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Topic: 33 and confused

18 posts, 0 answered
  1. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    27 September 2021

    I’ve been with my partner for 2.5years, everything was great the 1styear. We got along & I could see a future (he’d been married prior and I’d been engaged)

    COVID hit he lost his job & his family got into legal woes & he became cold
    he admitted
    he’s not been himself & once it’s over he will go back to normal

    I gave as much love&support as he’d allow as he turns phone off for days, we don’t live together & I’ve never been to his place, I had to drag his address out of him as I thought it was odd we’d been together for 2 years & I didn’t know where he lives), I let him be & gave him the time he asked for & let him know I was there
    he became mean, if I had an issue it wasn’t as important as his issues, if I told my feelings I was being dramatic & he has no time or patience for nonsense.
    I get while we’re at work (he got a new job with very long hours and literally works 7 days a week apparently) that we can’t text & talk all day.
    but I’m lucky if I get 2 texts a day and he is unreachable at least once every weekend.
    Once the legal issues settled & he seemed better I shared that I don’t feel loved & cared for, he didn’t care. I withdrew into myself, stopped sharing my life, sadness or happiness with him as when I did, it didn’t compare to his stress. It’s constant fighting & me trying to show him I feel like a secret, he was so secretive about giving me his address, he ignores me for days at a time. He likes to feel physical intimacy (hugs, kisses) where as I like to feel loved & heard & if we can’t see each other often, a kind word goes a long way.
    but he told me he needs time to be able to compliment me because he’s stressed. I could count on one hand the nice things he’s said to me. he never says anything nice to or about me. I don’t need constant compliments, just want to feel loved. I don’t know if I should stay & see if he does get better or if I should move on. we don’t have photos together, We’ve never celebrated anything, new year, birthday or anything. He forgot my birthday this year and last year I got a single text saying “happy bday”& when I say that he says get real we’re going through a pandemic. Im struggling because I’m 33 and hanging out with him in a car because he’s not ready to introduce to family because of the stress & that’s ok. just want to add the family issues are somewhat stressful, but all avoidable. It’s all stupid decisions made by his family that he for some reason has to fix. please help me with some honest advice x

  2. geoff
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    27 September 2021 in reply to Harlow88

    Hello Harlow, and a warm welcome to the site.

    The situation you are in isn't the easiest comment to reply to, only because he was married and you were engaged and now wanting to be in a relationship where love is a strong issue, but from what you've told us this doesn't seem to be so.

    Sure he likes the kisses and the hugs but these aren't what love only entails, it includes communication, understanding, enjoying each other's company and doing a combination of these, plus wanting to be with one another, laughing and consoling at various times and trusting each other, so you can tick off what you believe you have and see what you don't.

    When you start a relationship that has actually been going for 2.5 years, then to help with all the previous concerns it's much better that other person knows, then you can help each other cope with any problems that may be lingering on, because as soon as you keep these to yourself, then trust disappears and the love for them is in question.

    I can't tell you what to do, but I can suggest and after all of this time, you haven't seen his family, then say that counselling may help him to open up, if none of this happens, then maybe a separation or another decision is for you to decide on.

    Kisses and hugs are not related to having an open communication.

    Hope to hear back from you.


    3 people found this helpful
  3. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    27 September 2021 in reply to geoff

    Thank you Geoff for your kind reply.
    We used to have that kind of relationship where everything was good, communication, time and effort spent etc.

    but if I bring up any issues or hurt I’m feeling I get told I’m being dramatic or trying to start an argument.
    I hate fighting with anyone and it bothers me that he thinks I’m looking for a fight.

    I feel in life there will always be stressors to some degree and I don’t know how long I can be on the end of his aggression and indifference.

    i guess I’m questioning whether I should stick it out and see if things get better or just go. I see so many red flags that concern me but because he shuts me out so often it’s hard to tell if they’re really red flags or just his way of dealing with stress.

    Thank you Geoff, you’ve been so kind

    1 person found this helpful
  4. The Bro
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    28 September 2021 in reply to Harlow88

    Hi there Harlow88 and thanks so much for reaching out to the forum.

    Your amazing post is so full of pain, detail and emotions about how you feel about your partner's behaviour.

    You asked for some honest advice. Geoff has made some very good points, I'd like to add a few if that's OK.

    To me, any relationship has to be nourished not by hugs, not by texts, not by coldness, but by RESPECT.

