Post # 1
Long time reader, first time poster.
So my SO and I moved in together about 2 months ago and there have been some growing pains. We’re both frustrated with each other for opposite reasons.
I’ll start with me. One of the reasons I wanted us to live together was that I hated how we had to plan our time together down to the most minute detail (we lived far apart, I had a bus schedule, etc.) I’m the kind of person that likes to keep plans open. For example, I might think aloud and say “Oh it might be nice to go to the beach tomorrow”, but when tomorrow comes around if I don’t feel like it, I will do something else instead. So to me, nothing is set in stone unless I have said “This is absolutely happening”. When we lived apart, obviously everything had to be set in stone and even if I didn’t feel like doing something anymore, I had to do it because we’d already done all the planning.
The issue is that my SO takes this “thinking aloud” as me setting solid plans, and he gets upset when I change them on the day, even though I never said it was definitely happening, just that maybe we could do it (or maybe not!) This really bothers my SO. He hates that I leave everything open-ended, and wants me to give him a definitive “yes” or “no” in advance. This is hard for me. The beach thing isn’t so serious, but he gets bothered when he tells me about some social event weeks in advance and I say “Yeah… maybe…”, and then that eventually turns into a “no”.
To me it doesn’t seem like a problem because I never actually said I’d go (I have terrible social anxiety so it’s really hard for me to guarantee my presence at big events), but my SO gets upset by my flip-flopping, and he says it’s like he has no guarantee that I’ll ever do anything I say I will (or rather, say I “might”). He’s not so much bothered by me saying no to events for example, he’s just bothered by the lack of definitive answer upfront.
Have any of you bees ever had this issue? At this point I’ve told SO to just tell me upfront if something’s important and I need to go, and I’ll just go. He says he doesn’t know how to do this though, and the open plans issue still isn’t solved :/ I definitely understand his feelings, I just happen to have the opposite ones and I’m not sure how to meet in the middle.
Post # 2
Honestly that would really piss me off, too. Can you try not to ‘think out loud’ anymore? Only suggest doing things you’ll actually commit to. He shouldn’t have to hang on your every word just to be 1000% sure he heard you say “definitely”. when you talk out loud you fill his head with a bunch of fun possibilities but then follow thru with nothing, it’s teasing and disappointing.
Post # 3
I definitely see where he’s coming from, but I also think the solution you gave him is a practical one, at least for simpler things, and he should consider it.
When he asks if you want to do something in advance, take a day to consider the pros and cons and make a definite decision, because I’d be frustrated as well to be planning something to have it fall through because of my partner. So you do need to confirm at least events that you’ve got plenty of time to think about. Step out of yourself a little – social anxiety or not, you can decide a definite yes or no to an occasion. You cannot bullshit that on the day of, you’re suddenly too anxious to participate – if that’s really the case, you need to look into therapy because it’s having a negative impact on both of your lives.
At the same time, he needs to tell you what’s important to him though, as you suggested. Kinda like how I tell my husband to repeat after me when something I’m telling him really matters, to make sure he hears me. Silly, yes, but it does work. It’s illogical for him to think you’ll magically know which events he’s going to be disappointed to miss.
Hopefully at the same time he can learn to loosen up a little regarding “maybe” plans. But solidifying those the night before could be useful. Before bed, do you really, truly want to do it or not? I hate when we make plans, say to go for a hike, and the next day it’s cloudy and my husband is no longer interested. I was looking forward to it, darn him! Waffling about that type of thing can be irritating and implies that my wishes aren’t as important as his. Lol now that I’ve thought about it, I’m going to have to step up with my spine there! Lucky he’s away at the moment At any rate, I’m willing to bet your SO feels the same, and making solid plans the night before won’t kill you.
Post # 4
ArcadiaRose : I can understand his frustration because my FI is more like you and I’m more like your SO when it comes to planning.
I would work on meeting him in the middle. You can say that you need time to think about something when he asks you and then you can take the time to think and get back to him with a definitive answer in advance of the event. That way you get time to mull things over but he gets the definitive answer he’s looking for albeit not in the exact moment he asks.
It is a really horrible feeling when a relationship feels unreliable or not a sure thing. In your case, I think it is a communication issue and not bad intent but it can still harm a relationship.
Maybe also therapy may help with social anxiety. I’m an introvert myself but there’s a difference between preferring quiet solitude and being anxious about social gatherings. That can negatively impact your day to day life and even relationship if he’s more of an extrovert.
Post # 5
You can try and reach a compromise. How about making an effort to give a definite answer when asked about social events, yet leaving it open when it is about date ideas (between just you two)?
Post # 6
I agree with PPs. This is a great opportunity to improve communication. That’s a very frustrating habit for me, too; I like to take people at their word.
My DH is a little more like you, though. He tends to commit to plans with no intention of following through. I’ve kind of learned to use it to my advantage, though… I now just remind of the plans I like and let him remember the others on his own time
Incidentally, “long time reader, first time reader” is an odd opening for a poster with 438 previous posts.
