Questioning my Relationship


#1

Hello everyone. I'm new here, so I've tried my best to make sure I'm posting in the right place, and I think this is it.

I've tried getting advice from a lot of different Catholic friends about this, but there wasn't really a "ring of truth" to any of what I heard, and there was quite a bit of conflicting views. So now I'm asking the Internet!

My girlfriend and I have been dating for 10 1/2 months. This is my first serious relationship. We are both Catholics in good standing. For the first three months of our relationship things were great, as they usually are. I understand the whole honeymoon element. About three months in, though, I began to regularly question my relationship.

At first, it was only once in a very long while. By about 6 months, I was doing this often enough for it to disturb me. Nowadays, it's every week.

The things that I think to myself is that my girlfriend isn't able to empathize with me. I'm also very frustrated that we don't communicate very well at all. This is where I get into trouble with advice: quite frankly, I don't think most people have understood what I'm trying to say. My girlfriend mostly communicates on the level of facts and ideas. I mostly communicate on the level of feelings and opinions. It is very hard for us to meet in the middle.

On top of this, I find it very difficult to spend time with her without wishing I was doing something else. I keep hoping that if I persevere it will go away, but it hasn't. I used to really enjoy being with her, but that's not so often anymore. Mentally, I really appreciate the good things about her, but for some reason, I can't feel anything anymore. I am not seeking the feelings of love, understand, what I mean is that I'm not happy with what she gives to the relationship...and I wish I was!

My doubt in this is that I'm being selfish. I haven't broken up with her because I worry that some of my friends have been right in saying that this situation is going to happen with anyone I'm going to date. My girlfriend knows that I've felt this way, and she gets really upset. She loves me a lot, and she doesn't seem to have this problem at all, which disturbs me. I am choosing to love her and spend time with her, but I wonder if that's what is really the right thing to do.

What should I do?


#2

[quote="ThereWasADream, post:1, topic:261074"]
On top of this, I find it very difficult to spend time with her without wishing I was doing something else. I keep hoping that if I persevere it will go away, but it hasn't. I used to really enjoy being with her, but that's not so often anymore. Mentally, I really appreciate the good things about her, but for some reason, I can't feel anything anymore. I am not seeking the feelings of love, understand, what I mean is that I'm not happy with what she gives to the relationship...and I wish I was!

[/quote]

I think this is the paragraph that is very telling.

It has become largely accepted in society that love is nothing more than a feeling. Thus you see people "falling" in and out of love based on how they're "feeling".

Love is an action. It's a verb.

Dating is a time for mutual discernment between the guy and the girl and God. Are you called to be married, and is this the person? Do you want to love this person with all that you are; do you want to give them everything of yours and hold nothing back? Are you going to love this person the same way that Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25)?

Do you think you can make it work into the future? And I mean 20, 30, 40, or 50 years from now. Do you even want to try? Ask yourself honestly.

The solution is pretty easy here though. Talk to her about it. If you were to get married, that is how you would deal with problems like these, by talking it out with each other. This is you putting something into the relationship. If this is holding you back now, how will you ever have open discussions about serious issues in the future, such as money, kids, jobs, and problems in your life?

Also, don't let societal pressures drive you. That means your friends. They are not you. The only One who knows the Plan for you is God. I'm sure they are great friends and I'm not questioning that, but you shouldn't feel that you need to stay because this is all that's available. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work; trust that God has a plan for you. Marriage means you don't do this type of discernment alone, so if you think this is it then it's time to start doing this together with your girlfriend.


#3

+My parents were married for 64 years before the Lord took them home within a few months of each other . . . and the faithful love :heart: between them even after 64 years was so alive and so real and apparent in the Lord . . . it literally was an astonishment as well as a . . . great encouragement **. . . to others in contact with their lives . . . including their several children . . . that genuine love between husband and wife . . . **never . . . has to die . . . but just grows day by day . . . I remember my strapping big handsome and manly father quietly mentioning to me one day when mother was ill . . . what a sweet and simple . . . little joy . . . it was . . . in particular . . . he had missed . . . when Mom came home from a stay in the hospital brought on by the illness . . . for he had missed the tender little gesture of love between them . . . in particular . . . of holding hands while sleeping . . . *while she was away . . . *

Your heart :heart: is telling you something ThereWasADream . . . listen carefully . . . it is most unfair to the individual you are dating . . . and to your true self . . . to keep up this pretense of a healthy relationship that has any future . . . when in reality it is not healthy or real . . . if you were to continue dating . . . or were to marry in this state . . . simply makes no sense . . . spiritually, logically or emotionally . . . for either of you . . . marriage is forever . . . the relationship you have described seems to harbor future . . . very real unhappiness and misery . . . for both of you . . . *a genuine loving :heart: heart would not want another to continue a relationship where there is such . . . **evident very real doubt* . . . as to whether anything really sweet and good and loving could possibly come about between them . . . as a couple . . . in the Lord . . .

