Today’s Dilemma

Right now, it is 10:13am on a Tuesday, and I am sitting at work reevaluating whether I want to remain in my current relationship.

My girlfriend and I have had problems throughout our relationship. We don’t communicate in the same ways, and this leads to a lot of confusion, frustration, and hurt feelings. I need a lot of verbal affection and validation, but she has never been great with words. When she says the wrong thing, or fails to say the right thing, it really affects me.

These issues came to a head in April, and we broke up. I felt that my needs were not being met, and that I was not happy in the relationship. My girlfriend came over one day later, and we had a long discussion that resulted in us getting back together. We decided to try to fix the problems in our relationship instead of giving up on it. We both committed to making some changes, and I attended a “Healthy Relationships” counseling group, where I learned strategies to communicate with my girlfriend more effectively.

For a while, this effort paid off and our relationship was going well. But recently, these old problems have begun to surface alongside some new ones.

A few days ago, I told my girlfriend that I felt she was becoming distant. At first, she claimed nothing was wrong, but she then told me that she had been thinking a lot about her future. She said she isn’t happy with her current life, and that she wants to travel and find what makes her happy after she graduates. I asked if she wants to be in a relationship when this happens; she said she doesn’t know.

For a little while, I have been feeling like my girlfriend doesn’t like me very much, and that she is only staying with me to avoid breaking up, as she has experienced a horrible breakup in the past. I thought these thoughts were caused by worsening depression, but I now suppose that they have some merit. I have no idea what my girlfriend sees in me, so her potential desire to leave the relationship makes sense.

I have my own reasons for wanting out of this relationship. I still feel that some of my needs aren’t being met. I am not told I am loved as often as I would like, and I can’t always count on my girlfriend to respond adequately when I am in a crisis. My girlfriend is a wonderful person, and she shows her affection in other ways, but these are things I need from a partner.

In addition, I feel somewhat stifled in this relationship. I am still figuring out who I am, but I’m afraid to explore this as long as I am with someone. I worry that I will become someone my girlfriend doesn’t like or isn’t attracted to. I am too afraid to venture outside my comfort zone, lest I cease to be the woman she fell in love with.

These fears aren’t completely unfounded. Once, when I expressed interest in getting a short haircut, my girlfriend told me she wouldn’t find it attractive. I was once planning to buy some pot and joked that I would start smoking everyday. My girlfriend said she would probably break up with me if I did. When I expressed my desire to perform stand-up comedy at a local bar, she laughed at me. These reactions made me want to stop changing, stop growing, in order to keep my relationship intact.

I love my girlfriend, but honestly, what scares me most about the possibility of breaking up is being alone. Not losing her specifically, but having no one. I would still have friends and family, but that isn’t the same. I wouldn’t have somebody to listen to my feelings at all hours of the day, and to bring me ice cream when my dad is getting a divorce, and to watch Game of Thrones in bed with me. I would feel completely and utterly alone in the world, and that scares the shit out of me.

Also, I have been looking forward to spending my birthday with my girlfriend all year, and it is finally less than a month away. As petty as this seems, it would suck to abandon that plan and instead spend my birthday alone.

Clearly, I love my girlfriend and I would miss her terribly if we broke up. This point seems too obvious to be worth expanding on.

Now I’m overanalyzing my decision to spend paragraphs detailing stupid reasons to remain in my relationship, and devoting two sentences to the only thing that matters. Since beginning to write this post, I have begun to more seriously consider breaking up. That sucks.

It’s 11:48am on a Tuesday (I had to do some intermittent real work while writing this), and I am sitting at work reevaluating whether I want to remain in my current relationship.

Sarah