Like other members of our lovely board here, I have been struggling with my relationship for some time. This question isn't new or groundbreaking, it's been asked many times by many people, but it is heartbreaking when you ask it. Over the months I've gotten some amazing advice and support here and regained control of my sanity, for which I'd like to thank you all. I've also learned I'm not alone in this situation and these posts are often perused by others in similar situations, so I thought I'd share where I'm at now. I have now come to a point where I'm not sure if I'm willing to continue fighting for this relationship, but I also don't know if I can give up on it.
(Warning, this is long!)
A few weeks ago someone on GT suggested a column written by 'Sugar' to me. A column that took 5 letters from different men and women who had a similar theme. The word 'Go' being in their minds, but not knowing how to leave. Not practically, but emotionally. From this column I ran into the book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay. A book that asks the reader questions with the goal of making up that ever indecisive mind. Finally leave and be at peace with it, or stay and recommit to the relationship. There are examples too, in the form of short stories and a conclusion: "people who answered yes/no to this question were happy they left/happy they stayed/unhappy they left/unhappy they stayed".
I doubted sharing this very much, but I thought maybe other people would be interested. I'd like to share with you some of these questions and my answers. Maybe you could ask them to yourself too.
If you think back on the best time in your relationship, was it really good? The first question in the book (I'm paraphrasing) was one that hit me right in the chest-area. Because doubts have always lingered in my mind. The guideline; if it was never great, maybe it's time to leave.
Do you genuinely like your partner?
This is a yes & no for me. We have fun together, he makes me laugh. But if I were to write a list of things to look for in a partner, he wouldn't tick off a lot of them. There are quite a few things about him that I genuinely don't like (and I'm not alone), but have learned to accept.
Do you/your partner suffer from off-the-table-itis?
In this situation someone consistently makes it impossible to talk about things, to be open. By becoming emotional, angry, making you feel stupid, etc. Both of us do this I feel and I thought that was very confronting. I shut down when he lays into me, even if it's just a minor thing. Which means he can't bring things up. Alternatively I feel I can't bring things up because he won't take me seriously, I don't feel 'safe'. Neither does he. Now this is a part we've been working on and have taken minor steps. Some things have been talked about since.
Do like to touch your partner?
I've talked about this before but the romance in our relationship from my side is pretty dead. I enjoy hugging him and being close to him, but the thought of being intimate with him meets only with resistance. In my heart and in my pant-parts. This hurts to admit. How can you not want to be intimate with your partner whom you do love?
Is your love based on something, a connection that goes beyond doing things together?
This is where I felt like I started drowning. (And reading this at work was maybe not the best choice). I have always felt like we do things together well, things we enjoy, but there is a lacking. For me, there always has been. I chalked it up to being different, or to having different interests. We have a lovely life together but I've always felt I am incapable of finding this deeper connection with him. A shared understanding. To me it doesn't feel like it's there, but to me it also feels like it might be an unrealistically romantic notion to want to have that connection.
As I was reading this the author often advised something "write this down, put a date on it and if in 6 months you don't feel different, break it off". Chapter after chapter I felt my throat closing more and my stomach dropping. 'I don't want to try another 6 months..' said my mind. That, in itself, seems to be the answer I'm looking for. There is no more romance and I'm unwilling to look for it. There is no deeper connection and I'm unwilling to try (again) to create it. There are many things I don't like that I don't know if I want to accept them anymore. Too much of my life centers around this relationship and all that is wrong with it. "No I never go to the movies. Boobiedude doesn't like the movies. Why? Oh he doesn't like public transport. And people. And how dirty it is. So he bought a beamer so we watch them at home. Sure I miss it, I like the experience but.. you know, it's not worth the effort."
But how do I leave someone I love?
We spent the whole weekend together. Most of it was nice, we went to the market together, watched the shows we loved, I took baths, we played games (him Fifa, me Anno), we cooked together, we hugged and told each other we love each other. And every moment I felt like a liar and a cheat. How could I be thinking about leaving him and stil be with him. I know he noticed, he asked me what was up several times (in between giving me the lovy eyes). I was standoffish, I know I was. Because at the thought of having all this time together and getting intimate, the only thing I could imagine doing was close myself off.
I love him, but there's no connection. We're working on it, but it's not enough. We are affectionate but I don't want to get intimate. I close myself off, I push him away and tell him I love him at the same time. But I'm not ready. I'm not ready to leave our house that we created together. I'm not ready to leave our cat. I'm not ready to leave our bed. I'm not ready to leave our friends or the (false) idea of a future. I know that makes me a horrible person, but.. I'm not ready.
But I'm lying to him. I know I should tell him sooner rather than later. I'm just not ready.. But if I'm not ready now.. When will I be?
Again thanks to everyone who has patiently offered advice, not only too me but to all those other groupthinkers who are going through the same thing. I've added the Amazon link to the book, should you wish to purchase it.http://www.amazon.com/Good-Leave-Sta…