As their daughter . . . I am so incredibly thankful to have had parents who loved each other so much throughout years and years and years of marriage . . .

May God bless and guide you as you journey on in life . . .

[RIGHT]. . . Jesus+
**. . . Jesus I Trust in You+
:signofcross:[/RIGHT]


#4

One thing you said spoke volumes. If you are not fully present when in her company and wish you were somewhere else, that won't go away, but will increase.

Engagement Encounter is a resource of the Catholic Church to help examine intentions to marriage.

You might need a spiritual advisor for one on one couseling.

Keep seeking.

Sister in Christ.


#5

The spend some time apart answer kind of sucks doesn't it especially when that alone could cause upset enough and it isn't what you intend.

Have you ever considered going on a retreat? Is that possible for you? I am thinking that you possibly could do with finding a Catholic retreat Centre and go there for a day and spend quality time with God using the post you have first posted here and explore each comment you have made with God.

Some times you may be able to talk to someone there who doesn't know you both which I assume your parish priest does know you both? Talk to your own parish priest and the retreat director with the first post in mind.

It sounds like to me that you have already answered your own question but you don't quite know how to deal with it all. Whether to work at it or whether to call it a day. One thing I will say though (not from my own experience because I am single but from what I have heard is) that any marriage requires hard work between each other most of the time. Marriage isn't easy and hence a lot of divorce. People really do not realise how hard they have to work at relationships so it is actually quite positive you are asking these questions. You are on the right track of assessing your relationship.

No one here can tell you what you should do next. We can say pray. We can say talk to someone you can trust nearby but they cant tell you what to do either. Sometimes I find it helps by beginning to formulate your words online but then go to somone you know or someone you can trust like a parish priest. Don't worry, he will be pleased that you are asking these questions rather than blindly going along. It shows maturity and understanding.

I will pray for you and hope you will find a way to resolve how you next move. As others have said, that one paragraph says alot and also tells me you have basically thought about your own feellings. I guess you havent chatted like this to your girlfriend? Otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question here. If it was me, I would talk to the priest before chatting to my partner because then the priest might be able to add anything we have missed here. If you can it is worth chatting to your girlfriend in a general way to find out if you are doing anything wrong. Don't blame it on her and if you can don't blame it on anyone.

Dont stay with her because your friends say you are doing the right thing etc. Stay with her because you both are trying to work together on your relationship. It is amazing how much a priest can help you there. I think you have to find the strength to talk to the priest , alone and ask for his advice and how to initiate a heart to heart with your girlfriend about how to progress forward. She may well be struggling like you. Both of you have the power to take the relationship forward. But to do this you will both have to work at it each day whatever.

One priest used to say at weddings what ever else you both do each day do two things. always say you love one another and always say sorry every day. That is something you both can practice in a relationship. Perhaps you can light a candle and have a bit of a prayer time together and around it discuss such issues without them being personal and prayer time afterwards. I don't know but these are ways forward for you.

I will pray that you will seek help in finding a way forward that works itself out for you both


#6

ooops, you tried the talking to friends stuff

but have you tried talking to a priest.

Ps it will get difficult if the girl really loves you a lot but by being with her because she gets upset etc, only prolonges the worst for you both.

If you do choose to go your seperate ways you can perhaps help her by not splitting up just before Christmas but after Christmas? She will suffer whenever you do but she will suffer more by the sounds of it if you stay with her just because she really loves you alot.Has she a good social network of friends who will help her over if you do split?

I strongly recommend a chat to the parish priest who is different from friends because friends mean well but not always see the whole picture. He will help you to find strength for which ever way forward. Some are very good listeners


#7

Thank you all for replying. Here is some more information that may or may not be helpful:

Our parish priest does, in fact, know us both really well. I would consider talking to him, but knowing him he would likely give me some of the same advice I've already gotten. The same wisdom tends to get shared a lot around here...but I'll consider it nonetheless.

There are quite a few things I do like about my girlfriend, of course, but my concern is that I may be overly comparing her to other people. Often I lament that I can't talk to her the same way I talk to my best friends. Perhaps I am trying to "fit her into my life" rather than "share my life" with her? Sometimes I don't understand what that even means.

I just want to be fair to her. She loves me a lot. Unconditionally. She likes things about me that I'm not even really sure she understands. We don't have a lot in common but she'll do most anything with me a little bit, even if she doesn't enjoy it. Mostly we have to find common ground on things, but I think a lot of the time we end up doing something neither of us would really like to do. Of course, if we got married our main common interest would be our children, anyway...

Sometimes I do change my mind about us, but it doesn't seem to last very long. My focus has, for a long time, been on trying to change myself. I don't rightly know if I have been unsuccessful or if that's not really the problem.


