Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

In a relationship I can't bear to leave, but can't make better.

(57 Posts)
sparklyjumper Wed 02-Jan-13 12:25:48

I'm sat here again wondering whether I'm depressed, damaged somehow, unable to have a healthy relationship. Or is it him, or both of us?

I'm probably a textbook case, alcoholic, borderline abusive father, first relationship was domestic violence and ended badly, left with a ds who has no contact at all with ex p.

I've been with current boyfriend almost 4 years, I can't say it's been a good relationship but there have been good times. I can't possibly write about everything that's happened as I'd be here all day but we've spent most of the relationship breaking up and getting back together, him breaking up with me and usually me ringing him up crying saying I miss him then him coming over and apologising.

I feel that he's distant, often moody, excludes me from 'his life', I often feel very alone even though I'm supposed to be in a relationship. While he helps out, I don't feel like I can rely on him for any real support. He won't live together, he says he will but he seems to find excuses, avoids the subject when I try to talk. First he said I was rushing things after about a year together, then it was because his work was too far, the house didn't feel like his own, we wern't getting on. I've in the past found he's been on dating sites talking to other women, I was pregnant once and he didn't want anything to do with any of it, wouldn't talk to me for weeks. Most of the time I only really see him on weekends and maybe one during the week yet he's always saying he needs space, doesn't get chance to do the things he wants to do. Once he said he was going to move in for a trial, we'd just got back from holiday and he's stayed for about 2 weeks solid, then one morning I got up and he'd gone, taken all his things while I was still asleep but then a few weeks later he wanted to get back together.

Last Christmas was awful. Last year he said if we got married it would make it easier to move in together as the house would be both of ours, he didn't propose officially, but he took me shopping got me to choose an engagement ring, hinted (or maybe it was just in my head) that there would be some romantic proposal at Christmas, Christmas came and the ring was just wrapped and stuck under the tree with the other presents. He never proposed and it was all just swept over. This resulted in me building up to a big emotional meltdown over Christmas, a huge arguement, and him splitting up with me in the new year.

This Christmas was great, as far as I could tell, we didn't argue, we've done some nice things. But towards the end of the week I've felt that he's been getting fed up with me. The thing is, he will spend the week with me, doing whatever I fancy, I'll ask him if there's anything he needs or wants to do and he'll say no. But then when he goes home it all comes out and he'll say he needs space and how his time off has been ruined as he's done nothing he needed to do.

This morning was horrible, I've just got the impression the last couple of days that he couldn't wait to go, and this morning he starts packing his bags to go back home, he takes everything, it's as though he hates leaving so much as a t shirt incase he doesn't want to come back.

I felt like I had a serious case of the January blues and I can't work out why. Is it my own life I'm unhappy with, going back to work, to big dip after the build up of Christmas. Or is it the nagging feeling that after a week with my boyfriend he's had enough and is going to end it and I will go through weeks of hell, not knowing if it's for good this time, or if he will be back in a few days saying he was wrong.

This feeling makes me snappy, tearful, accusing. 'Why are you taking everything, aren't you coming back at the weekend?' So he stomps off, I've ruined a good week, then the texts come from him, I'm trying to control him, we shouldn't be living in eachothers pockets, would I blame him if he ended it all, he's living for me not for himself.

I feel so unhappy, I feel like I should end it for good but don't think I could bear to as I love him very much. But I'm an insecure wreck and I don't even know whether there's just something wrong with me or whether it's this relationship that's driving me crazy but I don't even know how to begin to make it better.

Lueji Wed 02-Jan-13 12:31:08

Does it matter who it is?

This relationship doesn't seem to make you happy at all, you don't seem secure in it, and you seem to be chasing him and further commitment.

