- 6 years ago
First of all, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this relationship
I am one of the first people to say “Love is not enough! You need to use logic too! Cut it off sooner rather than later if you have serious concerns.”
That said, I do think this is an issue at least worth exploring in counseling. It sounds like a real challenge in communication styles. You could use some skills to maybe be less reactive, more in control of what comes out of your mouth, and just a bit toned down in intense situations. On the other hand, it sounds like he could use some techniques to show a bit more emotion/excitement and understanding of how you perceive his calmness. I do think those are things that can be learned.
If you have been together 3 years and are truly headed towards marriage – make that counseling appointment. You can read about my pre-engagement counseling over on the waiting board. How old are you two?
Now, it may come to be that you do need to break up. If you both have those doubts in your gut after getting outside counsel, TRUST THEM.
I would personally not move forward in this relationship without professional counseling, maybe both together and some individual sessions. Now is the time to be logical and take a critical look at what your life will be like if you stay together. Hard, but easier now than later.
I really suggest couples counseling. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told a pretty similar story about me and my SO. We are very different, much like you two. We have always had a very genuine love for one another, but we argued constantly because we saw absolutely everything differently. We started counseling about 6 months ago and next week will be our last session. It has been the most amazing journey for us! We have learned how to navigate our relationship, even though our perspectives are totally different.
If you two are willing to make the commitment to face your issues and be open to working hard, I think it’s possible to work through.
Both of you will need to accept one another’s differences. The way I see it, there are things that are negotiable and things that are not. My SO is a very laid back guy, much like yours. That’s not going to change, that who he is. But I can tell him what I need in order to feel more secure. For example, I recently got a new job. My SO is not the kind of guy to celebrate those kinds of things (it’s just not how he was raised). I literally had to say: “Hey, this is a big deal to me. I’d love it if we could do something special to celebrate.” Now that I do this often, I have to ask less and less because he’s learning to meet my needs in his own way.
Little by little, counseling helped teach us both how we could meet one another’s needs without having to change who we are at the core.
And to answer your question – no, I don’t think love is all you need. I think being in a relationship is HARD and it takes a lot of work….and some couples take more than others. My relationship has never been easy, but it’s been so worth it.
Good luck. I hope you two are able to work it out, because it sounds like you truly love one another.
I agree there needs to be some professional help involved so you can see thigns clearly form an outside perspective and see what a normal situation would call for as far as give and take as well as communication styles.
I also think alcohol is a bad mix for you guys and perhaps takes you down the wrong roads.
For me, your partner is making it seem like he is incapable of doing anything for you. If you needed to feel love, he is too “chill” etc. In my opinion there might be something deeper going on. I couldn’t imagine someone telling me Im the perfect girl and they want to marry me yet they would throw it away for the inability to stop being so “chill”
Oh and marriage is HARD work and it NEVER ends. There will always be something and it probably wont involve unicorns and fairy dust. You have to make it what you want through sacrifice , communication and dedication. No relationship is perfect 🙂
Every relationship will have communication issues and personality issues and other miscellaneous issues. In the end, you pick the issues you can deal with. My relationship to my Fiance is/was very similar, even to the point that break ups would be discussed… but in the end, we’re more good for each other than bad, and we’re willing to fight.
If you still have fight left, and still love him, stick it out.
(Unless you dont want to of course lol)
To echo @Mrs.Argentina, marriage (and any relationship) requires a lot of work and what I’m going to say will sound completely unromantic, but I think it’s in the end, more hopeful:
I personally do not believe that you marry who you fall in love with; I believe you marry whom you WANT to marry. The difference is that in the latter sense, you make a choice to love and commit to the person every day. In other words, marriage is active, not passive, and you have some control over whom you love. THat’s not to say people can’t fall out of love or change too drastically from each-other and things like that, but I often feel that when people talk about “what if we aren’t compatible? what if I’m settling? what if you’re ‘the one’ or NOT ‘the one’?” they’re emphasizing a kind of fatalistic romance when the reality of marriage is that you can’t rely on love, per se, or love in the abstract sense; you have to remind yourself of what love means in very precise, concrete terms.
For you, it’s true that the two of you might have genuine compatibility issues that can’t be ignored (affection vs. non-affection), but it’s also true that if you married this man, you’ll probably have to accept that he’s less outwardly affectionate than you like and either find a way to encourage (or outright ask for) what you need and/or remind yourself when you find yourself getting resentful, that this is the man you CHOSE. And then you decide to be patient and love him anyway. To me, that’s what marriage is.