Post # 7
Definitely side with your SO on this. That would drive me absolutely insane and would likely be a dealbreaker for me. I feel that it’s pretty disrespectful to discuss a plan that seems solidified and then back out consistently.
The only compromise I can think of is to set a deadline by which you need to make a definite decision. Maybe a day or two before.
I understand social anxiety, but that is something you need to work on so you and your relationship don’t suffer. It’s really not fair to constantly cancel plans.
Post # 8
My Fi and I have this in reverse. It triggers trust issues in me left over from a difficult childhood. He is aware of this and tries to be sensitive to it. He is careful to use “maybe” when he is thinking out loud, daydreaming, or what I call “talking.” I also know him well enough now that I am more in tune to when he is just “talking.” As someone for whom reliability is important “talking” drives me up a wall. it is what it is, however.
Post # 9
I think the PP’s solutions to how to deal with the events that are important to him are good. For the more minor ones, though, I think you need to change how you’re phrasing things. I’m guessing you’re saying stuff to him like “I’m thinking we might go to the beach tomorrow” and in your head the “might” is emphasized and means that it’s an option you’re considering. But your SO is hearing it as the social convention where this statement implies that you want to go to the beach tomorrow and you’re saying this as a way of asking “How do you feel about going to the beach tomorrow?” so that when he confirms that he’d like to go the beach tomorrow, he thinks you’ve made plans whereas you think you’ve just laid an option down on the table for consideration tomorrow.
Instead, I think you just need to be really clear about your thoughts in the moment. “I was thinking I might want to go to the beach tomorrow. I’m not sure yet if I’ll still want to go tomorrow, but if I’m up to it in the morning would that be something you’d be interested in?” This way you’re very clear that you’re not actually making plans but you’re still offering up a possible plan and getting his input. This might be a good compromise if his issue is less that you’re kind of wishy washy and more that he keeps thinking you have already made plans when in your mind you haven’t.
My mom used to do something similar where she’d be like “I’m thinking we might go to Disneyland before summer starts. I’m not making any promises, but does that sound good?” as a way to manage expectations while also making sure that we’d actually be on board with what she was thinking of planning.
Post # 10
Argh I’m with your SO on this. My sister does this all the time and it drives me mad. My advice is if you don’t know don’t brainstorm out loud and if he asks you if you want to do something then have a think and then say “yes” or “no”. If you managed to follow through with plans before you lived together then it’s clearly do-able for you.
Post # 11
- Wedding: March 2017 - Outside in Paris
I feel for you SO. I’m a planner so this would drive me mad. I do think PP bring up great communication methods to practice. Using words like “maybe” or “someday” will create an openness to the idea. If you tell someone like me “let’s go to the beach tomorrow” I’m marking it on the calendar and shaving.
Post # 12
Sorry but I’m with your SO on this one. It’s really rude to expect someone to hold their day open for you because you MIGHT want to do something and then constantly cancelling at the last minute. It implies that your time and your wants are more important than his. Maybe you should try not bringing up plans until you are sure that you actually want to do something.
Post # 13
- Wedding: June 2017 - Cottage
ArcadiaRose : yes my family is like you. For any ever or plans.. they will be flip flopping about that to do and where to go and what time until like the absolute last minute. Fucking pisses me off to no end. Ugh.
Post # 14
Also with your SO on this one – I understand the anxiety and things depending on how you feel on the day (I also have an axiety disorder and used to handle things the same way) but really, it is disrespectful to those around you because it leaves them unable to plan their time.
Honestly? Learning to stick with plans has been really good for me. Often I found that although I felt initially anxious or like it was something I no longer wanted to do, my feelings changed once I got into the activity. Knowing that I was giving a definitive answer on plans also helped me learn to better evaluate my own feelings and not just say “Maybe” to everything, thinking I would deal with it later. It helped me develop a much better read on what situations work and what I need to watch for (for example – Friday night plans after working all week? Almost always going to be a no….)
ETA – not sure if you are in therapy for your anxiety however either way, rather than thinking of things as “Well I can’t know what I want to do because I have anxiety issues” it might be good to instead start thinking of things along the lines of “What sort of tools can I learn/develop so I can prevent my anxiety issues from impacting this part of my life so strongly?”
Post # 15
raliel : she said long time reader, first time poster. I think she meant first time to start/post her own thread?
OP, I think you already received some great advice. Just adult a little better. I know that sounds silly, but waffling and not following through is adolescent, irresponsible behavior. It makes you look unreliable and untrustworthy. If you don’t like being called those things, you might want to change your behavior. You must be able to admit that even to yourself, no?
Try to focus on being more empathetic. Put yourself in his shoes and think of how you would feel when you canceling plans or changing ideas happen. Sometimes all it takes a change of perspective to “see the light”
also, it’s ok to change your mind. But not communicating that and/or waiting until the last minute is unacceptable. By doing that your basically telling your friend or partner that you and your feelings are more important than them and theirs and that you do not respect them. You don’t want to be that kind of person, do you? How would you feel if that happened to you often by the same person?
I’m not sure though how your partner doesn’t know how to tell you which events are important or which he’d really like you to attend. What does that mean? How could he not know? I don’t understand.