*definitely no mainpaging*

TW relationship drama.

Where do I begin? Yesterday was a rough day, and I spent most of today feeling like a raw, exposed nerve. I heard from him once, he was a little drunk at his office's holiday party. Presumably he's at the concert with his roommate right now.

He has taken me for granted, he admits it. But he also blames work, and says that this is the busiest he's ever been, but his work has taken precedence in his life for the past 8 years and that's not going to change unless something major changes. He hates his job, but he doesn't seem to know a way out. My problem with him isn't his work ethic, it's how he treats me.

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I feel like I'm a task on his to-do list, something he pencils in and acts like he sees because he has to. He keeps defending his other tasks, saying they're one off things and it's not like he's making these plans on a regular basis to avoid seeing me. He wants to spend time with me, and plans on seeing me regularly but those plans are never concrete. I'm a regular occurrence, and he plans everything in his life at the last minute unless it's a one off. It's how he planned his trip internationally, it's how he packed for moving. He doesn't plan, and I should be aware of that.

He told me he justifies it in his head when he gets me presents. I told him he can't buy me off. He knows this, but he feels better about the time he spends away from me if he makes up for it in some way with a thoughtful gift. I don't celebrate Christmas but he wanted to buy me furniture for my new apartment, because I've been talking about how empty and cavernous it feels. This would make him feel better for not having time for me. This is especially problematic for me since this is how my dad solved a lot of issues - he was a gambling addict who would be gone for days, and he'd make up for it by showing up with something nice after a big windfall. He knows it's wrong and doesn't make up for anything, but he wants to feel like he's trying and to let me know he's thinking of me.

I asked him where he sees this going, and he's not sure. He always imagined he'd retire early and die alone in a foreign country. What he imagines and what he wants are very different. He wants a companion and wants to live however his companion wants - whether or not it's getting married and/or having kids, he has no strong opinion on it. He doesn't believe in having to report to the world your commitment to another person, but if his companion wants marriage he's willing to do it. He doesn't like kids, but if she wants kids he'll become a dad. None of that matters to him, all he wants is a companion. I told him he can't have both lives - dying alone or having a family. He said these life outcomes are mutually exclusive and if he doesn't get the life he wants he knows the life he's imagined will happen.

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He doesn't know why I'm with him or what I see in him, he insists he's a heartless monster. I called him out on it - he once told me he didn't like that he thinks I have a low self image, he's saying the same thing about himself. He insists it's different, he thinks he's fine with himself but he hates everyone else and this makes him heartless. But he likes me. I don't have a low self image; he doesn't understand that I'm not asking to seek his approval when I ask him what he thinks about what to do with my hair or what car I should buy. I'm looking for feedback, ultimately I know it's my decision what I do in life but I'd like some outside opinion anyway.

He said he has this pattern with past relationships, he'd go out with a girl and find out she had some issues she needed to work out. She'd work them out, get bored with him and leave. He's a fixer. I asked if he thinks he's fixing me, and he said initially that's what he thought this relationship was going to be - that I have issues and he'd fix them, I'd get bored and leave. I have plenty of issues, don't get me wrong, but they're mine and they're not for him to fix. He's never ended a relationship before, they'd always get bored or frustrated with him and end it first. He doesn't know why ours has lasted so long, perhaps I'm just more patient.

He asked what I want out of a relationship. I just want love. I want to be loved, to feel wanted, to occasionally feel needed. He's so staunchly independent and stubborn about it, it makes me feel useless and helpless when he's going through a rough patch and I can't do a single thing to help. But all he wants is for someone to be there. That doesn't feel like enough, because he's still stressed and angry and bottling it all up. He bottles his feelings very well. Aside from showing strains of fatigue, he showed no emotions. He blames his upbringing in the family of a loveless marriage, isolated in the middle of nowhere. I'm emotional, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I get emotional even at the slightest things, this is something I can't help. I asked him what would happen if I just ended it. Would he feel anything or would he just shrug and move on with life? He said it would hurt and he'd be hurt, but that doesn't stop life from continuing.

After round and round of arguing, me accusing him of not understanding emotional cues, him getting defensive when I bring up things I consider strange behavior, we were both exhausted. In the end I asked him what he wants. Right now, he's so stressed he just wants something easy. I want something easy, too. But relationships are hard. Emotional growth is incredibly hard. I just want to know that there's potential to work on these issues, even if it's not at this very moment. And that I can bring up these difficult things without having to tiptoe around his stress levels. And that we can work this out on a timeline that works for the both of us. He said there's potential to, even if it goes against his nature. I'm going to have to continue to be patient. He wants me to be his person, and I want him to be mine. Because there's that stupid intangible feeling called love that I have for him and I can't back it up with hard evidence.

Unbeknownst to me, he told me his intention was to spend the time after the concert tonight into tomorrow evening before his friend's birthday dinner with me. At the end of the argument last night, he said he just remembered he's going to have to be up at 6:30am Saturday in order to take photos at a volunteer event for work. But he says we're not done talking about this and he wants to continue. I don't know anymore, I'm exhausted.