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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Relationship Questions

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Author Topic: Relationship Questions
Member # 45441

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I am twenty years old and have been dating a 23-year old boy with whom I am very much in love. We've been dating for a little over a year.

Our relationship is different from any other I've ever experienced. It's not as dramatic. When I'm apart from him, I miss him but I don't ache for him like I "ached" for my high school boyfriend when I was apart from him. We talk on the phone for an hour and a half or an hour and then we hang up and we're fine leading separate lives. We don't always need to be together. Many couples at our college do - my good friend, who is lesbian, is constantly PDA-ing with her gf in public and another hetero couple I know are LIVING together in a dorm room and never spend more than five minutes apart. I'll show up to an event or social gather without my boyfriend and everyone will ask where he is and I'll just say he's at home reading or didn't feel like coming. Maybe this makes us look "distant" to our friends, but I kind of enjoy having space from him.

I guess I'm wondering if all this makes sense. I feel old in this relationship - I don't feel a lot of dramatic emotions. I can get in fights with him but it's not like soul-wrenching and exhausting; we get annoyed and then we make up. And I love him, but it's not a Percy Shelley-type of all-consuming love where I just melt when he's not around. It's just a very, very intense appreciation of everything he stands for. I've never experienced this before. It also seems like because of this, I'm more comfortable getting mad at him.

We've also had a lot of sexual quirks. For instance, when we first started dating (after I lost my virginity to him), we had sex pretty much nonstop. Constantly. Outside, after class, before class, in his room, in mine. But then the BC pills started messing with my libido, and we had less sex. Then when I went off the BC pill, I didn't want to have sex until I found another method of protection, and so we stopped having sex altogether. We plan on resuming soon, of course, but is this pattern abnormal? If I don't want to have sex, my boyfriend won't insist upon it or act sulky about it, but I'm still confused about our intense sexuality in the beginning. Again, are we "old-seeming" because of the gradual decline in sexuality? Or was the intense sexual activity maybe a sign of immaturity - viz., we were too focused on the physical to really get to know each other?



Posts: 17 | From: USA | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 44276

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Hey there All about Eve.

Im going to attempt to write something short and succcinct here but changes are i wont, because i always tend to write long and rambling answers, so just bear with me [Smile]

I think what you are describing with your past boyfriends is infatuation.I found that when i was younger and immature i would get huge crushes on boys and become completely infatuated and obsessed with them. I think this happens when you dont really know someone all that well and you project all these fantasies about who you want them to be onto them. When youre infatuated or obsessed with someone everything is drama-drama. you need to be around them all the time, fights are intense and 'soul-wrenching' and 'exhausting' like you say.

I think what you have with your boyfriend is totally healthy.And i also think that it comes down to maturity. This is how i feel with my boyfriend. when i met him i was over being crazy-infatuated with guys and conjuring up all these fantasies about them and going through all the drama and high-emotion . Yes i did go through a little bit of that with my bf in the beggining but I feel that i was just more mature and just took it as it came and really got to know and appreciate him for the real person he is without all of that exhausting (but sometimes exciting) drama. I also think that when you are in love with someone you tend to try to diffuse fights because you love them and you dont want to risk making them upset. You dont want to have a rift between you two. You just want to resolve it and get back to normal and cuddle up, kiss and be happy together. I now avoid making a big drama and fighting over little things because i feel like whats the point of fighting over something so trivial, i just want us to be happy and peaceful. So i totally think thats a sign of maturity too. Get what i mean?

I certainly dont think that you need to 'ache' for someone when they are away, ,feel as though you need to be with them 24-7 and constantly need to be PDA-ing with them to be in love. Those are not signs of real, true love , so i wouldent worry about other people thinking that you look 'distant'. My parents have been married 27 years and they are very much in love but they definitly dont pda or feel the need to be around each other all the time. In fact they spend a lot of time apart. Also, my best friend has been with her bf for 3 years and if you saw them in public at a party you would not even know that they are bf and gf, they are happy to hang out with separate groups and do their own thing. And they are very much in love [Wink] It's ok to enjoy having your space away from someone. I enjoy having space away from my boyfriend just to be 'me'- to laze around, eat bad food, read the books i like, write and watch crappy tv. It's good to just veg out on your own once in a while, everyone needs that.

So what im saying is sont feel old, or abnormal at all. i think you have just found a mature, adult relationship with a mature guy. You definitley dont need to have some all-consuming love, obsession or dependancy on someone to be in love. I hope this makes sense? in fact being that consumed, obsessed , emotional and having 'soul-wrenching', exhausting fights dosent sound too healthy. I mean it would'nt be a very pleasant and practical way to live , dont you think?

Oh... and also dont feel old-seeming because of the decline in sexuality in your relationship. This happens in all relationships, its just human nature.

Heres a song by Cass Elliot that sums all this up and is really appropriate.

Once I believed that when love came to me
It would come with rockets, bells and poetry
But with me and you it just started quietly and grew
And believe it or not
Now there's something groovy and good
Bout whatever we got

And it's getting better
Growing stronger warm and wilder
Getting better everyday, better everyday

I don't feel all turned on and starry eyed
I just feel a sweet contentment deep inside
Holding you at night just seems kind of natural and right
And it's not hard to see
That it isn't half of what it's going to turn out to be...

