(Closed) SO needs more time. What do I do?

posted 4 years ago in Waiting
Post # 16
Member
6331 posts
Bee Keeper

Why would you turn a rocky relationship into a marriage? I agree with PP about cutting your losses while you’re still ahead. It’s better to be single and happy than in a relationship and miserable. You should be getting married because you love each other, not because everyone else is doing it. 

Post # 18
Member
44 posts
Newbee

I’d say wait another 6 months to a year before discussing engagement given the information you provided. You’ve been together a long time and obviously care about each other, but it was many years of rockiness. You guys need some time to put into practice what you’re learning from your counsellor and see if it sticks. The worst thing for both of you would be to get stuck in an engagement/marriage and fight all the time. I think you should table the discussion for a minimum of 6 months and revisit and see how you two feel then!

Post # 19
Member
3791 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

View original reply
ellafitzgerald :  It’s not that I don’t believe therapy can work, of course it can.  I’m saying that this relationship is past being broken and a fresh start with someone new will help you have happiness.  Fighting like you have for 4 years, and breaking up 3 times is not normal.  How do you expect to have stability in your relationship if you literally have never had it in 4 YEARS?  Sure, you two might work at it, but what if it is 4 years down the road and you are 33 and still with this guy and still in the same predicament you are in now?

Contrary to popular belief, “fighting” for a relationship actually isn’t healthy.  I think people get wrapped up in the romantic notion of never letting someone go, but in a healthy, solid relationship, it just…works.  I didn’t believe this at first, until I found my husband.  We just…clicked.  I’ve never felt like I’m fighting to keep him around because we work so well together.  We argue, sure, every couple does, but we have literally never gotten to the point where we were on the cusp of breaking up.

If I’m being completely honest here I feel like going to therapy is too little too late.  Life is too short to fight for a dead-end relationship.  And sure you might feel better now, but you are still in the “honeymoon” period of therapy where all of a sudden things are shiny and new again and they feel like everything is ok.

Post # 20
Member
509 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2026

You should have walked away the first time you two broke up. You are trying to salvage what is left and turn it into marriage, hoping that couple’s counseling would work. 

Personally, I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship where I needed to go as far as have an outside professional party to come help fix it. I understand some people do, but I want to be able to resolve issues with my partner myself. I never had to get professional help to resolve issues with my husband, because we discuss our problems.

You mentioned a list of things that you had problems with and one of them was general incompatibility issues. You know you two are incompatible. You might love him, but that’s no reason to stay. You can love someone but they aren’t always going to be right for you. It sounds like he isn’t. He really isn’t. And you have to walk away.

Post # 21
Member
5304 posts
Bee Keeper

Normally I would say 4 years is plenty of time to wait for an engagement, but in your case your SO’s concerns are very valid. You’re describing a relationship that has been fraught with break-ups and ongoing fights and multiple issues. Normally I’m also a fan of seeking therapy, seeing it as a positive step in mental and emotional health. But frankly,  it sounds like a red flag that there is just so much turmoil in the time you’ve been together, you may have feelings for each other, but I’m wondering if it’s healthy for the two of you to continue clinging to an emotionally draining relationship. If you say therapy has been a tremendous help, then you may still be wanting to see if the relationship can be salvaged and that’s your call, as is an internal walk date*, but I would share your SO’s concerns that you’re still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of therapy and it’s too soon to be making any major decisions regarding the future. 

*only have a walk date if you actually mean it, not as an empty threat against him

Post # 22
Member
1506 posts
Bumble bee

There are risks either way you go. If you break it off, you’ll have to wonder “what if?”, though maybe if you find something better you won’t wonder that much, but then again, but you might not find something better. If you stay, you risk sinking more time into a relationship that might still end, leaving you even further behind at finding something better.  You have to decide which outcome you can live with and feel comfortable risking. 

Either way, he’s justified in wanting more time. 

Post # 23
Member
179 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

There’s only so far we can give advice without actually knowing either of you. But what I do know is this: it shouldn’t be this hard. I will be forever grateful that my extremely difficult relationship with my ex ended. We were always trying to work through things, he always needed more time and space, I was always frustrated and felt unappreciated. Things ended up breaking off after a good spell, which at the time I thought made it even worse. But, it really doesn’t matter whether or not it made it worse in the moment, because with the perspective that time gives I can look back and see exactly how unhealthy the relationship was. 

As difficult as it is, I would advise you to break it off and seek a better fit, one where you won’t always be having so much contention and difficulty. Life is hard no matter what, you don’t want to make it even harder by having internal strife with your partner. 

Post # 24
Member
12 posts
Newbee

I have been in the same boat as you. My partner and I lead two very different lives when we met, but there was an undeniable connection the second we spoke to each other. We grew close very fast, but we also had extremely strong personalities and we both fought constantly. It would be great for 2 or 3 months, then we’d fight for a month straight and I’d panic and leave or he’d get angry and leave. We were both struggling with our own inner demons, and trying to make a relationship work at the same time. 

We broke up 3 times over 3 years. the first 2 times were for about 2 weeks to a month, and we maintained communication and got back together quickly. The third time, however, Was meant to be “permanent”. We were fighting far too often, I was growing more and more sensitive and he was growing more and more anxious. It was like a volcano, and it errupted and we separated. That was the hardest 4 months of my life. Over that period, though, I sought personal counceling and he handled his issues in his own way. We reached out again and talked through everything that went wrong, everything that hurt us from the other person and everything we were doing ourselves to selfsabotage things.  We talked about these things together for two months while we both sought our own councelling. After that we decided to try again because we both really wanted to.

