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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question

TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1675
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Me and my partner of two year got engaged about 3 months

Customer Question

Hello there
Me and my partner of two year got engaged about 3 months ago. We've had some serious ups and downs, mostly secondary to trust issues stemming from some bad choices he made in our first year together. We decided to put the past where it belongs, and move forward, working simultaneously towards a good stable future for the best of us. Most of the time, we are great communicators, and have a good understanding of each other, however, this time we have really found ourselves in a situation that could very well be the end of us.
For all the time we've been together we have lived in separate homes. It has been the trend that i always come to his place for quality time and sleepovers. For these two years he has only slept over at my place one time. For me, it has not been too much of an issue, whether thats because i am very adaptable and chose to interpret the situation in a beneficial way, i don't know, but this imbalance have never quite sat right with me. However, i always choose to make the best of it, and decided to see it as a welcomed 'time away from my hard work and commitments' that i have here 'at home'.
My situation: First and foremost, i have a wonderful 6 year old boy from a previous relationship (shared custody with his great dad whom is also in another relationship). My current living situation is quite beautiful, i have a great spacious home, only a couple of mins away from public transport, sons school and work (health care professional with 07am starts). I have worked SO hard to be where i am at right now. You wouldn't believe the hard work i put into making things 'work', and i have been truly blessed to have had this home for my sons entire life. My life is good..i work incredibly hard (registered nurse in the surgical domain), yet i am very fulfilled in my profession. I live on 'one side of the bridge', towards the inner west. 10 min to CBD, less to sons school and work).
His situation: Shared apartment/unit with roommate, 5 min away from his longterm job and just as close to his gym (something thats very important to him.. ill get back to that one later). He is also close to family and the few friends he keeps. He also lives 10 min from CBD...... however, he is one the OTHER side of the bridge (to the inner North). He has some underlying anxiety, and its important to him to keep a rather ridged living regime. Gym, work and home. He is diagnosed with bipolar disorder (adherent to appropriate medication and counselling), and as he does have an addictive personality, it is important for his mental wellbeing that he has 'something to focus on'. Last year he gave up both pot smoking and daily alcohol use, and started to change his life around. He has been completely sober since last year (new years to be exact), and is now completely focused on his time at the gym and the goals he is setting for himself.
The issue: It all started when we started to look for places. I have told him from the beginning that i cannot move to the North. Most importantly, its so far away from my sons school, dad, granma and secondly, it will be incredibly hard for me to juggle both home, my son and the long hours at work. I do not have a drivers license ( he does). He said he was okay to move to the inner west (it will take him 30 min to get to work from here, in his car. For me to get to work from his place takes me about 1.5 hours in public transport, meaning i have to get up at like 430 to make it to work at 7. And lets not forget about getting my son to school for the days i have him... as it is NOW, it can be a struggle).
Well, so very quickly into it i realised that he was not dedicated at all. One day i had lined up 3 viewings (within price range. I will be paying majority of rent), and i needed his time for like 1 hour. That was all. This was a saturday and it was my sons birthday on the sunday. Firstly i told him that he of course should be present for the birthday, which he with some reluctance agreed (he thought it would be awkward as sons dad would be present). On one condition though... If he came to my sons party, he would not be able to come and see the houses on the saturday. as he 'had plans'. I finally got him to tell me that these plans included 'meeting his goals at the gym'. When i was visibly upset and angry that he would selfishly prioritise like that, he called me 'unsupportive', and we ended the argument over the phone with him calling me 'a f** B**'. Over the next few days i felt sick about the verbal abuse and reluctance to view the situation from a beneficial point of view. We eventually made up, yet now he still claims i am being unsupportive and that i am not realising the sacrifices he would have to make to move 'to my side'.
What really broke my heart is when he said 'if you wanted to move here, it would be perfect for me'. He would actually see me struggle and be ok with it. Am i being unfair here? Please help. Feel very hopeless :(
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 months ago.

I would suggest first that you look beyond your current struggle over who will compromise the more and who less. Have you considered spending your life with a man whose bipolar and addictive tendencies need compulsive defenses to keep them in check? It may be a blessing that he's not willing to compromise with you, since he could easily turn out to be too unrewarding to live with in the long run anywahy.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your reply, Dr.Norman. It is much appreciated.Yes, i have thought long and hard about these things. I seem to come to a halt when i see the good man that he CAN be, and i see him work actively towards it. I guess i just have this notion in my head that no one is perfect, and that we are all deserving of love and forgiveness. I want to believe that he can be better than this, as I've already seen him improve greatly over the past few years. And he has this one side to him that is so loving and understanding, and yet... this other side can be abusive and destructive. I am very much battling with the fact that i could be putting my child in emotional harms way.Guess i just need justification and a real educated validation that when everything comes to everything, he might very well end up destroying us. Its incredibly tough to go through a couple of months of pure bliss, just to have 'mister Hyde' pop out and be hurtful. I just don't understand this dynamic :(
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
lastly, was i in the wrong for reacting the way i did?
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 months ago.

Thanks for responding. I'm off to early errands and will respond carefully as soon as I have time--a few hours from now.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you, sir! Your time is greatly appreciated.Best regards

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