Did I Screw Up and End It for a Shallow Reason?

posted 2 months ago in Emotional
Post # 16
530 posts
Busy bee

flewscharm :  Nope. Trying to force intellectual stimulation from someone sounds exhausting.

Also, my understanding is there have been a number of studies linking anxiety and intelligence so the concurrence isn’t surprising.

Post # 17
92 posts
Worker bee

Completely agree with disbeeprincess. It would likely have painful for him in the future to be with someone who appreciated him, but didn’t crave his company. I think you were being cruel to be kind. I’m sure it’s hard, but it sounds like it will probably be better for you both in the long run. 

Show yourself compassion for the difficult choice you made. disbeeprincess :  

Post # 18
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

I deal with a diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder and my husband knocks my socks off in bed but is also supportive of me in situations where my anxiety peaks. He is an even kieled and kind patient person in life, and a totally different person in bed and we love that about each other.

that said, you should not rely on your partner for emotional support and may need to seek therapy. I don’t rely on my husband to quell my anxiety day in and day out, just to understand why I avoid certain situations or why I’m a little uptight some days, or why I drive instead of walking across the street to the gym at night. Understanding and supporting are very different things. But please don’t think exciting in bed has to mean emotionally unstable in life.

Post # 21
3070 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

It sounds like you tried to make it work and it just wasn’t enough. No, it’s not shallow to leave a relationship in which you feel unsatisfied on aspects that are important to you. 

Post # 22
355 posts
Helper bee

flewscharm :  

Unfortunately what I’ve found is that when you make a decision that is personal to you, where there is no right or wrong and where a different person might have made a different choice, you will get people “disagreeing.”

An example from my own life – I studied law, but when I got into actually working in the field, I realised that it was totally unsuited to my personality. I made the difficult decision to turn my back on it and pursue other less lucrative, but far more rewarding (for me) career choices. I can’t tell you how many people disagreed with my decision, told me I was making a mistake, or encouraged me to try and compromise myself to make a career in law a better fit. But the fact is, I have never regretted my decision and I am much happier.

You did the right thing. Your dissatisfaction in your relationship came through loud and clear from your posts, despite how much you loved and appreciated your boyfriend. If the break up is quite fresh, there is a stage of grief known as “bargaining” in which we question or want to reverse what has happened because the pain of loss is so sore. In time you will see that your decision was for the best and be glad you made it.

Good conversation is a huge part of a relationship, and being able to talk easily and enjoyably and enthusiastically about things is one of the pleasures of a good relationship. You will find someone with whom you have a much stronger connection, and that does not mean they will be unstable.

Post # 23
479 posts
Helper bee

Not shallow at all! You remind me of Meg Ryan’s character in Sleepless in Seattle. She doubted herself because there was something missing from her otherwise perfect relationship with her fiancé. It’s a cute movie. I couldn’t imagine spending my life with someone knowing something was a bit “off”. You need to find that spark.

Post # 24
2301 posts
Buzzing bee

I don’t think this is shallow, I just think it’s an incompatibility and a personal preference. 

My husband is the “strong silent” type, and I definitely have better conversations with other people (like my very outgoing bff). But the truth is we’re both fairly quiet and we just don’t feel the need to talk a ton. Sometimes we’re both quietly doing our own thing for hours at a time and that’s fine by us. That also doesn’t mean that we don’t have intellectually stimulating conversations when we do talk.

As a quiet person, I also wonder whether your assumption that he expects you to entertain him is correct, or whether it stems from your own discomfort with silence. For example, I read his asking if you were okay when you were being quiet as picking up on behavior that was abnormal for you, not fault finding. If he does expect you to entertain him I agree that that would be exhausting. In my own relationship we just accept that neither of us is super chatty, and we’re both introverts who enjoy quiet time.

In any case, if a fundamental personality trait of his is a dealbreaker, you’re both better off finding people you are more compatible with. Hopefully next time you’ll look out for these things earlier in the relationship.

