Looking for a little relationship advice


#1

hey folks,
1st timer here, and could use a little advice I guess. I was raised in a good catholic family, very close and have had a very blessed life. Raised on meat 'n potatoes, and a very direct way to approach life, to never back down from obstacles, nothings ever that terrible that a little faith and determination can’t overcome. great friends, career and all that the Lord has blessed me with.

My girlfriend and I have been together for 2 1/2 years, she was raised catholic, but after a terrible divorce, her father is no longer in the picture. From what she has told me, he was a troubled soul, and has alienated himself from pretty much his entire family.

She too is a troubled soul, and fears that she is too much like her father. she has a hard time dealing with daily stress, is quick to push away from friends and others who she feels have wronged her…she is depressed, but yet I have seen so much goodness within her, and we have had a lot of great times. She has the desire to have that family life, and do all the things her family didn’t have the chance to.

She has had a difficult life, and for the past 2 1/2 years I have tried to gently influence her, to try and shoulder some of her burden and lighten the load to help her to find her happiness, whatever it may be. She began attending church service with me, and eventually we participated in an adult confirmation program for her. Every step and 8am meeting I was there with her, to support her and share in the process - plus the refresher was good for me as well :slight_smile:

It pains me to see her hurting and push people away, ‘before they have a chance to not like her’. She has such low self confidence, and like most ‘guys’ I guess I’m trying to ‘fix’ her, because that’s what we do, we’re the rock, and shoulder the burden. I find all her hurt, pain, and sadness eating away at me, and soon I am where I feel I can’t shoulder any more.

she admits to me at times, that she does feel depressed, she doesn’t know what to do, and that she wishes she could learn to deal with life better. I’ve tried to suggest talking with our priest, who is an absolute great person, but she refuses, b/c she does not want him to know her that way, and to be embarassed when she goes to church. I don’t know how to get her to open up to him…it’s free, he won’t shove pills on her to solve the problem.

I’m afraid for us, because we’re close to the point where we could get married, but nothing I do or how I try to help, will help her find happiness. I’m frustrated that I can’t take all her pain away, and I’m afraid that if we can’t start down the road of healing now, that any marriage between us would be doomed to fail, or an unhappy one at least.

Man this really got long, what a way to introduce myself :slight_smile:

thanks for reading.


#2

First of all, welcome to the Forums, phendyr! :wave: Please know that everyone who says they’ll pray for you and your situation definitely will!

You are correct that your beloved needs help before marrying. Is she just scared of seeing your priest alone? Would she have more courage if you went with her, maybe, at least for the first time? Priests really have heard it all.

There are great Catholic counselors out there, too (I don’t know the website, but I’m sure others will post it, if not, I’ll try to find it), that won’t “push pills” on anyone (sometimes medication becomes necessary, but I understand her hesitation). A psychologist can’t prescribe medication, anyway, only psychiatrists can. :wink: I only mention this because not all priests are trained psychologists, but he should be able to recommend someone if your lady needs help that is beyond his scope of experience.

It sounds like you are doing a great job taking care of her; it is obvious you love her deeply. Keep up the good work, and keep praying.

I’m sorry that I really couldn’t give much advice, but know that you and your girlfriend are being prayed for. :signofcross:


#3

She is lucky having you caring about her. Keep up the good work :thumbsup:

It is VERY hard for a young woman or girl to lose her father, in whatever way. It is extremely bad for a womans self esteem, no wonder she is feeling depressed and insecure! Who can blame her!? In any case it would be good if she got some help. You can’t drag yourself out of something like this on your own. And it is important that she gets help BEFORE you get married. Perhaps a catholic psychologist? You say that she doesn’t want to see your priest, but maybe she just doesn’t feel comfortable talking to a man about her issues, is there no nun or other suitable woman in the church she could talk to?


#4

I agree with trying to find some help for her, but at the same time realize that you cannot expect people to change or overcome these things and is this something you would be ready to accept for the rest of your life if you married her. I just offer it as consideration, not a jump the ship and leave her now, but something to keep in mind.
In Christ,
Dailybread


#5

I am the child of divorce, and had quite the rough time also. So, I know what I am speaking about.

YOU cannot fix her. She may never fix herself, either. Some people don’t. Some people do, but it takes many years.

My advice: Don’t marry her until and unless she’s standing on her own two feet and stops the behavior of victim. She needs counseling.

I can suggest the book The Unexpecte Legacy of Divorce by Wallerstein, Lewis, and Blakeslee. It will help you get a window into her world.

I also suggest YOU get and read the book Date or Soul Mate by Dr. Neil Clark Warren. Selecting a spouse has many aspects, and if you select unwisely you will spend a lifetime regretting it.

You need to stop trying to fix her and stop “shouldering” her burden.


