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Author Topic: Communication Troubles and Other Relationship Worries
Atonement
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Well, I know I’ve posted about this a few months ago, so I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself- I couldn’t find the old thread to cross reference. I also apologize for practically writing a book on the forum.

I’m still having worries and issues with communicating with my boyfriend.
I’m going to try to make a list so I can organize my concerns:

1. He doesn’t call me as much as I would like. The fact that I’m the one making a larger percentage of the calls makes me feel insecure, like I’m chasing him and he’s not really concerned with me. His quote on this is “When I get home from work, all I really want to do is relax and watch tv.” This seems like kind of an unbalance to me because the first thing I usually want to do is call him and talk to him.

2. When he goes out with his friends, he has a tendency to ignore my calls and most of my texts. This bothers me for several reasons. One being, I just plain hate being ignored, and I don’t see why he can’t just pick up the phone, say “Hey, I’m out with some friends right now, can I call you when I get home?” or at least answer my texts. And I’m sure he gets them, because he has no problem with texting his friends the entire time we’re together. Not to mention, it bothers me to know that if I ever had an emergency and needed him, there’s a good chance that he might be nowhere to be found. I’ve complained about this before, and he’ll apologize, but then do a repeat not too long after.

3. He’s shown little streaks of being bossy. A few months ago, we were getting ready for a trip, and he told me that I could only take a carry-on “, and that’s final”. I left it alone for about an hour, then had a talk, and told him very nicely “I would ask you not to talk to you like you’re my mother, but the truth is, even she doesn’t talk to me like that.” He apologized to me and I was really proud of how effectively I felt I handled the situation. Lately though, little streaks of that is showing up more often. If I want to do something that he doesn’t (go somewhere, change the channel, ect), he stands his ground like a 2 year old and refuses to compromise. For example, I’m only able to hang out with him a couple times a week max anyway, so I don’t see why he can’t just watch something we BOTH like for the time I’m there. And then, the last time we had sex, we had to stop in the middle because he flat out refused to use lube, citing “I just don’t like it”, and I knew if I kept going on I’d hurt myself. Now, he was ok with stopping (and I suspect he might have just been tired and used the lube as an excuse), but it bothered me that he was so stubborn about it.

4. Any time I try to address anything I’m unhappy with pertaining to our relationship, he will hear me out, but NEVER GIVE ANY INPUT!!! I’ll beg, try to coax it out of him, ect. His usual line goes something along the lines of “Well, I don’t know what to say.” Or just a general “Don’t worry, It’ll be ok, I love you”. And several times, he’s just found ways to cheer me up by doing something really fun or taking me somewhere I like to go instead of taking care of the actual problem. I don’t see how we’re going to be able to work through anything if all our serious conversations are so one sided. I worry that he’s not listening, or he’s whatever he’s thinking is the worst imaginable thing. Do you guys have any idea what I can do to get him to open up to me and have an actual productive conversation?

5. A lot of times I feel that our relationship is seriously unbalanced. I’m worry that he doesn’t really love me as much as he loves the idea of being in love with me and all the benefits that go with it. I often feel like I’m not really that big of a priority. When I told him this he said “Of couse you are. If you weren’t, I wouldn’t spend time with you, or take you places you like to go, ect.” The thing is, I know pretty much everything we do together he enjoys too, and he does stuff like that with his friends too, so I don’t really see that as proof of his love. But then, the way he talks sometimes, he gives the impression that he’d marry me tomorrow if he could. He seems to have 100% confidence in our relationship. And I think that might be just because he’s happy with everything the way it already is.

6. I worry that he’s on his better behavior with me, and might be hiding a bit of a nastier personality. He works rather closely with my mother (actually how I met him), and they are both in the same position and are over several people. My mom has told me that he is often for, for lack of better word, an ******* to his workers, and on one occasion, was even very rude to one of HIS bosses who he knew was too nice to punish him for it. She is concerned that this is a sign that he’s the kind of person that thinks too much of himself, and that he’ll take advantage of someone just because they’re nice. And, from what I’ve heard, it does kinda sound that way. In fact, once I believe I even witnessed him being rude to one of his workers, but it was in a situation where he just as easily might’ve been joking, so I decided not to confront him about it. Once, my mom said he was even pretty rude to her at work, and when she called him out on it, he acted the same way he usually acts when I call him out on something. My mom also thinks that he shows signs of a lot of self-centered traits. According to her “people are on their best behavior while they’re dating”. I’ve also read things that say that if you want to see how someone will treat you after the newness wears off, to look at how they treat others. I worry that he might start to treat me badly if we were to live together, but I want our relationship to be one that has potential for marriage/ect.