I can’t say things are perfect, but I can say they are worth it and that I love this man more than I have ever believed I could love another person. We both have our flaws, and sometimes those flaws cause problems, but now that we are readily willing to talk and communicate, now that we aren’t scared to apologize, explain, and improve, we’re not so scared of those flaws anymore. Or of those fights. We’ve been discussing marriage regularly, and I believe that we will be making that step within the next few years. I couldn’t be more excited about it, either.

I did talk to him about my timeline, but mine was that I wanted to be married in or by 2020, which gave us about 2 years before we should be engaged. He felt comfortable with that and, because I made it clear that I understood that a proposal wouldn’t happen tomorrow (Or even within the next year), he opened up far more with me about his desires for marriage and how he wanted our relationship to progress. He doesn’t feel any pressure because 2 years to propose is plenty of time for him to get comfortable. I don’t feel pressure because I let him know what I wanted and why, and he accepted and understood it.  Now, we talk about it all the time happily. (I have to say, I feel like engagement is going to be far sooner than 2 years. He’s been taking me out to look at rings and has been extra affectionate lately.)

It’s easy for people to say that your relationship is too difficult and to leave, plenty of people told mt partner and I the same thing, but no one really has the right to tell you that it’s not worth it. All we have to go off of is a single post that definitely doesn’t detail everything the two of you went through. If you guys are truly able to work through it, to improve your communication, and to look at the other person with pure love after seeing the absolute worst of each other, then everything else will fall in to place right when it’s supposed to and your relationship will be that much stronger for it.

You do have to be more patient than most though, because it does take time for things to heal and for the trust to return after such turmoil. Just because you’re ready doesn’t mean he’s made it through that fire yet, and if you really love him you’ll give him what time he needs to get there. Trust that he loves you, and let him know that you love him by being understanding of his fears and being patient while he heals. If you really need a timeline in place, give him a flexible one (2 or 3 years preferably), so that he believes you aren’t trying to rush into things before he has a minute to measure the stability of the relationship. It really helped us out to have that 🙂

Good luck, lady! I hope this works out for you! There isn’t enough love for the “extra” passionate relationships hehe

Post # 25
Member
2236 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m not going to tell you to leave because I do happen to believe people can change. I have changed immensely from the person I used to be through lots of concentrated effort.

But I think you are trying to do too much too soon. You have two healthy choices here:

1.) Leave him and continue to work on YOURSELF only. It is SO much easier to focus and work on yourself when you’re single. And this increases the chance that you would attract a more compatible person next go ’round, and have a smoother relationship from the start. The better you know yourself, the more you are working on yourself, the healthier the relationships you will commence, IMO. It sounds like you didn’t know yourself at all back when THIS relationship started, and hence all the incompatibility and fighting. It may be best for you to put this in the past and move forward with all your newfound self-knowledge.

2.) If you stay, mentally reset the relationship clock. All those rocky, toxic years really do not count as years toward unity and marriage. MOST people gain their confidence in the idea of life-long marriage to one person from at LEAST a year of healthy, consistent, reliable happiness with them. There needs to be a positive track record to base the next 50+ years of your life on. So if you stay, you really need to get the idea of enagement and marriage OUT of your head and let things proceed naturally as if you two just started dating.

^^Which kinda does away with the whole “sunk cost” thing that’s keeping you here in the first place. You are probably weighing starting over against a “comfortable” relationship you’ve already spend 4 years in. Well, if you are going to have to toss those 4 years out the window anyways (at least in the sense that they don’t pertain to your future with this guy) then why NOT start over fresh in a (hopefully) healthier relationship that doesn’t have all the baggage?

In your shoes, I would start over. I started over at 30, met my SO just as I was turning 31, and it’s the healthiest, most loving relationship I’ve ever experienced. And I strongly believe it’s because I was in such a healthy, loving place when I met him. We will be engaged this month, and married when I’m 33. So try not to stress about your biological clock. Love yourself and do what’s best for future you.

Post # 26
Member
18 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2018

View original reply
varalidaine :  I agree here. The key is the willingness to work, to continually forgive one another, and to put the effort in rebuilding the relationship in key aspects (communication, trust, honesty, and other key qualities). 

Post # 27
Member
147 posts
Blushing bee

 A therpist once told me that a relationship will only be as good as the level at which you are currently functioning. Meaning, another relationship with a different guy won’t be better than your current one if your maturity hasn’t changed.

This guy sounds pretty solid. Give yourselves some more time to grow together. Walking away now when you are having breakthroughs and growing stronger together will be a mistake!

 

Post # 28
Member
81 posts
Worker bee

You may have been together a number of year but you freely admit the first 3.5 years were rough and not great, I would look at this relationship as if it is a fresh page, the past years have happened but they were not truly how a relationship should be.

Focus on the counselling and getting through that first, put the techniques and advice into practice into your every day relationship and let it grow and hopefully it will feel more stable and loving, then I think an engagement would be great.

Some people get so wrapped up into stages of a relationship and timelines and x number of years means we should be at this point etc. it is so easy to do that yes, but it has to be right for the relationship and everyones relationship is different. 

You are both heading in the right direction and getting the help for your relationship was a brave and healthy thing to have done. In terms of deadlines it’s a difficult one because if you give someone a deadline to me it is almost forcing the issue and I wouldn’t be able to shake the feeling of ‘is he only proposing to shut me up and because I gave a deadline’, an internal deadline is probably a good way to approach and when the deadline comes have a serious talk with him. I would like to think that in a relationship you can have conversations along the way though to check in with each other and what page you are on.

 

Good luck with everything!

x

Post # 29
Member
323 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Sounds like it’s been a very intense and mostly volatile relationship for three and a half years so far.. given your history I would say you probably have to almost treat it like a brand new relationship, and wait at least another year or two of healthy loving connection before making that leap. But it’s something to discuss with your therapist who’s more trained than most of us to say what’s reasonable.

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