Post # 25
64 posts
Worker bee

ladyvk :  Speaking as someone also “diagnosed” with GAD, I can say with confidence that OP’s comments about her personality are spot on in terms of how some of us have learned to exist in today’s confidence-centric society. I am an anxious person with social anxiety being one of my main complaints, and as such I am often so scared of rejection that I use being gregarious as a way to distract from my nervousness. This includes talking excessively and tying myself into knots over whether others feel comforatble at the expense of my own comfort. It’s exhausting, and it’s just as destructive as holding everything in and hiding (tendencies more commonly associated with anxiety), and it is almost never detectable by anyone but those closest to me.

flewscharm : Shallow is definitely not the word I would use to describe ending a relationship between two people who seem, from where I sit, to be just plain incompatible. If it were just the lack of conversation I might suggest that you could try to work on it (by which I mean equally—he would have to put in the work too). But honestly that combined with the so-so sex life gave me pause. Those are so often the two areas where the true colors of a relationship come out. Good sex is about so much more than physical attraction, it’s more often about good communication. 

I actually think it’s great that you’re able to name the traits you like best about yourself. But I’m exhausted just reading about the effort that you put into this relationship. You may want to question whether being “bright and engaging” is something you’re doing for yourself or for others. If you are naturally a chatterbox and that gives you joy, then that’s great, and your ideal partner should be someone who makes that part of your personality feel valued. If, however, these feelings of having the weight of the conversation on your shoulders are not exclusive to this relationship, and you feel yourself growing anxious every time someone doesn’t mirror your tendency toward verbal expression back to you, I suggest you explore these feelings with the help of a therapist. 

And this is just an anecdote that you can take or leave: I am an extremely verbal gal whose SO is extremely NOT, but over the years we have kind of rubbed off on one another (heheh); he has gotten more emotive and I have gotten more controlled. This happened because we were compatible in every other respect, though, and eventually had a lot of honest conversations (and a few fights) about our needs. A difference of approach in that area doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker (for future reference :).

Post # 26
36 posts

Your boyfriend sounds like an introvert (nothing at all wrong with that) for whom making conversation is challenging. I’ll bet he’s a good listener, though. You did the right thing for both of you because he’ll be just as unhappy as you are over your dissatisfaction in conversational quality and quantity. (This is from an introvert who is told by multiple people that I’m too quiet.)

Post # 27
635 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2000

hockeybee0104 :  My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years…. I’m 42, he’s 50 and I’m exhausted now.  I’m always asking if we should be talking more but WTF more can we talk about 😂

Post # 28
611 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I actually think this is a very non-shallow reason to end a relationship. A shallow reason, to me, would be dumping someone because they gained ten pounds. 

Post # 29
9929 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

I am going to challenge the theory that “quiet” = introvert = good listener.

That logic requires some pretty huge leaps. Sure, some quiet people are excellent, actively engaged listeners. You’ll know because they will ask questions and make comments that show interest in and attention to what you’re saying. Even something as simple as:  “And then what happened?” can be a good cue.

You’ll also know because you’ll feel heard; a delicious feeling.

Potted plants are not good listeners. They are living in their own heads. They don’t make fun partners.

No doubt OP thought her ex was emotionally supportive. He was delighted to let her do the emotional heavy lifting. There are plenty of stock phrases he could have popped out to sound like the caring bf.

OP, people struggling with anxiety sometimes settle for relationships that are less than ideal for them. Being with the wrong person can be less anxiety provoking than the unknown. Do you find yourself sometimes ending up with guys who chose you, rather than the other way around? Guys who were easy for you to get?


Post # 30
92 posts
Worker bee

Indigobee had great advice. When you make a personal decision, other people are going to judge that decision. Ultimately, however, it is yours to make. It sounds like you had good reasons for ending it. If you decide to stick with your choice, the best thing you can do is give your heart time to mourn the relationship, and, when you are ready, move on. He will, too. 

Lots of love.

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