juniorca

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I have been with my boyfriend for 10 years, going on 11. During this time, we have gone through a lot together (his parents divorce). We get along well and rarely ever argue. But, he takes our relationship for granted.

I have always been the giving, I'll-take-care-of-the-both-of-us person of the relationship. And he has always been the one on the receiving end of the relationship. (He is an only child.) But after a long time, it gets tiring to always be the giving one. In the past couple years, I've voiced that I need him to show effort on his part to do things that make me happy. (Weve talked about it several times but things don't really change for long.) I feel like he has taken for granted and come to expect all the little things that I do to take care of him. (And, he never does any that stuff unless I ask for it.)

I start med school in the fall, and I told him that I will need his support when I go to school. (And, just to clarify, he does not work in the health profession.) He promises to support and try to take care of me once I start school, but I have doubts because he doesn't help out unless I ask. I don't expect him to be at my beck and call, but I want him to help out without me asking.

He's not all bad: He's nice, completely faithful, and laid back. And, he was completely willing to move with me out of our state to be with me at school. What should I do? I feel like I can't give anymore when so little is being reciprocated in this relationship. Is it time to call it quits even though we have so much history together? Or do you think I just need to accept that this is the nature of our relationship?
 

Peeshee

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Hello,
10 years is a long time to be together with as boyfriend/girlfriend. If you have dealt with the way he is up to now, then it probably hasnt bothered you that much to break up. But I would not stay with him just because of the history you have together. If you will be starting med. school and he SAYS he will help you out, then believe him and let him do what he says...give him a chance to prove himself. Then you can see if he means what he says and decide where to go from there with your relationship.
 

Yah-E

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10 years is tough to drop, but I have always been a believer that after all that time, it's about time to go to the next level! Next level can be defined as either break up or get engaged! If after 10 years, you guys are still in the same stage in the relationship, it's time to call it quits!

Especially when you feel that you're the one that's giving all the time. I can't stand that. We gotta have something to live off of! Give us something that show you're interested, you know what I'm saying? You can't teach an old dog new tricks, you can hope, but it won't happen! A lasting relationship requires communication, trust and 50/50 participation with both parties. It's tough for you, you drop him now, you're hurt, you stay in, he's still the taker! What do you do? It's like either way, you'll be hurt and unsatisfied.

I say get hurt now and drop his @ss. Why go through another couple of years in the same o relationship when two or three years later, it's still the same o sh1t, but you're simply older. Good luck.
 

lovemydrhubby

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Yes, I agree it is a tough one. Your feelings are valid though and there is nothing that says you have to stay just because of the history and his dedication to you. I am a strong believer in intuition- if you get a vibe that he's not into it or can't provide what you need- it might be true. I would encourage you to discuss this much more with your boyfriend... only you two can really work it out. Perhaps it is a miscommunication or he is unsure of what you need. It is probably a confusing time for him also with all the "new-ness" of medical school in a new state. Would couple therapy or speaking to a clergy person help? Sometimes it is nice to have a neutral/outside person help lay out all of the issues for discussion.

The one thing that sticks out to me is that you worry he doesn't/won't do things to make you happy. That just sounds a bit severe to me.

I do think to some degree that will always be the nature of your relationship- everyone has their own personality. I am a nurturer type also...I do alot for him. My husband has completely different ways of showing he's a caring person and interested in helping me. If I worked all day, I would expect him to do more, but I think he would also be able to adapt to that role too.
 

fateema368

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Being a nurturer, the giver in a relationship is fine-but doing that as a medstudent, a resident, a health care professional; is unrealistic. I do agree that your in-need of a drastic change to redefine your relationship, though a breaking-up after 10+ years, to relatively good guy, is a bit drastic.

Marriage would also be the completely wrong step now-a bad thing is not fixed with a civil commitment, and a so/so relationship is not made better with a ring. You've been with him this long, and have thus far been unable to make it work completely, so, I think you should take a break.
Move out, or just distance yourself, you have what 5 months until you start medschool?-emotionally and physically you need some distance to gain perspective. You admitted that the majority of his apathy is due to lack of appreciation for your role in this relationship, if your gone he'll be given the opportunity to see and feel just how much you contribute to the continuity of his day, his life! He needs to understand that you are important and essential, and if he doesn't see that, he is not bothered by your absence, then that's something you need to explore too.

You have an opportunity to atleast fix things, before the stress of your new life begins, I would suggest you use it!