I’ve looked up prewritten advice websites and a lot of them say to just “toss ‘em out and get a new one”. But I love him very much, and I really don’t want to throw away our relationship over something that I think might be fixable like a communication problem.

However, all this is making me worry that maybe he is self centered, and that he doesn’t and won’t ever love me as much as I love him.

Do you all have any advice for what I can do/say so open up communication and make our relationship better? Anything that you thing is a serious red flag, or that I should look out for?

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atm1
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Here is your last thread.

Now, I hate to say it, but it sounds like you have tried to open up communication in this relationship and it simply hasn't worked. If this has been a significant problem for four months now, and it's not getting any better. It sounds like he's unwilling to engage in the types of conversations that you two need to have, and you cannot fix these problems alone. He has got to work on it too.

(As a side note, each of you wanting to do different things when you get home is not really an "imbalance" in the relationship. That's really just an issue of two different preferences).

Honestly, this sounds like a pretty unhealthy relationship to me, and I don't believe that I have any advice for you to try and fix it--because you have already tried all of the things I would suggest. And it's true that this might be a fixable problem, but he does not seem willing to help fix it. And that's the key here. There's nothing you can do here without him making a serious commitment to changing the way things are.

You could say something like "I am feeling like these are some really big problems in our relationship, and unless you are willing to help work on them and have honest conversations about this, I'm afraid this relationship can't last. I really need for us to have this conversations, and for there to be some big changes in our relationship as a result." That might prompt the changes to happen, but it may not.

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Atonement
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Thanks for linking the thread...

See the thing is, after I talked to Heather the last time, I kind of let it go. I chickened out and never ended up sending the letter. So, in a way, these issues partly went on so long because I haven't properly addressed them.

However, after rereading that thread, I see we have made some headway. He spends more time with me, and makes his plans ahead of time more often so he doesn't leave me hanging anymore. Also, we've evened out our sex life quite a bit as well. Basically, we started having it more often, but i stopped trying to make every time be an 8 hour marathon as well.

This time, though, I didn't chicken out. I told him that I just couldn't get on with it, And told him how I felt about everything but number 6. (I thought it was better if i left out the stuff that doesn't directly pertain to me for not so he didn't feel like i was attacking him). I asked him if he wanted to work on it or if he wanted to call it quits, and he said he wanted to work on it.

I know really only time will tell as to whether he actually does. So I'm going to try and stand my ground more this time, and try to address things with him more often in a calm manner, not when I'm freaking out.


The thing is, a lot of the time, I'm OK. But I bottle problems up, so they tend to only be mentioned when I'm having a breakdown (a lot of the times around my withdraw bleed), and i tend to freak out and get pretty irrational. My dad does that too, but WAY worse (my whole family privately admits that he has a mental illness, but he won't go anywhere within a mile's radius of a doctor, so nothing's diagnosed). And the thing it, when I'm being perfectly honest, I don't really like him, and it freaks me out to see myself acting like him, even if it's just a mere shadow.

I tried to talk to my doctor about this the last time I saw her, and she told me to take St. John's Wort before my period, even though she KNOWS I'm using the pill as my primary birth control method. When I pointed out the interaction, she suggested I just change pills and see if it works. The thing is, from what I've read, the only difference between the pill I'm on and the pill INDICATED for these problems is that it has 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol instead of 0.02 mg. And I really don't think that taking 0.01 mg less estrogen a day is going to take care of mood problems that were worse before I got on the pill to begin with. So, long story short, I'm not really sure I trust her judgment anymore. Plus, she didn't even SUGGEST a different one. She just told me to research them and get back with her, so I decided to stick with what I've got because it makes my cycles perfect, it got rid of all physical PMS symptoms, and I feel safe on it.

I want to continue this relationship in a productive manner, but I think it would help me handle our relationship if I tried to resolve some of the other problems I'm having. The thing is, I just don't know where to start. I can't move out of my house because I only make about $1000 a month, and when you subtract the $350 car note, $100 insurance and average $5000 a year for school, that only leaves me with about $135 a month.

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Atonement
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I hope that it is OK to do this.

I noticed that my post kind of got "lost" and was just hoping to revive it so someone would see my last reply.

If this is not allowed, please let me know and I will not do it in the future.

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Heather
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No, it's fine. Sorry it got overlooked.

Can you fil me in a bit more on what you want to talk about?

In other words, you say you really feel you need to first resolve some of your issues outside your relationship first: is it that you're asking for help with, or the relationship?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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I guess that was kind of confusing the way I switched topics!

Ever sense I had the talk with him last (Sunday), my relationship with him has been going good. He's putting in some sincere effort, and while I know it's been less than a week, I do feel pretty positive about it.