You are probably better off without him, yes.
You will find someone who makes you happy and secure.

nkf Wed 02-Jan-13 12:34:32

It sounds very bad. It sounds as if it makes you feel insecure. He keeps ending it and you keep begging him back. That can't be fun. Why should you go through weeks of hell wondering if he is coming back? Give yourself a break.

nkf Wed 02-Jan-13 12:35:45

Sorry, I reread it more slowly this term. I suggest you re-read your fourth paragraph and think about it. Dating sites?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 12:36:31

I'm not surprised you're unhappy. What you want is safety, security, support and reliability.....love. What you're getting is hot/cold inconsistency, no commitment, insecurity, exclusion and rejection. You're unhappy because he is not and never will be the person you want him to be. You're trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

Why do you think this is the best you can do?

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Wed 02-Jan-13 12:37:20

He's Not That Into You. He doesn't want to marry or live with you. He's either enjoying having all the power in the 'relationship' (such as it is) in that you are clearly so desperate to keep him and he can make you turn yourself inside out just by hinting that he's going to either propose or leave, or he's a wuss who finds it easier to give in to your constant bleating and begging than to dump you completely.

First, please accept and understand that being single is wonderful, and it is never, ever worth pursuing a relationship just so you can say that there is a Man In Your Life. You will not be able to enjoy a relationship until you are able to live fully and happily without one. Secondly, dump this man. It's never going to work out between the two of you so why waste any more time? He might walk away with a sigh of relief, though if he is unpleasantly controlling, he will pursue you and do a lot of big romantic overbombing until you allow him back - at which point he will IMMEDIATELY start messing you about again.

GlitteryShitandDanglyBaubles Wed 02-Jan-13 12:41:08

Can't help thinking OP that the proposal was more about getting his hands on some equity in your house than any romantic notions!

He sounds like a nob, and if I may venture, a possible, as they say 'cock-lodger.' He doesn't sound like he loves you at all, sorry honey.

sparklyjumper Wed 02-Jan-13 12:57:39

I know he could not want all of the things I do or it would happen. But I guess as bad as it probably sounds, I can't understand why. I don't really understand what he wants in life, who he wants in life. He seems to me to just be drifting through, when I found he'd been on the dating sites he seemed to be talking to older married women, or talking to people who I don't think he'd ever have intentions of having a relationship with, and anonymously sending messages to old school friends using a different name, I really don't know what he was playing at but whenever I've confronted him he always says he was just bored and 'messing around' and no intentions of doing anything but to think he might want someone else makes me feel totally inadequate.

I think I've come here because I would really like to end it but the unbearable pain I feel when we break up stops me. I miss him terribly and find myself crying a lot, feeling lonely, miserable, but it's like a bit of a bad cycle, like a horrible addiction because being with him makes me feel good in the short term but I know it's only a matter of time before he hurts me again.

People tell me I'd meet someone else, the right one, but I don't think I will, I wouldn't even want to. I know that being alone isn't a bad thing but facing it is.

this relationship is what's the matter with you. It's draining you of every thing good you feel.
You need to end it, come on this has gone on for 4 years, it's not going to get any better, it may seem like you will be more unhappy, and you may for a couple of weeks, give me that over a life time of this any day.

GlitteryShitandDanglyBaubles Wed 02-Jan-13 13:12:56

Older married women = money. He sounds like a drifter who's cottoned on to how vulnerable unhappy lonely women can be and is going to make some 'easy' money.

Why wouldn't you want to meet someone who will love you and help make life, sex, relationships - fun? confused

Unless you are resident in a nunnery I see no reason why you shouldn't move on, find someone else / be single and happier?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 13:16:56

"I don't really understand what he wants in life, who he wants in life"

He wants exactly the life he's got. That's the point. He wants a casual girlfriend and not a permanent relationship. He wants his own place rather than a family home. He wants to live the bachelor life rather than be tied down. You're a 'convenient woman' only until he decides otherwise and flounces off again.

Who was it said that "one definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results"? He is not going to change because he's quite happy. You're the only one that can decide to stop doing the same thing over and over again and change your future instead.