Sorry if this it too long. Hope it helps and good luuck to you and your boyfriend [Smile]

Posts: 26 | From: western Australia | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
May Day
Member # 39174

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Hi Eve,

Well..i don't really think anything in your post reflects an abnormal (or old) relationship. All relationships are different because all people are different. If your relationship is loving and caring and without the dramallama, then i think it's fine.

Although i don't think your friends demonstrating their affection for each other publically automatically indicates they can't do without time together constantly. i don't see any correlation at all.

Many new couples, once they become active sexually together, experience strong desire to be so as much as possible:P Then things start to settle down and comfortable balance may be reached.
That's fine, it's pretty common too. It's only immature and not a good idea if the couples aren't being safe and responsible. It sounds like you were (although, have you also been using condoms?) then don't worry about it.
Likewise, if you're not comfortable with having sex without a personal form of BC and your partner understands and agrees to that, i don't see a problem.

Posts: 172 | From: Australia | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 44276

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Hey again all about eve,

just remember also that all people are different . Not everyone is into pda's or being totally consumed with another person. Some people just have more mellow personalities and prefer quiter relationships. I'm like that, its just my personality. On the other hand some people are more intense. So the fact that you are not like that dosent say anything negative about your relationship.

I think you feel old and abnormal because you are comparing your relationship the the prevalent, stereotypical one that you would see in a hollywood movie, read about in a romance novel lol! I have been guilty of that too!

there is not very many portrayals at all of falling in love quietly [Smile]

Posts: 26 | From: western Australia | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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To add to what's already been said...3 things...

First, you are a different person than you were when you were in a relationship in high school. You have more life experience now than you did then. You've grown and changed.

Secondly, the person you are with now is different than the person you were with in high school.

So of course the dynamic is going to be different. I'm not saying that one relationship is better or worse...or even more or less mature necessarily...just that there are understandably going to be differences that are expected. People change and relationships themselves change (so what your current relationship looks like now may not even be what it looks like a year from now, for example).

Thirdly, you might find the work of Marianne Fitzpatrick interesting. (Admittedly, this work was begun in the 80's and only looked at heterosexual, married couples at the exact mileage might vary. I don't mean to suggest that this is the only or BEST way to classify things...just that it is an interesting way to look at what happens in relationships.) She argued that there are different types of couples. Traditional couples tend to maintain traditional gender roles, avoid conflict, and maintain a high degree of physical and emotional interdependence (so lots of sharing and closeness). Independents avoid those traditional roles, don't avoid conflict, and maintain some emotional space (even if they are physically close). Separates are more concerned the individual's freedom more than the relationship, are between the other two groups in terms of dealing with conflict, and need more space from one another. Many couples are also a mix of these (where one partner tends to one type and another to a different type, etc.). This is interesting particularly because the research indicated that there were plenty of couples of all types and that they manage to work it out. There are benefits and challenges to being in any of those categories and ANY of them are completely NORMAL.

So I guess my point is that expecting your current relationship to look/function like a previous one or judging it based on what works for other people is setting up a false situation. You can't compare because things will not be exactly the same...nor would you want them to be.

[ 03-25-2010, 09:50 AM: Message edited by: KittenGoddess ]

Sarah Liz

Posts: 7316 | From: USA | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Great comments on this.

I also want to add that I think what's most important with questions like this is just doing what you can to figure out what you want, and if the kind of relationship you're in is what you want.

What someone else has or wants just really isn't relevant, though it can give us cues that might help us clarify what we do or do not want. But when it comes to being in a relationship, you and that relationship are often the soundest places to look to figure out if something is meeting your wants and needs.

If it is (and it's healthy, not abusive), it truly does not matter if it does or doesn't look like what you see or know per other people's relationships, just like it shouldn't matter to others what your relationship looks like to them when they are figuring out what they want and what feels like a good fit for them.

Just to be clear, one thing I don't think is sound or fair, on anyone's part, is to suggest or state that a relationship is more or less "mature" based on how passionate it is or looks, how sexual it is or isn't (or in what way), or how much time people do or don't want to spend together. Maturity, when it comes to relationships, is more about things like how well people try to and do communicate, how much respect people treat one another with, how well people manage their lives and relationships, etc. It's not about what model or type of relationship people choose nor about how passionate it is or is not.

I also do want to add that it's a bit of a misnomer to suggest that all sexual relationships decline in sexual frequency or interest. Sometimes that idea is also informed by ageism around sexuality and/or the false belief that as people get older, they become less sexual or stop having a sex life, something that just isn't true for many older people, even people your grandparent's age.

For sure, it's very common for people to have greater sexual frequency when relationships are very new than once they settle in, and for other parts of the relationship to be further grown and developed, which may mean the sexual aspects mellow some or take less precedence. But at the same time, some long-term sexual relationships also either sustain a frequency or a feeling of intensity, or -- most common of all -- have times when the sexual aspect is more high-key, and times when it's less so.

[ 03-25-2010, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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