblings (2 from each parent), then 3 younger full blood siblings) however my family was not functional at all in any way shape or form while I was growing up (We’re better now). I’ll admit the way I grew up has left me with some intimacy issues, some I know of and have been working hard at, others I keep discovering the more I analyze myself and behavior (I analyze myself and behaviors a lot).
After we’d been dating 6 months I felt like I was being a bit smothered by him. He’s very needy; his love language is DEFINITELY touch and physical presence. I brought up the fact to him that maybe we needed to take things slower and that I needed more me time to myself. This devestated him, he blew it out of proportion, and we almost broke up. In the end he took me for a drive up to a beautiful river (one of my favorite places to go) just to sit in nature and chill out, and it worked. I think this argument triggered him to kind of change though, because now to him it felt like I would one day leave him.
I analyzed my situation and felt my job felt was biggest factor in me feeling smothered. I was working as a nurses aid on graveyard shifts at a hospice home. The graveyard shift left me cranky and tired. You wouldn’t believe how much I slept. Night shift isn’t good for anyone, but some people are able to handle it and I am not one of those people. I was also having problems with a couple of coworkers and I decided to better my life and be able to give more energy to my relationship I decided to find a new job. I quite and found a new position working as receptionist for a large and presitgious group of companies in the oil and gas industry. I also continued to take college courses online (trying to get into nursing school which I apply for this February 2016 :) ).
I was still feeling absolutely smothered trying to fit him into my shedule with school and work. I loved him though and thought if we lived togeter it would be easier, IE I wouldn’t have to pack up all my text books and get over to his house, we’d already just be to together.
Around that time my mother, who suffers from server manic depression, was coming down from a two year manic high and crashed into a deep depression. She had been living with an abusive boyfriend (quite a few times my boyfriend and I drove over to pick her up after hurt her). For two months I’d been paying for her to live in a hotel close by. This didn’t completely stop her from seeing the guy, and one day I visited her and she and she had another black eye. I decided it would be best to put his and my plans of moving in together on hold as I needed to take care of her.
She has owned a small house since her first divorce. It’s been completely paid off for about 30 years. She had been renting it out to my younger brother and his friends for a while. My brother had moved out a few months ago and his friends were going to be moving out soon too. Rather than find new renters I moved in there with my mom. My boyfriend assured me he still wanted to live with me and didn’t mind the situation. It was a great set up because all we would have to pay were utilities and the property taxes. So he moved in too.
Now his job at the time was seasonal April-October. He moved in right at the end of September. He assured me he would look for another job and have one lined up. Well he didn’t, and I supported the three of us until his job started back up again the following April. That wasn’t a terribly big deal to me as I made enough to cover our expenses and he had a little money saved up. It did start to nag at me though that all day long he would sleep in until 11:00 and play videogames until I returned home. I got into a bad habit of coming home after work cooking dinner and then watching hours of TV series’s on netflix with him. We both became lazy and unmotivated. I was still taking courses on the side too so I still kept busy. I offered to pay for a gym membership for him so he could work out (When we’d met he had some equipment at his parent’s and had a small work out routine. He wasn’t ‘in shape’ but he looked healthy which was what mattered to me. People who work out even a little just have a little extra glow to them). I figured it would give him something productive and healthy to do. He never took up the offer. His mood had been totally detiorating since he moved in with me. I assumed it was because at our house we didn’t have much space and he grew up in a nice big home. I asked him about it and never got a straight answer.
Then in January-April of 2015 we housesate for some family friends (they are the parents of the mutual friend we met through, I’d known them on an acquantence level for 4 years and my boyfriend had known them 17 years.) They have a beautiful large home, in a location close to where we both grew up. It was wonderful! I also started my spring classes. I was taking 6 classes, most were ‘easy’ courses but 2 were very difficult and had extra lab sections (very time consuming). I love learning, and reading, and to be busy so I didn’t mind how busy school kept me. My boyfriend however did. He did seem happier in the larger nicer home though, and our mutual friend stayed with us nearly the whole time we housesat which I feel also helped improved his mood (he’s always happiest around his family and close friends).