    Without respect, love will not grow, laughter will not be spontaneous, you will never make each other feel needed, and the future is not bright.

    Is seems to me that his behaviour in ignoring you for days, not bothering with birthdays, not even taking you to his place and so on, does not show much respect for you as a person and your rights at all. He is taking you for granted and not really caring for you.

    Every human being including yourself deserves an amazing life with a partner who elevates you and encourages you to be the best you can be. Is this happening with you?

    I wonder if it is time that you brought things to a head - tell him how you are really feeling, what it is about his behaviour that concerns you, ask him if he really loves you. Now this will take some courage on your behalf but at least your uncertainty will be addressed. It will be very unfair of him to tell you again that you are being unreasonable - he has to respect your rights.

    Women have a very strong loyalty setting, much more so than men. I think you owe it to yourself to ask if this is the relationship you really want. Maybe even try giving him a complete break with no communication at all for a few weeks and see if he bothers to contact you. His actions will speak volumes about how he really feels for you.

    I hope I haven't gone on too much Harlow88 and wish you all the very best for resolving this.

    Always happy to chat if you feel that may help.

    All the very best, The Bro

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    28 September 2021 in reply to The Bro

    Thank you Bro for reaching out I truly appreciate it.
    Of course, I’ll take all the advice I can get as I feel embarrassed talking to people I know.
    To answer your question, no it’s not happening. I don’t feel encouraged or supported or even heard.
    I have spoken to him so many times and have been shut down.
    If someone keeps telling you that you’re not as important as their family (which I understand to a degree) or that your problems aren’t as important as theirs then I start to believe it.
    Im starting to wash my hands constantly in 3’s and find any excuse to wash them. I know that sounds silly but I don’t know why I do it. I use to self harm and I guess it’s the lesser of 2 evils.
    I feel like I’m a loser who isn’t doing anything worthwhile.
    I’m obviously not married and no kids and still live at home but am saving to buy.
    I have so much love to give but I feel I get so much love from friends, family, coworkers even wonderful strangers like you guys. But he needs time to show me love and thought.
    I don’t expect to be above his family, I just want to feel important to him.
    I don’t know anymore if this is the relationship for me.
    I feel I’d be a jerk if I left him when he’s asked for time.
    He’s a somewhat religious man and I am not and there seems to be a lot of excuses relating to the religion for why he won’t do this or that.
    I guess I’m saying I’m exhausted. I’m sad. I’m over pretending I’m ok when I’m not. I know a lot of these feelings come other things too, I’ve gone through very scary family health issues and now it’s like it’s consuming me. I have to say drive safe to my parents like 4 times every night or day or I panic something will happen.
    Every cough or sneeze I’m terrified something is wrong. Every trip over gives me chest pains.
    it’s literally consuming me. I’m constantly worried about my families health and well-being.
    I love them so much and the thought of them hurting is devastating.
    I feel I need help but don’t want to rely on medication.

    I do feel chatting to you guys is a big comfort so I can never thank you enough for that.
    happy to take any advice,

    thank you x

  6. Banksy92
    Community Champion
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    28 September 2021 in reply to Harlow88

    Hi Harlow88,

    Thanks for opening up to us and sharing your story - I'm sure it's not easy. This is a really difficult situation to be in and I can tell by your message you're in a lot of pain. Pain you do not deserve or should be subjected to.

    This is really tricky to write, as I really don't want to tell you what you should or shouldn't do - but I definitely want to be honest and at least say this doesn't seem healthy or that it will improve anytime soon. It sounds abusive.

    There are so many red flags here and I think the stress you are put under trying to fit within his 'rules' is taking a toll on you. You deserve a voice in a relationship, your opinions and ideas and emotions should be valued and respected.

    I'm really sorry to hear you've coped with self-harm in the past, and that you're finding yourself doing some other coping behaviours like washing your hands in 3's. Have you considered getting some support to work through these with a psychologist or councillor? It could be a really helpful step.

    I hope this helps in some way.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. The Bro
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    29 September 2021 in reply to Harlow88

    Gidday again Harlow88 - I really appreciate your reply and openness.

    Please keep on keeping on so to speak. Have you heard the song 'Ke sera sera' ? Its all about whatever will be, will be. In time this situation will absolutely sort itself out, when it is ready to do so.

