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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » LDR, Commitment and Insanity

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Author Topic: LDR, Commitment and Insanity
pantokrator
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So, I already posted about this relationship here:
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/011817/p/1.html#000000
but some things have happened and things have changed and I'm not sure what to do.

So, I got into a fantastic graduate school in the UK which I am beyond thrilled about. I also finally finished my undergrad dissertation and graduated successfully which was a terrifyingly difficult process that I am beyond thrilled to be done with.
In terms of deciding what the next move for our relationship is, my boyfriend wanted me to come spend the entire Summer in England with him. I immediately nixed this idea because I really want to spend time with my friends and family who I am sure to see little of in the future as I will be in grad school in England. He seemed understanding but then would not stop harassing me about buying a plane ticket and has become obsessed with the moment of my arrival being the moment that all of this life problems are solved and his intensity has been putting me off.

In the last few months, I have come to the realization that finishing grad school, getting a Phd and getting set up in the career I really want is simply a much higher priority for me than being in a relationship right now. It's not that I don't love him or even that I don't want to be with him, I'm just not prepared to make major life decisions around another person or build a life with another person when my individual hopes and dreams are not yet solidified. The long-distance nature of our relationship has made him insistent upon serious commitment that I am just not ready for. Earlier I had agreed to wanting a lifetime partnership with him and I was ready to plan my life accordingly. But as the time for me to actually move to England is approaching, I have been having serious second thoughts. I realized that I have made these promises too quickly and without really considering what I wanted for myself. I still want to go to England for grad school, but I don't want that to automatically mean that we will be functionally (or even literally) married.

I explained all of this to him last weekend. I told him that I didn't mean to deceive him and that I don't want to hurt him but that I really, really need to take a step back and think about what I actually want here. He reacted by threatening to kill himself. He said that if we can't have the relationship we originally planned then he doesn't see any point in living. I immediately called a suicide hotline who then called him and talked him down.

We have talked a few times since and he seemed a lot calmer, but his reaction really scared me. I love him, but I really don't think that I can handle this level of melodrama. I felt it was really manipulative and just crazy for him to have that kind of reaction to my quite reasonable request. My instinct right now is to just break up with him. I really don't want to but I can't think of any other logical choice here.

What should I do?

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nixieGurl
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Hi pantokrator,

I'm sorry you are going through this at the moment in terms of how he reacted. To me it sounds like you have been making some really sound and positive choices about what you want and need and I think that is great. I have had a partner in the past who has used the suicide threats etc when I tried to break it off with him, I caved in to it and it developed into a very controlling abusive relationship which I regretted. I'm not saying that will happen here with you and him, but when we stay in something because one of us wants it and one of us doesn't or isn't sure, it generally does not work so well in the long term.

I think your gut feelings are a good indicator here and I would trust those. You are allowed to make the choices you make, and how he chooses to react is really not about you at all. I think you also did the right thing by calling the suicide hotline for some help from a third party when that all happened.

I think it would be healthy for both of you for you to do what you feel is right here, and if that is breaking things off then that is not a mean or bad thing to do. It will probably save you both from future issues and unhappiness, and resentment if you go against what you feel is right for you.

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Molias
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I think that if someone is threatening suicide as a means to manipulate someone else (whether or not they intend to be abusive by doing so), that's a HUGE red flag that something's not right. Combined with the history of him pressuring you for a commitment (and, if I recall correctly from that earlier thread, doing things like making housing plans for you without your agreement), it sounds like this may no longer be a safe and healthy relationship for either of you.

It's ok to change your mind about the relationship. It's ok to need space to figure out what you want. It's ok for your boyfriend to be upset by this! But it's really not ok for him to be pressuring you and threatening suicide over your decision. I'd definitely continue to call a hotline and have them intervene if he continues that behavior, and I agree with you 100000% that his behavior there was manipulative.

If you feel like you want to break up with him, I certainly think that's reasonable. Because he's made a suicide threat in the past, though, you may want to prepare yourself for another one if/when you break up with him; have that hotline number ready because it's definitely not something you should have to handle. Does he have any friends or family you could notify beforehand? Maybe just say something like "I am planning to end my relationship with [boyfriend]. He's threatened suicide in the past and I want to let you know that he may need some support around this; can you check in on him and see how he's doing after [time you plan on breaking up]?"

