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Relationships are tough ... discuss


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Not entirely sure what sort of answer I'll get to this and of course am expecting the odd cheery note/pi55 take - this is a car forum after all.

However ... I'm struggling a bit with the whole relationship thing. Been in a few (with girls, standard sort of thing) and most of them seem to go really well for 12 months or so and then fall into a routine of me getting moody and becoming detached and more matey with the g/f than a couple. I'm not a romantic really but of course at the beginning of a relationship you pull out all the stops don't you.

So, this is the current state with the current g/f. Just not too excited about the prospect of marriage and while just existing with her seems ok, in reality it seems like I'm just treading water and possibly denying either of us the chance to have something amazing and long-lasting with someone else. We are talking a 2.5 year relationship with my g/f. Odd that the one before was an identical duration.

Breaking up is of course hugely hard to do, especially if you are the breaker rather than the breakee ... wracked with guilt over how well they will cope with it all, letting down their family and friends, the thought of failure and the "what if I tried harder" thoughts. I did go away to live somewhere else for a couple of weeks to get some space which resulted in a really good reunion (in order to address the "what if I had tried harder question") and then it descended alarmingly quickly into what it was before. Not ideal.

We spoke a lot about what we each considered to be wrong with "us" and neither of us has really done much about it. Her work-life balance is wrong and she has few passions. I'm hugely passionate about many things, mostly sport (doing and watching) and have a good work-life balance but then I've not aspired to be an account director since I was small so I'm hardly living the vocational dream - she has always wanted to be a teacher and therefore in theory she is living that dream. She hasn't addressed her balance (which she acknowledged she needed to do) and I've not really tried to be in a good mood all the time or be a bit more romantic (although we have been out for some nice evenings at my suggestion).

I did think after my time away moving into a larger house (we have very limited space now I've moved into hers) would be the answer - more space and freedom but now I'm not so sure. Going away on hols in 5 weeks which I think could be the make or break although I can't help thinking that I've already made my mind up.

So, relationships are tough ... thoughts welcome as I know the collective thought of the masses can often lead to some interesting perspectives.

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It doesn't sound to me like you have met the right person.

It's massively complicated and i haven't time to put all my ideas down. I had some good looking girlfriends when i was in my teens/ twenties and we had a good time.. but looking back they weren't going to work out. We just didn't match.

I met my wife at university.. so we had things in common to start with. We just hit if off i suppose and not only is she my wife but she is my best friend as well.. we chat about everything..

There also has to be some giving as well as taking.. if you want any relationship to prosper then you do have to give it some energy and work at it.. nothing in life comes easy.

Your situation isn't easy.. life is moving on.. are you or her unhappy because if so why prolong that?.. take the heartbreak now for happier times later on, or suffer 3 or 4 more years when it will happen anyway. Either that or you decide that you are happy and enjoy life.

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I think an awful lot of couples get to stages in their relationship where the flame has dimmed a bit and it life seems a bit mundane and humdrum - and an awful lot of that happens because people get a bit complacent about their partner, and the relationship is less of a priority than it used to be. To end a relationship because of this in most cases is probably a bit hasty - maybe all that is required is something to remind you both why you are together and work well as a couple - maybe a holiday will do that, maybe you could consider taking up some sort of shared pursuit. Another option is perhaps some sort of couples counselling - a mate of mine is a psychotherapist who specialises in this and he said that in 90% of the couples he sees, the issues boil down one way or another to a lack of effective communication.

Clearly anything like this will require the active input of both people.

Although you have discussed this with your girlfriend, does she actually agree that there is a problem? And if so what does she think it is? Or is she happy with the current status quo? Many many people have a terrible work life balance - yet have good relationships so I strongly doubt that is the only, or indeed the main, problem.

Now it kind of seems like you've thought this through in detail already and you are fairly certain that things have run their course. That might indeed be the case in which case just make the break as quickly and cleanly as you can. And don't worry about letting down her family or friends! They will feel a lot more let down if you drag things out another 5 years and then leave her.

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Some good advice in here gents, thanks. Pretty much what most people say.

