The changes & transitions in a LTR. Letting go, breaking up or changing expectations?
Does it ever get easier??? I feel I have been dredging through the same issues for so long. I feel so foolish, selfish, confused. I keep going back and forth on what I want, what I "need", what makes sense. I'm trying not to be so hard on myself but it's difficult not to feel inadequate. I'm only 23 and the two relationships I'm in now have been my only serious, adult relationships. Everything is so new. This forum has really helped me see things from a perspective other than my own and I greatly appreciate that. I guess sometimes I just need to sort things out, so bare with me..
I have been with my bf for 6.5 yrs now, gf 2.5 yrs. This is all of our first go at a poly configuration. I am the center of the v, they are not together. Things have been very up and down. It's all been a crazy learning experience.
About a year after my girl and I got together, I started feeling a disconnect from bf. It first showed up as sexual tension and fear. I strugged with this internal conflict for a while... I questioned if I was a lesbian, told him this and we took a break from sexual intimacy for about 6 mo. During that time, some things happened that made me realize I still had feelings for other men. I talked to him about it and he felt very rejected, I felt very confused. We pushed through it and worked on other aspects of our relationship. We remained close emotionally and spiritually.
After that give or take 6 mo period, we gradually started being more physical. I accepted that my sexuality is fluid and was no longer afraid of having to "choose sides" (whether I said this out loud or not I feel it was a subconscious fear, especially experiencing my first serious lesbian relationship.) It's a relief to feel I can let go of that pressure, to know it's not a gay/straight thing. But to be honest, now I am confused on an even deeper level.
I love this man so much. He amazes me every day. He inspires me more than anyone else. I trust him with all my heart. He is incredible and a true "catch." I can't picture my life without him. I love the time we spend together, I love his family, his friends, everything about him. He is truly one of a kind. Yet I find myself scared constantly that I cannot be all that he deserves.
He has greived over the change in our relationship, "losing" me as his "primary", if you will. When we first got together 6 yrs ago, we did everything together. Now, I live with my gf, we share more interests, have more of the same friends, and are at more of a similar place in life. We have more passion between us than him and I do. With how much I love him, I never want to take him for granted. I feel so blessed that someone like him loves me and that we have this kind of connection. But something inside me keeps pushing me to realize something isn't right.
It's scary to admit, and hard to grow up and realize that maybe I'm the one who isn't right in this situation. I love him to death and want him to be so happy. I know he aches over the fact that him and I don't spend as much time together as we used to. We have tried to make time for each other, over and over. My life has become so busy as I've grown up and gained new interests and passions on my own as well as building my career, not to mention the time strain of two relationships, friendships, family, etc. It's hard. He expresses to me in different ways that he needs more. I feel intense guilt constantly over this. It really is a controlling factor in my life. It's such a confusing battle. I tell myself I'm trying hard to take care of him, but why aren't things "perfect" and why isn't everyone as happy as they could/should be? My therapist tells me I have issues with needing to take care of people and catering to everyone, that I can only truly be responsible for my own emotions. I know this is true, but yet it's so hard to break away and realize I can't make every little thing perfect for everyone.
It's scary to realize love isn't as black and white as we are told to believe. It scares me to say maybe I'm not as in love with him as I once was. It scares me to imagine losing him in my life. At the same time, our relationship ideas are clashing. He needs more attention, more intimacy, more romance. I need more freedom, more space, more flexibility to grow. I fear I am confused again, that I'm immature, selfish, blind. Maybe I am. But that's the same part of me that feels it's unfair to drag him through this while I "figure it out." I love his commitment and loyalty, that he will be by my side through anything, I want to give him the same in return. But I want to help him take care of himself too. And that might mean letting him go..... It SUCKS because I know he feels he has let go so much, for me to take away anything else would be like a stab through his heart. He has felt abandoned by me growing in another relationship with someone else, though he has accepted it.
I cannot say where we will end up, when, or what our love will look like in 10 years when you lay it out on a time line. All I can put my energy into is right now, and right now I know he is not satisfied, whether he expresses that honestly or not. I cannot go out and find another lover for him to fulfill his needs romantically and sexually. I can have honest conversations about how I fear I will not be able to fulfill all the things he wants and deserves. Maybe some day. But I have tried, and feel I keep coming up short. I know it's not fair to either of us to keep clawing at something that is just out of reach. I don't know what to do to make this better but I know something needs to change.
I still feel so deeply for him. I love him. I want to be happy with him. I want him to be happy, even without me. I don't want to lose him in my life, but I don't want this strain to hold either of us back. I fear he hasn't admitted to himself that his needs aren't being met by me... And I also keep feeling this pain of being at a different place in life than where him and I are together. My therapist has asked me, do I do certain things in my relationship with him because I want to or because I feel obliged? It has really gotten me thinking. I feel so selfish and awful because I do feel obliged a lot of the time. Then I punish myself internally because I think what is wrong with me? I have this incredible human being who wants to give me the world, and I can't set aside everything else and give it back to him as well. Am I completely fucked up and throwing away the best thing to ever happen to me?
The other thing is, our boundaries haven't been working for me anymore. I feel so strained because I don't feel as deeply on the romantic side with him anymore, yet I am feeling very curious about exploring my feelings and sexuality with other men. This, however, is not a part of our agreement. It hurts him that I desire this because he feels he has lost so much already. It is confusing for me too though because our relationship hasn't been highly romantic or sexual in so long that it's hard to accept his ruling over what I am "allowed" to do with others.
I could really use some insight. I don't want to string things along anymore. I want to have some real conversations. I am afraid of what to say though and don't know where to begin. My thoughts are so jumbled up, I don't know what is reasonable or what is selfish. I am so scared because I feel every day I learn something new about myself that I'm afraid to make any rash decisions because things can change so rapidly. I don't want to hurt anyone, and I don't want to screw up. I'm not sure what are "normal" feelings, "growing pains" or what things I need to be smacked into reality about. I am ready to grow up, be honest, and hear the harsh truth if that's what is necessary. It's hard to find people to talk to about these things so thank you for listening.