The letter this week comes from beautiful Kimberly, who says she's desperate to save her lonely relationship.
Here's her story:
We've been together for 5 1/2 years and he was who I had my first time with, it's one of the few things Im still proud of.
I just turned 25 and he just turned 30.
The changes are heartbreaking: He NEVER used to constantly interrupt me how he does now. And now he's on his phone 98% of every day and through every conversation.
Somewhere along the way he totally switched from jaw-droppingly respectful to now, if I ask one simple question, he'll reply to me in the most condescending/sarcastic tone, the way you would to a dull-minded idiot by repeating step-by-step the whole situation I had a simple yes/no question to.
Ironically, I'm the one who spends every day repeating everything I say to him 4 times because of the phone.
One night I finally snapped and told him I was about to smash it with a hammer no matter the consequences. He also crushes my spirit by micromanaging everything I do, although I know he means well and sincerely has the best intentions.
When we met, I used to require the kind of help he still gives me. I always feel inadequate and incapable of being independent.
I've also finally learned the hard way I cannot depend on him to execute even the smallest of favors, even when I have his undivided attention. Another thing is every time there's something going on, like an event or something important that comes up that predominantly requires my involvement, I'm informed of it at the very last second.
I have chronic anxiety attacks and he knows this and that surprises like this are my trigger.
When I tell him how mad I am at him for not letting me know when he knows it starts a fight and he's clueless about why I'm even mad about it.
The newest thing is how he gets upset if he does something that makes me cry. Lately if I cry he doesn't comfort me or give me a hug and that is caused from the frequent times I shoved him away or told him I didn't want to be touched right then.
(I guarantee I said that because of my drinking. I'm a recovering alcoholic.)
He always says "What did I even do?" "I don't understand what the big deal is." "But I'm trying though, I don't know what you want me to do."
And, without fail, he tries to verbally reason with me every time I express irritation with ANYTHING. Every time I tell him something he did that upset me he'll respond by claiming that I do the same thing and that I can't be a hypocrite.
I have a job that is physically demanding and my hours always fluctuate. My co-workers are amazing and the pay is enough to pay the bills and groceries. He was jobless for 2 1/2 years and now has a part time cleaning job he does incredibly well at.
Last problem is that we haven't made love in 4 years.......we don't make out and we sometimes cuddle. He has E.D. and it runs in his family.
My worry is from the fact he doesn't make an effort to fix it.
I have spent countless nights crying myself to sleep, crying when I try to masterbate because I miss him so much. I always feel inadequate/self conscious, unwanted and have been sexually rejected more times than I can count.
Every time I talk to him about any changes I need made, he'll make them for 4 days and stop.
I'm not who I used to be. We used to be so intimate, I was treated with respect and he admired me being the strongwilled, intimidatingly assertive/blunt, a hard worker whose incredibly decisive.
I only have those qualities inwardly anymore and it's sad because I love these things about myself. What's worse is how those things are the things that made him pursue me in the first place.
What do I do?
I know we're meant to be, I know it. He needs to change these things but how can I talk to him to where he'll be receptive??
You say, "I know we’re meant to be."
But how do you know? How do you really know that this man you’re describing here, this one who to someone with the ability to be objective because they’re not emotionally attached to this person, can plainly see that you are not meant to be with?
Re-read your letter.
You’re saying you no longer allow yourself the freedom of outward expression of being who you are, of expressing all those parts that he first fell in love with.
Why does that change?
Because you’ve lost yourself.
Why do we ever lose ourselves? Because we lose ourselves in someone else, in the act of trying to be who someone wants us to be. But look at who you’re trying so desperately to save this relationship with; look at how he treats you!
It sounds like this has been building for so long that there may not be any way for him to be receptive to you, and it doesn’t sound like you’re losing anything if he’s not.
But if you’re determined to give this one last chance to see if it changes anything, I want to make sure you understand that the response you least want could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
You’re 25. You have your whole beautiful life ahead of you. What you can’t see now but will almost assuredly see down the road is so important to remember.
If he doesn’t choose to listen to you, or if he can’t hear you, it’s because of a choice he’s making not to, because someone can always choose to listen, to hear, to seek to understand and change things if he’s sufficiently motivated to do so.
But I want to be really clear here with you, Kimberly, and help you see that if he isn’t willing or motivated to listen with an attitude towards making strides to change what’s happened between the two of you, it’s only because you’re not meant to be together.
Don’t confuse his lack of ability or lack of motivation with something lacking in you, as if your ability to get him to change is in any way a reflection of you.
None of us are perfect. We’re all human, dealing with our own programming and baggage and everything we learned about relationships from the mentors and examples that usually didn’t know what they were doing and couldn’t show us an example that worked.
If the two of you don’t realize that together, and I mean him every bit as much as you, this is just the beginning of incompatibilities between the two of you and by far not the least.
So as hard as this may be to accept, he is showing you a preview now, before you’ve build any more of your life around him to the detriment of your own bright, shining light within.
I’ve been there, girl.
I’ve been 25 with a man in front of me who sounds more like your guy than I’d care to remember.
And at 25 I would have been desperately asking for someone – anyone, really - to put it all back together and make him love me again like he used to. I understand precisely what drives us to the things we resort to because we believe so strongly that we’re with someone we know we’re meant to be with.
That’s why I’m focusing so much on that phrase because it colors everything else about how we see him and how we see ourselves and what we become obsessive about all in the name of a love that we’ll never experience again without this one that we’re convinced is the only one we’re meant to be with.
There are those of us who have a tendency to lose ourselves so easily in someone because of what we’re so programmed to believe about love and about relationships and about men, especially certain types of men who trigger us so deeply that we can’t see what we’re doing to ourselves in the process.
But it always takes two.
It always takes someone to trigger us, someone whose own behavior and lack of ability to meet us where we are that is the definitive factor in whether we activate that tendency in the first place.
That’s the surest sign of whether we’re with someone who we’re “meant to be with”. How they make us feel. How much they increase our joy and satisfaction in life. How much they give us the support and backing to become the best we can be.
Not what you’re talking about here where it’s only your worst version of yourself that’s coming through, where the real you is relinquished to innermost corners of your silent, inward version of yourself.
You’re absolutely right, girl. This isn’t living. This is dying.
Take your "you" back.
The you that’s always been there, that refuses to accept dying for living, but chooses to live instead.
Does that include talking this through with him? Maybe.
But only if you’re ready with a choice, a commitment to yourself first, and to giving him a chance to work through this with you second.
But let’s be clear. You have to be true to yourself first. And honest with yourself. And willing to look at all this objectively first.
Then, and only then, tell him how you feel.
Use your “I” statements. Own your words. Tell him what path you’re on, what you’re looking for, and what you can’t settle for any longer, walking around on eggshells when there’s an elephant in the room.
Tell him it’s OK whatever he chooses, because you can’t choose for him, but tell him you’re learning that you MUST choose for yourself.
He’s either in this with you, or he’s not. But you need to choose and do what you need to do for you.
I don’t know if he’ll be open to this or what his response will be, Kimberly. But I do hear loud and clear that you can’t go on like this, that no one deserves to put themselves through what you’re putting yourself through.
That part is crystal clear.
What about you? Do you have something to add for Kimberly? Share your thoughts with her in the comments bellow.