I would strongly recommend that take a good look at the rest of your life and see where else you can get the things you think he provides... because I think you're far too reliant on him, your self-esteem is very low and you need something else (rather than someone else) to make you feel good about yourself. Could your job be more rewarding? Does your social life need a shot in the arm? What hobbies/sports/activities do you take part in? Could you learn a new skill or advance your education in some way? Do you travel solo... broaden your horizons?

sparklyjumper Wed 02-Jan-13 13:25:33

I don't think he's after money, he's got a good job, owns his own home, his family have money. I do think he might have been after an ego boost.

I suppose I don't feel as though I can move on because as wrong as it might be I feel stuck on him. I do actually really love him, I love his family, ds loves him and his family. I don't believe things will ever change but I wish they would. I don't love all the breaking up, the rows, but I love when we're just us and for a while I forget how dysfunctional we are and we're just going for a walk together or laughing our heads of at something on tv. I love all of thr nice things he does, the daft little things we share, the us jokes, the memories we've made.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 13:30:16

So you're going to waste a perfectly good life on this loser wishing he was different? hmm What happens when he dumps you for someone new? Because that's often the next move with people like him. They dither about and mess around whining about commitment and 'needing their own space', packing their bags one minute and reeling you back in the next ... and then, one sunny day, they announce they've met someone new, are moving in with them and all their commitment fears have magically evaporated. It was just you they couldn't tolerate.....

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 13:34:35

He genuinely just isn't that into you. If you were magically able to put armour over your heart, perhaps you could enjoy the casual fun of the relationship without getting caught up in the cycle of him remembering he doesn't want anything more serious. You would have your own life, not expect to share his. You could have some good times together and good times apart.

But you can't put armour over your heart. Your biggest risk here is not you finding someone else but that he does. Then you will have lost everything and you will have no reserves left to keep you going whilst you build yourself back up again.

If you can't bear to leave him (and you really really should) you massively need to focus on building up your own life, without him.

sparklyjumper Wed 02-Jan-13 13:46:25

Oh I hear you, I really do. You can always tell when he's broken up with me because I start decorating, looking for holidays, trying to do positive things. But I always end up falling flat on my face somewhere around week 3 or 4 either because he wants to get back together. Or I have a really bad day at work or because because it suddenly hits me that I'm alone and ring him crying, in my head I don't really want to get back together and undo how far I've come but somehow we fall back together.

I think talking about this now I think to myself, while my life probably could be worked on, I am relatively happy, I don't just want any man to keep the bed warm I want this man, but he doesn't. I mean breaking up with my ex who I had a child with wasn't as difficult as this.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Wed 02-Jan-13 13:56:48

There is no surer way to make yourself utterly miserable than to spend your life trying to make someone love you. He doesn't love you and never will. This doesn't mean you are unlovable, it means that he doesn't love you. And he is not obliged to love you.
While he may be a cynical sponger who is happy enough to take advantage of you for sex, company, a few home-cooked meals and the status of being 'attached@, he might just as easily be a bloke who doesn't really want a relationship and certainly doesn't want one with you but feels guilty every time you ring him up begging him to come back. A lot of people prefer to avoid confrontation and also don't want to be the 'bad' person who leaves a partner who doesn't want to be left.

Something else to consider is that it's actually a bit unethical to keep clinging on to someone who is demonstrating a wish to move on. All this crying and begging is a form of emotional blackmail; you're not entitled to keep him if he wants out.

sparklyjumper Wed 02-Jan-13 13:57:44

Why do people do that, tell you one thing but do another? If I suggest that he just doesn't love me enough, or eventually he'll meet someone he does he tells me I'm being ridiculous.

When he breaks up with me he never says it's because he doesn't love me, it's always something I've done, because I don't treat him well, or because I'm trying to control him. But I just don't see how I can control someone I only see 3-4 times a week, who lives 30 miles away, has his own house/life. But it's like this week, he hasn't said there was anything he wanted to do, he hasn't spoke up. Everyday I've asked what he wants to do today. Yet now all of a sudden he's living for me, I'm controlling him we didn't need to spend all week together. I don't know where it's all come from.

Lueji Wed 02-Jan-13 14:03:07

So, he's the one always breaking up with you?

How about, you break up with him, right now?

