I have a problem...
Hello, I am having a big problem. I don't really know what to do.
I'm having jealousy and trust issues with my girlfriend. We've been together for a bit over a year and live together. She is 27 and I am 32. This is her first relationship where her other partners have not been on the "DL," and this is my first long-term relationship that isn't casual/low-stakes.
My girlfriend accuses me of being "really monogamous" because of the discomfort her dating pattern causes me.
I don't really know what to say to that because it feels like that's an introduction to a "breaking up" conversation and I have a strong emotional reaction to it. If I could corral my feelings I guess she's just checking to make sure things are working for me too. She says that she loves me and the only time she breaks up with people are when she doesn't love them any more. But in my experience, you can love someone a lot and still not be with them, and that's what I'm hearing when she says that.
She is having a lot of NRE with her new partner and I feel threatened by it. She says her new lover is "not a big deal" but her actions and behavior don't match up with that.
With previous partners I developed a boundary with her that she needs to give me a few hours notice before she spends the night with someone. That's been really hard for her to do but she's been trying and she has been doing very well with this new partner in that she hasn't once yet spent the night with this person. She does spend 6 - 8, one day upwards of 11 hours a day with this person though. *(I don't want to try to put a time cap on her date time, I'm uncomfortable with being that controlling).
She has been out late with her new partner every day for the past 10 days. I work 9 am to 10 or 11 pm so I can hardly say I miss her when I'm not there. What she does with her own time is her own business, and it's not my place to try to control it.
Maybe I'm wrong for setting a boundary about advance notice, I just tend to worry and wonder what I'll tell her family if she got axe murdered on the bus. So the "advance notice" rule is for my own emotional convenience. I've expressed a few times that if she is really chafing at the "advance notice" rule, as she seems to be, we can ditch it and I can learn to deal. But she wants to keep it because it's the only other boundary besides safer sex that I've asked of her and she wants to work to establish trust in our relationship, which I respect and appreciate.
I feel resentful of the fact that her time and energy seems to be mostly devoted to this other person.
She's been unemployed/underemployed for the past 5 months so I pay all the rent, bills, groceries and other expenses. She said that I resent that I have to work hard while she gets to have fun and I guess that's accurate. I asked her to do the laundry yesterday while I was at work because I'm out of clean underwear.
Anyway, part of our arrangement is that because she doesn't contribute to household expenses (her money is for her dating, her chiropractor and for paying off past debts incurred by other lovers) she will do chores. I asked her to do the laundry the day before and reminded her at 4 pm (because I am out of clean underwear). The way she kept her promise was that she came home (from new partner's place) ten minutes before I got home from work and set the laundry basket on top the washer because it was full of someone else's clothes. She said that technically I couldn't say she hadn't started the laundry, and that we couldn't argue about laundry because it was a silly thing and not what I was really upset about.
I suppose she's right. I will fully admit that I'm immature and that I'm not handling my feelings as I should be. Laundry IS a silly thing to argue about. What I was upset about was her "last minute" tactic, which just seems like going through the motions to me. Of course, that's understandable due to the NRE I guess, and I shouldn't take it so personally. I shouldn't have overreacted.
It just seems that at every turn or strategy that I take, I'm wrong. I should be able to accept being wrong without feeling bad about it, and then apply logic and reason to come to a workable solution that benefits both parties. Instead, it seems like there are a bunch of screaming monkeys jumping up and down throwing poop inside my brain. I cry too much, which shuts down our conversations a lot.
My partner told me that even though I feel like I work hard she's the one doing all the work in the relationship because she has to deal with my emotional drama. She told me I don't understand how much work it is for her to try and respect my boundaries and then come home and find me upset. Processing is exhausting but when I bottle up my feelings, I tend to come unglued about stupid things (such as laundry), but me not bottling up my feelings is exhausting for her.
I'm very frustrating to her, which is understandable and I feel bad. She's done everything that she said she would. If I were a more laid-back, calm, generous type of person I would just step back and wait and see where the thing with the new lover went.
I guess that's the type of person I need to become if I want to keep my lover. I don't know how to do that.
I've been to tons of CBT and DBT type of therapy in the past and still I'm high-strung and overemotional. My partner says that is just the type of person I am, "high maintenance," and that it's not bad. But I don't see how it can't be bad if I'm always causing problems in my emotional reactions.
This is the best relationship I've ever had (I know the laundry thing doesn't paint it that way but it's my own skewed perception) and I don't want to eff it up because of my own emotions causing me to sabotage something good.