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Member Since: July 16, 2007
Last Update: February 22, 2014
I've posted this on advicenators but to be honest you're one of the only ones that I noticed who actually gives thoughtful, consistent advice which is something I really need right now...|
19/f I started dating my current boyfriend in February. He is a really amazing guy. Hes sweet, caring, loving, sincere, and genuinely a good person. And he adored me. We didn't have one fight for the first 3 or 4 months, I guess you can call it the "honeymoon phase". We fell in love because we fit together so well we are perfect for each other personality wise. But three months ago he hurt his back pretty badly and there's nothing doctors can do about it unless he gets surgery to fix it. But that's the last thing he wants/needs because once you get surgery you're f***ed for life. At first I was unaware of the extent to which his pain was affecting his life. Needless to say things are not going as great for him as they were when we first met. He's always in pain now, among other things going wrong.
The one thing about him that I know and the only thing I don't like is the fact that he gets angry very easily, all the time, for no reason. He told me he's always been that way. Not angry at me, just at situations and life. I try to help him with it but nothing I say now seems to have an effect on him. He's always in a bad mood, or when I try to talk to him/kiss him, most of the time he just looks at me and doesn't respond. Sometimes he even looks annoyed. We pretty much live together because we're always at each others houses, we always want to be together. But recently it's become sort of taxing for me. I come home from being with him and find that I'm in a bad mood. I'm fighting with my parents a lot and I'm just not happy. And the sad part is that I am a huge believer in happiness and I always preach how important it is to be happy. I just get so upset when I see him so mad and we're spending time together but hes in a bad mood. We used to get along great and have a great time and now its basically me always trying to cheer him up. We'll have moments here and there when he forgets he's upset, and we don't really fight, but he's always mad and I'm always sad because of it. So I've been trying to talk to him about it and explain how I feel and he keeps telling me that his anger problem has gotten 100 times worse because he's literally always in shooting sharp pain from his back. Therapy helps him a little but he says it comes right back. I just don't know what to do anymore, I try to do nice things for him and kiss him and give him love and care but nothing works. A few times after we've come back from a night of drinking and he's like that, I get emotional and I've cried to him pretty bad a few times and I hate crying it makes me feel vulnerable and weak. It's because of the alcohol that I cry, but it's because of his mood and the way he acts that I get sad. Now he has it in his head that we can't drink together anymore because when we drink we fight and I get emotional and its not me. I tried really hard last night to explain that its still how I feel, just the alcohol makes me more vocal about it. And the only reason I get emotional now is because I'm truly upset at how he is. He wouldn't even hear it. He told me to talk to him when I was sober. Which I know, is what I have to do now. I really need some advice on what to say though, because now I have the feeling that he sees me as an emotional wreck. I get the feeling that he thinks of me differently, before he used to adore me and he pretty much had me on a pedestal. Calling me perfect all the time, actually believing I was, and I'm not expecting that now at all I actually didn't like that but now I feel like what he saw in me in the beginning is gone. I just don't know what to do or say to him to fix this problem in our relationship. It's not like he can get rid of his pain or anger, he can't help it, but it seriously makes me depressed and I feel like the more I try to talk to him about it the more I ruin our relationship by putting strain on him making him feel even worse that I'm not happy with him. Help? (link)
Ok. So I wrote up this entire long thoughtful response about working out communications problems and trying to keep things calm and respectful and fostering empathy with your significant other during conversation so that even if your words are clumsy they're receptive to the emotional messages you send them.
Then I deleted it all, because in truth I don't think you should stay with him.
It's cold. I won't deny it. I can be a pretty cold person. But you've known him for four months. And your problem isn't about fixing your relationship.
Your problem is him. It sucks. Whether he was being stupid or had an accident or got hit by a car while he was standing and looking in a direction other than the one the car was coming from, permanent injury is a shitty hand to be dealt by life.
He's 19. He isn't equipped to cope with this. You think three months is bad? Wait till it's been three years. Ten years. His entire adult life will be defined by his pain. There's no therapy for that. There's disability and drugs to take the pain away as often as possible, and there's keeping yourself as occupied as you're physically able to attain the same goal.
My wife got rear ended last year. Soft tissue damage only, nothing requiring surgery or anything other than time and a little physical therapy and some minor pain medication to fix.
She was a nightmare. Honestly. What got us through it was knowing there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and her recognizing how bad she was, how ugly she could be to me and how often she blamed me for things just to give her an excuse to vent her anger for being in pain.
There's no light at the end of the tunnel for you. There's no end of the tunnel. He will require surgery at some point, and that will only increase his pain. Even if he's capable of being functional in society on medication, his life will still be defined by his pain.
And so will yours.
Four months in to a relationship at 19 is not a good foundation to make the kind of commitment that you make by staying with him.
I say leave now because, honestly, I think you'll leave eventually. He's not going to be a full adult for years. If you stay with him throughout that period hoping he becomes an adult you might be disappointed and even if you aren't your relationship will almost certainly not survive.
You can't fix him, and that's the only way to fix your relationship. Even if he wants to fix it, the kind of pain we're talking about here doesn't exactly let you remain calm and rational as often as is necessary to be in a healthy relationship.
Not at 19, with a 19 year old's life experience, and a 19 year old's shattered dreams of invincibility. Teenagers are unstoppable until something stops them and they realize they have to learn to cope with the world in real time.
He got stopped harder than most. That fact is not your fault.
If you want to talk to him it really comes down to keeping him calm and getting him to listen. Apologize in advance for clumsy wording and ask him to be patient with you as you try to put some strong emotions into words so he can understand what you're going through and you can try to find some common ground. Tell him you need changes to be made for your own sanity.
Just don't be surprised when he tries and fails (repeatedly) and you go through a cycle of good and bad days that makes most roller-coasters look tame.
thanks, deep down I was afraid of something like that. I just hope I'm strong enough to do it. If it was just another guy it wouldn't have been so bad, but he's truly one of the best people I know. Thank you for the honest advice!