#6

It really sounds as if she needs therapy. I would not move any closer towards thoughts of marriage unless she was willing to get some help. I know when you care about someone, it seems like love and encouagement should be able to help them through anything. I know from personal experience marrying someone with a troubled upbringing who was not able to take an honest look at how that was affecting his view on relationships with others, that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, who doesn’t want to take the necessary steps if real change is going to occur. Marriage to such a person can be extremely difficult, and maybe even impossible. I know my ex-husband has always had real issues with his mother that he would project on to me, and it is totally possible that your girlfriend could end up projecting her feelings of abandonment and betrayal from her father onto you. I would urge you to be very cautious.


#7

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and feedback. I am going to set a time to talk with our priest just the two of us first. I think they have a counselor on staff as well, so perhaps she would feel better talking to her.

she’s not scared of seeing the priest alone, I’ve offered to be there with her, but she doesn’t want to, and just wants ‘it’ to ‘go away’. which is hard to hear, b/c I know it doesn’t work that way.

I realize that I cannot ‘fix’ her and that we need to seek some help in trying to move forward before we consider marriage. Thanks for the book recommendations, I will look into them.

Thanks to all.


#8

Hello all,
This got really long, but wow, it has been some time since I’ve visited this forum, it is strange to look back on years past, and sad to see what today has become. Five years later, I return posing the same question, looking for a little advice. As always, I greatly appreciate your time and thoughts.

in the summer of 08, my gf and I married, and started our path together. Sadly, it was not to be a happy one. After about a year we decided to build a home, and soon after moving in, she lost her job. I also changed careers, and from the time we started building, we had lost 60k in income… Needless to say the belt had to be tightened a LOT, and I began working longer hours to make up what we needed - overtime, freelance, whatever it took. I didn’t want to but it took a lot of time away from ‘us’… I was stressed, so was she, and our relationship began to get pushed aside.

Over the next 2-3 years we were still on the wrong side of making ends meet, she would still want to go out to bars, go visit friends, which I wanted to as well, but we couldn’t afford. this became a friction between us, and soon she started looking for employment… at first I thought great, this would really help out… but she sought out jobs where she worked with people she could drink with, and would be gone for long periods of time. Arguments got stronger, more painful and soon we would only put on a facade around others when we were together.

In our last and fourth year, everything has taken a terrible downfall… All the while we were trying to have children and it never happened, which was an incredible pain for her, as it was the one thing she wanted most… we sought testing, to determine if there were complications with either of us, which turned out to be negative - “Everything’s fine.” was the worst answer we could’ve received I think, as she would’ve preferred to have something wrong than no answer for our inability to have kids. After that she really began to just disregard everything and just go out and stay out really late, sometimes not come home at all, etc…

One night she confided in my friends that she still smoked pot, and that I didn’t know… as if she was looking to get caught and have a fight… I never confronted her about it… As her time away from the home began increasing, and what I knew to be lies, I began monitoring our phone records and computer usage, only to find conversations with people online, terrible, sexual conversations, sharing of photos, etc… talk of having a man coming to the house… etc. It ruined me. One night a week before our anniversary, we sat in bed trying to talk about what to do for our anniversary, and she wouldn’t talk, was indifferent… finally I asked her, “You don’t want this anymore do you.” It wasn’t so much a question as a statement, but she replied, “no, my hearts not in this anymore, I don’t want this.”

Since then we’ve had some pretty heated arguments, where she lashes out calling my faith a cult, and that she would never be a part of it, that my family is nothing but a bunch of F’n A-holes, and admitted to sleeping with another man (she says it happened after we agreed to divorce, but I know from our computer that there were others she ‘toyed with’ when out at the bars.) She went so far as to openly admit that she hid parts of her personality while we were dating, so I wouldn’t see.

Ultimately we agreed to divorce, filed and are now awaiting our court date. She looked for a job for four months, unable to find one. I helped her locate one, which she was able to get, and is making quite decent money, and has since moved out of our home. I figured the quickest way to help myself, was to help her. Now, every day I come home and see a little more of my life be erased as she moves her things out.

Since our marriage, I know that I share in the blame that may have pushed her away, and that I focused on work/making ends meet more than making sure she was ok. Money, religion, family, friends… all the classic issues that wedge between two people.

Am I wrong for not wanting to save this? As a friend once said, “The fear of failure is greater than the fear of losing the relationship.” I was always raised to do the right thing, I’ve had a great life, and never tried anything worse than a cigarette (it was horrible lol)… I’m afraid that at my age (37) I’m at that point where I may never have children of my own. My family and friends are the best, and they keep my spirits up, but this big empty house is horrible at nights. I’m not jaded on marriage, but I don’t know how the church looks upon this and if it would ever be possible to get an annulment, I haven’t looked into it yet.