As for right now, I'd like to focus on the issues outside of the relationship. I feel like if I have a chance to at least talk about the other issues, It'll help me to not freak out every time he does the slightest thing wrong, do you know what I mean? I'm not sure I can do anything about it but vent, but it helps to talk to someone outside the issues in non-risky setting.

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Heather
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Okay.

So, about your doctor, it sounds to me like you may just want to shift to a doctor both to address your mood issues and to discuss your birth control options. It just doesn't sounds like she's doing a great job in either department: can you switch?

In terms of wanting to move out on your own, there are ways of making that work in some cases. So, you have $1K a month in income. Do you need to keep your car, or have one with such a big monthly payment? Is there work-study at school you could do to help with income/school tuition? Have you talked to someone in the financial aid office about seeing if there's any way you could get some more aid for housing?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Yes, I could switch doctors, but I was so happy to find a female doctor who would take care of my gynecological health as well as my general health care issues. I don't believe there's any more doctors like her around on my insurance list, and I can't afford to see more than one. Also, i wondered if she did all she can, because I really am afraid of going on antidepressants or anxiety meds, because I'm afraid of their long term effects, and I'm not really sure that's the problem anyway.

Well, I'm actually in a pretty non-traditional situation when it comes to all that.

I probably shouldn't have bought such an expensive car, and I don't believe there's any way to go back without taking a significant monetary loss and/or ruining my credit.

See, before I bought it my mom and I had a talk (and by the way, I don't have any issues with her other than her occasional blindness to certain situations) and she convinced me that I couldn't afford to move out anyway, so I might as well get buying a car out of the way while I was living at home and not needing to pay any rent. My old car was literally about to die, and in my area, there is no such thing as public transportation, and everything's too far apart to walk or bike.

My school ( the nearest one) is rather far away, and I'm going entirely online. It is a community college in a VERY wealthy area, so rent is through the roof, and there is no on campus housing.

I'm making more (in a job that I honestly really like) that I would even if I could afford to drive to the school, and I'm not eligible to receive any financial aid.

One thing I have to remember Is if I stay on target, I should be able to graduate by summer 2011. I don't really want to screw myself up when I'm so close to being done anyway. I also don't want to just take off like that, because I really don't want to just sever ties with them (I don't think I could live without my mom, and she and my dad are kinda a package deal), and that would probably be what would happen if I didn't handle it delicately.

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Heather
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In terms of the doc, I'd just check your insurance. If you can't switch, you certainly can communicate to her that a) it's her job as the doctor to research what brands of pill might be best for you, and b) also her job to check into possible interactions of one medication or supplement with another.

Because it really is: putting all that on a patient isn't cool.

Per the stuff with the car, why not check? It may be you can get out of it or sell it back and get a used car without such hefty payments. That's just a heck of a car payment for someone still in school: it's pretty safe to say most of us just starting out wither usually go without cars, or get something used that runs well, but little more.

At least that way, even if you can't move right now, you can be saving some money to do so when it's more tenable for you. That also gives you more time to shift into moving away from home in a way where you can do it without hurting the relationship it sounds like you value with your Mom. Leaving home is something many young people do, especially in the western world, so mind, you moving out on your own shouldn't bee seen as "taking off," but as growing up, but maybe you and your folks could talk about that more so you can make clear that's what it is.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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My parents talked me out of getting a car without a warranty because of the way repairs were starting to pile up on my old one. Every 5 minutes something would happen, and I think they got tired of having to drive me around while it was constantly being repaired. I looked at a lot of used cars too, but once we looked closer, they all had huge problems.

And, I know this is probably REALLY stupid, but I don't think I could let my car go. It makes me feel safe and secure, because I know that if something goes wrong with it I'm covered. Plus, I'm very proud of it. I know it's really stupid, but the thought of losing it makes me really upset, and I think that after I finish this degree and get a higher paying job, I'll be able to pay it off quickly.

Also, I dunno if this is important or not, but usually I'm happy with living at home, until the fighting starts up. I think I might be making excuses because I'm too afraid of change...

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Heather
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You can still get warranties on some used cars from some dealerships.

However, ultimately what I'm hearing is that while you want to move away from home, you want to stay more for now, or want some of the things that would make it impossible for you to live on your own, like this car, more right now.

And that's obviously totally fine, but it's one of those things where that's just about making choices.

[ 01-07-2010, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Right now, I do feel like staying home is the best option for me, yes. I know that, but it's still difficult to cope sometimes.

I just found out that my boyfriend might be getting a promotion. And while that's great and all, it'll mean he'll have to move about an hour away, so now I'm feeling bad again. I'm worried he won't come to see me, or that he'll find someone else that is a lot less trouble.