The time for us to move back to our home was impending, and I implemented a plan to find a nice rental for the three of us. We could rent out my mom’s home for a supplemental income and have a nicer/newer living space with a more open layout. He liked the idea, however he wanted to just purchase a home. Not being married and him only working a seasonal position the likelyhood for being approved was so slim, and definitely not a smart decision. He began to lament the fact that he hadn’t worked harder before meeing me to find a career and be ‘set up’. I’m not a materialistic lady so it didn’t bother me one bit that he wasn’t ‘set up’ which I explained to him multiple times back then, and still even now today.
Well I began searching and saving for rentals which are few and far between where we live. This stressed him out. He is not a fan of change, and I understand that to a degree. We ended up finding a lovely place in May. A brand new three bedroom splitlevel townhome. It was perfect! Just a tad out of our budget though. It turned out our mutual friend who we met through was looking for a new place to live so he roomed up with us. This guy my boyfriend has known for 17 years. They are almost literally brothers. And since when we housesat for his family he was there much of the time we knew it would work out as a living arrangment. And thus far it has indeed been great :)
Now because my father works out of town much of the week I also take care of my 15 year old sister and get her to/from v-ball practice and other school activities. When we lived in the smaller house I would take her to my dad’s home where my brother would keep an eye on her. However since we have such a nice large place she stays with us while he’s away. This actually saves me a lot of time as my dad lives about 20 minutes out of town, during winter it’s about a 30 minute drive so I save 40-60 minutes of driving now.
My boyfriend and family get along absolutely great! We’re both very family oriented people, and I’ve made sure that his problem is not with my family and he has verified they are not the problem. I am kept pretty busy though still with work, school, picking up my sister from practices, and watching her games (She’s a sophomore who made varsity!) He knew before we moved in together that my family was a priority in my life. For all intents and purposes I am my mom’s mother, and I am sister-mother to my sister. They are my children if you will. It’s probably not healthy, but it is what it is and I would never throw my mother out into the streets.
My boyfriend just quite his seasonal job and began working at the same company our roomate works which is full time year long. It’s installing satellites and is commission based but is pretty dang good money. But he HATES it! But he hated where he worked before, too. And he hated his job before that as well.
Quite honestly he has very poor work ethic. Even when he’s not working he has poor motivation to do anything but videogames. Let’s get this straight: I LOVE VIDEOGAMES TOO! They are amazing, and I play quite a few hours per week but I know when other things need to get done as well such as cooking dinner, laundry, cleaning up after dinner, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, more laundry, picking up after the animals, scooping the litterbox, grocery shopping, etc. Especially now that we are renting such a beautiful home I find it very important to take care of it.
I know that was a lot of information. I am an overexplainer, and a talker. So my apologies. I just wanted everyone caring enough to read to have a back story on my situation.
My main problem is that my boyfriend is content to do absolutely nothing, and complain and be negative all the time, and be moody, and be needy. He requires so much attention! But I find myself almost disgusted by his lack of motivation and work ethic. He constantly complains, so I have told im to try and find things to do that he enjoys. He loves to snowboard, and we live in Alaska so you’d think that’s great! Well the last few years we haven’t had enough snow to get out and do winter sports. I’ve tried to push him towards exercising to improve his mood and confidence, we finally go that gym membership back in May. Rarely do we go. I was going every day during my lunch hour (Gym is right next to my work) for three weeks hoping it would motivate him and it didn’t.
Meanwhile on top of his negative attitude he is now becoming out of shape. He’s surpassed ‘cushy’.
All these items together I’ve just really lost my passion for him, and our intimacy has been declining for about 6 months. I also blame the IUD I’ve had for the last year and half (my sex drive has drastically decreased since I got it), but that’s not something we are willing to get rid of at this time.