    You loyalty to him is incredible and heartwarming. Just remember to look after yourself please. If he doesn't make you feel good there are no ties, and you are therefore able to set yourself free.

    Just remind yourself that there are no photos with him, no birthday memories etc. Only negative thoughts that seem to be building. Take good care of yourself and let this period of time be something you can look back on and learn from.

    I think you are amazing.

    All the very best, The Bro

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    2 October 2021 in reply to Banksy92

    Hi Banksy,

    thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I really do appreciate it.
    This forum has made it easy to talk, kind of like a safe space with no judging faces.
    I feel I know what to do, just having a hard time doing it. He seems to be going through more family issues at the moment and it’s like I’m the least important so he doesn’t have to do anything or put in any effort whatsoever because he’s going through more important things.
    I’ve gone through some terrifying things the last week, my dad ended up rushed to hospital with chest pains, and mum had a severe reaction to the vaccine and it was just horrible as I couldn’t do anything to fix it. They’re ok now thank god but it was so scary.
    I messaged and told him what happened and he didn’t get back to me until the following day. Yes he said are they ok, hope all is well but there was no call, no offer of help or support. Barely anything. It took 3 days to ask how I was. All he said was hope all is well. I told him no it was one of the worst night and following days of my life and all he said was hope they get better soon.
    Am I overreacting to that? I really don’t know.
    In regards to red flags he says we can’t do Valentine’s Day stuff because it’s against his religion, but being intimate without marriage doesn’t seem to be a problem (that is also against his religion).
    It’s like he picks and chooses what he wants to do based on how he feels at the time.
    I have considered speaking to a counsellor, mostly in regards to the worries about my family’s health but think it’s time to stop putting it off.
    The plan was to wait until New Years to see if anything had changed by then.
    The last 2 New Years was big fights about it as he “doesn’t get excited about anything”. But I do get excited about the thought of a fresh year to restart and spend with someone who loves me.
    I know waiting until then sounds silly but I’m just so confused.
    I know how he used to be and feel like what if I’m making a mistake by leaving when he’s going through a hard time and clearly doesn’t know how to deal with that.
    we all go through stress, but, and I can only speak for myself, I don’t put him down or snap at him or ignore him and turn off my phone so I’m unreachable.
    I’m really trying to just stay together at this point as I’m not sure my depression and anxiety is solely based on the situation with him anymore.
    thank you for reaching out and being honest, I am forever grateful for everything!

  9. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    2 October 2021 in reply to The Bro

    Hi again Bro,

    Thank you replying. It’s so wonderful to see that there are such kind people in the world. Being an essential worker we don’t see much of that anymore.
    Yes, I have heard this song. It’s hard to walk away knowing I’ll have to start all over again and that time isn’t on my side.
    I want to start my own family and feel the love and support and affection so many people share with their partners.
    I want to look after myself but find myself feeling alone, empty and defeated.

    I try to be there for him but he keeps me at arms length.
    And I’m completely aware at how stupid this all sounds, if it was me reading this from someone else I’d be thinking “leave him!” But I’ve invested this time and don’t want to throw away something that could be a bad patch. Very long patch.
    I’m very confused and unsure.
    Thank you for your honesty it’s so very appreciated.
    I think YOU'RE amazing, thank you so much!

  10. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    2 October 2021 in reply to Harlow88

    Hi Harlow88

    From the sounds of it you have been so considerate of his feelings and what he is going through, but it's also good to see that you are acknowledging that you also have needs that you deserve to have met.

    What has been happening with your husband is similar to what has been happening with my wife. Her job and being locked down burned her out completely, so now we are separating, but I know that when all of this ends she will feel completely different (not that this means she'll want me back).

    This burnout is like a second pandemic at the moment. He could be overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions to the extent that it renders him incapable of looking at his own feelings at the moment, which in turn leads to frustration. This would make it very difficult for him to show emotion, as his mind is in a frenzy. I've been through this myself, and I'm quite sure my wife is right now as well.

    It is reassuring for me to see that some people (you) still know what true loyalty is and are not so quick to give up on people, but it's also good that you are thinking about your own limits as well. Someone as compassionate and loyal as you have been deserves to feel valued.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. The Bro
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    3 October 2021 in reply to Harlow88

    Aw shucks thanks heaps Harlow88!

    Your loyalty is absolutely incredible BUT take care to look after yourself and remind yourself what an impressive person you are.