Love is not all rainbows and sunshine. Love is hard work, compromise. It’s I think compare able to building a house to live in. You never truely stop working on it, and the moment you do the house then begins to fall apart.
I think counciling is the best option for you, it will help your communicationskills and help you figure out what you need from each other.
Edit: wb ate the rest of my post.
My mom and dad are complete opposites . Mom, loud, quick tempered, loves rock music, loves to go out and used to be quite the partier.
Dad, quiet shy, homebody, country music, mellow.
They have been together for over 37 years. I asked my mom once how they managed it and she told me we talk, about everything, and then we talksome more. I cant know if he’s happy if he doesn’t say anything, just as he is also not a mind reader . We go through everything together, one of us does not make all the decsisons, we do it togethe. Whenwe fight, it’s bad. But once we calm down we talk some more to see whytheaat happened.
@Kurzweil: Thanks for your reply. I actually already read your post about the pre-engagement counseling and thought it was a great idea. I admit I was also a little jealous you said you don’t have any issues to bring up at counseling (lol), but also that’s great for you. And what you said about trusting your gut, that’s what scares me. I feel like my gut is telling me something, but then I also think we can work through it because we have also been through periods of bliss without complaints about each other. We have gotten closer than ever this last year. It almost felt like the issues had gone away, but over the last few months, I’ve been feeling the doubts creep back up, and I’m guessing he felt it around the same time I did. But yes, I agree that we need counseling if we want to stay together. Oh and to answer your question, I am 26 and he’s 29.
@MsMonkey: Thank you for sharing your experience. It gives me hope. I’m so happy to hear you two worked it out. I love what you said about how even though it’s never been easy, It’s been worth it. 🙂
@Eva Peron: Thanks. Yes, alcohol is definitely a bad mix for us and it intensifies our communication difficulties and parsonalitly differences. And I agree, I sometimes feel like him being “chill” means he doesn’t love me enough to “try.” We’ve talked about this, though, and I am not giving him the credit for times he does try because he does sometimes, I just sometimes don’t feel like it’s enough. I hope counseling will help us.
This sounds like it could be a conversation between me and my SO a few years ago. I tend to be a very emotional/intense person, and he is generally not. To him, it’s unnecessary and over the top, and for the first couple years of our relationship, he would be an absolute jerk anytime I got upset. It was so frustrating because we loved each other like crazy, but there were times where it seemed like we were speaking completely different languages.
We did get through it. But it took a lot of time, and a lot of patience, and a lot of work on both our parts. It’s probably something we will deal with for years to come, because these are traits that are hardwired into our personalities. But do we think it’s worth continuing to work on it? Absolutely. And I can say, as much as it sucked to go through that time, I do feel even more confident in our relationship now. We know what we’re getting into, and we’re not afraid of it. We will definitely have our ups and downs, but also the reassurance that we will accept and love each other even at our worst. Ultimately, that’s what marriage is about.
I don’t know ultimately if that’s the right answer for you and your SO. I don’t think your relationship is currently past saving or at a point where you should definitely walk away. I do think you both should take a very proactive approach right now to figuring out how to address your differences, and what it will take to improve your communication. I agree with other bees that counseling would be a good idea.
Regardless of the outcome, it’s ok to be questioning–better to question right now and either a) know what you’re getting into for the long haul and how you can try to work on things or b) save yourself the pain of getting married and then having to walk away.
Hugs and best of luck to you.
In simple terms, NO Love is not enough.
If that were that case, there would be many couples together destroying each other. – You have to have things in common, share a similar vision for the future, you need to be best friends. – How old are you? You say this is your first relationship, first love is mostly always passionate, crazy, head f^&ck. I wanted to marry my first love, we were together for 8 years, I went through hell and back, it was a forbidden love and had a rather tragic ending. In hindsight, 5 years on, I realise if I had married that man, I would be unhappy right NOW, as love was not enough.
Now I am with a man who I am in love with, but it’s an adult love, we are best friends, emotions are less tempered, things are easier, I am calmer, I don’t cry half the time, I smile. We have our ups n downs, but I feel like I learnt so much from my first true love, he and the relationship taught me so much and made me stronger and more capable of handling all the things a long terms relationship can bring. – You may not be at the stage where you both just ‘know’ that splitting up is what you need to do.