I have tried speaking with him about everything I’m feeling. I’ve told him that I am desperate to feel close and connected to him again but that we both need to change for it.
I ask him to walk the dog with me or go on a hike with me, or even bike with me! But his knees will “hurt”. I asked him to take a couples dance class with me once a week back in May when we got our gym membership. He told me after a few months of working out he’d feel in shape enough to take dance lessons. Well now it’s October! I asked him again one month ago to take dance lessons with me again. It would be great to bond and increase in our intimacy. And again he said no. I have been determined to not let a repeat of what happened last winter happen again. I know I can’t make him responsible for my own happiness. I love dance and theatre and have always wanted to take lessons, and because he didn’t like the idea of me signing up for social dance and dancing with another man I enrolled for an adult beginner ballet class. I also convinced my best friend of 8 years to join it with me and it’s been amazing!
He sees this as another thing ‘taking me away’ from him. If I thougth I was smothered one year ago you can’t believe how I feel now.
These are the great qualaties of my boyfriend:
- He’s caring
- He’s fairly attentive
- He’s practical
- His family is wonderful and is accepting of me
- He reminds me often to slow down when I’m stressed
- He is honest
- He is trustworthy
- He would NEVER cheat on me (My frist serious relationship of 3 years I came to find out my ex had cheated on me with NUMEROUS women so this is a big one for me)
- He is moral
- He is ver patient in some ways, but not all.
Qualaties that cause friction:
- I am an intellectual, and lover of sciences and philosophy and spirituality. He is not and does not like speaking about these types of issues.
- I am also an activist for human and animal rights, he feels these issues are ‘negative’ so won’t talk about them with me.
- In fact, there’s not many things we can talk about together. Which is why I thought a physical activity such as dance would be best for bonding.
- He prefers to bond through sitting on the couch or in bed and watching TV shows
- I am a workaholic. I’ve learned through self analyzation that I keep myself busy because I grew up in chaos and never learned to live fully in the present. My father was also a very critical person and was verbally and emotionally abusive for a time. My parents divorced when I was 12 but even before then due to my mom’s depression I was responsible for many of the chores and cooking which only got worse when they divorced. It’s difficult for me to not stay busy and my mind is always on overdrive. But I feel like my dance class is helping me earn to live more in the present moment.
- He complains that I don’t spend enough time with him. I could have just made a delicious and nutritious dinner for us, which is a way for me to show my love to him. Afterwards what needs to be done? The kitchen needs to be cleaned. So I’ll go clean the kitchen, and I’ll hear, “Babe, just stop cleaning! Come sit and relax with me.” But by then it’s already probably 9 o’clock and if I put off cleaning the kitchen it wont get done before bed. I wish he’d realize that if he came and helped me cook, or helped me clean up afterwards it would get done faster and we would have more time together.
- He is always complaining about something.
- He is never happy with the present. He’s always thinking the future will be better.
“When we’re married.” “When we have our own house.” Etc.
- He doesn’t ever want to go out with me. It’s a chore for him to take me to a movie or
- He won’t make a budget or plan of savings with me. I don’t even ask that we combine
our finances, but if both of us were saving it would be a good thing.
His lazy work ethic doesn’t bother me. Once I become a nurse I’d be so happy to be the main breadwinner. But then I think what is he going to do with his time? I honestly couldn’t see him being a father. He talks about starting his own business but doesn’t have a plan for anything. And for that matter, what will he do when I’m working 12 hour shifts eight days in a row?! I’m really starting to feel like our lifestyles just aren’t compatible.
If our relationship were to end I would lose a lot. He’s a good person, with no bad bone in his body.
I suppose I’m looking for suggestions on how to help him:
- Be more positive
2. Learn to love himself
3. Find his passion
4. Get healthy
5. Live in the moment
6. Be content alone
7. Be open to bonding over something other than TV
8. Not allow his negative feelings to upset me or make me feel inadequate
I appreciate you all taking the time to read this, and for your suggestions.