    I very much doubt that Mr Right will take time to come along to someone like you - have you heard the saying 'When the student is ready the teacher will appear'? So when you are good and ready the sky will turn rosie and you will look back on this as an obstacle that was only there to steer you in a much better direction.

    All the very best, The Bro

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Banksy92
    Community Champion
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    4 October 2021 in reply to Harlow88

    Hi Harlow88,

    I'm glad you feel comfortable here to share, it's a really great community where we can all explore our lives and feelings safely.

    Sorry to hear he wasn't supportive of you during such a difficult time! It must have been really hard seeing your parents go through both of those things, are they okay now? I hope so.

    You've definitely got a lot on right now, it would be understandable if feelings of depression or anxiety were being triggered by a whole range of things. I think it sounds fair enough that you've got a date in mind to aim for and make a fair assessment of your relationship by. That gives you both time to work through this period and for you to see if he's showing any signs of shifting for the better.

    Is there anything you can do for yourself in between now and then that will help you feel stronger? Maybe you can make a wellness plan for yourself so you have something positive to focus on while you wait.

    Everyone's different so it could look like anything, but for example for me, when I've been hit with really bad depression and anxiety I arrange a chat with my psychologist, aim to do more exercise and meditation and add some journalling into my bedtime routine. Just a few small steps throughout the week but it really helps.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. Sleepy21
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    4 October 2021 in reply to Banksy92

    hi all

    I just want to vaidate you -

    being cagey about where you live is a red flag, ater 2.5 years of not having gone there, it would seem something isn't adding up. Of course you can't assume the worst, but honesty and transparency really can make or break relationships. Being cagey about your living situation seems very concerning to me.

    I reread your initial post to see if I was missing something or some reason for his behaviour but from what I read, I have to be honest I saw no acceptable, understandable reason for him to, for example, react that way about birthdays, avoid taking photos, hide you from friends and family, and not permit you to know where he lives. I think it might be risky to wait for things to improve. We all want to see the best in people, give them the benefit of the doubt, and hope that they will grow and change.

    But if someone isn't treating you with empathy, respect, and isn't being reasonable, it can take a toll on us personally, a huge toll really, to stick arund on the maybe that they will change. Put yourself first. You deserve a happy birthday. You deserve to feel comfortable and at ease with the person ur dating.

    1 person found this helpful
  14. The Bro
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    5 October 2021 in reply to Harlow88

    Hi again Harlow88

    I just heard a song and thought about you - it's a Black Peas song, not sure about the title, but a line in it that kept repeating was 'A broken heart is blind'. Suggest you look after yourself and take time to let the current situation run its course before trying to do too much.

    Regards as always - The Bro

    2 people found this helpful
  15. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    8 October 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Hi jsm1974,

    Thank you so much for your reply.
    Im so sorry to hear about what is happening with your wife.
    This pandemic is really affecting so many people.
    I completely understand the burnout of it all. It takes a huge toll whether you’re still able to work or not.
    thank you for sharing how you see things, I think you’re spot on in a lot of things you said. We all deal with things differently.
    Im just not sure that it’s me he wants anymore. We’ve almost broken up a few times now and it’s always been because I’ve shared my feelings about our situation. I’m the bad guy for going through stuff and speaking up and then it turns into a huge fight we’re we’ve both thought about splitting.
    I also want to thank you for the kind words at the end. It’s really appreciated hearing someone think this.
    I wish he could see it.
    I’m really sorry to hear about you and your wife parting ways, I really hope things work out for the best and you both can be happy.
    please stay strong and keep being the wonderful person you are

    All the best


  16. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    8 October 2021 in reply to The Bro

    Hi again Bro,

    Its true! You guys are absolutely amazing.
    My doctor told me about this site and it took me a while to log on as I wasn’t sure what to expect but I am so happy I did.
    You all have been so honest (which is how I live my life mostly, being honest but nice about it) and I really need to hear the the truth.
    I really hope and am sure you’re right, that things will all work out and everything will be great.
    It’s just that gray area in the middle when everything is a bit sh*t.
    I must say I haven’t heard that saying before but I like it, thank you.
    It’s hard to imagine though you know? I’ve never had the best luck in regards to relationships. It’s hard to imagine that I’ll find or be with someone who loves me as much as I love people.
    The only people who have never let me down have been my parents and brother.
    In regards to your second message which I also appreciate so much that you thought of me, yes a broken heart is so blind. It’s like we hope for the best and end up getting taken for granted.
    I suppose what is meant for me will be done. Just have to keep my chin up, but she’s so heavy right now.
    Thank you so much for being incredibly kind, I hope you are keeping well and happy,

    All the best,


  17. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    8 October 2021 in reply to Banksy92

    Hi again Banksy92,

    You're completely right, it does feel like a safe space. I should have written on here two years ago!

