How to Strengthen Your Relationship/BF issues
QUESTION: Iím a 42 year old and my significant other is 50 .. That has been dating over 4 years now on and off ... we had several break up due to not being able to resolve conflict and we donít fight fair ..
I have been trying not to raise issues not to cause problems Ö But it all just stays in side and one little thing sets me off Ö After all the break ups and dating other people in between , we do seem to find each other ..Iím not sure how long I can continue the cycle .. the argument is always the same no matter what the issue is .. I raise an issue , he stated that its the stupidest thing he has hers and in insecure .. all I want to do is cause issue where the is no issues .. Then I feel bad for raising it and I shut down ...our sex life has been great there is a connection that I haven t had with anyone before .. he always said that he LOVES being with me ,LOVES kissing me ects .. last night we are in a middle of things and the word LOVE changed to LIKE ... so I asked him about it .. he said that in just insecure and he has to watch what he says because I get upset .. that I ruin everything .. I told him that he hurt me with that and should explain himself Ö he said he has nothing to explain or apologize for ..
During the last break which lasted 6 months he dated someone and he openly says how he liked their sex , what a great cook she was .. these comments are hurtful ..Ö I try to not to say anything because it will cause a fight .. Please give me direction on this ? Should I just give up ? Am I too sensitive or he is just not my match ?
Thank you Barb
ANSWER: Hello Barb,
Yes, I think you are too sensitive. But yes, I think he is also not very good at communication. Yes, I think you are insecure. For example, some women would take it as a compliment when he said he liked you. It is easy to say I love you but to say I like you means that he thinks more of you than just a love object. To like someone is to like them for who they are.
One of the things that causes problems in relationships is unrealistic expectations of the other person. He might be right in saying that you cause issues where there is no issue.
Unrealistic expectation 1. thinking that he should automatically know how you feel and not say the things he says.
I would like you to send me a few examples of he said, she said, besides the one you included in your question.
One of the things that you need to learn for sure, is his intentions with what he says. I think he is probably right in that you raise issues where there really is not an issue but is your sensitivity. There is a trait called Forward Ego Balance. This trait is one where a person is very sensitive to criticism of any kind and any comment that they perceive as being negative, when it really is not negative.
What is needed is that you find happiness within yourself and not expect him to make you happy. Once you are happy within you will not be so sensitive and things that are said will not bother you because you will understand his intention and accept it.
Another thing that you need to learn is to have a sense of humor and when he says something like what he said about his former girlfriend that you make some joking comment to let him know that you are not happy, but in a way that would cause him to laugh and you laugh, too. When you like yourself and have confidence in yourself, things like that won't bother you but you can laugh it off.
The problem is that you assume what he meant. When he talked about his former girlfriend you assumed that he was putting you down by saying good things about her when he was just probably commenting about it. Yes, it wasn't in good taste but if you used humor you could tell him that he'd better not think about sex with her and you could put up your fists and say something like, "them's fighting words so put up your dukes!" Then start wrestling with him and then work it so you end up having sex.
You could benefit from a good coaching program such as my program so that you could develop self-confidence so that no matter what anyone else says it can't hurt you. It would teach you how to know the difference between just making comments and comments that are a real put down and how to handle them.
In the meantime, send me a few more examples and maybe I can help you sort it out and help you become a little more confident in handling these situations. It is very hard to live with someone who is so sensitive that you can hardly say anything without hurting feelings so it would be good to take a look at this.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
Find Happiness within myself ?! I have found that or atleast I think I did .. I know what being miserable feels like for sure .. 7 years ago my husband left me for a much younger women , he also left me with allot of debt .. These past 7 years I worked hard to be ok .. Which was not easy ... Now I have beautiful home , great job , great friends and family .I know that I'm attractive , I'm fit and healthy .. So I'm not sure what else there is ? ..
I'm not critical with anyone else just with my boyfriend ...
So please if you can give some direction on this I would greatly appreciate it ..
Hello. Thank you for the added info. Having more detail is very helpful. It is obvious that you have overcome a whole lot in your life and achieved success in spite of things that have devastated you. You are a very strong women. However, we have over 60 personality traits that we are born with and different traits react to different situations. The traits are neither good nor bad but they can work for us or against us. Some traits are more pronounced and therefore pressure us more than others to behave and react a particular way. Sometimes we have several traits that augment each other that makes us have more of a gift and then also more of a challenge.
I notice that you equated achievement with happiness and certainly a sense of accomplishment does add to our happiness, but there is also a state of mind and being that we can achieve so that we do not react in a situation but calmly step back and act according to our best interest and the highest good of all concerned in the moment that triggers irritation.
The interesting thing about our traits is that it is the interaction with others that trigger our traits. We can get along well with most people and then come up against a person whose traits trigger the negative side of our own traits. Perhaps this is what is happening. Also, close relationships seem to trigger our own traits because of the emotional investment we have in the relationship. With less personal relationships we may feel our traits but are more able to direct them so that it is not so emotionally irritating.
Go to my website, www.personalityconsultant.com, for more information on this method of Personality Science that might be helpful.
Since I do not have you with me personally, or photos so I can assess your traits I can only guess which ones are triggered; but after years of working with this method I usually help people from their reactions. When I coach people I help them develop the inner confidence and peace so that they can step back emotionally and instead of reacting emotionally, can assess the situation and focus on solutions instead of reaction.
Our traits lie to us, in a sense. They can incline us to jump to conclusions that are not based on fact. Our reactions are a combination of past experience, and our traits. An example of how a trait reacts is the trait of Competitive. Competitive is a wonderful trait that helps us take the challenge of a situation and become determined not to let the situation ruin our lives. It helps us feel determined to win in our situation and spurs us to positive action.
The downside of the trait is that when someone triggers us emotionally, we immediately put that person in enemy camp. Thus, the argument becomes him versus me. Then, you feel pressured to win. This takes the focus off of what is really happening to immediately feeling like you are against each other. When you combine Competitive with Forward Ego Balance and/or Idealism, then you picture the other person putting you down, when it fact, he is not doing so. Sometimes it takes a third person, who is not emotionally involved, to help you see if it is your traits "lying" to you or, in fact, a true "put down."
When you see that a pattern has developed, then it is time to assess whether your boyfriend is indeed crossing your boundaries or if it just your reaction because of your traits.
You have a choice, either to continue to believe he is putting you down, or believe/assume that he is not putting you down, as he says. Also, often when you feel put down and react accordingly, it can be because you somehow do not feel loved. So, it might be a lack of something you need from him, and if you got that, then these other things would not bother you.
The reason that I said that happiness is an inside job, is that when you feel that peace and confidence in yourself you do not react as you have describe to me. You might choose to break it off because you do not like the relationship but you will not react in the moment so much on the defensive.
Now, I have a suggestion. Do your best to set aside your reaction and calmly, without making him feel like you are criticizing or accusing him of anything, ask him what he means by what he said. Say, "may I ask you a question?" "I am trying to understand us better. When you say that can you describe what you mean by that?" Because of the past he might assume that you are trying to make an issue again so if he reacts that way, simply tell him that you are not making an issue but are trying to understand your relationship better.
Perhaps if you can get some discussion going it might help clarify what is happening. Then, you have a choice whether to accept his intention or not. If you cannot accept his intention then what else is there to do except leave the relationship because there is no place else to go with it. Either you believe that he is putting you down and crossing your boundaries or else he loves you but is a little awkward in his expressions to you.
I do hope this helps. As you can see, it would help me a lot if I could actually discuss the situation with you. But my goal in helping people is to get them to think at things a little differently so they can go inside to the truth part of themselves and know what to do.