It’s hard to even attend church right now, as I feel like part of me is missing, lol… is it possible to love and hate someone at the same time? Like back in 07 when I first visited this site, part of me still has that desire to “fix” things, but maybe some things just need to be left broken. I can’t say I want to save our marriage, I just want to be able to move on and focus on getting myself back on track. I’m afraid that doing so will be in stark contrast to the letter of the church and find myself on the outside of what I’ve followed my whole life.

If you made it to the end of this, wow, you’re dedicated. thank you, get a glass of water, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


#9

Wow, I see a lot of parallels in your situation and mine (the pot smoking jumps off the page, so to speak). I have recently come through the most harrowing two years of my life (wife filed for divorce in September 2010 after 18 years of marriage; two teenage sons in the wake) and truly it's only just beginning. I'd offer the following advice/observations:

  • Be glad you don't have kids. However this goes for you and your wife, it is indeed a blesing in disguise that there are no children to have to endure this horror. As 1KE mentioned above, some children of divorce carry the scars of it thei entire lifetime - they in fact, never heal.
  • The Church considers you as married post-civil divorce as you were on your wedding day, so you are not free to pursue romantic relationships or 'move on' as the secular world understands it.
  • Insofar as annulments seem to be pretty readily issued in this country (USA), odds are you'd receive one under the auspices of canon 1095 (defective consent).
  • I don't mean to focus too much on one piece of your post, but one of the parallels i see in your situation and mine is the issue of children. Please pardon me for the bluntness of the following, but I think you need to seriously consider the possibility that your wife married you as a perfunctory step to father her chldren. Maybe she saw you as the 'meat and potatoes' Catholic who'd dutifully stand by and support her while she raised *he*r children. When it became clear that children were an impossibility, maybe you became expendable. In my case I think I became expendable (in her eyes) when the children were here and reasonably self-sufficient.
  • Your wife is likely going to to continue to up the acrimony to rationalize what she's done.

Again, sorry for direct approach, I'm just trying to help. PM me if you'd like to chat offline.


#10

I am sorry this has happened to you.

I will give the same advice to you today as I did then: You cannot fix her. She does not want to fix herself.

Might I also suggest individual counseling for yourself regarding your eagerness to be in the role of rescuer and fixer (and in your own way, victim) and your headlong entry into marriage immediately following advice here to the contrary and your own clear understanding (per your OP) that such a marriage was doomed before it started. Why the self inflicted wounds?


#11

It takes two to make a marriage, and it is clear that your wife wants out. Your relationship was never based on mutal respect or affection, but more victim/rescuer. Keep your court date and let it go, then file for an annulment. You should also look into counseling for yourself and find out why it is so important for you be the rescuer of damsels in distress and not look for someone to be an equal partner in life.


#12

I agree with the above advice about not marrying her until SHE helps herself. Trying to “fix” her will be a life long project you will never finish.

She’s depressed and she doesn’t want to do anything about it except have you dote on her - it is her control over you and the relationship. Imagine trying to raise children with such a partner.


#13

It is a media depiction that marriage can work on just love. It takes two stable people with good direction to make a marriage work (and usually a whole lot more).

I agree with 1ke that you cannot fix her. She must come to conversion on her own or find a place (probably down the road a ways) where she is ready for spiritual advice. Right now, she has a closed heart and will not listen to words of support.

I am sorry that you’ve gone through this and I can certainly empathize to a certain extent. Many prayers will be sent your way and I hope you can move past this unfortunate situation.

Joshua C.


#14

[quote="1ke, post:10, topic:75108"]
I am sorry this has happened to you.

I will give the same advice to you today as I did then: You cannot fix her. She does not want to fix herself.

Might I also suggest individual counseling for yourself regarding your eagerness to be in the role of rescuer and fixer (and in your own way, victim) and your headlong entry into marriage immediately following advice here to the contrary and your own clear understanding (per your OP) that such a marriage was doomed before it started. Why the self inflicted wounds?

[/quote]

This pretty much says it all. Please, get help for yourself, and wait for someone you don't have to fix.


#15

*** See bottom addition - I see that the OP did marry his GF.

This. X 10. We are what we are, we carry our wounds with us. Some can be healed, but much will leave scar tissue nonetheless.

Research has shown that people who are traumatized early in life, before their teens, and who are not treated, are more susceptible to repeated episodes of depression. You are already seeing this, and she needs treatment - both for her depression, and for the scars of her parents’ divorce and her father deserting the family. She may cycle through depression on a regular basis, or stay depressed for long periods.

