- 3 years ago
I don’t know what I am really looking for; I think I just need to write all of my thoughts down to get a better handle on where I am at. So, bit of background, I have dated my boyfriend for about 3.5 years and we have lived together for just under 2 years at this point. We are both foreign nationals living in the US temporarily (both currently working to complete PhDs in very different fields but at the same university). He is South American and from a Catholic family; I am Scandinavian and from a Protestant one, but we are both atheist ourselves. So far, so good. Our relationship is the quiet type; we never fight and we are both fairly open minded about most things, even when we don’t agree completely. We discuss all sorts of things without trouble; ex partners, preferences in porn, stance on abortion, and dreams for the future (kids, carreers, country of recidence, etc.). We’ve never raised our voices at each other, not even once. Now, I do have a temper, but it comes out as passive agressiveness (because I shy away from all types of confrontation), which he is remarkably good at handling (by confronting me, which is absolutely the right thing to do) and we usually end up discussing whatever issue I have and reaching a compromise. He doesn’t seem to really have a temper (at least not that I have experienced). Things bother him, to be sure, but he de-stresses with videogames after a long day and immediately moves on (I tend to mull over things for a bit longer).
There are downsides to a quiet type of relationship, of course. We don’t fight, but we also don’t have that super passionate and intense expression of love that I hear other people talk of, and I see portrayed in movies. Ours is more of a quiet-nights-reading-to-each-other and warm-feelings-in-the-chest-when-we-look-each-other-in-the-eyes kind of deal. I am happy and I love him, but sometimes I wonder if what we have is the real stuff; my mother and my sister (who are both very passionate people and have been in a number of whirlwind relationships each) certainly can’t recognize what I am talking about, when I describe my relationship with my boyfriend. On the other hand, I am not at all interested in ever being “love dumb” like my sister tends to be at the beginning of a relationship (for instance, she once said no thank you to an all-expenses trip to the Himalayas, because she couldn’t bear the thought of being away from her new boyfriend for 10 days in a row …. I cannot fathom ever feeling like that).
We do have issues, and about a month and a half ago, my boyfriend confronted me with a lot of them. He wanted to break up. It took me by complete surprise. I was not surprised at any of the issues that he brought up, but I had not imagined that he was ready to walk because of them. I convinced him to give us another try.
This all need to be seen in the context of the fall, where I was under extreme pressure in my academic program and I was stressed out of my mind all quarter, I had trouble sleeping and I would often be irritable at the end of the day, because I hadn’t made as much progress as I had hoped to. Our relationship suffered and our sex life dwindled. Over Christmas and New Years, I noticed that he had stopped touching me as much and that he complimented me more sparingly, so I resolved to prioritize our relationship again, since I was finally under less pressure from my department. It was a bit too late though, as this was when he confronted me and told me he was ready for us to break up.
We both cried during that conversation and we shared our feelings; he felt that I was no longer attracted to him, because I hadn’t been initiating sex during most of the fall and I shared that I had felt much the same way, when the compliments and the affectionate touching dried up. I ultimately asked if he would be willing to give us another try or if he had definitely decided that we were done. He agreed to try again.
Things improved; we resolved to try to do all of those little things for each other like we used to. I cook breakfast and back lunch in the morning, he puts the toilet seat down, makes the bed and washes the dishes. Our sex life improved too. During the fall, we had sex at most once a week, but we are now back at 2-3 times a week (which is particularly important for him – my libido is lower than his, but I find it pleasurable all the same; it is just less of a priority for me).
Even with all of the improvements, him questioning our relationship and wanting to give up on us brought up my old concern that this is somehow a wrong type of love. What do you guys think? Do you all have the type of love that my sister talk of?
I am sorry for the long post; I think I am feeling a little extra concerned at the moment, because he didn’t get me anything for Valentine’s Day (which we postponed because a friend was staying with us the week of Feb. 14th); no card, no chocolate, no nothing. Now, I did not expect something big (particularly just a month after our tough conversation) and I told him that I was going to plan the whole day for us (and it did turn out to be an amazing day where we had tons of fun) so literally all I had expected was maybe a card expressing some of his feelings or something silly, just to show that he is in this, and that he is trying to make this relationship work (perhaps even especially because we are in the place that we are currently in). I got him a gift and a card, which he really seemed to appreciate, and I do not regret putting in the time or the effort to plan the day, but …. yeah, would have been nice with a little something from him.