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

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Author Topic: space
whilemyguitargentlyweeps
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I'm not quite sure what I want from this post: probably partly to vent and partly to ask your opinions.

I wrote a few weeks ago about sex-related issues with my boyfriend. Lately he and I have realised that we need to do some different things together since seeing each other tends to mean sitting in each other's rooms and talking. That's alright, but we've been together for a long time and need some new activities to reverse some of the boredom we've felt.

We've talked and decided that we would both like to work on this problem. We would also both like to stay in this relationship. We have plans for how to handle things during the autumn term since we will both be very busy with work.

The night we had a big discussion about all this, I felt really good and relieved that we had talked things out. Then next morning I felt as if I wanted space and was a little anxious about everything resolving. Last night I saw him for a little while, and it was alright but could have been better. Both of us had other things on our minds, and I was very tired.

He is going away in several days, and I will not see him for a few weeks. In an odd way, I'm looking forward to the break. It will be nice to have time for myself, a bit of time away from all these conversations, and from my fears that I was losing someone I loved.

On the other hand, I really love him. I enjoy spending time with him. Our conversations over the past week and his commitment to improving our relationship have affirmed my feelings. I cannot wait to see him next term.

So this is my predicament: I want to enjoy these last few days with him but I really feel as if I need space. Is it normal to feel this way, especially after these sorts of discussions? We have spent a lot of time together this summer, and we've worked through some problems. I'm really happy that we've talked but at the same time, I want to get away from everything and go home for a while.

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Heather
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I don't think we can ever say what amount of personal space vs. time together is "normal" because people and couples aren't all the same. In the extremes, sure: if people never want to be together or cannot deal with ever being apart, it's pretty easy to recognize something is amiss. But in the mushy middle? Not so much, because we just all vary so much.

But you two have also been dealing with a lot of conflict and angst: I can totally understand why you'd want a breather, and I don't think wanting some time to yourself is ever something you need to stress over. It sounds like good timing, really, if you ask me.

--------------------
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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whilemyguitargentlyweeps
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Thank you, Heather. I've felt a bit of an emotional storm around this entire thing. We've been civil and understanding, but it's not trivial. We're not taking a proper break; we'll still talk and everything, but probably with less frequency simply because we'll be travelling.

I'm also afraid that he'll have changed his mind about me when we come back together in a few weeks. I don't know why that would happen, but it's a scary prospect after everything that has happened lately.

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whilemyguitargentlyweeps
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Sorry for all the follow ups, but I'm sort of lost now. We had a pleasant evening, but towards the end we were tired and everything started to fizzle out. I asked whether we could do something tonight since it will be our last real chance to see each other before he leaves. He said yes but hardly seemed enthused.

I think it is very much time for this hiatus, so to speak, even though we will still be together during this time. We are unlikely even to speak the first week he is gone given that he will be without cell service or regular internet.

I am very insecure, given my previous experiences in relationships and fears of abandonment (largely from my last relationship). Obviously, things are still off, and even though we've talked about how to fix them, the problems won't vanish instantly. Given that we are about to leave for a few weeks, I am concerned that our issues will deepen while we're gone, or that he will realize he doesn't love me, or something of the like. When he is detached or unenthused, I worry relentlessly. I've seen my counsellor about this, and she thinks that I'm worrying more given everything that is happening in my life.

I need support for tomorrow night and also how to handle the next few weeks. I plan on Skyping on a semi-regular basis, and perhaps some texts and emails. But certainly, we need space.

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Heather
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Have you ever talked with your counselor about working with him or her to develop some skills to get a little less attached to relationships? Or to make sure it's sound for you to be in intimate relationships at this stage in your life?

I ask that last thing in part because a) relationships and people's feelings in them will simply shift and change sometimes, and that's much more common when we're younger and everyone is still growing and changing a whole lot, and b) because you've expressed being unhappy in this relationship in the past, so I wonder if you would feel able to let it go yourself if and when it was clear it really wasn't something that was working for you and this guy.

It might also help, though, to know that being together a lot versus being apart often doesn't change anything around whether or not people choose to leave or stay. Being with someone doesn't keep them from thinking or feeling or evaluating thoughts or feelings, after all, and certainly doesn't keep negative feelings away, as you already know.

Do you both really WANT to see each other tonight? It sounds to me like you don't, really. If I've got that right, why not just take the space you've talked about wanting and needing sooner in stead of later, and skip out on a night that sounds likely to be a negative experience for you both?

--------------------
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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whilemyguitargentlyweeps
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I will speak to my counsellor about that. We discussed my relationship the other day, and she thinks that time apart will be good for us, but she thinks that we have a lot in common and a lot of good together. If we want to be happy, then it's not enough to justify a split unless I really, really want it.

Many of my more negative feelings are also driven by the fact that many of my friends have split with their boyfriends or girlfriends over the past few months. I've come to see breaking up as the only way to resolve conflict, and therefore working out problems seems far more daunting than it needs to be. (Hence my anxiety.)

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Heather
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Breaking up isn't really a way to resolve conflict at all. It's a way to decide to either not deal with conflict or to be done with conflict, whether that's after trying to resolve it and failing, despite everyone making real efforts, or figuring no one or someone doesn't want to try.

So, in some of those breakups, the situation may have been one of those things, in another, a different one.

And there's no right or wrong here, really, save that we do want to choose our battles and try and make sound choices about where we invest our energy and how much of it we invest. For instance, in a relationship where one or both of us just aren't all that invested anymore, trying to resolve conflict isn't likely to work or be fruitful. Same goes where only one person has a real investment, but the other doesn't. As well, in some relationships, conflict just can't be or won't be resolved because the conflict is about one person wanting/feeling one things, while the other person wants/feels something very different: we can't really change what we feel, and it's often not sound to make compromises around all of our wants.

For example, if one person really, really wants a sexual relationship, but the other really does not, there's not really a healthy middle there. Instead, the sounder, healthier choice for both people will likely be for both to seek out others who want the same things they do, and aren't a whole chasm across the river, if you catch my drift.

But also, too, when we're younger, we are just starting to explore elective relationships and romantic/sexual relationships, so breakups are more common than in later years and often do tend to happen more quickly because everyone is starting that learning curve. Save sheer luck, in order to choose partners and relationships that are really best for us, we usually need some practice, and rarely choose very long-term partners well right out of the gate without it.

--------------------
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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whilemyguitargentlyweeps
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Just wanted to say that after reading your reply, I was able to approach our night calmly. It was clear that there were things to change and to work on (i.e. being physical together), but we said goodbye for a few weeks. I'm feeling much better.
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Heather
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I'm so glad to hear that! [Smile]

--------------------
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: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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