She Makes More Money, He's Video-Chatting - Is It Over? Relationship Advice
Thank you for the hub! [When He Says He Isn't Ready For Marriage Yet] I am in a confused place in my relationship. I found my boyfriend video chatting some random last week after I had gone to bed (we live together.) I got upset and left for the night, the next morning was spent by both of us crying and him telling me he is so sorry. He explained that he is unhappy with where he is right now, and feels inferior to myself and my family as we are all successful and he does not know what he wants to do yet. (I am 30 and he is 26.) I have only ever supported him and wanted him to be happy with his job, whatever it is. I tell him to start low on the totem pole in the career that he wants and work his way up. As I am older and make more money, I pay for more of the rent and utilities, but he is always good about getting me his share. I have always been a little bit skeptical of the age difference, my being older, but he always told me that I couldn't speak for him and that he loved me and wanted nothing different. I was very honest with him in the beginning of the relationship and told him that I don't trust the internet, and that cheating is one of the worst things someone can do to someone else.
A couple of days after my finding him chatting (he stayed at his parents' house) he came home and we spoke. He said he is afraid of his future and of hurting me again. He said because of his parents' relationship, he doesn't know if he believes in marriage, but that while dating me he never ruled it out. I explained to him that i have to know that this relationship is going somewhere, if we keep at it. He took a long walk with our dog, by himself, and came back and was insistent that he knows he will never meet anyone like me and doesn't want it to end this way. He wants to keep trying and knows he will never hurt me again.
I don't know what to do. I feel the need to protect myself and let it go, so that he doesn't have the option to do it again. I go back and forth about whether I'm really that upset about him video chatting (it was so immature, he explained it as him being immature and unhappy with himself nothing to do with me) I wonder if the age thing really is an issue (i want to get married and have kids one day, but not necessarily in the next year or two)
Do I leave it now, when it is "easier?"
What do you think? :)
Thank you for your thoughts,
I think it's way too early to throw in the towel and end this one. But you have some real work ahead of you.
Let's start at the beginning. You were upset about the video chatting, you had expressed to him that you don't trust the internet, and you also admitted you're vacillating about how big a deal the video chatting is.
This is a great example of exactly the kind of thing that needs to be hammered out in the beginning of a relationship. The entire first year of getting to know each other is about things just like this. Not only are you learning about the other person, but you're also learning about yourself. You may not have realized before this event how you felt about chatting with randoms, going into video chats, etc.
Since people are always growing and changing, the relationship is therefore always growing and changing too. So even if some things are easily agreed upon, they may have to be revisited several times over the course of your lives.
Your feelings about video chatting is a perfect example. One of the reasons this particular issue became a big deal in your relationship is because this wasn't hammered out already. Your telling him you don't trust the internet, is not an example of agreement and compromise. By "hammer out" I don't mean that if one of you mentions a broad belief that it becomes law and the other should just obey it without being heard. It is an adjustment to be a partner, and not just an individual. You don't get your way all the time. You have to realize decisions that involve your partner, you don't get to make on your own anymore.
One of the first discovery conversations you should be having as a couple is what you both feel constitutes cheating. It is not the same for everyone. How do you feel about going to a strip bar? How do you feel about porn? How do you feel about internet chat rooms, phone sex, being friends with an ex, having an intimate conversation with someone you're attracted to... These should be long discussions, which branch off on lots of tangents. These conversations are the building blocks of the relationship. You share your thoughts, you listen to your partner's, you come to agreements on how you will handle things as a couple.
It doesn't sound like you and your partner put in the work. You may have told him you don't trust the internet, but that doesn't mean anything. Did you expect him to "obey" that statement as a direct order, and to not have an opinion? Did he feel like he couldn't express his feelings to you about it? Start again. Talk this out and come to mutual agreements on how certain things will be. Personally, my husband and I watch porn, go to strip clubs, and play around on internet chat sites. Our agreement is, no secrets. For example, if he wants to go into a chat room, he tells me, and doesn't hide the chat. If I want to go to a strip bar, I tell him, and he's invited to come if he wants. (Happily married 12 years.)
What works for us isn't right for everyone. You have to find that on your own.
Another one of the things you will have to have that kind of talk about, is marriage. This is going to be a little harder especially because of your ages. He's 26. He's just heading into his Saturn Return which should fully happen at 28. He should not be ready to marry or have kids. He shouldn't even be sure of how he feels about either thing. He should be only now just becoming aware of his dreams, his short comings, his needs, and his abilities. It's a critical time, and if he's pressured, second-guessing himself, or feeling like a failure, these years are going to really be rough on him.
Meanwhile, you're 30. Your Rites of Passage/Saturn Return is done. You're time clock is tick tick ticking.
So again, this is the kind of thing that you both should be discussing and encouraging each other to think about. In the next few years this will hopefully be something you can compromise and agree upon.
But I'm getting the feeling with this, as I did with the video chat thingy, that you know what you want, and you're not putting in the work, or compromising, you're just expecting him to change, and come around to your way of thinking.
You make some interesting points - his age, his lack of success, his acting immaturely regarding his video chat. They sound right on target with his age, so maybe you know something I can't know from what you've shared. Maybe you know this isn't going to work. But from where I sit, I see it this way: He's got a good 2 - 3 years before he is going to know how he feels about marriage, children, and other big life decisions. During that time, you could both do the actual work a relationship requires.
One thought about the success thing. It's hard for anyone to question and struggle. Finding your way can be a much harder thing for some people than others. In your situation, it sounds like you're thinking this is the underlying issue, and the things that are going wrong may be because of it. I think it's the exact opposite. I don't think this is a real issue. I think if the relationship was stronger, safer and more mutual, that the success and money issues would smooth over completely. I think it's just easier to say that he is uncomfortable with your success than to admit that the relationship didn't have all the groundwork necessary to make it, or that you were impatient about your marriage agenda and his Saturn Return.
Heythere, it would certainly be easier to walk away and find someone that thinks like you, is as or more successful than you, and is in a place where they are ready to consider marriage and kids in a couple years. It's obvious that you could do that if you wanted. You sound smart and well positioned financially. You could most certainly go out there and find yourself another man if that's what you want.
You didn't mention how you feel about this guy, whether you're really deeply in love with him or not. Usually, the not mentioning is a "tell." He sounds like he's trying but doesn't know what to do. It's up to you. If you want to have some patience and do the work, I think this relationship could make it.
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