Alright, I'm not sure 100% where to get started...
I'll start by saying I'm probably "relationship immature" and I have a tough time understanding my feelings, as I like to (do) anaylyze pretty much everything.
This will bring most people up to speed on my backstory : Just finished our first MC session...
, although my perspective has changed a bit since then.
So, where are we now… Two of the biggest challenges that we are facing are : Wildly varying love languages and problems in communication, and her parents.
For those of you who won’t read the link above, I am now 29, she’s 25. We married 6 years ago, and have been together for perhaps 7.5 years. Neither of us have had much LTR experience, if any at all. Cultural influences (my and her religious upbringing) heavily influenced our decision to get married, and we did so at such a young age. She was also from a foreign country at school here on a education visa, so the pressure to get married to keep her here was also a big influence. She is an only child, I am the youngest of 5.
Things seemed to go pretty well for the first 3 or 4 years, but starting around 2 years ago, I was starting to sense a disconnect in our relationship. I felt like I was giving more to the relationship and I wasn’t getting much in return. I felt like in order to be happy in this relationship then she should be giving as much as me, maybe not equal amounts, but enough to make me feel like I wasn’t the only one bending over backwards. Yes, I’m a self diagnosed “nice guy” and instead of really talking to her about this, I just complained. And, this continued to fester over the last few years. We started arguing more and more, over petty and major things… and I started to get the sense that she was taking me for granted. I’ve done so much for her, why can’t she realize and do the same for me, right? She started to build more friendships at work and started getting more involved in hanging out with them.. totally fine, except that I felt like she was wanting something else other than our relationship. She got more involved in partying, hanging out with her “single” friends, and while she invited me to go, I declined due to my stressful job and my interest in relaxing (I am a homebody at heart, don’t like huge groups, especially people I don’t know). I also declined a lot of these times because I felt like she was choosing them over me.
I’d dedicate a lot of time to making sure she got her needs met, and then mine went unaddressed. She never took the time to do the things that I needed to get from her so I know that she loved me. It because a consistent issue with me, her deprioritization of me and my needs. She came first. Always. She came first in my mind, and she came first in hers… this is where I felt the biggest disconnect. She was both of our priorities – and who was there to take care of me? So, lots of little fights, resentment, and an overall sense of questioning why/if she loved me. All the while, she thought things were going well. I chalked this up to her being an only child, her mom giving her whatever she wanting, and a overall sense of entitlement and selfishness.
We recently took the surveys for the love languages, and we are complete opposites. I’m a 10 for quality time, she’s a 4. She marked the highest in acts of service, and I was a 3 Understanding this has now helped me see that she may love me, but just doesn’t know or want or can show me in the way I receive love. Either way, I can see how she does some things “for me” but in her love language. So, this brings some light to all the above instances, but I still feel like I care a lot more for her than she does for me.
So, enter the parents… As we have grown and matured, I’ve become pretty successful in my career, and she’s done well as well. We have a good life, materially, and shes’ been concerned about her aging parents. Their standard of living, the distance between them (Bulgaria and the US), their health, etc… Rightfully so, as her mom is now 68 and dad is 72. She has an overwhelming sense of responsibility to her parents and to their well being – she was interested in bringing them here, in hopes to get her mom a job, they could find a place to stay, and move their life here. Only problem is that with her age, language barrier (no fluent English), and pending health issues of her dad, this isn’t something that was going to work. I tried reasoning with her only to have her reject my reasoning, so we brought them here anyway. My line of thought was that she wouldn’t understand until they come and fail. Not that I want them to, but have you guys seen the unemployment rate out there??
So, they have been living with us, and she’s tried so hard to find her mom a job. One thing that we can’t come together on, is what we do to help her parents. What do we do with the 3 apartments in BG and how will we raise our kids. She wants to go back and live there for a period of time, which I have no interest in. If we live here, she’ll want to renovate the places in BG and rent them out. I’m not sure how well that will work, since we live thousands of miles away. How do we just pick up and move when we have kids to live in an entirely different county? I have agreed to a lot of vacations there, but it seems like this isn’t enough. I never had any interest in living in another country, I like America. The best damn country in the world, why would you want to live anywhere else?
Anyway, an underlying theme here, is that she tries really hard to achieve results in whatever she puts her mind to. She’s worked really hard in her school work, determined to get all A’s. She’s picked up Spanish , and is determined to become fluent. She brought her mom here, and was determined to get her a job. When it comes to me, and my part of the relationship, and some of the things I would like to see changed, she doesn’t try at all. It’s not even in her mind. So I complain about it. (I know, I know, not the right way to do it, but I am relationship immature, remember). How come you don’t work so hard on our relationship? The other day, I got the response “I already got you”. I’m not sure she meant it just like that, but yeah… That got me really irritated. So, because I’m here, and you already “got me” you don’t have to work at this, to make me happy?