Good luck.
 

shala

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He's not all bad: He's nice, completely faithful, and laid back. And, he was completely willing to move with me out of our state to be with me at school. What should I do? I feel like I can't give anymore when so little is being reciprocated in this relationship. Is it time to call it quits even though we have so much history together? Or do you think I just need to accept that this is the nature of our relationship?[/QUOTE]

Agree with fateema. move out for a while or so. You try to give a chance to let him realize the problem. Tell him clearly what you expect from him, more care, more support, and you mean it. Those friends around me, if after 6, 7 or more years of relationship, if not going to marry, they mostly end with break up.
I just wonder how come you guys didn't get married during those 10 years? :)
 

DebDynamite

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Hey.
Learn vicarously from my mistakes, because I sound just like you (ie don't screw up as I have...):
1. break up
2. start med school alone
3. give the energy to yourself that you've been giving him
4. resolve to stay single a while and get into a more balanced relationship in the future
5. DO NOT marry this guy- you could end up "taking care" of him in more ways than one in the future....

You cannot take care of someone else's needs under a triple graduate load, and you cannot "change" a person. You do the math on that one.

Good Luck.
 

brains

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I totally agree. I think that you should tell him that he takes you for granted now and that you need some time away or for yourself. I really think that if he truly cares about you he will either beg for you to stay or let you have your space and go from there. For now, ease up on pampering him all the dang time. Even though he's a really nice guy and is faithful to you, you need to have the same TLC you give him all the time. Relationshps aren't unconditional, i think.

If he doesn't change now or in the time you two are apart, then he's not going to. 10 years is a long time to be with someone and not get anything from it, so do your self a favor and don't waste another 10 wondering if he's going to give in. :)
 

thirdunity

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I'd break it off. Start med school with a clean slate.

I'm with everyone else - 10 years is a long time to be with somebody without the relationship "going anywhere". You say that he is nice and laid-back, and I'm imagining someone who is kind of a slacker, and that's not the kind of partner that a really serious, focused person needs.

People like that have a way of sabotaging us in subtle ways. And then once you're a doctor, if you're still with him, and you split up, he might come after *you* for alimony.

Spend some time on your own just taking care of *you*. Get good at taking care of yourself. You'll only find a partner who can take care of you if you take care of yourself. Stop being the nurturer; you'll just find losers who will suck you dry.
 

alison_in_oh

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Ugh. I held back from commenting to this thread the first time round. Now that it's been dredged back up:

As a perspective from the other side, give the guy a freakin' chance!

I'm sure my husband could say something similar about me. He's the ambitious, driven one and the "doer". He's the organized one and the reliable one. And until recently, I took that for granted. I wanted to be more on top of things, but when I failed he was always there to take up the slack. Right through the first couple of years of med school, through moving across the country and planning our wedding, this was the case. If it needed to be done, he did it, because chances were I'd drop the ball. He brings me flowers, cleans the house when he's got a free afternoon, cooks me dinner almost every night when he can, always doing little favors. I have a terrible time finding ways to reciprocate.

Then third year hit, and on some rotations he actually couldn't do it all himself. He *needed* me to get things done, to pick up *his* slack, to be his support and backup. And I stepped up to that plate. And I felt so much better about myself and my place in our medical training journey. I could finally demonstrate how much he means to me, by keeping on top of every detail and always being ready and willing to do a favor that might take a little weight off his shoulders.

He's on an easier rotation and I'm back to some of my bad habits again, but I recognize it and am still working on it. We are an excellent partnership despite my flaws, and in fact our differences complement each other admirably.

So to the OP: if there's something there that kept you two together for 10 years, surely there's something there that is worth putting your relationship to this test. Medical school will probably transform you as a couple, bringing you closer or driving you apart, but give it that chance. Live it before you make assumptions about how things will or will not go.

(That said, now's the time to be communicative, really bring all these issues out in the open, because you need to give HIM the chance to back out before turning his life upside-down by following you to med school where you may or may not dump his ass.)
 

samenewme

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juniorca said:
I have always been the giving, I'll-take-care-of-the-both-of-us person of the relationship. And he has always been the one on the receiving end of the relationship. (He is an only child.) But after a long time, it gets tiring to always be the giving one. In the past couple years, I've voiced that I need him to show effort on his part to do things that make me happy. (Weve talked about it several times but things don't really change for long.) I feel like he has taken for granted and come to expect all the little things that I do to take care of him. (And, he never does any that stuff unless I ask for it.)
I think if you've made it very clear what you want and need from him, and he seems to understand it, but just can't bring himself to do it, then you have to decide whether this is the kind of relationship you want. Because if you've talked about it over and over and nothing has changed, he's probably not going to. If you talk to him about why the changes haven't lasted and don't get an answer that makes sense to you and gives you hope for the future, then probably this is how he's going to be.