This is a lot to take on. You’re not her Savior, and you’re not likely to be able to fix her. If you can live with her as she is, and imagine her being the mother of your children, AS SHE IS NOW, then at least you’re not in denial. But don’t imagine that you will get to some magical day when she will at last be whole. Father hunger will likely haunt her for the rest of her life. Don’t try to be her Daddy.

**** Woops. I see you already married her. I am so, so sorry. So sorry. You will be in my prayers. Thanks for the update, and maybe it will help others to see that the warnings you got 5 years ago were not just doom and gloom, but really had a lot of wisdom.

Again, I am so sorry.


#16

When my fiance’ and I started dating I was a wreck! I was depressed and sorrowful all the time. But he was awesome.

He always saw the beauty in me, even though I couldn’t, and he constantly and consistently mirrored back to me the woman that I REALLY am. He managed to detach himself from my gloominess and not make it about him. It was truly heroic. I tried so hard to push him away because I knew I wasn’t in the space to be in a relationship but he never left my side. In reality that was what I needed, someone who would not abandon me. Children of divorce often have deep seeded reservations about commitment. He made me so secure in his commitment to me that I felt so safe with him. That safety and security led me to heal. I guarantee it was not easy for him but he loves me no matter what!

I am often confronted with baggage from my family history of child abuse, it is not my fault. My body has it’s own memory and it affects my emotions. He is strong enough to accept that it is part of who I am and he just lets me work through it, all the while loving me with the same affection as always (even when I reject him or push him away). I still struggle with physical intimacy (even though we are not engaging in any until we get married) but when I think about it I feel an aversion (Its a condition caused by the abuse). Well, we talk about it and he knows that my aversion is “not about him” but my past.

I am so blessed to have a man who is so willing to love me unconditionally. The church teaches in the “Theology of the Body” that marital union and the grace of the sacrament will eventually help me to be whole again. We will probably face some difficulties but I know he will not leave me. He has already helped restore my faith in God through his fidelity. I think If he can love me like this, how much more does God.

When I voiced my concerns to my priest he said, “Trust the grace of the sacrament of Marriage.”

I’m not telling you what to do but sharing with you my experience of being loved by a man who took me “just as I am.”


#17

Found a pretty good blog:

catholicmatch.com/blog/2012/06/the-third-secret-to-attraction-and-lasting-relationships/


#18

You were so blessed!!!

:love::extrahappy:


#19

I want to thank you all for sharing your experiences, feedback and opinions on everything, including myself. It is the benefit of the internet and the ability to hear what family and friends would most likely never say.

**@ Hurting: **your perception about becoming expendable is quite possible… She has always had a justification that placed blame on anyone/everyone but herself for her actions, and if confronted/questioned she would attack my character… it’s as though she married me for being a “good guy” but despises me for also being a “good guy”…

@1ke/Catholic1954: As far as myself is concerned, I don’t really have an answer, I come from a incredible childhood, not rich by any means, but a hard working family and parents that have been together for over 50 years. I don’t know where the Mr. Fixit comes from… I hope to learn to understand more about myself through this and hopefully be a little wiser in the future. Relationships before her didn’t have that dynamic (damsel/hero).

@TheRealJuliane: Agreed, one should always listen to that inner voice, be it the Lord or just their gut… It never steered me wrong, just should have listened to mine a little more.

@Lady Love: You truly have an incredible partner/friend… From my own experience, it is extremely difficult to compartmentalize those emotions/actions and not allow it to affect yourself personally, when it affects so much around you - between the two of you, between families, friends, work, faith… I wish you all the best.

I do look forward to a new chapter in my life, I am of course saddened by the loss of what we had started together. It will always be a part of me, a constant reminder that relationships require as much effort from both sides, as one puts into a career, and solid foundation in faith. Since our filing, I have had a difficult time attending church, always feeling uncomfortable being in any one place for any length of time. I’ve been to 4 different churches, and every one it seems as though I’m the only person under 40 there. It feels as though nobody my age or younger attend church anymore… a handful of younger families, but that’s about it. It just feels as though there’s really no ‘hope’ of actually meeting someone who won’t see my faith as a fault.

Again, I appreciate everyone’s kind words, honest feedback, and prayers. I wish you all the best.


#20

Hi, sounds to me that your partners previous problems ie seeing a counsellor n not playing a victim were not healed and she filled the holes n wounds with these various sins. While it is difficult for some people to do good, it is difficult for others to resist evil. I only hope you can stay true to yourself and forgive her. Meanwhile, I hope you both can get counselling as it is a must to be healthy and maintain a healthy perpective or things will go downhill.
Keep treating or improving yourself. Dont stop untill you are fulfilled or independant of everything. Although dont expect to be completly free of her. Catholicism tells us what God wills of us. Good luck. You sound like youve been through alot and you were really nice too. God Bless.

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