Here’s where I’m messed up – I few times in the past we’ve talked about splitting up. We are just too different, our goals, dreams, etc… we are wrong for each other, and even our love languages are off. Just plain incompatible if you ask me. So, we’ve gone to marriage counseling twice now, and both times it served as a way to seemingly exacerbate the issue. We argued after sessions, and the first time I came away with the desire to split up… but I said we would work on this and I’d be patient. She gave me a few things to work on that would help our relationship, and I gave her a few… these were areas where we could both improve in showing more love in a way that we each need it. I took to heart what she said, and I did them. Well. Her on the other hand forgot at different times what they were, and ultimately she only was able to work on 1 of the three things within a month before our next counseling session.
After the last one (new guy, we didn’t like the last one) he keyed in on the Bulgaria/parents/property issue as the end all be all for our problems. Not that fixing this would solve the others, but not solving this one would keep us from being able to solve the other ones – probably because why would you work hard in a relationship when you know it won’t end up the way you want it/ dream it to be. That makes sense, and so we continued talking about it, trying to solve it… ultimately with the both of us determining that this problem we’d never be happy about. Either she’ll need to compromise too much, or I’ll need to compromise too much, but either way there wasn’t enough common ground to solve this issue. What I proposed was a solution where I was pretty much bending over backwards in an effort to make her happy, but it wasn’t enough. So, the conversation ended with a “we’re done”. My words. We’ve talked about it so much at this point, that it was really easy to say it and mean it. I started filing for paperwork, got a lawyer, and we agreed on an uncontested divorce.
Divorce. Yipee. (sarcastic). Well, all this was pretty heated, and I wanted to detach myself emotionally from her… which was harder than I thought. This last week I was pretty much a big giant ****. She’s still in the place, and her parents, and I’m helping her/us through splitting up property and stuff. We closed our joint account, got separate cell phones, etc. and started talking about helping her get a place and a car. Monday through Friday I was sure this is what I wanted. She didn’t contest it really, except for some crying here or there, but nothing like “ please baby, let’s make this work…”.
Subconsciously, this I think is what I was hoping to happen, and it didn’t. She pulled a perfect 180 on me, and it finally kicked in on Saturday. She went to a friend’s pool party, and I was all alone. To me, it was like she was already gone. Just for that part of the day, from like 10:30 to 7:30 pm, I had a small taste of what it will be like to be alone and I hated every minute of it. I went and saw a movie, tried to keep myself busy, but it didn’t help. After she came home, we talked about some of our communication issues, and what’s caused some of this, but nothing that was going to change the course we were headed down.
Sunday we cuddled a lot, we looked for some places for her to move into (together), and went to eat. Came back and cuddled more, and we started talking again. I started to get this pain in my stomach, like I wanted to throw up, because I knew what I was going to say was really going to mess with her emotions. I told her that I wasn’t 100% certain I wanted to throw in the towel just yet. We talked about this, and how much I depend on her for my happiness, and how I need to change that (manning up, right?). I told her that there is more that I think I can do to make things better in this relationship and want to see where this takes us. Obviously, this threw her for a whirl, as she had already put her mind in the mindset of moving on without me (really quick in my book, but given the circumstances, I understand). She wanted me to take some time, figure out my emotions and really come to a 100% conclusion on what we are going to do. Problem is, I’m not sure what I want to do. I’m a ****, I know.
Here’s my challenge (and something else I haven’t explained yet). I don’t have any friends. I have lost a couple in the last few years, due to moves and stuff, but haven’t done anything to generate new friendships. Why, when you are married and live with your best friend? Don’t need friends, you just need the one you love the most. But I do have 1 real friend, but we aren’t super close.
So, I guess I’m wondering, how do I separate the feelings of loneliness and being alone from understanding whether or not I want to be with me wife or not. I guess the question is (at least to me right now) which would be worse : leaving her and being alone, for the chance to meet someone that would be better matched to me, or me giving in a bit more, working harder in my marriage and trying to make things work, but all with the possibility that it still wouldn’t work out in the future.
I see a lot of people on here have SO’s that cheat, and I feel like if I was in that situation, then it would be easier. That would be a no brainer in my book. This on the other hand is coming to the conclusion that we aren’t the most compatible, but I still have a ton of feelings for her. Realizing that in life, we will never be happiest together, but maybe without each other it would be worse of the same.
I’m so lost. I don’t understand my own feelings and wants. I want her, but also need a partner that is a bit more attentive towards me. Can she do that? Can I be more of what she needs? Who knows. I don’t want to string her along, and I already feel like the biggest ******* in the world for doing this to her, but I thought a divorce with her was a sure thing. And then almost immediately I did a 180 and said that was the worst effing decision to make. WTF am I thinking?
Please guys, ladies, I need some help here. Really. Brutal honesty will help, so don’t sugar coat. I might get defensive… I’m told that I get that way at times. So please don’t be put off by that. But I really don’t want to make a wrong decision. I haven’t a clue what’s right and wrong right now. Help?