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How do I stop being stubborn?

(29 Posts)
missmaryp Wed 06-Feb-13 08:12:37

I'm sure I can't be the only person who has been in this position, so I'm looking for some words of wisdom / comparative tales please.

My partner and I have been together for nearly 4 years. To begin with it was the most wonderful relationship I have ever been part of, he made me feel completely loved - I internally mocked my ex who'd told me my expectations were too high, that I desired a Hollywood romance that didn't exist, because - this was it, I was living it!

We moved in together and life got in the way. That's fine. However, as he has now admitted, he got smug, arrogant and lazy - he took me for granted, stopped kissing me, stopped paying me attention, stopped being intimate, sex became sparse and not particularly intimate when it happened etc

I told him this was happening, I asked for him to sort it out - but apparently he just didn't think he'd ever lose me.

(Well why the f* not?!)

Anyway, we've got to the point where my barriers have gone up and low and behold, he finally realises he has been a rubbish boyfriend, has apologised lots and his trying his absolute best. It's everything I've ever wanted like my boyfriend, or my boyfriends love for me at least has been switched on.

But my barrier won't go down. Whenever he softly strokes my face or hair - although it feels nice - it's tainted by a niggle in the back of my head saying 'but why haven't you been doing this for the past two years'?

Without meaning to sound melodramatic, it feels like he has blown my light out. I want it to be reignited. How the hell do I stop being such a stubborn madam so it can be?

AnyFucker Wed 06-Feb-13 08:17:48

Well, you know the cliche "too little too late" exists for a very good reason

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 08:18:32

You're not a 'stubborn madam'.... that makes you sound like some kind of petulant child so stop thinking of yourself in that way. What you're describing is three or four years of being ignored & taken for granted. You asked for change and nothing happened until you decided to stop taking the crap. Now he steps up his act and it's a case of 'too little, too late'. You're - quite sensibly - very guarded because you're waiting for the real him to reappear... which it will as soon as you start feeling warm and fuzzy towards him and when he thinks he has his feet back under the table.

I think, once you've seen through someone like you have and you're suspicious that they are just putting on a very convenient act, it's game over. Sorry.

CailinDana Wed 06-Feb-13 08:19:28

He didn't touch you affectionately for two years?

missmaryp Wed 06-Feb-13 08:20:52

He probably did, but it became less and less frequent - I quite painfully remember the cuddling in bed stopping.

Oh this is shit!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 08:22:02

'Smug arrogant and lazy' men who only turn on the charm when they're backed into a corner generally are shit.

CailinDana Wed 06-Feb-13 08:23:29

You shouldn't have to demand good treatment from your partner, it should just be there. It's normal for everyone to have short lapses now and again - maybe lasting a couple of weeks - but if in only 4 years there is a period of about 2 years where there was no affection then it's not a good sign is it?

Hullygully Wed 06-Feb-13 08:24:53

wot af said (which also made me laugh)

Lueji Wed 06-Feb-13 08:44:01

You are thinking, probably rightly, that he's making the effort now, but will go back to not caring once your guard is down again.

Give it time, but don't give him more than one more chance.

Xales Wed 06-Feb-13 08:54:21

Try faking it. Give yourself 3/6 months and see if he keeps it up.

If not you know he is doing the bare minimum to keep you

Cocolollip Wed 06-Feb-13 09:56:14

So many people give up too easily these days.
I understand how you've put barriers up against him and that's a natural defence mechanism to protect yourself and your feelings - I'm the same.

To me it sounds as if this relationship is worth fighting for given how he was in the beginning. And the fact he has opened up and admitted how he was towards you shows he's ready to move on from that 'stale' period and get back to how you used to be. I feel it takes a lot for a man to admit where he's done wrong.

People go through stages in life and have periods where they lose themselves for a while, stress, depression and pressure to name a few are all factors of this. When that happens it tends to cloud all the important things that truly matter.

If you love this man and can see no reason why things can't go back to the way they were then you have to move on and not dwell on what he was like but how he is now.
As you say, he's trying his best so maybe now you can put your fears aside and enjoy how he's embracing you and the relationship.

Good luck x

flippingflup Wed 06-Feb-13 10:41:06

I totally get what you are saying, I feel like that with dh. We've been together a long time (and have dcs), but after two years had the same problem as you. I should have left then, but every time I tried to he turned on the affection.

For us, I think the affection I need is more than dh can naturally give. He's now making the effort (because he knows he has to), but I'm annoyed that it has to be an effort to give me a hug! One thing that helps me is to talk about it with him, but he doesn't want to hear it!
Basically, I think we are mismatched. He grew up on clint eastwood, I grew up on disney films.

I think you should take this seriously, don't dismiss your feelings as stubbornness!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 10:41:57

"I feel it takes a lot for a man to admit where he's done wrong. "

And IME the easiest words in the English language are 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you'.... meaningless. A short period of panicky extra effort set against three or four years of crappy behaviour is not the basis for a good relationship. I think the OP is not 'dwelling' but simply realising that this is all a bit too convenient.

Cocolollip Wed 06-Feb-13 11:07:41

Yeah I get your point Cogito but simply going on what OP said (and that's all any of us are going on) it doesn't sound like this man is evil or manipulative, He doesn't sound abusive or controlling. Just merely someone who had all the right attributes to enjoy a quality relationship with, lost that for a while (admittedly a rather lengthy while) and is now making big amends to get it back to the way it was.

