Maybe writing it down will clarify it for me too
I would like to ask you for your perspective on my situation. It's a fairly common situation from what I've read on these pages, still, I can't sort it out myself as I only see my point of view.
Background: boyfriend (let's call him Andi) and I got together 2 years ago, had a perfect first year and then things started to slowly deteriorate. Main reason for that was that I got impatient with the way he was managing his life. I know, his business, but since his business had an impact on my life too, I felt I could say something. He has serious health problems that impact what we can do together, and affect his moods making him angry with the world and often complaining. I am a positive person, always look for the bright side, and the constant complaints, even though not directed toward me, were draining.
My coping mechanism, after talking with him and explaining how I feel several times with no changes, was to set up a profile on okc, go on a couple of dates, realize that after all I was happier with Andi even with all the crap, and shut it down again. This worked a couple of times, but the relationship continued to deteriorate to a point where I decided to break up.
The decision coincided with meeting someone on okc (let's call him Climbing Guy, CG) and having a good time, which showed me plainly it was time to end the relationship with Andi. The meeting was the trigger, not the cause of the break up.
This was at the beginning of August: I told Andi I thought we should break up, explained why (without mentioning CG at that point), and then allowing myself to be convinced by tears and declarations of love to give it another try. However I said I needed a month-long pause to step back, forget the negative sides, and be able to see his positive sides again. This got negotiated to a 10 days pause, during which I clearly stated I would see other people (in the meanwhile having told him about CG) and that I considered us free agents. He more or less agreed (I say more or less because it's really really hard to get any clear input from him).
This worked ok, although it was not long enough for me to really forget the negative aspects. During the pause I met another guy, (the kinky one, TKO), and started exploring a relationship with him too. Both CG and TKO are in open relationships and introduced me to the whole concept, of which I had never heard before. I read The Ethical Slut, joined here, started reading Opening Up, and got super excited about the whole thing.
When I met Andi again I explained to him about open relationships and that if we were to stay together, that was how I wanted to do it.
Of course, this was not done the best way: he had never heard of the concept and got told "either this way, or that's the door". I also need to add that I am a very rational person, not prone to jealousy at all (actually I have trouble letting myself love people in general), and so when he expressed doubts my answer was "well if you cannot accept this, fine, then we need to end the relationship", which to him sounded cold and uncaring (to me it sounded like the logical solution).
After several further conversations we agreed to try it. This lasted 2 weeks, during which we would talk about it every time, I translated stuff from More than two for him (BIG issue we have: he doesn't speak any English and I speak a decent but imperfect German, so communication is already difficult by default), and overall tried to make things work. After 2 weeks, more or less out of the blue he decided to break up and sent me an insulting text and stated he never wanted to see me again.
I wished him good luck, and to me it ended there.
However we ended up seeing each other by chance in the park, we smiled, and in the evening started texting, which over the next week brought us to decide to try again. This time around he was more open to hearing about my other relationships (he never expressed any interest in looking for another relationship for himself, although I encouraged him to try), and overall things got much much better. He started seriously working on the issues that had been bothering me in the past year, we were much more openly talking, and everything was fine.
The set up is like this: we each live on our own, CG has a wife and two other partners, TKO has a girlfriend and other fixed days for sport. So seeing each other was a matter of tight schedule with CG and TKO, while Andi has no other obligations and it free every evening. Because of this, it ended up that I set up my dates with CG and TKO to fit their schedule, and told Andi I would see him the rest of the time. I would only meet CG and TKO once a week each anyway, and the rest was for Andi.
For one reason and the other, it ended up that I would see Andi about once during the week and twice on the weekend (I also need time for myself and for my friends).
Here's the problem though: he never told me "this is not enough, I need that we see each other xyz times a week". He never really complained about seeing me that little, and because I am
a. full of NRE for CG and TKO
b. still learning to "re-love" Andi thanks to the positive improvements he made
c. pretty much a selfish person who puts her needs first
I never thought it was not ok. He doesn't complain, it means it's fine.