Then delete his number and change your mobile and landline numbers.
And go and have a cold shower each time you think of getting back together.

It's not healthy for you, and I bet it's not for your DS either.

PS - you also say you love his family. Are you actually in love with the family rather than him?

sparklyjumper Wed 02-Jan-13 14:06:44

I see what you're saying, but, when he's with me, he acts as though he loves me, he's very, very affectionatte I'm just thinking back to this week, the weekend before Christmas we were in a posh hotel I thought having an amazing time. He's always pulling me over for a hug telling me I'm beautiful, stroking my hair.

I guess he maybe getting back with me out of some kind of misplaced sympathy, but it isn't always me doing the chasing, it mostly is but there are times when it's him telling me he's made a mistake etc.

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 14:18:49

So (whether he even knows it himself) he's playing a shit load of power games with you. It's always you that's 'at fault' when he breaks up with you? And then either you crack or he pushes and voila: you are back together again. It sounds exhausting and it must leave you constantly on edge, wondering what's going to be the next reason for him to sod off.

Of course he says nice things to you - how hard is it to say nice things? But actually being nice to you seems to be a long way beyond him. I mean being properly nice, not just lovey-dovey in a hotel nice, but day-to-day taking care of you, respecting you - even, frankly, helping you to get some support for the insecurities your previous poor relationships have left you with. Isn't that what someone who truly cared about you would do, instead of playing head games and making you feel if you could just be a slightly better person this would all stop?

What a merry-go-round to be on.

sparklyjumper Wed 02-Jan-13 14:54:43

Do you know what he said to me last time it happened? He'd broken up with me over something I can't even remember what it was now it was so insignificant. But he came over and we went for a drive and to a little pub and I asked him why he keeps doing this and if breaking up was what he really wanted. He told me no and that he gets in a huff over something I've done and that breaking up seems like a good idea at the time and the easier thing to do. But how then he realises he's been stupid so tries to think of good reasons why we shouldn't be together, then he realises he wants to come back but is embarrassed and scared to come back because he knows I'll give him the cold shoulder or want answers.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 15:10:59

So he's bolting when things get tricky rather than talk through problems. And then he wants to come back but can't beacuse he's frightened someone might be cross with him?

How old did you say he was?

sparklyjumper Wed 02-Jan-13 15:21:05

We're both 29 although I feel much older and not in a good way. He never wants to talk about anything deep. When we get back together I say to him, we need to talk about what's going wrong so it doesn't happen again. You need to tell me what's making you so unhappy that you keep leaving so I know if it can ever work. And all he will say is there's nothing wrong and he's just been stupid.

And yes when he comes back he's always just really sheepish like a child who's been told off.

Lueji Wed 02-Jan-13 15:35:13

I really couldn't live with such drama.

He will not change.
You have to decide if you want to live that that or not.

tzella Wed 02-Jan-13 16:15:45

I think I've come here because I would really like to end it but the unbearable pain I feel when we break up stops me. I miss him terribly and find myself crying a lot, feeling lonely, miserable, but it's like a bit of a bad cycle, like a horrible addiction because being with him makes me feel good in the short term but I know it's only a matter of time before he hurts me again.

Sparkly, I'm finally breaking up with the man (at 7pm tonight!) who has messed me around since April. He's not entirely like yours (the messing around was about money and contributing to the household when he was here) and when we were together I generally felt safe and loved but he is basically a pig (like yours) and he manipulated me and we settled into some kind of ridiculous thing where I ended up walking on eggshells (I've read this phrase so often on here sad) and not questioning his behavious so he wouldn't leave me.

We broke up about 6 times. This will be the 7th, and final. I am 38 and have never been married, no dcs. I spent the times we were apart pretty much collapsed into a tearful, regretful mess and I'm certainly not looking forward to this happening again this time. But it's going to, and if I'm not to remain on this stupid treadmill of bullshit then I'm just going to have to suck it up. I will be heartbroken. Big deal. I won't die.

You and him are both driving a rollercoaster. You can stop it and get off. Then you can pick up the smashed peices afterwards.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now