I think I'm coming to the conclusion that neither of us really want to change or have an overwhelming desire to do so. I do think I'd be better suited with someone a bit more sporty and who enjoys the outdoors in the same way I do - I don't want to go for a walk, I want to go for a bloody tough hike to the top of a steep mountain ... that sort of thing.

I get the clean break thing too but man, that is hard. Since I live with her I keep looking round her flat thinking of all the things that will change for her once I'm not there and that really hurts. I've was mates with her for 12 years before we started going out so I don't want any animosity.

I'm 33 so maybe now it is more important than at any other time to really think about the future. I could just muddle along or I could change things and give something else a chance. There is always the worry of not realising what you have until it is gone of course ...

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I think it is worth working at if the spark is still there, life can be humdrum at times for whatever reason, but if the spark is there then stick at it.

Reading your posts I don't see anything that stands out about her, is she special ? You don't mention being in love, laughing together, sex, or any of that good stuff. If you don't have that, then you're stuffed. She has to be 'the one', not just a convenient person to reside with, what is she like ? What would she say about you ?

Good luck, it took balls for you to post this up (and an effort from us lot to be genuinely nice and not take the p*ss as usual), I hope it works out for both of you one way or another. +++

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Not sure what is meant by spark really - might be a telling comment in itself!!

She is special to me, yes and of course there is love there. Is she the one? Initially I thought so but now all I see is more of the same really. She knows my shortfalls alright ... she would say I was a miserable sod in the morning. She would be right! She would say many nice things too but would conceede that going along the way we were and now are back to isn't making either of us happy. Maybe a longer period away would help thinking aboutthe old adage of "absence making the heart grow fonder". That said, she went away with her school for a week and I didn't miss her really - didn't think about it, just got down the gym more! Sad g1t!

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In my opinion if the only worry you have is how she will cope or how she will feel means GUILT on leaving her! Very telling I think (and admirable BTW) but it means you will feel OK about it which to me says one thing you are not IN LOVE. If you were you would be sick with worry how you would get on without her!!

Sorry if it reads as being harsh but that is my take on it.

Good luck with what ever you decide to do.

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I think what Dave said makes a lot of sense. You clearly aren't on the same wavelength, so it's probably best to move on. Both of you need to be comfortable with what your own individual wants/needs are as well as the way in which your relationship is developing.

I wouldn't put it down to 'you', rather that you just haven't found the 'one' that you click with.

Everyone's different and has different needs, just have some fun and try and find some more victims, sorry girlfriends to expirement with. But think about what would work with you

For example the idea of dating someone who has a huge amount of interests/passions is great until you find out that they might be spending too much time doing their own thing rather than time with you!

Equally finding someone who has the same interests/passions as you is great, but sometimes it's good to do stuff on your own every now and then!

Take some time out mate, don't look too hard and see what happens +++

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That said, she went away with her school for a week and I didn't miss her really - didn't think about it, just got down the gym more! Sad g1t!

Primary School teacher? Whayhayyy!!+++

Right, down to serious stuff.

The above comment from you is telling. If you didn't miss her then it's not right.

If wifey is out somewhere or even going somewhere, I worry. Even when she's at her mum's for 1 or 2 nights. If she is 30 mins later than expected I worry. Sleep is terrible when she's not there too.

That doesn't sound like you are right together.

Do you do things together? Like cooking, riding, gardening, walks, concerts, watch teh same TV shows?

Wifey and I do. Ex wifey and I didn't.

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Like cooking: no

Riding: no

Gardening: no garden so no.

Walks: at very different paces with different agendas - hers is to have a "lovely" (euphemism for slow, holding hands) walk and mine is to WALK.

Concerts: no, neither of us are fans though

Watch teh same TV shows: absolutely not; Corrie is her bag, nature programmes or science series' are mine. Mutual interest in the Apprentice - not this year's Junior version though

I take you literally of course but I get the point. We like going out for food together (been to some top notch places but she is a veggie so never got the full Marcus Wareing experience!) and like seeing mates together. My past times are running and canoeing mostly which are not things she would contemplate.