There could be many factors as the why you are both feeling the way you are, you have to have a real chat about your future and assess if you both want the same out of life, if you share similar goals, of you have stuff in common, not just passion/sex and unexplainable love for each other, etc. – Having different personality traits is not necessarily a bad thing, this can be a good thing, myself and my Fiance are opposites in that respect, he is calmer, laid back, more academic, I am creative, louder, a lil eccentric – I pick him up and he calms me down, we compliment each other… But it does cause a lil conflict, where I DEAL with things ASAP and he buries his head in the sand, but we work at it. NO RELATIONSHIP is a walk in the park and easy……..what you have to do is look further down the line, if marriage is what you want sooner rather than later, and you have to question if this man can give you what you need on many levels, emotionally, sexually, spiritually and security.
I’ve had similar issues in past relationships (although I’m the reserved one) and we weren’t able to make it work. Sorry for that bad news. But it doesn’t mean you guys can’t. With hindsight, I’d go straight to relationship counselling to give our relationship the best chance (we didn’t). I guess the good thing is that you are talking honestly about your feelings and now it’s a matter of figuring out ways to communicate with each other and strategies for managing the differences in your personalities / needs. A good counsellor will definitely be able to help with that. Good luck!
I say break up. I’ve been in similar relationships, and it always ended badly. We would put it off because we loved each other, but in the end, it didn’t work out. Who knows, you may meet up again later in life when you’ve both matured. It could just be a matter of wrong place at the wrong time and in a few years it will be right. Or not. There’s really no way of knowing.
I say call it off. Sorry! Best of luck in whatever decision you make.
Thanks for those who have responded so far. @AllShookUp: I definitely feel like our relationship is worth fighting for. I like the way that sounds 🙂
@BothCoasts: That’s pretty interesting, but a good way to look at it. Something to think about.
@imalittlebirdie: Thanks for the story about your parents. It’s very inspiring.
@bellasperanza: Also thanks for sharing. It give me hope. 🙂
@rdownie1: Thanks for your advice. Actually, he’s not my first relationship, but I know what you mean about the toxic love. That actually is kind of how my first relationship/love was like. With my current boyfriend, I don’t feel like it’s toxic at all. We just have differences that sometimes trigger doubt… Oh and yes I agree that sometimes differences can be a good thing. I like looking at it that way sometimes 🙂 Oh and I’m 26 and he’s 29.
Someone said something about best friends. I genuinely feel that my SO and I ARE best friends. We get along awesomely well and always have fun together. We rarely even bicker, but when we do fight, it can get big fast because of our differences. Also, it’s when my craving for affection and love kick in that I get naggy and whiny and then I start doubting things and he probably does too when I’m being like that.
This was pretty much me and my SO on Saturday night. I ended up sleeping on the couch just so we would stop fighting.
I think it sounds like you two can get through this. We are just like you guys, my SO is the most laid back person in the universe and I can be rather dramatic. The morning after we sat down and had a talk about why we were so mad at each other and worked out when things get that crazy we will just stop and wait until we have calmed down to talk about it – we are two of the most stubborn people in the world and both always have to “win” the fight.
We are learning that I need to just let some things go sometimes – not because it makes me feel good but for his sake. And the same for him – he tells me how he is feeling more and tries to let me know what is going on in his head so I don’t freak out about things when I don’t need to.
Maybe talk to your fiance and work out things you can both do to make the other person feel better about the relationship 🙂
Believe me, at the age of 29, he’s not going to suddenly change overnight and become the affectionate man you want.
My ex H was never affectionate…he wouldn’t even give me a kiss goodbye. Never held my hand, would never cuddle me in bed etc. It drove me mad. Once I was so upset when he wouldn’t kiss me goodbye in public, that I yelled ‘I was sucking your dick 10 minutes ago and now you won’t even kiss my cheek?’…honestly, that’s how much the upset had built up over the years.
He never changed. We were married 10 years and if anything, he got even less affectionate over time. During that time, I went to Australia for 2 months. Not even a goodbye hug at the airport. Showing affection was just not important to him. Getting married changed absolutely nothing. To him, I was the one with the problem. He was fine.
With my now Fiance, it’s completely different. He’s not slobbering all over me in public, but doesn’t flinch when I hold his hand. Will kiss me goodbye, will cuddle me in bed. Will give me a hug when I’m upset, all the (to me) not so little things that show someone cares.
Don’t underestimate how much damage a problem – and to me it is a real problem – like this can cause over time. Find someone who is as affectionate as you are, someone who won’t accuse you of being ‘too emotional’.