#8

[quote="ThereWasADream, post:7, topic:261074"]
Thank you all for replying. Here is some more information that may or may not be helpful:

Our parish priest does, in fact, know us both really well. I would consider talking to him, but knowing him he would likely give me some of the same advice I've already gotten. The same wisdom tends to get shared a lot around here...but I'll consider it nonetheless.

There are quite a few things I do like about my girlfriend, of course, but my concern is that I may be overly comparing her to other people. Often I lament that I can't talk to her the same way I talk to my best friends. Perhaps I am trying to "fit her into my life" rather than "share my life" with her? Sometimes I don't understand what that even means.

I just want to be fair to her. She loves me a lot. Unconditionally. She likes things about me that I'm not even really sure she understands. We don't have a lot in common but she'll do most anything with me a little bit, even if she doesn't enjoy it. Mostly we have to find common ground on things, but I think a lot of the time we end up doing something neither of us would really like to do. Of course, if we got married our main common interest would be our children, anyway...

Sometimes I do change my mind about us, but it doesn't seem to last very long. My focus has, for a long time, been on trying to change myself. I don't rightly know if I have been unsuccessful or if that's not really the problem.

[/quote]

I think the best thing is to talk to your Priest about it. He's been trained for marriage/relationship counseling. Don't consider if you should or not, just do it. A Priest can help you in ways nobody else has for you so far. Don't think that he'll just say the same things. He's been trained, we haven't. Go talk to him about it and listen to him.


#9

missing info? how old are you? If the answer is, not old enough to get married and have kids, you don’t need to worry about exclusive dating relationships leading to courtship and marriage anyhow. Spend your time developing the art and virtue of friendship.

if you don’t want to spend time with her and you don’t communicate very well that does not sound like much of a relationship anyhow.

you don’t seem to have any trouble discussing your feelings, doubts and problems with this relationship with all your other friends, including the priest, but you cannot talk to her about it? not sounding good.


#10

@puzzleannie

I'm 22 and a graduate student. My girlfriend is 21 and an undergraduate. I don't plan to get married within the next two years but engagement is certainly a possibility.

As for talking to her about all this, as a matter of fact, I have. The problem is she doesn't seem to understand what I'm trying to say.

Since I posted this, I tried again. This time she seems to understand, we've made some compromises, and our relationship has improved immensely. I'm not sure if this changes any of your advice, but for me at least I'm sure I want to continue dating.

Thank you all for replying. I still welcome comments in case anyone thinks I'm being naive about my compromise, especially since we just made it, but if there aren't any this topic could be considered closed.


#11

[quote="ThereWasADream, post:1, topic:261074"]

About three months in, though, I began to regularly question my relationship.

At first, it was only once in a very long while. By about 6 months, I was doing this often enough for it to disturb me. Nowadays, it's every week.

The things that I think to myself is that my girlfriend isn't able to empathize with me. I'm also very frustrated that we don't communicate very well at all. This is where I get into trouble with advice: quite frankly, I don't think most people have understood what I'm trying to say. My girlfriend mostly communicates on the level of facts and ideas. I mostly communicate on the level of feelings and opinions. It is very hard for us to meet in the middle.

On top of this, I find it very difficult to spend time with her without wishing I was doing something else. I keep hoping that if I persevere it will go away, but it hasn't. I used to really enjoy being with her, but that's not so often anymore. Mentally, I really appreciate the good things about her, but for some reason, I can't feel anything anymore. I am not seeking the feelings of love, understand, what I mean is that I'm not happy with what she gives to the relationship...and I wish I was!

My doubt in this is that I'm being selfish. I haven't broken up with her because I worry that some of my friends have been right in saying that this situation is going to happen with anyone I'm going to date. My girlfriend knows that I've felt this way, and she gets really upset. She loves me a lot, and she doesn't seem to have this problem at all, which disturbs me. I am choosing to love her and spend time with her, but I wonder if that's what is really the right thing to do.

What should I do?

[/quote]

If love wasn't a feeling, then we'd just have arranged marriages with people who "fit the bill" and be done with it.
You MUST pay attention to your feelings!!!!!! We are not machines!!!

That is not going to happen with every one you date. If your intention is to be with one woman for the rest of your life, you want to try to be with someone you feel compatible *with and that they *understand you...not someone you don't want to be with most of the time! That would be a TOTAL recipe for disaster.

First of all, she is only your girlfriend, not your wife, and she's your FIRST girlfriend!
If you are so unhappy now after only six months....and you are unhappy most of the time...you don't have to torture yourself that there is a problem with YOU and that you are being selfish.
In fact, you are being unfair to her.
She deserves to have a boyfriend/husband who feels the same way she feels...and who wants what she can give.
Dating is a time to meet ALL SORTS of girls so that you can decide what you need in a relationship and what kind of young woman would be right for you. It's for exploring this. You don't need to lock yourself in with the first girl you date. It is not wrong of your or dishonorable of you or selfish of you to decided she's not for you.
This is why it's "dating" and not "marriage".


closed #12

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