Now if OP had said he'd gone through his 'stale' period more than once then I'd be wholeheartedly agreeing with you.

I feel - and this really is just my own opinion, that the main concern for OP is trying to recapture the spark that ignited her flame for DP, relaxing her barriers (very much easier said than done) and moving forward.

If that's impossible to do, and I wouldn't actually blame OP if it was, then the obvious answer would be to let each other go.

I just wanted to try and shed some positivity on the matter and give OP some hope as it really does sound to me that she's not ready to give up.


CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 11:18:37

"he got smug, arrogant and lazy - he took me for granted, stopped kissing me, stopped paying me attention, stopped being intimate, sex became sparse and not particularly intimate when it happened etc"

That doesn't make a man abusive, evil or manipulative... it just makes him a partner that doesn't give a shit. Three out of the four years is not a 'stale period' it's 'the real him'.... it's what he'll revert to once the OP lets her guard down.

meditrina Wed 06-Feb-13 11:28:58

I think you are totally right to be very alert to what sort of partner he is in future.

But if you cannot "act as if" during the time he is making an effort, then the attempt will indeed falter. It may take months before you feel truly confident in him (if ever, indeed), but unless you try as well then a further failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I suppose the underlying question is whether you want to stay in the relationship. Did you reset the agenda in the hope he'd leave, and are now feeling a bit caught?

Cocolollip Wed 06-Feb-13 11:50:36

'The real him' 'Its what he'll revert to once the OP let's her guard down'

And you know this for sure? Your going by one post and you sound as if you know this man personally...

Anyway OP, I hope I helped bring a different view on the matter.


CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 13:02:54

"And you know this for sure?"

.... Doesn't take a genius to work out that a man that only turns on the charm to get his hooks in and then 'relaxes' into the kind of ambivalent neglect that the OP describes is simply using his 'date face'. It's a pretty standard pattern in human nature to be on best behaviour initially and then slack off when they think they don't need to try .....

AnyFucker Wed 06-Feb-13 15:04:18

Well, the OP knows him personally and she seems priddy pessimistic about this bloke, so I'll stick with her...

Lovingfreedom Wed 06-Feb-13 15:38:26

"he has now admitted, he got smug, arrogant and lazy - he took me for granted, stopped kissing me, stopped paying me attention, stopped being intimate, sex became sparse and not particularly intimate when it happened etc

I told him this was happening, I asked for him to sort it out - but apparently he just didn't think he'd ever lose me."

So he was aware of it but he didn't sort it out cos he thought he could get away with it....

"So many people give up too easily these days."

Not in my experience. In my experience too many women put up with nightmare partners and all kinds of crap because they believe all the guff about needing to work at marriage, ending a relationship being a failure, needing to stay together for the sake of the children and that they can only leave a relationship if they've tried over and again to make it work.

AnyFucker Wed 06-Feb-13 15:56:19

Yup. And endeavouring to change yourself to stay in a relationship like OP is proposing is precisely the wrong thing to do

CailinDana Wed 06-Feb-13 16:02:28

I agree loving. This whole "people give up too easily" seems to mean that women just twist themselves in knots trying to make an impossible relationship work while men rest on their laurels and take the piss.

If you're not happy in a relationship, make one good attempt to fix it, then leave. That's my policy. In cases of infidelity or abuse, just leave.

Lovingfreedom Wed 06-Feb-13 16:14:11's such a strange, archaic line to take...if you were unhappy in your job and wanted to move on people wouldn't suggest that you'd got a failed career, or that you should stay and give it one more shot. If you wanted to move house, no-one would claim you hadn't tried hard enough to make it work out in the old one. You have one life...why be miserable by flogging dead horses or even live ones that you just can't be bothered flogging any more.

CailinDana Wed 06-Feb-13 16:30:43

IMO it harks back to the time when divorce was considered shameful and sinful- we still have that hangover. And it seems to hang more heavily around women's necks than men's probably because of the worry of how it will affect the children (whom the woman is responsible for, naturally hmm). I just don't see how staying in a shit relationship with tension and heartache permeating the household can be any better for a child than a divorce.

lisac99 Wed 06-Feb-13 16:49:58

Sounds exactly like my ex – I TOLD him he wasn’t appreciating me, I TOLD him he took me for granted (All the cooking cleaning, washing.. yet we both worked full time – I’d get home, cook… he’d be upstairs playing computer games, come down to eat and then bugger off again, leaving me to clear up….).

When I had packed the last of my things, he was on the stairs, crying and I said again ‘I TOLD you how I felt’

His response: ‘You told me, but you didn’t show me’…


It doesn’t sound melodramatic – do you think there’s a chance you’ve lost respect for him and as such, there’s a part of your subconscious that is telling you that you don’t want to be in the relationship any more? With my ex, the longer he ‘didn’t care’ about my feelings and took me for granted, the resentment grew and the love I felt for him lessened – it meant that when I did eventually split with him, I didn’t hurt much at all as I was just so, so fed up of not being cared for in any shape, way or form.

You may not be able to ‘stop being stubborn’ as there’s the inner voice seething with how shitty he has been for such a long time, in which case perhaps it’s time to move on? Only you know if that’s the case or not…

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