But, I do get that you don't have to do the same stuff together the whole time. I suppose one of my questions is whether you actually need to be similar in such ways to work - or whether you have to be that sort of person who doesn't mind you both having different interests for it to work.

To my mind our interests are fundamentally different - but then I've other mates who make successes of the same arrangement so it perhaps isn't black and white.

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It doesn't make any difference if you share interests or not, so long as you both ultimately have the same goals in life, i.e. kids, houses, career, that kind of stuff, then it's fine.

You do need to find time for each other though, and find time to do things with each other that you may not necessarily find particularly interesting, but at least look like your showing an interest.

My other half and myself share virtually no common interests, so we get the time to ourselves to pursue our individual interests, but also occasionally take an interest in each others pursuits.

We're trying to find some common interests so we can spend more time together, but haven't really looked properly yet, and I think having the kids will put paid to most things until they are a bit older.

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As Tipex says things aren't cut and dry in relation to interests unless they are extremely different then maybe.

I'm fairly passionate about F1 and gadgets, photography but my wife couldn't care less and is passionate about very little. But she understands why I like it and whilst on the odd occasions its frustrating for each of us those times are few and far between.

But we do have the utmost respect for each other and communicate a lot about well just about everything to be honest. I'm slightly less work focused she is, but that's not a problem if she wants to spend more time in the office more fool her, but it doesn't bother me even though we have a little one on the way as I know she will adapt.

But above all, every time I see her I smile and still feel happy, arguments last for minutes not days and we can spend an inordinate amount of time together and not get on each others nerves. This isn't the same for every relationship but it works for us, but you do need a spark. +++

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Well we're like chalk and cheese in a lot of things.

However, it wouldn't matter if we liked all the same things.

The point is, I don't think that particularly matters. What does, in my opinion, is that some of the thoughts Andrew expresses lead me to believe that shared interests would be of little impact in the longer term.

By saying it just doesn't feel right and you feel like you do, as bad as this might sound, I'd say cut it before it gets any worse for her. Feeling like that isn't necessary in life. It is short and you get one trip. Make it a good one.

p.s. we argue like cat and dog, and they can go on for days. It means nothing in the long term. We both speak our minds - and that's what makes our relationship strong. I have known couples who have never had crossed words for 20 years - and then their marriage collapses overnight.

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You've gotta have a good argument every now and again, otherwise one of you is being a doormat, and that can only last so long!

We argue probably once every 6 months or so, but it'll be a full on shouting fest, then within minutes of the 'last word' were, erm, making up!

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Flipping heck, I tried to reply to this on Saturday when the g/f walks in! Anyway, what I said in reply cruiser was:

1. I don't want to upset her. I love her and as I look round her flat at the stuff we have together it is just massively upsetting that I'm going to stop it all. It is more the way I'll make her feel ... the actual bit where I have to move my stuff out; the final goodbye etc etc. I've finished relationships before but never because they were not "the one" - mostly I finished them because they got on my nerves. I've had one long-term g/f finish with me because I wasn't "the one" and I understood and agreed with her; it was a very amicable split and we are still in contact.

2. What if she is actually the best thing ever to happen to me and I've found someone willing to put up with me?

Of course the answer to 1. is that it is my life and I can't live it for someone else. The answer to 2 is more tricky I guess.

However, I did suggest yesterday that we should put the buying a house idea on hold until after the holiday as I felt we had not given "us" the effort we said we would a few weeks ago ... I think she understood this last point.

Sorry guys, I'm being a bit of a girl here!!

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Oh and a third - familiarity and the fact that not going through the heartache and destruction is the easiest (and cowardly) thing to do for now. We had such a good set of plans and it was all so positive so the fact it isn't going to work and that the split it down to me just makes it harder.

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Andrew, what I would say to this is that you should ask yourself whether you want to be with her for the rest of your life. That needs a shed load of thinking about, because the rest of your life is a bloody long time.

Once you've answered that, then make the right decision for both of you. If it means breaking up, then do it now. It'll be one of the most horrible things you have to do, but you'll hurt her less for doing it now than x months or years down the line.

Best of luck, whatever you decide +++

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