I have been involved with a wonderful Catholic man for almost 2 years. We’re both working on our annulments and have plans for the future. We’re in our early 40s and the good Lord knows that we both have our share of faults.
But now, I am experiencing difficulties in handling our relationship. He’s got tons of great qualities, but 2 things are wearing on me. One is that he has a very negative outlook. He sees the worst in everyone and every situation. The ironic part is that I used to be just like that. But, I was diagnosed with clinical depression (related in great part to a blood deficiency) and take an anti-depressant and went through some intensive CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). I learned that how I thought influenced how I felt. Needless to say, my outlook is very different. I now consider myself an optimistic realist.
I find his cynicism very trying. In addition - I worry about slipping into unhealthy thought patterns.
The other issue is that his tone of voice is very strong - if he is irritated or annoyed, he gets a nastiness in his voice. If questioned, his tone gets arrogant. Now, if it were just me reacting this way, then I would think I was being foolish. But, his family reacts to him in the same way, as well as his co-workers. Needless to say, I react … well… I over-react. I usually become quite b____y / rude.
And once again, this is ironic. I used to have the same issue with tones of voice. My own mother used to tell me I was difficult to be around - this when I was an adult, not a teenager.
It took a lot of work to change. What greatly helped, I believe, was becoming a believer after being an atheist for over 2 decades. With God’s grace and a new way of looking at myself and the world, change actually happened.
No - I am in no way perfect. But I do try to become more of a loving person as time goes by. So in a way, I get mad at myself for not handling this situation better. Which of course, causes my fuse to get all the shorter.
Objectively speaking, I believe my SO and I are overall well suited to be together, and will have a good sacramental marriage (the annulment tribunals willing). And I know everyone has problems.
So my question is… how can I handle this? I know I must learn to cope better.
I also know that when one person changes how they act, the dynamics of a relationship changes. Is it reasonable to try to create change in that manner as well?
By the time we’re in our 40’s, it can be very hard to change and none of us are perfect. I’m not saying that if he were to change his tone and outlook that he would be perfect, but that I am able to deal with other quirks more effectively. What can I say that might influence him to want to change? I’ve tried honestly communicating with ‘I’ words, etc. If there was something about me that drives him crazy… LOL…“IF”. I know of a few things, and I do put forth effort into at least softening some of my sharp edges that cut into his peace of mind. It’s not easy.
I welcome all feedback on this. Our relationship, my peace of mind, and his happiness are very important to me, and solid Catholic advice seems to be the most promising avenue.
Thanks to all who reply.