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pantokrator
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Thanks for your responses, nixieGurl and Molias. I really appreciate it. His suicide threats do concern me greatly when it comes to actually breaking up with him. Since he hasn't built much of a social network (he spends most of his free time either talking to me on skype or obsessively waiting for me to get on skype), I am very worried.
I'm pretty sure it's the right thing to do. I have been in an abusive relationship in the past and I really don't want to expose myself to the possibility of that happening again.

I think a lot of his issues are due to the fact that even before meeting me his most significant life goal was to have a girlfriend. Being a girl who was interested in him, I fit the bill. He's been slowly realized that wanting a significant other as a goal is very, very different from wanting, say, a degree or a nice house. The latter do not have motivations and goals of their own whereas human beings do. I think this realization has been troubling to him because there isn't anything he can do to make me want what he wants or fill the role that he wants me to fill.

I think he needs to learn that relationships are based on two completely whole, individual people voluntarily sharing themselves with each other. He really needs to work on who he is and develop his own goals and dreams rather than just looking for or wanting another person to complete him.

I've tried to explain this to him, but then he just says that he'll take up new hobbies or read more books or something if it will please me, or worse that he will be whoever he wants me to be. He doesn't seem to understand that I want him to do things and be his own person for himself, not for me. His world needs to revolve around his own individual hopes, dreams and values and not another person. He doesn't seem to understand that this is both unrealistic and unhealthy (which I find fairly shocking for an otherwise mature 22-year-old).

*sigh* It's just really hard. I've been his first and only relationship and I know I'm going to break his heart.

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Heather
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You know, if it helps, the real deal when it comes to what we know about people who commit suicide -- and some of us know this all too well very personally -- is that people who kill themselves do not tend to tell other people they will or are going to, because they do not want to be stopped.

In other words, most of the time, people who threaten with suicide -- especially in this way -- are not only not going to commit suicide, they have no intent to. What they more typically intend is to manipulate the person they're saying that to in some way.

But you know, even if you still feel worried, and even if this person was going to kill themselves, you can't stop them, and staying in an unhealthy relationship with them doesn't "save" them, you know? You did the things you CAN do, and which are sound to do in this information: you connected him with qualified help for that if that's something he needs.

You say you're concerned about getting into another abusive relationship: I'd say it sounds to me like you're already in one with this, emotionally, anyway.

Really, with breakups when someone is being like this, we usually will need to break up and then walk away. Trying to endlessly explain things, tell that person what they need to do for themselves, etc. just tends to send a mixed message. If we're still there, interacting like this, the message the other person gets is that we're still all the way in this AND they can make sure we stay in, even though we're saying that's not what we want.

I know it's hard to be the person making distance, walking away or leaving. Especially when the other person acts like this. But it might help to think about all the things you're saying in this last post here, and how doing that probably will help that person with those things way more than sticking around or getting stuck in the net, as it were, they're creating to try and keep you around so they don't have to change.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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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Redskies
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pantokrator, extra to what other folk have said -

I know it's probably because you're (understandably) concerned about him, but it seems like you've talked more about him than you. There were many significant differences between the people and the situations otherwise, but in a very different past period of my life, I was the person who was fitting someone's "Girlfriend" label and space. I didn't realise at the time the effect it was having on me, but after that relationship ended and I picked myself up, my personality expanded rapidly x100 and I got all my bright colours back, both literally and metaphorically. It was like breathing crisp wintry air again after a long time of suffocating musty dust.

I only really understood after it ended that if someone has a "girlfriend" space they're wanting to put us in, half of the person they're having a relationship with is actually their own image, and not us at all. So, that relationship is only half a relationship, and we're only half a person. We can never truly fit their image because we're our own individual person, so we'll never be a truly satisfying fit for them, we'll feel that and never be truly happy, and they'll never be happy.

You deserve better than what you've been describing.

[ 05-22-2013, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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So many kinds of what Redskies just said.

--------------------
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

Posts: 68237 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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