Respect in Relationships...
I can't work out why I keep on wanting to break up with this man. I'm thinking it might be because I don't respect him. But he's a good man, makes me laugh and everything. Hence my quest for online relationship advice. Help?...
"Your Relationship Questions, Your Answers!"
QUESTION: Do I Admire Him Enough?MORE FROM Luisa...
I have been in an on/off relationship for 9 months, thinking that the last time we broke up would be the end of it. I hoped I would find clarity but instead I felt sick every day and obsessively wondered if I'd done the right thing.
I got back together with him promising myself I would try not to freak out every time there was an 'ebb' in my feelings but this is easier said than done.
I have been trying to put my finger on exactly what the problem is this whole time, and today I think I've hit something really important: I'm just not sure I respect or admire him enough
to have a mature loving relationship that will last.
The difficult thing is that many men I have admired the most I have either been infatuated with or not actually liked as a person. I just can't work out what is me and what is him.
The feeling of lack of respect
I get usually centres around him being disorganised
, forgetful, irresponsible and mentally slow. I cringe inside when he doesn't understand words I use. On the other hand he makes me laugh, he is insightful and honest, he listens to my woes and he can be much more confident and less of a worrier than me.
I feel awful for him that his self esteem
has taken a battering from me being so ambivalent and I wish I could ignore the negatives and just focus on the positives - something I've had trouble balancing in all my past relationships.
I wish I could see into the future to a time when I have learned to accept his shortcomings, found a way to connect intellectually by getting to know him and communicating better and have shown patience and allowed him to mature (he is 25 and I am 29).
I feel good for a little while when friends and family reassure me that our relationship sounds generally healthy and that the good things sound worth holding onto. But then the anxiety comes back again and I spend hours doing online quizzes or boring my friends with it!!
I don't know exactly what I'm asking although it has felt good to get this out in writing.
Any insights much appreciated xx...
STEVE'S ANSWER"The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs."
-- Joan Didion
Often we don't respect people that don't respect themselves.
And sometimes we don't respect people because we don't respect ourselves!
Always, though, it's about US - it's about our thinking, about what we think of them!
Which means there's nothing for them to do - 'beauty', after all, IS in the eye of the beholder.
Now you could talk to your partner about this, this lack of respect you seem to have, or you could ask yourself why you might not respect him, OR... or you could just not take those respect thoughts seriously, and focus on the many things you DO like about this man (you must keep getting back with him for a reason).
One thing that might help you, here, is to take some time off from trying to solve this relationship problem - letting go of problems like this is a great way to let your answers find you (I'm talking about inner wisdom, here).
And, as you note in the last part of your relationship question, "it has felt good to get this out in writing" - maybe writing your question is enough for you to know the answer?
As for you affecting his self-esteem, that's not your responsibility - it's his! Do your best to understand yourself, and let him do the same for himself.
You have spoken with a great deal of self-awareness, and I think that is going to serve you well for the rest of your life!
(Do let us know if any insights come to you - thanks!)
NOTE: I've created a relationships ebook called "Top 10 Relationship Questions... Answered" that aims to help anyone in a romantic relationship - whether it's to start/end a relationship, or to learn how to trust in a relationship, or even how to deal with a controlling relationship.
And the answers in the ebook I provide (based on questions asked in the Relationship Advice Forum) help you find your answers, in your own unique relationships. I recommend it, but then I would say that wouldn't I! Find out more here...
(Dec 1st, 2015)