In the last few weeks he did say something along the lines of "I feel like the 5th wheel on the wagon" and "I feel I have third place in your fuck-hierarchy", but when I asked him what did he need to feel better, what did he need me to do/say for him to be happy, he declined to answer with the reason "if you loved me, you would know". I told him that is not possible, I cannot read his mind and he needs to clearly express what he wants and needs for me to be able to attend to it. But this is his problem in general, he does the same with his mother and brother, instead of telling them what he wants, he expects them to know. I spoke with him several times about it, but it goes nowhere.
Anyway, the current situation is that we had a great date last week, spoke on the weekend once, and then he disappeared. No picking up the phone, no answering texts. This is so out of character that I seriously thought he had had an accident and was in a coma or something. He never before failed to communicate for 4 days.
Finally, after I texted him that if I didn't hear from him until the next day I'd go over to his place, he answered and last night we spoke.
Summary of the one hour long conversation is that he is unhappy because he feels that I ignore him, that I spend way more time with CG and TKO than with him, and that I don't really care for him. I listed the dates we all had this month (which show that I saw Andi more often than the others), and tried to reassure him that I do care for him. However these are facts and they don't change his feelings and perceptions even though rationally he can see it's correct.
We left the conversation with the agreement that we would each make a list of what we need from the other in order for the relationship to continue.
My problem is that I need to force myself to find reasons why I want to stay with him. Sure I like him, we have good times together, but do I really love him? I am not sure. If I had to close my eyes and decide on the spot with whom would I rather go on a date tonight, I would immediately pick TKO (we recently told each other that what started as FWB is slowly going toward a more affectionate relationship). But I know that this is just NRE, so rationally I know that the answer should be Andi, because if I don't spend more time with him, I won't be able to fix the relationship.
So my dilemma is: should I follow my heart, or my logic? The logic also says that if I have to "force" myself to be with Andi although I'd rather be with someone else, then it's not really worth trying. But the logic also tells me it's just NRE and it will go away and then I'll want to be with Andi more.
I am not sure what I want, actually. I like my life as it is, with the freedom to see people whenever we want, and I don't really want to make an extra effort for someone I care about but not so much after all.
The best thing for Andi would be for me to tell him that he's better off with someone else who doesn't treat him like I do. I know I don't give him priority, because honestly why should I? I have more fun with the others. But that's unfair toward him.
Any suggestions? Thanks!
The best decisions are made with head and heart together.
And you basically answered yourself:
Andi sounds like a high maintenance thing that frankly, I would not care to do. It starts to wander into emotionally manipulative/weird.
This is all a drag. Why sign up for more of this? You have broken up with him before because of negativity and just ugh. So go with your initial first call -- this is not a guy for you. You may have fun dates in a while but in general? The price of admission is just a pain in the butt. So do not bother any more.
But on the Andi side? The NRE wore off with Andi. And left you where? A year of yucky having to deal with his negative attitude and his ugh. Again... why sign up for MORE of that? Sounds like a pain. And your logic is already telling you that you have to "force" yourself to find reasons to be enthusiastic to be with him. It is not selfish to want a smoother, better dating life for yourself where things are not forced.
How is that unfair to Andi? It's just not a match up here. That's what dating is FOR. To find the matches you ENJOY keeping company with. I find it odd that you phrase it that way rather than "The best thing for ME is to leave Andi because he's a drain on me and I don't especially enjoy his company." :confused:
My 2 cents,
In this case I would go with logic. It does not matter if you love Andi or not, it seems what you want is pretty incompatible right now, and he would have to do a lot of changing and self work to make it so he didn't see himself as some sort of victim, to learn how to communicate, to express his feelings. As you haven't suggested it's his desire to learn relational skills, all the burden would be on you for the next year or three to push the relationship to become healthier.
HA! I just read GalaGirl's post and I think she sums it up with pure simplicity. "You do not sound happy dating Andi. Stop dating Andi."
Sometimes one needs just to hear the words that are going on in one's head, coming from outside.
That sentence says it all. I am not happy with him, so I need to stop seeing him. The temporary happiness is overwhelmed by the longer term unhappiness.
Yesterday we had another chat and he said he'd be ok with the whole set up as long as he has two fixed days for meeting with me. At first I said ok, but the more I thought about it the more I was thinking "But what if CG or TKO or anything else can only take place on one of those days? I don't want to give those other things up 'just' to see Andi".
Clearer than this...
Thank you GG and Anneintherain, you really helped!
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