Contrariwise, if he'll do whatever you ask of him and just isn't creative, maybe together you can set up an ongoing list. If you live together, the housekeeping schedule from "Get your Act Together" could be a nice reminder--then the SYSTEM is reminding him what to do, and you don't have to think about it. This might be worth trying before you break it off. If he rebels against having a system but doesn't take up the slack himself, then that's a kind of message.
 

LADoc00

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DebDynamite said:
Hey.
Learn vicarously from my mistakes, because I sound just like you (ie don't screw up as I have...):
1. break up
2. start med school alone
3. give the energy to yourself that you've been giving him
4. resolve to stay single a while and get into a more balanced relationship in the future
5. DO NOT marry this guy- you could end up "taking care" of him in more ways than one in the future....
You cannot take care of someone else's needs under a triple graduate load, and you cannot "change" a person. You do the math on that one.

Good Luck.
Deb with the cash angle. You sure you werent a guy in a former life?
 

LADoc00

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DebDynamite said:
I understand the beauty of a prenup.

Deb, you know in the end its all about the phat bankroll, be you man or woman, doctor or Starbucks barista. The moral of the story is to marry someone of equal earning potential as yourself, never get sucked into the sole provider role and always have something hidden away.
;)
 

thirdunity

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DebDynamite said:
Edward, this just isn't fully where it's at. If the guy is awesome, he's awesome. Whadda I care if he makes less money? It's really all about finding someone who's your intellectual, spiritual equal, now isn't it? You know, someone who you can talk to, share emotionally with, yadda yadda. I know you really agree. ;) Go ahead and deny it, but you agree with me.
For me, it's not "money" as much as amount of seriousness and *attitude* about their work... my friends and partner were mostly "workaday" types. After they get home from work, they spend the majority of their time entertaining themselves, and they spend their money on CDs and computer games. One issue that my partner and I have is that he really had planned our future based on the idea that I'd get my BA one day, and work some simple job somewhere like he does, and I'd work to bring in money but I wasn't going to have a Big Career, and that would be that.

I'm just not finding these people as supportive of my goals as my friends who are "professionals" or headed in that direction. Actually, there are subtle ways in which I find I sabotage myself if I deal very much with my "old group". Their activities and the hours they keep aren't conducive to a person who needs to put long hours into studying.

My next partner probably will be someone in the professional world - and it's not about how much money. Some of these slackerish people I was describing work in computers and make as much money as some of the "professional" types.

Anyway, my mom went through this too - when she became more serious, she had to get a new husband.

I can see the originator of this thread having this kind of issue.
 

LADoc00

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thirdunity said:
For me, it's not "money" as much as amount of seriousness and *attitude* about their work...

Anyway, my mom went through this too - when she became more serious, she had to get a new husband.

The commitment and fidelity of the new liberated American wife is a tribute to our great nation. (Dabs tears away) Rock on sister, rock on. :thumbup:



Scott Peterson: Well Laci, Im really getting serious about life, studying for the MCAT and all.
Laci: Great Scott!
Scott: Well...thats just it, now that Im serious, Im gonna have to shoot you in the head. Bye bye.
Laci: !
 

N-toxicologist

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Ick. There's a reason I never venture into this forum. *sigh*

To the OP: I was you for the last 6 out of 7 years. In my unsupportive hubby's defense, I really was there to dig him out of every hole he got into, was always the "take care of business" girl, etc. In essence, I enabled his slackerdom. I would ask him to take care of something, and then would get tired of seeing it go undone and do it myself. He knew for as long as he knew me that I was ambitious and I wanted to go to med school someday. When I buckled down and decided to go to school full time to finish undergrad and get this ball rolling (after giving birth to our daughter), he grew resentful of the time I spent studying, complained that I didn't make enough money (I only worked part time), and hated the fact that I wanted to study instead of party with him on school nights.

