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Howard Wise
Howard Wise, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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I live my life to the fullest. I had been married for 20+ years,

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I live my life to the fullest. I had been married for 20+ years, and I met a woman who had been through a similarly long marriage. We started out as friends, and over the last 2 years, it has grown into a very meaningful relationship. We both have very deep feelings for each other, and love spending as much time as possible together. We get along wonderfully, when we are together. However, when we cannot be together, I still have many friends (all guys) with whom I have had long friendships with, and think nothing of meeting them for a beer, a burger, to watch a game, or whatever. This ONLY occurs whenever she and I CANNOT be together (if she has an obligation to work, be with her children, etc.), and it does NOT happen every single time, just sometimes. Whenever it does occur, she can't handle it. She knows i am out and she calls and texts me and writes me emails, etc. while I am out. This problem has reared its ugly head so many times, and at one point several months ago, she flat out told me that she simply does NOT want me going out without her, no matter what. At that time, I even agreed to cease all outside activities (even though I had never done anything unless she was unavailable). Months later, she told me how ridiculous she had been, and told me she was sorry, and told me that she didn't want to put those silly limitations on me anymore. Regardless, I still didn't make any plans. It got to the point where several of my buddies thought something was wrong that I was never around, but I didn't tell them why. I was too embarrassed, I guess. I have NEVER given her ANY reason to not trust me, and she admits that. I am 100% in love with her. She knows and readily admits that these thoughts of hers are "messed up", and that she is trying to "get better at handling them". I feel it is very selfish for her to act this way. Recently, I became aware of an upcoming concert of my all time favorite band. She isn't really a fan of theirs, and if it wasn't for my like of them she would have no interest in going to see them. It turned out, that she will be out of town the weekend of their (2) shows, and there is NO possible way she will be available to go see this band. Knowing this, and after talking to her about her complete unavailability, I made plans to go see both shows with a buddy of mine (a guy). Actually, my friend and I paid extra to attend a VIP event, and actually MEET the band. She is beside herself with rage. She tells me that she deserves to be treated better than this (and she and I have been to several concerts, plays, out to dinner at the finest restaurants, vacations, etc.) She tells me she is very hurt by my inconsiderate actions, and that my actions are a serious breech of what she wants out of our relationship. She tells me she cannot move past this, and doesn't know if she ever will be able to. She is in disbelief that I would be so inconsiderate, yet also tells me that she does not want me to be in a relationship where I would have any regrets. She has now called into question how much I "really know and understand her", and she thought I realized how upset my doing things without her bothered her. . Heck....I thought I was just going to a concert with my friend, and she has made it into much more than that. We have spent the last week or so discussing this, and I have reminded her that she CANNOT attend, otherwise she would be there with me. This is NOT like I chose to go to the concerts without her, or chose to pay extra for myself and meet them while she sat in some crappy seat. If she was available to go, I would have taken her, and either paid the extra for her to meet them too, or I would NOT have paid the extra for just me to meet them without her, and I have repeatedly told her that. I believe she wants to break up over this, and to be honest, I don't know what to do anymore. I love her very much, but do not consider myself or my actions inconsiderate, I think she is massively insecure and pretty selfish herself. What do you think?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Howard Wise replied 5 years ago.
Good morning,

I agree with your assessment that your girlfriend is very insecure. You have gone out of your way to be accomodating with her. You always take into account her feelings and you do whatever you can to please her. From what you describe, your behavior in this relationship is commendable.

Your girlfriend will not be able to resolve her insecurity without outside assistance. I recommend that you tell her that this has become a major stumbling block in your relationship. Tell her you would like to conintue to work on improving things, however, you believe that she needs to start psychotherapy to address her insecurity. Tell her you want to take a break from seeing her until after she has met with her therapist three times. If she doesn't see these as constructive suggestions you will need to evaluate your desire to continue in this relationship.

I hope this has helped.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

But that's her point, Howard. She says my going out when she cannot does NOT take into account her feelings, and I do NOT go out of my way to accommodate her. Her point is, if I did, I would never go anywhere without her, and I would never go out with my friends when she isn't available. She does go to therapy. She has for quite awhile, even before I met her. She got out of her marriage because her husband never took her feelings into account, he was boring, and they never did anything "fun" together. On one vacation we took together, I enjoyed making sure that we had reservations at the finest restaurants, played the best golf courses together, etc. We had a blast. She has done things for me too, and I don't want to make it appear that she hasn't. Again, if she wasn't going to be out of town that weekend, (and with no possible way to change those plans - it's an out of town, college planned event for her daughter), we WOULD BE attanding this event together. I have told her I cannot apologize to her for who or what I am anymore than I expect her to apologize for who she is. I've told her I am sorry if that makes me sound stubborn, and that I do not want to be that way with her. I have told her that I want to work this out, and that I have done everything I can to accept her for who she is, and never asked her to be anyone other than who she genuinely is. I have never asked or expected her to change for me, and the only changes I wish for her are those she has told me she wants for herself. She has stated many times she wants to change, but everytime we go through this, she exhibits the exact same behavior. Honestly? I'm not seeing any improvement. And now, she is giving me an ultimatum, saying to me "You must decide if you want to be in this relationship with me, and with someone like me", possibly inferring, I think, that "this is as good as it's going to get". My response was "But, you've told me that you DON'T want to be this way, and that you're trying to "get better at this". When is that going to happen?".


Howard? I'm 51 years old. So is she. No one has ever made me feel as good as this woman does (when she does). In the back of my mind, I'm concerned that if I do not "relent to this issue", I may never find anyone who I care as much about, and who cares as much about me, and I will go through the rest of my life alone, and kicking myself for letting her go.

Expert:  Howard Wise replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. I appreciate your concern about finding another woman whom you can care about as much as this one.

From what you have reported, your girlfriend has had difficulty in the past in her relationships with men. Although she tells you she wants to change there is little evidence to support this claim.

You seem to be operating from a position of weakness in this relationship because of your fear of never finding another woman you like as much. This results in an imabalance - your girlfriend has the power position.

It appears unlikely that your girlfriend will give up her power position, and give you more space to engage in activities you enjoy when she is not available. So, in my opinion you will either have to find a way to adapt to the current structure of this relationship, or you will have to consider your alternatives. I know this is a difficult situation for you and I empathize with your plight.
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