- 6 years ago
- Wedding: September 2012
I am so sad and worried. My FH and I love each other very much and have been together for over 3 years. We treat each other well, don’t bicker about small stuff, are very affectionate and patient, *usually* communicate well, are very attracted to each other, love spending time together, etc. BUT, we have always had issues with some key differences of ours. He’s very analytical, extremely left-brained, is more introverted. He very smart, kind, sensitive and very passionate, but social ettiqutte can be lost on him. He can get get very uptight when things don’t go according to plan. He also has occasional bouts with overwhelming anxiety, primarily around fear of dying. I on the other hand…while my career is in the sciences and can be analytical too, I am for more extroverted, like to think I pick up on social cues, I’m flexible, pretty laid back, am friends with many different kinds of people, get along with most, etc.
These differences have been a challenge for us throughout our relationship. I tend to freak out more about it than he does. He thinks they are not huge issues to overcome. We do great alone and most of the time with others, but once in awhile, when we’re out with friends or family, I think he’s being anti-social, crabby, sullen, etc. usually because something is off (he’s hungry, tired, or overwhelmed). He’s willing to work on things, he listens, and tries to make things better/easier for us. But at our core, while we share the same political views, want kids, love to travel, etc, we are very different people and frustrate each other quite a bit sometimes. Well, he frustrates me. He doesn’t have many complaints about me other than my tendency to shut down sometimes when I’m upset. I do this when I feel there is a problem we can’t fix (i.e. I can’t change him). He actually HAS changed quite a bit (he’s gotten more flexible, he tries to roll with the punches, he’s much warmer with friends and family, has gotten used to small talk, etc) For my part, I have learned to encourage him to stay home and not commit himself to events when I suspect he’s not up for, have tried to be more communicative when I’m frustrated instead of holding it in, then blowing up at him.
The latest problem happened yesterday though when he had a total meltdown at dinner with two of my best friends who are married. At the end of dinner, the wife playfully plucked a white hair from his head. We all teased him (he’s the last of us to get a white hair afterall!) and at first he was like, “What?!” and just stared at the hair, looking mildly amused. But then, I could see the anxiety build up in him and thought, “oh no.” The husband started making light jokes about his reaction, saying something like, “yep, you’re going to die soon”, not realizing that he was truly upset and on the verge of an anxiety attack. So my FH shouted at my friend to stop making fun of him and told him to back off, while we all looked stunned and the wife put his arm around him and said they were sorry and asked if he was ok. Unfortunately, I on the other hand was mortified and angry that he had shouted at my friend like that over something so small. I couldn’t bring myself to comfort him because in the past, he has refused to acknowledge that he has major anxiety issues. After we parted ways with the couple, I had to walk away from him I was so upset at what he did.
Anyway, we fought that night. He was angry and hurt that I didn’t comfort him or “have his back” and was only concerned about my friend. I told him I was frustrated and angry with him for flying off the handle and shouting at my friend and told him how stressful it is dealing with how tightly wound up he can be. Particularly I told him I have major fears about his anxiety about death because we are committing to growing old together! Is it just going to get worse? Will he be able to be a solid partner if he doesn’t treat it somehow? He said he had no idea I was so concerned about it getting worse in down the road and agreed to work on it.
We get married in 5 weeks. 5 weeks! And just now we’re calling therapists to see. I find myself so sad and worried that this will always be a problem for us. Do any other bees out there have a partner who is introverted while you’re extroverted? Anyone with anxiety issues? I just hate that we’re back at this place after months of smooth sailing and feeling secure and certain about our future. 🙁