Originally Posted by nycindie
There is also something that struck me in your earlier post. And this is something I do, too. You have been sort of "keeping score" and that isn't totally fair to her, either. You've been highly aware of everything you've given up for her, and of every sacrifice you've made for her, and somewhere in the back of your mind, you want "what's due." You've been keeping a tally for over a year, right? You want that to count. You want her to acknowledge all that and make it all up to you, even though much of the time you suffered and struggled silently and she probably was never even aware of what you were going through in order to accommodate all her needs.
You want a pay-off, and I don't say that to be cruel. I do this with others, too. It is what we are taught in this society, but I have a strong feeling that such score-keeping is not good for relationships. My husband did it with me, and in the simplest view of our relationship, he left because he didn't feel I gave back what he gave to me. But I wasn't aware of all the things he held against me as sacrifices he had made. I also over-compromise and willingly give up things I want in relationships, with the hopes it will get me a return later on, that at some point the person will turn around and say, "You've given me so much, been so patient, so good to me, now let me reward you." But I'm not verbalizing the deal to anyone. I am making it look like I am selflessly giving, while underneath it all I'm keeping an inventory of everything I give away, and then when it seems like that person chooses someone or something else to direct their focus on, I feel unappreciated and passed over. There is definitely something to look at there, I think. Either we give just to give, without expecting something back, or we stay aware of our motives and keep them in check so we don't hurt ourselves with them later when the pay-off we want doesn't come. Because she has every right to choose whomever she wants to be with at whatever time feels right for her, but it is up to us to work on not letting their choice to be with others be some sort of slight against us.
I feel like, in my life, I very, very rarely behave purely altruistically. I assume that's true of most people. Instead, I act in ways that reflect enlightened self-interest.
For instance, I babysit for Gia and Eric twice a month, minimum. I do that because I want to spend time with Bee, because I love him and my bond with him is meaningful to me. This may, in fact, be my best chance to ever bond with a developing person -- I don't know whether or not I'll ever have a child of my own. I also do it because I want to give Eric and Gia the chance to be alone together. I know that they miss that, and that they need that. I do what I can to give them that because I know that the stronger and more copacetic their relationship is, the more energy Gia will be able to give to me, because she won't be despairing over her connection with him. I *also* do it because I care about them both and want them to be happy, and, while I certainly might occasionally help other friends for similar reasons, I devote much more to helping them because, on some level (and this is a bit hard to admit for a variety of reasons, not least of which being that we don't have a formal arrangement and therefore I don't know for sure how they'd react to this idea), I think of myself as being in service to them. It's a submissive thing, I won't try to explain it further. It would be simpler, though less complete, to just say that I do it because I love them.
So... am I keeping a tally on that issue? Well, yes and no. I don't expect some sort of direct return, that they'll someday, somehow, "pay back" all the time that I'm giving. That would be absurd and incredibly unfair, especially since I'm the one who convinced them to allow me to give so much to them in the first place, by gently bringing up the idea again and again over time! But I do expect that they recognize the value of what I give them, that they respect my contributions, and that Eric will be more willing to step in to provide time and space for Gia and I to have our relationship, because he knows and appreciates that I'm doing the same for him. Am I keeping a tally? Yes and no. I'm aware of what I give. I try not to give more than I can give without beginning to become resentful, or more than they can accept without beginning to become uncomfortable. I do care about how my giving is received, and I do expect to receive certain things in return, I think that's only reasonable and rational, I'm not a saint and have no wish to be one.
I know, for the record, that you probably weren't referring to babysitting above, but I think it's a good example of a way in which I give and don't "get" in return, aside from the many, many side-benefits that motivate my actions.
Have I been keeping score? Certainly I've been hyper aware of every instance in which we've been physically intimate, and the frequency thereof. I think it's fair to say that it's one of the very few things I've directly asked her for -- time. Once-a-month dates, which she said no to. I've struggled with that, and you could say that I've "sacrificed", I suppose, by accepting her assertion that she couldn't meet my needs on that issue. Have I suffered in silence? I don't think so. I've tried not to whine, or bring it up often, and maybe I could have been clearer? But I asked, and she gave me a very clear no, so what was I supposed to do, nag her about it? When the issue came to a breaking point, during our November date when we didn't have any time or space in which to be physically close and I couldn't handle the feeling of rejection, I made no bones about why I was hurting, I took her outside so we could talk about it, and she swiftly moved to remedy the situation by scheduling a second date for the next week where we *did* have that sort of time.
Have I suffered in silence? Yes and no. I'm actually thinking that I'll bring it up again soon. I have a plan for how to explain to her why setting once-a-month dates as a goal would be better than the way things are now. I think she's afraid that it will create disappointment, on both our parts, if we can't meet that goal, and so she'd rather shoot for something more attainable. But I'd rather be satisfied more often and disappointed occasionally, than never disappointed but less often satisfied. We'll see how that goes, I don't want to bring it up until it feels right to do so, not when we've already been over this ground before.
Are there other things that you're seeing that I'm missing?
I would appreciate any and all feedback on this, really. I know it's very hard to feel like you have a real sense of perspective when you're only reading one person's necessarily incomplete account of complex events and interactions. But have I been too giving, too silent, too expectant? Is it actually unreasonable to feel passed over if my girlfriend, well, passes me over, and not even for another partner but for a FWB, when it comes to one of the very few things that I've asked for explicitly in this relationship?