I talked to my mom, and she says that if he does either of these things, It's better to know he's like that sooner than later. And I really don't think he is. But still, the thought of him going away is hard.

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Heather
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You know, growing up in the city, I can think of only a few people I dated in my teens and twenties who were not around 45 minutes to an hour away (and that often meant by bus and subway, not in a sweet ride) when it came to use transporting ourselves to each other. Even in high school, when more people date who live close b/c of districts, I went to a school where we all lived all over the city, so.

To be clear, as you get older, it's very common -- if not more common that not, -- to date outside your neighborhood and for people to need to do some transportation of that kind of time period.

I want to ask you something that I hope you can hear knowing I'm not judging, just trying to help you figure things out: would you say that you feel secure enough in yourself and your relationship right now to be in this kind of relationship, and to be able to roll with changes like a partner being further away from you (not that far mind, but still) than you're used to?

[ 01-07-2010, 05:14 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Well, I certainly want to try. Admittedly, every time there's been a change in the past, (His schedule changing to where we didn't usually have the same days off) I've freaked out, but everything's been ok.

One thing that bothers me is that I know i'm going to have to depend on him to come see me all the time. My parents VERY paranoid about me driving, and I'm not allowed to go to his house now unless his parents are home.

If he moves, he'll be living alone or with a roommate, so I won't be allowed to set foot in it.

I mean, I guess we'll work through it, and I'm just freaking out. Also, it might not even happen anyway.

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Heather
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Well, and maybe this is also a fine opportunity to take the time to renegotiate the driving with your parents.

It sounds like it's also time to talk about adjusting some of the rules your parents have, like when you can see him, as you are a legal adult. Then having rules about what happens in their house is one thing, but putting rules on you when you are out elsewhere about something like parents being home is something that, again, as an adult, it's time for them to make some adjustments with.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Oh, they won't make any adjustments... Maybe about the driving, but not me going to see him. The main reason they wont want me seeing him alone is because they're afraid we'll have sex.

I'm pretty sure that my dad is one of those men that thinks of his daughters as his personal property.

A good way to sum up my mother is to go read all the virginity myths you disproved on the "pink slip" page. She believes every one of them. I tried to correct her once, but she refused to believe it, and I didn't want to push it because I was afraid if i acted like it meant too much to me, she'd figure out the truth.

I just can't tell either of them the truth. I don't know how they'd react, but they'd probably either never let me come in the house again or never let me LEAVE it again if they knew the truth.

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Heather
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I hear you (and I'm sorry).

But you can discuss being given more freedom without talking about sex. In other words, even if they feel this is about sex, it isn't: it's about you being an adult, yet them still making rules like where you can go based on if older adults are present, which, in most households, are rules for minors, not adults.

Do you see what I mean? This isn't about sex, it's about having the rules in your house be age-appropriate for you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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I see what you mean. Things have never been "age appropriate" for me.

In fact, one of the reasons I didn't go to a university was because at both the colleges I looked at, boys and girls lived in the same building (not dorm- building) and you were allowed to hang out in the dorms with the opposite sex during the day.

Now, they didn't tell me I couldn't, but i didn't really like the school so much, and they pressured me enough that I decided not to go.

Sometimes I wish I could be more honest with my parent's (especially my mom). And don't get me wrong, for the most part, I'm a good "kid". I've never smoked, drank, gotten into any trouble, and all that. In fact, the only "bad" thing I've ever done is sneak around a little bit (to go to the doctor, get my pills, and spend time with my boyfriend) and have sex. And I was nearly 19 when I did, and I was responsible and made sure I was prepared and had birth control and everything.

But, so often, I feel like they force me to lie to them. My mom will at least listen to my opinions, but according to my dad, If I disagree with him, that's disrespectful.

For example, I could never tell either of my parent's I'm pro-choice. In fact, If I even told my dad I was a feminist, I'm pretty sure he'd roll his eyes. He already thinks I'm being ridiculous because I say that if I gen married, I'll expect my husband to do an equal amount of housework because I'll be working too, and I haven't even told him I don't want children.

I feel like, especially my dad, doesn't even know my because I've been forced to feed him what he wants to hear all my life to avoid arguments.

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Heather
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I'm really sorry, atonement. That sounds exceptionally rough, especially when you clearly love them (or at least your mother) so much. [Frown]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Well, I think I've said all I can for now. Thank you so much for all the input and listening you've done for me. I know you read this kind of stuff all the time, and it means a lot that you're there!
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Heather
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You're so welcome. Hang in there, and should you feel like you want some tips on how to bring this stuff up with your parents, I'd be happy to give you some possible talking points.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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