    Yes it was absolutely horrible. For the last 20 years I’ve watched my mum go through some kind of serious health issue and since then my anxiety about both my parents and brothers health has gotten so much worse. I’m constantly concerned and worried thinking about them.
    It may be irrational but seeing so much from such a young age has I’d say traumatised me. Seeing what they both went through and not being able to do anything to help, I feel like I’m useless. I panic. But they are ok, dad will be going to a specialist next month which I will be accompanying him to as I will have an anxiety attack if I don’t know what’s going on! thank you so so much for asking. That’s so kind thank you. You’re a great person!

    I feel I’ve given it a bit of time and tried to stay quiet and not rock the boat but how long is a reasonable amount of time to allow someone to walk all over you..

    The last huge fight I suggested counselling and he said there’s no point he’ll never go and I just have to make more effort in regards to being the first to reach for a hug or hold his hand or whatever. I’m the one who stops us from being good.
    After one bad fight he decided the best way to deal with it was to be civil with me. No love or affection, civil until I show I can reach out to him in a physical way (not sex). It’s hard for me to want to when I don’t get any affection, just coldness because he’s stressed he can’t be sweet to me. I don’t even know if he likes me most of the time, I feel like a bother.
    What I’ve been doing on my days off is clean (sounds odd but it’s a distraction), and I’ve been painting a bit which has been ok. I know I need to speak to a professional which I will do eventually.
    I also started journaling which helps me get a bit of the angry’s out but I end up just feeling like what on earth am I doing.
    Im sorry to hear that you suffer from depression and anxiety, but I’m glad that you seek out the things you find helpful.
    That makes me happy to hear.
    Thank you for listening to me rant and rant, it means more than you know.
    Stay safe and take care,


  18. Harlow88
    Harlow88 avatar
    11 posts
    8 October 2021 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy21,

    Thank you kindly for your reply.
    And thank you for being honest I like that.

    I agree that the house thing felt off to me too. I’d realised about a year ago that I’d never been to his suburb (we usually meet in the middle or he comes to my town), &asked where he lives exactly. He asked why & I said it’s weird that we’ve been together for a while now & I dont know where you live.
    He got super weird & I basically kept questioning him until he reluctantly told me. I know I shouldn’t have pushed so hard but it started to play on my mind.
    He claims no one including his friends knows where we lives as he doesn’t want dramas. He had a previous partner &old friends come to start trouble.
    I would NEVER go to his house and was a bit upset that he’d think I’d show up to start trouble
    I will also mention his mum lives there &that’s why I haven’t been invited

    It’s not the right time to meet familes with whats happening. To be completely honest I don’t want to meet his family, they seem so dramatic. My family are chill, so it’s hard to understand why everyone needs him to fix every little situation.

    I love that your post is so to the point. Its exactly what I need to hear, it makes me feel I’m not the only one who thinks the behaviour is strange.
    I really appreciate the honesty.
    Your friends are lucky to have you.
    There’s never been an anniversary, outing or anything special. There’s no thought.
    He blames the way he feels (not being excited about literally anything) on having a party when he was 16 &no one showed up even after he’d bought all this food &drinks.
    Am I being a jerk to think that’s silly? I’ve gone through that too, &at 16 it was devastating but after growing up I realised they weren’t really my friends.
    I do feel excitement when my friends/family have great news like weddings and babies and buying a house or whatever! I get excited for them for any little thing big or small. And it’s like he’s never excited about anything that I share that makes me happy. And then I feel so deflated because he’s the one who I want to share all my happiness with but all it does is take it away and I feel stupid for sharing anything at all, especially the good stuff.
    I recently got promoted, was so happy & all he said was “that’s good”. No follow up questions at all. It was like a kick in the chest.

    Anyway I’ve carried on long enough, sorry it’s so long, thank you so much for much needed advice. I wish you so much joy & happiness!

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