I hated the fact that he never helped me around the house, even making it worse for me by not cleaning up after himself, and took for granted that I would care for our daughter and home. For instance, he would go out after work and stay out most of the night, never calling. So, it was generally my sole responsibility to take care of our daughter, the shopping, the bill paying, the household duties, AND was expected to work enough to contribute financially. He went to work. Period. The last straw for me was when he took a job with the company that would move him across the country for a promotion that he would have gotten 6 months down the line if he would have stayed here. The pay raise wasnt' enough to justify keeping two households; the decision was made hastily (he was offered the job, and was gone within 4 days) so we had little time to talk about it, and he left a week before finals. That was it. I felt like I was bullied by him and the company into agreeing to a hasty decision because he wanted the promotion so badly, he couldn't wait 6 months. I also believed he liked the idea of "bachelordom" halfway across the country while I kept up his family and household.

This backfired on him; I found that his absence really didn't affect my world all that much, and that I rather cherished my alone time. I had a lot of help from my mother, who I live with now, and decided that I was better off without him, even if it meant that I would no longer be supported financially. The plan was, when he moved, that I was supposed to apply to med schools out where he was, and I was NOT happy about the idea of leaving TX. I told him I was staying; that I couldn't depend on him to put our family first, and I was better off alone. He knew I was serious. I was serious ALL the times we talked about him not helping me, but this time, he knew I would really leave him. SO he came home to "do whatever it would take to get me to not divorce him." Frankly, it was too little too late, and I didnt' want to run the risk of getting hurt again. I had fallen out of love with him, I no longer trusted him to do the right thing, and he had promised change so many times before. I was done.

I know now that my destiny is in my own hands, and the only people I plan my life around are my kids. It's been such a relief for the past year to not have the stress of taking care of my ex that I have hope for my future again.

My ex no longer parties like a frat boy, works out, keeps our daughter on his days off, and keeps his apartment clean. He still travels for work, but he always asks me if there are certain days that he shoudl request to come back to town to help me. This particualr trip, I asked him if he would come back around finals week to help with our daughter.

Unfortunately, it took losing everything that he had taken for granted to see what was important. He may have turned into the person I wished I would have married; the man that I always knew he could be, but never had the strength to make himself do it, until I had the strength to stop enabling him.

I'm not suggesting anything dramatic to get your point across, but you have to do a lot of soul searching. There really does come a point where enough is enough, but my ex is proof that people can change. I guess it depends on how much your SO thinks how important your dreams are to work towards.

Good luck to you.
 

thirdunity

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UNTlabrat,

Your whole story is pretty much the story of my mom's marriage to my dad - almost verbatim.

I think there is a lot of twittering going on about women who appear to "trade up". Thinking about what happened to a girl in my old group - basically a bunch of teenage/twentysomething artsies, goths, sci-fi geeks and misfits. The young woman had been dating this guy for the longest time.

Then one day, she got her real estate license, started going to Toastmasters, got a new wardrobe, and... dumped the guy and the whole group.

Nobody understood this, and basically all put her down for "trading up" and "selling out".

I'm on the other side of this now, seeing that I have absolutely nothing in common with any of my old friends anymore, or even my husband.

What are we going to talk about?? The latest music CD? They seem like a bunch of teenagers in adult bodies, to me. Worse, I find dealing with them too much actually sabotages me... I just don't have time.

Unfortunately, this is about where my husband is at, too.
 

LADoc00

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thirdunity said:
UNTlabrat,

Your whole story is pretty much the story of my mom's marriage to my dad - almost verbatim.

I think there is a lot of twittering going on about women who appear to "trade up". Thinking about what happened to a girl in my old group - basically a bunch of teenage/twentysomething artsies, goths, sci-fi geeks and misfits. The young woman had been dating this guy for the longest time.

Then one day, she got her real estate license, started going to Toastmasters, got a new wardrobe, and... dumped the guy and the whole group.

Nobody understood this, and basically all put her down for "trading up" and "selling out".

I'm on the other side of this now, seeing that I have absolutely nothing in common with any of my old friends anymore, or even my husband.

What are we going to talk about?? The latest music CD? They seem like a bunch of teenagers in adult bodies, to me. Worse, I find dealing with them too much actually sabotages me... I just don't have time.

Unfortunately, this is about where my husband is at, too.

Sorry, I just think this is as funny as hell. I knew marriage in this country was on shakey grounds, but you are describing a scenario akin to buying new shoes! I now feel less guilt for the wreckage Ive left in the dating scene in my area. :laugh:

Thanks, I now see that although Im not an angel, I could be doing so much more evil. ;)